A Nua Kind Of Inspiration

I know so many of you are excited about Nua and have ordered it in garment quantities, so I’m here today to share my thoughts or in other words be that knitty enabler on your shoulder and recommend some patterns. I hope this inspires you to not just pet with your new yarn but to cast on and play too!

Ravi in Nua colourway Rolling Bales

Shawls

It’s funny how shawl patterns can stay in your mind, it’s almost like they are waiting for just the right type of yarn to run through your fingers. When I touched Nua for the first time, my mind went straight to these two shawls. Maenad , with is long shallow construction is easy to wear and interesting but relaxing to knit. I was thinking of combining Bare Necessities and Capall together as a bi-colour option to make that lace border really pop.

Penrose Tile

Now I know some of you have itchy lace knitting fingers and if you wanted a little more lace in your shawl construction then Penrose Tile is perfect. You can choose to knit this in one or two colours but I’m dreaming of a dramatic red Angry Monkey shawl. With short rows and lace worked in a modular construction, this shawl takes you on a beautiful construction journey from start to finish.

Garments

I have to admit when Carol let me play (cough) I mean knit with Nua, my mind instantly went to Akoya and I wanted to knit it in Bare Necessities. The beautifully fitted construction with cable and lace panels along with the sleeve detail! Oh my, I was hooked. So much so, I’m currently working on a tension square. 

Akoya

Now I realise that some of you might like the lace but want a little more length in their cardigan so I suggest having a look at Santa Rosa Plum. My vision of the Santa Rosa cardigan in Nua is a blue gradient where you start with the beautiful soft tones of Kitten Fluff before working in Unexpected Macaw and ending in the deep tones of August Storms. You can tell I thought about this for a while, can’t you? Just have a look at those colours together below:

Nua yarn in colourways Kitten Fluff, Unexpected Mccaw and August Storms.

I know there are some of you who prefer working in the round to really enjoy a new yarn and to you, I say, pop on over and have a look at Dusty Road. I think this would be a fantastic Spring sweater in the rolling bales colourway. The deep warm yellow would show off the delicate lace sleeves perfectly.

And don’t forget the little ones

Finally, to those generous souls among us, who prefer to try out a new yarn on sweaters for the little humans, I suggest Ravi Junior.  in the mosquito coast colourway. The simplicity of the Ravi cardigan is perfect to show off the blend of fibres in Nua and is also perfect as a gift knit. Baby knits are a good way to try out new construction methods without the pressure of finishing an adult sized sweater.

Ravi Junior

Carol also has some Nua up for grabs in a lovely competition and a discount code for Nua Collection Volume 1 in her latest blog post here and to top it off there is a nice project bag up for grabs too! You can also pick up all of the above mentioned Nua colourways over here. Have I inspired you? Why not tell me what garment you’re dreaming of in the lovely Nua yarn?

Win some Nua!

I want to have a little giveaway for anyone who has bought Nua Collection Volume 1 (digital or print) or any of the individual patterns; Dangle, Boherboy, Ravi Nua or Finglas. If you have already bought any of these I’ll enter you into a giveaway for 2 skeins of Nua yarn (in your choice of colour) and a project bag.

If you don’t have the Nua Collection Volume 1 yet then go ahead and use code Nua20 for either print or digital to get 20% off the price. This will be valid until the end of March. All knitters who have purchased before the end of March will be entered into the draw for the yarn and bag. I’ll pick the winner on the 4th of April when I come back from Germany.

2 Skeins of yarn are just perfect for either a pair of Finglas mitts or a single colour Boherboy. We’ve had a sudden cold snap of weather here in Ireland. Yesterday it looked like spring with primroses and magnolia trees blooming then today it’s dropped down to freezing with threats of snow! I think the weather might just push me to knit my own version of Finglas mitts although my colour of choice will be Frog on the Wall I think.

What colour will you pick?

EYF Through the Eyes of an Exhibitor


As some of you may know, last weekend I was at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival in the Corn Exchange. I thought that it might be a interesting if you got to see the festival through the eyes of an exhibitor.
When I’m working at events I always forget to take many photos so several of the photos in this post of courtesy of my friend who always remembers the photos; Evin – thank you!

