Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Have you a Christmas knitting plan yet?

I saw a sign in a shop window at the weekend listing how many Sundays were left to until Christmas. It didn’t make me rush inside to do some shopping but rather prompted some thoughts on planning for gift knitting.
We all know that gift knitting can get out of hand at this time of the year. So it is important to take a breath and ask yourself deep, searching questions – and you need to be perfectly honest here. How many hand knit items you want to give, what you are going to make and will it involve secret knitting?
Most of the horror stories about gift knitting or crochet are about running out of time. No one wants to be desperately sewing up hats or grafting the toe of a sock in the early hours of the morning following the work party or hiding in the bathroom with the yarn because the secret project is only half done.

Small knitted and crochet gifts may be as appreicated as a complicated sweater
Write your knitted or crocheted gift list now and try to work out how much time you will need to finish everything on the list – a timescale of more than a few weeks and you might want to plan for December 2019 instead.
Think about whether you are knitting for other knitters or for non-knitters. A non-knitter may not be aware how much time a jumper takes and will be equally touched by the thought and work that goes into a hat, socks or mittens that are perfect for them.
Equally a fellow yarn crafter may appreciate an intricate stitch or a stunning yarn choice on a small item.
And most importantly there is more chance of all of them actually receiving their presents if you choose smaller items to make rather than sweaters for everyone.
Even if you have already started making your gifts, it is worth answering these questions to see if your plans are on track.
Whether you are making one scarf or planning yarn gifts for 20 people we wish you all the best with your Christmas crafting plans.

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Introducing the nostepinne – a great way to wind yarn

When the new products in the KnitPro collection arrived with the UK team, we learned a new skill and agreed our crafting life had changed forever. 

We absolutely love our nostepinnes, which are traditional Scandinavian tools for creating centre pull balls of yarn. Ours come in plain and coloured wood with a turned handle.

 To make your ball, you handwind the yarn round the nostepinne in a specific way. Click here for a video demonstrating how to use it. It only takes a few minutes to learn and once you have practised a little you will discover this is a satisfying and relaxing way to wind up yarn.

As you can see, you can use a nostepinne to wind any yarn but I think most people would turn to their ball winder (if they have one) for 800m of laceweight for example. A nostepinne is particularly handy for winding small ball to be used in colour work or granny squares for example. It is also very useful for tidying up half used balls of yarn into neater cakes. Certainly we have been using ours regularly since we had the opportunity to test them out. 

Let us know if you have tried a nostepinne and tell us how get on if you buy a KnitPro one.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Knitters’ jewellery isn’t just decorative

The KnitPro new collection features some lovely wearable items but this year there is a bit of a twist. Some of our jewellery also has a practical side.

The Knitter’s Necklace
Ever taken off a jumper and stabbed yourself because your cable needle is still threaded through it or gone to the shop with one stuck in your hair? Or cleared stray stitch markers from down the side of the sofa or the washing machine?
The knitter’s necklace is here to help. The pendant, which hangs from an adjustable leather cord,  is made from our signature multi-coloured wood and is embedded with magnets. It comes with three different shaped cable needles and 20 stitchmarkers which will all attach to the pendant thanks to the magnets.

You can have fun arranging the accessories you need into a pattern on your pendant as well as being able to find everything you need for your project. The necklace kit contains the three cable needles and 20 stitchmarkers in a fabric pouch to keep everything together. Additional cable needles and stitchmarkers can be purchased separately so you can create your perfect combination.

Row counter ring

One way to keep track of your rows could be to wear our clever row counter ring that doubles as a pretty cool piece of jewellery. To mark a row, you just press the sides of your ring and turn. The rings are available in four sizes and made from high quality stainless steel coated with a black finish using special technology.

Knitting charms
These attractive charms could decorate your knitting bag or become your new key ring and they have certainly caught a lot of attention where we’ve shown them so far. Of course they are more than just a knitting or crochet themed decoration. Each charm features a mini repair hook and needle to help rescue dropped stitches and other sudden knitting emergencies. We reckon there might be a few of these in our yarnie friends’ Christmas stockings this year.

Shawl pins
Alongside these clever accessories, we have eight new shawl pin designs. They are all inspired by nature created in our beautiful wood range. A stunning addition to a shawl, wrap or cardigan.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Colourful and practical – new additions to the Knitpro collections

We have some beautiful new tools joining the KnitPro range this autumn that we hope you will agree are a real treat for knitters and crocheters.

Zing range
First up, by popular demand we have some additions to the metal Zing range with the launch of our first crochet hooks in our smooth colourful finish. The single ended hooks are available individually in sizes 2.00-6.00mm and as a set including nine popular sizes in a beautifully designed fabric pouch.
The colour-coded sizes match the knitting needle range, so if you are already using those it will be easy to spot the right hook in your collection.

The UK team have been trying out the Zing crochet hooks over the past couple of weeks and can report that the custom finish means they slip in and out of stitches with ease, making it easy to get into a crochet rhythm.

In addition – you asked and we answered – sizes 3mm and 3.25mm have been added to both the interchangeable and fixed circular needle ranges.
Vibrance pouches
These new bright mesh pouches are a cheerful addition to your craft storage. The as you can see below the largest size will easily contain a sock project and the medium is perfect if you are planning to crochet a few squares on the move and one of the team has already sorted lots of her notions and accessories into one of the small ones.

Available with button or zip closures we reckon they would be handy for a range of tasks from make-up bags to organising items when traveling – especially as you can easily see what’s inside.

Rainbow knit blockers

Our revolutionary blocking tool that speeds up the blocking process for knitters and crocheters alike, is now available in a rainbow pack featuring ten different colours.
Look out on social media in the next few weeks for our top tips on using these handy tools.

Zooni stitchmarkers
Keep track of where you are in your pattern with this fun range beaded stitchmarkers. The colours means they stand out easily against your work. Each design comes in a set of 12 in a cute mesh pouch – perfect as a gift to another knitter or as a little treat for yourself.

We’ll be taking a look at some more of our new products in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Use a colour wheel to help your yarn choices

One look at our needle and hook collections will tell you the the KnitPro team loves colour. 
Zings, Trendz and Waves all add colour to your crafting kit
So it is not surprising that we love stripes, granny square, Fair Isle and anywhere else we can combine colours in yarn. And judging by the pictures you post on our social media channels so do you.
What can be hard sometimes is deciding what colours to use together. A useful tool, we sometimes turn to, is a colour wheel like the one pictured below.
The standard wheel you usually see has 12 segments as shown here. The primary colours, yellow, red and blue are shown at 12, 4 and 8 o’clock and secondary colours, orange, purple and green,  are at 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 5 o’clock the red and purple are mixed to give a red-violet or 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 a good place to start.
Using colours together
Among the ways to match colours are: 

  • Similar shades: Choose yarns that sit in the same quarter of wheel such as reds and oranges – these are known as analogous colours.
  •  Complimentary colours: These are colours that sit opposite each other on the wheel and provide good contrasts– yellow and purple, green and red etc. If you are looking for a subtler contrast, go for the colour to the immediate left of right of the one opposite.
  •  Colour groups: For fair isle and crochet squares we are often looking for 3 or four colours to combine. Pick your colours evenly round the wheel for example  at 1, 5 and 9 o’clock or 1, 4, 7 and 10 o’clock.

This is known as colour theory, one of the easiest ways of using it with yarn – especially from your stash – is to arrange your skeins and balls in a circle in the correct positions for the colour wheel. This will really help you see what will work together – and what crucial shade you need to buy for your perfect colour combination.