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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Briswool :: A Knitted City

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I’m a country lass at heart but I was still super excited to visit the Briswool exhibition at Paper Village, a wonderful arts and crafty shop in South Bristol, and be inspired by all of the knitted buildings and landmarks that are close to my heart, having both lived and worked in the city at various times in the past.  Briswool as you can see is an attempt to represent Bristol in wool.  Its a community knitting project led by Vicky Harrison from Paper Village that so far has involved at least 92 people and has taken between around 4000 hours of time and its still growing….!!

Briswool will next be exhibited in early October at the M Shed.  There will be two free workshops called “how to craft a city” to show people how to design and make a building and a chance for people who can’t knit, needle felt or crochet to come along and learn new skills, and make something new to incorporate into the model.  Briswool the movie will be filmed over the summer, intended to be part documentary, part journey through the landscape of Briswool, and will launched later in the year too.

After enjoying the delights of Briswool, we popped across the road to the local green park and enjoyed a sandwich from the fabulous Southville Deli and the girls had an icecream from the wonderfully retro Lucilles.  My kind of day out :)

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Join the Paper Village Facebook page www.facebook.com/Papervillagearts to get regular updates and find out about other Paper Village Projects including ‘Dresses for Girls’ where you can get involved in making dresses for girls living in poverty in other parts of the world.  Sounds like a great project to me :)

Happy Knitting/Crocheting and Crafting this Bank Holiday Weekend!

Bye for now! xx

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Rowan KAL : week 3 : Heirloom Lace

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This week I decided to try out my Candy and Pretty Pink Pure Wool Worsted. I was really pleased with the results. Loved the candy! The colours reminded me of strawberry icecream and rhubarb crumble made with rhubarb fresh from the garden…

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The peonies also started blooming in the garden to fit in with this weeks pink theme!

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This week we also visited the gardens at Ston Easton Park Hotel which were open for charity as part of the National Garden Scheme. The sun shone and the gardens and house were really beautiful…

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This week we’ve also been busy with Year 6 tests (SATS) and a piano exam so life has been busy and I still need to finish knitting the squares for week 4. How are you getting on? Are you managing to keep up? Luckily there is an extra month at the end of the KAL clues for everyone to catch up…
Here’s the week 4 square, incase you haven’t seen it yet : Lace Kisses. You can download it for free from the Rowan website.

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Have a great week & don’t forget to look out for Clue 5 on Monday…. I better get knitting! ;)

Bluebell Woods

First came the primroses, the violets and the wood anemones, then the buttercups and cuckoo flowers…

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The woods became full of beautiful shades of green again after the dull shades of winter….

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… And slowly but surely the bluebells arrived…

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We visited them on rainy and muddy days…

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And visited them on sunny days…

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And now they really are in full bloom, filling the woods with their amazing scent in mists of blue…

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My knitting even came with me once… had to finish those Rowan KAL
squares!

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The cow parsley looks so pretty too…

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This weekend I’m moving on from blue and green to candy pink and from Nordic Squares to Heirloom Lace….

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But we’ll still be making the most of the Bluebell Woods whilst we can.

Have a great weekend x

Rowan KAL : week 2: Nordic Square

If you’ve been taking part in Rowan’s Pure Wool Worsted Knit-A-Long how have you been getting on? I’ve loved hearing about your colour choices and progress over on Facebook and every time I pop over to the KAL thread on Ravelry it’s so busy with everyone chatting away, sharing tips and ideas.
Here are some snaps of my progress with week 2, the Nordic Square pattern. I chose the oxygen shade for my first set of three, then couldn’t decide which shade to knit with next….

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After deliberating over whether to go for Mallard (carrying on with the blue- green theme) or granite or moonstone, I ended up choosing the moonstone, which interestingly seems to have a hint of green in with the grey. What do you think? I hope the colours will all go together!  And I really must do some blocking and not leave it all to the end of the KAL!  I also fear I maybe becoming addicted to taking photos of Pure Wool Worsted!
So, I’m off to knit the Heirloom Lace pattern now available for week 3. I’m thinking of candy…

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Here’s the link for the free download for Week 3: Heirloom Lace, a simple lace and garter stich pattern.  Don’t forget to check out the Martin Storey You Tube Video for week 3 and for beginner knitters there are lots of helpful video tutorials listed alongside each square for all of the various techniques involved.  This weeks pattern is a written pattern, but if you prefer knitting from charts, check out the Nottingham Knitter’s blog and Knitting Konrad’s blog - both have created their own charts that you can download if you would find it helpful.

Thanks for joining me and happy knitting!

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