Pre EYF

Before I started I hadn’t fully anticipated the amount of preparation that would be needed to do a show in a different country. To start with there is just the logistical problem of getting all of the stock to Edinburgh. It ended up getting there through a variety of methods; some was shipped directly to the venue, Rachel Coopey (Coop Knits) really saved me and let me ship more yarn and several boxes of books to her! Finally all of the items I needed for the display came in my luggage and was hauled around planes and buses by me and my friend Sue. There were all sorts of items I only thought of at the last minute that made a huge difference; money aprons were probably the top of that list! Small things that are also tricky abroad – how do you get enough change to run a cash shop? When I get sterling cash from and Irish bank I only get notes, which isn’t very useful when you need coins!

I spent a bit of time thinking about how to display nicely but still pack it into a suitcase. A stack of Ikea foldable boxes did the job well stacked into a little pile on the table. I almost forgot a few white sheets to cover the table but they were thrown in at the last minute. My youngest trimmed an old broom handle down to use to hang the yarn. It turned out really well (and he even carved ‘NUA YARN’ into one end of it!).

I got a new credit card reader so I could take card payments in person as well as extra roaming credit from my Irish phone network.
Several weeks before the show all the orders for special show items were ordered; print copies of the Nua Collection Volume 1, print copies of patterns for kits, printing up of cloth project bags and a special order of project bags from Sara.
It was a whole lot of work but it meant I had everything I wanted to display on the day.
In fact the only item we had to go and buy on the day was some dressmaker pins as the double sided tape wasn’t working well!

Arrival

My friend Sue was with me at the show helping me out. To be honest it would have been completely impossible (as well as miserable) to do it alone. The fact that she’s a show pro was a huge bonus (her husband’s company Mountain Man do many beer festivals!), she’s probably more comfortable working in crowds than I am!
I wanted 2 things for the display; visible from a distance and light enough to pack. EYF is a very crowded festival and I wanted enough signs to hang at the top of the stand so we could be found as far away as possible. The lightweight pvc banner with the open yarn hanging from the bottom did a great job of this!

Finished set up at @edinyarnfest. Come visit us tomorrow!

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On the other side of the stand I featured my books and the samples from my newest book, Knitting With Rainbows. Having a huge gradient shawl on display did however mean that I got many, many questions about a kit….I think Half Moon Street might be completely awesome in a Nua kit….what do you think??

The Show


The show was so overwhelmingly wonderful. So many customers, friends, fellow designers and vendors that I wanted to talk to. Friday felt just too short; I had knitters come show me their beautiful versions of my patterns, thank me for my Craftsy Short Row class and fondle the new yarn. Friday was packed solid with people from 9 until 5.30. For several hours Sue and me couldn’t actually even get under the table to get extra yarn out! Mica is a complete and utter superstar, helping me to sort wifi issues and get my credit card payments working. Saturday was a little quieter but I was still reeling from Friday! As Nua is so new it was invaluable to hear everyone’s feedback and watch peoples reaction as they grabbed the yarn. The general response was ‘oh it’s SO soft’ :-) This made me so very happy to hear!
Knowing how to display the combination of yarn and books was tricky for a first show. As the yarn is just starting out there was a smaller number of samples on the stand so this meant that it caused a bit of confusion with one side of the stand having gradient samples from the book. I think on my next show once there are more Nua samples it will be easier to show the Nua with patterns and have my other books in a display on it’s own.

Friday night as we were sorting out the stand for the morning we got tossed out but fortunately we had ceilidh so we could walk around the corner and get some food and drink. Being able to unwind after a day on your feet is really lovely. It did mean that I didn’t really have any dancing energy left, but Nadia did manage to drag me out for one dance!

I got to spend a bit of time with Woolly Wormhead, Jen (it was the first time we met IRL!), Lisa and Jen from This Is Knit and across the table was Justyna Lorkowska and her husband Martin.

