Friday 30 December 2016

Three Knitting Books To Look Forward To In 2017

At this time of the year TV and radio channels are awash with reviews of the year. Like a lot of people I'll be quite glad to see the back of 2016, what with Brexit, the election of Donald Trump and the tragic early death of George Michael on Christmas Day, so instead I've decided to look forward and concentrate on three exciting British pattern books to be published in 2017.

1. Susan Crawford's Vintage Shetland Project

Image courtesy of Susan Crawford
Sadly, due to Susan undergoing cancer treatment, she had to put completion of her The Vintage Shetland Project book on the back burner, as described in a blog post back in November. The anticipated publication date for this milestone book is now early 2017.

Susan's website says: "The Vintage Shetland Project is the culmination of the several years Susan has spent researching early 20th century knitting in Shetland. With the help and support of Carol Christiansen, textile curator at the Shetland Museum, Susan has studied hand-knitted garments and accessories from the 1920s to 1960s, which are held in the Museum's archives. She has chosen 25 pieces, recording their construction stitch for stitch, the recreated them for the Vintage Shetland Project. These pieces - all with their own unique story to tell - have been developed into comprehensive multi-sized knitting patterns, complete with instructions, technical advice and illustrated with colour photography shot on Shetland. With an essay reflecting on the story of each hand-knit item this book is a treasury of Shetland knitting patterns and an insight into Shetland's rich textile traditions."

I'm sure I speak for many knitters around the world when I wish Susan a speedy recovery and a happy and healthy new year, and can't wait to see her book when it's published.

2. Kate Davies' Inspired By Islay collection

Image courtesy of Kate Davies
Subscribers to Kate's club have already received the first patterns from her new book Inspired by Islay, as detailed in her blog post today. Subscribers receive a pattern a week for 12 weeks, the 120 page book in late February, and other goodies. Those of us who haven't subscribed will be able to buy Kate's patterns when the book is released on general sale.

The image on the right is of Kate wearing the Finlaggan cardigan, one of the designs in the book, which is based on the cardigan she designed for her own wedding.

Kate's describes her new collection on her website thus: "Islay, the "Queen of the Hebrides', is one of the most beautiful and beloved of Scotland's Western Isles. Drawing on the island's intriguing combination of Gaelic and Nordic cultural influences, and taking inspiration from Islay's distinctive Hebridean landscape, Kate Davies has created a collection of twelve stunning new designs in her own Buachaille yarn. Taking you on a journey around this unique island, Inspired by Islay also contains essays, interviews and beautiful photography, offering a wealth of inspiration for the knitter and general reader alike."

3. Karie Westermann's This Thing of Paper

Image courtesy of Karie Westermann
Glasgow-based designer Karie crowdfunded in 2016 to publish This Thing of Paper. On her website she describes the project: "As both a knitter and a bibliophile, I have been yearning to do a project that combines my two loves. So many of you have been asking for a physical book ... I want to produce a book that is as beautiful to hold and read as the patterns themselves will be to knit and wear.

This Thing of Paper is a book of ten knitting projects with accompanying essays. The project is inspired by the age of Johan Gutenberg and his invention of the printing press. Gutenberg's work meant that books change form being rare objects reserved for the elite to something that ordinary folk could access. I have always been fascinated by how one invention could change the course of history."

As one of the crowdfunders I'm very much looking forward to seeing Karie's end result. She recently blogged that the Gutenburg museum has requested a copy of This Thing of Paper for their archives, which sounds very promising!

And finally ...

I'll be taking a little break from blogging, partly because I have a holiday booked and also due to my laying down my knitting needles for a while and getting stuck into cross stitch instead. I'm currently completing this mini eggs cross stitch tapestry pattern from Jacqui P.

Have a wonderfully knitty 2017. Mine is going to be the year of the stash buster - the piles of yarn around my house have become too high and it's time to hunker down and knit what I already have before I splash out on the new yarns 2017 will have to offer!

Sunday 18 December 2016

My Own Hut 8 Cardigan For Christmas

Whilst I took part in Christmas Jumper Day 2016 (see my previous post for my own homemade-looking design) it's a different woolly that I've worn constantly this month and am sure to carry on doing so throughout the cold, if usually mild for the season, weather.

