The Special DK Limited Edition Pack Blog Tour

There are a few of us here at Stylecraft who had never heard of a blog tour before ours started a few weeks ago, and we certainly didn’t know that they are usually associated with authors as a way of promoting books.

It all started back in March when the competition to suggest new shades for the Special DK range began. We asked you to send in colour suggestions and we received over 300 entries so the judges Sarah Neal (editor of Lets Knit Magazine), Phil (TheTwistedYarn), Lucy (Attic24 blog) and Annabelle (Stylecraft) had a really tough job to narrow it down to a shortlist of 10. We then asked our followers on Facebook to vote for their favourite of the shortlist and Duck Egg was the clear winner.

Pack image 3

 

As there was so much love for the other 9 shades we decided to add the two closest runners up to the Special DK range permanently too – Lobelia and Grass Green. Although we soon realised this wasn’t enough as there was more uproar and outrage at the loss of the other colours, so we set about making a pack of 10 x 50g balls of each shortlisted shade and the Limited Edition colour pack was born! It took a while to get these colours made and in that time we decided a blog tour would not only showcase the colours properly but we would also get to see some fantastic creativity from some very talented people.

On 25th September the virtual Stylecraft bus set off and made its first stop at Janie Crow’s site to see two cushion designs using the colour pack that was in progress. She also designed a small crochet bag and included the tutorial/pattern in the post which you can find here.

Janie Crow

The 26th was the turn of Helen at The Knitting Exploits of Josie Kitten. Hers is a delightful blog and the ripple cushion that Helen designed is gorgeous – a fantastic way to use your Ltd Edition pack or any combination of Special DK colours. The blog post is a must read; just to see the way she introduced us to the colours in her garden and to meet her gorgeous yarn loving cat, Florence. The pattern is available on Ravelry and on the day it launched it was in the top 20 most downloaded patterns, which is no mean feat considering Helen has never written and pattern before. Find it here on Ravelry and her blog post here.

Josie Kitten 3

Sunday 27th was the turn of the designer Emma Varnam who treated us to not one but two designs and both to keep you warm this winter. She used the winning colour Duck Egg to make a lovely knitted hat with a cute ribbon and button instead of using a traditional pompom and then a jewel fan crochet scarf out of the brighter shades to add a bit of wow to any outfit. Find the blog post here and the updated beanie hat pattern here.

emma varnam 3

On Monday 28th we pulled up at Crafternoon Treats who treated us to a delicious crochet bag – this was on display on our stand at the Knitting & Stitching Show and proved so popular – almost everyone wanted the pattern (which you can find here). She used an interesting stitch that we don’t often see which gives the bag the look of knitting whilst actually being crochet.

Crafternoon treats 3

The Twisted Yarn was our host for Tuesday 29th and Phil had been teasing us for weeks as she worked through her knitted bag pattern. She assures us that Carnival which isn’t as complicated as it looks, even though it is Fair Isle. Find her blog post including the pattern here.

the twisted yarn 1

Wednesday 30th was Day 6 so we were over halfway but not flagging as it was the turn of Heather at The Patchwork Heart. She treated us to the Paintbox blanket pattern using the colour pack and a few other shades besides. This project is simply gorgeous and the sample squares that she uses to work out the colours are a project in themselves – read about it here.
patchworkheart 1

We hopped over to the Lebanon to meet Angie at Le Monde de Sucrette on Day 7 for her crochet granny scarf with circle tassels. We knew she would create something fantastic as her other projects are so colourful and we weren’t disappointed. To read it click here.
Le Monde de Sucrette 1

Hand Knitted Things hosted the blog tour on Day 8 (Friday 2nd October) with gorgeous knitted hats with mixed colour pompoms using 8 of the 10 shortlisted colours. Although Julia’s Pathfinder pattern isn’t free it certainly is fantastic – find it here on Ravelry.  Click here to read the post.

