Tuesday, 19 April 2016


Spring is very tentatively arriving in Wales - the days are certainly longer, and we've had moments of glorious sunshine and spring flowers peeking through the mud, but the temperatures are slow to follow.

That said, lambs are appearing on the hillsides around us, meaning that I have once more become a menace on the roads. It doesn't matter how many widdle wambs I see in my lifetime, they still make me lose all my composure!

Things are busy at Casa Midwinter too, mainly because I seem to have come back from Edinburgh wanting to Cast On All The Things.

First up is Masgot by Justyna Lorkowska. I've been eyeing up this cool garter stitch design for a little while, and really wanted to make it in our Thin Pirkkalanka. As I know having already made Colour Affection with it, it's a great yarn for garter stitch, and the generous meterage goes such a long way that it is perfectly suited for Justyna's huge shawl designs.

The colours used are Natural Pale Grey, Chartreuse and Plum.

Mark finished his latest (third!) Linus in lightning fast time too! He cast this on at Unravel in Farnham, but had to frog quite a large section as he'd completely forgotten about the garter stitches down the sides! The end result is lovely though, the bright and happy rainbow gradient of the Lapland colour way set against the soft natural white. A perfect springtime Linus - light and cheerful, but quite capable of keeping those poor temperatures at bay. We haven't listed this as a kit yet, but if you put the White and Lapland in your basket, we will include the pattern for you :)

Mark has now working on the Fika shawl by Karie Westermann. Karie designed the fundamentally Scandinavian "Hygge" collection for us last year, and judging by how often it appears in her Instagram feed, the Fika shawl seems to be her favourite. We're going to have it on display just as it was designed, in the gorgeous Deep Orange shade - both yarn and printed patterns are available in the webshop now.

Of course, if spring is coming to your area a little quicker than it does in Wales, you may be thinking of things less woolly. I have been unpacking and winding a new delivery of linen yarn this week, and dreaming of cool, draping summer knits. The little "Sweet Pea" packs are now also back in stock, in a slightly different format to last year. They now come as a selection of of 7 mini hanks of 50 meters of yarn each, grouped in various colour themes, and work wonderfully either a few packs together in a multi coloured project, or combined with the regular 100gr hanks as stripes or colour accents.

Personally, I have chosen to use mine for a Granny Sunburst scarf, combining the Glow pack of warm colours with the midnight blue Ink, but the possibilities really are endless to mix and match.

This weekend we are off to Wonderwool again, marking our second birthday! We'll be bringing all of our usual range, plenty of Linus kits in some new colour combinations, the Sweet Peas and maybe even a little taster of something completely new ;)  Hope to see you there!

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2016

Can't believe that after all the preparations and build-up, the Edinburgh Yarn Festival is already over for another year! But what a festival it was, starting with a most stylish welcoming committees, dressed head to toe in Ullcentrum!

The most incredible selection of vendors came from far and wide to show the best of fibre crafts, classes on a wide variety of subjects were taught by the great and good of the knitting world over four days and through it all Jo, Mica and their tireless team kept everything running smoothly. The words "Creme de la creme" were mentioned a few times....and then there was us in the middle of it!

We had a couple of new things to unveil for EYF - Estelle was very excited about her custom built new box system for displaying the Pirkkalanka yarn which not only worked and fitted perfectly, it looked rather snazzy too.

But probably more importantly, it was the first outing of the Scattered Showers shawl that she had been frantically and secretly working on in the months leading up to the show.

Scattered Showers is huge blanket shawl in stranded colourwork made from our Ullcentrum sport weight yarn. It is worked in the round and steeked - a traditional fair isle technique which involves knitting a few extra stitches to then *gasp* cut the work open to make a flat garment.
The finished product measures 235cm across the widest point and 95cm from the top to the point
It is a gorgeous mass of warmth in winter, and because it's made from Ullcentrum's hardy Swedish wool, it will likely last a lifetime too.

We had many people admire the sample at the show so will hopefully start to see them out in the wild  soon,  including the one chosen by friend and EYF volunteer Fiona who changed the colours to reflect her beloved Mirri Dancers (Northern Lights if you're not Scottish)
The kits are available in their original colour way from the website now - we are looking at making the pattern alone available on Ravelry but still need to work out the logistics of that.

Another Finished Object to grace the stand at EYF was my Last Autumn jumper - so called because it was supposed to be finished by last autumn .... still at least it's finished now and I was pleased able to show people what the Autumn gradient looks like knitted up. I must admit I am pretty pleased with it - it's my first ever sweater and a really good, lightweight but warm one at that. I used a basic top-down "raglan calculator" pattern .... well, Estelle did and then told me to knit x far until a certain point where she separated the sleeves out and told me to knit some more ;p

Unfortunately, like many of the vendors, Estelle came back with a big dose of Scottish Flu, so things are only just starting to come back to normal at Casa Midwinter again - restock orders are on their way from Sweden and Finland, and right now the house is filling with mini skeins of Lithuanian Linen heralding the arrival of spring and the return of the Sweet Pea packs.

On the Needles -


I have just cast off the Lapland and White Linus I started in Farnham. I had to rip back quite a lot as I completely forgot to knit the garter edge, but I've caught up really quickly and it's looking lovely and bright waiting for a soak and a block.


Estelle has been wanting to make Masgot by Lete's Knits for some time, and after meeting the designer herself in Edinburgh, finally cast on in Thin Pirkkalanka, in the hotel bed, the morning after the show. Any excuse to use her new knitting bag from the Kettle Yarn Company, really...

She then disappeared for a three hour Sunday breakfast with that other great knitting insomniac Caerthan of Triskelion Yarns while some of us stayed in bed til' lunch like normal people.

Where to find us next -

We will be at Wonderwool Wales on the 23rd-24th April at the Royal Welsh show ground in Builth Wells, which has always been a special show for us as it's our "home" show, and the place we had our very first day of trading, 3 years ago already! We will be at a fancy, bigger stall, right by the café in Hall 1, so don't forget to come and say Hi!