I finally finished my Hut 8 cardigan from Eden Cottage Yarns' Bletchley Collection and am very pleased with the result. My chosen yarn was three skeins of Blacker Yarns' limited edition Cornish Tin II in turquoise. The vibrancy of the colour doesn't really show in my photo but it's a deep hue verging on the green - a really rich colour for the season.

At just over £16 per skein the yarn wasn't cheap and finding three skeins wasn't easy either. The turquoise shade sold out super quickly. I managed to find one online and my godmother kindly found two for me at Yarndale. Due to the price I didn't buy a bit extra 'just in case' and I nearly came a cropper! I'm used to changing patterns a bit to fit me, being short in body.  It looked, however, like I wouldn't have enough yarn to complete the final sleeve but, having contemplated having to knit the sleeve and bottom ribs in a different colour to eke out the final bit of turquoise, it turned out I had just enough for the whole cardigan.

It's warm, sturdy, stylish and already it has become a workhorse in my wardrobe, looking great with jeans.

There are just a few Cornish Tin II DK skeins left at Blacker Yarns' website in purple, pink and two shades of grey if you want to knit your own Hut 8.

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.

Thursday 20 October 2016

Two Of My Articles in The Knitter Issue 103

Issue 103 image courtesy of The Knitter
The Knitter magazine issue 103, I'm very pleased to say, contains two more of my knitting features. The first covers Knit for Peace's knitting holiday to India and the second looks at the history of knitting in the East Midlands.

Both were a pleasure to write and research. Geraldine Maggio, who attended the Indian knitting holiday at the beginning of this year, was a pleasure to interview. For the history feature, on the other hand, more old fashioned research skills, finding and reading relevant books, came in handy.

I won't spoil the articles for you by revealing any more but needless to say it's an honour again to be published in my favourite knitting magazine.

From the UK to Down Under

The Knitter magazine has a loyal readership in Australia and I"m thrilled to be going there very soon on holiday. My husband and I are visiting Sydney, where my cousin and his family live, and then will fly to the Great Barrier Reef.

In Sydney I'm looking forward to visiting a yarn store and hope to pick up some Australian yarn for a souvenir. The internet tells me that Morris & Sons is the shop to head for. Looking at their website it seems that the British yarns are popular in Australia as well as home-grown yarns. 

What knitting to pack? I'm deliberating whether to take socks I started a while back (small and portable but slightly samey) or my newly acquired turquoise Cornish Tin II yarn and the Hut 8 cardigan pattern. It uses a 3.75mm circular needle and as mine is made of wood it should be allowable on the plane. 

It'll be a few weeks before I write my next post. In the meantime I'll be thinking up ideas for future stories and I wish you very happy knitting time!

Tuesday 18 October 2016

Debbie Bliss Falkland Aran Review

My ears pricked up when I hard about the launch of Debbie Bliss's Falkland Aran yarn as part of her Autumn/Winter 2016 collection.

Made from extra fine Falkland merino wool (being from the Falklands it counts as British) the yarn is organic, eco and animal friendly and, as I discovered when knitting up one 100g skein, it's oh so lovely and soft.

Falkland Aran image courtesy of Debbie Bliss
Debbie Bliss kindly sent me a couple of skeins, one cream and one turquoise, to review along with the accompanying Falkland Aran pattern book.

Image courtesy of Debbie Bliss
She had this to say about Falkland Aran:

"We were launching the pure Bliss Collection of luxury fibres for A/W16 and were presented with this stunning yarn from the Falkland Islands which was being spun by Laxations in Yorkshire. I fell in love with it as soon as I watched it; the fabric is super soft but also has the crisp stitch definition. It is perfect for the textured knits that I love to design so the yarn informed the collection, with cables to the fore in knits for men, women and children."

The book has twelve patterns, including both garments and accessories. I chose the blackberry stitch cowl pattern to knit up. The pattern calls for two 100g skeins but I knitted a shorter version with only one. Aside from spending ages rolling the skein into a ball (!) the yarn was a delight to knit with. It didn't split, it has great stitch definition and being aran weight knits up relatively quickly.

Here's the finished cowl:

Not only does it look great but it's very warm to wear. The two ball version in the pattern book has enough length to loop the cowl round the neck twice.

There are 16 colours to choose from and each 100g skein retails at approximately £12.99.

