US SHIPPING: FREE on orders of $129+ ($9 Flat Rate) . . . We ship worldwide! . . . All prices are in US Dollars.
0 Cart
Added to Cart
    You have items in your cart
    You have 1 item in your cart
    Total
    Check Out Continue Shopping

    The Woolly Thistle

    Autumn in Orkney by Isla

    Autumn in Orkney by Isla

    Hello from a very autumnal feeling Orkney.  I mentioned last time I was close to finishing my Nuuk Sweater!  Well I did finish it a few days later.  I had a funny feeling I was not going to win at yarn chicken so I decided to add in a second which I think has worked well. I am thrilled with how it has turned out and it will be perfect for the cool summers we get here in Orkney. 

     

    I spent an amazing seven nights away in Tam the Van last week in Glen Nevis, near Fort William.  Glen Nevis is the valley in which Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Great Britain at 1345 meters, is located.  Unlike my previous trips in Tam, this time I decided to stay in one place with the idea of enjoying plenty of walking, knitting and reading time.  I packed two new projects to cast on (a jumper and a pair of socks) and Nan Shepherds Living Mountain to read.  The weather was absolutely perfect - sunny and warm with clear blue skies which meant lots of time sitting outside with a cup of tea.  The view from Tam was beautiful so I spent probably more time just gazing up the mountain rather than actually knitting or reading.  Despite my book and project bags both being outside with me.  But there is nothing wrong in just enjoying the moment is there.

     

    The campsite where I was staying was just a few minutes walk to the start of the ‘straightforward’ route up Ben Nevis, following the Mountain Path. So after a relaxing Sunday exploring the town of Fort William, the following day saw me packing up my rucksack with lots of food and drink and pull on my walking boots and join the many others in the long and steep walk to the summit.  For just over half the distance the path, while steep in places, was mostly made from large rocks turned into steps making it fairly even under foot.  However, after Red Burn the path turned into scree and the going got even tougher.  When I eventually spotted the summit a huge smile broke out on my face and I am sure I gave a little whoop of delight and satisfaction.  At the top there was a Trig Point where I took a selfie before enjoying a well earned bar of chocolate and a can of diet coke.

     

    Retracing my steps back down seemed a lot harder then going up but the amazing views and the promise to myself of an ice cream and a cold beer kept me motivated. I made it back down safe and sound seven hours after starting out on the walk still not quite believing that I had just climbed the highest mountain in Great Britain.  Apart from feeling hot and tired I really did feel on top of the world!

     

    Until next time

    Isla

    x

    If you would like to see more of Orkney and what Isla is up to, you can find her on Instagram as @islap1k1. 

    Beginner Color Theory for Knitting by Kelsey

    Beginner Color Theory for Knitting by Kelsey

    Choosing colors is usually one of the first steps in a knitting project, following only selecting the pattern and choosing the yarn. But it can be an overwhelming prospect, especially when some yarns come in dozens or even hundreds of different colors. Using the principles of basic color theory, you can get a bit of direction in your color selection process, and hopefully narrow the field a bit to something a little more manageable.

    My first recommendation is to get a color wheel. Sold at many craft and art stores, you can get a color wheel for under $10. It is invaluable in showing the relationships between colors, tones, shades, and tints that form the basis of color theory. In the September 10, 2021 Shopcast, I spend a few minutes showing how the color wheel works for picking out colors.

    There are a few simple color relationships that result in color schemes that work well and, sometimes, are unexpected and exciting. The easiest is monochromatic. You might think of this as white-grey-black, but it also includes any range of very light to very dark in a single color like blue, yellow-green, or violet. Second easiest is analogous. This means taking colors that all sit next to each other on the color wheel. For example, blue, blue-green, and green will work together.

    Then it gets a bit more complex. Complementary colors are familiar to many of us – they are colors that are directly across the color wheel from each other. Combinations like blue and yellow or green and red are well-known, but there are many others, like yellow-green with red-violet. Split complementary colors is taking the two colors on either side of a complementary color, like red-orange plus blue plus green, which are on either side of blue-green on the color wheel.

    From there, you’re looking at color schemes of three or four colors. Triads are equal distances from each other on the color wheel – the primary colors of red, blue, and yellow is the most famous triad. Then rectangular tetrads and square tetrads combine pairs of complementary colors into groups of four. One example of a rectangular tetrad is violet, blue, yellow, and orange. An example of a square tetrad would be purple, red-orange, blue-green, and yellow. In both sets of tetrads, there are two pairs of complementary colors: purple + yellow, blue + orange, and red-orange + blue-green.

    As if that’s not all enough, you can also combine them. The easiest would be to use shades and tints of a single color, say a range of blues, and then adding yellow as a complementary pop. The same can be done with split complementary colors.

