Barely fair isle?

LInda Lencovic Aran, BANFF Aran - BFL/Alpaca, Kettle Yarn Co., work in progress

I finally sucked back my trepidation and started the xmas jumper the other day but am having some serious doubts as to whether I should continue!

Maybe some of the more experienced Fair Isle knitters among you could weigh in? This is the current wobbly state of my stranding technique (worked inside out!):

image

Which I was thinking wasn’t TOO bad, as I assumed it would block out, but then to be sure I tried blocking one sleeve (was working 2 at a time which probably wasn’t doing me any favours!). This is what I am still left with on the worst, if inner part of the arm sleeve:

image

What do you think? Will this even out eventually, or should I just throw in the towel? Maybe I am just not advanced enough for this and should switch these bits to a colour pattern with less long floats like a simple double lice stitch or something?

Help! Am despairing. :-{

Should I continue on, or frog?

British Minis have arrived!

LInda Lencovic Kettle Yarn Co.

Newly launched on the shop this week:

British Minis

100% Superwash British Bluefaced Leicester fingering/sock
TWO 50g skeins, each approx 200 m | 219 y = 400g / 437y

Made up of hardwearing long staple 100% British SW Bluefaced Leicester, these paired minis are perfect for pom poms, accents, stripes, socks, accessories, or anything you could possibly need small shots of colour for!

There are some traditionally festive hues for xmas balls and socks and a few bright, fun semi-solid and variegated ones as well:

There are a limited number of these at the moment, so get them while they last!

I have also had some gift tags made up, so if you are buying these to give away, let me know and I will wrap your package up extra pretty and include a tag from you. I can even send directly to the person, just send me a message after you put the purchase through!

Happy mini-skeining!

pompom is having a party!

LInda Lencovic work in progress

It’s official so I can finally spill the surprise I’ve been holding in! I’ve been invited to take part in pompom’s first festive party on Dec 6th!PomPomParty

SO excited to be part of this with all the other lovely and talented ladies involved! It is sure to be a night of good music, luscious yarns, and yummy treats, so do join us if you can. I will be trying to bring as much yarn as I can fit into two big tubs, so will hopefully have enough to tempt everyone.(Just a tip…do try to bring cash as there will only be one machine on hand and the poor thing might get a little overwhelmed.)

Yay! See you there…

Quick warmth

LInda Lencovic Aran, BANFF Aran - BFL/Alpaca, Kettle Yarn Co.

A few more quick, warm knits to stave off the chill!

The fun and very free Lonely Tree Shawl by Sylvia Bo Bilvia would look fantastic in a mere two skeins of BFL/Alpaca

…or one skein of this nutty BFL DK   is the perfect hue for a cute little cabled, unisex beanie like Knotted Pine by Alicia Plummer

…and last but definitely not least to cheer up dreary winter days, Aureus by Michele Wang from the beautiful winter Pom Pom Quarterly, would look stunning in Waltham DK in Havant yellow:

So many gorgeous patterns, so little time!

Quick holiday knits

LInda Lencovic Aran, BANFF Aran - BFL/Alpaca, inspiration, Kettle Yarn Co., WIMBLEDON - superwash merino

It is the time of year when knitting thoughts turn to thick, cosy yarn and quick holiday knitting! I have been trying to get in more thicker weight yarns as a result and am slowly adding them to the shop in the next few weeks.

I have been looking at Tin Can Knits‘ fantastic The Simple Collection over the last while, as I met one of the dynamic duo, Emily, a few weeks back. The free collection has some lovely, simple garter patterns – perfect for quick knitting and getting all those holiday projects off the needles!

