Wednesday, 7 November 2018

'A Year of Handknit Socks' - using self striping yarn

Hello lovely readers and a huge thanks to those who joined in with October's sock theme #octobervanillasocks. The winner was Amanda @thecalmnookcrafts and I have posted her prize to Australia. 

It was a treat to see your lovely knitted socks and I hope you can join in too for November. This month the theme is self striping socks, so grab yourself a ball or skein of self striping yarn and let's cast on.


If you share your projects, the hashtags to use are #novemberselfstripingsocks #yearofhandknitsocks #lynnerowe.
I shared my casting on and rib methods in a previous blog post here, and also how I work a standard heel flap and gusset here. Coming up soon are how to pick up stitches neatly for the gusset and how to knit a simple toe.

But in the meantime, here are a few tips for knitting with self striping yarn.

What is self striping yarn?
It's yarn that is dyed in long lengths of colour. When you start to knit, it changes colour to create stripes of a fixed length, which means that there is no need to change colour yourself (and no messy ends to weave in). 

Self striping yarn can range from two colours, to lots of colours. 
I love my teal and orange socks, using yarn from Black Horse Yarns, and my 'Mind the Gap' socks remain a firm favourite too - these are based on the colours of the London Underground, dyed by Trailing Clouds (all links are at the end of the post).
There is usually no graduation with the colour changes - they will just change from one colour to the next, to create crisp, clean lines.

Self-striping yarn is perfect for new knitters, because a striking and colourful effect can be achieved, with very little work.

Using self striping yarn for socks
The great thing about sock knitting is that both socks are identical, which means that your stripes will knit to the same depth for each sock. If you want your socks to match completely, you will need to make sure that you start your cast on at exactly the same point along the same coloured stripe. It isn't essential to have you socks matching. Many knitters like to knit with the yarn as it comes, without worrying about their socks being identical.

I don't mind either way, but I have a slight preference towards matching socks. Here's my method:

First, I always wind my ball or skein of yarn into a yarn cake. 
This helps me to see how the yarn is dyed and more importantly, if I wind the last few stripes around the skein, I can see how they will look when knitted up. Some indie dyers sell their yarn in balls that are already wound, or in yarn cakes, rather than skeins, which is really useful - and often they include a contrasting mini skein for heels and toes.
But you don't have to spend lots of money to buy a nice self striping yarn. Drops Fabel is one of my favourite yarns which is incredibly good value at just a couple of pounds per 50g ball, and there are lots of self striping colourways. West Yorkshire Spinners also sell great value 100g balls of self striping yarns, from shades inspired by birds and natures, to cocktails and Christmas colours. If you use contrasting heels and toes, you can often knit two pairs from one 100g ball.

With a yarn cake, I can also see if the first stripe of colour is a complete length, or whether it's slightly shorter than the other stripes. You can see that the Green in my West Yorkshire Spinner's Candy Cane yarn is slightly shorter than the Red and White stripes, so I didn't want to cast on with Green, as there was possibly only enough yarn for casting on with.
I decided that wanted to start my socks with a Red stripe at the top of the cuff. Because I use the thumb (or long-tail) cast on method, I always need to be mindful that I also need to use a long tail of yarn to cast on my stitches with (as well as the yarn from the ball) and this also needs to be Red. At the same time, I don't want to waste any of my Red stripe), so I try to make sure that once I've cast on my stitches, I only have a short amount of the cast on colour remaining (just enough to weave in). I know that for 64 sts, with 2.5mm needles, I will use approximately 58cm of yarn for one round of knitting, therefore when I made my slip knot I left a long tail of Red, approximately 60cm long, so that my cast on stitches are all Red. 
Casting on using the long tail or thumb method will have an impact on the depth of the first stripe, because you will use two rounds worth of yarn for casting on. 

I always make a note of where I made my slip knot so that I know where to start my second sock to make it match the first sock.

I'm not a huge fan of a solid colour cuff, so I tend to just start off with my self striping yarn, then use a contrast colour for heels and toes. 