I liked the yarn so much that I've bought the 'mustard' shade to knit Gudrun Johnston's Snarravoe jumper:

Snarravoe image courtesy of Gudrun Johnston

Certainly for me Falkland Aran's British credentials, it's soft properties and warm feel earn it a big thumbs up.

Thursday 6 October 2016

Wool Week Is Back! 10th - 16th October

Hasn't time flown! It's time again for UK Wool Week and all the woolly fun that it brings. Wool Week 2017, organised by the Campaign for Wool,  runs from 10th - 16th October. Here's a round up of events and shenanigans to join in with.

Wool BnB

Imagine a room where everything is made of wool. That dream will come true when the Campaign for Wool opens its first every Wool BnB in Islington where carpets, cardigans and everything in between will be woolly.

Image courtesy of Campaign for Wool
After Wool Week there'll even be the opportunity to stay at the Wool BnB overnight for a fully-immersed wooly experience!

Woolly Hat Day

Friday 14th October will see the Campaign for Wool teaming up with the charity The Mission to Seafarers for Woolly Hat Day 2016. The charity's mission is to help seafarers across the world experience difficulty and knitters can help by hosting an event, woolly or not, to raise money.

Image courtesy of The Mission to Seafarers

Bicester Village Wool Boutique

Head to the Oxfordshire mall outlet on 13th October to see the pop up wool boutique featuring the upmarket brands Chinti & Parker, Pringle of Scotland, John Smedley, Brora, Markus Lupfer, Crumpet, Jostens of Elgin and Ross Barr.

Knit-along with Baa Baa Brighouse

Join in the Ganny Lock Knit-Along organised by Baa Baa Brighouse. The pattern was designed by the online store's owner Elaine Jinks-Turner.

Image courtesy of Baa Baa Brighouse
To knit the shawl pattern you'll need two skeins of the company's Baa Baa Brew yarn, which can include their two new shades for autumn Bailiff Bridge and Wellholme:

Sign up here to join the knit-along. It starts on Monday 10th October and knitters who subscribe will receive seven free pattern updates via email from the 10th to the 22nd October.

Monday 3 October 2016

British Knitting Awards 2016 Winners

Today Let's Knit magazine announced the winners of the 2016 British Knitting Awards. Readers could vote for their favourite designer, yarn, product and more.

Here are the well-deserved winners:

Winner Best Brand for British Yarn; Winner Best Sock Yarn Brand; Runner up Best Independent Yarn Brand

These three awards went to West Yorkshire Spinners, whose country birds sock yarn is a customer favourite.

Image courtesy of West Yorkshire Spinners.

Winner Best Value Yarn Brand; Winner Best Overall Yarn Brand; Winner Best Yarn for Crochet; Third place Favourite Pattern House; Third Place Best Baby Yarn Brand

Any guess who won these awards? The answer is Sirdar, the budget brand. Its chunky, fashion self-patterning yarns are particularly valued by beginners. I haven't covered Sirdar on this blog because although the company is British their yarns are made abroad.

Image courtesy of Sirdar

Winner Bast Baby Yarn Brand; Winner Favourite Knitting Designer; Winner Favourite Book - The Knitters' Knowledge; Runner up Best Luxury Yarn Brand; Third Place - Best Baby Yarn Brand

Debbie Bliss was made an MBE in 2015 and the awards keep coming with her winner three categories, runner up in one and third place in another. I've interviewed her for The Knitter magazine and not only is she an extremely lovely and down to earth woman she is a font of knowledge about knitting and styling. Whilst all her yarns aren't British made her recent launch Falkland Aran is and I'll be reviewing it and its supporting pattern book very soon.

Image courtesy of Debbie Bliss

Winner Best Knitting Needle Range; Winner Best Accessories Range; Runner Up Best Crochet Accessories Range

Knitters are probably no stranger to the Knit Pro needle range. I particularly like their circular needles as they are sturdy and reasonably-priced - I've never had one snap unlike a cheap one I got free with a magazine.

Image courtesy of Knit Pro

Third Place Favourite Book

This result wasn't in Let's Knit email publicising the winners but a quick internet search told me the that blogger Winwick Mum won this award for her book Super Socks. 

Image courtesy of Winwick Mum

A comprehensive list of all the winners will be published in Let's Knit's Christmas edition. I haven't got my hands on a copy yet and am interested to find out the winners in the other categories.  Well done to all the winners.

