Friday, 28 February 2014

New Yarns from Adriafil and Final Blanket Update

Knitwits Yarns

So ... the second batch of new yarns for spring/summer arrived this week and, as ever, large boxes from Italy always give us a bit of a thrill!  We have two brand new yarns and 3 new colours in the phenomenally popular Knitcol so I'll give you a taste of them first:

Knitcol is a DK superwash pure wool and just sells and sells - if you haven't knitted with it yet then it's another you need to add to the list of "wools I must knit with soon".....

So to the first of our new summer yarns: Carioca:

This is a linen/cotton/polyester mix with a very smooth, soft feel which knits up beautifully:

I really love it and can feel a summer top coming on:

Our second new yarn is Energia:

which, again, is a cotton blend but .... WITH SPARKLES!  Ooh, who can resist a bit of sparkle in their knitting, I know I can't.  Again, knits up beautifully:

and has several patterns.  Tracey has her eye on this one:

and I think this is rather sweet:

Let's just hope that this summer is as hot as last so we have plenty of opportunities to wear our lovely new tops!

And so to the final Ravellenic Games Blanket Update ...... well, I finally managed 97 squares over the course of the games, which equated to 5.7 squares per day.  As you know, I hadn't really set myself a target as I'd never previously timed how long it took to knit a square so I'm pretty pleased.  100 would have been a nice round figure but, hey, the blanket is 97 squares bigger than it was at the beginning!  Photos to follow .......

Finally, I visited my brother a few weeks ago and we did a quick photo shoot (as the light was fading) of my two Scatness Tams.  You may recall that I knitted one for my sister-in-law which was too small (she has masses of hair) so that became mine and I then knitted another one for her (on bigger needles).  She refused to model it so my lovely niece was roped in. 

Just so you know, Grace is 13 .... she is not standing on a box ..... she is in flat shoes ..... I am in 3" heels .... I am not bending my legs (if anything I'm standing as tall as I can) ..... Grace is a very, very good swimmer (and the rowing team are desperate for her too ...!):

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Africa and Elephants

Knitwits Yarns

"Africa and Elephants" - a slightly odd subject for a knitting blog, I know - but I also know that knitters are caring, thoughtful and intelligent people so I'm going to digress from knitting and walking and life in Cornwall for this one blog entry.  Please stay with me ... what I'm going to talk about is way, way more important than knitting (and I love my knitting, remember!).

Matt and I are fortunate enough to count Mark Deeble and Vicky Stone as good friends - they make wildlife films in Africa and they're very good at it!  Matt was born and brought up in Tanzania in East Africa and we were lucky enough to travel there together for three months when we were first married and we've taken our boys to Kenya and Tanzania twice where we've met up with Mark and Vicky; the first time we stayed in their camp over Christmas when they were filming The Queen of Trees - eating Christmas dinner (barbecued goat) under African stars with hippos grunting not too far away is a truly unforgettable experience.

Mark and Vicky are currently in Kenya filming elephants - or perhaps that should be - trying to film elephants.  Elephant and rhino poaching is such a huge problem now that, if it continues at the current rate, there will be no elephants left in East Africa in 10-15 years.

For the mega-wealthy Chinese their drink of choice currently is wine with rhino horn ground up into it.  Why?  Because they have some warped idea that rhino horn will cure them of all manner of ills.

Mark has just started writing a very powerful blog about what they are currently seeing out in Africa.  It's not easy reading but - if you care about Africa, its wildlife and, especially, elephants I would ask you to read it, follow it, share it and get everyone to start talking about what's happening to these magnificent animals.

The Passing Of A Giant

Why We Won't Miss Elephants When They Are Gone

Thank you.

My next blog will be about knitting, promise!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

New Yarns From King Cole (Moods and Moods Duet) plus Blanket Update

Knitwits Yarns

There isn't ever a time when new yarns aren't arriving or on the horizon but the two times of year when new stuff starts piling in is, of course, spring and autumn.

