Interview with Layla from Qing Fibre

We have been so enjoying having Qing Fibre in the shop this summer, the bright colours are so much fun! It’s been flying off the shelves and onto everyone’s needles, but we recently got a restock and some new colourways in. We asked Layla, the brains and head dyer at Qing Fibre to answer a few questions that we have about her inspiration and of course, all about her beautiful yarn!

Qing-Fibre-2
How long have you been knitting?

My grandma was very good at knitting/crocheting and sewing, so I guess I was inspired by her since I was a little girl. I started crocheting and knitting in 2012 and I found peace by doing these crafts. It helped me to get through many difficulties.

What inspired you to get into dying?
I studied art design at university and so I can do some painting. I taught myself how to dye yarn in 2016 and started Qing Fibre. It’s my happy place to try different methods to paint colours on yarn. And I feel so much joy watching people knit with them.

Qing-Fibre-3
 You are originally from China, do you find that there is a different colour aesthetic in Asia than in Europe? Does this influence your dying? 
In China people love red, yellow and some vintage colours. But I myself am a little bit different, I’m a neon lover. I also love all the happy colourful colours and antique colours. I sometimes translate some classic old Chinese colours into my kind of colours.
 Qing-Fibre-4Are there any knitters in the community that inspire you?
There are so many great designers that have inspired me, I love Joji Knits, Junko Okamoto, Hansigurumi, and Stephen West is the King of knitters! I love all the fun and colourful designs from him. Sometimes I dye a new colourway just for a West Knits project. So he is truly my inspiration.

Qing-Fibre-1
 How do you develop a new colour way? Do you start with a specific combination in mind, or is it a happy accident? 

I’ll start with a combination in mind and also just dye it sometimes. I find interesting colour combos in everything and I’m eager to try them in the future.

Qing-Fibre-5
 What’s currently on your needles?
Currently I’m knitting the Marled Magic Shawl, a So Faded Sweater and am trying to knit something without a pattern. I’m also going to knit one of the sweater designs from Junko.

Qing-Fibre-6
Thanks so much Layla! You can see the Qing Fibre yarns we currently have in stock on the website or in the shop. For more yarn inspiration you can follow Layla on Instagram, which is where all these photos are from.

What Maya Knits – two shawls

Well, at the rate that I’m posting the ‘Maya Knits’ posts there is a danger you might think that this is a yarn shop owner that never knits, but I do, honestly, I do. It is just that I do have an issue with – and I’ll admit it – I do have an issue with finishing off. I simply hate weaving in ends! I know there are knitters out there who love this part of a project, but I’m clearly not one of them. If you are anything like me, my best tip is to do a few ends as you go. As soon as you are absolutely sure that you’re not going to have to rip anything back, weave in the ends, this is how I do it, most of the time.

And then there are occasions when I don’t, like with both of the shawls I’m about to show you. Both of these were done ‘ages ago’ and then abandoned in their zip lock bags, waiting for me to build the motivation to weave in their ends. I did get around to it though, eventually, and now I can finally post one of these posts again – proving what I’ve actually been knitting.

Maya's Homeward Bound

You might have noticed the Homeward Bound Shawl we released the pattern for last spring, it has had a bit of a momentum over at Instagram, if you do a search for #homewardboundshawl you’ll find quite a few progress and finished shawls pictures. This was a design collaboration with the very talented Natalie Selles and we were so excited about the result that the Knit with attitude staff have all made our individual versions, and this is mine!

Maya"s Homeward Bound

For the shop we curated three set of shades which are available as kits, they all work beautifully together, but if you feel a bit more adventurous you can get the Homeward Bound single pattern from Natalie’s Ravelry Store, and come up with your own colour way in the Socks Yeah! This is what I did, and the colours I chose are the 102 Ammolite, 108 Chryso, 109 Iolite and 114 Peridot. By the way – we just launched the six new autumn colours of the Socks Yeah! so there are lots and lots to choose from.

post5

My second shawl is The Color Craving by Stephen West, I found this pattern in his Westknits Bestknits – Number 1 Shawls. Although this shawl ended up like the size of me, it was really quick to do (until I came to the ends that is), the rows literally flew off the needles – what an incredibly fun knit!

