A Festive Update and a Strange Brew Christmas Sweater

Rainbow Heirloom SO SPARKLE and Rainbow Heirloom MCN ARAN are making their debut in tonight’s shop update (Friday 2nd November at 8PM GMT). They’re both brand new bases and gloriously festive! You can find them in the online shop here.

Christmas Update

Sparkly, squishy, and festive!

So Sparkle is sure to get you in the party mood. This blend of superwash merino with 5% stellina is a fabulously fun sock weight yarn, perfect for accessories and lightweight garments. Whatever you choose to make, that little bit of glitter will really make it special!

And another new yarn?! YAY!

Wrap up warm in some holiday knitwear made from a delicious blend of merino, cashmere and nylon. Rainbow Heirloom MCN Aran is a super soft yarn, perfect for quick-knitting and accessories: cosy cowls, snuggly hats and squishy mittens. Or treat yourself to a wonderfully soft sweater to wear as the days get colder.

A STRANGE BREW CHRISTMAS SWEATER

Moraine

Getting there! This delicious merino / cashmere / nylon blend is so soft.

I’m using MCN Aran to make the Moraine sweater from the Strange Brew collection. A new Christmas sweater has been on my to-knit list for a couple of years now. I started one this time last year, but I didn’t manage to finish it in time for the holidays. When I pulled it out again a few weeks ago, I just couldn’t find the motivation to get it back on my needles. So I decided to cast on something new! The combination of this super soft and squishy yarn in the “unrequited” and “natural” colourways with the all over colourwork design is so festive. The KAL runs until 6th December, so I still have a little while to finish this knit and then lots of cold winter nights that will require this extra snuggly sweater.

Boreal and Moraine

Not this year for the Boreal sweater… But I can’t wait to cast off and wear Moraine!

Are you taking part in the Tin Can Knits Strange Brew KAL? Which design did you choose to make? Or are you using the Strange Brew recipe to design your own?

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Say hello to Trek and Strange Brew!

Trek by Tin Can Knits

Gorgeous colourwork… Trek by Tin Can Knits!

The Strange Brew collection by Tin Can Knits has been released: it features my Heritage DK yarn and my face!

We were having one of our weekly “coffee and writing” meet-ups when Emily mentioned a trip to Iceland. New colourwork collection… the entire Tin Can Knits family in one place… in need of a model willing to stand in the wind and cold in a dress and a yoke sweater. I pretended to think it over for a few days. In reality, I was 100% on board from the get-go. The finished book is a thing of beauty, and I’m so happy to have been a part of it in a small way.

TREK… IN RAINBOW HEIRLOOM YARN!

Trek

Trek captured in beautiful Iceland…

Trek combines colour palettes and motifs for a super fun yoke. The sample is made with Heritage DK: an exquisite blend of 75% Bluefaced Leicester and 25 % grey Masham. This 100% British  yarn dyes up in beautifully soft hues. The yoke is made up of 5 contrast colours: “blue raspberry,” “tidepool find,” “favourite aunty,” “almost spring,” and “golden north,” with the light grey “natural” used as the main colour throughout the body and sleeves.

KITS AND KALS…

You can find Heritage DK colourwork kits in the shop. Each kit contains 5 x 50g cakes in the contrast colours used in the Trek design. That’s approximately 131 yds / 50g in each colour – enough for the colourwork section in most sizes, but do check the yardage requirements listed in the pattern.

There are a few main colour options available. The original uses “natural,” but I’ve been combining a colourwork kit with a darker grey “koala haircut” in a men’s version of this sweater for Ross. Which do you prefer? I think both are pretty great (and I’m so excited for the cringe matchy matchy couple photos!).

Tin Can Knits are hosting a knit-a-long from 9th October to 6th December. You can find all the details on the Tin Can Knits ravelry group. Fancy making the Trek sweater? The yarns are mostly listed as pre-orders, but if you order soon you should still have time to finish a sweater before the deadline (especially if you’re making one of the teeny-tiny sizes!).

Indie Burgh Craft Crawl

Last weekend the crafting community of Edinburgh took part in the Indie Burgh Craft Crawl: a super fun event to support local shops and makers. Every year the craft crawl (like a pub crawl, but with crafts!) is organised by Jess of Ginger Twist Studio. This year, I was excited to be one of the participating shops, alongside the likes of Kathy’s Knits, Be Inspired Fibres, Ysoda’s Studio (plus lots more!).

