Stainsby – a Sweater in Alpaca Colour

036022 023 Hurrah – I’ve finally finished Stainsby from the Rowan Alpaca Colour Collection.  I started knitting this jumper at Easter, then put it aside to take part in the Rowan Mystery Afghan Knit-a-Long over the summer and after a big break, finished it off ready to wear this autumn.  It was worth the wait – I’m seriously smitten with this yarn!  Its so soft to the touch, and comes in a gorgeous palette of colours, with beautifully subtle colour changes which really give this yarn its special quality and character.  I can honestly say that it was a joy to knit with and is a joy to wear. I did make a few modifications to the pattern.  I lengthened the body, and when the jumper was ready to assemble, I decided to pick up the stitches and knit the neckline in the round.  I’ve also chosen to leave welts, cuffs and neckband as they are rather than fold to the fold line as you’ll see in Rowan’s picture below. stainsby I also used Garnet 139 for the cuffs and neckline rather than Topaz 143.  I decided to stick with Graphite 142 for the body as I love the colour and it fits in well with my wardrobe.   However, now I’ve finished this knit, I’m really tempted to be a little more adventurous and check out some of the other colours too.  Check out the full colour range here.  Am seriously drooling over these…. alpacacolour alpacacolour2

Rowan has updated its Alpaca Colour range this autumn/winter 2014 with 4 new shades: Jade 136, Jewel 144 (a gorgeous red which is quite Christmassy!), Marble 145 and Precious 147.

The Alpaca Colour Collection features 17 designs by Rowan designer Lisa Richardson.  Rowan describes this collection as a “story of textured knits – cables, lace, bobbles and openwork stiches in a variety of easy to wear modern shapes, including fitted jackets and tunics, wrap-around cover-ups and slouchy sweaters“.  The art work is worth checking out in this brochure aside from the gorgeous designs….

My friend and Rowan Ambassador Linda has also knitted Stainsby but in a different colour scheme – she is my “Stainsby twin” – we both discovered we were wearing our jumpers on the same day this week!  Do pop over to Linda’s blog Knitted Pink to check out Linda’s version - she also has some fabulous other projects to share: http://knittedpink.wordpress.com

So onto my next project…what will it be?  Well, I’ve started playing with some of Rowan’s scrummy new Fazed Tweed….   What are your plans for this season? Has anyone started making things for Christmas yet?

Claire xx

Autumn Salsa – a Hat in Big Wool Colour

Hello Autumn!

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Meet Salsa, a hat designed by Lisa Richardson and knitted in Big Wool Colour from Rowan Yarns.

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My daughter loves her new hat – she’s a big fan of slouchy hats with bobbles…

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Big Wool Colour as you can see has a fun bright colour palette and is ideal for accessories.

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Its fantastic for the beginner knitter as projects can be easily completed within a matter of hours.

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Rowan Big Wool fans will also be pleased to hear that Big Wool Colour knits to Big Wool tension so knits to all Big Wool patterns.

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The Big Wool Colour Collection published by Rowan this autumn features 13 designs by Lisa Richardson using Big Wool and Big Wool Colour. Here are a few of my favourites:

Jitterbug:

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Foxtrot:

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Mambo:

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Fandango:

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Have you seen the recently published Simple Projects for Cosy Homes by Sarah Hatton?

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I love this collection, with gorgeous projects like these cushions that also make use of Rowan Big Wool.  I think they would look really great knitted up with Big Wool Colour too.  What do you think?

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And how about using Big Wool Colour for these sweet little knitted baskets?

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Thanks for popping by!
P.S I’ll be back soon with an update on my Alpaca Colour sweater – its all finished and good thing too, as the weather is certainly getting chillier!   Happy Knitting :)
Claire xx

Dodgem in Rowan Fur and the new Big Accessories collection

I’ve just finished knitting ‘Dodgem’ in Rowan’s new yarn ‘Fur’.  Dodgem is a design by Sarah Hatton and is featured in the fabulous new ‘Big Accessories’ brochure published for this autumn winter 2015 season.  Its a really clever design featuring an integral loop and a collar shaped with short rows, plus it was super quick to knit.

