Yarn Pairings for Pom Pom Quarterly Issue 25 – Summer 2018

New magazine days are always fun here at the shop, and we are absolutely in love with the latest issue from Pom Pom Quarterly. Summer 2018 is Issue 25 for them and it does not disappoint. Spring can be a bit of a tricky season for knitwear but here there is loads of inspiration. One reason this issue is so good is that they have picked one of the best hot weather themes, it’s all about stripes! There are 11 patterns, ranging from sweaters, t-shirts, wraps and even a practical bag. We have matched each pattern with a yarn available here in the shop to help inspire your knitting and summer projects. The yarns featured are all fantastic for summer projects, and highlights some of the non-wool and vegan yarns that we carry. 

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First up is Anni, by Gina Röckenwagner, a t-shirt that is simple in shape but not in style! It features both horizontal and vertical stripes using three colours, with one of the colours used for solid cuffs, hem and neckline. There is so much fun to be had with this pattern in terms of choosing colours, from bold contrasts to more subtle shades. With this in mind we would recommend the Nurturing Fibres Eco-Cotton, which we carry in 18 different colours.

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Next up is Bayadere, by Lori Versaci. This boxy, oversized sweater is a cozy best friend to reach for all year round! Knit up in a cotton/wool blend like Spud & Chloë Sweater it works brilliantly as a transitional garment between the seasons, as well as those unseasonably cold evenings that are inevitable in a British summer! It uses three colours in a mix of textural stripes.

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Deauville by Tina Tse is versatile boxy tank top. Worked in stripes that seem simple from afar, they also feature a subtle texture up close that stops it from being too stark. The recommended yarn is one we carry, Wool and the Gang’s Shiny Happy Cotton, its wide colour palette again means that there are loads of options for colour combinations.

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Herrera by Paula Pereira would make a fantastic beach cover up with it’s boxy super oversized casual look. Knit in a linen it is also easy care and will only get better with age and wear. We recommend the Växbo Lin Lingarn 12/2 which comes in a wide range of bright summery colours.

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Next up is Lia Moya’s Judoka, a striped bag with a fun construction. Knit in one long piece it is then seamed to create the over all shape, and two corners are knotted to create the handle. Using a few colours of stripes this would be a good stash buster to use up leftover bits and bobs, but we would also love to see it in the Nurturing Fibres Eco-Fusion, a blend of bamboo and cotton.

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Leiden one of our favourite patterns out of this issue, but we might be biased as it was designed by Natalie Selles, our resident knitting teacher here at the shop! It turns usual striped tops on its head by including chevron stripes that run both vertically and horizontally in a panel that is knit first. Stitches are then picked up and knit outwards from there, joining up with the back to knit the sides and sleeves. There are attached i-cord edgings for a polished finish on all the hems and cuffs. Because of the modular construction there is absolutely no seaming in this top! Overall this top works as a both formal and casual wardrobe addition that is sure to get plenty of use in any wardrobe. To add to the comfortable feel of the shirt, we would love to see it knit up in The Fibre Co.’s Luma, a summery lush blend of wool, cotton, linen and silk.

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Macklin by Susanne Sommer is a beautiful oversized wrap knit using short rows to create a bias for maximum drape. The brioche is two colour with hardly and contrast, and then 2 contrasting stripe colours for a total of four colours used all together. We think that Hedgehog Skinny Singles would work brilliantly for this project, with loads of colour options to choose from. The contrasting stripe colours use only a very small amount of yarn, so perfect for using up any leftovers you may have from other projects.

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Nasreen by Lana Jois is another pattern taking traditional garter stitch stripes and turning them slightly on their head for a biased effect. The tunic shape is easy to wear, featuring a rib at the top and bottom and a finished edge on the armhole worked in a single colour. A yarn such as Stollen Stitches Nua, a mix of merino, yak and linen, continues the drapey feel of the design.

