Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Christmas is Coming, the Turkey's Getting Fat

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

As you can see, if you came here via the website, I have finally accepted that Christmas is coming and there's absolutely nothing I can do about it. I absolutely refuse to do anything for Christmas until December 1st but I was forced to do the shop window last Thursday night as the street lights were being turned on on Saturday and I was away. I have to say, I think the window is looking lovely (decorations c/o Ludgvan School) and I'll get FB to take some pics.

Each year in the street we ask local school to make decorations and hold a competition for the best ones. It's a great project and it's also a canny way of ensuring the parents visit Causewayhead at least once in the run up to the big day! (Although the first year I did get one very disappointed child in on about January 5th who'd missed her decoration in our shop as I'd taken them down by then - sometimes you just can't win.)

Our contribution to the window is the knitted turkey by Alan Dart, featured in a recent Simply Knitting magazine:

When I say "our" contribution, what I mean is that Tracey knitted the pieces and stuffed most of them and then it got fiddly and she ran out of patience and threw them all in a bag and gave them to me! I reckon we spent about an equal amount of time on him:

He is now sitting proudly in our window, complete with his party popper and hat and next to the Christmas pudding made by Ludgvan School. He enjoyed his photoshoot in the snow:

I hope you've all got your Advent Calendars ready for the morning.......

Monday, 29 November 2010


Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

This weekend we took ourselves off to Devon for a night to stay with FB's step-mum - who isn't like a step-mum at all, just more like a good friend and she's known to some of you as she designed this:

and this:

for Cornish Organic and currently has a bag of C.O.W. wool which she is turning into more goodies for us. So we planned to have a knitterly, gossipy time and did (apart from the knitting of which there was precious little) as we got into the history, gossip and scandal of FB's family - which was a hoot. There is an amazing amount of stuff still around about FB's family and he's brought a load of it home to sort and archive - stories of derring-do during the last two wars, unsuitable marriages and even hints of a mysterious death - we, like most families I suspect, had it all!

Sadly we forgot to take the camera as it was cold, damned cold and the views of Dartmoor on the way home were spectacular. This morning it snowed here - not like the snow in the north-east but, for Penzance in November, a respectable amount:

and, on my way to work, (I didn't cycle) a rare sighting of a black pheasant in the snow:

When it's cold like this, there's only one thing to do - keep calm and carry on knitting!

Friday, 26 November 2010

K T Tunstall

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

Here at Cornish Organic Wool Towers life has been phenomenally busy over the past few weeks with a multitude of different orders for different clients - on Tuesday night I counted no less than 20kgs of glorious coloured wool drying in front of the Aga - purple, copper, green, black - the full rainbow. It means that getting to the Aga or, indeed, the fridge is a challenge but, hey, we all need to lose some weight before Christmas (FB's solution of getting fish and chips last night isn't really helping though).

One client, very excitingly, is KT Tunstall. Wool from these sheep:

farmed by the lovely James:

has been spun and blended with 25% alpaca in Scotland. It then comes back to us and is dyed by FB:

and then goes to Rachael on the Isle of Wight, who turns it into these:

Tiger hats for KT's Tiger Suit Tour!

If you would like to buy one you can get them here:

KT only wears organic clothing, apparently - which is a sentiment we totally endorse and it's been a really nice, straightforward project and her "people" are lovely and easy to deal with and it's great to see our wool being sold as the finished project.

Today FB has to put labels on a further 10kgs for another client - onward and upward!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010


Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

This morning - at 6.30 - FB cracked and TURNED THE CENTRAL HEATING ON - for precisely one hour. Now you know it's cold.

I would have waited until it was actually snowing but, oh, it was so lovely to get out of the shower into a warm bathroom so I forgave him.

Monday, 22 November 2010


Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

For the past few weeks are Sunday walk schedule has been interrupted by a combination of work and weather. Yesterday, we broke our duck and headed off once more - one of those lovely, crisp chilly late autumn/early winter afternoons. We walked straight from the house and up the hill behind:

then on to Greenbarrow Mine:

where, bizarrely, someone had left a child's bike - littering, yes, strange, yes, but also rather strangely photogenic!:

We then headed across the moor to Men an Tol:

Men an Tol, literally, means "holed stone" and, despite being a popular and significant monument its exact purpose is unknown. There was a belief that a person with rickets would be cured by being passed through the hole and even the belief that going through the hole would increase fertility. There is, presumably, no proof for either of these theories but, in any event, I stood next to it rather than risking going through!:

I also managed a bit of yarn bombing but it was getting cold so I'm afraid I didn't leave the hat there but put it back on my head!:

We then headed around the Moor to Nine Maidens:

with FB getting a little arty en route:

then back down the hill to home:

One of those walks where hot tea, buttered crumpets and fruit cake would have been the perfect ending. Sadly, I don't drink tea and we had neither crumpets or fruit cake in the house so I satisfied myself by make a rather delicious spiced apple crumble instead (which, even if I say so myself, was blooming good).

