Category Archives: Crochet

Easter Crochet ~ Rowan CAL Scarf ~ Weeks 1 & 2

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Happy Easter to everyone!  Its the school holidays here in the UK and I’m looking forward to spending a long weekend with my family.  Hope the weather cheers up – its a little rainy and grey here in the south west at the moment and I would love the Spring sunshine to come back.  This week the less than Spring-like weather has been cheered up by my girls doing a spot of Easter baking.  I’ve been making green smoothies to try and counteract any chocolate over indulgence! The pup has been snoozing, whilst I’ve been crocheting my CAL hexagons and we have been watching Harry Potter films, crafting, drawing and reading whilst the wind blows outside.  If he’s not snoozing, the pup has a habit of trying to snatch my lovely summerlite yarn and would probably eat my crochet if my back was turned, so I need to make sure its in a safe place when I’m not working on it!

Has anyone joined in the CAL?  I’m really enjoying it so far – the ‘vibrant’ colourway is fab and I’m loving seeing my stack of hexagons starting to grow… The free pattern download for week 1 is here if you are interested: Rowan CAL week 1  To download your week 1 pattern you just need to register for free or log in and click on the ‘Download PDF’ button at the bottom of the Rowan website’s page. The free pattern PDF has also been translated into French, German and Dutch and beginner crocheters can also find helpful links on techniques including covering the basics such as how to hold your yarn and hook.  You can also check out my friend Violetta’s blog “A Knitting Bakery” for a Spanish translation and some fab charts to help alongside Rowan’s patterns.

UPDATE: Rowan has released the pattern for WEEK 2 today as an early Easter present and it is available to download now: Rowan CAL week 2

Here’s my first attempt at the week 2 hexagon.  They’re super quick to whip up and a very portable project.

Rowan CAL Week 2 Hexagon

Happy Easter!  Back soon with more CAL updates ūüôā

Claire xx

Rowan Spring Crochet-Along

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This Spring sees the launch of a new Crochet-Along from Rowan Yarns using the new Summerlite 4 ply 100% cotton yarn.

The CAL features 4 different projects designed by fab Rowan Designer Lisa Richardson – including a baby blanket, a wrap, a cushion and a scarf – a great range of projects with something to suit everyone including those of you that are new to crochet and fancy giving it a go.

You can view the shopping list on Rowan’s website now and the first pattern/motif will be released on March 25th.

There are 3 colourways to choose from – pastel, vibrant & blues. I’m opting for the vibrant colourway and I’m going to be making a scarf. I hope you will join me ūüôā

Here’s a link to Lisa’s You Tube video for Rowan, introducing the CAL:

http://youtu.be/hCSsg_qCPNs

The designs will be made up from seven different motifs and each pattern stage will include approximately ten motifs for the blanket and shawl, and four to six for the cushion and scarf, with eight stages in total.

Finish Sizes
Completed Baby Blanket measures approx 101 cm (40 in) wide by 107 cm (42 in) long, including trim.
Completed Ladies Wrap measures approx 46 cm (18 in) from centre back neck to base of wrap and 90 cm (35¬Ĺ in) across shoulders.
Completed Cushion measures 46 cm (18 in) from centre of one side to centre of opposite side. 
Completed Scarf measures approx 23.5 cm (9¬Ĺ in) wide by 149 cm (58¬Ĺ in).

Dates To Remember
25/03/2015 – 1st Pattern Release
03/04/2015 – 2nd Pattern Release
15/04/2015 – 3rd Pattern Release
24/04/2015 – 4th Pattern Release
06/05/2015 – 5th Pattern Release
15/05/2015 – 6th Pattern Release
27/05/2015 – 7th Pattern Release
05/06/2015 – 8th Pattern Release

At the end of the crochet along Rowan will be launching a competition in June 2015, with some fantastic prizes!

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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

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 Caf√© 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

 

 

Everard Scarf – Rowan Fine Art Accessories Collection

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I love the Rowan Fine Art Accessories Collection – the styling in the book is stunning!

