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!

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!

What Natalie Knits – Maude Sweater

I have recently been casting a critical eye over my wardrobe, especially my handmade wardrobe and have been thinking a lot on how it can be improved. I have a good stash of hand knit sweaters, and they do the job of keeping me warm, so I can’t complain too much in that department. However, I have slowly lost some weight over the last couple years with some healthier eating and being more active, so all of my sweaters are too big. Part of this stems from having knit them all a bit roomy originally, but something that is a little too big then quickly becomes quite a lot too big. So I’ve been feeling swamped by my sweaters, and not at all stylish or fashionable.

Maude1Luckily as a knitter this is a splendid excuse to knit more! First up was Maude by Caarin Fleischmann, from an old issue of Pom Pom Quarterly. I found 6 balls of Wool and the Gang Sheepaca in my stash, and with a bit of gauge wrestling I cast on over the Christmas holidays. The yarn is listed as an aran, but it’s really a DK, so swatches are absolutely necessary with this yarn. The pieces came together relatively quickly for a DK weight yarn as the cabled fronts and backs were perfect for loads of travel we did around Ireland visiting family. The sleeves zipped along when we got back as the knit and purl texture was perfect for my purse. After seaming it up last week, I haven’t taken it off!

Maude4The Sheepaca was surprisingly lovely to work with. I’ve struggled with wearing alpaca next to my skin before, especially near my neck, but I’ve had no problem with this yarn. The 50/50 wool and alpaca blend is just delicious. The wool evens it out and gives it a lovely stitch definition for the cables, and the alpaca ups the warmth a bit which is perfect for working at the shop which can get a bit drafty if the temperatures really dip.
Maude2Even better is that it fits and I feel like it’s upped my wardrobe! I’ve worn it with jeans and skirts and over dresses, and over collared shirts which is perfect. In classic white it’s done really well with transitioning from everyday casual to something a bit fancier. I made 2 changes to the design that I knew would make it fit into my wardrobe even more than if I left it as is. First off I lengthened the sleeves to full length, and secondly I did a more traditional crew neck. To do the neck I started the scoop about an inch earlier than the pattern. Then I picked up stitches and knit about an inch of ribbing before casting off, unlike the pattern which has you knit longer and then fold it over and sew it down, which causes the neckline to stick out a bit. I think it looks lovely in the pattern, but I knew I was looking for something a bit more traditional for this sweater.
Maude3 I’ll admit I’m totally hooked to this sweaters-that-fit concept and I’m motivated to keep going! I’m thinking that a Muna sweater in chocolate brown might be up next, or maybe Rocquaine in natural pale grey Plötulopi?

Also thanks to Maya who took these pictures of me when we went to Edinburgh Yarn Fest a few weeks ago!

What Maya Knits – Larch Cardigan

Lets talk about WIP (work in progress) projects, those that eventually turn into UFOs (unfinished object), those that seem to take on a resentful personality of their own and just refuse to be completed. The worst ones are the ones that you’ve even managed to remove from your basket or project box, packed up and hidden away hopefully to never be seen again – but they will still be lurking at the back of your mind – and mocking you: You thought you were such a great knitter, but you will never ever be able to complete me – I will haunt you to the day you diiiiieeee! This blog post is about one of those.

I did the cast-on for my Larch in February 2013 (this was before I had my Instagram set up, and I had to check my Ravelry to see when I actually started the project). If you have a look at my Ravelry profile you’ll notice that this is actually the last project I listed there – that tells you how much this project has been haunting me over the years – so much that I’ve ended up ignoring my Ravelry projects just so I didn’t have to see it pop-up every time I visited the page. Why not just frog the whole thing, you might say. The reason I started this project to begin with is that I fell completely in love with the design when I first saw it, and I was equally in love with the yarn I chose to use. The Fyberspates Scrumptious 4Ply is my go-to yarn for so many project and the colour Jen’s Green is still my all time favourite green. The thing is, I never fell out of love with neither the design or the yarn – through the whole process I really wanted this specific cardigan in this specific colour. Then ‘life’ happened – and I never seemed able to finish my Larch.