For my #novemberselfstripingsocks I'm used Emma Potter's Dotty Socks pattern, which is a free pattern that you can find here on Ravelry. I really love the surface pattern that Emma has created. The little purl bumps result in a gorgeous texture that is quite soothing to run your hands over. 
So now you can make a start on your self striping socks - don't forget to share either a progress photo or a photo of your finished socks on social media (with November's hashtags above) to win this month's prize, which is A-ma-zing!!!. 

Kindly donated by The Loveliest Yarn Company, it's a copy of  their Sockmas book of festive mini socks to knit and decorate your home with. Along with a canvas tote and a few extra bits from me. These socks are incredibly cute and range from plain and simple stripes, to cables and stranded colourwork. I'm desperate to cast on and get knitting.

Next I will be showing you where to join yarn for your contrast heel and how to avoid the thin stripe at the start of the gusset, which is caused by having a lot more stitches to knit on each round. I often 'cheat' at this point to make sure my stripes are the same depth (I'll tell you more in my next post).

Here are all the links mentioned above:
Join my Ravelry Group to enter your vanilla socks
Christine Perry (Winwick Mum): Basic Socks (Ravelry)
Winwick Mum website
The Yarn Café (for your West Yorkshire Spinners Christmas yarn)
Lynne Rowe: Lynne's Perfect Socks (Ravelry)

Dotty Socks by Potter & Bloom
The Loveliest Yarn Company
The Yarn Badger

Happy stripe knitting,
Lynne



Tuesday, 23 October 2018

'A Year of Handknit Socks' - The Heel #octobervanillasocks

Hello lovely readers - I hope you're all keeping well. October is racing by and I wondered how your #yearofhandknitsocks are coming along. Are you making good progress with your #octobervanillasocks?

If you're not sure what I'm talking about, you can read all about my sock-along here:
My Year of Handknit Socks

I've been really pleased that some of you have joined in too. Thanks for taking the time to share your sock progress over on Instagram and Ravelry.

How to join in:
Each month, you can knit your own socks, following the theme for that month and enter via Ravelry or Instagram. I will pick a winner from the entries for that month/theme only, and prizes will range from sock yarn, to books and accessories.

EITHER: Join my Ravelry group (link is at end of post) and add your finished socks to the discussion page for that month.

OR: Post on Instagram and use the hashtags #yearofhandknitsocks #lynnerowe together with the hashtag for that specific month (for October, the hashtag is #octobervanilla socks). Also tag me @the_woolnest.

I will then be able to search for the hashtags and at the end of each month I will pick a winner at random. Prizes will vary from month to month and I will pay postage costs. If you enter on both Instagram and Ravelry, it will count as two entries (which means more chance of winning, yippee).


I'm using my own sock pattern called "Lynne's Perfect Socks" which you can download from Ravelry for free. 

Lynne's Perfect Socks on Ravelry

My progress is good. I have completed one sock and I'm working on the heel of the second sock, so I'm confident that I'll have them finished over the next week.
I really love the texture of a slip stitch heel - can you see how much it differs from stocking stitch? The long stitches are created by slipping the stitch instead of knitting it, which leaves a little strand of yarn sitting across the back of your knitting (on the wrong side). This lifts the stitch up slightly too, to create a ridged texture. The loop sitting on the wrong side also creates a thicker fabric, which is perfect for a heel as it won't wear through too quickly.

Here is the heel from the wrong side, showing the loops of yarn:
I've written up my tutorial below for my simple heel flap and turn, which may help if you haven't knitted socks before.

My Simple Heel Flap and Turn:
For socks knitted on 56 [60] [64] [68] [72] sts.
When you have finished knitting your leg (see my post here), you can remove the stitch marker that you were using to mark the beginning of the round, as you no longer need it.

Now continue to work in rows for the heel (which is worked on half of your stitches). I use 2 double-pointed needles (dpns) for my heel.
Row 1: K14 [15] [16] [17] [18], turn. 
Row 2: P28 [30] [32] [34] [36], turn. 
Slip remaining sts onto 1 spare dpn (or leave them on your short circulars - this is what I do). These stitches are the front (instep) stitches. Ignore these stitches whilst you work the heel.
Now work back and forth in rows on these 28 [30] [32] [34] [36] sts only for the heel, using 2 dpns. 

