New Yarn: G-uld – No. 4

We have been smitten with G-uld ever since our amazing adventure on their dyeing workshop. Read more about our experience in my earlier blog post. Their naturally dyed yarns, in colours that defy imagination just have to be seen to be believed. We have been enjoying G-uld Alpaca for a while now but now we have a new member of the family. Meet No. 4.

no4-webThis gorgeous blend of 75% Falkland Merino and 25% Gotland wool gives the base a lovely heathered halo which lends itself beautifully to the overdyed colours. As usual the dyes are all natural and we have everything from madder, mugwort, heather and indigo in 18 shades including one undyed. The yarn is a light 4ply with 650m per 100g skien. Its perfect for knitting on its own for a light and airy feel or held double for a more robust weight. Whats great about No. 4 is that like the Alpaca each label tells you what was used to create the colour. Next time you are in store check them out. Subtle variations are created by layering different dyes. Like heather creating a yellow, layered with indigo gives and amazing green.

Here are some projects to get you excited:

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The Westwind Cowl by Louise Schelde Jensen is a perfect way to test drive this yarn. If you are looking for a project to see what qualities this yarn can have then look no further. Hold the yarn double or single depending on how dense you would like the fabric. A simple mesh pattern is repeated with garter ridges in between. Give yourself over to the colourful joys of this yarn.

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Sif by Stine Hess Rahbek is a beautifully simple jumper with elegant cable details running along the side and up the raglan seam. This would work perfectly with No. 4 held double.

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Rambling Rose Jacket by Susie Haumann. Would also work holding two strands of No 4. Giving crisp details to the design and allowing you to indulge in your favourite colour.

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Watch this space as G-uld will be launching a series of patterns that are designed especially for No 4. Like this jacket by Anne-Sopie Velling. We can’t wait!

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I’m totally in love with the colours and texture of this yarn so I’m planning in using it for my version of this years Stephen West mystery KAL – Starflake. I’m going for KAW1016 Madder and KWA1002 Mugwort/Indigo. I shall be holding them both double and really looking forward to taking it for a spin and thinking of the memories from our workshop. If you still need some inspiration for for Starflake check out the blog post I put together, or if you are curious how No. 4 is knitting up, I’m sure I will be posting my progress on my instagram.

Yarn Pairings for Laine Issue 9

It’s that time of year where the lovely team at Laine tempt us with a new season of gorgeous knits from some of the most talented designers working today. We are never disappointed with what Laine produce, from their stunning photography to interviews, articles and seasonal recipes.

This issue has 13 designs by Fiona Alice, Rachel Brockman, Olga Buraya-Kefelian, Aleks Byrd, Renée Callahan, Verena Cohrs, Elly Fales, Whitney Hayward, Marianne Munier, Lavanya Patricella, Lucía Ruiz de Aguirre, Susanne Sommer and Becky Sørensen. An interview with Lavanya Patricella. A story about Petra Mikaelsson from Fru Valborg. Kristine Vejar’s story from A Verb For Keeping Warm. A column by Jeanette Sloan along with a travel guide to Munich, featuring the best spots to stay, eat and shop.

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PINACEAE, by Rachel Brockman. A bold graphic cabled sweater. I like what Rachel has done with the cables here. Creating a statement pattern repeat rather than the traditional twists we normally see. Knitted flat with drop shoulders and a-line shaping, a guaranteed winter accessory. Knitted in The Fibre Co. Lore which we stock here at Knit with attitude. Seen here in the colour Courage, but why not try one of the other 9 colours.

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MISS APPLE’S LITTLE CARDI, by Lucía Ruiz de Aguirre. We see again that classic combo of a mohair lace held with a sturdier yarn. The softness of the fuzz is still proving irresistible. This cute simple cardigan is knit seamlessly in the round with a bit of steeking to open the front. Try this in in a combo of Hey Mama Wolf Schafwolle #03 and Fyberspates Cumulus and don’t be scared of the steeking!

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JOY by Renée Callahan. Clever construction and quirky details are a highlight of this cardigan. Worked from the front to the back and stitches picked up for the sleeves. No picking up for the trim, which gives you a simple but satisfying shape around the neck of this loose fitting easy to layer design. I think John Arbon Devonia DK would look lovely here.

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RISTTEE, by Aleks Byrd. This is just simply one of the most stunning designs and has it all! Fading, colour work, twisted stitches, the lot. The yoke is just dreamy. Chevron stitches combine with pockets of colour work giving you a quilted effect. Worked seamlessly from the bottom up, giving you plenty of opportunities to play with colour. Try this in Hillesvåg Sølje a good toothy yarn perfect for colour work and comes in an amazing range of colours.

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FLOREA, by Becky Sørensen. These simple but stylish mittens would be easy to knit but give an effective outcome. A minimal flower design sits against a background of reverse stocking stitch and the petals are worked over two rows. Try this in Hey Mama Wolf’s Sockyarn #04 to give you good definition to the stitches.

