Monday, 11 February 2019

Winning with Wool

I've been lucky enough to win wool not once, not twice, but three times!

The first time was an Instagram giveaway.  Wool shop owner and dyer, Jess, of Edinburgh's Ginger Twist Studio, teamed up with Australian pattern designer Clare from Knit Share Love.  They organised the giveaway to celebrate the launch of Clare's hat and cowl pattern book entitled The Tea Collection.  I've knitted this hatthese mitts, and these socks  from Clare's patterns previously so was already a fan!

The lovely prize included a Ginger Twist Studio mug, a selection of tea from Edinburgh purveyors Pekoe Tea, a wee box of beaded stitch markers, a selection of patterns of my choice from Clare and a beautifully soft skein of Ginger Twist Studio Aran Yarn.  I was overjoyed to win and knitted one of the patterns I chose, the Castlelaw Hat, out of the glorious plump British Blue Faced Leicester wool dyed by Jess.

My second prize bundle came from a charity raffle to celebrate the first birthday of Lucy Locket Land's yarn shop which is near Sunderland.  I've been following Lucy's adventures in wool on Instagram since her shop opened a couple of years ago and really hope to visit one day.  You can read Lucy's blog post about the causes she was supporting here.  

Amongst other prizes, I won a ball of the softest cream yarn which even had a photo of the alpaca from whence it came on the label!  I've knitted it into these fingerless mitts for myself, combined with the green and brown naturally dyed Colonsay Wool and I also made a charcoal and cream pair as a gift.

The third prize I was lucky enough to win was also through Instagram.  Another Edinburgh based fibre company, New Leaf Yarns, was celebrating a successful first year of trading last May and I won the lovely prize in their birthday giveaway - two skeins of their very own alpaca grey Shetland blend and a tote bag.

After much pleasurable pattern perusing, I decided to purchase two more skeins from Jane at New Leaf and make a Korat Sweater by Irish designer Carol Feller.  I needed three additional colours to team up with the silvery grey alpaca / wool blend and found just what I was after at the J C Rennie stand at Perth Festival of Yarn last September.  You can see I was spoiled for choice!

I chose three shades from the J C Rennie Supersoft Lambswool 4ply range - Cumin, Azure and Amaranth.  The sweater begins with a turned hem in Azure which is more straightforward to knit than my plethora of knitting needles might suggest!  There's a stranded colour-work section that required my focus but it's followed by some telly watching stocking stitch as the body progresses from the hem to the underarms.  My knitting was light and airy but so cosy on my knees!

All was progressing well - or so I thought - as I neared completion of the shoulder shaping for the back.  It hadn't occurred to me that there might be a variation in the colour of the grey skeins, as they'd all looked the same, but the difference as I changed from the first ball to the second was so marked that I had a clear line across my knitting and had to put this project to one side for a wee while until I could bring myself to rip it out!

Thankfully over the Christmas holidays, we watched a fair few movies at home as a family and I was able to take a big breath, pull out my stitches and re-knit the whole of the back from the colour-work section to the neck in the company of Pixar!  I knitted two rows from one ball, then two rows from the other, ensuring the difference in the greys isn't too noticeable and a gently marled effect is achieved instead of a harsh line.  

Look how ridiculously happy I am as I try it on even though I've only got one sleeve!

I put my own stamp on the design by incorporating all three of the contrasting colours of my J C Rennie lambswool into the sleeve design.  The i-cord cast off was a new technique for me and gives the cuffs a really neat finish.

I finished the neckband in the same fashion, picking up with the Cumin shade and casting off in Azure.

Here's a peek at the inside of my jumper with its turned hem as I wove in my ends and a glimpse of what stranded colour-work looks like on the wrong side.

This is the tah-dah moment when I tried on my new jumper for the first time!  I really love it -especially with my one of my wardrobe staple White Stuff skirts.

If you're ever in doubt about entering a woolly giveaway or a yarny raffle - go for it - you never know what you might be lucky enough to win and make with your prize!

Oh, and just so you know, I'll be alternating skeins in future projects from now on.  Lesson learnt!


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