I’ve had a look at my Instagram to try to trace the progress of my Larch, in March-14 I’m bragging about having finished the body, and that there are only sleeves and edging left to do, however I don’t seem to be casting on for that first sleeve until June-14 – and completing it in January-15…

Then it seems like I am sloooowly but steadily knitting on my cardigan, completing the sleeves, and as this post shows – I’ve started on the shawl collar in July-15. See this! I’ve started the shawl collar, and this is exactly where I left it and how far I’ve gotten when I picked it up again last Christmas (that’s one and a half year later) determined to finish this project. (I am now slightly embarrassed and cringing on my chair writing this blog post).

And that determination was what saved my Larch in the end. I dug out my project from that dark hidden corner at the back of the closet because it was mocking me, right, but I only had the shawl collar left to do. Now at this time I’d completely lost where I was in the pattern – I’ve actually lost the pattern – and had to look it up in my Ravelry library again. Not only that, but I had no idea what size it was I was making… I thought I’d figured it out – ripped out the collar and started again – just to find out I was completely wrong. Nothing less than three times did I rip it out and start over again until I finally got it right. – If I’d only finished it sooner…

Right, so all the knitting was finally done – just the seaming left to do, and I have to admit it took me another couple of weeks to build the courage to tackle this. Coming to tension – we always advice our customers in the shop that this is a very individual thing – and that it can differ from day to day according to your mood, your energy level, (how many glasses of wine you’ve had), and so on – and boy had my tension changed over the years… The body, the sleeves, armholes, edging – my tension was all over the place and nothing seems to fit together – but I made it work somehow. And that’s it – my Larch is finished. It has a whole range of beauty marks and weird stitches, and quite a few wonky seams – but it is finished at last – and I will LOVE (and use) it ’till the day I die!

Finished Larch

Interpretations Vol. 4

Interpretations-Volume-4-CoverInterpretations Vol 4 has arrived! This years installation to the project by designers Veera Välimäki and Joji Locatelli follows perfectly and does not disappoint. Published by Pom Pom Quarterly, it was released this past weekend at Unravel Festival

The idea behind the project is that together the designers pick 6 words and then each design a piece based on that word, for a total of 12 projects. The words for this year’s book are gather, chromatic, magic, fragile, direction and hidden. The resulting projects reveal the different interpretations of the words from each designer. While the words are in English, neither designer speaks it as their first language, which makes the cultural influences that much more interesting. Coming from opposite sides of the globe, Veera from Finland and Joji from Argentina, the book and the designs speak to the ways design sensibilities can converge with knitting wherever you are.

One of the things we love about Veera and Joji’s patterns is that they bridge the line between wearability and interest in a both practical and interesting way. They often use stripes, construction and texture to turn something that would otherwise be rather boring into a more exciting and dynamic piece.

East or West by Joji is the most obvious use of the construction and colour. The centre panel is knit vertically in rib, and then the side panels and sleeves are knit in stripes off of that main piece. This construction creates vertical stripes easily, and plays the textural stripe of the rib off of the colour stripes very effectively.

East-or-West

Another sweater by Joji, Wishes is one that may at first glance seem boring, but on second look reveals itself to be entirely practical and much more interesting than first thought. The top down sweater is knit in 4ply silk and in black, which to any knitter who has knit a sweater sounds like and endless slog! And black, how uninspiring! However, I’m sure all of us have a shop bought thin machine knit black cardigan in our closet that gets reached for regularly. Not to mention of course, that when knitting one’s own sweater there are a hundred other colours to choose from! The top down nature makes it easy to get started, and the construction of the swingy body is done through some well placed eyelet rows every couple of inches that are sure to keep the knitter engaged.

Wishes

Speaking of texture and interesting construction, Joji’s Radiate has also caught our eye. Another top down sweater, this one uses the yoke increases to create a radiating stripe with two colours in rib that also serves as a sort of ombre effect on an otherwise plain pullover.

Radiate-.Interpretations-Volume-4.-Pom-Pom-Press

We now have 30 colours of LĂ©ttlopi in stock and have been playing around with the colours, we are therefore loving the options for knitting Veera’s Double Trouble jacket! The sweater is knit in three pieces, two fronts in one colour and the back in another. The garter stitch pieces are then seamed together to create something that while completely simple can be as exciting as your colour choices. The light grey and charcoal of the original are timeless, but what about coral pink and black, or navy and light blue?

Double-Trouble

The collection is not all sweaters, there are a few accessories as well. One of our favourites is the Tourmaline snood by Veera. The ribbed texture gives way to cables of varying size for a meaty texture that is also reversible for a versatile snood to wear everyday.

