Inspiring projects, inspiring patterns

As the summer draws to a close, I thought I’d round up some of the many inspiring projects that have been knitted in recent months from KDD patterns, and show you a couple of new designs in our yarns. Last week, Melanie Berg revealed a stunning shawl in Àrd-Thìr, which reminded me of the beautiful patterns two other talented designers have just released in Milarrochy Tweed.

The latest issue of Interweave Knits features Anne Jones’s Caramel Apple design – a gorgeous, quintessentially autumnal pullover combining eyelets and tiny cables. You might think that a nubbly, tweedy, single-ply yarn like Milarrochy Tweed wouldn’t suit this kind of pattern — but as Anne shows, the yarn takes textured detail remarkably well. I think there’s something really appealing about the way her design conveys neatness and cosiness simultaneously.

Do you remember the Tettegouche Tam? Designed by long-time friend of KDD, Virgina Sattler-Reimer, this was one of the stand-out hits of our Milarrochy Heids collection. Since the book was published, Virginia has created several beautiful accessory designs in Milarrochy Tweed of which the Mesabi Tam and Mittens are just the latest.

I love Virginia’s fresh approach to colourwork: blues can be quite difficult to balance in a design (because they tend to dominate a palette) but I find the combination of Lochan and Smirr here very harmonious and rather soothing.

Since we published Milarrochy Heids, all of us have enjoyed seeing many beautiful hats appearing on Ravelry. Andrea (Adlevy on Ravelry) used Milarrochy Tweed for the first time when knitting Ella Gordon’s Breiwick pattern, and really enjoyed the experience: “the colorways with the little nub flecks are just gorgeous,” says Andrea, I particularly like the way the shades of blues and reds in this pattern work so well together, producing a powerful punch of colour.”

Carolina (cyamate on Ravelry) also enjoyed knitting with Milarrochy Tweed when she made herself a Balmaha as her third colourwork project, and her first bottom-up seamless yoke. “To date it’s my favourite sweater,” she says “I love everything about it, the fit, how comfortable it is, the yarn the colours.” That makes me very happy, Carolina!

Maylin (blithespirt on Ravelry) mashed up two different KDD patterns–Pabaigh, and the Knitting Season pullover— in a recent Milarrochy Tweed knit. “When the Knitting Season pullover came out, I really liked the motif placement in the centre,” Maylin says, “but I wanted to use it on a garment that I could wear all year round, since every season is knitting season for me. I had the Milarrochy Tweed all ready for a Pabaigh, so decided to incorporate the motif into that pattern centering it right where the split for the arms is, using slip-stitch intarsia for the bottom half and then working back and forth for the top. It works really well as a cozy layering piece for the colder months, and on its own during a rainy, windy UK summer.” It’s definitely the weather for it today, Maylin! I think the intarsia motif looks beautiful on a garment worked at this smaller scale.

Many knitters have been working with Buachaille over the summer too, and Alex (casti on Ravelry) recently knit herself a beautiful Oran do Chaora in the Hedder colourway . “I really enjoyed knitting it and wear it all the time,” she says. (Hedder is one of the Buachaille shades that is being discontinued and replaced, so if you’d like to knit yourself a cardigan just like Alex’s, we have just a few kits at the reduced price remaining)

Sometimes a change of yarn can lend a pattern a completely different feel. Elin (Elinastrom on Ravelry) has made herself a couple of beautiful Dathan pullovers, a two-shade version in a silk blend . . .

. . . and another with stripes, in linen. “I love the shape and silhouette,” says Elin “I think it’s both elegant and casual at the same time. I lengthened the ribbing at arms and waist (I like long ribbing) and it was a very relaxing sweater to knit, with the pattern easy to follow.” Thanks, Elin! Both your sweaters have such wonderful drape, and a lovely summery feel!

Simply knitting in different shades than those originally used can radically transform the appearance of a pattern. Dora (dorablu) on Ravelry found two beautiful shades and complimentary bases of Skein Queen laceweight at Edinburgh Yarn Fest, and brought them together in this stunning version of Myrtle. Dora found the stitch pattern easy to memorise and “made some short rows to slope the shoulders” to improve the fit. There’s a subtle delicacy about Dora’s project that really works well with the pattern – and suits her to a tee!

Playing with shape and dimension can transform a pattern too. Joy (knittingjoy on Ravelry) modified the proportions of the Skep pattern to create a blanket of appropriate size for her neighbour’s long-hoped for grandbaby. “I enjoyed the play on shape,” says Joy, “a hexagon made up of hexagons! And the modular nature of the blanket – knitting one motif at a time – made it ideal for summer travel and social knitting.” I love the bright, cheerful colours, Joy, and am sure your gift will be much appreciated.

I often find knitters’ resourcefulness and ingenuity impressive, and this was certainly the case when I saw Greta’s (thewarmestrows on Ravelry) amazing Oa. Greta spun all the yarn from which this sweater is knitted by hand herself. The brown yarn is spun from a moorit Shetland fleece Greta found at the Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair; the white yarn is spun from a corriedale lamb fleece from a family friend’s flock (also in Massachusetts) and the mauve trim is spun from Miss Babs BFL roving in the Purl Cove colourway. I love the way that different local fleeces and fibres have been spun and knitted together in this beautiful, inspiring project! I hope you enjoy wearing your Oa, Greta.

Some knitters like to photograph their summer knitting in amazing locations (such as Kristina (missetina on Ravelry) who is pictured in her Seavaiger at Vrångö, a beautiful island in Göteborg’s southern archipelago) while others make good use of the summer months to whip up lots of different projects.

Christine’s (tintallie on Ravelry) output of yoked garments has been particularly remarkable in recent months, with two Puffins, an Epistrophy and a Cockatoo Brae already under her knitting belt. She also wins the prize for cutest dog!

Like Christine, Suzanne (trainknitter1 on Ravelry) also knitted herself a Cockatoo Brae – but it was not intended to be worn by her. Rather, Suzanne used the pattern to knit a length of fabric that would be made by Wendy Inkster into one of her famous Burra Bears. Suzanne finished her knitting in January, posted the fabric off to Wendy and picked up her bear, aptly named (ahem) “Kate O’Cockatoo Brae” when visiting Shetland in July. I feel honoured to have an association with this fabulous bear!

Finally, just for fun, I thought you might like to know that, with some expert assistance from Steve Malcolm, Tom has finally learned to knit.

Steve taught Tom using his amazing bigstix, which, combined with roving or super-chunky yarn, create a beautifully dense and very appealing fabric that is great for home furnishings. I’ve created a rough pattern for a footstool for Tom to work from, and I’ll let you know how things progress . . . thanks, Steve!

Steve joined the KDD team on a recent trip to Milarrochy Bay, where we walked, ate ice-cream, and discussed future exciting knitting plans.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this round up of recent inspiring projects and, like all of us here at KDD are looking forward to cooler weather and warm knits!