Dodgem Scarf

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Dodgem requires 3 balls of Rowan Fur, pictured here in Brown Bear (092) and 7mm needles.  The yarn is made of wool with a little polyamide to bind.  It’s light, soft, cosy and warm and I think it’ll be very on trend this season – great for collars, cuffs, gillets, homeware and even toys and it can be purchased in a lovely natural colour pallete including the shades: Polar, Brown Bear, Bear and Panda.   I might even find myself knitting another ‘Dodgem’ in another shade – I’ve had a few requests already….

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Here’s some Rowan Fur in Bear 091, which I’m going to be using for another project – yes – I’m really pleased with this new yarn and will definitely be using it again :)

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The Big Accessories collection showcases some of Rowan’s chunkier yarns including one of my favourite yarns from last autumn winter season: Thick ‘n’ thin, together with Tumble, Alpaca Chunky as well as the new ‘Fur’ yarn, making all of the accessories super quick to knit.  There are 15 designs for men and women including hats, scarves, cowls, capes, a gillet and interesting neck pieces.  I’m really looking forward to knitting ‘Bandit’ next, featured on the cover of the Big Accessories book in the photo below.  Fingers crossed for snow this winter!

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Check out the ‘Big Accessories’ collection here and Rowan’s new Fur Yarn here.

Here are a few of my other favourites:

Helter: a gillet designed by Sarah Hatton, knitted here in Panda 093:

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Teacup, designed by Martin Storey and knitted in Thick ‘n’ Thin and Fur:

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Swingboat, designed by Lisa Richardson in Tumble:

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Skelter, designed by Sarah Hatton using Thick ‘n’ Thin:

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And Voltini, designed by Gemma Atkinson in Tumble:

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I’m off to pack for a family holiday in Cornwall now, and looking at the weather forecast, I think Dodgem might be sneaking into my bag….

Now to choose:  should I make space in my suitcase for clothes or yarn…. decisions, decisions….

Have a great weekend and thanks for popping by :)

xx

 

Rowan Afghan Ta Dah!!

Hurrah, I’ve finished my afghan!! Thank you to Martin Storey for a wonderful design and to Rowan Yarns for a great Knit-a-Long – I’ve really enjoyed taking part and I hope there will be more KALs in the future or maybe a Crochet-a-Long (hint hint Rowan!)

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I’m really pleased with how my afghan has turned out and now have a lovely blanket to snuggle under in the coming autumn and winter, although it has already been “borrowed” by children and pets….

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In the end I decided to make a slightly smaller version of the official afghan design but I included at least one of each weeks patterns as I really wanted to try out each design for myself and have a finished afghan that incorporated a little of everything.  My afghan is made up of 35 squares rather than 48 and I also decided to crochet the trim using Linda’s pattern over on the Knitted Pink blog.  I do love to mix knitting and crochet and I’m pleased how it turned out as well as the fact that it was super quick to do.

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I used a simple slip stitch to join the squares:  using the tail of yarn left over from the cast on/cast off, insert the needle into the loop of each purl stitch along the edge of the squares you are joining:

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So, to round up ~ my favourite square:  French Plait (week 7)
I do love a nice cable and I also loved knitting with this shade of Pure Wool Worsted – a rather vintage looking pink (Candy 118).

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Favourite shade of Pure Wool Worsted: Oxygen 137
I also love the Nordic Square design from Week 2.

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Another favourite shade of Pure Wool Worsted: Peacock 139, shown here in Dots & Dashes  from week 5:

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I also used Peacock for the crochet trim.

