yarn

A Big Thank You! To SAL Sponsors - Part 3!

We are sooooo spoilt with this Stitch Along you guys! I am blown away by how many fantastic prizes we've been donated. 

Here's the final instalment of my thank you and LOOK! posts about all the prizes we've been given.



I've had a crush on Skein Queen yarn for years and years. I adore the gorgeous colours that  Debbie creates and her lush bases. I have knitted lots of projects with Skein Queen yarn and I'm thrilled to have a skein to give away to one of you!

Debbie has very kindly donated a skein of her beautiful Desire Merino in the Nutkin colour way. Bonus: it's a perfect substitute for the Skein Queen yarn I used for my Reminisce hat design :)






Hannah dyes gorgeous yarn right here in New Zealand - I had the pleasure of meeting her at the retreat I just attended and she's a honey :)

She has very generously donated a gorgeous skein of coveted Red Riding Hood fingering perfect for a drapey shawl in her favourite colour - doesn't that sound fab?!






I really enjoyed meeting Tash at the KAN retreat and I'm tapping my fingers waiting for her to decide to open a branch of her gorgeous shop near me in Auckland .... tap tap tap ...

Tash has generously donated a tote bag and some gorgeous Knitsch sock yarn from her glorious handdyed yarn range for one of our lovely winners. Lovely!





The kind folks at Loveknitting have offered a voucher to use at their fantastic shop. It'll be enough to buy you a skein of fingering and maybe some other little bits as well! 

Loveknitting is a great resource for buying yarn online. They have a fantastic range of yarn   & patterns (mine are there!) and offer free shipping anywhere in the world with a minimum order. I know they're popular even with knitters down here in New Zealand.





Cooperative Press publish lots of fantastic books for independent designers. They believe in giving small designers and crazy ideas a chance and produce really great books.

Very generously - Cooperative Press have donated a subscription to their Knit Edge mag! Pretty cool huh?!


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Aren't we just the luckiest?! Thank you so much so all of our wonderful, generous sponsors! 
I'd love it if you'd show them some support too :)

Just a few days left for the Stitch Along - get the photos of your finished projects up in the thread so you're in the draw to win something!





A Big Thank You! To SAL Sponsors - Part 2

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This is the second post in my wee Thank you! Sponsors series. Yes, it's turned into a series - there's one more coming! So many generous sponsors! So many amazing prizes ;)

With that in mind, I've extended the deadline for the Spoil Yourself Stitch Along so you all get a chance to win something! There's still time! I'll wrap up the stitch along at the end of the week - Sunday 4 October 2015. So, are you thinking of joining in? DO! Grab your needles (knitting, crochet, sewing or whatever) and spoil yourself!

I can't wait to see what else you get done.

And, without further ado - meet the next fabulous sponsors of the Truly Myrtle Spoil Yourself SAL ....

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ROSEWOOD WOOL

Rosewood Wool has stolen my heart. They're filling a gap in the New Zealand yarn scene with their unprocessed, quality yarn in the most serenely gorgeous colour palette and I love it.  

I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely ladies behind Rosewood Wool over the weekend and they gave me a beautiful wee pile of their 3ply Romney yarn balls. There's 100g altogether and they coordinate wonderfully well.

You can find more Rosewood Wool in their Felt shop - and I'm told there'll be a post-market sale any day soon :)


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GUMTREE GULLY ALPACAS

Kathy is also local to me. She breeds Alpacas and has recently been spinning up their super soft fibre into super soft yarn :) The natural colours of her alpaca is stunning. This package is a mixture of caramel and cream DK yarn - 200g all together!

I'm working on a new shawl pattern in Kathy's lovely yarn and it's delicious to knit and is knitting up beautifully :) You can find Kathy's yarn for sale here.


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CREATIVE FIBRE

Do you live in Auckland, New Zealand? This prize is just for you! The Auckland branch of Creative Fibre have kindly donated a years membership which comes with a great monthly magazine full of interesting articles and tutorials.

