How to find a fade

There are so many beautiful projects out there at the moment that call for a fade. From the original Find Your Fade Shawl and So Faded by Andrea Mowry to Fading Point by Joji Locatelli, there are loads of options, ideas and inspriations. But what is a fade, and how do you choose your yarns?!

First off, what is a fade? A fade in the knitting sense is a set of at least 3 skeins of yarn, each in a different colour. The colours should compliment each other and move from one to each other. They can be all in the same colour family from light to dark, or they can move drastically between a few colours. The more yarns you use the more options you have to move between colours.

Find Your Fade by Andrea Mowry

Find Your Fade by Andrea Mowry

Choosing your colours is arguably the hardest part, but here are a few ideas to help get you started. First off seeing the colours together in person can help tremendously to see how they move from one to the next. Secondly, yarns with lots of speckles leave a lot of options to move between colours as you can match the speckles as well as the main colours of the yarns. Brands such as Hedgehog Fibres and Garnsurr are a great place to start for this. Thirdly, don’t be afraid to go crazy! Sometimes an unexpected colour in the middle of a fade can really make the difference to tie the whole colour scheme together.

It can be hard to find enough colours that work together in one brand, so don’t feel committed to one single one. Especially when it comes to shawls there is a lot of flexibility to combine different brands and even bases to get the colours that you like best. As most fade patterns work with bands of textured stitches, the difference in texture can compliment and even highlight the bands. Just make sure that the yarns are of similar enough thickness and that they match the method of care you want for the finished piece, ie if you want it to be machine washable don’t use one yarn that needs hand washing. Other than that the world is your oyster!

We have recently had some customers ask for our help in choosing a fade for their project as they aren’t able to come into the shop themselves. Feel free to give us a call if you find yourself in a similar position, we are happy to put together a few options and send over pictures to help you decide!

Below we have included a few pictures of fades that we have put together for customers to help give you some ideas. All of these fades use yarns from a few different companies, mostly Hedgehog Fibres, Garnsurr, Fyberspates and Socks Yeah!. The colours used in each one are listed below each photo.

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Top Down:  Citrine, Frevil, Fonne Bered, Gryteflaks #13, Gryteflaks #18, Almandine and Pheasant

Socks Yeah! Citrine, Garnsurr Sokke Merino Frevil, Fonne Bered, Gryteflaks #13 and Gryteflaks #18, Socks Yeah! Almandine, and Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock Pheasant

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Top Down: Gryteflaks #10, Method, Heavenly, Frost, Pesto, Risgard and Lundy Island

Garnsurr Sokke Merino Gryteflaks #10 and Risgard, Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock Method and Pesto, Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply Heavenly and Lundy Island, and Qing Fibre High Twist BFL Frost.

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Top Down: Tweed Imps, Spiced Plum, Gryteflaks #18, Monarch, Ortle Mihifar, Fonne Bered and Gryteflaks #10.

Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply Tweed Imps and Spiced Plum, Garnsurr Sokke Merino Gryteflaks #18, Ortle Mihifar, Fonne Bered and Gryteflaks #10, and Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock Monarch.

Which one is your favourite?

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.

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!

 

 

Yarn Pairings for Pom Pom Issue 1 – Re-Issue of Summer 2012

issue1_newcover-1 As a part of Pom Pom Quarterly’s 5 year birthday celebrations, they have re-issued their first ever issue with all new photography and a bonus pattern! It’s so lovely to have this early issue in the shop, and we’ve been enjoying seeing all the patterns in a new light. As always we thought that we would do our yarn pairings for this issue.

Kipper-by-Lydia-Gluck-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-1-Reprint-Summer-2017-1 First up is Kipper, an otherwise basic sock pattern with a textural detail on the cuffs and across the toes. The texture pattern makes it perfect for solid and semi solid yarns, such as Vivacious 4ply or Socks Yeah! 4ply.

Netherton-Cardigan-by-Lydia-Gluck-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-1-Reprint-Summer-2017-1 Originally Lydia Gluck’s Netherton was published as a cardigan, and it’s been republished here as both a cardigan and a pullover for the new issue. The cardigan has had a bit of a style revamp, and the additional pullover is the perfect classic sweater that we just can’t wait to knit ourselves! Knit in a DK weight yarn, there are countless options to make it in for a different look. Our current favourites would have to be John Arbon Knit By Numbers, or Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend DK for something really lush. Netherton-Jumper-by-Lydia-Gluck-Pom-Pom-Quarterly.-Issue-1-Reprint-Summer-2017

Overbury-by-Lydia-Gluck-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-1-Reprint.-Summer-2017 Next up is Overbury by Lydia Gluck, a perfect pair of flip top mittens. These fingering weight mittens have a short thumb, and the flip top secures with a loop at the top to a button at the wrist. There is a textured stitch in the ribbing at the cuffs. We love the idea of a plain wool like Cumbria for these for a classic look.

