Sunday, 31 August 2014

The Big Kahuna, or Why you should knit for Refuge

There have been several mentions over the past few months about ways to maximise the funds we have to donate to our charity partner Refuge at the end of the GLYC 2014. You may have noticed some (hopefully) enticing references to a raffle, or been intrigued by the hint of a big prize that will be handed out at the after-party.

It's also entirely possible that all of this is news, so let us take this opportunity to clear up any questions. Last year's after-party was awash with door prizes that we had a blast handing out, thanks to the incredible generosity of our many sponsors. This year they have stepped up to the plate yet again, and there is an embarrassing pile of loot piling up in Rachel's studio that is coming the way of all Yarn Crawlers. Some of it is goodies for the goody bags, but there's also a large collection of bits and bobs for door prizes and the Grand Prize to End All Door Prizes: the Raffle Basket.

We are still finalising what will actually be in this gift basket, but we can share a few details with you as to what will be included:

1) Yarn
2) A ChiaoGoo DPNs set
3) Multiple books from various sponsors
4) More yarn
5) A pattern or two
6) Items as yet to be identified

All in all, it's going to be a grand towering pile of woolly, yarny, knitterly/crocheterly love for one lucky winner.

The next big question is, of course, how do I get my grabby little hands on this Basket of Joy? The answer is simple: by entering the raffle.

You can get raffle tickets in one of two ways.

1) Buy them at the after party, where they will be available at £1 per ticket (or 6 tickets for £5).
2) Bring a knitted item for Refuge and exchange each item for three raffle tickets at the after party.

When we contacted Refuge asking if there was a need for any hand knit items for their shelters, they were very enthusiastic, and requested any of the following:
  • Any type of warm accessories, in a wide range of sizes (baby to adult)
  • mittens and hats for babies and tots
  • hats and scarves for older children
  • scarf and hat sets for the women
In order to help get your inspiration flowing, we've done a bit of a search on Ravelry to find some  suitable free patterns. What about Barley from GLYC sponsor Tin Can Knits? Make matching hats for Mum and baby, all from the same pattern.

Or the Star-Crossed Slouchy beret by Natalie Larson, with its lovely soft cables.

Here's a really cute hat and scarf combo from Drops design, sized from 3-12 years. 

Or this hat/scarf/mitten set for babies and toddlers, also from Drops.

What about older kids? Aviator by Wei S. Leong is a super cool hat with scarf extension all in one. 

And Duet by Linda Wilgus is a hat that can morph into a scarf/cowl and back again.

Per usual, the Ravelry advanced pattern search makes it super easy to find free patterns. And if you search for hat AND scarf, or hat AND mittens, you find all sorts of patterns that include both.

So pull out those needles and hooks, and get going! If you need yarn, let us know! We've got some yarn available for this project, so shoot us an email to greatlondonyarncrawl AT gmail DOT com, or PM stitchalli or porpoise on Ravelry, and we'll get you some supplies. 

Remember, every item you bring for Refuge will get you a three free raffle ticket, and provide warmth to people going through difficult times this winter and beyond. Thanks, and we'll see you soon!

Friday, 29 August 2014

GLYC Sponsor: Tin Can Knits

Emily Wessel and Alexa Ludeman are the dynamic duo behind Tin Can Knits, a trans-Atlantic design partnership. Based in Edinburgh and Vancouver respectively, Emily and Alexa are known for fun and wearable designs, that cover a broad range from blankets to accessories to sweaters. 

We particularly like the fact that their sweater patterns are typically sized from newborn to 4XL, which is typically a range in finished chest measurements of up to 40 inches/102 cm!!! They've also got a wealth of tutorials on their website, as a number of free patterns, if you'd like to give their designs a try.

It's been a busy time in the TCK family this summer, with both partners having new babies join their family line up - congratulations to all! You'd think that might slow them down a bit, but they've got a new book coming out this autumn, and a brand new pattern for a colorwork sweater coming out any day now! To help support the GLYC, Tin Can Knits are contributing download codes for the new sweater for the goody bags, and a couple copies of their new book for door prizes*.

You can find Tin Can Knits on their website, on their Ravelry group and designer page, and on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and Pinterest. Thanks again to Alexa and Emily for their support, and enjoy those new baby snuggles!

* As long as it's in print by then, otherwise we'll have another book for you.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

GLYC Sponsor: SweetGeorgia Yarns

We've got lots of posts to get write before this year's Yarn Crawl is here and happily for today's post, we can say that SweetGeorgia Yarns is back as a sponsor again this year.

If you've seen the bright, pink SweetGeorgia banner at either Unravel or Unwind Brighton this year, you know that it means that's where you can find the bold, passionate colour of this beautiful, hand-dyed yarn from Vancouver, Canada. They've been busy this year promoting their UK stockists and making sure folks know they can get their yarns here in the UK.

