Psst…

Book Launch

I’m really excited to announce that we’ll be hosting a book launch for the fantastic book These Islands: Knits from Ireland, Scotland and Britain by Sara Breitenfeldt, Suzanne McEndoo, and Evin Bail O’Keeffe soon.

As you can see from the photo above the date is still to be confirmed, but is likely to be sometime over the coming fortnight.

Watch this space

Happy Knitting!

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Stylecraft Malabar

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Summer yarns aren’t as popular for us as you might think?  After 10 years in this business I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s several reasons for this.

  • Many summer garments are fashion rather than classic and this can be off putting to even the most dedicated knitter amongst us.
  • Lots of knitters are also gardeners, so they switch loyalty when the sun begins to make an appearance.
  • Summer yarns usually means double knit or 4ply traditionally = a lot more knitting.
  • Our summer isn’t too long, so the garment you’ve lovingly created doesn’t get worn much.  Fine if it’s a classic piece but refering back to the first point I made….

At last it would appear the big yarn companies have started to listen and this year we’re seeing a good few summer yarns in aran weight 🙂

I’ve had a play with some of the main releases and have decided to go with Malabar from Stylecraft so far.

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As I’ve said, it’s an aran weight yarn, a blend of 22% silk/78% cotton, fantastic for €6.75 per ball.  There’s approximately 180yds/165m in each 100g ball and the suggested tension is 18 stitches x 24 rows to a4″/10cm square on 5mm needles.  Did I mention there’s 12 colours too?

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The good folks at Stylecraft Yarns have released lots of accompanying patterns, including the crochet shawl at the top of this post, which is likely to be a favourite of everybody’s because it’s just so pretty.  I’m quite smitten by the summer shrug/cardigan on the accessories pattern leaflet here in cream 

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Truthfully though, I’m thinking of knitting Mimic by Veronika Jobe for myself in Malabar when I’ve finished a couple of my ongoing projects.  In the mean time I’ve run up a little Yoked Cardigan by Hannah Fettig aka Knitbot as a mini display garment for the shop in the fabulous summery, turquoise shade.

Interesting fact for you all, turquoise is meant to be the one colour that we all look good in regardless of our skin tone, eye colour or age, it’s universal.

Happy Knitting!

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The Lilly Pond Blanket CAL

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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.

Life dk

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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”

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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 ✌️

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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.

Happy Knitting!

That should probably be crochet I guess?

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Edinburgh Part 2 – Exploring

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Soooo many things to see, I have to go back.  Preferably when it’s a little warmer and there’s a chance of the sun putting in an appearance, but return I will.  It would have been sacrilege not to snap a photo of this daisy I spied carved into the end of a bench.

Edinburgh was everything I’d imagined and more 💞

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No trip to the Scottish city would be complete without a visit to the castle of course,  dominating the skyline as it sits perched above the other buildings.  My word, you definitely know how high it is too when you get up there, because it’s blooming freezing.

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The castle itself is fantastic and much bigger than I thought, think fort rather than castle.  Cobbled paths lead you to the different buildings which contain room after room of memorabilia from Scotland’s history.  My favourites were the National War Museum and the Regimental Museums, I’ve recently developed a bit of an interest in military history and am hoping to visit The Imperial War Museum in London again this year 🙂

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The Scottish National War Memorial is a truly moving place, which commemorates the dead of the First and Second World Wars and of military campaigns since 1945.  Around the main room you will discover books with lists of the fallen soldiers from each Scottish regiment.  The number of books provides a poignant reminder of all that lost there lives in defence of their country.

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In truth we didn’t leave ourselves enough time to truly experience the sheer volume of things to see at the castle and will have to go again when we’re next in Edinburgh 😉

We rode the obligatory tour bus, but only managed to take one of the three tours and after dragging my poor husband to several yarn shops and haberdashery departments there was barely any time left for a wander through the cobbled streets, stopping for coffee and cake.  I really can’t sing the praises of the public transport system in Edinburgh enough.  An all day pass for the buses and trams costs only £3.50 and you can travel the length and breadth of the city

Edinburgh is a bit of a haven for yarn shops, having already visited the yarn festival I thought it only fair on hubby not to take us too far out of our way.

I’m a bit of a department store haberdashery junkie, I just can’t help myself and have to look at everything.  Jenners House of Fraser is smack in the centre of Edinburgh and their haberdashery department in the basement, was jam packed with a rainbow of colours from Rowan and Patons.  Having popped in briefly on Saturday afternoon before they closed I was able to resit the urge to purchase something in order to save my pennies for the festival.  if Rowan is your yarn of choice though I’d recommend a visit to either Jenners on Princes Street or the John Lewis which you’ll find in the St James Centre.  John Lewis also had some of the fantastic but seriously pricey Wool and the Gang yarn and kits too.

