Sunday, 30 November 2014

Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook by Felicity Ford

When I read about this book, I knew I was going to love it. I wanted my review to be not one of just reading and talking, I wanted to try and convey how I felt inspired when I read it. The Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook is the kind of book I would put in my suitcase and travel with, because I would spend hours mentally planning all the possible knitting. This book is in essence, translating something you love, or something that inspires you into your knitting, and its very effective in its method.

So before we start, I think its fair to say, that I approach most new projects with a good level of chaos. I say chaos because I don't really do things in a logical order, After all these years, I know that I have a good relationship with failure because I am confident that if I keep trying I will get there in the end even if it will take me years! Now you might be thinking at this point, 'what on earth is she on about, I thought this was a book review?' Well it is.. but I needed to give you some back ground about my process because I don't want my chaotic process to distract from the book!

I love books on making stuff way more than pretty much anything else in the world. I tend to read them, get inspired, have a go, mess up, go back, check what I did wrong now with a little more experience, try again, mess up again and so on; this is my creative process. This process can last pretty much years for me... I do it with cooking all the time, especially bread. I now know that the more mess ups I have the better because then I understand what's going on because I am motivated to get it right and learn on the way.

I normally get bored and skip steps, but with this Sourcebook, each section  was so much fun that I found I was motivated to do each little bit at a time. I have read other fair-isle books and I can say, they never ever motivated me to even get my pencils out let alone my needles... this was SO different!

So... back to the book! From the initial flick through I thought, 'oh yes, this is a book for me', Felicity's book has lots of fabulous pictures which brings alive Felicity's ideas and passion. It  has little tips and sections for helping your ideas. It also maps out a system, to help guide you through your creative process. I loved that each section on its own was a project in itself,  I couldn't wait to get started! It was like being a child again reading my mum's craft books in the summer holidays, planning my daily projects!

So here is what happened when I followed the book, in my own 'creative' way:


The first step was to choose something that I loved to translate into a design, which is the crux of the book. For me I love the shapes and colours of succulents, and this is my very favourite that I have grown:

I love the shapes in these plants, and I think if I kept messing about I could come up with something quite amazing for a design, but for now I wanted to keep it simple, so I started with  leaf, and sketched it out in pencil.

Next I looked at what colours I had that would work with the the system suggested, I decided on Scrumptious 4ply because it has a wide range of colours and its been used fairly successfully for fairisle before.

Next I chose my coloured pencils.. this really was a lot of fun too!

And went about colouring in the leaf shape to match my succulent leaves.

Next I had the idea to colour them in and cut them out rather than drawing them, then I could see better what they were going to look like in different positions:

By this point I was totally hooked, I was very pleased!

The next part of the journey was to check that the backgrounds worked well... this is where it started to get a bit more tricky, I wanted the background to be a gradient, but the colours I had weren't perfect. However, me being me, I carried on anyway- this is a good way to learn after all!

I wound up some little balls of Scrumptious and I cast on. After firstly messing up totally, and getting the colours the wrong way around I started again. After a few rows I realised I probably had too many colours in one row i.e more than 2. This wouldn't necessarily be such issue if it was a different yarn, or if my colourwork was better, but it wasn't and quite honestly looked urm... how shall we say? Like a dogs dinner?!? I promptly threw the knitting across the room and took a swig of gin tea. I realised, probably this wasn't the best yarn to start on, and secondly to keep it simple.

I was initially disappointed that I couldn't use the 4ply, but then I thought about choosing more colours and going through the process again, and I had forgotten in an instant my failed attempt, and started planning ALL THE YARNS! I decided that it could be awesome to dye my own colours for the swatches, perhaps using Nef 4ply or something from my hand dyeing days....

(You can see how I rarely ever get to the end of creative things... they almost always end up as the beginning of something new!!!)

Suffice to say.... this could go on for a very long time!!

I can honestly say this is one of the best and most inspirational knitting books I have had in a very long time, I will honestly treasure it, and I think you will to. Even if you have never done colourwork before, I absolutely urge you to have a go using this book, Perhaps, knit your loved one some mitts with something personal to you both in it. Or recreate your Nan's cake. Or a beautiful tin containing something special....

I am desperate now to capture things around me and turn them into knitting, all the things I love and this book has helped give me a way to do it, which was fun, exciting,It feels like everything I see around me, I just have to knit!

