yoke inspirations

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As you know, one of the many (many,many) things I’m making is a Cockatoo Brae cardigan. I whizzed through the machine knitting before Christmas and got everything picked up on a circular needle, chose my colours then…. stalled. I decided on oranges and purples for my yoke because i wanted to use some colours I haven’t really used before. Obviously this was a flaw in my plan because somehow this made me lose interest and work on other things. I blame the purple.. I don’t do purple.. ANYWAY. At some point over the past couple of weeks I began thinking about a YELLOW YOKE. I love grey and yellow together.. AKA.. grellow. I am rather a fan of orange and yellow so today I gathered up all my yellow jumper weight yarn.. resulting in this…

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mmmm..Amongst my struggles to find an order for my shading (there can be a surprising trickiness in tones of yellows..) I decided to look at some of my collection of yokes for some shading inspiration.

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At times I had thought about doing double shading, background and foreground (like the yoke above) but I have decided against it and I’m just going to simple foreground shading to let the yellow ZING. Some of my vintage Yoke collection are made in colours I definitely would not choose to knit for myself but I do love them all in their own way. The joy of making your own of course is that you can make it exactly how you want!

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I did a lot of variations until I got something I am happy with, I am not a swatcher (gulp, sorry) and since a lot of these are very old or colours I cant get again.. I dont want to waste the wirsit.. I like to think and rely on my colour sense.. I have also redone the chart in my colours and it looked pretty fab so I have high hopes.

I have quite a lot of orders and things at the moment so I am hoping it wont be too long until you see my GRELLOW Cockatoo Brae cardigan!

speak soon xxxxx

lila winter

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As mentioned in my last post, I was making good progress on my lila winter.. well I have now finished and after wearing it today I can say I am very pleased. I love to collect and wear the craziest Fair Isle knitwear I can but I also have a big love for simple and effective knitwear. This pattern is from Anthology 2 which came out in January. It was love at first sight! It is a simple chunky jumper with a curved hem and garter stitch cuffs.

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I loved the dark grey in the sample but I didn’t have anything right in my stash and (apart from wool I bought last night..) I’m trying not to buy too much wool.. so I had a dig around and I decided upon Shetland Aran in shade SS17 (discontinued and I bought the last of it.. sorry) its a beautiful light grey. I held two strands together to achieve a chunky weight which was hard going on my hands as it is quite a rough 2 ply woollen spun yarn.

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It is knit top down and actually came together really quickly, I love the garter stitch cuffs and rib. Its so nice and squishy! I also learnt a new way to do short rows, the Carol Sunday method which is now my favourite. It seems to be the best for me to avoid holes when I close the gaps.

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The jumper is lovely as cosy, all the more appropriate is the name Lila Winter since this is what we woke up to in Lerwick today..

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brrr..  speak soon xxxx

wild winds and radio scotland

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We’ve had some wild weather in Shetland this past couple of weeks. Typical January weather of course but still tough going, my christmas break seems a million miles away! I have had some commissions so I’ve been working away on those but my hand knitting has been suffering from my lack lustre feelings.. does anyone else got those this time of year…? One thing i have been inspired by, likely by the calming colours and easy lines is the latest Madder release: anthology two. The photos actually remind me of the Sletts, near to where I took these photos last week. The Sletts in nicer weather of course! I instantly fell in love with Lila winter so I am making slow progress on that, just one sleeve and a half to go!

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That water to the left spraying upwards is a waterfall.. being blown backwards.. brrr

Also.. I was interviewed in October by BBC Scotland for a programme about Shetland knitting, it was on today and you can listen to it here. (i dont know if you will be able to listen outside the UK, sorry) Oliver and Jan that I work with at J&S are also on it as well as some of my knitterly pals like Hazel and Helen. Its quite hard sometimes to verbalise why you feel the way you do about some things, so I’m pleased.. but also intrigued as to whether I have such a deep voice in real life?

Anyway January is almost over which means two things.. one: my favourite day of the year is next week – Lerwick Up Helly Aa.. and two: the days are getting longer! I need more daylight.

Speak soon x

nordic wind

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I have a very appropriately titled FO (finished object) to show you tonight. This is Nordic Wind, I bought the pattern for this lovely simple shawl a while ago and even had 3 out of the 4 colours of Lopi in my (ever growing) stash. What pushed me to cast on was The Woolful KAL which I saw on Ravelry. (as an aside, I have majorly gotten into knitting podcasts, my favourites being woolful and knit.fm… I was also OBSESSED with serial, if you like true crime.. Download it!!)

I casted this on New Years day because I needed something quick and quite easy. The aran weight lopi is so lovely to knit with and it all comes together as you increase four stitches on every row. The subtle shading makes it addictive as you want to see how the next colour looks..

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Some people on ravelry added more colours for a bigger shawl but i wanted to keep it to the same size as the original because I love how it looks so I stuck to the design dimensions. So over the weekend I knitted furiously while watching ALOT of Brothers and Sisters (Me and Peters Christmas TV binge) and I casted off on Sunday night. I often struggle with a very tight cast off edge so I watched one of my craftsy classes.. ’40 ways to cast on and off’.. or something like that (a guilty pleasure..no matter how many books I read, I am a visual learner!) and I went with a sewn bind off which although took an age definitely did the job and gave me a lovely loose cast off edge. Since I finished about 11pm on Sunday night and work was looming on Monday morning I had to wait to wash and block it until I got home on Monday night.