Kathy’s Knits on Broughton Street offers some beautiful yarns, patterns and notions, concentrating on British yarns sourced from around the country including Blacker Yarns, New Lanark, JCRennie, Jamieson & Smith and Eden Cottage.  I didn’t stop long enough to purchase as it was drizziling a little outside and I didn’t want to risk having a grumpy, sodden husband.  Next time when the sun is shining I’ll be sure to stay longer 😎

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Ginger Twist Studio is an indie, vintage inspired yarn shop on London Road crammed full of yummy yarn, most of which is hand dyed.  I’d met Jess at the yarn festival, but as I follow her on Instagram I wanted to pay a special visit to the shop.  We popped in briefly on Monday when Jess was busy unpacking after the show.  You wouldn’t want to turn up with a massive group of knitters as Ginger Twist is a little on the compact side, however this little haven is a hand dyed yarn lovers dream destination.

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Never one to resist hand dyed I opted for a hank of luminous lime sock yarn and the necessary shopper.

Up near where we were staying in Haymarket was David Drummond’s  a traditional sewing machine and knitting shop with a vast selection of all things knitting, sewing and haberdashery.  Rather happily I discovered some Wendy Alfresco Aran on special, which I purchased to crochet up a quick granny shawl on the way home.  Four balls in a great charcoal shade for less than £10 – bargain!

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In amongst all the travelling, walking, eating and touring I managed to get my knit and crochet on too.  The bottom project is a granny shawl in Rico Galaxy Chunky yarn that I took with me to keep my hands occupied whilst on the plane (it’s a gift for a dear friend).  I also managed to finish one sock and start it’s twin, but didn’t want to risk having my Knitpro Karbonz taken off me on the plane, hence the Alfresco purchase.  You can kind of make out the lovely shade of grey in the photo and to jazz it up a little, I’m adding some rows in yarn from my stash.

I’ll be sure to post up some pics of the finished garment, but I could end up boring you as I’ve developed a bit of a hankering for granny shawls at the moment.

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First there was the blue one I made for myself here and then you might recall the photo from a previous post with all the ends needing to be sewn in? Well I finally found the time to do so and to give it a quick block too.

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I love it and it’s really warm having been made in the now discontinued King Cole Chunky Merino.  Hopefully, you can never have too many shawls?

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The photographs make it look rather bright, when I like to think it’s a little more subdued ✨ only a little mind.

Happy Knitting!

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Edinburgh Part 1 – The Yarn Festival

2015-03-15 10.19.52-2I’ve wanted to go to Edinburgh for as long as I can remember and The Edinburgh Yarn Festival provided the perfect excuse to finally pay the place a visit 🙂

The first thing to mention about the yarn festival is how many ‘stars’ of the industry offered classes, there were definitely more in attendance then I’ve seen at any other yarn show.  Unfortunately, I’d missed the ones that interested me most as demand was incredibly high and most booked up very quickly.  Who can blame them too, with names like Stephen West, Ysolda Teague, Rachel Coopey, Carol Feller, Hélène Magnússon, Nancy Marchant, Veera Välimäki, Emily Wessel and Karie Westermann to name but a few.

I arrived at The Edinburgh Corn Exchange bright and early on Sunday morning to try and avoid some of the crowds, heading straight for the Baa Ram Ewe stall in order to purchase a present for a good friend.  Saturday had been such a productive day with their Titus yarn that certain shades had sold out, including the one I was after.  Undeterred, I had a great time playing with colours and trying to decide on the right colour combination for Stephen West’s Daybreak Shawl.

My plan of action when attending any yarn festival is to walk round all of the vendors once without purchasing and make a mental note of any ‘favourites’ before walking round for a second time to spend time investigating further and making any purchases.  This ‘purchase’ round can in practice, lead to a 3rd and possibly even a 4th lap of the stalls, depending on how strong the ‘pull’ of some yarn is 😉

With over 75 stalls to peruse I was a little spoilt for choice when it came to selecting goodies to bring home.

So what did I buy?

Too much as per usual including

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Well, I couldn’t resist the Edinburgh Yarn Festival cotton shopper.  You can never have too many project bags can you?

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I actually only bought the Tin Can Knits 9 Months of knitting book at the show, finding the other ones in a bargain book shop in the city.  I also purchased a couple of books on spinning and weaving in order to work on my ability in these areas.

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I was spoilt for choice with sock yarns, but was rather smitten by this hand dyed 4ply Blue Faced Leicester loveliness, from The Threshing Barn

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Hélène Magnússon’s class was the one I’d hoped to be able to attend, having missed the opportunity this time round it seemed only fair that I bought one of her beautiful knitting kits.  I opted for the Icelandic Spring Shawl in beautiful blues and greens.  The lace weight yarn is a rougher texture than we’re probably use to now and there was another softer option available, I wanted Icelandic authenticity and I’m sure it’ll soften with washing.