I opened up my dye studio space at St Margaret’s House, with a couple of dye pots running throughout the day (when it wasn’t too hot!) and a whole stock of Rainbow Heirloom goodies for sale.

ONE OF A KIND CRAFT CRAWL COLOURWAY :::

This gorgeous variegated green is a limited edition “indie burgh craft crawl” colourway, created just for this event. Any that weren’t claimed are now in the online shop. Check them out here, but know that this is a one of a kind limited colourway and once these beautiful skeins are gone, they’re gone!

 

Bundles and bundles of mini skeins were also available. I honestly can’t get enough of these: they’re so pretty I just want to display them around my flat. I’ve restocked the online shop with minis, too (for knitting or display purposes, whatever’s your jam).

Were you at the craft crawl this year? Did you visit all 11 shops? I’m already looking forward to Indie Burgh Craft Crawl 2019!

Beautiful BRIT LIGHT and RH SOCK

TWO NEW BASES IN THE RAINBOW HEIRLOOM FAMILY

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Luminous shades… Which one is your favourite?

I’ve been experimenting with some new and different bases to add to the Rainbow Heirloom collection. Brit Light is a bouncy 2-ply superwash BFL which takes dye perfectly for subtle semi-solids. It is great for lightweight projects, shawls, scarves and colourwork. This yarn has previously been available as part of a limited edition palette kit, and now I’m so excited to offer you a range of colours in single 50g skeins!

And for the first time in the online shop: Rainbow Heirloom Sock is a superwash merino and nylon blend that takes dye beautifully for vivid and luminous colours. This sock yarn is tightly spun, durable and hard-wearing, perfect for socks and lightweight garments. Put up in 50g skeins, this is also a great yarn for fine colourwork projects.

Check out the shop now to see the full collection!

Brit LightRH Sock

 

 

Blocking the Bounce Blanket

princess rockstar rainbow

The “princess rockstar” rainbow!

The “princess rockstar” rainbow Bounce blanket was the first project I cast off in 2018. Something about this pattern just clicks for me – the combination of lace repeats and garter stitch, plus the excitement of the colour changes, makes this an addictive knit. I did the majority of the knitting over Christmas and New Year, finishing it surprisingly quickly.
bounce blanket

Bounce Blanket – a gorgeous combination of stripes and lace!

There are kits for this blanket in three rainbow options available in the shop: “sunshine and storm” is a cool and modern rainbow that blends moody blues and stormy greys, punctuated by bright rays of yellow brights; from palest peach to blood orange and deep purple, the “princess rockstar” rainbow is a saturated rainbow of hot hot hot colours; and the “classic” rainbow arcs from vivid purples, through lemony yellows to deep submarine blues. All three options will give you a brilliantly vivid rainbow blanket! Kits include 3 skeins of Rainbow Heirloom Sweater yarn in “natural” plus 21 mini skeins in contrast colours: enough to make the larger blanket size.
bounce princess rockstar

You can find blanket kits in the shop here.

Notes on blocking a Bounce blanket

I’ve taken great care to make my vivid hand-dyed yarns colourfast, but some of the particularly intense hues have a greater tendency to bleed – this is just the nature of the dyes I use for those super bright colours! When I blocked my “princess rockstar” blanket, which includes some of the deepest reds and most saturated purples, I followed a few precautions to avoid any major disappointments. When it comes to blocking your own heirloom blanket, I’d recommend the following tips…
Fill your sink (or bath, or large bucket) with cool water. At this point, I added about half a cup of white vinegar to the water. You’ll want to submerge your blanket and gently press out the bubbles – but don’t agitate your knitting too much.
This is the important bit: I didn’t leave my blanket soaking for too long! I really wanted to limit the time where any bleeding could occur – in total I probably left it in the water for approximately 7 minutes. Long enough for the knitting to be properly soaked, but not so long that any of the colours will run! After this, it was standard blocking procedure. When you remove your blanket from the water, you’ll want to very gently squeeze out as much water as you can, rolling it up in a towel to really rid it of excess moisture.
Time to pin it out. I used blocking wires to keep the side and top edges of my blanket nice and straight, and pins to shape the castoff edge. And voila! Though this took a little extra effort, it was so worth it for the finished product. The colours have remained perfect! If I ever need to wash my Bounce in the future, I’ll follow the same method as above and limit the time soaking. Though the yarn in these kits is superwash, for the sake of longevity it’s probably best to handwash finished knits (especially in the case of big multi-colour projects!).
If you’re completely new to blocking, you might find it useful to check out this blog post from Tin Can Knits for reference. It offers basic instructions for how to block your knits. Just remember to limit the time that your Bounce blanket spends in the water.
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Post-blocking and the colours are perfect!

