New Knitting Pattern: Magnified

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I have been playing around with textures a lot recently, so when Wolle Willich asked me to design a one-skein project with their stunning June Cashmere Fingering yarn, it was clear I would incorporate some of that research. The yarn is pure cashmere, so it is extraordinarily soft and will keep you warm when it is cold without making you sweat at higher temperatures. In my opinion, this is the ideal fibre for a luxury cowl you can wear in any season.

The design as such features i-cord edgings, a slip stitch texture and little cords sticking out here and there to emphasise the three-dimensional effect. Apart from the i-cord edgings, there are no advanced techniques used, so it makes a quick knit to try out some new textures. One 50g skein of June Cashmere Fingering is enough to make this little beauty. If you have not used this yarn yet, I recommend to try it out if you can afford it. Although it defininitely is a luxury yarn, it is a dream to work with and to wear. As a bonus, it is ethically sourced and supports Kyrgyz shepherds directly.

You can buy the English pattern in my Ravelry Store, but I also have written a German version which is available exclusively at Wolle Willich with the purchase of June Cashmere yarn. I am looking forward to see your projects!

New Knitting Pattern: Opulence

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When I was given some Rowan Island Blend samples at last year’s Rowan Roadshow, I instantly knew I would turn them into a very special hat. I had experimented on an unusual shape before and was sure that this soft and drapey yarn was the perfect choice for my idea.

I wanted a hat that can be worn either as a beanie or as a tam. There also was this idea of three-dimensional segments that add dramatic volume. Voilà, Opulence was born. The hat looks extra spectacular when worked in different colours, but due to its unusual shape, it also looks stunning in one single colourway without the colourwork. Opulence is worked bottom-up in one piece using intarsia in-the-round if you opt for the multi-coloured version. A folded hem contrasts the opulent crown.

My sample uses Rowan Island Blend (70% Falkland merino wool, 15% baby alpaca, 15% silk; 137 yd / 125 m per 50 g) in Empire as main colour and Jet as contrasting colour. The DK weight yarn is very soft and drapey, light enough to wear the hat in spring, yet warm enough to also wear it in winter. However, if you prefer another DK weight yarn, just make sure you meet gauge and surprise me with your interpretation! The pattern comes in six sizes to fit to fit 14 (16, 18, 20, 22, 24)″ / 35.5 (40.5, 45.5, 50.5, 56, 61) cm head circumference. As usually, you can buy the pattern in my Ravelry store. I am looking forward to all your colourful Opulence hats!

Knitting for Charity

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When temperatures are falling and my hands, neck and ears start to freeze, I just put on one of my handknit hats, scarves and gloves to stay warm. Of course, I also could buy some ready-made items if I did not have the time to knit. But what if things are not so easy? What if you rely on donations and the goodwill of others because you just cannot afford new clothes?

Pattern: Lara Mittens by shinysuperhero

Sarah, who I have been following for quite a while now, mainly knits for homeless people in Berlin from donated yarns. She also ran a knit along for charity items where she also asked the participants to research local charities and ask what they need. My online research for charities in Leipzig led me to Sachspendenzentrale, a central place where donations are collected and distributed.

It took me a while to gather information on what was needed, but in general, they are looking for scarves (1.2m or longer), large hats, large gloves and mittens and socks (mainly EU size 42-45). Ideally, the items use classic designs in decent colours and are knit in machine-washable yarns.

All items are knit using leftover yarns from finished projects apart from the socks which are machine knit from PR samples. So call your local charities, ask what they need, knit from stash and do some good! Your help is greatly appreciated!

Tiffany Epiphany

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Now that my godchild has grown out of her baby scarf, her parents asked me for a larger one. As she is a very special little person, I decided to knit her a very special scarf, namely a child sized Tiffany Epiphany. To downsize the pattern, I have followed the smaller size and knit only four segments. With a finished length of about 160cm, my plan has failed quite a bit. Nonetheless, it should work out fine as the scarf is knit in fingering weight yarn and thus can be looped around the neck once more without adding too much warmth.

The pattern is well written with a lot of photos guiding you through less usual techniques. The scarf is knit modularly in garter stitch with minimal finishing. I liked to watch the shapes evolve while knitting although I have to admit that this is not a mindless knit. There is a lot of short row shaping involved and you may want to count your stitches every other row to make sure the shaping is correct.

I have used 20g blue Schoppel Wolle Admiral and 34g grey Zauberwiese Supertwist Falkland Nylon from my leftovers stash, 74g Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles in wibble, a Fibreshare gift, and 63g pink Schoppel Wolle Admiral Hanf, a new sock yarn with bio-degradable nylon which I got for free at Yarncamp 2019. Thanks to garter stitch, the four different yarn textures blend well into each other. A nice surprise was the Admiral Hanf yarn, whose 10% hemp content adds an interesting structure. Sadly, this is more or less invisible in garter stitch, but very classy in stockinette stitch. I definitely need to experiment more with it. Now let’s hope my godchild likes her new, colourful scarf and enjoys wearing it!

A Scrap Yarn Sweater, Luxury Edition

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First, I have to admit I finished this one about a year ago, wore it all winter and forgot to blog about it. Today, I have started to wear it again so I better tell you about it right now.

I decided to knit this sweater as an experiment on how to use up several black sock yarn leftovers from different brands at once. Of course, there were some differences in colour and texture, so I held them together with a neon blue Kidsilk yarn from my stash which I never would have used on its own. The result just looks stunning with the marled effect of the two yarn types together. As a plus, you only feel the softness of the Kidsilk yarn on your skin, there is no itchyness of the sock yarn involved.