Nasreen_by_Lana_Jois_Pom_Pom_Quarterly_Issue_25_Summer_2018_07_medium2Another top using the garter ridge stripes is Riley, by Amy Christoffers. It features a bottom panel knit side to side, from which the centre panel is knit vertically on both the front and the back, last of all the side panels are picked up and knit outwards towards the sleeves. This is another perfect occasion to use the Nurturing Fibres Eco-Cotton, with it’s range of colours and soft fabric.

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The last garment from this issue is Tarmac, by resident Pom Pom writer Anna Maltz. This swingy tank top is worked from top-down using a provisional cast on to work the front and back separately, before joining again at the underarms to work the rest of the body. The shape is created from yarn over increases in the body, and all the edges are finished with a striped applied i-cord edging. For something this lightweight we love the idea of knitting it up in The Fibre Co. Meadow, a luxurious blend of merino, llama, silk and linen.

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Last but not least is Vasarley, an oversized wrap from Julie Dubreux of Julie Knits in Paris. The rectangular wrap is worked from the centre of one of the short sides for a chevron/bias effect. It is worked in two colours using slipped stitches to create the overall striped look. For an extra drapey look Manos del Uruguay’s Serena would be perfect.

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This issue is proof that knitting doesn’t have to be confined to the winter months, there are so many options and ideas for summery, hot weather garments and accessories out there! Any pieces catching your eye? The issue is currently up for pre-order on the website and will be shipped out by May 25, 2018.

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.

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.

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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!

What George Knits – Knitting with Nature

We have a lovely selection of natural dye products, books and yarn in store at Knit with Attitude and this has inspired some natural dying of my own.

I can’t recommend highly enough the two books we stock on natural dying. These make great go to resources on the magic of nature and the variety of colours at your fingertips. The two books we have are ‘The Modern Natural Dyer’ by Kristine Vejar and ‘Botanical Colour at your Fingertips’ by Rebecca Desnos. Not only are these books so stunningly beautiful, but they present themselves in a easy to follow way. Everyone should have a go!

My first attempt at dying was to dye yarn. I chose an un-dyed merino as my base, but any un-dyed yarn we have in store will work for you. Like the white Knit by Numbers KBN55 or the undyed Purl Alpaca Fine and Medium yarns. It does however help if the yarn is in a skein, as this allows the dye to move around the fibre more easily, resulting in a more even colour. Though turning a ball of yarn into a skein can be done by winding it around the back of a dining chair for example, then tying it in places so it doesn’t tangle, then sliding it off. Also to note as I found out later, different yarns can effect the colour, so I would try all sorts.

I dipped in and out of both books for my first attempt, choosing the scouring and mordanting techniques of Kristine Vejar, I prepared my yarn. With that done I flicked through the Rebecca Desnos book for plant inspiration. Botanical Colour at your Finger tips is more of a guide book, where as with the Modern Natural Dyer you learn through fun little projects. So
depending on the way you learn either could work for you.

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For my first dye I decided on using stinging nettles, hoping for a wonderful grassy green. So off I went, armed with some thick gardening gloves and a large plastic bag. I popped to my local woods, where they grow plentifully along the sides of the pathways. I will say as Rebecca Desnos points out, be mindful when foraging, collect weeds and invasive species
first and not in the same area, to not destroy the habitats of the wildlife that live there. Walking around the woods like a madman I collected my nettles and with my bag full and only being stung once, I headed home. With an old pan bought from a charity shop specially for the job, I boiled up my leaves. One thing I will say, boiling nettles does smell very appetising. The whole flat smelt very strongly of nettle tea.

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When strained of the plant matter, I was left with a pot of what looked like a pan of overly stewed brown watery tea. Not disheartened I carried on and in went my prepared yarn. The whole process is like alchemy or witchcraft and I left my yarn bubbling away in its nettle broth. When the allotted time was up I pulled it out and guess what it was green! All be it a very pale shade of green. But it was my green, my first naturally dyed yarn. Its a great feeling having created something that is unique to you and unique to your surroundings. Its from the earth, its nature.

