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FO Parade: Occitan

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FO Parade: Occitan

To celebrate the success of the collaboration kits, I’m going to make this month’s FO parade all about the first kit: Occitan. There’s some beautiful FO’s starting to appear on Ravelry so please do go and check them out here.
First up is Knitizanne‘s version of the Occitan shawl, knit with the Orion colourway. Knitizanne said she liked both the shaping and as well as the overall shape of this shawl because it goes beyond a semicircle so there’s a nice curve around the neck. She also loved this yarn and especially the colour, which she felt works beautifully with this pattern. It’s a stunning version of the shawl and it’s so pleasing to hear that she enjoyed the kit.This delicate and feminine version of the shawl was knit by Marielol using the tea smoked colourway. I love the contrast between the soft pink and flecks of this shawl compared to the striking blue of the last project. It’s amazing how the same yarn base (Posh Fingering) and pattern can produce such different outcomes for different knitters. It’s what keeps us all knitting I’m sure!CatReading was one of our test knitters for the shawl and I think you’ll agree that she did a stellar job working this up for us. Working the pattern in Silky Merino Fingering gives another idea for bases in this pattern to try out. The colourway used here is ‘Ripe Plum’ which is warm and very versatile. It’s always so exciting to see new test knits and Cat always does a lovely job with hers.Another ultra feminine version of the shawl has been completed by Lililana in the ‘Into Dust’ colourway. There is something about the way this picture is composed that really shows off the shawl and yarn combination. I absolutely love it!Sabinaknits completed an extra special version of the Occitan when she helped out with test knitting. This version is knit up with BFL Sock which gives a crisper, more defined stitch definition to the finished object. Using the Nutcracker colourway also makes it a stunning peice for Autumn and it’s so different once again from the other versions already shown.

Once again a huge thank you to all the knitters who let us share their fantastic work. Remember to share your wonderful TUT knits with the group so we can feature you too!

Hand dyed yarn and colourwork

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Hand dyed yarn and colourwork

The studio is brimming with activity with all the Play kits we have sold. With all this, it comes to mind that those of you who are new to working with hand dyed yarn may not know it’s always a good idea to wash the yarn beforehand to prevent bleeding. I know there’s a little note on our tags saying so, but it’s never a bad thing to have a reminder, is it? And this doesn’t apply just to our yarn, but any hand dyed yarn and even some commercial yarn too! If your project is worked in one colour, there’s no need to worry and you can go ahead and start knitting, but if there’s more than one, it’s better to be safe than sorry. At the very least, knit a little swatch with all your colours, let it soak in warm water and your usual detergent and see if there’s any bleeding.

OK, so you are ready to take the plunge and start rinsing your skeins, but how to do this, you may ask?! Well, read on.

Start by unwinding your skein and having a look at it. By and large, all our yarn will come to you with two very loose ties. Because the ties are so loose I’d recommend adding another 1-2 ties before you start washing your yarn, otherwise you may end up with a tangled mess. The best kind of tie when working with yarn is a figure-of-eight tie and this is how you do it:

Next, fill a sink with warm water and use the regular amount of your favourite wool washing detergent (Soak, Eucalan, Ecover, whatever…), put the yarn in and let it soak for 5 or 10 minutes. Depending on the colour, that first rinse might look a bit scary and you’ll see why you have to go through all this bother. Now repeat this process as many times as it takes for the water to run clear. It’s important to always use the same temperature in in each rinse to avoid the risk of felting, although this will be minimised if your yarn is superwash.

I guess this is the time I get to reassure you that no, the dye is not all going to come out! We use professional acid dyes and long simmering times to ensure that as much dye as possible bonds with the fibres – what you are seeing here is the excess, after this your yarn will look just the same.

I picked a very bleeding-prone colour that took quite a lot of rinsing (I didn’t count the number of rinses, sorry!) The last rinse was still a bit pink, but seeing as the contrast colour was quite dark, I didn’t think it’d be a problem. Squeeze the excess water out with your hands, then wrap the yarn in a towel and squeeze it some more. I like to put my towel and knitting/yarn sausage on the floor, then I step on it/jump on it/have a little jig, that way I can get even more water out. Unwrap your skein, and stretch it out a bit, place both your arms in the centre of the skein and tug firmly to stretch it out and get the skein looking all neat again (this is not essential, but if you like a neat looking skein like I do, go for it!) Hang your skein to dry and once dry, knit to your heart’s content!

Once you have finished knitting and it’s time to block, I’d recommend washing your knit in cold water with your usual detergent, plus a teaspoon of vinegar. Do this for the first few washes, just to be on the safe side. Also, don’t leave it in the water for ages and ages as this will encourage the dye to come out and bleed on your contrast colour. I’d say 10 minutes is about right.

That’s it! I hope you all love working with your Play kits – I can’t wait to see all the different colour combinations!

Play Designer: Veera Valimaki

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Play Designer: Veera Valimaki

Kits for Veera’s latest creation ‘Play‘ went on sale at the end of last month and were a huge hit. This is the third installation of the collaboration series that I have enjoyed sharing with designers and I have loved each and every design. Working with designers to create colours and kits has been so much fun and each designer and pattern has a distinct personality that I’ve enjoyed so much. Veera Valimaki is a wonderful designer, known for her use of colour and affection for stylish accessories and garments. I asked Veera to share some facts about herself here on the blog and here’s what she had to say:

Tell us a little about yourself

I live in a small village in Southern Finland with my husband and two boys and a cat called Väinö. I’ve never thought myself as a “country-person”, but it looks like it suits me well! I’ve enjoyed the peace and quiet – and there’s a wonderful community around here! I previously studied architecture, but I do feel that the best I can do is to stick with sticks and fibre.

(c) Veera Valimaki

What’s your knitting journey so far?

