Interview with Petra Schwarczova from Black Elephant

We are really excited to bring a new range of hand dyed yarn to Knit With Attitude and these mini skeins from Black Elephant are no exception. Find the perfect little pops of colour to add to your projects, or looking for that one colour to bridge a gap in a fade. Then mini skeins are for you! Plus it allows you to sample a few different colours, like being in a sweet shop, you won’t be able to resit just one!

blackelephant01These little minis are 4ply weight, Superwash Merino Singles and dyed by Petra Schwarczova the brains behind Black Elephant. Hand Dyed in Sheffield, South Yorkshire
on 20g skeins we have introduced 20 colours. To get to know this great yarn and the dyer read our interview below.

1459164005142

Petra Schwarczova – Photograph by Mariola Zoladz

What inspired you to start dyeing?

I came across hand dyed yarn when I went for the first time to a yarn show – Yarndale in Skipton. I fell in love instantly, so I bought a starter pack there and started experimenting at home just for fun.

How did the name Black Elephant come about?
Black Elephant is a combination of my surname Schwarcz – which means Black in German and elephant on the front page of the notebook I got from my mum for writing knitting patterns in. She also used to tell me off in my teenage years for walking like an elephant (loud) 🙂

How does your dyeing process start, do you choose a colour or go for more abstract ideas?

Sometimes I choose a colour to start with, but mostly I am experimenting and combining whatever colour combination catches my attention.

black-elephant-mini-hummingbird-kwa

Merino Singles Mini in Hummingbird

Where does your colour inspiration come from?

All sorts of things. Rock music, architecture, paintings, fashion, nature. I can watch a random film and find inspiration in a single shot. I didn’t use to pay much attention to colour combinations before I started dyeing yarn, but now I see it everywhere, all the time. I can’t turn myself off.

Do you have a favourite colour way?

My favourite colourway is always the latest one I have dyed. When I dye something too many times, it’s just becomes too ordinary. It’s like if I was having my favourite meal every single day. It would not be my favourite meal after a month for sure. 🙂

What appeals to you most fades or contrasts in knitting or yarn?

I like all sorts of colour combinations. It depends what kind of project it is. I love as much strong colour contrasts as subtle fading of more earthy, neutral colours.

How long have you been knitting?

Phew, hard to say, I think I was about 11 years old when my grandma taught me. It took me a long time to get better as I was and still am quite an impatient person, so there were needles flying around and lots of yarn cut off needles as I knitted so tight I couldn’t pull it off. 😀 I used to come back to knitting over years, usually just simple scarves as Christmas presents. But I got fully addicted in 2010 when I started making knitting videos for beginners in my native language as there was nothing to learn from in Slovak language on Youtube then so I thought it might be helpful for some Slovakians back home who do not speak any English. I hope I can get back to it once I have a little bit more time.

What are you currently knitting?

Currently nothing, as I have been in the studio non-stop dyeing lots of yarn. But, I have two WIP – Andrea Mowry’s Nurtured sweater and my own design of a hat from leftover yarns (I will be releasing free pattern on Ravelry for it), which I hope to finish over Christmas.

43315608_343741396384842_3079854825541517543_n

photograph – instagram.com/blackelephant.uk

We hope you’ve enjoyed this little read as much as we enjoy finally having Black Elephant here at the shop! We are widening our selection to include 100g hanks in several fibre blends and weights come the new year – so keep your eyes peeled on our site!

Yarn Pairings for Pom Pom Quarterly Issue 26 – Autumn 2018

We are very excited about the mysterious and mystical theme of this Autumn Issue of Pom Pom. Its centred around the Moon, so think otherworldly delights and starry night skies.  This issue is really going to spark your imagination and have you dreaming of outer space and craving long dark nights. The Moon Issue is not going to disappoint, as the weather begins to turn and most of us reach for our needles looking for that warm project, you will find plenty of inspiration here. Some amazing jumpers, hats, mittens and shawls will send you rushing to cast on.