I have to say, I was rather eh… experimental when coming to picking the colours for this one. It was a case of gorgeous hand dyes that looked so good when holding them next to each other as hanks, but that probably could have worked better in a different combo. I chose the Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles in (a particularly dark batch of the) Poison, Oracle and Fool’s Gold. Half way though I realised that my speckled Oracle and Fool’s Gold didn’t have much contrast between them, and that my semi-solid Poison ended up quite dark combined with the other two brighter ones. I do believe that this design would probably benefit from being done in more solid colours rather than speckled ones. But what can I say, the knit was so exciting that I couldn’t stop – and I am pleased with the result, the shawl is super-soft, super-squishy and will keep me super-warm over the upcoming winter months – and that is three wins in one!

Knit with attitude’s Insane Give Away

If you have followed our social media platforms lately you might have noticed that we have been hosting a give away over the last ten days – and it is now time to reveal the winners!

First of all though, we really would like to thank you all for participating, we are absolutely overwhelmed by the response we’ve had and we hope that most of you will choose to continue to stay with us and be the firsts to know about what goes on here in our tiny corner of the yarn universe! If you didn’t win this time around, be assured that this was so much fun that we will definitely do more give aways in the future.

So, did you win? Scroll down to see if you can find your name amongst the lucky ten. If you see your name listed, please send us an email to sales at knitwithattitude dot com, and we will have your prize sent to you asap.

prize1&2

Winners: Sabine Lormann and @limsenstrikk

prize3&4

Winners: @knitbykristine and Heather Barnett

prize5&6

Winners: Mandy Wong and @finishwife

prize7&kits

Winners: @morgan_fae, @prettyfunkyknitter, Bjørg Anita Getz Nordli and Riikka Copeland

Congratulations to all our winners, and once again – THANK YOU ALL for joining in on the fun!

Yarn Pairings for Pom Pom Quarterly Issue 22 – Autumn 2017

August is one of those in between months. There’s still some hot days, and the kids are still on holiday, but the nights can be cool, and there are adverts on the telly for back to school supplies. Rainy days mean cozying up and thinking about the season to come, one of the most exciting seasons for any knitter. It’s sweater season of course! What better to inspire your sweater knitting, than the autumn issue of Pom Pom Quarterly?

Autumn issues are always particularly good ones, and this Issue 22 is no exception. For the first time ever Pom Pom collaborated with an outside editor, Juju Vail, to curate the patterns in the issue. You would recognize Juju’s work as she has more often than not been the photographer for the magazine and their various other projects. In this case Juju not only curated and photographed the magazine, she also sewed many of the other garments that the models wear, for a fully handmade issue! Each piece is given the full credit of pattern and fabric source to help you re-create the whole look if you so choose.

PomPom22-coverAs a knitting shop we are here for the knitting, so we’ll take a look at each pattern and match it up with some yarn to give you ideas on what you can use.

First up we have Aubusson, a brioche scarf by none other than the Queen of Brioche herself, Nancy Marchant. The pattern calls for two yarns held together, one a luxurious 4ply yarn, and the other a fuzzy laceweight, in two sets of contrasting colours. The combination creates a unique textured fabric that compliments the brioche stitch. We love the colour choices that could be found using Sulka Legato for the 4ply and Cumulus for the fuzzy laceweight.PomPom22-01

Barbicel is one of 2 cardigans in this issue. Designed by Fiona Alice, it makes wonderful use of a sheepy yarn that will bloom a lot after blocking. For a similar yarn we would recommend Tamar from Blacker with it’s all British wool blend and rustic texture. PomPom22-02

Next up is Calamus, designed by Maddie Harvey. This colourwork snood is big enough to wrap around twice for a super snuggly fit, knit in 3 colours. One of our favourite yarns for colourwork has to be Cumbria from The Fibre Co. It’s got just the right amount of tooth and texture to really pull the technique together, and of course it also has a wonderful range of colours.PomPom22-03