I learnt to knit in school – though my mother had given me a quick lesson before. I switched schools and all my new classmates had already learned how to knit. We were supposed to knit a vest and everyone was sketching rainbow-coloured beauties but I was so afraid of all the colour changes (stripes, mind you!). So I decided to keep the vest in two colors: red ribbing with blue body. You can’t imagine how disappointed I was when I discovered that how fun and easy changing colour actually is! Maybe that’s why I have been sort of fixed on stripes for all of my adult knitting journey! Later I picked up the needles after my boys were born, knitting was a perfect way of creating something of your own and something not baby-related! Plus it is easy to put down and pick up again. That’s when I found my passion.

How did you start designing and what is your favourite part of the process?

I started because I couldn’t find the”perfect” sweater. At first I didn’t write up the patterns, but when people started to ask for them, I thought I’d give it a go! Turned out, it was the most wonderful work I’d ever done! I just love the whole process of designing: from early ideas to taking the final photos; you must do so many different things! The best part though is to see the a happy knitter wearing one of my designs! It’s something I couldn’t imagine happening!

(c) Veera Valimaki

Was there a particular inspiration for this pattern?

This shawl is a new approach to short rows and shawl shape. I wanted to create a deep and dynamic piece and I think this is just that! With two colors the possibilities are endless, from a low contrast (like the sample) to a very striking combination.

What drew you to working with TUT yarns and a collaboration?

I just love Ce’s way of seeing colour, her choices are always so intuitive and well thought out! I have had the pleasure to do quite a few designs in TUT yarn and I think the colours each time are even better than I think is possible. It’s absolutely amazing to have this opportunity.

(c) Veera Valimaki

What else can we look forward to from you in the future?

Many fun things ahead! I’m working on a book at the moment, we’ll see how that comes along.

A huge thank you to Veera for taking time out from her busy design life to share some answers with TUT readers. If you would like to purchase your own ‘Play’ yarn and pattern kit, check out the Ravelry Group News thread for regular update news or please sign up to the newsletter.

Read All About It!

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Read All About It!

Keep your eyes peeled for the soon to be released Knit Now Magazine, Issue 12 as there’s a preview of the wonderful new creation by Veera Valimaki that is to be the latest in the series of collaborations between designers and TUT. The issue is due out on the 23rd August and offers details about the yarn and design that you can purchase when the kits are released.

Here is a sneak peek of the goodies to come. Remember, if you want to keep up to date with all the latest TUT news and updates, please do join us over on the Ravelry Group or sign up for the newsletter.

Kicking Us Off in Style: Lisa Mutch

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Kicking Us Off in Style: Lisa Mutch

The TUT blog website is now fully functional and the blog is in its new home. Please update your RSS feed because from now on, we’ll be hosting all our latest news and fun here. Stay tuned for more knitting, more yarn, more food, and more travels.

In the meantime, here’s the beautiful Obsidian that I have just released kits for. The collaborations with designers has proved very popular so I wanted to repost this lovely interview with Lisa, the creator of Obisidian. Lisa is a distinctive designer who works hard to make clean lines, simple shapes and stunning hand dyes work up into moody designs and satisfying accessories to both knit and wear. I invited Lisa to answer some questions for the blog so that you can get to know her a little better. Here’s what she had to say:

The stage is yours, tell us a little about yourself!

Well, besides knitting, dyeing, designing and spinning, I’m a mom to two wonderful and very active children, Brooklyn, 7 and Brodie, 3.  I also love reading, vegetable gardening, red wine and bubble baths.

What’s your knitting journey so far?

My knitting journey began roughly 10 years ago when I quit smoking and decided knitting would be a great way to occupy my hands. I bought ‘How to Knit’ by Debbie Bliss, a set of needles and some terrible acrylic yarn and taught myself how to knit. My specialty was scarves, or really anything rectangular or square with absolutely no shaping until I stumbled upon the Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s blog. Reading her hilarious stories about knitting disasters gave me the motivation to teach myself a few crucial knitting skills allowing me to graduate to hats, socks, shawls and eventually sweaters. 

How did you start designing and what is your favourite part of the process?

I began designing very quickly after teaching myself to knit. I never seemed to have the right size needles or weight of yarn and I could never, ever get the correct gauge. (Which continues to be a problem for me to this day, I’m a notoriously loose knitter. Ahem.) So I started making up things as I went along with what I had.

Was there a particular inspiration for this design?

 I love garter stich at a loose gauge, it has such a wonderful texture and I’ve always wanted a sweater with a giant cowl neck so this idea of mine has been brewing for a while now. Ce’s BFL Sock is such a wonderful yarn for sweaters, being tough and resilient yet soft enough for next to skin wear. I’ve used this base before for sweaters, cowls and shawls and it’s one of my all-time favourites, especially in the ‘Charred’ colourway…..so dark and mysterious! 

What drew you to working with TUT yarns and a collaboration?

Ce and I met on Ravelry a few years ago and since day one, I’ve adored her gorgeous yarn. I very quickly acquired quite the collection of TUT yarns and have tried almost all of her fabulous bases. My favourite colourways are all of her wonderful, smokey greys and charcoals, her warm neutrals and of course, I love to sneak in a bit of Debauchery here and there. ;)

What else can we look forward to from you in the future?

I have so many ideas for new designs, if only I could knit as fast as my mind dreams them up! I’ve been swatching with some heavier weight bases lately for a few squishy, warm winter garments, and of course, more shawls, cowls and scarves. It seems like I can’t leave the house without something handknit and fabulous around my neck.

 

A huge thank you to Lisa for supplying such lovely answers that shows her gentle and warm nature. If you would like to purchase your own Obsidian yarn and pattern kit, check out the Ravelry Group News thread for regular update news or please sign up to the newsletter.

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