n / W
Knitting, spinning, food and good stuff
2 Fibre tasting- The battle of alpaca
3 Good stuff... Whats on the go?
4 Pattern- Falling leaves
6 Craftsy classes
8 Pattern- Bonfire night
11 Book review The Fleece and Fibre Sourcebook
12 Technique time Fit those feet
13 Get out there Go walking
14 Pattern Wild and Windy
17 Decoration Inspiration
18 Pattern Stripy stocking
21 Yarndale 2013
23 Last minute gift knitting
24 Pattern picks
25 Baby its cowl-d outside
26 Cosy nosey
28 Whats cooking- Chocolate truffles
29 Try something new Thrummed mittens
30 Gifts for crafters
31 Pattern abbreviations
This time of year is really all about the warm and cosy knitwear. Cold frosty days mean you can dig out warm accessories and snug sweaters to stay warm. It is also the season for gift knitting, we have a few tips to help if you have left it to the last minute!
If you have any questions about anything in this issue or would like to make suggestions or contributions to future issues, please contact us via [email protected]
Pure alpaca typically comes in two varieties, Suri and Hucaya. Take a look at the differences and similarities.
Fibre tasting... The battle of alpaca
Much of the alpaca you find in top and yarn form will be of the hucaya variety, as these animals make up 90-93% of the animals in existence
Compared to Suri, Hucaya has a shorter staple length, at 5-15cm
high amount of crimp can be seen in the individual fibres, making them easier to spin.
Suri is the rarer variety of alpaca. The animals are distinctive in appearance, with long locks which can be up to 28cm
1. Suri fibres have
no crimp, with a smooth texture.
The very long fibres can be difficult to spin, and the lack of crimp means a fairly high twist is required. Avoid ing overspinning whi le achieving enough twist to hold the yarn together is key here.
Typical properties of alpaca include good drape, high warmth and very soft handle. Alpaca has less bounce and fibre memory than most wool, this gives the good drape but makes it less suitable for projects where stretchiness is required. Consider alpaca for shawls and warm hats. Both varieties of alpaca have a tendency to felt, making projects such as super cosy felted mittens and slippers a good choice.
Of course, there are alpaca blends to consider too, where you can get the warmth and softness of alpaca, mixed with the shine of silk, or the bounce of wool. Both varieties of alpaca bring their own qualities to these blends, adding extra luxury to your spinning.
1 Robson, D. & Ekarius, C, 2011. The Fleece and Fibre Source book. Storey Publishing: USA
Knitting: Aestlight by Gudrun Johnson knit in Malabrigo sock. A fairly unusual shawl construction with a centre garter triangle, stitches picked up to work the lace border, then a lace edging worked sideways. The first two sections make great TV knitting, the final lace edging requires more concentration. The yarn is beautifully soft and works well with the garter stitch to make a lovely squashy shawl.
...whats on the go
Reading: The Hunger Games trilogy; a bit behind with these as they have been out for a long time. Action and an interesting view of a possible future world. An excellent read, give them a go or re-read. The second movie was released in November, see how it differs from the book.
Spinning: A Shetland and silk blend in the Ink colourway from A little Bit Sheepish. The silk gives a lovely sheen to the finished yarn while the wool adds softness and bounce. Drop spindled to give a fine single for plying to a 4 ply weight.
Wheel spinning undyed Jacob top in three natural colours white, dark brown and light brown to make a double knit striped three ply yarn.
Watching: Yonderland on Sky 1, Sunday at 6:30pm. Best described as a cross between Discworld and the Muppets. Family friendly viewing with an adventure style storyline.
Prefer historical drama? (or love both?) The latest series of Downton Abbey has recently finished on ITV in the UK. Meaning it will be soon on its way to America and available for catch up viewing. You can also catch up on the first three series (plus specials) on Netflix in the UK.
Cooking: All the warm and cosy things! This time of year is perfect for casseroles, apple crumbles and all kinds of tasty stodgy goodness.
Cosy boot toppers to keep you
warm on chilly autumn walks. The
leaf motif is worked lengthways,
once the ends are joined stitches
are picked up then ribbing worked in
Yarn: 50g worsted weight yarn, shown in Knitpicks Wool of the Andes Worsted in Currant..
Needles: 4.0mm double pointed needles or circular for working in the round.
Notions: Tapestry needle, stitch markers.
Gauge: Exact gauge is not
important for this project.
Abbreviations used in this pattern can be found on page 31.
A pdf version of this pattern can be found here.
Cast on 8 sts.
Work falling leaves chart (see page
5) a total of 5(6, 7) times.
Sew cast on edge to the cast off
Pick up 48(56, 64) stitches around
top edge of leaf edging.
Rnd 1: *k2, p2; repeat from *
Repeat round 1 until ribbed section
measures 10cm or is your desired
Bind off using Jenys surprisingly
stretchy bind off.
Block boot toppers.
Weave in ends.
e h h h h 18
a h h h h h h h 17
l h h h h h h h h h 16
d s h h h h h h 15
l h h h h h h h h 14
d s h h h h h 13
l h h h h h h h 12
d s h h h h h 11
l h h h h h h h 10
d s h h h h 9
l h h h h h h 8
j j h h h 7
l h h h h h 6
j j h h 5
l h h h h 4
j j h 3
l h h h 2
j j 1
Knit on RS, purl on WS d Knit two together
h Purl on RS, knit on WS a Slip one, knit two together, psso
j Yarn over e Purl two together
l Knit into front and back of stitch Bind off
s Slip, slip, knit No stitch
Make it your way:
Using a finer yarn and appropriate needles will make a smaller sized boot topper.
Work the ribbing in a different colour to make two coloured toppers, a great way to use up leftovers.
To make the most of leftovers, divide
the yarn into two balls, work the
ribbing until you have just enough
leftfor the cast off.
Falling leaves chart:
Craftsy classes Fancy learning new skill? We take a look at the classes offered by Craftsy.
Learning new skills is one of the
great things about crafting. There
are many ways to do it ask a
friend, books, online help, take a
class. However, it is not always easy
to find the information you need, and
many craft related skills are easier
to understand when they are
demonstrated rather than written
Craftsy is an online website started
in 2012 offering a huge range of
craft classes in video format. The
advantages of being taught by a real
person, with the convenience of
being able to watch the videos when
it suits you, even in the middle of the
night. Classes also have help
forums where you can ask questions
and receive support from the
teacher and other participants.
There is something for most
interests and the range of topics
seems to keep increasing; currently
covering cake decorating, knitting,
sewing, crochet, spinning, painting,
drawing and photography.
In terms of price the classes vary.
There are some free short classes
you can try, which is brilliant to see if
you like the format. Compared to
paying for a class in a local venue
the prices are very reasonable, and
the best bit is once you have
purchased the class you can access
it forever, as many times as you like.
To explore the format I signed up
for the Adventures in double
knitting class by Alasdair Post-
I had only one previous brief
attempt at any kind of double
knitting, it was less than successful
so this seemed like an excellent
choice of class.
The pause button is possibly the
best part of these classes. In a real
life class you cant keep interrupting
the class to ask questions or to have
another look. In digital format you
can hit pause to catch up and use
the thirty second replay if you need
another look at a t