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?! 

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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?

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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”)

A Scottish Road Trip Pt. 2 and Giveaway!

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

Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle

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.

QuiraingWe 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.

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A special place for some happy news!

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!

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We did manage to squeeze in a trip to the Talisker Distillery!

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…

‘highland romance’

 

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’!

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A Scottish Road Trip Pt.1

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

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At the base of Ben Lomond, the views were captivating…

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

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On the shores of Loch Lomond

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.

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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

Jacobite Steam Train

I’m Harry Potter, Harry Harry Potter…

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.

 

 

From Malaig

Malaig offered excellent views of the nearby islands, and had us excited for our trip to Skye…

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.

Next time:

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…

Glen Nevis

Maybe it will stop raining soon!

 

Colour, ombre, and the Wenlock Sweater

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…

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Perfect for using up those leftovers, and adorable to boot! 

 

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Those colours really pop!

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!

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Blues, blues, blues!

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Which is your favourite?

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend.

Sweater and Solo Light : Project Roundup

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…

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Slice, Buccaneer, Rivulet, Exploration Station, and Photosynthesis: those colours really “pop!”

 

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…).

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Lush by Tin Can Knits in Rainbow Heirloom Sweater “golden north” 

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)!

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Rainbow Heirloom Sweater: this yarn takes dye beautifully, resulting in luminous semi-solid colours

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Rainbow Heirloom Solo Light: this single-ply sock weight merino soaks up colour, creating vivid colourways

 

 

A Rainbow Heirloom Christmas

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!

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Which ones to choose?

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!

“princess rockstar”

the first yarn of Christmas is bright and bold…

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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!

 

August Club Colourway :: Stormy Seas

HOME FROM HOME: LUMINOUS MINI SKEINS

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A perfect pair for some fine colourwork!

This month’s yarn club colourway is inspired by the stormy seas of Whitby harbour. This seaside town has captured the imaginations of so many people. If you read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, you’ll be captivated by his description of Dracula arriving in a shipwreck on the shores of Whitby and ascending the 199 steps up to the abbey while transformed as a large black dog. It certainly spooked me when I retraced his footsteps one misty afternoon!

I’ve been visiting Whitby since I was a bairn: staying with my Grandparents in a little rented cottage for a weekend, driving up with my parents for a couple of hours just to get some fish and chips, or spending hours walking around the cobbled streets and exploring the abbey. As many of my friends will attest to, I insist that everyone must visit this charming town come rain or shine.

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Inspiration: a view of the harbour on a stormy morning influenced these colour choices!

 

STORMY SEAS ON RH SOCK

The August club yarn is Rainbow Heirloom Sock, a plied superwash merino and nylon blend which takes dye beautifully, for vivid and luminous colours. This base is tightly spun, durable and hard-wearing, perfect for socks and lightweight garments.

This beautiful pair is made up of two 50g skeins, and would be great for fine colourwork projects!

This kit is only available for a limited time, so check out the shop now where you can purchase this club yarn as a one off (or sign up for a 3 or 6 month subscription to the Rainbow Heirloom yarn club!).

Rainbow Heirloom Sock
weight: fingering/4-ply
content: 75% superwash merino / 25% nylon
yardage: 232yds (212m) per 50 g skein
needles: 2 to 3.5 mm (US 0-4)
gauge: 26 – 32 sts = 10 cm (4”)

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“stormy seas” on Rainbow Heirloom Sock

July Club Colourway :: Roseberry Daze

HOME FROM HOME: COLOURS THAT SPEAK OF HOME

“We may roam far and wide before we see. A finer sight than here from Rosebury”

— from a sonnet by George Tweddell 1870.

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The distinctive view of Roseberry Topping on the North Yorkshire Moors

This month’s colourway is inspired by my memories of the intense and varied greens of the North East England landscape. Roseberry Topping (the name itself is something I’ve always loved) is a short, but challenging, climb which rewards you with spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. It’s a walk I’ve done many times since my childhood (I even have vague memories of my parents attempting the less challenging sections with my little brother in a pushchair — a sight which always elicited some surprised looks from the passing, fully kitted-out hikers!). The carpet of bluebells in the woods at the start of the trek, the tiny bridges and waterfalls, the kissing gate (I’ll admit, I still suppress a childish giggle at that name), wildlife, and stone paths, all made it feel like something out of a fairytale. My visits as an adult have always been steeped in nostalgia for those childhood adventures, and I find a new magic in it every time I return.