Rye socks in DK would make a perfect warming gift for someone on my list…

….maybe in bright mustard Waltham DK in ‘Havant’, which is nearly the same hue as the yellow ones above, or a more subdued neutral like ‘Nutkin’ in SW BFL DK, right, for the more conservative giftee:
Kettle_Yarn_Co_WALTHAM_Havant

In the aran/worsted department there are so many perfect patterns right now that it is hard to choose! I recently got another Tin Can Knits design, Barley, off the needles in the softest, thickest, squishiest BFL/Alpaca for holiday gifting and it is the simplest/quickest pattern – merely a few hours and I polished off a child’s hat! A softly saturated and slightly greyed shade up in the shop this weekend, shown to the left.

I recently swatched brioche stitch in BFL/Alpaca Aran and the combo is a match made in heaven!

Blushy-grey ‘Violaceous’ (below left) BFL/Alpaca would be luxuriously fuzzy and hug-able in the beautiful Brioche Scarf by Purl Soho:

Kettle_Yarn_Co_Aran

I was quite surprised at how easy the stitch actually is – just YOs and k2togs, which are just made to seem complicated with strange abbreviations. Very easy to get into a rhythm with. I love the feel and look much I now desperately want to find the time to make myself their stunning Brioche Vest!

And if I had another 5 hours to the day, or another set of arms…look at this newly released Aran weight beauty by Amy Christoffers! Wouldn’t it be gorgeous in the BFL/ALpaca, too??

I just can’t figure out what I need to give up to make more time…sleep or even less housework…? ;-P

Nov 1st = knit along!

LInda Lencovic Aran, BANFF Aran - BFL/Alpaca, ISLINGTON - British BFL/Silk, KENSINGTON - Cashmere/British BFL/ Silk, Kettle Yarn Co., Knit A Long, WESTMINSTER - Baby Camel/Silk

Today is the big launch day for the first Kettle Yarn Co. KAL of the beautiful Charm shawl by Juju Vail!

[photo: Juju Vail]

My lovely moderators and I have got some tutorial-type, in-depth instructions to help everyone start on the group pages and will be on hand to offer any help needed if you have a question.

There are more lovely fingering, sport and heavier yarns being added to the shop this weekend that will work for this pattern…a handful of brights:

[Westminster fingering]

A slew of pseudo neutrals:

[clockwise starting with the big image – a new hand-painted Westminster fingering  – ‘Median’, 100% British SW Bluefaced Leicester DK OOAK, and Islington fingering – ‘Nutkin]

And some heavier weights for warmth:

[Above, BFL/Alpaca Aran – OOAK grey/rose, more Wimbledon sport – ‘Tournament’ grey, and Kensington fingering- ‘Denbigh’.] 

..it’s never to late to start!

Xmas jumper count down

LInda Lencovic Aran, BANFF Aran - BFL/Alpaca, Boreal, Kettle Yarn Co., work in progress

I have been thinking more and more about holiday knitting over the past month and realising that when you are knitting gifts it is a real balance between starting early enough and fitting in time to get things knit up for yourself!

Those of you that have been following along for a while know how much I’d love to be able to knit a full colourwork jumper, but that my skills have been sorely lacking. I have been slowly working through projects to try and get comfortable enough with the process to go large scale…

colouwork

However, I had a bit of a freak out a few weeks ago when I realised that if I didn’t start my xmas jumper NOW It would be another year I’d missed the boat. In a panic I downloaded a pattern I have been wanting to knit for ages now, the beautiful, snowflake-y Boreal by Kate Davies

Boreal_Kate_Davies

…and dyed up some fat aran yarn:

Kettle_Yarn_Co_AranMix

I thought some of you might get a kick out of these ‘monster skeins’ of aran! They are just 2 hanks skeined together as I got tired of skeining a gazillion hanks the other day, so I twisted these together, as they are for us and not the shop! The blue/purple SW Merino on the far left is for my partner’s jumper (which I really need to get started on as well), and the grey/red BFL/Alpaca are for my xmas Boreal. The red never seems to photograph well with this camera but it is a lightly variegated pink red/yellow red that I think will add some interest to the top bit…if I manage to knit it!

Fingers crossed.

CAMBRIDGE, baby!

