June is Commit to Knit month, when we ask you to commit to knit or crochet at least one item for charity.
So why should you get involved?
A lot of the patterns in the special charity knitting supplement we have put together with the lovely folk at Simply Knitting (look out for it in your newsagent in the next few days) and the ones on the charity section of our website use small amounts of yarn. Why not make some space in your yarn cupboard by rustling up a few twiddlemuffs, blanket squares or preemie hats.
- Knowing that what you make will be really appreciated
We receive lots of feedback from charity projects we support, thanking knitters for their time and skill. If you have run out of people to knit for, why not make something that will really help someone?
- Meet like-minded makers
We will be putting together a list of libraries, knitting groups and shops that will be hosting Commit To Knit events and sessions, where you can join other knitters and crocheters to simply make together or work on a joint project. Keep an eye on the Commit to Knit area of our website.
As we revealed in our post about summer knitting trends, stripes are in.
One of the ways to achieve lovely striped garments is to use yarns dyed with long sections of contrasting colours that give you stripes as you work.
There are lots of these yarns about at the moment as you can see from this selection.
There are plenty of accessory patterns for these types of yarns at the moment and they do make fabulous shawls and scarves, but they are also lovely for sweaters and cardigans and especially on trend right now.
If you are going to use a self-striping yarn for a garment there are a couple of things to think about before you start. Mainly this centres around whether you want the stripes to match on the front and back of a garment and the sleeves to match.
If this is important to you, you may need to wind off some yarn at the start of some parts of the garment. For example if the front and back are to match you will need each to start at the same place in the stripe sequence, which will mean winding through the yarn to the matching spot.
You will also have to keep an eye on the stripes at each side of the front neck so they line up – otherwise if the stripes match elsewhere your garment could look lopsided.
On the other hand if you are not worried about the stripes lining up, just go for it and enjoy the effect as with this Noro top.
Stitchmarkers can be some of the most useful tools in your knitting or crochet bag but a lot of people haven’t used them or are puzzled because there seem to be so many different types as in this picture.
You see stitchmarkers that are plain metal or plastic rings, charms hanging from rings, beads on loops of plastic coated wire, fancy ones using semi-precious stones and silver plated wire and ones that look like plastic safety pins.
In fact you use all the different types, apart from the plastic safety pins (which we will discuss below), in the same ways.
- Start of a round. If you are working in the round, hang a stitch marker on your needle before the first stitch of the round. Each time you start a new round, you know because you have to slip the marker from the left to the right needle tip.
- Marking pattern repeats
If you have a pattern that repeats across a row or a round, you can place a marker at the beginning of each repeat and at the end of the final one. This can help you keep track of the pattern and spot mistakes, because you can will be able to tell if there is a problem with a particular repeat rather than having to check the whole row.Here we have used a random selection of markers to show that they all serve the same purpose. However, if you need to mark the start of a round or the position of an increase or decrease, as well as pattern repeats, you might choose one type of marker for each. For example, a large marker for the start of the round, matching dangling ones for the pattern repeats and plain rings for shaping positions.
Markers are particularly useful if you are a fast knitter or someone who doesn’t look at their knitting all the time, because feeling the marker will remind you to take particular actions and you won’t have to unravel any stitches.
- Row tally This is the first use of the safety pin type markers. Unlike the ones that you slide on to your knitting needle, these markers can be easily added to or removed from your work at any time.This makes them very useful for keeping track of rows on a long piece of knitting. You can clip a marker into the last stitch of every twentieth row, for example, then you only need to count every individual row from the last marker keep track of your total rows. For example three markers would mean 60 rows and 17 after the last marker would mean at total of 77 rows worked.
- Crochet markers If, like many of us, you sometimes lose track of where a row or round of crochet starts, these removable markers are very useful. Clip one through the first stitch of each row or round and you will know where stitches should align. This can be very helpful when crocheting in rows, in particular, because you are less likely to end up with sloping sides caused by not working to the correct last stitch on each row.
When storing your plastic safety pin markers, leave them open because this reduces the strain on the plastic and makes them last longer.
Visiting a strange town last weekend, I spotted a yarn shop so popped in for a visit.
It was reasonably-sized shop with the walls lines in yarns, giving customers plenty of choice. One customer was seeking advice about the right yarn for a pattern while another browsed pattern options. A third was settling in on a sofa for a “knit and knatter” session. And the staff were helpful and knowledgeable.
This was great example of a local yarn shop offering more than just the yarn – the knowledge, advice, support and community are essential ingredients and ones I have found in yarn shops all over the UK.
And this is exactly why Let’s Knit organises its annual Yarn Shop Day – to recognise and encourage these great attributes.
This year’s Yarn Shop Day is this coming Saturday, 6th May. Many yarn shops round the country will be holding special events such as demos and workshops, sales or refreshments. You can find a list of participating shops and their events .
In addition Debbie Bliss has created this special blanket pattern which is only available for free through the shops taking part in Yarn Shop Day.
So if you have a hour or so to spare this Saturday why not use it to visit your local yarn shop.