Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Interview with Emma Varnam

In the latest of our occasional series of interviews with our favourite bloggers and designer we caught up with the delightful Emma Varnam.  Her fascinating blog covers both her knitting and crochet adventures, and she has published a number of books including Cute Crocheted Animals which we constantly refer to.  She has also created designs for the top UK magazines such as Simply Crochet, Knitting and Inside Crochet

KP: How did you get in to knitting and crochet?
EV: I was taught to knit by my Grandma when I was about 6 or 7 on bright yellow needles. I really wish I still had those needles as a souvenir. They were very bendy and squeeky. Throughout school I always enjoyed craft and art, and at University I spent the long train journeys and my downtime doing needlepoint. But it was when my friends started having babies in our twenties that I picked up the needles again. I became  interested in crochet because I wanted to reduce my huge stash of yarn. My interest grew and grew but the yarn stash has never reduced.

KP: Which do you prefer?

EV: Well that is difficult to say. I swap between the two depending on the project. I am more likely to knit a jumper but I am much more fluent now in crochet. For toys, homeware and accessories I prefer crochet. Perhaps because the majority of my design work is in crochet I see knitting as more of a hobby. That suits me fine and I have the best of both worlds.

KP: We know you have published a number of books, do you have any in the pipeline?

EV: Yes I have a crochet book coming out in August – Granny Squares Home and I am just finishing off the projects for another crochet book.

KP: When did you start your blog?

EV: I started my blog in 2010. Well to be honest, my husband started my blog. He got so fed up listening to me talk about it that he created the space and said; ‘There you go it exists now, you had better write it’. Even though Instagram and Facebook have begun to dominate social media, my blog is still my favourite little space.

KP: What can people expect from your blog?

EV: Predominately my blog is about the creative inspiration and the design process for my crochet and knitting designs. I am huge fan for gardening so flowers and plants do sneak their way in too. Readers will find quite a few free patterns and tutorials. I also aim to do a few giveaways which I can share with my regular readers

KP: How do you fit in your blog, designing, writing alongside your busy life?

EV: Honestly, I have no idea. I would love to say I have a tardis. But in reality I have a very supportive family and I don’t do lots of things I should do. Without a doubt I should find more time  to exercise.

KP: What are your plans for the future?

EV: When I have finished the latest book I have promised myself that I will finish a fairisle carditgan that I began designing. I wanted to have it ready for the summer. Ah well, next summer perhaps. There are also quite a few babies on the way, and I love to make for new borns so those will be my next projects.

KP: Which is your favourite KnitPro range?

EV: KnitPro Zings are my favourite knitting needles. If I could I would replace all my needles with the Zing range. I find my tension and my speed is far better using them.I have also begun to experiment with Tunisian Crochet and the Symfonie Wood interchangeable set makes the process so much easier. Having a good point for your hooks and needles helps me technque no end.

We look forward to seeing lots more designs from Emma in the future.  In the meantime don’t forget to check out her blog

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Summer Yarns

Now that the warmer weather is here we thought we would take a closer look at some of the exciting new summer yarns on offer to knitters and crocheters.

Colour blocking is a big trend at the moment which you can achieve by choosing your own shades but there are lots of colour saturated yarns that will do all the hard work for you.  Our favourites are Sirdar’s Colour Wheel and Wendy’s Evolution.

Ribbon and tape yarns are perfect for this season’s lace or mesh designs.  Try Rico’s Fashion Summer, Stylecraft’sMystique or, for a touch of luxury there is Louisa Harding’s Anise.

Look out for lovely summery blends using linen and cotton.  Rowan’s new yarn Breezed is 80% cotton and 20% linen and has a super handle.

ErikaKnight’s Studio Linen is a blend of 85% recycled linen/rayon and 15% premium linen giving it a wonderful drape.

For a touch of real luxury, Debbie Bliss has a new yarn called Sita which is a blend of mulberry silk and Mako cotton.  We guarantee you won’t want to put your needles or hooks down.

You can never have too many shawls especially in summer when the evenings can be cool.  Our current favourite lace weight is Gleem Lace from Fyberspates.  It is hand dyed so the colours are just delicious.

We do hope you get to try some of the wonderful new yarns out there and don’t forget to share your projects with us on our Facebook page.