Tired but happy!

Well, the dust has settled, and we’re steadily recovering from the Ravellenic Games. Team This Is Knit did us all proud – sixteen triumphant medallists, many with more than one medal.

We’d like to extend very special thanks to our two captains, Jacqui and Nadia, who organised the entire team (and we’re never easy to organise!), provided assistance, encouragement and yarn, and did the whole with laughter and good humour.

Congratulations once more to olearycarol and surfguna, who won our special Ravellenics goody bags! What will that prize yarn turn into? We’d love to know!

And finally, Don José is so very proud of you all, finishers and non-finishers.

And don’t forget: this astounding summer of sporting magic isn’t over. The 2012 Paralympic Games start tomorrow, with coverage on Channel 4. It’s not time to get up from the sofa just yet!

Things to come

It’s very nearly one of our favourite times of the year: Yarn Tasting time! It’s happening on the 14th of September (a Friday), and the behind-the-scenes preparations are revving up.

If you haven’t experienced a Yarn Tasting before (we’ve had three so far), it’s an evening of yarny frolics when we get to play with the new yarn and fibre that are coming in for the autumn and winter, as well as some old favourites. We have lots of prizes and refreshments and a great deal of fun.

And we have a very special guest. The lovely Ysolda Teague is joining us this year. She’ll be talking to us about her designs and there’ll be samples to try on and exclaim over. (Her workshop the next day is fully booked, though. We’re really not surprised.)

If you want to have a look back at previous Yarn Tastings, you’ll find Julie’s pictures of 2009 and 2010 on her blog, and our report of last year’s is at this link.

Tempted? We thought so. You can click over to book yourself (or a friend) a place right here. We’d love to see you.

A noble animal

(Image © Copyright Anne Burgess and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence)

What a handsome character! Let us introduce the Blue Faced Leicester, a splendid breed of sheep that’s been developed in the North of England over the last hundred years.

They’re big and strong, with excellent staple length (how long the individual fibres of the fleece are), and they’re named for the distinctive blue skin on their heads, which you can see when the head’s close-cropped as it is above. Oh, and that imposing nose is another breed characteristic.

And here’s why we’re so fascinated with Blue Faced Leicesters at the moment:

Debbie Bliss Blue Faced Leicester is one of our new yarns for the coming season, and it’s just gorgeous. It’s a British heritage yarn, raised and processed entirely in the UK. An Aran weight which comes in soft neutrals and strong saturated brights, it will make the cosiest jumpers and cardigans and accessories during the cold months to come. There’s 75 metres in a ball, and what’s more, it’s superwash, so it’s easy to care for.

This is the Lattice and Rib Sweater from Debbie Bliss Blue-faced Leicester Aran (there’s twelve other patterns in there as well, ranging from fingerless mitts through scarves and jumpers to coats). It’s a fast knit, and the cables make it so snuggly and warm.

So thanks to that excellent creature up above and her (or his) relations, it’s going to be a wonderfully warm winter.

In the thick of it

Things have been hectic since the start of the Ravellenic Games. There’s all sorts of projects going on, and all sorts of new things being learned. The first medal earned by a Team This Is Knit athlete went to clareblove in the Frogging Trampoline – oh, the relief when the unloved garment gets a chance to be something new and lovely! We can’t wait to see what it’s reborn as!

Speaking of medals, here’s how you earn yours. When you’re finished your event project, go to the main Ravellenics Games forum, and find the thread corresponding to the event. In each, you’ll find instructions on what you need to do – “PLEASE POST THE FOLLOWING” will tell you the information you need to post in the thread, and then there’s a quick FINISH LINE form to fill in. Both stages need to be completed, but it’ll only take a minute or so.

But that’s not all: we’ve also planned some very special This Is Knit medals too, exclusively for our own athletes. These will be awarded after the games end. It’ll be a bit like driving down O’Connell Street through cheering crowds in an open-topped bus!

But that’s still not all: after the games end, we’ll be proudly awarding prizes! There’ll be more of that in a later post, but for now, we’d better get back to the hat, and the cardigan, and the shawl, and the socks….

Don José, our tutelary alpaca, is on guard in the shop, watching over our Ravellenic Flame, which burns undimmed amidst the yarn.

He’s terribly proud of you all. So are the rest of us.