Yarn Pairings for Pom Pom Issue 1 – Re-Issue of Summer 2012

issue1_newcover-1 As a part of Pom Pom Quarterly’s 5 year birthday celebrations, they have re-issued their first ever issue with all new photography and a bonus pattern! It’s so lovely to have this early issue in the shop, and we’ve been enjoying seeing all the patterns in a new light. As always we thought that we would do our yarn pairings for this issue.

Kipper-by-Lydia-Gluck-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-1-Reprint-Summer-2017-1 First up is Kipper, an otherwise basic sock pattern with a textural detail on the cuffs and across the toes. The texture pattern makes it perfect for solid and semi solid yarns, such as Vivacious 4ply or Socks Yeah! 4ply.

Netherton-Cardigan-by-Lydia-Gluck-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-1-Reprint-Summer-2017-1 Originally Lydia Gluck’s Netherton was published as a cardigan, and it’s been republished here as both a cardigan and a pullover for the new issue. The cardigan has had a bit of a style revamp, and the additional pullover is the perfect classic sweater that we just can’t wait to knit ourselves! Knit in a DK weight yarn, there are countless options to make it in for a different look. Our current favourites would have to be John Arbon Knit By Numbers, or Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend DK for something really lush. Netherton-Jumper-by-Lydia-Gluck-Pom-Pom-Quarterly.-Issue-1-Reprint-Summer-2017

Overbury-by-Lydia-Gluck-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-1-Reprint.-Summer-2017 Next up is Overbury by Lydia Gluck, a perfect pair of flip top mittens. These fingering weight mittens have a short thumb, and the flip top secures with a loop at the top to a button at the wrist. There is a textured stitch in the ribbing at the cuffs. We love the idea of a plain wool like Cumbria for these for a classic look.

Skipworth-by-Meghan-Fernandes.-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-1-Reprint This issue is great for accessories, and Skipworth by Meghan Fernandes is the second pair of fingerless mitts in the issue. These are knit in garter stitch which really holds in the air for a cozy extra warm feel. The garter stitch really sings in a crisp semi solid yarn like Vivacious DK. They would be perfect to keep in your pockets for those surprise chilly evenings!

Wicklane-by-Meghan-Fernandes-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-1-ReprintLast but not least is Wick Lane, a lace shawl designed by Meghan Fernandes. This classic triangle shawl has an all over eyelet lace pattern with a deep rib and lace pattern that ends in crisp points. This pattern would sing in a yarn like Scrumptious 4ply with its wool/silk blend.

Which pattern is your favourite?

 

Yarn Pairings for Pom Pom Issue 21 – Summer 2017

Can you believe that it’s been 5 years of Pom Pom Quarterly?! This issue 21 marks the 5 year anniversary of the independent East London publication, and we couldn’t be more pleased for them! They have loads of celebrations planned for the year, with lots of announcements still on their way, we can’t wait to hear about them all!

Their first celebration is of course Issue 21 – the summer issue! This jam packed with 16 patterns, more than ever before. Also a first for Pom Pom, this issue has 2 different covers,  both with rose gold foil detail.

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As usual we have paired up each project with a yarn you can find at Knit With Attitude. Pom Pom have their customary KAL running in their Ravelry group, and this time of course there are more prizes than ever if you want to join in with something from this issue or any past issue.

Anniversaire-by-Veera-Valimaki-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

We love the names for the patterns in this issue, they are all different words for celebrations. First up is Anniversaire, an all over cabled sweater by Veera Välimäki, knit in a DK weight. The cables on the body are asymmetrical leaving it a modern and interesting look. We love the idea of knitting it in a lush handdyed yarn like Hedgehog Fibres Merino DK, or something more simple like John Arbon’s Knit By Numbers.

