Knitwear and crochet trends for this Spring

Spring and summer yarns are out, summer dresses are appearing in the shops and the clocks are about to go forward, s0 it seems like a good time to take a look at the new seasons knitting and crochet fashion trends.

Colour block

Two or more contrasting colours in your summer knits are set to be a big hit this summer – you can go for strong contrasts or light and dark shades on one colour.

You can use different colours of the same yarn to achieve the look as with this Cleo dress from C+B.

Or you could use a yarn like Sirdar Colour Wheel which has been dyed to give you blocks of colour as you knit.

sirdar colourwheel

Mesh and lacy fabrics

This is a good summer to try a spot of lace knitting. This doesn’t necessarily mean tiny needles and extra fine yarns. Mesh knits in cotton tape yarns like this one in Rico Summery Ribbon.

mesh summer top

or a lacy knit in DK such as this sweater by Jenny Watson in a James C Brett yarn will also fit the bill.

Vintage stipes

Stripes are a popular choice this summer especially narrow ones or those that echo vintage garments. We think these two tops are great examples of the look.

 

Granny square

Granny squares are still enjoying a revival in the fashion stakes – if you are not sure you want a dress or a waistcoat in this technique, go for a crochet wrap like this one in Stylecraft Classique Cotton DK.

granny square qrap

Spring summer yarns 2017

We’ve seen glimmers of sunshine this week but inside the yarn shops spring and summer is definitely on the way with lots of yarns for warmer weather appearing.

With so many spring and summer yarns hitting the shops we thought we’d pick out a few to inspire you with thoughts of summery colours, lightweight fibres and draping fabrics .

spring summer yarn 2017

Clockwise from left: Sirdar Toscana DK; Rico Creative Melange Lace; James C Brett Cotton On Denim; Debbie Bliss Sita; King Cole Giza Cotton Sorbet; Stylecraft Mystique; Wendy Fleur DK

Sirdar Toscana DK

This 100% cotton yarn has a subtle, phased colour effect yarn comes in six shades inspired by Tuscany in Italy – what could be more summery?

James C Brett Cotton On Denim DK 

Another interesting colour option for cotton tops this summer comes with Cotton On Denim DK. This is a 50/50 cotton/acrylic blend that’s light, soft, and washable which comes in semi solid shades based on fading denim from traditional blue to a pink/red tone.

Wendy Fleur DK 

Fleur (44% cotton, 28% tencel, 28% acrylic) brings a different texture to your summer knitters. It is a lightly brushed yarn which knits into a light, airy fabric especially with lace stitches. It is available in both bright and pale shades.

King Cole Giza Cotton Sorbet 4Ply

If you prefer a lighter weight 100% cotton yarn, King Cole’s Giza Cotton 4ply comes in a range of multi-pastel shades inspired by summer drinks.

Stylecraft Mystique

For those looking for something different this summer, take a look at Mystique, a non-woven tape yarn made from a polyester and viscose blend which is as light as a feather.

Debbie Bliss Sita

Sita is part of the Pure Bliss collection of yarns using luxury fibres. This one combines Mulberry Silk and Mako cotton in a selection of jewel colours which will create eye-catching summer knits

Rico Creative Melange Lace

For draping summer cardigans and shawls, there is Creative Melange lace, a 95% cotton print yarn in soft tones.

Do share pictures of your summer knits with us on our social media.

Get involved with our 100 stitch challenge

The hunt for the Nation’s Fastest Knitter kicked off at the Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycraft Show in Manchester last week.

We had a lot of fun with people seeing how fast they could knit a single row of 100 stitches. It was particularly interesting to see all the variations on knitting technique and had a lot of chats about needle preferences and where to put the yarn.

nations fastest knitter

Most people prefer to make an attempt in knit stitch but one contestant asked to be timed over a purl row as well – turned out she purls much faster than knit.

During the three days we had lots of mini competitions with mothers and daughters comparing times or all the members of a knitting group have a go.

All of which has given us some more ideas about how you can get involved.

As well as coming along to other ICHF Events show – Sewing For Pleasure and Fashion & Embroidery with Hobbycraftsat the NEC Birmingham, 16-19 March and Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts Show at ExCeL, London, 20-22 April – you can enter online by submitting a link to a video of your attempt. Watch the video below to find out how.

Making a video by yourself might be difficult so why not get friends or members of your knitting group to have a go. You could have a mini contest and help each other make the videos to enter.

Or if you run a local yarn shop you could run your own local contest and encourage your customers to enter videos.

We look forward to hearing about how you get on.

The closing date for online entries is Sunday 2 April 2017.

 

Greenery is the colour…

Every year the colour specialists at Pantone choose their colour of the year which the company says is “a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude”.

greenery-swatch

The Pantone choice is quite influential with lots of stylists and buyers using it in their work and because the people who select it look at lots of sources including the fashion catwalks over the past year.

This year the colour is “Greenery” described as: “A refreshing and revitalizing shade, Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings. Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.”

But don’t despair if green isn’t your thing. Pantone doesn’t expect us all to be clad head to toe in green sitting on green chairs. It produces a page of different colour combinations that work with its chosen colour like this one.

pantone-color-of-the-year-2017-color-palette-1

But to reflect the colour of the year we’ve put together this selection of leafy yarns.

 

How quickly can you knit 100 stitches? Could you be the Nation’s Fastest Knitter

feature17_fastestknitterWe are joining forces with event organisers ICHF to find the Nation’s Fastest Knitter.