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WOODBINE, by Fiona Alice. A striking combination of bold lace panels and horizontal stocking stitch make an interesting garment. The panels are knit first then stitches picked up along the edge and knit out. Using larger 6mm needles it will be speedy to knit but as it calls for yarns held double (a mohair lace and aran yarn) it will be light an airy.  Try a combination of Àrd-Thìr and Hedgehog Fibres Kidsilk Lace.

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MÖKKI, by Verena Cohrs. An easy to knit cosy jumper that is not without its interesting details. Rib panels on either side and a divided front and back make this a simple design without being boring. Try this in Àrd-Thìr for some cosy warmth.

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PIANTA DI GRANO, by Lavanya Patricella. This simple but elegant scarf/wrap is a joyous combination of brioche increases and decreases with garter stitch. These stitches go together to create a wheat sheaf motif over this large two colour design. The moody tones of Black Elephant Merino Singles would make this the perfect autumnal accessory.

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LUMI by Marianne Munier. Doesn’t this look cosy! Generous ribbing and a big rolled neck, make this a great design to keep you warm. The interesting part of this design is the textural fading. We’ve seen a lot of colour fading in the knitting world, but I love how this has been applied to texture. Like a mirage, it fades from stocking stitch to purling more and more every row, until you flip completely to reverse stocking stitch. Try this in Hillesvåg Tinde, the overdyed grey base will give you a beautiful heathered look.

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SUMMER LONGING, by Susanne Sommer. A elegant but simple cardigan for layering away the chill. Low sleeves and oversized fit make it the perfect piece to wear over the top of any outfit. The pleasing chevron stitches create a minimal but striking design detail. Knit in a plant fibre blend try The Fibre Co. Luma for coolness as well as warmth.

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RAMSAY, by Whitney Hayward. A classic wardrobe stable is the iconic cabled pullover. This design is no exception. Worked flat in pieces and seamed together and knit in 5.5mm needles would be speedy as well. Knit in a soft chainette yarn it has to be Hexa. Knit a jumper you want to melt into.

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UPPLEGA, by Elly Fales. A cute pair of socks with a design motif that reminds me of rain or snow falling from a cloudy sky. Knitted socks are always a welcome winter accessory. Try in Coopknits Socks Yeah! with a great range of colours you will easily find the perfect contrasting tones to make the colour work pop.

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WINTER SUNS, by Olga Buraya-Kefelia. A lovely triangular shawl with the most pleasing hazy sun pattern repeat. I can imagine some really fun colour combinations with this design and it really evokes that iconic image of a setting sun hanging low in the sky. Knit this combining John Arbon Knit by Numbers DK and for the suns I think the warm tones of the new Twisted Fintch Tweedy BFL Donegal really lend themselves to the burning sun.

Time for a new Project – Inspiration for the Starflake MKAL

Stephen West is teasing us again! It’s that time of year for a Mystery Knit Along or MKAL for short. Stephen West has been delighting and bewildering knitters for years with these ever so exciting MKAL’s. This one is the 10th Anniversary MKAL and called Starflake so I’m hoping for something exciting. This time we are just looking at two colours, four 100g skeins in total and Stephen specifies a plied yarn in contrasting colours and yarns that have crisp definition. So as usual I’ve had a fun afternoon picking out colour combos for fantasy projects I would love to knit. Oh, if only I had the time! He also recommends solids, semi-solids and slightly speckled yarns, so the design details don’t get lost. The fun starts on 4th October so you have plenty of time to pick your favourite colours. But to help you along take a look at these!

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A good tip if you are looking at colours and wondering if you will get a strong contrast or a subtle one. Use your camera phone and switch the settings to mono or black and white. That way you will be able to differentiate more easily between darker and lighter colours rather than be bombarded by the colour itself.

I have picked from a selection of plied yarns like Garnsurr Søkke Merino, Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply, Hey Mama Wolf Sockyarn #04, Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock and Kettle Yarn Beyul. These sturdy yarns are wonderfully soft but crisp enough to hold great definition and I love mixing and matching them together.

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Cool Breeze – This combo conjures up a cool spring breeze blowing over the sea. Combining both Garnsurr Søkke Merino in Lekje and Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply in Sea Glass to create a nice contrast but also keeping the palette quite fresh.

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Lemon Curd – A really zesty combination in all Garnsurr Søkke Merino. We have here Seivin and Jønnstaur creating a real striking contrast. Bright, sunny and full of life.

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Blueberry Muffin – This combo looks so tasty, I love Hedgehog Fibres Silence colour as a base for other colours. The natural, subtly specked Hey Mama Wolf’s Sockyarn #04 looks perfect next to it. Colours here are Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock in Silence and Hey Mama Wolf’s Sockyarn #04 in Carey

starflake-01 Raspberry Ripple – This combo gives a great contrast but also being quite complimentary. The solid rich pink playing against the pink speckles in the cream giving you a wonderful graphic palette. Garnsurr Søkke Merino in Ørtle and Jarbaer.