Are you ready to make your own Rainbow Heirloom blanket now? You can order your kit here. I’ll be starting another Bounce for myself soon, perhaps in the “classic” rainbow this time…

Arika, Again… (& a giveaway!)

Do you have a favourite quick knit?

Very occasionally, I happen upon a pattern that I could happily make again and again. After taking on a few big knitting projects over Christmas, I’ve been craving some quick knits. Enter the Arika Cowl by Jane Richmond!
Arika

I love this squishy, cosy cowl!

This is my third version of this cowl. The first one was knit up in Rainbow Heirloom Lush Chunky in “golden north”  – a warming colour on a super cosy base. This pattern and yarn pair up beautifully. As soon as I cast off I was tempted to cast on another one in a different colour straightaway. I ended up doing just that, though not on purpose. My Mam loved my cowl so much, she asked for the yarn and pattern to make it for herself. Unfortunately she just couldn’t get the hang of the stitch pattern (she’s fairly new to any sort of lace knitting), and she asked me to make it for her! I whipped up this second Arika over a weekend visiting my parents – leaving my Mam to add the finishing tassels. She loves this knit (as do I!).
Arika number 3 is another version for myself, this time in “princess rockstar.” I’ve used Lush Chunky again, because why mess with perfection?! This chunky and voluminous baby alpaca yarn is perfect for quick-knitting and luxurious accessories. Two skeins of Lush Chunky yields enough yarn to make this pattern with the tassels. I’ve added a few colourways to the shop this week – along with a selection of Lush Light (a luxuriously soft blend of baby alpaca, silk and cashmere).
Lush Light

Yarn, glorious yarn!

Psssst… head over to instagram to win some yarn!

By a happy accident, I’ve ended up with a single skein of Lush Light in “killer flamingo.” So I thought I’d do a giveaway! Head over to instagram for the chance to win this gorgeous skein (you’ll need to recommend a book to enter – I’m in need of something new to read!). The winner will be randomly selected from the comments on Friday (9th February).

Fly Away

BEAUTIFUL BLANKETS…

I love handmade blankets. For me, they really capture the “heirloom” aspect of Rainbow Heirloom. Every time I pack up a Bounce, Vivid, or Fly Away blanket kit for one of you, I feel a little thrill of happiness, knowing that this bundle of yarns is going to become something special.

Last summer, I was looking for a new project to start: something fun and portable. The Fly Away blanket was the perfect fit! It is knit a square at a time, and then seamed together to create a striking geometric design. I chose “colourway option C” for my blanket. I love those really bright pinks, purples and reds in contrast to the grey.

The squares were all finished within a couple of weeks. Alas, it took me forever to sew them together (and even longer to add the contrast edging). Here it is at last, though!

Fly Away

Finished at last! My Fly Away blanket made with Rainbow Heirloom Sweater.

Kits for this design are available to preorder in the shop, with three colourway options to choose from. Check them out here, and create your own beautiful heirloom.

Fly Away

Creating an heirloom: the Fly Away blanket by Tin Can Knits knit in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater!

From Ironheart to Strange Brew: a knitting win!

Cue happy dance music, and check out this beauty…

Strange Brew

My completed Strange Brew yoke: featuring 5 colours.

Last month, I decided to take part in the Tin Can Knits Strange Brew KAL. Strange Brew is more of a recipe than a pattern, allowing you to play with colour and design, and end up with a custom sweater. It includes instructions for a sweater body and sleeves, along with a “plug and play” yoke guideline pattern (or you can try the “wedge design” if you’re more adventurous), and lots of inspirational stitch patterns to get you started.