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As you could well imagine I was excited to knit it up straight away. I chose the Arvia Shawl from Amirisu 13 which champions natural colour and has some interesting articles worth a read.

Intrigued by the dying process and how it might react to different fibres I tried another dye. This time oak galls, which I read historically were used to create inks. So the potential for a dark moody colour really got me excited.

0706Back to the woods I head and like a pig rooting around for truffles, I scour the forest floor for the deformed acorns that are caused by the gall wasp. These boiled up with an intriguing woody smell and the dye pot looked as dark as can be. All good so far. I sieved out the galls and popped in un-dyed merino, a new wool and some mohair and waited for the
results. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I was expecting a dark brown but got an olive green with subtlety different shades over the different fibres. The Modern Natural Dyer has a project where you make a shawl out of dyed different fibres and you learn through the process. A pattern for me to try in the future I think.

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My latest dying attempt and actually what hooked me into The Modern Natural Dyer book, wasn’t a project to dye yarn but to dye fabric. Kristine Vejar takes you through all the steps you need. I chose a natural piece of fabric and prepared it to her instructions. Then went rummaging around my garden for any brightly coloured flowers I could find, luckily I went a
bit overboard with the flower beds this year so there were plenty to choose from. If you don’t have a garden, try a brightly coloured bunch of flowers from the shop. Certain flowers work better than others but its worth a try. I may plant more dye heavy flowers next year as a result of this, like cosmos and marigolds.

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Boiling up my flowery bundle and then unravelling my finished fabric was pure joy. Some flowers took and some didn’t but the result was beautiful. Like a watercolour painting or an ink blot test. Definitely one to try again.

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If you fancy having a go at dying yourself we also have natural dying kits by Hey Mama Wolf. These have the materials you need to dye fabric or yarn with dried flowers and plants at home. If natural dying doesn’t appeal to you and you love the natural look of plant dyed fibres then try the Hey Mama Wolf sock yarn we stock. They are hand dyed with a dreamy
selection of natural materials. As a result they have a range of colours that are gentle and pleasing to the eye as the natural environment they came from.

Interview with Layla from Qing Fibre

We have been so enjoying having Qing Fibre in the shop this summer, the bright colours are so much fun! It’s been flying off the shelves and onto everyone’s needles, but we recently got a restock and some new colourways in. We asked Layla, the brains and head dyer at Qing Fibre to answer a few questions that we have about her inspiration and of course, all about her beautiful yarn!

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How long have you been knitting?

My grandma was very good at knitting/crocheting and sewing, so I guess I was inspired by her since I was a little girl. I started crocheting and knitting in 2012 and I found peace by doing these crafts. It helped me to get through many difficulties.

What inspired you to get into dying?
I studied art design at university and so I can do some painting. I taught myself how to dye yarn in 2016 and started Qing Fibre. It’s my happy place to try different methods to paint colours on yarn. And I feel so much joy watching people knit with them.

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 You are originally from China, do you find that there is a different colour aesthetic in Asia than in Europe? Does this influence your dying? 
In China people love red, yellow and some vintage colours. But I myself am a little bit different, I’m a neon lover. I also love all the happy colourful colours and antique colours. I sometimes translate some classic old Chinese colours into my kind of colours.
 Qing-Fibre-4Are there any knitters in the community that inspire you?
There are so many great designers that have inspired me, I love Joji Knits, Junko Okamoto, Hansigurumi, and Stephen West is the King of knitters! I love all the fun and colourful designs from him. Sometimes I dye a new colourway just for a West Knits project. So he is truly my inspiration.

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 How do you develop a new colour way? Do you start with a specific combination in mind, or is it a happy accident? 

I’ll start with a combination in mind and also just dye it sometimes. I find interesting colour combos in everything and I’m eager to try them in the future.