 Hand Knitted Things 1

Day 9 was Sandra at Cherry Heart – you may have come across her before as she has designed the Spice of Life blanket and we have seen many gorgeous works-in-progress across t’interweb. Sandra’s post was great – she made little wraps of the new shades and slotted them into the existing colours perfectly. Read her post here.

Cherry Heart 1

The penultimate was our very own Sue Pinner who featured at least five projects, we couldn’t count them all. Now Sue is an absolute genius with colours and when she popped in to see us this summer she just rearranged the colours in 3 quick steps and they looked so much better together. Find her blog here.

Sue Pinner 1

To finish in the manner we had become accustomed to Janie Crow was the final blogger and after 10 fabulous days it could have been a little bit sad… if she hadn’t designed 2 fabulous cushion patterns for us and using the colour pack. You will be able to find the free cushion cover patterns on our website in the Free Pattern category very soon.

Janie Crow 1

We hope you enjoyed our blog tour either at the time or by using the links in the text and we hope you got your hands on a Limited Edition colour pack too.

Innocents Big Knit

Innocent 1

Twelve years ago innocent came up with a great idea to raise money for Age UK to help older people whose lives are at risk during the cold weather because they don’t have enough money to heat their homes properly.  They asked the public to knit little hats that would adorn their smoothies in store – each little hat represents a donation of 25p – and so the annual Big Knit was born.

In the first year the hats numbered in the thousands, but the campaign was so popular that this year innocent are calling for 800,000 hats for the UK!

You may very well have seen the smoothies in your local supermarket or even knitted a few yourself.  What you may not know is that the Big Knit is also extremely popular in Sweden and Denmark.

Innocent 2

Juliet Bernard has been working with innocent, creating patterns and interpreting celebrity designs for 10 years. “It’s great fun and really pushes your creativity because each mini hat is just 30 sts by 16-18 rows,” she says.

Innocent 4

But this year the hats for Sweden are a bit different, Juliet told us “Innocent’s PR Company are very creative. I was asked if I could knit hats for 11 statues in Stockholm.  A couple of them needed to be around 2 metres in circumference and be very eye-catching using fruity colours.”

Juliet designed (and made) the hats you can see here, which were knitted on 20 cm needles using 10 ends of yarn.  She chose Special DK to get just the right colours. “Knitting on such big needles is quite tiring for your hands but with 10 ends, they do knit up quite quickly.”

Innocent 3

Making giant pompoms wasn’t quite so straightforward until she spotted a video on YouTube. “Luckily Stylecraft’s (Special Aran with Wool) comes in 400gm balls. By tying them tightly around the middle you can cut into the big ball to create the biggest pompom I have ever made,” she says.

The closing date for this year’s Big Knit is 11th December and you can find more information as well as lots of patterns here www.thebigknit.co.uk

Getting in the mood for AW15

With Cabaret already launched for AW15 and five more exciting new yarns with many fabulous patterns on the way there is much to look forward to in your yarn shop this year.

As all these new yarns arrive in the office and we go crazy over the patterns and colours we are always amazed at how the designers tap in to the latest trends even though they work a year ahead – right now they’re working on Spring 16!

So where do they begin? Just recently they went to probably the most important yarn show in the world Pitti Filati in Florence, Italy. International buyers and designers go to find creative inspiration & colour trends from fashion, art, sport and design fields.

After a whirlwind tour of the show (they complain there is never enough time to see it all) they head back to the UK to plan for the year ahead. The next stage: choosing colours, yarns, textures and styles.

While we wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise of exactly what is to come this Autumn Winter we thought we’d share our autumn winter 2015 mood boards that (hopefully) identify the hottest trends that our designers will interpret in a Stylecraft way.

classic-cools

Classic Cools – Fluffy, downy, feathered fur effects to mimic the animal kingdom. Simple classic Silhouettes with cables.

crazy-colour

Crazy Colour – Patterns and stripes with big bold colours. A mix of textures, multicolour twists, loopy, eyelash – all fun & fantasy.

