Get your red yarn out this autumn

Pick up any fashion magazine or browse the trend blogs and your will find universal agreement on one thing: Whatever you do this autumn, wear red.

red 2017There are lots of pictures from the catwalks of head to toe red outfits, dramatic scarlet evening dress and brick red coats.

Plus the colour gurus at   have deemed “Flame Scarlet” one of the essential seasonal colours.

But don’t be alarmed and think this means dressing like a post box.

There are a wide spectrum of reds and it seems that the fashion gurus and designers have chosen a wide variety of shades from brick red to ruby and garnet – even beetroot which means there are subtler options if that suits you better.

And while some of us will reach for the needles to create a bright bold long line cardigan, others might go for a splash of a wine or burgundy in the form of a hat or scarf. Every option is open to you and with so many yarn shades on offer you are bound to find something that will work for you.

We’ve picked out a few options to get you started.

And if you want to pair your red with another colour here is Pantone’s full autumn fashion palette.

patone AW17

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Join our autumn charity knit

This is the time of year when many of us turn our thoughts and needles to knitting gifts for Christmas and we hope you can find a bit of time to help us with our Christmas Appeal.

Last year we asked you to knit or crochet festive stockings which we turned in to strings of bunting and sent them out to care homes, hospices, lunch clubs and even a food bank. We had more than 1,100 stockings arrive at our office and we were so amazed with your generosity.

knitted christmas decorations

Some of last year’s mini stockings

This year we are again asking you for Christmas stockings and there are three patterns on our website to help you. We will be turning the stockings in to Christmas decorations, so feel free to decorate them with beads or sequins. If you are visiting Yarndale or The Knitting and Stitching shows at Alexandra Palace and Harrogate we will be selling these stockings to raise money for Mind, a wonderful charity that works for better mental health for everyone and who are well known for their Crafternoon campaign.

Any stockings that are left over will be sent out to care homes, hospices etc, so if you know of an organisation that would like some stockings please do let us know by emailing Juliet@ukhandknitting.com

If you have a bit of spare yarn and half an hour, please consider making a stocking for our Christmas Appeal. You can drop your stockings off with us at the shows mentioned above or please send them to UK Hand Knitting, 60 Bridge Road East, Welwyn Garden City, Herts AL7 1JU and please include your name and address so we can be sure to thank you.

Thank you for being so wonderful.

Join us at a yarn show or two this Autumn

We are going to be out and about at a range of shows this autumn, starting with our two yarn doctors holding surgeries Yarndale at Skipton Auction Mart, 23-24 September.
The yarn doctors are two expert knitters and teachers, Juliet and Bronagh, who will be available to show you new techniques, offer advice and help sort out problems you might be having with a pattern. Find them near the cafe at Yarndale.
The yarn doctors will also be available to solve your knitting and crochet issues  at three other autumn shows, alongside our wonderful volunteers who will be teaching people to knit and crochet for free, as well as inviting you all to join in some charity knitting.

Look out for the UK Hand Knitting area at the following shows.

Our volunteers are a lovely band of friendly people who are happy to share their knitting and crochet skills with others. Without them we would not be able to introduce so many people to yarn crafts each year. If you haven’t volunteered with us before and would like to find out more or sign up for future shows, please click here.

If these shows don’t suit you, why not have a look at our yarn event calendar to see if there is a show near you some time soon. It is a great way to check out a wide range of yarns, find new ideas and meet other knitters and crocheters.

Trendwatch: Fluffy and furry yarns

From the catwalk to the High Street, feather, fluffy fabrics and fun fur are set to feature heavily in fashion for this autumn and winter – especially when it comes to soft trims, coats and accessories. And it is all about having fun with colour and texture as you can see from these coats by Shrimps and Preen respectively.

This is a trend that knitters and crocheters can have a lot of fun with using mohair, fluffy and faux fur yarns.

The trick with these yarns is to allow them to do the work – especially with the hairiest types – so avoid complicated stitch patterns and choose simple shapes.

Combine a fluffy or fur yarn with a regular smooth one to create a trim on a hat or jacket or go high fashion by matching a long fur yarn with a more fleecy type to create a look like the Shrimps coat.

Mohair yarns have a lovely drape worked on large needles so are perfect for soft scarves and shawls as well as for draping tunic type tops.

Here are a few yarns to get you thinking.

 

Kids knits for back to school

It is not that long until the end of the summer holidays and so our minds have turned to kids’ knits for the autumn. Among the great things about a child’s jumper is that it is relatively quick to make and there is less  to hold while the weather is still at least a little on the warm side. Another is the opportunity to try out different yarns or techniques on a smaller scale.

With this in mind we have picked out a few patterns for small folks to get you started.

Starting from top left. With kid’s knits, it is often worth looking at the patterns as unisex. The kid’s hoodie in this mother and daughter pattern in Sirdar Imagination chunky could also work for a boy – choose the right chest measurement and adjust the length.

Slipovers are a useful item for any wardrobe – adult or child’s – again this version in King Cole Luxury Merino DK could work well for boys and girls and is definitely a quick knit.