One of the newest SweetGeorgia colours - Sapphire - was used for the Rhaeadr shawl in the latest Knitty.

The colours that Felicia Lo and her team develop and dye are heavily saturated, gorgeous pops of big colour. Their semi-solids are their most popular, and shimmer with subtle shifts of colour that keep the eyes interest on your knits! Not that the variegated colours aren't gorgeous too - we love them all!

Baya by Mindy Wilkes is a stunning shawl!

The playful, two-tone Baya shawl designed by Mindy Wilkes on the cover of Pom Pom Quarterly's summer issue uses two skeins of SweetGeorgia fabulousness. Felicia put together some terrific colour combinations of the Baya shawl as kits for Unwind Brighton and we were lucky to snag one for our GLYC door prizes before they were all gone! The kit features a skein of Tough Love Sock in Ultraviolet, with the contrast lace a skein of CashSilk Lace in Wisteria that feels like a little cloud. It's going to make a gorgeous shawl - or whatever the lucky winner wants to knit with it!

If the lucky winner doesn't already have the spring issue of Pom Pom to make the shawl, those nice PPQ gals will make sure that they get a copy so they can knit this wonderful shawl!

And for extra good measure, the lovely SweetGeorgia team has also donated a skein of their soft and bouncy Superwash Worsted in Hush, that we'll be popping into the extra special gift basket to be raffled off at the after party. Thank you SweetGeorgia and Felicia!

We'll have more details about the gift basket in a special blog post this weekend, and how you can get your tickets. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

GLYC Sponsor: Rock + Purl

We are thrilled that, even though the fabulous Ruth Garcia-Alcantud of rock+purl has abandoned the UK for the sunnier (maybe), more temperate (perhaps) climes of the Bay Area of California, she is still a staunch supporter of the GLYC. This year, she's providing a selection of her fantastic accessory patterns to go in the goody bags. Are you ready for a preview of her gorgeous designs?

First, there's the gloves, otherwise known as Butterfingers and Medianoche.



Then there's the glorious, gorgeous neckwear. Maybe you'll get Maighdean Mhara or Levante in your goody bag?
Maighdean Mhara


Personally, I'm torn between Lichen Mists and Rockpool as my pattern of choice...

Lichen Mists


...but that might just be because they're blue. As you can see, Ruth's designs are fresh, fun and wearable. And each pattern comes with a download code good until the end of November, so don't forget to grab your pdf files! You can see all of Ruth's other designs on her website or on her Ravelry designer page. You can also find her on her Ravelry groupTwitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

Thank you again Ruth for all your support of GLYC and Refuge. We're sorry you're going to miss it this year, but maybe you can do a special trip back next time?

Friday, 22 August 2014

New GLYC sponsor: Whimzy

Our newest mini skein sponsor has an illustrious sock yarn history. Originally founded by Socktopus (the mastermind behind Knit Nation), Whimzy has evolved under the keen eye of Ling.

Stocking a variety of yarns, including Sokkusu O and Sokkusu X, Ling dyes a wide range of gorgeous tonal semi-solids and variegated colorways. In addition to sock yarns, she also stocks some lovely BFL/silk and merino/silk lace weight, and a gorgeous DK weight roving style merino single.

Whimzy has very graciously donated mini skeins of their sock yarns, as well as three full skeins for door prizes at the after-party! They are also offering a 10% discount in the online store for two weeks from 20 September for GLYC participants.

From L to R: Sokkusu O in Cabaret, Twisted MN in Lavender Fields and Silkie M in Man of Rock.

You can find Whimzy on her website and her Ravelry group. Thank you Ling for your support, and everyone take a look for her gorgeous yarn snuggled into your goody bag in September!

PS - Thanks to all of you for selling out the event a month ahead of time. We are thrilled, and can't wait to see you all in four weeks!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

GLYC Sponsor: Max's World

We are very happy to highlight another returning sponsor from last year's GLYC: say welcome back to Max's World.

This is the home of Max Alexander, a jewellery designer with a special appeal for knitters. She loves knitting, and in 2009, began designing items for knitters so she could wear something wooly even in the depths of summer.

In addition to jewellery, Max also makes knitted sculptures and knitimations (knitting stop motion animation, of course!).  On her website, you can find jewellery for knittersknitting patternsknitted sculpture & animations. Shop for crafty earrings, crochet brooches, nautical knot necklaces & other unique gifts handmade with wool, yarn and miniature knitting needles.

This year, Max is contributing a gorgeous nautical inspired necklace,

and some fab knitterly earrings for door prizes.

In addition to her website, you can find Max on Twitter and Facebook. Be sure to check out her fabulous and whimsical designs, and come to the GLYC 2014 Pom Pom Quarterly after-party for a chance to win your own piece. Thank you Max!