It is also important to slip the stitches as stated - either knitwise (inserting needle as if to knit) or purlwise (inserting needle as if to purl).

Row 3: Slip the first st knitwise, k1, *slip the next st purlwise (keeping yarn at back), k1; repeat from * to end, turn.
Row 4: Slip the first st purlwise (with yarn at front), then purl every st to end, turn.
Repeat Rows 3 and 4, a further 11 [12] [13] [14] [15] times.


You will notice that where you slip the stitches on the right side rows, that there is a small strand of yarn sitting across the back of the slipped stitch. 
This creates a double layer of yarn, and a thick fabric for the heel. It has a ridged on the right side, created by the slipped stitches.
After completing the straight rows of the heel, you will have a rectangular shaped heel. You will now 'turn' or 'shape' the heel, which is easier that it may sound. This will shape the base of the heel so that it fits nicely around your heel.

Shape heel
:
Row 1: Slip 1 st knitwise, k15 [16] [17] [18] [19], skpo, k1, turn.

 Row 2: Slip 1 st purlwise, p5, p2tog, p1, turn. 
Note: there is a gap between the stitches already knitted and the stitches waiting to be worked (near to my fingers) – use this as a marker for the following rows. 
 Row 3: Slip 1 st knitwise, k to 1 st before the gap, skpo, k1, turn.
Row 4: Slip 1 st purlwise, p to 1 st before the gap, p2tog, p1, turn. 
Repeat the last 2 rows until all stitches have been used up. 16 [18] [18] [20] [20] sts remain. 

Note: on the last 2 rows for some sizes, you will miss off the k1 or p1 at the end of each row.

Your heel will be 'turned' and you have worked short rows to do this. Short rows create a curve in your knitting.
And that's your heel completed. I have slipped the instep stitches from my short circulars to a spare dpn, so that I have my short circulars at the ready to pick up my instep stitches. My next tutorial will cover how to pick up the stitches and the instep/gusset shaping.
As always, I will refer you also to Winwick Mum's blog (link at end of post), because Christine is the 'font of all knowledge' on handknit socks and has a full series of tutorials and downloads, whereas I'm just showing you how I make my own vanilla socks.

I'm enjoying my yarn so much, and also looking forward to casting on my next pair, but I must be patient and finish my first pair!!!

Here are all the links mentioned above:
Join my Ravelry Group to enter your self striping socks
Christine Perry (Winwick Mum): Basic Socks (Ravelry)
Winwick Mum website
Black Elephant online shop
Lynne Rowe: Lynne's Perfect Socks (Ravelry)


Happy heel knitting,
Lynne








Saturday, 6 October 2018

Cast on for 'A Year of Handknit Socks' #octobervanillasocks

Hello lovely readers. How are you? I hope you've been able to find time to craft and relax. It's October already which means one thing - it's also #socktober which is the perfect time to share my new blog series with you called "My Year of Handknit Socks".

Introducing my new blog series:
Each month I will be knitting a pair of socks that feature a different technique. I will be showcasing sock designers, sock yarns, indie-dyers and suppliers of accessories, along with a few patterns of my own. I will be trying different stitch patterns, different heel and toes methods and even two-needle socks and long socks with leg shaping.

It's something you can join in with too, and I'd love to have you on board; plus there are some fantastic prizes to be won - what more could you wish for - socks and prizes!!! And you don't need to commit every month - just dip in and out as you please.


How to join in:
Each month, you can knit your own socks, following the theme for that month and enter via Ravelry or Instagram. I will pick a winner from the entries for that month/theme only, and prizes will range from sock yarn, to books and accessories.

EITHER: Join my Ravelry group (link is at end of post) and add your finished socks to the discussion page for that month.

OR: Post on Instagram and use the hashtags #yearofhandknitsocks together with the hashtag for that specific month and also tag me @the_woolnest. 