    Finally, especially for stranded colorwork, you want to make sure your colors have high enough contrast to show up next to each other. You can have two colors that work on the color wheel, but if they have the same shade, they will not show up well in colorwork. I check contrast by taking a photo with my phone and changing it to black and white – sometimes you’ll get surprised!

    Kelsey Peterson is a knitter, eager student of yarn construction and sheep breeds, and employee of TWT. You can find her on Instagram as @kcrp.making and on Ravelry as yellowpaperfish.

    Postcards from Fair Isle with Rachel of Barkland Croft: Part 5

    Postcards from Fair Isle with Rachel of Barkland Croft: Part 5

     

    Thank you for joining us! We're delighted that Rachel @BarklandCroft is checking in again from Fair Isle. Rachel is back this month with an update on her sheep, knitting and life on Fair Isle in the middle of August. Be sure to watch Rachel's previous videos to learn more about her, her lovely sheep and island life! Join our email list so you’re always in the loop with our weekly Shopletter: https://thewoollythistle.com

    Join us! Facebook: The Woolly Thistle Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/14531... Ravelry, Shop: The Woolly Thistle https://www.ravelry.com/groups/the-wo... Instagram: @thewoollythistle Rachel can be found on Instagram at @Barklandcroft as well as here on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYWH...

    The Porty Pullover: An intro to Fair Isle Knitting by Emma Barnaby

    The Porty Pullover: An intro to Fair Isle Knitting by Emma Barnaby

    Porty Pullover

     Are you an aspiring fair isle knitter? An experienced fair isle knitter? Anywhere in between? This beautiful fair isle sweater by Gudrun Johnston is a lovely first (or 40th) fair isle garment. There’s plenty of stockinette, some fun color play in the yoke, and best of all…no steeking necessary!

    The Woolly Thistle The Porty Pullover Blog

     

     The Porty Pullover is a top-down, seamless sweater with optional waist shaping. There’s a unisex version, a women’s version, and even a cardigan version if you want to try your hand at a simple steek! It’s knit in fingering-weight Shetland wool. If you’re comfortable with colorwork knitting but are a little daunted at the idea of making a full fair-isle sweater, this is a great place to start!

     TWT stocks a large selection of fingering-weight yarns you can use for this project. I knit mine in a combination of Jamieson & Smith 2-ply Jumper Weight and Jamieson’s of Shetland Spindrift, which are both woolen-spun yarns, but you can knit this in a worsted-spun yarn as well: try Jamieson & Smith Shetland Heritage or Jagger Spun if you’re adventurous. It’s also a great project to use up your Shetland wool leftovers – see Kelsey’s video segment in the 8/13 Shopcast for tips on how to make sure you have enough yarn!

    If you’re a little daunted by the prospect of picking a fair isle palette, don’t worry! The original pattern only has two color groups – you choose three shades of one color (including the main color of the sweater) and two of another. Or, if you’re like me, you can go totally rogue. You can also send an email to info@thewoollythistle.com for advice or tips or check out others’ projects on Ravelry for inspiration!

    The Woolly Thistle The Porty Pullover Blog

     I’ve recorded a video for more information on how I chose the color palette (including info on the actual colors) and how I tackled gauge issues.

     

    Emma Barnaby is a fair isle knitter based in Vermont. You can find her on Instagram as @barnaby_knits, YouTube as Barnaby Knits, and Ravelry as ebarnaby93.

    All About Peace Fleece by Kelsey

    All About Peace Fleece by Kelsey

    Peace Fleece! I talked a bit about Peace Fleece in the Shopcast epsiode 149, but I also wanted to write a bit about it here. Peace Fleece is made from 75% Navajo Rambouillet wool and 25% Texas mohair, woolen-spun in Harrisville, New Hampshire. The company was originally founded as a bridge between the USA and USSR during the Cold War, sourcing wool from the Soviet Union (and then many former Soviet countries) and blending it with American mohair and wool. Now, Peace Fleece has shifted its sourcing to the USA, primarily from Navajo Nation, with the same purpose – to unite peoples through fiber arts.

    I can’t say enough about how much I love Peace Fleece Worsted, which we now carry at The Woolly Thistle. It is a 2ply yarn, dyed in the wool and woolen-spun. In my mind, it is approximately an Aran weight, but because of its fluffiness, it can be knit at both tighter and looser gauges without issue. I would say you could get away with anything from 12 sts/4 inches to 20 sts/4 inches, with the 12 being quite loose, drapey, and less durable, and 20 being very tight, stiff, and durable for something like mittens. I’ve used it at 14 sts/4 inches for an oversized sweater, 17 sts/4 inches for a classic men’s sweater, and I actually knit a pair of fingerless mitts with a close to 24 sts/4 inches gauge!

