Yarn Feature: Garthenor Number 1

We have had this yarn for a little while at Knit With Attitude and it’s really nice to revisit it and give it it’s time in the limelight.

If you are looking for organic and British, Garthenor is for you. Starting in the 1990’s Garthernor produced wool from their own flock, as they grew they have expanded into buying fleece directly from farmers around the UK. Their mission is to promote and provide a variety of sustainable, organic & British wool products in an ecologically responsible way. Through this they aim to help secure the future of British organic agriculture and the British textile industry.

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Garthenor Number 1 is an undyed, wooden spun, single ply, lace weight yarn. It’s has the biggest range of shades of any undyed yarn we carry. Eleven in total! All eleven colours are produced by blending just eight different colours of fleece, giving a yarn with a wonderfully heathered depth. This yarn is perfect for garments as well as accessories like shawls and hats.

It’s always nice to have a little look at some patterns. Here is a selection below to get you thinking about your next project:

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Amory by Isabell Kraemer is a uncomplicated, seamless top down jumper. With its simple neckline and lace bottom, it’s elegant but wearable. The lightness of the yarn making it the perfect jumper for adding layers.

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Vederlicht by Cello Knits. These cosy leg warmers, or arm warmers, are perfect for adding that extra layer for winter. Whats better is they only take one 50g skein.

P1260315Mahy by Karie Westermann. A classic triangle shawl with bold lace panels. Garter stitch rows making perfect use of Garthenor’s earthy qualities.

I hope this post gets you excited about knitting with lace. It’s earthy texture and colour will lend a warm tone to anything knit in it. Giving you a light but rustic fabric.

What Maya Knits – Selja

So, prior to writing this blog post I checked and it turns out that last time I wrote a ‘What Maya Knits’ post was nearly a year ago – and that gives you an indication of how much knitting time there is in my life – not much! But sometimes you just notice the one, the one project you just have to abandon all other projects to make, the easy fix, instant gratification, exciting fibre, fun yarn, the key wardrobe jumper, the one you been looking for and never found … I can go on and on … and this last spring I found one of those. selja-maya-insta-3-kwa

Selja is a basic top down raglan jumper designed by Jonna Hietala, one of the master minds behind Laine Magazine, but published independently from the magazine on Ravelry. You can find the pattern right here! I just immediately fell in love with the simplicity of this design – it is exactly what was missing from my wardrobe – super simple but stylish enough to be thrown on top of everything and you will look good no matter what.

But what really tickled my fancy was that Selja is knit up using linen. Linen has been on my to-do list of fibres I’ve wanted to have a proper go at. Sure I’ve used linen blends or linen in combination with other yarn types before, but I really wanted to do something in pure linen. Given that we have the gorgeous Växbo Lingarn in such a mouthwatering wide colour range here at the shop, and that I’ve been lusting after this yarn for a long time, it seemed like this project’s yarn and design was just a match made in heaven!

A few years ago we did a series on different fibres here on the blog, so if you want to learn more about linen, it’s production and qualities have a read here. But for now, let me mention that Linen is a plant fibre which can be quite tough to work with but that softens as you knit with it and with use, which results in a lightweight, smooth fabric with a gorgeous drape, that only will look better and better with time. Dealing with quite a lot of ‘delicate’ fibres in the shop we often joke about the linen, and how it is one of those fibres that will look better the worse you treat it – so no need to be gentle … Also, as this was my summer project and we were ‘blessed’ with the heat wave above all heat waves this year, linen turned out to be a very comfortable knit for sweaty hands.
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When working with linen we do recommend to wind your hank into a ball by hand in stead of using a winder, the reason for this is that it will immediately help in breaking down the fibres and soften the yarn before knitting. Selja is a brilliant first time project if you haven’t worked with linen before. It is worked holding two strands together on a thick needle, 5.5mm, which gives a loose knit which is quite gentle on the hands. You will need three hanks of Växbo Lingarn to complete even the larger sizes, linen is such a lightweight fibre that you get a generous meterage per 100g which helps keeping the project within a lower budget.

Now if you start knitting, and the result does not resemble that of the picture – do not worry! Linen in a loose knit is very flexible and in the end it will stretch and form exactly the you way tell it to! Blocking is essential to achieve the final look, soak your linen jumper for longer than what you would normally do – I had mine in the bowl over night – and don’t be scared of using a bit of force when pinning it down to measurements. And there you have it – easy peasy linen knitting – and a new favourite jumper!selja-maya-insta-kwa

Marled Projects and more and how to stash dive with success!