Go buy the book! It will be the best 18.99 you will spend this year, and its also a super duper thing to ask for on your Christmas wishlist. Let me warn you thought- don't look until boxing day or you won't get much cooking done!!

- Jeni x

Thursday, 27 November 2014


Right now things are looking pretty busy at Fyberspates HQ. Jeni is travelling down to London with precious new collection samples and goodies for the double trunkshow weekend and meanwhile we're looking ahead at Thanksgiving sales, the Vivacious Collection release and a fabulous KNIT ALONG.

We've teamed up with one of our retailers, Purlescence, to launch a Knitalong in the New Year that's going to encourage you to cast on and create your new favourite sweater. We're so excited! 

It's all going to start with a long held tradition for us: the Purlescence Christmas Open day. Each year, Jeni has joined Sarah and the team to enjoy some mince pies, knitting chatter and plenty of yarnie goodness. This year the event takes place on the 6th December 2014 and marks the beginning of a very special collaboration. 

Purlescence will be helping us host  the Vivacious Sweater KAL in which we will be helping you choose your favourite sweater from the collection, work out best fit and knit up a new wardrobe staple using Vivacious yarns. At the open day you will be able to try on samples, chat to Jeni and Sarah about fit and colour as well as order your yarn ready to cast on 1st January 2014. 

We are so excited to announce that there will be a grand prize for this knit along: win back a sweater's quantity of Fyberspates yarn! More details will follow in the near future such as where to enter your finished objects, the chatter and support you can find during the KAL and a super fun interactive competition on social media (with more prizes from Fyberspates!). The deadline for knitting will coincide with Unravel which is an annual event both Jeni and Sarah have always loved. 

We can't wait to see everyone on the 6th December 2014 at Purlescence and hope everyone will join us for the sweater KAL too. 

ppsssssttttt As we roll into a Thanksgiving weekend for our American friends, we're celebrating with a special sale- 20% off all single patterns using the code Fyberspates20 at checkout. Offers ends midnight GMT on Sunday 30th November 2014. 

Monday, 24 November 2014

Starsky and Hutch Tea Cosy.

Our limited edition kits just sold out!!!!

The Starsky and Hutch Tea Cosy is a cute, quick knit, inspired by the series ‘Starsky and Hutch’ and designed by Jeni, our creative director. This easy to follow pattern is worked in pieces so is good for beginners looking for a little challenge of new to them stitches. Worked up in chunky weight yarn, this is a fast one too!

The perfect gift for tea lovers, we've distributed kits with chunky white yarn and the pattern across the EU and UK for customers to work up for a tea lover this holidays or gift a keen knitter. This kit is limited edition to as we've already sold out at Fyberspates HQ so grab it from your local store quickly!

Available from:

Twist Yarns Suffolk
The Pincushion in Oswestry
Bridport Yarns

Wereldwol - Netherlands

pppssstttttt! Not in the UK or EU? Don't worry! The pattern can be found on Ravelry available for download right away.

Friday, 21 November 2014

iknit London

Last week we revealed that we're taking Fyberspates on the road to visit some of our retailers and let you get some exclusive sneak peeks of the soon to be released collection. Next up for our retailer focus is iknit London, a south London shop we've been fans of for years.

iknit is located in Lower Marsh, a shopping street at the South side of Waterloo Station, running from Waterloo Road to Westminster Bridge Road. There's lots of foodie action, vintage stores and fun places to explore in the area so it's making us doubly excited to go as it feels like a real destination for our weekend of knitty indulgence!

iknit is run by Gerard who describes iknit as a club, shop and sanctuary for knitters. Gerard's commitment to the community around knitting (and craft in general- Gerard is very multicraftual) means that the shop carries a licence so you can pop in and have a drink while you knit and there's all sorts of activities from knit groups to book groups and more.

The other thing that makes iknit fun is that it seems to regularly be in the news, hosting filming crew or similar! It's great to see knitters getting a chance in the spotlight and Gerard has really made the most of famous visitors too- autographs and press clippings are everywhere in this well stocked shop!

Inside the store you will find a range of yarns to suit all tastes, with well-known names nestled alongside one-off hand-dyed hanks from independent producers as well as iknit's own hand dyed range, I Knit or Dye. With a higher than average selection of yarns sourced from the British Isles alongside a number of more exotic fibres from overseas there's something to suit all tastes too. We've always found the notions and needles selection plus the library of inspiring books to be one of the best we've come across so a visit is usually very enabling!