Bash-by-Linda-Dubec-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Bash is one of three colourwork hats in the issue, this one designed by Linda Dubec. It’s knit up in three colours of The Fibre Co’s Cumbria Fingering, a lovely blend of British wools. So many colour options to choose from! It would be fun to pick 2 neutrals and a bright pop colour, or all brights. The skeins are 100g and you wouldn’t need all of them, so there would probably be the possibility of knitting an extra hat if you swapped the colours around. The little pops of colour would be a brilliant use of leftovers as well.

Bon-Bon-by-Joji-Locatelli-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Bon Bon by Joji Locatelli is a pair of fingerless mittens with a lace textured panel and playful pompoms on the back of the hands. This pattern suits so many of our woolly DK weight yarns like Blacker Swan.

Boum-by-Sachiko-Burgin-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Boum, by Kiyomi Burgin is a sleeveless tank, perfect for popping on with jeans or a skirt. The shape is simple and timeless, but the stripes make it playful and give lots of room for personalization. For summer wear, a drapey yarn like Stollen Stitches Nua with it’s merino, linen and yak blend would suit well.

Ceilidh-by-Julia-Farwell-Clay-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Ceilidh by Julia Farwell-Clay is an all season pullover sweater, knit in a cozy DK/worsted weight yarn. For a warm outerwear sweater this would be great for winter knit up in Léttlopi, or for a more warm weather version choose a cotton/wool blend like Spud and Chloë Sweater. 

CoopKnits

Next up is Festoon, a pair of socks by Rachel Coopey knit up in her own yarn, Socks Yeah! We love this yarn so much, so we love seeing even more inspiration for using it. It’s perfect for socks like this, with the subtle heathering in many of the colours you get visual interest without loosing any patterning and texture.

Fete by Bristol Ivy

Fête by Bristol Ivy is another pullover sweater, with a colourwork patterned collar. The contrast colour is repeated in stripes at the cuffs and hem. A simple yarn like Excelana 4ply lets the design shine through.

Hoopla-by-Dianna-Walla-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Hoopla is the second hat in the issue, designed by Dianna Walla. This Scandi inspired colourwork hat would be quick to knit up in a thicker weight like Vivacious DK and has a lot of unisex appeal.

Jamboree-by-Francesca-Hughes-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Jamboree is a fine gauge sweater with an allover lace and stripes pattern that looks light as a feather. The sweater uses 3 shades together. It is knit side to side for a twist on construction and to keep the vertical stripes. We love the Purl Alpaca Fine for an all neutrals option, but for a pop of colour look no further than mix and matching with Blue Sky Fibers Baby Alpaca Sport. We think the 2 yarns would work together brilliantly.

Knees-Up-by-Juju-Vail.-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Knees-Up is an answer to the UK’s difficult relationship with summer. It’s not always very warm, but you do want to wear those summer dresses, but no tights. So these legwarmer/knee-high socks are the solution! They are the perfect use of the 2 weights of Socks Yeah! in 4ply and DK.

Rave-by-Alexa-Ludeman-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

The design duo of Tincanknits are always favourites here at the shop, and their Rave scarf is what we’ve come to expect from them. It is simple in construction, but with modern details and visual interest that keeps a knitters attention. The combination of garter stitch and cables make for another pattern that would appeal to all ages and genders. With lots of colours in Spud and Chloë Sweater, there is something for everyone.

Sevilla-by-Thea-Colman-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Sevilla by Thea Coleman is a great summer wrap, and the delicate lace makes it attractive for casual and formal events. A wool/silk blend like Findley DK adds even more to the lush look of the wrap.

Shindig-by-Sachiko-Burgin-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Shindig is a shawl from Sachiko Burgin in 2 colours of a wool silk blend with a striped body and lace edging. Can’t you just imagine wrapping up in a shawl of Manos Silk Blend DK?

Soiree-by-Emily-Foden-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Cropped sweaters seem to be everywhere this summer, so Soirée by Emily Foden is right on trend. This pullover with cables running up the sides combines a 4ply wool and a mohair for a subtle fabric that softens the cables and stitches. A combination of Tamar and Sweet Georgia Silk Mist would be just divine.

