25 January 2019

Springtime Hood - Scheepjes YARN The After Party

When you design something, make it, send it off to its new home with NO idea at all as to what will become of it and then THIS happens..

Isn't that photography gorgeous!!

I might be a wee bit biased but I think this is the prettiest Scheepjes After Party photography so far! And that model!  If you'd asked me to choose a model for this project that flaming red hair would have been high on my list, again a wee bit of bias as my youngest daughter has red hair and she'd been my model during the making process.

I'd affectionately code named this design #2 and now it's here I really must get used to calling it by it's name, but I do love a secret and a code name.

I had originally designed this as a wee cowl but after talks with Simy from Scheepjes we decided on something bigger.  I love working with Simy, her encouragement and genuine love for what she does is inspiring.  If it meant working with Simy, I would design ALL the things for Scheepjes, she is nuturing and honest and her wealth of knowledge is beyond measure.

I was so excited to design something in Scheepjes Linen Soft.  Honestly, it's my favourite of the Scheepjes Yarns.  Crocheters know this yarn well but I highly encourage knitters to embrace Linen Soft.  I love knitting with it, the stitch definition is gorgeous!  Linen Soft can seem a bit stiff to those of you used to knitting with super soft Merinos and the other soft, squishy yarns that flood the market, but that stiffness totally disappears after washing.  In fact the more you wash Linen Soft, the softer it becomes.  Think of your favourite linen shirt or pants and how beautifully soft and drapey they become with age.  Look at that drape!

The Springtime Hood is a big, generous, piece of luxurious glamour. I love the mix of modern and vintage in this design.  That vintage look of the flower like eyelets, mixed with the age old moss stitch is such a classic look.  Mix that classic with the modern twist of a big generous cowl that can be worn as a hood, I just love the combination.  Evening beach walks, Alfresco dining in cafes, or throw it on with your classic jeans and sweater combo. There's enough weight to take the chill off your shoulders but light enough that you won't feel smothered by it.

It really is a beginner friendly project.  I'd encourage new knitters to give it a go, there aren't any difficult techniques involved and it's a good, easy introduction to more lacy patterns.  My tester, Bec, from Three Bags Full Crochet, was perfect for this project. At the time of testing she wasn't a prolific knitter and she had no problems at all with the pattern and simple techniques used. Those of you who are more experienced knitters will find it a quick and relaxing project. You'll find instructions in the pattern for making it bigger or smaller.  I know a very cute little girl I'd love to make one for, hopefully I'll find the time before she's old enough for the full sized version.

Linen Soft is part of the White Label luxury line of Scheepjes yarns and comes in 30 stunning colours, from the subdued pastels to the super intense brights. It's a DK weight yarn, 27% linen, 47% cotton, 26% acrylic.  It comes in the iconic Scheepjes centre pull balls, 50g, 135m. Just look at those colours! Aren't they gorgeous?  I chose colour 616  for this piece because that classic cream colour works so well with the vintage look of the design.

If you make The Springtime Hood I'd love to see it, I'm really looking forward to seeing the colour choices you make.   You can use the hashtags #SpringtimeHood #ScheepjesSpringtimeHood on social media and don't forget to tag me @thecalmnookcrafts.  Please pop it in your favourites on Ravelry and create a Ravelry project page so that I can see it.

YARN The After Party Springtime Hood pattern is available now as an instant Ravelry Download and check with your favourite Scheepjes retailer for the printed booklet.

You can purchase Scheepjes Linen Soft from:

  Scheepjes Retailers,
*Wool Warehouse (Internationally)
  Knit Spin Weave (Australia)
*Love Knitting (US)
  Caro's Atelier (Netherlands)

Ok, one more photo because, why not?!

* Affiliate links. Purchasing through these links will generate a very small percentage of sales, at no extra cost to you, for The Calm Nook Crafts to continue designing and purchase the products to do so.