Diesis is a textured pullover designed by Alice Caetano using an amazing sweater yarn, Knit By Numbers DK. This yarn is a super smooshy merino that is dyed and spun in Devon by John Arbon. The sweater uses four colours, making the colour combinations endless. We currently have 6 sets of colours in the Knit By Numbers range, each with a range of 6 shades going from dark to light.PomPom22-04

The second pullover is Elibelinde by Ellinor Siljeström. The design is the epitome of a classic shape with an interesting stitch pattern. It has a relaxed shape with a textured stitch on the body and the cuffs which contrast the stocking stitch upper body and sleeves. For a really divine sweater we would love to knit it up in Kettle Yarn Co. Beyul, a blend of merino, yak and silk.PomPom22-05

Nothing says autumn like a cozy pair of mittens, and add in colourwork and you’ve got a winning combination. Herati is a beautiful pair of colourwork mittens with an allover geometric pattern designed by Sari Nordlund. The colours of Socks Yeah! 4ply would create a beautiful pair, and the nylon content would add extra durability.PomPom22-06

Overcheck is another double wrap infinity snood, with a gorgeous allover geometric double knitting pattern. Designed by Ann McDonald Kelly, it uses 2 colours of a DK weight yarn. We think it would be absolutely lush in 2 colours of Kettle Yarn Co. Islington DKPomPom22-07

Palmetto is the last of the garments, a cardigan in 3 colours designed by Emilia Jensen. The main portion of the sweater is knit in one colour, with contrast epaulets and corrugated ribbing at the cuffs, hems, button bands and collar. It uses a sport weight yarn which makes for a light sweater that isn’t going to take ages to knit. Our choice is Stolen Stitches Nua, an unusual blend of merino, yak and linen. PomPom22-08

The last pattern of the issue is Soumak, by Olga Buraya-Kefelian. This pair of fingerless mitts use traditional fair isle technique with a much more modern and graphic motif on it. The sample pair shown are knit in a high contrast black and red, but knit in a yarn like Cumbria there are endless colour combinations for any palette. PomPom22-09

Which pattern is your favourite? We have the issue available in store and online if you want to pick up your own copy.

Yarn Pairings for Rib Issue 2 – Navigate

Rib_Navigate_Cover-1_grande

We’ve got Pom Pom, Amirisu, Making and Laine, which all feature beautiful knitting patterns for women, but what about our male knitters?! We are thrilled to announce that we now carry Rib Magazine, an independently published knitting magazine dedicated to men’s patterns. There are 4 pullover sweaters, 1 hat, 1 pair of fingerless mittens, 1 scarf and 1 pair of socks. The patterns are a mix of textured cables and ribs, with a bit of brioche thrown in there as well. The designs lean towards the timeless classic menswear styles, so for an adventurous knitter they could be adjusted for a more unisex silhouette as well.

As with our other magazines we thought we would do a yarn pairing round up to introduce you to the magazine and hopefully inspire your needles as well!

First up is the Caley Pullover, by Irina Anikeeva. This sweater has an upper section knit with side to side cables on the front and back for a twist on a classic. We absolutely love the idea of knitting this up in one of the semi-solid colours of Vivacious DK. Something like Tweed Imps would really shine in the stocking stitch sections. Rib_Cayley_3_medium2

Next up we have the Direction Mitts, by Ninja Chicken. These simple to knit mitts have an allover rib pattern that comes together in a motif on the palm of the hand. Knit in Blacker Swan DK, these would be soft and yet hearty enough for everyday wear. Rib_Direction_Mitts_2_medium2

The socks for this issue are Fickle Steps, by Louise Tilbrook. They mix rib and cables for a design that can adapt to fit many different shaped feet. For yarn there is only one we would suggest, it would absolutely have to be Coopknits Socks Yeah! 4ply. It has a blend of wool and nylon in loads of lovely subtle heather colours that will show off the design perfectly. With the fibre content they are sure to last a while to make all your hard work of knitting giant socks worth it! Rib_Fickle_Steps_1_medium2

The cover sweater is the Navigate Pullover, by Annie Lupton. This sweater features a modern geometric allover cable pattern on the body, with plain stocking stitch sleeves. The yarn called for, Cumbria Fingering by The Fibre Co. is such a beautiful yarn, we can’t imagine it knit up in anything else!

