Tag Archives: Little Houndales Knits

Changes afoot…

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Firstly, apologies for not posting for so long, I had a few health problems and then a few catch up problems!

We are now nearly 4 years old, I can’t believe where time has flown!  The last 4 years have allowed us to expand and grow as well as find our weaknesses.  I’ve spent the last few weeks analysing things and identified that there are some yarns and brands that just do not work for us and some which really do work.  The website was rebuilt last October and still has numerous issues and I’ll be speaking to the website team on Monday, I don’t know where this next leg will take us but I’m prepared for rebuilding again if need be….I may be overly picky but it just has to be right…it’s just not acceptable for the only shipping option for a customer in Australia to have ‘Collect from Little Houndales Knits’!! It’s unprofessional and embarrassing and reflects badly on us as a business, I’ve flagged this up with the website team and it’s STILL happening, so, I’ll be dealing with it when the chap at the top is back from holiday next week.  I wouldn’t mind but we rebuilt because of issues with the old one that couldn’t be rectified.  

With regard to stock, for us the Noro and Bergere de France ranges don’t do too well and several of the Debbie Bliss yarns struggle. I have therefore decided to thin out these brands and will be replacing them with a nice selection of interesting stock that I’m sure will go down well.  On the other hand, some of the yarns work brilliantly for us, Rowan, Louisa Harding, the vast range of sock yarns, Malabrigo and of course our own.  These will all be staying so don’t wait for any discounts on these, sorry!!

Once I’ve got all the stock of all these yarns checked they will be going on the website with good discounts.  I’ll be sending out a newsletter so keep an eye out for it landing in your email box in the next couple of weeks.

I wanted to update you about the changes afoot as I don’t want the website to disappear and people think we’ve gone…..if we do it will only be temporary! And I don’t want you to see all the yarns we’re discounting and think it’s a closing down sale, it’s just a sort out!

Keep an eye out for those bargains!!!

Kath. xx

More knitting needles…

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Since my last post about knitting needles, I’ve had opportunity to try several more so I thought I would give you an update on my experiences with the various materials, styles etc that are available to us.

KnitPro still continues to be the most popular brand of knitting needles that we sell, both online and through the shop and Farmers Markets with ArtViva coming a close second at the Farmers Market’s.

I think ArtViva have an instant appeal on the stall, the colourful polka dot tops are striking and they just make you want to knit with them.  For new knitters they are fabulous, they have a relatively dry surface which means your stitches stay in place, they are well balanced and have a good weight so you have good control over your knitting.  I have to say it though, they are not the best needles for speed.  They only start at 3.75mm which are only available in a short length and then the longer ones are available from 4.5mm upwards.  Due to their texture, they are great for knitting chunkier projects on, bulky yarns that are impossible to knit at speed are great on these needles, I personally find that when knitting bulkier yarns I find it difficult to control on slippery needles and find my stitches are forever popping off so the dryness of these needles is very helpful!

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KnitPro have introduced a lot of new products, some we stock, some we don’t.  The main reason we don’t stock everything is due to the sheer amount of products available!  KnitPro offer 7 different materials across all their products which include straight needles in a variety of lengths, fixed circulars in a variety of lengths, interchangeables in short and standard lengths and dpn’s in a variety of lengths too!  In addition to the knitting needles, they have a similar choice in crochet hooks and then a huge range of accessories from storage solutions to stitch markers.  In addition to all the individual products, all needles and crochet hooks are available in a variety of sets, from basic starter sets of mixed materials so you can find your preference to deluxe and limited edition sets.  All the products are available to special order, most are stocked at the distributor and will come within a day or two so if you see it on the KnitPro website but not on mine, drop me an email and I’ll see what I can do.

