On a cold and dull* November day, what do you need to warm the cockles of your heart? Well, duh: lovely hand-dyed yarn, of course, and a pattern with which to knit it. So don’t you reckon it’s time for another giveaway, open worldwide?
Enter from stage left, Suzie, bearing skeins of marvellously colourful wool.
Twisted: Hello, Suzie.
Suzie: Hello, Twisted.
Twisted (shivering): Cold, isn’t it?
Suzie (also shivering): Gosh yes, it is cold… as one might quite reasonably expect at this time of year.
Twisted: Indeed. Shall we stop speaking as though we’re characters in an exceptionally badly-written play?
Suzie: Yes, lets. Would you like some yarn?
Suzie is based in east London, from where she runs her indie yarn/pattern company, It’s A Stitch Up. IASU started out as a blog, and her tutorials and patterns rapidly became super-popular. Last year, she started selling her hand-dyed yarn, too, shipping worldwide to meet ever-increasing demand. Her yarn is ethically-produced (in terms of animal welfare and environmental impact), British-spun, and dyed with inspiration from her surroundings, especially from the natural world. Yup, I’m struggling to find anything not-to-like, too.
Suzie got in touch with me recently to talk about her yarn. As it happens, she’s a friend-of-a-friend, but that’s beside the point. We talked particularly about her Awesome Aran (think worsted-weight, USians), which is spun from British-produced wool from the always-haughty-looking Bluefaced Leicester sheep.
Have you knitted or hooked with Bluefaced Leicester? It’s soft and it’s tough (in a good way, I promise) which is why it’s often used for sock yarn. It has quite a lustrous appearance, too. Suzie sent me a sample skein, along with the pattern for her Shipwreck Cove cowl. Look at the very subtle hint of variegation in this semi-solid colourway. It’s called ‘Heart Of Glass’, and it’s available in 100g (3.5oz) skeins. It feels soft and dense, and it’s very cosy against the skin. Look!
Anyway, I knitted the cowl. Maybe my gauge was off, but I ran out of yarn just before the end, so I decided to use some spare yarn I had lying around to make the cord and the pom-poms. (It was cotton, so it separated beautifully to make the pom-poms extra-fluffy.)
Ah, pom-poms. I hadn’t made them since childhood.**
Fortunately, I could just about remember what to do. (Yeah, I know you can buy pom-pom makers but really, two doughnuts of cardboard work just fine.) Place the pieces of card together, wind yarn (doubled, quadrupled, or whatever to save time) around and around until you can’t fit it through the centre any more or until your layer of yarn is looking nicely thick. Use a crochet hook to pull the yarn through the centre hole if needed. I also used a crochet hook to wedge the yarn in place whilst I began to cut every strand of yarn around the perimeter of the disks.
Then, when you’ve cut every strand, you’ll need to pull the cardboard disks apart VERY SLIGHTLY to enable you to wind a piece of yarn around all your strands and tie a knot that’s tighter than any knot you’ve ever previously tied in your life.
Now you can remove the card, fluff up your lovely pom-pom, and give it a light trim where needed. Do NOT allow anyone with perfectionist tendencies to complete this stage, as they will trim and trim (and trim) until there’s nothing left.
Isn’t it cutesome? (Oughtn’t I to be taken outside and shot for crimes against language, having used the ‘word’ cutesome?)
And here, expertly modelled by my headless assistant, is the finished cowl. It’s very cosy. And pretty.
If you browse the It’s A Stitch Up website, you can see all the rich shades that Suzie has dyed in Awesome Aran, as well as her other yarns. She also sells knitting kits, her own knitting patterns, and vintage haberdashery.
But let’s talk about the giveaway, because it’s a good’un, thanks to Suzie’s extreme generosity. She is offering TWO shivery-but-yarn-loving readers of this blog from anywhere in the world the chance to win a 100g skein of Awesome Aran, and the cowl pattern to go with it. See? I told you it was good.
Usual Twisted contest conditions apply. To enter, leave a comment at the bottom of this post. To gain an additional bonus entry, visit this blog’s Facebook page, ‘like’ the page and leave a comment on the post about this giveaway, with some way of reaching you if you win – Raverly username, for example.
The contest is open from RIGHT NOW until 12.00 midday (UK time) on Saturday 10th December 2016. After this, a random number generator will be used to select two lucky winners, whose details will be passed to Suzie so that she can contact them and arrange delivery of the prizes. Good luck!
∗ The weather is now scuppering the mood of this blog post by suddenly being sunny. Still it’s cold. Very cold. You’ll need knitwear.
∗∗…when I used to make big pom-pom critters with stuck-on eyes, and arms made of pipe-cleaners. They were irredeemably naff, so let us speak of them no more.
I’m not sure if I entered before, but I’d hate to miss out on a chance to win such pretty yarn. I looked at the older comments and didn’t see an entry for me, so I hope I’m not stuffing the ballot box
Joyce in Melbourne says
Mmm lovely colours, and cute (sorry, superior) sheep. It is getting warm here at present, but by the time I could knit something, it will be cold again! Thanks for the chance to win a skein.