    I knit a few swatches in Peace Fleece in the Poashja Hemlock colorway. On a US8, I got 18 sts/4 inches. On a US9, it was more like 16 sts/4 inches I also knit on a US9 in the round and got 15 sts/4 inches – showing that swatching in the round is critical for knitting projects in the round! Then, I also washed the US9 swatch in the washing machine and it did shrink a little bit to 16.5 sts/4 inches – make sure to wash or block your swatch as you intend to wash or block your garment!

    The Woolly Thistle Peace Fleece worsted weight washed and unwashed swatches

     

    Because of the mohair content, this yarn does have halo and fuzz to it. I might not use it in an intricate lace pattern, just because it won’t show off your hard work as well. I have knit it in a textural lace, not something I needed to block out and be very visible to have impact. But the fuzziness, plus the woolen-spun construction, makes it ideal for colorwork. I think of it as a jumbo-sized Jamieson & Smith 2-ply Jumper weight – even though it’s not Shetland wool, it has the same ability to stick itself together and comes in wonderful heathered colors.

    The Woolly Thistle Peace Fleece worsted weight washed and unwashed swatches

    Speaking of colors, I love the Peace Fleece colors! Because of how the yarn is made, the colors come out with all kinds of tweed-like bits and colored fibers that add so much depth and interest to the primary color. For example, Amaranth is a deep red, but it has purple, blue, and black fibers blended in. Bonnie Blue Gap is a dark blue with bright blue, yellow, and green fibers. Anna’s Grasshopper is a sage/mint light green with bits of yellow, orange, and white, among others. The colors are so interesting that they do a lot of work for you – even in a straight stockinette project, the colors add depth and movement.

    The Woolly Thistle Peace Fleece worsted weight in Amaranth (red), Bonnie Blue Gap (blue), and Anna's Grasshopper (green)

    Bottom line? Peace Fleece is a thicker weight yarn, in unique colors, with a halo and the lightness of a fluffy woolen-spun yarn. I love it for sweaters, hats, mitts, and cowls, in stockinette, colorwork, and soft textured stitches.

    The Woolly Thistle Peace Fleece back of swatch
    Kelsey Peterson is a knitter, eager student of yarn construction and sheep breeds, and employee of TWT. You can find her on Instagram as @kcrp.making and on Ravelry as yellowpaperfish.

    An Incredible Month in Orkney!

    An Incredible Month in Orkney!

    The Woolly Thistle Isla in Orkney

    Greetings from Orkney!  I hope wherever you are in the world that you are keeping safe and well. I know I said exactly the same last month but once again this month has flown by and what a month it has been! 

    The Woolly Thistle Orkney
    My parents left last week after spending just over three weeks with me.  As I had hoped the weather was kind so there was short walks around Kirkwall and lots of lovely lunches out and about on the days when I was not working.  Towards the end of their stay we took the ferry to Hoy so that my parents could see a very different part of Orkney.  Hoy (High Island) is quite unlike the other islands that make up Orkney.  As its name suggests Hoy consists of lots of high hills and its landscape resembles the Northern Scottish Highlands rather than the rolling green hills of Orkney.  The weather was bright and sunny, although that infamous wind was persistent during the day, and we drove all around Hoy exploring from top to bottom.  A traditional Scottish dish of mince and tatties kept us all fueled up before we caught the ferry back to Mainland Orkney.
    The Woolly Thistle Orkney Hoy
    A few days after my Mum and Dad left (and in-between having three nights away in Invervess and the Dornoch Firth) my brother, sister in law and my nephew and nieces arrived for their first ever visit to Orkney.  It was fantastic to finally show them where I lived.  We had a walk to Hoxa Head and explored some of the old buildings built to defend Scapa Flow during WW1 and WW2.  Then there was puffins to be seen at Birsay where we had to walk over a causeway at low tide to reach where they nest.  Of course beaches featured heavily and shells and pretty rocks were found and packed safely away to be take home to Lincolnshire.  My brother decided he would take home a rather large rock as a souvenir.  As is compulsory on all holidays a large amount of ice cream was eaten…… well if Auntie Isla can’t spoil her nephew and nieces when they visit her when can she?  It is safe to say we all had a lot of fun and the house feels very empty now they have gone.  However, plans are afoot for a trip south in the Autumn to see them
    The Woolly Thistle Orkney

    Knitting wise I have been able to block my Habitation Throw (my niece loved having a snuggle in it when she was feeling poorly and took it to bed with her) and I am very close to finishing my Nuuk Sweater which I hope to have finished for next time I write to you.  

    The Woolly Thistle Nuuk Sweater

     

    Until then

    Isla

    If you would like to see more of Orkney and what I am up to you can find me on Instagram as @islap1k1.