Morris and Sons Estate, 100% Australian Wool

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‘I just want a stock standard, good quality, well priced, Australian wool, ball of yarn’. We hear this in our stores all the time. We may have mentioned this before, we aim to please and deliver. Enter, Morris and Sons 8 ply 100% Australian wool in 50 colours, Morris and Sons 4 ply 100% Australian wool in 54 colours (a dream come true for Fair Isle knitters, we think) and Morris and Sons 14 ply 100% Australian wool in 55 colours. The 14 ply yarn is the ideal yarn to get somebody started on the road to knitting bliss. There is no need to tell them about the pitfalls in this road just yet. Get them good and hooked. They’ll find out soon enough!

We were lucky enough to arm wrestle a very accommodating (thanks Mum) crocheter into crocheting us our Rainbow blanket using all the Morris Estate 8 ply colours. Winter is around the corner why don’t you give this a go. Watch it morph from a tummy warmer to a knee rug to a blanket big enough to cover a person or two on the couch.

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And, as there will definitely be yarn left over you might want to keep your eye on this little work in progress. The pattern should be available soon. That’s if you want it?! Let us know via Facebook or leave us a message below whether we should write up the pattern.

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A Little Promotion using Morris and Sons Estate 8 ply

To get you started we have teamed up with Jen from Little Yellow Cat to offer our readers a little promotion. She has designed a Fair Isle hat, the Katie Beanie, in Morris and Sons Estate 8 ply. The pattern for her Katie Beanie normally costs $6.00. Up until midnight on the 30 April it will be available to you for $3.00. Using the download discount code: morris2014

To take advantage of this offer go to Little Yellow Cat and click on “add to cart”. Don’t forget to enter the discount code morris2014 to get your pattern at the discounted price.

Brown beanie uses #8036 Egg Yolk, #8007 Chocolate and #8047 Fishing Green.
White beanie uses #8018 Posey, #8002 Voile and #8045 Canopy

Until the next time, here’s wishing you all a lovely week and as usual make time for needlecraft every day.

 

How About Dyeing Something accompanied by a tumbler of Sangria?

How hard is it sometimes to find just the right colour? Why are we a little apprehensive about going down the dye-it- yourself route? It probably has something to do with the fact that the process of dyeing used to be a rather long drawn out process with different dye baths and mordants and fixatives. Really, what is a mordant anyway, when all you want to do is make something that was the wrong colour, the right colour? It becomes even more daunting when you get a little advise from an ‘expert’. Dyeing seems to be steeped in some kind of ancient magic and generally sends most people running to the hills. The possibility of a disaster always imminent! What if it does not turn out the right colour? General consensus relating to the last question is: LIVE DANGEROUSLY, GO OUT AND DYE SOMETHING!

That’s exactly what Emily in Sydney went out and did. Below is her experiment.

Jacquard dye pots 2

These dyes are available in our Sydney Store only. More information on the dyes can be found here.

“I used Jacquard Acid Dyes in turquoise, sky blue, chartreuse, and teal. I mixed the dyes in small pots and then painted them on to the Sockenklecks . I then put sock wool in the microwave for 4mins each side.
I haven’t knitted it yet – I want to find a nice simple stitch or cable to make the socks. Maybe short socks and a pair of fingerless mittens!”

What a gorgeous colourway. We are really looking forward to seeing what Emily knits up out of this.

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Tumble Dyeing. This could be a lot of fun for everyone. We recommend this for a school holiday project. It’s probably the easiest dyeing process to date. Heaps of online tutorials and the instructions are real easy to follow. Emily and Co had a lot of fun with this one as well.

