Homeward Bound Knit-a-long

As mentioned in the post below – we were completely overwhelmed and so so so happy about how well our Homeward Bound Shawl had been received – that we decided to prolong our celebrations with a knit-a-long happening over on our Instagrams! The Homeward Bound Shawl is available as a kit in three gorgeous colourways in our online store, or you can get it as a single pattern on Ravelry.

The KAL started May 5th – but doesn’t end until June 19th so there is plenty of time to join in on the fun, and this is what you have to do:

  • Post any progress pictures using the hashtag #homewardboundshawl, every picture is an entry to the prize draw – so the more the better.
  • Make sure you follow both Knit with attitude and Natalie Selles, and tag both of us on your posted picture.

That is it! On June 20th we will draw two winners from all the post entered between May 5th and June 19th. One of you will receive 4 skeins (a total of 200g) of the brand new CoopKnits Socks Yeah! DK in the colours of your choice, and the second prize is a pattern of free choice from Natalie Selles along with one of her super pretty draw string project bags.

As the knit-a-long has already begun we are really enjoying all the lovely Homeward Bound projects that are beginning to pop up over on Instagram – just have a look – we can’t wait to see more!

And … this is Maya’s progress so far, ready to tackle the stripes section.

Maya's Homeward Bound

Yarn Pairings for Pom Pom Issue 17 Summer 2016

Issue-17-Cover-ImageThere has been so much anticipation for this latest issue of Pom Pom here at Knit with attitude, especially after hosting the samples for Yarn Shop Day at the end of April. It’s finally here! The garments fit perfectly with our Summer Top KAL, and even better, we’ve just received loads of new summer yarns here in the shop that are just right for summer knitting. We have brand new linen and cotton/linen blends, as well as top ups and new colours in lots of other summery fibres.

altair

First up we have Altair by Joanne Scrace. This triangle shawl is a take on the granny square classic, but with a more modern twist. Worked from one corner to the next, it is easily adaptable for yardage depending on what you plan to use. We think the bright colours of Botany Lace would be a fun summer piece to pull on over summer dresses.

catchfly

Catchyfly, by Wencke Lucas is a great example of how to take a tweed yarn, something usually associated with winter, and bring it into the summer months. We think that Terra, which is wool and silk would add to that lux feel while having drape as well.

hollis

Lynn Brennan’s Hollis is an unusual piece in that it is knitted with clothesline cord! We don’t have any cotton that thick to recommend, but we have some beautiful leather and metal handles by Jul Design that would be the perfect finishing touch. Check them out the next time you are in our neighbourhood.

nouri

Nouri is Maya’s favourite! Carol Feller designed this oversized pullover sweater with a lace detail over one hip. The sleeves are done in one piece with the body for maximum drape and ease of construction. We just received 6 shades of Zooey from Juniper Moon Farm. Held double this would be a wonderful summer sweater.

olivette

Knitted dresses get a bad reputation, but Thea Colman dispels all of these worries with Olivette! It comes with instructions for both a dress/tunic and t-shirt lengths for everyone’s tastes. The front lace is placed asymmetrically and the longer length includes a surprisingly sturdy pocket. Vivacious DK has just the right amount of semi-solid colour to work well for this.

redbudisle

The Red Bud Isle tank by Courtney Cedarholm would be a fantastic quick summer knit. It has contrast stripes and an overlapping split back that would be comfortable to wear while still being modest. How to choose which shades of Shiny Happy Cotton to use!

tanneryfalls

Tannery Falls is the second crochet piece from the issue. Sara Delaney has designed wearable top with a loose gauge for maximum cool weather wear. Two colours of Meadow with it’s linen content would show off the yarn and pattern beautifully.

thornett

Thornett is an all around favourite here at the shop! Sara Thornett’s top is everything you want from a summer top, easy to knit and wear with some lace for visual interest and loads of opportunity to use a fun colour. Luckily Eco-baby has lots of those to choose from!

