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!
Cue happy dance music, and check out this beauty…
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.
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.
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!
A RAINBOW HEIRLOOM CHRISTMAS…
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!
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!
A new addition to my handknit wardrobe this week, and it’s already a firm favourite.
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!
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.
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 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:
content: 75% BFL / 25% masham
yardage: 262yds (240m) per 100g skein
needles: 3.25 – 5mm (US 3-8)
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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…
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.
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…
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.
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.
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?
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”)
Welcome to part 2 of our adventure in the Scottish Highlands (you can read the first part here). Last time, you left us on a stormy night in a tent in Glen Nevis, with a trip to Inverness and the Isle of Skye still to come.
5: Nevis Gorge and Inverness
At last, some sunshine! As promised, we set out first thing to walk through the beautiful Nevis Gorge to Steall waterfall. Definitely worth the second attempt. We got to brave a three cable wire bridge across the river at the foot of the falls , and felt like real adventurers! I’ve learned from my parents to always appreciate a good waterfall, and this was one of my favourite walks so far.
Our drive to Inverness took us up the Great Glen, which was spectacular, and we stopped off at Urquart Castle on the way. This was a fun diversion, and we’re both now keen to find out more about the castle’s history. Onwards to the city, where we had excellent pizza and beers at the Black Isle Bar. After, we walked out of the centre, along the River Ness and Ness Islands, and passed a peaceful afternoon strolling in the sun. The evening was devoted to planning our next day’s trip to the Isle of Skye…
6: Isle of Skye
We were up early, to find coffee and pastries before driving to the Isle of Skye. On the way, we stopped at Eilean Donan Castle. This has been on my list of things to see for so long, and it didn’t disappoint. Nestled at the point where three lochs meet, we spent a good hour walking around the site, taking in the majestic scenery from every angle. After a brief car picnic, we were on the road again and headed for the Skye Bridge (cue ‘The Skye Boat Song,’ on repeat, forever). Wow, wow, wow.
We were headed to the Quiraing for some hillwalking. We took a circular route, starting with a steep climb up a grassy hillside and eventually leading to the edge of the cliffs and spectacular views of the bizarre formations below. It’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever been; like something from another world. We paused at the highest point for a time, before descending and following a route along the cliff bottom. So many curious formations and dramatic pinnacles… I could have spent hours there. Instead, we hopped back in the car and drove to Uig, where we were staying in a pod for the night.
What a perfect place to stay, with views over the harbour. After a hot dinner, I had a mind to sit out and watch the sunset. Ross chose that moment to propose (and of course I said yes!). Newly engaged, we sat and watched the sky change together.
7: Isle of Skye
We were sad to leave our pod that morning, it had been such an awesome place to stay. Vowing to return soon (and perhaps for our honeymoon?!), we left for the nearby Fairy Glen. The landscape here was bizarre and delightful, with cone-shaped hills and a rocky tower.
It was a beautifully sunny day (finally!), and after driving to Dunvegan Castle we spent a few hours wandering around the grounds there, and then strolled a little way around the coast. Back to Portree for fish and chips, and then we were on our way to the Old Man of Storr for a walk to the base of this massive pinnacle. For that night, we were pitching up a tent at a campsite at the foot of the Cuillin mountains. Beautiful!
8: Home (and full of inspiration!)
The weather turned nasty during the night, and we woke up with our tent collapsing on top of us! We packed up as quickly as possible, it was 5am and everything was totally drenched, but we couldn’t help laughing. With our tent completely destroyed, and the rain still lashing down, we decided to head home a day early. That didn’t put us off though, and we’re already planning our next trip!
On the way back to Edinburgh, my head was full of new plans and ideas for the dye pots. I had a particular colour in mind that I couldn’t wait to try out, so the next day I was in the studio with my journal full of notes from the holiday…
When I looked at the Scottish landscape, I had this image in my mind of bright speckles of pink and green, against a barely-there-grey. The moody skies, the mountainsides and Fairy Glen, and the gorgeous sunsets, are all encapsulated in this new colour. I can’t wait to start knitting with it! The yarn is Rainbow Heirloom Sweater, and you can find it in the shop in tonight’s update (along with some other goodies).
A Chance to Win…
I’m giving away three skeins of ‘highland romance’ to one lucky winner! To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment here, or on Instagram (or both, you can have two entries!), telling me what project you’re working on. I’ll pick an entry at random and announce the winner on Wednesday (5th July). Good luck!
UPDATE: Congratulations to Melissa (@thetravelingnome on insta), you’ve won 3 skeins of ‘highland romance’!