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KnitPro have introduced a lot of new products in the last two years, notably the Bamboo and Karbonz ranges.  A lot of people moved on to bamboo needles years ago, it became very popular for knitting with arthritic fingers as bamboo is much lighter and warmer than the old metal needles.  As a knitting needle material, bamboo does have a lot of good qualities, as mentioned, it is light and warm but it also has a good satin texture, not too slippery that your stitches fly off and not too dry for those delicate yarns.  The down side of bamboo is that it warps, particularly noticeable with the smaller sizes, up to about 5.5mm.  Price wise, the bamboo range is less expensive than the Symfonie wood and genuinely provides a good alternative with very similar properties.  Although the initial outlay is less, if you are a hard core knitter, the bamboo may not stand the test of time.  I love the Karbonz and they have been  a huge hit with my customers.  The ‘Karbon’ part has a warm, satin texture and the nickel plated tip enables speedy stitch movement from needle to needle.  Lovely and light weight and amazingly strong….they make great travel needles be it straight, interchangeable or dpns!  They are more expensive than the Symfonie which puts them at around £10.00 for 3mm 35cm straights but they will last and they are suitable for use with most if not all fibres.

I’ve also recently come across a brand that I hadn’t given much thought to, HiyaHiya.  I was at Woolfest and was tempted by some yarn that I didn’t stock (call it market research), as the journey was quite a long minibus ride home, I had to get started on the bus.  The yarn, Fyberspates Faery Wings and the pattern is the Ziggurat sweater: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/simple-ziggurat  So, I needed needles…I was surprised by the lack of knitting tools in general at woolfest, lot’s of fibre but not many needles.  On one of the stands I came across a set of HiyaHiya metal interchangeables and loved the beautiful silk case they came in.  Moments later my purse was empty and I had my first set of HiyaHiya’s….(again, call it market research).  These needles are so nice!  They are not the sharps, they are the standard tips which might not be brilliant for fine lace work but for the Faery Wings they are perfect.  They are unbelievably light weight!  They are slippery, not quite as slippery as the KnitPro Nova metals but similar.  The joins are fabulous, you can really feel the quality when screwing them on to the cable, they are very precise and smooth, they are incredible!  I can’t really knock KnitPro for quality but these are noticeably different at the joint with a slightly more pliable cable, say no more.  I have since started to stock the HiyaHiya’s in sets in both metal and bamboo and in sharp and standard.  I also have some of their lovely accessories too!….The dumpling cases for stitch markers are soooo cute!!

Lantern moon still ooze their usual charm and quality, I have several pairs of the Rosewoods, I love the balance of them.  They are great all rounders, good for beginners as they are not too slippery and the points not too sharp but come with a very high price tag, starting at around £17.00 for a pair of 3.5mm 35cm straights.  The Lantern Moon accessories are hugely popular, the fabulous hand crocheted stitch markers and tape measures make fantastic gifts for knitting group Secret Santa’s!

In many ways, finding the right pair of knitting needles is like choosing a wand!  They have to feel right for you.  Everyone has different tastes, some like sharp needles, some like blunt, some like interchangeables/circulars, some like long and some like short.  The best advice I can give you is to try just one pair before investing in a set and try them on as many fibres as you can.  Don’t just go for the pretty colours, they may look nice but if they don’t work for you it could be a lot of money wasted.  The KnitPro Dreamz range for example is only available in sets.  They are the same needles as the Symfonie needles but stained with different colours, so it’s certainly worth trying the Symfonie first.

I’ve just started a project using the new KnitPro Nova Cubics.  My opinion on these was reserved, I really couldn’t see that I would like them.  I am very surprised by them, I was using some Lantern Moons and moved across to the Cubics as I thought it important to try them so as to advise customers.  They are lighter than I expected, more comfortable, not as slippery as the standard Nova’s and good to hold with good balance.  I’m now getting tempted to move onto them for another project which is currently on Karbonz.

If you would like any advice on choosing needles I am more than happy to discuss options with you.

If you would like to view the complete range of KnitPro, have a look on their website.  Everything is available to order.  www.knitpro.eu

The HiyaHiya’s are on my website http://littlehoundalesknits.com/102-hiyahiya  The accessories are not on the website yet but I’ll be putting them on in the next few days.

