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Advice and Information

Long gone are the days when knitting was something you saw old people doing in cars, trains and buses - everyone does it now!  Knitting today is a pastime, hobby or a way to make beautiful, unique things that has exploded across the generations.

At Blacker Yarns we have always made ourselves available to help customers: we don’t like telephone options, call centres or computerised answers and always prefer a personal approach when we answer queries.

You may want us to help you choose the right yarn for the right pattern, or you may not be able to knit or crochet at all and want help on needle sizes, tension or technique.  This page is designed to help with the basics.

So here are some information sheets to download, in three categories:

 

Knitting Basics

  • An Introduction to Knitting, which gives you some history of knitting and crochet and suggests books you might find useful;
  • All About Yarn, which explains the difference between woollen and worsted spun yarns and tells the story behind our organic products;
  • Map showing original locations of British breeds of sheep

 

Technical information on knitting

  • Needles and Hooks is self explanatory and attempts to answer questions about which needle to use;
  • Yarn Specifications attempts to resolve any problems you may have with gauge, tension and needle size;
  • Wool Ball Lengths answers what sounds a silly question: how long is a ball of wool?  Or a skein or hank?  They all vary and here we explain how and why;
  • Yarn Weights explains how yarns vary depending on whether they are plied with more than one strand, how thick each strand is and how tightly yarn is twisted

 

Care of knitted and crocheted work

  • Technical Talk and Care as the name suggests aims to do two jobs: it explains some of the jargon relating to tension and gauge, and also provides some tips on how to care for fibre and make sure it survives the washing machine;
  • Wool Washing advises on how to get the best results
  • Death to Moths looks at deterring, detecting and destroying this pest

Three helpful websites are mentioned in these files, which you can also reach direct from here: the Campaign for Wool, the Soil Association and Ravelry.

We also have other downloads, some of which are mentioned in these files, where there is more detailed information.  You will find these by going to the Natural Fibre Company and clicking on the Help and Advice box.

To help customers curious about how various breeds relate to different parts of the UK, we have put together this map of sheep breed origins.  More information about some of these breeds and the fleece they produce can be found in our Meet the Animals page while Sue's book, Pure Wool, goes into more detail on the yarn characteristics from 17 British breeds and provides appropriate knitting patterns to make the most of them.  For more detailed information on a wider range of breed characteristics, see these sheep breed charts.