Wednesday, 30 November 2016

It's Wool Wednesday!

Last week we sat through Black Friday and Civilized Saturday, whilst this week was home to Cyber Monday. Carrying on the theme I'm declaring today Wool Wednesday and am highlighting three lovely newish wool ranges I've come across recently.

Di Gilpin Lalland 100% Scottish Lambswool DK

I recently interviewed Di for The Knitter magazine and was delighted to hear about her wool range that's proudly made in Scotland.  There are eighteen shades in the range: the yarn is soft with a slight halo.

Image courtesy of Di Gilpin

My favourite shade is Haar, as pictured above, which is a delicately coloured wool I'd describe as a cross between light blue, green and grey. This colour sold out when it launched at the Loch Ness Knit Festival. In my 'to knit' pile is the Moray Star Gansey in Haar.

On a side note, Di is running a 12 Days of Christmas sample sale from 1st to 12th December. Each day there will be a special collection of ready to wear samples available.

Erika Knight British Blue Wool

There are two weights in Erika's range - medium and fat. The yarn feels delightfully soft and is available in many different colours. The vintage range has brighter colours whilst the standard medium colour palette is more pastel and muted.

Here's the maxi wool:

Image courtesy of Erika Knight

The vintage:

Image courtesy of Erika Knight

And the standard British Blue Wool:

Image courtesy of Erika Knight
In my opinion the British Blue Wool is particularly suitable for baby knits and accessory projects that will be worn close to the skin.

West Yorkshire Spinners' 100% Wensleydale Gems Collection

I haven't had chance to feel this yarn in person in yet but from the description and photographs on West Yorkshire Spinners' Website I'm keen to buy some very soon. What attracts me is the depth of the jewel-like colours in this new British yarn range.

Image courtesy of West Yorkshire Spinners

My favourite is the ethereal shade Moonstone:

Image courtesy of West Yorkshire Spinners

The hanks are 100g weight and retail from the company at £8.50.

It's great to see more 100% British yarns available on the market. More for your Christmas list I wonder?

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Get Ready For Christmas Jumper Day On 16th December

This year's Christmas Jumper Day, raising funds for Save the Children, will take place on Friday 16th December. Whether you're at work, at school or at home, the charity encourages you to wear your festive woolly and donate to a very worthy cause.

Last year I knitted Susan Crawford's Perfect Christmas Jumper. For this year I finished Purl & Jane's Christmas Reindeer Jumper but alas, even the smallest size that I knitted is too big for me. My friend will be opening it on Christmas morning instead, leaving me with the dilemma of what to wear on Christmas Jumper Day.

The answer is a mash up of a child's Wool & The Gang jumper pattern, with a few stitches added to make it larger, and experimentation with sewing on a motif instead of knitting it intarsia.

Here's the result!

Whilst it certainly looks homemade I don't mind as that's all part of the fun of Christmas Jumper Day. Much better to wear something I've knitted myself than one made in China.

I'd love to see your homegrown Christmas Jumper knits. Please do post the web address to your photos in the comments box below.

Meanwhile Karie Westermann has published a very hand knitters' gift guide for the Christmas season. It's well worth taking a look and/or sending to your loved ones with your chosen gift highlighted!

Thursday, 17 November 2016

It's Wovember!

Image courtesy of
On 21st October I flew out of a UK preparing for Halloween and Bonfire night. When I flew back from my Oz trip a week ago Christmas presents had flooded the shops; the nights were a lot darker due to the clocks going back; it was a heck of a lot colder than it was on Hamilton Island on the Great Barrier Reef; and of course it's now Wovember, a month-long celebration of wool and its properties.

So much else has happened in the British knitting world since I've been away.

Here's a quick round up of what I've gleaned from blogs and email newsletters:

Baaramewe has launched knitting kits complete with patterns and yarn, perfect for Christmas presents. I love the very Christmassy Crowberry Jumper Kit

Kettle Yarn Co has released its latest yarn Beyul DK, "a baby/Yak/Silk/ethically farmed Merino - a heavier, more deliciously squish version of the beloved yak-y blend."

West Yorkshire Spinners is selling their Autumn collection of patterns including a plethora of lovely warm jumpers

Toft Alpaca's Winter edition of its quarterly magazine is on sale. The cover pattern, the Abergledie Lace Back Cardigan, is stunning and a welcome change from the company's crocheted creatures.

Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2017 confirmed its exhibitor list.

Wovember makes me really appreciate the talented spinners, designers and dyers we have in the UK. When in Australia I didn't have much time to wool shop but when I did, in a shop that was the equivalent of a British Dunelm and TK Maxx all rolled into one, I was amazed at the lack of Australian yarn available. I'd wanted to buy some for a souvenir but could only find one range made of Australian wool spun in Australia. The Australian merino balls had been produced in China.

The one true Australian wool range I could find.

No doubt if I'd gone to a flagship store in Sydney I could have found some more but I couldn't help feeling that Australia is many years behind the UK when it comes to supporting their indiginous wool industry. My cousin, whom I visited in Sydney, told me that wool was the backbone of the Australian economy until after WW2 when man-made fibres were invented and the bottom dropped out of the market. Nowadays fleeces are a loss-making by-product. What an utter waste.

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