Friday, 28 February 2014

Wrap and Turn Tutorial

Last week I was more than a little bit excited at the prospect of the Du Prem Alpaca Boys coming to the shop to do a yarn tasting event for us. This week, I am even more excited as I have been knitting and designing with their gorgeous alpaca yarn.
I thought that it would be a good idea to have a small item to knit in this beautiful yarn in order to try it out on the day of the event and have something pretty to take home too. So I decided on a corsage which doesn't take much time to actually knit, but is also fairly interesting in terms of one of the techniques used to shape the flower.
Wrap and turn is absolutely my favourite way to shape knitted fabric and a technique that is invaluable for making the specific shapes needed in toy making. I thought I would share a photo tutorial here so that you can get your 'want' skills up to scratch in time to create your own lovely corsage.

1. Knit to the point where you need to wrap and turn. The first stitch on the left needle will be wrapped.
2. Slip the first stitch on the left needle purlwise to the right needle.
3. Bring the yarn to the front of your work, between the needles. The stitch now has a 'wrap' of yarn around it.
 4. Slip the stitch back to the left hand needle.
 5. The stitch is now on the left needle.
 6. Turn the work around to work back along the knitting (you can now see the wrapped stitch on the right hand needle).
7. By working the short rows on this flower you can see the 'wedge' shape created with more rows on one end that the other. When you make the flower up, the narrower end forms the centre of the flower.
Don't forget to book your place at this exciting event by emailing or calling the shop on 01908 586244. Choose from a morning or afternoon session on Saturday 8th March - look forward to seeing you there!

Friday, 21 February 2014

Look who's coming to The Knitting Hut!

About 18 months ago two men wandered into The Knitting Hut and asked us if we could teach them to knit. 'Of course!' we said, little knowing that Daimen and Paul were at the beginning of a very exciting journey into the world of alpacas and knitting . . . with a French twist.
'Du Prem' (or The Alpaca Boys as we like to affectionately call them) will be moving their herd of beautiful alpacas over to France as soon as they are able. They are currently building a business that revolves around these gentle creatures, and for the past 18 months have been learning all the animal husbandry skills they will need, together with accruing a wealth of knowledge about fleeces and the fibre that is spun from it.
The boys were incredibly generous and have given me A HANK OF EVERY SHADE IN EVERY WEIGHT to play with . . . HEAVEN!! We are now working together to produce a range of easy to knit patterns that really showcase this beautiful yarn. I have to say that the feel of this alpaca is amazing - I am loving knitting with it and can't wait to show you what I've come up with so far!
I love the colour blends in the range - the colours are quite strong and not at all what you would normally expect from alpaca. The blends lend themselves perfectly to colourwork and each pattern I'm working on has a couple of variations to make the best use of the colours and texture of this exquisite yarn.
And it's not just me who can get my hands Du Prem alpaca yarn - you have the chance to knit with this luxurious yarn for yourself! We are hosting a Yarn Tasting event at The Knitting Hut on Saturday 8th March and everyone is welcome. All their fabulous yarn will be in store and you will have the opportunity to touch and knit with it - The Boys would love to know what you think. Oh, and if you're a spinner then you may even be lucky enough to pick up a prize-winning fleece!
We are still in the process of putting the finishing touches to the day, but if you would like to join us then call the shop or email to book your morning or afternoon slot. I have been reliably informed that there will be canapes and bucks fizz, so all in all a real treat of a day!

Friday, 14 February 2014

What a lovely day we had!

Beautiful flower and duck! arrangement from Jill
It was so lovely to see everyone at the shop knitting, chatting, swapping ideas and of course, munching on cake! All the duckies were ready for the birthday party on Saturday, together with forty eight cupcakes and there weren't many left by the end of the day.

The Hutty Ducky kits went down very well and quite a few people started knitting their ducks in the shop. The project is now on Ravelry so don't forget to link your ducky in so we have a whole pool full of ducks! The kits are limited to fifty and one lucky person who has purchased a kit will receive the next kit absolutely free. Don't forget to keep an eye out for the newsletter to find out if you are a winner.
Janice hooking her duck to discover her discount and the Party Duck himself!
If you didn't make it to the shop on Saturday then don't worry, we still have a few kits left for sale you can find them on the website here.
A very busy Hut

We were stunned by the fantabulous flower arrangement that Jill put together, complete with wool and even a duck! It is stunning and smells even better. Thank you also to the very generous Karen and Bekky, lovely friends who both bought me some gorgeous flowers. Karen got hers from The Flower Boutique on the High Street - they are lovely Karen! Bekky's are from Frosts and are such gorgeous colours. Every time I look at them it makes me smile and remember what a great day we had!
Gorgeous flowers from Bekky

Lovely bouquets from Karen and Jill

This week Heather and I are knee deep in yarn as we take sale yarns out of the shop and start putting the new Summer yarns on the shelves. I am feeling very excited to be having a change round but we have had to approach it with military precision to fit everything in! It's going to look gorgeous, can't wait!

The party people!

Friday, 7 February 2014

Party Cake

As it is the shop’s birthday tomorrow I thought I would do some baking today. I have been making this recipe for Click & Clack since I opened the shop and it always goes down well.

It is just a variation on the way my Mum taught me to make cakes - 1 egg to every 2oz of everything else - butter, caster sugar and self raising flour and a bit of milk if the mix ended up not gloopy enough. I always stick to this and flavour it different ways. I have taught my girls the recipe and now the two older ones (13 and 10) are confident bakers and much better at it than me!

I usually make Lemon Drizzle cake in a loaf tin using 3 eggs and it is a good one to bung in the oven after I have finished cooking the childrens' tea. By the time I am cutting it at Click & Clack it's usually still warm.

Today I have used 7 eggs (14oz of everything else) and got four dozen cupcakes out of that mix. I added the juice and zest of a lemon to the mix and of course, I had to check that it was lemony enough - yum yum!

The best bit is the 'drizzle'. I emptied the rest of the bag of sugar into the juicer with the juice of two lemons and then while the cakes were still hot I drizzled about a teaspoon of the mix over the top of each one. I also grated the zest of the lemon before juicing them and before drizzling I sprinkled each cake with the zest.

All done and cooling in less than an hour - that's my kind of baking! If you are coming along to The Knitting Hut Party tomorrow, try one and let me know what you think.

Did I say four dozen . . . ? Maybe a few less now!