Rib_Navigate_2_medium2

Orienteering is the hat, designed by Benjamin Kudwig. It effectively combines a knit/purl texture with a simple vertical eyelet for a pattern that doesn’t come across as too lacey. We would love to see it in one of the strong colours of Wool Me Tender from Wool and the Gang.

Rib_Orienteering_1_medium2

The third sweater of the issue is Rigging, by Fiona Ellis. This sweater has cables that form v shapes on the upper body, and a generous shawl collar. With it’s wearable design it deserves a yarn that can stand up to everyday use, something like Spud & Chloë Sweater with it’s machine washable wool and cotton content. Even better it comes in loads of colours, from eye catching brights to subtle neutrals.

Rib_Rigging_3_medium2

The River Rocks Scarf has inspired many of our needles already! Designed by Anca Mustea it’s a great pattern for anyone who has gotten the hang of two colour brioche and wants even more excitement! The pattern uses cleverly placed increases and decreases to create a rippling texture in the brioche rib. For a lush scarf that is soft to wear next to the skin, we would choose John Arbon Knit By Numbers DK, with so many colours to choose from the options are endless.

Rib_River_Rocks_2_medium2

Last but not least we have Survey, a pullover pattern by Catrina Frost. This sweater similarly features a textured upper body with plain stocking stitch body and sleeves, this time in an optional two-tone effect. We think that Lettlopi would be perfect for this hearty everyday jumper, and again the colour options are nearly endless with the almost 30 colours we carry!

Rib-Issue-2-08

Rib Magazine is now available in store and online, and you can check out our brand new web shop while you are at it!

 

 

Yarn Pairings for Pom Pom Issue 1 – Re-Issue of Summer 2012

issue1_newcover-1 As a part of Pom Pom Quarterly’s 5 year birthday celebrations, they have re-issued their first ever issue with all new photography and a bonus pattern! It’s so lovely to have this early issue in the shop, and we’ve been enjoying seeing all the patterns in a new light. As always we thought that we would do our yarn pairings for this issue.

Kipper-by-Lydia-Gluck-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-1-Reprint-Summer-2017-1 First up is Kipper, an otherwise basic sock pattern with a textural detail on the cuffs and across the toes. The texture pattern makes it perfect for solid and semi solid yarns, such as Vivacious 4ply or Socks Yeah! 4ply.

Netherton-Cardigan-by-Lydia-Gluck-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-1-Reprint-Summer-2017-1 Originally Lydia Gluck’s Netherton was published as a cardigan, and it’s been republished here as both a cardigan and a pullover for the new issue. The cardigan has had a bit of a style revamp, and the additional pullover is the perfect classic sweater that we just can’t wait to knit ourselves! Knit in a DK weight yarn, there are countless options to make it in for a different look. Our current favourites would have to be John Arbon Knit By Numbers, or Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend DK for something really lush. Netherton-Jumper-by-Lydia-Gluck-Pom-Pom-Quarterly.-Issue-1-Reprint-Summer-2017

Overbury-by-Lydia-Gluck-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-1-Reprint.-Summer-2017 Next up is Overbury by Lydia Gluck, a perfect pair of flip top mittens. These fingering weight mittens have a short thumb, and the flip top secures with a loop at the top to a button at the wrist. There is a textured stitch in the ribbing at the cuffs. We love the idea of a plain wool like Cumbria for these for a classic look.

Skipworth-by-Meghan-Fernandes.-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-1-Reprint This issue is great for accessories, and Skipworth by Meghan Fernandes is the second pair of fingerless mitts in the issue. These are knit in garter stitch which really holds in the air for a cozy extra warm feel. The garter stitch really sings in a crisp semi solid yarn like Vivacious DK. They would be perfect to keep in your pockets for those surprise chilly evenings!

Wicklane-by-Meghan-Fernandes-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-1-ReprintLast but not least is Wick Lane, a lace shawl designed by Meghan Fernandes. This classic triangle shawl has an all over eyelet lace pattern with a deep rib and lace pattern that ends in crisp points. This pattern would sing in a yarn like Scrumptious 4ply with its wool/silk blend.