We are all getting starstruck by all the marled and exciting patterns being released at the moment and a lot of you have been asking me for colour ideas and options for putting together great combos. Stephen West is at the forefront of marled designs at the moment. With patterns like the Marled Magic Sweater and the Marled Magic Cardigan. But a Marled effect can be added into any project. If you treat two strands of fingering/4ply held together as a worsted weight you are good to go and can apply a marl to any of your favourite worsted patterns.

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Marled Magic Cardigan by Stephen West

There are many ways of approaching a marled project. Do you start from scratch? Do you curate your stash and pull out colour themes? Do you chose one base colour to tie things together? Or do you throw everything you have at it? Well the possibilities are endless. What’s freeing about a marled project is that there really aren’t any rules. You can play with different fibres and to some degree different weights. You don’t have to stick to the same brand, but can go with your heart. Below I have put together some ideas and thoughts that you might find useful for your own marled projects.

Building a marled project from scratch

If you are looking to build up a selection of yarns and don’t have any stash lying around to throw into the mix, then this first section is for you.

I shall use the example of Stephen West’s latest Marled Magic Cardigan for this first marled section. This is how I would approach it, but everyone has their own take on things.  It is recommended you have between 750 – 1300g of yarn for this project with between 150 – 200g of each yarn to be used in the collar and cuffs. So here we go!

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Keeping it bright! You can almost approach a marled project like you would a faded project. But unlike a fade where you want one skein to blend into the next a marled project can be a little more extreme. With this one I have chosen the Hedgehog Fibres Kidsilk Lace – Plump and the Garnsurr Søkke Merino – Gryteflaks #18 held together for the collar and cuffs. I’ve then picked some favourite colours starting with Garnsurr Søkke Merino – Gryteflaks #19. I then let the skein decide where I go next. Plenty of speckles in these hand dyed’s give multiple avenues for combination. Which has led me to get quite nerdy about yarn!

Yarns pictured above, from left to right:

Hedgehog Fibres Kidsilk Lace – Plump, Garnsurr Søkke Merino – Gryteflaks #18, Gryteflaks #19, Sneivin,  Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock – Raku, Sorbet, Garnsurr Søkke Merino – Preinas, Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock – Gossip, Garnsurr Søkke Merino – Gryteflaks #18, Hørningen,  Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock – Bubble, Deja Vu and then back to Garnsurr Søkke Merino – Gryteflaks #18.

With this combination I was trying to evoke a feeling of the original colours.

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In the image I have broken down a section and shown how the colours link up. I feel working in this way would give a good framework to build up a selection of yarns. You don’t have to knit them in any particular order, but there is a thought process in the choosing, that helps you wade through the endless variety out there. There is infinite array of colour and colour combinations, but looking into the colour make up of a skein of yarn can really help when trying to find the perfect combination.

Starting on the left I have Garnsurr Søkke Merino – Gryteflaks #18 with its reds to almost creamy, peachy orange. This colour is then picked out to link into Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock – Sorbet, which has a peachy base flecked with other colours. This technique is repeated by the end three, where pinks and greens unify them. But they also open up other colours, like blue and black. In this way you are building a selection of colours that focuses in on smaller details in the yarn as well as bigger ones. Allowing you to go on a journey of colour, that might lead to unexpected results.

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Keeping it mellow. In this combination I have really gone for a colour theme. You will end up with a more uniform marl, in a combination like this. Picking a colour family and playing around it is a fun way to work. It allows you the opportunity to work with your favourite colour, or not, if you want to push your boundaries. The more you look at a colour the more you will see how many colours lie within it’s boundaries, giving you a rich overall palette to play with.

If you are working in this way and sticking to a particular range of colours, I think it is important to choose plenty of light and darks. This way the combinations will remain interesting and not become to similar or dull. In the same way I think a few colour pops within a skein is a good idea. Like the yellow that appears in Garnsurr Søkke Merino – Æsjbikkje and the pinks and blues that appear in Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock – Hawk and Garnsurr Søkke Merino – Frevil / Shauparak. These pops will shine out in marled fabric, where a few zaps of contrast colour playing against a monochrome background.