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 What’s currently on your needles?
Currently I’m knitting the Marled Magic Shawl, a So Faded Sweater and am trying to knit something without a pattern. I’m also going to knit one of the sweater designs from Junko.

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Thanks so much Layla! You can see the Qing Fibre yarns we currently have in stock on the website or in the shop. For more yarn inspiration you can follow Layla on Instagram, which is where all these photos are from.

Yarn Pairings for Pom Pom Quarterly Issue 22 – Autumn 2017

August is one of those in between months. There’s still some hot days, and the kids are still on holiday, but the nights can be cool, and there are adverts on the telly for back to school supplies. Rainy days mean cozying up and thinking about the season to come, one of the most exciting seasons for any knitter. It’s sweater season of course! What better to inspire your sweater knitting, than the autumn issue of Pom Pom Quarterly?

Autumn issues are always particularly good ones, and this Issue 22 is no exception. For the first time ever Pom Pom collaborated with an outside editor, Juju Vail, to curate the patterns in the issue. You would recognize Juju’s work as she has more often than not been the photographer for the magazine and their various other projects. In this case Juju not only curated and photographed the magazine, she also sewed many of the other garments that the models wear, for a fully handmade issue! Each piece is given the full credit of pattern and fabric source to help you re-create the whole look if you so choose.

PomPom22-coverAs a knitting shop we are here for the knitting, so we’ll take a look at each pattern and match it up with some yarn to give you ideas on what you can use.

First up we have Aubusson, a brioche scarf by none other than the Queen of Brioche herself, Nancy Marchant. The pattern calls for two yarns held together, one a luxurious 4ply yarn, and the other a fuzzy laceweight, in two sets of contrasting colours. The combination creates a unique textured fabric that compliments the brioche stitch. We love the colour choices that could be found using Sulka Legato for the 4ply and Cumulus for the fuzzy laceweight.PomPom22-01

Barbicel is one of 2 cardigans in this issue. Designed by Fiona Alice, it makes wonderful use of a sheepy yarn that will bloom a lot after blocking. For a similar yarn we would recommend Tamar from Blacker with it’s all British wool blend and rustic texture. PomPom22-02

Next up is Calamus, designed by Maddie Harvey. This colourwork snood is big enough to wrap around twice for a super snuggly fit, knit in 3 colours. One of our favourite yarns for colourwork has to be Cumbria from The Fibre Co. It’s got just the right amount of tooth and texture to really pull the technique together, and of course it also has a wonderful range of colours.PomPom22-03

Diesis is a textured pullover designed by Alice Caetano using an amazing sweater yarn, Knit By Numbers DK. This yarn is a super smooshy merino that is dyed and spun in Devon by John Arbon. The sweater uses four colours, making the colour combinations endless. We currently have 6 sets of colours in the Knit By Numbers range, each with a range of 6 shades going from dark to light.PomPom22-04

The second pullover is Elibelinde by Ellinor Siljeström. The design is the epitome of a classic shape with an interesting stitch pattern. It has a relaxed shape with a textured stitch on the body and the cuffs which contrast the stocking stitch upper body and sleeves. For a really divine sweater we would love to knit it up in Kettle Yarn Co. Beyul, a blend of merino, yak and silk.PomPom22-05

Nothing says autumn like a cozy pair of mittens, and add in colourwork and you’ve got a winning combination. Herati is a beautiful pair of colourwork mittens with an allover geometric pattern designed by Sari Nordlund. The colours of Socks Yeah! 4ply would create a beautiful pair, and the nylon content would add extra durability.PomPom22-06

Overcheck is another double wrap infinity snood, with a gorgeous allover geometric double knitting pattern. Designed by Ann McDonald Kelly, it uses 2 colours of a DK weight yarn. We think it would be absolutely lush in 2 colours of Kettle Yarn Co. Islington DKPomPom22-07