The pattern used is Top-Down Top by Anna & Heidi Pickles, a cleverly constructed, batwing sleeved sweater. It is super easy to follow and quick to knit on 5.5 mm needles. It is knit top-down in one piece with minimal finishing. The batwing sleeves end around the elbows and the waistline, respectively, followed by tight ribbing to make it a long-sleeved, hip-length sweater. This makes it very comfortable to wear as you can still fit into a regular coat. Perfect!

The blue yarn, by the way, is Kid Seta by Madil Yarns. In my opinion, the quality of this yarn is outstanding with long fibre lengths and extreme softness. It is a pleasure to knit and wear. I am really sad this yarn is discontinued.

However, this sweater already has become a winter wardrobe favourite. It is lightweight, yet warm and can be styled in a million ways from casual to glamorous. Maybe I should mix up leftover and unloved yarns more often.

Oscillating Almond

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It is no secret that I love the fresh approach of Xandy Peters‘ knitting patterns. So when a dear friend asked me to knit her something between a scarf and a shawl, I initially thought of Oscillating Almond. This design uses a simple form of stacked stitches to create an almond shaped shawl and can be used to practise the technique. It is intended to be knit in at least one main colour plus one contrasting colour, but will also look good in a lot more colours. I have used two balls of the discontinued Colinette Jitterbug in Lichen as main colour and one ball of some sparkling high twist yarn of unknown origin as well as some Kathienchen High Twist in Peony as contrasting colours.

The yarns

My version is a lot larger than the pattern version as I wanted to use up my main colour. This approach resulted in a shawl with five full pattern repeats plus eight rows more. It weighs about 380g and has almost blanket size.

It’s HUGE!

Well aware of the large size, I did a beaded picot bind-off over 940 stitches which took me an entire Sunday afternoon and evening, but was totally worth the effort. I really like the slight reflections of the beads at the edge.

Beaded picot bind-off

Oscillating Almond was a pleasure to knit. The pattern is well-written and easy to follow and my yarn choice was perfect. Maybe I’ll knit another version of it one day in black with scrappy colour pops.

Rowan Roadshow

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I still remember how I spent some of my childhood days in Britain. When I was exploring the city with my mum, I would always stop at the local yarn shop and gaze at the windows in wonder. None of us was knitting back then, but both of us admired the stranded colourwork, heavy intarsia and cable knit jumpers in beautiful, muted colour palettes.  The pattern books that also were on display indicated a yarn brand called Rowan which was responsible for the designs I instantly had fallen in love with.

More than a decade later when I finally started to knit, I was happy to learn that this company still existed and was pretty famous for their high quality yarns and exquisite designs. I browsed their patterns on Ravelry and started to collect older issues of the knitting and crochet magazine. My first Rowan sweater followed soon. It was knit in Kid Classic, a wool, mohair and nylon blend I still like a lot. Currently, I am knitting a yoked sweater in Kidsilk Haze, but I will tell you more about it another time.

I am glad to have been invited to the Rowan roadshow in Hamburg where I had the opportunity to learn more about a brand that has been inspiring me for such a long time. The company still follows its heritage of quality yarns in paintbox colour palettes paired with timeless design. I was a bit ashamed that I had missed the launch of two pure British yarn qualities, Valley Tweed and Moordale. Both are spun in Britain from British Fleece and are featured in this autumn’s British Made pamphlet. You may have noticed already that the Knitting and Crochet Magazine now is divided into a main collection and the Focus magazine. This season, Rowan focuses on natural fibres but the topic will change every season. You can purchase these two publications bound together with a wrap or individually which I find a pretty cool idea.

A completely new concept is Mode at Rowan. This collection is a capsule wardrobe in a contemporary design that reflects current fashion trends. The patterns are intended to fit easily into your wardrobe and beginner-friendly to knit. This fall, Mode at Rowan consists of a large pattern book with 18 patterns and four smaller publications showcasing one yarn quality each.

Another new concept is the 4 project pamphlet. Each issue has four patterns in one yarn quality and is yarn shop exclusive, so not available online. But talking online availability, I am delighted to find the patterns of all other new Rowan publications for individual purchase on their website! An exception is the Rowan Magazine which is available in a digital version only in the Rowan App.

One of my personal highlights this season is Arne & Carlos’ remarkable men’s collection. It is called New Nordic Men’s Collection and interprets classic Norwegian knits in a fresh and modern way. Vegard, Vidar and Jens are my favourites, but all designs are really clever. I would definitely wear them myself as they perfectly work as unisex designs.

There are two new yarns for this season, Cashmere Haze and Island Blend. Cashmere Haze is a laceweight blend of 40% alpaca, 30% cashmere and 30% silk with a meterage of 230m per 25g ball. It is a sister yarn to Kidsilk Haze but even softer and more luxurious.

Island Blend is a DK weight yarn composed of 70% Falkland merino wool, 15% baby alpaca and 15% silk. It is super soft and has a beautiful stitch definition.

I also was allowed to take a first glimpse at the SS20 collection, but at the moment, I am mainly looking forward to fully indulge in winter, my favourite season. I will let you know more later this year.

Thank you, Rowan, for the wonderful and informative meeting in Hamburg! Also thank you for the product samples, I am looking forward to try them out!