Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Pattern Books and Other Ramblings

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

Please forgive me, for it has been 6 days since my last ramble. Do not, for one moment, think this occurred as a result of FB whipping me off to a few days on a tranquil desert island for that much needed rest. In fact, life has been as busy as ever.

We had friends down for the weekend who we haven't seen for 9 years. As with all true, good friends we picked up as if we'd only been out of touch for a week or so, but with non stop talking for 36 hours so we could cram the last 9 years in. We took them over the top to our favourite pub and they were very jealous of our walk to our "local":

Dear T has gone on a Geography field trip to Barcelona which involved a 4am departure from school on Monday morning. Yes - you did read that correctly - 4 am. When I did Geography O level (as it was in those days) we went to Dorset and stayed in a B&B in Swanage - how times have changed!

Knitting has been dominated by Wool Week in two weeks time - for which I have been asked to demonstrate knitting in Savile Row! On Monday, October 11th Savile Row will be closed to vehicles and will be laid with turf and filled with sheep (see here for an artist's impression). We're going up, decked out in Cornish Organic Wool finery obviously, to launch the start of Wool Week, designed to bring British wool to the fore and back into British fashion and shops - and not before time. Supported by The Prince of Wales it's a movement we strongly endorse. Having said that - how can I make a knitting demonstration really scintillating? - it's a challenge, that's for sure. But then again - if you've never seen a sock being knitted - it might be quite fascinating. We'll take lots of photos.

And now time for a teeny, weeny rant (and I've been working out how to put this diplomatically for the past couple of days). For the avoidance of doubt and before I rant, I'm sure we are all aware that patterns in pattern books are not allowed to be photocopied. Copying them breaks all copyright rules and is unfair to the designers who designed the patterns, the photographers who took the lovely pictures, the printers who printed them and, ultimately, the yarn companies who paid for them. Every pattern which is photocopied denies all these people the money they deserve and - in the end - ensures that future pattern books will be more and more expensive. Imagine then - customers who come into the shop, spend about 45 minutes looking for exactly the right yarn, checking yardages and availability until they've found exactly what they want (wool is strewn across the shop by this stage) and then refuse to buy the pattern book. They want a photocopy and this is denied them (with the law being carefully explained to them). They even go so far as to say, "go on, there's no-one else here, no-one will ever know". The photocopy is still not forthcoming. They then storm out of the shop, leaving all the wool they've so carefully chosen with the immortal line, "we'll go to our local wool shop, they'll photocopy it for us". There are 3 points to this: 1) if your local wool shop will photocopy patterns, please remember it is illegal, 2) please don't ask a shop assistant to do something that's illegal - it isn't fair, 3) if you ignore point 2) and do ask the assistant to do something illegal, please don't be surprised/stroppy/bad tempered when she refuses. End of rant. Thank you.

To our great surprise we had a small delivery of Rico's Can Can yesterday. It's flying out fast so catch some while you can - I have no doubt it'll be gone by Saturday - this yarn really is the must have for this autumn (and the instructions are printed inside the ball band so no worries there!!)

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

New Season, New Knitters, New Patterns

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

The beady eyed amongst you might have noticed a new "Workshops" button on the front page of the site - right next to the "Blog" button. As a result of many requests, we've decided to launch a series of Learn To Knit lessons and other workshops that may be of interest. As I think I've mentioned before, Learn To Knit lessons start on October 7th and Tracey and I are currently working out what other lessons may be of interest to our customers. If anyone has anything in particular they'd like us to cover, then please get in touch - either via the blog or by email to julia@knitwitspenzance.co.uk or on the good old phone - (01736) 367069.

For us knitters (and, indeed, parents) if often feels like September is the real "New Year" to us - the time when children move up a class at school and the re-start of the knitting season (for those, unlike me, who stop knitting for the summer - why?!!!); so it seemed like the right time to start classes and workshops.

It's also the time when loads of new yarns and new patterns come in - as you may have noticed - and, to that end, I have new patterns in the phenomenally popular Marble Chunky range. And there are some patterns for children (only girls, I'm afraid):

and for their mums:

I've also inputted all the Debbie Bliss Andes patterns. I can't decide what to knit but am very tempted by this:

As always - so many projects, so little time!