LInda Lencovic ISLINGTON - British BFL/Silk, Kettle Yarn Co., WESTMINSTER - Baby Camel/Silk

As promised, I debut-ed a new base last weekend in the shop, then promptly forgot to post about it on the blog! Silly me.  So be-latedly here we go…

CAMBRIDGE

70% baby Alpaca
20% Silk
10% Cashmere
Lace 2ply — 100 grams (3.53 ounces) = 875 yards (800 meters)
Kettle_Yarn_Co_CAMBRIDGE_FelixDD

It doesn’t get any softer than this…the softest, loftiest baby alpaca, blended with luminous silk and topped off with a cashmere halo cloud. Sheer perfection.

Three colourways are up in the shop this week – ‘Felix‘ purple,  ‘Liminal‘ blush pink and a golden butter yellow one of a kind (OOAK).

This is a deliciously soft and light blend that is also incredibly warm and will make stunning shawls for holiday gifting! This blend feels meltingly like butter in your hands and has a lovely, extremely warm drape from all that cushy baby Alpaca and added Cashmere. The silk adds subtle shine and a bit more drape.

You can add a strand of this to another yarn for some added drape, furry halo, warmth and just plain luxury, or use it alone for exceptional lace knitting.

The sun is out and shining this morning so I took some glowing photos in the light. Here is a teaser for next week’s update if you are still looking for the right skein(s) for the Charm KAL, starting in November:
Kettle_Yarn_Co_assorted4

Fred Perry knitting patterns #fail

LInda Lencovic Aran, BANFF Aran - BFL/Alpaca, inspiration, Kettle Yarn Co.

There has been a huge buzz this week on the supposedly ‘free’ knitting patterns British retailer Fred Perry released as part of an advertising campaign. Turns out the patterns are so poorly written and edited that they are almost a spoof on knitting patterns. (Not sure if this is intentional and they are supposed to be funny? Let’s just say the knitting community has not been amused and they have gotten some pretty negative press from the manoeuvre!)

My response is this…don’t waste time banging your head against the wall trying to figure out the gauge, yarn weight, sheep breed (sheep breed!!), etc. Just pick another pattern from the hundreds of amazing patterns already out there that are WELL WRITTEN!

For example:

Fred Perry yellow cardi

Fred Perry’s cardi could looks sneakily similar to Sirdar’s V Neck Cardigan, if better styled:

And for their cabled beanie…

Fred Perry cabled beanie

…how about a free pattern from Máire O’SullivanHipster Sister? Just start some of the cables higher up and make it a shorter hat without turned over brim and fab pom?

And I just happen to have some Aran weight in the shop at the moment that would work for both – BFL/Alpaca in a grey/lavender – with more skeins going up in the shop next week which work well together(right):

Just sayin’. 😉

*update Fred Perry have removed the patterns from their website. If you are looking for some entertaining reading check out the comments on Kate Davies’ blog…they are cracking me up!

Charm KAL and shop update

LInda Lencovic Kettle Yarn Co., Knit A Long

I had the good fortune the other day to try on the ‘small’, one skein, size of the shawl at Loop on Thursday. Not only did I get to try it on and discuss its construction with the designer herself, but Juju , bless her, then spent a goodly amount of time taking photos of me and finally managed to catch me not gurning! Amazing!

Linda in Charm

As you can see in the photo, the small is remarkably large and the crescent shape makes it perfect for covering that vulnerable v in most jackets that always leaves your neck freezing in cold weather. I think it even wrapped around three times!

I also found out when talking to Juju that the shawl is knit all-in-one, so there is no adding the trim at the end – perfect for lazy knitters like me – and much quicker for holiday gifts! Though she did say it would be very easy to stripe the body of the shawl and have a solid border, or to hold two yarns together for the body and one for the edge, like I’ve been thinking of doing all along.

For those of you that might of missed it I updated the shop on Saturday and there are now more fingering colours available for the Charm Knit A Long starting November 1st. There is more ISLINGTON and KENSINGTON and, last minute, I even dyed up some WESTMINSTER hand painted with a new colourway for the KAL (Hyde green shown below):

I know there are a few new people joining in the KAL and if you haven’t seen the group page already, check it out! Can’t wait to start!

Addi interchangeables anyone?

LInda Lencovic work in progress

**update: these have sold! Thanks all! **

So for my birthday I got a new set of interchangeable needles so am selling off my older set of Addi lace long tip interchangeables if anyone is interested!
Addi-lace

They aren’t even a year old, are in pristine condition and even come with the original box, flyers and ‘packed by’ card straight from the Addi factory:

Addi-lace2

Retailing for about £80 here in the UK, I will be selling them for £65 + shipping if anyone is interested in  a deal.

These would make a fantastic christmas gift for some knitter out there!

The fabulous FO parade!

LInda Lencovic ISLINGTON - British BFL/Silk, Kettle Yarn Co., WESTMINSTER - Baby Camel/Silk, work in progress

Finished objects in Kettle Yarn Co. yarn are starting to pop up, which is very exciting! I have been oohing and ahhing for the last couple of weeks at how gorgeous the projects have been and decided I HAD to share them with you!

So courtesy of the lovely Cecilia  and Catherine  (thank you!), here are a couple…

Kette_Yarn_Co_Cissilina_songOftheSea

A luminously golden Song of the Sea by Louise Zass-Bangham in Westminster ‘Regent’ by Cecilia

Kette_Yarn_Co_Katesmudges_happyStreet

Cheeringly striped Happy Street by Veera Välimäki in ISLINGTON – Blighty, Vestige and Highbury by Catherine

Kette_Yarn_Co_Katesmudges_waterfall

And a slinky, heavy She’s a Waterfall by Dani Sunshine also by Catherine (a speedy knitter!!) in a glowing Chelsea Merino/Silk DK.

Gorgeous work, ladies!

Pairing, pairing and more pairing…

LInda Lencovic BANFF Aran - BFL/Alpaca, BLOOMSBURY - BFL/Silk, ISLINGTON - British BFL/Silk, Kettle Yarn Co., Knit A Long, knitting rules, yarn pairing

So my mind has been whirring with choices for the Charm knit-a-long (KAL) and I am still undecided on what yarn(s) to knit mine in. I think it is just the issue of an ’embarrassment of riches’ and having way too many choices. ;-?

But as promised the other day, here are yet more yarn pairs to help you if you are having the same problem…

A strand of this warm golden caramel lace Westminster (Cardamom) held with the BFL/Alpaca light fingering would make for a subtly blended yellow . The fabric quality will be beautifully drapey and very warm. I’d finish the edging with the grey but you could try either.
Kettle_Yarn_Co_CaramelGrey

I have several different shades of yellow dyed up for the update this coming Saturday, and yellow/grey is one of my absolute favourite combos! How about a Kensington mustard yellow (Wells – will be posting this to the shop on Saturday Oct 19th) and an edging in a shimmering Islington grey (Blighty)? The Kensington in the body would be warm and full, while the silky edging would give it a nice finish:

Kettle_Yarn_Co_YellowGrey2

For all us green lovers holding a strand of spongy Falkland (left) with a strand of lighter Bloosmbury green in the crescent will create a lightly marled effect with a thicker, spongy and warm fabric. You could then edge with either the light green lace or the darker fingering.
Kettle_Yarn_Co_Greens

Then a super luxurious option I have been considering for my mother…a large size in Westminster Butternut with an Islington Blighty edging! Super drapey and luxurious to wrap around and around like a big, warm hug!
Kettle_Yarn_Co_OrangeGrey

I will leave it there for today but will try to get more pairs with the new batch of yarns ready to show you next week! If you missed my past posts on yarn pairing you can see more examples under the ‘yarn pairing’ category. Remember if there is something specific you are after, just email me through the blog and let me know.

Happy planning, all!

First Kettle knit-a-long!

LInda Lencovic BANFF Aran - BFL/Alpaca, BLOOMSBURY - BFL/Silk, ISLINGTON - British BFL/Silk, Kettle Yarn Co., Knit A Long, knitting rules

For those of you who haven’t been following along on the Kettle Yarn Co. Ravelry group chatter we have decided to start a knit-a-long (KAL) to share some fun and help each other along while knitting up Juju Vail’s beautiful new shawl Charm!

Charm shawl - Juju Vail

A simple garter shawl with some lovely details this pattern is going to be great for some quick holiday gift knitting! This pattern will look great in a number of different weights with all that garter and there are two sizes which use either one skein or 2 of fingering weight, so more options for all of us.

Charm shawl - Juju Vail

I am toying with the idea of using Islington in light silver blue/grey ‘Vestige‘ for the crescent with the warmer, woolier natural Bloomsbury edging. Think this would be a subtly stunning classic with a traditional feel, the shine and drape of the Vestige contrasting with the fluffier crunch of the Bloomsbury lace edge.

Or a little bit more of a contrast Islington in a deeper grey ‘Blighty’ crescent with a fluffy lighter grey BFL/Alpaca lace edging perhaps… And thinking for both of these first two you could reverse the colours and get 2 small shawls (ie. One with dark crescent/light edge, and other with light crescent/dark edge)? One for you, and one to gift? Just the way I like it! OR you could stripe the two colours across the body of the shawl and use one for the edge…

Another similar pairing option  with a bit more zing, perhaps? Pair Bloomsbury ‘Coram’ green held together with Islington ‘Brunswick‘ teal— and then a Brunswick edging?

But then I think how beautiful and slightly more edgy/young/hip the shawl would be in a simple crisp, delicate lace like Bloomsbury in  screamingly bright blue ‘Montague‘.

Kettle_Yarn_Co_BLOOMSBURY_Montague

Then….THEN another part of me wants to knit up a simple, one colour, super fat, squishy Charm with some Wimbledon sport weight in ‘Darwin‘!

Kettle_Yarn_Co_SWMerino_CentreCourt2

Oh no. I am doing it again, aren’t I?? I have taken more shots of possible yarn pairs for this project and will post suggestions over the next few weeks, as this post is getting out of control! Can you tell how excited I am about this KAL?

We’ll be casting on November 1st, so pull out your Kettle Yarn Co. skeins and join us then! More chatter on the group pages

Kensington Purples

LInda Lencovic KENSINGTON - Cashmere/British BFL/ Silk, Kettle Yarn Co., work in progress

This week’s shop update Introduces a new fingering yarn base that I’ll be carrying semi-regularly…
Kettle_Yarn_Co_Marin_KENSINGTON2
KENSINGTON
  • 70% Superwash British Bluefaced Leicester
  • 20% Silk
  • 10% Cashmere
  • 437 yards (400 meters)/ 100 grams (3.53 ounces)

Shown above in my recently completed Marin shawl the yarn blend is slightly crisp, with a lovely drape and the added opulence and warmth from the softest cashmere. A nice plump fingering with a 3-ply construction, the yarn definition on this blend is divine! Details virtually pop – as you can see on the cable and ribbing above! You can see a detail shot of the cable on my project page.

I have really taken to this blend and have been knitting a Folded in it for the last week+ which is going quite quickly, thanks to the train ride to Yarndale I am already at the arms (will be knitting them top down to make the most of my 2 skein project):

Kettle Yarn Co. KENSINGTON Folded

As you can see, there is less drape with this yarn than the Islington I used in my Relax, as it has less silk. This makes for warmer garments for winter – especially with the added insulation trapped in the cashmere pluff!