If you want to try out some cables, a child’s aran, like these from Wendy, is a great canvas.

This colourful hoodie in C+B Lolli is another unisex option. It will also give you the opportunity to try adding a zip to your knitting.

And if you want a go at stylish fair isle, these DK sweaters from JC Brett have a bit of colourwork.

But we mustn’t forget that sometimes what is needed is a straightforward school jumper, like these in Stylecraft Life DK. Perfect TV knitting on an autumn evening.

And finally, we can all fun with a stylish accessories for kids. A hat and scarf in Rico Creative Lucky Chunky will keep anyone toasty.

Do you have a favourite kids’ pattern for autumn? Let us know in the comments.

Using a colour wheel to pick out yarn combinations

Last week we talked about stashbusting using stripes, colourblocks and contrasting edges. But how do you decide what colours to use together?

One useful tool is a colour wheel like the one pictured below.

colourwheel

This colour wheel is a standard version with twelve segments. It is made up of the primary colours yellow, red and blue (at 12, 4 and 8 o’clock) and secondary colours orange, purple and green (2, 6 and 10 0’clock). Secondary colours are created by mixing two primary colours, for example red and yellow give orange, so they sit half way between the primary colours on the wheel.

The other colours here are known as tertiary colours and are made by mixing a primary and a secondary colour. So for example at 9 o’clock the blue and green are mixed to give a greeny-blue or turquoise shade. You could go on adding segments by mixing each colour with the one next to it to create a larger range of shades but twelve is enough for now.

Using colours together

There are various ways to combine colours and if you are choosing from stash yarns it can be useful to set them out as if round a colour wheel.

If you want to work with colours of a similar shades, choose yarns that sit in the same quarter of wheel. So purples and blues for example. These are known as analogous colours.

On the other hand, if you want more of a contrast use complimentary colours. These are the colours that sit opposite each other on the wheel – yellow and purple, green and red etc. These are good choices if you want a strong contrast such as on the heel of a sock. If you want a subtler contrast choose a colour to the immediate left of right of the one opposite. For our yellow this would be pink or a purply-blue.

If you are looking for a group of colours to work together pick three or four colours evenly round the wheel, for example  at 1, 5 and 9 o’clock or 1, 4, 7 and 10 o’clock. When working with groups of colours like this, choose one to be dominant and use the others as contrasting options.

Join our stashbusting summer

There are so many lovely yarns coming out for Autumn, but we know some of you are saying that you don’t have room in your stash.

With this in mind, it is time for a session of summer stashbusting – that way you can make some room. Here are a few ideas and some pics to give you inspiration.

Stripe it

We’ve all had the frustration of not quite having enough yarn in the stash for a whole garment, hat or scarf. But as we know stripes and even colour blocks are very fashionable right now. Check your stash again to see if you have enough yarn in two or three colours to make a whole garment. Then pick a pattern you like and work out how your stripes or colour blocks are going to work. This is a chance to be adventurous with colour.

Inspiration from top left: Striped T-shirt from Wendy; Stripey accessories from James C Brett; C+B Lolli colour block sweater; Stylecraft Wondersoft baby sweater; Rico Essentials Super Kid Mohair Loves Silk stripes scarf

Stripes are something you can really go for in kids’ hats and mitts. Collect up all your odd balls of DK yarn, for example, and pick out simple beanie and mitten patterns. Then randomly pull out yarns work a few rows in each to create fun rainbow effects.

Sock heels and toes

If you have odd amounts of sock yarns to use up you could go down the stripe route or you could make socks with contrasting cuff ribs, heels and toes. A great choice for contrast heels is to use a sock pattern with an afterthought heel

You can also take a similar approach to the bands and cuffs of a sweater, think vintage sweaters and cricket jumpers for inspiration.

Inspiration from left: Hayfield baby cardigans with a contrast edge; Socks with contrast heels knitted by JuJu Vail; Wendy cricket slip over

Granny squares

Crochet squares are a great use of stash yarn and another opportunity to get creative with colour. You could go all out and feed as much of your stash as possible into a blanket but there are lots of smaller projects to contemplate – cushions, tote bags, pencil cases, scarves and gadget covers. Remember that if you go for a more lacy square pattern like the traditional granny square you may need to line your project.

Inspirations from left: Wendy Serenity blanket; Debbie Bliss Rachel bag; Sirdar Harrap Tweed DK blanket

Toys

If there are youngsters in the family why not turn your left over yarn into some fun friends for them, Toy patterns range from simple squares to elaborate families of costumed animals, there is something for everyone. And they are no reason not to have fun with colour – there are some very well loved multi-coloured dinosaurs and pink cats out there.

Stylecraft Crochet Dragon Heads; King Cole tortoises 

Charity knits

And if none of the above appeals, why not check out our charity pages on the website. There are free patterns and links to charities who use knitting in their fund raising appeals  – from helping refuges or the Grenfell Tower families to protecting animals and raising awareness of various health conditions.

And if you do decide to join in with a sport of summer stashbusting let us know on our Facebook or Twitter pages (tag #summerstashbusting ) and share pictures of what you make.