Sparklers-by-Fiona-Alice-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

The last hat of the issue is Sparklers by Fiona Alice. This hat is knit in two colours of Kettle Yarn Co.’s lush merino/silk/yak blend Beyul, and there’s enough in the skeins to knit 2 hats if the second one has the reversed colours.

Zazie-by-Anna-Maltz.-Pom-Pom-Quarterly-Issue-21-Summer-2017

Last but not least, Zazie by Anna Maltz is one of our favourites from the issue! This zig zag pattern has texture that you just want to wrap up in, and the colour combinations would be endless! How delicious would it be in 2 colours of Scrumptious Aran!

Which pattern is your favourite?

Interpretations Vol. 4

Interpretations-Volume-4-CoverInterpretations Vol 4 has arrived! This years installation to the project by designers Veera Välimäki and Joji Locatelli follows perfectly and does not disappoint. Published by Pom Pom Quarterly, it was released this past weekend at Unravel Festival

The idea behind the project is that together the designers pick 6 words and then each design a piece based on that word, for a total of 12 projects. The words for this year’s book are gather, chromatic, magic, fragile, direction and hidden. The resulting projects reveal the different interpretations of the words from each designer. While the words are in English, neither designer speaks it as their first language, which makes the cultural influences that much more interesting. Coming from opposite sides of the globe, Veera from Finland and Joji from Argentina, the book and the designs speak to the ways design sensibilities can converge with knitting wherever you are.

One of the things we love about Veera and Joji’s patterns is that they bridge the line between wearability and interest in a both practical and interesting way. They often use stripes, construction and texture to turn something that would otherwise be rather boring into a more exciting and dynamic piece.

East or West by Joji is the most obvious use of the construction and colour. The centre panel is knit vertically in rib, and then the side panels and sleeves are knit in stripes off of that main piece. This construction creates vertical stripes easily, and plays the textural stripe of the rib off of the colour stripes very effectively.

East-or-West

Another sweater by Joji, Wishes is one that may at first glance seem boring, but on second look reveals itself to be entirely practical and much more interesting than first thought. The top down sweater is knit in 4ply silk and in black, which to any knitter who has knit a sweater sounds like and endless slog! And black, how uninspiring! However, I’m sure all of us have a shop bought thin machine knit black cardigan in our closet that gets reached for regularly. Not to mention of course, that when knitting one’s own sweater there are a hundred other colours to choose from! The top down nature makes it easy to get started, and the construction of the swingy body is done through some well placed eyelet rows every couple of inches that are sure to keep the knitter engaged.

Wishes

Speaking of texture and interesting construction, Joji’s Radiate has also caught our eye. Another top down sweater, this one uses the yoke increases to create a radiating stripe with two colours in rib that also serves as a sort of ombre effect on an otherwise plain pullover.

Radiate-.Interpretations-Volume-4.-Pom-Pom-Press

We now have 30 colours of Léttlopi in stock and have been playing around with the colours, we are therefore loving the options for knitting Veera’s Double Trouble jacket! The sweater is knit in three pieces, two fronts in one colour and the back in another. The garter stitch pieces are then seamed together to create something that while completely simple can be as exciting as your colour choices. The light grey and charcoal of the original are timeless, but what about coral pink and black, or navy and light blue?

Double-Trouble

The collection is not all sweaters, there are a few accessories as well. One of our favourites is the Tourmaline snood by Veera. The ribbed texture gives way to cables of varying size for a meaty texture that is also reversible for a versatile snood to wear everyday.

Tourmaline

We have Volume 4 up online and in store right now! The books all also come with a digital download code.

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.

tokonatsu

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.

Peridot_Tokonatsu_Noro

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.

Yarn Pairings for Making No.1 Flora

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How beautiful is our latest arrival? It’s of Making No.1 Flora, the first issue of a brand new magazine from Carrie Bostick Hoge of Madder Made. We could not be more excited here at the shop, and have been cooing and exclaiming over it all morning! This inaugural issue includes contributions from 21 different designers and makers across multiple craft disciplines, including knitting, crochet, sewing, cooking and embroidery.