Yarns pictured above, from left to right:

Hedgehog Fibres Kidsilk Lace – Cereal, Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply – Silver and Bronze, Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles – Scilence, Crystal, Garnsurr Søkke Merino – Fonne / Bered, Æsjbikkje, Gryteflaks #10, Gryteflaks #10, Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply – Verdegris, Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock – Hawk, Garnsurr Søkke Merino – Gryteflaks #19, Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock – Cereal, Garnsurr Søkke Merino – Frevil / Shauparak

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And because I like doing it, here is the colour break down for a section of this one. You can see the combination of lights and darks with a few little colour pops like the yellow and pink. It may even need something white/cream or a very pale blue to lift it slightly.

Using stash yarns and curating a colour theme

We all have a bunch of half skeins and end of project balls of yarn hanging around and a marled project is perfect for using these up, no matter what quantity you have. Even if you feel your stash is a little random and won’t go together there will be that perfect skein that will unite them. One way of getting around this problem is curating your stash into colour themes and families. I have tried this with parts of my stash below and mixed in various Knit With Attitude yarns. Any caked yarn or yarn in a ball in the below pictures are ones I have pulled from my stash, around which I have placed complimentary yarns I think work well.

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First up we have this pinky purple number. I am still with the idea of creating the Marled Magic Cardigan pictured at the beginning of this post. This cardigan has a contrast, or at least a very defined collar, cuffs and hem. To stick with the theme I have gone with Hedgehog Fibres Kidsilk Lace – Iris and Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply – Heavenly. They draw on the purple theme but keep it light, this way I hope they offset the body colours and make them pop.

I have some orange and pink and pinky oranges in my stash I didn’t think they would necessarily work in this project, until I saw the Garnsurr Søkke Merino – Annsam skein, perfection! Marled at different points in the project this will bring a nice theme of pink and orange, throughout. The deep purples in the middle really spoke to some of the purples I had in my stash along with a few creams. The pinks range from neon to a more muted dusky pink, complimenting and working with the pinks I already have.

I would recommend not knitting them in the order that is show in the image but chopping and changing throughout the project. This way colour themes will appear and disappear throughout the knitting. As it is marled you will then avoid getting clumps of a dominating colour and end up with a more even project.

Colours I have used around my stash from left to right:

Hedgehog Fibres Kidsilk Lace – Iris, Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply – Heavenly, Garnsurr Søkke Merino – Annsam, Krilla, Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock – Plump,  Garnsurr Søkke Merino – Jarbær, Hey Mama Wolf – Sockyarn #04 Minis – Madder, Garnsurr Søkke Merino – Ortle / Mihifar.

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I feel this one doesn’t need a colour break down, even though I enjoy making them. It’s green, oh green! If you haven’t guessed it’s my favourite colour. So my stash is full of it. We all have a favourite colour so naturally our stash is going to be full of it. Why not embrace that and indulge in your colour love. I’ve fallen in love with this combination, it’s like a mossy forest floor, I am so tempted to knit it myself.

With this combination you will end up with a very subtle fabric. Each colour melding into one another. Some say it is safe to go with the same colour, I say it’s well informed. With these combination I would probably make sure I was always holding a solid with a speckled, that way the solid gets enlivened by the changing colours of the speckle. But here there is a good combination of light and dark and it shows you the real variety you can get in a colour.

Colours I have used around my stash from left to right:

Hedgehog Fibres Kidsilk Lace – Parklife, Garnsurr Søkke Merino – Preinas, Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock – Cereal, Garnsurr Søkke Merino – Løpp, Kettle Yarn Co Beyul – Shrub, Garnsurr Søkke Merino – Gryteflaks #11, Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock – Parklife, Kettle Yarn Co Beyul – Jade

 

Using one colour to unite a random stash

Not all of our stash is coordinated and if you are desperate to use of every last scrap of those random ends of yarn then this method might be good for you.

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Choosing a colour that you think might tie a project together like this Coopknits Socks Yeah – Azurite in this one.  This way no matter how random your other pieces might be, there will always be one constant. Here I have pink, yellow, grey, green, purple! They may look random like this, but knit up the blue will catch the eye, bringing harmony to the project. With this selection you can further reinforce the theme by sticking to the same colour for collars and cuffs.