Which pattern is your favourite?

 

Yarn Pairings for Pom Pom Issue 21 – Summer 2017

Can you believe that it’s been 5 years of Pom Pom Quarterly?! This issue 21 marks the 5 year anniversary of the independent East London publication, and we couldn’t be more pleased for them! They have loads of celebrations planned for the year, with lots of announcements still on their way, we can’t wait to hear about them all!

Their first celebration is of course Issue 21 – the summer issue! This jam packed with 16 patterns, more than ever before. Also a first for Pom Pom, this issue has 2 different covers,  both with rose gold foil detail.

Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Two-Cover

As usual we have paired up each project with a yarn you can find at Knit With Attitude. Pom Pom have their customary KAL running in their Ravelry group, and this time of course there are more prizes than ever if you want to join in with something from this issue or any past issue.

Anniversaire-by-Veera-Valimaki-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

We love the names for the patterns in this issue, they are all different words for celebrations. First up is Anniversaire, an all over cabled sweater by Veera Välimäki, knit in a DK weight. The cables on the body are asymmetrical leaving it a modern and interesting look. We love the idea of knitting it in a lush handdyed yarn like Hedgehog Fibres Merino DK, or something more simple like John Arbon’s Knit By Numbers.

Bash-by-Linda-Dubec-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Bash is one of three colourwork hats in the issue, this one designed by Linda Dubec. It’s knit up in three colours of The Fibre Co’s Cumbria Fingering, a lovely blend of British wools. So many colour options to choose from! It would be fun to pick 2 neutrals and a bright pop colour, or all brights. The skeins are 100g and you wouldn’t need all of them, so there would probably be the possibility of knitting an extra hat if you swapped the colours around. The little pops of colour would be a brilliant use of leftovers as well.

Bon-Bon-by-Joji-Locatelli-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Bon Bon by Joji Locatelli is a pair of fingerless mittens with a lace textured panel and playful pompoms on the back of the hands. This pattern suits so many of our woolly DK weight yarns like Blacker Swan.

Boum-by-Sachiko-Burgin-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Boum, by Kiyomi Burgin is a sleeveless tank, perfect for popping on with jeans or a skirt. The shape is simple and timeless, but the stripes make it playful and give lots of room for personalization. For summer wear, a drapey yarn like Stollen Stitches Nua with it’s merino, linen and yak blend would suit well.

Ceilidh-by-Julia-Farwell-Clay-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Ceilidh by Julia Farwell-Clay is an all season pullover sweater, knit in a cozy DK/worsted weight yarn. For a warm outerwear sweater this would be great for winter knit up in Léttlopi, or for a more warm weather version choose a cotton/wool blend like Spud and Chloë Sweater. 

CoopKnits

Next up is Festoon, a pair of socks by Rachel Coopey knit up in her own yarn, Socks Yeah! We love this yarn so much, so we love seeing even more inspiration for using it. It’s perfect for socks like this, with the subtle heathering in many of the colours you get visual interest without loosing any patterning and texture.

Fete by Bristol Ivy

Fête by Bristol Ivy is another pullover sweater, with a colourwork patterned collar. The contrast colour is repeated in stripes at the cuffs and hem. A simple yarn like Excelana 4ply lets the design shine through.

Hoopla-by-Dianna-Walla-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Hoopla is the second hat in the issue, designed by Dianna Walla. This Scandi inspired colourwork hat would be quick to knit up in a thicker weight like Vivacious DK and has a lot of unisex appeal.

Jamboree-by-Francesca-Hughes-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Jamboree is a fine gauge sweater with an allover lace and stripes pattern that looks light as a feather. The sweater uses 3 shades together. It is knit side to side for a twist on construction and to keep the vertical stripes. We love the Purl Alpaca Fine for an all neutrals option, but for a pop of colour look no further than mix and matching with Blue Sky Fibers Baby Alpaca Sport. We think the 2 yarns would work together brilliantly.