trailbreeze

Trailbreeze is one of the more unusual garments in the issue, with it’s generous handkerchief hem over each hip. Courtney Cedarholm has done a brilliant job at keeping the lines otherwise clean to keep it looking modern. We have a brand new Swedish linen in 12 colours, from subtle neutrals to modern brights, you are sure to find a Växbo Lin Lingarn for this top.

vaara_wide

Sachiko Burgin has designed the last tee, Vaara. This simple top has a deep raglan yoke and a textured ribbed hem. We think this is another great use for the cotton/linen drape of Zooey, held singly this time.

windlass_wide

Last but not least is Windlass, by Kiyomi Burgin has draws inspiration from traditional aran sweaters with it’s cables and neckline, but brought forward a few seasons with split hems and no sleeves. The textures here would work well with Noro Tokonatsu.

Don’t forget to enter in our Summer Top KAL on Ravelry! We have a few people started already, we would love to see what you are working on. We will draw from eligible winners for prizes on July 31st.

Yarn Shop Day Winner!

We are very excited to announce the winner of our draw on Saturday for Yarn Shop Day. Congratulations to Gail! She won 4 balls of Blacker rare breeds yarn. They include a Pure Polwarth in cream, Manx wool with Mohair, in a natural tan, Pure Black Welsh Mountain wool in almost black, and a Gotland in dyed blue.

breeds

Saturday was the kick off for our Summer Top KAL/CAL. It was fun to see the garments that people were planning for, we can’t wait to see them made up! Here in the shop we have cast on an infinity snood for a shop sample in The Fibre Co.’s Meadow. It’s an unusual blend of wool, baby llama, silk and linen. Despite the blend we think it would make a great summer top, and we can’t wait to show you the sample when it’s done, you’ll be able to give it a squish in person and see for yourself!

meadow

If you are planning on participating in the KAL/CAL we are over on the Ravelry group talking about our makes, feel free to join in! There is also still a 10% on all yarns that contain cotton, linen, bamboo or silk in the online shop if you need to pick up some yarn. The promotion runs until Sunday at midnight!

summerkalpromo16_medium

We would also like to announce the prizes for participants of the KAL/CAL! We will draw from finished garments posted in our FO thread by midnight on July 31st. First prize will be a gift certificate of £50 to spend online or in the shop. Second and Third prize will be goodie bags filled with yarn and patterns.

 

TAKE HEART – Ketch Harbour KAL

We are just about to cast on for this KAL starting tomorrow Monday January 4 and though it was about time we nailed down the details and offered some more inspiration.

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The Ketch Harbour pattern calls for the stunning Kettle Yarn Co Islington DK a lush BFL/silk blend, oh so soft, but still with a firm twist to give a stitch definition that will truly high light the design details of the Ketch Harbour Shawl. Pictured in Fiona Alice’s Take Heart Collection the shawl is made in the classic Icicle. I’m debating whether or not to go for the darker Old Smoke, or to splash out in a brighter colour like the Marigold or even the Verdigris.

islington_oldsmoke

islington_verdigris

To help you get started we are offering a 15% discount on the Islington DK yarn in a range of colours and the Take Heart book. Three skeins of yarn and the book would regularly retail for £78, but we have them here for you for £66. If you already have the book, don’t worry, you can join the KAL and get the yarn from us still with a discount. Just use the code KETCHKAL when making your purchase online or mention it to us if popping by the shop. Please note that the discount only applies for 3 skeins bought at the time as this is the amount needed to complete the Ketch Harbour Shawl.

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All though Cast On is January 4th (for the more eager and impatient of us) we have decided to run this KAL until February 28th – which gives almost two months of knitting pleasure! As usual we have set up a Ravelry KAL thread to talk about our projects and to show of the finished results – we are also accepting entries from non-ravellers, just send us a picture of your shawl to ‘knitalong at knitwithattiude dot com’. We will feature all finished shawls here on the blog – and one lucky winner will win back the the value of their purchase as a Knit with attitude voucher to spend on even more yarn!!!