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I had one skein of Rowan’s Fine Art yarn to try out in Oak (312) and decided to knit the Everard Scarf designed¬†by Marie Wallin.¬†¬†Although not naturally drawn to sock yarn, I really enjoyed¬†knitting¬†this (remember my one skein¬†Lark Scarf )? The yarn is¬†fantastic for all sorts of accessories, not just socks, and this collection features¬†10 gorgeous knitting and crochet designs for women by Marie Wallin and Lisa Richardson!¬†¬†Good news¬†too that Rowan has¬†launched 6 new subtle colourways to complement the original range.¬† You can check out the colours here.

Everard is described as being an easy knit in the design book.¬† It only requires one 100g skein of Fine Art yarn¬†plus a pair of 3.25mm (US 3 needles) and a pair of 4.5mm (US 7 needles).¬† The scarf features a lace pattern at each end, and whilst easy to follow, some beginner knitters might find the Purl 5 together instruction a little awkward to manoeuvre to start with.¬† I found that switching from my usual Addi click needles to my oak Art Viva needles did the trick as this stopped the yarn slipping around too much and preventing me from purling the group of stiches¬†together.¬† The oak colour¬†was beautiful¬†with a depth of colour reminding me of some of my favourite things…. coffee and chocolate!¬† Gently washing the yarn with my usual lavender Eucalan and lightly blocking really helped the lace panels take their proper shape, which made such a difference to the overall finish of the scarf.¬† To finish off, you can see in the photo how you fold the final lace section of the scarf up and sew the cast off edge in place to form a loop.¬† To wear the scarf, you then thread the cast-on edge of the scarf through the loop.¬† Fantastic!

Here are some of my favourites from the Fine Art Accessories Collection:

Fine Art Accessories

Baines Рa design by Marie Wallin suitable for the more experienced crocheter, pictured above using 5 skeins of Hornbeam 311

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Pemba –¬†easy straight forward knitting design by Marie Wallin, shown above using 4 skeins of¬†Yew 313.

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Methven – easy straight forward crocheting, designed by Lisa Richardson, pictured above in Maple 310 (4 skeins).

Did you know that Rowan also recently launched another yarn to join the Rowan Fine Art family – Fine Art Aran?¬† Again, a blend of¬†hand painted colours has been used to achieve a unique colour effect. Take a look by clicking through to Rowan’s website here¬†and the Fine Art Aran Mini Collection here.

Fine Art Arran

My friend Anne from Life Lackadaisical has designed a fab collection of one skein cowls that you can download for free here: Fine Art Aran Collection

The Everard¬†Scarf is going to be a gift for my mum for Mother’s Day at the end of March.¬† I hope she likes it.

Have you got any mothers day projects planned?

Happy knitting & crocheting!

Meeting Erika Knight

I’m a big fan of Erika Knight and her beautiful range of yarn so I was¬†extremely excited to hear that Erika would be visiting Beshley’s Wool Shop,¬†one of my¬†local yarn stores in Bristol¬†today, to give a talk and sign books.

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Beshley’s Wool Shop, stocking a gorgeous selection of yarns all sourced from within the British Isles,¬†opened this year and you might remember me writing about it here.

Erika’s enthusiasm really shone through as she chatted to us about her career and her passion for design, knitting, crochet and¬†home grown British wool, whilst¬†we sipped tea and munched on cake kindly provided by Beshley.

We¬†talked about how knitting is timeless – it can be very low tech, requiring only a ball of yarn and some needles, and yet coupled with todays new technology – the internet, Ravelry etc, it can take over the world!¬† One of Erika’s favourite¬†quotes is that¬†” knitting is¬†the saving of life” (Virginia Wolf, writer & knitter 1882-1941) – knitting is something that can be turned to at any stage of life, for all sorts of¬†different reasons, and her message was ” its never too late to start”!

