Hopefully you managed to avoid the awful non stop rain we had at the beginning of the week and stayed warm with woolly goodness! I know I've been using as much wool as I can to keep me warm! Things in the shop have begun to be a bit more springlike though, with the start of getting a series of knitted birds ready for the spring window!
What you see there is Mr Blackbird supervising the knitting of Mrs Blackbird! I am knitting it out of the Harrap Tweed DK by Sirdar, and it's so perfect for that! The fleck of light brown is just ideal for a female blackbird, and the yarn is so lovely to work with it's not at all difficult working at a tight gauge. What also helps is knitting him in the round using a technique called Magic Loop. It enables you to use 80cm circular needles to knit in the round, instead of 3 or 4 double pointed needles. Less needles means it's much easier to see what you're doing, it knits up faster as you're only changing needles twice, and there is less of a chance of laddering where you change needles. It's also very simple and a very good alternative for people who are put off by how awkward double points are!
There are tutorials all over the web, and YouTube of course has plenty of instructional videos, but here is a quick insight into how it works for you. You have your stitches placed over both circular needles with the cord looped connecting them, The working yarn comes from the back needle and you're ready to knit across the front needle...
... You pull the back needle out of the stitches (don't worry, they will sit quite happily on the cord whilst you knit, no stitches shall be lost) and use that needle to knit across the front needle, just like you would with 2 "normal" needles.
Once you've made it across, you pull the needle (gently... I have on occasion pulled too sharply and ended up with the needle coming off the stitches!) back through the stitches so they sit as they are on the last photo. Then turn, and repeat!
You can knit anything small in the round with this method, mittens, socks, hat decreases, sleeves... It really is very versatile. And if you are intrigued by this method, we will be running a class in the spring on how to knit a pair of socks using Magic Loop. Please ring or visit the shop to get onto the waiting list!
Mr Blackbird is calling me to finish his wife, so best get back to it!
Have a lovely week, and Happy knitting!
I hope your 2018 knitting and/or crochet is going well!
I'm probably quite late with this, but Pantone announced it's colour of the year for 2018! It's called Ultra violet, and works well in this yarn, called Candy Swirl by Stylecraft in the "sugar plum" colourway.
The pattern Sharon used for this shawl is just a plain "corner to corner" crochet pattern which is very popular on the internet right now, I'm sure a google search should find you plenty if you wanted to try for yourself!
There are two big centenaries this year that we are hoping to celebrate. Firstly in February comes the 100yr anniversary of women gaining the vote. We are in the process of designing a special window display to commemorate this centenary, stay tuned for sneak peaks!
Then later in the year is 100 years since the end of World War One. We are thinking of putting as many poppies in the window as we can to mark the centenary in style. You may have seen we have a free pattern for either knitted or crocheted poppies on the website (if not, look under the "more" tab above). We were wondering if any of our customers would like to knit one or many poppies to donate to this display... There is plenty of time until November and they are a brilliant way of using up oddments, and spare 5 minutes!
That's all for now, Happy Knitting
I hope the year has started well for you, with progress a-plenty on your knitting or crochet projects! Unfortunately for me, school parent evenings, poorly dogs and other general life is getting in the way of my knitting time! Which is a shame as I have so many ideas! Some of them quite wacky, but I like wacky... For example, I am always cold, which is why I nearly always have a neck warmer or shawl of some description on. I find shawls can get in the way when I am helping find yarn so for work I nearly always stick to my cowls (a nicer way of saying "knitted neck tube" I think!) However, these do have gaps where my top are lower cut than the cowl and these bits get chilly. So imagine my happiness when I came across this in one of Sharon's vintage books.
Now, I know what you are thinking... I do vaguely remember the 80s, plus I am a big fan of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. I know these are uncool. But really, why? It seems genius to me, you tuck it into your shirt or jumper so it's not like you're wearing a bib. There would be no draughts either, as its tucked in. So I started thinking...
Obviously there is no way I am making it in the yarn they mention in this charming book from 1983. (as nice as Bri-nylon sounds...). Plus I think it would look much better, and less choke-y if its not tight to my neck, as this looks in the picture. So maybe making it in an Aran weight? We have this yarn in the shop that is just pure bliss...
It's pure buttery softness so I don't think it will itch at all. It's wool, and kept sheep warm on the Falkland Islands so I think it should keep me warm in an England winter.
And just like that, another item has made it onto my wild and wacky To Knit List. It was swiftly followed by legwarmers as I started to think about cold ankles and other good idea from the 80s. In rainbow colours I think, because that's definitely something that the 80s did right! Have you ever knit anything others have considered wacky? I'd love to hear about it!
We hope you've had a lovely Christmas break with plenty of relaxing knitting time, and a good start to 2018!
I'd like to draw your attention to the fact the shop is open again from 10am till 4pm Tuesday to Saturday, as Sharon's bionic ankle is as good as new!
As everything is now looking more drab inside with the Christmas decorations coming down, why not pop into the shop and pick up some brightly coloured yarn to make something pretty?
See you next week for a return to our usual weekly "chat"!
My name is Sharon the Sheep, the owner of Avicraft Wool Shop in Bromley Kent..