As always we love to see the knitting patterns, and to pair them up with yarns we have in the shop.

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The first pattern is Branches and Buds, by the editor herself, Carrie Bostick Hoge. The pattern features a modern take on a classic colourwork yoked sweater in two high contrast colours. The little buds are added afterwards, the perfect use of leftover bits of yarn we all have. We would knit the main sweater up in Susan Crawford’s Excelana DK.

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Next up is the Flora Cardi and Cowl, also by Carrie Bostick Hoge. These two patterns use the same lace stitch, along the collar and fronts of the cardigan, and as an allover design for the cowl (or snood as we would say in the UK!). Worked up in different yarn weights it is an interesting way to see the same stitch pattern in different settings. The cardigan would have wonderful drape and be light as a feather in Fyberspates Scruptious Lace, while the snood would have more body with a heavier yarn such as Du Store Alpakka Fin.

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Susan B. Anderson has created a sweet pair of fairy dolls that tuck into little flower beds. A Flower Fairy would be a lovely toy for a wide range of ages. Blacker Swan comes in many colours to knit the flowers and leaves of your choice.

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Marigold is a seamless bottom up cardigan by Cecily Gowick MacDonald. With its shawl collar, 3/4 length sleeves and a lace panel up the back, it is an effortless addition to any summer wardrobe. We have 8 shades of the called for The Fibre Co. Meadow in stock to knit it in.

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Another cardigan is Silver Leaf, by Hannah Fettig. This sweater has full length sleeves, and a deep lace motif on the fronts and collar. This design is a good transitional garment from warm days to chilly evenings, and would fit perfectly in England’s potentially dreary days. Noro’s Tokonatsu is a cotton/silk/viscose blend that would create a perfect summer cardigan to cozy up in without overheating!

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Tulip Fields, by Dawn Catanzaro is a shawlette knit in garter stitch. With laceweight yarn and a deep diamond and zigzag border, an otherwise winter stitch becomes light and airy for summer evenings. We are dreaming of it knit up in Kettle Yarn Co. Beyul.

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The Violet Cap and Bonnet, by Melissa LaBarre is another example of a stitch pattern being used for slightly different pieces. The bonnet is sized for babies and children with a practical tie under the chin to stay on, while the cap is sized for adults. They would both be beautiful in Fyberspates Scruptious 4ply.

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Last but not least is the Wildflowers Cap by Mary Jane Mucklestone. If you have to wear a wooly cap in the summer, it might as well have flowers on it! We would choose two shades of Mondial Bio Lana for ours. And we might need it with the week that London is having at the moment!

There are many more craft projects in this issue to enjoy, we have just highlighted the knitting ones first. How to choose the next project!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

 

Yarn Pairings for PomPom Quarterly Issue 16

spring16-coverIt’s that time again! We have the latest issue of Pom Pom Quarterly in the shop and online. It’s a gorgeous issue, with a focus on stitch patterns and texture. In order to show these off all of the pieces have been knit in light neutrals from light grey through cream to white. 

spring16-3The first up is Delineate. Designed by Olga Buraya-Kefelian, this tank top has a classic and modest front, with an open work stitch pattern in the back that is somewhere between a mesh and lace. This is a great wardrobe basic that can be worn with trousers, skirts and shorts in any range of situations, from weekend trips to the market or holidays in the sun. We would knit it in one of our many shades of Debbie Bliss Eco-baby  , an organic cotton that is perfect worn next to the skin. Even better, we have it in a number of brand new shades, from neutral to bright! 