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Sea Shells – A subtle contrast is created with these two rich tones. I like the idea of using a silk blend yarn, as you will get a gentle shine from where it’s used. Using two rich colours that are completely different but equally as dark will cause the colours to vibrate against each other. Of course there are gentle nods between this combo, as the blue has slightly purply, pink notes. Hedgehog fibres Twist Sock in Method and Kettle Yarn Beyul in Electric Amaranth.
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Bonfire – This warming colour combination uses a rich dark grey as a base. I love a dark grey to play colours against. You end up with an almost neon light effect in the dark. Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply in Smokey Joe and Garnsurr Søkke Merino in Gryteflaks #21. The Smokey Joe has a slight warmth to it that unifies this combination.

I’m looking forward to seeing all the combinations people knit up and I can’t wait to start!

A wonderful adventure –
The G-uld Dyeing Workshop

A couple of weeks ago Maya and I spent the most magical of times in Denmark. Being the first ever stockist of G-uld we were excited to really understand the ethos and process behind this wonderful company. Having admired posts from other attendees of G-uld’s workshops we couldn’t wait, we were really going!

We arrived in Copenhagen and after a day of sight seeing we took a train to Vejle in Jutland. We waited excitedly at the station to be picked up and taken to our home for the next couple of days and met some fellow workshopers also waiting. After a short drive from Vejle we found ourselves entering the Danish countryside. We all chatted away and wondered what the next couple of days had in store for us. The workshop was held at a scout camp in the Vejle Ådal surrounded by beautiful woodlands, open fields and farmland. That evening we got to know each other, drank wine, had a wonderful meal and of course knit! Daniel and Trine are the most amazing cooks and boy did we eat well! On a beautifully decorated table with vases of plants, that we would later learn were perfect dye plants.

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The workshop is taught over three rigorous days where you are taken through the fundamentals of dyeing wool with natural materials. You learn how to treat and prepare yarn, what ratios of dye materials to use and how combinations of these materials can give you a whole range of colours. Also how colours can be altered and darkened with potash and iron.

Day 1

The workshop is hosted by Anne, Anne-Sophie, Trine and Daniel and there were 14 people taking part. We were from all sorts of backgrounds: dyers, yarn shop owners, town planners, designers… All keen to learn something new. After breakfast and plenty of coffee, we all gathered around a large table with circles of naturally dyed colour placed temptingly in the middle. The first day starts with learning about the processes involved and what we would be doing over the next couple of days.

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We then head outside to the dying area to start the first task. We are using a fine wool, like a fine lace weight or embroidery thread to dye on. These skeins arrive from the mill with just one tie, so to prevent a tangly mess we tie up the skeins in four places and also one longer tie for dunking into the dye baths.

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Now the skein is prepped for dyeing. Some get treated with an alum mordant which opens up the fibre and allows the dye to permeate, though some dye stuffs high in tannin do not need the alum process as the high tannin acts in the same way.

On our fist day we dyed with walnut, cochineal and madder and we split into four teams to divide up the labour. A group was in charge of mordanting and the other three groups were in charge of the three dye baths.

g-uld-05The dye baths are huge soupy drums full of dye stuff that the wet alumed skeins were dunked in to. These baths were heated up and the skeins were left to simmer for an hour. This is the walnut dye bath above that gives a mild fawny brown. We dyed four skeins in total for each dye bath. One was kept as the original colour, one went to be over dyed with something else, one went to be over dyed with indigo and the last was for a darkening process in either potash or iron.

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We were all very excited about cochineal and madder. The cochineal dye bath on the left and the madder on the right.

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Here we have a days worth of dyeing from walnut, cochineal and madder. Lighter colours were created by dying a second and third skein after the first dye bath to use as much colour from the bath as possible.

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The afternoon saw half the group go on a foraging walk while the other half maintained the dye baths. We went looking for Oak, St Johns Wort and Mugwort. As you can see we found quite a bit!

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Then we went back to the dye pots to make a fresh batch of dye with our foraged plants. The brewing of fresh materials smelt amazing, like herbal teas. We also got a lot of Oak as well, these were chopped down to help release the most colour. All ready to dye with the next day.

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The day ended with another great meal and a well deserved glass of wine, or two! Plenty of knitting and good company.

Day 2

Refreshed after breakfast we head back to the dye pots. Excited to start creating other shades, we learnt about ways of creating darker tones through the use of potash and iron.

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You can see how the pinky shades have gone richer and more purply through this process. Iron has to be well washed after, unfortunately for the washers it was quite rainy at this point.

On the list to dye with today were the Oak, St Johns Wort and Mugwort that we harvested as well as some dried heather. Heather is an intriguing one, giving a surprising bright yellow. In the afternoon we had the chance to play with indigo!

