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?

Yarn Pairings for Pom Pom Quarterly Issue 25 – Summer 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview with Jule from
Hey Mama Wolf

In our effort to create a full range of ethical and environmentally sourced yarns, we have spent a long time searching for a company making yarn dyed with plants, or naturally dyed yarn. This is an inherently niche idea, so while there are people out there naturally dying yarn, it was difficult to find someone dying that could also handle the larger scales required to supply orders from yarn shops. We were so excited to meet Jule who came to visit the shop while she was in London attending Pomfest this summer and discover her yarn company, Hey Mama Wolf. Not only does Jule dye all of her yarns naturally, the yarns themselves are also sourced and processed locally to her in Germany, greatly reducing the carbon footprint of the yarn. We have started off with the Sockyarn #04 and kits to do your own natural dying at home.

With all this to consider, we were excited to ask Jule a few questions about Hey Mama Wolf and learn about what goes on behind the scenes.

jule hmwHow long have you been knitting?
When I was about 10 years old we visited my great aunt Agnes and she told me that I needed to learn how to knit. Without further ado she just taught me. I don’t think I had a choice but I enjoyed it very much. First things I knitted were teeny tiny things for my Barbies – scarfs, hats and even mittens. Aunt Agnes was also the one who taught me mending and gave me my first sewing machine.

kupfer mordantWhat inspired you to get into dying and specifically natural dying?
Again I will start with my aunts and my grandma. Aunt Agnes was a garden architect, my grandma has a huge garden and another aunt is a herbalist. My mother often took me for long walks in the woods and the botanical gardens. They all planted the love for plants in me. I was always especially interested in healing plants. I became a textile and surface designer, and when I graduated from art school, I was a freelance knitwear designer. After having our first daughter I started looking for sustainable local yarns. I love natural wool colours very much but what would knitting be without colourful yarns? Two very good friends of mine asked me why don’t I do plant dyeing. I love to explore and I love plants. So these friends were absolutely right. I find great joy in dyeing with plants.

farbkarte birkeWhere and how do you source the dyes that you work with? Can you tell us more about the plant origins?
I started with using only hand gathered plants from walks in Berlin and Brandenburg, leftovers from friends (flowers, onion skins, avocado pits…) and what I got from the local organic market – turmeric, carrot greens, whatever wasn’t suitable for selling anymore. But I knew that I wouldn’t get far with that if HMW wanted to grow. Right now I’m using plant dye extracts that are made by a company nearby in Magdeburg. I was so thrilled when I found out that there is actually a company in Germany who does that. They come as an easy to use powder. The difference between these and chemical dyes is that they are still a natural product and are much more influenced by other parameters – water, weather, mordants, the yarn itself. Every dyer will get different results.

Some colours I prefer to dye with plant matter itself. I try to buy them organically and preferably local grown. I still get stuff from the local market and of course I’m still exploring the colours that surround me, my local dye plants. We live in an old water mill surrounded by nature, so when a tree falls down in a storm I gather the bark and leaves. When tansy and St. John’s Wort are flowering in abundance I will go and gather. Right now I’m very interested in using mushrooms as a dye material. It is a whole different story to plants though, I’ll have to get acquainted to the fungi world.

johannis etsyDo you have a favourite plant to dye with? 
Oh yes, many. The first that comes to my mind is birch bark. It smells so good when you cook it and most of the time it makes the most beautiful dusty pinks or golden browns. Then fresh St. John’s Wort flowers. You can dye at least four different colours with it, bright green, golden yellow, orange and maroon. I also find many oak galls on my walks and I love the greys that I can achieve with them.

birkenrinde topfThe fibre for your yarns are all sourced locally to you in northern Germany, can you tell us more about where they come from and how they are made?
Yes, the wool comes from small organic farms in northern and eastern Germany. The farms sometimes only have some sheep to mow the lawn, while others have as many as 200- 300 sheep to produce cheese and meat. I don’t know many of the farmers personally. The wool mill gathers the wool. They sort and scour it (just with plant based soap) and it is then spun. The natural brown wool is from the Frisian milk sheep of my neighbour Anna. She has about 150 sheep and makes the best cheese. Anna is a very inspiring person. She makes everything from the wool of her sheep. Carpets, woven fabric, mattresses and pillows, wall hangings and of course she spins and knits. It is lovely to stand next to her watching the sheep. She can tell a story of every single one of them.