ArtViva are on the website too http://littlehoundalesknits.com/93-artviva

If you’re looking for a special set this Christmas, take a look at the Limited Edition ‘Box of Joy’ which will be available early November for £100….

Box of Joy

Knit and Natter

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Eva Beanie Hat
Mmmm, the aroma of buns and brownies baking in the oven is drifting through….Susie is getting ready for KNIT AND NATTER TOMORROW…1pm till 4pm.  Bun and a cuppa £1.00, Susie will be doing her super car washing too!  What more can a girl ask for, an afternoon knitting, eating buns, drinking tea and going home in a clean car!!
New knitters are always welcome too….If you can’t knit and now the cold dark nights are here, you’re looking for something to pass the evening away….why not learn to knit?  Pop along tomorrow afternoon and I’ll get you started!
Look forward to seeing everyone!
Kath. x

Fundraising Evening…

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Invites you to an evening of fundraising….

Susie, (my 16 year old daughter who helps me on the Farmers Market stall) is going to Vietnam and Laos in July next year with ‘World Challenge’.  They are going for a month and will be working in an orphanage whilst there.  To show my support I am organising an evening of fundraising. Little Houndales Knits will open at 5pm for you to browse the yarns and pattern books at your leisure, eat cake, drink tea (or maybe a drizzle of wine!), followed by the opportunity to watch a cookery demonstration from Pampered Chef and browse My Secret Kitchen and Forever Living Aloe Vera products.

We have some fabulous raffle prizes:

10 x 50g balls of Rowan Kid Classic and the latest Kim Hargreaves book, Smoulder

10 x 50g balls of Debbie Bliss Milano (New for A/W 2013) and the Milano pattern book

£25.00 Little Houndales Knits Gift Voucher

Various Pampered Chef and My Secret Kitchen products

Raffle tickets will be on sale for £1.00 a strip (on the day of the fundraiser only)

There will also be a 100 square lottery where you pay £2.00 for your square, when everyone has had opportunity to purchase a square, half the monies raised will go towards Susie’s Vietnam fund and the other half will go to the winner to spend on Pampered Chef.

A percentage of all Pampered Chef sales will be added to Susie’s funds.

A percentage of all My Secret Kitchen sales will be added to Susie’s funds.

A percentage of all Forever Living sales will be added to Susie’s funds.

And 10% of any Little Houndales Knits sales will be added to Susie’s funds.

Susie has £3,500 to raise in total, so far she has raised over half of this but we’ve still a big chunk to go so let’s make this a great evening of fun and fundraising.  Bring your friends and their friends, the more the merrier….and more funds for Susie!

Doors open at 5pm Tuesday 15th October, Pampered Chef cookery demonstration will commence about 7.30pm (and you can taste the finished product later) and the evening will wind down around 10pm.

Look forward to seeing you and thank you in advance for your support!

Kath xx

Click here to view pdf

Louisa Harding Akiko..

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The new Louisa Harding Akiko yarn has just arrived and I just had to write and tell you about it! Akiko is a gorgeous Aran weight yarn, a blend of 70% Merino and 30% Baby Alpaca, it has a lovely loose twist and a subtle marl. The colour palate is divine and I just want to knit them all!

Akiko is a very similar yarn to Thistle which was discontinued in 2012 and will knit to the same tension therefore making it suitable to knit all those lovely designs from the book Little Cake! For those of you who don’t have a copy of the now out of print Little Cake, don’t worry, Louisa has taken care of it and produced a booklet called Daisy Lea which has the best of the designs from Little Cake.

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Akiko also has it’s own new pattern booklet, named after the yarn and so also called Akiko. The designs are stunning, some are very much the trademark Louisa Harding lace work borders but there are a few that move away from this and I really do quite like them!

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And now you are smitten by the designs, have a look at these gorgeous colours!

