Saturday, 30 June 2012

Little Knits

A little while ago I mentioned the lovely new design from Loop called 'Mignon' that used BFL DK Light. Mignon is a design that is perfect for little ones and is a cardigan that calls for only one skein of the recommended yarn. I fell in love with it instantly and so cast one on for my niece who was born last Saturday. She'll be getting all the ridiculously cute and girly things out there that I couldn't knit for my child (because I had a boy!)

I chose to knit my take on Mignon by using the TUT Super Sock base which is a great choice for little knits. This 100% merino base is plied with a tight twist thus giving great stitch definition that shows off the cables of the design perfectly. What's more, it's machine washable which is really handy when you've planned this to be worn by a little one. I've pretty much finished it as it's a very fast knit and I just need to find a pretty button to go with it. I can't wait to see the reaction to this gift, I'm really pleased with it. 

The other little knit I've been working on is the Petit Artichaut pattern, a delicate knit designed by Solenn Couix-Loarer. The pattern calls for a single skein of fingering weight yarn and I chose Plucky Knitter's Primo Fingering. This is such an adorable knit, I can't wait to finish it and gift it as well.

Have you been knitting for any little ones lately?

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Occitan Designer: Beth Kling

The Occitan Kits have proved incredibly popular and have generated lots of interest in both Beth and TUT yarns. It is the first in a series of collaborartions that I am very excited about. Beth is a wonderful designer whose accessories are stylish and a joy to knit. I invited Beth 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!
I grew up in a suburb of Chicago and from early on, developed an abiding love for reading, writing and dance, which led to my getting my BA with a double major in English with a Creative Writing Focus and Dance Choreography/Performance.

Neither of these particularly helped me in my first real job out of college: Assistant Production Manager of the local newspaper’s advertising department, which required me to do graphic design and ad layout. I’m still not sure what made them think I was a good candidate for the job, but I’m grateful that they did, because I loved that job, and now I can’t imagine not knowing about and paying attention to good graphic design. Ever since, all of my jobs have involved graphic design to varying degrees, though most have also had a liberal dose of writing thrown in for good measure. However, I make a lousy office drone. Corporate America is not for me. Fluorescent lights and corp-speak buzzwords (synergy, anyone?) make me twitchy. Which could explain why I now work from home…for a yarn company.

Next month (July) I will have been married for 12 years. I met my husband when we worked in the same coffee shop over the summer after my junior year of college. The story goes that I won him over by asking him if he’d like to split a piece of chocolate cake with me after our shift.

Also, I have an unreasonable affection for garlic.

I also have an unreasonable affection for red wine, and for finding good ones that taste like they ought to cost more than they do.

I think my affection for our two retired racing greyhounds Ronan and Quinn is perfectly reasonable.

Oh and also, my name is Beth, and I’m a yarn-a-holic (see comments about Ravelry and Etsy, below).

 What’s your knitting journey so far?
My mom tried to teach me knit when I was about 7, and I recall I produced some pretty unwearable, 3-foot-long, “sampler” style scarves, but knitting didn’t really stick until much later, because 7 year olds are not particularly good at sitting still. I picked it back up again after college, when I was looking for gifts to give that were inexpensive (little did I know), but still handmade.

I discovered Knitty and then I discovered Ravelry..... Ravelry led me to Etsy and indie yarn dyers. And lo, an addiction was born. 

How did you start designing and what is your favourite part of the process?
My first official design was for Dream in Color’s February 2011 Dream Club – that was the Pleiades Shawlette, and I did it because they asked. But, I’d say I was already leaning in that direction, because for years, I’d been modifying existing patterns and designs to adjust them to my personal style and aesthetic.

Was there a particular inspiration for Occitan?
Ce and I knew we wanted something that would be both appealing from a design perspective, and approachable from a knitting perspective. A shawl with a stockinette body and lace edging seemed to fit the bill. I wanted to play with increase methods that were a bit unusual (for a shawl, anyhow), which led to the swirly increases in the body of the shawl and working to find a way to make those increases flow organically into the lace.