Ready, steady, needles set – GET KNITTING!

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Summer Top KAL Prizes Update

We have loved seeing your posts about what you are working on for the Summer Top KAL! We’ve seen some great projects started, we are looking forward to sharing some of them with you soon. Be sure to post progress pictures and get in the conversation on our Ravelry group.

We have contacted some of our favourite suppliers that we carry at the shop, and we are happy to announce some further additions to the prize pot!

Alexa and Emily of Tin Can Knits have graciously donated a number of patterns from across their range. We have their patterns in the shop and absolutely love them. They have a great range of sizes across all ages, so no one gets left out of the fun. They have just announced a new pattern collection featuring kids (and a few adult) patterns, we can’t wait to see the designs.

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Tin Can Knits – The Max and Bodhi’s Wardrobe

They have donated three separate prizes for our KAL:
1. An e-copy of their newest collection ‘Max and Bodhi’s Wardrobe’
2. Winner’s choice of one of Tin Can Knits’ ebooks (9 Months of Knitting, Pacific Knits, Great White North, Handmade in the UK, Road Trip, Max and Bodhi’s Wardrobe)
3. An ecopy of a Tin Can Knits pattern of choice (must be published by Tin Can Knits)

TCK-raindrops

Tin Can Knits – Raindrop

There are so many to choose from! Which is your favourite?

Pom Pom Quarterly are another favourite of ours. They have donated a brand new copy of their summer issue and one of their rad tote bags. We would show you a picture of it, but it hasn’t been published yet! This is another collection of patterns that we are looking forward to, and it is sure to include lots of warm weather knitting inspiration to carry your knitting through the summer months.

Pom_Pom_Tote_featured_image-375x500

Pom Pom Tote

The Fibre Co has been so generous to donate one skein in their fabulous fibre blend Meadow in the colour Fennel, this yummy yarn is a mix of Merino wool, Baby Llama, Silk and Linen. Not only this, the winner of this prize will also get their hands on a digital Fibre Co pattern of their choice!

The Fibre Co Meadow - Fennel

The Fibre Co Meadow – Fennel

Fyberspates has also contributed to the pile of prizes, one lucky winner will receive one of their single patterns!

Challow by Fyberspates

Challow by Fyberspates

And in case you finished projects need some TLC, Soak Wash has been so generous to contribute with a large 375ml bottle of Soak Wash Yuzu.

Soak Wash Yuzu

Soak Wash Yuzu

Now all you have to do is get your summer knitting happening! You’ll find all details about the KAL over at the Summer Top KAL page!

Fibre Fridays: Silk

We are writing these fibre posts in relation to our summer KAL, so silk is an obvious choice. Cool in the heat, warm in the cold, silk is a perfect summer fabric. Silk has amazing drape, which makes it perfect for loose tops and shawls. The structure of the fibre has very little elasticity, which means that it doesn’t bounce back to it’s original shape very well. This gives it fantastic drape for loose tops, but it is less appropriate for a figure hugging ribbed sweater as it will become less figure hugging over time. For this reason silk is often blended with other fibres to get the best of both worlds. A wool silk blend will have much of the natural elasticity of wool, with all the sheen and intense colour of silk.

For the summer KAL Natalie is working on the Fieldwork Cardigan, she chose to make it in Fyberspates Scrumptious 4Ply, a gorgeous merino silk blend perfect for this project.

Fieldwork Cardigan - Pom Pom Quarterly Issue 5

Fieldwork Cardigan – Pom Pom Quarterly Issue 5

So we know that we like knitting with silk, but how is it made? We won’t lie to you, silk is a contentious issue. There is no perfect silk solution, but we want to give you some facts about different kinds of silk so that you can make your own decision.

