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Happy Christmas 2017

santa

Christmas Day is almost upon us and I’m sure many of you will be rushing around with last minute preparations. Thanks to the fact that I am going to my son and daughter-in-law for Christmas dinner I don’t have any cooking to do. My part was simply to buy the Christmas cake and pudding from my local supermarket.

xmas pudding

Thanks to online shopping the gifts were bought a while ago, without having to tramp around the high street searching frantically for the right gift, and are all neatly wrapped ready for tomorrow. So I’m looking forward to a quiet but pleasant Christmas Day with my family.

xmas presents

This year has seen good online sales for Kent Crafts, so my immediate task after Christmas is stock taking, then to assess what I need to make for next year. Priority is always my knitted animals as these are popular all the year round.

Pink Elephant Toy

I will also have heart themed jewellery for Valentine’s Day and hopefully a lovely selection of scarves for Mothering Sunday (11 March in UK) and Mother’s Day (13 may in USA).

Hispaniola Ruffle Scarves

Then its time to think about next winter and I already have a stock of beautiful yarns that my fingers are itching to get busy with!

self pattenring yarns

I wish you all a blessed and peaceful Christmas.

Barbara

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Yarn Bombing – Like It or Loathe It?

yarn bombing trees

A couple of weeks ago I shared an article on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/KentCraftsUK/) about yarn bombing of trees in Harwich. Trees were wrapped in knitted or crochet squares as part of a project for the Festival of the Arts. When I first saw trees decorated with someone’s knitting I admit I wasn’t at all impressed. I was on holiday in the Algarve, Portugal and the house we rented had several trees hung around with knitting which had faded and become ragged due to  sun, rain and wind. So it didn’t look good.

Also being of that post World War II generation who grew up with the motto “make do and mend” I thought it was an awful waste of good yarn! However it has now become apparent that yarn bombing (also known as yarnstorming, guerilla knitting, kniffiti, urban knitting or graffiti knitting) is becoming established as an art form in its own right.

Yarn bombing train

How did it all begin? While tree decorating or dressing has been part of many cultures for hundreds of years, yarn bombing is believed to have originated in the USA in the early 2000’s as a creative way of using leftover yarn It has since spread throughout the world. Knitters all over the globe have been wrapping their huge woolly creations around all sorts of objects including trees, statues, bicycles and even enormous buses and trains.  Sometimes this is done clandestinely at night. Can you imagine waking up to find your car had been yarn bombed?!

yarn_bombing,_car

So do you like it or loathe it? For myself I’m so busy creating things for our online shop that I don’t have time to do any other knitting.  However, for those who love knitting and/or crochet, but don’t have an outlet for their creations this may be a worthwhile project. What do you think? Please post your comments.

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Self Patterning Fair Isle Yarns

Red Fair Isle Fingerless Gloves Wristwarmers

Last week I wrote about a fair isle tank top which my mum made for me, more than 40 years ago. Today many of us do not have the time to spend long hours winding different colour yarns around each other so we want a more instant solution.  Yarn designers have come up with amazing self pattering yarns that do the job (but not quite as well as the old fashioned method!)

self pattenring yarns

I bought these lovely Knitcol YARNS (100%  pure merino wool!) last year and made some fingerless gloves for a friend. When my grandson saw them he wanted a pair too, so this is what I made for him.

Child's gloves

 

Since then I’ve produced more for my online shop like the red ones in the photo at the beginning of this blog.  The rib is knitted with a plain colour yarn and the body of the glove is knitted using the self patterning yarn. The important thing to remember in order to get a matching pattern in each glove is to start the fair isle knitting at the same colour point in the yarn.

I also used a combination of plain and self patterning yarn to make the beret shown below. This was quite time consuming as the yarns had to be woven around each other, but I think the result is worth it. What do you think?

Brown, Beige and White Patterned Ladies Beret back

 

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Fair Isle Knitting

Fair Isle Top

A few days ago I shared a tweet from Knitting Daily on our Twitter feed (@KentCrafts) and facebook page (KentCraftsUK).  It was about Fair Isle knitting techniques, and it reminded me of this top which my mother knitted for me from a Woman’s Weekly magazine pattern in 1974 – yes more than 40 years ago!  The pattern was cleverly devised so that the knitter only ever used two yarns at the same time, although the total number of different colours was seven.

In those days I was living in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and my mum used locally made yarn from Karina Textiles to make the top.  It was supposed to be a tank top (very fashionable in the 70s!), but turned out a lot bigger than expected, so to make it fit she took it in 2 inches on each side.

Living in Africa, I didn’t wear it much but couldn’t bear to discard this labour of love, especially after my mum passed away suddenly in 1989. It eventually came into its own when I moved to the UK in 2009.  Of course by that time I was not quite so slim as I had been!  However I was able to let it out at the side and so now I enjoy having both a colourful item of clothing and a lovely keepsake to wear.

I wonder it anyone else has a beloved knitted garment they hang onto for old times sake?

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Knitted Animals Back in Stock

Animal Toy Collage

I’ve not posted on here for a while, mainly because I’ve been busy with gardening and knitting. The dry weather here in the South of England has meant that I’ve been able to get out into the garden and do all those jobs which have been waiting for ages.  On the knitting front, I sold a lot of my knitted animals over the Christmas period, then in the new year had a bulk order for ten. So it has taken me till now to make them and to restock our shop.

Knitted Giraffe Toy

First off the knitting needles is Georgie the Giraffe, who is just longing to gladden some little child’s heart. I love knitting these animals as they remind me of the many years I spent in southern Africa.