I’m joyknitsinoz on ravelry.
Love your blog and thanks for the chance to win some yarns goodness. What gorgeous colours and so shiny can almost feel the softness. Sorry I’m drooling!
Sue Hawthorne says
Wonderful rich colours. Love the great ethics of the company too.
Tina Gordon says
I love your blog and your ungrammatical but very descriptive words!
I am in Devon, in south England this week, with my son and his brand new baby girl. It has been colder than they have ever known. He said on Monday that they don’t get frost, but we have had very hard frost every morning since!
I would love to knit a cowl in this GORgeous yarn and gift it to my daughter-in-law, who feels the cold, even when it is not frosty.
Thank you for the chance to enter your competition x
Jean Sadler says
I love your blog you always make me smile. It has gone very mild here on Skye, after some lovely crisp frosty days. I love the colours of the yarn. Jean Sadler
I love the colours!
Christine Crabb says
Love your Blog, adore the knitting on the go. Nice and crisp here this morning in Cornwall
Jennifer Ashbridge says
I love reading your blog and aspire to do some of the lovely clever knitting you post. What a lovely prize for this time of the year!! I’d love to win this. Ravelry jen2406. 🙂
Lovely yarn and the cowl looks great.
Beautiful yarn. Great vivid colors.
Andreas F says
The cowl is such a lovely colour and the yarn looks so incredibly soft – perfect for winter 🙂
The yarn looks lovely – fantastic colours.
The Snail of Happiness says
Well, never being one to miss out on the possibility of some BFL… and now I’m off to Susie’s web site to enjoy some drooling…
Sofia M says
Well, this yarn seems lovely, and the colours are so bright! Fingers crossed…
Alice Darter says
The yarn colors are so soothing! can just imagine staying warm in them!
Carrie Pippins says
Harriet Seward (the clue is in the email address, but I get junk emails addressed to David) says
Gorgeous gorgeous yarn & lovely colours.
the yarn looks fantastic. The cowl looks great as well, would be great for my winter walks in Warwickshire!
love this giveaway and I love hand dyed yarn!!!!
Magda R. says
I love giveaways! Thanks for hosting this one, with such pretties to win!!
Keep warm 🙂
Cheryl Graham says
Love reading your blog. the yarn looks so cosy and soft, beautiful colour.
Hira Imran says
Hi! Thankyou so much for hosting this giveaway.love ur blog and the yarn, looks so soft and pretty.great for this winter!❤
What beautiful colours! I would love to win this – fingers crossed 🙂
Sharon K. Lozano says
I love the colors! They look bright and beautiful! I do see sheep here in the area I live. Would be interesting to watch them get sheared. Thank you for the chance to try your yarn.
Linda R says
What lovely yarn! And such luscious colors. And it’s getting cold in the US; I definitely need some yarn to keep me cozy.
Thanks for the giveaway! I’m lindaran on Ravelry.
Martha Stepnowski says
I have been knitting squares to make your small Christmas trees and would love the chance to make some additional pine trees with these fine skeins you’ve shown. I’d like a rainbow forest, please!
Juanita Chedzoy says
Thanks as ever for your lovely and funny blogs, and WOW that yarn looks scrumbum!
Carrie Carpenter says
I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to win this giveaway. Beautiful yarn!
Beautiful yarn, and I love to knit cowls!
Joanne Kenyon says
Gorgeous colours and a great read x
That yarn is super! Love those gorgeous colours!
(I’m RosanneEm on Ravelry. And we’re warming up here, in Australia.)
Gorgeous yarn – and I love your blog !
Kathleen Anderson says
Ooohhh…so much yarny goodness to drool over. I never get fed up with glorious pictures of colours and yarn!
Julie Mair says
Pom poms are horrendous! So pretty but such a pain to make! Love the blog and the pictures – keep up the good work!
Jo Smith says
Love your blog! This giveaway is awesome…thanks so much for the chance to win!!!!
Yes, yes, yes! Want pretty yarn!!
Sandra Hayden says
Dear Twisted, You and your blog are always an inspiration! Thanks for your efforts in composing a lovely (and humorous) blog. Sometimes I don’t quite understand the British terms, but I’m determined to add them to my U.S. vocabulary.
Carolyn Dewhirst says
Enjoy your blog and would love some shimmery wool to go with Christmas
Shanel Ariann Sions says
I’m glad I discovered your blog! Y’all are so sweet!
Your blog always inspires and amuses me! I love your projects and wordcreations and the general energy that your blog radiates if one can put it like this. These yarns look delicous, I love the green.
I really don’t remember if I already commented or not!if I did sorry!if not here it is,I would love to win this beautiful yarn and the great-looking pattern!thanks for the chance! Esponge94@gmail.com
I love the subtleness of this tonal yarn! Very pretty. What an awesome giveaway! Rav username – Maria14
Love the yarn. Have I already entered??
Please enter me in your draw I would love to win some Aran yarn.
fab blog and have a small space in my stash cupboard for more yarn.
Such lovely looking yarn