I will then be able to search for the hashtags and at the end of each month I will pick a winner at random. Prizes will vary from month to month and I will pay postage costs. If you enter on both Instagram and Ravelry, it will count as two entries ( which means more chance of winning, yippee).

What are the themes?
I've made a handy table so that you can save it off. We will be staring off with something simple and moving towards more advanced techniques as we progress.
Each month, I will remind you of the theme, both on Instagram and Ravelry and I will blog regularly, sharing my progress throughout the month and along with any valuable tips.

Getting started with a simple/plain sock:
The theme for October is a simple "Vanilla" sock, so share your Vanilla socks on Instagram with the hashtag #octobervanillasocks
A simple "Vanilla" sock is usually knitted all in one colour so there are no colour changes to deal with. The simplest sock is usually worked from the cuff down, with a basic heel flap and gusset, and a shaped toe.

I have written a pattern for a simple sock, which I use in my socks kits, and you can download it here so that you can use the pattern, along with my tutorial below.

Download Lynne's Perfect Sock Pattern

Alternatively, pop over to Ravelry and search for these free patterns, and see which suits you best. Christine Perry (aka Winwick Mum) also has a wide range of great sock tutorials over on her website, including a full tutorial for her Basic Sock pattern (link is at end). Christine is one of the leading experts on sock knitting, and she has kindly gifted a copy of her latest sock book (More Super Socks) as a giveaway prize. Exciting!!!!

What do I need?
For most sock patterns, you will need just a few items, and your pattern should list everything at beginning:
- sock yarn (usually 4ply yarn, but can also be 6ply, double knitting or even aran weight)
- a set of 5 double-pointed needles (often called DPNs)
optional short circular sock needles (23cm in length)
- 3 stitch markers (two can be the same , but one should be different to the other two)
- a wool needle for weaving in ends and for working Kitchener stitch (which is a sewing stitch that joins or grafts the toe stitches together seamlessly, without making a bulky seam. This is because the way that you sew will mimic the knit stitch, which is flat and smooth)
- optional wool wash (or use organic/baby shampoo or shower gel instead)
- optional sock blockers (to help shape your socks)

Note that an average pair of ladies socks will only use up around 60-70g of 4ply yarn, so there will be a nice amount left over to use in a different pair of socks, for the heels and toes, so nothing ever goes to waste.

How many stitches do I cast on?
Most sock patterns use a standard number of stitches for casting on. You will choose the correct number of stitches for your chosen size, from 56 (60) (64) 68) (72) stitches.

64 stitches will generally fit an average adult foot (shoes size 5-6), so working up from this, 68 sts will fit a medium foot and 72 sts will fit a larger foot. At the other end, 60 sts will fit a smaller foot and 56 sts will fit a child/pre-teen. But remember, we're all different shapes and sizes, so you may need to try a few sizes before you find the perfect fit.

The number of stitches you choose will determine the finished size of your sock, which you will aim to fit the measurement around your foot (when stood flat). You will need to measure the circumference at the ball of your foot, and look at the measurements in the pattern to choose the correct size.

Remember that the foot circumference of your knitted socks will measure smaller than your actual foot, because the socks will stretch to fit (they have negative ease).

If your pattern does not provide measurements, use the following as an approximate guide for foot circumference:

Child 18.75cm - Adult Small 20cm - Average Adult 21cm - Adult Medium 22.25cm - Adult Large 23.5cm

The length of the foot can always be adjusted to fit - you simply knit the foot until it measures the length required MINUS the toe, which is usually around 5cm in length (your pattern should provide the exact measurements as the length of the toe may vary slightly).