13 December 2018

Furnace Cowl - Scheepjes Yarn The After Party #41

Get your needles ready!  I have the perfect quick, easy, last minute gift knit for the knitworthy men in your life.  I know it's quick and easy because I designed, swatched and knit this over a 3 day long weekend!

It's a funny thing when you design on commission.  You knit a piece, love it, send it off and wonder what will become of it, what will the photographer do with it, how will it be marketed.  And WOW!  The photography on this project is beyond anything I ever imagined!  I can't thank Scheepjes enough for turning my wee flat cowl into this amazing looking product!

The inspiration for Furnace came from watching some amazing male knitter podcasters. I started to notice the lack of knitwear in any category that is designed specifically for men! Don't get me wrong, there are some amazing designs out there, but they seriously lack in number and choice.

I wanted something quick, something simple that the most beginner of beginner knitters could take on.  As is my tendency when designing I want to take someone who is just comfortable with knit and purl stitches past the basic garter/rib scarf.  Something that with a quick You Tube search for a technique can be achieved with a splash of confidence to try something different.  Furnace uses knit and purl stitches two ways, your usual knit purl 1 x 1 rib,  then  knits and purls through the back loop of the stitch.  This creates a slightly different texture with a more open look to the stitches.

My tester for this pattern is not a knitter, so much so that I still laugh when I think that she actually did this for me.  I asked her to proof read the pattern as I was designing and before I knew it, she'd cast on and was a third of the way through. Some of you will know her from the Scheepjes International Group others will know her as Kelly's Krochet, or Fiona Kelly, designer of the Tunisian crochet Exclamation Shawl.  Yes, Fiona, she's not a knitter but she absolutely breezed through this pattern.  In hindsight she was the perfect tester, and proof that the most beginner knitter could easily produce a Furnace Cowl.

The Furnace Cowl is designed to use those random balls of Merino Soft you have in your stash, that's exactly what I used, you just need one ball of each colour. It's worked in the round with the body of the cowl using two colours, but only one colour at a time, you simply carry your yarn up, and for beginners, that is explained in the pattern notes.

As a last minute gift knit, and lets face it, we're always looking for those at this time of year, you could get this done in an evening or two, during lunch breaks, or just sit and knit like a demon and you'll be done in no time.  As for colour choices, make it simple, sporting team colours always work for the sports lover, high contrast, low contrast, I think any colour combination is a winner for this design.  The cowl is completely reversible so will look the same inside and out with a very slightly visible line where you carry your yarn up from the 'inside'  With 54 colours too choose from in the Merino Soft range with another 7  in the Merino Soft Brush range I'm sure you'll find something suitable. 

I mentioned that Furnace uses just two balls of Merino Soft, that deliciously buttery soft Scheepjes yarn that is a total dream to knit with.  It's important that you read the pattern notes for the yarn requirements. If you don't meet gauge on this pattern there is a chance that you will need a second ball of Colour A.  I had just 2gms left after knitting the sample. If you modify the pattern in any way to make it bigger you will absolutely need more yarn.

If you make a Furnace cowl I'd love to see it!  You can tag me @thecalmnookcrafts and @scheepjes on Instagram or use #furnacecowl on social media.  Don't forget to favourite it and pop it in your Ravelry libraries and make a project page so that I can see it there. 

Furnace is now available on Ravelry as an instant download in English, Dutch, Swedish and German...  Check your local retailers in the coming days for the paper copy 

You can purchase Merino Soft at these retailers
  Knit Spin Weave (Australia)
*Wool Warehouse (UK and International)
*Caro's Atelier  (Netherlands) 

*This post contains affiliate links 

30 August 2017

Essence Shawl launch - Scheepjes YARN The After Party

Here she is!  

The Essence Shawl!

She’s been codenamed “The Onesie” for the past six months by a glorious group of friends who knew I had a commission but not what it was, or what yarn I was using or any detail at all really. It created quite the guessing game for awhile and I think at the last it was a “lacy blanket sized floppy rabbit onesie knit in Secret Garden”.. umm no!