Sunday 2 October 2016

Baa Baa Brighouse's Yan Tan Tethera Monthly Yarn Club

Receiving a parcel in the post every month with mystery contents is an exciting prospect. I first tried the concept out with beauty boxes a few years back, signing up to receive one a month for three month.s After the novelty wore off I realised that although the contents were worth more than the box price there weren't enough items I'd actually use to justify the subscription cost.

Then I heard about monthly yarn subscriptions. West Yorkshire based website Baa Baa Brighouse runs its own, with the interesting name of Yan Tan Tethera. What intrigued me about this club as opposed to ones from other wool companies is that as well as the yarn subscribers receive a little gift too: past months have included edible treats and pampering products.  Rather than signing up for a set amount of time in advance customers buy each box monthly. The upside of this is that you don't have to pay out in the months you're not feeling flush, but the potential downside is that when you can afford it you might forget to place your order!

Baa Baa Brighouse kindly sent me September's box to review. My review is entirely my own.

I certainly felt like a child at Christmas when the box arrived in the post. Unwrapping it I found lots of goodies, with the skein of the month lovingly wrapped in tissue paper and ribbon. Baa Baa Brighouse explained to me the ethos behind each month's skein:
"Sign up each month and you will receive an exclusive skein of quality Yorkshire yarn that has been sourced, spun and dyed local by hand. Our dyers take their inspiration from photographs of the Yorkshire landscape and nature ... each dyer will use a different photograph guaranteeing that every monthly batch of yarn is beautiful and completely unique from the next."
Here's the photo, taken by Shutterspot Photography at Temple Newsam in Leeds, which inspired September's yarn:
Image courtesy of Baa Baa Brighouse

And here's the 100g skein itself:

It's a lovely blend of autumnal browns and oranges.

The yarn is 100% merino wool. The yarn fun didn't end there, however. September's special treat in the box was a small skein of hand-dyed Baa Baa Brew DK yarn folded to look like a flower:

I knitted a quick swatch test and thought the peach yarn would look good at the top of a pair of socks. Sadly I haven't had time yet to knit a pair but the swatch gives you the idea of how the colours look together:

I love how the 100g skein self-stripes!

Each monthly subscription costs £21 plus postage. The November box is now available to buy. This is the photo the hand-dyer is working from:

At the moment I have a lot of yarn to use up but I'll certainly think about subscribing to the Yan Tan Tethera Yarn Club in the future. It's particularly suitable to people who like knitting one skein projects such as socks and shawls.

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Rowan Selects Cashmere Review

Back in August I wrote about the management changes that have gone on at Rowan and the yarns that the company has discontinued.

Image courtesy of Rowan
Amidst all the changes Rowan decided to launch some one-off speciality yarns under the 'Rowan Selects' brand, one of which is Rowan Cashmere. The company sent me a ball and two pattern books, one for children and one for adults, to review.

The yarn feels simply exquisite: soft, bouncy and very easy to knit with. Anyone who doesn't like wearing wool next to the skin because they find it itchy will love this blend of 95% cashmere and 5% wool - it's perfect even for a baby's sensitive skin. The colour palette is rather limited, having only six shades of grey, black, pale blue and a light pink, but for a one-off release that's understandable.

The two pattern books to support the yarn, both by Martin Storey, each contain five designs. The women's patterns include a cardigan, hat, mittens, beret and scarf; and the children's book offers a pair of bootees, two jumpers, a hat and a cardigan.

I received one ball of the pale pink yarn, which was enough to knit the Snowbaby Hat. This was a quick and satisfying project that took me only one evening to complete. It was a joy to knit with the yarn - it didn't split and it feels wonderful beneath the fingers. The only downside is the RRP, which is £9.95, plus also looking online I've found that only some of the websites that usually sell Rowan products are stocking the cashmere line.

Here's my finished hat! I knitted it on slightly larger needles, because the intended recipient, my cousin's daughter Ivy, is nearly one and I wanted to make sure it was big enough for her to be able to wear it all through the winter. There wasn't enough yarn left over to make the pom pom that's included in the pattern, but I personally think it looks better as a beanie.

The lighting isn't great on this photography unfortunately and it doesn't show the colour at its best.

Rowan Selects Cashmere is made in Italy and doesn't pass the British test on that front, but Rowan is a well-known English business (albeit now owned by a German parent company). One or two balls make for a great treat, but the ten balls needed to knit the smallest size woman's cardigan are too pricey for most knitters' pockets.

