a woolly wednesday. . .

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As the weather grows more chilly, things are becoming very busy round here — in a good way. I have been knitting and designing and writing for weeks now, in advance of a few new Winter releases. In a few days I will be publishing the next design in my Edinburgh Series of garments (which you’ll see hinted at above), inspired by the industrial and maritime heritage of Leith. This design is cosy and wintery and woolly and I’m very happy with it – I hope you like it too.

Additionally, I’ve been working really hard on some new seasonal accessory designs. . .

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. . . which will soon be available as kits in my online shop. Colours of Shetland (now in its second edition) is finally back in stock (hurrah!) , and I’m looking forward to it being joined by Snawheid, and several other jolly kits over the next couple of weeks. I’m developing these kits as something of an experiment, so you must tell me if there are particular designs of mine that you’d like to see available and I’ll see what I can do.

I’m also rather happy about a couple of vintage knitwear finds . . .

This jumper (an ebay find) is destined to become a pair of SWANTS!

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. . . and if you have seen Ella’s blog recently, you’ll know why I am unbelievably excited by this:

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Ye gods! It is indeed one of Margaret Stuart’s beautiful Spencer dresses and it is now in my possession! Seriously, this is a completely amazing garment (that fits me too) and I am incredibly grateful to Ella for enabling its acquisition. More of this anon.

In the meantime, here are a few woolly links for you this Wovember Wednesday:
Needle and Spindle‘s lovely post about Pelle’s New Suit – a beautiful children’s story from 1912 that tells the story of a jumper.
Caroline Walshe thoughtfully documents the process of growing, preparing, spinning and knitting a shawl from the fleece of Jake, her Jacob wether. This is one of the most inspiring pieces about process that I’ve read in a long time.
Equally inspiring, but for different reasons, is Cecilia Hewitt’s piece about her unique and very beautiful handspun yarn. Cecilia’s sense of place and colour has something truly magical and profound about it – but her work is also refreshingly grounded in the ordinary and everyday. “An intriguing patch of colour in the hedge turned out to be a crisp packet.”
Finally, via 60 North TV and the Shetland Times, a short video about this year’s Shetland Wool Week. Highlights include Oliver Henry talking about his work grading fleeces, and brief clips of Hazel, Tom, Sarah and, of course, Felix singing the Shetland wool song!

Ursulas

I always find it exciting when different iterations of my patterns are posted on Ravelry. This is particularly the case when knitters’ colour choices and personal modifications really transform the look of a design. Some amazing Ursulas have begun to appear which, because they have a completely different feel to my original, and also because they just look bloody lovely, I wanted to share with you.

Ursula was inspired by the shades of Shetland’s summer wildflowers, and the original had a pale, botanical palette.

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But Sarah knitted her Ursula with natural and sky-blue shades set against a background of midnight blue — creating a garment with a totally different feel.

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Sarah says: “I am completely in love with my Ursula. This was an awesome project from the very beginning, using one of my favourite yarns from JC Rennie and my own handspun. . .

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“Apart from completely changing the colours, I didn’t make any changes to the pattern, but accidentally knit the body at the narrowest point of my waist a little tighter, which gave me perfect and unintentional subtle waist shaping. It was the first time I’d tried a crochet steek (using the directions in Colours of Shetland) and it was joyous! I haven’t done a steek any other way since. I knit Ursula mostly on holiday, so its a lovely reminder of my trip too. I’m sure I’ll make it again in similar colours to Kate’s original, as the fit is absolutely perfect and it was so fun to make.”

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I particularly love the fact that three different breeds of British sheep are represented in this garment (Sarah spun the fawn shade from Masham fibre, the brown from Manx Loaghtan and the vivid blue from Jamieson and Smith Shetland tops). Her Ursula is ravelled here.

Next up is Georgie, who chose to knit her Ursula with a single contrast shade, rather than three.

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Georgie says: “My modifications were mainly due to yarn constraints, as I’ve been having to be thrifty, unravelling cardigans I no longer wear. I had already knit a cardigan in the three shades I used for Ursula (Marie Wallin’s Mika) a lovely cardigan I never really wore, mainly due to the style, I prefer a more classic shape for cardigans. Anyway, Mika was first in line when I was scouting around the house for suitable yarn for Ursula. . .

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. . . It’s knit in a combination of Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift (the green), then Blacker Yarns Alpaca/Shetland in cream for the body and grey for the sleeves. I could see while knitting that I wouldn’t have enough of the main colour to finish the cardigan as written, so I shortened the body so the ribbing started on my waist. The sleeves were also shortened due to my yarn levels, plus, I thought they would work best with the length of cardigan.”

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I was blown away when I saw Georgie’s Ursula how her use of a single contrast shade totally transformed the feel and look of the stitch pattern: in her cardigan, the zigzagging tri-coloured stripes of my original have become an allover with its own integral structure and continuity. I also really like how the cropped body and three quarter sleeves lend the garment an incredibly neat, vintage look. Georgie’s Ursula is ravelled here.

Finally, here is Rebecca’s Ursula, knit in four lovely shades of Jamieson and Smith jumper weight: 203, 118, fc14 and fc41.

