Tuesday, 5 September 2017

GB Socks Away KAL 17

Yes the GB Socks Away KAL is returning for a third year! The chatter has already started in the BritYarn Ravelry Group but don't worry as we don't cast on until Friday 22nd September 2017.  There is plenty of time to place that little BritYarn order or to have a stash or patten rummage. Also in the chatter thread are the rules but for those that have taken part previously they are the same as previous years. 

A selection of socky yarns available at BritYarn
There will be prizes for both FO's and for chatter.   If you have never knit socks before come and join us.  This KAL in previous years has been the starting point for lots of new sock knitters.  Also it is not just knitting socks..... crochet socks are of course always welcome.  

For pattern ideas you can browse the special sock section of the BritYarn website.

Look forward to chatting with you in the BritYarn Ravelry Group.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Come and join me on Saturday 6th May at Countess Ablaze, Manchester

Yes it is happening again! BritYarn is returning to the wonder of the Countess Ablaze studio on Saturday 6th May 2017.  I will be bringing along a section of yarns, books and of course Ethel canvas shopping bags.  This time I will be joined on the day by Whistlebare and The Little Grey Girl.  I hope you can join us!  

Since last years event Countess Ablaze has moved to the centre of Manchester.  The studio can be found at 21 Swan Street (in the Northern Quarter) which is a 15 - 20 minute walk from Manchester Piccadilly train station (buses and taxis are of course another option).   There are lots of really nice cafes and shops in the surrounding area if you want to make a day of it.  

I have started a thread in the BritYarn group for the day if you want to pop over and say hi and see how else is going.  

Monday, 20 March 2017

Samite Silk Blend - A New Yarn from Blacker Yarns

The new yarn from Blacker Yarns, Samite Silk Blend launches on 23rd March and of course BritYarn will be stocking it.  

I thought it might be useful to share some of the thoughts of bloggers and podcasters who have tried this amazing yarn already.  

First up is a blog post by Sue Blacker explaining in a lot more detail about how the blend was created.

The lovely Lisa from the Erika Eckles blog gave Samite a road test a few weeks ago. 

Louise Scollay chatted about Samite on Episode 78 of the KnitBritish podcast.

Louise Tilbrook (I am a big fan of her sock and shawl designs) wrote a review recently after knitting a little sample in the gorgeous Drowsy Flowers shade. 

Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade chatted about Samite during episode 162 of her podcast.

I have started a Samite thread on the BritYarn Ravelry group page, feel free to chat there about your Samite cast on plans.

Photo used with kind permission from Blacker Yarns.

Samite is a permanent addition to the Blacker Yarns range.  This 3 ply woollen spun yarn is a blend of 30% Bluefaced Leicester, 40% Shetland, 20% Ahimsa silk and 10% Gotland from Sue Blacker's own flock.  

Samite will go on sale Thursday 23rd March. 

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.

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.
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.  


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