Next up…Fibre East!

Barely recovered from the last, but gearing up for the next big yarn extravaganza of the summer – Fibre East next weekend! So excited!

Only an hour and a bit out of London in Ampthill, Bedfordshire, the show will be open Saturday 26th July 10am – 5pm and Sunday 27th July 10am – 4.30pm.

It will be my first time at this show, so once again, please do come by and say hello and play with me. I am in the middle of the ‘Shetland’ room, right after the main hall, surrounded by spinning and weaving fun:

Kettle Yarn Co FibreEast

The amazing ELK herself, designer Renee Callahan- aka EastLondonKnit, will be joining me at the booth this weekend. We’ll be unveiling a new shawl design for Kettle Yarn Co. in my new yarn blend BEYUL - yak/silk/sw merino and showcasing her amazing patterns in the flesh!

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tiny sneaky sneak peak of new shawl in progress!

We’ll have a number of glorious samples at the stall so come and give them a twirl. I think you’ll be as smitten with them as I am!

I will also have some of my new autumn ISLINGTON fingering hues at the booth, like my new Neckinger Green:

This green is suitably dark and mysterious, hinting of murky hidden depths and secrets and is named after London’s subterranean River Neckinger, which in Victorian times ran past the notorious Jacob’s Island.

From Wikipedia —

Jacob’s Island was notoriously squalid from early Victorian times. It was described by Charles Dickens in 1838 as “the filthiest, the strangest, the most extraordinary of the many localities that are hidden in London”, and by the Morning Chroniclein 1849 as “The very capital of cholera” and “The Venice of drains”.

In the 17th century convicted pirates were hanged at the mouth of the river (the corpses were placed on display as a deterrent further downstream at Blackwall Point). The name of the river is believed to derive from the term “devil’s neckcloth” (i.e. hangman’s noose).

The environs are vividly described in Charles Dickens‘ novel, Oliver Twist as the place that one of Dickens’ best-known characters, Bill Sikes, meets a violent death in the mud of St Saviour’s Dock.”

Hope you are all enjoying the amazing summer as much as I am and looking forward to seeing some of you this weekend!

 

Thank you Unwind Brighton!

I have been trying to find a way to describe the wonder that was Unwind Brighton all week and find that words just can’t describe the amazing time I had!  I met such incredible people and a good number of online lovelies from as far away as Tennessee! A darling new friend also brought me chocolates from Brussels!! (pardon the blurry shot, my hands were a bit shakey as I was so excited to crack them open. Thanks again Cissi!) ;)

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A HUGENORMOUS thank you to everyone who came by and said hello and took time out to play with me for a bit. It was such a pleasure! I can’t tell you how much it meant to me.

The booth was incredibly busy and I hardly had time to take any shots, but luckily my partner, Jason, took a few in the beginning:

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It was such a huge and humbling pleasure to see how excited people were getting about my babies and I had to shake myself time and time again to keep hopping and stop watching everyone squish! You were all so kind!

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The fair was a HUGE success and even got mentioned in the IndependentDani and the team really outdid themselves with their very first event!

There were such an unbelievable number of people I’d always wanted to meet there – Rachel, CissiJoji, Helen, AimeeBristol, KariYsolda, Kate, Felicia, Cathrin, Victoria, Dieuwke, Asti….and so many others I’ve probably missed here! It was truly difficult not to be a fan-girl, and I tried my very, very hardest not to be annoyingly starstruck – all Canadian-style, eh? (Vancouverites, at any rate, pride themselves on not showing they are starstruck. We DO live in ‘Hollywood North’, after all! hah) It was tough, let me tell you!

And it was SUCH a pleasure to catch up with old friends as well. I loved that people were describing it as ‘Ravelry in real life’, as that is what it felt like – all these people I know from Rav in the flesh! FAB….and they were/are all even more lovely and amazing in real life, too!

I even got to host the winning design competition shawl that was in the programme-  Curious Handmade’s beautiful Pebble Beach Shawlette at the booth. For those of you interested the KAL has officially kicked off! And for those of you that weren’t able to make it last weekend, the pattern is now available online. Knit in only one skein of WESTMINSTER, it is shown here in colourway ‘Gold Rush’:

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image © Curious Handmade

I was lucky enough to wear it for a brief moment and have to say it is glorious! It fits beautifully over the shoulders and the ends ruffle down the front like in the photo above. Truly a lovely knit! I am getting more of the blend in this week and will have more colourways in shop next week and at Fibre East at the end of the month.

I was a little bleary by the time Pom Pom Quarterly’s Shindig kicked off on the Saturday evening, but they had arranged a brilliant knitting pub quiz that had us all scratching our heads and laughing. Nice work once again, ladies!

Here is a photo of the ever-gorgeous Lydia and Meghan reading out the answers to the quiz:

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image from Instagram (please let me know if this was yours as I can no longer find the original in the stream!!)