 

My sweater began its life as an Ironheart (from the Heart on my Sleeve collection), but I ended up pulling out the yoke and putting the stitches for the sleeves and body back on hold. For my Strange Brew, there was a particular stitch pattern that I definitely wanted to include as a way to transition between the colours, and I’d done a couple of sketches. The colour selection led to an enjoyable afternoon of putting lots of mini skein bundles together, and then the realisation that I still hadn’t actually picked out the colours for my own project. Honestly though, I mostly winged it! This is very out of character for me, but I had a rough plan and I couldn’t wait to get started.

Strange Brew

Sometimes it’s best to stop planning and start knitting!

The colourwork section only took me a couple of days because I couldn’t put it down. At one point, I was wrapped in a tangle of yarns trying to knit fair isle and win a pub quiz (we came second). It was looking a little Gryffindor at first, with the red and gold, but I decided to keep going and in the end I think it has the look of a vintage Christmas jumper (a win in my book). I’ve used “golden north,” ” apparition,” “submarine,” “snow melt,” and “jewel sea” with a main colour that’s closest to “old affair.” When I was first considering Strange Brew, I was sceptical that anything I designed would really be good enough. I’m actually so proud of myself right now! This has gone from a very unhappy sweater to one of my most successful knits ever.

Strange Brew

Epic win!

The deadline for the KAL is this Monday (11th December). Head over to the Ravelry thread to check out all of the amazing sweaters. I’ll be putting some more Sweater mini bundles together soon, and in the meantime you can shop the current update and get free shipping when you order before the 21st December!

Big BIG Christmas Update and FREE SHIPPING!

A RAINBOW HEIRLOOM CHRISTMAS…

Solo Rainbow

A whole rainbow of colours to choose from!

The decorations are up, the festive knitwear is on, and I’ve already eaten my bodyweight in mince pies (oops). I’m in a very celebratory mood and I’ve been gleefully pulling out every skein of yarn I have, ready for a big BIG Christmas shop update!

There are some one of a kind speckles, there are gorgeous colourways from previous yarn clubs, and there are lots and lots of lovely single skeins. This might be your only chance to shop this yarn as much of it is in non-repeating exclusive colours or something I wouldn’t usually dye up outside a custom order. So grab them while you have the chance!

Speckles

A handful of gorgeous, one of a kind speckles.

PLUS, until the 21st December I’ll be offering free worldwide shipping on every order. There’s no code, the shipping cost has already been taken off every eligible skein!

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Which one will you choose?

Everything listed in the Christmas shop update is in stock and ready to ship. That means that if you hurry, you can get it in time for Christmas! Order before Thursday 21st December for the UK  and before Thursday 14th December for the USA (for the rest of the world, you can check the last recommended posting dates here). And if you order before the 21st, your yarn will be delivered free of charge.
Check out the shop now to see an even greater selection of gorgeous yarns: there are so many bases and colours to choose from, there is bound to be a skein in there meant just for you.

 

Epistrophy and Heritage DK

A new addition to my handknit wardrobe this week, and it’s already a firm favourite.

Epistrophy

The Epistrophy cardigan by Kate Davies is one of my favourite knits.

I’ve been admiring this pattern by Kate Davies since the publication of Yokes. The striking geometric design of the yoke caught my attention immediately, and Epistrophy jumped to the top of the queue. The only reason it took me so long to get started is because I never found a yarn that felt right for this project. Until now, anyway!

Epistrophy

The buttons are from Textile Garden: a perfect match!

Heritage DK is a fairly new addition to Rainbow Heirloom. It is 100% British wool, an exquisite blend of 75% Bluefaced Leicester and 25% grey Masham. The colours come out beautifully subtle on this gorgeous base. I’ve used “snow melt” and “wicked pacific” for my Epistrophy, and I love the beautiful contrast between that palest icy grey blue and my favourite deep and complex teal.

Ridgeline

Heritage DK makes beautifully cosy hats and mittens.

A perfect match for a cosy knit!  Heritage DK has previously been available as a kit for the Ridgeline hat and mitten set by Tin Can Knits (a collaborative project that we launched at EYF. Futher details: here).

Heritage Rainbow

Rainbow!

Heritage DK is now available as single skeins in the shop. I have a few skeins of each colourway in stock and ready to ship, and once those are gone (or if you’d like to order a sweater amount!) this yarn will be available for pre-order. That means I’ll dye something up just for you and have it posted in 3 – 4 weeks. You can find a range of colours here (and I’ll be adding more colours in future updates!). This yarn is a dream to knit with and beautiful to wear. I’m already planning what I can make with it next (perhaps a Snowflake sweater in time for Christmas?).

