The end of an era – After the SALE

I have handed in notice to the landlord and he has a new tenant…..no going back now.

The shop will close on Saturday 12th of 12th 2020 sounded auspicious..well maybe not. I can honestly say I am not sad. I have enjoyed most of the last 7 and 3/4 years, the last two have been difficult I think I wore myself out. But I would do it again, hopefully having learnt a lot. Maybe I will.

The deciding factors are many —- footfall has not been good, when most of our customers travel to visit and they are locked down it was inevitable. Keeping doors open for good ventilation is one thing but I am now practically working outdoors even with my woolies on. I am too old for Hypothermia.

Mostly it’s time…..I don’t want to sell fashion yarns with the associated plastic and long distance travel. Natural and wool have always been my passion. It’s a local resource processed in the UK providing jobs and recycling wealth here. I would like to start stocking fabrics and shift focus to helping people make and wear sustainable me made wardrobes but maybe not just yet.

Hat kits available soon

The sale is on ….. there are offers on stock oddments, Adriafil yarns are 20% off, and just to try to convert you …. 20% off the purchase of any British yarn if you buy 500g of any one colour jumpers anyone??

I plan to continue with the blog posting about my ‘me made’ creations; sell the yarns as kits either here or an Etsy shop…the Facebook page will be open for enquires for yarns. And as soon as we are able to get the knit nighters back together for the Thursday craziness at a new venue………

Stay safe, stay warm, have the best festive season you can I wish us all a much Happier New Year

Carditwins and Horology…….

Skipping the ‘me made’ reprise for a moment I want to share my next project…… I have wanted to make a cardigan from Cambrian Mmountains Wool, in the pale smoke colour Cegin. I have a batch of 4 ply set aside for it but finding the project was the thing. It fits with several of the recent makes and as a neutral should work with a lot of other things too. I know the yarn having made quite a few bits with it. It is well behaved….. I just haven’t been inspired. I am also finishing 2 part started ones before I could commit to another…….

You may know I like the designs of Kate Davies and some recent ones have been really interesting. I like her precision and the details. The I-cord button holes on my Carbeth cardi, neat and tidy.. Orchle and Sleeve island are also on my list just because. Anyway ……..my friend Philippa a self confessed novice with a taste for trying to knit fantastic wants to make Horology… a recent pattern Kate designed for a new wool from Laxtons. Seek them out on the net …they spin many of the indi dyers yarn and most of the UK specialist ones like KDDs own, Cambrian etc.

Turns out I have volunteered to knit one too….Horology with twisted rib cables … so this morning I set too. I agreed because it is top down a style. I like top down because you make the bit that should fit you best first. The shoulder neck region of a raglan style jumper has to fit well to be comfortable and sit properly, as it carries the weight of the jumper. Top down allows you to fit this before you mess about with the rest. Great for doubtful amounts of yarn ….a few rows less at the bottom much easier to deal with than a missing shoulder shaping. All the above examples of my knitted home mades are top down.
There are snags with this style of jumper. I have adapted Heidi Kimmaire’s Peasy several times adapting the neck stitch count and heading off into the shaped beyond, with great success. The shaping just works for me especially if I add a bust dart increase after the front stitches are added to allow for my bustage. So picking the right size on a new pattern ……based on the sizing for the body I needed size 8 but I also wanted a higher neck. Kate Davies is petite I nearly tripped over her at Edinburgh, she is trim, she does not have bustage or my excess baggage. Having made Carbeth twice I know the fit of her patterns is very good but I don’t like the fashion for that low back neck. It is something solvable on bottom ups just knit more jumper but on top down it has to be solved first.

