Welcome back to the Avicraft Wool blog! After being put on pause for a range of reasons, the blog is now back with a brand new author. I'm Caiti_Knits and I am a student who loves knitting, crochet and pretty much all other crafts. Why? Well, firstly, wool was a key part of my upbringing - I cannot remember life without it! I was first taught to knit at the age of about six or seven, with my first project being a scarf. I've attached a couple photos of projects I have completed since then. Secondly, as a student, it has really helped me to unwind and take time away from my studies when I need. This is why I am so passionate about getting the young people of today knitting and crocheting. For my next post, I was wondering, what would you all like to see? Let me know in the comments!
Hello! Sorry about the absence on this little blog, but I'm back now to bring you up to date with what's been happening in the shop!
Firstly, I have a case of the wantsies! Stylecraft has teamed up with designer Helen Shrimpton to design an amazing crochet blanket! The CAL (Crochet A Long) will be 9 parts long, with part 1 released on the 17th April and part 9 finishing on the 12th june. Best of all we have packs for 2 of the colorways on store now, ready to be taken home ready for the start of the CAL. I am in love with this one, the Peace and Tranquility colourway:
We also have one kit to make the Cosmic Colourway (below left) and have all the shades of Special DK to make the Harmony colourway (below right), or indeed, you can pick any shades of Special DK as we have all solid shades in stock!
We have also got a couple of new things from Rico, such as this cotton mix version in the popular dégradé series in a beautiful navy colourway
Details of the yarn can be found in the New In section here.
We have also added 2 new colours to the Creative Melange Lace, a lovely pinky red and a blue mix which you can see in the middle below with the 2 original colours of green and taupe. I've added a page for it in the new in section too, you can find it here
That's all for now, hope you all have a lovely weekend and enjoy the sunshine just in case they are right in saying we will have snow again over Easter!
It seems we have landed ourselves with a few more weeks of needing all the hand knits! With temperatures staying barely above freezing, this is the perfect opportunity to get out all the lovely woollen hats, scarves, socks, jumpers, mitts, basically anything that we can use to build ourselves little cocoons of warmth every time we go outside! In fact, I'm sure you could whip up a nice chunky or super chunky scarf or hat this weekend really for the really cold spell next week!
Sharon is preparing by crocheting herself a Virus shawl (scroll halfway down for the virus shawl pattern).
She is using the new Batik Swirl in the colour Stargazer, and using 2 swirls to make it really big and cozy. Even with one swirl it still comes up at a good size, with a wingspan of 137cm so you could have a very nice shawl for less than £10! You could of course use any yarn, and any of the yarn cakes we have instore to great effect with this shawl. Even if you're not a confident crocheter, there are tutorials on YouTube to show you from start to finish how to crochet this lovely shawl, and of course we're always happy to help our customers if they get stuck, we'll do our best to get you back on track!
Stay warm and happy crocheting!
Things have been fairly busy in the shop this week. Bird production for the spring window is still going on, but more excitingly deliveries have been coming in and new lines have been making their way to the shelves. The eagle eyed among you may have noticed in the "new in" section of the website, I introduced 2 new yarns, Stylecraft Head over Heels Boho and Stylecraft Bambino. Sharon is knitting the little hooded pixie jacket to keep in the shop to showcase it, and I have bought some to knit a little jumper for an imminent arrival in the family (my childrens' first cousin, they are 15 and 13 and have wanted a cousin for a long long time, so it deserves all the hand knitted things!) It's really nice to work with, gives beautiful stitch definition and is so soft and squishy, especially in garter stitch! It's been a pleasure to work with so far, and I think it will wash beautifully too - lets face it, that's a must for babies!
We have also received 2 shades of James C Brett's version of a yarn cake, called Northern Lights.
Northern Lights is a DK weight gradual colour changing yarn with white tweedy flecks. You can see its entry in the "New In" section of the website here. I would love to make a cowl from this, I think the gradual change would make it really striking. It's very soft too, which is a must for something worn next to the neck!
We also got a delivery which contained great Clover Pompom makers in a variety of sizes, from 2cm to a whopping 11.5cm! The jumbo size makes such a tactile ball that it's hard to put it down, especially when its made from chunky yarn.
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"!
The Christmas Fayre is now only a week away! It starts at 6pm where shops all along Chatterton Road have stalls outside providing a lovely Christmas atmosphere, charity stalls, food outlets, tombolas as well as a visit from Father Christmas in his sleigh!
AvicraftWool will be open late during the Fayre, and inside the shop there will be massive discounts on King Cole and Sirdar yarns! The discounts will be carrying on throughout the month right up until Christmas Eve too, in case you cannot make it in Friday, or you find you need more wool!
We have once again been making handmade tree decorations, as well as the baubles that I've already shown on facebook there will be little crochet presents, Christmas gnome ornaments, snowmen and angels. There is also a prickle of hedgehogs ready for adoption on the night. The very popular Avon tombola will be back, as well as the lucky dip that's popular with the kids!
All in all, it should be a great night, we hope to see you there!
What a lovely sunny day today is! I do like sunny autumn days, as someone who doesn't like the heat of summer this is the best of both worlds, sunshine without the high temperatures! It's in contrast to the activity in the shop though, as we are definitely getting ready for the Chatterton Road Christmas Fayre which is 4 weeks today!
I'm crocheting some Christmas Gnome ornaments which will be available to buy on the night. They're very fun to make, although the beards are quite fiddly! Sharon has been knitting up little angels, and I think she's planning on making a few Tinsel hedgehogs as they are always very popular at the fair! There's something really nice about making ornaments for the festivities, a kind of calm in the whirlwind of business that seems to consume the month of December!
Be sure to check back with us closer to the date for more details about the special events that we will be holding in the shop, which will be open late for the evening!
Sharon is much more mobile this week and is rather nimble on the crutches! Unfortunately she's now caught a nasty cold, which hopefully won't hang around for much longer. No worse feeling than a stuffy nose in my opinion!
My name is Sharon the Sheep, the owner of Avicraft Wool Shop in Bromley Kent..