Knitting For A New Home

My boyfriend and I are in the process of buying a house. We’ve both been serial renters all our lives so we’re unbelievably excited to finally be in a position where we can buy something of our own and shape it to be the kind of home we can really love and feel completely comfortable in.

The house is a brand new build which is still under construction at the moment and on Saturday afternoon we went to the sales office and showhome to choose the interior options that we get to customise. We are able to choose: worktops, cupboard doors and vinyl flooring for the kitchen (the other flooring costs extra and we’re probably getting it done independently); wardrobe doors and handles for the master bedroom; tiles for the family bathroom, en-suite bathroom and sink splashback in the downstairs WC.

We spent literally hours (somewhere between 2 and 3, I’m not sure exactly!) going over all the options as there we so many to choose from. Here are just a few photos I snapped on my mobile phone as we pored over the options and went back and forth between the showhome and the sales office a few times!

 

  

  

 

Cover

It just happens that Sarah Hatton has released a lovely new book of homeware patterns for autumn/winter which had already got me thinking about things that I could knit for our new home. Now we’ve actually chosen some of the colour scheme for the house, I can’t wait to get started on something to go with it! Here are a few of my favourites from 10 Simple Projects For Cosy Homes.

Cabled Throw

We should hopefully be moving in November which is the perfect time of year to have a snuggly throw at the ready! Cables are a big favourite of mine, so this is very tempting.

Made with Pure Wool Worsted and Creative Focus Worsted knit together, it will be warm and also soft with the lovely alpaca running through it. The Pure Wool Worsted palette has over 50 shades so there’s bound to be something to suit every home, and the Creative Focus Worsted palette has a good range of shades that are warm or cool, dark or light, so there should be something to work nicely with most Pure Wool Worsted shades.

Garter Stitch BasketsThese garter stitch baskets are just adorable! I have no idea what I’d use them for off the top of my head, but I’m positive I could put them to good use. They’re made with Rowan Big Wool so they will knit up in no time and should be quite hard-wearing.

The pattern has small, medium and large sizes and, even better, you can get a small basket out of one ball of yarn and according to the pattern tips you can get a small and a medium out of two balls.

Garter Stitch Cushion

Cushions are a really easy way to add a splash of colour and identity to a room. Also made in Big Wool, the garter stitch texture on these really stands out and they look perfectly squishable! With more than 20 shades in the range, they could easily be made to match any lounge or bedroom.

I’ll definitely be knitting some cushions for my new lounge, once we’ve picked carpet, curtains and sofas too. So many choices!

Slippers

I never go anywhere without my slippers and I’ve wanted to knit some for ages now. Maybe these ones would be a good first attempt at my own handmade foot cozies.

There’s definitely a theme in my favourite designs, as these are yet again made from Big Wool! If I was to make these, I actually think that I might try the new Big Wool Colour which also launched last month.

With the same tension and meterage as Big Wool, its new counterpart is brilliant for combining with the solid shades to make a project more colourful and eye-catching. I particularly like Jamboree as it’s got that hint of autumn which suits my colouring so well.

106 Carousel 101 Fete 102 Fairground 103 Carnival 104 Jamboree 105 Waltzer

What have you knitted for your home that you really love? I’m going to be looking for all the inspiration I can get…

Giveaway – Rowan Angora Haze

Rowan released a brand new yarn for this season, Angora Haze. Available in a range of gorgeous shades from palest white, through soft pastels, to rich black – there is sure to be a shade to suit every taste. As you would expect from a premium Angora fibre, the yarn is unbelievably soft and, at a generous 137 m, you can get a good amount of life from a ball.

Here’s a quick overview of the available shades:

Cuddle 520Baby 521Cradle 522Nest 523Hug 524Caress 525Embrace 526Kiss 527Tender 528Caring 529Love 530Squeeze 531True 532

To accompany this delightful new yarn is the Angora Haze Collection, full of luxurious knits to make the most of the softness this fibre provides. Here are a few highlights from the collection, but be sure to check out the whole range on Rowan’s website.

LucilleBetteMarilynJudy BeretRubyBrigitte

If you have any concerns about how Rowan obtain their Angora fibres, there is more information available online about the methods they use which clarifies that all the rabbits are live and cared for during the process.

 

I was lucky enough to be sent two balls of Angora Haze to review along with the pattern brochure, but unfortunately I am slightly allergic to Angora so I can’t work with it or wear it. This is good luck for my readers though, as I am giving away the whole Angora Haze package to one lucky person! The prize is one copy of the Angora Haze Collection brochure, one ball of Angora Haze in shade Hug 524, one ball of Angora Haze in shade Embrace 526.

To enter, simply comment below with what you love about Angora yarn generally, Angora Haze specifically or the Angora Haze Collection. Entries close at midnight on Sunday 24th November and the winner will be chosen at random from all the comments received on this post up until that point.

Good luck!

Angora Haze - Yarn Lifestyle 1

Kidsilk, That’s Amore

At the start of October, Rowan launched two brand new yarns: Kidsilk Amore and Kidsilk Amore Shimmer. These are yet another new twist on the existing Kidsilk range, this time in a chunky weight which is ideal for toasty and warm winter accessories. As part of the launch, the Rowan Ambassadors group was given a challenge from Rowan – to create a design for each yarn which used only one ball. This may not seem like a huge challenge on the face of it, but if I tell you that the yarns are only 42 m and 37 m per ball, respectively, you may be able to imagine that it was quite tricky!

I’ve never designed anything completely from scratch before, so I was a bit nervous, but decided I really wanted to try and had nothing to lose if I did. The Ambassador group is full of talented and imaginative knitters/designers so I was not surprised to find that between us we all came up with some very different ideas for designs, many of which I felt made mine look quite run-of-the-mill. Imagine my surprise and delight when I found that my patterns had been drawn in the runner-up group!

