Team Crafting

Have you ever wondered what the Stylecraft team get up to in their spare time?  Well we are all as hooked on crafts as you are.

Louise has recently taken up crochet.  She made this gorgeous cowl for her sister who is modelling it here. In fact she is a bit of a crafting demon, take a look at the button tree decorations she made for Christmas.

Our Sales and Marketing Director, Annabelle always has a new project on her needles or hooks.  She has really been enjoying the Havanna CAL by Tinna Thorudottir Thorvaldar.  Don’t you just love the colours she has chosen?

Anna was very busy in December making lots of lovely gifts for Christmas including this cute snowman and a whole flock of Knitmas birds.

Bethany made a gorgeous yarn wall hanging from bits of yarn she adopted from various family members’ stash.  Doesn’t it look effective?

mde

So, as you can see, we are all as nuts about yarn as you are.

 

We’re Celebrating!

Can we have a drum roll, party poppers and a huge cake please, because we are celebrating a huge milestone in 2019  – our 30th Anniversary.

Stylecraft was founded in 1989, and we are proud to say we have been at the forefront of the UK yarn industry for three decades.  Our main focus has always been to develop the yarns that knitters and crocheters love to work with. From fashion yarns such as Cabaret and Eskimo, the first eyelash yarn to hit the UK, to classics such as Special and Life.

If a couple have been married for thirty years, they will celebrate their pearl anniversary, so we have decided to brand our celebrations as the Stylecraft Purl Anniversary to add a bit of fun to all our activities this year.

There will be special events and giveaways throughout 2019 to say a big thank you to all our crafty customers, including 30 giveaways each and every month for lucky Stylecraft fans, a special Purl Anniversary collection of reknits from the archives, an exciting Anniversary Blog Tour in the autumn and a Purl Anniversary Tea Party.

So make sure you keep a close eye on our social media for the latest news, events and giveaways, and if you have any memories or pictures of Stylecraft yarns or patterns please do send them to social@stylecraftltd.co.uk

You can follow Stylecraft on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

 

Resolutions

As the dust settles after the festive period, we thought we would ask you what your resolutions are for 2019. There is some very good advice from Stylecrafters to help you get the most out of your craft – everything from using up your stash, finishing projects and learning new techniques.

‘I’ve sat and made tiny squares of my Stylecraft colours and labelled them. Easier to store than my pegs and now I can see which I need to buy. Will make a square now every time I buy a new colour.’

‘Just one: I must not start 8 new blankets until my 4 big WIPs are finished.
Must not start!!!’

‘Same as the last 3 years… Crochet every day! I am good at sticking to this New Year resolution.’

‘Yes!!! Sew in my ends as I go!’

‘Knit more for family I didn’t know my sister adored my garments especially the aran sweaters with added pockets!’

‘Not to buy any more yarn until all my stash has been knitted into items. . I will have kicked the bucket by then.’

‘To start making more blankets for end of life patients. (I made my first one this year). My husband gave me some Stylecraft yarn for Christmas and I thought that I would use it to make blanket number two!’

‘Scrub the dust off all my needles and hooks for a start.’

‘Be more realistic about how many hours there are in the day for completing projects!’

‘I am determined to learn crochet in 2019. I also want to try my hand at Shetland lace knitting.’

Finish all my projects, learn fair isle, knit socks and use up at least a third of my stash. Oh and do one of the attic 24 blanket kits I have…’

‘I’m learning amigarumi . My sister is going to teach me.’

‘Trying new crochet stitches and making up some of my own.’

‘Teaching elderly friends how to crochet.’

‘I’m going to start putting my stuff on eBay, my house is getting ridiculous!!’

‘I’m going to go with… Buy more yarn than I need!! To be realistic, it’s the only one I am likely to keep!!’

‘I have spent two years making items for so many other people, so I’ve decided that 2019 is the year when I make things for me – several blankets to fill a shelf in my living room, scarves and wraps for next fall and winter, and ornaments for next year’

‘Make more toys for my local hospital’

‘To stop looking at others beautiful creations online and get my own done.’

I started tonight to make ‘pegs’. Now I need someone with a decent handwriting to write the names on.’

‘To buy more yarn and make more blankets and cushion covers ..I want a “rainbow “home.’

To get recording videos for my crochet tutorials for YouTube’
‘Learn more stitches.’

‘Until now I only made small crochet projects. In 2019 I want to make my first granny square blanket.’

‘Be proud of my lovingly curated yarn collection.’