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So many gorgeous colours! 

Oh, and the inevitable “car picnics” that followed the climb, when the British weather didn’t allow us to sit outside for our sandwiches, have become a long-standing family tradition. When I visit home, the mention of “a trip out and a car picnic” fills me with excitement, much to the amusement of my partner Ross!

ROSEBERRY DAZE ON RH TWINKLE DK

This month’s yarn is a complex, layered green, with earthy undertones. It’s a colour which shimmers, like my memories of the landscape which was its inspiration.

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“roseberry daze” on RH twinkle DK

 

The featured base this month is Twinkle DK, one of my softest and most luxurious yarns!

Rainbow Heirloom TWINKLE DK
weight: DK
content: 50% superwash merino, 50% silk
yardage: 230 yds (210 m) per 100 g skein
needles: 3.5 to 5.0 mm (US 4-8)
gauge: 20 – 24 sts = 10 cm (4”)

 

I love how this yarn sparkles and shines, and really highlights the beauty of this colourway. It’s a great yarn for lace, because each stitch has great definition and clarity. Our Twinkle yarns are perfect for accessories and lightweight garments, and it’s SO soft that it can be worn next to the skin by the most sensitive of knitters.

This limited edition yarn is available now! Head over to the shop, where you can purchase one or more skeins of this gorgeous colourway, OR get 3 or 6 month subscriptions to guarantee more delicious club yarns at discounted rates!

A chance to win

July Giveaway

For a chance to win a skein of this month’s club yarn in a prize draw, head over to instagram for details of how to enter!

Home from Home: a new yarn club!

Home from Home: colours that speak of home.

It’s time for a new yarn club! This month I’m launching a club that is very close to my heart, and over 9 months I’ll be releasing a series of colours that speak of home.

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Colours inspired by those places I feel at home.

 

Each month I will release a brand new colourway and base yarn combination. I’ll reveal the limited edition yarn and make it available for purchase in the shop on the first Friday of every month (starting today 3rd June 8pm BST), and your yarn will ship to you on the last Friday of the month.

And better yet, there will be a monthly yarn giveaway! I’ll be giving away a skein (or two!) in the club colourway every month to one of my customers. For every month you purchase one of my limited addition club yarns, you’ll be entered in to a prize draw! I’ll announce the winner at the end of each month, and be sure to keep an eye on instagram for more opportunities to #winRHyarn.

What does home mean to you?

Home is where your heart is, so they say. My colours for this club have sprung from my own stories, memories, journeys, and the beautiful moments of my life as I find those places I feel at home.

The first three months are inspired by childhood memories of home. These colours and stories will offer you a glimpse of the beautiful North East England landscape, from bright spring days in Teesdale to moody, story-inspiring coastal towns. The next part of the story are three shades inspired by my own attempts to seek out a home as I move away from my parents and establish some roots of my own in bonny Scotland. The final three colours are taken from a more abstract understanding of home, as I consider those special moments packed with meaning and memory that make me feel like I’m where I’m meant to be.

Springtime Valley on RH Heather

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Inspired by a springtime shot of Teesdale.

The club colourway for June is “springtime valley” on Rainbow Heirloom Heather. That’s a brand new yarn base at Rainbow Heirloom!

Rainbow Heirloom Heather

weight: fingering / 4 ply
content: 50% baby alpaca / 50% merino
yardage: 437 yards (400m) per 100g skein
needles: 2.75 – 4mm (US 2 – 6)
gauge: 24 – 28 sts = 10cm (4″)

 

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Head over to the shop, where you can either purchase one or more skeins of the current month’s limited edition club yarn, OR get a subscription for 3, 6, or 9 months (at a discounted rate!). The first limited edition colourway is available now, and by purchasing you get your first chance to #winRHyarn.

Stashbusters & Merino Light

As soon as I finished knitting my Vivid blanket my thoughts immediately turned to projects for using up all of those beautiful leftovers. Though I haven’t done much crochet before, I couldn’t resist the idea of a huge granny square blanket like this one by Solveig Grimstad.

