knitmidleton

We're the little wool shop in Midleton with loads of yarn


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A New Aran Weight Yarn

My target customer in the shop is me, which probably means I tend to put a little too much thought into what we stock at times. However, I think and hope, that it’s what’s brings people from all over the country through our door?

For me as a knitter, there is always room for improvement and there been a couple of yarn qualities missing from our shelves that I would like to see including, a high percentage, wool blend aran weight.  So I’ve spent a lot of time researching suitable yarns initially, by looking at the fibre content versus the recommended retail price and the range of colours available.  When I’d narrowed it down to 4 yarns I bought samples to knit up, in order to access the finished fabric by comparing the stitch definition, drape and weight.

I know it probably seems like a lot of trouble to go to for one yarn, but this is going to be a staple in the shop, so it has to be right as there’s not enough room in the shop to have several yarns that do the same thing.

NewZealand

Of the four I knitted up, New Zealand from Adriafil came out top.  The 75% wool, 25% acrylic blend is a pleasure to knit with, it creates great stitch definition and produces a smooth fabric that’s not too heavy.  With some blends the acrylic can make the yarn look ‘shinny’, but there’s isn’t a hint of it with the New Zealand.

Each 100g ball contains a whopping 200 metres/219 yards which means very few are needed to to complete an average woman’s jumper.  I find it knits to the usual aran weight tension of 18sts by 24 rows on 5mm needles without creating a very dense fabric.  The colours are fantastic too, making it a great choice for babies and children’s knits too, not bad for €7.25 a ball hey?

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I’ve currently chosen 12 of the 38 available colours and intend to add more over the coming months and if there’s any you think we could particularly do with, please say.

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As I said I’ve had a play and have knitted up one of my favourite little patterns the In Threes sleeveless cardigan by Kelly Herdrich which is available on Ravelry for $6.  If you don’t have Ravelry we now have in store access too, so you can purchase your pattern in the shop, we’ll print out a black and white copy and send the pdf directly to your email address too.

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My bands look a little rough here :-(

Back to the In Threes cardi, it’s a great, speedy little knit.  Knitted top down, with minimal finishing this little garment is hugely popular with the knitters of Ravelry with nearly 4500 projects to date.  I’ve made six so far and count it amongst my ‘go to’ patterns.  This little one is for the smallest size 0 to 6 months and it’s very generously sized.  Having made this size before, I can confidently say that in most cases it’s a little more like 3 months to a year, so the baba will certainly get the wear out of it.

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It took one ball of New Zealand yarn in the lovely soft turquoise and the multicoloured buttons from Rico add a little something extra and are a move away from my traditional choice of wooden ones.

The little cardigan is on display in the shop so you can have a squidge and see how lovely the New Zealand yarn is.

Happy Knitting!

 

 


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Stripey or Stripy? Crochet Cushion

Apparently it can be either and Dina my word buff isn’t here to advise.

You might have seen a photo of the stripey crochet cushion I’d been working on in Stylecraft Lullaby yarn in my previous post?  I’d already knitted some baby booties with the yarn when it first came into the shop but hadn’t gotten around to crocheting with it and as it’s being cleared now, there was some urgency.

When I first saw the yarn the colours reminded me of the palette used in a lot of the Cath Kidson products and instantly brought to mind stripes, so after much picking and choosing I opted to use 11 shades for my cushion(s).

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Top row – Winter White, Primrose, Rosebud, Opal &nDeep Blue Bottom row – Candy, Cloud, Spearmint, Berry & Ivory On top – Sand

My crochet is not the best, give me any kind of knitting and even if I haven’t worked the stitch before I’ll figure it out, but I can’t say the same for crochet.  Yes I can work out how to make the stitches, but counting the ones I’ve already worked is something I just can’t get the hang of.

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See it’s wonky

Wonkier still

Wonkier still

Using a 4mm hook I made 54 chain stitches and then 2 more for turning to count as 1 dc.  In the top photo I changed my colours after the first four rows and then every 2 rows until I reached the last 4 rows which I worked in one colour again.  (The photo should actually be the other way round as I started with the red and finished with the lemon.)

Anyway, there are 60 rows because I wanted it to fit very snuggly around the 16″ cushion I bought, which is now a rather plump 15″.

For the second side I changed the colours every 4 rows.

After weaving in my ends it became obvious how little attention I’d paid to my stitches, particularly on the second side (embarrassed).

Undeterred and because time is in short supply round here,  I joined 3 of the sides using double crochet with the right sides facing out.  I then squished the cushion inside and holding the remaining edges together with pins I continued to crochet round, cutting and sewing in the ends when they met.