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Here we have a heather dyed skien coming out of the dye bath. Heather can be used any time of year from its stalk to its flowers. I just love the colour.

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The afternoon gave us what we had all been waiting for, indigo! Indigo is a strange one and starts green, but with reaction to oxygen turns blue. Indigo sits on the surface of the fibre, not like the other dyes, so it can be layered up to create darker and darker blues.

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Here’s a set of indigo dyed skeins. The fun was combining colours. Over dyeing reds and yellows to give purples and greens. A fun part we all enjoyed was getting out the extra water and aligning the yarn after being in the dye bath! Don’t stand in the way!

Day 3

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Our last day saw us visit G-uld HQ and their beautiful shop. Here we wound up all the little mini skeins from the larger ones so we could all take a little bit home. Between us we wound 1035 minis!

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Now the fun begins and we get to put together our circle of colour. We dyed 69 different colours in total from only nine different dye baths.

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And here you have it the circle of colour created over a few days by an amazing bunch of people and taught and nourished by the amazing team at G-uld. Friendships were made and a new appreciation for the skill and knowledge that goes into creating the beautiful range of colours in G-uld’s yarn.

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Yarn Pairings for Pom Pom 30

The Autumn issue of Pom Pom is nearly here and this issue titled ‘Sea Change’ takes in a watery theme. Inspired by the sea and its ever-changing shapes and textures.Taking its cues from the sea itself or its contact and influence on the land. With a palette drawn from the sea, as well as the colour of the beach, stones and shells. This issue has a whole array of designs to see you into the colder months. Four jumpers, two wraps, a cardi, a tee, and a hat, phew… that will keep you busy. Alongside these we have Pompoms usual array of interesting articles and recipe’s.

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Featuring designs by: Kiyomi Burgin, Sachiko Burgin, Meghan Fernandes, Annie Haas, Sylvia Watts-cherry, Ainur Berkimbayeva, Emma Ducher, Inyoung Kim, Katrin Schubert, Andrea Cull. As usual I have put together some yarn suggestions from Knit With Attitude, so let’s dive in.

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Seelig by Katrin Schubert a cosy wrap for those breezy days on the beach. Echoing the gentle waves of a calm sea this two colour project is knit in DK, you just know it’s going to be squishy, warm and a must have layer. Combining two-colour brioche with garter stitch in an easy to remember repeat. I would choose Fyberspates Vivacious DK for subtle variegation or Hedgehog Fibres Merino DK for a more speckled option, or why not combine the two!

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Eventide by Inyoung Kim is a super cute and cleverly designed tee with eye catching scaplloped detail running over the lower half of the body. If this doesn’t say seaside then I don’t now what does. The repeating shell motifs allow you to have a bit of fun with colour, although I think this would be equally as stunning knit completely monochrome. I think the subtle natural shades of Hey Mama Wolf Sockyarn #04 would lend themselves quite prettily to the nature inspired look of this top.

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Aphotic by Annie Haas. I love the echo of colour work with the neutral texture on this one. A complex collection of triangles creates a bold statement yoke that looks fun to knit. But if the colourwork is getting too much for you then on the lower part of the body ‘colour’ is created by adding some purl bump texture. A yarn with good definition will create a striking pattern so try Hey Mama Wolf Schafwolle #03.

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Astragal by Ainur Berkimbayeva is a gentle pattern with a delicate yoke. My favourite element of this design is the detail in the rib. Just extending the rib to create a wave gives you an unusual but pleasing feature. I would try The Fibre Co. – Lore which has the softness of a lambswool but also a good crispy definition to make the details pop.

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Trove by Emma Ducher is a beautiful all over textured jumper in a classic shape. Have fun with colour on this one. The base colour  highlights the little coloured stitches which remind me of sea glass caught amongst the pebbles. Maybe try The Fibre Co. Cumbria for a softness and great palette of colours.

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Fata Morgana by Sylvia Watts-Cherry is a jumper you just want to melt into. A classic combo of a wool and mohair held double but also paired with an incredibly striking graphic pattern. I think the simple colour range of John Arbon – Knit by Numbers paired with Fyberspates Cumulus would be so snuggly and create a dreamy garment.

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Timbre by Meghan Fernandes is a cosy, fluffy and warm looking hat. Definitely one to see you through to the winter or those cold evening walking along the sea front. A delicate criss-crossing pattern overlaid in the mohair traces over the entire hat, like the ripples left in the sand after the tide has gone out. A combination of Àrd-Thìr and Hedgehog Fibres KidSilk Lace would be dreamy.

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Columella by Andrea Cull. Everyone needs something to wrap themselves up when going for a late summer stroll along the beach. Those chilly sea winds can quickly make you cold. The welcome relief of a snuggly wrap especially one as beautiful as this is never turned down. This all over cabled creation will be interesting to knit as well as wear. Knit in a worsted weight mohair wool blend, try holding The Fibre Co. Cumbria double to get the right thickness with this cosy blend.