So many wonderful people there that night, I wanted so much more time (and energy). I didn’t even make it to 11, we needed to get ourselves to be so that we were able to stand for the next day.
What did you get up to on Friday night? Any Edinburgh adventures?


Packing up

After the show is over, it feels like a mad race to get packed up as fast as possible. Fortunately there were lots of us there so it went extremely quickly. All of the display and some loose yarn got packed in my suitcase and the remaining yarn was boxed up to go back with Rachel (and I should have it back here to go up in the shop early next week!). I would have loved to somehow jam it all into suitcases but there wasn’t any way I could have hauled them back to the airport with me!
The beer and burger that night were just perfect. A final night of relaxation after weeks of preparation and 3 frantic days of work.

Reflection

It was so worth doing this show; I’d do it again in a heartbeat :-) Thank you so much Jo and Mica for your kindness, organisation and utter professionalism.
Watching knitters pick up, feel and love on Nua was just fantastic. One of the most special things that happened was knitters returning to the stand. Most did a quick swing around the whole show, marking stands they wanted to come back to. On Saturday morning we had several knitters return before the rush to get sweater quantities of Nua. Know that your yarn was the standout for them is just fantastic!

I’ve got small amount of Nua in the shop right now (the rest will go up early next week when the box arrives) and I’ve added the Japanese Knot project bags that came home with me. Next week I’ll also add kits for Boherboy and Finglas.

Coming to EYF with me

I’m coming in to the last few days preparing for Edinburgh Yarn Festival. My bags are ‘nearly’ packed and I don’t think I can squeeze much more in! I’ve got banners, yarn, bags, plastic stands and a table cloth to hide it all under!
I’ve just put my physical shop here on hold. Once I come back it will be opened again on Monday 13th of March. At that time I’ll also add up any bags and kits that come home from Edinburgh with me.

If you’re coming to the festival here’s a little preview of will be coming with me.

First up there will be lots and lots of Nua yarn….

I’ll also have a big stack of Nua Collection Volume 1 with me.

Both Finglas and Boherboy have been printed so I’ll have kits at the show that will have a special organic cotton drawstring project bag, yarn and a printed pattern. Every printed pattern will come with a download code so you get both the print and digital version of the pattern together. (This is the same for all my self-published books).

Just in case you only want the lovely organic cotton project bag I’ll have extra for sale separately as well!

I’ll have all the samples from Knitting With Rainbows at the show for you to play with as well as a big stack of the books!

I’ve got a huge love for well made project bags. A few months ago I asked Sara (Sweensie Crafts) if she could do some special bags for the show and she did an amazing job! These are Japanese Knot bags. They have one handle longer than the other so they can fold over each other and held in place. This means that they are ideal to hang around your wrist to knit while you move and without any velcro or zips there is nothing to snag your yarn. As an extra special bonus the outside of the bags is made from a felted wool blend so they are sturdy and soft. Most of the bags are small size but there are a few medium ones if you’re fast enough to get them!

If you’re coming to the festival please drop by to say hello! I’m looking forward to meeting you all. Let me know if you want a book signed or would like to chat about yarn :-)

See you all soon!

How the Nua Colours Happened

I spent a lot of last year thinking about colours, colour combinations and colour names. I’ve never moved beyond picking up colours from the shelf before so this was heady stuff! When I think about colours I usually find myself putting them into two catagories; the solid basic colours that work with everything and the brighter contrast colours that give a pop of colour.

Here are more neutral and muted Nua shades:

Here are our 4 pops of colour in Nua:

When I was designing the Nua colours I thought about how I’d be using them in designs; often what you want is primary a neutral background shade and then a few brights that complement the neutral and really contrast nicely with it. So it’s all about the interaction between the colours.

What helped a lot with designing the colours is starting with a darker yarn base.

Bare Necessities

Bare Necessities


Nua’s Bare Necessities is the natural, undyed colour. You can see that it is definitely not a neutral, white base! What this means is that when all of the colours are dyed over this base they influence the final colour of the yarn. I was actually really happy about this. I like subtle, heathered colours so having this dark undertone felt like my kind of colour.

