Knit a Rainbow – Orange

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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Continuing with classic rainbow order we move on to orange! Orange can range from deep rusty browns to bright neon oranges. Orange can seem more yellow at times and more red in others and there seems a fine line between them both. Orange is the colour of food: oranges, carrots, saffron, its a warming colour, the colour of fire!

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

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Black Elephant –  Merino Singles Mini in Golden Coast – 4ply 20g – 100% Superwash Merino. The mini version of Black Elephants popular Merino Singles. A sumptuous range of moody shades.

John Arbon – Devonia DK in Amber Blaze – 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.

Fyberspates – Scrumptious 4ply in Persimmon- 4ply/Sport 100g – 55% Superwash Merino, 45% Silk. This 4-ply merino and silk blend yarn is a must for your favourite projects, and with its tight twist and superb stitch definition it will show off techniques like cables and lace spectacularly.

Kettle Yarn – Islington DK in Persimmon – 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.

John Arbon – Knit by Numbers in  KBN13 – 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.

Hillesvåg – Blåne in Cognac 2013 – Aran 100g – 100% Norwegian Pelt Wool. Traditionally spun by the family owned mill Hillesvåg, in lustrous Norwegian Pelt wool, Blåne is an aran weight yarn in a colour palette which richness is unlike anything else.

Fyberspates – Vivacious DK in Peach Bellini – 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.

Hedgehog Fibres – Skinny Singles in Copper Penny – 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.

Garnsurr – Søkke Merino in Gryteflaks #21 – 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.

Hedgehog Fibres – Skinny Singles in Kid You Not – 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.

Ninapetrina – Tynn Norwegian Lambs Wool in Gold – 4ply 6 50g Skiens – 100% Norwegian Lambs Wool. The Tynn Norwegian Lambs Wool Gradient is dyed on Norwegian Lambs Wool by Ninapetrina in Norway.

Coopknits – Socks Yeah DK in 208 Hecate – 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.

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!

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.

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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!

Yarn of the Week: Tokonatsu

This week our highlight yarn is Tokonatsu by Noro. This DK weight yarn comes in a range of 8 muted jewel tones. It is a blend of cotton, silk and viscose, making it a wonderful yarn for summer and warmer weather garments. The yarn has a slubby blend, giving the finished fabric a slightly tweedy texture. This effect makes a wonderful canvas for stocking stitch, simple textures and stripes.

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For patterns, our favourite is Peridot, from the Noro Jewels collection booklet (available in-store only). The dolman sleeve design has a simple eyelet feature in a chevron for the front, which shows off the texture of the yarn beautifully.

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Noro has been making yarns in Japan under the guidance of its founder, Eisaku Noro, for over 40 years. All their fibre is sourced from certified organic farms which the company is actively involved in sourcing. They maintain strict standards to ensure a low environmental impact, from dye exhaust to machinery.

Use the code NORO15 online to get 15% off Tokonatsu until Sunday August 21st, while supplies last. Mention the sale in-store to receive the same offer.