Creative Fibre host a variety of fantastic workshops throughout the year and excitingly their next annual festival is being held on my doorstep in April 2016 - in Pukekohe just out of Auckland. I'm getting involved and have joined the "fashion team"! You can sign up to workshops and talks on their website from 5 October. Get in quick though - I've had a peek at the classes and they look amazing!


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WOOLLENFLOWER

Julia makes the most gorgeous pouches from recycled tweed jackets and lines them with Scottish linen. This one in the photo is mine but she's kindly offered one to you too!

You can find Julia's pouches in her shop - they are very sought after and get snaffled up quickly so if you like one of these - get it!




THE CROCHET PROJECT

The Crochet Project launched their first gorgeous shawl book this time last year and it's been extremely popular amongst new & experienced crocheters. It's a collection of six one skein shawl patterns and also includes a bunch of information showing you how to design various shawl shapes yourselves. 

Joanne and Kat have very kindly donated an ebook copy of Book One to one lucky SAL winner! I think it'll have to go to a crocheter - don't  you?

Excitingly, Book two was just launched this weekend at the Yarndale Festival in the UK. It's a collection of 5 two skein shawls and will be available to buy very soon - in the meantime you can sign up to their brand new mailing list to be the first to hear when and how to buy print copies and the ebook.





Abbey is a New Zealand designer creating beautiful shawl and sock patterns. She has kindly donated a copy of her Wings of a Moth shawl pattern to one lucky winner! Isn't it gorgeous!



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Aren't we so lucky! Thank you so much to each of our wonderful sponsors!

To be in to win these great prizes, post a picture of your finished object in the Ravelry thread. Remember, the only rule is that it BE FOR YOU! Go on, spoil yourself!

I'll be back soon with the last of our sponsors :)


A Big Thank You! To SAL Sponsors - Part 1

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Are you joining in the Truly Myrtle "Spoil Yourself" Stitch Along? There's still time! We don't finish until the end of September.

Lots of lovely people are knitting, stitching and making themselves something this month and chatting about their plans & progress and posting gorgeous finished objects in the Ravelry thread. Head over if you want to join in, or if you're simply after some inspiration!

I wanted to tell you about some of our generous sponsors today. We've been given a bunch of wonderful prizes and I thought you'd like to see what they are and hear a little about the very kind people who have given us these goodies. In fact, we've had so many donations that I needed two posts! Thank you sooo much lovely sponsors! I'm absolutely thrilled!

This is part 1 :)

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I met Jenna at the knitting retreat I recently attended in Napier and she's an absolute delight. Remember I interviewed her earlier this year?

Jenna gave me a skein of her fabulous gradient fingering yarn on a White Gum Wool base. It's one of her favourites - isn't it gorgeous?!


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Karen owns a yarn shop just north of Auckland in a small town called Warkworth. It's about an hour and a half drive from me and I've not yet visited but I've had the pleasure of meeting Karen and squishing her stunning range of yarn at several knitting events over the past 18 months and have spent a long time perusing her fantastic online shop.

Karen's taste in yarn is exquisite, she knows just how to pick the perfect neutral and stocks some of the most glorious yarn from both New Zealand and overseas. She has very kindly donated a skein of beautiful Wisp luxury lace weight yarn from Dream in Color, a magnet and some pretty wee buttons. I can't wait to see what our winner makes with this!


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Rachel dyes from her home in Canterbury New Zealand, the other end of the country from me. I am falling deeply in love with Rachel's colour ways. She has a real knack for the muted colours of nature that I really love but she also does a magnificent bright.

Rachel has kindly donated this fabulous skein of beautiful rich green semi-solid merino fingering and some matching stitch markers. She also gave me a set of her stitch markers and they've quickly become my new favourites. I love that they're compact and the wee bead on them holds yarn overs in place just perfectly.


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Rachel is the dyer behind the cute brand Squeeful Yarns and she's also based in Christchurch at the bottom of New Zealand. 

Rachel has very kindly donated some delicious chunky merino yarn dyed in rich tones of green called "Hunter". She's also popped in a couple of super cute soaps for our lucky winner in their own sweet wee bag.


