Faeroe Island phone cosy

When I got my shiny new phone I managed to let it slide out of my pocket on the very first day. Thank goodness the only damage from landing on a concrete path was a tiny ding on the corner. My twitter timeline seems to be full of people who have dropped their phones resulting in cracked screens – or worse.

So I thought a phone cosy might be in order and came across this design for a Faeroe Island phone cosy by Eline Oftedal.


As the pattern is probably a couple of years old I think this might have been designed for an older and smaller iPhone. I decided to wing it at first but after getting about half way I realised that no amount of blocking would make it fit – so time to start over.


The original pattern has you cast on 32 stitches with an 8 stitch and 8 row pattern repeat. So, on my second attempt I cast on 40 stitches and also added one extra pattern repeat longways. It turned out to be exactly the right size for my Galaxy S6 phone (and I think it would fit an iPhone 6 too). Yay!


It’s knit cuff down in the round like a sock and then finished with a three needle bind off. This is the first time I’ve attempted this bind off and it was super easy, except for the bit where I had to turn the cosy inside out with the DPNs still intact.


Mission accomplished!

The yarn is my old fave Rowan Felted Tweed DK in “Clay” and “Rage”.

PS: I’ve been a little intrigued by Faeroe Island knitting designs since reading about a knitting cruise (yes, really!) this year which set sail on the Holland America Line’s Eurodam from Copenhagen to New York via the Faeroe Islands. While I wasn’t able to make it this year, the idea of a knitting cruise does sound rather magical – might need to add it to my “one day” list.

Is this thing on?

I seem to have forgotten about this little blog over the antipodean winter so here’s a little knitting catch up.


Askrigg is finished! The pattern is by Marie Wallin from the Rowan Purelife British Sheep Breed Collection, featuring sweater designs for men and women named after towns in the Yorkshire Dales. Askrigg looks like a very lovely place – I wouldn’t mind visiting one day.

Although the recommended yarn for Askrigg is Rowan British Sheep breeds Chunky, I knitted mine in Rowan Cocoon “Seascape”. I’d bought the Cocoon originally for a heavily cabled design Ilam, also by Marie Wallin, from another Rowan book Autumn Knits. Ilam is a pretty gorgeous but also a pretty complex design and, although Cocoon is the recommended yarn, I don’t think it would have held up at all. Ilam needs a more structured yarn I think, something to make those amazing cables pop, and also a yarn colour to show off their complexity.

When I started on Ilam I was worried that the moody green-blue Seascape might be a bit too dark – I was also concerned that the recommended seven skeins for my size wouldn’t be enough. I’m pretty sure you’d need an extra skein, and I ended up buying one, and used all eight skeins to make Askrigg.


I think Askrigg would look great in Rowan British Sheep Breeds Chunky which is rustic and sturdy, but I think the simple design also suits the fuzzy floppy Cocoon. This isn’t a sophisticated sweater. This is something to wear while you work in the garden, or walk the dogs on a cold wintry morning, or perhaps set off for a walk in the hills around Askrigg.


fadedquiltyarn This yarn has been sitting in my stash for quite some time. I picked up eleven skeins of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in a grey-blue colourway called “Faded Quilt” when I was passing through New York City on the way back from Charleston a couple of years ago.

I may have fallen in love with the name as much as the colour.

It’s been waiting for just the right project – and I think I’ve found it. This is a diamond cable saddle shoulder sweater from the Patons Australia book 1252 Weekend knits, featuring more than a dozen sweater patterns for men and women.

The patterns are written for Patons Zhivago which, at 20 stitches to 10 cm, is a perfect match for Shelter.

fadedquiltAs Steven will know, I started out originally with a different pattern from the same book but had a panic that it might be coming out a little on the small side and if I had to go up a size I was worried that I might not have enough yarn. So I swapped to this pattern instead, and I’m actually quite glad that I did (although I like the other pattern too – for another time).

patons1252a_medium2I appear to be the first person to knit this design and I had to add it to the Ravelry pattern library myself, which is odd because it’s a great pattern and I’m hoping I might encourage some other knitters to join me in knitting it. It’s also pretty straightforward, although I should take heed that I haven’t got to joining the saddle shoulders yet – something I’ve not yet attempted. So far the back is done and I’ve started on the front and it’s all going surprisingly quickly. seascape_medium

I also decided to cast on for a slightly more complicated pattern alongside this one.

Ilam is a design from the Rowan book  Autumn knits in Cocoon. Isn’t this a great colour!? “Seascape” is a beautiful deep blue green that I absolutely fell in love with.

I usually purchase more yarn than recommended but with my last Rowan sweater I had almost four skeins left over at the end so this time I went with the recommended seven skeins. I still had a horrible foreboding feeling that it might not be quite enough, which was borne out by a couple of other knitters on Ravelry so I bought one extra skein to be sure – different dye lots, but in my test swatch I couldn’t spot any difference. My plan was to use the odd dye lot for the ribbing, so that if there was a subtle difference, the break in textures would hide it.

