Thursday, March 29, 2012

Textile Thursday - Mirasol Hacho


Textile Thursday - have a peek at the fibre I'm using this week....  

©  T. Bunny Knits
Yarn name: 
Hacho
Manufacturer:
Mirasol
Fiber content:
100% Merino.
Gauge:
20 sts by 22 rows=4 inches / 10 cm on 4mm(US 6).
Weight/yardage per skein:
50g / 127 yards (135m).
Construction:
Plied
Country of origin:
Peru
Manufacturer's suggested wash method:
Handwash garment with care and dry flat.
Average Retail Price: 
€7.95 / 50g skein. I purchased this yarn here.


For those of you who have not heard of Mirasol yarns before let me introduce you to the Mirasol yarns here. What I love about these yarns is that by purchasing these yarns, a portion of your money actually supports Shepards and families in Peru and a portion of each purchase makes its way to a centre for disadvantaged children in Munani and April 2009 saw the official opening of the school. If you want to read more about this wonderful work please check out the Mirasol project here and of course their blog here.


Swatching:
First of all anyone who knows me knows that I am fairly new to crochet and when taking my first crochet class I was drawn to Hacho. Now, any of you who crochet generally shy away from variegated yarns due to pooling but I stood my ground. I swatched during the course of the class and loved how the colours sat around the treble stitches.

© T. Bunny Knits

I liked the yarn so much I brought it home and knitted a swatch on 4mm needles.The yarn has an amazing amount of spring to it and is quite tightly plied. Obtaining the gauge was easy and the stitch definition was so clear I wanted to cable with it. However looking at my swatch the next day I decided to continue with crochet rather than a knitted garment.  

Washing and Blocking:
The manufactures label suggests hand washing which I did and the knitted swatch did relax almost instantly. It  held gauge after washing and easily took the shape of whatever I pinned it in to, though there really was no need for blocking it was a perfect square after washing. 

Knitting and Pattern Choices: 

The Mirasol Hacho book 25 by Jane Ellison has some beautiful knitted pieces from full garments to accessories as you can see below. I know I'm having trouble deciding between Nazca and Tarma. 
Tumi © Mirasol
Tarma © Mirasol

 Suri © Mirasol
Nazca © Mirasol
Ravelry has a host of Mirasol Hacho projects which you can find here. Most of these projects that have comments agree that Hacho is a joy to knit with and they are not wrong! 


Overall View: 
I really believe this yarn is a hidden gem. The colours may be a little too variegated for some people but there are colourways available that will suit almost everyone. At 7.95e a hank it is a yarn that most people will use for accessories rather than a full garment but this yarn is sold at fair prices and supports communities. I know I will definitely use it in future. 

© T. Bunny Knits
Aside: My personal project in Hacho was  this beautiful crochet cowl



Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Autumn Dreams Pattern


A few people have been asking for the Autumn Dreams Cowl pattern so you can find it on my pattern page above or on Ravelry here.

Please note that I am a knitter so please forgive any crochet errors. I did my best to insure it was accurate and I hope this is what you where looking for. For those of you looking for the yarn I purchased it here.

I finally added some more of my patterns as a collection which you can find here. I will be working on more patterns and my blog this week so keep an eye out.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Textile Thursday - Studio Donegal 2ply

Textile Thursday - have a peek at the fibre I'm using this week....  

© Studio Donegal
Yarn name: 
Merino 2-ply.
Manufacturer:
Donegal Yarns (Studio Donegal).
Fiber content:
100% Merino.
Gauge:
20 sts by 26 rows = 4 inches / 10 cm on 4mm (US 6).
Weight/yardage per skein:
100g / 190 yards (174m).
Construction:
Plied
Country of origin:
Ireland.
Manufacturer's suggested wash method:
Handwash garment with care and dry flat.
Average Retail Price: 
9.50 / 100g skein. I purchased this yarn here



