Book Review: WestKnits BestKnits Number 1 – Shawls

wkbk_cover_1024x1024Tis the season for knitting, and also for new book releases! We’ve got the first of what we hope will be an ongoing series from Stephen West, WestKnits BestKnits. It is subtitled Number 1 – Shawls, so hopefully there will be further titles in the future!

29011089976_345886507f_zThe book features 13 of Stephen’s most popular patterns. This book won’t make as much sense if you’ve been collecting them as they have been coming out, but a great investment if you have been eyeballing a few patterns. It also comes with a digital download code so you can have just the pattern you are working on with you instead of carrying the book around.

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Each pattern has been photographed and shown in multiple colour combinations in Stephen’s now iconic graphic style. The variations shown really highlight the variety of options available to knitters to personalize their finished pieces.

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For those of you looking to start your own WestKnits pieces, we just received our biggest yet shipment of Hedgehog Fibres! Loads of restocked colours, and plenty of new ones as well. 29011082476_9979d2dfc9_z

 

Introducing Chunky Row!

13934821_1610143819282781_5386504833579761522_nHave you heard of Chunky Row yet? They are a new company promoting super chunky 100% certified Shetland Wool. Founded by Charlotte while daydreaming in an office job last year, the aim is promote British industry and sheep breeds in a fun and exciting way.

yarnWith the dropping temperatures and early nightfall, who hasn’t dreamt of a cozy blanket, but felt that knitting one would take too long? We have in the 140m giant balls, which are the perfect amount to knit a throw lap blanket, all you need is one ball! And on 25mm needles you’ll be done before you even started. They also have a few accessories patterns as well. There’s no going cold with Chunky Row in the house! 14079605_1616223902008106_4654517598372059943_n

We also have a selection of their 25mm knitting needles and crochet hooks, jumbo styles!

Help Us Keep Hackney Warm!

Dirty sleeping bags curled up on cardboard mats under railway bridges and in shop doorways, fear of abuse and always the cold: rough sleeping is a tough and unkind existence affecting increasing numbers of homeless people in Hackney.

It’s a problem that we think has a special resonance with us as knitters. We are after all in the business of warmth. We create warmth with our stitches in all sorts of ways, and so we’re thinking it’s time to look at how we can share the warmth with our neighbours on the streets.

East London Yarn Triangle

The East London Yarn Triangle is four-and-a-bit miles long, or 466 scarves long. Our aim is to spread the word amongst enough knitters so that we can make those scarves real this winter and share some warmth with rough sleepers to help in their nightly battle against the cold. Please join the three shops in the ELYT this winter in our attempt to knit those miles as scarves and provide some warmth!

We are now urgently collecting DK, Aran and Chunky wool to share with knitters who are up for contributing scarves to help wrap up Hackney’s rough sleepers this winter. The project kicked off at 12.00 noon at the Hackney Picture House on 9th October, a couple of hours before the screening of Yarn, the Movie.

All three shops in the East London Yarn Triangle: Knit with Attitude, Fabrications and Wild and Woolly will continue collecting finished scarves, and operating a yarn exchange for Scarf Knitters, throughout the season. Pop by the shop and see if we have any yarn ready to be knit up into scarves for you, or drop by any stash yarn for us to pass on to a knitter.

Are you in? Here’s the plan..

Scarves can be knitted from any yarn with whatever stitch pattern you like best – garter, rib or stocking stitch. We recommend casting on for a width of about 25 cm and knitting a 150 cm length. If you want help in calculating how many stitches to cast on with your wool, pop into any of our shops and we’ll work it out for you.
Once you’ve knitted your scarf, drop it off at anyone of the shops and we’ll make sure it gets passed on to a rough sleeper.
The Keep Hackney Warm Project is an initiative of the East London Yarn Triangle.

If you would like more information about the event please contact:
May Linn Bang 020 79983282, Barley Massey 020 72758043, Anna Feldman 020 89855231
email: [email protected]

Book Review: Socks Yeah! Volume One by Rachel Coopey

One of the best things about working in a knitting shop is getting a first crack at new yarns and books when they come in the door! We are loving Socks Yeah! Volume One, the latest self published title from Rachel Coopey which accompanies her recent yarn line of the same name. We asked Natalie to review it for the blog.

Socks Yeah! Volume One

I am a long time sock knitter, and I have loved having Socks Yeah! in the shop. It’s a perfect workhorse sock yarn with 20% nylon for added strength, and the 50g skeins mean that there are extra possibilities for colour mixing and matching without ending up with loads of leftovers. It was no surprise that Rachel would eventually release an accompanying book for it, and she did not disappoint! The book has 12 sock patterns, as well as tips and tricks in the back to help you out.