Friday, 15 August 2014

GLYC Sponsor: Countess Ablaze

Last year, we were thrilled to have Countess Ablaze as one of our door prize sponsors. Lyndsey is back again this year, and this time around she's done mini skeins for the goody bags. They arrived yesterday, and are so gorgeous as to perhaps necessitate a future intervention at Rachel's house in order to liberate them for all of you.

Countess Ablaze specializes in gloriously bold and saturated colours. This year, she's been running a year long monthly themed update called The Twelve Caesars Collection, which includes one-of-a-kind yarns (and fibres - swoon!) that are snapped up in the blink of an eye.

Next year, she's got plans for another year long collection, so stay tuned to her website for more information.

In addition to luxury yarns, Countess Ablaze also dyes British breed yarns, including North Ronaldsay, Hebridean and a gorgeous BFL/massam blend. The mini skeins that she sent cover a variety of her bases, including The Rt, Hounourable Ronaldsay, Tia Merino, Lady Persephone Sock, The Bluefaced Baron and The English Gentleman.

Sadly, Countess Ablaze doesn't exhibit at shows, but she does hold open studio days - her next scheduled open day in September is all booked up, but there will be more in the future.

You can find Countess Ablaze on her website, her Ravelry group, and on Facebook. Thank you so much to Lyndsey for her continued support, and look forward to finding some of her fabulous yarn in your goody bag in September!

Friday, 8 August 2014

New sponsor Artesano

We're thrilled to highlight our newest sponsor for GLYC 2014 - give a big welcome to Artesano.

Artesano is a relative newcomer to the UK yarn scene. They have a fantastic selection of yarns, covering the range from lace to aran and upwards. Their yarns include 100% alpaca, alpaca/silk and alpaca/wool blends, and 100% wool (including merino). We're particularly fond of their Superwash Merino DK weight for kids gear.

Their colours are lovely, and they've now introduced a glorious tweedy DK blend called Nebula, that includes alpaca, merino and Donegal. They've also got great pattern support. with a wide variety of choices for all of their yarns.

In addition to having their own yarn, Artesano is a distributor for Manos del Uruguay yarns, Brittany needles and crochet hooks, and KA Needles. You can find more information about their yarns and products on their Ravelry group, their Facebook page, and on Twitter.

For GLYC 2014, they've sent along a selection of mini skeins and fibre samples, so keep an eye in your goody bags for some of their gorgeous contributions. Thanks very much to Artesano for their support of GLYC 2014, and we're so glad to have them on board!

Friday, 1 August 2014

Shop profile: Knit with Attitude

One of the favourite shops from last year's GLYC was Knit with Attitude, on Stoke Newington High Street. They're back with us again this year, and there have been a number of changes at the shop over the last year. Owner Maya has updated her shop profile to highlight the new facets to this great shop, such as an expanded product range, including adding Wool and the Gang, and Soak (another GLYC sponsor).

How would you describe your shop's atmosphere in three words?
Welcoming, inspiring and colourful.

What makes you different from other yarn stores?
Knit With Attitude specialise in yarns and accessories that are ethical and eco-friendly. Since the first Great London Yarn Crawl we have gone through some major changes. The shop has been rebuilt making room for lots and lots of new brands and fibre qualities. Many of our brands are specifically linked to projects that are empowering poor communities helping them gain financial independency. This autumn we are extra excited about introducing Rowan yarns in the shop, for instance the Rowan Fine Art range is ethically and sustainably produced in South Africa directly supporting the local community where the yarn is made. 

What is the most popular type of yarn or product that you carry?
This changes a lot over the seasons.  In the winter super chunky 'un-spun' Tjokt from Finland, aran organic Wool and Alpaca from Viking of Norway, and Merino knitting kits from London based Stitch & Story do very well. 

In the summer knitters seem to be more experimental with fibres and colours. Linen Silk from British company Artesano, Shiny Happy Cotton from local Wool and the Gang, Kibou from Japanese Noro and Hokkaido Raw Silk from Danish Designette are all very popular this summer.

What expertise or classes do you offer to your customers?
We arrange Master Classes, talks and workshops, however our One-to-one sessions remain the most popular as these can be customised to each person's individual needs. And then of course there is our Knit Night, a social gathering the third Thursday every month. There is a lot of joy in knitting and we try to make sure that everyone who visits us discover that. Knit with attitude aims to close the gap between generations and hope to offer a contemporary, inspiring, and welcoming experience when visiting our shop. We believe in building long term customer relationships and truly enjoy being part of our customers’ creative journey offering guidance and encouragement along the way. We are very excited about this year's Yarn Crawl and can't wait to meet you all on the day.

What is notable about your part of town/your location?
Stoke Newington, Hackney, is known for being a village within London and has its very own sense of community. If you're looking for the usual high street shops and major chains you won't find them here. The area is filled with small independent shops, cafes and restaurants. We have the local Fish Monger, the local Book Store, and of course the local Yarn Shop! Those living in Stokey are very proud of the area and put a lot of effort into maintaining it's uniqueness.