I feel that no matter what I say it will be completely inadequate to describe the wonder and joy had by all, so will just end this with a thank you to all who made this weekend so wonderful…you know who you are. ;*

Blown away with a seaside breeze…

Back from Brighton and have to say I had an utterly fantastic time at the hugely successful and amazing Unwind! My only regret from the weekend is not being able to take any of the amazing workshops which everyone raved about!

A huge thank you to everyone – especially DaniRenee and the rest of the utterly amazing UB team - for their patience, organisational skills, kindness and endless help. I can’t say enough times how appreciated it was.

Another HUGE thank you to every single one of you that came by the booth and introduced yourselves! What a crazy humbling thing to meet so many of you that I have only ‘talked’ with online – BUT IN THE FLESH. Wow. Still getting chills from this. ;-)

I hope to post some photos from the show and gush more later this week once I’ve recovered and rested a bit.

I will leave you with this for today…I’ve been really excited to see so many finished projects in the flesh this weekend and also the pictures cropping up in Ravelry, so have been trying to keep track of them in my little Pinterest board! It is good fun to see what people are making with the yarns if you want to check them out:

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New pattern: Brownlow Wristwarmers!

I wasn’t sure I would have time to get this up on Ravelry before Unwind, but managed to squeeze it in this morning!

I have a new pattern for autumn. Super simple and super quick, the Brownlow Wristwarmers developed out of a successful swatching session with a beautifully bouncy, super-twisted Bluefaced Leicester blend that I fell in love with and became TWIST, as my day job – located in London’s Bloomsbury – was a stone’s throw from the historic house of Charles Dickens, author of the famous Oliver Twist novel!

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© Linda Lencovic

While swatching this blend with my new naturally heathered HEATH – 100% ethical Merino - I couldn’t help but notice how perfect it is for garter stitch variations and decided to design something that would showcase both the yarns’ hardwearing qualities, while echoing the Dickensian brick and cobble lined streets filling my daily cityscape in London.

swatch

© Linda Lencovic

Mentally, I’ve always pictured Fagin’s crew wearing ratty fingerless gloves in Georgian London, however, these wristwarmers are less street-urchin and much more more elegant! Worked in a delicate garter rib with a flattering stripe of stockinette up the inside wrist to add texture contrast, these are simply knit in the round. The thumbhole is created by simply turning the work and working flat for a number of rows then rejoining to continue in round.

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© Linda Lencovic

These beauties are really simple and perfect for knitting two at a time magic loop or for beginners and knit up in a couple evenings.

The pattern is available for download now on Ravelry and will be available free with yarn purchase of both TWIST and HEATH yarns for the pattern till the end of the month as a special promotion for those of you that can’t make the yarn fairs coming up here in the UK! For those of you at Unwind and Fibre-East I will have the yarns available and will email you the pattern on purchase.

I am hoping to have a Knit Along with these in August, so stay tuned for details!

Beachward Bound!

As most of you already know, as I have been mentioning incessantly, I will be at Unwind Brighton this coming weekend. SO EXCITED.

I have been trying to get a last minute top finished in L’heure Bleue – Bristol Ivy’s beautiful Kit Camisole. I am very, very nearly there! I am adding an i-cord edging so it is taking a bit longer to finish. The colour is so perfect. I just can’t wait!

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[Kit Camisole hem - ISLINGTON fingering 'L'heure Bleue']

As I will be away this weekend and am not sure which stock I will be bringing back, the shop will also be closed from Friday June 11 to Monday June 12.

Hope to see many of you there for loads of fun!!

The dreaded ‘P’ word

‘Pilling is a pet peeve for lots of knitters. When your finished objects start to pill, they begin to look old and the beauty of the yarn, the design, and the workmanship is diminished. Why does pilling happen?’ – Clara Parkes, Knitting Daily

Have you ever knit a jumper, worn it once or twice and realised the yarn you used pills like there is no tomorrow? For someone like me, who abhors what I call the ‘Devil’s Balls’, this  is the worst feeling ever. Before starting Kettle Yarn Co. I would spend weeks searching for the ‘perfect yarn’ for a project, always seeking that Holy Grail  of yarn blends – deliciously soft and not itchy but a yarn that will still wear like hardier, crunchy wool without pilling.

image from my Aidez in Cascase Eco+ in 2012

I’d always assumed that pilling in a store bought jumper indicated an inferior yarn had been used, but soon learned that fibre type, length, ply, twist – many factors can contribute to pilling in a yarn. It wasn’t until I began researching yarn qualities and construction that I really started to understand  the hows and whys of pilling. Clara Parkes‘ brilliant books – The Knitter’s Book of Wool and The Knitter’s Book of Yarn – and her various articles on yarn construction started an extreme case of what I call ‘yarnitis’ – a feverish need to KNOW yarn.

This led years of hands-on experience, swatching, wearing and rigorously testing a large number of different blends for that illusive perfect blend.

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Through this research I began to slowly get an understanding of how long staple yarns are hard wearing and low pilling; How those longer strands have less ends poking their little heads out in a woven length of yarn to ball up and how thicker micron weights – yarns thicker than than  the ever-pervasive Merino ,which is prone to pilling – are more able to resist abrasion. Unfortunately this hardy robustness is also what can make them itchy as those tiny pill resistant ends can also feel pokey to sensitive skins.