The first new yarn(s) for 2014 are Moods and Moods Duet from King Cole - plus new colours in Bamboo Cotton.  Before I move onto the Moods I have to say that if you haven't knitted with Bamboo Cotton yet then you need to!!  It's one of our best-selling yarns and one of King Cole's best too (if not the best).  I know it's a summer yarn (in theory) but, trust me, you'll be wearing it winter too!  Who can resist this lovely pattern in it:

or this:

(although that second one would swamp me but I'm seriously tempted by the first).  Reminder to self - Tom is going to University this September, not next.

Anyhoo, new colours in Bamboo Cotton are these:

And so to Moods and Moods Duet - two similar yarns but with totally different effects.  Moods Duet:

which knits like this:

and this:

and Moods:

which, as you can see, has flecks in it and knits like this:

and this:

I think this is going to be a really popular yarn (judging from initial reactions here in the shop) - it's a nice make-up of 30% wool, 70% acrylic, knits well and has a good yardage, which makes it very economical.  It's also a standard DK weight so will knit to your favourite DK patterns as well as its own.  What's not to love?!

On the blanket front, I rattled along over the weekend and added 19 more squares, bringing the total to 55 (average 5.5 per day).  Then knitted 10 more on Monday - grand total of 65 squares (average 5.9 per day) - yay!  Since then haven't knitted another one! - went to the cinema last night (again) so no knitting completed.  Average per day now = 5.4.  Hey ho, look on the bright side - there are 65 more squares on it than there were at the start of the Olympics - that's about 4 more rows.  And there are still a few more days to go!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Alchimia Cowl (and Blanket Update)

Knitwits Yarns

Whilst I should have been knitting on Tom's blanket last weekend I was, in fact, away in (wet) Somerset with friends and rattling up a very quick cowl in the lovely Alchimia.   I'm working on the theory that this yukky weather is here to stay for a while and, as I can't beat it, I can at least knit and design a warming, cosy cowl which can be whooshed over the head as a kind of hood when the hail suddenly thumps down (as it did here this morning - wish I'd had my camera - hail stones the size of Maltesers).

The Cowl is based on one I knitted a few years ago in chunky yarn but Alchimia is Super Chunky so even quicker - on big 9mm needles.  It can be worn 5 ways:

1: Cosy round your neck:

2: Pulled up more around your neck for when the wind is really howling:

3: Elegantly over your shoulders as a small cape:

4: Elegantly over your shoulders Mark 2 with the top pulled up:

5: Whooshed up over your head when the hail comes lashing down:

I think it's a really useful little thing so we've put it together as a little kit of 4 balls and the pattern is FREE!

9mm needles, a couple of evenings and, bingo, one very useful cowl.

I've put the cowl kits in their own section on our site - in "Adriafil" under "Alchimia" you'll find "Alchimia Cowl Kits" and all the colours displayed.  Buy now whilst the weather still warrants it!!

Blanket update is a bit of a disaster :{ - we went to the cinema last night (American Hustle - very good but I had a headache [less than ideal] so really need to see it again to work out what actually happened!) so I didn't knit a single square - not one, nada, niet.  This is not good.

As at the end of day 6 of the Olympics:

0 more squares knitted

25 squares in total

Average per day: 4.17

I can see my dream of 170 squares blowing away with the 70mph winds!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Blanket Update

Knitwits Yarns

As at the end of day 5 of the Olympics:

8 more squares knitted

25 squares in total

Average per day: 5

Improving - but I'm going to the cinema tonight so that's going to put everything back.

Tomorrow - a new cowl design which I knitted when I should probably have been knitting blanket squares!

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Ravellenic Blanket Update

Knitwits Yarns

As at the end of day 4 of the Olympics:

9 more squares knitted

17 squares in total

Average per day: 4.25

Better but not nearly enough - think I might be rather over-optimistic at 170 in 17 days!

Monday, 10 February 2014

Ravellenic Games (previously known as the "Knitting Olympics")

Knitwits Yarns

So, it's time for that biennial event that accompanies the Olympics - the Ravellenic Games (previously known as the Knitting Olympics until the IOC got all uppity before London and wouldn't let mere knitters use the "O" word - I kid you not - look it up on good ol' Google/Ravelry for the hoo ha that went with it).