The good news is that eldest son (G) has told me that "all the girls are wearing knitwear in College - it's really trendy" - at last people - we are on trend and what we've all known all along is now known by the youngsters - knitwear is "cool"!!

So - I am ......................... (drumroll here, please) ........................ knitting a sweater for G!! Yes, 17 years old and he' requested a hand knit sweater, not too hot (college is boiling), not too expensive (in case he loses it), blue (but not all over blue as he'd then just look "blue" with jeans on as well) and nice and soft (obviously). FB couldn't quite believe the time it took to come up with the perfect combination (now he knows why some customers spend over an hour in here) but we came up with Bamboo Cotton in this colour:

with occasional stripes in this:

to break up the blue. I'm loving knitting it - my bog standard DK, round neck sweater with raglan sleeves pattern. Watch this space for G modelling it in about a month's time (it was a condition to me knitting it and he's agreed!).

Monday, 20 September 2010

Knitting and Walking

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

Before we went for our weekly walk, FB and I took a few pics of knitted garments for the website. If you've spent any time looking at patterns on the site, you'll have noticed that - occasionally - there's a picture at the top of the garment featured in the pattern as we've knitted it. So, for example, Debbie Bliss has done a garment in Fez like this:

and we've knitted it like this:

or Katia have done a top in Degrade like this:

and we/I have knitted it in Samba like this:

I always feel like a bit of a lemon when being photographed (I couldn't be a model for all the tea in China) but I think it does help to show the garments in lots of different ways.

The real surprise was this sweater:

which I'd never even tried on before as it's done in this colour:

which I thought was absolutely not my colour and something I'd never buy or wear and it turned out like this:

which FB thinks is his favourite jumper of them all!

After that we went for a walk. Straight from home and up the hill. This is the view from just above our house:

then along towards Greenbarrow Mine:

Look at these amazing colours:

Past the Nine Maidens standing stones: (FB getting a bit artistic at this point)

and on to Mulfra Quoit:

That huge stone I'm leaning against would have once sat on top of the others - if anyone can tell me how ancient man moved those giant lumps of granite, I'd love to know. View from the Quoit:

Then home via a lovely green lane:

For the true knitters amongst you, the purple jacket I'm wearing is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Astrakhan (now, sadly, discontinued).

Next week's walk is as much a mystery to us as it is to you - watch this space!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Where Has This Week Gone?

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

Not entirely sure where this week has gone but I am sure we have some wonderful new yarns for you. Briefly: Woodlander from James Brett:

20% wool, which knits into stripes but somehow looks almost felted when it's knitted - very clever. We've now knitted up a sample square so will photograph that so you can see what I mean.


All over specks - again, sample square on its way.

There are also new colours in Marble DK and Marble Chunky - new patterns on their way too - possibly on Saturday if I find the time!

Finally we have the glorious new yarn from Debbie Bliss:

Andes is a DK alpaca/silk mix which is unbelievably soft, yet with a silky sheen - a real treat - even if just for a hat or scarf! I'm still deciding what to knit and with what colour but there's one thing for sure - I will be knitting something with this amazing yarn!

That's all Folks!! - look out for patterns on Saturday.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Land's End

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

In an attempt to quell the Sunday afternoon lethargy in front of the goggle box, FB and I have started a regime of weekend walks. We live in such a beautiful part of the country but, like many people, never see things in our local area. Yesterday dawned sunny and hot and we had to do some promotional photos at Land's End for the End 2 End Sweater so we decided to drive there and then walk along the coastal path. Promotional pics went OK but I always feels like such a lemon standing there with tourists walking past:

The sweater just laid back and took it all in its stride, photoshoots are par for the course now:

We then walked west along the southern coast to Nanjizal and it was simply stunning:

The building on the cliff here is the Land's End complex:

Round the corner to Nanjizel cove:

Cornwall at its most beautiful. Reminds me why I chose to live here!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Learn To Knit!!

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

We've had the most amazing and wonderful yarns in the window over the past few months and several people have popped in and asked if we do classes to teach them how to knit. We didn't - but we are now!

