I’m still not completely convinced by these photos. In my head, I know exactly what I’m after, but it’s not coming out quite as I’ve planned it.
I’m still not completely convinced by these photos. In my head, I know exactly what I’m after, but it’s not coming out quite as I’ve planned it.
Blimey! It’s been a pretty bonkers few weeks round here and in all honesty there really hasn’t been any time to blog.
There can be no more excuses though, as I really couldn’t delay posting about Blacker Yarns Brushwork on the Olann and Blog any longer and to do that, I kind of needed to post here too.
When I posted the other day, I had great plans to publish again the day after. That was Sunday and it’s Wednesday already, what’s happened? It’s not like I’ve been stuck under a pile of chocolate eggs or something, anyway, better late than never I guess….
By now I’m assuming a good few of you will have seen something about the crochet along that Jane Crowfoot has designed in association with Stylecraft Yarns? If you’re not sure what I’m referring too, pop along to either Jane’s blog here, Facebook Page here or the Stylecraft Facebook Page here.
If you have spotted it, chances are you might have also noticed all the chatter about the yarn for it being difficult to get? The blanket has been designed using Stylecraft’s Life DK range which is a blend of 25% wool/75% acrylic and has a beautiful handle to it.
The interest in the CAL has been tremendous, much more than Stylecraft had anticipated and as a result a couple of shades needed for the CAL have sold out completely in the Life DK. Unfortunately, to make matters worse, the missing shades are unlikely to be back until mid to late May and the CAL is due to begin on April 7th.
Undeterred, Stylecraft and Jane have put together a replacement palette using the Special DK range instead and despite having already sold out of some of these colours too, the team at Stylecraft have worked round the clock with their manufacturers to secure stock in all shades for this week.
To Crochet the Lily Pond Blanket in Special DK you will need: 1 x 1061 Plum, 1023 Raspberry, 1241 Fondant, 1080 Pale Rose, 1005 Cream, 1081 Saffron, 1034 Sherbet, 1068 Turquoise balls and 2 x 1065 Meadow, 1708 Petrol and 1027 Khaki balls. I have pre-booked the 11 shades required to complete the blanket and am expecting delivery by the end of this week.
Stylecraft have released an introduction to the CAL here which contains lots of helpful information including a valuable section on tension to ensure your blanket is a success.
The patterns will be published fortnightly and there’s a total of 8, which will be free to download on the Stylecraft web site from the 7th of April. The stitches used to complete the blanket are chain, slip stitch, double crochet, half treble crochet, treble crochet, and double treble crochet.
If you’re wondering about the level of crochet ability the CAL is aimed at? In her blog Jane says “I have tried to design the pieces so that they get progressively harder and hopefully this means that crocheters can use the CAL as a learning tool. The patterns will focus on one motif or block every fortnight and you will need to complete an average of 4 motifs/blocks per set. Most of the blocks are 15cm square, although others are slightly bigger”
There is an official Facebook CAL Group here where you’ll be able to keep in touch with other taking part and watch everyone’s progress. I’m hoping to have a go myself, although my crochet skills don’t really stretch past my granny shawls 😁 I’ll be sure to document my attempts (and I do mean attempts) here for all to see. I’m guessing I’ll be utilising the Facebook Group lots and I’m even more pleased to know that the patterns will include step-by-step images to help guide us (I mean me), through the making process ✌️
Anyone interested in joining in too?
As soon as the delivery arrives I’ll be sorting the yarn out into CAL packs ready to go out straight away, so you can be ready for the 7th. The 14 ball pack will set you back €40 and I’d recommend reserving one if you’re going to give it a go as it’s likely stocks will run short again.
That should probably be crochet I guess?
Since 2015 began I’ve been inundated with questions about our next charity knitting campaign, what it is and how you can get involved. With lots of you eager to get to work I’m conscious that for now at least, I don’t really have anything in particular planned.
In part it’s because the Knit Happens Campaign still needs to be completely wrapped up before moving forward. The ECCR have given me a rough total of the money they have from the campaign and I can happily report that I have lodged €2157.23 in the Knit Happens Credit Union account 🌟 🌟🌟 I hope to be able to pop up a post in the near future with the total amount of money raised, how many stockings we still have left and what we’re going to do with them.
Then there’s all the other stuff to contend with, including my biggest enemy at the moment time ⏰
As it’s unlikely that little ol’ me is going to master the dimensions of time when it will in itself take time, I can do my best to give you some ideas so you can put your needles and hooks to work.
I had heard recently that The Girls Club Cork were after chemo hats and have spoken to Caroline at the service to confirm this. The Girls Club Cork is a cancer support centre that offers advice, assistance and a good night out to members and their families. If you’d like to know more about the service and what they do, pop over to their website here.
So Where do you start?
Having typed ‘free knitting patterns for chemotherapy patients’ into the Google search bar, I can happily confirm that there are dozens of them out there for hats. Many of them on sites dedicated to knitting for charity.
Here are just a few of the ones I’ve discovered.
All Free Knitting – knitting
Headhuggers – Knitting & Crochet
Bevscountrycottage – knitting & Crochet
Ravelry – knitting & Crochet
There are a few things you need to bare in mind when making hats for chemotherapy patients.
You can drop your finished hats off to the centre which is at 26 St. Paul’s Avenue, off Lavitts Quay, Cork (near the entrance to Paul Street Car park). It’s best to give them a ring to check if they’ll be open, the phone number is 021-4949090.
In addition to the chemo hats, The Girls Club Cork are also running the Blankets of Hope Campaign. Their Facebook Page is here and to be honest the poster says everything you need to know so I won’t rattle on. Having run a similar project in 2013, I can testify that knitting squares an blankets are an ideal way to get involved and to use up your stash.
I’ve had a look around for other campaigns and haven’t really found any that are running at the moment, other than the ones where the deadlines are this month like Knit a Daffodil for Daffodil Day and Age Action Shamrock’s Appeal, so if you know of any please be sure to let me know.
Something worth mentioning is setting up and running your own project for charity. You could organise a coffee morning and sell knitted and crochet goods, giving the money raised to your chosen appeal. Another option is to encourage the people in your local area to get involved and organise a community art project. Ideas including yarn bombing a school, park, street lamp-posts or an event and collecting donations, the possibilities are endless.
I’ve loads of ideas for small, easy knits that are great to get people knitting and small enough to encourage people to part with a Euro or two. I’ll try and get some time to run up a couple of them and post here, so you can see what I’m on about.
Be sure to let me know if you hear of any other charity in need of bits and bobs.
As the name of this posts suggests, it’s gonna be a quickie as I have woken up this morning with a bit of a cold virus, which currently seems to be manifesting itself as a miniature someone 👾 thumping on my eyeballs 👀
I have managed to get some baking done and have cleared away all evidence of the whirlwind that is Wednesday baking. I’ve met a rep, looked at new yarn and attempted to clear my desk and get on with some paperwork. It’s not working though the combination of dust from the desk and the constant need to sneeze 👃 are getting the better of me.
What a fantastic excuse, if ever one was needed to go and get comfy and do a little 💟 knitting 💟
So very quickly, I just wanted to show you the lovely new shades in Sirdar Snuggly DK that have arrived in.
They’re fun and bright and definitely invoke thoughts of summer sun, the book of new patterns is in too for you to peruse but don’t forget Snuggly Dk is a standard double knit yarn and will therefore work with any double knit pattern.
I said it’d be short and it is, on a last note if you search ‘virus’ on Ravelry you get some lovely little patterns for viruses including this little one by Krista Frank, which is her amigurumi interpretation of the cold virus. I think it looks too sweet to be creating the way I’m currently feeling, so it must be another kind of virus altogether.
At present there seems to be a real glut of knitting and crochet magazines available in the UK and Ireland, which could be seen as a good thing right? More Magazines equals more competition between the publications to get your custom therefore, you might expect magazines packed to the brim, full of up-to-date patterns and editorials, with reviews on the yarns and items you want to see. Sadly, I’ve noticed the opposite of late and in many of the magazines there seems to be a real thinning out of quality material.
As there are so many, this post could go on for ages, so I thought it best to split it into two, possibly more separate posts 🙂
Lets begin with my least favourite and the most expensive – Knitting & Crochet for Baby published by Immediate Media Co. (top) contains 16 knitting and crochet patterns and came with 6 x 22g balls of double knit yarn, a set of 4mm knitting needles and a 4mm crochet hook for the princely sum of…. wait for it…… €13.74 😱 😱 😱 That’s the price of a book, seriously? Rest assured I would never usually buy such a publication but I felt it was a necessary purchase as research for this post. There is the argument that the knitting kit with the magazine is what your paying for and of course it’s part of it but you can purchase much better quality products for only a little more money, in colours you prefer and without the risk of ‘running out’. The patterns are OK, the odd one is even quite lovely but, it’s hard to look past the price even for someone like me, who has been known to pay silly money for the odd, out of print knitting book 🙊
‘Free gifts’ with knitting magazines are one of my pet hates, they’re anything but free. The price of the gift has been factored into the cover price and I for one would much prefer the option to purchase an issue without the free stitch markers, tape measure, cheap, and nasty knitting detritus 💩
Oops, it looks like I might have to reel it in a bit, but not before I talk about The Art of Knitting.
