Pom Pom Quarterly Issue 15 yarn pairings

It’s that time again, a new issue of Pom Pom Quarterly is here! As we have done for the last few issues, we have gone through the issue and matched each pattern with a yarn that we carry to help inspire your new makes.

First up is Avalon Ballroom by Clare Lakewood. This gorgeous lace/textured stitch scarf would look amazing in Fyberspates Scrumptious Aran. A bright colour would make a great statement in the dark of winter. avalon_ballroom_collage_1

Callas is the first of the sweater designs. This one by Bristol Ivy sits somewhere between being a shrug and a cardigan. It’s got loads of drama and drape to the point where it would not be out of place being worn over a more formal dress for an office party or at the holidays. We would love it in our brand new Blacker Swan, a merino/shetland blend from Cornwall. It would keep you cozy warm and impress your fellow guests!

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If you want a really festive sweater, then Carlu by Kiyomi Burgin will take your Christmas jumper to the next level. It calls for two laceweight yarns held together for the main section, a mohair blend and a silk blend. The fabric that this combination makes is uber luxe. We recommend Sweet Georgia Silk Mist for the mohair held together with Scrumptious Lace. Swoon, we can’t stop thinking about it!

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If you’re looking for a more subdued neckline, then Cicely might be more up your alley. This boatneck from Jemima Bicknell is knit in a 4-ply yarn with delicate beads worked into the neckline. We love the berry and jewel tones of Susan Crawford’s Excelana for this one.

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Deco City is a shawl that is equally practical when wrapped around your shoulders or cozied up against your neck under your coat. We could only recommend one yarn for this, Scrumptious 4ply. It’s soft and the silk is warm, and it comes in so many beautiful colours. Better yet, the small size would only take 1 skein!

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This issue has patterns from head to toe, and the pattern representing the later is Hulanicki by sock designer extraordinaire Rachel Coopey. They feature small cables for a delicate but interesting knit. Dare we say that these could even be unisex? We are thinking of Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock for this one.

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On the other end is Suffragette from Olga Buraya-Kefelian. This cloche hat with deep welts would look flattering on many heads and fun to knit. Toft DK as the right amount of body and stitch definition to do the design justice.

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If you are a snood lover, or looking for an easy gift to knit up for the holidays, then Theda by Sophie Scott is for you. If you knit it up in Islington DK you may have a hard time giving it away though!

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Turnberry by Courtney Spainhower is the next pullover in the issue. This highly textured sweater features a twisted stitch yoke, a twisted stitch and lace pattern for the body and plain sleeves. For a really luxurious yarn to match the stitch pattern we are looking towards Sulka Legato, a wool/alpaca/silk blend.

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Last but not least is Wilding by Cirilia Rose. This dramatic and unusual design is another one where two yarns are held together, a mohair and a silk. In this case we have the perfect suggestion for one yarn that can work instead! Sweet Georgia Silk Fog is a silk and mohair yarn all in one, with amazing drape and super saturated colours. It’s a delicious combination! wilding_collage_1

Welcome to the world of Blacker Yarns

We are so excited to introduce a brand new yarn company in the shop. You all got a preview of Blacker Yarns with the limited edition Cornish Tin that flew out the door. Now we have three of their lines in stock more permanently. We have Lyonesse (a linen/Falkland wool blend), Blacker Swan (Falkland/Shetland Wool), and Westcountry Tweed (British wool). The mill is based in Cornwall, and deals exclusively with British wool companies. This fits in perfectly with our mandate for ethically and environmentally friendly yarns, and local as well!

Sue Blacker, owner of Blacker Yarns and their parent mill The Natural Fibre Company was gracious to answer a few questions to help us all get to know their yarns better.

lyonesse_instaHow do you think that Blacker Yarns fits in with the KWA ethos (environmentally and ethically friendly)?