It turns out that the cost of  soft yarn is often pilling and/or damage to fibres as those short, tender threads that give us gentle garments are also naturally prone to abrasion. To quote my yarn-hero Clara again on how to deal with pilling:

‘Remove as many of the pills as you can, either by plucking (if they come off easily) or by snipping (if they resist). That first batch of fibers doesn’t want anything to do with the fabric, so let it go.’ 

So when you finally come to terms and accept that some pilling is completely natural and to be expected in soft yarn, how much is too much? And what are the qualities one should look for in a yarn blend to ensure long lasting wear in a project? These are questions I have asked myself over and over while choosing yarns for Kettle Yarn Co.

I still believe that no pilling is the best policy, therefore strive for as close to that perfection as I can get! To help you plan your projects with my yarns I’ve created a ‘wear chart’ that shows my blends and gives an indication of how many shaves it will take before light pilling (and ONLY LIGHT) stops completely.

Just as an indication, my Relax jumper knit in ISLINGTON – a two shave blend-  has been worn at least once a week since I finished it in July last year. It still looks brand new and I’ve never had to shave it! It still only has the tiniest micro-balls that aren’t bothering me yet.

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Most of you will never even notice the light pilling I am referring to, but for the ultra-picky – like  me- you can choose which blends will best suit your intended garments!

 

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I’d love to know if people think this is a good idea and if it helps you!

Yaktastic at A Playful Day…

Some time ago the dynamic Kate from A Playful Day was kind enough to invite me to her lovely blog for a guest post and I though it might be the perfect time to unveil a bit more about my new exotic BEYUL - yak/silk/ sw merino blend….

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check out all the interesting faks about yaks and come by the booth at Unwind Brighton to see more colourways in the flesh!

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Chalcot socks – Knit Now!

Those of you who follow me in Ravelry might have noticed I cast on last week for a new design that has been released in my TWIST - 100% superwash British Bluefaced Leicester:

Kettle Yarn Co - macho mint

I can finally reveal that the design is from the latest Knit Now magazine! The Chalcot Socks by Anita Grahn are the sweetest pair of socks EVER and I had to lift my sock ban to start them up as I simply have to have a pair.

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These beauties feature braids on both sides and my TWIST’s long staple superwash Bluefaced Leicester fibre is perfect for spongy long wearing socks.

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last two photos © Dan Walmsley for Practical publishing 

Taking a mere two skeins of TWIST or one skein of TWIST Jumbo the image shows the socks in my ‘macho mint‘ colourway, but they’d look fantastic in any of the hues I currently have in stock:

The magazine goes on sale on tomorrow – Thursday 26th June. Buy in craft stores, newsagents and supermarkets across the UK and worldwide from the Knit Now website. It will also be available digitally and via Apple Newsstand for Mac users.

For the yarn all colours will be live on the shop this Friday at 5pm GMT – check your local time.

 

Unveiling my Veil

I’ve been knitting up a storm lately in preparation for the summer shows and  have gotten a bit behind with sharing. My most recent FO is the stunning Veil of Leithen shawl by talented designer Renee Callahan, otherwise known as EastLondonKnit:

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I knit this beauty up in less than one skein my new, delicious yak blend BEYUL in colourway Yurt  - which I still haven’t had time to announce properly, but will get around to it in the next few weeks…I promise!

This summer shawl is a lovely top down mesh which finishes in a subtle lace edging knit on all at once.

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A mix of the softest yak down, silk, and superwash Merino this blend is just perfect for this delicate shawl. You can see the delicate yak down halo and subtle lustre on the yarn in the photo below!

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Renee is currently hosting a KAL with prizes in the Unwind group Ravelry page so you can join in there to win and see FOs.  You can also wear your Veil of Leithen at Unwind Brighton on the 12th/13th July for a chance of winning a prize at the show!

Stones and Stripes revisited. Darkly.

Do you ever make something and then wish you’d chosen a different colour? I’ve decided this could, possibly, be one of the coolest things about having a studio filled with yarn dye…endless overdyeing options!

I’ve blogged previously on the gloriousness of the Stones and Stripes shawl, which was knit up in Islington ‘Light Squirrelly‘ – a shimmering light taupe. Here is another picture of it, a before-and-after of unblocked to blocked:

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I have been wearing this around quite happily for more than a month and getting many compliments, but when it comes right down to it had to admit it just wasn’t great for my olive skin tone. The light hue was just washing me out!

In a fit of impulse I decided I would pop the shawl into a bath of my charcoal ‘Old Smoke‘ colourway. I have been desperately craving something in this colour but have had NO time to knit myself something…so time for a quick fix!

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I am so glad I did and can barely keep myself from wearing it before Unwind Brighton in July. The only thing that is keeping me from it is the thought of blocking it all again in 2 weeks for the show! Hands off for now…right?