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Isobue by Kiyomi Burgin & Sachiko Burgin. A clever use of colour on this relaxed cardigan. A simple fit makes it perfect for casual wear and a welcome layer for bear shoulders. With a wide minimal neckline which stretches almost to the top of the shoulders makes this cardigan the perfect top to throw on when the weather changes. Whats more, it’s reversible due to the clever construction. Buttoned at the back and the front creating a novel way of creating a garment fun to knit and fun to wear! Try this in Garnsurr – Søkke Merino combined with Hedgehog Fibres KidSilk Lace, to find your perfect seaside combinations.

Knit a Neutral

I thoroughly enjoyed doing the Knit a Rainbow series, it was a great way to explore the shop and focus into a single colour. But how can I forget neutrals!

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The fleeces of animals that we spin to make yarn are infinitely varied when it comes to colour. Undyed and neutral shades offer us an experience to create something as naturally as possible. It’s also quite nice to see how the natural colour of the yarn effects the dyed shades, which can be seen quite clearly in the grey of the Hillesvåg Pelsullgarn and the G-uld undyed white and greys. Natural shades are earthy and warm and these inviting tones vary from blacks, to browns, to greys, to creams. Natural shades can also be blended to create a whole tonal palette which can be seen in the amazing number of shades of Garthenor Number 1 (there are more, I just couldn’t fit them in).

So here we have them, my pick of the neutrals. For more details of each brand look below. Or if you would like to search out your own neutral, follow this link to the undyed section of our website: UNDYED.

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G-uld – alpaca in Undyed Grey and Undyed White – 4ply 50g – 100% Alpaca. Naturally dyed and oh so soft alpaca yarn from G-uld.

Hillesvåg – Sølje in Naturgrå – 100g 4ply – 100% Norwegian Pelsullgarn. Traditionally spun by the family owned mill Hillesvåg, in lustrous Norwegian Pelt wool, Sølje is an 4Ply weight yarn in a colour palette which richness is unlike anything else.

Växbo Lin – Lingarn in Unbleached  – 4ply 100g – 100% Linen. This 100% natural pure linen yarn, traditionally grown and spun in Sweden, is certified with the Swedish Good Environmental Choice label (Bra Miljöval) because of its durability and environmentally friendly processing.

Purl Alpaca Designs – Medium in Champagne and Copper – DK 50g – 100% Alpaca. A classic weight, luxurious yarn with a lovely stitch definition which shows off lace and cabled garments for adults and children perfectly.

From The Mountain – Afghan Cashmere in Dark Brown and Light Brown – Sport 100g – 100% Cashmere. A 100% cashmere yarn hand spun in Afghanistan by women being paid fairly for their work. It is deliciously soft, with a hand you have to feel to believe.

Hey Mama Wolf – Schafwolle #03 in Natural Grey – Worsted 100g – 100% Organic Wool. Schafwolle #03 is a natural dyed, worsted weight organic wool yarn from Hey Mama Wolf.

Hillesvåg – Sol – DK 100g – 100% Norwegian Lambswool. Traditionally spun by the family owned mill Hillesvåg, in 100% Norwegian Lambs Wool, Sol is the finest white fibres in a DK weight yarn.

Garthenor – Number 1 in  Chalk, Pebble Shale, Oartmeal, Moorit, Chalkboard – Lace 50g – 100% Organic Wool. All British and certified organic! Garthenor Number 1 is a laceweight yarn suitable for practical wear as well as for very special heirloom pieces.

 

Woollen or Worsted?

Woollen or worsted? You may or may not have come across these terms before, they sound like so many others in the knitting world. Woollen does not necessarily mean something that is wooly and worsted is not just a yarn weight found commonly in America. What I’m talking about here is the way the yarn is spun. Woollen and worsted spun yarns have very different properties and are great for different projects. But how do you identify them and what are they good for. It’s taken me a while to puzzle that out but I will share with you what I have learnt.

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There are two distinct ways in which fibre is spun into yarn and this twist gives different qualities, from plumpy and fibrous to strong and smooth. The shelves of Knit With Attitude contain a selection of all these types and hopefully after reading this post you will be able to identify them.

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Woolen examples above are Kettle Yarn Ramble and The Fibre Co. Lore.

Woollen

Woollen spun yarns are lighter and airier, are a lot more squishy and often fuzzier or more fibrous. The twist is often quite loose and the yarn has less strength. Woolen spun yarns are carded and the fibres spread out evenly but they are not combed and don’t all lie in one direction. They face all directions creating the bouncy airy quality. This process also does not remove fibres of different lengths, which gives you a yarn with more of a halo and more likely to bloom after washing. As they are not combed to remove the shorter fibres you often find bits of hay and vegetation within the yarn.

