Thursday, 1 December 2016

Christmas and New Year

I can’t believe it is this time again!! May I wish you all the very best of seasons greetings and a very happy 2017.
Just to confirm the posting arrangements then..........
Orders will be posted up to and including 21st December. This is also the last recommended Royal Mail posting date for delivery before Christmas if you are in the UK.
If you are ordering from overseas please check the Royal Mail website for you countries last recommended dates for International Standard postage. http://www.royalmail.com/greetings
Orders placed after the post office run on the 21st December will be posted from Wednesday 28th December (apart from New Years Day etc).
As always during the festive and New Year period please allow extra time for delivery and also for your order to be dispatched. I am away for Christmas and New Year but a very good friend of mine will be looking after BritYarn while I am away.
Have a wonderful December.
Isla

Monday, 10 October 2016

Shetland Wool Week 2016

I have been home for just over a week and think I am now ready to try and sum up in words my amazing week on Shetland.  

The preparations had been ongoing for nearly a year so it seemed hard to believe that the time had come to catch the train up to Aberdeen a few Fridays ago.  By the time I boarded the ferry giddy dancing had set in much to the amusement of my two fellow Shetland Wool Week friends (hello ladies)! 

The overnight ferry turned into a serious knitting party.  This is what happens when you get a 'purl' of knitters who happen to also share a love of gin in a bar.  It was a brilliant start to the week - finally meeting those that I only knew through Instagram and making new friends along the way (including the makings of a new knitter).  Needless to say the chatter and laughter went on into the small hours.  

A visit to a blustery Sumburgh Head on the Saturday morning followed by coffee and cake in the stunning cafe blew the cobwebs away from the previous night.  

Sumburgh Head Lighthouse.
Sunday I decided to head south from our base in Lerwick to St Ninian's Isle.  The isle is reached by a sand tombolo which in itself is pretty amazing.  
St Ninian's Isle and the tombolo.
Never before have I had to decide which sea side of the beach to walk on.  I must admit to having no real plans but instead just decided to wonder around and see what I came across.  Luckily I eventually found the remains of the ancient chapel towards the end of my walk.

I spent the next few days mainly in Lerwick where I purchased an amazing cape from Jamiesons of Shetland and added my knitted square to the 'From Shetland with Love' blanket.  I also had a very soggy walk with a friend I had recently met (who also loved walking in the wind and rain) around the Knab of Lerwick.  The idea had been to walk to Clickimin Broch but we decided to cut the walk short after finding a gem of a cafe / bar which served a mean mojito.  I really wish I had been wearing my waterproof trousers that walk.... I was soaked to the skin! 

During the week I saw some truly stunning knitwear.  One memorable trip was to Ollaberry Community Hall in Northmavine.  The local community had put on an exhibition of haps along with homebakes and tea to raise funds for their local community.  The ladies were just so lovely, passionate and generous and I will never, ever forget them or their haps on display.  

Haps at Ollaberry.

Bressay Lighthouse.
Another trip during the week was to take the short ferry from Lerwick to Bressay.  I loved walking down to the lighthouse, taking in the scenery and weather (changeable) and exploring some of the derelict croft houses.  At the lighthouse (along with a very welcoming cup of tea) was a lovely collection of garments including spencers and long johns.  They also had an antique loom which I was very kindly allowed to have a go on.  

The loom in the engine room.

My friend and I spent quite a bit of time just chatting and drinking tea with some of the ladies who were helping out.  It was only later I realised that I had been sitting next to someone I follow on Instagram! Luckily we saw each other again at the Makers Market and caught up again.  My day on Bressay was definitely another highlight of the week.

I also just want to say a big hello to the fab ladies whom I drank gin with on the ferry and who then invited us all over for a curry on the Thursday evening.  Despite burning the candle at both ends all week I had a super night!  Same time next year??

Friday was here before I knew it and with it a great trip to Uradale Farm.  Here I made my first yarny purchase of the week!  Ronnie and Sue made the group feel really welcome as they chatted about their organic farm and fed us amazing soup and cake.  

Ronnie and his Shetland Rams.


As you can tell I had the best of weeks!  I was feeling pretty gutted as the ferry departed Lerwick.   Our love of wool and knitting brings people together from all walks of life and forms friendships which will last forever.  x  

See you next year!

Friday, 16 September 2016

Blacker Cornish Tin 11th Birthday Blend

Many of you will remember this time last year we were all getting very excited about Blacker Yarns 10th Birthday and their very special limited edition 10th Birthday Blend.  It sold out so quickly, it wasn't long before both the shelves at BritYarn and Blacker were looking quite bare. 

Cornish Tin II in all its glory.
The wonderful people at Blacker have decided, as so many of you missed out last year, to create another unique limited edition blend to celebrate their 11th birthday - Cornish Tin II. 

