Yarn Pairings for London Craft Guide

London Craft Guide is a brand new guide to the knitting, sewing and haberdashery shops of London by the people who bring you the Great London Yarn Crawl every year. We are honoured to be included! To celebrate the launch of the book we will be hosting co-authors and organisers Allison Thistlewood and Rachel Brown for an afternoon talk on Saturday April 16th from 2-4pm. They will have all their samples from the new book and be on hand to chat about their events and the book. To top it all off, we will have 10% off all Knit With Attitude purchases for attendees on the day! Our shop isn’t very big, so if you are interested in attending, please RSVP with us to reserve a spot.

In advance of Allison and Rachel coming to the shop, we thought we would do a yarn pairing of the projects from the with yarns we have here at the shop.

First up we have Because Sock Yarn, by Kate Atherley. The name of the pattern really says it all, doesn’t it! What knitter hasn’t gone into a shop and seen a special skein of yarn and thought, it doesn’t really count, it’s only one skein of sock yarn! The flip side of course, is having a stash of single skeins that don’t all want to be turned into socks. Luckily Because Sock Yarn is here to fill that void! The pattern includes instructions for a small pair of fingerless mitts, and a co-ordinating shawlette. What better yarn for this than our brand new addition of Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock?

Because_sock_yarn_shawl-1_small2

Because_sock_yarn_mitts_small2

 

The Candy Bag by Cecile Balladino is a project designed for being on the move. The bag is made of crocheted granny squares that are made individually (the perfect out and about project) which are then assembled into the bag shape before the handles are added. Then it makes a lovely bag that can be used to bring home the most recent stash purchases. A win-win! The squares could be done very easily in a rainbow of leftover scraps of 4ply, but would also be wonderful in a sock yarn like Manos Alegria.

Candy_bag_small2

Knightsbridge by Anniken Allis is a beautiful shawl that takes just one 100g skein of laceweight yarn. Perfect for throwing on over a sundress, or wrapping up against a blustery day. The pattern looks both simple and repetitive enough to not be stressful, but visually interesting to keep your focus. We would knit it in Scrumptious Lace from Fyberspates.

Knightsbridge_shawl_1_small2

Hardly a collection is complete without a sock pattern, especially not a collection focusing on single skeins of yarn! The sock for this book is La Ville de l’Amour, by Fiona Hamilton-MacLaren. These feature a stitch pattern very similar to the Eiffel Tower (hence the name!) We would knit them up in one of the semi-solid colourways of Vivacious 4ply.

La_Ville_d_Amour_socks-2_medium2

 

Next up there is South Bank, a beautiful shawl by K.M. Bedigan that comes in either a full circle or half circle option. The full circle version is inspired by the London Eye! We would love to knit it up in Sulka Legato, the silk and alpaca combo would have wonderful drape and sheen for the design.

South_bank_shawl_green_1_small2

A mandatory accessory for London is fingerless mitts. Perfect for changeable weather, and those not too cold temperatures in the winter. The colour combination for the Waterloo Mitts pictured was inspired by the Union Jack in red, white and blue, but there are endless palettes that you could use! We love pairing up colours from our stock of Blacker Swan for colourwork projects like this one.

rwbus2_small2

Last but not least we have the Zigging Hat and Cowl, designed by Renée Callaghan. This chunky weight set are perfect for keeping warm in the winter and have great texture. We love the modern neutrals of Bio-Lana to show off all that stitch definition. Zigging_hat_and_cowl-3_medium2

Getting to Know: Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe

Here at the shop we have been looking for some ethically produced, knitter friendly hand products to carry for our customers. We were so happy to find Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe, a small business in the US that produces just that. We have a few scents in a solid lotion bar that includes lanolin, a natural oil produced by sheep in their fleeces, and also in a goats milk soap. The scents are all made from essential oils.

We were happy to have a little interview with Alicia, the founder of Sweet Sheep and ask her a few questions about her business, and of course, knitting!lotionbar

How long have you been knitting?
I learned to knit in 2006 when I had knee surgery and was stuck in bed for 6 weeks. However, I didn’t really get obsessed with it until 2009 when I began graduate school. I needed a creative outlet to balance out all the left-brain thinking I was doing and knitting fit the bill nicely.

What inspired you to get into making all natural body products?
I began making natural body products when I came across a lotion bar at a Stitches East event. I liked the concept, especially for knitters and anyone who works with wool, because my hands are always so dry from handling yarn. However, I didn’t like the texture or intensity of fragrance of the bar I tried, and decided to come up with my own recipe. Plus, I really wanted to use lotion that contained lanolin, since it’s great for your skin AND derived from sheep’s wool, so I had to make it myself.

You are a biologist by day and a soap and lotion maker by night. Is there any crossovers between your two professions?
My biology training comes into play when I’m reading up about essential oils or the different properties of the plant-derived oils, waxes, and butters I use in my products.And because of my ecological background, I’m conscious of the environment and of the chemical effects of the things I use on my body, so making and using skin care products that don’t contain petrochemicals (derived from oil) is important to me.

Can you tell us a bit more about how you make your products?
My lotion bars and lip balms are made following a similar process: I first melt beeswax in a double boiler, then add vegetable butters and allow them to simmer for a while, then the oil components, lanolin, and finally the fragrances. Then the mixture is poured into molds or lip balm tubes and allowed to set. The soap I make is the melt-and-pour variety. I purchase large amounts of high quality, pre-made soap and then melt it down, color and fragrance it, and pour it into molds or layers depending on the type of bar I’m making. Since the lotion bars and lip balms are the same process every time, soap-making has been a really fun way for me to get more creative with colors/textures/etc.sheepsoaphand

Are you a process or product knitter?
I like to think I’m a product knitter, since I’m a selfish knitter and love to keep and wear every FO I produce, but in truth, I have so many WIPs on the needles that I don’t think I can say that. I feel like a product knitter would be more dedicated to the finish than I am, and sometimes I just cast on socks to have something simple to knit while I read, not because I need more socks. 🙂

What are you currently knitting?
This holiday season has been extremely busy for me with Sweet Sheep orders, wholesale orders, and moving to a new apartment so my active knitting time has suffered! However I recently finished a bulky weight hat (Galicia pattern on Ravelry) and I always have a pair of socks on the go. To switch it up from socks a little bit, I’m currently knitting a Sockhead hat, but it’s still very simple, on-the-go type travel knitting (my favorite kind).