Amazingly, all the winning and runner-up designs will become free Rowan downloads and I cannot wait for them to be finalised and uploaded. Of course I will be sure to update when that happens! Until it does, here are some photos of the finished items. I should note that I had to rip out and re-knit these a few times whilst working on the designs, to ensure that I didn’t run out of yarn before each item was finished. Unfortunately this has made the yarn look a little fuzzier than it would otherwise, when I finally got to have the items photographed.

Mirage

Mirage

Photos by Andrew Woodhouse Photography

A cute little hat with a braided openwork texture pattern and a wide ribbed band. Pictured in Kidsilk Amore Shimmer, shade Chestnut 514.

 

Check That Cowl

Check That Cowl  Check That Cowl

Photos by Andrew Woodhouse Photography

A snuggly cowl, using a large checkerboard texture to help show off the striking colours in this shade. Pictured in Kidsilk Amore, shade Twilight 505.

 

I found the yarns to be lovely to work with and the colours look so much more wonderful in person than they do when photographed. Here’s a quick overview of the shades.

Kidsilk Amore

Twilight 505Chiaroscuro 506Avocado 507Flaming 508

Kidsilk Amore Shimmer

Mulled Wine 513Chestnut 514Flaming 515Chiaroscuro 516

The photos of Shimmer really don’t do it justice, unfortunately. It has a lovely thread of sparkle running through it which will look fabulous in winter sunshine.

You can read more about both yarns on Rowan’s website: Kidsilk Amore and Kidsilk Amore Shimmer.

 

Watch this space for details of my designs and the other winning and runner-up designs by my fellow Ambassadors, they are a fabulous set!

Life In Colour

Yesterday was my last day working at the company I’ve been with for just over 10 years, as I’ve taken the nerve-wracking but exciting decision to continue my career elsewhere. It was quite an emotional day and I’ve been really touched by the outpouring of kind words and well-wishes from my colleagues.

When presented with a huge card and a mystery parcel by my boss, I was overwhelmed to find this inside:
Alpaca Colour Yarn

Clearly with some assistance from my boyfriend (who works at the same company) my colleagues had got together to buy me a stash of Rowan Alpaca Colour yarn. In the Alpaca Colour design collection there is a wonderful striped scarf that I completely fell in love with but couldn’t justify the cost of making right now, and my colleagues have bought me the full set of yarn required to make it!

Harewood Scarf

When I start my new job next week, I will initially be based in the local office one day a week and at an alternative office 4 days per week, which is about a 2 hour drive away. This means that sadly I will be staying in a hotel 4 nights a week for several weeks until the initial training period is finished, but at least now I have this lovely project to keep me very good company during that time!

 

If you haven’t seen this gorgeous yarn from Rowan yet, I recommend you check it out. Brand new for Autumn Winter 2013, it is DK weight, made with 100% baby alpaca and comes in 10 luscious shades. The photos don’t do the colour justice and you can’t imagine how soft it is without getting your hands on some in person.

Jasper 134Iron 135Emerald 136Agate 137
Ruby 138Garnet 139Blue John 140Amethyst 141
Graphite 142Topaz 143

 

The design collection is quite contemporary and casual. These a just a few of my personal highlights, aside from the aforementioned scarf.

Calke
Calke looks wonderfully snug and I love the honeycomb pattern detail

Moreton
Moreton really caught my eye with the shoulder detail. I can’t work out whether I would actually wear it or not, but I still love it!

Coombe
Coombe is another invitingly warm winter knit, and who could resist cables as lovely as these?

Longshaw
Longshaw is a truly luxurious wrap. That eye-catching texture made in such a rich shade makes it irresistible for this autumn/winter.

Ashridge
Ashridge is a classic v-neck cardigan with the versatility to be dressed casually or towards the smarter end of your wardrobe. The simple lines will allow whichever shade of yarn you choose to really shine through.

Bolberry
Bolberry is my absolute favourite (my scarf aside, that is!) The asymmetrical detailing that you can see running from hip to hem on the front transforms what is otherwise quite a simple jumper into something much more intriguing. Yet another great texture is featured here too, and that wonderful shade of Agate steals the show, yet again.

Make sure to check out the whole collection on Rowan’s website and visit your local stockist to see just how gorgeous this yarn is in person.

Meeting the lovely Libby Summers

A few months ago, local designer Libby Summers wrote in to the blog to suggest a store for the LYS Spotlight and we’ve been chatting by email ever since. On Tuesday this week Libby was visiting Nottingham to run some errands and it was also my weekly knitting group in the evening, so I suggested that she come along to the group and say hello.

It was lovely to finally meet Libby in person and she was kind enough to bring samples of her yarns, knitting kits and some completed garments for us to see. After a very busy day at work my brain clearly wasn’t firing on all cylinders and I completely forgot to take any photos during the evening. Oops! But if you visit her website, you will be able to see some of the lovely things she has on offer.

I can particularly recommend:

  • Libby Summers Chunky yarn – The shades all have a beautiful sheen to them which the photos simply don’t do justice to, very very pretty! Find a local stockist if you can and go check it out in person.
  • Lima pattern collection – The texture in this pattern collection is delightful, the blanket in particular looks so snug!
  • Mini Cakes Collection knitting kit – This knitting kit is so beautifully presented that it would make the perfect gift for any knitter. As well as lovely yarn, it contains a booklet with 5 patterns in it and all the accoutrements you would need to make them (buttons, belt buckle, etc). Although there isn’t enough yarn in the box to make all 5 patterns, you can make at least 2 of them with the kit alone and you can always top up your yarn if you wanted to make them all!

Chunky YarnMini Cupcake CollectionLima Blanket

%d bloggers like this: