Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The Sun Came Out ... So We Took Some Photographs ...

Knitwits Yarns

Finally, on Saturday, the sun made an appearance!  After what felt like weeks of grey, overhanging cloud (and was, in fact, weeks of grey, overhanging cloud) we actually saw blue sky and a big, shiny, warm orb in the sky.  Had spring finally arrived?  Sadly - no.  Since then we've been back to grey, drizzle and sea mist; but it gave us hope that maybe, just maybe warm weather is on its way.  (And then I listened to the long range forecast which was, basically, that this week's weather is going to take two steps forward and one step back so no little summer tops just yet.  Which is a pity as that's exactly what we've been knitting.)

As with all fashion retailers, wool shops have to think (and work) in advance and our suppliers are working even further in advance than us - with one rep telling me this week that he's off to a meeting next week to see the new autumn/winter range for 2013-14 - yikes, now that's really scary, given that we're not really out of last winter yet.

So - for some weeks now we've been knitting up summer knits in the strong hope that this is going to be a really lovely hot summer (well, come on, it's got to happen some time!).

King Cole's Bamboo Cotton yarn is one of our biggest sellers all year round and this spring they've brought out a range of new colours and new patterns.  We particularly like this one:

but felt that a really bright, zingy version might be fun.  So we Tracey knitted one for me.  I love it - but just wish my arms were a little browner!:

Given that there is a huge range of colours in Bamboo Cotton, the various colour combinations are endless.

Next up is a little summer top in Rico's new Summer Print Yarn:

I thought this pattern was/is lovely:

but it has a but it has a pattern panel on the front with holes and blackberries - which you can see better in the picture of the plain, capped sleeve version of this top:

That pattern is fine and dandy but, as can be seen from the models, you really do need to wear a light t-shirt underneath which, in a summer top, I think is a bit daft.  So, I missed out the pattern and knitted this:

Again, lovely top, shame about the pale, pastey, post winter arms!

The sharp-eyed amongst you might also be thinking, "hang on a minute - that bright top is knitted in a plain colour and all the balls on your site are multi-colours".  Well, congratulations to all of you who made this observation.  Yes, there are plain colours in the Summer yarn but we are still awaiting delivery (as are, so far as I am aware, all Rico stockists).  Supply can be a problem for our suppliers and it then becomes a problem for us - a bigger problem when the companies take out full page colour adverts in knitting magazines (which, of course, they've booked months in advance) and then there's a delay in the yarn's arrival and customers are phoning asking about the lovely yarns they've seen advertised which are no-where to be found in the UK.  We await our plain colours with eager anticipcation .......................

Finally, we (Tracey again) also rattled up another Debbie Bliss Angel Cowl (100 sts, 5mm circular needle, knit) - this time without the twist.  Lovely summer colour and perfect for thus who hate having a cold neck in a breeze:

Look - blue sky!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Look At These Old Patterns!

Knitwits Yarns

Owning any kind of business in these difficult economic times can be fraught and difficult at times and a wool shop is no exception.  BUT - how many other businesses very occasionally have joyous moments such as perusing old patterns which came our way courtesy of the charity shop across the road from us.

Undergarments anyone?:

Sadly, this pattern has no date but it's knitted in 3ply WOOL.  Call me sensitive but, surely that's going to itch and scratch a girl's nether regions?!

Here is a second example (from Sirdar, no less):

Included are very strict instructions that "it is essential that you work to the tension stated".  "The one-inch rule at the side of this page indicates the number of stitches to the inch and it is for your guidance.  PLEASE USE IT".  Who would dare not use it?!!

Wool  specified is Sirdar Super Shetland Wool 3ply or Sirdar Coronella (Lingerie shades) - oh, how I would love to see a shade chart for "Lingerie Shades".

Finally, we have another set from Bestway:

which is described as a "Slim-Fitting Set in a Fancy Basket-Stitch".  "The top edge of vest and knee edges of knickers are turned in, as double hems, making a firm finish, with the effect of a shell edging".  All that for garments which, presumably, no-one would see apart from the knitter and wearer.

The really striking thing is the sizing. Each pattern has just one size - the vests finish at about 26" and stretch up to a 34" bust.  The knickers are about 35", stretching to 38".  It's true - ladies really were smaller but, by jingo, I bet they were warm!

I just love these patterns - I have absolutely no idea what to do with them but I'm certainly going to keep them.

Next up - extracts from Woman's Weekly 1st October 1960 in which Twilley's were offering a free book "Handknits for Health" containing 6 patterns of Health Vests for all the family.  Ah - those were the days!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

New Kits from Cornish Organic Wool

Knitwits Yarns

So - the first 4 new kits from Cornish Organic Wool are now knitted up, patterns written (and checked), photographed and kitted up here in the shop.  I love the creative and knitting process - the pattern writing and checking and photography not so much!  These kits are to celebrate our new 50g balls of DK wool, dyed in a wonderful range of new colours too.

All of the new kits (along with our original sheep and teddy bear kits) can be found here.

Fortunately, for this project I had two willing and able sons to help with the modelling.  They have not been paid.  Some may call this child exploitation, I call it helping your parents put food on the table (and boy oh boy do they get through some food - yet remain thin as rails - oh, to be that age again {not that I was ever able to eat just what I wanted and not put on weight - I come from the "look at a cake and put on a pound school"}).

First up is our Cornish man's hat modelled by Tom:

"Cornish" because it is, of course, Cornish Organic Wool but also because it's the Cornish colours of black and white/cream.  Although there is some confusion as the Cornish also wear black and gold and Cornishware (as in the pottery) is blue and cream so there is, also, a blue and cream kit and - to be totally different - a navy and red kit.

Next we have a lady's hat, modelled by yours truly:

This, as you can see, is three colours and comes in an "autumn colour" version too (Copper, Dark Green and Lime Green) and a blue version (Duck Egg, Petrol and Sky).  Because it's in 3 colours there is enough wool left over to make this Feather and Fan Headband as well:

So, in fact, 2 garments for the price of 1!

To give you an idea of the Autumn Colours, we have also made a Man's Scarf using Copper, Dark Green, Lime Green and Ochre in the wonderful Linen Stitch (kindly modelled here by Guy):

and here's a close-up of Linen Stitch:

which I think is just the most amazing stitch and gives a really firm, manly fabric (even if it's a tad slow to knit!).  This kit is also available in an "Autumn Blues" colour palette - a combination of autumn colours with blues - Copper, Dark Green, Navy and Sky Blue.

Finally - to complete the set - we have, of course, a scarf for ladies:

This is knitted in a combination of pinks and blues and is, again, Feather and Fan with lovely long tassells.  This is also available in the autumn colours of Copper, Dark Green, Lime Green and Ochre.

All of our kits come with full instructions but without needles.

Next on my "to do" list are some wrist warmers - probably in red, possibly cabled.  Watch this space!