I solved it (after some extra maths) by casting on for a smaller size and working in extra rows increases until I got to the stitch count for my size…..placing the cable pattern centrally and making the cables start later to accommodate the extra rows..it looks OK but it’s taken me a long morning of effort to decode all those sizes. Be warned unpicking twisted rib is an challenge ….I’ll keep you posted…

Going a little Rusty……

It had been ages since I wrote regularly what with one thing and the other ….so for a new run of blogs I thought I would share my attempts at wardrobe curation (is that a word?).

winter 2019

nutmeg and poppyseed sock

Melby The Croft RedApple pattern Dec 2019

Movement
When we could

Ochre designer wool fabric from Yorkshire

Repeat Repeat

This all started a couple of years ago before COVID, I am not sure why but I thought I needed a capsule wardrobe. Probably after lugging a massive suitcase of clothes on holiday only to wear a few of them. That’s the joy of UKacations fill the car drive to holiday cottage empty the car.

Anyway …… after lots of ummming and scribbling, scouring my favourite fabric shops and ordering. Rummaging stock both shop and home. Frantic making and sewing. Some major sizing and pattern choice gaffs. I learnt —- it is too easy to get carried away with an idea, but also that what I thought I wanted to wear wasn’t what I do wear, and how many coats does anyone need unless they are the Queen?). And that Kate Davies sketches her designs ideas including how she will style them in the finished photo shoots!
This is the thing……… designs, sewing and knitting patterns, are usually styled to focus on the item not how you will wear it or how it fit with other things in your wardrobe! I know slow or what?

So I went though the wardrobe clear out….which is ongoing. Listed all the clothes I wear regularly, make regularly, fished out patterns that I like making and I wear because they look nice and are comfy. These tended to be black. I realised the lugging of suit cases was down to random scattergun approach to making and buying so that nothing actually worked together.

Just black
That is eight hangers of black trousers!
Black with grey or cream

Capsule wardrobes makes life easy so the websites say. Slow fashion me made …….So stick to a colour palette they say (this also stops you/me buying just because I like the colour/pattern/fabric/price….) only buy to replace or fill a gap they say…. I added only natural fabrics and set off again.

The palette started off black (because I didn’t want to replace everything at once, but who wants to buy any more black fabric?), charcoal grey (because blue greys wash me out), olive green and shades of (I am always in for a bit of Chartreuse), magenta (because it gets noticed) and copper/ ochre /rust …..because I was knitting a jumper in WYS The Croft Melby and socks in Nutmeg photos above. Then I found some Ochre printed wool in a real life shop and just had to have it …… from then on matching colour on the inter whatever is hopeless and I am quite good at it in real life but not being one for samples somethings ……well didn’t go to plan……….one shops ‘rust’, is another’s ‘burnt orange’ and another’s ‘ochre’ and the shopping carts got longer and longer. It’s still happening ….

Then came lockdown and, there wash a large stash of fabric and a few pots of dye (to ‘fix’ some fabric right, colour wrong choices). I have just gotten rustier and rustier ……….. wait til you see the next post….


Rust goes with every thing including chartreuse even though reproduction is varied! Even a Carbeth

The Future of Social Distancing 

Still crazy after all ….and still here

We will not be opening fully from 22 June 2020 my plan pre-pandemic was to take time out until the middle /end August for a rest…….. so on with the plan (laughs manically like a Bond villain)

We are and have been available by appointment – as I considered supplies essential to mental health. At RedAppleYarn we know you like to see and feel your yarn before buying. A visit to the shop is part of the choosing process.

We are currently offering yarns shop appointments on Fridays and Saturdays.

Please contact us to book an appointment or arrange yarn purchases,

By  Facebook messenger look for Redappleyarn

or Text message or phone call  07739131054 (The signal at home is a bit erratic please message if possible)

Email –redappleyarn@gmail.com

Stock is a bit limited in some areas so if you need anything specific please ask before you make an appointment.

Minimising Risk and Social distancing in the RedApple Shop

Please sanitise your hands before entering the shop Gloves will not be allowed unless they have been cleaned

Please only touch yarn you are interested in…. care will be taken with the samples you touch, wool in particular has self-sanitising properties, but I can’t isolate all stock

Face masks are optional – I have these and am happy to use them when you are in the shop but I can’t wear one all the time. The shop will close immediately if I am self-isolating or become unwell. The appointment system will allow us to trace you quickly and I will let you.

