Category Archives: Yarn

Exploring Ravi Junior

Photo Credit Evin O’K

This is one of the things that came across my desk that made me truly happy to work on. I’m a mum and I love baby and toddler knits so when Carol said that she was launching a Ravi Junior kit in Nua, I beamed and jumped on board straight away.

I’ll be honest the mummy knitter response kicked in pretty quick. I wanted to know that as a non-superwash yarn that the garment would withstand the abuse that my kids are going to give it. My little monkies are not going to know the luxury they are wrapped in. They are going to move, play and be excited by that shiny thing over there and I didn’t want to knit a garment that I had to take off to let them explore. The other knitter response was ‘What about pilling?’ It’s always my second question that rolls around my head as my kids move fast and there is a whole bunch of friction going on.

 

Photo Credit Evin O’K

 

I’m constantly shocked by Nua and it’s reaction to what I throw at it. I knew from my cowl that pilling wasn’t going to be an issue especially as Ravi has the beautiful depth of garter stitch. I wear my cowl on beach walks in high winds, thrown in and out of pockets (sorry Carol) and it’s always rubbing against my coat. My cowl looks as good as the day I took it off the needles and when it’s looking a little sad I just handwash it and it bounces right back. This made me have confidence in Nua as a yarn for children’s garment.

As a non-superwash yarn, the garment would have to be hand washed. This made me a little concerned but as I have managed to get potato and leek soup out of a very expensive hand knit alpaca cardigan using Soak, I knew that I could push that fear away too.

 

Photo Credit Evin O’K

 

Then I was able to really get excited. I had wanted to knit an adult sized Ravi but I have Akoya on my needles at the moment and no time for another adult garment but I really wanted to see what this looked like and then I got these beautiful images from Evin O’K and I was sold. If anyone is interested I will be knitting a Ravi Jnr in Capall over the summer. Why don’t you join me? This is the perfect size project to test out new construction methods and test out your love for short rows. 

If you would like to join me, Carol has added a Ravi Jnr kit to her shop here and to go with that in her shop only, she has added a 15% discount code ‘RAVIJR15’ which works on both the individual pattern and then also the kit. Offer is valid until May 31st. 

Happy Knitting!

Nadia

Spritz Stripes Redo

It feels like a little luxury to reknit a pattern. Promoting my Nua yarn as well as a pattern opened up this possibility for me and I’m really enjoying the relaxing effect of reknitting a pattern. Designing is not always relaxing knitting time; especially at the early stages when you’re trying to figure out if a design is going to work. It’s rather soul destroying and humbling and you’ve got a constant hum in the back of your mind ‘this is never going to work’. Fortunately they work out more often than not, but it’s not very relaxing!

This is the original version of Spirtz Stripes that I knit in Madelinetosh Tosh Light. This is a fingering weight yarn rather than sport weight so to reknit the pattern in Nua was going to take a bit of recalculation.

I thought I’d give a little bit of an insight into the process of redesigning a pattern for a different gauge. If you ever need to make gauge adjustment to a pattern the process might be of use to you.

The first job was a gauge swatch. This is going to tell me how much change I’ll need in the pattern. I discovered that the lace stitch gauge changed quite a bit from 16 stitches to 14 stitches per 4″ / 10 cm. The row gauge though had a much smaller change. This means that I recalculated the stitch count I would need to get close to the same finished sizes for every size in the pattern. I needed to be careful as well that I had the correct stitch count number for when I divided the body into the front and back at the armholes as well.
I decided to leave the row count for the body the same (which made the body longer) but to shorten the armhole depth. This made the sweater a bit longer overall.

Now to get started with the knitting (you may notice that I kept it in red, which I loved, this time using Angry Monkey colour). With this sweater the lace stretches a HUGE amount so I was reminded again of how important Jeny’s Stretchy Cast-On is for the success of the sweater. If it can’t stretch it won’t fit.

Once the body is finished you divide into the front and back, working straight until the shoulder shaping that’s done with short rows. I’ve put in lots of details on how to do the short row shaping in the lace pattern. It requires some concentration but as every turn is at a complete lace repeat it is manageable (plus it’s just for a few rows).

Now the last stage is doing a 3-needle bind-off for the shoulders (I developed a stretchy version for this as the standard one just doesn’t stretch enough) and the sleeves are plain stockinette knit from the top down.

Now for the best part – the blocking! I always love this stage as it means I’m almost finished. I used a combination of blocking wires, pins and bars to get a nice stretch to open the lace and keep the edges straight. You can really see here why you need stretchy cast-ons and bind-offs.

I’m going to get an awful lot of use out of this sweater at shows and classes. My favourite way to wear it is with a long tank top/dress with leggings. It’s comfortable and feels a little dressed up.
What colour would you love to knit it in?

On The Needles: Nua

On the blog last week Carol showed us what is currently on her needles so I thought I would pop in and say hello and tell you a little bit about the projects I made with Nua.

First of all, I love Nua, yes OK I’m biased but I would have loved Nua if I had never heard of Carol or Stolen Stitches. A few months ago, Carol sent me some yarn with no label and asked me to knit a chevron cowl. I’m always cold and I love cowls. I can never have enough of them. Carol was in the design stages of  Boherboy and I happily knit it up in the August Storms colourway of Nua.  

Boherboy in August Storms,; Nua.