Woollen spun yarns have these qualities:

  • It is warmer due to more air trapped in the fibre.
  • This airy trapping along with the irregular direction of the fibres creates a plump squishy yarn.
  • It’s more likely to bloom and have a halo due to the various fibre lengths, this may give slightly less definition to textural stitches.
  • It is much lighter but weaker than worsted spun yarns

How do you identify a woolen yarn? Characteristics to look for are: Light bouncy twist, irregular ply, more fibrous with a halo or fuzzy, squishy. It’s a great yarn if you are looking for something warm and cosy with a softer definition and less drape.

worsted-web Worsted examples above are John Arbon Knit by Numbers and Hey Mama Wolf Schaffewolle #03.

Worsted

Worsted spun yarns are denser and strong, they are often smoother, closely plied and lustrous. Worsted spun yarns have an extra process which involves aligning the fibres and combing out shorter hairs. This leaves you with an even fibre with a tight twist, where air is squeezed out. This results in a yarn that is much stronger and denser, owing to the alignment and evening out of the fibres and less likely to bloom or be fuzzy because of this. All this gives you great definition and drape.

Worsted spun yarns have these qualities:

  • Great stitch definition due to tight twist and even fibres.
  • A smooth even yarn with less halo.
  • Strong due to the longer fibres and less air between them.
  • Often softer due to smaller fibres being removed.
  • Not as warm as woollen due to being denser.

How do you identify a worsted yarn? Characteristics to look for are: A tight even twist, very little halo or fuzz, more lustrous, denser. It’s a great yarn if you are looking for superb definition and durability and more drape.

Needle in a Yarn Shop – Knitting needles and their materials

Wood, bamboo, metal, carbon fibre! At Knit With Attitude we stock a variety needle types made from all sorts of different materials, but what to choose? In this post I will talk a little bit about the different materials and what qualities they have.

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We do four different types of needles in Wood, Bamboo, Metal and Carbon. In these we have circulars, double points and straights. Let’s take a closer look at each type.

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Metal

Metal needles are probably quite familiar to most of us. They are strong, durable and super smooth. This smoothness makes them a good go to when tackling most yarns, from the fibrous to the smooth, as stitches glide with ease. This makes for speedier knitting.

Metal are one of the pointiest, making them great for projects that involve a lot of decreases or picking up, as the point is perfect for slipping between stitches. That being said yarns that tend to split like ones that are loosely plied can be easily split by the pointedness of the metal needles.

Metal is one of the heaviest and hardest, this makes them more durable but can also cause hand fatigue with some people over long periods of time.

In the range of metal needles we stock are the Knit Pro Zings. These strong and smooth needles are colour coded to easily identify between sizes. They all have bright silver tips which stand out against your projects. We sell the 35cm Straights, the 20cm DPN’s and fixed Circulars in 40 or 80cm’s. Along with the Knit Pro, Soft Grip Metal Crochet Hooks.

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Bamboo

Next we have bamboo, bamboo is softer and more yielding in the hands than metal. Not to say bendy, but with a little bit more bounce which can make them more comfortable in the hands. Also much lighter than metal so when working on heavier projects you are less likely to feel weighed down.

One quality of bamboo that really sets it apart from metal is their grippyness. By that I mean the slight textural nature of Bamboo holds the yarn but doesn’t snag. This makes them the perfect needles for slippery yarns like silks and bamboo fibre.  Their grippyness gives you more control so stitches are less likely to slip off, or the needle sliding off and flying across the room. This is definitely a bonus if you are knitting with DPN’s. In this regard they are perfect for beginners who are just getting to grips with the basics. Slightly less pointed than Metal, so less likely to split looser yarns.

In Bamboo needles we Stock Clover 33cm Straights, 20cm DPN’s and Fixed Circulars in 60 and 80cms. As well as Bamboo Crochet Hooks.

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Wood

Wood sits between bamboo and metal when it comes to hardness, weight and grip on the yarn. Wood are warmer in the hands with a little bit more weight than Bamboo. Great for those who are looking for a more comfortable alternative to metal with slightly less grip than Bamboo. Wood are great all round needle and work well with most yarns. Similarly not as pointy to avoid splitting, but pointy enough to cope with complicated knitting projects.

Wood like bamboo are not as strong as metal so smaller sizes are more likely to snap from careless use. But well looked after will reward you with hours of comfortable knitting.

In wood we stock Knit Pro Symfonie range, a strong and durable needle made from laminated birch in attractive multicolours. We have 30cm Straights, 20/15cm DPN’s and Interchangeable Tips in short and standard sizes, which work with the Knit Pro Cables.

