The Beauty of Skye on your Needles
Inspiring Patterns for Shilasdair Yarns
When Rachel asked me to write something about Shilasdair I was over the moon, this yarn is simply stunning. As I was thinking about what I planned to write I was instantly transported to the warm cosy feeling I get when wrapped in my My Son’s Hero shawl by Sally Cameron, I knitted it from 2.5 glorious skeins of the double knit yarn. It is soft and sumptuous, super warm and the perfect shawl for wrapping around your shoulders on a cold blustery day, or cuddling up on the couch with my knitting.
Since I knit that shawl Shilasdair have changed their 4ply and DK bases and now offer a slightly different, but as luxurious and amazing fibre. Both the 4ply and DK comprise of 40% lambs wool, 40% Angora, 10% Cashmere and 10% Baby Camel. They are absolutely stunning yarns to work with and there are plenty of inspiring patterns that would be the perfect canvas to showcase the beautiful range of naturally dyed colours.
Tangled Yarn stocks both the 4ply and DK bases in a wide range of colours.
When researching this blog post I really ‘fell down the rabbit hole’ – there are so many outstanding projects on Ravelry and knitters were so inspired by the yarn. Every single knitter I contacted to ask for permission to use their images said how much they loved this yarn!
This is a selection of my favourite shawl projects using Shilasdair 4 ply yarn.
Light and Airy
The lofty and airy construction of this yarn lends itself so beautifully to delicate lace work. This yarn blocks wonderfully and knitted at a loose gauge with open lace it creates beautiful knitted items. Created from two skeins of yarn, this shawl is constructed from the bottom up and would be an ideal project for new and more experienced lace knitters alike.
Playing with Colour
I love how these knitters have taken the neutral Fleece Cloud and used it as a blank canvas to showcase a bold contrast yarn. This example of the Iszara shawl design by Melanie Berg, knitted by MillieMilliani is very striking.
Matching the understated beauty of Fleece Cloud with the bold colour changes of Noro have produced an outstanding version of the popular Andrea’s Shawl by Kirsten Kapur.
Tangled Yarn stocks Kauni, a fantastic gradient yarn, that would produce a really interesting striped shawl.
A slightly different combination of the Shilasdair and Noro is shown here in this beautiful shawl knitting by Sonata (Craftzone), using the design Valeriana Estonia. I love how the delicate edge is highlighted with the change of yarn.
You could also choose to showcase the wonderful range of colours available in a shawl like Aranami by Olga Buraya-Kefelian and knitted by Sonata (Craftzone). It would be so much fun to play with colour palettes and this interesting design.
Inspired by Nature
Kristina Vilimaite created Inner Gardens, a shawl collection inspired by the indoor garden space in her new home. I can only begin to imagine what an enchanting space an indoor garden courtyard must be.
Kristina’s inspiration for these shawls comes from the nature that surrounds her every day. I think the naturally dyed yarns by Shilasdair would be the perfect compliment to these beautiful shawls.
My three favourite are:
In addition to the magical naturally dyed colours, this yarn has a wonderful texture and really lets the details in this lovely design by Karie Westermann shine through. I love the colour chosen by Kylie (kgirlknits) for her Vedbaek shawl.
I couldn’t write about Shilasdair without a respectful nod to Scottish knitting traditions. This yarn is the perfect match for the hap shawl. If you fancy knitting a hap shawl with some company, Louise from Knit British is currently hosting a very popular ‘Hap-Along’, where you will find loads of inspiration and happy Hap-Along chat. Details can be found on her blog. I am sure she would approve of the very Scottish choice of Shilasdair yarn for a hap shawl too!
Here are some of my favourite haps from the pages of Ravelry.
Quill by Jared Flood can be made in two sizes, small (approx. 1100 yards of 4ply) and large ( approx. 2150 of 4ply). Big projects but judging by these two spectacular examples I found using Shilasdair – well worth it.
This beautiful example created by Sarah is worked in that understated Fleece Cloud and a wonderful selection of calming blues from the collection of shades available.
Virginija has used a richer more autumnal palette in her version; I really love how she has documented her inspiration on her Ravelry page too.
Hansel by Gudrun Johnston comes in a full and half hap version. It would make an excellent blanket (as shown in the beautiful photograph on the pattern page) or a really lovely shawl. The design lends itself to working creatively with colours.
I love this example knitted by Rebecca (needleandspindle) and it really warms my heart that it is a reading shawl for her son. What a perfect way to spend some time, reading a good book while wrapped in the woolly warmth of a hand knit hap.
Liz (lzi) knits some amazing projects and by looking through her finished projects I could tell she was a big Shilasdair fan. I love these two examples of stunning haps she has created.
A bold version
And a slightly more muted version. Both of these shawls have been knitted in the heavier DK weight. They must be amazingly warm and cosy.
Finally I love this version of the Feather and Fan Comfort Shawl (a free pattern on Ravelry) knitted by Sigrid (Blumeli). She has selected a beautiful palette that really shows the naturally dyed yarns at their best.
Here are a few ideas for the heavier weight yarn...
This beautiful delicate example is perfectly suited to the lighter DK weight, New Beginnings by Boo Knits. This yarn blocks like a dream so it is ideally suited to this style of lace knitting. If you are unsure about blocking your knits you can read this earlier post full of hints and tips
When I saw this shawl I knew I had to include it in my pattern round up. This bright and bold example of the Stephen West design Exploration Station is fantastic. I love even more that Liz (lzi on Rav) aptly named it Exploring Skye. What a fantastic celebration of this beautiful yarn from such magical place.
Just in case you are not keen on a shawl I have found some other inspiring projects for you.
This yarn is great for colour work and the naturally dyed colour palette gives plenty of wonderful combinations for your favourite colour work pattern. While researching this blog post I came across Sonata (Craftzone on Ravelry) and was inspired by the vast array of amazing stranded colour work projects she has created using this magical yarn.
If you were looking for something more substantial – this yarn would make a stunning garment. Here are my three favourites.
Wrap yourself in luxurious warmth with this example of the stunning Fortitude cardigan by Hanna Maciejewska knitted by Caroline (pattepoilue) using Shilasdair as the main colour with the contrast colour in a yarn that is very similar to Mabel & Ivy Supersoft held double.
Kate Davies designs fantastic garments and the Manu cardigan was originally designed for Shilasdair. It is a beautifully detailed garment and would make an excellent wardrobe staple too.
Finally, if you prefer a sweater or pullover you might like this beautiful design Emily Wessel (half of the Tin Can Knits duo). It is designed for the Shilasdair DK and comes in sixteen sizes from itty bitty baby (0-6 months) to women’s 4XL.
Windswept by Emily Wessel
Hope you have enjoyed my selection of inspiring patterns and projects for Shilasdair yarn. If you have not tried it before I highly recommend you do, its magical!
About the Author
Clare Devine is a writer and designer. Originally from South Africa she has nomadic tendencies and is currently knitting her way around the UK. She is passionate about all things fibre related (especially if it’s grey), knitting, travel and sunshine in equal measures.
She regularly blogs at www.yarnandpointysticks.com. You can find her on Ravelry as Knitsforklipskaap, Twitter as @_ClareDevine and Instagram as @Clare.Devine.