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Istanbul – Marie Wallin

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Love at first sight!  I just love this sweater, I don’t know if it’s the colour, the fluffiness, the pattern, the shape or what, but I can just see myself wearing it as my ‘favourite sweater’!  In the ball the yarn reminds me of a baby sparrow, soft and fluffy and gorgeous muted greyish browns.

I know I shouldn’t but I have…….I’ve started knitting it whilst still having several other projects unfinished!  I figured it would be a quick, easy knit so I talked myself round 😉

The yarn is used double throughout so knits up quickly, the ribs are on 9mm needles and the main is on 12mm needles so it grows quickly.  I’m using circulars because I hate using straights on anything bulky and on anything above 6mm, they just get to heavy and clonky to enjoy!…..is clonky even a word?  It describes what I mean though 🙂

The welt knitted up quickly and as I was excited to get on to the pattern it probably knitted up even quicker!!  The pattern is a kind of sideways chevron worked by slipping stitches and passing the yarn across the slipped stitches on the right side.  I thought as it’s only a 4 stitch pattern which basically travels to the right for 12 rows then to the left for 12 rows it would be a piece of cake….but it took a bit of getting into!  I think you need to either follow the pattern intensely, be good at problem solving or good at working things out.  7 rows in, after the first decrease, I was somehow 1 stitch out and I couldn’t for the life of me work out what was wrong!  I walked away, came back 10 minutes later and saw the problem straight away!  I think I just had a dopey head on!  I’m now 10 rows in and I have got the pattern in my head, I know exactly what I’m doing and I’m able to see straight away how it all works, it’s amazing how things all come together!  I knew it wasn’t beyond me but I could quite easily see how this pattern would have some knitters scratching their heads.

Now I have it worked out I thought it would be a good time to put the kettle on and write about it.  I hope I haven’t put anyone off knitting it as it truly is gorgeous now I can see the pattern coming through and now I have it worked out, it is actually really easy!  My best advice is to persevere, it’s not that you are not capable, it’s just a bit tricky to get going….10 rows in and you’ll be away!!

Stephen West Lakedale Shawl

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This beautiful wingspan shawl is called Lakedale Shawl by Stephen West, available in Malabrigo Book 3. There is an errata on the pattern which I wasn’t aware of until completing and uploading to Ravelry but I worked it out that the pattern must have been wrong :-/

It’s not the largest of shawls but could be knitted slightly larger, I do have about 10g of the main colour left and 60g of the contrast so enough to grow the main body slightly and make a longer frill.

Knitted in Malabrigo Sock , the perfect yarn for this kind of project. When knitting with the yarn it feels very springy and soft, it floats through the needles with grace. The initial impression of your work is that the finish is far to springy but blocking ‘completely’ transforms the work, the springing of the rib pattern in the shawl gives way to a fabulous open stitch giving a gorgous transparency.

The edging of the shawl is done in a contrasting colour, I used Stonechat for the body of the shawl and Light of Love as the contrast, I spent much time deliberating the contrast colour but I’m happy with my choice now it’s finished. The edging is pretty simple, the contrast yarn is worked in stripes and the main yarn is worked as a slip stitch so it lies across the contrast….so effective. The edging is increased quite rapidly giving a serious amount of stitches for the last few rows….but it’s worth it! 🙂

At £13 a skein and using 2 colours you may be considering a cheaper yarn alternative, seriously, I wouldn’t recommend it. Malabrigo Sock is 100% Superwash Merino, it is unbelievably soft and as there is no strengthener, the term ‘Sock’ is slightly misplaced as I wouldn’t knit socks in it without knitting in a strengthener (which I do stock…they’re just not on the website yet!). The properties of the yarn make for easy blocking….I did mine with a steam iron! Knowing how well it blocks, I can imagine that I would get an even better result from wet blocking with lace wires and a blocking mat but the iron was out and I was feeling impatient!!

All in all, I love this project, I will be doing it again…next time in Eggplant with Ravelry Red to contrast I think!….I just need some cooler weather now to wear it!

😀