Super-nature

Super Nature – Shetlands, tweeds, boucles with ombré and dip dyed effects. Big bold cables. Layering, cocooning but not bulky

We can’t wait until we can share our new collections with you and look forward to hearing what you think!

Look out in early August for the next instalment.

Special DK Colour Competition Shortlist

So here they are…the final 10 that were chosen by our judges: Sarah Neal (editor of Lets Knit Magazine), Phil (TheTwistedYarn), Lucy (Attic24 blog) to perfect the Special DK range.

We love their choices but are happy that it isn’t down to us to decide as we want them all. We’ve been inspired by the time and thought that people put into their entries so we wanted to share their stories with you. And you never know, it might help you decide.

Lobelia

LOBELIA – Pantone 19-3842 TPX

Lucia Dunn was converted to acrylic yarns by the beautiful projects on the Attic24 blog. She says that this colour is her all-time favourite as it reminds her of the beautiful little flowers that cheer up her baskets in the summer months and, depending on which other shades it is with, can change beautifully. For her entry she sent a peg wrapped with the yarn and a yarn ‘ladder’ with the exact shade put in between some of our existing blues/purples. She suggested the name, which is perfect.

Emerald

CYPRESS – Pantone 17-6319 TPX

There were a lot of greens. It could be a trend towards more leafy projects or maybe because the special DK range is lacking that shade (surely not!) Either way here is Eluned Valivand’s green silk scarf. Throughout its’ life Eluned was complimented upon it as ‘it went with so many things’. Now it has come to the end of its’ life as a scarf Eluned hopes that it can have new life as a yarn shade.

Pistachio

PISTACHIO – Pantone 13-0532 TPX

Tabatha Bamford chose Pistachio, which makes us think of ice cream mmm. She suggests that it goes well with Meadow and Khaki and we totally agree.

Duck Egg

DUCK EGG – Pantone 14-4807 TPX

We were spoilt for choice with multiple entries of Duck Egg blues, but this one was so beautifully executed that it easily made it onto the shortlist. Lorraine Currie sent us this beautiful painted frame filled with buttons, a hook and some fabric swatches hoping that ‘since I really love Stylecraft yarns I thought I would try to get you/us together’. A great idea Lorraine! When there were  multiple entries for one colour the judges chose the most creative submission.

Empire

KELLY GREEN – Pantone 16-6138 TPX

Another green but this time we have been sent a cutting from a fashion magazine from Anna Duc, Poland. Her description – ‘a deep and juicy green’ is on the nose and we would love the dress and the figure to wear it!

Mustard

MUSTARD – Pantone 14-0837 TPX

Vicki Lynch sent us a lovely mood board of Mustard, featuring shoes, buildings, electrical appliances and food. It really is a most overlooked colour that complements a lot of other colours – this could well be an essential building block colour that a stash should really not be without.

FushiaPurple

FUCHSIA/PURPLE – Pantone 18-2336 TPX

A simple photo of Kirsty L’s kitchen wall. ‘Not quite purple, not quite pink!’ she says. But nonetheless, a great shade. It took us a while to work out that that’s her pooch in the foreground.

Teal

EMPIRE – Pantone 17-4540 TPX

Maria Rojo has honoured us by sending a little bit of the intense turquoise that she has been keeping safe like ‘gold dust’ just in case one day she finds it again. The sample was given to her by a friend and she has no idea what the brand was but she does say that it reminds her of the intense colour of silk saris.

Boysenberry

BOYSENBERRY – Pantone 18-2527 TPX

Susan Brayshaw sent us embroidery thread for her entry in a fabulous shade of pink which really pops.

Grass Green

GRASS GREEN – Pantone 15-0545 TPX

The new watchword is ‘You cannot have too many greens’. This one sent to us by Emma Dunn is fresh and bright. The judges thought that this colour would be really useful in a rainbow blanket. Emma’s entry looks suspiciously like it might be a broken piece of a child’s toy – hopefully not missed too much and may soon be reincarnated as a new shade of Special DK.

