Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Newbie and the Knitter Knitalong

Have you heard about the fabulous knitalong hosted by Kristen of Kristenmakes and Sarah from Rhinestones and Telephones? I am so excited! It is for both complete beginners (like me!) and experienced knitters.

We will be knitting the Cadence pullover by Jordana Paige, which is free from Knitty.  I'm super excited to jump straight into knitting a pullover with Kristen and Sarah's help.  The knitalong will begin in September but will be a nice slow pace.  Kristen's already posted some amazingly helpful pieces of information about yarn on her blog.  I want to make the pullover in a lovely teal wool to go with my new pencil skirt (and maybe a cute peter pan collar or other type of blouse underneath?)

What's even better for me is that Kristen and I both live in Edinburgh! Whoohooo--super happy that I can pick her brain, get lots of help and of course go shopping for yarn together!  We did the latter this last weekend.  Being a complete newbie to knitting, it really helped to have someone in the store with me explaining the weights and difference between all the yarns.

One of our first stops was the yarn section of John Lewis.  The great thing about the store is that they have a section of the yarns already knit up so you can see the consistency of the yarn, feel it in a semi-worked up state and see the entire colourway.

One of the yarns that caught my eye was the Rowan 'silk twist'.  It comes in such pretty jewel tones colours.  Luckily, they had a sample patch knitted up and it was really luxurious to the touch!

It also came in a yummy teal colour! Hmmm...this is definitely in my top 5 potential yarns for this sewalong.  The only downside is that it is quite expensive.  Each ball costs about £7 and we need quite a few balls of this for the sweater (about 8).  EEP! That definitely adds up.  I'm keeping this one in mind but I'm going to keep looking for other wool yarn I love.

The next place we hit up during our shopping trip was K1 Yarns Knitting Boutique--an independent yarn shop in Edinburgh.  Shopping at an independent yarn store appeals to me more than a big chain store and K1 is really lovely.  The staff are very personable and they have classes and tutoring sessions at the store.  As an added bonus, they also have a very limited supply of really neat batik and wool fabrics!!

The owner of K1 makes a lot of her own patterns.  This jumper in the window is one example.  This is my second favourite yarn as well.  It's called scrumptious :)  Unfortunately, they didn't have it in teal in their store--but they had lots of other lovely colours.  I did end up finding the same yarn (scrumptious aran) in teal on a website called Fyberspates and it looks like it is almost the exact same price as the the twisted silk yarn. Hmmm...  I might still hold out for something cheaper??

I really love how the yarns are arranged at K1!  These are some of the lace yarns--so soft.

Are you doing the knitalong?  What are some of your favourite yarn shops/online retailers?


  1. I'm so excited you've decided to take the plunge and learn to knit! I'm also very impressed that you're tackling a sweater right off! I'm eager to see you your progress and hope you will enjoy knitting as much as you do sewing!

  2. How exciting! Your plans sound fabulous. I have worked with that silk twist wool. The colours are amazing, but may I ring an alarm bell? It's very poor at holding shape. You may find yourself with an expensive, baggy jumper after a few wears.

  3. I'm knitting along too! It will be my first knitted garment, so I'm v excited too! I'm also at the wool-buying phase - might go with the shetland wool Kirsten suggested in her "what wool" post. but what colour? that's the hardest of all! x

  4. I'm joining in too! And I'm also pretty much a complete newbie too! Alas, I am quite far from the lovely Kristen and will have to venture out to buy yarn on my own. (Unless I can convince my husband to tag along!)

  5. what a great way to get into knitting garments. It's always a bit daunting launching into your first one, so having someone to hold your hand is a great plus.

    Fyberspates make Scrumptious yarn, and it is utterly gorgeous. But as Karen warned you with the silk twist, you might want to rootle around on Ravelry and see how other's jumpers have held up with it. Using things like silk and bamboo can mean that your garments grow over the years, whether you do or not!

    I adore the arrangements of yarn at K1 - what a cool idea! There are lots fab independent dyers out there - The Yarn Yard (sold at The Yarn Cake in Glasgow as well as online), The Knitting Goddess and Old Maiden Aunt (also Scottish!) are three of my favourites. I'm about to spend my holiday teaching myself to knit properly (I'm a crocheter at heart!), so I'll look forward to seeing how everyone gets on with the knitalong!

