flowerpot

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hellooo, i’m sorry for the silence over here the past little while, after new year I had two infections then it was Up Helly Aa (aka one of my fave days) then I had a horrendous flu. It was a pain, anyway I’m back in the game now and doing lots of exciting things, most of which is secret but I do have a finished thing to show you, my flowerpot cardigan!!

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At wool week I saw one of my ravelry friends at J&S wearing her version of this cardigan (see it here) and it looked so cosy and warm that I immediately wanted to make it. The pattern is called Flowerpot and it is designed by Helene Magnusson, who I went to Iceland with last year. This pattern is inspired by the shoe inserts which I saw at the textile museum and it is knit by using Icelandic intarsia.

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I really enjoyed learning how to do it and I love the look of garter stitch so this kind of next level garter stitch is right up my street! I found it quite relaxing and since you were only knitting with one colour at a time it was really good for knitting on while watching tv or doing something else. Most of the hand knitting I do is Fair Isle so you have to be paying a bit of attention, this was surprisingly mindless. I used the yarn called for in the pattern, which is Alafoss Lopi and I used I think all the greys they make expect maybe one!

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Although its taken me a few months to finish this it actually could be knit pretty quick if you were monogamous and worked on it a bit everyday, i always have too much floating around in my brain for that.. Its still pretty chilly in Shetland so I am very glad to get this finished and worn!

Hopefully be back with more posts shortly, lots of exciting things coming soon..

ella xx

2015

Every year WordPress sends you a handy dandy list of stats about your blog so I thought it would be fun to share my most viewed posts of the year! My top viewed post was my version of a baa-ble hat, the 2015 official Wool Week pattern by Donna Smith

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Next was my few new yokes post, I am continuously knitting yokes and these are two of my favourites!

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Then there was another yoke, my Cockatoo Brae! I was very proud of this collaboration I worked on with Kate, the original that I made the body and sleeves for made it onto the cover of Yokes so I had to make myself one of course!

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Some of my most viewed posts aren’t from 2015 and the last two are both from previous years, this one is from 2014 and its my Fair Isle yoke. This was very much a trial and error project when I was beginnng to refine my machine/hand knitting combanations skills for knitting my own yokes

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And the last post is one of my most viewed of all time, the 2013 post about my Spencer Dresses, there may be some action with this at J&S soon so keep an eye out for that..!

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This year I feel a made some good steps in my knitting skills and made a lot of things I am really happy with, I feel I’m getting better at making more things that fit into my wardrobe, like my Lila Winter which has been getting a lot of wear the past few months..

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My Riddari, which gave me my first chance at using Quince & Co yarns

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I also did some more traditional Shetland knitting with my Half Hansel, my first hap!

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I feel I made time to make things I really wanted this year, like my third (!) puffin jumper, this time in the original colours

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One of my favourite projects of the year was probably my Crofthouse Vest which although it sparked some varied opinions in the comments I am pretty pleased with it.

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My fastest and probably another favourite project of the year was my Icelandic Jumper I knit in four days!

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Speaking of Iceland of course in May I went there! (there are a few posts about it – of course! see them here, here,here and here)

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And in October we had another brilliant Shetland Wool WeekIMG_6612

In which I had two patterns in the annual and gave a talk with Kate about our Vintage knitwear collections

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Of course I’ve been knitting away at my crofthouses and had another successful Craft Fair, I am taking a bit of a break from them at the moment but I’ll be back at them soon!

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phewf! a busy 2015! each year somehow more of you are finding me and saying lovely things. Quite often I go back and read some of my posts and so many of you leave lovely and kind comments, I don’t reply back to many because I don’t want to reply to some and not all so I find it easier to not reply, but know I read them all and greatly appreciate them. They help to make me feel better a lot, so thank you for reading here! So for 2016 I would like to know about the kind of things you would like me to post about here? please leave me a comment and let me know, its back to work next week, this break has flown by but for now I hope you have a good Hogmanay and a Happy New Year when it comes!

Speak soon, Ella xx

purple jumper

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If you know me, you know I never wear or knit with purple. Like never ever. I will wear pretty much every colour (except pink)… Well here I am showing you a purple jumper I just finished knitting that I’ve worn twice since I did. Its a Christmas miracle.

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Basically we know I am an ebay fiend and not only do I buy knitwear from there I also keep an eye out for yarn. So one day I saw 9 skeins of Brooklyn Tweed shelter in Thistle, a yarn I like and have only bought single skeins – never enough for a substantial project to really try it out. So evidently, I won the yarn for a bargain price.