Oops! Nearly forgot to say that I crocheted an extra chain at the corners so the stitches didn’t pull too much.

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Not sure it’s too obvious how wonky it was to begin with now.

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Would have preferred it if I had managed to find a cream cushion though.

Not too bad for a couple of evenings work and as you might expect, I have quite a lot of the yarn left so I can make another one to match.  Wonky edges and all.

Sitting happily on The Green Bin :-)

Sitting happily on The Green Bin :-)

Happy Knitting! maybe that should be happier knitting?


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Introducing The Big Green Bin

Many of you have enquired as to when Stash Dash will be taking place so you can stock up on woolly bargains in time for Christmas gift knitting.  Sadly, as a result of many things including the refurb, Food Festival, Yarndale and family issues it is not going to be possible to organise the event properly.  So I’ve been wracking my brains for a way to clear the yarns we’ve been putting by, but to still give it a bit of a buzz and ensure you all get a good bargain.  Cue The Big Green Bin.

Before you meet I feel it only right and proper to give you a brief history on The Big Green Bin.

The bin has been with me for a little less than 24 years. I bought it, along with it’s twin, to use to store my then baby’s toys. Since it was first purchased it has been rather well travelled and used and ended up at my dad’s for quite a long time, because it kept things safe from the mice that attacked everything in his Lock Keeper’s Cottage.

When my dad died it came back to me and since then it has again been keeping things safe from the mice, moths and damp, this time in one of our outdoor storerooms.  I’ve been using the bin to store…… yarn, no surprises there I guess.

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The bin, as you will see in the shop, is not your ordinary refuse type of bin you can buy now, oh no.  It’s extra sturdy, smooth and really rather cool (as bins go).  Being 24 years old it’s stood the test of time rather well and I’m unsure you’d be able to tell its age just by looking at it.  Talking of 24 year olds, something, or should that be someone, else that’s 24 is Dina, who I rather bullied into this for me.

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Isn’t she lovely? Bless her she had a stinking cold too.  In case any of you are wondering yes, that is the scarf I made her a while back and even more exciting, she’s wearing a pencil skirt her brother made her.  Yey!

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Me thinks she’s slightly sad about being put in the bin ;-)

Anyway, I digress (something I do far too much).

The plan is to use The Big Green Bin to clear yarn, but and it’s a big but, the clearance yarn will only be available at the much reduced price for 1 week. Some will even be less than our usual Stash Dash price of €3 per ball.  That means you have to grab it while you can, come in, send someone in or get it sent by mail order.  However, you do it, if the yarn is something you want act quickly.

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Our first yarn to go into the bin and be available until we close on Saturday 11th October is…….

Stylecraft Lullaby for €2 per ball.

I wrote a post about the yarn including all the necessary information and photos of the shades last year and you can find it here.  To be honest I’m only having to clear it because we just don’t have the space since the refurbishment and I had to choose which yarns to let go.

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I’ve been having a bit of a play with it over the weekend and have been using it to crochet up a cushion cover for the shop. There’s still a bit to do, but I’m finding Lullaby lovely to work with and the colours seem to lend themselves well to being striped.

Happy Knitting and/or Crocheting!


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Red the Hedgehog

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As you’ve probably come to expect from us now, Dina and I have named this little fellow Red.

He’s joined the ranks of sparkly hedgehogs that seem to be taking over the world of knitting due to the popularity of Tinsel Chunky from King Cole.

tinsel ball

 

Tinsel Chunky is 100% novelty and as the name suggests it’s been developed with Christmas in mind, think Christmas decorations, hats, boot toppers and of course hedgehogs.

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This little guy took a very small amount of the ball and I used white double knit yarn from my stash, with a touch of grey for his eyes and nose.

tinsel

At the moment we’ve only had 5 of the shades available arrive in because it’s completely sold out at the mill as hedgehog mania takes hold.  Each 50g ball contains 70 metres of yarn and the recommended needle size is a 6mm, however, the hedgehogs body is knit on 5mm’s to make it more dense to keep the toy stuffing securely within.

hedghog kc

 

Cute and fun, what’s not to like and in case you’re wondering Red is the smallest hedgehog.  Hand on heart he took around 3 hours in total (if not less) to knit, stuff and sew making him great for a last minute gift.

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Happy Knitting!


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Rico Glo Worm

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It’s definitely knitting season here in the shop, with everyone eagerly awaiting the new stock. One of the more unusual yarns to have come in so far is Glo Worm from Rico.