 What drew you to working with TUT yarns and a collaboration?
TUT was one of the first indie dyers I knew of to start using what I’ve been referring to as “the new luxury bases.” MCN blends had been around for a while, and don’t get me wrong, I still use a lot of MCN blend yarns, but Ce was (and still is) dyeing up these stunning, subtly-variegated colors on other bases too. Bases that had blends like alpaca-silk-cashmere. Divine. Truly. So, in short: beautiful, useable, wearable colors on unique bases is what sold me on the yarn. And Ce is such a warm, genuine, easy-to-work with person, that the whole collaboration was just a natural fit [edit: thanks Beth].

What else can we look forward to from you in the future?
I have a couple of hat patterns waiting in the wings that should be published sometime late this month, or early next month, and another shawl design on the needles as well. But what I’d really like to do sometime in the next year is venture onto sweater design. It feels very big and scary to me right now, but I have too many ideas brewing for sweaters not to give it a go.

A huge thank you to Beth for supplying such great answers, so full of her character. If you would like to purchase your own Occitan Kits, you will find them listed on my Etsy shop or check out the Ravelry Group News thread for regular update news. 

Sunday, 24 June 2012

June's FO Parade

This is fast becoming one of my favourite blog posts each month as I get to share some of all the very talented knitter's work I've come across in TUT yarns. It's always a pleasure to see new projects being shared in the group and there's always a great reaction from other group members. I think we all like the inspiration. 

This month, Fimaha shared her 'Grumpled' socks which were knit is Lush Twist, a fingering weight Merino, Cashmere and Nylon blend with a tight twist. The colourway is called 'Envy' and the great stitch definition of this yarn showcased the texture in this pattern really well. The pattern is by Alice Yu and can be found in her recently published book 'Socktopus: 17 Designs Worth Showing Off'. The pattern itself is called 'Rumpled!' and Fimaha did a wonderful job on this intricate pattern.

Daily knit this wonderful sweater using the heavier weight Lush base, Lush Worsted, another MCN base with great stitch definition and a smooth ply. The pattern is called 'Shellseeker' and is designed by Heidi Kirrmaier. Daily worked her version up in the 'Teasmoked' colourway, a dusky pink, along with a darker Madelinetosh Vintage yarn to create strong stripes. Daily clearly loves the teasmoked colourway as her pattern notes include a great description of her 'prettiest yarn in the world' and it looks great with her colour choice for contrasting stripes. 

A while ago I knit a 'Cameo' shawl by Paulina Popiolek that proved very popular and IttyBitty's version is wonderful. Ittybitty worked her shawl up in two contrasting stripes of fingering weight, TUT's Lush Twist and Flying Colour's BFL Fingering. Lush Twist is the new yarn from The Uncommon Thread and looks like Super Sock, but feels like Lush Sock so is ideal for the drape and softness that you need in a shawl. Again, this is the 'Teasmoked' colourway and looks fabulous on IttyBitty.  

Maximiliana knit a gorgeously textured hat using Lush Worsted in the colourway 'Nimbostratus', a delicately variegated grey that is perfect for this kind of knit. The pattern is called 'Kirkstone' and is designed by LilyKate France. Maimiliana says she really enjoyed working with this yarn and it was her first time using TUT so I'm hoping we'll see lots more of these wonderful knits from her in the group in the future!

In contrast to wintery knits, Etfeemere has worked up a beautiful version of Heidi Kirrmaier's shawl pattern 'Windward'. I knit this pattern some time ago too for a test knit of the pattern and really enjoyed it. Etfeemere used just over 2 skeins of the 'Pontus' colourway in BFL Sock. Every 100g skein of plied British wool comes in 437 yards (400 meters. This delicate knit looks gorgeous in the blue tones of the colourway.  

Finally, there was an adorable child's knit using Posh Fingering, a decadent blend of 70% Superwash Bluefaced Leicester, 20% Silk and 10% Cashmere. Alouisa used the colourway 'Cumulonimbus' as the main colourway for the cute pattern 'Gathering Stripes' from Veera Valimaki. The finishing on this sweater is absolutely perfect and I love the flash of colour used inside on the cuffs and waistband (see her project page for lovely detailed pictures). Alouisa says she thinks there will be a lot of wear for this little sweater and I can see why. 
As always, a huge thank you to all the knitter's featured in the FO parade and agreeing to share your work and images. If you feel inspired by the FO's here, why not come over to the TUT Ravelry group?

