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.

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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.

 

New yarns for all the family

August is the time of year where we start to see new yarns for autumn and winter appearing in our yarn shops. There are always interesting new offerings, colours etc so we will probably do several posts with new yarns that catch our attention over the next couple of months. However, we have already noticed a trend for new practical washable yarns suitable for knits for all the family, as well as being great options for youngsters to try a first project with, so we’re starting with those.

Clockwise from top left

Wendy Stella chunky

Stripes and ombre colour effects are still very popular and this yarn will give you that look on chunky garments and accessories. This soft yarn has colour tones that fade from solid into blended shades and back again giving a subtle stipe effect.

Sirdar No 1

This double knitting crepe yarn has been designed to be a classic DK with something for everyone in the family thanks to its wide colour palette. A practical go-to DK.

Stylecraft Tweedy DK

With 26% cotton Tweedy is a a good choice for autumn knits, especially with a collection of interesting heathered shades to create fun colour effects that will look good on garments and soft accessories to add an extra layer.

James C Brett Stonewash DK

This range of lighter-coloured variegated yarns incorporates the fading you see in stonewashed fabrics. The fresh range of colours should show stitch patterns well.

DY Choice Apollo

Another yarn offering stripe effects, this time in a DK. Apollo has long colour repeats giving stripes of vibrant colours. The 300g balls mean you could make a cheerful kids jumper from a single ball.

King Cole Big Value Baby 4ply Spot

This is a fun variation on a 4ply baby yarn, adding spots of colour. We don’t think it is just for babies though. Combine it with a toning solid colour to create interesting stripes or a different approach to colour block style garments.