  6. When I first discovered my local yarn 'boutique' I was surprised by how expensive yarn was (I had only ever bought cheap acrylic before). But when you think about the hours of entertainment you get out of it, its much cheaper than going to the cinema for the same amount of hours! Plus, you get a garment at the end of it! And of course, you get what you pay for, quality-wise.
    I'd recommend you join Ravelry (it's free!) as you can search their yarn database and see what other people think of a yarn. It's also great for finding online suppliers. I find prices differ quite a bit, so you can get a good deal from some places. I also find that some places seem to overcharge. So it's worth checking out Ravelry (lots of free patterns to get you started to!) :)
    Good luck learning to knit, I'm sure you'll be hooked in no time!
    Ashley x

  7. Why am I so excited that you are learning to knit? I am! YAY!!

    And p.s. I think we are deciding our anniversary trip next year is going to be to Scotland, and if so we will definitely come to Edinburgh. :) :)

  8. Real wool is expensive, but think of the labor it took to glean, spin and dye it! And of all the labor you'll happily spend knitting it up. Best solution is to ask for yarn for Christmas and birthday presents, lol. (Or gift certificates to your favorite yarn shop, so you can choose.) When I am especially pinched for cash, I thrift shop for woolen sweaters, ravel them, and use the yarn to knit up small items as busywork during staff meetings.

  9. You're lucky to have such a well-thought out yarn shop nearby! We have only 2, but I never seem to get to them. Have you tried I have several skeins of their yarn, which are all made of quality and luxury fibers, like wool, silk, etc. but are VERY affordable.

  10. Cute pullover! Now you have me thinking about joining the knitalong! I'm not entirely a newbie, but almost, and I've never done one. A knitalong, that is.

  11. I am so happy that you are going to explore knitting! It is such a wonderful hobby that compliments sewing so well. I won't be joining this knit along as I have far too many projects in the works and in queue - but I will you much success in this knit along. My favorite yarn shop is near my house and even has a lovely group of ladies that get together at the shop on Tuesday nights for some knitting - it is the best.

  12. I am thrilled you've joined the knitalong!! Lucky, lucky you to have been able to go shopping with lovely Kristen! Teal yarn sounds delicious - perfect for your fall palette. What marvellous yarn shops you have! :)

  13. Oooh exciting!

    And yes, knitting with beautiful yarns is expensive! I found out the hard way by knitting my first cardigan. After knitting many scarves to learn the basics and some variation of stiches (which was good!), I thought I was ready for my first simple cardigan in pretty Merino wool, because I got overexcited in the wool shop. That first cardigan is such a failed project and it came at a price. I can't find the courage to unravel it for a second time...

    After that I decided to learn about knitting and patterns with cheap acrylics. As I consider myself still a novice knitter (after 4 cardies and a jumper), there are many advantages to that. I don't have the experience yet to forsee if some patterns will work for me. For me now, it's all about getting experience on many levels carefree.

    Though I am on another real wool project now, a short 1930s jumper which doesn't require that much yarn. But I'm hestitant of knitting big lovely cardies in beautiful but very costly yarns.

  14. oeh, knitting! I think you're very brave for taking it own, never had the patience myself. Those yarns look delicious. I can certainly understand looking for a bargain. However, If you're going to spend 40+ hours constructing something, and hopefully wear it for years to come, it might be worth the +/- 57 pounds for the whole, depending on your financial situation. Time is pretty much the most valuable commodity we have, so if you can spare the money, why not try to make the most of the hours you're going to spend knitting by using your favorite yarn? When you break it down per hour of knitting, it's not that bad; less then two pound per hour. :). On the other hand; 57 pounds is quite a lot of money. It will be great to see what you're going to make.

  15. Get the good stuff. You're going to spend a lot of time with it, you need to love the way it looks, and the way it feels to work with! Remember, if you mess up, or just don't use the jumper that much, you can unravel it and use the yarn for something else. In my experience, beautiful materials also makes me less tempted to cheat and ignore mistakes, but maybe you don't need that kind of safeguard ;-). I prefer all wool for anything that needs to hold its shape (and because it's nice and springy to handle).

  16. I love going yarn shopping, we have a fabulous yarn shop here in Uppsala, with a fantastic personnel and an amazing collections of yarn. It´s so inspiring!

    I agree with the others, go "shopping" on Ravelry, find out what others are saying about the yarns, and opt for quality. With so much work that is required from making a whole jumper, it´s good to know that it will hold up for years to come!

    Good luck on the knit-along! :-)

  17. I would love to be part of it if I have time.
    I will download this pattern anyway...

  18. this is quite a good yarn website

    and this one sells 100% wool yarn straight from the mill so its not too expensive

    happy knitting:)

    Wendy x

  19. I think google ate my comment, but apologies if it appears twice!

    I am very tempted to join in this - it's a pretty pattern. Even though it'll mean buying more yarn and I came back from the shop with a bagful only on Saturday.

  20. I used to knit, when I had a bit more time on my hands, but I barely get time to sew these days... so I must not get distracted! How ever hard you try and distract me and show me all those wonderful pics of yarn Debi!!! I must admit I am also a bit offput by the price of yarn but I do agree with LinB with regs the work put into producing such gorgeous quality wools. Looking forward to seeing your fabulous creations x

  21. I want you to know that you've totally inspired me to hop on this knitalong! I'm a complete novice, but you've given me hope :)


I read each and every comment--thank you so much!

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