Knees-Up-by-Juju-Vail.-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Knees-Up is an answer to the UK’s difficult relationship with summer. It’s not always very warm, but you do want to wear those summer dresses, but no tights. So these legwarmer/knee-high socks are the solution! They are the perfect use of the 2 weights of Socks Yeah! in 4ply and DK.

Rave-by-Alexa-Ludeman-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

The design duo of Tincanknits are always favourites here at the shop, and their Rave scarf is what we’ve come to expect from them. It is simple in construction, but with modern details and visual interest that keeps a knitters attention. The combination of garter stitch and cables make for another pattern that would appeal to all ages and genders. With lots of colours in Spud and Chloë Sweater, there is something for everyone.

Sevilla-by-Thea-Colman-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Sevilla by Thea Coleman is a great summer wrap, and the delicate lace makes it attractive for casual and formal events. A wool/silk blend like Findley DK adds even more to the lush look of the wrap.

Shindig-by-Sachiko-Burgin-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Shindig is a shawl from Sachiko Burgin in 2 colours of a wool silk blend with a striped body and lace edging. Can’t you just imagine wrapping up in a shawl of Manos Silk Blend DK?

Soiree-by-Emily-Foden-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Cropped sweaters seem to be everywhere this summer, so Soirée by Emily Foden is right on trend. This pullover with cables running up the sides combines a 4ply wool and a mohair for a subtle fabric that softens the cables and stitches. A combination of Tamar and Sweet Georgia Silk Mist would be just divine.

Sparklers-by-Fiona-Alice-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

The last hat of the issue is Sparklers by Fiona Alice. This hat is knit in two colours of Kettle Yarn Co.’s lush merino/silk/yak blend Beyul, and there’s enough in the skeins to knit 2 hats if the second one has the reversed colours.

Zazie-by-Anna-Maltz.-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Last but not least, Zazie by Anna Maltz is one of our favourites from the issue! This zig zag pattern has texture that you just want to wrap up in, and the colour combinations would be endless! How delicious would it be in 2 colours of Scrumptious Aran!

Which pattern is your favourite?

Homeward Bound Knit-a-long

As mentioned in the post below – we were completely overwhelmed and so so so happy about how well our Homeward Bound Shawl had been received – that we decided to prolong our celebrations with a knit-a-long happening over on our Instagrams! The Homeward Bound Shawl is available as a kit in three gorgeous colourways in our online store, or you can get it as a single pattern on Ravelry.

The KAL started May 5th – but doesn’t end until June 19th so there is plenty of time to join in on the fun, and this is what you have to do:

  • Post any progress pictures using the hashtag #homewardboundshawl, every picture is an entry to the prize draw – so the more the better.
  • Make sure you follow both Knit with attitude and Natalie Selles, and tag both of us on your posted picture.

That is it! On June 20th we will draw two winners from all the post entered between May 5th and June 19th. One of you will receive 4 skeins (a total of 200g) of the brand new CoopKnits Socks Yeah! DK in the colours of your choice, and the second prize is a pattern of free choice from Natalie Selles along with one of her super pretty draw string project bags.

As the knit-a-long has already begun we are really enjoying all the lovely Homeward Bound projects that are beginning to pop up over on Instagram – just have a look – we can’t wait to see more!

And … this is Maya’s progress so far, ready to tackle the stripes section.

Maya's Homeward Bound

What Natalie Knits: Homeward Bound Shawl

So way back in September I had to head back to Canada again to apply for a new visa to stay in the UK. This was a relatively straight forward process, but had to be done from Canada and required an uncertain amount of time away from my new home in England and my partner. Before I left Maya suggested a collaboration with the shop to design a shawl to sell as kits when I got back. We picked out some yarn and I knit it up while I was in Toronto for 7 weeks waiting for my application to be approved.

homeward-natalieSince then we had difficulty getting our original choice of yarn back in stock, so the launch got delayed, and delayed and delayed while we waited to hear back from our supplier. It was not unlike waiting for my visa! Finally in March we decided that the best course of action would be to change yarns completely for the kits, which would mean a full pattern re-knit. Again I grabbed my needles and got cracking! This time we picked a yarn that we knew we could get in easily and where we had a more personal relationship with it’s makers, Socks Yeah! by Rachel Coopey and Fyberspates.