Favourite KAL helper: Izzy the dog: a keen lover of wooly blankets

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I love the way that an afghan holds so many memories, reminding me of the places that I visited and the people that I met and who I was with when I was knitting each square… something to always be treasured.  If you didn’t take part in the KAL and would still like to make the afghan, you can download the entire design for free on Rowan’s website by clicking here.

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Thank you also to my friend Deana who very kindly let me borrow her lovely sofa for my afghan photos. Do pop over to Deana Ashby Interior Design at www.deanaashby.com ~ Deana lives in a very beautiful house and is a very talented lady.
So, what’s next on my needles? Well, I’m finishing my jumper in Alpaca Colour that I started before the afghan KAL and I’m also SUPER EXCITED about the new autumn / winter yarns and designs over at www.knitrowan.com.
Have you finished your afghan?  Do you have a favourite square too?  What projects have you got lined up for next season?

Thanks for visiting!
xx

Rowan KAL : Weeks 4 to 8 : catching up

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Next up on the blog, Lace Kisses for Mystery Afghan Knit-along Week 4 Rowan’s Pure Wool Worsted in Mallard. I really liked knitting this square, although I found that the yarn overs didn’t always go well with watching TV!  Its very pretty to look at and great practice if you’re new to lace knitting.

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Week 5 was all about the bobbles!

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Oh the possibilities…..!

And overcoming my fear of blocking so many squares!
Unblocked:

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Blocking:

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Blocked:

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It was so worth it to end up with a nice flat pile of squares. So easy after all – popped them in for a quick wash then pinned them out in the sunny garden to dry – simple!

Some people have asked me what blocking mat I use – its a Prym Stretch and Steam mat that I bought on the internet.

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I tried out some Pure Wool Worsted in Granite for Week 6, Little Doughnuts and the French Plait in Week 7. I love the French Plait and probably found it one of the easiest squares to knit.  Also trying granite out here with week 8′s Ripple Cable …. The pink duck just had to join in (I was on small child bath duty, knitting in the bathroom when I took the pic) ;)

Do you have a favourite KAL square?  Have you finished your afghan or are you catching up like me?

I’m hoping to lay out all of my squares this weekend and come up with a layout plan of my own as I didn’t stick to the original Rowan colour scheme. The end is in sight!  Can’t wait to have a snuggly afghan at the end of it all, looking ahead to autumn/winter….

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We’re speeding towards the end of the school term now, one week to go. We’ve had sports days, forest school picnics, parties, music concerts, assembly’s and school summer BBQ’s. My youngest will be saying goodbye to pre-school and my eldest to primary school. Lots of changes afoot here at Knitandpurlgarden but I hope they will all be good.

Hope you’re enjoying the summer or the season wherever you are!
I’ll be back soon with a finished afghan update xx

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Visiting Rowan Yarns: Ambassadors at the Mill

A couple of weeks ago I made a much anticipated trip up to Holmfirth, Yorkshire to meet for a conference with the wonderful Rowan team and all of my faboulous Rowan Ambassador friends from around the world.  It was a truly unforgettable experience, and so amazing to be immersed in all things Rowan and finally meet up with friends that I have only previously met online.

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View of Holmfirth from the Old Bridge Hotel

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Tour de France Bunting in Holmfirth

After my 200 mile trip from Somerset (and a little unexpected detour into Manchester thanks to a rainstorm and an unreliable road map – not my navigation skills I hasten to add!) I was relieved to finally arrive at the Old Bridge Hotel, Holmfirth following the route of this weekends Tour de France over the moor to Holme Moss, the Tour’s ‘King of the Mountains’.  I was so excited to finally meet everyone!  Here we all are at last, Rowan Ambassadors:  Sarah, me, Konrad, Anne, Esther, Dayana, Kristen, Cindi, Linda, Violetta, Maria, Anja, Ute and husband Hans.

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Rowan Ambassadors from Canada, Germany, Spain, UK and the US.