The challenge is to knit 100 stitches as quickly as possible. You can use whatever yarn and needles you prefer and choose to knit or purl – it is all about what works for you.
There are two ways to enter.
Firstly, visit the UK Hand Knitting Stand at the following shows:
•   The Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycraft Show, Manchester, Event City, Manchester, 2-4 February
•    Sewing For Pleasure and Fashion & Embroidery with Hobbycrafts at the NEC Birmingham, 16-19 March
•    Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts Show at ExCeL, London, 20-22 April

There, one of the UK Hand Knitting team will time you and record your entry.
We will have yarn and needles standing by for your attempt, but you are permitted to bring your  own favourite set of lucky needles if you wish.
Or you can enter online by submitting a video of you completing the 100 stitches as quickly as possible. We will be able to take your time from the video and verify that you complete 100 stitches.

Or you can enter online by submitting a video of you completing the 100 stitches as quickly as possible. We will be able to take your time from the video and verify that you complete 100 stitches.

Watch our video on entering Nation’s Fastest Knitter and
ensuring you get your best time

To enter the competition please follow these steps:
1. On the video make sure your say “get ready, set, go” before you start knitting.

2. When you finish you 100 stitches pause for a moment before ending your video. This will give us a chance to time you properly

3. Upload your video to social media, eg Facebook, Instagram, your blog, etc, or put it on a cloud file hosting site like dropbox and send us the link to the video for us to watch. We cannot download files because we do not have enough server space.

4. Please include your name, email address and postcode with your entry.
The fastest online entries along with those from the shows will be invited to take part in the grand final taking place at the Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts Show in London.
A number of exciting prizes including yarn and other knitting equipment is up for grabs for runners up. The overall winner will take home an exclusive Nation’s Fastest Knitter trophy plus a ‘golden ticket’ giving free access to all ICHF Event’s shows for life.

Campaign for Wool Student Hand Knit Competition

The Campaign for Wool has announced the winners of its first student hand knitting competition.

The students were asked to design a series of garments hand knitted in yarns that were all at least 51% wool that had sculptural elements using cabling and 3D techniques. The design brief set by Marie Wallin, a knitwear designer renowned for her intricate Fair Isle hand knitting, also asked the students to use a colour palette based on British autumn. Participants were also encouraged to uses other crafting techniques including crochet and felting.

Campaign for wool hand knitting prize

Each entry included a sketch book, knitted swatches and six finished illustrated designs. The students then selected one of the designs to make up as their final submission.

Sixteen final entries were judged during Wool Week by Marie Wallin, Bridgette Kelly of The Campaign for Wool, Wendy Barker of Kingston University and Polly Leonard, founder and editor of Selvedge Magazine who awarded a special prize to her overall preferred entry.

“I was very impressed by the standard of design work submitted,” said Marie Wallin. “The students truly excelled themselves with designs that not only promoted the craft of handknit and crochet but showed how wool can be a creative and versatile fibre.”

The entries were displayed at the Artworkers Guild Hall in London during Wool Week for judging and the winners will be shown again in Yorkshire at Wool House, the British Wool Marketing Board’s head office during November.

The winners

Campaign for wool hand knitting prizeThe first prize winner of £500 was Rachel Graham of Brighton University. This very talented designer was only in her first year of her undergraduate knitwear design course when she submitted work for selection. Her winning design was a beautiful fitted tunic dominated by a mass of knitted loops creating a dramatic and tactile effect.

Campaign for wool hand knitting prize

The second prize of £300 was awarded to Jessye Boulton from Winchester School of Art, another first year undergraduate student. Jessye’s design was a wonderful blend of multi coloured yarns knitted into a collection bullion knots, creating a dramatic and eye-catching, almost carpet-like in its structure and very impressive as a garment.

Campaign for wool hand knitting prize

The third prize of £200 was awarded to Catriona Pringle from the Royal College of Art. This highly creative design was a mix of cut felted wool with twisted knitted strips woven in and out of the felted cut sections.

A special award of 3 year subscription to Selvedge Magazine was given to Zoe Lyne of Winchester School of Art. Polly Leonard, the editor of Selvedge Magazine was instantly drawn to this dramatic design of a mass of crochet tubes worked into a very imaginative wearable neck piece or collar.”

Knitting and health

Last week on our stand at the Knitting and Stitching Show in London, a lot of people told us how much better they felt by coming and knitting or crocheting with us for a while.

cug3rnnxyaa8u3bIt was definitely about more than the reassuring presence of our Yarn Doctor (who only treats knitting and crochet problems) and us having quite comfy seats. Many of our visitors – new learners as well as experienced knitters – told us they felt relaxed or refreshed and ready for more yarn-based retail therapy.

So it seemed a good time to take a look at the impact of knitting and crochet on our health.

Serotonin

No wonder our visitors felt better. According to a study at the Royal United Hospital in Bath the meditative qualities of rhythmic activity aids in serotonin release, which causes feelings of happiness and calm.

This is good for our mental health – soldiers in World War 1 suffering from “shell shock” were taught to knit to help their recovery – and for dealing with chronic pain.

You can read a lot more about these types of benefit at Stitchlinks.

knitting

Staving off arthritis

It used to be said that if you started to develop arthritis in your hands you should stop knitting, but now the opposite might also be the case.

Alton Barron, a US orthopedic surgeon and co-author of The Creativity Cure: Building Happiness With Your Own Two Hands says knitting can prevent arthritis and tendinitis by encouraging strength and cartilage development.

Keeping our brains working

It is possible that knitting and crochet could delay the onset of dementia. An American study in 2012 found that older people who took part in craft activities such as knitting were less likely to suffer from “mild cognitive impairment” than their peers who didn’t craft or do similar activities.

So it seems that not only does knitting and crochet make us feel better now – it could help us feel better in the future.