Wednesday, 26 September 2012

New Yarns From Adriafil!

Knitwits Yarns

It's that time of year when new yarns are coming in so thick and fast it's quite hard to keep up!  Today I've uploaded a whack of new yarns from Adriafil onto the site and I'm going to keep on adding new yarns day by day so as not to overload you but also so that I can sleep at some point!

As many of you will know, Adriafil is an Italian company so - needless to say - they have a huge range of wonderful, exotic yarns in some terrific textures and colourways.

First today is one such yarn - Bi-Use is so named as it can be knitted in 2 different ways (or a combination of both).  It can be knitted "conventionally" by putting the yarn round the needle or in a similar way to many of the recent scarf yarns by putting the needle through the thin bit of the yarn.  (Adriafil have, helpfully, posted a video of how to knit this yarn on YouTube - you can find it here.  The colours are gorgeous:

and we knitted up a scarf using a combination of both methods of knitting.  To be precise, 4 rows of conventional knitting and 4 rows of scarf method.  It looks like this:

and here's a close up where you can see the 2 different stitches:

We have, helpfully, put together a quick pattern for this yarn so - if you order 3 balls or more - don't forget to email us for a free copy of the pattern!

Next up we have Dakota - with its glorious flashes of feathery colours:

This is perfect for scarves - 3-4 balls for an average scarf I would suggest but also features on the fronts of a waistcoat and it's in Tracey's box waiting for her to knit a sample:

..... but only after she's knitted the sample for our next yarn - Furetto - which is a soft, furry, fluffy yarn  - also perfect for scarves but there is also a bolero pattern for it (which Tracey is currently knitting!):


Colours are here:

Finally - for today - we have a new super chunky fluorescent yarn - perfect for hard-to-please teenagers - Bloom:

it comes in just 4 colours - lime green, orange, pink and turquoise and we (I!) knitted up a quick sample scarf in it:

big, chunky, quick, fluorescent - fantastic!!

And - finally, finally, we have just 2 new colours in the lovely, Egyptian cotton - Memphis.  Due to popular demand we now have black on site and a gorgeous new blue/purple colour - shade 75:

That's all for now - phew!!  Tomorrow we have lovely new colours and yarns from James Brett - including their fab new Rustic Mega Chunky - guess what I'm knitting tonight?!!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

An Extraordinary Weekend

Knitwits Yarns

I'm sure I'm not the only one who occasionally has a weekend which is extraordinary and uplifting and unforgettable.  Well, last weekend was one of those for me.

Our youngest son, Tom, decided some time ago to enter the P Company Challenge in Catterick, Yorkshire.  In essence, this is a 10 mile "race" over some pretty tortuous terrain carrying a 35lb pack on your back in boots, not trainers.

Just think about that for one moment - 35lbs - that's 2.5 stone or, in real terms 18 bags of sugar or bags and bags of wool!

This "challenge" is the Parachute Regiment's way of sorting the men from the boys.  If you complete it in under 1 hour 50 minutes (yes, you did read that right - 10 miles, 35lbs on your back, 1 hour 50 minutes) then you qualify for the Paras.  Over 1 hour 50 and you don't.

You cannot run the course in advance (unless you're a Para) and Tom assures me that the hills on the route make our Cornish ones (which many people find challenging enough) look like little pimples!

Tom has been training for months for this.  No coach, no training schedule other than the one he prepared for himself, no professional help at all.  We have had chafing, his back rubbed raw by the pack during training and, finally on his return from France, an infection in his foot.  It has not been plain sailing!

So - we drove up to Catterick on Saturday (8 hours from Penzance) with the pack loaded in the back:

(yes, those are towels taped on to his straps with duck tape, in order to minimise chafing).

The day dawned warm and sunny - which, as all runners know, means dehydration!  But is, nonetheless, better than lashing rain.

Tom was ready for the off:

His parents felt physically sick!

The runners went first - these are the "sensible" guys who choose to run it without the hindrance of the 35lb pack and are actually allowed to wear running shoes!  They are the "hares" and the lunatics ("tabbers") aim to catch them:

Here are the tabbers leaving - with our Tom on the left:

Note in this picture that all the others around Tom are quite large men (!) - and I am willing to bet that the vast majority of them are Paras - certainly the ones in the red t-shirts are.

Over an anxious hour and a half later Tom reappeared:

looking absolutely exhausted

He completed the route in 1 hour 46 minutes and 16 seconds.
He came 122nd out of 792 entrants.
The first tabber home came in in 1 hour 15 minutes.
The last one came home in 3 hours 23 minutes - an hour and a half after Tom.