Now I am super excited and so proud to introduce to them, and you,  Essence, and what better way to introduce her than as part of the Scheepjes After Party  series of booklets!.

You may have seen some sneak peaks of it if you get The Knitter magazine.  This ad appeared in the July Issue 113.

As a knitter and crocheter I always play around but have never considered it ‘designing’, it’s just playing and I think many of you can relate to that.  I’ve been test knitting for Canadutch and she and I have become good friends so I am always throwing pictures at her of different things I’ve been playing with.  With a very big shove, and she’s not gentle when she has absolute faith and belief in something as she did with me, she convinced me to submit something to Scheepjes.  It couldn’t hurt, the worst thing that could happen was that I would feel bad at having wasted their time, the best thing was that I might get some invaluable feedback and design and submission advice for the future.   I didn’t consider the BEST thing to be an offer of commission!

As I was building up the courage to submit Essence, Scheepjes had released their promotional pictures for Whirl and I knew instantly that this yarn was perfect for this design.  Whirl hadn’t been released when I received it to knit the sample with.  Now you all know that I am a Scheepjes addict.  Do you have any idea the self control it took to not shout from the rooftops at how delicious this yarn is?  Now six months later it’s a global phenomenon gone viral. At this point I’m not prepared to admit how many of these colourways I actually have!

Unless you’ve been living on the moon you’ll have seen Whirl, it’s everywhere on social media and Ravelry projects.  It’s 1000 meters (yes, three zeros there, one whole kilometre!) of 60% cotton, 40% acrylic in the most glorious colour gradients and its Soft! I mean super soft!  It’s not splitty like a lot of cotton gradient yarns and the colour changes are subtle and very long, unlike the harsh colour changes of other cake yarns. This yarn is perfect for the Essence Shawl, the colour gradients give what is a very simple design some serious WOW factor and the drape of it is to die for.  The choice of colours has something to suit every taste, and with 30 (!) ice cream flavour inspired names, and yet more to be released, it gives a whole new meaning to ‘yummy yarn’.  Essence has been published in the Slice O’ Cherry Pie (753) colourway.


With a first commission I had so much to learn and over the next few months I am sure that Tammy thoroughly deserved to be recognised as a Psych Nurse.  She went through it all with me, from squeals and screams of excitement, total self doubt, uncontrollable sobbing because I couldn’t share this with my Mum, panic at not meeting a deadline, if there was an emotion to be felt, I dragged Tammy through it with me.  Without her I wouldn’t be sane but I can’t vouch for her sanity after this experience.

I also needed a test knitter!  I cannot thank Toni Sturrs of BlissfullyCrafted enough for answering my insane panic stricken request to test for me.  I needed someone based in the UK or Europe, someone I trusted in their knitting ability, their ability to be super critical of me and my pattern writing skills if needed, someone who could keep this a secret for however long it took and work to a deadline.  Toni was amazing, often working through the fatigue of a Chrone’s flare up and sharing in the excitement of it all with me.   I was SO excited to see that Toni’s test piece is the one chosen for the photography!  Test knitters put in as much physical work and time as the designer and in this case all her hard work is being showcased beautifully and I am beyond grateful and insanely proud to acknowledge her efforts and share in this with her.

I wanted this design to be super simple.  Something that a beginner knitter just comfortable with their knit and purl stitches could look at and say “YES! I can do that!”.  A more experienced knitter will find that it’s a very relaxing watch tv and knit project.  If Knitflixing is your thing then you’ll love this. With the simplicity of the stitches I wanted something that looked pretty and interesting.  The texture of Essence gives you a simple smooth look on one side and a textured look on the other making it fully reversible.  The pattern is written with a wrong side and right side but there is absolutely no wrong or right way side to wear it. 