I you are knitting for a gift, use the following as an approximate guide to foot length, then simply deduct the length of the toe from your chosen measurement:

Generic foot lengths: UK 1 (20.5cm)/UK 2 (21.5cm)/UK 3 (22.5cm)/UK 4 (23cm)/UK 5 (24cm)/UK 6 (24.5cm)/ UK 7 (25.5cm)/UK 8 (26.5cm)/UK 9 (27cm)/UK 10 (28cm)/ UK 11 (28.5cm)

You will need to make sure that your tension is correct - most socks are based on a tension of around 8.5 sts per inch, which is the same as 3.4 sts per cm (usually written as 34 sts per 10cm)

My yarn for October's Socks:
For this month's sock, I am using a gorgeous skein of hand dyed yarn, called "Pride and Prejudice" from the lovely and incredibly talented Petra, over at Black Elephant. Petra is one of my favourite indie dyers and I have lots (and lots) of amazing Black Elephant colourways, so it seems fitting to kick off my #yarnofhandknitsocks with one of these.  My October socks are a gift for my daughter, for Christmas (I'm starting early!!!). She spotted the skein in my stash and said that she loved, so I know she'll be delighted with her socks. I love the pale green and heather tones, and every now and again, there are speckles of rich colours.
So let's get started with the cuff and leg. This post is all about casting on, joining to knit in the round and working the cuff. 

For some people, these word alone are enough to put them off. But please believe me when I tell you that it's not as difficult as it sounds. After knitting just one socks, most knitters are hooked. I use socks for TV knitting, as well as for mindful knitting and travel knitting. They're so versatile and small, so can be popped into your bag and taken anywhere. 

Most patterns tell you to dive right in and cast on over 4 double-pointed needles (DPNs). However, this is something I always avoid because it's quite a tricky thing - DPNS can get really tangled and twisted whilst you're trying to cast on over 4 needles.

So I have devised a different method, as follows:
Have your chosen pattern to hand so that you can start following it, and use my tutorial below for casting on.I use a short circular sock needle for my main knitting but also use a set of DPNs for casting on, heel and toe:
1. Cast on the required number of stitches onto one DPN, plus 1 extra stitch (even if your pattern doesn't say to do this).
 2. Knit the first row of your rib pattern, to the last stitch. For me, this is usually a [k2, p2] rib. Leave the last stitch unworked, then slip this stitch purlwise to the right-hand needle
3. Do not turn at the end of the row. The side of the work that is facing you is the right side (if needed, put a safety pin or stitch marker on this side so that you can clearly identify the right side).

4. Now that you have a little bit of weight on your stitches with the first row, it's much easier to transfer your stitches to 4 DPNs.

5. Starting at the opposite end of the DPN, slide the stitches off and split them evenly over 4 DPNs or slide them straight onto your short circular needle (this is the method I use).
6. Keeping the right side facing you, bring the tips of the first and last DPNs (or the tips of the first and last circular needles) together, making sure that you haven't twisted any of the DPNs around.
7. Now for the magic part - join in the round by slipping the top (unworked) stitch from the right needle onto the left needle.
8. If desired, place a stitch marker onto the tip of the right needle to mark the start of the round (I just use the tail-end of yarn, as I find stitch markers too bulky).

9. Knit the first 2 stitches on left-hand needle together as 1 stitch.
10. Continue in rib pattern as per your pattern. Now you have the correct number of stitches, because you have just decreased 1 stitch.

11. Continue knitting in the round to complete your rib, and you will find that the cast-on edge of your rib is nice and level where you joined the stitches and there are no gaps that need sewing up.
A rib of 20 rounds using a [k2, p2] rib, makes a really good fitting rib, but you can make your rib slightly shorter if you prefer - try 16 rounds. Or you can try a [k1, p1] rib, or even a [k2, p1] rib if you are knitting with 60 or 72 sts.

Once your rib is complete, continue working in stocking stitch for the leg (knit every round). I like my socks to be quite long, so I usually knit approximately 65 rounds in stocking stitch.

And the prize for October is: 
Taadaaa……..
1 ball of Candy Cane sock yarn (100g/400m) from West Yorkshire Spinners. This yarn is incredibly difficult to find, so when I found it, I bought 2 balls; one for me and one for October's winner, so that you will have a ball of self-striping yarn for next month's sock.

I hope that helps you to get started with your sock, and I will be back next week with the heel instructions.