Skipworth-by-Meghan-Fernandes.-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-1-Reprint This issue is great for accessories, and Skipworth by Meghan Fernandes is the second pair of fingerless mitts in the issue. These are knit in garter stitch which really holds in the air for a cozy extra warm feel. The garter stitch really sings in a crisp semi solid yarn like Vivacious DK. They would be perfect to keep in your pockets for those surprise chilly evenings!

Wicklane-by-Meghan-Fernandes-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-1-ReprintLast but not least is Wick Lane, a lace shawl designed by Meghan Fernandes. This classic triangle shawl has an all over eyelet lace pattern with a deep rib and lace pattern that ends in crisp points. This pattern would sing in a yarn like Scrumptious 4ply with its wool/silk blend.

Which pattern is your favourite?

 

Yarn Pairings for Pom Pom Issue 21 – Summer 2017

Can you believe that it’s been 5 years of Pom Pom Quarterly?! This issue 21 marks the 5 year anniversary of the independent East London publication, and we couldn’t be more pleased for them! They have loads of celebrations planned for the year, with lots of announcements still on their way, we can’t wait to hear about them all!

Their first celebration is of course Issue 21 – the summer issue! This jam packed with 16 patterns, more than ever before. Also a first for Pom Pom, this issue has 2 different covers,  both with rose gold foil detail.

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As usual we have paired up each project with a yarn you can find at Knit With Attitude. Pom Pom have their customary KAL running in their Ravelry group, and this time of course there are more prizes than ever if you want to join in with something from this issue or any past issue.

Anniversaire-by-Veera-Valimaki-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

We love the names for the patterns in this issue, they are all different words for celebrations. First up is Anniversaire, an all over cabled sweater by Veera Välimäki, knit in a DK weight. The cables on the body are asymmetrical leaving it a modern and interesting look. We love the idea of knitting it in a lush handdyed yarn like Hedgehog Fibres Merino DK, or something more simple like John Arbon’s Knit By Numbers.

Bash-by-Linda-Dubec-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Bash is one of three colourwork hats in the issue, this one designed by Linda Dubec. It’s knit up in three colours of The Fibre Co’s Cumbria Fingering, a lovely blend of British wools. So many colour options to choose from! It would be fun to pick 2 neutrals and a bright pop colour, or all brights. The skeins are 100g and you wouldn’t need all of them, so there would probably be the possibility of knitting an extra hat if you swapped the colours around. The little pops of colour would be a brilliant use of leftovers as well.

Bon-Bon-by-Joji-Locatelli-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Bon Bon by Joji Locatelli is a pair of fingerless mittens with a lace textured panel and playful pompoms on the back of the hands. This pattern suits so many of our woolly DK weight yarns like Blacker Swan.

Boum-by-Sachiko-Burgin-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Boum, by Kiyomi Burgin is a sleeveless tank, perfect for popping on with jeans or a skirt. The shape is simple and timeless, but the stripes make it playful and give lots of room for personalization. For summer wear, a drapey yarn like Stollen Stitches Nua with it’s merino, linen and yak blend would suit well.

Ceilidh-by-Julia-Farwell-Clay-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Ceilidh by Julia Farwell-Clay is an all season pullover sweater, knit in a cozy DK/worsted weight yarn. For a warm outerwear sweater this would be great for winter knit up in Léttlopi, or for a more warm weather version choose a cotton/wool blend like Spud and Chloë Sweater. 

CoopKnits

Next up is Festoon, a pair of socks by Rachel Coopey knit up in her own yarn, Socks Yeah! We love this yarn so much, so we love seeing even more inspiration for using it. It’s perfect for socks like this, with the subtle heathering in many of the colours you get visual interest without loosing any patterning and texture.

Fete by Bristol Ivy

Fête by Bristol Ivy is another pullover sweater, with a colourwork patterned collar. The contrast colour is repeated in stripes at the cuffs and hem. A simple yarn like Excelana 4ply lets the design shine through.

Hoopla-by-Dianna-Walla-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Hoopla is the second hat in the issue, designed by Dianna Walla. This Scandi inspired colourwork hat would be quick to knit up in a thicker weight like Vivacious DK and has a lot of unisex appeal.

Jamboree-by-Francesca-Hughes-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Jamboree is a fine gauge sweater with an allover lace and stripes pattern that looks light as a feather. The sweater uses 3 shades together. It is knit side to side for a twist on construction and to keep the vertical stripes. We love the Purl Alpaca Fine for an all neutrals option, but for a pop of colour look no further than mix and matching with Blue Sky Fibers Baby Alpaca Sport. We think the 2 yarns would work together brilliantly.

Knees-Up-by-Juju-Vail.-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Knees-Up is an answer to the UK’s difficult relationship with summer. It’s not always very warm, but you do want to wear those summer dresses, but no tights. So these legwarmer/knee-high socks are the solution! They are the perfect use of the 2 weights of Socks Yeah! in 4ply and DK.

