Friday 19 May 2017

Yarn Review: Cascade 220 Solids and Heathers

It's been a while since I dedicated a whole blog post to a yarn review so today thought I would share my thoughts on Cascade 220 Solids and Heathers. I have been crocheting a cowl this week using Cascade 220 Heathers and I am loving the feel of this wool!

Cascade Yarns is a family run business based in Seattle, Canada. Established in the 1980s, the company is passionate about producing high quality yarn at affordable prices. I received 2 hanks of Cascade 220 Heathers as part of an Instagram swap package with the theme of #imnotgoingtoeyfswap - for all those who felt they were missing out on the Edinburgh Yarn Festival (EYF) this year. I was partnered with Emma -  @eldenwood_craft - and was delighted to unwrap a completely new yarn that I hadn't come across before! At the time I had way too many WIPs on the go, so I popped the hanks on my wool shelf where I could clearly see them and have a think about what to make. 

Earlier this week I began crocheting a new cowl, following my own design idea, that required two colours and since Emma had sent me Fog Hatt and Mystic Purple I decided to go with these colours. My first task was to wind the hanks into balls and since I don't own a wool winder I set to it using the backs of two chairs. The 100% Peruvian wool felt lovely as it passed through my fingers and wound really easily without any knots or tangles and I knew then it was going to be a delight to work with!

My design idea transferred from my head to the hook exactly as I hoped it would (hooray!). The stitch definition of the Cascade 220 Heathers is perfect for this stitch pattern and would work equally well in any combination of Solids or Heathers - there is an absolutely stunning range of colours to choose from - have a look here

I have been using a 4.5mm crochet hook for this project, but my tension is extremely relaxed so I have written the pattern suggesting a 6mm hook to give the cowl some drape and flow. The yarn thickness is aran or 10ply which make it work up quickly. The 220 in the name refers to the length of the hank, 220 yards (200m). The Cascade Yarns website has many free, downloadable patterns specifically for this yarn and I am sure it would substitute in most cases where an aran thickness pure wool is required. 

So, I would thoroughly recommend giving this lovely wool a go, whether you knit, crochet, weave or use yarn in other ways. Have you used this yarn before? Or any of the others in the range? If you have, leave me a comment, I would love to read your views too.

Happy hooking,

Marta xx

Thursday 11 May 2017

My current crochet project

Hello! Today I wanted to share my current crochet project with you - it's a really colourful blanket which is sure to brighten up your day!

I began work on this toddler size blanket back in October last year using all the little scraps from my wool stash.

The individual squares are made up of multiple odd ends of wool, needle felted together to form a continuous ball and then crocheted in corner to corner stitch, before adding a neutral border. The needle felted join creates what I call Happy Scrappy Wool and it's very easy to make your own - I  have even created a You Tube video with step-by-step instructions here.

I very quickly became addicted to the process of adding squares and I soon had a 4 x 4 square blanket!

However, like a lot of my projects, the initial euphoria passed and the project was relegated to the WIP (work in progress) pile! It remained there until I dug it out last week and has seen lots of attention since then, in fact, it's almost finished!

The photo above was taken in my back garden at the weekend and the photo below was taken this morning, just 2 more squares to reach my 6 x 6 target! The next step will be to add a couple of rounds of cream before finishing with a colourful border. I keep changing my mind about how I want this to look because I don't want to detract too much from the individual squares. One thing's for sure, it's not going back in the WIP pile so I should be able to post a finished photo soon!

Until then, happy hooking,

Marta xx

Thursday 4 May 2017

In search of perfection ...

I am writing this blog post whilst taking a break from the 6th attempt at a crocheted cardigan pattern! Six times I have followed my own design, tweaking it slightly every time.

Take 1 (front)

Take 1 (back)

Take 1 was made in aran weight merino wool and I was so happy with how it had turned out especially the cable detail down the back ... but it was a little too bulky for a new baby ...

Take 2

This time I used DK thickness yarn and the result was so much better ... but the sleeves were too high up the body ...

Take 3

My next attempt was a teenie tiny version for my Sasha Doll. I had a tiny ball of 2ply alpaca wool and I decided to make a miniature version, just for fun!

Take 4 (photo credit: Niall Mitchell)

Back to King Cole merino blend DK, one of my favourite double knitting yarns, to have another go at sorting the position of the sleeves. In the above photo you can see how the pattern is worked from the neckline down. I conquered the sleeve issue and decided to try making it in the next size up (3 - 6 months) ...

Take 5 (back)

Take 5 (front)

The next size up worked out successfully. It took me a while to get into town and buy buttons for this one and the pink one but when I added the buttons I suddenly became aware that the front neckline was too high ...

Take 6

Take 6

I knew exactly how to sort the neck issue so began work on Take 6, using merino DK and going up a size again (6 - 12 months). My idea worked and I am now at the stage of sending this pattern off to be tested, hooray!! My perseverance with this one has been worthwhile, I have gained crochet knowledge and made a mini wardrobe of cardigans for my little niece, Agnes (she won't mind them being slightly wonky, will she?)

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