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Emily Sydney

Emily with the yellow hat from our Sydney Store.
Favourite Craft – Knitting.
Current Project – Millennium jumper in green and Kate Davies tortoise and hate gauntlets.
Favourite Beverage while crafting – Sangria. Recipe here.
A bit about myself.
I grew up in Perth (no wool required) and moved to Sydney after living in Melbourne (Brunswick) for a few months in 2007. I have studied painting and drawing at CoFA and law and politics at UNSW. I intend on studying Science Communications at USyd. I like Vikings (especially Mexican ones :P), animals (foxes are the best) and the environment (esp. Re. Natural science). I learnt to knit when I was 4 and picked it up again when I was 15 – about 12 years ago. I teach socks, fair isle and beginners knitting. I also make dresses and clothes from vintage patterns and a keen dressmaker (and toy maker).

 

New Noro and a PomPom or Two

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This week, come on an adventure with us as we make the most perfect, velvety pom poms ever. Attach your new pompoms to our week end winter knit cowl in the new Noro Yarn, Kibou.

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We are loving the new Noro Kibou yarn. A wool, cotton, silk mix. Sort of like Taiyo without the polyamide, and, of course, thinner. It knits up as an 8 ply. For those of you who are sensitive to wearing wool too close to the skin, this is certainly an alternative yarn. It has the most gorgeous tweed look about it when it is knit up. As a result you get the snugly, warm, wintery look without the scratch-itch factor. The world is indeed a lovely place when this happens!
The meterage goes on forever. Our cowl took only one ball. You could probably whip it up over the Easter week end (good alternative to overindulging in chocolate Easter eggs). This cowl is just the right size to pop into your handbag, to wear under a coat and, well, it has pompoms for some winter cheer! We know you’ll love it and want to make it, and we do aim to please, so, without much more ado, here is the pattern:

Materials: 1 x 100g Noro Kibou in Col 3 and a 60cm circular needle size 4.00mm.
We used Col 3 because we thought it looked particularly tweedy. There are other colours available.
Top row from left to right: col 01, col 03, col 05.
Bottom row from left to right: col 08, col 09, col 11.

Kibou Collage 1

Kibou Collage 2

Cast on 162 sts and stocking stitch 20cm in the round. Change to a 3×3 rib and continue (about 10cm) until you have enough yarn to cast off and then cast off loosely.
Use the left over two ply yarn for the neck tie. Double it up a few times and make a cord. Thread the cord through the base of the 3x3rib and attach the pompoms, one at each end.

On to the pompoms…
There are pompoms and then there are these pompoms. First of all, throw away those cardboard circles and forks. They may make pompoms of some sort but they don’t make these pompoms. We are talking about soft velveteen pompoms that make you want to stroke them. According to those in the know this pompom maker from the Clover brand is the best thing since sliced bread. It is what we used to make the pompoms for our cowl. There are instructions on how to use the tool on the back of the packaging. Follow our tutorial to get the best results. You may not want to stop and will certainly find yourself in pompom heaven. We hope you enjoy the tutorial and find time to send us images of your pompoms and how you have used them.

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What you will need:
Large Clover Pompom Maker as above. (We used the smaller one of the two).
1 x 50g/700m Morris and Sons Empire 2 ply.
1 skein of DMC stranded cotton in a colour to match your pompom yarn.
Sharp pair of scissors.
A saucer of water.

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Flip open the two ‘hooks’ and using the 2 ply yarn start to wrap the first half of the pompom.

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Keep wrapping until the ‘hooks’ are full. Make sure they are really fat and full and you have wrapped the yarn around evenly. Fold the hook back when you are done.

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This entails quite a lot of wrapping. You may want to rest your arm and have a cup of tea before embarking on the second half.

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Repeat for the other side. Your wrapped work should look like this. We had 15grams of yarn left after this.

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Using a sharp pair of scissors cut the wound yarn along the outside. Hold the tool in your hand and make sure the hooks don’t flip open. When the yarn has been cut right round put the tool down.
Take the DMC stranded cotton, cut about a meter length off. Fold it in half and wet it in the saucer of water. Dab the excess water off. Slip the cotton between the discs and tie the pompom tightly. The wet cotton sticks when you tie down the knot and ensures that the tie off remains tight. Do not cut the threads of cotton. You’ll use these to tie the pompom onto the neck thread. Remove the hardware.