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Carbon

Lastly we come to the carbon knitting needles. These are made from carbon fibre. Carbon fibre gives you one of the strongest needles you will find, its also used in aircraft making and spaceships. Strength is not the only quality carbon fibre has, it is also supple, with a slight give making them more comfortable to hold. They are also warmer to touch and lighter in the hand, also contributing to a comfortable knit. They work really well when it comes to using smaller sizes because of this. Carbon fibre is smooth but with a very slight grip on the yarn, allowing stitches to glide with ease but also giving you control. Perfect for working on smaller projects or DPN’s. The carbon fibre needles we stock have brass metal tips giving them a flawlessly point which is helpful when doing more complicated work.

In carbon we stock Knit Pro Karbonz a strong durable carbon fibre needle with pointy brass tips. We have 30cm Straights,15cm DPN’s and Interchangeable Tips in short and standard sizes, which work with the Knit Pro Cables.

Craftivism – The Craftivist Collective

It seems more important now that the tools and skills that we have at our disposal should be used as a force for good. Craft with activism have a long history as a way of harnessing a ‘traditional’ skill to provoke or communicate a message. So if you haven’t come across craftivism or would like to know more, let me introduce it along with the Craftivist Collective.

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Craft is an outlet that can be so many things for so many people. Craft is a voice. You are physically bringing something into the world. It’s how you choose to use this voice which is important to craftivism. For some people craft is a process for themselves and the people close to them. It is a process that can be about the journey, about mindfulness or a way of challenging ones own skills. For others craft is an outlet, a place in which to engage with what matters to them. It’s a voice in an otherwise loud world. Where there is a space to share views and participate in a field where maybe confidence in other outlets, such as public speaking might be a no go.

Craftivsim as a term was coined in 2003 by writer Betsy Greer. She says of it: ‘Craftivism to me is way of looking at life where voicing opinions through creativity makes your voice stronger, your compassion deeper & your quest for justice more infinite.’Though craft and activism have been around for much longer than that. Sarah Corbett in her book ‘How to be a Craftivist’ talks about the origins of craftivism. Like for example Arpilleras in Chile. Which are brightly coloured patchwork pictures created by women during the military dictatorship of Chile (1973–1990). Depicted the harsh living conditions of life under the dictatorship which had a particular impact on women. These were distributed abroad and sold to provide a vital source of income.

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The Craftivist Collective formed in 2009 by Sarah Corbett out of a need for an alternative to other forms of activism. With no projects or groups for her to join, she decided to have a go at creating her own craftivism projects. With an emphasis on a ‘Gentle Protest’ approach to craftivism. An activism that calls for a more respectful and contemplative approach, promoting conversation and collaboration. Using craft to engage, empower and encourage. Sarah uses craft to build connections with people by using a medium that is hand made, thoughtful and often softer than other forms of communication.

craftivist_hanky_kit1 To provide people with the tools to tackle craftivism for themselves Sarah has produced Craftivist Kits. These little ideas give you the starting point for your own craftivist issues. Allowing you a medium to spread what matters to you. Like the Don’t Blow it hanky kit, inspired by Sarah’s frustration with the lack of communication with her local MP. After repeatedly contacting them with very little interest Sarah created a gift of a stitched hanky, asking her MP to stand up to and fight injustices. This thoughtful act bridged the gap between passive emails to active connections on a personal level.

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Or Your Footprint kit which asks you to reflect on the imprint you leave in the world and is centred around this quote by Helen Keller: “I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do something I can do.”

If you feel inspired to do some craftivism yourself the Craftivist Collective kits are a great insight into this form of activism. Or if simply you want to learn how to be a craftivist and read Sara Corbett’s story the the ‘How to be a Craftivist’ is a great book. But at the end of it, craftivism is about choosing a craft that feels appropriate and comfortable for you and using that craft as your voice. Then use it to talk through, no matter how small or how big you are using craft to initiate a change and express good.

This seems a good place to remind ourselves of the power of craft in bringing the East London Knitters together for the trump rally.

The Trump Visit Protest March, London 2018. Photo credit ©Vicky Bamforth

The Trump Visit Protest March, London 2018. Photo credit ©Vicky Bamforth

 

 

 

1. Finn, Julie (April 4, 2009). “Crafting a Green World. What is Craftivism? Division over the Definition Explodes Etsy Team”. Crafting a Green World.

Knit a Rainbow – Pink

Here at Knit with attitude colour is one of the most debated topics. So instead of doing a fibre or brand feature, I thought I would do little colour ones instead. So this post bypasses projects and specific yarn weights and lets us just love colour. Hopefully if you have a favourite colour in mind, or just looking for that right shade, this will give you some inspiration. Did you know you can search our website by colour as well?

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The last post in my rainbow colour series goes to pink. Pink is a strange one and doesn’t seem to our eyes to appear in the selection of seven visible colours of the rainbow. But is instead a combination of red and blue light (without green), and doesn’t have its own wavelength. Regardless of this, it is still a beautiful colour and deserves it’s own post.  Pink can vary from light pale pinks to darker magentas. With more yellow it heads towards coral and more blue towards a purple. It can be shocking and neon but also muted and gentle.

