September 14, 2014

Hitofude + Madelinetosh Merino Light

There are so many fingering weight yarns to choose from in the yarn world these days. If you looked at my stash you would see that this weight of yarn is one that I have the most of.  You can knit anything in this weight from socks, to shawls, to cardigans. And the colourways available are spectacular.  For example look at this beauty that I just received in the mail:
Pigeonroof Silky High Twist Sock in Railroad Stake
I have it sitting on my desk and it makes me happy everytime I look at it.

But, one of my favourite reliable fingering weight yarns, that I go back to again and again, is Madelinetosh Merino Light, a single ply yarn.  Not only does Madelinetosh produce some amazing colourways but the way the yarn reacts to blocking is so impressive.  It truly is magic.

Take a look at my latest knitted cardigan (Ravelry notes here) that I just recently finished:  Hitofude. I am always attracted to patterns that will teach me something new and help me improve my knitting skills.  I had read a lot about this pattern and it's unique design.  Many people used Madelinetosh Merino Light.  I am always happy when I can stashbust and I happen to have had a number of skeins in a colourway named Teddybear, which is now discontinued, sitting in my stash. This pattern was so cleverly unique in its construction.  First I knitted a large rectangle:


Then I folded it and seamed the sleeves




Then I worked on the body.

Unblocked Hifotude


And then I blocked it and the finished cardigan looked like this:

The blocking just opens the lace up beautifully.




The whole time I was knitting Hitofude I was worried that it looked too small but this yarn blocked to the perfect size.  I could have made the sweater even bigger if I wanted to reblock it more aggressively but I was satisfied with the result.  This is a very verstaile cardigan that can be worn with a dress or skirt, but also more casually, with pants.  So if you are ready for a little challenge and can follow some basic lace directions I think this cardigan is one to try.  You won't be bored and you will end up with something very wearable.  And if you have never tried Madelinetosh Merino Light you really should. (That's my tip of the day!)

Now what shall I do with my Pigeonroof High Twist Sock?

September 6, 2014

Ginger Twist Studio


If you have been reading my blog for some time you know that when I travel anywhere I always visit the local yarn store if I can.  I can happily say that I was able to visit Ginger Twist Studio when I was in Edinburgh. 



This yarn store was a small, inviting place with a good variety of yarn.  The friendly owner, Jessica James, was there and happily answered answered any questions I had.  On display were the actual knitted pattern samples by the infamous Scottish native Ysolda Teague.  It is quite a thrill to be able to see the pattern knitted up in person when you have only ever been able to admire it on Ravelry.  Here are a few of her lovely samples:




Chickadee





Wee CarsonWee Leisel and Wee Chickadee

Ginger Twist yarn was the owner's own line of locally hand dyed yarn.  The colours were just beautiful.

Ginger Twist Yarn

After much debate I came away with this beauty:  Splendor, a fingering yarn that is 50% merino and 50% silk.  A beautiful combination of blues and purples.

Ginger Twist Splendor


The other kind of yarn I had heard a lot about was Bluefaced Leicester, a drapey and lustrous yarn. (See this article which explains the difference between merino and BFL)  Ginger Twist Studio carried West Yorkshire Spinners yarn and I ended up buying three beautiful DK skeins that are 100% Bluefaced Leicester.  I regret not buying a couple more skeins because this yarn is absolutely gorgeous and I would have loved to knit it into a cardigan.

West Yorkshire Spinners yarn:  100% Bluefaced Leicester

While travelling throughout the Highlands of Scotland sheep of all kinds were always out in the fields.  It was a thrilling sight for me, I have to admit.  I even visited a sheep farm and got to help shear a sheep.  I was going to add a photo of this momentous occasion but the photos my husband took of me were far from complimentary, as I was bent over the sheep.  You will just have to take my word for it : )

These collies were directing traffic

Everywhere we went in the Highlands sheep were in the distance










I wish I had more time to find stores that sold other yarn but the locations and shops we visited were sadly lacking in this area.  

Now to find some patterns for my yarn from Scotland....

August 31, 2014

Scotland Adventure Part 2: The Highlands

When we left Edinburgh we drove through the Highlands and eventually ended up in Glasgow.  I knew the Highlands would be beautiful but the views far surpassed my expectations.  Have a look:
St. Andrews Golf Course:  Swilcan Bridge




This is the view from the hotel we stayed in (see the sheep in the distance?  It
doesn't get better than that!)
Another view from our hotel


View from the Isle of Skye
View from a ferry as we returned from the Isle of Skye






The Clan Donald Skye Estate


We caught a glimpse of the infamous Jacobite Steam Train that runs an
84 mile round trip.



Eilean Donan Castle:  This is one of the many beautiful castles we saw.




We stopped in a small town called Carrbridge...Can you imagine living here and walking by this bridge everyday?

As we drove through parts of the Highlands we saw hikers walking along the West Highland Way.  Most people take about seven days to walk it.  It sounds like quite an adventure.

I couldn't get over how beautiful and serene the Highlands were...just miles of green, hills, mountains, farm, sheeps and cows.  What a different way of life these people have compared to the quick paced life many of us have in North America.  Yes Scotland, I will be back : )  Have I convinced you to go?

August 27, 2014

Scotland Adventure Part One: Edinburgh

We started our Scottish journey in Edinburgh:

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Church in Edinburgh Castle
The sound of bagpipes

This was a huge park full of putting greens...my husband wishes it was his backyard!

Holyrood Park:  we hiked up this hill and the views were spectacular

A view from the hill looking down at Holyrood Palace where Mary, Queen of Scots lived and where the Queen resides when she is in Edinburgh

Another view from the top of the hill

Walked to the top of Calton Hill and climbed up the Acropolis

Yes, I tried haggis...let's leave it at that!



Pubs on every street

Tea aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia 
(the yacht the Royal Family used for forty years before it was decommissioned)

Our favourite experience of the whole trip:  the Edinburgh Military Tattoo performed in front of Edinburgh castle.  The best show I have ever seen.

We had so much fun in Edinburgh, the sights were amazing....the beauty continued as we travelled through the Highlands....