Karl Hallam, Rowan’s Digital Marketing Manager (our Rowan Ambassador contact at the Mill) did the most amazing job of organising this trip and making it come true together with the Rowan Team who gave us such a warm welcome  - it so was amazing to step through those doors…..  take a peak inside….

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After meeting everyone, we were given a wonderful guided tour of the Mill, and learnt all about its history, and got to see this amazing collection of all of the Rowan Magazines going back to the very first publication:

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Here’s the Rowan Wall of Fame:

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We also popped downstairs to visit a treasure trove of yarn…..

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And of course we got to see THE OFFICIAL MARTIN STOREY AFGHAN!!!  Check out this awesome Rowan Knit-a-Long here if you haven’t seen it already.

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We all got together and discussed all things Rowan including our ambassadors roles, and we also got to preview the new yarns and designs for the Autumn/Winter 2014/15 collection due to be launched this month on the 15th July.  We met the Rowan Designer team, Kate Buller the Brand Manager and Design and Publications Manager, David MacLeod.  It was so wonderful to chat to the designers, see the new yarns, squeeze the balls and admire and try on items that had been knitted up for the new collections.

Other highlights of the week included meeting lovely Jen Geigley, Rowan Ambassador from the US - sadly Jen couldn’t make it to the UK for this trip but Karl arranged for Jen to join us on Skype which was a fantastic surprise! Hello Jen!  Other great memories of the week include a wonderful exchange of gifts on the first night at the hotel (we all brought a gift with us to Yorkshire and drew names to decide who would receive each gift – thank you so much to Maria from Germany who gifted me a beautiful skein of Kidsilk Haze stripe and mini perfume to accompany it, and also very generously brought very delicious german chocolate for everyone).  Other highlights were a Last of the Summer Wine Bus Tour and a fish & chip lunch at the award winning Compo’s Café in Holmfirth and a wonderful meal at mediterranean restaurant Aldea in Holmfirth with the Rowan Team.  On the last two days Marie Wallin, Rowan’s Head Designer presented us with a design brief for the Autumn/Winter 2015/16 season and we were asked to knit or crochet our swatches for our own designs, ready to present to the Rowan Team at the end of the conference before it was time to go home.  Lisa Richardson (read more about Lisa in Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine 56 due to be launched this month) gave a great presentation on the process of following a brief, conceptualising designs, sketches and swatches and writing a design spec, and all of the designers were around to give advice and help.  Perhaps you might see one of our designs in the next years collections!

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From left to right: Martin Storey, Marie Wallin, Lisa Richardson, Sarah Hatton, Gemma Atkinson, Kate Buller.

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A wonderful gift from Maria

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Look out for these wonderful new yarns launching soon: Rowan Fur, Brushed Fleece, Big Wool Colour, Fazed Tweed, Rowan Finest and Mohair Haze (photo also shows Chenille which was a recent mid season launch)

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Sneaky peaks of some knits from the new A/W 2014 collection…

Thank you Karl Hallam and everyone at Rowan and all of my Rowan Ambassador friends for the most amazing time.  It was fantastic to meet you all at last!

Needless to say, I’m very much looking forward to the new Autumn/Winter collection….. thanks so much for visiting my blog – do pop back and catch up again soon xx

 

 

Rowan Autumn /Winter Previews 2014

Just popping by to let you know that you can watch previews of all of the Rowan’s new Autumn /Winter 2014 collections on the Rowan Yarns You Tube Channel this weekend. But be quick as they will be switched off again on Monday and you won’t get chance to view them again until the official launch on July 15th :)

You can also check out the new Chenille and Denim Mid-Season Launches and catch up on the Martin Storey Afghan KAL videos.

Grab a coffee, your knitting (in my case the KAL squares….) and enjoy!!!!! Look out for some gorgeous new yarns and great designs. I love the summer but autumn/winter collections have to be my favourite – how about you?

Rowan Yarns You Tube Channel

Have a great weekend!
xx

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