I think we fit very well!  Our whole approach is based on our values, which we apply to all our work spinning for others as The Natural Fibre Company and also in making Blacker Yarns.  So we try to give value for money, develop long-term trusting partnerships with customers and suppliers and limit our impact on the environment.  We lay out ouf values on our website, at http://www.blackeryarns.co.uk/about/our-values

What is the most important thing to you when you are choosing a new yarn/fibre to introduce into your company? What sort of process do you go through?

We start from two ends and hope to meet in the middle and the yarn has to be lovely!  We will be looking for the very best quality fibre we can find, and known provenance with continuity of supply, while at the same time seeking a single breed or a blend for which we think there will be some demand, which does not conflict with any of our values, which fits with and complements our existing ranges and which is a bit different from what everyone else is offering!  Simple, really!!

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The Natural Fibre Company is your mill, and Blacker Yarns is the yarn company. Can you tell us a bit more about the relationship between these two companies?

The Natural Fibre Company was there first, and has a wide range of customers across the UK and Europe, working from as little as 10kg up to around a tonne per batch.  Blacker Yarns, in some senses, is just another customer!  Blacker Yarns has the opportunity to promote British wool, made in Britain, to a wider public than can be reached by the smaller and specialised local breeders who are the main customer base of The Natural Fibre Company.  The experience of each side of the business does help the other: so Blacker Yarns’ knowledge of the yarn, knitting and crochet markets can help The Natural Fibre Company advise its customers on marketing their yarns while The Natural Fibre Company has experience and expertise in spinning an enormously varied range of fibre types.

You work a lot with smaller sheep farmers and heritage breeds. Do you have your own sheep? What does it mean to your business to work with wool on a breed to breed basis?

I do have my own sheep and they came before the mill!  I started with sheep in the 1990’s and was originally a customer of The Natural Fibre Company, taking it over when the previous owners retired.  It is incredibly important to us as a business to know and understand sheep, and to know people with goats and alpacas as well … we know if there has been disease or bad weather, or a really good season for lambs, or if the price of meat or feed is rising or falling.  This helps us understand what it is to grow good quality fibre and to know the differences between the fibre produced by different animals – each has its most appropriate end use so we can help ensure none is wasted and the best value is added to each type.

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The 10th anniversary yarn Cornish Tin went down a storm and sold out UK wide in a week! Do you have plans for more limited edition yarns in the future?

Aha!  That would be telling, though I think you can probably assume we felt it was a very worthwhile adventure!  So we may well think about something for our eleventh birthday.  Meanwhile, all of our British Breeds yarns are limited editions and we will in future be able to give the provenance and dates, just like fine wines!

Are you a process or a product knitter?

A bit of both really … I feel that the design is integral to the item being made – so the way in which it is worked, how it looks and feels, will also determine what the item is – I would work differently on a hat than a jacket, than a shawl, in terms of texture, colours, style, etc.

westcountry_instaWhat’s your current knitting project?

Well, I’m sort of between things right now and doing some swatching – I have two different jacket/cardigans in mind, which have been taking imaginary shape for a while, so will soon be ready to begin to materialise.  Like many people, having just completed a design which is about to be published, I’m still trudging through the tech editing as well!

The Anniversary Collection – Viv Coin Purse

Woooot!!! We are officially ready to launch the second pattern from our anniversary collection! The Viv coin purse is a little crochet bag with a clasp that is the perfect size for coins and cards.viv1_small

This little coin purse is named Viv after both the Fyberspates Vivacious DK yarn, and the distinctive V stitches running through it. The purse is made seamlessly in the round until you reach the flaps that will be attached to the clip frame. The textured V stitches are made using Dropped stitches (also known as Spike stitches) which are made by making a double crochet stitch into the row below the next stitch.

viv2The design is sweet and takes hardly any time to make up. Since it takes such a small amount of yarn, we have made kits that include just the right amount of yarn so that you don’t end up with loads of leftovers. Alternately, it is a great use of a leftover ball of something you may have already. It takes just 35g of a DK weight yarn, or you can make three purses out of a 115g skein, which would make perfect Christmas gifts! The pattern is also available on its own in print from our online shop and digitally via Ravelry.