Palmetto is the last of the garments, a cardigan in 3 colours designed by Emilia Jensen. The main portion of the sweater is knit in one colour, with contrast epaulets and corrugated ribbing at the cuffs, hems, button bands and collar. It uses a sport weight yarn which makes for a light sweater that isn’t going to take ages to knit. Our choice is Stolen Stitches Nua, an unusual blend of merino, yak and linen. PomPom22-08

The last pattern of the issue is Soumak, by Olga Buraya-Kefelian. This pair of fingerless mitts use traditional fair isle technique with a much more modern and graphic motif on it. The sample pair shown are knit in a high contrast black and red, but knit in a yarn like Cumbria there are endless colour combinations for any palette. PomPom22-09

Which pattern is your favourite? We have the issue available in store and online if you want to pick up your own copy.

Yarn Pairings for Rib Issue 2 – Navigate

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We’ve got Pom Pom, Amirisu, Making and Laine, which all feature beautiful knitting patterns for women, but what about our male knitters?! We are thrilled to announce that we now carry Rib Magazine, an independently published knitting magazine dedicated to men’s patterns. There are 4 pullover sweaters, 1 hat, 1 pair of fingerless mittens, 1 scarf and 1 pair of socks. The patterns are a mix of textured cables and ribs, with a bit of brioche thrown in there as well. The designs lean towards the timeless classic menswear styles, so for an adventurous knitter they could be adjusted for a more unisex silhouette as well.

As with our other magazines we thought we would do a yarn pairing round up to introduce you to the magazine and hopefully inspire your needles as well!

First up is the Caley Pullover, by Irina Anikeeva. This sweater has an upper section knit with side to side cables on the front and back for a twist on a classic. We absolutely love the idea of knitting this up in one of the semi-solid colours of Vivacious DK. Something like Tweed Imps would really shine in the stocking stitch sections. Rib_Cayley_3_medium2

Next up we have the Direction Mitts, by Ninja Chicken. These simple to knit mitts have an allover rib pattern that comes together in a motif on the palm of the hand. Knit in Blacker Swan DK, these would be soft and yet hearty enough for everyday wear. Rib_Direction_Mitts_2_medium2

The socks for this issue are Fickle Steps, by Louise Tilbrook. They mix rib and cables for a design that can adapt to fit many different shaped feet. For yarn there is only one we would suggest, it would absolutely have to be Coopknits Socks Yeah! 4ply. It has a blend of wool and nylon in loads of lovely subtle heather colours that will show off the design perfectly. With the fibre content they are sure to last a while to make all your hard work of knitting giant socks worth it! Rib_Fickle_Steps_1_medium2

The cover sweater is the Navigate Pullover, by Annie Lupton. This sweater features a modern geometric allover cable pattern on the body, with plain stocking stitch sleeves. The yarn called for, Cumbria Fingering by The Fibre Co. is such a beautiful yarn, we can’t imagine it knit up in anything else!

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Orienteering is the hat, designed by Benjamin Kudwig. It effectively combines a knit/purl texture with a simple vertical eyelet for a pattern that doesn’t come across as too lacey. We would love to see it in one of the strong colours of Wool Me Tender from Wool and the Gang.

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The third sweater of the issue is Rigging, by Fiona Ellis. This sweater has cables that form v shapes on the upper body, and a generous shawl collar. With it’s wearable design it deserves a yarn that can stand up to everyday use, something like Spud & Chloë Sweater with it’s machine washable wool and cotton content. Even better it comes in loads of colours, from eye catching brights to subtle neutrals.

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The River Rocks Scarf has inspired many of our needles already! Designed by Anca Mustea it’s a great pattern for anyone who has gotten the hang of two colour brioche and wants even more excitement! The pattern uses cleverly placed increases and decreases to create a rippling texture in the brioche rib. For a lush scarf that is soft to wear next to the skin, we would choose John Arbon Knit By Numbers DK, with so many colours to choose from the options are endless.

