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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Magpies, Homebodies and Nomads

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♥ 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.

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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.

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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.

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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 😉

Happy Knitting!

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Stylecraft Yarns Winter Catch Up

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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.

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There are 3 new shades in the Swift Knit and a few new patterns to tempt you too

 

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Dina has already put in a request for the hat 😯

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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.

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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.

Happy Knitting!

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I’m Thoroughly Enjoying Myself

 

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There have barely been two weeks pass in January and I feel like I’m flying with the knitting and crochet 😎

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I’m currently working on the sleeves of the jumper Cobblestone for my son Du.  The pattern is worked bottom up in the round and I’ve reached the part where the sleeves are joined.  I had promised to concentrate solely on the jumper, but I just can’t do it.  I need the satisfaction little projects bring 😉 So I’ve set my deadline to the end of January instead.

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So… I’ve also managed to get a quick hat for Kye, my youngest knitted up in the specified burgundy colour as requested.

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Using my latest hat pattern Toasty & Textured, I whipped up another hat, this time in Twilley’s Freedom Wool.

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Feeling inspired by the yarn I put in the sale I quickly (and it was, even for me) crocheted a half granny square shawl in Rico Creative Galaxy Chunky yarn using a 7mm hook and 3 balls and I lve it!

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Drum roll please…

I’m also happy to announce that I’ve completed my first pair of socks for 2015.  To be fair, I’d all but knitted one of them before the end of 2014 but it still counts towards my goal of 6 pairs for the year 😉

I’ve also started working on my next pair too, that’s what the pretty piece of knitting is at the beginning of this post 

Happy Knitting!

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Toasty & Textured

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I feel like I’ve wasted so much time this week trying to post here, Ravelry and Facebook without any success because our internet has been so poor 😡  So the first thing I did when I arrived at the shop this morning was upload lots of photos to store in my various media libraries, ready for the next few posts.  I also managed to get the pattern for my latest hat Toasty & Textured up on Ravelry at last too ⭐

The hat is knitted in 1×1 moss stitch with Rico Essentials Big on 7mm needles.  I’ve also knitted up a couple with Rico Flame and will try and persuade Dina, to let me take a photo or two 😉 at the weekend to post here.

January can be a difficult month for some after the extravagances and the build up of the festive season, even the most positive among us can feel like the wind has been knocked out of us a little.  I’m fortunate in that Dina’s birthday is on the 16th, which gives us something to enjoy and this year she’ll be 25!!!  So to ♥celebrate♥ I’ve made the pattern for Toasty & Textured free to download until the end of the month with the coupon code 25. 

Be sure to enter 25 before you checkout and remember to share you’re projects so we can see.   The hat is super speedy to knit and will work for both men and women.  I’m hoping to find a couple of sneaky hours to have a play with combining some of my stash yarns and will post photos of the results here if they work.

Happy Knitting!

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The Madness Has Been & Gone

By the madness I mean the build up to Christmas Day, which I convince myself every year that I’m not going to buy into, only to find on Christmas Day that I have 😞 Maybe though, that’s part of the fun?

Unlike previous years I really didn’t manage to get as many presents knitted or even generally handmade as I would have liked to.  The year seemed to rush by faster than a speeding car and before I realised it it was the end of November and I’d only knitted the one gift, a Hitchhiker for a friend of mine.  Of course I’d forgotten to take a proper picture of it before I’d mailed it, so this is one I’d posted on Instagram whilst I was knitting it.

hitchhikerI used a ball of Rico Poem Superba in green and a ball of King Cole Merino 4ply.  The Poems Superba is variegated, so the greens change as the scarf grows.  I found it a really lovely pattern to follow, with only 8 rows and by using 2 colours, the stripe effect meant I really didn’t have to concentrate on which of the rows I was on.  A lovely happy accident.

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Nearly everyone that would wear one received a knitted hat of some kind, mostly these ones though.  The pattern is very basic and I should be able to get it up on here over the next couple of days.

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Nostrils shouldn’t be that big should they? It’s obscene 😬

 

I liked them so much that I’ve even made one for me.

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Tate looks rather fetching in Leann’s one too, bless him.

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Some friends including my Secret Santa recipient received my crochet baubles, which I loved making once I’d figured out what to do.  I used several resources to help me, but the circles kept getting bigger because of the trebles.  After trying a few different things I decided double crochet was the way to go.  A couple of you have asked for a pattern already, but I’m not sure if I can write it up as a ‘proper’ crochet pattern, so it might end up being more of an instruction sheet?

