In the seven years that I've been crocheting, I've made fifteen blankets using a variety of yarns. I've used pure wool, pure cotton, pure acrylic (if you can call acrylic yarn "pure"?!), cashmere/merino blends and cotton/acrylic blends. I've used eye wateringly expensive designer yarns as well as cheap and cheerful budget yarns. And without exception, I've always chosen my blanket-making yarns based on their colour credentials. For me to love a yarn enough to use it for blanket making, it has to exist in a range of colours that make my heart happy.
The above yarn colours are all Stylecraft Special DK yarn. Since I made my first blanket using this yarn almost five years ago, I have grown to love the glorious range of colours (SiXtY to choose from!), the durability and washability (essential for camping/outdoor blankets) and the price (unbeatable good value). It also happens to be soft and non-splitty, making it a pleasure to crochet with. Truthfully, it's not my number one most favourite yarn (that spot goes to Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino), but really it's a pretty great yarn for blankets. My Little People love them and currently Little Lady and Little B both have Stylecraft ripple blankets on their beds (the Cottage Ripple and the Coast Ripple). But most importantly, when my Stylecraft blankets get dragged across the beach or used to make a den over a picnic table at a camp site, my blood pressure remains stable. They are great family blankets and are much loved and well used here in the Attic.
But anyhow, aside from the fibre content and the durability - we need to talk about the sixty colours! In my studio I've got two shelves stuffed with Stylecraft Special DK, that's 55 out of the 60 available shades. The five that are missing from my shelves are :: white and black, plus the three neon shades (fiesta, bright green and jaffa).
Last October when I began my Cosy blanket Crochet A Long I hit on the idea of winding lengths of yarn onto wooden clothes pages. I found this a really useful way to plan the random colour stripe order for this blanket, it's much easier to line up 15 pegs than 15 squishy big balls of yarn! However, since then I've used my yarn pegs as a nifty way of creating groups/palettes to inspire future projects. I keep my yarn pegs in a shallow ceramic bowl on my work table and find myself constantly playing with them, trying out ideas and taking photographs, creating little visual "colour notes" to be stored away for future reference. Vintage kitchen colours, Spring flower colours, Fairground colours, Beach Hut colours, - all sorts of images, memories and emotions can be harnessed and translated into colour palettes. Colour underpins every creative thing that I do, that's for sure.
Now then - the title of this post, did you notice that? Did you clock that I am supposed to be talking about a Colourful Competition? I've been bursting to tell you about this since last year, so here in a nutshell is the low down - this is a competition organised by Stylecraft Yarns in conjunction with Lets Knit magazine. The idea is that Stylecraft are asking yarn lovers to help them choose the next new shade for their Stylecraft Special DK range.
Entering couldn’t be easier - all you need to do is send a sample of your favourite colour to Stylecraft by 31st March 2015. The sample can be anything at all - photographs, pieces of fabric, scraps of paper, a sweet wrapper, a postcard, a child's toy, a sock - all acceptable forms of entry! Stylecraft will be able to accurately replicate the winning colour using an amazing gizzmo that analyses colour and produces high tech info to enable accurate reproduction.
What do you think? Does this sound like fun or what?!
In April, a panel of judges (of which I am one) will work with the Stylecraft team to select a shortlist of 10 colours, which will then be put to a public vote. The new colour will be launched in October at the Autumn Knitting and Stitching Show in London, and the winner will also receive a whopping 100 balls of Special DK to add to their stash (yes, One HUNDRED squishy, colourful balls!) The 9 shortlisted shades will also receive a superb Stylecraft goodie bag containing a key ring, a new fringed shade card and 5 balls of Special DK.
Post your colour idea along with your name and contact details to:
Stylecraft Special Colour Competition
Alternatively you can email your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org
There are two more things you need to know ::
1. If you aren't already familiar with the complete range of Stylecraft Special DK, you will need to have a good look at the sixty colours that already exist in order to decide which colour might make a good addition. The very best way to do this is to locate your Local Yarn Shop to have a look at real yarn balls (a list of stockists can be found here). Wool Warehouse also go to a great deal of trouble to photograph their yarn colours accurately and their listing of Stylecraft Special colours gives a great on on-screen representation.
2. There will be THREE NEW SHADES of Stylecraft Special DK launching in early April, and I can tell you they are beautiful additions to the range. I'll be able to show you the colours early next week, although they're not due to launch until early April. You might want to see these colours before deciding on your competition entry, or you might already know exactly which colour you simply can't live without (!)
I am very excited to be involved with this competition, I can't wait to see what you come up with. Wishing you lots (and lots) of colour-filled inspiration, here's hoping your yarny colour-wishes come true!
EDIT to add :: GREAT news my lovelies, Lets Knit magazine and Stylecraft Yarns have agreed to open out the competition world wide so that everyone who loves colour and yarn can enter no matter where they live on our beautiful planet. Now get those colourful thinking caps on, send in your dream shade and you could have 100 balls winging their way to your door.......