Tourmaline

We have Volume 4 up online and in store right now! The books all also come with a digital download code.

Yarn Pairings for Pom Pom Issue 20 Spring 2017

We’ve had another knockout issue arrive from Pom Pom Quarterly! The Spring 2017 issue is number 20, and is jam packed with sweaters and accessories to bring you through to the warmer months.

PP_Spring2017_HR_RGB_FCover-1

The cover shawl is a beautiful and wearable Arrosa by Jennifer Weissman. It uses 2 skeins of Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock, which we have lots of in-stock at the moment. An extra lovely detail is to use a leftover bit of yarn in a contrast colour for the bind off to create a pop of colour.

Astera-Pom-Pom-Quaterly-Issue-20-Spring-2017

Astera by Grace Gouin is a practical take on a market shopping bag. Using Shiny Happy Cotton held double you would get a sturdy fabric that would hold it’s shape and whatever you threw into it as well. We also have beautiful handmade leather handles in the shop from Jul designs to complete your bag.

Bombus-by-Miriam-Jarrs-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-20-Spring-2017

Bombus is the first of the sweater designs in this issue. The cardigan, designed by Miriam Jarrs, seamlessly manages to combine a bomber jacket with a quilted bed jacket and come out the other side looking stylish! The top down design would work well in a yarn that holds its stitch definition well, like Fyberspates Vivacious DK.

HanabiraPom-Pom-Quaterly-Issue-20-Spring-2017

While Pom Pom is primarily a knitting magazine, they do usually include a crochet pattern as well. This issue has Hanabira, a top down cardigan by Eline Alcocer. The flower petal detail at the cuffs and hem leave endless options for personalization, and with one of our newest yarns, Blue Sky Fibers Baby Alpaca Sport, there’s lots of colour options!

IzumiPom-Pom-Quaterly-Issue-20-Spring-2017

Izumi is our favourite sweater in the issue, though we may be biased as it was designed by our own Natalie Selles! This sweatshirt style pullover has a plain stocking stitch body and sleeves, with a gorgeous cabled and lace stitch pattern in the shoulder areas and cuffs. We would love to see it knit up in John Arbon Knit By Numbers, which with a buttery soft hand would only make this sweater even more lush!

MelliPom-Pom-Quaterly-Issue-20-Spring-2017

Melli is another wearable cardigan pattern from Camille Rosselle. This boxy jumper is oversized but cropped for more practicality. The subtle bee stitch texture breaks up the reverse stocking stitch would work well with both speckled yarns as shown in the sample, or in a solid as well. With speckled texture what other yarn could you recommend than Hedgehog Fibres Merino DK.

Odonata-Pom-Pom-Quaterly-Issue-20-Spring-2017The last pullover pattern of the issue is Odonata by Courtney Cedarholm. The tunic length adds a bit of drama to it, with a smocked effect cable on the front, and a plain stocking stitch back and sleeves, with a ribbed and rolled edge. The drape of wool and silk blend of the Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply would be perfect for this pattern.

Signal-Pom-Pom-Quaterly-Issue-20-Spring-2017

The hat pattern of this issue is designed by Anna Maltz. Signal features 6 colours of a 4ply yarn. We love the colour options of a yarn like CoopKnits Socks Yeah! which comes in 16 shades. You would be sure to be able to find a combination that was just right for you.

Tinea-Pom-Pom-Quaterly-Issue-20-Spring-2017

The last cardigan is Tinea, designed by Rachel Brockman. The drop shoulder style lends itself well to the upper shoulder design on the back, and the option of doing the ribbing in a contrast colour adds a bit of fun! Findley DK from Juniper Moon has a crispness that would show off the stitch pattern, and drape for the open fronts design.

We can’t wait to see what you make from the issue, it’s always fun to see people’s knits and choices. The magazine is on sale in the store and online.

What Maya Knits – Askews Me Shawl

Every single yarn shop owner that I’ve ever met had their own passion for knitting as the main reason for starting their business adventure – and then they, like me, were struck by the bitter sweet realisation that although you spend every day surrounded by the most beautiful woolly temptations there never is any time left for you to knit! What happens then, is that your knitting time becomes very precious to you and you become very picky – and so it is only the projects that you love the most of all the amazing projects that are out there – those that you simply can’t live without – that are the ones that will finally find their way onto your needles.