Scary lace weight it may be, but the pattern I’m happy to report, is knitted on 5mm’s

I did purchase a few more interesting items including more yarn, but you’ll have to wait until I’ve made the projects up.

Of course no short break is complete without taking in the sights, including Edinburgh Castle and a few of the yarn shops more on that in part 2.

Happy knitting!

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Charity Knitting

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.

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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.

  • The yarn you use has to be soft, heads are sensitive at the best of times.  Baby yarn like Sirdar Snuggly Dk or something similar is ideal.
  • Some people can be allergic to wool, particularly whilst undergoing treatment, so it’s recommended that you use yarn with no wool content what so ever.  Acrylic/nylon are best and cotton hats are fantastic for wearing during the warmer months.
  • Whilst lace hats look pretty, they’re not necessarily the most practical.  I’ve read stories on several sites now from cancer patients that have lost their hair through Chemotherapy.  Most have mentioned that they wear their hats to cover their baldness as well as for warmth.  A solid stitch pattern would be more suitable where possible for this reason, as would a hat longer hat.  One that covers the back of the head like a beanie rather than a beret style would also provide more coverage.
  • Lastly, the hats should be wearable, fun and stylish in order to make the wearer feel less self conscious and warm.  Try to consider colour and style – would you wear it?

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.

blankets of hope

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.

Happy Knitting!

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As Mad As A March Hare, Round Ere Anyway

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😷 It’s fair to say I’m still feeling blooming awful, my nose 👃  has turned into a leaky tap, which refuses to stop and I have all the energy of a sloth.  I’ve barely managed to knit over the past few days, feeling even the little exertion necessary to move my hands just too much.  I say this but it’s not really true, well not completely.  I’m easily distracted at the best of times, but when a little run down this takes on a whole new level of insanity 👽 My brain races ten to the dozen (or so it feels), coming up with new ideas and plans for things to knit, make, cook, etc, but the body and concentration levels find it hard to keep up.

I’m going to suddenly be able to knit the shawl I’ve been lusting over since I saw my friend wearing it on Saturday – now, today, from start to finish.  I’m also going to be able to walk my dogs around the farm without needing to take my boots off and change into my wellies (this will require effort and quite likely bending – both not good for my banging head).  The walk will take place under the belting 🌞 sun 🌞 and I will be hither to unscathed, by the gale force winds that seem to be pounding the living daylights out of the trees outside my office window.

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I’m also trying to avoid looking around the office, through fear that the mess will become too much to bare (oops nearly wrote bear) and I will once again feel the need to commence tidy up procedures.  I’ve tried on at least two occasions since Sunday, to clear some space both on my desk and on the other surfaces around me (including the floor), but it’s still over cluttered, even by my standards.

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The living room isn’t much better, except there’s only bits of one project sitting on the pouffe, well they’re samples.  They’re actually a rework of the samples that are strewn across my desk.  As if to prove a point as to the extremes of my ability to do the polar opposite of organise myself.  I have managed to mislay, the pattern for a daisy edged shawl I’d been working on for some time a couple of weeks back. That’s fine, I know they’ll eventually show up, except my afore mentioned, cold infected brain must have them now so I can get the shawl knitted, blocked and be wearing it tomorrow at the latest 😉

Pigs might fly and in this wind there’s every chance they will 🐷 🐷 🐷

Happy Knitting!

Before I go you might wonder why I haven’t mentioned the cowl in the photo at the top of the page, well that’s because it’s finished and residing with it’s new owner and I’ve forgotten to take a photo.  So when I have one I promise to share 

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Short And To The Point

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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.

snugglyThey’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.

Happy Knitting!

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Lets Talk Magazines Part 2

Knitting

So in the last post I covered 6 of the many knitting and crochet publications available in the UK and Ireland.  I’ll have had a yarn shop for 10 years in August and my love of knitting magazines goes back further than that.  I remember buying the first few issues of Knitting Magazine from The Guild of Master Craftsman Publishers when they first came out in 2003.

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Actually, thinking back I can remember looking through my mums copies of Golden Hands from the 70’s.  Not strictly a knitting magazine, they covered lots of different crafts too like crochet and dressmaking.  I’m now the keeper (yes I read fantasy) of 5 full binders of them and I occasionally pull them out to have a look through them for ideas or to reminisce.

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I digress, I’m here to talk current publications and Knitting Magazine seems like as good a place as any to begin with.  Knitting, is one of my favourite publications, there’s a good mix of everything you want in a knitting magazine.  More recently, Knitting has had a bit of a refresh and the new look magazine is even better.  The patterns are laid out in sections now, so all the women’s garments are together, the men’s, children’s, accessories, etc.  There’s often a ‘How To’ based on an unusual technique and there’s also the usual yarn and book reviews that you see in many of the other publications too.  The magazine is very often pattern rich with an average number of 20 or so each month, but ‘bumper’ issues can have over 50 💕 One interesting thing to note – Knitting doesn’t have a web page as such to support the magazine.