The following description is from its new Ravelry page:

Uptown without the attitude, this lightweight blend is versatile and strong with added opulence and warmth from the softest cashmere – a luxurious choice for everyday items, next to skin wear and precious accessories.With its high percentage of 100% British SW Bluefaced Leicester this yarn is hardwearing, low pilling and long lasting. 20% silk adds subtle sheen and depth of colour, while 10% cashmere gives it a buttery halo and insulating warmth. Its 3 ply structure is ideal for lace and cables as details pop in this yarn with a crisp roundness. This superwash blend is perfect for heirloom baby items, as it can also be popped in a delicate machine wash. However it STILL spit splices – the best of both worlds!

Vigorously wear tested, this yarn holds an amazing ‘3 shaves’ on Kettle Yarn Co.’s Wear Grading Chart – which means it will only pill lightly the first few times worn and will shave completely clean with no damage to fibres.

Hand-washing or machine soaking and spinning is recommended.

Below are the two colourways added to the shop this weekend:

Brunswick – a rich, dark blue/purple with faint green accents

Campden – a warm grey/purple

*Remember to sign up to the Kettle Yarn Co. newsletter to get first dibs on newly posted yarns.

Thanks to everyone who has been sharing their projects and thoughts on the Kettle Yarn Co. Ravelry group and reviews on Etsy and the yarn info pages. These really help me out and it is also such good fun seeing the projects that are starting …and can’t wait to see the finished ones!

I’ve also really been enjoying the pattern suggestions and have added quite a number of new items to my ever-growing queue, as a result! Thanks ladies!

Join us if you haven’t already…!

The endless joys of yarn pairing

LInda Lencovic BANFF Aran - BFL/Alpaca, BLOOMSBURY - BFL/Silk, Camomille, inspiration, Kettle Yarn Co., shop, WESTMINSTER - Baby Camel/Silk, yarn pairing

I think most of you know how truly and thoroughly a yarn nerd I am already, so the title of the post should come as no surprise? 😉

Last Monday I showed a few examples of possible yarn pairs for blindingly simple but stunning subtle-y striped shawls like Camomille and Merlot. I got a bit carried away with the process and decided at the last minute that I’d better split the post as my yarn-nerd-ness was getting out of hand!

I’d paired up 2 more, classic grey combos to show you – ‘ColebrookeBFL/Alpaca‘ and then ‘Colebrooke/Dusty Miller‘ – and then realised how different these two shawls would be due to the properties of the yarns being paired and got really excited!
Kettle_Yarn_Co_greys

While the two above look incredibly similar in the skein, the two pairings would create substantially different moods in a shawl!

The BFL/Alpaca combo is more lofty on the right will knit up significantly warmer and ‘fuller’ than the Bloomsbury BFL/Silk, with a sumptuous Alpaca bloom and sponge. It is so warm – even knit as an open lace – that I often find myself overheated with this blend in the mild autumn chill!

In the pairing with Bloomsbury (right) the 80% BFL makes stitches hold a bit more crisply open and the extra silk adds to Westminter’s already substantial drape giving a slightly more dressy (formal/evening wear) feel to the shawl. Both could be worn to dress up last winter’s coat OR over a party dress for a holiday event, but the subtle difference lets you tailor for personality.

You would never think it just looking at the skeins, which look quite similar at first glance, would you?

I first discovered the joys of yarn pairing when knitting Helga Isager’s Nightingale Vest.
bloom

It was amazing how even adding a single thin strand of lace to otherwise rather unpleasant feeling sock yarn transformed the fabric into something much greater than its parts (knitting gestalt)!

Yarn pairing is amazing and opens up a world of possibility in stash busting. Add a strand of another yarn and you can create amazing colour effects like heathering and ombre – like in Antonia Shankland’s Kinetic cowl below which starts with 2 strands of the same colour, moves to two strands of 2 different colours for a gradient, then back to 2 strands of the new colour:

Or even change the drape and handle of a yarn and counteract a less desirable trait by blending to better suit your pattern – create more drape, LESS drape and more structure, or add a fuzzy soft halo for an feminine ‘sweater-girl’ twist.

Fun AND useful!