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You will have a pompom that looks like a cross between and bedraggled mouse and a wrecked ball of yarn. That’s all ok and perfectly normal. Underneath all that hides the makings of the real thing.

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All it needs is a haircut. Not a trim, a haircut. Again take your scissors and begin to cut the pompom into shape. It’s perfectly ok to take off about 1cm.

Ba-da-bing, Ba-da-bang! The secret is out, 2 ply yarn and a decent haircut, that’s all it takes really.

Good luck and have fun!

Crochet Wild Animals

“Unleash the creative beast in you with the 15 wild animal projects you’ll find in Crocheted Wild Animals, including a rabbit, a camel, a frog, a flamingo, an owl, a polar bear, and a chameleon. Projects vary in complexity, but you’ll want to make every one – and with the easy-to-understand instructions you can!” That is what it says online. We decided that this book was so cool it deserved an in depth review and definitely at least one sample. To the rescue came our very own Emily in Melbourne (we have an Emily in Sydney as well, thus the geographical distinction).

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Crochet Wild Animals by Vanessa Mooncie
Difficulty: Intermediate
Reviewed by: Emily (Melbourne)
Let me start off by saying, wow, this book is gorgeous! This crochet book is a step up from your typical crocheted toy or amigurumi book. Flipping through the pages for the first time was filled with squeals of delight from us girls at the counter, with the general consensus being: We must make everything!

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I’d say the book is ideal for those who have played around with the basics of amigurumi and are wanting a bit more of a challenge, a bigger project. The patterns are written out in typical amigurumi style, with the addition of crochet charts. As a lover of charts I was very excited about this, and found them handy as a quick visual reference for basic patterning. But you definitely need to pay attention to the written instructions, as some parts are quite technical and don’t always translate well into a chart (I have been watching Poirot lately and whilst working on the flamingo’s tail my “little grey cells” certainly got a work out!).

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As to the layout and feel of the book, the 15 animals are gorgeous and bursting with personality. From the elephant to the giraffe, the deer to the owl, and with some surprises like the chameleon who can flip inside-out to be a second colour! The instruction’s layout is clean and the pictures are fabulous, with lots of different angles which is great for assembling your new little friends. You can’t help but fall in love with all of the characters in this book, and for those who haven’t yet learnt to crochet, now might be a good time…

Hi, my name is Fernando and I can be found sitting around in the shrubbery, hanging out on the counter in the store or floundering around on the tiles trying to get control of my legs.

Image In the shrubs

Image On the counter.

Image Well, nobody’s perfect….

For Fernando we used Morris and Sons Maya 100% Alpaca and his glorious tail was made out of Debbie Bliss Pure Silk Colour Fruit Salad. This is no ordinary bird!

We thought it would be a good idea if the readers of our blog could get to know our staff a little better. We’ll shine a spotlight on Emily this week. Emily works in our Melbourne store. She is also our Crochet Stage 1 teacher and our Amigurumi Teacher. Have fun reading about what rocks Emily’s world and what makes her get out of bed in the morning. We asked her a few questions.

Image Morris and Sons Melbourne Emily

Favourite crafts: crochet, knitting, sewing, play doh.
Current project: Haha, too many… But I finished making a giant flamingo last week!
Favourite beverage whilst crafting: Chamomile tea.
A bit about you:
I Love Colour! I always have loved colour. From when I was six telling
mum “No mum it’s not purple, it’s Magenta”, to surrounding myself with
pretty flowers in the garden, to my two stacks of folded,
rainbow-ordered fabric which sit on my bookshelf. Some people say it
borders on obsessive. …I am one of those people!

 

Platypus on Collins Street

Cleckheaton have re-issued a delightful pattern book from their archives. Aussie animals. We had a visit from the Platypus who, understandably had a bit of a freak out in Collins Street.

He is knit up in our Morris and Sons Estate 8 ply. The book has 15 gorgeous Australian critters to knit up. Among our favourites are, of course, the platypus, the frilled neck lizard and the emu.