I loved how the yarn moved on my needles. It was a double win for me as I had just received my new Hiya Hiya needles in the post so I got to try my new needles with new yarn. It was heaven. Initially, I was really worried about washing and blocking the cowl because when the yarn got wet, it starts to look skinny and I got scared. I thought I had knit everything too loose and I was really, really close to the deadline that Carol needed the sample for. Fear not, the next morning the cowl had fluffed up nicely and was ready to send back to Carol. Of course, I did what any knitter would do and tried it on first and took lots of pictures. The cowl draped nicely on my neck and it fits right inside the collar of my coat so I can whip this boy out on the beach and enjoy chill free walks.

Nua in Bare Necessities

Then the launch came and I got to hold all of the colourways at EYF and then again at This Is Knit. The Bare Necessities skein was following me around. You know what I’m talking about when you walk into a yarn shop and suddenly there is a skein in your hand, you put it back but when you get to the till it magically appears back in your hand begging to come home with you. Yip, true story.

Akoya

So, I got chatting to Carol again as I was looking for a particular type of cardigan to go with a certain dress and I loved Akoya. I told her I was thinking about knitting Akoya in Nua and she was as excited as I was, to see it worked up.

I got the yarn and the pattern and I started knitting. I loved Boherboy but my word the ribbing of Nua was a delight. That’s saying a lot because I hate ribbing. The density of the ribbing is delicious quite frankly and since last week I have managed to work the trellis section on the back. I think it’s especially beautiful, don’t you?
 
If you want to follow along I will be posting my progress in the Nua thread in the Stolen Stitches Raverly group here. If you have an FO in Nua why not post it in the Nua FO board, it can be any pattern but it needs to be Nua yarn.
 
I can’t wait to see what all of you get up to!
 
Nadia
Pssst – Fancy a discount? Carol has a discount code for the I-Cord Collection over here. If you use code ICORDMAGIC you’ll get 20% off all the patterns until the 2nd of May. Go enjoy!

What’s on the Needles

Spritz Stripes
When I’m working at knitting shows I love wearing my handknits. There is however a slight problem; it’s usually really HOT! My solution is wearing handknit garments that are lightweight and airy.

For the last few years I’ve worn Spritz Stripes for every show. It’s the perfect sweater for over a light tank top and gives you just the right amount of warmth. The version I’ve been wearing is knit in Madelintosh Tosh Light which is a heavy fingering weight yarn. I wanted to knit a brand new version in my Nua yarn. However Nua is a sport weight yarn so the gauge won’t be the same.

I did a gauge swatch and found that I got 14 sts instead of 16 sts per 4″ in the lace pattern. Fortunately the row gauge seems to be the same which will make calculations just a little easier! When I’m done I’ll do a new version of the pattern in the new gauge. As an added bonus it’ll mean that it knits up that much faster!

Ravi Junior


A few months ago I knit a new version of Ravi Junior in Angry Monkey. The beautiful model is Evin’s little boy (photos by Evin also).

This sample took just over 2 skeins of yarn and it makes such a cute baby gift!

Nadia’s Akoya

Nadia has been busy knitting up a version of Akoya in Nua (Bare Necessities). She’s just getting started with it but I think even with the ribbing it is going to be so lovely in this natural colour!

Secret Nua


Well as the title says – this is a secret knit… I’m really happy with how the collar turned out so I’ll just give you a small peek of that.

Santa Rosa Plum Colour Choices

Last summer Santa Rosa Plum was the spring KAL. The cardigan for the KAL was knit in a custom gradient from Blue Moon Fiber Arts but there were a few single colour versions that were just beautiful (you can see all of them here). The gauge for this cardigan is the same as for Nua yarn so I want to get a sample knit in Nua. However I keep swinging between doing a single colour and putting a Nua gradient together. What do you think? Here is a potential colour choice.

Sugarcane KAL
The yarn shipment for the Sugarcane Cardigan KAL is on it’s way to me right now so I should be able to start shipping the preorders out by the end of the week! Are you joining in? Still lots of time to get your yarn order in.
The discussion is starting already on the ravelry group here and I’ve put a little video together discussing choices for finishing the collar.

My trip to Cologne

This year I made the trip to Cologne for the H+H Cologne trade show. This is a huge handcraft and hobby show that is probably the largest in the world. There is a wide variety of stands; haberdashery, buttons, fabric, but the biggest number of stands were yarn. There were 4 different halls on multiple levels so it was really, really easy to lose your orientation!

The weekend for me was so much fun for me; both personally and from a business perspective. Trips to trade shows are a lovely way of making connections as well as getting a feel for what’s happening in the wider knitting world. Conversations can be slower and the atmosphere is less frantic than a retail show.

Here is a little photo review of the weekend I spent at the show. Much of the weekend was spent on the Chester Wool stand with my Nua yarn where I had a little display, although I did get a wander around the show also. You might notice the 3 versions of Ravi Junior that look just wonderful in different shades of Nua yarn!

I spent much of my free time over the weekend with Woolly Wormhead who makes a great travel companion! We were both pretty excited to arrive in Cologne for the first time.

We were amazed at the size of the cathedral……

 

At the show there was a crocheted teepee:

A knitted cheese counter:

And new to me yarn from Cowgirlblues:And of course it wouldn’t have been a weekend away without a glass of wine to finish things off!

Cologne I do hope I see you again next year.

Save

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!

A post shared by Carol Feller (@feller.carol) on


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?