Starting on Thursday, October 7th at 5.30pm we'll be holding 2 hour lessons for 6 weeks. During the course participants will knit their first scarf:

(and optional wrist warmers), their first garment:

and their first cabled handbag:

The cost of the materials is included in the total cost of £72.00 so, given that the materials are valued at about £35.00, we reckon that's excellent value for money!

If anyone's interested, please drop us an email or give us a ring on (01736) 367069.

If these classes are popular then we'll put together some more advanced classes and workshops - any ideas of what you'd like to learn or brush up on, please let us know.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Lots of Lovely Goodies!

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

I've inputted loads of lovely goodies onto the site for you today so kick back, get yourself a nice cup of tea/coffee/gin and prepare yourselves for some drooling.

Firstly we have two wonderful new colours in Baba: (slubby, pure wool, absolutely gorgeous)

three new colours in New Zealand Prints: (75% wool, DK)

we have one new colour in Knit Col: (pure wool, DK, self patterning with a bit of fairisle)

one new colour in Duo Plus: (cotton/wool mix, patterning)

new chunky range from Adriafil called Attimo: (wool/mohair/alpaca blend, subtle colour changes, amazingly soft, very, very gorgeous)

and finally from Adriafil the softest, most gorgeous, lovely, lovely 4ply alpaca you could ever wish to see, feel, knit and wear. Customers have been asking us for a 4ply alpaca and this is it! Your search for soft, wondrous alpaca ends here: Sierra Andina is what you've all been waiting for:

For a better, close-up image - take a look at the heathery colours in this little beauty:

We also have 4 new colours in Rico's Poems but have already sold out of one so catch them before they go (brilliant for felting, by the way). We have also completely sold out of Rico's Can Can, of which there's been quite a bit of chat on Ravelry. We had 60 balls and sold out completely in 12 days but have re-ordered and are taking orders both over the phone and online. Get your orders in to avoid disappointment! This yarns is the big hit of the moment and, clearly, we're not alone as Rico have practically sold out as well! Next delivery due to them in late October/early November so still enough time to get those Christmas presents on the needles, off the needles and wrapped for the big day.

Currently I have, on the needles, a pair of socks in King Cole's Riot: (late b'day present for my brother)

and this pattern from Stylecraft:

(yes, I know it's shown on a child but I'm quite small and the pattern goes up to my size, fortunately and I really like it), which I'm knitting in this:

Stylecraft's Life Super Chunky, which is lovely and soft and knitted on big needles (8mm and 10mm) so good for those of us with not too much time to knit! (Trying to knit this in the shop - 2 weeks to knit one [small] front.)

Ok - so that's the end of the update - hope you're now drooling - I'm off to continue knitting a very late sock.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Weekend with Friends

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

I have just had the second consecutive weekend with friends and not working in the shop at all. Thanks to Tracey, I've had two "proper" weekends and they were great. Back to normality the weekend coming but, in the meantime, I'm basking in the glow of Saturdays off.

This Saturday we walked across the moor to our favourite "local" pub (about 5 miles) - The Gurnard's Head at Zennor:

After a couple of swifty liveners it became necessary, indeed essential, for rugby to be played:

in the middle of the road ..........

and when cars came along, the game was to lob the ball over the car:

and then see how close to the car you could get. .... this one actually hit the car's aerial (!):

If you were the driver, I hereby apologise for the menfolk's childish and ridiculous (but entertaining) behaviour. (Thank heavens - this being deepest, darkest Cornwall there weren't too many cars - cannot recommend this game for the M5.)

In the evening we headed off to our local Chinese which does the most amazing all-you-can-eat buffet (for just £9.95 per head). After 3 lots of "starters" and 2 main courses our dear friend Rob challenged T that if he could eat a "dessert" of:

ice cream,
4 deep fried chicken balls,
sweet and sour sauce,
sprinkled with crushed up prawn crackers

whilst wearing a peking duck pancake on his head, T would receive the princely sum of £5.00. Never one to resist a challenge T acquired the necessary ingredients from the buffet (yes, that brown goo is chocolate ice cream):

and set to:

(note the delicately balanced pancake).

Rob duly paid up:

Take note - this is a 15 year old who has just cycled from John O'Groats to Land's End - no challenge is too big or too small.

PS: To our amazement, he wasn't sick!