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!
My name is Sharon the Sheep, the owner of Avicraft Wool Shop in Bromley Kent..