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.





Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Celebrating Colour: Woolly Wormhead's Painted Woolly Toppers For Kids

Image courtesy of Woolly Wormhead
Woolly Wormhead can always be relied upon to create amazing hat knitting patterns, and now she has extended her range to children as well. Her sequel to last year's Painted Woolly Toppers is Painted Woolly Toppers For Kids, available now as a PDF download and soon to be a printed book as well.

I was fortunate enough to receive an online sneak peak of the book. From the cheeky cover photo (see right) you can tell that this is no boring tome of classic patterns for children. Wormhead applies her trademark irreverence and quirky style to the hats, creating fashionable toppers that children will want to wear.

It's probably no coincidence that Wormhead, who describes herself as a hat architect, has released the book a few months before Christmas to give readers some valuable knitting time and I can certainly see my goddaughters being happy to open one of her creations under the tree.

Wormhead uses hand-dyed variegated and painted yarns for her ten patterns. It's good to see her supporting British brands such as Countess Ablaze, Skein Queen and Old Maiden Aunt.

There's a comprehensive section on the knitting techniques used in the hats' creation. I myself haven't used German short rows before and it's great to have the instructions in the book and not to have to go off and google what to do. The patterns come in four sizes from a 16 inches to 23 inches. Twenty-two inches, the books says, is the circumference of an adult female's head. Good to see adults can join in the fun too.

My personal favourites are Kilbride:

Image courtesy of Woolly Wormhead

And Modbury:

Image courtesy of Woolly Wormhead
But don't mess with the boy modelling Swinton:

Image courtesy of Woolly Wormhead

All in all it's a great collection - hats off to you Woolly!

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Review of Let's Knit Magazine's Best of British Edition

Image courtesy of Let's Knit magazine
Issue 110 of the popular mainstream knitting magazine Let's Knit, aimed at beginners, contains a Best of British special with what the mag says are 18 cosy makes in homegrown yarns. Sadly the whole of the issue isn't focussed on British yarn and designers but, for those of us who champion locally produced yarn and the British wool industry, it's certainly a start.

It's a common misconception that British wool is artisan and expensive, one that Louise, editor of the KnitBritish website, has disproved over the years.

In it's October 2016 issue Let's Knit features eight British yarns, some well known and others less so. Prices range from £3.20 for a 25g ball (Jamieson & Smith Shetland Heritage) to £9.70 for 100g (West Yorkshire Spinners Bluefaced Leicester DK Prints). There's even a 500g cone of Frangipani 5ply from Guernsey that'll set you back 25.

The yarns listed are:

  1. Jamieson & Smith Shetland Heritage
  2. West Yorkshire Spinners Bluefaced Leicester DK Prints
  3. Erika Knight British Blue
  4. Wendy Ramsdale DK
  5. Coco Alpaca Double Knitting
  6. Lily Arne Wool
  7. Blacker Westcountry Tweed
  8. Frangipani 5ply Guernsey.
Elsewhere in the magazine there's a feature on three of the best hand-dyed British yarns from Watercolours and Lace, Baa Baa Brighouse and Twisted Stitches. Plus there's a great article on why we should be buying British yarn. 

How about the patterns? It's slightly confusing to work out which is which, as non-British patterns are intermingled with British ones. Look out for the union flag to demarcate the British ones. Projects range from a pom pom hat and cowl; short jacket; comfy sweater and faux cable scarf. My favourite is the light and lacy layering sweater knitted in Woolyknit Bluefaced Leicester, and it's one of the more challenging patterns in the issue.

To top off the British theme there's an interview with Kerry Lord from Warwickshire-based yarn company Toft Alpaca and 15% off its yarns, books, patterns and workshops. 

All in all it's a great issue but can the next British special be completely British please? Plus it would be perfect if the cover gift, yarn to knit a princess and a dragon toys, was British too - or even better still if the giveaway was a ball of one of the British yarns featured in the issue.


Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Blacker Yarns Bonanza: Cornish Tin 2 + St Kilda Lace

Blacker Yarns is back with two more limited edition British yarns to tempt we knitters with.

The first is a rerun of last year's extremely popular Cornish Tin blend made to celebrate the company's tenth anniversary. Blacker Yarns has now turned 11, and has brought Cornish Tin back one final time, albeit with a slightly different blend. Says Blacker Yarns, of Cornish Tin 2:
"This steely grey woollen spun yarn is blended from a collection of the highest quality British fibres including Alpaca, Portland, Saxon Merino, Gotland, Jacob, Shetland, Black Welsh Mountain, Mohair, and English Merino. Tin 2 is a careful blend of lustrous, smooth fibres with slightly more bulky wools to create a lovely handle and give the yarn a delicate hello. The Gotland and Mohar fibres give the dyed shades a subtle pop of intensity."
The yarn is available in 100g skeins in both DK and 4ply weights. There are eight shades to choose from, one, named Levant Grey, being undyed. The price is TBC.

