FerretFest

On Saturday 17th November we’ll be at FerretFest.

Yup.

FerretFest.

The brainwave of my lovely friend LJ who dyes Rusty Ferret yarn, runs Fluph and keeps us all entertained on instagram with her hilarious and brilliant videos.

LJ has written a quick guide the FerretFest and you can find that here.

We’ll have yarn, bags and our new sew on patches for sale. All of the samples from Beyond The Rainbow will be in the shop, and LJ has very kindly been modelling them for me on instagram. All of them at once.

As well as wool you can shop for bags from Alison Ruth Designs

I’m thrilled that Louise AKA KnitBritish will also be there – partly because it’s always lovely to catch up with her and partly because she’s bringing a bag of woolly treasures.

It’s going to be brilliant.

Come and say hello.

You don’t need a ticket, you don’t need to tell anyone you are coming – just turn up.

p.s there will be no actual live ferrets. This was discussed as a possibility, and LJ has been persuaded that it’s an idea that might be considered for FerretFest2.

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2019 Shawl Club

When I started thinking about the 2019 shawl club I knew that I wanted to make a few changes from this year. It’s been great fun working with 6 different designers and there have been gorgeous shawl designs. It felt time to look for ways to have the shawl club designs work as a collection rather than as beautiful one offs.

So with this in mind I contacted Clare Devine to find out if this was something she’d like to get involved with. Clare and I have worked together for several years of sock club (and we’re doing so again in 2019), so it felt like a brilliant way to make sure that the designs over the year worked together.

I’m thrilled that Clare agreed to this. When we started trading ideas it felt like we shared so many thoughts about what we’d like the club to be.

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One big change for 2019 is that you’re able to see the club colours for the coming month before you sign up. Tastes in colour are so personal that there’s never going to be a colourway that sings to everyone – or maybe it does and you love that colour so much that there’s already a collection of it in your stash. Either way, it’s not ideal when you end up with something that isn’t what you want. So offering the chance to see the colours first means allowing you to choose something that you know you’re going to love. We know that some of you love the surprise element of clubs and it’s still completely possible to sign up and be completely in the dark until your club parcel arrives – just don’t click on the sneak peek link!

If you’d also like an idea about the shawl designs then Clare has written a beautiful blog post sharing the 6 pictures which are her design inspiration. Be warned – you’ll love all of them.

See Clare’s design inspiration

The 2019 shawl club will be based round an exploration of shape – and looking at the images in Clare’s blog makes me feel that I can’t wait to cast on.

 

You can find all of the 2019 yarn clubs here.

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Shop Update 09.11.18

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There’s lots of colour in store for Friday at 1900 as we’ve restocked all One Farm Yarn. One Farm Yarn was created with fleece from two sheep breeds (BFL and the wonderfully named North County Mule). The wool comes from a very local farm and the whole journey from shearing through scouring, carding and spinning and dyeing took less than 80 miles.

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One Farm Yarn is a proper woolly wool. I’ve used it for shawls and sweaters, and I’m currently resisting  the temptation to keep the teal skein shown at the very top.Well all of the teal skeins because they’d make a gorgeous sweater.

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One Farm Yarn was spun for us in Yorkshire by Laxtons.

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The wool isn’t superwash treated, so it’s kinder to the environment. I’m especially thrilled that we were able to use the North County Mule fiber which is beautiful but which doesn’t have a great commercial value to the wool board. So that meant the farm made a bit more money and we got gorgeous fleece.

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The last photo is the neutrals in the range which blend perfectly with other more colourful yarns. Or you could have a sophisticated fade…….

The yarns shown above will be in the shop from 1900 on Friday 10th November, so if you’re browsing before then you won’t see them.

 

Then a date for your diaries, especially if you are in Scotland. On Saturday 17th November Ferret Fest is taking place at Fluph in Dundee (which is the home of Rusty Ferret yarns) We’ll be joining Louise aka KnitBritish, AlisonRuth Designs and the legend that is LJ for a day of chatting, knitting and yarn fondling. More details here.