I’ve tried to illustrate this idea with the blue throughout, giving the marl a base colour which then brings unity to the other colours. It also means you can indulge in your favourite colour and let that be the colour that shines through the project.

I hope that you find some of these ideas of approaching a marled project useful. From building a collection of yarns from scratch, from curating your stash into colour themes or even uniting a random stash. Marled projects are a great way to use up leftovers but also great to let you branch out into other colours you might not necessarily use. These projects are about having fun, so get stuck in and throw everything you have got at it.

New Yarn: Kettle Yarn Co. – Ramble

The beautiful shades and consciously sourced British fibres are what makes Kettle Yarn so wonderful. Linda always amazes, with her interesting blends and eye for colour. Ramble is definitely up there, and typifies these strengths.

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Ramble is a small-batch British yarn. Spun from the finest graded fibres of British Shetland and Romney sheep. 100g of a fingering/4ply weight woolen spun yarn. Woolen spun, giving this yarn a plumpness to the twist, that is light, springy and also lofty. Drawing on a centuries-rich history of sheep rearing and wool production from the Shetland Isles and England’s smugglers paradise, Romney Marshes. The fibre is sourced directly from the farmers, spun and dyed in the UK and with with very little processing. Giving you a stunning heathered yarn, with a rustic feel in the hand, that blooms beautifully.

A perfect toothy yarn that will perform well over colour work projects, but also giving good definition on twisted stitches and cables. With a flexible gauge, that knit densely, will give you a warm and durable fingering/4ply weight. Knit loosely, will give you a more bouncy sport to DK weight, the wooden-spun yarn filling out the looser fabric.

If you are looking for some inspiration for this yarn, then look no further. We have put together a selection of patterns to get you inspired:

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Tender by Melody Hoffmann is a simple shawl that is all about the texture. It shows you Ramble’s strength in holding definition. Simple garter stitch, with some chevron panels, build up to create an eye catching subtle fabric. Knit in three skeins of Ramble, shown here in Hawthorn, the pattern is easily adjustable to go larger.

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Atlantic Avenue by Kirsten Kapur is a three colour triangle shawl, with a body of colour work and ending in a bold, statement colour band. Use the gorgeous shades of Ramble to mix and match your own. The example show is knit in Meadowsweet, Nightshade and Hawthorne.

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If you are thinking of sweaters, then what about East or West by Joji Locatelli, here knit in Ramble by Linda of Kettle Yarn Co. Shown here in colours Nightshade, Meadowsweet and Gorse, Ramble is a versatile yarn for all kinds of sweater projects.

If you are looking for a yarn and are passionate about British, then this is the yarn for you. Small scale, conscious and beautiful, what more do you need for your next project!

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New Yarn: Ístex Bulkylopi

A firm favourite here at Knit with attitude is the Léttlopi, but this yarn has just got supersized! In the form of Bulkylopi, what a fun yarn to see you into the winter. Like the Léttlopi, its made form 100% sturdy Icelandic wool, and comes in a variety of natural shades. I can see this becoming a much loved yarn.

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A single ply chunky yarn, which is perfect for anything from colour work jumpers, to big cosy sofa blankets. Affordable but also durable. The inner fibres of this yarn are fine, soft and highly insulating. The outer fibres are long, glossy and water-repellent. Together, these two distinctive fibres create a wool that is, lightweight, water-repellent and breathable. The  wool is bought directly from the farmers in Iceland and then scoured in the town of Blönduós in north of the country. The wool is then taken to be spun in a mill in Mosfellsbaer nearby Reykjavik. This yarn is Icelandic through and through.

As with any new yarn we are excited to show you some possibilities to get the creativity flowing. Here are a couple patterns to get you started:

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Everyone needs more project bags right? The Lopi Tote by Heidi Gustad is a super cute large project bag for all those projects on the go. Knit in two skeins of Bulkyopi, this deep wide bottom bag can hold a lot. Finished off with leather bag handles from Jūl for the perfect elegant touch.

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Ever wanted to try an Icelandic yoked sweater but thought it might be to time consuming. Well thats what a chunky yarn is for. Knit on 9mm and 10mm needles this project will race along. Rosa by Védís Jónsdóttir is a simple yoked sweater worked in the round. A perfect one for the beginner.

I hope you have been inspired to knit with the Bulkyopi, browse the colours online or come in store and see it in person.