Again there was a pair of needles and 2 balls of wool free with issue 1, which I picked up for the bargain price of €1.50 in McCarthys in Midleton. The patterns are OK and there’s a KAL for a blanket, which is made up of squares you knit with the free wool, using the new weekly stitch pattern. Note I said weekly, that’s the problem there in a nutshell. Issue 1 was €1.50 and issue 2 was €3.50 but all subsequent issues will be €4.99 each, €4.99 per week and according to the website you will have enough squares to complete your throw in 90 issues.
I’m not going to lie to you all. I actually have the original part work sitting on a shelf in my office from when it was released previously. I bought it to have as part of the reference library I was trying to build for an idea I had for the shop, but under normal circumstances could anyone truly justify spending €444.12 on this? It’s an awful lot of money whatever way you look at it, don’t you think?
Most of the magazines are 50% more expensive in the Euro price when you compare it to the price in Sterling, so a magazine that sells for £4.99 is likely to cost around €7.60 here.
Next we have Knit Today, which also came with a free gift. I’d stopped buying Knit Today for the shop some months back, because I felt it was repetitive and dull, but I was pleasantly surprised by issue 109. I’m not sure if there’s been a change in the editorial department since I stopped reading it, or if it’s just a ‘good’ issue, either way it’s an interesting read once more. One extremely positive thing to note is that the women’s garment patterns in Knit Today are all sized to fit from 8 to 22 as a minimum.
Love Crochet and Love Knitting For Babies aren’t so readily available in most shops. Produced by the same people that publish Knit Today, they’re bright, cheerful and pretty. Love Crochet is good for quick, cute projects, there’s a lot of frippery interspersed with the odd garment or blanket. Most, if not all of us are fond of pretty things, that are just that, they serve no other purpose than to be pretty and Love Crochet has loads of ideas to feed this need.
Love Knitting For Babies is just that, things for babies, cardi’s, hats, toys, etc. (I wouldn’t mind the odd dinosaur though, so what that says about me I’ll never know?). A lot of the patterns might seem familiar and that’s largely because they’re taken from the bigger mills like Sirdar, Patons and Wendy or from other books and publications.
Let’s Knit from Aceville Publications Ltd. is apparently the UK’s best selling knitting magazine and it’s easy to see why. First and foremost Let’s Knit feels young, vibrant and fresh faced, it contains a good mix of editorials, news, reviews and most importantly patterns. The magazine is backed up by a similarly looking web page complete with free patterns, a blog, how to videos and a craft forum to share in your hobby with similarly like minded people. There’s also a Facebook Page, Pinterest account and Twitter feed to soothe all your ♥ knitty ♥ needs.
Let’s Knit usually contains a good range of patterns with everything from toys through to garments, most of which could probably be best described as ‘modern’ rather than wardrobe staples (only my opinion). It’s a knitting magazine dedicated to knitting with the odd crochet patten thrown in for good measure.
Let’s Knit also champion the industry, from the little people like me, to the big boys like Rowan. They hold The British Knitting Awards every year and launched The Love Your Yarn Shop Campaign in 2014, which will I hope, continue to grow in popularity as Bricks and Mortar yarn shops are becoming even more of a rarity as the rise of internet shops increase. Without rent, rates and amenities these online businesses have minimal overheads which make it harder for us to compete very much like florists and supermarkets.
Have you seen any of these 6 publications, if so which do you favour? In the next post I’ll run through more of the available magazines, there are at least another 8 to look at.
♥ Magpies, Homebodies and Nomads ♥ from Cirilia Rose is a compendium of beautiful patterns designed by Cirilia herself and photographed by the exceptionally talented Jared Flood. Within it’s tempting cover Cirilia explains that she has split the patterns in the book into three sections, each one accommodating the different parts of our knitterly personalities.
Magpies contains designs to utilise those beautiful small amounts of precious yarn that many of us purchase with no project in mind but know we just have to have. Like Cirilia, I myself tend to buy a ‘souvenir’ hank or two and find each evokes a memory of a trip somewhere, time inevitably spent with my loved ones and I love the process of finding a worthwhile pattern to knit.
