Saturday, 30 April 2016

Knit Today Magazine To Close

Image courtesy of Immediate Media
Publisher Immediate Media has announced that this month's issue of Knit Today magazine, number 125, will be its last.

In 2014 Immediate Media bought the craft titles Mollie Makes, The Knitter and Simply Knitting from Future Pubishing, adding them to its own stable of titles including Knit Today. Last year the company repositioned its knitting titles marketing Knit Today as an entry-level title for knitting beginners who want modern patterns; Simply Knitting, known for its Alan Dart toys, as a beginner/intermediate mixture of modern and more traditional patterns; and The Knitter for more experienced knitters who want in-depth features as well as challenging knitting projects.

When announcing the closure of Knit Today the publisher said: "We're sorry to let you know that this is the last issue of Knit Today that we will publish. Although the magazine was much appreciated by its readers, its sales could not be sustained at the levels needed to continue. We would like to thank you for your support, and we're sorry for any disappointment.

In simpler terms the magazine wasn't selling enough copies to be financially viable.

The closure will come as a blow to UK readers who will now have less choice - the other major monthly knitting magazines in the country are Knit Now, published by Practical Publishing, and Aceville Publication's Let's Knit (not counting the women's magazines craft spin offs and knitting for babies titles that sometimes appear on the newsagents' shelves). The closure will also be a blow to British designers who sell their patterns to magazines.

The last issue contains a feature on British sustainable yarns. Hopefully I will pick up a copy this weekend and review it.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Yarn Shop Day 30th April - Online Retail Fight Back

It's that time of the year again to love your local yarn shop. The annual event sponsored by Let's Knit magazine encourages knitters and crocheters to support bricks and mortar shops in their area, rather than going online and buying from the big guys. In a rather underhand marketing move, going against the spirit of the day, the online-only retailers are fighting back: is offering 15% off everything this weekend, whilst Deramores has a whopping 25% off all yarn.

Local retailers, with the rates they have to pay on their shops, can't match that kind of discount but what they do offer in spades is help from friendly assistants and the chance to squish as much yarn as you want to before you buy. Not everyone has access to the internet or wants to buy online and local yarn shops are an invaluable resource on our high streets. What a shame the big online retailers are trying to put a spanner in the Yarn Shop Day's works - surely it's in all yarn retailers' benefit to raise awareness about the craft?

If you do want to buy online then many yarn shops offer online retailing as a side offer. My favourites are Leeds' baaramewe and shop turned website Mrs Moon, which stock their own yarns alongside a well-edited collection of yarns and patterns.


Lot's of events are planned on Saturday to tempt you into your local yarn store. There's a full list on the Let's Knit website. Highlights include:
  • A party at Knit Nottingham's store
  • Brityarn pop up trunk show at Countess Ablaze's studio in Manchester
  • Cake at The Yarn Cake in Glasgow
  • Live yarn bombing and giveaways at Whitknits in Whitstable.
If your local yarn store leaves a bit to be desired why not pop in for a chat and mention the British yarns you'd like to see stocked?

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Daughter Of A Shepherd Yarn Goes On Sale April 13th

Image courtesy of Rachel Atkinson
If you didn't make it to Edinburgh Yarn Festival in March then you won't have had the chance to buy a skein or two of Rachel Atkinson's special edition Daughter of a Shepherd yarn. It sold like hot cakes but Atkinson wanted to make sure that the wider knitting community can get their hands on some as well. As a result at 8pm on Wednesday 13th April some skeins and Daughter of a Shepherd cotton tote bags will go on sale at her online shop.

Atkinson really is the daughter of a shepherd, her father is John Atkinson, and her love of sheep and yarn stems from her childhood experiences on the farm.  Her yarn is 100% pure Hebridean DK weight spun from the fleece from her father's flock.

Says Atkinson of the wool: "the overall colour is a complex dark pitch brown which becomes silvery grey or tan in different lights. A soft and lustrous handle produces a fabric with bounce and structure when knitted. The yarn captures the scent of the fields, flock and new lambs in straw-filled barns."

Each skein costs £18 and, to ensure as many people as possible have a chance to buy it, purchases are limited at two skeins per customer. The cotton tote bags cost £4.

It's great to see a truly British yarn on the market that can be traced back to the flock the fleece came from.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Free Hat Pattern To Celebrate Shetland Wool Week 2016

How to beat last year's Shetland Wool Week Baa-ble free hat pattern by Donna Smith, which proved so popular that nearly 5000 Ravelry users have stashed it in their project folder?

This year's Shetland Wool Week patron, Ella Gordon, has risen to the challenge by designing a topper with colourful stitch appeal. Called 'Crofthoose Hat', Gordon has suggested four colourways for her take on the traditional Shetland building.

Image courtesy of Shetland Wool Week
Download the free pattern on the Shetland Wool Week website.

On her blog, textile maker Gordon has posted pictures of her wearing the hat in a fifth colour way with a plain crown.

Image courtesy of Ella Gordon.
Shetland Wool Week takes place this year from 24 September to 2nd October. Plenty of time then to knit your own version of Crofthoose'.
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