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White gum wool grown by Nan Bray in Australia is the real deal. It's produced in conditions absolutely ideal for her merino sheep and it's the softest yarn I've ever felt. Nan spends each day with her flock moving them from one perfect grazing area to another so they can feed on weeds and plants that keep them healthy and happy. I thoroughly recommend listening to Nan's interview on the Woolful podcast - it's quite fascinating and very reassuring that fabulous, ethical yarn is readily available to us.

Nan has donated a fantastic 100g ball of superfine merino fingering in her favourite colourway.


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I accidentally ordered two copies of this neat pattern! It's the "hot right now" tunic/frock pattern designed by Dottie Angel for Simplicity. I can't wait to make mine and I hope someone loves their copy too!

I'm planing to draw this prize for one of the SAL sewers - so get sewing!

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Isn't that a fantastic line up of prizes? Thank you so very much to all our Sponsors. I hop you go and visit them and show them some love too.

But wait! There's more! I'll be back next week to show you the remaining SAL prizes and tell you a little bit about more of our generous Sponsors.

In the meantime, happy stitching!


Pilling

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I'm excited to be bringing you a collaboration today! Tash from Holland Road Yarn shop and I have joined forces to tackle the bobbly subject of pilled knitwear!

Like most of you, I'm not a fan of pills but it seems they're an unescapable problem with knitting. Or are they? I've done some investigating to find out if you can avoid pills and how to deal with them when they happen. You might be pleased to hear that there are some tips and tricks to get the best result from you yarn and reduce the amount of pills you have to endure.

CHOOSE YOUR YARN WISELY

I've been known to choose wholly inappropriate yarn for projects. Take my red sweater in the pictures for example. I used very beautiful Malabrigo Merino Worsted for my Flowing Lines. The colours are glorious and the yarn is super crazy soft and yummy. But, look at those pills?! Almost as soon as I put it on the yarn started to rub into pills. It's pilled over the whole of the body but especially under my arms it rubs most.

The little Kelpie vest I made for my daughter last year has also pilled terribly. I used Louisa Harding's Grace silk & wool blend and again, it's soft and warm and totally unsuitable for a garment that gets worn, bashed, rubbed and beaten up!

Both of these knits were made with luxury fibres that had been loosely spun. It turns out that those two factors create the ideal enviroment for producing pills.

Softness vs Durability

  • All wool is prone to some degree of pilling but if you're after a garment that's not going to pill too much, it pays to avoid luxury fibres. Both of my yarns contained merino which, although deliciously soft, is not a durable fibre. It's slippery and silky and doesn't have the "stickiness" of a courser fibre such as Romney which will wear better over time.
  • My red sweater yarn was a "single". That means it was one single piece of wool lightly spun into a yarn. Single spun fibres are delicate. They don't have the structure of a tight spin to hold the fibres in place so they work their way out easily and cause pills. A loosely spun fibre like the pink yarn I used will do the same. A smooth, tightly spun yarn will hold together better over time.
  • Generally speaking, a cellulose fibre (e.g. cotton & linen) will pill less than a protein fibre (e.g. wool, silk & alpaca) but even those will pill too depending on the quality of the yarn and how it's spun. If you're set on finding the least pilly yarn possible, it might pay to experiment by knitting up swatches of similar fibres and seeing how they compare.
  • I am an unashamed lover of natural fibres so choose those every time but even so, don't be fooled into thinking that man-made fibres won't pill. Acrylic is terrible at pilling and because the fibres are so strong, those pills are fixed like concrete to your garment.

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    KNITTING TO REDUCE PILLING

    • Knitted fabric pills much more than woven fabric because the overall construction is looser. Knitting with a smaller gauge will tighten your knitting and help reduce pilling by holding the yarn more firmly in place. Of course, some of our favourite garments are loose and flowing so this won't be possible all the time. But, if you're desperate to use a soft, loosely spun yarn, knitting at a tighter gauge may help balance things out.
    • An alternating knit/purl stitch such as ribbing or seed stitch will pill less than stocking stitch or garter. You'll see that both my garments in the photos are mostly stocking stitch! (Reverse stocking stitch in the case of the red sweater).
    • Wash your knits carefully! Machine washing causes rubbing which in turn causes pilling. It really is worth hand washing your knits! (Plus, it really is a very lovely thing to do).