Hatter's Teal Party

Hatter’s Teal Party


Now take a close look at the yarn. You can see lighter, almost white flecks through it. This is the linen showing through. Linen is a plant fibre rather than animal fibre and it has an influence on how they yarn absorbs the dye. The final dyed yarn really show this, and the linen addition naturally creates a heathered yarn.

Now for the names! I’ve got quite a few questions on where they came from. The yarn naming process is a family affair that happened when we were on holidays last summer. We wanted yarn names that were easy to remember and just a little bit fun! My husband, Joe, loves naming things so he just kept throwing names at me until I’d say, ‘yes! That’s the one.’ So Rolling Bales was from an earlier summer memory with all of the kids hopping across bales and rolling them from side to side. My youngest named the red, his choice was ‘Angry Demon Monkey’ but it got shortened to ‘Angry Monkey’ (he wasn’t impressed!). The light grey reminded me of beautiful grey kittens – so ‘Kitten Fluff’. ‘August Storms’ has got a great mixture of grey, dark blue with a hint of purple that perfectly represent angry rolling thunderstorm clouds on a hot summer day. ‘Mosquito Coast’ is a lovely deep olive green that hits of army green, deep lush foliage and so the name came about by free association. The last few are fairly directly word associations with the colours. Capall is Irish for horse (brown); Frog On The Wall, well frog!; Bare Necessities is the bare undyed colour; and finally Hatter’s Teal Party just because it was fun!

So did any of the yarn names make you giggle?

Welcome to Nua!

CollectionCover

Well it’s almost here….Wednesday 1st of March I’m releasing my Nua yarn on the website and Nua Collection Volume 1.

This new yarn has been a while coming, the design process for a yarn is fairly long with lots of shipping back and forth of samples until the colours are exactly right! I’ll tell you a little more about the colour choices in the next few days but right now I want to introduce the new collection to you. It was very important to me to have patterns ready at the same time as the yarn. I don’t think a yarn can be fully appreciated until you see it knitted up. You can see what the colours look like properly and how the yarn behaves with different stitch types. In the collection I wanted to show a variety of project types so you can see how versatile the yarn is. I’m also working on a cabled cardigan and Nua is behaving very nicely with cables as well :-)

Ravi Nua

Ravi Nua in Rolling Bales

The first project I tried in the new yarn was Ravi. This is one of my favourite patterns and fortunately it uses the same weight yarn :-) When I reknit patterns I find it hard not to tweak them and this time was no different so the updated pattern has become Ravi Nua. I changed the short row type to German as this is fantastic for Garter Stitch. In addition I added a few inches of length. This had the knock on effect of making the cardigan hips need some increases which also meant the short row hem had to be adjusted a little. I love the finished end product and I love what a lovely soft halo Nua develops when it’s used with garter stitch!
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After Ravi I wanted to try out the yarn on a smaller project so Finglas was the next pattern. I’ve developed quite a love of biased knitting, just by adding increases and decreases you completely change the direction of the knitting. This means that with these mitts working a biased panel on the front and back creates a sloped edge on the top and the bottom. My youngest son wants to keep these so badly, he even insisted on modelling them :-)
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Next up is a cosy wrap, Dangle. This is an extra long wrap that can easily double up as an oversized scarf. The chevron garter stitch pattern really shows off the interplay of the different colours together. Drop stitch rows of Angry Money (red!) are peppered throughout the wrap to add pops of colour.

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Finally we have Boherboy, a textured cowl that comes in 2 versions; a single colour version that has just knit/purl stitches and a 3 colour version that alternates colours with the knit and purl.

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Boherboy

Boherboy

The soft, bouncy nature of the yarn makes it really perfect for stranded colourwork. I think my next collection is going to have a bit of colourwork going on!

What pattern and colour do you think you’ll try out first?

