Tuesday, 10 July 2012

I can be such a knitwitt at times

I have realized that one important part of our work at Fabric8 has been neglected on this blog. Knitting!. I don't knit, it's a sad fact. I did have a go at making a Tom Baker Doctor Who Scarf, but my girlfriend had to rescue it. I was lamenting this fact to the Manager of the Colchester branch, Tina. She kindly offered to share some of her knowledge and insights into the world of knitting with me. I am going to start  crocheting next week though. So I shall now hand you over to the most knowledgeable, Tina.

What yarn to use.

Many patterns specify a particular yarn. This is to increase that company's sales. However as long as you use the correct weight of yarn the project will turn out as required. Different yarns have different qualities that may determine what the finished look is going to be. 

Acrylic. This is cheap alternative. I personally would only use a basic acrylic for either young children's clothes as it is not advisable to give them someting with a high wool content due to the fibre lose that might
cause choking or for toys. The drawback of acrylic is once it is washed it is unlikely to retain its former state.

Wool/Acrylic mix. The addition of a little bit of wool prevents the stretching often seen in pure acrylic options. The last time I used this was on a new aran jumper for me.

High content wool mixes and pure wools. Debbie Bliss and other companies (mainly upper end of the knitting market) select these type of yarns). If looked after these can be worn as new (or nearly new) for over a decade. One such garment I knitting for my then fiance (now husband) is as new after 18 years. The high wool content allows the garment to retain its original shape after careful washing.

Silk/ Bamboo yarns Silk has this wonderful sheen that is unmistakable. it is lovely to work
with. Examples of Silk yarns currently availavle is called Grace by Designer yarns (it is the Louisa Harding branding) If you don't  like silk then try  Bamboo yarn such as Sirdar's Baby Bamboo or Debbie Bliss Prima ranges. A note of caution, if you are allergic to wool check the band on the Bamboo ranges
for wool content. There is one available without the addition of wool but only available to order.

Cotton/ Mercerized cotton for cool summer garments. Mercerized cotton have a slight sheen to them and a slight elasticity which will help hold the garment's shape. Currently working with this yarn on a cardigan. Yarn is by Rico called essentials cotton DK. this particular yarn is going a long way so more economically
than at first glance (£2.95/ 50g ball)

Chenille this gives a garment a velvety luxurious look to it. It is more difficult to achieve a steady tension so would only recommend for those knitters with a bit of experience.

So there you have it, a basic crash course in Wool, or Yarns. Later this week we will show you one or two useful tools to make knitting easier. With the weather being very bad and the feeling of winter months not being far  away it may be time to take up a hobby you can do whilst chatting or watching TV. The warm fuzzy socks or stylish tops and hats being  a fringe benefit to the joy of creating something while relaxing. 

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