Within the Magpie section there are 8 designs, including one of the main reasons for my purchase and necessary addition to my fibre reference library.
The Isla Cardigan shown here with The Marion Collar is I think, a beautiful classic piece of knitwear. Cirilia has used Zealana Rimu DK which is a blend of merino and possum fibre. The deep rib creates an empire waistline whilst the slightly puffed shoulders and three quarter length sleeves add to the vintage look. The cardigan is completely set off with the addition of the Marion Collar, but I think we could be forgiven for wearing it without.
I’m also rather taken with the Breve Cowl which has been knitted with 2 very different yarns – Noro Silk Garden and Rowan Denim. The easy 2 row lace pattern can be used effectively with most yarns and because it’s a wraparound cowl, the play with colours and textures of the layers created, is simple but effective.
Homebodies is for comfort, feeding the nester in all of us. Whether it takes the form of cosy slippers or comfy homewares, it embraces early evenings spent in by the fire. Within the Homebodies section of 8 patterns there are some lovely designs including Heima Slippers, Borgarnes Pillow and the beautiful Loro Vest. Heima Slippers to indulge my current sock and slipper knitting fetish and the Borgarnes Pillow appeals to the eco warrior in me as it’s knitted in t-shirt yarn. The Loro Vest has universal appeal, looking great whatever the weather, layered over a summer dress, jeans or leggings.
It’s the Nomads section that has truly caught my eye and resulted in yet more additions to my ‘must knit’ wish list. The first temptation comes in the form of the Gezell Coat made in Royalpaca from Schulana which seems to be a aran weight yarn, meaning it won’t take too long to knit 😉 Although hard to see in the photograph , there are little knitted bobbles adorning the hem and sleeve edges to add interest.
Next we have the classically shaped Coterie Cardigan with it’s double breasted, military detail and beautiful I-cord edging. Once again I can happily say ‘it’s aran weight’ 👍
The kaleidoscope of colour that is the Studio Pullover is pure rainbow pleasure in a jumper, but look past the colourful heart and you’ll notice the jumper is a cleverly constructed, saddle shoulder, aran weight wardrobe staple (for me anyway). I do love the multicoloured heart and have even had a look at Hippie Chix fibre Art locks but I’m not convinced it’s me. Sadly the Rittenhouse yarn from Manos del Uraguay has also been discontinued so I’ll have to look for an alternative. How bad 😜
Cirilia has included the usual page of abbreviations and a couple of pages dedicated to ‘special techniques’ and this book does contain a few including, provisional cast on, applied I-cord, Kitchener stitch and short row shaping. Don’t let that put you off though Youtube is a fantastic resource and Craftsy always has fantastic classes on offer and of course there’s always me . If I don’t know, I’ll want to, so it’ll just be an opportunity waiting to happen.
One of the things I love about Cirilia’s book is that she’s also added a ‘recommended reading’ page or three, which includes several of my favourite books and one or two I hadn’t heard of. Me thinks further investigation might be in order 😉
I’d started to write this post in mid December when I ordered the new shades in Stylecraft’s Swift Knit and Senses yarns. Unfortunately, there were some issues with obtaining the digital images at the time and I’ve only just received them and I thought you might still like to have a quick look at them.
There are 3 new shades in the Swift Knit and a few new patterns to tempt you too ♥
Dina has already put in a request for the hat 😯
In the Senses I chose two of the new shades for the shop to compliment the colours we already have. Again there have been some lovely patterns released too.
I wouldn’t mind at least one of the hats and the cowl/neck warmer myself if I could find the time to knit them.
Thinking about it the Swift and the Senses are two extremes when it comes to yarns. The Swift is very much a super chunky yarn whilst the Senses has been designed to be used as a laceweight. (I find it knits perfectly to a 4 ply too)
The Swift is €4.99 per 100g whilst the Senses is €4.20 per 50g.
The run up to Christmas was a bit mental here (even more so than usual), but I was organised enough to ask Liz from the East Cork Rapid Response team to draw the winner of the Stocking of the Week.
Excuse the terrible writing but Jackie Smyth is the winner 🙂
Yesterday Jackie popped into the shop to pick her prize of €100 worth of knitting goodies.
Jackie picked a couple of projects to work up for herself in beautiful merino and tweed double knit and then lots of odd balls to knit hats and scarves to donate to The Chernobyl Children’s Trust 😀