Arne & Carlos Day at the Craft Barn

Posted by Amy | Posted in Company News | Posted on 26-02-2016

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On Tuesday, the day finally arrived for knitting superstars Arne and Carlos to visit the Craft Barn. It was a much anticipated day, we had all been looking forward to meeting them for many months. The workshop room had been decorated with their books and yarn dotted about the place, we even had life size cardboard cut outs of them in the Craft Barn! (kindly loaned from Coats Crafts).

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Last week I had taken on the task of winding all the balls of yarn in preparation for the workshop, it was then neatly tucked up in delicate organza Rowan bags ready and waiting.

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The day started with a fabulous workshop. Arne and Carlos taught everyone how to make a pair of Fair Isle wrist warmers in the round (5 Wise Virgin Wrist Warmers – pattern from Knitting Scandinavian Style). It was the biggest workshop we have ever held at the Craft Barn, with 23 people in total. Every time I popped in to take a few photographs there was a real buzz in the air, with everyone chatting away to Arne and Carlos as they worked their way around the room.

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Sara joined in with the workshop too and overcome her fear of Fair Isle. Not usually her favourite choice when knitting, Sara now plans to knit a sweater from Knitting Scandinavian Style by Arne & Carlos. Here she is showing off her progress so far.

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Once the workshop finished it was time for a quick turn around and a moment to relax for Arne & Carlos. Whilst tables and chairs were moved around them they managed to have a bite to eat before the afternoon lecture. They especially enjoyed the lemon and ginger cake from the tea shop!

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They managed to sign a few books for us too!

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With all of the workshop tables out and the room now filled with enthusiastic listeners, we were all eager to find out more about their lives as knitting designers.

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It was interesting to get an insight into their lives and hear about where they lived, how they became designers and what inspires them. There was so much to take in within the hour lecture, having the photos was great too as it added something extra whilst they were talking. Not only are they lovely, interesting people they are also really funny and were making little jokes here and there throughout.

Here is a photo of where they live in Norway and what their house (a disused railway station) originally looked like when Arne bought it back in 1999. They are so creative in all aspects of their lives, not just knitting.

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One of the most inspiring things that I picked up on was when Carlos talked about their magnificent garden in Norway – “Designing is all about trying and failing, and trying agin”. This was said in the context of creating their garden (a place where they love to knit) however this linked in nicely with their designing too. Below is a photo of their garden which they created from nothing and was the first thing that they did with the house, added a flourishing garden.

The garden is very important to them as this is their main source of inspiration. They take this inspiration from the abundance of colour and incredible lighting.

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They covered all aspects of their design work from Knitted Dolls, Regia sock yarn collaboration, Kim Kardashian to taking inspiration from Arne’s Grandmother’s traditional Norwegian knitwear. ’55 Christmas Balls to Knit’ was their first ever book which is now available in 17 different languages. They told a funny story about how the publishers got a little mixed up with the title, which should have actually read ‘baubles’, not ‘balls’.

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Did you know that the colour palette’s for these sock yarns were inspired by Edvard Munch paintings? They joked about originally wanting to name the shades after his paintings; perhaps ‘The Scream’ may not have been too popular as a yarn name.

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They even have Knitted Dolls of themselves; can you spot them in the photo above? This photo was inspired my Kylie Minogue’s Slow video.

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They didn’t know who Kim Kardashian was, but after seeing her photo around the internet they thought it would be fun to knit her ‘break the internet’ pic!

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The photo above is of Arne’s Grandmother on a skiing holiday wearing a traditional Norwegian knit. This type of design has inspired the Fair Isle patterns that the duo includes in their own designs today.

A huge thank you to Coats Crafts for organising the visit from Arne and Carlos. We all had a fantastic day, both staff and customers. We hope to see you again soon on your next visit to the UK.

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Arne, Sara and Carlos in the Craft Barn. Keep an eye out for Sara’s finished wrist warmers popping up on Facebook soon.

For those who couldn’t make it to the Craft Barn we are giving away the Rowan Pure Wool Superwash Dk yarn to make the wrist warmers and Knitting Scandinavian Style where you can find the pattern for the wrist warmers and many more. Simply comment on the blog post and a winner will be chosen on Friday 4th March 10am GMT. Good luck!