Glo Worm is a slightly off standard yarn, somewhere between a chunky and a super chunky weight with a twist. The twist being a separate reflective thread that is wrapped around the main coloured strand. The yarn has been developed just in time for the darker mornings and evenings and it’s super soft so even the fussiest of children can be persuaded to wear it.

The recommended needle size is a 7/8mm with a tension of 11 stitches to 14 rows. The fibre content is 54%acrylic/30% wool/16% glass fibre and each 100g ball contains 110 metres for €8 each.

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We are still awaiting delivery of a couple of the colours but so far there have been 5 arrive in and I couldn’t resist knitting up a quick hat for the shop.

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Not the best photograph but I was trying to show the reflectivity of the yarn (think it’s worked a bit).

The pattern is called the Teo Hat and it’s available free on Ravelry and includes sizes newborn, small and large.  It’s a lovely quick knit and I have loads of yarn left to knit a quick neck warmer up too.

 

Happy knitting!

 

 

 


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Wendy Serenity Chunky

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Wendy yarns have really pulled out all the stops this season, first there was the rather lovely Ramsdale double knit yarn that I spoke about in my last post and now there’s Serenity Chunky.

As the name would imply the yarn is a standard chunky weight and suitable for patterns using a tension of 14 stitches to 20 rows on 6.5mm needles.  Made from 20% Fine Alpaca, 10% Wool and 70% Premium Acrylic the yarn is super, squidgy soft and due to a some kind of manufacturing process the Alpaca is thrown to the surface of the yarn which gives it a fantastic lustrous look.

sernity colours

There are 13 autumnal shades to ‘oo’ and ‘ahh’ over, if you’re anything like me that is?  Each 100g ball contains a generous 140 metres and costs €5.90 making it a very reasonably priced yarn for al your chunky projects.

As you might have already guessed I’ve been frantically knitting garments to display the new yarns in the shop and at this time of year there tends to be a good few of them to get through.  As a result I looked around for a small persons garment to knit using the Serenity Chunky and decided to go with Snug by Hinke.  The pattern costs €4.50 to download however, there is also an aran weight version of the pattern available and you can purchase both versions as an eBook for €6.

(I should point out I haven’t blocked my little Snug cardi in these photos)

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The cardigan has been cleverly constructed to have minimal seaming at the back of the neck and over the shoulders and contains references to all of the techniques included, which include using a provisional cast on and grafting.  There are 4 sizes – newborn to 4 years and the stretchiness of garter stitch knit sideways will ensure the cardigan is nice and roomy, so it will last for some time.  The design element of the fold back cuffs also means they can be rolled down as little arms grow.

I made the second size and used about 2 and a half balls of the Serenity Chunky.  There is a little finishing up along the front borders in crochet which I took up and around the hood because I like the look of it..

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Last but not least are the oversize toggles, which I couldn’t resist sewing on with lime green yarn for a little bit of extra interest (not that it’s very clear in the photos).

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Overall it’s an interesting little pattern, great for learning new techniques if you’ve never used them before and as there are over 1500 projects on Ravelry it’s obviously quite a popular choice too.

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Happy Knitting!


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Wendy Ramsdale

Ramsdale ball

Yes it is as lovely as it looks.

Ramsdale is one of the new yarns released by Wendy for Autumn/Winter 2014.  It’s a pure wool, double knit yarn so as you would expect the recommended needle size is 4mm with a knitted tension of 22 stitches to 28 rows.

Each 50g ball costs €4.99 and contains 112 metres of woolly goodness, which should of course be hand washed.

ramsdale shades

There are 10 Autumnal shades in the range, sadly the first hasn’t arrived in after stock issues with the manufacturer.  This little glitch is made even more annoying as it’s the shade I’ve knitted up as a sample garment (Grrr).

However, the garment is lovely.  Some of you might have caught my sneaky photos on Instagram of it being knitted and then blocking in the sun?

The pattern is called Poolside by Isabell Kraemer and costs €4.90 on Ravelry.  Knitted top down the design is detailed and easy to follow and contains instructions for seven sizes from XS to XXL, I’ve made the small (35″ chest) as the top part of the jumper is meant to be fitted.  In total I used 9 balls of Ramsdale having knitted it slightly shorter, to fit my 5ft 3″ frame and I blocked it quite vigorously to open out the lace.

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Before

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After

I loved the look of the lace pattern before blocking, but wanted the garment to have a more A-line shape to it, which I achieved by stretching and pinning it out whilst damp.

2014-09-11 11.15.17The good news is it’s on display in the shop for all to see, which is bad news for me, because I won’t get to wear it for a good while yet.

Happy Knitting!

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