If you follow our instagram (knitwithattitude) or any of the marvellous people that work here in the shop – Natalie (leeleetea) and George (georgeacullen) – you would have noticed  that we’ve had a Brioche craze happening between us. No surprise maybe – it seems like the whole knitting world is struck by this alluring technique these days – and I’m no exception.

The last year we’ve had some amazing publications delivered to the shop, by Nancy Marchant (Leafy Brioche) and Stephen West (Westknits Bestknits – Number 1 Shawls), to mention a few. And it was while flickering through the ‘Bestknits’ I fell in love – I fell hard – just look at this!

Askews Me Shawl

So this Christmas I actually managed to knit – and finish – something, my very own Askews Me Shawl!!! For my version I chose to use the Hedgehog Fibres Merino DK in Genie as my light colour, and John Arbon’s Knit by Numbers in 02 as my dark colour, I found that they were the perfect match – my shawl is so squishy, soft and comfy I would practically sleep in it.

Maya's Askews Me Right Side

Now, if you’d seen all those gorgeous projects popping up across the knitting community’s social medias and have thought you might want to try the Brioche yourself but at the same time felt intimidated by approaching this technique – let me encourage you to give it a go! I highly recommend Stephen’s patterns – they are so well written. All though I’ve dabbled in Brioche before (more on that in a blog post to come), when doing the Askews Me, I found myself encountering a few new techniques that I haven’t tried before – like the Two-colour cast on – but his instructions are so detailed and easy to follow it went like a breeze. Come on – give it a go!

I'm attempting Stephen's pose - but not half as gracious as the man himself...

I’m attempting Stephen’s pose – but not half as graciously as the man himself…

 

Christmas List: George

This week’s guestlist comes courtesy of George, our weekend manager. Like Jess’s list from last week, George’s list crosses our two shop, Knit With Attitude and Of Cabbages and Kings.

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Three skeins of Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles in Monarch, Shamrock and Copper Penny to knit a scarf. Shamrock is my new fav!

A skein of Manos Del Uruguay Clasica in Granite to make a hat. The texture and colours in this yarn are fab. 

Du Store Alpakka fur pompom to go with the hat!

Pineapple Pot by Another Studio, these are great for little plants around the house. 

Ola Milano Origami Decoration Kit for a modern holiday, and a crafty project all in one.

Tom Pigeon Béton cufflinks are modern and sleek to wear on a night out to the theatre. 

WestKnits BestKnits No. 1 Shawls

Christmas Wishlist: Jess

Things are starting to get a bit festive here at the shop. We asked all the staff to put together their wish list from the shop. You might not know if you haven’t visited our shop in person, but we are actually 2 shops in one storefront. The other shop is called Of Cabbages & Kings, and sells jewellery, prints and housewares all made in the UK. Our Christmas lists cross both shops, so extra reason to pop by and see if something catches your eye. Maybe it will inspire your own list, or help you find a gift for someone else!

christmasjess

First up is Jess’s list. She is the owner of Of Cabbages & Kings. We can see a bit of a colour theme going on here! Click on the links to see the products in the respective online shops.

Chris Andrews – Green Woodpecker print Maybe it’s the festive green and red combo that’s so appealing or memories of nature books and rambles through the woods?

Curve Hoops  I must be going through a green phase. These deco style earrings with the gold insert look super glamorous for party season. Want!!!

Pom Pom Quarterly Great little books. So collectable, they look lovely on the shelf and there are always two or three patterns I want to have a crack at. This winter it’s the Palindrome and Ondeto scarfs.

Sacred Saffron Beyul from Kettle Yarn  There’s a lace top I have in mind for this yarn. I love the rich rusty tones and silky sheen.

Project bag by Smock Shop Practical gift – these are so handy. And since I’ve usually got several projects on the go, I could really do with a different bag for each one.

Studio Noah Pots I have a fireplace in my new flat that’s just crying out to be filled with plants. These would be great potted with some succulents. Also, they’re made with volcanic ash and that’s just cool.

Soakwash This wash is so great for more than washing just wool, it’s saved a few of my silk tops that got a spot on them as well!

Thanks Jess! You can find all the items listed here online and in the shop! What’s on your wishlist?