I designed this and knit my sample in Blueberry Bam Bam (755) which you can see here, with a 4.00mm needle because I’m a reasonably tight knitter. If you find that your fabric is too loose when knitting it just drop down to a 3.75mm or 3.50mm, being cotton the Whirl is very forgiving when being frogged, tinked, and ripped back in frustration, you can trust me on that.  There really are no rules, your gauge isn’t really going to affect the final shape or outcome and with 1000 meters of yarn you just knit and knit and knit until you’re ready to cast off. The long length and asymmetrical shape of the design with the beautiful drape of Whirl give you so many options in styling Essence.  You can drape it across your shoulders, wrap it tight like a super bulky cowl, or wrap it loosely.  It’s versatile so play with it and come up with your own unique ways to wear it.

You can find the pattern for the Essence Shawl now on Ravelry  for digital download. Digital downloads are available in English, Dutch, German, Swedish, and Spanish .  Don’t forget to add it to your Ravelry favourites. The YARN After Party booklet will be also available at Scheepjes Retailers and is available at Wool Warehouse

You can find Whirl at Wool Warehouse* for international and UK shipping and Scheepjes Retailers

If you do make the Essence Shawl I’d love to see your pictures so please create Ravelry project pages, post pictures to The Calm Nook Crafts Facebook or your Instagram pages and tag me @thecalmnookcrafts .  You can use  the hashtag #essenceshawl too.  I’m really looking forward to seeing what colours everyone chooses.  Don’t forget to show Scheepjes too when they post their “What’s on your hook today’ post, usually on a Wednesday, on their Facebook page, it’s ok, they like to see what’s on your needles too!

*Affilite link.

1 May 2017

April's Cowl - Scheepjes Eliza

Hello Blog, I've neglected you again..

Neglect is a harsh word.  Having time to blog, or a reason to blog has been hard with commissions and test knitting that all have 'top secret' stamped on them, it means that I can't show you the things I've been working on or shout about the amazing yarns I've been using.. until now.

Eight days ago my son asked if I could knit an Overwatch Beanie for him to gift a friend for her Birthday.  Absolutely, I can knit beanies with my eyes closed.. adding an Overwatch symbol may be tricky.  It proved too tricky.  Too tricky in the time frame of 7 days and too tricky for my patience levels when I am still up to my eyeballs in test knitting.

Fortunately a delivery from Wool Warehouse saved the day! I love how Wool Warehouse do that! We'd just discovered April's favourite colours when the perfect colour literally landed in my lap.

The perfect colour in a yarn I'd not yet used.  Meet Scheepjes Eliza!

I have to admit curiosity made me buy this to try,  It's 100% polyester and I tend to steer clear of polyester, it has a bad reputation.  Scheepjes promote this yarn as being as soft as silk. I trust Scheepjes and  by now you all know I'm a die hard Scheepjes Junkie and I will try anything of theirs.

Silk isn't perhaps the word I'd use to describe this yarn although it's super smooth.  Soft?  Oh it's Soft!!  Baby bunny soft!  Baby chicken soft!  Kitten soft.. It's ALL the baby animals soft and lets throw in as smooth as a baby's bum!

Can you see the soft?  I wish you could touch it, this yarn is about to give polyester a whole new reputation!

But I digress.. the soft will do that to you, you'll want to sit there stroking it, squishing it, rubbing it against your face ( I know you do that to yarn, you can't deny it!)

Back to the cowl.  Once my son had seen and felt the yarn we decided it would make a perfect cowl/neck warmer.. it's the soft, this soft against your skin.. it's SOFT.  We chose the colour Rollerskate because it fitted in with April's favourite colours of Blue, Teal and 'Seafoam"

April is a wee little slip of a teenage girl so I didn't want something super big and bulky that would dwarf her, just something nice and warm and snuggly.  Size was also dependent upon the fact that I had about 48 hours to get this knitted, washed, blocked and dried.

Eliza comes in 100gm balls with the iconic Scheepjes Easy Start tab.  I used about 55gms for this cowl. If I'd had time I may have made a headband to match with what I had left from the one ball.

I didn't use an existing pattern for something this quick and simple,  it was a matter of casting on and knitting until I had the height that I wanted.

Here's how I did it.

