Knitting and crochet blogs for you to enjoy

On our regular e-newsletter we choose a knitting or crochet blog of the month that we think our followers will enjoy.

In case our blog readers aren’t signed for the newsletter, here are a few of our favourites from the past year that you might enjoy browsing over the bank holiday weekend.

knitting blogs

Elsie Pop is a UK-based crochet blog written by Louise who promises “yarn, cats, a one-eyed dog, unfinished projects and a lot of colour”. Elsie (Louise) is a real crochet enthusiast who writes about patterns, reviews yarns and offers tips and advice. She is also a London commuter so is an expert on crocheting in public and on the move. The blog talks about both crochet and Tunisian crochet and features patterns for each. Elsie’s real enjoyment of her craft comes across as does her hope to help other people feel the same.

Great Balls of Wool records the activities of Una, charity knitter extraordinaire. She has been knitting for more than 50 years and says she loves “looking for wool bargains and making them into something useful”. The blog charts the progress of the items Una makes and which charities eventually receive them. She also links to the many charities she has made items for – there is no doubt the Una has committed to knit and we’re sure she will inspire others.

knitting blogs

Hand Knitted Things is the blog of Julia March who lives in the Scottish Highlands with a small flock of Shetland sheep. Julia writes about patterns and yarn that has caught her eye along with the knitting projects she is working on. All accompanied by beautiful bright photographs. This is a great blog to turn to if you are looking for ideas or inspiration because the photographs will certainly make you feel good about yarn crafts and Julia is honest about her experiences of patterns and projects. You will also find some useful tutorials.

Sometimes you just want to look at great images of knitting and to seek some inspiration, which is how we first came across The Knitting Needle and the Damage Done. On this blog Orange Swan reviews the patterns in knitting magazines by sharing pattern pictures with her comments, so it is a great place to see a wide range of patterns, assess trends and browse for ideas – rather like a very focused Pinterest.

knitting blogs

Barbara from Knitting Now and Then describes herself as fascinated by old knitting patterns and women’s magazines. Luckily for her, since 2011 she has been sorting and cataloguing the collection of publications held by the UK Knitting and Crochet Guild. This massive collection of magazines, pattern booklets, pattern leaflets and other publications is a fantastic resource and one she uses to talk about the history of knitting – for example the metrication of needles – how styles have changed and to show vintage stitches and patterns.

Mason Dixon Knitting one of the most established yarn craft blogs. It takes the form of letters between Kay who lives in Manhattan and Ann who lives in Nashville. They talk about all things knitting from new patterns and what they enjoy knitting, to knitting deadline stress and TV to binge watch while knitting. Their site is fun to get lost in, reading their friendly posts as well as exploring the tips and free patterns.

Never Not Knitting is the sort of blog where you smile or laugh in recognition. Podcaster and knitting boutique owner Alana Dakos writes about common knitting experiences such as persevering when deep down you know your knitting is coming out far too small, or falling for a supercute pattern and the joys of a spot of selfish knitting. There are also tips, patterns and book recommendations to give you new inspiration.

The Winwick Mum blog, which as the runner up for Blog of the Year at the recent British Craft Awards, is written by Cheshire-based Christine Perry who says she writes about plus what makes her happy: family, knitting, gardening, home-making and enjoying the outdoors. And knitting definitely makes her happy because there is plenty of discussion of knitting, knitting events, yarn and patterns. You will also find plenty about socks – Christine has written a sock knitting book – including a sockalong to get you started and a free pattern and tutorial for her Easy Cable Socks. Winwick Mum is a relaxing read for crafters that may also help you discover something new in terms of yarn or events.

knitting blogs

The Yarn Harlot is something of a knitting blog legend. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee has been blogging and producing very funny books about knitting for years, Her blog is perfect to drop into when you need a smile. Over the years she has introduced us to the problems of dropping your yarn when on the move, the travelling sock, and more recently the concept of stash tossing. And she is very honest about startitis and playing yarn chicken (the hope beyond reasonable expectation that you have enough yarn to complete a project). You will recognise yourself and other knitters in Stephanie’s posts and generally have a good time.

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Trendwatch: In the pink for summer knits

It seems that if you want to look the height of fashion this summer go for a strong pink yarn.

In its Colour of Year predictions Pantone point to a series of strong pink shades to tone with the leaf green it picked out as this year’s colour.

Meanwhile in its summer trends review Vogue tells us to avoid pale pinks and to go bold with fuschia.

With this in mind we had a look to find some yarns to keep you right on this trend this summer.

 

Why teaching kids to knit will help them with maths and technology

I noticed something when I was teaching my seven-year-old niece to knit.

She isn’t that keen on sums in her homework, but if I asked her to keep track of her stitches she would happily tell me how many she had gained or lost. And if I asked questions like “You’ve knitted three rows this afternoon, how many stitches is that?”, she would be quite happy to sit and do the mental arithmetic. She didn’t notice it was sums.

teaching kids to knit

Image from UKHKA event

Like many crafters and craft teachers, I have often argued that knitting, crochet and other skills teach a range of useful extras including mental arithmetic, so along with my UK Hand Knitting colleagues I was pleased to hear this radio feature on the links between maths and crafts. It talks about how knitters think in 3D and use geometry to solve shaping problems.

What you learn from knitting can be applied elsewhere as computer scientists are showing. A scheme to interest girls in careers in coding starts by teaching them about knitting. This is because knitting and crochet patterns are “programs” – a set of step-by-step instructions that often use symbols or letter codes to replicate an action.

It is exciting to see knitting used as a way into writing computer code but it isn’t a new idea. The mother of modern computing Ada Lovelace drew inspiration from the punch cards used by weavers when she worked with Charles Babbage on their Analytical Engine .

So if you decide to teach some youngsters to knit during these school holidays, you will be doing more than just occupying them on a wet Wednesday. You will be providing them with both the skills to make lovely objects in the future but also to do well in certain school subjects and preparing them for possible future careers.

 

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.