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And I came and I thought, what the hell am I going to make? I decided upon flax by tin can knits minus the garter stitch panels. I actually really like the colour, you can see from the picture above that its a purple filled with lots of different colours, there’s hints of blue,red and white in it which makes it much more palatable to me. The pattern is knit top down which is fine but by the time I get to that second sleeve I’m usually pretty fed up turning the whole thing around every row but I knew since this colour was an unusual choice for me I wanted a simple jumper to go with it. Of course that meant i got pretty bored and its taken me a lot longer to finish it than I hoped but never mind, i have now!

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I really like the yarn but I’ve found that for my ribs I have to go waaaaay down in needle size or else the rib goes pretty slack after its washed. I think I’ve also found my favourite cast off – this one if your interested. Of course my sleeves could be a bit longer but what’s new? I am a lazy sleeve knitter. The yarn is full of little twiggy bits, which is annoying but not a deal breaker for me, it has a lovely texture when its knitted and I’ve decided thats on me.. I don’t mind purple. Sometimes.

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I might be back before christmas but if not have a peaceful and safe festive..

Ella x

ps. I also had an email that the ‘my story’ bbc radio programme I was featured on earlier in the year will be on again at 8.30am on boxing day on Radio Scotland so tune in if you can!

winter

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hello, sorry for my blog silence, we are in the depths of winter in Shetland now which means dark mornings, dark nights, wind and rain.. very uninspiring!

I had a successful craft fair, I had lots of stock so in that sense I was very organised this year but that came at the cost of feeling very tired and run down afterwards.. I was pleased with my stand and how it went though

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Because I was so organised I actually ended up with some stock left over, so this past tuesday and this tuesday coming I’m selling the last of my stock here. I will post them all on thursday so if you order one it should get to you by Christmas!

On the handknitting side of things i am starting to get excited for Christmas knitting.. no not gifts.. the knitting I will do over Christmas.. haha! I did recently finish a hat by Gudrun Johnson, it was the Northdale pattern

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I bought the yarn at the Makers Market at Wool Week, it is undyed yarn from Fair Isle, described as a light aran weight it worked well for this pattern that called for DK, if anything it came out a bit big but thats ok! I need a warm hat just now.. I used the shades Fawn, Moorit and Shetland Black and i think it came out lovely, you can buy the yarn here. In relation to my big winter project I am making good progress on my Flowerpot Coat by Helene Magnusson, I saw this version in real life at Wool Week and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I had lots of Alafoss Lopi left over after my Icelandic Jumper and of course bought a bit more..

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I have finished one front and begun the back. Icelandic Intarsia is one of Helene’s specialities and it is actually very simple and although there are lots of balls of yarn flying about.. its still relaxing! So I hope to have that to show you soon.

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I also had something exciting happen a few weeks ago, I actually won the grand prize of the Fringe and Friends KAL with my Crofthoose Vest. The KAL was hosted by Karen Templer at Fringe Association who’s blog I just love, anyway the prize was a voucher for karens online shop Fringe Supply Co, so I took the opportunity to get all the lovely knitterly things I lust over like the High Fiber Tote and lots more.. I didnt knit my vest with any thinking of winning anything, if fact I didnt even realise there was prizes up for grabs so that was a lovely surprise.

Hopefully as things wind down for the year ill have a bit more inspiration and blogging feels, its just a dark and cold time just now, outside and in my head but I hope to be back soon.. xxx

radio shetland wool week programme

I’m just popping in in between my Craft Fair preparations to share with you the link to a Radio programme I was involved with alongside my Auntie who works at Radio Shetland. Its all about Shetland Wool Week and if you were here in Shetland you will hear a lot of familiar voices (Hazel Tindall, Donna Smith, Oliver Henry, Kate Davies, Misa Hay and Selina Miller to name a few!) and if you weren’t here I hope it gives you taste for Shetland Wool Week!

1 week to go til the Craft Fair! ill be back after that….

xxx

icelandic jumper

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hello!! Thank you all for your thoughtful comments on my last blog, things have been cooling down in Shetland and now the clocks have changed it is dark at 5pm :( so i took the chance to get Amy to take a few photos at work today of my most recent finished object – a new icelandic jumper!