Please do not come in if you are ill.

We can accommodate small ‘bubble’ groups 2 or 3 people please let me know before your appointment.

Going forward

The shop is a big space and we intend to maximise the floor space to allow as many people in to browse as possible but in the short term appointments maybe our best option. I am currently rethinking what we sell and how we use the space – more UK produce and less plastic — dyes anyone?watch this space Mr Bond…..

Prize Draw December 2019

I will becontacting those I have telephone numbers for next week in the mean time if you are a very regular customer and I only have a name (Knit Nighters I’m talking to you) please call in for your prizes. Some of you do have a colour choice so be prepared……..

And the winners are:

Gwynedd Evans

Gloria Jones

Jane Langford

Emma Bird

Chris (Beginners Saturday)

Annette

Pat Rampton

Tess

GroMette

Sue Bird

Heulwen

Pat Lloyd Jones

Penny

Bet

Gwenda

Linda Herbert

Sandie Lamb

Baby Yarn Reveiws

Dk Baby Yarn this week samples as before done on 3.75mm needles and 3.5mm hook. A Sloppy knitter standard variation for me. These are a selection of the yarns suitable for babies — including a comparision of some merino DK which was interesting. Odd thing discovered with these baby yarns (except the stylecraft) say avoid tumble drying (a good thing for the planet but not new Mums?!) but they will wash in the machine!!

Here we go with Bo Peep from West Yorkshire Spinners……

The yarn is soft in the ball and the balls are a bit sloppy. It is 52% falkland wool, 48% nylon machine washable at 40, dry flat.  50g;112m; band tension 22stx 28 rows. £4.25 Softly spun with 3 plys. The high nylon content means the fabric feels vintage (like all the homemade baby garments I was given when my children were born), it has a nice spring and is substantial bulk to the knitting. The yarn knits easily with a bit of spring, breaking off is better with scissors! It crochets easily but the loose spin split a little if you don’t keep it tight. My crochet square is 9cm x 9cm.

 

Next Cotton Soft DK from King Cole,  100% cotton yarn is 100g, 210m and band gauge on 4mm is 22st x 28rows. machine wash at 40. Dry flat. £4.75 The ball is substantial and the yarn smooth soft with a slight aura and not tightly spun with 3 ply. This is light and soft to knit with as with most cotton there is no spring so the stretch in the knitting comes from your work.   I have 22st and 29 rows the fabric is flat with no garter to stocking stitch roll, on a crisp but soft fabric. My full sample is significantly longer than the others so watch out for patterns which tell you to work so many rows. The crochet fabric is crisp it was nice to crochet with no splitting and I have 9.5cm x 9.5cm. Both fabrics have a fluffy surface which could pill. Scissors needed.

Next Babino from Stylecraft 100% acrylic yarn with 5 plys and a tight spun look. Ball band details are : 100g , 268m 22st x 30 rows 4mm needles; machine wash at 30; cool tumble dry. £2.95 This yarn appriciated being ulled from the ball centre as the plies are softly spun it untwists slightly if worked the other way. The fabric is dense and smooth with strong bounce and stretch, it has good stitch definition. I have 22st and 29 rows for the 10cm square. This yarn feels like a smooth wool when you are working it. The yarn will break but stretches when you do so you get a shaggy tail. The crochet is 8.5cm x 8.5cm and thick with only a little spring. This yarn will split if you don’t keep tension on it.

Merino DK don’t imagine they are all the same, I found subtle differences working the samples one after another. All will snap to break easily. Starting with the discriptions!!

King Cole Luxury Merino superwash currently on offer £3. This says 100% merino superwash.Band info. 22st x 28rows;50g; 140m; Wash @40 dry flat. This is 4 loose spun plys in an rounded thread, soft to touch and smooth in a doughnut ball. Fabric is 24st x 31 rows ( so I could go down another size needle) the fabric is crisp, stretchy, and deep/dense. I liked working with this smooth stretchy yarn but it split with the sharp needle so go blunt and the ball goes a bit floppy. The crochet was 9cm x 9cm and has more diagonal stretch than across . Good stitch definition in both cases.