Exercises for knitters and crocheters

 

As much as we all love our craft it does involve an awful lot of sitting and working in one position, so it is especially important for us that we make sure we keep our wrists supple and pay attention to our posture.
Here are a few tips if you find yourself getting stiff or uncomfortable.
Get up and move around – we are told to get up from our desks at work at regular intervals and the same thing applies to knitters and crocheters. Try to move from your seat once an hour.
Make sure you are sitting properly – lounging on the sofa with your hook or needles may feel comfortable but really isn’t good for you long term.  Try to sit up straight in a supportive chair with good support under your thighs. If you have been working on a big project and you find your elbows are aching a bit, have a break and when you start again, consider putting a cushion under your elbow to take the strain. For knitters you might like to learn the continental method to vary which muscles you are using.
Stretch – there are lots of ways to release tension in your hands and wrists but here are our favourites.  Please don’t continue with these stretches if you experience pain.
Shake out your arms and spread out your hands before making tight fists.  Repeat as much as you like.
Stretch out one arm and make a fist pointing downwards.  Using your other hand, gently pull the fist towards you.  Repeat with the other hand.
Raise your arm with your palm up as if you were telling someone to stop, spreading your fingers.  With the other hand, gently pull the fingers towards you.  Repeat on the other side.
Place your hands facing forwards on a table while standing, making sure your fingers are spread out.  Gently lean on them and rock backwards and forwards.
Now move your hands so they are pointing out to the side and repeat the gentle rocking motion from side to side.
Now rotate your hands towards you and rock gently, lifting your wrists.
If you find these stretches don’t help, it is well worth visiting a physiotherapist who can look closer at your posture and technique.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breidagen Zwolle

We’ve just had a fantastic weekend in The Netherlands with some of the Stylecraft Blogstars.  Not just a girly weekend, you understand, we were actually all working really hard!

On a beautiful sunny Thursday Jane Crowfoot, Sarah Shrimpton, Helen Shrimpton, Emma Varnam, Juliet Bernard and Annabelle Hill flew in to Schiphol airport from various parts of the UK.  We were heading one hour out of Amsterdam to the lovely town of Zwolle for the Dutch Knitting Festival, Breidagen.

There were more than eighty exhibitors selling yarn, books, kits and accessories, just as you would expect.  But the quality of what we saw was amazing and the designs completely mouth-watering.

Even though it was billed as a knitting show, there was a lot of crochet on show.  The Dutch seem to love their Amigurumi and they do it in a very elegant way, so full of character.

Zabbez – Bas den Braver

Emma Vernams Billy Bear 

We took lots of projects by the Blogstars for people to see and it was lovely to hear their comments about the designs.

Luckily most people spoke exceptionally good English, but if we did get stuck Annabelle was on hand to help – who knew her Dutch was so good?

 

All the Blogstars had workshops to teach which ranged from 1 ½ to 3 hours so they were pretty full on and the visitors were so cheerful and eager to learn something new.

We also got the chance to chat with some of the other tutors, including Annelies Baes and Meret Buetzberger, and hear about what they are working on.  Meret’s double knitting had us all completely fascinated.  Check out her designs here – https://www.ravelry.com/designers/meret-buetzberger

Even though the days were tiring the evenings were special.  There is something about sitting with a group of crafters who understand about your passion that makes the conversation and laughter flow.

If you want to know more about the Breidagen show you can sign up for more information here https://breidag.nl/?lang=en

Hygge… Logam… Ikigai… Gemütlichkeit… by Anne and Michelle of Crochet Between Worlds

Over the last couple of years, there has been much talk, literature, tv shows, and so on, about “wellbeing” concepts from different countries. It seems to have started with “Hygge” which is a Danish concept. There seems to be no real translation of the word (in fact, it is now part of the German language as there is no translation). Disclaimer: We are not experts in the subject! The general idea behind all these concepts seems to be to find a state of mind in which you are happy, relaxed and bound to earth. There seems to be a longing “for something else” in our busy, hectic world; like a counterpoint to the world which just gets faster and more complicated each day. There is an increasing number of “manuals” out there on how to become a happier and more settled person. Add more candles, more homemade cake or bread, more family time, less online time and so on to your life.

Books or magazines about Hygge, Logam and so on usually come with such pretty pictures of comfy homes and happy people. This can be quite daunting sometimes. We don’t know about you, but our homes never looked as good and, quite honestly, we hardly ever manage to feel “hygge-ig” or at peace with my/the world. We would like to, but it is a hard road. Thus, probably the most important thing to remember that is perfectly okay not to be perfect in any of these concepts. There should be no feeling of pressure or guilt from these wonderful ideas.

One can use whatever feels good from these concepts in one’s own life. For example, a lot of candles are wonderful for the European winter but not for the Australian summer… Delicious Danish pastry is just yummy all the time of the year… And why not bake a cake instead of buying one? Spend more time with your family (but only the family members you actually like)…

In the end, each of us knows deep down what is best for oneself and what relaxes you. Baking a cake is relaxing and fun for us (well, not as much as eating the cake but that’s another story) but it might be hell for others. And that’s okay. We like to understand Hygge and all the other concepts as a reminder to step out of your comfort zone every now and then and take time to truly enjoy life. Try something new and see if it works for you.

by Anne and Michelle of Crochet Between Worlds www.crochetbetweenworlds.net

Stylecraft Blog Tour by Charlotte Johnson

Hey, I’m charlotte and I am the in-house designer here at Stylecraft.