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2019 Clubs are Available Now

The 2019 clubs are now in the shop. There will be six installments of each club, posted to arrive for the start of January, March, May, July, September and November.

There are three choices.

Sock Club

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Sock club gives you a skein of sock yarn and a pattern by Clare Devine.

The club colours are based round gelato (yum), and there’s an extra bright option for those of you who love their yarn loud.

Choose between 4ply BFL and nylon, 4ply Britsock and 4ply BFL and mohair.

Shawl Club

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Shawl club gives you 120g of yarn and a pattern by Clare Devine.

The club colours are solids, and you’ll receive 100 g of the main colour and 20g of contrast.

Shawl club is available on our 4ply BFL Masham base.

Mini Skein Club

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Mini skein gives you 5 x 20 g skeins in toning colours. There’s no pattern option with this, however we’ll add suggestions for you just in case your pattern queue doesn’t have anything suitable.

Choose between 4ply Britsock, 4ply BFL Masham and DK Masham

January clubs will remain on sale until 30th November or until the clubs sell out.

Take me to the clubs.

 

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2019 Shawl Club

I’m already looking forward to the 2019 shawl club. Clare Devine will be designing all six shawls for us and the focus will be on shape. For me that’s a change to knit something other than triangles!

The colours for the 2019 club will be simpler than for this year – so each shawl club will give you 100 grams of a semi solid colour and 20 grams of a contrasting semi solid colour. That’s 120 grams and 480 meters in total, and I think that offers lots of options.

For 2019 we’re using a pure wool base – our 4ply Blue Faced Leicester and Masham.

I love this yarn. In it’s natural state it’s a soft warm silver colour, and it dyes up beautifully. Neither wool has been super wash treated, so it’s one to hand wash (and it’s not for socks!)  – but it’s the most perfect shawl yarn as it has lots of loft which gives you warmth. Feeling how cold it’s been these last few mornings makes me think that I’m going to appreciate warm things a lot over the coming months.

I love pure wool yarns, and this blend is gorgeously soft – at the moment I’m knitting a jumper in the DK weight of this and it’s going to be a pleasure to have it next to my skin.

We’ll be using this blend in the mini skein club too, so if lots of colour is your thing then make sure you take a look at those.

The 2019 clubs go on sale at 1000 on 1st November and will close on 30th November or when they sell out – whichever comes first.

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The Perfect Sock Yarn

The perfect sock yarn is an elusive thing.

Socks demand a lot from a yarn – a days wear sees a lot of friction, warmth and moisture. So sock yarn needs to be tough or you’ll be seeing holes very quickly.

So I wanted to talk a little about the sock yarns which will make up our sock club in 2019.

First up is our 75% Blue Faced Leicester 25% nylon blend. The wool in this blend has been super wash treated so it won’t felt. That’s useful for socks which get subjected to a lot of warmth, moisture and friction – pretty much what you need to make felt. BFL is a great sock yarn as it has a good staple length, so a high twist spin locks the fibers in to give you a hard wearing yarn. Super wash treating the yarn takes off the little hooks, so it can make the yarn more suitable for sensitive skin. Yarn that’s been super wash treated can be machine washed without shrinking (use a 30 degree wash and check a swatch first though). The downside is that it’s another process and it uses some powerful chemicals.

The second yarn we recommend for socks is Britsock. Britsock is 40% Blue Faced Leiecester, 20% Wensleydale, 20% alpaca and 20% nylon. This yarn is custom spun for us by John Arbon, so we were able to choose the fiber blend and twist we wanted. The wools in the blend aren’t super wash treated, so over time the fibers will felt together giving your socks a beautifully warm and hard wearing sole. As we weren’t using supwer wash fibers we added alpaca and nylon to the blend – both contribute to the strength of the finished yarn and the nylon adds an element that won’t felt easily.