Something a little bit different today. For our 8 year anniversary, my partner Ross and I planned a road trip around the Scottish Highlands. It was such a spectacular journey and we had so much fun, so I wanted to share some of our adventures with you!
1: Stirling and Loch Lomond
We started with a brief stop in Stirling and a wander around the beautiful architecture of the Old Town, where we were caught in a heavy rain shower (hopefully not a sign of things to come!). Then, as we drove down the narrow, winding, and – frankly – terrifying roads to Loch Lomond (our first stop for the night), the rain became torrential. Thankfully we made a wrong turning and in the time it took us to right our mistake the sun came out and we were able to set up our tent without mishap. I soon realised that people were not exaggerating when they forewarned of the west coast midges. I am being eaten alive. What do they eat, when they can’t get hobbit?
We climbed Ben Lomond in the afternoon, ascending via the Ptarmigan Path and descending on the tourist route. It was breathtaking. I can’t put into words what it’s like to be in the midst of those views. The way up was challenging, and each time we thought we were nearing the summit, we would come upon a larger peak hiding out of sight. I’ll admit, I was beginning to grow concerned that we’d underestimated this climb (we’d set out late in the day and I dreaded being stuck up a hillside after dark). It took us two hours – and a last minute scramble over some rocks – to reach the top. I’m glad we persevered!
No time to linger here, though. The weather started to turn. As the mist rolled in, and visibility was reduced, we half expected a spooky lone piper to appear in the distance (it would have been inkeeping with the overall atmosphere at this point). We battled heavy rain and strong winds to reach the bottom, where we were relieved to dive into the car and head for home (which for the night was a tent on the shores of Loch Lomond). It took us four hours and fifteen minutes to bag our first munro, and it was a well-deserved supper that evening!
2: Loch Lomond and Glen Coe
I had thought that a campsite in the Highlands would be more peaceful than my experiences of festival camping. Alas, we had unknowingly pitched up next to “lads on tour” (or so they sounded). After a telling off from the warden in the early hours they quietened a little, but I was still exhausted come morning. We spent a nice hour wandering the shores of Loch Lomond before packing up and hitting the road. Balmaha was our first stop, where we enjoyed a picnic overlooking the harbour. Next, Balloch and a walk through the picturesque park there. Then, Glen Coe… Cue the Lord of the Rings soundtrack. This drive was spectacular. We stopped at every available opportunity to take photographs. Buachaille Etive Mor; the Three Sisters; Aonach Eagach… hills for days and around every corner the skyline only became more beautiful.
Our campsite was nestled in the midst of the mountains and offered glorious views in every direction. An evening stroll revealed Glen Coe village to be a quiet place, and we passed the next few hours with a couple of beers and a few games of Exploding Kittens. Fort William tomorrow!
3: Fort William and The Jacobite Steam Train
We packed up and set off for Fort William early, hoping for something good for breakfast. The town wasn’t much like how I remembered it from my childhood visit, and I don’t think either of us were particularly enamoured with the place. I was excited for the Jacobite Stream Train and looking forward to a warm bed for the night, though. After enjoying lunch at a pub on the high street, we made our way to the station. The journey from Form William to Malaig and back was a magical as I had hoped. The Glenfinnan viaduct was a particular highlight. Total Harry Potter nerd moment.
4: Glenfinnan and Glen Nevis:
The weather is not being kind to us! We awoke to heavy rainfall, which carried on for the entire day. Undeterred, we drove to nearby Glenfinnan to see the viaduct from ground level. We also enjoyed the woodland walk there, and had some awesome views of the Glenfinnan monument and the surrounding mountains.
Our next stop was Glen Nevis. Keen to enjoy our holiday despite the weather, we decided to attempt the walk to Steall waterfall there. The way to the starting point was a thrilling drive up a single track road in the battering rain, (I think we were only half joking when we wondered whether we were heading into some sort of horror film scenario). We donned our waterproofs and started along the path, only to find water crashing down the mountainside and across our route. Promising to return the next day, we turned back, enjoying ourselves regardless. Less fun was attempting to put the tent up in the rain. By the time we were finished we were wet, thoroughly miserable, and had somehow managed to rip a whole in one of the tent corners. There was only one way to fix our moods… the nearby pub. A steak and ale pie and a couple of drinks later, the world was put to rights. The prospect of a wet and windy night in a tent suddenly didn’t seem too terrible.
I’ll be back with part 2 of our adventures tomorrow (Friday 30th July). You can look forward to an account of Inverness and the Isle of Skye, plus some very happy news and a brand new, road trip-inspired, yarn (with giveaway!). See you soon…
WENLOCK BY TIN CAN KNITS
This week I’m returning the ombre kits to the online shop. These gorgeous bundles were originally designed to be used for the Wenlock sweater by Tin Can Knits. I tried on my first Wenlock two years ago, when I was asked to model the original sample sweater (featuring the Rainbow Heirloom “rockstar” palette!). I immediately fell in love with this stylish and simple design.