Yarn Stories Fine Merino DK  £5.75. This is 100% wool; 50g; 12m 22st x30 rows (4mm); machine wash at 30. This is a 4plys to the tread giving a soft bulky yarn n a doughnut ball. Knitting with the twist helped the ‘non split’  The thread is soft smooth and springs. It has more visible plies in the ball but not as much definition the the stitches ( no right and left side them) so a smoother fabric. My gauge was 23st x 30rows (could try a smaller needle but may be just need to be aware of st count or sizing whan choosing a pattern). The fabric has good stretch, depth and bounce. The crochet is 9cm x 9cm and firm not as much diagonal stretch.

Adriafil Primula is new to RedApple. Band details are 50g; 150m; 22stx30rows (4mm); machine wash at 30.  Doughnut again with a slightly skinnier thread, which is a tighter spin and 4plies, it is smooth and very springy. The samples knits and crochets well no splitting. I got 24st x 30 rows, the fabric is lighter than the other two not as dense and has a little more bounce back (This lightness is common with their other products). The Crochet is 8.5cm square with equal give diagonally and across. Both have good stitch definition.

Next week I’m going to tackle British 100% wool — I hope

 

yarn reviews

A new series of yarn samples and reviews of our yarn stock.

Since we opened we have always had samples of the yarns we sell made into garments or as samples worked up for customers to see and feel. It is important as all yarns look and feel very different after working and wool yarns do change after blocking. What something looks like in the ball is the kerb appeal is one thing but how it works should be what knitter want to know.

All yarn makers and designer emphasise tension/gauge and sampling yourself as an important part of making any design up as it was intended and getting the garment you want ie the one in the picture. What this series will do is compare the samples knitted by me on a standard set of needles and crocheted on the same hook differentiated for the yarn type. We will start with DK yarns as there are some new ones in. I am a very sloppy worker and usually find I need to knit DK on 3.75mm (old number 9) and crochet on 3.5mm hook. I will try to keep the reviews factual – describe the yarn, how it works and behaves while working, any noticeable features. The purpose is to give a description to help when choosing a suitable pattern/project for the yarns not to grade as good or bad.

I pull balls from centre.

Knit samples are on 3.75mm wood/bamboo needles one blunt and one sharp (this will help to advise for tool choice) . The pattern will be the same cast on 36st, K4 rows, then 37 rows stocking st, K5 rows cast of in K. I am writing that here so I can’t forget!! I will show them just knitted and after blocking and compare them with a ‘control’ see below. I record the gauge count I got for comparison between my samples.

Crochet samples are worked with a 3.5mm hook into a granny square. Starting with a magic loop cast on ring of 12st and 5 rounds total(including the ring). The stitch I use is  worked by wrapping the yarn over hook make a base loop into the hole in the work below ( 3 loops on hook) pull through all loops on hook ( I am describing it because I get confused by the names of crochet stitches!!).

This is the master sample above which is West Yorkshire Spinners (WYS) BFL DK in olive. Yarn comes in 50g traditional shaped balls with 112m, and their ball tension is 22st to 28rows to 10cmx10cm on 4mm. The yarn is wool spun and has 4 threads(4plies). It is smooth but has a wool medium aura, knits easily and it snaps easily with a hairy edge  when pulled to breaking.  My sample has 22 stitches and 28 rows to a 10cm x 10cm square. The crochet is square and 9cm. The fabric is quite dense when compressed between finger and thumb and is springy when pulled diagonally and across the knitting, it has a minimal woolly textured ( ie the stitch definition is slightly blurred) surface.  The photo shows unblocked samples. I will do a post later showing the changes once blocked.