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Last but not least we have Survey, a pullover pattern by Catrina Frost. This sweater similarly features a textured upper body with plain stocking stitch body and sleeves, this time in an optional two-tone effect. We think that Lettlopi would be perfect for this hearty everyday jumper, and again the colour options are nearly endless with the almost 30 colours we carry!

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Rib Magazine is now available in store and online, and you can check out our brand new web shop while you are at it!

 

 

What Natalie Knits: Homeward Bound Shawl

So way back in September I had to head back to Canada again to apply for a new visa to stay in the UK. This was a relatively straight forward process, but had to be done from Canada and required an uncertain amount of time away from my new home in England and my partner. Before I left Maya suggested a collaboration with the shop to design a shawl to sell as kits when I got back. We picked out some yarn and I knit it up while I was in Toronto for 7 weeks waiting for my application to be approved.

homeward-natalieSince then we had difficulty getting our original choice of yarn back in stock, so the launch got delayed, and delayed and delayed while we waited to hear back from our supplier. It was not unlike waiting for my visa! Finally in March we decided that the best course of action would be to change yarns completely for the kits, which would mean a full pattern re-knit. Again I grabbed my needles and got cracking! This time we picked a yarn that we knew we could get in easily and where we had a more personal relationship with it’s makers, Socks Yeah! by Rachel Coopey and Fyberspates.

homeward-detail2 The resulting design is Homeward Bound, a triangular shawl knit from side to side with a bold geometric pattern using garter stitch intarsia. I have recently become enamoured with the potential of garter stitch intarsia, especially with creating these fun modern shapes. The triangles were inspired by the traditional quilt block pattern called Flying Geese, so named as it reflects the shapes of migrating birds. The name for the pattern comes from both the Flying Geese and that I knit it while waiting to return home. It uses 4 colours of 4ply yarn, with the pattern calling for Socks Yeah! It would also be a great way to use up leftover yarn, with each section in a different colour.

homeward-detail1The pattern is now available on Ravelry to purchase, and we have 3 different colour combinations available in the shop for kits. The original combination is Beach, and there is Berries and Forest as well.

We have loved the response for the pattern over the weekend, so we have decided to do a knit-a-long. It will run on Instagram from Friday May 5th to Monday the 19th of June. Any post of your Homeward Bound Shawl with the #homewardboundshawl tag in that time will be entered to win. On Tuesday the 20th of June we will pick winners from the hashtag, including in-progress pictures. Prizes to be announced later this week, stay tuned!

 

New Yarn: From The Mountain ethical cashmere

With a name like Knit With Attitude, we are always on the look out for yarns and projects that are working to make the world a better place. For a long time we have had a policy of no cashmere, as most of it comes from China where the origin is impossible to trace and  the animal and human welfare conditions are impossible to guarantee. Even though cashmere is one of the most delicious fibres out there, we just couldn’t have it in the shop under those circumstances. It’s meant we’ve had to turn down carrying some really lovely blends as we just don’t know where the cashmere is coming from.

Skeins of yarn for marketing

You can imagine how we sat up and took notice when we heard of From The Mountain, a sustainably farmed hand spun cashmere from Afghanistan. How could we say no?! This is exactly the sort of project that we love to support.

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Afghanistan has long been a producer of cashmere, but that quality was poor and most of it was used for carpets. In 2007 a US Agency for International Development (USAID) project called Accelerating Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) teamed up with Abdul Basir Hotak, a veteran of the cashmere industry in Afghanistan, to open the first scouring and de-hairing facility in the country. Then ASAP was able to work with herders to provide veterinary assistance and encouraged them to comb rather than shear their goats, thus improving herd health and the quality of the fibre.

Spinning-womenWith the quality of cashmere now markedly increased, they were able to reach out to the community of hand spinners in the region to spin the fibre to sell to knitters. After decades of conflict in Afghanistan, many women are now the heads of their families, with limited socially acceptable means of providing for them. Spinning cashmere on a drop spindle for From The Mountain pays them the fairest wage for their work compared to spinning for themselves or for the carpet industry. This fair wage is an alternative to farming illegal crops such as poppies for opium and heroin and creates a more stable and sustainable livelihood for over 100 women, and also allows them to stay home and still care for their children and relatives.

