2nd February 2018

Free pattern & Ramblings of a Middle Aged Woman 

A huge box of wool arrived earlier last Tuesday. It was my day off, my lovely colleague Marya was working. Marya knows me well, she left the delivery untouched, apart from having a little peek.  It’s my shop, I’m the boss and I get first dibs.  First thing Wednesday morning I speedily unpacked bag after bag of the finest and most glorious New Zealand merino wool. No shopkeeper relishes a store devoid of customers but thankfully for me, and probably for anyone who dared to cross the threshold, I was totally alone. I fondled, snorted, cuddled and stroked ball after ball, of the probably the best merino wool in the world. A whole pile of it went straight into my knitting bag and the rest I arranged on the large table in the centre of the store.  It looked pretty damn lovely, if I say so myself. We frequently receive compliments on our in-store displays. Many of you have only visited dreary, dust old fashioned stores, piled high with serviceable, cheap (in every sense) acrylic-based yarn. I am at a loss to explain this observation. With so many glorious yarns available it shouldn’t be that difficult to create glorious, enticing displays. A little imagination and heaps of enthusiasm ensure that our store always looks fresh, inspirational and a place to relax and indulge…Well that’s the general idea, please feel free to add your two-penny's worth if you feel otherwise.
 As I said, our new Touch Yarns Pure New Zealand merino wool is probably the most glorious of all merino wool available worldwide. It is extremely hard to describe in words…buttery soft, rich colour saturated shades, full bodied, gutsy and honest.  This is what I call a ‘cradle to the grave wool’. This isn’t a morbid observation, I certainly wouldn’t mind finding myself in my grave with a whole pile of this wool, a few bottles of wine and some gardening books, I would be in Heaven, pun intended!   What I mean is that this yarn is perfect for all ages. It’s soft and extremely warm, yet durable and hard wearing, When I say durable and hard wearing I do not mean rough and scratchy. Rather this yarn has integrity, class and longevity. Your hand knits will develop a patina, a history, memories, a story of love and caring.   Its softness makes it ideal for special new babies (see our free pattern at the bottom of this newsletter), its durability perfect for busy toddlers and grubby kids, (my mum always said the dirtiest kids were the healthiest). As your offspring leave home they should have a merino hand knit sweater or at least a scarf and beanie, although I guarantee any lovingly hand knitted item will be instantly lost or borrowed by a mate and a replacement will have to be speedily produced. Blokes will wear a merino sweater for fishing, sailing and pottering in the shed, it will have to be prized off their backs, it will remain a favourite for many years. For the elderly, who may want and need little of a material nature, a handmade blanket or shawl is just a means of showing you care, you are wrapping them in your love.
Have a look at these special yarns on the website here
or come into the shop to cuddle and stroke them yourself!

There’s a saying in knitting circles, ‘never knit a man a sweater until you have a ring on your finger, otherwise he will leave you’. I can certainly vouch for this. As an impoverished university student in the early 1980’s I made the love of my life a blue wool sweater, it cost me a large proportion of my student grant and took up many hours of my valuable study time. Sure enough, as I lovingly handed over the masterpiece, the horror was written all over his face. Short of wearing a long white dress, stuffing a piece of wedding cake in my mouth and whistling ‘Here comes the bride’ I could not have made my intentions more obvious he was ‘The One’.  He thought otherwise, and as he ‘ran a mile’ he tossed the sweater back in my direction. Thirty-six years later my father is still wearing the sweater. My parents live in England, dad has just turned 88. He has been unwell having been struck down with a particularly serious dose of flu. He has remained in bed pretty much since Christmas. His condition was extremely serious, and my mum has handed him the telephone on numerous occasions so he can have a ‘final’ conversation with me. This is quite a surreal situation to find oneself in, however after three ‘final conversations’ he is still hanging on and fully intent on making a miraculous recovery so he can see out the end of the football season on TV, and get his dahlia tubers in the ground. A thought did cross my mind…should I ask him if he still needs his blue sweater? If not, I could unravel it and re knit it into a lovely dog blanket for my Labrador, Harry! My dad’s sense of humour is quite unique, but maybe even he would not find my request too amusing.
With my dad been so unwell I have found it hard to concentrate on my knitting. I woke early this morning and picked up my needles, only to discover I had made yet another mistake in my supposedly simple baby blanket. I ditched the knitting and headed into the garden. Yes, I know I looked hilarious wielding a spade and watering can, complete with pink pyjamas and sun hat! I turned over the compost heap, deadheaded some flowers and swept the deck. My neighbours don’t bat an eyelid, they are used to my eccentricity. I have been known to take a morning tour of the garden in my underwear so I suppose they thought I was a little overdressed in my pink pyjamas! When my mind is a little more settled I will return to knitting, but for now my garden is definitely my happy place.
Very happy knitting,
Fran, Marya and Olivia.


Size:  baby, toddler, young child (approx. 4 years)
Wool: Touch Yarns Pure Merino Wool 8ply
Needles: a pair of 3.25 and 4.00mm needles.
Tension: approximately 22sts to 10cm, in st st stitch, on 4mm needles
k               knit
p               purl
garter st  garter stitch (every row knit)
st(s)         stitch(s)
st st         stocking stitch (1 row knit, 1 row purl)
beg          beginning
rs              right side
ws            wrong side
cm            centimetres
skpo        slip 1, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over (decreasing by one)  
k2tog       knit 2 stitches together (decreasing by one)
inc            increase (knit into the front and the back of the stitch to increase by one)
nr             next row
Beanie Brim: 
With 3.25mm needles cast on 69, (78 ,87) sts.
Work in st st for 10 rows.
Change to 4.00mm needles, and starting with a knit row work in stst until work measures 10 (12, 14) cm from cast on, ending after a purl row.
nr(rs) k4 (6,5), skpo, k2, k2tog, *k5 (6,8), skpo, k2, k2tog. rep from * 5 times, k4(6,6). you should now have 57 (66,75) sts.
work 3 rows in st st starting with a p row.
nr(rs)k3(5,4),skpo, k2, k2tog, *k3 (4,6), skp, k2, k2tog. rep from *5 times, k3(5,5). you should now have 45(54, 63) sts.
work 3 rows in stst(starting with a purl row.
nr (rs) k2(4,3), skpo, k2, k2 tog *k1 (2,4), skp, k2 k2tog. rep from * 5 times, k2(4,4). you should now have 33(42,51) sts.
nr(ws) purl one row.
nr(rs)k2tog across the row, k1(0,1).
you should now have 17(21,26) sts.
nr(ws)purl one row.
nr(rs)k2tog across the row, k1(1,0).
you should now have 9(11,13) sts.
Change to 3.25mm needles and work on these remaining sts to form the tie top, for 8(9,10) cm.
To complete:

Break off the wool leaving a reasonable end to sew up the beanie. Using the wool needle, thread the wool through the remaining stitches, to draw together, then secure. Sew up your beanie. Reverse the seam for the rolled edge.
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