spring16-11Equilibrium is the lone cardigan of the collection, by Gina Röckenwagner. It features an unusual construction with increases and decreases, and hangs open at the front. The original is knit in the fantastic Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend DK, which we have in variegated shades in the shop. If you are looking for a colour that is closer to the original we would suggest Fyberspates Scrumptious DK

spring16-8Imitation is one of two crochet patterns in this issue, here designed by Judith Brand. These little mitts are perfect to keep in your purse for those surprise chilly mornings and hardly take up any wool or time to make! We would recommend Excelana 4ply for these beauties. 

spring16-5Perpendicular by Sarah Brunenberg is a generously sized triangle shawl. This shawl is perfect for someone who doesn’t like a lot of fussy lace, as it features a single panel of chevron stitches with garter stitch wings. Sulka Legato is one of our favourite yarns for a project like this one. The silk/alpaca combo has drape for wrapping around but enough stitch definition to make the lace and garter stitch sing. 

spring16-9A second pattern from Gina Röckenwagner, Rhombille is a perfect pullover sweater. Like many of the other patterns in this issue, it combines simple garter stitch with a bold stitch pattern. We recommend Erika Knight Vintage Wool for a classic, heart sweater that will hold its shape and show off the main pattern well. 

spring16-7Right Angle is another pullover, this time from Georgia Farrell. This simple t-shirt has an allover triangle stitch pattern, a boat neck and ribbed edging details. We would knit it up in Blacker Swan DK for crisp stitch definition and lots of colours to choose from. 

spring16-6Riveret is the second crochet pattern, designed by Merrian Holland. It has a great modern take on classic granny square techniques and a breezy summer feel. Blacker Yarn’s Lyonesse DK is a fantastic summer yarn, with a 50% wool, 50% linen blend that will keep you covered but not overheated. 

spring16-4Next up we have Striated, a double length infinity snood by Nicki Merrall. This snood has a provisional cast on, is knit as a scarf and then the two ends are grafted together. This otherwise simple accessory is a great place to use a truly special yarn, like Kettle Yarn Co’s Baskerville. This special UK wool/silk blend is carefully indigo dyed in Hastings. 

spring16-2Last but not least we have Unfold, by Yuliya Tkacheva, which is the third crochet project in this issue. It features a unique chevron pattern and would make a perfect wardrobe basic for all seasons. We would love to see it in one of the natural shades of Purl Alpaca Fine

What’s your favourite pattern from this issue? Anything ready to jump onto your needles?

Welcome to the world of
Kettle Yarn Co

There is always a lot of excitement in introducing a new brand to Knit with attitude, a lot of effort and care go into choosing what I believe would be the ‘perfect addition’ to our selection. So that I get to see and touch ‘a lot’ of beautiful and lush fibers is really an understatement, I am spoilt in that sense, and maybe, just maybe, it might have made me a little bit hard to impress.

However, I am absolutely stunned by the brilliance, the quality and lush textures of the Kettle Yarn Co. yarns. This is a brand that has been on my ‘wish list’ for a long time, and my amazement with their yarns has not faded at all while waiting for the right moment to introduce the range to the shop. Finally we do have Beyul and Islington DK in stock, with more to come.

What is just as stunning as the yarns themselves is the craftsmanship, skill and mindfulness that goes into the creation of the Kettle Yarn yarns. I sat down with the mastermind behind it all, Linda Lencovic, and asked her to tell us all about it. Please enjoy!

Kettle Yarn Co. Beyul - Baby Yak, Silk and ethically farmed merino wool.

Kettle Yarn Co. Beyul – Baby Yak, Silk and ethically farmed merino wool.

How do you think that Kettle Yarn Co. fits in with the KWA ethos? 
My blends are carefully sourced from ethical mills to ensure animal welfare and only fibres with the lowest carbon footprints are used to reduce negative impacts on the environment.

It is vital to me that Kettle Yarn Co. support animal welfare and the environment through informed choices. For example, in my twenties I had a huge obsession with Cashmere, so when I started dyeing I was naturally drawn to it. However, the more I learned about Cashmere production in Asia, the less I was able to justify its use. After some research I learned that the luxury-driven obsession with the fibre is stripping bare the natural vegetation in the areas where cashmere goats are reared, causing huge sandstorms, the massive effects of which are even felt on the other side of the globe. Horribly, even the animals are suffering from our desire for the fibre – left with nothing to eat, the goats starve for our infatuation with luxury.