Cornish Tin 2 shade card

Last year I dithered around when it came to buying Cornish Tin, thinking it would be available for sale much longer than it was. This year I may well get in there early. I'm wanting to add the Hut 8 cardigan to my 'to knit' list and have my eye out for a 4ply yarn to knit it in. I already have a plethora of pink and grey cardigans but finding the right shade of raspberry has so far eluded me.

The Tamar range from Blacker Yarns is due to be refreshed soon. Isla from the BritYarn website told me that some of the original shades are like gold dust to get hold of now, but that a new batch should be available in September. I do like the Kensey and Shales Brook shades. The question is, however, should I stick with pink that I know suits me or go for a completely different shade? The other contender is Land Army Green from Susan Crawford's Excelana 4ply range.

The second treat for knitters that Blacker Yarns has up its sleeve is their St Kilda limited edition lace yarn in a collaboration with expert dyer Joy, aka The Knitting Goddess. Says the company:
"Blacker St Kilda yarn is a unique and rare homage to the Scottish archipelago and world Heritage site on the outer edges of the Hebrides. The islands' native Boreray and Soay sheep are two of the oldest and rarest of all the British breeds, so there is only enough wool to make a limited amount of yarn each year. These fibres and hand blended together with Shetland to create a beautifully delicate and textured yarn with plenty of bounce. Our St Kilda has a really grip, so it is exquisitely suited to lace knitting and textured shawls."
St Kilda shade card

Indeed, the lace yarn feels soft and smooth to the touch. Joy has dyed ten jewel-like shades, all of which pop with colour. For those who prefer their yarn in natural shades there are two to choose from: a silver, light grey Isle of Dun and a dark grey Stac Lee. St Kilda comes in 50g skeins and the price is TBC.


Monday, 29 August 2016

Toft Launches Hand Dyed Yarns + Quarterly Magazine

Rieppeleon image courtesy of Toft
In celebration of its ten year anniversary, Toft Alpaca, the Warwickshire-based yarn retailer, is selling some very special yarns created by well-known British hand dyers.

The collection is a special 'one off' and once the skeins are sold, they are gone. For £30 plus P&P buyers receive two hand-dyed 50g skeins and a .pdf pattern to crochet Kerry the Chameleon and Robert the Dart Frog. Toft's crocheted animals series has been very popular but if, like me, you aren't interested in crocheting a toy, then of course you can knit whatever you like with the yarn. The price tag is hefty for just 100g of yarn but the exclusivity does add to its allure.

The expert dyers Toft has worked with include:

  • Skein Queen
  • Countess Ablaze
  • Kettle Yarn Co.
  • Eden Cottage
  • Hedgehog Fibres.
My favourite for its sunny orange hue is Kettle Yarn Co.'s Rieppeleon - I think it would make a fabulous scarf or hat to blow away the forthcoming winter blues. Second choice is Skein Queen's teal Furcifer.

Toft Quarterly Magazine

Toft's glossy new quarterly magazine was supposed to have been published by now but thanks to their first choice printer going bust the launch has sadly been delayed. I bought a year's subscription a few weeks ago when Toft was running a 10% off everything promotion and I'll be reviewing the magazine when it arrives in the post.
Image courtesy of Toft
In the meantime I received a special mini digital edition for subscribers. The photography is sumptuous and makes the magazine look like a classy publication. The content of the mini magazine, was, however, slightly disappointing. It contained a knitting pattern for block colour mittens, a crochet pattern for Matilda the Arctic Hare and a pattern to knit a twist beanie. None of the patterns shouted 'make me!' but of course that's personal choice and they are all not currently available on the Toft website. 

Further content included a PR puff piece about some of the staff who work at Toft, and a very lovely photoshoot of all the yarn colours Toft sells. This was my favourite part of the magazine - it's hard to choose yarn colours online and I found it very helpful to see all of the hues together in one lovely photo.

I'm looking forward to receiving my first proper edition of Toft Quarterly.  One copy costs £8 plus P&P or alternatively a one-year subscription plus the digital mini-magazine reviewed about is £24 plus P&P. A glossy magazine to flick through and keep on your bookshelf is much more appealing than a digital version to me. I'm probably in the minority of customers though for wanting less crochet and more knitting!
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