Sunspun Fine Yarns

New Tricks

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If you’ve been knitting a while, there is no question that you’ll have your armoury of favourite techniques to draw on, whether it be for casting on, knitting in the round, working short rows or making jogless stripes. Case in point: while working on the sleeves for Helga Isager’s Siberia Anorak, I realised there was no way I could knit the sleeves on double-pointed needles – not with mohair and 4.5 mm needles – and produce a neat finish. (I tried. I failed. Again and again.)

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So, after more than three decades of knitting, I finally learnt how to magic-loop. And I am equally gobsmacked and embarrassed that it took me so long to do so, because the technique was (i) so easy, (ii) faster than using double-points and (iii) produced such an elegant result. This was not through a lack of curiosity or a resistance to learning new techniques, but more an irrational devotion to double-pointed needles (I’m old school that way). Nonetheless, the exercise did leave me wondering how much use I’ll get out of them in future, since inevitably new techniques become my default method – or at least until something else proves its worth.

Which led me to wonder: do we refresh or reboot our skills enough? Often workarounds can be found (in the case of those sleeves, aggressive blocking), but the thrill of knowing more than one way to do something is inherently satisfying. Is there a technique or a particular kind of knitting – lace, shawls, socks – you’ve always veered away from? Let us know in the comments!

While there are books and websites galore that can show you a specific technique, little beats the face-to-face interaction and hands-on application of a class, with someone to demonstrate and explain why doing something in a particular way produces a certain result. Our class series are up and running again (see the tab above), and next week’s class (22 April) is, coincidentally, on tips and tricks, covering everything from yarn choice and substitution to swatching, troubleshooting and different methods for increasing and decreasing.

Another class on 6 May deals with finishing techniques, including selvedge stitches, grafting, bind-offs and blocking for a professional finish.

There are spots still available for those classes, so please call the shop to book your spot, and meet up with like-minded crafters for a night of learning, inspiration and new friends.

In store news, Noro’s Silk Garden Solo is in stock. This silk, mohair and wool yarn is basically the incomparable Noro colours neat, without the signature striping. If you’ve never used this yarn before, do consider giving it a go. The sheen from the silk and the warmth and drape will yield long-lasting garments, accessories and blankets. We have all ten colours in-store.

SilkGardenSolo

AND STOP PRESS … our shipment of Cascade 220 is IN. Oh, the anticipation has been killing! One of the most popular and versatile yarns around, it comes in an incredible range of colours; it’s one of those workhorse yarns that thoroughly deserves its reputation. We’re starting with a range of 44 colours, including some stunning heathers. More about them next week — gotta unpack!

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