So here we have them, my pick of the pinks. For more details of each brand look below. Or if you would like to search out your own pink, follow this link to the purple section of our website: PINK.

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Hillesvåg – Tinde in Mørk Rosa – DK 100g – 100% Norwegian Pelsullgarn. Traditionally spun by the family owned mill Hillesvåg, in lustrous Norwegian Pelt wool, Tinde is an DK weight yarn in a colour palette which richness is unlike anything else.

Coopknits – Socks Yeah DK in 217 Xenon – DK 50g – 75% Superwash Merino, 25% Nylon. Socks Yeah! DK is a fabulous, hardwearing yarn with a high twist and a brilliant stitch definition in a gorgeous palette of 10 colours.

Nuturing Fibres – Eco-Cotton in Sweet Pea – DK 50g – 100% Cotton. Nurturing Fibres Eco-Cotton is a soft cotton with a lovely stitch definition suitable to properly show off your favourite crochet and knitting projects.

G-uld – alpaca in KWA05 – 4ply 50g – 100% Alpaca. Naturally dyed and oh so soft alpaca yarn from G-uld.

Nuturing Fibres – Eco-Bamboo in Sweet Pea – 4ply 50g – 100% Bamboo. Nurturing Fibres Eco-Bambo has a gorgeous drape and a lustrous shine, however due to its twist this Bamboo yarn will ‘sag’ less than the usual Bamboo yarns.

Blue Sky Fibres – Alpaca Sport in 538 Hibiscus – Sport 50g – 100% Baby Alpaca. A 100% baby alpaca yarn with a high sheen and springy softness with an excellent stitch definition that creates an amazing drape.

Fyberspates – Vivacious DK in Mixed Magentas – DK 100g – 100% Superwash Merino. A high twist superwash Merino, hand dyed in Peru and spun to perfection as a light weight multipurpose yarn perfect for kids wear.

The Fibre Co. – Meadow in Cosmos – Lace 100g – 40% Merino, 25% Baby Llama, 20% Silk, 15% Linen. Meadow is a perfect combination of four luxurious fibres. The merino and baby llama provide softness and bounce, the silk sheen and drape, and the linen a crisp hand and lovely stitch definition.

John Arbon – Devonia DK in Broken Flower – DK 100g – 50% Exmoor Blueface, 30% Devon Bluefaced Leicester, 20% Devon Wensleydale. A gorgeous blend of 3 UK breeds, creating a soft to the hand and shiny yarn in 4Ply and DK.

Kettle Yarn – Islington DK in Padparadscha – DK 100g – 55% British Bluefaced Leicester Wool, 45% Silk. A lightweight BFL wool and silk blend, versatile and strong while maintaining buttery softness – a sophisticated choice for everyday items, luxurious next-to-skin wear and precious accessories.

Garnsurr – Søkke Merino in Frau – 4ply 100g – 75% Superwash Merino, 25% Nylon. Garnsurr is a social integration project for refugee women. Enabling women through learning the language and the wonderful creative art of hand dyeing.

John Arbon – Knit by Numbers in KBN24 – DK 100g – 100% Merino. An exciting range of double knit organically farmed Merino, spun in a colour palette that aims to provide knitters with the precise shade they require.

Hedgehog  – Fibres Merino DK in Jelly – DK 100g – 100% Superwash Merino. A great all purpose yarn, hardwearing and machine washable, still next to the skin it feels soft. The ideal yarn for sweaters, scarves, hats, literarily anything you can think of!

Kettle Yarn – Beyul in Electric Amaranth – 4ply 100g – 20% Baby Yak, 20% Silk, 60% Merino. Kettle Yarn’s BEYUL combines the best of 3 fibres – the gentle halo of high quality Yak down, a subtle shimmer from silk, and the bouncy goodness of the softest superwash Merino.

Hedgehog Fibres – Skinny Singles in Rosehip – 4ply 100g – 100% Merino. Squishy and soft, with the right amount of twist! This yarn will work for any lace pattern, especially Stephen West designs for fingering/4Ply weight yarns.

Du Store Alpakka – Alpakka Tweed in 121 Cyclamen – Aran 50g – 50% Alpaca, 30% Merino, 20% Donegal. A tweed blend which is sturdy yet soft against the skin. In a classic aran weight it is perfect for those winter favourites.

Susan Crawford – Fenella in Constance Spry – 2ply 25g – 100% Pure British Wool. A 2 ply yarn that knits up to that elusive vintage ‘3 ply’ tension, grown, spun, dyed and finished in Britain.

Coopknits – Socks Yeah! in 116 Ruby – 4ply 50g – 75% Merino 25% Nylon. A fabulous sock yarn with a gorgeous palette in a wide range of colours designed by Rachel Coopey. Socks Yeah! is hardwearing and can be machine washed at 30 degrees.