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Flowers in the Snow by Solveig Grimstad

Both Emily & I were immediately hooked (get it? I’m so sorry…) on this blanket design as soon as we saw it and we immediately started churning out squares. I’ve used the leftovers from the Sunshine and Storm colourway with a “natural” background, and Emily went for more of a vintage vibe using her nostalgia club “driftwood” yarn.

 

What are your favourite stash buster projects?

 

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Syncopation Adoration by Stephen West

There are so many things you could make with all those small amounts of yarn! Emily created this amazing brioche hat using small amounts of Rainbow Heirloom sweater and some gorgeous colour combos.

If you’re still looking for inspiration I’ve created a pinterest board with lots of ideas and some more of my favourites.

What about tonight’s update?

 

The lovely weather we’ve been having in Edinburgh recently has had me dreaming of projects in this bouncy yarn. Merino Light is available in the shop now (22 Apr 8pm BST)! This bouncy 2-ply superwash merino takes  dye perfectly for subtle semi-solids.  It is great for lightweight sweaters, shawls, scarves, and colourwork projects. You can read more about it here.

I’m working on something seriously cute in this yarn just now (but it’s a secret!). And you’ve already seen this tiny Playdate cardigan that Emily made.

Rainbow Heirloom Merino Light

The Playdate Cardigan in 1-row stripes using RH Merino Light in ‘verdant’ and ‘jewel sea’

What else?

We also have Lush Light in the shop. This yarn is seriously luxurious (and one of my absolute favourites). This fingering weight yarn is a soft blend of baby alpaca, silk, and cashmere. Perfect for lace, shawls, and lightweight garments and colourwork projects.

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RH Lush Light in the shop now!

 

Vivid, Bounce, and Fly Away: Thoughts on an Heirloom

On its own, the crochet blanket draped over the arm of my sofa is a tattered and old-fashioned thing, in desperate need of repair and apparently worthless. But for me, it acts as a tie to my Great-Grandma, who made this blanket for me when I was born. When I look at it now, it provides me with a powerful sense of nostalgia, and it has become integral to memories of my childhood experience of family. In particular, I think of huge dinners on a Sunday, with everyone squeezed around a single table on chairs of varying heights; or I think of trips to the beach (where it would inevitably rain), and of my Great-Granny handing my brother and me a handful of coppers to buy sweets. In short, my crochet blanket has become an object treasured for its memories.

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Little treasures in life that bring us joy.

 

The past has a peculiar power. It can work to shape and transform how we think of and view particular objects, places, or practices in the present. To my mind, an heirloom is  a product of this power. The heirloom plays such a fascinating role in triggering memories of past experiences and recollections of people, places, and times gone by. In doing so, it both allows us to reflect on the past and it creates an enriched experience of the present.

 

Creating an Heirloom

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Vivid by Tin Can Knits in the Rainbow Heirloom “Sunshine after Storm” kit

What does it mean to create an heirloom? When I started making this blanket, I knew from the outset that I was creating something with intention, something made to last and with a meaning assigned to it from its inception. I have often thought of my family as makers, and I suppose in knitting I’m searching for that connection, and a shared sense of heritage and values. When I knit, and I think about that process of creating, I’m contemplating the incredible value of memory, family, and things that last. I become part of a chain that extends both before and beyond my own lifetime, and that’s a pretty special thing. To my mind, this blanket is a solid representation of this.

 

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A pleasure to create and a beautiful heirloom to keep. 

Vivid by Tin Can Knits

Vivid is a beautiful lace blanket, knit one square at a time and then seamed together at the end. Each square is knit from the centre outward to the garter stitch border, and blocking creates a beauty of a blanket.

It’s also the perfect canvas for a rainbow!

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The Vivid blanket kits will be available for preorder in the shop update tonight (Friday 25th March, 8pm BST). Each kit contains 21 unique colours of Rainbow Heirloom Sweater (already wound into balls for immediate knitting gratification!) plus the pattern for this irresistible modern blanket design.

We have three colourway options: the “classic rainbow” which arcs from vivid purples through lemony yellows to deep submarine blues; the cool and moody “sunshine and storm” rainbow which blends blues and stormy greys punctuated by bright rays of yellow; and from palest peach to blood orange and deep dangerous purple, the “princess rockstar” colourway is a saturated rainbow of hot colours full of passion and excitement.