faerberknoeterichHow do you develop a new colour way? Do you start with a specific combination in mind, or is it a happy accident? 
In the beginning there was exploring and many happy accidents. Now I can predict the outcome much better. Still natural dyes are always surprising. Some weeks ago I dyed a colour that I often dye, a best seller, a golden yellow with St. John’s Wort. I made two batches at the same time, doing everything absolutely exact according to my recipe. One batch was golden yellow, and one was green. A beautiful green and I would love to dye it again, but I don’t have a clue what went wrong. I can’t even blame the stars, because I made them at the same time. As a textile designer I work pretty much according to the books when developing a shade card. I make a mood board, then think about which plant can give me which colour.

muehle herbst 1What’s currently on your needles?
Too much. I have the Whinfell sweater of Jenn Steingass from Woods on my needles with my own hand dyed and hand spun yarns. There are mittens for our children with my Rauwerk wool. I’m working on a striped pullover with my #02 yarn. A pair of socks with the Mistletoe pattern by Verena Cohrs. A vest from my #03 yarn. But my favourite project these days is not knitting related. We’re currently renovating our old house and I’m trying to make plant pigments to use in my own wall paint.

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.

New Yarn: From The Mountain ethical cashmere

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

Skeins of yarn for marketing

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

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

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

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

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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 Pairings for Pom Pom Issue 20 Spring 2017

We’ve had another knockout issue arrive from Pom Pom Quarterly! The Spring 2017 issue is number 20, and is jam packed with sweaters and accessories to bring you through to the warmer months.

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The cover shawl is a beautiful and wearable Arrosa by Jennifer Weissman. It uses 2 skeins of Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock, which we have lots of in-stock at the moment. An extra lovely detail is to use a leftover bit of yarn in a contrast colour for the bind off to create a pop of colour.

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Astera by Grace Gouin is a practical take on a market shopping bag. Using Shiny Happy Cotton held double you would get a sturdy fabric that would hold it’s shape and whatever you threw into it as well. We also have beautiful handmade leather handles in the shop from Jul designs to complete your bag.

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Bombus is the first of the sweater designs in this issue. The cardigan, designed by Miriam Jarrs, seamlessly manages to combine a bomber jacket with a quilted bed jacket and come out the other side looking stylish! The top down design would work well in a yarn that holds its stitch definition well, like Fyberspates Vivacious DK.

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While Pom Pom is primarily a knitting magazine, they do usually include a crochet pattern as well. This issue has Hanabira, a top down cardigan by Eline Alcocer. The flower petal detail at the cuffs and hem leave endless options for personalization, and with one of our newest yarns, Blue Sky Fibers Baby Alpaca Sport, there’s lots of colour options!

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Izumi is our favourite sweater in the issue, though we may be biased as it was designed by our own Natalie Selles! This sweatshirt style pullover has a plain stocking stitch body and sleeves, with a gorgeous cabled and lace stitch pattern in the shoulder areas and cuffs. We would love to see it knit up in John Arbon Knit By Numbers, which with a buttery soft hand would only make this sweater even more lush!

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Melli is another wearable cardigan pattern from Camille Rosselle. This boxy jumper is oversized but cropped for more practicality. The subtle bee stitch texture breaks up the reverse stocking stitch would work well with both speckled yarns as shown in the sample, or in a solid as well. With speckled texture what other yarn could you recommend than Hedgehog Fibres Merino DK.

Odonata-Pom-Pom-Quaterly-Issue-20-Spring-2017The last pullover pattern of the issue is Odonata by Courtney Cedarholm. The tunic length adds a bit of drama to it, with a smocked effect cable on the front, and a plain stocking stitch back and sleeves, with a ribbed and rolled edge. The drape of wool and silk blend of the Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply would be perfect for this pattern.

