Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Dovestone Smallholding Knitted Shetland Pony

This knitted character is "Shetland Pony" from Dovestone Smallholding by Ella Austin. The pattern book is available from Ravelry as a digital eBook or as a printed edition from Baa Ram Ewe. The collection features 7 toy patterns and a play mat made with Titus DK Dovestone yarn from Baa Ram Ewe in Leeds, West Yorkshire.

After receiving a copy of the eBook from Ella and browsing the designs I knew I'd have to make at least one of the cute and irresistible characters. As I'm a fan of most things "Shetland" it became obvious  it had to be the "Shetland Pony". The other toys are Lucy Doll, Dabbling Duck, Fancy Hen, Plum Pudding Pig, Wensleydale Lamb, Moggy the cat and the Hedgerow play mat.

Dovestone Smallholding Image copyright Baa Ram Ewe used with permission

Dovestone Smallholding Image copyright Baa Ram Ewe used with permission
Dovestone Smallholding Shetland Pony Image copyright Baa Ram Ewe used with permission

The pony pattern uses two colours. In the book it's grey for the main colour and a contrast of blue for the mane and pattern detail. Checking my stock of yarn I had just enough Debbie Bliss Bluefaced Leicester DK, in Grey and Burnt Orange and decided to put this to good use. The recommended needles are 3mm long dpn's. 

The instructions are very detailed, nicely laid out with lots of close up images of the finished items. I found the knitting relatively easy. There are a few technical skills required for the pony such as working with two colours of yarn, also grafting stitches and the book includes details. A 'cable cast on' was recommended for the pony legs. A new one for me and it has nothing to do with cables. The instructions are not in the book but a quick search online brought up a number of tutorials including a video. It's a very useful technique for creating a cast on edge which is not too tight and stretches. You start with a slip knot and use the working yarn to make the stitches, avoiding the need to measure out yarn in advance to cast on as in the long tail method.

Pony turned out slightly larger than I thought but that was probably more to do with my knitting than anything else. The best part was completing the knitting stage and putting him together. I found some heart shaped wooden buttons for the eyes. Wasn't too sure these would work but once I had them in position he really came to life, so to speak. 

Just for the photos I made a "stable" for him but in reality he'll be sitting inside on the sofa....

Monday, 22 February 2016

Retro 70's Look

Continuing the theme of knitted mittens on this blog, another pair came off the needles last week. The Bunty Mitts by Ella Austin have a retro feel to the design. It was the bold flower and leaf pattern that caught my eye. Very reminiscent of the 1970's wall paper and fabrics I remember from my childhood. They also look very cheerful for these cold, dull, winter days we're having here in NW Scotland at the moment.

The pattern is well written with a chart for the colour work. I needed to watch the tension as the yarn is carried across more than five stitches in places. Also needed a fair amount of concentration. I lost the plot a few times, pulling back the stitches more than once, but it was worth the effort re-knitting. I particularly like the strip effect on the thumbs with the smaller flower detail. My Bunty Mitts project details can be found on Ravelry here.

Here's the information on the yarn I used: Yarn Stories Fine Merino 4ply 50g balls in French Navy, Cream, Burnt Sienna. 

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Stylecraft needs you!

Image courtesy of Stylecraft

Stylecraft are looking to expand the range of colours in the Special Aran and Chunky range of yarns. The popular DK range is the starting point for colour choices, with more than 80 shades in the range. There's still time to nominate a colour before the end of February by clicking on the link here

The 12 most popular colours will be put to a public poll which will be launched on Mothers Day (UK 6th March). From these the most popular six colours will be chosen. The new shades will be launched in both Aran and Chunky ranges in October 2016.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Seven Skeins - Buachaille Yarn

When I heard Kate Davies was developing her own yarn range, I was interested to find out more about it and decided to sign up for the Seven Skeins club. It included the yarn, a book of patterns along with a project tote bag.

The new yarn range is called Buachaille, the wool is sourced from Scottish sheep and then spun in a mill in Yorkshire. The yarn selection that arrived in the post included three natural colours and four dyed shades. The yarn and patterns all have a Scottish name theme such as Haar, Squall and Highland Coo. I especially like the name "Between Weathers" (mid blue, second from the left in the picture).

The book includes 12 patterns for knitted accessories, 5 traditional Scottish food recipes and a detailed description of a walk around the West Highland mountain Buachaille Etive Mor.

Recently completed  were the "Pawkies" stranded mittens in the "Between Weathers" and "Ptarmigan" colours, I'm pleased with the way these turned out. The yarn is a pleasure to work with, it has a rustic look without feeling coarse, in fact it is very soft.


Enjoyed making these gloves and they fit well. I might be making another pair in a different colour combination.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Snowy days and winter knits

The weather has turned wintry. After feeding the sheep, a brisk walk in the snow, it's time for a cup of tea and sit by the fire, browse a magazine, finish a few knits and start a new project.

Typical view from the window over the last few days...

Typical view inside over the last few days...

The latest project is under way, another pair of socks. However, I did some research into a different pattern and found the Simple Skyp Socks by Adrienne Ku on Ravelry. Very similar to my favourite Simple Ribbed Socks pattern by Kate Atherley but with a herringbone type design incorporated into the rib. I'm using the Blue Moon hand dyed Indigo by The Border Tart. The stitch pattern is worked over two rows and very easy to remember. It's good to have something that's not too demanding, I can still look out of the window at the changing scenery and knit at the same time - in theory.