Christmas Wish Lists – Jess

With Christmas just around the corner we take a look at Jess’s top picks from Of Cabbages and Kings and Knit With Attitude. Jess is the owner Of Cabbages and Kings, a print, homewares and jewellery shop that shares our Stoke Newington HQ.

This year we have all made two lists, one we would like to receive and one we would like to give.

Jess's Wish List

Jess’ Wish List:
New in store is this How to be a Craftivist book by Sarah Corbett and what better way to pass the time on cosy holiday evenings then with a good read.
Everyone needs a bit of glam at Christmas and these Dot Hoop Studs provide a festive flash, with brass details guaranteed to add something special to any outfit.
Always useful to have around and you always need more. These Cocoknits Stitch Markers are a bright and fun way to keep track of your knitting.
Who can resist the lure of Hedgehog Fibres. The hand dyed squishiness of their Merino DK is to die for.
Of Cabbages and Kings range of Stuart Gardiner Oven Gloves are perfect for wrestling that Christmas Turkey out of the oven.

Jess’ Give List:
Want to give a perfect gift to a knitting friend or relative then try Woods by Verena Cohrs and Hannah Lisa Haferkamp. Full of interesting articles and even more interesting knits.
Know any cyclists? Or anyone going on a trip in the new year a great way for them to keep notes is this Road Bike Jounal.
Need a gift for a stylish friend then choose these Eco Friendly Silver Necklaces by Wild Fawn. Elegant and Ethical, the perfect combination.
Jess has been knitting socks this year for a few Christmas Gifts and what speedier way than in the lovely Vivacious DK. A quick and thoughtful present.

Jess' Give List

Christmas Wish Lists – Sanna

Festive feelings are high in Knit With Attitude and Of Cabbages and Kings and we are looking at what Christmas Gifts we want to give and receive this year.

Third up on our series of staff inspired wish lists is Sanna. Working with both shops at the weekend Sanna’s list is inspired by things that catches her eye in both Knit With Attitude and Of Cabbages and Kings. This year we have all made two lists, one we would like to receive and one we would like to give.

Sanna's Wish List

Sanna’s Wish List: 
A whole bunch of Hexa. Who could resist its snuggly warmth in the winter months. Also it comes in a fun range of brights and neutrals.
As everyone knows Sanna is a big crochet fan and also teaches crochet classes at knit with attitude. This Chunky Row 25mm Crochet Hook is a fun edition to any crocheters arsenal.
This Satellite Bowl linocut print by Jane Smith is available in store from Of Cabbages and Kings. Its also part of a wide range of prints by different artists that can be found online at Of Cabbages and Kings.
You can never have enough notebooks right? These Layflat Notebooks by Ola are perfect for jotting down Christmas lists in style.
Christmas and Cocktails, what a perfect combination! This Classic Cocktails Tea Towel is a great edition to your kitchen, get mixing!
Looking for some statement jewellery to wear to the Christmas Party the look no further than the Form Panel Necklace from Tom Pigeon. Great geometric lines bring a pop of glam to any outfit.

Sanna’s Give List:
These fun Bookblock Notebooks have covers designed by independent illustrators and are a perfect gift for the notetaker in your life.
For any fellow knitters, or you just want to inspire another to start a new hobby then Knit With Attitude has plenty of inspiring kits like this Pompom Hat Kit.
For the jewellery fan the check out the range of Jewellery Of Cabbages and Kings have in store and online.
Know any aspiring print makers? Screen Printing – The Ultimate Studio Guide is full of hints and tips to get them going.
Something for your worst enemy maybe, or just a tongue in cheek gift. Then go for a Sardonic Tote to make them laugh this Christmas.

Sanna's Give List

Interview with Jule from
Hey Mama Wolf

In our effort to create a full range of ethical and environmentally sourced yarns, we have spent a long time searching for a company making yarn dyed with plants, or naturally dyed yarn. This is an inherently niche idea, so while there are people out there naturally dying yarn, it was difficult to find someone dying that could also handle the larger scales required to supply orders from yarn shops. We were so excited to meet Jule who came to visit the shop while she was in London attending Pomfest this summer and discover her yarn company, Hey Mama Wolf. Not only does Jule dye all of her yarns naturally, the yarns themselves are also sourced and processed locally to her in Germany, greatly reducing the carbon footprint of the yarn. We have started off with the Sockyarn #04 and kits to do your own natural dying at home.