BritYarn is delighted to be stocking this amazing yarn in both 4 ply and DK.  The yarn comes in 100g skeins (350m for 4 ply and 220m for DK).  This time there are seven rich dyed shades and one undyed natural grey all named after Cornish Tin Mines.  

The 11th Birthday Blend has been created by blending together Alpaca, Portland, Saxon Merino, Gotland, Jacob, Shetland, Black Welsh Mountain, Mohair, and English Merino.  All the sheep live in the UK and come from Blacker Yarns favourite small producers. 

I was very lucky to be sent a little sample to have a play with before the big boxes started arriving at BritYarn.   

To the squish the yarn feels very bouncy and has a silkiness to it but not a squishy soft silkiness (if that makes sense!).   As different fibres (and their natural shades) react differently to dye the seven dyed shades have lovely subtle variations and you can still see some of the amazing darker fibres.  The undyed Levant Grey is a stunning silver shade with lovely hints of lighter and darker fibres.

My little skein of Poldice Pink.
I wanted my swatch to test out as many things as I could. I picked out the Cascading Leaves pattern from 750 Knitting Stitches.  I decided to alter the background stitch for the bottom and top sections to stocking stitch rather than reverse stocking stitch.  Sadly I ran out of yarn so that last few rows and cast off was actually done in my leftover sample mini skein of Cornish Tin 10th Birthday Blend.

The yarn was a real pleasure to work with.  It flowed through my fingers really smoothly (the 10th Blend had more of a rustic and sticky feel to it).  While knitting the yarn felt substantial and strong and I am sure it would love being ripped out! 

The stitches in my unblocked swatch look wonderfully defined and sit nicely together making the yarn brilliant for colourwork projects. My unblocked swatch was noticeable softer then my precious blocked 10th Birthday Blend swatch. There was a slight halo to the swatch and it had a lovely drape.  I should add my yarn was DK and I used 4mm needles.
Unblocked
As we all know giving our projects a nice bath and a block does magical things.......
My blocked swatch

Now I loved the 10th Birthday Tin but I have to be very honest and say I love this even more!  The yarn has bloomed and my swatch just feels devine.  It has a substance to it that is really pleasing but a lovely softness to it (I don't mean buttery BFL soft but I can't think of the right word).  
Cornish Tin II would be amazing for pretty much everything.  It would be great for open work, colourwork and cables.  It would equally be just wonderful in relaxing garter or stocking stitch projects.  Accessories would be amazing such as hats, shawls, gloves.  It would also make a very special garment.  I am thinking jumpers and cardigans by Tin Can Knits especially.  The only thing I personally would not use it for is socks..... why you ask?  Because this yarn just needs to be shown off to the world and not hidden in shoes and boots! 

Cornish Tin II 11th Birthday Blend goes on sale Tuesday 20th September 2016.  Remember this yarn is limited edition and will only be made this once.

If you are thinking about using Cornish Tin II with perhaps Tamar or Classic 4 ply I highly recommend you check out the amazing blog by Erika Eccles.  



SaveSave

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

The Great British Socks Away KAL is returning

That's right everyone The Great British Socks Away KAL is coming back next Friday 23rd September.  Everyone who took part last year had a great time.  It has brilliant to hear how the KAL has inspired so many of you in your sock knitting adventures. 

Like last year it will take place over in the BritYarn Ravelry Group.  If anyone wants to share their photos on Twitter and Instagram you can use the hashtag #GBSocksAwayKAL16.  

The chatter has already started in the group with plans being made and stash being rummaged through.  The rules are straightforward:

  • We will all cast on our socks of choice on Friday 23rd September 2016.
  • The yarn must be grown in Britain OR be grown local to you if you do not live in Great Britain. Of course you are still welcome to use British grown yarn if you wish. The yarn can be from your stash, a BritYarn purchase or bought from elsewhere.
  • Blends (taken from BritYarn’s Woolly Principles) using other natural fibres can be used e.g. linen as long as they comprise a maximum of 50% of the total content. Synthetic material in a blend, e.g. nylon should only account for 25% of the total content.
  • Any sock pattern can be used.
  • To be eligible for a prizes you need to post a photo of your finished pair of socks in the FO thread in the BritYarn Ravelry group by midnight Monday 31st October 2016.
  • You are more than welcome to double dip as long as the above rules apply. 
If you are new to sock knitting and fancy taking part please don't be shy..... there are all skill levels taking part and everyone is really friendly.

Hope to see you over in the BritYarn group! 

Looking for inspiration.......

Lazy Sunday Knitted Socks by Jane Burns

Sock Anatomy by Clare Devine


Blacker Classic 4 Ply



West Yorkshire Spinners Cocktail Range 

Britsock - The Knitting Goddess




Monday, 4 July 2016

Monday 11th July and Tuesday 12th July 2016

Hello everyone.  