Cornish Tin II Update

Thanks to my fab godmother, who picked me up two skeins at Yarndale following them selling out online, I now have the three skeins of Cornish Tin II 4ply yarn in turquoise I need to knit the Hut 8 cardigan with. I originally started knitting it in a silky, raspberry 4ply yarn from Eden Cottage Yarns but found this wasn't robust enough for the pattern. Instead I'll use it for a summer t-shirt, perhaps Amelie. Another project to add to my ever-growing list!

Wednesday 21 September 2016

Cornish Tin II A Near Sellout

Yesterday (Tuesday 20th September 2016) Blacker Yarn's much trumpeted limited edition 11th birthday yarn Cornish Tin II, which I blogged about at the end of August, went on sale and it flew off the online shelves so quickly that some of the shades are already out of stock.

Cornish Tin II image courtesy of Blacker Yarns
I was a day late to the party having been busy running errands and visiting my friend and her baby son yesterday, (she loved the baby blanket in butterfly stitch I knitted for baby Ben), and it was only today when I found some time to buy some Cornish Tin II for myself.

My favourite colour, the Dolcoath Turquoise, had already sold out in DK and I only managed to buy one out of the three 4ply skeins I wanted, having found the last one at Tangled Yarn. Seeing as I knew if I didn't buy any more today then my chance would probably be gone I also bit the bullet and bought three skeins of Poldice Pink in DK from Brityarn (see the image below and the bottom left skein -  I keep calling it Poldark pink after the beautiful pink dress the character Elizabeth wore in last Sunday's Poldark BBC TV episode). Both the 100g DK and 4ply skeins cost £16.20.

Cornish Tin II image courtesy of Blacker Yarns and Brityarn

It's a great marketing ploy from Blacker Yarns to launch a limited edition yarn because it does encourage impulse buying - however if you think you'll be disappointed if you'll miss out then I urge you to buy now.

Buy whatever's left online from:

If there's no Cornish Tin II appearing on the website then it has sadly probably sold out in between me publishing this post and you looking. 

Help - I missed out! What can I do?

Are you going to Yarndale in Skipton this coming weekend the 24th and 25th September? If so then get there early to trawl Blacker Yarns' stand as they will be selling some skeins there. Again my advice is to not dither as if you go for a walk to think about it the skeins may well be sold by the time you return.

Sonja from Blacker Yarns has written in the Cornish Tin II's Ravelry group that any leftover skeins will go on sale on the Blacker Yarns website on 29th September at 10am. Set an alarm on your mobile phone now.

What if i still can't buy any?

Can't make it to Yarndale and the Cornish Tin II colours you wanted have all gone? You could always buy from Blacker Yarns Tamar range instead, which also offers 4ply and DK weights. It's a high-quality yarn with drape and shine.

Tamar image courtesy of Blacker Yarns

Did you manage to get your hands on any skeins of Cornish Tin II? Which colours did you buy and which patterns are you going to knit? Do let me know in the comments box below.

Sunday 18 September 2016

Two Pattern Books Released: Tin Can Knit's Mad Colour & Ann Kingstone's Tup Knits

It's a colourful week on the blog. Earlier in the week I reviewed Woolly Wormhead's Painted Woolly Toppers for Kids and on 15th September Canada/Scotland duo Tin Can Knits released their print and ebook Mad Colour.

Image courtesy of Tin Can Knits

Ravelry shows all sixteen patterns in the collection. Three look familiar - their popular POP blanket, first released in 2012, makes an appearance; there's the gorgeous Wenlock jumper that the company sell kits for, and was originally published in Pom Pom Quarterly Issue 10; and the Bounce Blanket, which was previously sold as a kit on their sister website Rainbow Heirloom.

The rest are a riot of colour, from the Polygon blanket:

Image courtesy of Tin Can Knits
To the spotlight sweater, sized from baby to adult:

Image courtesy of Tin Can Knits
The Triptych mitts for the colder weather to come:

Image courtesy of Tin Can Knits

And the summery Slice shawl.

Image courtesy of Tin Can Knits

Confusingly the book is priced in US dollars: on Ravelry $23 for the print and ebook and $18 for the digital version only. Knitters who have previously bought the patterns for Wenlock, POP and Bounce may feel slightly cheated for paying for them again but Mad Colour is worth it, particularly as Tin Can Knit's USP is to include sizes from baby to adult, making their patterns multi-functional.