Ilam is a beautiful cabled men’s vee-neck sweater. These cables are way more complicated than anything I’ve done so far, with the front and back featuring panels of 8, 20 and 24 row repeats. I had to borrow Wayne’s coloured pencils to make sense of the it all. wpid-img_20150426_112353.jpg Having started though, I think the beautiful deep blue-green Seascape might not be the best choice. The dark colour makes it difficult to “read” the knitting, and it also makes it difficult to see the cables – which is at least part of the point of tackling a project like this. A lighter colour would show off the complex cables, so I’m thinking that Ilam might get put aside for another yarn, and the Seascape Cocoon might end up being used for another pattern – perhaps Askrigg.

Now that I’ve bought the extra skein, I’ll have enough yarn.

Short ribs

A small diversion from the Christmas decorations to Christmas knitting for Day 7 of the #blog12daysxmas challenge.

There was a very confusing set of instructions at the very end of the pattern for my Marash sweater which I decided I would just ignore, but as I’m now almost at the finish line it seems that I finally must turn my attention to them.

Marash features a ribbed collar, which I’ve done before on other sweaters, but this one is more sophisticated using short rows to add shape to the back of the neck.


My knitting helper, Kuma

It took me ages and I lost count of the number of times I ripped back before I finally figured it out and settled on a method for wrapping and turning.

The trouble, for me anyway, was that all the short row wrap instructions I found referred to the “knit side” and the “purl side” and my short rows are in 1×1 rib. Some of the instructions were a little sparse too on how you should pick up the yarn wraps to hide them, and they all talked about hiding the wraps on the purl side or the wrong side and I didn’t have a purl side. Hmmm.

After experimenting with Japanese short rows I decided to go down the traditional path, wrapping and turning and catching the wrapped yarn on the return row – although I’ll definitely try out Japanese short rows another time.

To adapt the instructions for wrapping and turning to 1×1 ribbing I worked in rib to the point of the turn and worked as if I was on the side for the last stitch before the turn. So if I wrapped on a purl stitch I used the wrapping instructions as for the previous knit stitch which kept my yarn in the right position. Then when I came back  to pick up the wrapped stitch I followed the instructions for that stitch, so if it was a wrapped purl stitch I used the instructions for the purl side.

wpid-img_20141230_054050.jpgIt worked out well – it’s quite magical really how the short rows turn knitting into a three dimensional shape – but I seem to have ended up on the collar’s right side when I should have ended on the wrong side, and I’ve also spotted one stitch that I didn’t “unwrap” correctly. This is something you need to do at a quiet time with no interuptions.

I know that the great Elizabeth Zimmermann said that if you couldn’t spot the mistake while galloping past on a horse, then don’t sweat it (I may have paraphrased) but I know that things this this worry me so I’m going to consider this the practice run and I’ll rip the collar back and do it again properly. On the weekend.

* My knitting helper Kuma has decided that he likes to snuggle his nose into my current knitting project, while I’m knitting it. Not really helping.

Day 6: a kawaii Christmas

Day 6 of twelve days of Christmas decorations for the #blog12daysxmas challenge.

wpid-wp-1419910813004.jpegかわいいですね!Memories of a Japan holiday.

I love Loft in Japan, a lifestyle department store full of quirky, interesting things that you didn’t know you needed, but you do! In 2014 we visited the large new Loft co-located with the Muji flagship store in Yurakucho, Tokyo. It’s great, but I think the Loft store in Shibuya is still my favourite where we got these hanging Christmas decorations in 2007. There’s also a matching set of finger puppets.

Day 5: a Swanky Christmas

Day 5 of twelve days of Christmas decorations for the #blog12daysxmas challenge.

Sally asked about a couple of the other Jonathan Adler ornaments yesterday so I thought I’d add a quick post about those.


wpid-wp-1419911466485.jpegThe elephant, squirrel and lion are hanging on the tree. The dachshund doesn’t have a hanger so he sits at the base of the tree hanging out with some other critters. These were from the Jonathan Adler store in Soho New York in 2010, except the dachshund who came from the Barnes & Noble store on Union Square.

The “New York Christmas Tree” is a small vintage aluminium and I honestly can’t remember where I found it, but it’s just the right size to display the New York baubles.

Day 4: Pee Wee Herman Christmas

Day 4 of twelve days of Christmas decorations for the #blog12daysxmas challenge.

When Wayne and I visited New York City in 2010 we scored tickets to the Pee Wee Herman Show at the Stephen Sondheim Theater on Broadway. Well, just around the corner actually, on West 43rd Street.

It was a very special night and of course we visited the souvenir stand after the show for some trinkets to take home to remember it by. One thing we didn’t buy though, and we regretted it as soon as we left the theatre, was a pack of Pee Wee Herman Christmas baubles. I was thinking they might be difficult to pack… #stupid

Anyway, the next night while walking through Times Square we decided to head back to the theatre to pick up the Christmas baubles but the door security wouldn’t let us in – at first – but we politely explained the situation and they took pity on us. The show was just about to let out so, before the crowds emerged through the doors, we were quickly ushered over to the merchandise stand to make our purchase.

I put the Pee Wee decorations together with the pottery animals from Jonathan Adler on the “New York Christmas Tree”…