Rave-by-Alexa-Ludeman-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

The design duo of Tincanknits are always favourites here at the shop, and their Rave scarf is what we’ve come to expect from them. It is simple in construction, but with modern details and visual interest that keeps a knitters attention. The combination of garter stitch and cables make for another pattern that would appeal to all ages and genders. With lots of colours in Spud and Chloë Sweater, there is something for everyone.

Sevilla-by-Thea-Colman-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Sevilla by Thea Coleman is a great summer wrap, and the delicate lace makes it attractive for casual and formal events. A wool/silk blend like Findley DK adds even more to the lush look of the wrap.

Shindig-by-Sachiko-Burgin-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Shindig is a shawl from Sachiko Burgin in 2 colours of a wool silk blend with a striped body and lace edging. Can’t you just imagine wrapping up in a shawl of Manos Silk Blend DK?

Soiree-by-Emily-Foden-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Cropped sweaters seem to be everywhere this summer, so Soirée by Emily Foden is right on trend. This pullover with cables running up the sides combines a 4ply wool and a mohair for a subtle fabric that softens the cables and stitches. A combination of Tamar and Sweet Georgia Silk Mist would be just divine.

Sparklers-by-Fiona-Alice-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

The last hat of the issue is Sparklers by Fiona Alice. This hat is knit in two colours of Kettle Yarn Co.’s lush merino/silk/yak blend Beyul, and there’s enough in the skeins to knit 2 hats if the second one has the reversed colours.

Zazie-by-Anna-Maltz.-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Last but not least, Zazie by Anna Maltz is one of our favourites from the issue! This zig zag pattern has texture that you just want to wrap up in, and the colour combinations would be endless! How delicious would it be in 2 colours of Scrumptious Aran!

Which pattern is your favourite?

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.

goat-herd

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!

Interpretations Vol. 4

Interpretations-Volume-4-CoverInterpretations Vol 4 has arrived! This years installation to the project by designers Veera Välimäki and Joji Locatelli follows perfectly and does not disappoint. Published by Pom Pom Quarterly, it was released this past weekend at Unravel Festival

The idea behind the project is that together the designers pick 6 words and then each design a piece based on that word, for a total of 12 projects. The words for this year’s book are gather, chromatic, magic, fragile, direction and hidden. The resulting projects reveal the different interpretations of the words from each designer. While the words are in English, neither designer speaks it as their first language, which makes the cultural influences that much more interesting. Coming from opposite sides of the globe, Veera from Finland and Joji from Argentina, the book and the designs speak to the ways design sensibilities can converge with knitting wherever you are.

One of the things we love about Veera and Joji’s patterns is that they bridge the line between wearability and interest in a both practical and interesting way. They often use stripes, construction and texture to turn something that would otherwise be rather boring into a more exciting and dynamic piece.

East or West by Joji is the most obvious use of the construction and colour. The centre panel is knit vertically in rib, and then the side panels and sleeves are knit in stripes off of that main piece. This construction creates vertical stripes easily, and plays the textural stripe of the rib off of the colour stripes very effectively.

East-or-West

Another sweater by Joji, Wishes is one that may at first glance seem boring, but on second look reveals itself to be entirely practical and much more interesting than first thought. The top down sweater is knit in 4ply silk and in black, which to any knitter who has knit a sweater sounds like and endless slog! And black, how uninspiring! However, I’m sure all of us have a shop bought thin machine knit black cardigan in our closet that gets reached for regularly. Not to mention of course, that when knitting one’s own sweater there are a hundred other colours to choose from! The top down nature makes it easy to get started, and the construction of the swingy body is done through some well placed eyelet rows every couple of inches that are sure to keep the knitter engaged.

Wishes

Speaking of texture and interesting construction, Joji’s Radiate has also caught our eye. Another top down sweater, this one uses the yoke increases to create a radiating stripe with two colours in rib that also serves as a sort of ombre effect on an otherwise plain pullover.

Radiate-.Interpretations-Volume-4.-Pom-Pom-Press

We now have 30 colours of Léttlopi in stock and have been playing around with the colours, we are therefore loving the options for knitting Veera’s Double Trouble jacket! The sweater is knit in three pieces, two fronts in one colour and the back in another. The garter stitch pieces are then seamed together to create something that while completely simple can be as exciting as your colour choices. The light grey and charcoal of the original are timeless, but what about coral pink and black, or navy and light blue?

Double-Trouble

The collection is not all sweaters, there are a few accessories as well. One of our favourites is the Tourmaline snood by Veera. The ribbed texture gives way to cables of varying size for a meaty texture that is also reversible for a versatile snood to wear everyday.

Tourmaline

We have Volume 4 up online and in store right now! The books all also come with a digital download code.