This is not something that I can support, so I looked for other scrumptious fibres that would still be amazing against the skin but where the animals were treated with love! Both Camels and Yaks are farmed in much more environmentally conscious ways which do not harm the animals or deplete resources and I’ve chosen to stick to these luxury fibres in my Beyul and Westminster blends instead of using Cashmere.

What is the most important thing to you when you are choosing a new yarn/fibre to dye with? What sort of process do you go through?
As mentioned above I try to make ethical choices in the yarn’s production and all blends are extensively wear tested and I’ve selected only the most scrumptiously soft, but ruggedly tough low-pilling and long-wearing blends – soft enough for the most sensitive skins.
You can see the results of my tests on my Wear Chart to help you plan your projects. Only yarns that pass exacting standards for optimum softness, wear-ability, durability and ethics are chosen to be lovingly hand dyed in small batches, creating exceptional yarns and projects that stand the test of time.
Renée Callahan’s Naloa in BEYUL – colours ‘Turquoise Tarn’ and ‘Yurt’. The Naloa pattern is available on Ravelry and in store.

Renée Callahan’s Naloa in BEYUL – colours ‘Turquoise Tarn’ and ‘Yurt’. The Naloa pattern is available on Ravelry and in store.

On your site you rate each Kettle Yarn Co. base according to its ‘number of shaves’. What does this mean, and what sort of testing do you do on each yarn?
Softness is a highly prized quality in yarn, giving the user a pleasure in working with it and and ease of wear. However, the cost of using a soft yarn is often pilling or damage to fibres as those short, tender fibres that give us gentle garments are also naturally prone to abrasion.

I extensively wear test all my blends before adding them to the shop and look for the most luxurious AND hardwearing blends for Kettle Yarn Co.Though some of my yarns may pill a little bit, they will shave clean with no damage to the fibres – guaranteeing that your garments remain look their best! The wear chart shows the blends I carry and gives an indication of how many shaves it will take before light pilling stops completely. This way you can plan your projects according to how much wear they will be getting.

For example,  socks take quite a lot of wear whereas shawls can be much more delicate and don’t need to be as tough, therefore I’d pick a hearty one-shave yarn for socks and any of the others would work brilliantly for shawls.

I heard that you were a painter before you became a yarn dyer. Can you tell us a little more about how your artistic background influences your business and colour ways?
Yes, I have a Masters in fine art and painted in both acrylic and oils before starting my yarn dyeing journey. I find that my fine art/graphic design background means that colour comes easily to me and I can spend time focussing on subtlety of colour and sophisticated combinations. Oddly enough this is the only career I’ve had that allows me to combine so many of my strengths and experiences at work!

Tambourine by Julia Farwell-Clay in ISLINGTON DK – British Bluefaced Leicester and Silk – colour ‘Neckinger’. The Tambourine pattern can be found in Pom Pom Quarterly Issue 12.

Tambourine by Julia Farwell-Clay in ISLINGTON DK – British Bluefaced Leicester and Silk – colour ‘Neckinger’. The Tambourine pattern can be found in Pom Pom Quarterly Issue 12.

Are you a process or a product knitter?
Both. I really enjoy the product but will frog back an entire jumper to fix something that doesn’t feel quite right! It is important to me that I take the time to make things RIGHT and really, really well to truly enjoy the finished product. This is something that has taken me years to learn, but am so glad I have.

What’s your current knitting project?
I am currently working on a nice thick shawl design in my new Islington DK weight, which you are now carrying in shop! I have a stunning collection of patterns planned with some amazing designers in this gorgeous 100% British Bluefaced Leicester/ Silk blend which should come out in July, so keep an eye out for the announcement then.

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.

fin_paleturquoise205

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!