Just a little note to say no orders will be posted on Monday 11th July and Tuesday 12th July.  Any orders which are placed after the Friday 8th July post office run will not be posted until Wednesday 13th July.  

I will however try and post as many orders as I can over the weekend but I can't promise anything as I am also taking part in two art installations!

Have a good week everyone
Isla

p.s. we still have a few yarns reduced at the moment...... I will pop a little link here.  


Tuesday, 31 May 2016

A little meet up at Leeds Wool Festival 2016

It is Leeds Wool Festival this Saturday and Joeli Creates and myself are holding a little meet up at 1pm.  

I went last year and had a brilliant day.  You can read all about my day last here.

We will meet up outside on the grass area which is to the right of the main entrance (same place we sat last year).  If you follow the main building to the very end you come to a lovely sheltered garden area.  I will post a photo on Instagram and Twitter just before 1pm so you know roughly where we are.  If the weather is not kind to us I will pop a post on Instagram / Twitter to let you know of the alternative arrangements.  

Hope to see you there.



Saturday, 23 April 2016

A chat with Jane Burns - Lazy Sunday Socks

Hello Jane 

Many thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for BritYarn.  If you are sitting comfortably with a beverage to hand lets begin!

Could introduce yourself to BritYarn’s readers?  

I am Jane and I design knitting and occasionally crochet patterns whose magic lies in the simplicity.  Knitting time is precious and I help knitters make projects that have an easily achievable wow factor.  Until recently I worked full time designing for the UK knitting magazines, and now I have now started my self-publishing journey. 


What started your journey into designing knitting and crochet patterns?

Like many designers I had a ‘chance’ entry into the industry.  In 2009 I owned an online knitting shop  (specialising in sock yarns) and Let’s Knit Magazine approached me and asked if I designed sock knitting patterns.  I had designed a couple of patterns as yarn support for the yarn I stocked, so I jumped at the opportunity. 


What are your favourite woolly / fibre crafts?

I am a knitter, I would probably still be knitting night and day even if it were not my job.  A few years ago I taught myself to crochet as an alternative way to relax. Knitting had become my full time job, I thought crochet would help me unwind. But shortly after I was asked to design some crochet pieces…. 


You have just launched your new book ‘Lazy Sunday Knitted Socks’.  Could you tell us a little bit about it?

I wanted to design a collection of socks that were indulgent. Knitting time is precious and we rarely spend that time knitting projects to pamper ourselves. This is a collection of beautiful beaded socks to knit. The book teaches you how to apply beads using a crochet hook, which is by far my favourite method of applying beads to knitting.  . There is a range of patterns; whilst some of the designs look incredibly complex, if you can knit socks and follow a chart they really are quite simple.  For example, ‘No Room For Ravers’ may look a little daunting but in reality the chart has only an eight row repeat, coupled with some simple cables and eyelets you have some stunning socks, that are achievable for most sock knitters.  And if you are not a fan of reading charts, the book includes full written instructions for ‘No Room For Ravers’. 

Many people (including myself) may never have used beads in socks before…. can you share any hints or tips?

Find yourself a good video tutorial, there is one on my blog http://janeburns.co.uk/2016/04/learn-to-bead-in-just-26-seconds/  seeing this technique demonstrated will leave you addicted to beading. Most people watch the technique and say, ‘that is so simple’.

All hooks and beads are not made equal, I highly recommend purchasing a Clover Soft Touch Steel tipped crochet hook, I have tried a lot of hooks and in my opinion these are the best.  Good quality beads such as Debbie Abrahams beads or Matsuno seed beads are also highly recommended. 


Is there one thing you couldn't live without when designing a pattern and why?

Stitchmastery!  Stitchmastery allows me to manipulate stitch patterns easily, it has saved me many hours of drawing charts on paper and rubbing them out! It also has a fantastic chart ‘checking’ facility that is a life saver.

It’s tea break time…. what is your favourite biscuit?

Oh Isla, I am a biscuit-o-holic, it is easier to tell you which biscuits I do not like…. Ginger Nuts! Ginger Nuts are pure evil, I think this may be a deep rooted psychological issue. I was the only red head in my primary school and it was harsh! I needed Catherine Tate and Tim Minchin when I was growing up, if I had heard the Tim Minchin song, ‘Only A Ginger can call another Ginger, Ginger’ life would have been so different.  

Are there any future plans / projects you can share with BritYarn?

Yes, throughout the year there will be more sock patterns, not all of them beaded. But even more exciting I am working on my second book.  I am sitting here resisting the urge to tell you all about it, but I must be strong…..


You can purchase Jane's book here.

Images used with kind permission from Jane Burns.