Studio Donegal have some wonderful new colours as you can see from the above picture, my favourites are the new steel grey, turquoise and chocolate brown. They say they have chosen their palette from the surrounding landscape which here in Ireland is usually dull and grey but even the grey colourways here are beautiful and perfect fro men's garments. The yarn itself is spun using traditional methods in the beautiful Kilcar by Donegal Yarns. A full colour palette is available here

Swatching:
I have been working with the midnight blue colour #554, the yarn is beautifully soft in comparison to the Aran Tweed. I started working as I normally do and constructed 4 inch swatch on  the recommended 4 mm needles but it was just uncomfortable to work this yarn on these needles, so I moved up a half size to 4.5 mm needles. The stretch in this yarn is really astounding and if you choose to work with this yarn (and I really hope you do) please, please knit a swatch and wash it. My swatch grew by 0.5st/inch (i.e. 2 sts per 4 inches) after washing which will affect the overall size of a garment. 




The swatch was so smooth and completely surprised me in a number of ways. It did not behave like I thought it would and I am completely in love with the intensity of colour and contrasting specks. Knitting in this colour is a little difficult as  it would be knitting with any dark yarn. I have ripped back so many times I lost count BUT this yarn still looks as good as the day of purchase.

Knitting and Pattern Choices: 
Knitting with this yarn was easy going and relaxing. The garment holds cables amazingly well and gives a clear definition to the cables as you can see below. I have chosen to knit a child's garment with it due to the stretch and durability of the yarn. It doesn't snag, pull or fight with me in anyway (yes yarn can fight with you). This yarn does require blocking, garments will grow in size off the needles. 







This yarn will knit up beautifully in almost any situation from accessories to garments to childrens knitwear. Even a simple stockinette stitch will provide textural interest due to the beautiful dying and flecks of contrasting colours.

Normally I would recommend Ravelry as a pattern resource but this yarn is so new that very few patterns are specifically written for it. My choice would be Carol Fellar's Contemporary Irish Knits for a refreshing modern view on Irish knitting patterns. 


Washing and Blocking:
I am always surprised by the number of people I meet that just do not block their FO's but block really does make a difference. I blocked my garment the same method as my swatch  a warm bath in mild soap, followed by a rinse in the same temperature water, a gentle blot in a towel, and then careful prodding back into shape before letting it dry flat.

Interesting Finds: 
If you want to read more about the history of Donegal Yarns why not click here


I found this video while reading about Studio Donegal,if you want to watch the carding and spinning machines of Studio Donegal in operation why not make yourself a cup of tea and watch the short video below.  The video also provides an insight to garment construction and weaving.



Overall View: 
I can really find no fault with this yarn. It's sold in 100gram hanks which gives you a decent 190 yards (174 meters) which is perfect for a winter accessory if you just want to dip your needles in before splashing out on a full garment. 



Let me know your views on the Merino 2-Ply, I would love to hear from your experiences with it. 


Monday, March 19, 2012

Happy Bunday

Welcome to my new Monday feature on my blog called "Happy Bunday". The title gives it away I think but it all came about because of my little buns Berry and Ninja. Their antics have myself, friends and family in tears (both laughter and frustration) so much so that I have decided to share a few of their tales with you. So without further a do

*drum roll please*

Let me introduce you to my first post - Let Sleeping Bunnies Lie

Why? 

Because if you don't, destruction will be their revenge




 This is my poof in my living room, I throw excess yarn in here stuff I'm not sure what to do with. Well Berry sure knows what to do, knock it over and dig around in the contents.

oh Yeah and get Ninja involved so the punishment is halved







Happy First Bunday Everyone, see you next Monday.




Sunday, March 18, 2012

To spin, or not to spin..... (spin post 2)

I have been slowly working on my spin 5 everyday, some days I even get blocks of 30 minutes and it has all added up. Yesterday my drop spindle was heavy and off balance so I scratched my head wondering how on earth I got this fiber off my spindle (bear in mind I didn't know how to even take a break and put the spindle down about 2 weeks ago). I tweeted the question using the #spin5 as I know their are lovely ladies with huge amounts of knowledge out there working on their #spin5 everyday but low and behold yes it was St. Patricks day so very few where about on twitter.

