a few new yokes


as we know, one of my favourite things to knit is yoke jumpers. My most favourite way to knit them of course is to machine knit the body and sleeves on my machine. In most ways (fit especially) I feel each time I am getting better and finding the best way to make them, but in other ways (finishing and tidiness) i feel I still have a way to go. Today I have two recently finished yokes made in this way to show, both are made from Brooklyn Tweed patterns.. which I love despite their price..!


This yoke I finished in February is Sundottir by Dianna Walla, I remember seeing Dianna’s prototype on Ravelry ages ago so I was so glad to see it as a pattern, it gives the effect of Norwegian Marius sweaters but with a more contemporary feel.


the original jumper is of course knit in Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, which I would love to knit a whole jumper with but A. i have much too much wool and B. I cant afford it.. anyway Shetler is a worsted weight yarn which we don’t really have in the UK and Aran weight is the nearest so I decided to go with Lett Lopi in this lovely orange and natural shades.


I do actually have a chunky machine, but I thought I would try knitting this on my standard gauge machine using every other needle which worked great although it is a bit fiddly trying to remember your not using every needles. I’m really pleased with how this yoke came out apart from one thing. Since I couldn’t do the rib on my machine (well you can by hand tooling but its tedious!) You need to pick up the stitches and knit down, I struggle to find a cast off which is not far too tight or too loose, this one is a bit loose for my liking but not too terrible. I love the colours and would definitely make this again.. perhaps when I come back from Iceland, no doubt with a larger stash???


The next yoke I finished this past weekend is Stasis by Leila Raabe. I have loved this pattern since it was released, I think its a really subtle but effective version of a yoke. Again I knitted the body and sleeves on my machine, I entered the cuff and hem chart into my DesignAKnit software and machine knitted the bottom Fair Isle. Usually with all the yokes I hybrid-knit I just knit to the oxters, join all the pieces and carry on as if I’m hand knitting but for this I sat and worked out the raglan shaping for each piece and machine knitted that also. I am really pleased with how that went because it meant I could go straight into the fair isle in the yoke.


I decided to go for Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight in 2009 and I actually used Brooklyn Tweed Loft for the contrast. I have bought bits and pieces of Loft (ahem) but this was my first time knitting with it. I had read that it was a very fragile yarn and that is true but I was amazed how well it went through the machine for the cuff and hem. I have come to realise that from the get go of my hand knitting rediscovery a few years ago I have basically only knit with real wool, be that from Jamieson & Smith or others I have used. This has made me a hardy creature because to me Loft feels so so soft, as it was quite fragile I wasn’t as rough with it in the yoke as I would usually be with J&S yarns which I know inside out. So although it looks good in the photos the yoke is a bit bumpy because I was reluctant to block it as hard as I would. I even boarded it inside out because I was scared in case a float in the yoke got caught on my jumper board!


I love the finished Jumper and I think I would knit one again, closer to the original colours, maybe Jumper Weight 203 and 81? This colour scheme is quite muted, but I do like it and I loved working with the Loft. The only negative is that usually with a yoke you strategically decrease in certain points so the knit begins to go quicker as you go, with this though the yoke has no decreasing and you do it all after the Fair Isle along with short rows to raise the back neck. Lots of the finished projects on Ravelry complained of the neck being to high so I did a bit of fudging based on some of the modifications (more details on my rav project page) I have read and I’m really pleased with how it came out.


My next machine knit hybrid project is well under way, I am making a Riddari using J&S Aran and Quince & Co Lark in the yoke, today I joined all the pieces and started the yoke so hopefully Ill be back shortly with another to show you!

(perhaps I need a yoke intervention? haha)

speak soon xxxxxx

a good saturday

I usually spent my weekends knitting as you know, but this week I had Thursday and Friday off and I was able to finish and post off 6 cushions so yesterday I decided to NOT feel guilty about having a day of from knitting. My Mam grew up in Ollaberry which is in Northmavine, about 45 minutes drive from Lerwick. I saw on Facebook the other week they were organising a knitting and spinning day in the Ollaberry Hall full of examples of Shetland knitting from Northmavine..

Im there.

So me, Mam, my sister and my neice and nephew headed up to Ollaberry for a look and I thought I’d share some of the brilliant examples on display. Also we arrived just as the teas were started. Hall Teas are amazing, Ollaberry Hall especially.. those little pancakes. Yum. Anyway, there were ladies spinning and knitting away and it was great to see what a strong tradition we still have all over Shetland.



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this jumper is the one on the boy on the right of the photograph



I love the neckline on this lace jumper, I’ve never seen one like it before!



a book of samples much like the ones I showed in this post



interestingly this cardigan is a fawn version of one of my lace cardigans seen in this post



Magnie enjoying playing with the knitted squares



I loved this Crofthouse motif on this Lace Stole, its the same (but reversed) in Donna’s Hap

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I hope you enjoyed this look at some of the things on show, I had an excellent afternoon which was made even better by the fact I was given a black bag FULL of old cloos of Shetland Wool by an old family friend.. a great day all round!

speak soon,

Ella xx

cockatoo brae

Can you guess what I’ve finished?


Yes indeed, it is my own Cockatoo Brae cardigan! This pattern is one which I helped Kate with for her Yokes book. I love Kates colours in the original and the only reason I didn’t use the same was I have already made myself a yoke using FC58 as the main colour so I wanted to do something totally different.


In my last post I was talking about my colours for my Cockatoo Brae cardigan, I originally chose a group of oranges, reds and purples which would have looked great I think.. but I do love the yellows..I decided to go for shade 203 (J&S jumper weight) as my main colour and then the shaded yellows and oranges for the yoke. At times while I was knitting I thought the middle shades were too muted but now I think they are perfect and they help to make the yoke subtle but striking which is what I wanted.




As you know (maybe) I knitted the body and sleeves in pieces on my machine, so I should have finished this a lot faster than I have but work and life meant it was set aside for a while.. But last week I set to it and made real progress and by Sunday night I had finished the body and linked all the seams together.


So this week I got it steeked and my button bands done. I was struggling to find buttons that looked right so I went for these plastic ones which blend in and look quite inconspicuous. Originally I was going to use metal ones but they stood out too much, same with the yellow ones so I’m really happy with these ones. Today I bought some of Kates star ribbon so as soon as that comes I will be sewing that inside to cover my steek edges.

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It wasn’t intentional but my Cockatoo Brae is quite like a Cockatoo! This is a new addition by my neighbour and I think its quite fun. I am really pleased with how my cardigan has come out and it makes me think of spring, which in Shetland is probably a long way away.. but I can dream.

speak soon x

yoke inspirations


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!


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


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.


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.


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.


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..


brrr..  speak soon xxxx

wild winds and radio scotland



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!


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


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.


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..


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.



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!


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

Ella x