Cleckheaton Aussie Animals Pattern Book

Cleckheaton Aussie Animals Pattern Book

Cleckheaton Aussie Animals Pattern Book

Cleckheaton Aussie Animals Pattern Book

Neapolitan Tikal Infinity Scarf

Beautiful Italian yarn company Grignasco is no more. We will miss this yarn very much and while we still have some in stock we thought we would whip up an irresistible infinity scarf for you to knit.

The weather has already started changing and going by the amount of scarves that have been photographed in store this week we think it is time to start preparing for autumn and winter evenings.

For this week end, an ode to Grignasco Tikal. A 14ply yarn, 68% baby alpaca, 10% merino wool and 22% polyamide.

Have a lovely week end and we hope that our free pattern gets your knitting mojo going!

Neapolitan Tikal Infinity Scarf

Materials: Grignasco Tikal 3×702 (col A), 2×1152 (col B), 1×705 (col C)

Needles: 7.00mm

Measurements: the scarf should measure 150cm at completion.

Grignasco Tikal Infinity Scarf

Grignasco Tikal Infinity Scarf

Method

With col A and 7.00mm needles cast on 51sts.

Row 1: (RS) knit

Row 2: knit

Row 3: k1, *sl1 purlwise, k1: rep from * to the end of the row.

Row 4: k1, *yf, sl1 purlwise, yb, k1;, rep from * to the end of the row

Knit 2 rows.

Row 7: k2, *sl1 purlwise, k1; rep from * to last st, k1.

Row 8: k2, *yf, sl1 purlwise, yb, k1; rep from * to last st, k1.

Rep these 8 rows throughout

Work 50cm using col A only.

Keeping the pattern correct, Introduce col B and work as follows:

1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th pattern rows worked in col A; 3rd, 4th, 7th and 8th rows worked in

col B.

Work 50cm using col A and col B.

Keeping the pattern correct, Introduce col C and work as follows: (working with cols A, B and C)

Beginning with the 1st row 2 rows worked in col A, 2 rows in col B and 2 rows in

col C through out. Work 50 cm using col A, B and C.

Sew away ends. Sew the cast on edge to the cast off edge. If you like, you can leave it as a scarf.

Sewing!…At Morris and Sons!…Really?

It’s a busy blog post today. We have a caption winner. It’s also time to take it up a notch in the woolly world of Morris and Sons, as we wait for all of our fabric to arrive. Yes, we are going to stock fabric. It’s on the ocean somewhere, but it’s on its way. Let’s hope it encounters favorable winds and gets here soon. In the meantime all the sewing books have arrived. It’s so exciting and we just couldn’t wait to review just one of them. To whet your appetite even more we have a really quick sewing tutorial. As if that is not enough we had a response to our request for a ‘hug me tight’ and an explanation of what exactly it is. Thank you to everybody who let us have patterns and images. It’s all on Facebook.

First things first. Congratulations Robyn Lee. You are our caption winner. Of course we loved them all and most of them made us giggle. In the end we decided to go with the caption that got the most ‘likes’. It’s witty and funny as well. If you want to read them all, they’re on Facebook.

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Sewing Books: ZAKKA STYLE, compiled by Rashida Coleman-Hale. A design Collective.

24 Projects stitched with Ease to Give, Use and Enjoy. ‘Rashida has gathered talented designers from around the world to bring you 24 delightful Zakka projects’. What does Zakka mean? We have been hearing the word bandied about a bit lately. It’s a Japanese term meaning “many things.” According to the explanation on the dust cover of the book it is all about the little things that improve your home and appearance. We all need a little thing or two to make us happy and this little book surely does deliver. All the products in the book are simple, sweet and relatively quickly made. We chose to make the project featured on the front page.

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Sewing Kit on Page 23.

It is by Theresia Cookson. Toss it into your craft bag or take it on a trip with you. It’s small and handy.

The instructions are well presented. All measurements are in inches. A little irritating if you are used to the metric system, (our sample maker had to re-cut the odd little square here and there as a result).

