Friday, 22 May 2015

Love Your Yarn Shop Day

Yarn Shop Day is a fantastic annual event in the UK organised by Let’s Knit  and Let’s Get Crafting Magazines published by Aceville.
This is the second year the magazine has encouraged us all to ‘Love your Yarn Shop’ with more than 200 stores taking part and we were more than happy to lend our support. Some stores opened their doors to customers queueing to get in  and knitting 'celebrities' such as Erika Knight, Martin Storey and Debbie Bliss made appearances to sign books and host surgeries.
We gathered together twenty taster packs of our needles and hooks with around 25 sets in each and invited yarn shops taking part in the festivities to put their names down for a pack.  We had nearly 70 stores apply in a 24 hour period!  The names were drawn and the packs began winging their way to locations all around the UK.
They were used in shops to let customers try out our different ranges and some found their way into goodie bags  – if you were one of those lucky people we hope you enjoy our needles.

On the actual day we visited Diss Wool Shop in Norfolk where the owner, Sue, was demonstrating KnitPro needles with this lovely scarf design called ZickZack.  We loved it so much we bought the yarn to make it!

At The Periwinkle in Devon the day was a huge success. “I was lucky enough to receive  many items which I packaged into goodie bags for the first ten customers through the door, and a selection of exciting raffle prizes for everyone who made a purchase,” said Tonia from The Periwinkle. Here is a picture of one of the winners.

Coastal Yarns in Bude, Cornwall made Pompoms for the Bude Arts and  Music Wishing Tree.

Horncastle Hobby House  in Lincolnshire raised £50  for Cancer Research UK from donations from knitters who wanted to keep the needles they had tried.

Wherever you were we hope you had a great time on Yarn Shop Day and we are already looking forward to next year.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Blocks Away!

Knitting or crocheting lace is a wonderful past time.  Working with delicate yarns in a myriad of colours, crafted into sumptuous accessories is so rewarding.  But perhaps the most important part of any lace project is the finishing or blocking. When you have invested so much time in making your lace project, you will definitely want to finish it in the best way possible and this is where blocking comes in.
Blocking is the process of encouraging a project in to the correct shape by using steam or water. Sometimes lace can look like a scrumpled up spider’s web until, with a little water, a few pins and a bit of gentle coercion a beautiful shawl can be finally revealed.
Some projects can be blocked by just the power of a steam iron, such as garment components; however, using specially designed blocking tools (mats, pins and rods) gives a much better result, particularly for lace.  It evens out the stitches and relaxes them into the desired shape.

At KnitPro we offer a full range of blocking tools suited to a wide variety of projects. Our blocking mats come in 9 squares that fit together like a jigsaw to accommodate different shapes.  To fix your project into shape we offer T-pins and blocking rods, as well as our incredibly popular blockers, which have rows of pins, held in a plastic handle for larger projects and perfect straight edges.

Here are our tips for successful blocking.
Start by gently washing your project to allow the stitches and yarn to relax and bloom. 

Do not wring it out but squeeze out the excess moisture before laying it on a towel. 

 Roll up the towel to get most of the water out, leaving your project slightly damp.  Using a towel in this way is a great tip for any hand washed item.

Put your blocking mats together as required and lay out your project.  Now it’s time to gently pull your project in to shape.  With the shawl you can see here we started at the top edge, using the blockers to get a lovely straight edge.

 Then we pinned the bottom of the triangle before working back along each diagonal edge with a mixture of blockers and T-Pins.  

Be sure to measure as you go to make sure the pinning is symmetrical.

If your project has a lace edge that finishes in points, again, pin the top edge then ease out the points and secure each one with a T-pin.
If yours is a circular shawl, pin out the compass points first and then work round the circle measuring as you go.

When you have finished leave your project to dry naturally, which will help to set it into the correct shape.

We are sure you will be very pleased with the results so do send us a picture of your latest, beautifully blocked project.