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Clearly Rachel had colourful socks in mind when she decided to put out her yarn in 50g skeins, and this book shows it. Of the 12 patterns only 3 are shown in a solid colour! If solid socks is more your jam though, most of them would also look lovely knitted up in a solid colour, as most of it is contrasting heels, toes and cuffs which aren’t as intrinstic to the design than something that uses stranded colourwork. 11 of the patterns are heavily patterned in some way (texture, stripes, colourwork etc), with a bonus reprint of the Dave pattern from the Coop Knits Socks Vol. 2 book. Dave is a perfect plain entry level sock pattern for a knitter who hasn’t done socks, or a classic vanilla pattern for those plain socks we all need to knit once in a while.

So whatever your comfort level, Rachel’s got a sock pattern for you! The hard part is choosing which one to knit first…

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Yarn Pairings for PomPom Issue 19 Winter 2016

pom-pom-issue-19-winter-2016Crispy leaves underfoot, a bite in the air, and there are mince pies for sale in the shops. Sounds like it’s time for the Autumn issue of PomPom! Issue 19 of the quarterly magazine is in the shop and online and once again it is a knockout. The 11 beautiful patterns include accessories and garments for cold weather, keeping you warm from head to toe. The theme is reflections, and all the knits feature interesting takes on symmetry, repeated patterns and colour play.

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Alloy is a brioche stitch hat with a folded brim that uses 3 colours for a subtle shifting effect. Designed by Tatyana Scotce, we think that Sulka Legato would be a good match for the drape and softness of the pattern. While brioche is a more advanced skill, this hat is a good smaller project to practice working it in the round with ease.

alula-by-clare-lakewood-pom-pom-quarterly-issue-19-winter-2016

Alula is a 2 colour shawl designed by Clare Lakewood. The pattern ingeniously uses slipped stitches to create the illusion of a fair isle or stranded design. It may look complex but this means that you only use one colour at a time! We would knit it up in one of the endless combinations of Susan Crawford’s Fenella!

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Calder is another versatile scarf, this time from Sarah Shepherd. It is knit sideways, from tip to tip and features a scalloped edge on one side and a stocking stitch body. The drape of the merino/silk blend in Scrumptious 4ply would be well suited to wrapping up with this pattern.

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Cesium by Sachiko Bugin is one of 3 pullovers in the issue. It features textural cables up the front and sleeves against a stocking stitch background. With a slightly oversized silhouette this jumper is perfect for cozying up against the chill. A hearty yarn like Mondial’s Bio Lana would add to the effect.

ffragmentation-by-kiyomi-burgin-pom-pom-quarterly-issue-19-winter-2016

Love playing with colour? This Fragmentation hat by Kiyomi Burgin has endless possibilities! It could be knit in any number or combination of colours, you’ll never grow tired of it. We are dreaming of the colour combinations with Coopknits Socks Yeah! which has recently expanded to a total of 16 colours.

lemel-by-francesca-hughes-pom-pom-quarterly-issue-19-winter-2016

Next up is Lemel, a delicate ruched turtleneck pullover from local London designer Francesca Hughes. The texture is made by increasing and decreasing within the stripes. We think that this would be stunning in the natural shades of Purl Alpaca Fine.

maam-by-linda-dubec-pom-pom-quarterly-issue-19-winter-2016

Sometimes a sweater just won’t do, and what you really want is a jacket! Enter Ma’am by Linda Dubec. This oversized cardigan is knit in a chunky yarn on a smaller needle to create a dense and warm fabric. We think that Erika Knight Maxi Wool would be perfectly suited to this!

ondeto-by-solene-le-roux-pom-pom-quarterly-issue-19-winter-2016-1

Texture, winter and scarves just go together perfectly don’t they? This Ondeto by Solène Le Roux is full of twisted ribbed cables that make a squishy fabric. Knit up in Kettle Yarn’s Islington DK you’d have a hard time taking it off!

palindrome-by-julia-farwell-clay-pom-pom-quarterly-issue-19-winter-2016

It’s easy to get bogged down with layers this time of year, so it’s good to change things up with pieces that are light as a feather, but still create warmth. The Palindrome scarf by Julia Farwell-Clay ticks all those boxes. The stripes hold your attention while you are knitting and while you are wearing it. The Sweet Georgia Silk Mist would make it even more luxurious.

tallat-by-justyna-lorkowska-pom-pom-quarterly-issue-19-winter-2016

The last sweater of the issue is Tallat by Justyna Lorkowska. This is a thuroughly modern sweater, with a split hem, dropped shoulder and fitted sleeves on a boxy silhouette. We love the touch of feminine lace on the turtleneck. This would be soft and cozy in Wool and the Gang’s Wool Me Tender.

vanishing-point-by-georgia-farrell-pom-pom-quarterly-issue-19-winter-2016-flatLast but not least, no winter issue would be complete without a pair of mittens. Vanishing Point features an all over texture stitch and twisted rib cuffs that are sure to catch anyone’s eye. They design would pop in Blacker Swan.

What’s your favourite pattern?