A tip for the beginner sewer. Linen is actually not that easy to work with. It has quite an unstable weave. If you don’t like your piece to keep moving about and changing it’s shape, calico or any other homespun is a really good alternative.

We used some linen and fabric we have in the store and made our own sample.

TUTORIAL: Crochet hooks and double point needles lying all over the show. Let’s tame them and get them into some kind of order. Turn off the television and turn on your sewing machine. This will take you all of an hour. Make a few for friends.

Follow these easy how to steps. You will need:

2 main pieces of fabric 20cm x 50cm

Enough iron on webbing or fusing to back the above two pieces of fabric.

1 piece of pocket fabric 25cm x 50cm

2 pieces of ribbon or cord 30cm long each and a fabric marker.

1 button. Whichever button you choose to use, make sure it has a shank.

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Step 1: Fuse the two main pieces of fabric.

Step 2: Iron pocket piece in half lengthwise.

Step 3: Place the pocket at the bottom of one main fabric piece. Raw edges of pocket in line with raw edges of main fabric. Pin

Step 4: Place ribbon pieces on top of pocket fabric.

Step 5: Secure with a 6mm seam.

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Step 6: Mark stitching lines 2.5cm apart all along pocket. Stitch up and down all along.

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Step 7: Place second main fabric on top, RS facing. Pin.

Step 8: Stitch around leaving an opening for turning.

Step 9: Turn and press. Top stitch around, closing the turning opening.

Step 10: Sew on the button.

Step 11: Store all your crochet hooks and dpns. Roll up and twist cord around button.

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This week we’re talking a little VINTAGE……………..

Or is it retro? Pray tell, what is the difference? Is there a difference at all!

We’re here to clear it all up. Yes, apparently, there is a difference.

We’ll spice this week’s post up with a little GIVEAWAY as well. Keep reading and have some fun with us…

The true meaning of the word vintage relates to wine of high quality, actually. If you read the definition you will come to same conclusion as we did. It relates to knitting as well. Vintage denotes something from the past, of high quality, especially something representing the best of its kind. It’s old and it’s good and suggests authenticity.

In the world of fashion everything reappears after 20 years. This is where RETRO comes in. Retro suggests ‘in the style of’ or to put it more bluntly ‘a copy of’. If you are still confused about whether something is retro or whether or not you should wear it now. Here is a tip: if you wore it 20 years ago, don’t wear it now! It’s a delicate balance. Show it to your grand children if they ‘OMG-it’! Hand it over.

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Vintage Retro

Wire baskets overflowing with old knitting, crocheting and sewing patterns were to be found in Op shops everywhere. There was a time when they were referred to as old. How things have changed. Why? As this is a knitting blog, we will leave the social history debates to the experts. We’ll look at it from our perspective…

Is it because the front covers look this?

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Or the opening pages look like this?

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Or is it the possibility of finding ‘Sylvia’s Hug-me-tight’ hand written hiding between the pages of an old knitting book?

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It’s probably all of the above. Most of all it confirms that there were women who went before us. They also bought books and patterns and wanted to knit every garment in the book. Did they? I’m sure they had the same dilemmas as we have today. What would they think of our yarn choices to day? They probably would have thought that they had died and gone to heaven and so they have because heaven knows they knitted for different reasons to us, with way less choice and much more frugality than we ever will. Even so, we are connected and we believe this is one of the reasons why we love these books and patterns so much.

Vintage or Retro – no matter. Lets just keep knitting it all.

Image There’s a retro version of this here.

Vintage

We have had quite a few requests for a pattern for a ‘Hug me Tight’. We have yet to figure out what it looks like. Is there anybody out there willing to give this a go? Does anyone have an image of said garment?

GIVEAWAY TIME

We are looking for a caption to this glorious image. Run along to our Facebook page where you will find it. Put your caption in the comments box. We will pick a winner next week. The winner will receive one of Viv’s very beautifully made in Australia project bags. Just before we all get over excited. We are aware how easily this image could conjure up captions below the belt. Innuendos are fine but lets keep it relatively clean.

