What do you get the knitter that has everything… part 2 – that special skein.

Following on from my earlier blog post I have been thinking over what makes a good gift for a knitter. There are a lot of different choices for yarn so I have decided to focus on that special skein. These special skeins make the perfect knitters treat. They might not be something that a knitter would buy for themselves but they are always welcome presents.

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So here’s a little break down of some special skeins that would make a great gift, I have focused on our range of amazing hand dyed yarns from a selection of talented hand dyers,  just one or two of these would be enough to make something special.

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Miniskeins! I think have to be every knitters weakness. What better way to sample the delights of a hand dyer than with these little gorgeous bite size skeins. These mini’s from Black Elephant are 20g of a 4ply Superwash Merino Single. Try one or two to add little colour pops to projects or crocheting little granny squares to start a blanket. Try four or five for a little striped hat or fingerless gloves. You can also embrace the fading possibilities on a much smaller scale. Like this cute little combo I have picked out featuring: Cornfields, Pineapple Express, Nostalgia, Mudbound and Daryl.

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What about socks! Here are some special skeins that would give the sock knitter endless joy. Sock Yarn is not only for socks either and can be used for any project. Here we have the popular Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock in Beach Bunny. This sturdy 4ply sock yarn of Bluefaced Leicester and Nylon is strong and gives good stitch definition. The Garnsurr Søkke Merino is a a hand dyed Merino Nylon blend, super soft and luxurious. Garnsurr is a Norwegian company that not only produces gorgeous yarn but also employs refugee women. They are giving a skill and are helped to settle and learn Norwegian. This is a great yarn to give as a gift as it introduces people to the great work that Garnsurr do. For more information on Garnsurr check out our interview with Ann Helen, Garnsurr’s founder. Looking for a hand dye that has an interesting dyeing background then try Hey Mama Wolf’s Sockyarn #04. These skeins are dyed completely with natural dye by the talented Jule. She uses a mixture of plant based dye stuffs that will have you amazed at the range of colours. For a pair of socks just one of these 100g skeins will have you sorted.

specialskein-02Want to amaze someone with a spectacular special skein that they are unlikely to find in many places try the Pan by Garnsurr. The great people at Garnsurr have applied their dyeing magic to this DK weight blend of Buck Mohair and Dalasheep. This is one for the knitter that gets geeky about their breeds. This slightly coarser hand dye takes the colour amazingly and they are all deep and rich. One of these would be perfect for a hat or a pair of gloves, or even a little snood. (I just released a design using this yarn, and you can find my Pan Snood on my Ravelry page).

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Looking for a two skein combo try Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles. HHF’s vibrant dyes are bound to get the knitter in your life excited! With a huge selection of semi-solids, speckled and poppy shades, finding a colour combo is easy peasy making you the most popular gift buyer this year!

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Another firm favourite for the knitters that prefer a heavier knit – or just need top get that last minute knitted gift sorted. With one of these Hedgehog Fibres Merino DKs you can whip up a hat or a pair of wrist warmers in no time! And again – we have plenty of colours to choose from.

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This one is for all the experimental knitters that love a good fibre combo. There is such a craze in the knitting world these days combining a single soft strand of fluffy yarn with a sturdier one, no surprise really, because this creates the most stunning and wearable of textures. As we see one designer after the other releasing gorgeous projects using HHF Kidsilk Lace in this way, you can’t go wrong gifting a hank or two to someone who really deserves it!

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Finally, we have to talk about Linda! Did you know that Kettle Yarn Co. is the handdyer that has been with Knit with attitude the longest? Not only is Linda our dear friend, she makes some amazing colours on equally amazing yarns! For discerning makers looking for the most precious materials, all yarns are extensively wear tested and only the highest quality, scrumptiously soft but rugged blends make the grade for the Kettle Yarn Co yarns. Pictured above is Islington DK – a high twist BFL and silk blend, and below is Beyul 4Ply that 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.

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The ideas I’ve gathered here are some of our most striking hand dyes which would be on every knitter’s wish list, however our shop is filled with woolly gems and special skeins from all over the world for you to fall in love with. Why not grab a cuppa and go for a proper browse through – there is still time before Christmas and you do deserve a colourful and inspirational break!

Interview with Layla from Qing Fibre

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

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How long have you been knitting?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Review: WestKnits BestKnits Number 1 – Shawls

wkbk_cover_1024x1024Tis the season for knitting, and also for new book releases! We’ve got the first of what we hope will be an ongoing series from Stephen West, WestKnits BestKnits. It is subtitled Number 1 – Shawls, so hopefully there will be further titles in the future!

29011089976_345886507f_zThe book features 13 of Stephen’s most popular patterns. This book won’t make as much sense if you’ve been collecting them as they have been coming out, but a great investment if you have been eyeballing a few patterns. It also comes with a digital download code so you can have just the pattern you are working on with you instead of carrying the book around.

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Each pattern has been photographed and shown in multiple colour combinations in Stephen’s now iconic graphic style. The variations shown really highlight the variety of options available to knitters to personalize their finished pieces.

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For those of you looking to start your own WestKnits pieces, we just received our biggest yet shipment of Hedgehog Fibres! Loads of restocked colours, and plenty of new ones as well. 29011082476_9979d2dfc9_z