Rainbow Heirloom Heritage DK:

weight: DK
content: 75% BFL / 25% masham
yardage: 262yds (240m) per 100g skein
needles: 3.25 – 5mm (US 3-8)

Heritage collage

Available in: “granny pants” “favourite aunty” “almost spring” “golden north” “verdant” “snow melt” “blue raspberry” “tidepool find” “wicked pacific.”

New: sweater mini bundles!

COLOURFUL BUNDLES ARE IN THE SHOP NOW…

There is something super exciting in the shop update this week. After pulling out the yoke of my Ironheart sweater to replace it with some Strange Brew colourwork (you can read more about that here), I began exploring colour combinations in a frenzy. So many colours that would work for beautiful fairisle combinations! It struck me that bundles of mini skeins would make a perfect addition to the shop, and fuel my current obsession with ALL THE COLOURS.

A Rainbow of Minis!

A gorgeous rainbow of colourful mini skeins…

Emily is also using Rainbow Heirloom Sweater for her Strange Brew. The body and sleeves are knit in “winding way,” a gorgeous colourway saved from an old yarn club. For her colourwork yoke, Emily is looking at: “morning light,” “golden north,” “guilty pleasure,” “princess rockstar,” “favourite aunty,” and “snow melt.” I’m in love with this combination, and I can’t wait to see what she does with it!

For my own Strange Brew, I was looking for colours to work well with the deep red/purple of the body and sleeves. After pulling out a few likely options, and making a few swatch hats, I think I’ve settled on six finalists: “snow melt,” “tidepool find,” “submarine,” “apparition,” “golden north,” and “birthday suit.”

WHICH ONE IS YOUR FAVOURITE?

There are six colourful bundles to choose from. Fancy some classic rainbow colours? I couldn’t resist this combination. Or how about an ombre of blues or pinks? Perhaps some speckles, for a really striking design. It’s the same Sweater base that you know and love (a heavy DK/worsted yarn of 100% superwash merino), now in 20g mini skeins (each skein is approximately 35-42 yards). Check out the shop now to snap up one of these pretty bundles.

 

From Heart on my Sleeve to Strange Brew

A horror story for Halloween…

A few weeks ago I played yarn chicken. I lost, spectacularly. It was silly: I knew how much yarn I had, and I knew how much yarn the pattern required, but for some reason my brain didn’t make the connection. I’m going to say that I was completely mesmerised by the colour, a one of a kind, beautifully deep purple/red on my Sweater base. I needed to knit with it, immediately!

I cast on the Ironheart sweater, from the Heart on my Sleeve collection. I was really drawn to the lace and garter stitch yoke design. Of course, by the time I’d made it to the yoke I was almost out of yarn! I went stash diving, hoping to find a matching skein. This colourway is closest to “old affair,” (one of my favourites!) and I was pleased to find enough of a close-enough colour to finish.

Ironheart

Perhaps not too noticeable? But I can see it!

I cast off, wove in the ends, and took photos. The fit and design of the sweater were perfect, an ideal addition to my growing hand-knit wardrobe. To my eye, though, that last skein was just too different. It doesn’t stand out much in the pictures, but I knew it was noticeable enough to stop me from wearing the sweater. A failure, then! (I don’t know about you, but I’m always hyper-critical and dramatic with my own mistakes).

A fair isle fix…

Adamant that this sweater shouldn’t languish somewhere, forever unworn,  I’ve been thinking on ways to make it work for me. An obvious solution: Strange Brew. Last week, Tin Can Knits launched a KAL of their latest pattern, a “design your own fair isle yoke” sweater. I’d been planning on joining in anyway, so this was perfect timing! My plan is to rip out my Ironheart yoke, and replace it with colourwork… I’ve been dyeing up mini skeins of RH Sweater, pulling out my colour samples, and playing around with palettes. I’m so excited about this project. I haven’t made a final decision about the fair isle design or the colours yet, but my aim is to be finished by the KAL deadline in December. With my sweater body and sleeves already completed, I’m almost there!

