Take Heart yarn pairings and KAL!

We are excited to have a brand new, hot off the press book in the shop. East London local Fiona Alice has created Take Heart: A Transatlantic Knitting Adventure. It is a book of 11 accessories for Pom Pom Press, all inspired by her journey from growing up on the east coast of Canada to living in England. We will be be featuring this book over the next few weeks in advance of a KAL for Ketch Harbour in collaboration with Kettle Yarn Co.

The KAL will cast on on Monday January 4, which gives you a few weeks to choose some yarn for it. We carry the stunning Kettle Yarn Co Islington DK called for in the pattern. To help you get started we are offering a 15% discount on the yarn and book. You can send this along as a hint for a gift from someone, there’s still time! Or, if it hasn’t arrived wrapped up it is a wonderful treat to yourself. Three skeins of yarn and the book would regularly retail for £78, but we have them here for you for £66. Closer to the day – as usual we will set up a Ravelry thread to talk about our projects and to show of the finished results – and one lucky winner will win back the the value of the kit as a Knit with attitude voucher to spend on even more yarn!!!

In our usual fashion, we are once again doing a pairing post of all the yarns we think would work best with the gorgeous patterns from this book.

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First up we have Ketch Harbour, a new take on the shawl shape. The pattern calls for 3 skeins of Islington DK from The Kettle Yarn Co., which we have in 6 lush shades.

coverNext up we have the cover headband, Queensland Beach. It features simple but elegant cables. We think that it would be cozy and warm knit up in Hexa, an alpaca chainette.

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There are two sets of hat and mitts in the book. The first set has a leaf stitch motif on the back of the hand of the fingerless mitts, and on the top of the hat, with twisted rib details. These textures would sing in Scrumptious 4ply, a wool/silk blend from Fyberspates.

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The second set is Chester Basin. This features two colours of a tweedy aran yarn knit up in an all over stitch pattern. Our pick is Terra, from The Fibre Co., a lush baby alpaca/merino/silk blend. The closest colours we have would be Shale and Yarrow.

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Martinique Beach is a stunning colourwork snood knit in 4 colours. It is long enough to wear doubled up. We would have a lot of fun picking 4 colours of Blacker Swan to knit it in! martiniquebeach

Next up is this pair of legwarmers, Pennard Castle. The pattern is written for both a thigh-high and regular length. We would knit it in Vivacious 4ply, a fantastic sock yarn from Fyberspates. It has great stitch definition for the texture and comes in many neutral and bright colours. pennardcastle

This book includes a reprint of the Take Heart hat. Originally published in Pom Pom Issue 7, it is the only pattern available on its own. It is the hat that started Fiona’s path towards the book, so it is only fitting that it is included here! We would love to knit it up in Scrumptious Aran, with a Du Store Alpakka pom pom for the top. takeheart2

Last but not least is Three Cliffs, a wide scarf that is perfect for wrapping up in. It features a subtle chevron rib pattern. It would look wonderful knit up in a yarn with a bit of drape and lots of warmth like Rooster DKthreecliffs2

 

What are you looking to cast on first?

Holiday Knits 2015: Hats

We have noticed lots of activity towards the holidays in and around the shop. We thought that we would help all you gift knitters out with some suggestions of our favourite projects to knit for others, or as a gift to yourself!

This week we are going to look at hats. Hats make such great gifts. They are quick and can use a huge variety of yarns, techniques and styles. The options are endless. The patterns are all available through Ravelry in-store or online.

Take Heart is a stunning pattern from Canadian designer Fiona Alice. Originally published in the Winter 2013 issue of Pom Pom Quarterly, it is now also available individually. It would knit up beautifully in Fyberspates Scrumptious Aran, with an alpaca fur pompom on it. Silver with a white pom would be so perfect for winter.

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Next up we have Bumble, from Tincanknit’s book Max and Bodhi’s Wardrobe. This hat is sized for all ages and features a simple stitch pattern that would work for many skill levels. We would knit it up in Rooster Aran, in a single colour or in stripes.

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If a chunky hat isn’t your thing, Maya designed a simple free pattern called Rocka. It would be lovely knit up in Sulka Legato, which we just got in 3 new neutral colours. It’s a simple pattern that would work well for men or women.