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Before we end off wishing you a fabulous knitting and whatever it is you do week, here’s what Viv’s project bag looks like

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For the winner of the best caption.

Last Minute Knits

It’s happened to all of us. A friend’s birthday is upon us. It’s the end of the year and Johnny’s teacher needs a Christmas present. Your five year old wakes you up at 6 a.m and tells you that he has to bring a gift for the Principal as she is leaving. Other human beings (you’re not other human beings, you’re a knitter) would hop into their car, find the nearest gift store and within 10 minutes, beautifully wrapped, have the problem solved. You, on the other hand, have a whole different approach to this kind of dilemma. Us, who can make anything by hand, labor under the misconception that we can whip something up in no time at all. We really do believe it. While everybody around us thinks we’ve gone mad, we soldier on firmly believing that there is such a thing as a quick knit.

Today, we’re here to help. First of all, to clear up a couple of problems related to semantics.

A quick look in the dictionary. The word ‘quick’ does not relate to knitting at all. Never ever. Remember this. Have it tattooed on your arm. Quick: moving fast or doing something in a short time. No, not knitting. On the other hand: ‘last minute’. Now, there’s a statement that could work for knitting: the period just before a significant or concluding moment such as a deadline due date (that baby better not come before I finish this blanket) or scheduled event. Now, that sounds more like something that is doable!

Last minute gifts. One for when you have an evening and the other for when you have 15mins. Yes, 15mins.

Image100% Gentle Exfoliation Face and Body Washer

Make sure you have the following: 4.00mm knitting needles and 2 x 50g Morris and Sons Maya 8 ply 100% Cotton. Tension is really not important and your wash cloth will measure about 23cm square. Cast on 46sts.

Rows 1-4: knit.

Rows: 5-8: k3, *k4, p4, rep from * to last 3sts, k3. Rows 9-12: K3, *p4, k4 rep from * to last 3sts, k3. Rep rows 5 to 12 six more times.

Rows 57-60: knit. Cast off leaving last stitch on the needle.

For the loop, using last stitch, cast on 20sts. Cast off. Sew loop to base and sew away all ends.

Done and dusted. If there’s time, pick up a good soap.

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Now to the 15 minute one. All the way from The Granny Square in Katoomba from the lovely Jenny.

Hakuna Matata

(the No Worries Necklace)

Image1 x Rosarios 4 Web and 1 x 12mm Tulip Bamboo Crochet Hook.

Make a row of chains until you run out of wool. Fold rope of chains into a three ring circle. Use yarn end and wrap around all three. If you have time, sew on any embellishment in form of a button or bloom. Seriously, you can do this while the family is having breakfast!

ImageI hope we have helped solve some of those last minute moments. If you have any last minute anecdotes, share in the comments box. Send us pictures if you do make use of our last minute problem solvers. We love to see your work and we love hearing from you.

For The Love Of 2 Ply

We already have the slow food movement. Let us introduce you to the slow knit and crochet movement. A very odd comparison. We think not. A quick google search on the definition of 2 ply, confirmed that it is a very thin yarn that lends itself to fine cobweb knitting or crochet. Historically, we have visions of Shetland shawls passing through wedding rings. Babies wrapped in shawls, crafted patiently by great aunts from mother countries far and wide. Words like, tradition, unhurried and simple pleasures come to mind when creating with 2 ply yarn, minus the calories.

Come into any of our stores and enjoy the journey with our free crochet Silver Fox Scarf pattern in Morris and Sons Maya 2 ply lace weight 100% baby Alpaca Yarn

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Click to download the Silver Fox Scarf

The new Rowan No 55 has arrived in store as well. Fortuitously it has some darling 2 ply patterns in it. We have a favourite on page 75. Come and see…….

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The beautiful Slovenia on page 75 is free to download when you register on the knitrowan website. We have pulled out the colours from our 2 ply alpaca range.

So, before you embark on that heirloom baby shawl put your toe in the water by trying smaller projects and fall in love with the joy that is working in 2 ply.