Well, I think I’m on to a winner with this project. I can’t wait to see everyone else’s finished sweaters, too. Are you taking part in the Strange Brew KAL?

10% Birthday Discount!

I celebrated my birthday earlier this week, so to share the party vibes I thought I’d offer you a sweet discount! Use the code RAINBOWPARTY to receive a 10% discount in the online shop. This code is valid until Wednesday 6th September. Enjoy!

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A very happy unbirthday to you…

Why not treat yourself to a custom order of Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in your favourite colour? Or check out the selection of Solo Light in the shop… perfect for lightweight garments and shawls. This would also be a great opportunity to snap up one of those blanket kits you’ve had your eye on! There’s a selection of Bounce, Vivid, and Fly Away kits in the shop, but there are only a few so best be quick…

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So many colours to choose from… what are you waiting for?! 

Solo Light and an Enchanted Knitalong

There is something special for you in the shop update tonight (Fri 18 Aug). I’ve just added Rainbow Heirloom Solo Light in lots of gorgeous colours! This single-ply sockweight merino soaks up dye beautifully, creating some really vivid colourways.

I love this yarn. I spoke in my last post about my goal to build up a collection of thoughtful handmade knits that will actually get worn. Following Edinburgh Yarn Festival this year, my group of knit friends started a personal KAL, with each of us making an Enchanted Mesa sweater by Stephen West. I knew right away that I’d be diving into my stash of Solo Light to create a lightweight and drapey garment.

Enchanted Mesa KAL

Tom, Emily from Tin Can Knits, Rosie and I have all made versions of this fab design!

Pinks and greys were my starting point for the yoke of this design (actually, if you check out my instagram feed, you’ll notice I’m really digging pinks lately!). I also have a small stash of single-ply sockweight yarns from other yarn dyers that I knew would work well for the colourwork here. After lots (and lots) of deliberation, I went for “princess rockstar,” “apparition,” and “grey whale” in my own Solo Light, and La Bien Aimée’s “direwolf graffiti” and “yellow brick road.” Gorgeous! I’m so pleased with how this turned out, and now I have another success story for my handknit wardrobe…

Enchanted Mesa

I had so much fun knitting this and I love wearing it! 

So check out the online shop now to snap up some Solo Light for yourself, and let these bright and bold colours inspire you to create something beautiful for your own knitwear collection.

 

Twinkle, Twinkle, Flax Light

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Wardrobe basics: Flax Light by Tin Can Knits

One of my goals this year has been to create a more thoughtful handknit wardrobe. I’ve been knitting for quite a few years now, but somehow I only have a very small collection of actually wearable items that fit into my everyday life. I’ve been inspired in no small part by seeing all of your beautiful knitwear out in the wild, at EYF, Yarndale, or Pomfest. I come home from these events with a desire to immediately cast on all of the sweaters and all of the cardigans and all of the shawls!  In harnessing that inspiration, whilst putting a little extra thought into what I really want to wear, I’ve been making some pretty great additions to my knitting collection.

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The perfect wardrobe staple in a “rockstar” colour!

Flax Light, from the Tin Can Knits Simple Collection, is my most recent finished sweater. This was such a satisfying knit. I’d been thinking about a really basic sweater to show off some fabulous yarn, and this straightforward design was just perfect.

When Max was born, Emily made the tiniest, most adorable Flax Light in Rainbow Heirloom Twinkle Light (in the “apparition” colourway)… well, I wanted a grown-up version for me! It took me a little while to settle on a colour (“koala haircut?”, “wicked pacific?!”), but in the end it had to be “princess rockstar.” It’s just so fun.

Twinkle Light is a gorgeous blend of merino and silk. The finished sweater is so lightweight and feels beautifully soft against the skin. Perfect for a Scottish summer! I’ll be putting some Twinkle Light in the shop update this week. I’ve chosen some of my favourite colourways, and they all really sparkle on this base… Perhaps you’d like to make your own Flax Light?

RHTwinkleLight-shop

Twinkle, twinkle, which one will you choose?

Rainbow Heirloom TWINKLE LIGHT
weight: 4-ply / sock weight yarn
content: 50% superwash merino, 50% silk
yardage: 400 yds (365 m) per 100 g skein
needles: 2.25 to 4.0 mm (US 1-6)
gauge: 24 – 30 sts = 10 cm (4”)