Christmas celebrations, and scary deadlines!

Knitting mags xmas mealWith Christmas fast approaching we’re been busy celebrating at The Knitter and Simply Knitting offices, while simultaneously working our (hand-knitted) socks off to get our current issues completed and over to the printing presses!

On Wednesday we had a lovely team lunch out at a local pub, with hearty winter dishes like game pie followed by bread and butter pudding or treacle tart with ice cream.

In the evening some of us tottered out in our high heels for our parent company Future Publishing’s lavish Christmas bash! We embraced the circus theme, watching incredible acrobat performances, acts by magicians, and saw a pair of strong men pick up one of our dinkier colleagues and chuck her around!

Clothes Show Live - what an extravaganza

Clothes Show Live, George Lamb

The Clothes Show Live at the NEC in Birmingham is surely one of the biggest events on the fashion calendar.  Yesterday was the last day of the show and I arrived at the same time as thousands of students intent on grabbing as many bargains and goodie bags as they could.

Brands like PunkyFish, SuperDry, TiGi and Benefit had queues around their stands and we were in the brand new Sknitch area, teaching people to knit.

Debora Bradley from Simply Knitting and I started off our day by judging the Clothes Show Young Knitter and Knitwear Designer of the Year.  This was an incredibly tough decision to make with lots of debate backstage.

Five things knitters don't want for Christmas

A recent discussion in the British Knitters group on Ravelry (Ten Worst Christmas Gifts) set me thinking about things that I don't want for Christmas.  A quick poll in the office revealed our top five.

Knitting celebrated with Wallace and Gromit and The Royal Mail’s festive postage stamps

Gromit's lovely bone jumperThe Royal Mail has drawn our attention to one of Britain’s finest knitwear designers: Aardman Animation’s Wallace!

The ingenious inventor is well known for his creations such as the Techno Trousers in The Wrong Trousers (1993) and the bunny sucking device in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005). But despite having spotted Gromit knitting in a couple of the animations, and admiring Wallace's green knitted tank top, it never occurred to us that his creativity included knitwear design!

It turns out that Wallace either has a secret passion for knitting, or simply outstanding taste, as a set of newly released festive stamps featuring Wallace and Gromit reveals.

Lily France brings a Wray of light to The Knitter

2010-11-wray-2-150x150.jpgWhen you picked up The Knitter Issue 25 I hope you would have noticed the extra special pattern, a top-down cardigan called Wray created by Lily France, who turned thirteen at the beginning of November.

I have just finished knitting Wray in some gorgeous Malabrigo Lace and it was one of the most beautifully elegant patterns  I have knitted in a long time.

It’s not just me who is raving about Lily, either.  Our friends at Mason Dixon love her work too, and we know they have impeccable taste!

Well done Lily.

Green Hats Galore!

As ever, life at The Knitter HQ has been busy!  We sent Issue 26 to press yesterday, so it’s a perfect opportunity to do some catching up before deadline looms large again.  I am absolutely delighted to have been invited to donate my blog post to help to celebrate p/hop’s 2nd Birthday. P/hop works on the principle that knitters donate money to MSF in exchange for patterns.

The idea being that you donate pennies for the hours of pleasure that the pattern gives to you.  It’s a fantastic cause and a great way to knit your way through the stash on these cold, dark winter evenings.  They’ve raised more than £20,000 in the two years since launch – a fantastic result!  You can see the full range of p/hop patterns here.

Stashbusting gift knitting

Scarf knittingIt's that time of year when I start to wonder if still have enough time to knit all the family Christmas presents I have been asked for. My mum wants socks, I have already finished a little something for hubby, one son wants a jumper and the other a hat with ear flaps.

While looking on Ravelry for inspiration I was drawn to Brooklyn Tweed's Noro striped scarf pattern. I am a huge fan of Noro yarns and as a result I have lots of part balls in my stash so I thought I would have a go at the scarf, mixing up the yarns and letting the colours emerge as I knitted.

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It was a really enthralling process, I just couldn't put it down.

Phewwwwweeeee!

It has been a really busy few weeks here at The Knitter – hence the lack of blogging from me.  We have now finished Issue 25, which is our first Special Edition, Christmas Gifts Issue (can you hear the trumpet fanfare that I’m imagining?).  We now have a nerve-wracking couple of weeks waiting for it to hit subscriber doormats, hoping feverishly that you will all like it.  

Wool Week Adventures

[caption id="attachment_1578" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Helen Turner coat for Rowan"]Helen Turner coat for Rowan[/caption]

This week we are celebrating Wool Week, a Campaign for Wool initiative to promote this noble fibre.  Not that I have anything against cotton, alpaca, silk etc but give me some 4ply Shetland and a Fair Isle pattern and I am a happy girl.

On Monday night I was lucky enough to be invited to a reception at Selfridges with more fashionistas than you can imagine.

Ally Pally update

[caption id="attachment_1450" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Jane Crowfoot at the Ally Pally"]2010-10-jane-crowfoot-150x150.jpg[/caption]

I am lucky enough to visit lots of knitting and craft shows throughout the year, but nothing quite compares to the scale and sheer energy of The Knitting and Stitching show at Alexander Palace (Ally Pally) in North London. Maybe it’s because I grew up nearby and could see it from my bedroom.

We arrived early yesterday to quickly whizz round the show to spot the highlights for you.  We only had about half an hour because as soon as the doors opened lots of the stands were 3 deep with excited knitters.