Ann Kingstone's Tup Knits

Meanwhile Yorkshire-based designer Ann Kingstone has taken inspiration for her latest collection from all things sheepish.

Image courtesy of Ann Kingstone

I haven't seen a review copy of the ebook and therefore can't comment on the patterns but the photos are tantalising. Tup Knits contains seven patterns: two adult sweaters, a child's cardigan, socks, a hat, cowl and fingerless mittens.

The Drover socks look fabulous:

Image courtesy of Ann Kingstone
And the hat and cowl make a fun pair:

Image courtesy of Ann Kingstone

Ann Kingstone says that also included are "clearly illustrated tutorials for crochet provisional cast-on, lifted increases, two-handed stranded knitting, trapping floats, slip-stitch seek reinforcement, picking up stitches next to a steak, and wrap and turn short rows."

The word 'steek' pierces my heart with fear, but at some point I have to bite the bullet and learn how to cut my knitting effectively!

Image courtesy of Ann Kingstone
I'm liking the sheep motif on the cardigans, which reminds me of the current trend for yokes as seen in Kate Davies' book Yokes. and Ella Gordon's Crofthoose Yoke sweater. If sheep aren't for you then you might want to give this one a miss, but I think Tup Knits is a fun collection from Kingstone, who designs from her home county of Yorkshire.

The ebook costs £12 but until 30th September there's a 20 per cent discount off the ebook using the code OVINE when buying Tup Knits on Ravelry.

Kate Davies future patterns hint

In her latest blog post Kate Davies has dropped a hint about her next collection following The Book of Haps. Davies' patterns, hailing from the Scottish countryside, are perennially popular. I didn't buy her haps book because I don't have an interest in wearing one, but I am looking forward to seeing what her next collection has to offer. She says in her blog post called Collection Photoshoot, accompanied by a photo of her and her husband Tom taken in Islay:
"We've been hard at work all summer preparing my new collection, and we are now off to photograph it in one of our favourite places. The collection is a mix of garments and accessories and (as it seems to be something of a trend at the moment: half are sized and designed for both men and women."
We look forward to seeing the photos Kate!

Thursday 15 September 2016

Knitted Fashion From Textile Designer Jessica Dance & Coming Soon

My jaw dropped when I saw these amazing knitted fashion creations commissioned by Stylist magazine. There's even a competition to win a knitted version of the Louis Vuitton Autumn/Winter 2016 Camera Box Bag but don't enter because I want to win it!

Image courtesy of Sylist and Jessica Dance

For a special 'hot fuzz' fashion issue Stylist magazine charged the textile artist Jessica Dance with knitting eight fashion pieces. The results are highly covetable, not to mention highly skilled. Now these are patterns I'd love to have.

Look at this gorgeous copy of an Isabel Marant flattie:

Image courtesy of Sylist and Jessica Dance
A stylish and sophisticated Fendi handbag:

Image courtesy of Sylist and Jessica Dance
Killer Gucci heel:

Image courtesy of Sylist and Jessica Dance
Dior Diorama Club bag:

Image courtesy of Sylist and Jessica Dance
Celine pump:

Image courtesy of Sylist and Jessica Dance

Delectable Emporio Armani bag:

Image courtesy of Sylist and Jessica Dance

And finally a JW Anderson shoe boot (if my fashion terminology is correct):

Image courtesy of Sylist and Jessica Dance

Jessica Dance has also knitted other non-traditional items such as as food (her slogan being low calorie, high wool) and jewellery. I find her work very inspiring.

Coming soon

It's a busy month on the blog! Coming soon are Tin Can Knits' colourful new pattern book; a review of Rowan's one-off cashmere yarn; Baa Baa Brighouse's monthly Tan Tethera yarn club; and a round up of my latest finished projects including the news I never thought I'd hear - I've finally completed my nemesis, the Kate Davies Catkin jumper, which first mentioned back in February 2014, then in March 2014, May 2015 and June this year.

Also to come is a look at Australian yarn and knitting shops in Sydney. I'm extremely excited to be travelling there at the end of October and want to buy some Australian yarn and a pattern as a souvenir. Do you live in Sydney or have you visited there? Any tips for suitable shops, pattern and yarns will be very thankfully received.

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