1 x ball of Scheepjes Eliza
4.00mm circular needle (80cm cable for magic loop method)
Darning needle for sewing in ends.
6.00mm needle (optional)

If you want to make a bigger cowl, cast on any amount of stitches in an even number.
I suggest that you weigh your yarn before starting, and again at the end of row 11.  By doing this you will know how much yarn you have used, the same amount will be needed for the final rib and cast off.

CO: 100 stitches using long tail cast on method
Join in the round being careful not to twist your stitches.

R1: *k1, p1* to the end of the round
Repeat Row 1 9 more times.

R 11: knit
Repeat Row 11 49 times.

R 61: *k1, p1* to the end of the round
Repeat Row 61 9 more times.

BO: Bind off in your preferred stretchy bind off method.  Alternatively bind off loosely using a size 6.00mm needle.

Give it a gentle wash with your preferred wool wash, I use Eucalan.  Block the cowl to neaten it up a bit and you're done. This cowl measured 23cm x 23cm after very gentle blocking with little stretching involved.  Blocking was more to straighten up the edges after washing.

Scheepjes Eliza comes in a range of 36 colours and is available at Scheepjes Retailers and Wool Warehouse*

* Affiliate link

2 April 2017

Crash Course in Fair Isle Knitting

Back in November of last year my friend Tammy revealed her gorgeous La Benaize Hat with the promise that the pattern would be released 'next week'.  I was excited as fair isle knitting was on my list of things to learn.  Tammy knows that I LOVE to learn new things so linked me to a very good tutorial by Staci Perry of Very Pink Knits which you can find here.   I had a quick look, enough to get the concept, see how the different yarn colours are worked across the rows and that was it.  I didn't need to really watch it until the pattern was available.

Life Happens!  "Next week" became March!

On a Sunday evening there was a discussion about the pattern being ready for release the next weekend, throw it out there and hope for the best.  In the past I had offered to test knit for Tammy and now was definitely the time for a test knit!

I was up to my eyeballs in a secret project but desperately needed a break from my own expectations of deadlines so this was a welcome change for a few days.  I had all the materials I required, I remembered most of what I'd seen in the tutorial, I was ready. I started on the band straight away, ran into tiredness, made a mistake and decided it could wait until the morning.

You know what it's like when you are working on something and just can't put it down?  This was one of those projects!  I'd never knitted with Scheepjes Stonewashed yarn before, and it is a dream to knit with!  I'd never worked fair isle, nor with charts, but this was SO easy!!

The pattern, thankfully, has a very easy chart to read.  To make it easier I had these gorgeous stitch markers that I'd received earlier in the week from Nerissa of Miss Neriss that I was able to use to mark the repeats.

All through Monday I was sending Tammy progress shots so that she could check if I was on track and that my tension, which usually runs on the tight side, was working up loose enough to show the pattern work.

Now I'm pretty sure both Tammy and I fell off our chairs when I had this completed at around midnight on the Monday evening. It was the most insane, almost record breakingly quick test knit everrrrrrrrrr! I had my friend Niamh cheering me on over Facebook Messenger and toward the end it was like a race with myself to get it done "15 rows to go" "6 rows of pattern", "onto the decrease".

I LOVE this hat!  I love that fair isle isn't the hideously complicated thing that I'd imagined it to be.

I'm going to knit ALL the fair isle things!

Not really!  But I am absolutely going to knit more La Benaize hats after my daughter's friends saw it and asked if I'd make them one.

 Scheepjes Stonewashed 811, 818, 821

 Scheepjes Stonewashed 822, 809, 812

These are two of the colour combinations I've chosen so far. Aren't those colours gorgeous!!

You can find the La Benaize pattern on Canadutch or on Ravelry.

Scheepjes Stonewashed yarn is available through Scheepjes Retailers or Wool Warehouse*

If you do make one of these gorgeous hats I'd love to see them on social media.  You can use #labenaizehat.  Be sure to tag @canadutch too!

*affiliate link