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If you’re looking to expand your lace and cable skills, Peppermint Leaves by Clare Devine may be just the project for you. It’s got a great combination of stitch patterns. Hats make such great learning projects since they are relatively small. We would make this one up in Blacker Swan, which we’ll soon have in 6 more colours!

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If you can’t decide between a snood and a hat, then your only choice is Howlcat by Alex Tinsley. Is it a hat, or is it a snood? It’s both! The ingenious construction means that it can be converted from one to the other with just a twist. It’s also reversible, so it can be worn four ways. It comes in two sizes but would be easy to modify to be bigger or smaller. Using two yarns with different textures would make it even more interesting. A yarn such as Cumulus for the inner piece would add softness and warmth, while Westcountry Tweed would have a classic look for an unusual knit.  Howlcat1_medium2

Do you have any holiday knits on the needles? What are you making?

Introducing: Annas Angora

One of Vidgis' Angora rabbits

One of Vigdis’ Angora rabbits

Sometimes when you find a new yarn you can’t help but get it into the shop, and when it’s this special, you jump around said shop and can’t help petting it when it arrives. We think you’ll all be as excited when you see our brand new yarn, a hand cut angora from Annas Angoras in Norway.

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4 rabbits after a haircut.

We were all very upset when we heard the news of how terribly commercial angora rabbits are treated. Think battery hens, but with fluffy bunnies instead. We vowed that we wouldn’t have any angora in the shop as we couldn’t support these practices. Imagine our happiness when we discovered that there is an alternative, from Annas Angoras. Vigdis Gardner started with angoras in 2011 with 2 rabbits. Through breeding and purchasing more rabbits her herd has grown to 120. She has profiles of each of the rabbits (including some pictures!) on her website.  It is in Norwegian, but Google translate does an alright job of translating it into English.

Vidgirs and a baby angora rabbit.

Vigdis and a baby angora rabbit.

Despite the size of the herd, she still cuts the fur of each rabbit individually by hand. The rabbits have a much more pleasant experience and it becomes a haircut rather than a traumatic shearing or plucking. It can take an hour to cut each rabbit, and they can quite enjoy it, just like a cat may enjoy being pet. The colours of the final yarn comes directly from the coats of the rabbits themselves, creating a beautiful range of all natural shades.

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Here you can see the before and after effects of a cutting.

The rabbit’s fur must be cut 3-4 times a year to prevent it getting dirty and matted, and to prevent the rabbit from ingesting too much of it when they groom. Ingesting too much fur can understandably cause health problems for the rabbits. An angora rabbit can grow as much as an inch of hair every month!

Vigdis lives with her family on a farm in a remote area of Norway. They aspire to live directly from the land, cutting the grass that feed the rabbits by hand with scythes and heating with wood stoves. It looks positively idyllic, and a perfect place for rabbits and other animals to hop around and have happy lives.

Viccy is the farm's Finnish Lapphund dog. She looks after the rabbits very well!

Viccy is the farm’s Finnish Lapphund dog. She looks after the rabbits very well!

A sunny day in the autumn on the farm.

A sunny day in the autumn on the farm.

The farmhouse in the winter snow.

The farmhouse in the winter snow.

We have 4 natural shades of a 4ply yarn in stock at the shop, in 25g skeins. It comes in Beige, White, Mid Grey and Light Grey. The yarn is a absolutely luscious to knit with and wear. Angora is an incredibly light fibre, which means that even a 25g skein has plenty of yardage. One skein is more than enough for a pair of small wristwarmers or a baby bonnet. Angora has a micron count that means that it is softer than cashmere, and has a lovely halo of fuzz that is like holding a rabbit in your hand. In the skein the yarn still holds a bit of the organic oil that is used when it is being spun, but it washes out easily after it has been knit with and the halo appears once it has been worn. It knits with a gauge of approx. 26 sts and 30 rows on a 3mm needle.

From left to right: Beige, White, Mid Grey, Light Grey.

From left to right: Beige, White, Mid Grey, Light Grey.

Knit With Attitude is the exclusive stockist of Annas Angora in the UK. As this is a small farm operation we have a limited quantity of the yarn at the moment. The rabbits are not scheduled for another cut until the spring, so we won’t be able to get any more until then!  We will have it available online and in the shop starting Friday December 4 at noon. Perfect for a holiday treat or a present for a special someone.

Speaking of treats, we are running a Christmas advent calendar of daily specials. Every day we will have an offer of a discount and a prize to be won! bannercalender2015