Monday, 26 October 2020

Book Review - Elemental Knits by Courtney Spainhower

Sometimes you spot something that feels as though it's been written just for you. The perfect designs, the perfect yarn shades, the perfect shapes.

That's how I felt when I saw 'Elemental Knits' by designer Courtney Spainhower. And I was even more delighted when I was offered a copy to review for you.

Courtney has designed this elegant and stylish 20 pattern collection to enhance a minimalist wardrobe, so with these knitted staples and some basic and versatile wardrobe essentials, you will own a timeless collection of garments that won't go out of fashion and can be organised by seasons.

It's a really beautiful book and the main thing that caught my immediate attention was the colour scheme - pretty vintage pastels with some strong, solid colours mixed in to make the garments really versatile and wearable.
I had a look through to find a few favourites and to also see if I could use yarn from my stash for any of the projects. This was quite tricky as they are garments and therefore require a decent amount of yarn for each one. 
But I was really pleased to find quite a lot of projects that don't need huge quantities of yarn, and a little mooch in my stash has found some nice alternatives. 

First, there is the Cloria Shawl which is really delicate and pretty. I love the addition of the small collar, which is an unusual element to add to a shawl yet it works really well.

Then there is Gen, a lovely lightweight springtime pullover that requires approximate 460g of a DK weight. I unearthed some really lovely DK yarn that I'm sure will give me a similar finish, so I will swatch it up and check. It's Rowan Purelife Revive, a recycled yarn with a lovely drape, so it's definitely a potential alternative.

Yamka is another sweet, sleeveless pullover that requires surprisingly little yarn. I have found quite a few balls of Drops Fabel in my stash that could become this pretty pullover ..... decisions, decisions.

My favourite though is Hazan which is a dolman sleeved sweater with pretty beading detail on the sleeves. I really love the shaping of this gorgeous piece.

I love the book so much that I bought my friend a copy for her birthday, and we're intending to do a little knit-along and both knit something at the same time. We haven't decided yet which project, but I will definitely let you know when we get started, and maybe you could join in too.

I have to admit that I've never had a book before where I've wanted to knit almost all of the garments. This will be in use for a long time to come, that's for sure.

Full details are:
Elemental Knits by Courtney Spainhower (
Published by Interweave July 2020
RRP £24.99
ISBN 9781632506535

Here is an Amazon link: click here
Here is a Wordery link: click here
(at the time of writing, both were the same price -  I did purchase a copy as a birthday gift for a friend and it was cheaper than the RRP, so it's worth looking around for offers).

I hope you've enjoyed my book review, Lynne xx

Sunday, 4 October 2020

Bibbity Bobbity Pumpkin - Free Knitting Pattern

Hello my lovely friends. I hope you're doing Ok. At this time of the year I'm really loving all the pumpkins appearing on my Instagram feed and I was completely inspired to create a knitted pumpkin pattern to share with you.

We even passed a pumpkin field last week which was right next to the motorway, and it made me squeal with delight (I admit a little bit unnecessarily) and I think it's because here in the UK we're a little bit late to the pumpkin party. Traditionally, when I was a young girl, we would use turnips instead (although not quite as aesthetically pleasing or smelling - not to mention hard to hollow out!!!).

So without further ado, I'm so pleased to be sharing this really easy pattern with you for these adorable pumpkins. They’re so cute and slightly addictive, but most of all they’re great fun to make, and before you know it you’ll have a whole pumpkin patch.

Like most of my patterns, I aim to keep things simple so that you can really enjoy the flow of your knitting. With just a few basic stitches (knit and purl) you will able to create your own pumpkin in no time at all. 

I used a 50g ball of King Cole yarn (which was sent to me to try) and I used it held double to create a really squishy fabric. I only needed one 50g ball to make the large pumpkin and so it's a good economical make at around £1 per ball. It would make a great gift and you could use a cinnamon stick instead of a yarn stalk to make it smell really nice. Just push it firmly into the little indent/hole at the top of the pumpkin.

You can also dive into your stash and find those gorgeous autumnal left overs and the great thing is that you can use any yarn at all. Whether it’s Chunky or 4ply, Aran or Double Knitting, Wool, Cotton, Mohair or Acrylic - absolutely anything will be perfect. And if you don't have any thicker yarns, just use a thinner yarn held double.

All you need to do is to make sure that you use a smaller needle size than you would normally use for the yarn, so that the stitches are slightly smaller and tighter (so that the stuffing doesn't show through).

I found the best options were Chunky/Aran yarn, or Double Knitting yarn held double.

You can find the pattern over on Ravelry (the link will take you directly to the download).

Click to download your free pattern

I would absolutely love to see your pumpkins, so feel free to share them on Ravelry or on Instagram (@the_woolnest) or Facebook (@thewoolnest).

If you're not getting out and about at the moment, then these will be a slight distraction I hope. Happy pumpkin knitting and have a fab October.

Lynne xx 

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