Sunday, 27 October 2013


 October 2013

One of the many things I love about my in-laws is the fact that they live within striking distance of the Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop. Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop yarns are not very widely available - the only places you can usually find them are fancy high-end "catering to your inner yarn snob" shops like Baa Raw Ewe and iKnit, and you tend to see a pretty steep mark-up at places like that.

Here's a close-up of the yarn, which might help to explain why. This isn't the softest wool in the world, but it is silky and drapes more beautifully than any other wool I've seen. And the shades into which it is dyed are so, so pretty. The fact that something of such sheer quality is produced and dyed locally to me makes me feel so proud of my part of the world.

At the Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop itself, aran can be obtained for £6.10 per 100g, but they don't have an online ordering system set up. Basically circumstances conspire to make you visit in person if at all possible. Wensleydale is a beautiful place for a drive, though, and the shop itself - attached to the side of a farm down a long quiet country road - is a charming and very friendly nirvana for fibre lovers.

I'm talking myself into going back there very soon, aren't I? The fact that I get to drop the baby at my mother in law's house en route, for a bit of proper quiet, quality shopping time when I go there only has a little bit to do with my love of the place. Honest.

I'd intended to use this yarn to make Fara by Amy Christoffers, on reflection I decided that that pattern would look better in a different colour combination. Possibly blue and white, which is what I'd intended to buy in the first place. By that stage, I'd worked a swatch which included two wide stripes, and I thought they looked great together. Then I found a free pattern for a relaxed-fitting striped sweater with a neckline I thought would flatter my figure and which utilised a technique I hadn't tried before (contiguous sleeves). 

That, as they say, was that. Helloooooo Driftwood.

Pattern: Driftwood by Isabell Kraemer
Yarn: Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop Aran
Colour: 106 (Pale Green) and 124 (Sage)
Amount: 3 skeins and 3.5 skeins
On ravelry: here

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Daniel's Pirate Mashup

July 2013

This jumper was pretty much improvised with a little help from 3 or 4 existing patterns, and so I've set out in as much detail as I can how I did it below. I should add that I’m not a designer, this hasn’t been tested and my maths is terrible.

The skull and crossbones chart (14 stitches by 11 rows) is from We Call them Pirates by Adrian Bizilia, and the ship chart (33 stitches by 33 rows) was my feeble attempt at an approximation of the chart from Solbjørg Langnes 0601-20 Pirat, as I was unable to track down a copy of the pattern.

Gauge: 24 stitches and 28 rows = 4”


Chest: 32” (width set by no. of stitches in ship chart, which is 33 (x 3))
Length: 17”
Armhole: 6.5” (76 stitches)
Sleeve: 10.5”

Not a standard size, but I’m fairly happy it will fit the recipient. I tried to make sure each of the measurements was at least an inch or so bigger than the corresponding measurement in a 4 - 5 year old sized sweater I have queued (Lucinda Guy’s Big Digger).


With dark grey DG, cast on 98 stitches, place marker, cast on 98 stitches, place marker, join to work in the round.

Work 8 rows in 1x1 rib, then 8 rows stocking stitch. Join cream yarn and work skull and crossbones chart over next 11 rows. 14 repeats of chart in total (98 x 2 / 14 = 14).

After completing skull and crossbones chart, work 4 rows in DG, then switch to dark blue.

Increase 2 stitches in next row to make 99 + 99 stitches. This is because the ship chart requires a multiple of 33.

Then work evenly until work measures about 10” from cast on edge.

Switch to light blue and DG and work ship chart over next 33 rows, and at the same time, when work measures 10.5”, divide for armhole by putting back stitches onto scrap yarn and working front and back flat separately.

After finishing chart, work 7 rows even, and then shape neck, taking note of the number of rows from the end of the chart to the top of the shoulder.

Neck shaping

Work 32, cast off until 32 stitches remain, work to end and turn.

On neck edge, cast off the following number of stitches on next 4 right side rows: 3, 2, 2, 1.

Work even on remaining 26 stitches until work measures 17”. Place live stitches on scrap yarn.

Rejoin yarn to other side of neck, and match shaping.

Work back making sure that the number of rows from top of chart to end of shoulder matches up with front. On last row, place first 26 and last 26 stitches onto scrap yarn, but cast off remaining stitches.

Join shoulder seams with three needle bind-off.


With DG cast on 44 stitches and join to work in the round.

Work 8 rows 1x1 rib

Continuing in stocking stitch, increase 2 stitches every fourth row to 76 stitches.

Work even to 10.5” then cast off.

Sew sleeves to body.


In DG pick up and knit 98 stitches evenly around neck hole. Work flat in 1 x 1 rib for 6 rows, making buttonhole (k2tog, yo) at start of 3rd row. Cast off. Sew on button.

Yarn: King Cole Moods duet dk and King Cole Big Value dk
Colour: 821 (Dark Blue), 834 (Light Blue) and 466 (Dark Grey)
Amount: 1 skein of each
On ravelry: here

Saturday, 12 October 2013


August 2013

Once up a time this yarn was a Justina so hideous that I couldn't even bring myself to take photos of it, let alone blog about it. A lovely yarn and a lovely pattern, but they just didn't go together. It was rigid, and hung strangely, with not an ounce of drape. It just felt to me like the yarn didn't want to be quite so tightly knit, and after a bit of swatching with it, I discovered that I much preferred it at a looser gauge. So, what to make with the yarn that professes to be aran weight, but actually knits up rather beautifully at about 15 stitches per 4 inches? Why, Aidez of course.

THIS, I am happy with.

Mine is a pretty heavily modified version of the original pattern. I wasn't overly keen on the back panel, and so I replaced it with a freebie one I found here. And having read comments on ravelry to the effect that Aidez tended to come out a bit on the small side (possibly due to the schematic failing to take account of the way cabling makes fabric shrink in width as opposed to stocking stitch) I thought the addition of a button band would be a sensible modification to make. Also mine has waist shaping and was knit in once piece - the sleeves and body were joined at the armpit and decreases worked to reflect the raglan shaping. I'll try to put more detail on how exactly the mods were done onto my ravelry project page in due course.

I love this so much. The seed wishbone pattern on the sleeves and the two front panels is too pretty for words.  The pattern is a quick knit and a freebie. It's the first thing I've made for myself for ages, and I really think I'll get a lot of use out of it. It's warm, chunky but not unflattering. I can't recommend it enough.

Pattern: Aidez by Cirilia Rose from
Yarn: New Lanark Aran
Colour: Pebble
Amount: 6 skeins
On ravelry: here