All silk comes from silk worms, or the caterpillar from a silk moth. Most silk comes from the Bombyx Mori variety. In simple terms the silk worm is hatched, then it eats a lot and grows for about a month. When it has reached it’s full size, which can be about a thousand times it’s hatched size, it spins a cocoon. The cocoon is harvested and turned into silk. The contentious issue is what happens to the silk worm in this harvesting process.

The first thing to know is that the Bombyx Mori silk worm has been domesticated for silk production since 2600 BC. That’s almost 5000 years. While there are a few breeds of silk worms that can be found in the wild, the Bombyx Mori is not. It is completely dependant on people for survival, and pretty much exist solely to produce silk. They are blind, can’t fly very well and some varieties don’t really have mouths as adult moths. The life span of an adult moth is about 5 days, in which span they lay an average of 500 eggs and then die.

Mulberry silk, such as the Indochine Yarn by Lantern Moon, is harvested after the developing chrysalis is ‘stifled’ before it can mature and hatch out of the cocoon. This process of killing the moth is done with heat by either boiling the cocoons or placing them in an oven. The thread of the cocoon can then be reeled off in one continuous thread, which is usually around 6m long! This incredibly long staple length is one of the reasons that mulberry silk has such a high shine and strength. Some of the moths are allowed to live so that they can hatch eggs for the next harvest.

Lantern Moon Indochine

Lantern Moon Indochine – 100% Mulberry Silk

Tussah and noil silk, such as Hokkaido, is harvested after the moths hatch. The moth secretes a solution that dissolves a small hole in the cocoon so that it can climb out. The impact on the cocoon means that that 6m long thread has been cut up into much smaller pieces. This means that the resulting fibre has less shine and lustre than mulberry silk. These smaller pieces are spun together to create the fibre in a similar way to how wool is spun. This process is often referred to as Ahima or peace silk, as the process does not directly involve killing silk moths. However, we want to identify all the sides of the silk production, and the truth is that the silk moths die in this method as well. Since more moths reach adulthood, there are more eggs laid and more worms hatched. Since this method creates significantly more worms that than can be fed or cared for, the surplus worms are left to starve, or are sold at market for humans to eat. Also, due to the general dependance on humans and their short life span, the adult moths are not released into the wild to live happy little moth lives.

Now, this is all starting to sound really depressing! So why use silk at all? Well, at the end of the day, silk moths are bugs, and bugs have a life span and they do die, one way or the other. If you are looking into the ethics of silk, the question between the two methods is not which method kills moths, but which method are you more comfortable with? There is the controlled population method of mulberry silk where exactly the number needed are hatched and then quickly killed, or the over population of tussah silk, where the unneeded adult and moths are discarded after the process.

DesignEtte Shikoku - 100% Raw Silk

DesignEtte Shikoku – 100% Raw Silk

What’s a knitter to do? We’ve added a few other factors into the equation to help us with the silks we carry. Lantern Moon creates their Indochine silk yarn and silk bags in partnership with local communities in Vietnam, Cambodia and Bali using traditional techniques that are passed down through the generations.

DesignEtte makes their natural fibre yarns in countries that support regulation and ethical labour laws.

Noro Kibou - Cotton, wool and silk blend

Noro Kibou – Cotton, wool and silk blend

Noro works very hard to maintain a production process that is as eco-friendly as possible. All their animal fibres come from organic farms, and they are directly involved in the dyeing and spinning to ensure as little waste as possible while still creating a luxury process that lasts.

Du Store Alpakka’s Fin is a luxurious silk and alpaca blend. Du Store Alpakka is a major supporter of the Mirasol project, which supports the education of the families of the shepherds that raise the alpacas in Peru.

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Du Store Alpakka Fin – Alpaca silk blend

Similarly, Fyberspates works directly with all of their production process to ensure high employment and environmental standards with all of their yarns. We love the colours in their wool/silk blend range, Scrumptious.