The yarn company From The Mountain was founded by Susan Inglis, who has worked on many projects with USAID over the last 25 years as a consultant connecting traditional textile workers in over 30 countries with new markets. She met Hotak through her work with USAID in 2011 and helped develop the yarn that would be spun by the home spinners. From The Mountain is the sole exporter of the yarn, maintaining close links with the production lines back in Afghanistan. With the region still by no means stable, this yarn can be difficult to get out of the country, and has occasionally had to be smuggled out, recent fighting in Kunduz caused 4 kilos to be turned back.

Spinning

The yarn itself is a lusciously soft sport weight made of 2 bouncy plies and available in 4 natural undyed shades. The colours are natural white, light grey, light brown and dark brown. It is an absolutely gorgeous and luxurious yarn that has an ever so slight thick and thin texture due to its hand spun nature. The 100g skeins have plenty of yardage, so while they are an indulgence, 1 skein goes a long way. From The Mountain have a number of free patterns on their website that take just 1 skein to help you get inspired!

What Natalie Knits – Maude Sweater

I have recently been casting a critical eye over my wardrobe, especially my handmade wardrobe and have been thinking a lot on how it can be improved. I have a good stash of hand knit sweaters, and they do the job of keeping me warm, so I can’t complain too much in that department. However, I have slowly lost some weight over the last couple years with some healthier eating and being more active, so all of my sweaters are too big. Part of this stems from having knit them all a bit roomy originally, but something that is a little too big then quickly becomes quite a lot too big. So I’ve been feeling swamped by my sweaters, and not at all stylish or fashionable.

Maude1Luckily as a knitter this is a splendid excuse to knit more! First up was Maude by Caarin Fleischmann, from an old issue of Pom Pom Quarterly. I found 6 balls of Wool and the Gang Sheepaca in my stash, and with a bit of gauge wrestling I cast on over the Christmas holidays. The yarn is listed as an aran, but it’s really a DK, so swatches are absolutely necessary with this yarn. The pieces came together relatively quickly for a DK weight yarn as the cabled fronts and backs were perfect for loads of travel we did around Ireland visiting family. The sleeves zipped along when we got back as the knit and purl texture was perfect for my purse. After seaming it up last week, I haven’t taken it off!

Maude4The Sheepaca was surprisingly lovely to work with. I’ve struggled with wearing alpaca next to my skin before, especially near my neck, but I’ve had no problem with this yarn. The 50/50 wool and alpaca blend is just delicious. The wool evens it out and gives it a lovely stitch definition for the cables, and the alpaca ups the warmth a bit which is perfect for working at the shop which can get a bit drafty if the temperatures really dip.
Maude2Even better is that it fits and I feel like it’s upped my wardrobe! I’ve worn it with jeans and skirts and over dresses, and over collared shirts which is perfect. In classic white it’s done really well with transitioning from everyday casual to something a bit fancier. I made 2 changes to the design that I knew would make it fit into my wardrobe even more than if I left it as is. First off I lengthened the sleeves to full length, and secondly I did a more traditional crew neck. To do the neck I started the scoop about an inch earlier than the pattern. Then I picked up stitches and knit about an inch of ribbing before casting off, unlike the pattern which has you knit longer and then fold it over and sew it down, which causes the neckline to stick out a bit. I think it looks lovely in the pattern, but I knew I was looking for something a bit more traditional for this sweater.
Maude3 I’ll admit I’m totally hooked to this sweaters-that-fit concept and I’m motivated to keep going! I’m thinking that a Muna sweater in chocolate brown might be up next, or maybe Rocquaine in natural pale grey Plötulopi?

Also thanks to Maya who took these pictures of me when we went to Edinburgh Yarn Fest a few weeks ago!