I’ll start with some new yarns in the shop this week a crepe spun cotton polyester, a wool and cotton and a wool and hemp mixes from Adrialfil in Italy.  I like to stock UK produced yarns where I can but I have found it hard to find these particular types mixes are not available spun in the UK, except from indie dyers. Adriafil spin theri own yarns so have a similar business model to WYS.

Soleluna is 96% cotton 4% polyester, crepe like yarn. The ball is a soft doughnut with 1 band. The band details say 50g ball with 160m it knits on 4 or 4.5mm needles? 24st and 32 rows. Machine washable. £4/ball

I have 24st to 32 rows and a quite crisp, light, fabric which is thin, smooth and stretchy diagonal and width ways. This yarn knits like wool yarns in it feels elastic when you are working it. The stitches have crepe like texture and a bit of drape. The finished garment might not need blocking the sample is flat and feels finished now. The yarn give a very stretchy light cotton fabric unlike mercierised yarns which can be heavy and dense – good for a T or shell jumper, baby clothes or vests!! . The yarn does not break so keep scissors handy. The crochet is 9cm square, has a bit of give and would make some great wash cloths or lacy cardigan!! There was no snagging or splitting while working and I could work fast. The ball was intact and not to messy when I finished the samples.

Duo Comfort is a 52% merino 42% Egyptian cotton yarn. Again a doughnut. The band details are: 50g 120m, knits on 4 or 4.5mm needles 19st and 26 rows. Yarn is smooth and 10 plied with a chalky effect to the colours. Machine wash at 30.  £5.50/ball

The yarn snaps when pulled with a frayed edge and no stretch damage.  I have 22st and 27 rows, the fabric is crisp and smooth with diagonal stretch and width ways give. The fabric is flat and has good stitch definition. It had drape and substance. This would knit for me as a DK not an aran the fabric at the given gauge it will be loose, it might be good for a lacy design on 4.5mm needles.

The crochet is 9cm square and the fabric is a bit dense with not much give, it needs a bigger hook and an open lacey design would work best in crochet. It did split a bit when working due to tight work. It did pull back easily. This ball fell apart and needs managing!!!

WoCa is a 70% wool 30% hemp yarn eco yarn. the band details are: 50g  110m knits on 3.5 or 4mm 21 st and 28 rows to 10cm, The yarn is bi with white fibres it looks coarse with plant hair and fluffy white texture. It is a single ply yarn. £4.85/ball

I have 19 st and 29 rows and a soft plump fabric. It has a loose structure and hairy surface. The fabric stretches width and diagonally and has drape. It does feel soft and not scratchy which the visual suggests and has a pleasant rustic feel appears more substantial. Possible uses at this gauge: simple designs to show off the yarn the big casual jumper or cardigan, or a cowl hat. Will need smaller needles to get the suggested gauge and will give a denser possibly springier fabric.

The crochet is 10cm square – it is stretchy but firm. This yarn crocheted much more easily than expected for a single/roving spun yarn no splitting, and smoothly, it is not so easy to pull back due to the fibre aura. I could see this as a nice blanket of granny squares but any complicated patterns will get broken up in the strong colour mix/marl style. The yarn breaks when pulled and has a stretched tail. And the ball stays together well (the yarn nature it is gripy onto itself in the ball – which meant pulling out lengths as I worked the crochet, this may effect your tension when knitting).

Next time DK Baby yarns!!!

 

 

New What?

 

Well that went by fast ………..its spring and the daffys are outdscf6581

And its nearly three months on from this photo. 2018 was a bit like that keep going, keep going, oh look round and all change …..I started the year wanting to make more things for me. I was going to do things that completed outfits and I make things I liked in 2018  but other things happened and reflecting on the year I think its more what I learnt from all the 2018 chaos, than what I made – I learnt:

nothing and no-one lives forever; when you loose something it is OK to be sad, angry, frustrated just don’t take that out on others;

we expect too much perfection from everything especially other people; when people are over stretched they are not at their best; love people, who love you and spend time with them;

take time to evict the “stuff” that is not longer ‘useful or beautiful’ from your life and when you do don’t feel guilty; reducing the amount of “stuff ” you have helps you focus on life and what you really want /need to knit/make;

These are the last few makes recently completed.. and strangely I kept making through the storms of life its become an anchor in the chaos!!