Next up came internet searches. Here I found some wonderful information on spinning and I have to say one of the most informative I found was the joy of hand spinning website. It has loads of information on wheels and spindles but again I did get engrossed but I still had my little problem (which I still thought was a problem). I moved on to www.spinningdaily.com and they have a wonderful ebook to download for free on spinning.

About an hour or so later, I looked at my spindle, grabbed the chair I was sitting on and started to wind my fiber around the back of my chair until the spindle was empty (yip not the sharpest pencil in the box am I) and using the 2 ends tied it to my chair. I then secured it in place using waste yarn and this is what I have now:

Yes parts of it are over spun, but hey its my first shot, I'm proud that its as even as it is. To relax the fiber, I let this soak in warm water for about fifteen minutes and placed it back on an open chair to stretch it out to dry. It's beautiful and I love the colour but now I'm not sure what to do next. I was thinking of knitting this as a single ply, then I was thinking of plying it together but its already around a worsted weight. So I pose a question to ye "What would you do next and why?"

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Arg it be a Treasure Hunt!


I was one of those lucky children who got to take part in an Easter hunt for eggs at home, where the bounty was lots of chocolate sweets and small toys and it all came together over the Easter holidays from school. So when I heard about the Etsy St. Patrick's Day treasure hunt I reverted to being ten years old and couldn't wait to take part.

The wonderful Sarah from Sarah Mai Designs has been putting together a bounty worthy of even the most avid treasure hunters out there, composed of pieces designed and created by the Etsy Ireland Team. There are 4 treasures to be claimed  by the 19th of March and they are broken down like this:

1st Place - Treasure Hunter Pirate King: 8 beautifully hand crafted items

2nd Place  - Treasure Hunter Terror of the High Seas: 5 beautifully hand crafted items

3rd Place - Treasure Hunter Buccaneer : 3 beautifully hand crafted items and finally

4th Place - Treasure Hunter Swashbuckler :  1 beautifully hand crafted item.

Whats that I hear you cry? " How do I enter?" Well for details of  this Hunt all you have to do is click this link for the Etsy Ireland Blog and on the 17th of March click on the St. Patricks Day treasure hunt button on the right hand side.

Now me hearties are ye ready? We all know that the best bounty goes to the early risers and the questions will be posted early!!!

So get your swords, pirate costumes and pirate speak to the ready.

Let the Hunt Begin!!



P. S.

Also I have added this little gem to the bounty too!



Monday, March 12, 2012

Updates

Well it has been a frantic month over here with all things medical now under control, I think it is about time for a blog post.

First things first - cowls....cowls.....cowls.

I have not forgotten my pledge for posting 2 cowls a month but with everything taking me by surprise over the last few weeks, this blog has been left on the wayside. I will be uploading a few patterns to Ravelry over the next few weeks none of which are ready to post so on that note I'm sorry guys :(

Second things second - Spinning!!!


To take my mind off things, I started to spin with Ashford Merino and Silk roving that has been taunting me in TIK for some time now. Lots of help was giving to me by Sheknitupthatball to start me off and after many questions (many, many questions) and shared techniques later I was spinning away and surprisingly I love it. I think this has a lot to do with the roving, its easy to spin and it is my favourite colour. When I am at home I still take out the spindle and for me that is amazing. I often get something into my head and loose interest quickly but spinning has finally gripped me. I'm trying to spin for at least 5 minutes a day and it really is starting to build up nicely. I find it really relaxing and it is starting to become my guilty pleasure. Now if only I can figure out how to stop spinning and finish a piece....that's my next goal.

And last things last - Stitch markers

I have been waiting on a delivery for AGES, it finally came at the end of Feburary but by then everything else was falling to pieces and I had no time to make anything let alone knit. So I sat down over the last ten days, finished some knitting and finally finished some markers. You can find these guys in my Etsy shop. I hope you like them.





And yes as its Monday - Happy Bunday everyone and here is a gratuitous picture of my bun buns.