Here are all the links mentioned above:
Join my Ravelry Group to enter your socks
Christine Perry (Winwick Mum): Basic Socks (Ravelry)
Winwick Mum website
Black Elephant online shop
Susan B. Anderson: How I Make My Socks (Ravelry)
Louise Tilbrook: Adult Socks For Beginners (Ravelry)
Lynne Rowe: Lynne's Perfect Socks (Ravelry)
Ann Budd: 8 stitches per inch Socks

Happy sock knitting,
Lynne xxx


Sunday, 9 September 2018

100 Pairs of Mittens - "Warmer Hands"


Hello my lovely readers. I hope you've had a great weekend and managed to sneak in a little bit of crafting to release your creative spirit. 

I've taken a few moments to pull together a little more information about my "Warmer Hands Project" for those who would like to help me in making 100 pairs of mittens, gloves or wrist warmers.  All links are at the end of the blog post.

My Warmer Hands Project
Fingerless mittens are perfect for wearing indoors, especially for the elderly, disabled or frail, or those suffering with long term health conditions, as well as families who live in poverty. hand and wrist pain/unable to afford heating/have poor circulation and full mittens and gloves and perfect for those who are homeless and are forced to endure the incredibly cold weather that we experience in Winter here in the UK. I'm aiming to knit up lots of pairs, based on my basic pattern, and will send them locally first (or at least within the North West Region) and will also send pairs to Knits for Peace, who distribute knitted and crocheted items both around the UK and to other countries.

I'd love to aim for 100 pairs of hand warmers, so if you have a spare ball of double knitting yarn, and a few spare hours, then it would be lovely if you could join in. There are lots of free knitting and crochet patterns on line too, so if you have a favourite, you can use those instead - the more the merrier (other patterns may require more than 1 x 50g ball). I've started Pinterest Board for other free mitten patterns that you could use too.
 

To make a pair of "Ruggen", you only need 1 x 50g ball of double knitting yarn that has as least 100m (some balls will have slightly more, which is even better, but 100m is enough to make a pair of "Ruggen" hand warmers). 


First, split this ball into 2 x 25g ball (one ball for each hand warmer), then follow the pattern below to knit your chosen size (measured around the palm). An extra small (XS) pair will fit a child/small adult hand of around 16cm, a small (S) pair will fit a teenage or small adult hand of around 18cm, a medium (M) pair will fit an average hand of around 20cm and the largest (L) pair will fit a larger hand of around 23cm (it fitted my husband and he has quite big hands). The pattern is essentially a rectangle that you can have fun with, by playing with colour combinations. I love this denim blue, matched with the coral and orange - a combination of Scheepjes River Washed and Stone Washed yarns.


When sewing the seam, I left 14-15 rows for the opening on my small pair for the thumb, which was placed about 5.5cm down from the finger edge. Download "Ruggen" here - my free pattern for fingerless mittens from one 50g ball of yarn.


I even added a little thumb with the small amount of yarn I had left over as follows: with the right side of mitten facing, pick up and knit 14 or 15 sts along one side of the thumb opening then work 4 rows in stocking stitch starting with a knit row (first row is knit row with wrong side facing - so it made reverse stocking stitch on the right side). Cast off, then repeat on the opposite side of the opening. Then simply sew the small seams together to create a shallow thumb. It worked really well. 

Of course, if you prefer to knit in the round, you can easily adapt the pattern - simply create a thumb by working in rows when you reach the base of the thumbs - around 14-16 rows should be plenty for the thumb gap, then continue in the round as before and add a thumb border if you want to.

Mindful Knitting

I love this design - it's so simple to knit and is the perfect mindful knitting project. Rows of knit and purl means that you can really become absorbed in the rhythmic movement of your hands, and the texture created by the reverse stocking stitch feels soft, warm and tactile. You can count each stitch as you knit, and try to reach the end of a row without letting any unwanted thoughts enter your mind. I find it incredibly refreshing to practise mindful knitting, and I would definitely recommend a daily 15-20 minute session if you can.

Where to send your mittens

If you want to join in, and if you are going to Yarndale this year, you can drop off your mittens at my stand (J164). Alternatively, you can send them to me (email me at lpp10@sky.com and I will end you my address - postage would be at your cost; hope that's OK), or alternatively, you could donate your hand warmers to a local charity or to a charity you would normally knit or crochet for, which would save us double-posting. 