Erika has also worked with Rowan Yarns and we learnt how together with Marie Wallin,¬†Rowan’s Head Designer, the Rowan British Sheep Breeds¬†range was developed, to help support British hill farmers.

Erika later developed her own range of yarn, which is 100% British made and manufactured.  The collection includes Fur Wool, Maxi Wool, Vintage Wool and British Blue Wool with a colour range that is simply stunning:

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All of the colours in her range are designed to go together and coordinate and Erika has developed a selection of knitting and crochet patterns focusing on fashion accessories, that are simple and quick to knit.  I particularly love her Knit it Tonight Posters with each poster including patterns that can be knitted up quickly in one evening.

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Erika¬†also kindly showed us how to¬†do Swiss Darning, a form of embroidery which can be used to quickly add interest to knitted pieces.¬† This is such a great technique and I’ll definitely be trying it out myself.

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Erika and Beshley at the end of a fabulous afternoon:

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I left feeling¬†VERY inspired¬† – I’ve had a fantastic afternoon – thank you Erika & Beshley.¬† I’m off to knit!

Links:

Erika Knight

Beshley’s Wool Shop

Rowan Yarns British Sheep Breeds Range

Have a fun weekend!

Claire x

Cosy Autumn Knits

With the start of autumn and the girls¬†back¬†in pre-school and school after a busy summer holiday, I’ve been able to get back into¬†some knitting again.¬†¬†¬†Crochet seemed to be our family craft of choice this summer – I’ve been¬†spending¬†lots of¬†time on Instagram¬†with the lovely¬†ladies¬†taking part in¬†the Homely Blanket Quest crochet along.

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Check out my friend Heike’s fabulous blog www.madewithloops.co.uk for details – its not too late to join in!¬† ¬†I’m still very behind on my squares but¬†I’m hoping to do a spot of crochet on a Monday evening – I might just have found a sneaky window of opportunity whilst listening¬†to my daughter having her piano lesson!¬† I’ve just noticed that I’ve been drawn to using lots of blues and pinks¬† – maybe I’ll have to introduce some more bright and cheery colours now that the nights are drawing in.¬† What do you think?

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Autumn and Winter Knits are now firmly on the agenda and I’ve loved looking at lots of¬†new¬†designs and scrummy yarns for the new season.¬† So much choice, so hard to choose!¬† Have you got any favourites?

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I’ve also been working on a little design challenge that Rowan set their¬†ambassadors recently.¬†¬† The brief was to design an item using¬†just one skein of the new Rowan Amore or Rowan Amore Shimmer.¬† More about this in another post ūüôā

This month I’ve finished off my pair of Elton Fingerless Mittens¬†that I started whilst on holiday in Dorset.¬† You can never have too many pairs of fingerless mittens – or is it just me that really feels the cold!?

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You can find the pattern in the new Rowan Warm & Toasty Collection which is full of really fab accessories including snoods, capelets, scarves and hats that are easy to knit and use the gorgeous Chunky Alpaca and Tumble yarns, which are super quick to knit up.  The Elton Fingerless Mittens can be knitted using just one skein of chunky alpaca or a similar weight yarn.

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elton mitts

I’ve also finished the Gala Loop Scarf ¬†also from the Rowan Warm & Toasty Collection, using Rowan Tumble in Amethyst.¬† The pattern calls for two skeins of Tumble, but I think a just as lovely scarf could be¬†knitted using just one skein as I have a lot of Tumble left over.¬† Its a super warm and cosy yarn made of 90% alpaca and 10% cotton –¬†this scarf will be great for¬†the cold weather.

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My order of Rowan Cocoon¬†arrived this week – I’ve just started¬†knitting Derwent from the Rowan Autumn Knits collection, which is a lovely raglan and cable slouchy top designed by Marie Wallin.

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And some Rowan Wool Cotton – I just love this colour ‘flower’ – I have plans to knit something for my little girl with this.

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What’s on your knitting needles or crochet hook this autumn?¬† I would love to hear from you xx

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