Sunday, 19 April 2015

Seasonal Transition...

This time of year I find it hard to get into the swing of knitting for Spring/Summer! 

I'll be honest, before becoming a Rowan Ambassador, I hardly (if ever) knit for for the Spring/Summer season! Perhaps in my mind I couldn't correlate Sweater with Spring/Summer. Well, they all begin with S don't they? That's a Start! Another S!!!!

Living here in Southern Ontario, we have all 4 Seasons, but I have to tell you.....Spring and Summer just sort of fly by. Perhaps that is why I have, in the past, just kept knitting along on my woollen projects....saving them up for the first Snow fall in October (big smile here)! (ok, enough with the S's already!)

Here it is, April 19 and I'm still wearing woollen sweaters. Although it was quite warm early this week, today there was a chill in the air and I wore my Emley, probably (hopefully) for the last time until the Fall.

I've been thinking about Summer knits since I swatched the "3 New Rowan Yarns for Spring/Summer 2015!" Trouble is, I liked all of them! That didn't help me to focus on just one.  

Last year I used two new yarns to knit three "summer" designs......

First I used my three sample balls of Rowan's Silkystones yarn to knit a shawlette...perfect to keep the chill off....either while outside on a summer evening, or while in the cool of air conditioning! 

"Brassy Kerchief"

Ravelry Project Page
Archive Blog Post

I loved the Silkystones yarn so much, that I decided to knit a Summer cardigan....which actually looks great with the tri-coloured shawl!

"Sunburst over Grassland"

Ravelry Project page
Archive Blog Post

Then I decided to swatch with the Pure Linen, and oh my goodness, much to my surprise I LOVED IT!

"Mermaid at Byron Bay"

Ravelry Project Link
Archive Blog Post

So while I was deciding on which one, two or three of the new S/S 2015 yarns to knit, I totally fell in love with...

Pure Linen 399 Patagonian
(one of the 3 new shades for S/S 2015!)
Isn't this an absolutely gorgeous shade!
This photo was taken with the late afternoon light
highlighting the subtle lustre of this yarn!

Seriously, the shades as shown on
just don't do this yarn justice.

When the RA's were visiting the Rowan mill last summer,
we spied these new shades in the yarn room!
Yes we DID!

I can tell you that there was quite a bit of
girlie squealing going on!
Yes there was!

I love these new brights....they are a perfect
addition to the fabulous neutrals in this yarn....see them all here.

While I was tempted to try my crochet skills on this gorgeous top
"Sieci" from Magazine 57,

I decided to do another fabulous Lisa Richardson design
 from the "Pure Linen Collection"

Can you guess which one?

Once I started, I have been knitting like mad!

Soon I'll have a new blue summer sweater to add to my wardrobe!

What about you? Are you knitting something summery? Tell me about it!

Happy Knitting,

(with Lackie and Daisy at her feet)

Monday, 30 March 2015

Understanding Crochet with the Rowan Spring Crochet Along!

Rowan's Spring Crochet Along - Week 1 Motif!

Rowan has run two blanket knit-a-longs; the first a Martin Storey patchwork type design, followed by the Kaffe Fassett Geometric blanket design. I have done both! My Martin Storey afghan is finished and is used every night when watching tv after the heat has turned down. My Kaffe afghan is all knit up, just needs to be sewn together. I intend to have this done by next Fall. 

In the meantime...

So, it was exciting to hear that Rowan had chosen Spring Crochet Along, and who better to design it than Lisa Richardson!

I am not a crocheter really, but this has spurred me on. While I'm not doing the CAL itself, I am going to use the motifs to fine tune my crochet skills.  It would be nice to be able to look at a crochet design and understand the instructions. Then if you loved it, you could crochet it. Well, that's the plan! :)

I can hold a crochet hook and make the basic stitches, and granny squares, no problem! But frankly, reading a crochet pattern had always been way over my head. When I heard about the Crochet Along, I knew right away that it was an opportunity to hone my crochet skills, including reading those dreaded crochet instructions (dreaded to me that is)!

In preparation, I scoured the internet for on-line crochet lessons. Of course, YouTube was the place to go and I wasn't disappointed.

My first stop was the Rowan Yarns YouTube channel for their Crochet Video play list...I love the adorable English accent of the demonstrator. 

Then I found an on-line Crochet course put together by fellow Canadian, Michael Sellick of "The Crochet Crowd". His 24 part "How to Crochet" video series shares everything you need to know to help you learn to crochet! 

Michael is a former truck driver turned full-time Crochet Crowd guru, he has his own style of teaching....very detailed, patient and down to earth...I think anyone could learn to crochet from these videos. 

So, with my handy crochet guide in hand and with my iPad and the you tube videos, I sat down and learned to crochet...yes I did!

For these "learner" motifs, I am using Rowan's Big Wool (from stash), which enables me to "see" what I am doing

The CAL uses the absolutely gorgeous Summerlite 4ply.

My multi-discipline fibre friend Ros is using Rowan's Summerlite,
and don't her motifs look wonderful!

Lisa Richardson has put together three different colour ways - Vibrant, Pastel and Blues - you can see them on the shopping list here.

Summerlite comes in 12 gorgeous shades....not a huge palette, but enough to create a colour way that suits you!

What about 3 darks and a bright? Or the 3 lightest with a bright? The 3 lightest with a dark? What about taking the first column and adding one from the second? Looking at these shade you can imagine all of the colour combinations you could come up with! OOH, radical thought, what about just one sophisticated would that be?

So, while I am NOT doing the official CAL, I am going to be doing each motif as a learning experience. Crochet is HOT HOT HOT right now, and I am feeling left out of the action :) 

What did Motif 1 teach me? 

Well, I tell your week 1 motif pattern at hand? Skim down through the instructions....Round 1, 2, 3, 4...right down to Round 7. Then you see it, a description of what the finished motif looks like.....

Completed basic motif is a hexagon shape. In each of the 6 corners there is a ch sp, and along each side, between these ch sps, there are 14 tr (dc). 

Always read to the end of the pattern first! Knowing what you are aiming for helps you to get set up right on that crucial first round! 

I am totally looking forward to Motif 2, which will be released on Friday, April 3.

Until then,

Happy Knitting (or crocheting)

(with Lackie and Daisy at her feet)

PS:  What am I reading right now?

After finishing Stephen Booth's "The Devils Edge", I started (and have now finished) the next book in the series "Dead and Buried".  These books are known as "the Cooper and Fry" series. Two totally opposite lead characters for comes out in so many ways.
" 'He'd read too many spy stories, perhaps. Thought he was George Smiley or something.'
Cooper thought it was interesting that Mrs. Wheatcroft had referred to George Smiley when most people might have been expected to mention James Bond. It suggested she'd read a few Cold War spy novels herself. John le Carré, at least. If Diane Fry had been here, she wouldn't have noticed that. She wasn't much of a reader. "

#crochet #Rowancal