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When I was in Iceland in May I went with my friend Lara to the Alafoss Shop and bought the yarn for a Dalur jumper, I love the tweedy yarns so I picked up the light grey tweed and the dark black tweed along with a white. I started a sleeve of my Dalur jumper and there was just not enough contrast between the white and light grey so the 3 colour rows proved to be pointlessly annoying. I’m not going to go through that for nothing! So I frogged it and looked again for another pattern I could use.

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I had a look on ravelry for projects using Alafoss Lopi, the chunky Icelandic yarn and I saw this project and fell in love with the colour scheme so I decided to give it a go with the similar colours I had, the pattern is a free one available from istex which is also in the Knitting With Icelandic Wool book which I have looked at before but it didnt shout out to me as a cardigan, in fact I actually own it in a cardigan version which I bought from a charity shop in Reykjavik!

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I own a very basic chunky knitting machine which is not the most fun to use but I thought I would get it out so I knit the body and sleeves on that and then picked up the yoke on a 60cm circluar needle and went right into the yoke! Usually I go back and do the ribs after but this time I did them while it was in pieces and sewed up the seams. This meant a bit less finishing at the end which is always good. Traditionally these kinds of jumpers are knit completely in the round but on my machine I do it in pieces – the front, back and two sleeves separately and then sew up the seams which with chunky yarn doesn’t take long!

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I got the yoke nearly knit in one night then got it pretty much finished last week while waiting for my driving lesson (knitting helps my nerves!!) I am so pleased with how it came out and I love how fast it was to make. From nothing to a new jumper in 4 days! I wore it today and it definitely helped keep me warm without being too hot.

I am now gearing up for the big Craft Fair I take part in in November and I don’t know if it is Wool Week being later in the year or just work being a bit busier I am the least prepared I have been, sigh! So you might not see me for a peerie while but I’ll be back again as soon as I can,

Happy knitting! xx

pattern: Icelandic Zip Cardigan by Vedis Jonsdottir

ravelry project page here

 

crofthouse vest

I am an avid reader of the Fringe Association blog by Karen Templer and a few weeks ago I saw her post about a knit a long inspired by a Japanese pattern for a Cowichan style vest. As you know, I am interested in all types of traditional knitwear and Cowichan is no different. I have 2 vintage Cowichan cardigans, one I bought in Shetland from a charity shop and another I got off Etsy. I have a Japanese knitting book which I decided to use for pattern inspiration and I now I have a cowichan inspired finished vest!

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This pattern on the cover was the one I wanted to try and make but I wasn’t sure about the teepee’s on the pattern. Some of Karens post’s have touched on some of the issues about Cowichan knitters and culture appropriation* when it comes to the knitwear and I wasn’t sure about how comfortable I would have felt when that is not in my culture.. especially since I wasn’t using a traditional pattern (although in all respects it is a good book – even better I’m sure if i could read it..) anyway..I had a think about it and I decided to switch out the teepees for crofthouses!

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I’m on a strict yarn diet at the moment so I decided to use the old J&S aran, sadly discontinued, held double, this makes a satisfyingly chunky yarn and it knit up nice and fast. And yes..I knit it back and forth so I purled Fair Isle – I KNOW, as a general rule I don’t do that, I’m not much a fan of purling in general and throw fair isle in the mix – bleuch. But actually it wasn’t too bad, the wool was pretty chunky so the horrible purling fair isle rows didn’t last too long

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I shared a few pictures of my progress on my instagram, ending with the vest on the board at the weekend:

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I actually quite enjoyed the construction and although the pattern and all the information is in japanese I just went for it and gave it a go, the hardest bit was incorporating the shaping and fair isle and purling so I make the top motifs a bit simpler so my brain didn’t explode. I ended up purchasing about 5 zips because I initially didnt measure it properly, so that final step was done on sunday, for the edging i just picked up 3 stitches for every 4 then cast off, the original has a crochet edging but I seriously cannot work a crochet hook to save my life so I’m pleased with how it came out.

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My fourite part i think was the shawl collar, I really enjoyed the contruction of that and I understand it totally now so I will add it to more things, the weather is already cooling down a lot in Shetland so I think I will get a lot of wear out of my crofthouse vest!

Speak soon xxx

*as an aside, as a Shetlander I totally get it, there is nothing that annoys me more than seeing a design clearly just directly inspired by Shetland styles of knitting with no real care as to how that reflects on the people who’s actual culture this is. Naming a pattern after a random place in Shetland they’ve clearly never set foot on but merely googled is a sure fire way enrage me also. rant over. :)