The pretty lace detail and feminine fit really sold it to me, and I knew I had to cast on one of these sweaters immediately! I had originally intended to gift the finished project to my Mam. She’s was a big fan of the Rainbow Heirloom ombre options, and after some serious gushing over those hot reds and pinks (who wouldn’t fall in love with that “killer flamingo?!”), I decided to match that gorgeous palette with the light grey “apparition” and cast on.
Somehow, this sweater made its way into my own wardrobe (oops?). The only solution is to make another one, maybe with those gorgeous greens this time?! In the meantime, I’m looking to projects for using up those delicious leftovers. I’ve already made these two delightful Prism hats…
Next, I’m setting my sights on the Undertone Cowl by Tin Can Knits (honestly, I think I want to make everything those ladies design). This sample is shown in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater, ‘apparition’, ‘snow melt’, ‘blue raspberry’, ‘tidepool find’, ‘jewel sea’, and ‘wicked pacific.’ It’s a design that really showcases those colours, and I’m looking forward to rocking all the ombre!
SO WHAT’S IN THE UPDATE?
SO, in the current update, you can peruse the ombre kits to your heart’s content. I’ve also added some of my favourite blues on Rainbow Heirloom Sweater. Snap these beauties up while you can, folks!
I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend.
Rainbow Heirloom Solo Light
Solo Light is one of my very favourite yarns to dye and knit with. As the weather gets a tiny bit warmer, I’m dreaming of a wardrobe full of lightweight cardigans and sweaters (perhaps a Flax Light… or perhaps one in every colour?!). This yarn has a crisp clarity to it, which makes it ideal for so many projects. I’m particularly taken with the exquisitely delicate stitch definition that comes out in shawls. Here are some of my favourites…
Rainbow Heirloom Sweater
Sweater is a plump DK / worsted yarn that makes a cozy, dense fabric at 22 sts / 4″ (5.5 sts / inch), which is typical for DK weight patterns, but it even more ideal at 20 sts / 4″ (5 sts / inch), which is a perfect worsted sweater weight. And if you go up an extra needle size, you can even use it for patterns calling for a gauge of 18 sts / 4″ (4.5 sts / inch). It’s so versatile, but still a total joy to knit with! It’s no secret that I adore my Tin Can Knits Lush cardigan knit up in “golden north” (I wear it constantly…).
The subtle semi-solid colourways of this yarn really enhance the beauty of lace, cables, and texture. Plus, I’ve seen so many fantastic colour palettes in this yarn — I just keep coming back to it! What will you be making next?
Springtime Shop Update…
I’m currently in full Spring knitting mode (think ALL THE SHAWLS!), and I hope you’ll be inspired by some of my favourite colourways on Sweater and Solo Light, which are available in the current shop update (Friday 31 March at 8pm GMT)!
12 days, 12 gorgeous colours, and great savings!
It’s Christmas, the holiday knitwear is out in full force, and I’ve been looking back on my first year of business as the owner of Rainbow Heirloom (and what a colourful year it’s been). As my way of saying thank you to you for your support, and to spread some festive cheer, I’ve picked out some beautifully bold and vivid colours on our Sweater base and I’ll be offering them to you with big discounts!
I’ve chosen twelve of my favourite colours: those colours I really look forward to dyeing (and am most reluctant to send away!). From tomorrow, Wednesday 14th December, until Christmas Day, I’ll be adding one colour a day to the shop and for 24 hours (from noon until noon GMT) you can grab a skein (or two, or three…) of that day’s colour at 25% off PLUS free shipping!
The base yarn is Rainbow Heirloom Sweater, 100% extrafine superwash merino, tightly spun with a smooth soft hand and excellent durability. Sweater is a heavy DK / worsted weight yarn, and knits comfortably at 19, 20, 21, 22 sts per 4” in stockinette, making it very versatile. I love, love, love knitting with this yarn, and I know you will too!
This will be pre-order item ::: The 12 Christmas yarns will be dyed to order and will ship in January, which means a nice post-Christmas treat for you, at just the right time for some selfish knitting!
the first yarn of Christmas is bright and bold…
Up first is is this strong and subversive pink which screams fun! “princess rockstar” will be available at 25% off and with free shipping from Wednesday 14th December at 12pm GMT until Thursday 15th December at 12pm GMT: so don’t forget to grab a skein while you can!