Classic blends or cool and moody… which is your favourite?

The yarn is our most popular base: made from 100% superwash merino wool, Rainbow Heirloom Sweater is supersoft, tightly spun (for durability), and is an ideal pairing for this pattern.

In addition to the Vivid kits, tonight’s update will also include the Bounce blanket kits (available in all three colourways!), and a limited number of the Fly Away blanket kit. All three are a pleasure to create and a beautiful heirloom to keep.

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The Bounce Blanket in “sunshine and storm” is Max-approved!

 

Meet Nina, the new boss lady!

bright, bold and beautiful

Nina’s been working on Rainbow Heirloom behind the scenes for years… now she’s stepping into the sun!

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Nina, new boss lady at Rainbow Heirloom

Rainbow Heirloom was conceived by Emily Wessel (designer at Tin Can Knits), but as her family has grown, the responsibilities for crafting your vivid yarn have been increasingly handled by fellow dyer and creative Nina Davies.

Since the beginning, Nina has been a crucial part of the team, and we’re so pleased to announce she has officially taken over ownership of  the business.

What will change?  We’ll still offer a sparkling array of delicious colours, and inspiring knit kits.  And there are more exquisite designs by Tin Can Knits in Rainbow Heirloom yarns coming soon!  Nina is also planning an exciting new club for 2016… details will be announced soon.

Why does Nina look so familiar? As well as dying, knitting and shipping, Nina has been modelling for Tin Can Knits since 2013, so you’ve probably been seeing her face online for years!

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You may have seen Nina modelling the Lodestar stole, the Wenlock pullover, and the Lowlands hat!

Say “hello!”  Originally from a coastal town in the North East of England, Nina moved to Scotland in 2008 and eventually settled in Edinburgh. Somewhere between working on her PhD and an obsessive amount of knitting, she found the time to dip her hands in the dye pot here at Rainbow Heirloom. She’s obsessed with brilliant, saturated, and vivid colours (and also with Harry Potter, but that’s a different story…). Working together these last few years has been an absolute joy, and Nina is committed to creating those same blistering brights, deep jewel tones, delicately soft tonals, and the extensive range of greys that you know and love. She’s also excited to share new and exciting upcoming projects (including a brand new yarn club launching in the Spring)! So say “hello!” and look forward to many more beautiful rainbows in the future!

but what’s in tonight’s update?

We’ve got some Ombre kits, a few remaining Buccaneer kits, a couple Bounce Blanket kits too, and some palette kits too.

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hope: a bright rainbow against grey

This mini kit marks the final instalment of the Nostalgia club.  A single skein of RH Sweater, with mini skeins of approximately 10-12g (25 yds) each, this lovely combination would be perfect for a small colourwork project.  The MC is ‘grey whale’ and the CCs are ‘fav aunty’, ‘killer flamingo’, ‘almost spring’, ‘scorched fern’, and ‘blue collar’.  We aren’t making very many extras this month, so if you’d like one, order now.

The colour combination was inspired by a creative project that I started a couple years ago. These paper cranes were folded in hope, during a sad and scary time, as I watched my mother-in-law slip further and further into illness. We sat with her, we waited for the doctors to tell us what was wrong, we hoped for the best result, and every time the news came back bad, we hoped the next test would be better.  As we waited and the family tried to prop each other up against the sadness and fear, I folded paper cranes.

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Inside the cranes, I wrote notes of gratitude, and this helped me see the beautiful in life alongside our unfolding loss.  I wrote about the beauty of my home, the hope I had for the baby I was pregnant with, the love I had for my family and friends, and the luck and mountain of opportunities I have had in my life.  I wrote thanks for the past and hopes for the future.  Working with my hands, and making something beautiful helped with the pain; something that I’m sure most knitters will understand.

Loss and change are part of life, and John and I have mourned Muriel over the past year and a half.  Our son Max was born a few months after her death, and our family is now expanding once more!

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bump!

so many babies …

Rainbow Heirloom was Emily’s second baby (after Tin Can Knits), then Max came along and soon she’ll have another newbie, so she’s stepping back to spend a bit more family time. But I am sure you’ll be seeing plenty of little Rainbow Heirloom knits modelled by her little ones.