Before you give them to your charity, please share a photo of your mittens using the hashtags #warmerhands100 #knitcrochetcreate #lynnerowedesigns and I will add them to my total. I will also create a new post on my Ravelry board where we can post out finished mittens too.

So here's to using up our yarns for a good cause, and helping people in the UK to stay a little warmer.
Have a great week, and see you soon.
Happy crafting,

Lynne


Links
Knits for peace
Scheepjes


Monday, 20 August 2018

It started with a ball .......


Hello lovely readers, how are you? I hope you've been able to spend some time crafting during the hot and glorious weather we've enjoyed here in the UK. I managed to sneak a bit of time here and there to sit in the garden, breathe in all of that lovely fresh air and knit and crochet (albeit with slightly sweaty hands!!!).

A new design commission
I've been spending a lot of time designing and knitting squares for a new Knit-along, and I can't wait to share it with you. I had lots of help with the knitting, thanks to Nicky for her patience and perfect stitches. I'm at the sewing up stage now - eek - I need to dig deep for a bit of patience. Mattress stitch here I come!!!

I chose to use Scheepjes Stone Washed and River Washed for the KAL blanket, primarily because the colours are gorgeous, they both knit up beautifully and are affordable and washable. Before the KAL is launched, I will share some sneaky peaks and how I chose my colours.


New shade of River Washed
Then, unexpectedly, in the post, I received a 50g ball of River Washed from Scheepjes in one of their eight new colourways. River Washed has two threads of different shades running through it, which creates a beautiful blend of colour. It's a cotton and acrylic mix, that is gorgeous to knit with and all of the colours are named after rivers.


The shade I received was called Tiber (958) and it's a mix of Teal/green and mustard/chartreuse. It's a warming, gentle colourway that I found really soothing on the eye. It's hard to believe that the fibre content is cotton and acrylic because it really does feel and knit up like wool (and it's perfect for fairisle).

The thing I love about River Washed and Stone Washed is that they contain a great metreage of 130m, which means you can knit a lot of stitches with just one ball and they both give amazing stitch definition.


What to make?

I pondered for a while as to what I could make, mainly to see how the colour knits up, but I didn't really want to waste the ball by just knitting and crocheting up a couple of squares that would end up in my 'tension square' drawer. Instead, I wanted to make a single project that used up all of the yarn, with no left overs, and I wanted the project to be really useful too.

Then as I was sat, sewing together my blanket squares, I had a light-bulb moment. Each of my KAL squares were around 19cm/7.5in, and I was surprised that each square had only used up around 20-22g of the Scheepjes Stone Washed or River Washed.


It struck me that the square fitted around my hand, so I could knit 2 squares from one ball and seam each one to make a pair of hand warmers/fingerless mittens, leaving hole in the seam for a thumb. I always use mattress stitch for my seams as it gives an invisible finish.


Warmer Hands
Then, as I cast on, I remembered a project that I had thought about earlier in the year, which I'd called my "Warmer Hands" Project, with the aim of using my stash yarn to knit or crochet mittens/gloves/hand warmers/wrist warmers for charity. I thought it would be a great way to work through my stash, with my "use it or lose it" campaign in mind.

So I'll soon be launching my "Warmer Hands" project so that you can join in too. In the meantime, here is my free pattern called "Ruggen" which means "Ridge" in Dutch (which is where Scheepjes is manufactured). In the meantime, I've attached the free pattern here for you so that you can join me if you want to. I will blog separately all about the project and what to do with your mittens.
Download your free Ruggen pattern here.


And don't forget to share your finished mittens with my Ravelry group. Click here to join the group.
I just need to knit up another mitten to finish my first pair and I'll only have another 99 pairs to go (edit - my daughter has claimed this pair, so I still have 100 pairs to go!!!).
That's all from me, for now, but I'll be back soon.
Happy Crafting,
Lynne xx


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Disclaimer

I received the ball of Scheepjes River Washed as a free sample and was not asked nor did I receive any payment to write this review. All views are my own.