That’s all 10. Now we can relax as our work is done. It’s over to you – please take a little time out from your crafts (sorry, it’s just not like us to say that, but this once we must) and vote on our facebook page for your favourite.

Fingers crossed it’s yours!

Special DK Colour Competition Update

We are totally overwhelmed by the response to our Special Colour competition with 350 entries received from all corners of the UK, with countries as far and wide as Australia, Spain, Germany, Holland and Canada amongst others.

There were so many fabulous entries, with many of you taking time to explain why you like a colour so much and presenting it in such a creative and beautiful way. Like our judges, Sarah Neal (editor of Lets Knit Magazine), Phil (TheTwistedYarn), Lucy (Attic24 blog), we really could spend hours sifting through them, getting lost in the descriptions, wondering at the found objects from leaves to, bottles of nail varnish and what look like parts of children’s toys!

A few of the many greens that were entered!

Among the more regular items sent to us were photos of cars, flowers, buildings, fabric scraps and many types of yarns. There were also hand painted tiles, test tubes of spices and even lichen – carefully sealed in a bag.

Tile Spices Lichen

The background stories were fascinating too, particularly one lady who looked with no luck for years to find a yarn that replicated the colours in earrings given to her by her father, she even tried to blend the shade herself from dyed wool. Unfortunately it didn’t work. She describes the colour beautifully ‘like water with petrol drops on the top, iridescence – colour changing’ and enclosed a selection of buttons to illustrate (the earrings were way too precious to send of course).

‘like water with petrol drops on the top, iridescence’

Another favourite was a card with a hand printed bird in a lovely shade of red – like ‘sunlight seen through closed eyelids’ – so descriptive and also described as ‘a yummy-orangey-corally-tomatoey red!’ – We know exactly what she means but not sure if that name would fit on a ball band!

Robin card
‘a yummy-orangey-corally-tomatoey red!’

We even received a lovely piece of machine embroidery with two colour suggestions – Leaf Green and Tangerine – our Stylecraft logo was included too, perfectly reproduced down to the little flower. Another green request (there were a lot of greens) which came with a lovely long letter explaining the colour she wanted was just the same as her baby’s bath towel but as she didn’t want to ruin it she wouldn’t make a clipping. Then she found the same shade was shown on a particular brand of nappies – again she thought it best not to send us a nappy! Luckily for us she found the perfect shade in some beads, ‘Minty Green’.

Machine embroidery
Our logo – even down to the little flower!
Beads
Minty green

There was inspiration everywhere such as orange post office stickers that reminded the entrant of a recent holiday to South Africa where the sunsets were amazing; a fridge magnet with the loveliest shade of duck egg blue and a few nail polishes and lipstick too.

Fridge magnet in a lovely duck egg blue.

All in all we have loved each and every single entry and are amazed by the creativity that they show, thank you all so much!

We will be revealing the ten finalists on 15th May both here, on Facebook and in the June edition of Let’s Knit magazine. It’s then over to you to vote for your favourite which will be added to the Stylecraft Special DK range. We have to warn you it’s going to be a hard choice – all ten shades are gorgeous.

THREE New Vintage Shades of Special DK

We are very excited to share with you the THREE new vintage inspired shades in Special DK! Did you spot them in our pictures on Facebook a few weeks ago?

They are Sage, Parma Violet and Storm Blue. Can you already picture what you are going to make with them?

These new shades will be available from April 6th from your local Stylecraft stockist.

10393150_421989864637839_6329576797508938296_n

 

We often have requests for new shades of blue and green to compliment our current collection and we hope that these deliver. These 3 new shades take our extensive range of Special DK up to 75 shades in total, there is literally a colour for every project, every knitter and every crocheter! We hope you enjoy our 3 newest colours as much as we are. If you have any WIP using any of our yarn, please feel free to send a picture to our Facebook page, you could even be featured in our Clever Crafters weekly update!