Winding Road – and a new design!

It seems fitting that as I write this post, I’m travelling.  I am visiting my home on Vancouver Island, and just met the newest addition to our family, my sister’s little baby boy Sawyer, who is only 5 weeks old.

The Road I Took Shawl

The Road I Took Shawl by Dieuwke van Mulligen, knit in RH Brit Aran in ‘Winding Road’, the Nostalgia Club yarn for September.

Winding Road, this month’s Nostalgia Club yarn, is inspired by a trip I took to the Isle of Skye, a moody and windswept island off the coast of Scotland.  In 2011, when I came to the UK, I really wasn’t sure where I’d end up.  I had a visa to work for 2 years and no idea about what part of the country might appeal to me.  So I booked a train journey that took me from London to Norwich, then up to Liverpool, Manchester, and York, before ending in Edinburgh.  A friend had convinced me that I might like the north of England, and I’d tacked on a visit to Edinburgh because it was the city where on of my most beloved BBC historic bodice-rippers was set (North and South).  Funny that silly and insignificant things like this can shape the course of your life.

Of course, arriving in Edinburgh, I absolutely loved the city, and immediately decided that it was where I’d stay.  I moved into a hostel, where my 20-bed dorm had a view out to the castle!  And I met a friend who joined me on this trip to Skye.

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This photo really reminds me of the journey, not just that trip to Skye, but the long road I took across Canada from Vancouver to Montreal, then to London, and northward to Scotland.  During big journeys in your life you can be lonely, moody, and introspective, but these downsides come along with an expansiveness of possibility and freedom.  Moving to the UK was a big journey for me, although not the only one I have taken, and hopefully not the last.

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Want to #winRHyarn?  You could win 3 skeins of September’s club yarn – to sign up for your chance, simply get Rainbow Mail – our great email updates!  I’ll let you know about shop updates, new yarns and colourways, and share what I’ve been knitting, and new designs in Rainbow Heirloom Yarns.  And every month until February 2016, there will be a draw and one lucky subscriber will win one (or two, or three) lovely skeins!

The September limited-edition colourway ‘Winding Road’ on RH Brit Aran is grey with hints of teal and blue, like a moody Scottish sky.  This bouncy 2-ply BFL takes dye very quickly, which means that my colourways tend to come out a little more variegated on this base.  It’s an excellent yarn for a sweater, a cozy shawl, quick-knitting hat, or a blanket.

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This is ‘Winding Road’ on RH Brit Aran (the Nostalgia Club base yarn for September 2015), and on RH Sweater, as the colourway is also available on that base until the end of September.

The talented designer Dieuwke van Mulligen has designed a cozy shawl called ‘The Road I Took’ in this month’s yarn!  The pattern is available now, and the Nostalgia Club yarn will be available in the next shop update, on September 4th at 8pm BST (check your time here).  The shawl requires 3 skeins of RH Brit Aran.  When you sign up for a club membership, you get up to 15% off!

This shallow triangle is knit from the bottom up, with an asymmetrical winding road motif in a field of delicious texture.  The pattern is very flexible, so you can knit until you run out of yarn, and then bind off.  You can learn more about the shawl and Dieuwke’s design process here.

As soon as this gorgeous shawl arrived in the mail, I wrapped it around my neck and didn’t take it off all day (summer days in Edinburgh can be COOL).  It is one of the snuggliest accessories I have ever worn!  Next week I’ll post about how you can wear this beautiful shawl… as a big chunky scarf, as a blanket, as a shrug… there are quite a few ways!

The Road I Took Shawl

Starting this Friday, September 4th at 8pm BST, you can custom-order a shawl amount of Rainbow Heirloom Brit Aran in a colour of your choice!  This month’s Nostalgia Club colour, ‘Winding Road’, is only available until the end of September, but you can also choose from my full range of colours!  The pattern is sold separately, click here to order.

Want to learn more about Dieuwke van Mulligen?  I’ve written a more about her work and her excellent designs here.  You can also read her blog, find her designs on Ravelry.com, and check out her latest collection, Impulsive Knits, which is a collaboration with Justyna Lorkowska of Lete’s Knits.