Walks like that are really good to remind us why we live here.

Sunday, 21 November 2010


Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

The sharp eyed amongst you will have noticed that, here at Knit Wits, we've dipped our toe into the stupendously coloured lake of Noro yarn. The extraordinary thing about Noro is the colours - but not just that - it's the way they're blended together and then how the blends run into each other. How they do it remains a mystery (and, indeed, a trade secret) but the results are astonishing. Before taking Noro I was lucky enough to be sent a box of samples to knit up (I know, one of the perks of the job). Look at the colours in this gorgeous little girl's cardi:

(Incidentally - if you decide to knit this little cardi from the Mini Knits book, the smallest size says you can get it out of one ball and you can't - can't by a very long way [like half a sleeve and all the edgings and collar long way] - be warned!)

I then knitted socks (from Kureyon Sock wool):

and they near as dammit match which pleased me no end. (We provide this free sock pattern with every ball of Kureyon Sock sold, by the way.)

Then I rattled up a couple of hats:

Just look at those colours and those combinations - simply glorious.

Yesterday, I uploaded a load of patterns from the four pattern books we have and gradually we'll increase our range. Personally I think that everyone needs at least one pair of Noro socks and one Noro hat in their wardrobe and then they can save up for that one fabulous Noro sweater or jacket! Yes, it's expensive but, boy oh boy, is it worth it and let's be honest you can always spot a knitter wearing Noro!

At the end of the photos FB had a five second mad moment:


Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Tricolour Scarf

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

A few weeks ago, you may remember this:

en route to London. Well this, miraculously and as if by magic, has turned into this:

Close up it looks like this:

and the back is lined in luscious red crushed velvet:

I love it and am thrilled with it and it exceeds all my expectations.

Sometimes patterns are fine (or even brilliant) in your head but, in practice, they just don't make the grade. But this one does. It's knitted in Cornish Organic Chunky so the cables sit up beautifully, the colours are amazing and the red lining turns it into a very luxurious, warm, cosy item. I am really, really happy with it - as you can probably tell.

(It will also please tinebeest of the comments who eschews fancy acrylic scarves for proper wool from happy sheep!)

Tomorrow I have more new loveliness for you. Don't go away.

PS: You can buy the pattern and the wool to knit my loveliness - here.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Can Can

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

OK - calm yourselves people. Just because I put "Can Can" in the title does not, I regret to say, mean the Can Can has arrived in stock. It's more a case of me trying to calm the situation and assure all of you who have pre-ordered Can Can that we haven't forgotten to contact you (as some rather stroppy phone calls are implying) and we haven't sold your yarn to someone else. In fact, the Can Can promised in early November has yet to arrive with us.

The rep was in the shop on Wednesday and explained that the order the company had placed with its manufacturer has only arrived in part (in fact, about half of it arrived) so the rest is anticipated shortly and we will definitely (he assures us) have it by the end of November, which is fine as it still gives us all enough time to knit up those scarves for Christmas.

So calm yourselves chaps, find something else to knit in the meantime and, rest assured, as soon as the delivery is in I, personally, will be sorting it and phoning you immediately. It's going to be chaos for us but we'll do it - we always do!

I can only guess at how much the Rico bosses are kicking themselves for not ordering five times the amount of their first order but, that's the way it goes and - let's face it - one never knows just how insanely manic one particular yarn is going to go. Five years ago it was Funky fur, now it's Can Can.

Wait and be patient - it'll be worth it!!

Sunday, 14 November 2010


Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

Back from Exeter, exhausted but happy. We've just taken everything back to the shop and put some away and left the rest for Marie and Tracey in the morning (sorry girls) - I cannot tell you how much I hate and loathe that part of exhibitions.

We had a good night at the Travelodge, ate in Harry Ramsden's for supper and breakfast (think my jeans are feeling the strain today) and made it in to Exeter in really good time (how wonderful and unusual it is when things go to plan).

FB took a few pics:

(pity you can't see the detail on my t-shirt - Shaun and Sheep knitting with the caption "Bit of a Knit Wit" - amazingly, we didn't have them made specially - Tracey found them)

We met lots of lovely people and there were lots of stalls selling the most glorious hand painted, hand dyed, hand spun yarns - from cashmere and silk to pure wool - really amazing. Owning a wool shop and having a knitting list which will last me at least the next six months I resisted and didn't bring any more home to add to the stash, which FB was very grateful for. Our best seller was sari silk, which lots of people had heard of but not seen before.

