Looking towards a shiny new year, there can be only one word that best describes the feeling in the air, uncertainty. In times of turmoil, and the unpredictable nature that surrounds the world, its those moments of calm, quiet activity that we crave, where knitting becomes an integral part of our well-being, whether its a shared passion with a group of friends or a solitary pursuit. There is a sense of reassurance that comes from the rhythmic clicking of the needles, the constant motion of stitches intertwining and that blissful feeling of creating something entirely handmade.
This past year has brought some of the softest natural wool fibres to the forefront of the industry, introducing more independent dyers and spinners to the mix, shining the spotlight on a variety of new dye techniques, and established an even stronger connection to the origins of the yarn. Knitting needles continued to evolve with a better grip, smoother handle, and super slick speed. Designers continue to push the boundaries with more asymmetrical-shaped sweaters, cardigans and tunics while shawls and socks still reign supreme as the most popular knitting projects.
While we can’t be certain about what’s to come in the new year, we can always look back and enjoy the Top Ten Knitting Trends of 2016 –
1. Cashmere. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and this luxurious fibre had been on a timeout for far too long. This year we waited for the warm and fuzzy arrival of 100% Italian Cashmere from the exclusive Cardiff Collection in fingering, sport and aran weight. If you already had the opportunity to pet one of these perfectly plump little balls ….you know it was worth waiting for.
2. Tonals. Softening the colour spectrum, tonals totally rocked the list of hot dye trends. This fascinating technique involves dipping yarn into a hot dye bath to achieve a shadowy play of light and dark tones. In 2016, Debbie Bliss introduced us to her newest addition, Cashmerino Aran Tonals, a pleasing blend of wool, cashmere and acrylic.
3. The BIG Stuff. Just when we thought we had seen the biggest and the bulkiest, out of the shadows appeared the BEHEMOTH! By the time the leaves were changing into burnished shades of gold, knitters couldn’t wait to get their hands on Phil Big, a wool blend roving so unbelievably thick and plush, it was a challenge to grasp a single strand. Available in four shades- Ecru, Grenadine, Lagon, Flanelle, each 500g skein includes a cowl pattern on the label plus these fun FREE patterns to download-
4. Socks On The Rocks. When the temperature began to plummet, chunky knitted socks soared in demand. These became an instant hit from the Rockies to the Maritimes and all points in between. Our On The Rocks series of FREE patterns kept right on rolling with one new accessory added each week, celebrating the outdoors in typical Canadian style.
5. Caracol. Malabrigo picked the perfect time of year to spread a little Christmas joy when they unveiled an irresistible thick and thin polar weight merino in twenty-four stunning colourways resembling the artistry of stained glass. Caracol.
6. Melodies Of Life. This pretty gift set came ready to wrap with a shiny big bow and to the delight of knitters everywhere included some extra sweet trimmings. Knitter’s Pride revealed the latest luxury box set in mid-October but only in limited supply, causing a mad dash to local shops for Santa’s special helpers.
7. The Messy Bun Hat. Also known as The Holey Hat, this trendy topper became an Internet sensation on Pinterest and Ravelry right before the holiday season. Its a simple project and requires just one skein of our Tradition Chunky. Download the FREE pattern here.
8. Blanket Scarves. Skinny little scarves are out and oversized ones are definitely in. The thicker the better, for burrowing into on frosty days. This one is worked from the top down in three shades of Tradition Chunky. Look for the pattern right here in early January.
9. Sustainability. As knitters become increasingly more aware of the yarns they are choosing, feeling a connection to the environment and knowing that the wool is locally sourced is equally as important. Baa Ram Ewe is an impressive addition to our line up, a small boutique business located across the pond in Yorkshire where the journey from sheep to needles begins in the neighboring fields with flocks grazing in the fresh air and local mills carrying on their woolly heritage of spinning the fleece into skeins.
10. Shades of Grey. By far the most popular colour obsession in the knitting world, grey stands out as the new neutral. Whether you spell it ‘grey’ (English) or ‘gray’ (American) it is a strikingly elegant shade that suits pretty much any pattern or choice of stitch work. It sits right between black and white and is defined as achromatic, meaning that it is quite literally a non-colour. Bunny shade no. 200 (shown above).