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Next up is Simply Knitting, which in truth is actually very similar to Knitting, but doesn’t appeal to me quite as much.  Perhaps it’s because the publishers, Immediate Media Ltd. produce another of my favourite mags – The Knitter.  Simply Knitting can quite often seem a little ‘light’.  It’s a personal thing I’m sure, there are still lots of lovely patterns, reviews and editorials, but I think it probably lost something when The Knitter came out.

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The Knitter on the other hand is usually so inspiring, it is the only knitting magazine deliberately aimed toward 😉 The More Experienced Knitter 😉 Whilst not strictly true, the designs inside are more likely to contain lace or cable stitches, stranded or intarsia colour work, or be of a less than standard construction.  There is usually a master class, book/yarn reviews and everything else you’d expect form your knitting magazine.  As with most of the publications nowadays they can also be found on all sorts of digital platforms like Facebook and Ravelry too.  The actual magazine is quite different to the other knitting ones, it seems to be printed to a higher quality and this is probably reflected in the price of £5.99, I pay €9.16.  It is a little pricey, but for me there have only been the odd month where I wouldn’t consider making any of the designs within.  It’s usually quite the opposite if I’m honest, in the issue above (81) there are at least 5 patterns I could easily be persuaded into making and I’m in ♥ love ♥ with the extra free pattern for a Swedish Shawl by Donna Druchunas.

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Whilst the colours aren’t me, I absolutely love the concept.  it’s the first in a new series from The Knitter, so I can’t wait for the next issue to see what it brings.

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Knitting & Crochet from Woman’s Weekly Home Series has turned into a monthly magazine after Time Inc (UK) decided to increase the number of issues from 4 to 12 per year.  It is actually quite a good magazine and the one where you’re more likely to find licensed projects.  By that I mean jumpers with Peppa Pig on them, or toys like Paddington Bear or Bob the Builder.  Producing licensed patterns can be extremely expensive for companies now as there are all sorts of issues surrounding distribution rights, which is why you don’t see them so often now.  The Woman’s Weekly has been around for as long as I can remember and many knitters will have used a pattern that they found in it.

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Knit Now from Practical Publishing International and edited by Kate Heppell is one of the newer magazines to join the family with the first issue dating back to 2011.  I can distinctly remember having a conversation with Dina when the magazine first came out, about how we wondered if it would continue to be new and innovative and in the main it has.  It has a much more independent feel to it, with far more designs worked in yarns from the smaller producers. The magazine is committed to supporting the British yarn industry and they promote British yarns, even dedicating one whole issue every year to them.  An important feature of the magazine is that the garments include sizes up to a 26.

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It just so happens that the latest issue was the British yarn Industry issue and it contained an exclusive pattern book of 25 baby knits with it.  Lots of little babas bedecked in knitting to coo over, oops I mean lots of knitting ☺️

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Inside Crochet is one of two newish monthly crochet publications to hit the shelves, the other is Simply Crochet.  As the names suggest they are dedicated crochet magazines, which cover all aspects of the craft so don’t be surprised to see projects using hairpin, broomstick or Tunisian crochet too.  There are usually somewhere in the region of 20 projects in either mag, for anything from cardigans to dishcloths.

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Like it’s competitor Inside crochet is a bright, cheerful publication aimed at making crochet fun and accessible.  There are much fewer single patterns designed by the big yarn houses like Sirdar and King Cole available, so both of these publications go some way towards dragging crochet into the 21st century.  Credit where credit is due though, the big boys have been trying to develop more designs of late, probably in order to grab you pennies.

Both magazines have web pages but, Simply Crochet has an app too, The Granny Square app is an added bonus and it’s free on the apple operating system so anyone can use it.  Android users can access the patterns by signing up for the monthly newsletters here.

For me, as a knitter in the main, I find there’s little between both magazines.  I love to look at the pretty pictures and read about what’s new in the crochet world and have to confess to being inspired by the rainbow granny squares on more than one occasion too.  Both Simply Crochet and Inside Crochet cost £4.99/€7.49 each making it even harder to separate the two.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that as I’ve covered 12 different magazines so far that, that must be it, except it’s not.  There are magazines from America that have traditionally been quite difficult to purchase here, but are much more readily available now and then there are the ones that I subscribe to too.

Another post me thinks?

Happy knitting!

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Let’s Talk Magazines Part One

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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 🙂

So which one should you buy?

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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 💩 

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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.

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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.

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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.

2015-02-12 10.01.29Let’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.

Happy Knitting!

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