FB was very sad to have missed this lady:

This is her tattoo:

The things people do for our art!! Not sure I'd go to that extreme (boy, that must have hurt) but I love the sentiment. Thanks to Belinda and Ruth for sharing the images and, indeed, for organising the whole event. It was very relaxed and friendly and very reasonably priced (although we only found out about the free tea and coffee today [good thing I don't drink either]) and, yes, we'll do it all again but just give me a week to recover.

We came home to a house in which we'd left two teenage boys for 24 hours. I will leave your imaginations to picture the scene. Before going, I'd set the dishwasher off and, needless to say, it hadn't been emptied (why would you bother when there's no-one to yell at you to take your dirty plates from the floor in front of the telly to the kitchen or, indeed, the dishwasher?) So, as we unpacked and downed a G&T a boy was tasked to unload said machine and re-load. I laughed so much when I opened the plate cupboard, FB took a picture:

Those of you who know us well can guess which boy would leave the plate cupboard looking like this and have no understanding at all as to why his mother was hysterical on the floor. It sums him up perfectly (and his teachers wonder why his homework is a tad haphazard).

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Double Duvet Part II

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

The first double duvet night was FANTASTIC!! The best night's sleep I've had for a long time. For the record, FB (like Mr Beest in the comments) is a very hot person so he has one half of the double duvet and I have a single on top as well - perfect. I am quite liking the idea of wool duvets as well - environmentally friendly, breathable, warm with you, cool with you - may have to check them out.

Inputted a few patterns today but not all I'm afraid - sorry - more tomorrow, if you're lucky.

This weekend we're at Knit Expo in Exeter. It's in the Corn Exchange from 10-4 so please come along and say hello. We don't do many exhibitions/markets as

a) most of them are a very, very long way from Penzance;
b) most of them cost a small fortune to get into;
c) most of them last a couple of days and, by the time you've added on accommodation, eating and transport it's simply not worth our while.

Exeter, on the other hand is:

a) only 2 hours drive;
b) remarkably cheap for a table (well done Belinda!);
and c) one night in a Travelodge at Exeter Airport is probably within budget!

We're going to have a whole mix of things there - all the Keep Calm and Carry on merchandise, sari silk, sock wool, Cornish Organic wool and all sort of other yummy goodies.

See you there!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Double Duvets

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

Phew - well winter has blown into Cornwall overnight - which I know is relative for those of you who have snow at the moment (we have friends in Oxfordshire who constantly remind us that, as we have a banana plant in our garden, we don't really know what winter is) - but for us it's damned cold and T and I have officially declared tonight as a "double duvet" night. Once started, it's unlikely to end until about March.

T has the added element of a hole in his bedroom window. This was caused by a small inter-sibling altercation culminating in one boy throwing a can of deodorant at second boy and second boy ducking. They have to pay for the new window out of their pocket money so, inevitably, there has been a hole (and howling gale) through T's bedroom for over two years now.

As a result of the inclement weather, the shop was quieter than of late so, as promised, I inputted patterns like a loony pattern inputter. In order for our system to work I have to input the quantity in stock, various sub-categories (like, for example, if the pattern is for babies, children, women etc) then what the pattern's for (jumper, jacket, cardigan etc), then the picture, size details, needle sizes and, finally, number of balls per size. So - as you can see - it's not quick but it makes the site work well and you seem to like it - which is the key thing.

I started with Katia patterns - which are always good sellers. We have some new ones in the phenomenally popular Azteca:

and for little girls:

Lots of lovely Astrakan for babies:

and Sugar 4ply for babies as well:

There's also a lovely dress for girls in Surprise:

So having done whack of patterns in Katia (those are just a sample), I started on the James Brett. First the new Fusion - 4 patterns for ladies - here's a sample:

and then the new Woodlander DK:

and then the new Tints DK:

So - as you can see, I've been busy and there are new Baby Marble and Merry Go Round patterns coming tomorrow and 2 new patterns in Brushstrokes Chunky.

For now I have to put the cats out (far harder when the weather's cold - Deidre, in particular, is a cunning little swine and hides under the table - as Eric only has three legs, he's easier to catch) - in case you're wondering they do have the back passage (as we charmingly call it) to sleep in but if we leave them in the house Eric has a revolting habit of sh***ing in the kitchen and all the other local cats have a habit of coming in too. Hearing a cat fight underneath your bedroom in the dead of night is not something you want to wake up to, trust me.

After that, it's time to put a cover on duvet number 2 - I'll be warm and cosy tonight!