Autumn Glory

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If you have read my last post, you will know that I was hoping to come back to you with details of my next project. It was going to feature Blacker Yarns Cornish Tin yarn - however. the success of this yarn was so overwhelming that it sold out in three days! I was absolutely thrilled for Blacker Yarns and glad that I had bought a skein in each of the beautiful colours, but this has meant some rescheduling on the design front!

The end of September was all about meeting deadlines including a Christmas supplement and a six month KAL!

October has seen the start of a new way of working for me. With book and magazine deadlines out of the way I have been able to swatch and explore new yarns and different ideas. The quality of the light and the colours of autumn have caused me to stop in my tracks more than once. The noise and clamour of summer has faded and been replaced with the deep and thoughtful tones of terracotta, ochre and claret, offset with acid yellows and greens for a bit of edge!

I love dahlias and so I spent a couple of hours in the garden yesterday, building and exploring a new palette. It was totally absorbing. The photo is the first in a series that I will be posting this week via the blog and Instagram featuring inspiring colours and natural dyes.


The wait is over.........

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Today sees the launch of an outstanding new yarn called Cornish Tin. It has been produced by Blacker Yarns to celebrate their first 10 years in the industry. Like many good things, it is a Limited Edition and has been carefully blended from 10 of Blacker's favourite small producers. Cornish Tin celebrates more than just a milestone though. It embodies all that is special about this company's ethos - preserving rare breeds and helping to sustain local communities.The yarn is available as a DK and a 4ply and combines Alpaca, Gotland,Shetland Jacob, Shetland, Black Welsh Mountain, Mohair and English Merino. This blend means that it is a dream to knit with and suitable across a range of techniques, especially lace and colour work.

And it is the colours that are the real icing on the birthday cake for me. The palette is small but in no way limited. Four colours, named after Cornish Tin mines are balanced with a slivery grey that picks up and holds the light beautifully.

Every day this week I have been counting down to the launch by focusing on the essence of each colour via my Instagram, (@sarahhazell6) and Twitter (@sarahhazell6) accounts.The idea behind each of the images is to build up a real sense of the depth of each of the colours.

I hope I brightened your Monday with Botallack Blue. Botallack is one of the oldest and most easily recognised of Cornwall's tin mines, (especially if you watched the recent BBC adapatation of Poldark!). This blue really packs a punch when used on its own and provides great definition when combined with some of the other colours.


Ruby Tuesday was all about the deep and velvety Wheal Rose Red. This proved quite a tricky colour to photograph, but I hope the image gives you some idea of how sumptuous it is - think of a nice glass of red wine and wood smoke and you're nearly there. This mine suffered a great disaster in 1846 and only the engine house and mine stack remain. It is now part of the Lappa Valley Steam Railway complex.

I love teal and Dolcoath Turquoise does not disappoint. This is a real slaty teal and one that you see all over Cornwall everywhere from the sea to local packaging. Dolcoath means 'old ground' in Cornish and at its height was the fifth most productive mine in Cornwall. Rather like some co-operatives today, the mine often paid shares or 'dollies' to its shareholders. I think this will be a firm favourite for knitters and will certainly feature in the project that I ma working on currently!

By Thursday I thought everyone might like a break from colour and looked at Levant Grey. I really like neutrals that you can't quite pinpoint - is it grey, is it pale brown?, because they respond so well to a variety of contexts. On it's own Levant will look demure and understated. In combination with Wheal Rose Red or Botallack Blue it will provide contrast without being stark. Today Levant Mine is a National Trust property near St Just, where you will find the only Cornish beam engine still operated by steam. Some of my Instagram followers said that this was their favourite image.

I saved one of my very favourite colours until last! Pengenna Green has to be seen to be believed. It is a powerful green without being harsh, similar to the beautiful weathered greens you find on old pieces of copper. In terms of colour depth it sits somewhere between Botallack Blue and Dolcoath Turquoise, On a dull day it would be the colour of the sea - tranquil and calming with hidden depths.......

I hope you have enjoyed sharing in the celebrations of this new yarn!

I'll be back in the next few days to talk about my recent visit to St Ives and how it has inspired my next project.......

Bold texture and vibrant colour: Knitting magazine Issue 146

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This has been one of my absolute favourite editions of Knitting magazine to work on! It has given me the chance to work with some aran weight yarns that I had not tried before, as well as work in the round - a technique that ma turning to more and more.

First up is the Swirling Scarf. I used Millamia's Naturally Soft Aran in Ochre (240). Not only is this a really on trend colour at the moment, but the yarn holds and supports the ribs and cables extremely well. I originally designed this to be knitted in the round so that the edges of the pattern wouldn't curl, but it also has the added advantage that every other row is a knit row which helps to make it a speeder knit.

Carpet bags are enjoying a revival on the high street and so I was inspired to create a knitted version. King Cole's Merino Blend Aran has a strong palette which reminded of lovely old carpets. It has good stitch definition and lends itself to stranded colourwork very easily. I would recommend weaving in your ends as you go so that you are not left with that chore at the end of the project!

The last piece has not left my side since it was returned to me after the photo-shoot! It has taken up residence next to my chair in the sitting room and holds lots of yarn and a couple of projects! I used Rico Essentials Big in Grey Melange (041) and Cinnamon (031) and simple stitchwork to create a contemporary feel and am really pleased with the result. Certainly one of those projects where a little creativity has gone a long way to transform an old cardboard box anti a stylish household accessory!

This month's edition also introduces a new layout to the magazine - I think it is much easier to navigate now and contains some really interesting features - go grab a copy!


That was the week that was....................

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It has been an exciting few days. A visit to a friend in London necessitated a trip to Loop in Islington. I love this shop because it stocks little treasures that you often can't find anywhere else. You will see that I was tempted by the Isager Japansk Bomuld (cotton), a beautiful laceweight cotton with excellent metreage, (315 metres (344 yards)) and machine washable! Think i might take it on holiday to experiment with....... Second purchase of the week was the fantastic pouch that you see below. Made by Julia Billings of woollenflower from recycled Harris Tweed and lined with Scottish linen. Simple,stylish and superbly well made!

On Saturday I met up with Emma Price at In the Woolshed to talk through recent inspirations and future projects. The yarns featured in the photo are spun from Lleyni sheep and dyed naturally by Emma, really looking forward to working with this!

Finally a little taster of a commission that I would love to finish by the end of the week, but suspect will be coming on holiday with me!