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The hat pattern of this issue is designed by Anna Maltz. Signal features 6 colours of a 4ply yarn. We love the colour options of a yarn like CoopKnits Socks Yeah! which comes in 16 shades. You would be sure to be able to find a combination that was just right for you.

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The last cardigan is Tinea, designed by Rachel Brockman. The drop shoulder style lends itself well to the upper shoulder design on the back, and the option of doing the ribbing in a contrast colour adds a bit of fun! Findley DK from Juniper Moon has a crispness that would show off the stitch pattern, and drape for the open fronts design.

We can’t wait to see what you make from the issue, it’s always fun to see people’s knits and choices. The magazine is on sale in the store and online.

Introducing Chunky Row!

13934821_1610143819282781_5386504833579761522_nHave you heard of Chunky Row yet? They are a new company promoting super chunky 100% certified Shetland Wool. Founded by Charlotte while daydreaming in an office job last year, the aim is promote British industry and sheep breeds in a fun and exciting way.

yarnWith the dropping temperatures and early nightfall, who hasn’t dreamt of a cozy blanket, but felt that knitting one would take too long? We have in the 140m giant balls, which are the perfect amount to knit a throw lap blanket, all you need is one ball! And on 25mm needles you’ll be done before you even started. They also have a few accessories patterns as well. There’s no going cold with Chunky Row in the house! 14079605_1616223902008106_4654517598372059943_n

We also have a selection of their 25mm knitting needles and crochet hooks, jumbo styles!

Yarn of the Week: Excelana 4ply and DK

This week’s yarn of the week comes to you a day late due to the bank holiday weekend, we hope you all had a lovely time in the sunshine if you had the day off! The weather has had a little freshness to it here in London, and it has us turning our minds to jumpers and cardigans for cooler days ahead. What better yarn to feature than Susan Crawford’s Excelana. It is available in a 4ply and DK weight in 50g balls, perfect for colourwork pieces.

Excelana

Susan designed this yarn with a colour palette in mind for her books A Stitch in Time vol. 1 and 2. The muted tones work perfectly together for the vintage style patterns requiring more than one colour. The blend is a 100% British Exmoor Blueface, and it is spun and dyed in Devon by John Arbon Textiles, making this a truly British yarn from start to finish. We are also excited for the possible uses of this yarn in Susan’s upcoming book, The Vintage Shetland Project.

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One of our favourite sweaters is Susan’s Bowland, which uses 6 colours of Excelana 4ply. The original shown was knit in Sweet Chestnut, Nile Green, Alabaster, Damson Wine, Land Army Green and Dark Mandarin, but the colour combinations are endless for more modern or traditional twists.

Use the code EXCEL15 online to get 15% off Excelana 4ply and/or DK until Sunday September 4th, while supplies last. Mention the sale in-store to receive the same offer.

 

 

Yarn of the Week: Lyonesse 4ply

This week’s yarn is Lyonesse 4ply from Blacker Yarns. Perfect for transitional seasons, it is a blend of Linen and Corriedale/Merino wool. This combination creates a subtle flecked fabric where the two fibres blend together. The yarn can have a very rustic appearance in the ball, but linen softens dramatically with knitting and washing, so don’t let that dissuade you from how fantastic this can feel worn right next to the skin. The linen also helps keep the finished garments from being too warm, making them perfect for the in-between months or cooler summer evenings.

Lyonesse Lapiz

The Drift Raglan Increase Shawl is a free pattern from Blacker, designed by Sonja Bargielowska to use Lyonesse. The simple lace panels with stocking stitch look meditative to knit, and so cozy to wear! You can get the pattern on Ravelry.

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Blacker Yarns is the yarn business of The Natural Fibre Company, a mill based in Cornwall. As a mill they process yarns for small farms and other yarn businesses, while producing their own yarn as Blacker. Their mill is committed to using 100% British yarns and working with local farms to promote industry and growth, which has also meant championing rare sheep breeds and ethical farming practices. This translates into care for their production methods and reducing waste as much as possible in a responsible way.

Use the code LYON15 online to get 15% off Lyonesse 4ply until Sunday August 28th, while supplies last. Mention the sale in-store to receive the same offer.

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.