As previously said, my long, ongoing project is a blanket for Tom to take to Uni so I started in about October, ratcheted up the pace over Christmas and have been going strong ever since:

I've just realised that it's virtually impossible to tell the scale from that picture but I guess it's about 1/5th done.  It's for a single bed but wide enough that it'll go over the sides by about 6" or so.

To date I have 259 squares done with some big ones thrown in for good measure:

so I reckon 170 more squares over the course of the Olympics will be a really good amount.

There is one small problem though - I went away this weekend - couldn't take it with me (I have a huge plastic tub of the various small balls) so only started last night.  8 square knitted.  I need to be hitting 10 per day and so far my average is 2.66 square per day.

More Effort Required!

In better news, knitting was spotted at the Olympics themselves:

This is  Antti Koskinen, a coach from Finland, spotted at the gate of the snowboard slopestyle finals (no, I've no idea what that means either) on Saturday.  The Finnish team are knitting a giant scarf to give to the team at the next summer games.  Apparently, the competitor was seen holding his ball of yarn at one point.

See - knitting and Olympics as one - how cool is that?!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Adriafil Alchimia

Knitwits Yarns

Reviewing the blog I realised that there's been a lot of chat about walking but not much about knitting, so I'll do my best to rectify that now and in the coming days.   There has been knitting, of course, but photography has been "challenging" with all the horrendous weather we've been having - when the sun comes out grabbing my knitting and rushing out to photograph it hasn't been top of the agenda! 

My biggest, and ongoing, project of the moment is a University Blanket for Tom.  Having knitted a jacket:

double bedspread:

and blanket for Guy:

from the stash:

I'm now left with lots and lots of little balls so a domino square blanket seemed an excellent solution.  It is but, boy, does it take time and grow slowly!  It, therefore, has become my Ravellenic project for the Winter Olympics with the aim to knit X number of squares over the 17 day period.  The value of X has yet to be identified - 100? 150? 170? - I don't know but I do know that a decision needs to be made soon and a pre-Olympic photograph needs to be taken soon too .... watch this space.

Tracey has also been knitting and, along with a number of commissions for customers (yes, we do offer that service so long as the wool is bought from the shop, obviously) she knitted this gorgeous jumper in Adriafil's Alchimia:

Our version is in white and I'm not pulling it down at the front or looking quite so sultry as the Italian model:

Nevertheless, it's a really lovely jumper and very warm (which we all need at the moment).  Adriafil patterns can be a little "Italian" and a little "fluid" for English knitters so Tracey kindly "translated" it into a more "English" way of writing whilst she was knitting so you get our version along with the original when you buy the pattern!

Just to remind you - here are all the gorgeous Alchimia colours:

This sweater would make a perfect Winter Olympic project!

As I write the rain is LASHING down and the wind is HOWLING - we had a 3 hour power cut last night, trees are down, the roads are flooded, the Prom is Penzance is closed - seriously, how long can this go on for?  Despite everything that we are going through our thoughts are with the poor people of Somerset who have been flooded for over a month now - can you imagine? - it doesn't bear thinking about.....

Monday, 3 February 2014

Birthday Weekend For Me!

Knitwits Yarns

A couple of weekends ago it was my birthday and, as it fell on a Saturday, Tracie kindly agreed to work the afternoon so I could have the day off.  Having a birthday just 2.5 weeks after Christmas has never been ideal - as a child I was always about to go back to school or (even worse) it was the first day of term and as I've got older it's the time when everyone has stopped drinking, started their diets and are skint.  My birthday also always seems to fall midweek - FB's is in mid April so is frequently over the Easter weekend so it's always associated with a long weekend off and, very often, the first barbecue of the year.  I'm usually working so it's never been a time I look forward to with any great anticipation.  However, this year was different so, as ever with days off, we went walking. 

As luck would have it, the day was sunny and bright although it was a tad wet underfoot:

The winter colours were glorious, though:

Some crazy types were climbing - can you spot them?:

By the time we headed back the moon was up:

All in all it was a pretty perfect day!