For the first time we’ll also have  non nylon sock yarn in our club lineup in 2019. I doubt that anyone is unaware of the damage that plastics are doing to our environment, and offering an alternative means you can choose the yarn which suits you best. Nylon is typically added to wool for strength, and we’ve replaced this with mohair. When we had our first batch of no nylon sock yarn spun we used super wash BFL as the wool. We opted for super wash treated wool as mohair can felt and we wanted to be absolutely sure that we hadn’t created a yarn which would felt too easily. During 2019 we’ll be moving from BFL mohair to Corriedale mohair. The Corriedale is not super wash treated so it’s an even greener option. The other reason for the change is that the BFL mohair was custom spun for us and led times with the mill mean we’re likely to run out of it before another batch is ready.

My first pair of BFL mohair socks were knitted in February this year and they’re standing up to being worn inside boots at the workshop where I can be on my feet for 8 hours a day.

Why does twist matter?

One thing that all of our sock yarns have in common is that they are spun with a high twist. Sock yarn is made up of singles (a single is an unplied yarn) which are plied together to create the finished yarn. Yarns with a higher twist are stronger because the individual fibers are more firmly fixed in place.

What else helps?

Tension. Socks need to be knitted tightly. I remember talking to a customer at a show a few years back who was complaining that she wore though every pair of socks she knitted in a matter of days. She was knitting 4ply (fingering) weight yarn on 4mm needles, and while the fabric would have been perfect for a drapey shawl it wasn’t strong enough for socks. So if you ever want to knit socks from something that isn’t ideal as a sock yarn then smaller knitting needles are your friend.

So that’s the low down on the sock yarns we’ll be offering you for 2019. Tomorrow I’ll be talking about the shawl club and the gorgeous BFL Masham base which we’re using for that.

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2019 Clubs

The last sacks of 2018 clubs are ready to be posted on Wednesday – and that means that on Thursday we’ll open sign ups for the 2019 clubs.

Some things are going to stay the same – the sock club will feature another six amazing designs by Clare Devine.  For 2019 Clare has chosen to focus on easy to memorise patterns which will be perfect for the travelling knitter (and for knitters like me who seem to watch a lot of tv with subtitles). When Clare and I started chatting about colour themes we both felt that we wanted to go with something a little softer than usual, and we’ll be taking inspiration for Gelato. Please don’t worry if you’re a fan of our brighter colours as we’ll be offering a bright oprion too (and the two yarns will work beautifully together)

The sock club will be available in both BFL nylon and Britsock bases – and for the first time we’re going to add a non nylon base too.

For the 2019 shawl club we’re going to be exploring shapes – and I’m thrilled that Clare Devine has agreed to design all six club shawls. The shawl club will be dyed on our delicious BFL Masham base – I don’t feel that shawls need to be superwash or contain nylon, so it’s the perfect chance to go for pure wool. Each club will give you 100 grams of the main colour and 20 grams of a contrast.

The last club that we’re going to offer for 2019 is mini skeins. Big mini skeins of 20 grams each, supplied in a set of five beautiful tones. As these will work for shawls and socks (and hats, mitts, and as additions to bigger projects) we’re going to offer the mini skein club in two bases – 4ply BFL Masham and 4ply Britsock. We get asked for DK mini skeins a lot so we’re also going to offer the mini skein club on our DK BFL and Masham base.

So lots of options. All of our bases are spun from wool with is grown, processed and spun in the UK, so it’s a truly British selection.

As always you’ll be able to sign up for a full year (six parcels), choose to be invoiced on a parcel by parcel basis or buy a single month.

So what’s changing in 2019?

Until now we’ve always kept the club colours a secret until they arrive with you. That’s great if what you want is a surprise, but it’s not how I choose to shop. I’d sooner get to pick something I really love, or to decide not to have something if it’s not to my taste. So in 2019 we’re going to offer the option of seeing the club colourway before you sign up. We’ll do this be creating a hidden page on the website, so if you’d prefer a surprise then that’s still completely possible. We’ll only be revealing the colours for the coming month, so if you sign up for the full year you’re guaranteed surprises (and we think you’ll love them)

The other big change for 2019 is that the club colours and patterns will be available to everyone a month after they are posted for the clubs. It means that all of the 2019 patterns will be released in 2019, and it makes my life a little simpler.

I’ll be posting more about the sock club tomorrow. I’ll talk about the bases which will be available and why I love them for socks.

 

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