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I washed the shawl using a copious amount of conditioner to soften it up as it would be around my face. I dont find lopi nearly as itchy as some people seem to (Shetland Wool has obviously made me a hardy creature) but I wanted it as soft as possible. I wasn’t sure how to block it but overnight and through the day on Monday I had an idea to try and block it on my jumper board..

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So I tied the top of the of the shawl to the underarms of the board and sewed the bottom point to the middle bottom of the board. It worked really well and gave me a much better stretch than if I had pinned it out.. which I never seen to be able to do very well.

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What makes this so aptly titled is that this weekend we are preparing for a storm. It has been so very dark in Shetland this week and I don’t know about other people but I have found it very hard to get up and get going. So believe me, I am feeling that Nordic Wind!

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I am very pleased with my Nordic Wind shawl.. another piece to add to my Icelandic Wardrobe.

Ella x

2014 round up

if you have a wordpress blog you get a nice email at the end of the year with a round up of your stats, they give you your most viewed posts, biggest commenters, search terms etc.. My favourite search term thats led someone to my blog is this ‘how old is Ella Gordon’….!! well I’m 24 in case you wondered.. haha!

My number one most viewed post isn’t even from this year, its my Spencer dress post from last year! If people were still wondering and I get comments and messages all the time, there is still no pattern for this dress. Although I did see this amazing version on Ravely the other day

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The next most viewed post is Mam’s Icelandic jumper, her original jumper which we found and I fixed to fit me better!

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Most likely I think thanks to a repost on the Wovember blog, my post on boarding jumpers was the third most viewed post.

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I had a great Wool Week this year and met so many people who read my blog, which is always crazy! but my round up of my Wool Week was the next most viewed.

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The last post which was most viewed this year is one of earliest posts in 2014, a round up of my collection of lace cardigans

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So I think it’s safe to say my vintage knitwear collecting is what brings a lot of you here, I also have another blog just for that purpose, this year I started my knitwear collection blog (i have quite a few new pieces to be added…!)

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I had another successful stand at the Shetland Craft Fair, and I was so happy with all the support and orders I got from people who found me through this blog. so thank you!

Of course by working at Jamieson & Smith I meet a lot of different knitters (on and offline) which leads me to lots of great opportunities, like Curating an exhibition at the Textile museum

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Which in turn meant I wrote my first published piece of writing!

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I also did a bit of modelling for famous designers, which also meant I got to stay in the most beautiful place I’ve ever stayed: Belmont house in Unst.

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And helping Kate in a few ways with Yokes, from going to the archives with her on her visit to Shetland and machine knitting the body and sleeves for the Cockatoo Brae cardigan.. a big honour!

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Going over all the things I’ve done this year is great, and I really want to thank everyone who supports me. I don’t reply to every comment but I read them all and appreciate every one. :) Happy 2015!

Ella xx

agnes jumper

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I actually finished a bit of my Christmas knitting! Over the last week or so I managed to finish my Agnes jumper. I actually find big needles and chunky yarn really hard going on my hands so I cant do a long stint. Also I really hate knitting sleeves.. This time I did the sleeves using magic loop on a long circular needle, which made it a bit easier.

IMG_4248-2I used Alafoss Lopi in a black heathered shade (a nightmare to photograph) and bigger needles as I wanted a looser jumper, quite a lot of the finished jumpers on Ravelry are quite fitted and short so I wanted mine a bit longer. I used green Lettlopi for the little pockets.

It is so warm!!! I love the look of these kind of jumpers but I’ve come to realise that I find it really hard to knit simple jumpers.. obviously knitting Fair Isle gives me goals! Now I’ve made it though, im glad i did!

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Happy New Year everyone, thanks for all the support this year and all the best for 2015

ella xx

christmas knitting

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So all my orders have been done and received (as far as I know!) I only had to reknit one that had got lost in the post. Grr, anyway only half a day of work more to go then a bit of a break! I cant wait to get into my Christmas knitting…

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I have made good progress on my Cockatoo Brae cardigan, I have knit all the pieces on my machine and picked up the stitches for the yoke, I just have a bit of plain knitting and shaping to go before I reach the fun bit!

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These are the colours I have chosen for my yoke, not my usual colours (usually I keep faaaar away from pinks and purples) but I wanted to do something a bit different for me.. Although including oranges doesnt really make it too far away… They are a mixture of J&S shades with random unnamed cloo’s I’ve picked up. A nice subtle mix I hope!

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I started this Agnes jumper a while ago which I am knitting in Alafoss Lopi – the first part of my Icelandic wardrobe for my trip! And I only have half a sleeve (and the pockets) left to do. I actually find chunky wool and needles quite hard on my hands and a bit cumbersome so I should have finished this a while ago but I have been slacking. I did knit half a sleeve last week while watching the Fall finale (anyone else watch? the ending was wild!!) It is going to be so warm, I’m going to use bright green Lett Lopi for the pockets!

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I am also planning to make (yesterday I casted this on!) an Epistropheid. A while ago I was in Nimble Fingers, a craft shop in Lerwick and I saw this Toft yarn which I knew Epistrophy from Yokes was made from, it was on sale but I couldn’t really afford enough for a whole gansey (you know, at this time of year one is meant to be buying presents for other people..not themselves..!) so I thought.. hmm I could make a hat with the Epistrophy motif.. with an Alpaca pompom on top! I told Kate this and of course she has already begun designing the very hat i was thinking of!! So i’m looking forward to making that.

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What are your plans for Christmas knitting?

I hope all my friends and readers have a nice and peaceful Christmas, thank you to anyone who’s read, commented and shared anything from my blog. It’s very much appreciated xxx