Wednesday, 20 June 2012


I have to tell you about some great new wires I've been trying out for blocking because I think they're amazing. The wires come from Inspinity, which is a shop on Etsy that sells different types of blocking wires in kits. I read a review of them some time ago and was curious to give them a try. I'm so glad I did. 

Image (c) Inspinity
The thing that makes these wires different to so many other blocking wires on offer is that they are flexible. I was a little dubious about how well they would work at first due to the amount of flexibility in the wires but they work so well. I bought the Premium set which the description said were perfect for any weight of yarn or project. I'm now really tempted to buy the ultra long set for blocking large lace items. 

The thing I love the most about the Inspinity wires is the flexibility of each wire allows you to get a really good curved shape instead of fiddling about with pins all the time. I used them for my Occitan and I found them strong and easy to use and got a great curve on it as a result. I would really recommend these to anyone thinking about making a purchase to help them block their knits.

Friday, 15 June 2012


Lisa Mutch, a firm friend and fan of TUT yarn, has released another stunning shawl pattern. As you will know if you've ever read this blog before or seen Lisa's work, she enjoys monochromatic colours, moody tones and strong architextural lines in her designs. Eris is a typical Lisa knit with a mix of neutral colours and clean, smooth knitting.

Lisa's pattern description reads as follows:

"Eris is angular, oversized, drapey and dramatic. Created with short row shaping and three colours, this extra wide shawl can be so many different things, depending on her mood."

This is exactly what I love about this design because it is so versatile in both the colour choices you can make but also how it can be worn. It uses 900 yards of fingering weight and Lisa used a mixture of TUT and other indie yarns to create her version. The majority of the shawl was knit with Lisa's own Alpaca, Silk and Cashmere blend which compliment the Uncommon Thread Heavenly Fingering well. Heavenly Fingering is a smooth and incredibly soft 70% Alpaca, 20% Silk and 10% Cashmere blend and the colourway used was 'Breath', a delicate neutral to balance the dark tones of the metal grey and the black. 

We are already seeing beautiful versions with other TUT yarns pop up on the projects page for the pattern and is wonderful to see the difference between contrasting colours and hamonious blends that were chosen. To start planning your version in TUT fingering weight yarns, you can find a summary of them on the Ravelry page here.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Yarn of the Month

I was very honoured recently when TUT was named yarn of the month by Loop, London. Loop having been stocking my exclusive BFL Light DK base for a few months now and it has proved very popular. It's always lovely to see such a great reaction to my yarn but this made me especially excited.

BFL Light DK is a 100% British Bluefaced Leicester and is smooth, soft and lustrous. Bluefaced Leicester is a strong, resilient yarn that can be worn right next to the skin. This yarn can be used for patterns that call for either Sport or DK weight yarn and each 100g skein comes with 246 yards (225 meters). It’s perfect for baby items, shawls, garments and socks.

Two recent projects knit with this base really caught my eye so I wanted to share them with you. First there is this really sweet one skein project that WesternAvenue knit up in the colourway 'Confetti'. The pattern is called 'Norby' and was designed by Gudrun Johnston for Brooklyn Tweed's 'Wool People 2' collection. The pattern itself calls for one skein of fingering weight so WesternAvenue adapted the pattern to work for this heavier and loftier base by casting on for less pattern repeats. The result is wonderful and really showcases the smooth quality of the yarn perfectly.I can imagine getting lots of wear from this finished object.

The second project is one that I've been watching progress ever since I saw the work in progress pictures appear on Ravelry. Alliecatsmama has been knitting up her take on Veera Valimaki's 'Shift of Focus' pattern and her notes were full of her excitement for both the pattern and the yarn. Alliecatsmama posted this attention grabbing teaser picture a few weeks ago and I couldn't wait to see the finished item. The garter stitch of the design really showcased the moody tones in the 'charred' colourway and Stephanie's final choice of buttons were a perfect compliment. The final pictures are wonderful and I was even more blown away by the finished item. Well done Stephanie!