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    GETTING RID OF PILLS!

    Once you've got those ghastly pills, how do you get rid of them? I must confess, I've still been wearing my red sweater, despite the pills. They're pretty yucky but I still love the pattern, the fit of this sweater and it's so lovely and warm. So, I've tried to ignore them, look straight ahead and pretend they're not there. It wasn't until I came to write this post that I thought I'd try depilling them!

    Many people shave their knitwear with very sorry results. One accidental bump of the razor and you've cut straight through it! I've tried using a razor in the past but haven't been happy with  how precarious and unsatisfactory shaving is.

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    This time I tried a special machine - an electric depiller! After hearing Georgie Hallam rave about her depiller I knew I had to try one too. So I held my breath and bought a rather expensive Electric Shaver. I was not disappointed. This machine is magic. I absolutely cannot get over how well it removed the pills and how fabulous my sweaters looked after I'd used it! They are as good as new.

    If you can't stretch to an electric depiller I do recommend trying a manual depiller (not a razor!). You can get combs and brushes fairly inexpensively that apparently do a pretty good job. The trick is to tackle those pills as soon as they start to appear and to de-pill regularly.

    Unlike man-made fibres, wool pills less and less as time goes on. Dealing with those short fibres that work their way out quickly leaves the more secure fibres in place so eventually your sweater is supposed to stop shedding altogether. I was told recently that even the super soft red malabrigo in my sweater will stop pilling quite so badly once it's shed the first lot of short, loose fibres. I'll have to let you know if that's true!


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    Good luck with your pills! If you want to catch up with more tips and tricks for dealing with pills check out Tash's post on the Holland Road blog!

    Catch Up

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    It's been a while since I popped in to touch base and chat about what I'm working on and I thought I'd tell you about some of the projects on my needles at the moment.

    These three are all new designs. I can't seem to help myself cast them on. Two of these were spur of the moment knits, cast on when I should really have been working on the ginger sweater but fancied something small instead.

    So far I've managed one sleeve of my gingerbread sweater - I've got a plan with myself to finish the whole thing by the end of August. Let's see if I can do it ... please feel free to give me a stern word if I don't ;)

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    If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you'll have seen me start, knit and finish this glorious raspberry textured shawl last week. I was quite captivated with it - the pattern repeat is simple to remember and it's fun watching the shawl take shape as it's knitted from one side to the other. 

    I've designed this (as yet nameless) shawl with scrummy merino/cashmere/nylon yarn dyed by my friend Andie at Midnight Yarns and she is busy dyeing up skeins of yarn to take to the upcoming KAN knitting retreat in Napier at the end of August. If you're lucky enough to be joining us for the weekend, you'll be able to buy some of her yarn to knit my shawl pattern which I'll release a few days beforehand. My shawl is knitted in her "raspberry sorbet" colourway and I gather she'll have that and many other lovely colours at KAN too.



    You may have also caught a glimpse of my new hat pattern on social media too. At least, you'll have seen my hat before I decided it wasn't quite how I wanted it, ripped it back, rewrote the pattern and started again. It's true what they say, designers do an awful lot of unpicking so you don't have to!

    I'm using a really lovely DK merino/possum yarn for my hat. It's an undyed yarn by Naturally called Amuri and it's 75% merino and 25% possum single spun yarn that has a rustic, dark halo from the possum. It looks almost felted, is super soft and knits like a dream. 

    I'm aiming to get it knitted up quickly so I can publish the pattern and get some wear out of it while the weather is still cold. We're having an icy winter down here this year. It's absolutely freezing at the moment although I know that spring will be back before long (the first daffodil has popped up in our garden) so I'm making the most of my hats, shawls and sweaters while I can.

    What's on your needles?