With all this to consider, we were excited to ask Jule a few questions about Hey Mama Wolf and learn about what goes on behind the scenes.

jule hmwHow long have you been knitting?
When I was about 10 years old we visited my great aunt Agnes and she told me that I needed to learn how to knit. Without further ado she just taught me. I don’t think I had a choice but I enjoyed it very much. First things I knitted were teeny tiny things for my Barbies – scarfs, hats and even mittens. Aunt Agnes was also the one who taught me mending and gave me my first sewing machine.

kupfer mordantWhat inspired you to get into dying and specifically natural dying?
Again I will start with my aunts and my grandma. Aunt Agnes was a garden architect, my grandma has a huge garden and another aunt is a herbalist. My mother often took me for long walks in the woods and the botanical gardens. They all planted the love for plants in me. I was always especially interested in healing plants. I became a textile and surface designer, and when I graduated from art school, I was a freelance knitwear designer. After having our first daughter I started looking for sustainable local yarns. I love natural wool colours very much but what would knitting be without colourful yarns? Two very good friends of mine asked me why don’t I do plant dyeing. I love to explore and I love plants. So these friends were absolutely right. I find great joy in dyeing with plants.

farbkarte birkeWhere and how do you source the dyes that you work with? Can you tell us more about the plant origins?
I started with using only hand gathered plants from walks in Berlin and Brandenburg, leftovers from friends (flowers, onion skins, avocado pits…) and what I got from the local organic market – turmeric, carrot greens, whatever wasn’t suitable for selling anymore. But I knew that I wouldn’t get far with that if HMW wanted to grow. Right now I’m using plant dye extracts that are made by a company nearby in Magdeburg. I was so thrilled when I found out that there is actually a company in Germany who does that. They come as an easy to use powder. The difference between these and chemical dyes is that they are still a natural product and are much more influenced by other parameters – water, weather, mordants, the yarn itself. Every dyer will get different results.

Some colours I prefer to dye with plant matter itself. I try to buy them organically and preferably local grown. I still get stuff from the local market and of course I’m still exploring the colours that surround me, my local dye plants. We live in an old water mill surrounded by nature, so when a tree falls down in a storm I gather the bark and leaves. When tansy and St. John’s Wort are flowering in abundance I will go and gather. Right now I’m very interested in using mushrooms as a dye material. It is a whole different story to plants though, I’ll have to get acquainted to the fungi world.

johannis etsyDo you have a favourite plant to dye with? 
Oh yes, many. The first that comes to my mind is birch bark. It smells so good when you cook it and most of the time it makes the most beautiful dusty pinks or golden browns. Then fresh St. John’s Wort flowers. You can dye at least four different colours with it, bright green, golden yellow, orange and maroon. I also find many oak galls on my walks and I love the greys that I can achieve with them.

birkenrinde topfThe fibre for your yarns are all sourced locally to you in northern Germany, can you tell us more about where they come from and how they are made?
Yes, the wool comes from small organic farms in northern and eastern Germany. The farms sometimes only have some sheep to mow the lawn, while others have as many as 200- 300 sheep to produce cheese and meat. I don’t know many of the farmers personally. The wool mill gathers the wool. They sort and scour it (just with plant based soap) and it is then spun. The natural brown wool is from the Frisian milk sheep of my neighbour Anna. She has about 150 sheep and makes the best cheese. Anna is a very inspiring person. She makes everything from the wool of her sheep. Carpets, woven fabric, mattresses and pillows, wall hangings and of course she spins and knits. It is lovely to stand next to her watching the sheep. She can tell a story of every single one of them.