Here at Knit with attitude, our biggest goal is to provide ethical and environmentally friendly knitting options that are also beautiful to knit with and wear. The key word in there is options. We do our best to do our research into the companies that we work with, but we want to provide our customers and readers with the information that they need to make their own informed choices, because a lot of the time it isn’t as easy as this yarn good, that yarn bad. We also have a range of customers who have made up their own minds in terms of what they need from their yarn and from their knitting.

The truth is that unless you are growing your own fibre, right from the start, there is no perfect yarn. An organic, fair trade cotton is pretty perfect in some ways; environmentally friendly to grow, ethically produced and animal cruelty free is great! But none of these yarns are produced in the UK, as cotton doesn’t like our cool, damp climate, so they all have to be shipped, which has it’s own carbon emissions. Some companies have all the right practices but aren’t certified organic or fair trade because they are small producers that can’t afford the expensive process to become certified. For some people local is more important than organic, for others the ethics are most important, and for some the environment and ethics are a bonus for a beautiful skein of yarn. We aren’t here to make that choice for you.

Fyberspates Scrumptious - Merino silk blends

Fyberspates Scrumptious – Merino silk blends

There are a lot of things to take into consideration for environmentally friendly shopping, from food to fibre. We just hope that we can provide you with some more information to help you make your own informed choice, and we are always looking out for more information and discussion ourselves and for our customers. If you have any concerns about the way a certain yarn is made, just ask!

Fibre Fridays: Merino

Another instalment of our Fibre Fridays! This week we are talking about merino wool.

Merino wool! you may say, That’s not a summer yarn. It’s all sheepy and warm and not at all good for summer knitting. Well, we are here to disagree!

Merino sheep were first bred in Spain, and were highly prized

Long before the invention of synthetic fibers, the fabric of choice for sportswear and outdoors was wool. Did you know that cyclists in the Tour de France wore wool jerseys, even in the middle of the summer? In 1947, when the Tour first tried to introduce the first synthetic threads on the iconic Yellow Jersey by their sponsor Sofil (a synthetic thread maker) there was outrage among the riders. Louison Bobet, the rider who was to wear the yellow jersey, flat out refused, saying that it was a matter of hygiene and that pure wool was the only way to go. The company had to make a new, 100% wool jersey over night for him to wear!

One of the reasons for this is the breathability of wool. It naturally cools the wearer down in the summer, and keeps them warm in the winter. It can absorb 35% of its weight in water before feeling wet to the touch, as well as repelling moisture (or sweat) away from the wearer, reducing clamminess.

Now, we aren’t advocating that you all run out and knit your own cycing jersey. Merino works very well as a light layer for regular, everyday use, which works well for summer time. A lightweight merino jumper would work well over a sundress in cool evenings, or with a lace pattern for a summer top. Here in the UK we are rarely battling really, truly hot temperatures, which makes wool an excellent choice year round.

Wool is a very sustainable and renewable fiber, which is one of the reasons we love it so much! As with any product that we carry, we are conscious not just of it’s impact on the environment but also on the people and animals that are involved in the process. For this reason we make sure that all of our merino comes from farms that do not practice museling, a painful surgical process common in Australia against flystrike.

Araucanía Botany Lace

Araucanía Botany Lace

So what should you look for in a wool yarn? We like fine gauges, like Arucania Botany Lace, or blended with another fiber such as silk, with Manos Silk Blend DK.

Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend DK

Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend DK

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Crown Tee by Jenise Reid

Natalie is dreaming of the Crown Tee by Jenise Reid. It calls for a lace or fingering weight yarn. We have some great candidates for this pattern, which you can purchase through the shop in person or on Ravelry. Botany Lace by Arucania is a very hearty plied yarn that has a lot of stitch definition, which would make the lace pop. We have two options from Fyberspates; Scrumptious Lace and the brand new to us Vivacious 4Ply.

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Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace

Fyberspates Vivacious 4Ply

Fyberspates Vivacious 4Ply

The silk content of the Scrumptious will have more drape, while the Vivacious will have more stitch definition. Finally, Sulka Legato by Mirasol is a 60% Merino/20% Silk/20% Alpaca from Peru which would have amazing drape and comes in great colours.