The trunkshow will be on Saturday 29 November so please do come and join Jeni and the iknit team for an exclusive first look at the soon to be released Vivacious Collection. You will be able to try on samples, preorder the book and generally have a fab time. You'll find more details on iknits blog here and don't forget to check in on Ravelry to let us know you're coming. 

Loving the idea of Vivacious goodies? You can win these skeins as part of a very special competition we're hosting over on Facebook. Go enter!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Wild and Woolly

It's a busy time of year as we run up to Christmas and the New Year and it's about to get really busy for Fyberspates as we're gearing up for a run of trunk shows with a special focus.... yes, there's a new Collection coming! To make sure everyone gets a taster of what to expect, we're taking part in a number of trunk shows where we'll be letting you get an exclusive first glimpse at the samples, try them on and preorder yarn and the Collection. Over the next few weeks we'll be sharing details of those retailers hosting us and stay tuned for more news on that Collection release!

One of the places hosting us will be Wild and Woolly, run and owned by Anna who only opened her doors a few months ago which is hard to believe when you look at this hive of activity. Wild and Woolly describe themselves as "a small wool shop in Hackney devoted to knitting supplies and support for seasoned knit-sters, nervous newbies, local craftisans and anyone else seeking new adventures with yarn." Everything about that description makes us smile and it really does sum up the joyful feel of the Wild and Woolly shop- it's a real treasure trove of delights.

Wild and Woolly display

Wild and Woolly is located on Lower Clapton Road in Hackney and stocks Vivacious, our 100% Superwash high twist Merino base in 4ply and DK. Anna's shop is small but perfectly formed with a welcoming buzz and lots of inspiration. It's always a happy day in the office when we spot the pictures of Anna's window displays on Facebook!

Wild and Woolly Window Display
You can keep up to date with all of Wild and Woolly's latest news via Facebook and on their insightful blog. We're all looking forward to our tea party on 30th November 2014 at 4pm where we'll be sipping tea, sharing cake, knit chatter and enjoying all the good things that happen when your weekend is full of knitters and yarn for company. Want to join us? You can find all the details here

Excited about the Collection? Us too! Sign up to the newsletter for an exclusive first look and keep up to date with our special launch, trunkshows, Knit Along and discount codes. More news coming very soon!

Friday, 7 November 2014

'Yokes' by Kate Davies

Kate Davies designs have always inspired knitters and wool lovers and her much anticipated book 'Yokes' has been enjoying an enormous success already as Kate slowly reveals each pattern in the build up to the release. 

It is so exciting to finally be able to announce that Fyberspates will be distributing 'Yokes' by Kate Davies across Europe and the US! If you're a retailer wishing to stock this inspiring new Collection, now is the time to get in touch and join our mailing list as we will be sending out more details very soon!

In this exciting new book, writer and designer Kate Davies unravels the tale of one of the Twentieth Century’s most distinctive sweater styles - the circular yoke. From Shetland and Iceland to Canada and Sweden, Kate’s essays and conversations take you on a journey around the North Atlantic, exploring the yoke’s intriguing and often surprising regional narratives.

A garment with unexpected national and political resonances; an important marker of personal and cultural identity; a fashionable barometer of trends and technical transformations from the 1920s to today, yokes have connected the lives and livelihoods of many different women. In this book you’ll hear the voices of those women, from designers to artists, from knitters to entrepreneurs. You will read about Elizabeth Zimmermann’s seamless innovations, learn more of Kerstin Olsson’s knitterly aesthetics, and discover the fascinating influence of the Greenlandic nuilarmiut.

(c) Kate Davies Designs
The essays and conversations are accompanied by a collection of eleven signature yoke patterns. Featuring a wide range of design elements from colourwork and cables to beads and texture, Kate has created a yoke for every knitter. What's more, Kate has included Fyberspates yarns in her design work. Frost at Midnight features the yoke as jewellery with a yoke that is decorated with a stunning necklace of over a thousand glass beads. Worked up in Fyberspates luxurious silk and merino laceweight yarn 'Scrumptious Lace' in the Slate colourway, the garment is worked straight from hem to bust and the simple shape drapes beautifully from the yoke. Short rows shape the neckline, which scoops to frame the face and neck.

(c) Kate Davies Designs

So take up your needles, open up this book, and discover the story of the sweater that changed the shape of modern knitting. To find out your nearest retailer, please be sure to keep an eye on Facebook where we'll be featuring retailers stocking the Collection.