faerberknoeterichHow do you develop a new colour way? Do you start with a specific combination in mind, or is it a happy accident? 
In the beginning there was exploring and many happy accidents. Now I can predict the outcome much better. Still natural dyes are always surprising. Some weeks ago I dyed a colour that I often dye, a best seller, a golden yellow with St. John’s Wort. I made two batches at the same time, doing everything absolutely exact according to my recipe. One batch was golden yellow, and one was green. A beautiful green and I would love to dye it again, but I don’t have a clue what went wrong. I can’t even blame the stars, because I made them at the same time. As a textile designer I work pretty much according to the books when developing a shade card. I make a mood board, then think about which plant can give me which colour.

muehle herbst 1What’s currently on your needles?
Too much. I have the Whinfell sweater of Jenn Steingass from Woods on my needles with my own hand dyed and hand spun yarns. There are mittens for our children with my Rauwerk wool. I’m working on a striped pullover with my #02 yarn. A pair of socks with the Mistletoe pattern by Verena Cohrs. A vest from my #03 yarn. But my favourite project these days is not knitting related. We’re currently renovating our old house and I’m trying to make plant pigments to use in my own wall paint.

Christmas Wish Lists – George

Festive feelings are high in Knit With Attitude and Of Cabbages and Kings and we are looking at what Christmas Gifts we want to give and receive this year.

Second up on our series of staff inspired wish lists is George’s. Working with both shops at the weekend George’s list is inspired by things that catches his eye in both Knit With Attitude and Of Cabbages and Kings. This year we have all made two lists, one we would like to receive and one we would like to give.

George's wish list

George’s Wish List:
A Palm Print by Factory Press. George said he has long admired this print by Factory Press’s Liz Loveless and it would go perfectly in his yellow hallway at home.
These Pineapple Pots are not just for Christmas. Their brass geometric design looks good all through the year and perfect for those little cacti and succulents.
This tweedy but oh so soft Alpaca Tweed, a recent edition to the shelves of Knit With Attitude is gorgeous for those winter accessories and quick holiday knits.
There is no better way to dress up a shirt for the chistmas party or any special occasion, than these Gold Beton Cufflinks. A very special gift to find under the tree.
Who can resist more craft accessories and the rustic charm and handy size of these Yarn Snips are a great addition to any project bag.

George’s Give List:
For the Boyfriend – He’s a soft professed wine buff and a perfect way to test his skill with these Pairing Wine With Food Tea Towels.
For the Best Friend – A challenge for the new year is to find unique places to meet for a catch up. With the London Coffee book we will never be short of ideas and
spots to spend long afternoons gossiping.
For the Knitting Friend – I know my knitting friend would never say no to a jumpers worth of yarn. The great value of Lettlopi and its amazing colour range means they will
have great fun working with it.
For the Brother – Last year my brother asked for a black hat. So this year he’s going to get one! Spud & Chloe Sweater is my choice, it should be a quick and simple
knit.

George's give list

 

Christmas Wish Lists – Maya

Festive feelings are high in Knit With Attitude and Of Cabbages and Kings and we are beginning to look at what Christmas Gifts we want to give and receive this year.

First up on our series of staff inspired wish lists is Maya’s. Owner of Knit With Attitude, Maya’s list draws on some favourite things from her shop as well as Of Cabbages and Kings who share the same shop space. This year we have all made two lists, one we would like to receive and one we would like to give.

Maya's Wish List

Maya’s Wish List:
A selection of Garnsurr Søkke Merino. This is a new range of yarn for us and its hard to resist, its simply beautiful and is a social integration project for refugee
women in Norway. One to warm your heart and your needles this Christmas.
A Hey Mama Wolf Dying Kit. We’ve been captivated by natural dying here in the shop recently and these kits have really caught peoples imagination.
Read This If You Want To Take Great Photographs of Places. Not only do these make interesting reads they are full of practical tips. Perfect if you have any holiday
travel plans and want to capture the moment.
A sweaters worth of Socks Yeah. Maya says she has been inspired by the Tabular jumper on the cover of Pompom 23 and a perfect yarn for this is Socks Yeah with a gorgeous range of colours its easy to find a great combo.
Bristol Ivy’s book Knitting Outside the Box is a must for cosy inspiring projects guaranteed to keep you entertained over the holidays.

