British Wool, crochet, Edinburgh, KnitBritish, Podcast, recommendations, review, Value series
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episode 81 – “We can make anything!”

On today’s episode I’m further exploring themes of value and worth in knitting by looking at  learning and teaching knitting. I’ve got an interview with Kerry Kimber, of Knitting For All, and I visit a knitting class in Edinburgh taught by Maddie Harvey and have a coffee and chat with them. I also review of Croft 29 Hebridean wool!

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Our Sponsor

Images are from Croft 29 on Instagram

Today’s episode is sponsored by Croft 29!
Stephen and Rachel Varwell produce beautiful Hebridean yarn from their small flock in Skye. Using traditional hand-shearing methods the shearling fleeces are spun by
The Natural Fibre Company into a plump aran yarn.
To find out more visit Croft 29 on twitter, facebook and instagram and visit their etsy shop. 
You can also read an interview with them right here at KnitBritish.

| Show notes

This episode I am picking back up on the topic of value and what it means to have these knitting skills. I looked at the value of our own skills, and the meaning of knitworthy on the show before and I thought it would be good to look at teaching and also what it means to learn craft.

(c) Knitting for All

I’m delighted to welcome Kerry Kimber, from Knitting For All, to the show. In 2010 she started her business, which pretty much sprang forth as a fully formed plan – to provide the opportunity for children to learn knitting and craft because it is a real life-enhancing skill. Kids Knit classes grew to embrace more classes for young people (YPK) and Knitting Night and Day classes for adults. It was so lovely talking to Kerry and she has such as profound love for knitting and a deep belief that it can unlock so much for anyone who wants to learn.  Kerry’s own mum embraced creativity , producing a box of yarn and announcing “We can make anything with this!” and Kerry ensures that attitude is carried across all the classes, never quashing creative spirit. I loved her story about the wee boy who wanted to knit (and did make) a helter skelter.

Knitting for All is made up of franchises across Scotland, in England and now in Ireland too. Teachers own their own business and have the support and training from Kerry and the team, including meet ups, training days and ongoing assistance. You can  teach one or two classes or make a real business focus and offer lots of classes and programmes; the one thing that Kerry says is most important is good communication skills. You don’t have to know all the knitting techniques, you just need to enjoy sharing your craft skills with others and realise that your passion for craft can really lead to wonderful things for your students. You can find out more details on  how to become a Knitting for All teacher on their website.  Also, if you are interested in attending a class or getting the kids or young people in your life enrolled then check out the Find a Class page.

As a lovely complement to my chat with Kerry, I felt it would be great to visit one of the classes in Edinburgh and talk to some of the participants. Maddie Harvey is a designer and a teacher, who has owned her own teaching franchise for a few years now and offers classes across the programmes from kids to adult classes. It was just lovely to join her wee class, at a cafe in Corstorphine, a couple of weeks ago and I was made to feel so welcome. There I met Lizzie, Caroline, Catherine and son Jamie and also Emma. All of the classmates were working on various projects from Easter chicks to heart-shaped bunting to cowls.

The class started a year ago, most had some knowledge of knitting from a very young age, but were just picking it up again. I learned that not only did the women find the group great for getting gentle guidance and encouragement for their knittin and that the classes were unlocking new-found skills, but they found it a nice little time for themselves, with like-minded people; Catherine said it was her zen and earlier Lizzie had told me the class was her oasis of calm in an otherwise busy week.

We had coffee and cake. We talked about knitting, about the importance of the group and of seeing finished objects and progress. Lizzie was working on hearts and was approaching shaping for the first time. Caroline had started a sock, but the plentiful instructions meant she was opting for a wee project for the class that day. We talked about the telly last night, and the local community events and changes to the high street and this was just a lovely example of spending good time in the company of people who all came together to learn something, but it goes much deeper than that! Friendship, time out, a well deserved cuppa and a good chinwag!

Thanks so much to the Knitting Day ladies at Corstorphine for making me feel welcome and more power to your knitting elbows! And thanks also to Maddie, whose voice was a bit lost in the noisy cafe, but I’ll get her on here another time too, don’t you worry. Thank you also to Kerry; I was so inspired by her drive and her passion for craft. It is vision like hers that will see more people discover the value of knitting.

| Croft 29 Hebridean Yarn Review

Did you read my post this week which had an interview with Stephen and Rachel, from Croft 29? Get on over and have a read (after listening, of course!)

In this episode I review the yarn which comes from the Varwell’s croft in Skye. As always you need to listen in to the full review, but this wool – colour so high in cocoa solids you could eat it (but don’t!) – is an incredible example of how you do British breed yarn right! The fleece is shearling and they hand sort the best fleeces for the yarn. Spun at the Natural Fibre Co we get a lovely, lofty, woollen yarn which looks great in textured stitches and has a beautiful soft halo. My finished, washed, blocked and worn items have a lovely creamy  yet chalky hand and if you don’t want to knit all the sweaters in this then I’m not sure we can be pals! I mention the hand-squish-grab link in this part of the podcast, which is here.

Check out Croft 29 at etsy. Prices start at £6 for 50g skein – totally worth it for you breed wool explorers to go buy a ball and have a play!

I will insert images of my swatches and mitt here soon (it’s been a long day and too late to photograph!).

| Next time

I’ll be back on April 28th with our second mucker, the lovely Alison Mayne. I’m looking forward to meeting her next week and recording a chat with her. Also I will be talking about Remakery – a bit of a motivational arc to my knitting for the rest of the spring and summer…and maybe it could be yours too!

| Important

Music: Carefree by Kevin McLeod and Singin’ in The Rain (demo) by David Mumford – Both are on FreeMusicArchive and are both shared under Creative Commons Attribution license. Images are copyright to those attributed in the caption, otherwise they are mine, apart from the featured image which belongs to Knitting for All. Croft 29 are this week’s sponsor, do click on the links provided if you fancy knowing more about them. I bought their yarn to review – whether I am given yarn or buy it myself I always offer you a genuine and honest review and all the details are correct at time of recording. 


  1. Sue Cox says

    Hi Louise
    Love your podcast for the knowledge and information you pass to us all so freely. I also love your honesty. It is an honest podcast.
    This week you spoke of the knitting community whether it be garter stitch square knitters or jumper and sock knitters. You really touched me with those words Louise. It’s easy to feel inadequate when listening to or watching accomplished knitters but you buoyed me up this evening. Thank you so much. All the best lovely lady x

  2. Louise – just wanted to say thank you again for coming to join our Knit Day group the other week, and thank you for your kind words in this episode and in your show notes. x

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