If you are looking for some yarn inspiration then below you will find our yarn pairing suggestions for this issue.

pom-pom-issue-26-cover-kwa

First up we dive straight into the depths of the moon with the the Moondust Hat and the Moondust Mittens by Melanie Berg. Knit in reversed stocking stitch that is picked out with a snaking twisted stitch that evokes the surface of the moon. It would look amazing in Vivacious 4ply, the twist of this yarn would give great definition to the twisted stitches. For an even more moonlike feel we would recommend the colours Pebble Beach, Dove Stone or Lundy Island.

pom-pom-issue-26-14-kwa

Next up is a brioche lovers dream, Luna by Anna Strandberg. A great brioche sweater that is worked top down, allowing you the opportunity to play with colour. Sleeves in a contrasting texture bring together the design, giving it a pleasing form and shape. This pattern calls for a sport weight merino and would look stunning in the Ninapetrina, Tynn Rosy Merino Gradient alternating the colours as you go. For a more subtle two colour version pick your favourite shade from John Arbon’s Knit by Numbers. 

pom-pom-issue-26-12-kwa

Artemis by Esther Romo is simple, elegant and striking, all at the same time. It’s wide neck and great use of light and dark, conjure flashes of moonlight on a dark day. Play with contrast with this one. The body is worked with two yarns held together, something fuzzy and something smooth. This gives you a wonderful shimmer, like the hazy moon at night. Choose a combination of Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace and Fyberspates Cumulus for the body. Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace in Gold with its silk blend would give you the perfect glow of light around your neck.

pom-pom-issue-26-01-kwaHecate by Maddie Harvey is the next bewitching pattern. The moon details on this pattern add an intriguingly clever touch. This one has fun with texture combing a wool with a mohair. The glow of light cleverly picked out by the halo of the yarn. A great combo would be Hillesvåg Sølje and Fyberspates Cumulus. The earthy warmness of the Sølje would provide the perfect backdrop for the night sky.

pom-pom-issue-26-22-kwa

Next up is Ceridwen by Fiona Alice. This is going to be the go to cosy autumn evening jumper. Its cabled softness is light and warm. Keeping you toasty as the weather begins to change. Made up of honeycomb cables that melt away to the edge, this project is worked in pieces from the bottom up. It calls for a lightweight aran and whats lighter than the oh so soft, oh so warm Du Store Alpakka Hexa.

pom-pom-issue-26-16-kwa

This super fun looking project mixes a marled effect with double knitting. Hypatia by Carissa Browning plays with our iconic view of the moon. This circular snood is worked in the round in a cashmere and merino blend. We have chosen two options that would make a great yarn choice. Fyberspates Vivacious Dk, is 100% merino and comes in a range of dreamy shades. Or for that touch of luxury the natural shades of the Afghan Cashmere Sport would make a superbly comfortable and wearable piece.

pom-pom-issue-26-23-kwaEveryone will need these mittens when it comes to cooler evenings and the Sina by Amy Philips are simple but striking. Using a marled effect to highlight moon details in the palm. A full moon is made by holding your hands together. A hardy yarn like Hillesvåg Tinde will give great structure and insulation.

pom-pom-issue-26-26-kwa

The stunning cover sweater of Ixchel by Catherine Clark is a head turner. An amazing array of exciting colour work means this is the project where you will never get bored. It’s simple top down construction allows you to really get stuck in to the pattern. Fyberstates Vivacious 4ply would be perfect for this, its undulating colours evoking the inky night sky.

pom-pom-issue-26-24-kwa

Sky Map by Emily Foden is one for fine tuning your embroidery skills. Allowing you to go wild creating your dream night sky. Hedgehog Fibres Kidsilk Lace is a great choice for this. The hand dyed colours creating a magical coloured backdrop on which to build your universe.

pom-pom-issue-26-28-kwa

The last of these night time creations is Moonbow by Jule Kebelman. Knit in pieces and sewn after blocking. It also includes a fun fridge, reminiscent of moonlight through trees. It is knit in Jule’s own yarn Hey Mama Wolf. In Hey Mama Wolf Schafwolle #03 for the body and Hey Mama Wolf Sockyarn #04 for the fringe. We will also be getting in special mini skeins Jule has dyed for the Moonbow’s fringe, in store only on the 1st September, especially for the Great London Yarn Crawl.

pom-pom-issue-26-13-kwa

If you are still in need for some inspiration, the Pom Pom Moon Issue Trunk Show will be in store from 28th August -10 September. So come check out the finished pieces in person.