Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Festive Prepping

Passion Flower in my garden - I just get so inspired by the colours!
It's a month until Christmas.  Sorry to remind you. Here in Napier, that means a month until we take a break, not only for Christmas, but a Summer holiday as well.  Many Kiwi's can't even think of picking up the needles over the Summer months, but for me it's a relaxing lazy time where I clean up UFO's, or get stuck into a project that needs a calm mind to complete.

Mohair brushed this past week - quite festive colours
I know many are in the thick of whipping up a few projects for gifts and loved ones.  There are some wonderful patterns out there for gifts.  For me my personal favourites are fingerless mitts & cowls.  Both a quick, easy and jolly useful for the recipient.

New Stirling - Pure alpaca with a whiff of Silver effect
To add a little sparkle to your festive knitting you should check out our new Alpaca yarn called Stirling.  It's a soft lush alpaca with just a whiff of silver accent yarn.  I tested this yarn months ago and have been anxiously waiting it's arrival.  As well as the added sparkle, it's a sport/light DK weight yarn.  On testing it knitted happily from 22 to 28sts per 10cm.  There are many patterns now out there for lighter weight cardigans and wraps at around 24sts per 10cm and Stirling would be perfect.

My sample knitted back in April - I have been itching for this yarn to arrive.
I test knitted a swatch in the stitch pattern from Martina Behm's Naiada (the project I was working on at the time) & it looked beautiful, but with 122m per ball, that would mean you could knit something like Louisa Hardings Victorian Mitts with just one ball (a personal fave of mine).

The most recent Ever After Cowl I have knitted in Silver Lining
The Ever After cowl I have posted on Ravelry for Free would look amazing in the Stirling and would only take two balls.  It's such a quick project, a great one for last minute gifts.  You could also match it up with the gauntlets to make a set if you so desired.

Ever After Gauntlets - the fastest gift knit
If you have babies to knit for, the yarn would make a good alternative in the DK patterns (especially the Peter Gregory or UKHKA leaflets) as the garments will knit to gauge, but not feel as 'weighty' as a  regular DK.  We also have the yarn in Powder Blue & Rosehip, Sorbet & Carmine for Unisex options.

Available now online - Skeinz Gift Vouchers
Remember we can post your yarn overseas - the deadlines are on the Skeinz home page.  If you are posting from NZ to abroad additional charges may apply.  We also have fresh stock of our popular Skeinz Gift Vouchers & if you are one of the lucky ones, there may be a few Skeinz Christmas Mystery packs left.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Contentious Lemon

The resurrection of Merino Soft Baby Lemon
You can never accuse us of not being a democratic society here at The Yarn Kitchen.  Part of my role is to compile the ranges and colour trends for future yarns & monitor the existing stable of colours.  It's a tough job because you are always swayed by personal preferences, colours and shades you love and those that you, well honestly, just loathe.

The classic 'Baby Triangle'- Baby Lemon, with Baby Pink and Baby Blue
When it comes to 4ply Merino baby yarn, the obvious choices of white, pink & blue have to be in the range, and our shades of these colours have altered subtly over the years to accurately reflect as closely as we can the shades available in mainstream baby clothing - you want your hand knits to match of course.  Other colours in the range are a mix of classic colours, like the nautical red and navy, black for "Silver Fern" babies and blush, gold, lime and babychinno for those wanting something a little more modern. So when the Skeinz Shop team of Em & Robynne came to me about baby reintroducing a baby lemon to the range, I started feeling green.
An example of the correct application of  'Lemon'
Baby Lemon has been and gone at three times in the years I have been here and after it's last quiet discontinuation, I was hoping to keep it confined to the yarn shade graveyard.  Em and Robynne had other ideas.  I am now only very sporadically in the shop, so couldn't discount their assertions that Skeinz Shop customers were demanding it - Really? Baby Lemon?  Are you sure?

See to my mind if you are going to have a yellow in a range you go for Gold!
So last week Baby Lemon was resurrected and found it's way back onto the shelf and online.  The gauntlet has been thrown - or the lemon squeezed - and  Em and Robynne are set to change my sour view of all things Lemon.  Now it's not yellow I am against - I love yellow & we have Merino Soft Gold in the range, because if you are going to have a yellow in a range, go for gold, I just purse my lips at the lemon.

So what do you think - have the girls thrown me a lemon, or do I need to suck it up and add some sugar and make some lemonade?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Knitting, Alive and Well.

My entries for this year - the most I have ever done.
The A&P Show season has started in this part of the world.  here in Hawkes bay, we have a Spring Show to coincide with our 4 day Anniversary weekend.  At Skeinz we have always been a supporter of the show, sponsoring two section in hand knitting and this year the overall prize in the Alpaca Handcraft section.

It was nice to see some new techniques - it's a pity you can't see the beading on the blue shawl, its stunning.
Previous years have seen entries in these areas slowly erode away.  I have entered for the last half dozen or so years to help show may support and also put in items that I would like to see.  As the traditional source of entries dwindles a new group of knitters have emerged entering garments and pieces displaying new techniques, new colours, new styles and fresh thinking.

Creative Cosies
It was wonderful to see Alpaca entries more than triple and general knitting entries up by about 25%.  I entered the most I have ever contributed and I loved being able to visit the display and see such wonderful work that continues to inspire me & hopefully other knitters to keep the needles busy over the warmer months.
A small display of some of Skeinz Alpaca yarns