 

Sock On…..

What with one thing and another I seem to have left blogging for quite a while….. Life largely getting in they way and a computer gremlin who refused to speak to my camera until yesterday. I had given up hope of reconciliation and was browsing for ipads!!

I didn’t manage my seven sock challenge at Christmas, I completed 3 pairs but there are still 2 odd socks in the bag without a pair. In February we had an order from Italy it brought some lovely dark coloured sock yarns in 50g balls, and luxury 4ply alpaca and merinos.

 

The idea of the sock yarns was that you can pick two colours and get two-tone socks from 100g (at £4 a ball for the usual nylon, wool mix they are a good price). However the blurb says you can make a pair from a 50g ball!  Challenge accepted…..

At this point there was to have been a lovely series of work in progression photos of said socks… ( technology has still thwarted that or rather my laptop has….)

the socks were duly knit on No12 (2.75mm) with a pattern I have used before 73st cast on. As you might know I knit socks on straights and as such I was able to knit two at the same time (I know some people can do this with knitting in the round I have never mastered the fiddlely process myself). Side by side also helps as the pattern I use knits a left and right sock, so I always know where I am….. (And just to note there is no seam to feel on these socks, if you remember to slip the 1st stitch of each row …..honest!!!)

Anyway the said socks did not come from one ball and unless you are a child or a small footed booby  … you will still need the 100g. I got from 50g all the way to and inch from the toe shaping so mine will look OK but they would be better if I had knit plain heel toe and gusset and toes as well. But experiment will inform and a new pair of socks to add to the tally!!!

If you want to learn sock making we have a class 10th April with places – sock structure ( we knit flat to start with), skills for socks – short rows, toes shaping,  (slip-stitch seams) and knitting in the round. Leave a message in Facebook or call the shop.

 

Seven Socks for Christmas

As this will be my last post before the holiday and probably the New Year let me wish you all Seasonal joy and a Peaceful New Year.

This year Christmas is a low-key affair I am not making presents or indeed giving any (I don’t want others to spend their hard-earned money on me). I have made blankets for my grandsons because I can’t always be there to hug them but a blanket says I would if I could.

Remembering last years Christmas misery of flu when I discovered the joy of straight knitting socks and with New Year round the corner I investigated my sock knitting bag. I am wearing more handmade socks now I have some lovely new shoes to wear them with (thicker socks need wider shoes).

I probably need to complete the pair for the 3 odd socks in it. There are several idea yarns – some donated or scrounged from the lovely Mr Wrack at Triskelion Yarn .

I have just finished a couple of big projects (I will try to complete a year round-up of knitting sometime in the holidays) and have no real idea what to do. There were a couple of unfinished pairs lying around the shop too. So my mission this season is to complete as many pairs of socks as possible. Sock knitting is easily transportable and not too intrusive.  I think seven (socks not pairs) is a reasonable number to attempt and those tiny ones do up in no time.DSCF6581

 

I can recommend a piece by Kate Davies  on gauge, for a quick Christmas read.  I love it that although the yarn is the same all of the designers in her new book have different gauge ideas about the fabric they want to produce. Why everyone is so surprised that we all knit differently and our tension is variable? — we are not machines and do not have settings!!

I fully agree with her on swatching especially if you are inexperienced – knitter know thyself . I am sloppy and need to come down to 3.75mm or even 3.25mm needles for a DK yarn to be around 22st to 4″ and my tension goes haywire if I knit in the round and when I knit colour-work so for hats I plan to make several or stick to patterns or stitch numbers that work for me. Take responsibility for your work, and at least check part way.  That said, only way to really check a hat (or a sock) fits is to try it on and wear it ……

Now where is my notebook …  what did I cast on for those socks and which needles did I use? Ho Ho Ho Nadolig Llawen