At the age of just 17 Tom could have qualified for the Parachute Regiment.

We couldn't be more proud.  He - of course - is beating himself up about how much better/faster he could have gone - such is the life of these endurance lunatics athletes.

We then drove 8 hours home and Tom slept all the way.

I am still applying various healing unctions to his raw back.

He is planning his next challenge!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

3 New Yarns From Rico!!

Knitwits Yarns

Well, it's that time of year again - start of the new school year, end of the summer (what summer?!), start of the really busy pre-Christmas knitting season (although some of you have started already) and time for the arrival of more lovely new yarns!

This time we've had a delivery in from Rico with 3 new yarns.  The first is Can Can Disco - the latest in the Can Can family, Disco is multi coloured and sparkly!  It also comes in 100g balls now so 1 ball makes exactly one scarf:

We all need a bit of sparkle to cheer up our autumns!!

Don't forget - if you want a bit of subtle sparkle in a chunky, quick-to-knit scarf yarn we still have some balls of Rico's Liesl:

We then have "Nature", which is a lovely mix of acrylic with wool and alpaca and knits as a standard DK.  The yardage is really terrific - 233 metres to just 50g - that's even better than Stylecraft's Life! - so most garments will come out of 5-6 balls.  The palate is muted, in line with this autumn/winter's trends:

Finally, we have "Country" - similar in make up to "Nature", Country is an Aran weight yarn, again has a terrific yardage (187 metres to 50g) and, again, comes in a muted, on-trend palate:

The only thing to do now is choose the next project!!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

I Love My Children .... But ....

Knitwits Yarns

We have finally retrieved youngest son from his French wanderings and he appears to have had a great time, met some very cool multi-national people, spoken much French and even indulged in some culture.  It is extraordinary that if I ever suggest a visit to a cathedral or - heaven forbid - a National Trust property the groans are audible.  Similarly - walks (unless they come under the 15-mile "yomp" heading) are treated with some disdain.

Yet - lo - we were treated to a slide show of his French trip yesterday and there they were - pictures of cathedrals (inside and out), fabulous French architecture, the Palace of the Popes (inside and out), a wonderful walk he did outside Nice to a great beach and - of course - fabulously expensive cars during his day trip to Monaco.

He is only 17 and has the reputation of being intelligent yet somewhat ditsy with a penchant for losing things (usually expensive things) so we were really pleased that he'd got around with no problems, hadn't lost anything and had clearly had a good time. 

Clearly we spoke too soon!  He spent his last 3 days in Nice (with said day trip to Monte Carlo) and we'd been through the whole debate of whether catching a 7.00am train, arriving in Beziers at 1.15pm, with check-in at the airport closing at 3.45pm was too close a call.  Clearly if he was in the UK no-one would have even debated such a foolish concept.  UK trains are never guaranteed to be on time and we would definitely have advised catching the train to Beziers the day before.  But the French trains are different - they are quick, and clean and being even 10 minutes late in France is almost unheard of so the plan was set.

I - jokingly - texted him at about 9.00am (UK time -10am in France) from Bristol (3 hours from our home in Penzance) to check he was on the right train.  No reply.  Fine, I thought - he's not amused by the fact that I don't trust him.

At 10.30 UK time (11.30 in France) my phone rang.  Slight panic/nervous tone to his voice.  He'd missed the train.  Not missed the train by a few seconds and was running down the platform after it.  No - missed the train by 4 hours!!  A leaving party, combined with a few drinkies, combined with getting to bed at 2am, combined with a 5am alarm which didn't go off resulted in him waking up at 10.30!!!

Thank the Lord for friends who live 15 minutes from Bristol airport.  Thank the Lord - again - for the wonders of the internet - yes, I know we curse it and swear at it and frequently contemplate throwing our computers out of the window (or is that just me?) but - in time of need - invaluable.

How else would I have been able to ascertain (in about 3 minutes) that there was no train from Nice that would get him there on time.  Furthermore, there were no flights that day from any airports in striking distance of where he was.  There was, however, a seat available on the next day's flight from Nice to Bristol - which is where he was and where we were.  OK - it cost £270 but, on the bright side, that's a lot of car washing, lawn mowing, chicken feeding, garden weeding and hugs that he owes us (just me on the hugs, I think). 

He was home for 36 hours, at the doctor's within an hour of getting home for antibiotics for an infected toe (yuk), has had 2 loads of washing done and dried by his Mother and is now in Edinburgh for a University Open Day.  We are happy that he's more than able to navigate airports, buses, taxis, hostels and maps but we're a little anxious about the return flight on Tuesday!!