Maya’s Give List:
For the Husband – a whole lot of Picture Hangers so that the pictures that never get framed can get up on the wall.
For the Daughter – Read This If You Want To Take Great Photographs Of People. Living in the snap-chat era this will come in handy.
For the Son – The Red Fox Cub by Tiff Howick because he has seen it in Of Cabbages and Kings and thinks that the fox is soooo cute! – and also a ball of Stitch & Story,
so that he can finally finish his scarf he’s been working on for the last two years.
For the Best Friend – Luna Drop Earrings – they are just super cool!

Maya's Give List

Interview with Ann Helen from Garnsurr

Here at Knit With Attitude we are always on the look out for new and exciting companies to work with. Maya was so excited when she met Ann Helen of Garnsurr at the Oslo Knitting Festival in October and heard about their project to help refugee women integrate into Norwegian culture through language courses, gainful employment and social outreach. Garnsurr is the newest yarn in the shop and we are loving all the new fun and exciting colourways.

We were able to ask founder Ann Helen a few questions about why she started the business, and the inspiration and women that keeps it going. You can find the Garnsurr yarns in our webshop.

IMG_20170708_180420_683

Where and how do you source the yarns that you work with?
We buy all our yarn from Chester Wool in the UK and the yarns originate from Peru.

06_nyh_Garnsurr4What does social integration mean, and how have you built your business around it?
Social integration means that we try to help refugees in our area to become a real part of the community. That means in every way – both creative, workwise and social. This also means that we always have to work with the social part of our business, not only the business side. I use quite a lot of my time  helping them handle their personal economy, and other problems they encounter in our society. This comes in addition to the dying job and language training.

How has Garnsurr been received by the wider community in Norway?
We’re quite young in our business life, but have been very well recieved both at Bergen and Oslo Knitting Festivals. The local community is also very supportive,  we get a lot of emails and comments on our project from all over the country. We’re quite overwhelmed by this support.

IMG_20170613_212159_766Can you tell us a about the women that are currently dying with Garnsurr?
We have three women at Garnsurr at the moment working full time. The first one is Akberet, 50 years old from Eritrea. She became a widow earlier this year, and she has five almost grown up children. Three are living in Norway, a daughter in Sweden and a son in Germany. She is the most experienced dyer at Garnsurr at the moment. Second is the single mother Leila, 35 years from Afghanistan. She has four children from 9 to 14 years old. She has a wonderufl devotion for Garnsurr, and her tremendous spirit inspires us all every day. The third lady is called Hawa, 45 years old  from Somalia. She has a real big family, she has given birth to thirteen children, but only eight are alive. She has a special eye for colour, and gives a lot of our colourways a real “african” touch.

Recently we also got another women from Eritrea, who will have language practice with us one or two days a week.

IMG_20170929_105521How do you develop a new colourway with your dyers? Do you start with a specific combination in mind, or is it a happy accident?
The Garn Surr ladies decide most of the colours nowadays. Some days I wish for colours, and they try to make what I dream about. Sometimes we also make “happy accidents” on purpose – just to try out new techniques and ideas that appear in the team. Most of our time goes to turn on the “sold out” signs in our webshop, and make deliveries for our stockists.

2-7What’s currently on your needles?
At the moment, I’m about to finish Cobaltoan hat by Lesley Ann Robinson from Pom Pom magazine 23. The brioche pattern is my first, and I really enjoy it. I’ve sadly made a mistake on one side of the hat, but I close my eyes and forgive myself! I’ve also just finished another hat by Stephen West – Syncopation Adoration which is just waiting for the ends to be woven in. A jacket by Pickles (a very fashionable yarnstore in Oslo which we are collaborating with), “Big Nore” is just waiting for buttons. The very next project on my needles is Comfort fade cardi by Andrea Mowry – I will attend her KAL in December, and all of my earlier projects in November are also parts of our #garnsurrKAL which started the 1st of November and ends on Christmas Eve. As you see – I knit as much as I can!