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Of her modifications, Rebecca says: “I lengthened the body by simply adding an extra peerie repeat in green before beginning the armhole steeks. I also made the sleeves snugger by decreasing very quickly and then lengthened them a bit to come further over the hands.”

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Rebecca’s contrast shades really pop out against the grey background, and this garment feels to me like a refreshing change of key. I love the way that the colours she chose speak to one another, and find the juxtaposition of the complex plum tones of fc14 against the solid Spring green of 118 particularly pleasing. Rebecca’s Ursula is ravelled here.

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Ursula is one of my favourite designs in Colours of Shetland, and it makes me so happy to see knitters making it, transforming it, and enjoying wearing their own beautiful hand-knitted cardigans!

Digital Colours of Shetland!

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Today I’m very excited to announce the release of the digital edition of Colours of Shetland!
This means that those of you who wished to purchase a digital-only copy can now do so here, and that all of you who have already purchased the print edition can now use the ‘unique download code‘ in your copy to access your complementary digital edition of the book.

Here’s how to redeem your code.

First, open up the book. On the inside cover, you’ll find a sticker with your unique download code printed on it.

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Next, follow this link to the book’s Ravelry page. Click on the ‘buy it now’ button (highlighted below).

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You are then directed to check out. Click on the ‘enter coupon code’ button (highlighted below).

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Enter your code into the box, then click the “Apply” button.

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You’ll then see the checkout screen, letting you know that you’ve not been charged for the download. Click on the “Checkout Now” button.

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Finally, you’ll receive a receipt, and links to seven PDF files which contain the full content of Colours of Shetland. If you are a Ravelry member, these files are now stored in your library, and you’ll be automatically notified of any updates to future editions of the book. You can also download the files individually for reading on a device or computer.

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A final few points:
1) Happily, we haven’t found many errata or typos (there’s a full list here), but those that there are have all been corrected in the digital edition.
2) Otherwise, the content of the print and digital editions is exactly the same (that is, all patterns, tutorials, essays and photographs are included identically in the digital edition)
3) The patterns will not be released as individual digital downloads.
4) The book has a single retail price of £14.99: that is, the digital-only version of the book costs exactly the same as the print+digital version — so, if you purchase the print edition, then, like the happy Shetland sheep on page four of the book, you’re laughing!

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If you have any other questions about this process, please feel free to add a comment to this post, and I’ll do my best to answer!

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(image via Morgan Morgan)

Number of different countries to which Colours of Shetland has now shipped: 35
Number of US States to which Colours of Shetland has now shipped: 50*
Number of pompoms I need to make for my new design samples: 8**
Number of stitches I failed to increase when working from my own pattern: 20***

*I was very excited when we received orders from Hawaii and West Virginia, bringing the US State total to a nice round 50!

**I am almost as excited about my new design – Snawpaws – mitts and mittens to match Snawheid. (The pattern is written and we will hopefully be taking some photos this weekend. More soon!)

***I am somewhat less excited about having to knit yet another Snawheid (in a different colourway, to match one of the new pairs of Snawpaws). The other day I began to whip it up, and thought it was looking a bit wee, and only when I reached the crown shaping I did I realise my fatal error . . . this evening I shall rip back, and start again!

Industry

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Here’s what Mel, Gordon, Tom and I have been doing for the past couple of days. . .

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. . .when I tell you that this pretty pile is about 10 boxes shy of the total amount of orders we have processed just this weekend, you will have some sense of the scale of operations here at Colours of Shetland dispatch central. When the postie comes to collect them tomorrow, these books will be winging their way to Hawaii and Tokyo, Hamburg and Goteborg, Baton Rouge and Vancouver.

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But worry not, everyone — I’m getting lots of sleep, and next week I’m definitely returning to some knitting.

just popping in . . .

. . . to say that today is the last day to order a copy of Colours of Shetland if you would like it signed by me. I’m very sorry about this, but signing large volumes of books is proving to be extremely physically demanding as well as time consuming, and I’m afraid it can’t go on indefinitely or I will exhaust myself! No prizes for guessing the number of books I’ve already signed, but it is (ahem) a LOT. Hope you understand!

thankyou!

It is fair to say that I’m feeling a little overwhelmed and humbled this morning — thankyou so much, all of you, for purchasing the book and supporting my endeavours. It is incredibly exciting to see the orders coming in from all over the world, and Gordon and I are now working really hard to ensure that you all receive your packages very soon. I have to mention, though, that the volume of orders really is extremely high, and it may take us some time to work our way through everything. We have a good system in place, but please do be patient, as I imagine the orders we currently have will take several days to process. All overseas orders are being sent by airmail, so could I respectfully ask customers outwith the EU not to purchase more than four books at once as this takes the package over the airmail weight limit. Some of you placing large multiple orders may have been overcharged for shipping, and where this is the case I will refund you via paypal after your package has shipped. There are plenty of books in stock, so please don’t worry (as some of you have apparently been doing) about us running out over the next few days. If you place an order this week we will endeavour to ensure that, wherever you are, you have it in time for the holidays.

Well, I’d better get off to the post office with the next trolley-load of parcels. See you later xxx

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