Don't forget, you can purchase the exclusive BFL DK Light base here at Loop.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Revving up....

... for the Ravelympics!

Have you seen this post on the TUT Ravelry group? We're thinking about creating a TUT Ravelympics group for the upcoming event.

For those of you who have never participated in the games before, the idea is to challenge yourself by starting and finishing one or more projects during the Olympics. This summer, London is hosting during the period of July 27th - August 12th and the Ravelympics start from the lighting of the beacon at the opening ceremony. For more details, visit the official FAQs on Ravelry and start planning your goal to reach.

I have been lucky enough to get tickets for the athletics so I might get to do some real life knitting at the Olympics. I haven't decided what my 'challenge' will be yet but I know it's going to be lots of fun. Let me know your plans and whether you'd like to join in!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012


Ever since my recent trip to Marrakesh I've been craving more delicious tagines and the fuller flavour of Middle Eastern food. I've found myself reaching for a trusted recipe book a lot so I thought I would share it with you.

'Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey and Lebanon' is created by Claudia Roden and features a range of dishes from the Middle East. With some cookbooks, you find yourself adapting the recipes or only really looking at it once in a while but I've used lots of recipes from this book. I love how authentic the dishes are and I get a good result every time. I'm particulary enjoying the Chicken and Preserved Lemon Tagine- it's delicious. 

What have you been cooking lately?

Sunday, 3 June 2012


I'm so very excited to be kicking off a series of collaborations this Tuesday. The first pattern is Occitan, by Beth Kling and it'll be available as a pre-order yarn and pattern kit from 4pm BST (check your timezone here) on Etsy.

Occitan is a semi-circular shawl with a stockinette body and a pretty lace border. It’s a really fun and easy knit, as we have come to expect from Beth. It has an unusual construction, which will keep experienced knitters interested and a straight forward lace border, which won’t intimidate a novice knitter. I hope you love it as much as I do.

There will be six colourways to choose from each week and the colours will change a little each week. Each kit will comprise of one skein of Posh Fingering and a black and white printed copy of the pattern. If you give us your Ravelry name, we can send you a pdf copy there ahead of time.

I had lots of fun knitting my Occitan, especially as Jody (aka Sabinaknits) suggested I use beads and I think they worked really well with the pattern. If you’d like to bead your shawl, you might find these notes handy: using a crochet hook, I beaded the second cdd in chart A. Had I had enough beads, I would have also beaded the purl stitches which are snuggled between yos in the increase rows - if you’d like to do this, I reckon you’d need at least another 10g. I also beaded the cdds in the final row. Out of my 10g packet of beads, I had 2 left when I finished the shawl. Well, you might find another 2 or 3 under the sofa…

Catrina, Nadia, Jody, Teresa and Vera all test knit this pattern (thank you!) and made gorgeous versions of it too :)

Friday, 1 June 2012

New Stockist

I am so pleased to announce that the Uncommon Thread is now being stocked by The Knitted Poppy in Australia. This lovely online knitting and accessory shop is run by Jennie, a fan of hand dyed yarns. 

In the shop you will find Lush Worsted a 80% Merino, 10% Nylon and 10% Cashmere base. Lush Worsted is luxuriously soft, wonderfully textured and beady - this is the worsted weight version of our beloved Lush Sock. The skeins come in 245 yards (225 metres) per 100 gramsand you will find a variety of colours, like this one featured on the website. 

Also stocked at The Knitted Poppy is Posh Fingering, a 70% Superwash Bluefaced Leicester, 20% Silk and 10% Cashmere base. This is a smooth plied yarn that again, you will find in a variety of colours like the one featured in the image above. It has amazing shine and a soft handle and is very versatile- it may be used for shawls, garments, socks and baby items. The yardage is 440 yards (402 metres) per 100 gram skein. 

Many thanks to Jennie at The Knitted Poppy for stocking TUT yarns. You can find both bases here.