homeward-detail2 The resulting design is Homeward Bound, a triangular shawl knit from side to side with a bold geometric pattern using garter stitch intarsia. I have recently become enamoured with the potential of garter stitch intarsia, especially with creating these fun modern shapes. The triangles were inspired by the traditional quilt block pattern called Flying Geese, so named as it reflects the shapes of migrating birds. The name for the pattern comes from both the Flying Geese and that I knit it while waiting to return home. It uses 4 colours of 4ply yarn, with the pattern calling for Socks Yeah! It would also be a great way to use up leftover yarn, with each section in a different colour.

homeward-detail1The pattern is now available on Ravelry to purchase, and we have 3 different colour combinations available in the shop for kits. The original combination is Beach, and there is Berries and Forest as well.

We have loved the response for the pattern over the weekend, so we have decided to do a knit-a-long. It will run on Instagram from Friday May 5th to Monday the 19th of June. Any post of your Homeward Bound Shawl with the #homewardboundshawl tag in that time will be entered to win. On Tuesday the 20th of June we will pick winners from the hashtag, including in-progress pictures. Prizes to be announced later this week, stay tuned!

 

New Yarn: From The Mountain ethical cashmere

With a name like Knit With Attitude, we are always on the look out for yarns and projects that are working to make the world a better place. For a long time we have had a policy of no cashmere, as most of it comes from China where the origin is impossible to trace and  the animal and human welfare conditions are impossible to guarantee. Even though cashmere is one of the most delicious fibres out there, we just couldn’t have it in the shop under those circumstances. It’s meant we’ve had to turn down carrying some really lovely blends as we just don’t know where the cashmere is coming from.

Skeins of yarn for marketing

You can imagine how we sat up and took notice when we heard of From The Mountain, a sustainably farmed hand spun cashmere from Afghanistan. How could we say no?! This is exactly the sort of project that we love to support.

goat-herd

Afghanistan has long been a producer of cashmere, but that quality was poor and most of it was used for carpets. In 2007 a US Agency for International Development (USAID) project called Accelerating Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) teamed up with Abdul Basir Hotak, a veteran of the cashmere industry in Afghanistan, to open the first scouring and de-hairing facility in the country. Then ASAP was able to work with herders to provide veterinary assistance and encouraged them to comb rather than shear their goats, thus improving herd health and the quality of the fibre.

Spinning-womenWith the quality of cashmere now markedly increased, they were able to reach out to the community of hand spinners in the region to spin the fibre to sell to knitters. After decades of conflict in Afghanistan, many women are now the heads of their families, with limited socially acceptable means of providing for them. Spinning cashmere on a drop spindle for From The Mountain pays them the fairest wage for their work compared to spinning for themselves or for the carpet industry. This fair wage is an alternative to farming illegal crops such as poppies for opium and heroin and creates a more stable and sustainable livelihood for over 100 women, and also allows them to stay home and still care for their children and relatives.

The yarn company From The Mountain was founded by Susan Inglis, who has worked on many projects with USAID over the last 25 years as a consultant connecting traditional textile workers in over 30 countries with new markets. She met Hotak through her work with USAID in 2011 and helped develop the yarn that would be spun by the home spinners. From The Mountain is the sole exporter of the yarn, maintaining close links with the production lines back in Afghanistan. With the region still by no means stable, this yarn can be difficult to get out of the country, and has occasionally had to be smuggled out, recent fighting in Kunduz caused 4 kilos to be turned back.

Spinning

The yarn itself is a lusciously soft sport weight made of 2 bouncy plies and available in 4 natural undyed shades. The colours are natural white, light grey, light brown and dark brown. It is an absolutely gorgeous and luxurious yarn that has an ever so slight thick and thin texture due to its hand spun nature. The 100g skeins have plenty of yardage, so while they are an indulgence, 1 skein goes a long way. From The Mountain have a number of free patterns on their website that take just 1 skein to help you get inspired!