I hope your all having a fantastic time following our blog tour, we have seen some irresistible projects along the way from our team of Blogstars. Yesterday, we had the pleasure of seeing Zooty Owl and her fabulous project and now I get to share all the fun I had with my Blog Tour experience, before we come to a close with Janie Crow.

Now then, let me tell you a little bit about what I got up to with the delicious Blog Tour pack.

It was so lovely to be asked to do a design for the Blog Tour. The concept of being able to design anything without having to think of the trends of the season or how the designs fit into a small collection was like a breath of fresh air. I think I got a little carried away…

 

 

I found a lot of freedom in designing with the Blog Tour pack. Not only is Bellissima one of my favourite yarns in our Stylecraft collection, I also got to play with colour!!! I love the smooth round finish of the Bellissima and Bambino yarn; it has great stitch definition and is heaven on your needles.

So, I set about thinking of all the exciting things that I could make with my stunning pack of yarn…

I happened to fall upon some beautiful vintage photographs of Ottavio and Rosita Missoni and this set all of my creative juices flowing.

I Found an array of amazing photographs of the Iconic Missoni knitwear and I just had to get knitting. I decided I wanted to play with the beautiful pastels in the summer pudding pack and create a soft zig zag pattern.

 This turned into becoming a 70’s inspired knitted rucksack. I’m a sucker for eye catching accessories!!

But knitting the rucksack just wasn’t enough I decided this heavenly stripe pattern would look amazing as a big pom pom hat…. And of course, I needed a scarf to match!

I became excited and giddy at the thought of bringing all the colours and blending them all together creating a twist on the iconic Missoni Stripe!!!Now it’s time for the super part of our Blog Tour where you can get your mitts on a FREE pattern AND enter our giveaway to win the Summer Pudding yarn pack!

You can DOWNLOAD FREE PATTERNS here-

Missoni Rucksack Pattern

Missoni Hat & Scarf Pattern

You can enter our BLOG TOUR YARN PACK GIVEAWAY here!

The pattern will remain free and you have from 10 AM today (Sunday, 14th October) to 10 AM tomorrow (Monday, 15th October) to enter our yarn giveaway! A winner will be contacted directly.

Good luck and enjoy!

Blog Tour 2018 Blog Post

 

Our annual Blog Tour is fast approaching and we are so excited to share some wonderful blogs and patterns by our fabulous Blogstars with you!

So, what is a Blog Tour and how does it work??

Each year, we ask our Blogstars to choose from some lovely yarn packs that we have put together ourselves. This year, there were 2 options, Autumn Leaves and Summer Pudding, (more about the packs later). They then go off and use their super crafty skills to design a pattern using the chosen pack.

As the name suggests, we visit a different Blogstars blog page each day. A tour if you will, where they will be offering a free pattern and a chance to win the pack used to make the pattern! Each Blogstar will have a unique link on their page for you to enter the giveaways.

You need to look out for the Blog Tour post each day on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to find out which Blogstar’s day it is and follow the link to their page. Our posts will go out at 10 am each day and you have until to 10 am the following day to enter. This gives you a whole 24 hours!

Each winner will be contacted individually by email so keep an eye out and check your junk boxes too! The winner will be announced on Social Media each week also.

The tour will start on September 29th and end on October 15th so that’s 17 days and chances to win a pack of yarn!

So, let’s talk more about the yarn packs! This year, the packs are Autumn Leaves, which is made up of 5 shades of our NEW Bellissima yarn and Summer Pudding, which is made up of 3 Bellissima shades and 2 Bambino shades. The packs can be purchased from participating stockists and we have a list of some of them here-

Stockist

A Good Yarn, Cleethorpes – http://www.agoodyarn.co.uk/

Woolshopdirect, Derbyshire – https://www.facebook.com/woolshopdirect/

Lincoln Wool Pack https://lincolnwoolpack.co.uk/

Felt Sew Woolly, Shrewsbury – https://www.feltsewwoolly.co.uk/

The Wool Shack, Malvern – https://www.thewoolshackmalvern.co.uk/

Threads Wool Shop, Glasgow – http://www.threadswoolshop.co.uk/

Handknitted with love, Cheshire – https://handknittedwithlove.com/

Wool Zone, Oakham – https://woolzone.co.uk/

Yarn with Joanne – http://yarnwithjoanne.com/

The Wool Loft –  www.thewoolloft.co.uk

Love Wool – https://lovewool.co.uk/#

Having seen the patterns that the Blogstars have designed, we know you are in for a real treat! Stay tuned to our Social Media platforms for sneaky peeks and teasers! We look for to having you all join in the fun from Saturday, September 29th!