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Let me tell you a Secret

I’ve been hinting about this for a few months but the time has come to share, I’m doing a brand new yarn, Nua! I’ve spent the last year planning the yarn and colours with Fyberspates and last weekend I went to Birmingham to launch the yarn to shops. So if you want to see it in your local yarn shop tell them to get in contact with Fyberspates.
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If you want to get your hands on the yarn I’ll have a small amount of it up for sale on Wednesday 1st of March here on my website. But the following week (10th and 11th March, 2017) I’ll be at Edinburgh Yarn Festival with as much yarn as I can bring :-)….plus I’ll have kits and the Nua Collection Volume 1.

Bare Necessities

Bare Necessities


So now that you know how to get the yarn I want to tell you a little bit about it. It’s a non-superwash yarn (I prefer this for garments) in a sport weight with 50g skeins. I love this weight of yarn as it’s useful for so many things; garments aren’t too heavy but it still doesn’t take forever to knit and it’s light enough that colourwork looks really good in it. By keeping the skeins smaller it’s much easier to combine colours without ending up with too much leftovers.
The fibre blend of the yarn is 60% merino, 20% yak and 20% linen and it’s spun in south America. The addition of linen and yak create a very unique yarn. Yak is very, very soft and linen as a plant fibre adds some durability. These two additions to the fibre blend also have some very nice side effects. Yak is a darker fibre (the colour, Bare Necessities shown above is the undyed colour) which means that the whole colour palette of the yarn becomes more muted and subtle. Linen fibre absorbs dye differently which means that the lighter specks of linen show through the yarn which creates a natural tweed effect. My friend Evin described the yarn as ‘sophisticated yet rustic’ which I think sums it up nicely.
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Some of you may recognise Ravi above. This is one of 4 patterns in the Nua Collection Volume 1 that will be released next Wednesday at the same time as the yarn. It is a redesigned version of Ravi (Ravi Nua) as I’ve changed the short rows to German, added extra length and due to the extra length added some increases at the bottom of the hip. If you’ve previously purchased Ravi (on my website or Ravelry) you’ll get €3.00 off either Ravi Nua or Nua Collection Volume 1 (digital version only).
Over the coming days I’ll reveal details of the new patterns coming Wednesday. For anyone curious about names the yarn name NUA means ‘new’ in Irish so it seemed like a very appropriate name!
So does this sound like a yarn you’d like to knit with?
Rolling Bales

Rolling Bales

Three Beautiful Spring Knits to Inspire You

Talamh

Around now I start dreaming of Spring knits that I can reach for on cold mornings. I still need that touch of wool to get me out the door and ready for the day ahead. So, for today’s blog post I thought we could take a look at three of my favourites:

 

Talamh

Talamh is a timeless, textured cardigan from the Four Elements collection. The open lacework in the yoke creates an interesting fabric to look at and to knit. Talamh is knit from the top down in a light-weight yarn with some slight shaping for a flattering finish. This means that it is a perfect cardigan to fend off the cooler days and looks just as stunning with jeans or a dress.

 

Dark Pearl

When I knit for Spring or Summer, I like to have lace or openwork in the pattern and Dark Pearl ticks all of my boxes. The stocking stitch back and sleeves provide the comfort of relaxed knitting that will keep me warm while the elegant scalloped front adds a dramatic flair that is intriguing to knit.  The cowl neckline allows this cardigan to look elegant while closed but also falls beautifully in a waterfall while open. Knit in a fingering weight yarn I know this cardigan is light yet warm and perfect for transition seasons.

 

Adrift

As the warmer days of Summer start to roll in, I like to move to lace weights and Adrift is a beautiful cardigan that can be worn two ways. The long front panels allow this cardigan to fall elegantly to the side or to pin closed like a shawl when extra warmth is needed. This is also a pattern that allows the yarn to really shine as the stocking stitch would look beautiful in variegated/ semi-solid yarns as well as solids. The shape is perfect for pairing equally with dresses or vest tops in late Spring /Summer.  The pattern also comes with both short sleeve and ¾ length sleeve options, so you can tailor this to suit your Summer season.

I hope I’ve inspired you to think about those Spring garments that help you get the most out of your knitted wardrobe. What are your favourites? Or have you knitted one of these cardigans?  Let me know in the comments.