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Last but not least was the jumper I’d been making for my hubby Con in secret.  Many of you will have seen me trying to get a few rows done in the shop; especially if you popped in the few days before Christmas when I was frantically trying to get the sleeves finished.  I’ll write up a separate post to tell you all about it and I might even be able to get a photo of the man himself wearing it 👨

Cobblestone

Since finishing the jumper I’ve cast on and started knitting Cobblestone by Jared Flood for Durahn my son.  I’ve also been sticking to my morning walk everyday, regardless of how cold it is and both Kye and myself have been going a bit photography mad with our phones.  This morning’s walk produced some beautiful snaps, all with no filter too 📷

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He pinched my hat.

 

 

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2 of my dogs trying to drink from one of the frozen troughs. The black one usually dunks her head in, but even she’s not daft enough to do it when it’s this cold, right?

 

 

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No wait…. She really is that daft.

 

I’ve also been watching far too many cheesy movies including the must see Guardians of the Galaxy which inspired me to make my own mix tape on Spotify.  If you fancy having a look at what tracks I’ve included my profile is lmillar72.  More mix tapes to come me thinks 🖭

Happy Knitting!

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December Chill

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Following on from my Ophelia post, a good few of you asked about the pattern for the hat Dina was wearing.  Ever organised 😕 I obviously had the pattern written up.  To be fair I did, but it was on Post-it Notes rather than on the computer and it was no where near ready for anyone else to have a look at.

Since then it’s been typed up, test knitted and corrected and is now up on Ravelry Here for €2 but it’s free to download on Ravelry until Midnight on Christmas Day with the checkout code Ophelia.  (Enter it before you checkout.)

It only took the one ball and a couple of hours to knit up and should work with most chunky yarns or even 2 strands of double knit yarn held together like this one.

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I used 2 strands of King Cole Galaxy Double Knit.

Happy Knitting!

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Come Into Our Crochet Garden

At this stage I have a good few of you plagued with my constant pushing of The Craft Club’s Guinness World Record Yarnbomb attempt in aid of The Little Haven’s Hospice.  If any of you have missed pop over here to my previous post to find out all about it.

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The final project goes on display in the gardens of the hospice on the 25th August so I sent over a shoe box stuffed with items earlier this week  and this photo heavy post is to share the the lovely little items dropped off by some of you and which will contribute to the spectacular efforts of The Craft Club to raise a good few smiles and highlight a very worthy cause.

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Happy Knitting!

(should that be crochet?)

More Baby Knits

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I’ve been so busy trying to plan for our refurbishment that it’s ended up being a couple of weeks since I wrote my last post, despite having tonnes to tell you all about.

My needles and hooks have come close to combusting with all the use they’ve been getting.  I’m currently mid way into at least two projects for the shop and I’ve just started another.  I’ve been baby knitting for my friends first grandchild and another friend has just had a baby too :-0 and then I was trying to crochet up a few bits for The Craft Club Yarnbomb, oh and I’ve been crocheting for the shop too.   (I’m so excited about the refurb, sad I know)

I thought you might like to see the little cardi I knitted up for baby Sean as it’s one of my all time favourite patterns.

Beyond Puerperium by Kelly Brooker is going to set you back about €4.20 via Ravelry here  and it’s worth every cent.  The pattern includes sizes newborn to 2 years with options for using 4ply, double knit or aran weight yarn.  If you have time I recommend looking at what other knitters have made on the project pages as there are some great colour combinations and pattern modifications.

There is a free double knit version of the pattern available too in newborn size, if you want to try before you buy, but I guarantee you’ll be hooked.

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I’ve used a lovely vintage green Sirdar Snuggly DK with multicoloured buttons from Rico this time but I’ve made several of them now and am happy to report Dina has too, she’s actually making a lovely candy pink one at the moment (we’re sharing the buttons, I used the boyish ones she’s using the girlie ones).  I’ll see if I can persuade her to let me post a photo or two here when she’s finished.

I’ve just sent all the yarn bomb goodies off so my next post will be a photo explosion of crochet creativity.

Happy Knitting!

I thought I’d published this ……

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More crochet I’m afraid, but I love how this has turned out so much I’m actually going to make at least one more for myself and another for a friend for Ch…. (nearly said it) ‘you know when’ .

I used Knitcol from Adriafil in one of the beautiful new colourways and I rather cheekily sat in on one of our workshops to learn how to make it but (I’m told), it’s a basic half granny shawl and there are several similar patterns available on Ravelry.  Of course you can always put your name down for one of the workshops here too.

Can you see me now, sitting, knitting on one of these lovely summer evenings with it wrapped around my shoulders sipping, rather elegantly I might add …… MY MUG OF BLACK TEA.

😉

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