Here are the Blogstars and their blog links who will be taking part:

Crystals and crochet – https://crystalsandcrochet.com/crochet/category/crochet-blog/

Crochet Between Worlds – www.crochetbetweenworlds.net

Cherry Heart – http://sandra-cherryheart.blogspot.com/

Lucias Fig Tree – http://luciasfigtree.com/

Every Trick on the Hook – http://everytrickonthehook.com/

josiekitten – http://theknittingexploitsofjosiekitten.blogspot.com/

Emma Varnam – http://emmavarnam.co.uk/

The Twisted Yarn – https://thetwistedyarn.com/

Catherine’s Crochet Corner –https://catherinescrochetcorner.wordpress.com/blog/

Hand Knitted Things – http://handknittedthings.blogspot.com/

Annaboo’s House – https://annabooshouse.blogspot.com/

Crafternoon Treats – http://crafternoontreats.com/blog-crafternoon-treats/

The Patchwork Heart – http://www.thepatchworkheart.co.uk/

Get Knotted Yarn Craft – https://getknottedyarncraft.blogspot.com/

Zooty Owl – http://zootyowlcards.blogspot.com/

Stylecraft, Charlotte Johnson – https://stylecraft-yarns.co.uk/blog/

Jane Crowfoot – http://janeknits.blogspot.com/

Brain Training

We all know about the benefits of exercising our bodies but these days, scientists are telling us more and more about the benefits of keeping our brains active. Many of us will have tried brain training games or apps but both knitting and crochet have lots to offer as well.

Simply using both of your hands to make something is firing all kinds of neurons in your head with even the simplest of patterns, but here are a few more ways knitting and crochet are helping you.

Remember back when you first started your craft and tried to read a pattern?  It was full of strange abbreviations that you had to learn like k2tog and htr.  You have had to learn a whole new language that we bet you can read completely fluently now.  Your brain is instantly translating for you as you go.

Tension squares are a real marmite subject but, by making one that is a bit bigger than 10cm you then have to do quite a bit of maths to work out whether you are hitting the tension – a good workout for your brain.

What about if you want to substitute a different yarn in a pattern?  You have to work out the meterage of both yarns to calculate how many balls to buy, which stretches your maths muscles.

What about learning a new technique or stitch? Puzzling your way through how to use your needles or hooks and how to count the stitches or rows is a cortex stimulating exercise.

So whenever and wherever you knit or crochet, remember it is keeping your brain wonderfully active.

If you want to have a bit of fun, why not try our ‘Spot the difference’. We will also be posting these on our Facebook page if you want to give your answers.

 

 

Colour Pool for Knitters

We are very excited about the launch of our new yarn Colour Pool.  When you crochet with this yarn a kind of magic happens.  Once you get your stitch count right an Argyll pattern appears as if from nowhere.  It’s very exciting.

But Colour Pool also works for knitters so we thought we would show you how to get some really interesting effects.

Like so many things, it’s all in the preparation. First of all you have to find out how the yarn is going to work for your own personal tension.  We recommend using 4.5mm or 5mm needles and casting on around 30 stitches to do a sample square.

This is really easy, because you are going to work only in garter stitch, but there is counting involved.  In each ball of Colour Pool there are four distinct colours.  To check your tension you need to knit through at least four full repeats of the colour change, counting how many stitches you make in each colour.

We used April Showers and noted down the number of stitches four times.

Pale blue         17, 17, 16, 17

Blue                 22, 23, 23, 23

Turquoise        14, 14, 15 14

Lime                17, 17, 17, 17

You need to take an average for each colour and round it up if necessary

Pale Blue         17

Blue                 23

Turquoise        14

Lime                17

Now you are ready to use a really handy website called Planned Pooling which is going to do all the hard work for you.

 

The first job is to set up all your colours and enter the figures you calculated.

Now you need to input the number of stitches you want to knit.  The more stitches you put in the better the pattern will display, and the website lets you increase or decrease the number of stitches by 1 or 5 until you find the right pattern.

Here is the pattern that we get with 65 stitches.

Here we have 68 stitches – you can see a pattern starting to appear.

And here is 70 stitches – this looks like it’s going to be a good stitch count for our tension.

But look what happens at 71 stitches – isn’t that interesting?

Once you are happy with your pattern you can begin to knit but do make sure that the first colour in the sequence you begin with corresponds to the first colour on the bottom right of the chart to get the best results.

We’d love to see how you get on with Colour Pool so don’t forget to show us on our Facebook page or by tagging an image with #stylecraftcolourpool on Twitter and Instagram.