The Art of Simple

Today we’ve got a lovely treat on the blog, a guest post from my friend Woolly Wormhead (and I’ve got a matching blog post up on her blog today as well!)

Circled #2

A few weeks ago Carol and I were chatting about the idea of doing a blog post swap, which seems such a good idea, considering our shared interests in engineering and construction. After chatting through a few ideas, we settled on refinement and simplicity, something we’ve often talked about before.

Muratura

In my former life as an art teacher, I taught design to exam students, and one of the important discussions that used to come up time and time again was the need to refine. To reduce. To know what to take out. One of the key things I remember from my foundation course was exactly this – it’s a mantra within design school that gets passed down.

Putting that into practice though isn’t necessarily a conscious thing – it’s something that progresses; refinement develops with experience. Even knowing what I do and teaching what I did, I’m still evolving and developing, and that’s always a good thing.

Dancette

It’s too easy to over-design. To get excited and put everything into something. There’s also another aspect that crops up from time to time – the idea that a complicated design is cleverer. That by making something challenging, it’s a better design. From my experience I think it’s something a lot those new to design are faced with, yet all it serves is to, well, complicate things.

Armley Beanie

‘Simple’ gets a bad press sometimes. But it’s not the same as basic. Simple is refined. It’s considered. It’s thoughtful. It says that it can stand alone by itself and stand tall. Simple isn’t necessarily easy; it too can be pretty challenging, both in it’s design process, and in it’s execution. A simple knit design can look easy yet have taken an awful lot of work to make it so. A simple knit design can look complicated, but the designer has cleverly worked out how to make it easy to make.

Tucked

Knowing what to take it really is the key, and having a theme helps greatly. Having been designing for variegated yarns for a while and thoroughly enjoying the process, many of my recent designs have become yet more refined. Something as simple as a line can take on a new meaning when that’s all the design is about; taking the rest of the stuff out allows that element to take the stage.

Rosalind

Designing is a never ending journey; ideas follow through and develop and we follow tangents – that’s the joy of being able to design for ourselves. Pattern writing continually develops and changes as styles change, but also as we grow. We learn, we develop, we explore and we refine. It’s a continual journey, and by embracing the art of the simple, we allow ourselves that much more creative freedom.

Thank you so much Woolly for sharing your thoughts, definitely something to strive for!

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Introducing The Elegant Wickford Wrap

Interweave Knits, Spring 2017 issue has burst onto the scene with a beautiful collection of Spring themed knits. Nestled within these pages is the elegant Wickford Wrap.

The Wickford Wrap hand knitting pattern by Carol Feller

The Wickford Wrap

The Wickford Wrap is the perfect accessory for having in your handbag, ready to pop on when those cooler Spring breezes appear. Its unique shape allows you to wrap it around your neck or to drape over your shoulders and tie at the front.

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Construction

The unique shape of the wrap is what makes this so intriguing to knit. You start at the bottom tip of the triangle and the cables cross and flow along each side as you are increasing at the edges. When the triangle is completed the wrap is divided into 3 sections, the right and left wings and the centre stitches.  The centre stitches are bound off and the beautiful interlocking cable motifs are worked in turn along the right and left wings. To complete the wrap a moss stitch border is added to frame the wrap and allow the cables to shine.

The Interweave Knits sample is worked in the fabulous Jo Sharp Silken Road Aran Tweed which is 85% Wool, 10% Silk, 5% Goat – Cashmere goat with a beautiful tweedy look. Which means that this wrap is beautifully soft to wear and won’t take you too long to knit on 5mm needles.

If you’re a little apprehensive about taking on these cables, Carol has some fabulous tutorial videos here along with other tutorials you might need to complete the wrap like cast on methods, bind offs, increasing and joining in those extra balls of yarn.

If you want to get started right now, you can pick up a digital copy of Interweave Knits here and you can peruse all of the Spring knits in this collection here. You can, of course, find more information on the Wickford Wrap here on Ravelry.

What are your favourite Spring Knits? Wraps, shawls, sweaters or long cardigans? Let us know in the comments.