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.

Stylecraft Unveils A Splash of Winter Colour

Colour is key in our latest launches from, with saturated hues and sophisticated pastels showcased in new yarn launches and patterns for garments and accessories.

Bellissima

Following the success of baby yarn, Bambino, last season, we have brought this fantastic multi-end yarn to the adult market with the launch of Bellissima.  After all, why should the grown-ups miss out? Bellissima has fantastic stitch definition, making it perfect for a whole range of techniques and styles, from classic garments to textures and cables.

There are 14 lovely shades to choose from so why not try out this great new yarn?

Colour Pool

You may have read about the trend for planned pooling and we are delighted to be the first of the big brands to embrace this fashion with our new yarn Colour Pool, where Argyll-style patterns magically appear when you crochet or knit. At the recent Blogstars get together this yarn caused quite a stir and we’re sure you will enjoy trying a bit of the magic for yourself.

We have created three free patterns for crocheters and there will be lots of hints and tips, including a video, on the blog and across our social media, as well as a special tutorial for knitters.

Head Over Heels Allstars

Did you vote in the competition we held earlier this year to choose the new Head Over Heels colourways as created by the Blogstars?  Their inspiration came from a visit to see David Hockney’s work at Salts Mill and are called Ossie, Woldgate, Saltaire, Pool, Red Pots and Splash. The winning six shades are now available with free printed patterns available from Stylecraft stockists

Special XL 

The trend for big yarn continues so we have increased the number of colours in the palette for Special XL with four new shades which feature in six new patterns.

Relaxed garments in simple stitches, slouchy hats and enveloping scarves make this collection the perfect choice for the colder months.

With all these colours and yarns to choose from, we’d love to see what you make over on our Facebook page.

Knitting and Crochet Groups

There is something really wonderful about getting together with like-minded people, which is probably why so many of us belong to a knitting or crochet group. Simply being with others who understand the passionate nature of our craft is uplifting.

In recent years the number of groups in the UK has increased dramatically. Some meet in libraries, others in pubs or cafes, or even at lunchtime at work.  They are a great forum for learning skills from others, getting help with your latest yarnie conundrums or simply a chance for companionship and a bit of ‘me time’.

When our group gets together we share news about new yarns, marvel at new patterns and we especially love to see what each member of the group is making.  The sheer variety of what we can make with needles and hooks is inspiring.

Groups are also a great way to make new friends that we might never have met if it wasn’t for the love of our hobby.  And it doesn’t have to ju

st be about the yarn.  Over the years our group has been running we have seen each other through births, marriages, divorce and even bereavement.  Together we have been through the exam stress of our kids, enjoyed hearing about each other’s holidays, shared family recipes and generally put the world to rights. As a group, we have taught people to knit and crochet at events and worked together on a number of charity projects. Craft groups have even been mentioned in the latest book by Helen Pankhurst (yes she is a descendant of the famous suffragette)!

Most of all knit and crochet groups are fantastic fun and something to look forward to each month or week.

If you are looking for a group to join in your area there is a map on the UK Hand Knitting website where you can also register your own group if you are looking for new members.

We’d love to hear more about what your group gets up to so why not let us know on our Facebook page.

Stylecraft Launches New Collection For Colder Months

With summer a distant memory we have our attention firmly focussed on the colder weather to come, with new yarns and patterns to keep all the family warm.

Cosy

A technical marvel for the season is our lofty, air-jet spun yarn called Cosy. A super chunky yarn with an amazing meterage – on average just 4 balls to make a garment – Cosy is a beautifully light blend of premium acrylic and alpaca accented with a subtle metallic thread. When knitted the yarn also features contrast colour flashes for a unique effect.  Easy-fitting feminine shapes, accessories and homewares appear in 7 new pattern leaflets.

Life Heritage 

For those who like the outdoors look in their wardrobe, Stylecraft is launching a new member of the Life family – Life Heritage.  Designs for both men and women showcase traditional fabrics, including cables, to bring out the beauty of this Fair Isle effect yarn in 5 blends of harmonious colours. So warm and wearable.

Wondersoft Stardust

Is it too soon to think about Christmas?  Not for Santa’s little helpers at Stylecraft HQ with the addition of two festive shades to the Wondersoft Stardust range.  To make the most of these shades our design team have created the most delightful patterns for babies featuring elves, penguins and snowflakes, all ready for a happy Christmas.

Cabaret

Always popular for the party season, Cabaret has 2 gorgeous new shades for autumn, perfect for accessories. They are supported by 2 new free pattern leaflets, available from all Stylecraft stockists. So why not bring a touch of glamour to your wardrobe.

Now available in your usual Stylecraft stockist there is something for all the family here.