Mirasol Sulka Legato

Mirasol Sulka Legato

Now, how’s that for summer inspiration! And remember, the Summer Top Knit-A-Long is in full swing, share your summer knits with us and you can be the lucky winner of £100 to spend on more yarns + we’re about to reveal the huge pile of extra goodies we’re adding to the prize draw, so keep your eyes on the blog for further announcements.

 

 

Summer Top KAL 2015

Spring and summer can be a difficult time for a knitter. The warm layers are begging to be thrown off and toes long to be free from wooly socks. In general, the inspiration or knitting mojo can fade in the face of longer days. Luckily for you, we’ve got just the ticket to keep your needles clicking all through the year. We are happy to announce the first KWA Spring/Summer Top KAL!

While the winter jumper certainly owns the lion’s share of knitting patterns, there are loads of really inspiring and (most importantly) wearable knitting and crochet patterns that are perfect for warmer temperatures. We have it a bit easier here in the UK as winter isn’t terribly well known for getting very hot, which means that lots of patterns are wearable in the evenings and cooler days all year round. But there are also lots of customers will travel to warmer climates for their holidays, or maybe they are lucky enough to live there year round! We have been pinning loads of breezy knits onto our Summer KAL board. (https://www.pinterest.com/mayaknits/kwa-summer-knit-a-long/) We have everything from linen sleeveless tops to wear on their own to lightweight wool blend cardigans that are perfect for layering.

Summer Top KAL 2015

The rules of the KAL are:

1. Cast-on will be March 20, the first day of spring! If you have a summery WIP that you would like to finish, they will be counted as well.
2. Cast off will be June 21, the first day of summer, just in time to wear our new creations over the summer.
3. Use any KWA yarn to knit something summery. We are focusing on tops, but feel free to branch out into some wraps.
4. Tops and sweaters for children are totally allowed. You don’t have to knit for yourself, though we would never argue against knitting something special just for you!
5. Post your finished projects on our KAL board on Ravelry to enter for prizes! You can chat about your current projects in our general Ravelry board. Feel free to tag any posts on other social media sites with #KWAKAL to keep us posted on your progress.
6. Did we say prizes? We did! We will randomly draw winners for some excellent prizes at the end of the KAL. The grand prize is £100 for you to spend at Knit with attitude, there will also be runner ups and a whole lot of goodies to be won. Keep your eye on our social media to be updated as new prizes are added.

We will be back with regular features leading up to the KAL and during it talking about yarns and techniques, as well as what we are knitting ourselves.

What are your summer knitting plans? We would love to hear what projects and yarns you are planning on using, in the comments below and on Ravelry.

The Knit with attitude Christmas KAL #KWAKAL14

Knit with attitude's Christmas KAL 2014

If you saw my last blog post profiling Wool and the Gang you’ll know it’s no secret that I’m delighted to be stocking their yarns.

To celebrate having WATG yarns in the shop, and to make Christmas holiday knitting more fun this year, we’re going to host a Knit with attitude Christmas KAL over in our Ravelry group.

With five WATG yarns and 10 patterns to choose from, there’s something for everyone in this KAL, and if you’ve bought your yarn from Knit with attitude you’ll have a chance to win back the price of your yarn!

How about a nice chunky snood to ward off winter’s chill?

The Gathering by Kalurah

The Gathering by Kalurah

Or these sweet hats for the little people in your life?

Little Scallops by Maria Carlander

Little Scallops by Maria Carlander

And if you’re really wanting to deck the halls this Christmas – stockings!

Jumbo Christmas Stocking in a Jiffy by Jennifer Jackson

Jumbo Christmas Stocking in a Jiffy by Jennifer Jackson

Head on over to our Ravelry group for all the details, and to sign up and join in the fun – I’ll see you there!