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Designer Q & A’s – Arne & Carlos

Posted by Amy | Posted in Designer Q&A's | Posted on 10-02-2016

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[Credit – 30 Slippers to Knit and Felt, Arne and Carlos Knitting Scandinavian Style, Arne and Carlos’ Easter Knits, Knitted Dolls with a Designer Wardrobe, 55 Christmas Balls to Knit, Knit and Crochet Garden]

In anticipation of the upcoming workshop and lecture with Arne and Carlos at the Craft Barn, I sent over a few questions to find out more about the talented duo. The answers below are just a brief snippet into their creative lives, I am sure they will have lots more to share in their lecture on 23rd February 2016. If you can’t make it to the lecture* (there are still a few places left) you won’t miss out completely as we do plan to film a short video with them too. Keep an eye out on our YouTube channel for this popping up.

*If you would like to book a place on the afternoon lecture (2pm -3pm) please call 01925 764231 or email info@blacksheepwools.com.

When did you first pick up a pair of knitting needles and learn to knit?

Who taught you? Did you knit / crochet from a young age? Arne started very young, probably before Primary School. He learnt from his mother, grandmother and great grandmother, as they all lived under the same roof, in a farm in the traditional Gudbrandsdal region of Norway, where his ancestors have continuously lived since the early 17th century. Carlos learnt as a child too, also at school, as crafts were taught to children at school in Seden in the late 70s. He stopped knitting for a while, though, and picked it up again as an adult.

Can you recall your very first finished project? What did you make?

Arne made a scarf with the letters: ABBA. Carlos can’t remember, made a bracelet for his mom.

How did you get into designing?

Arne has a degree in fashion design for the school of design in Norway, so he is a professional designer and also worked as a teacher in fashion design and pattern construction.

Your first book ‘55 Christmas Balls to Knit’ was a phenomenal success and has now been published in over 10 different languages. What inspired the choice of Christmas baubles?

It was just the idea, of taking the already existing, traditional knitting patterns that form part of our heritage and finding a new way to use them. The idea of a bauble was very appealing, because it was a small item that could be knitted very quickly. At the time, no one was knitting Christmas Balls.

Do you prefer to make small scale projects, such as baubles or larger items, such as garments?  

Definitely small projects.

What would be your one knitting accessory that you can’t live without?

A nice thick scarf, to protect us from the cold Norwegian winter.

I read that you have worked with many international brands including fashion house Comme des Garçons. That must have been an exciting opportunity, what did you design?

Do you have any photographs? Among other things, we designed the Space Invader Sweater that Arne wears on the cover of 55 Christmas Balls to knit.

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Can you give us just one knitting tip?

Knitting tip: When you knit with 2 colours, always carry the thread you are not knitting with for a maximum of 5 stitches, then twist with the other thread, to lock it. That way, you wont have too long floats. If you need to twist on more than one row, make sure you never twist in the same place in the row immediately after, as the other colour will show through.

Do you have a favourite colour combination you are always drawn to for your fair isle knits?

No. We like to work with all colours. I think the way we put colours together is what makes us stand out from all the other designers. We do it instinctively.

Do you enjoy knitting for yourself? If so, what do you make?

Yes we do, but unfortunately it’s been ages since we had time to make something for ourselves.

Where is your favourite place to knit?

In winter, it’s in front of the fireplace. In summer, it’s in the garden.

Where do you begin when you are starting to design for a new book? Do you begin with colour, a theme etc?

We usually start with a small idea and then look for ways to develop. It is not easy to explain how we do it, though.

Do you have a knitted / crocheted treasure? A piece that you could never part with, a gift or maybe something you have made yourself?

Actually, we have an archive of old knitted pieces that we collect. The most precious ones are the jackets and sweaters knitted by Arne’s grandmother, as they are exceptionally well made.

What exciting projects do you have coming up in 2016? Anything that you can share with us?

We are excited about the first catalogue for Schachenmayr (I believe it’s for Patons in the UK) that will be out in the summer and also about the new yarns we have designed for Schachenmayr.

Arne & Carlos Afternoon Lecture – Important Information

Posted by Amy | Posted in Company News | Posted on 04-02-2016

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On Tuesday 23rd February 2016 stars of the knitting world Arne and Carlos will be visiting the Craft Barn. We are super excited that they will be spending a whole day here with us in Warrington. They are teaching a workshop in the morning, followed by a lecture in the afternoon from 2pm – 3pm. The workshop is now fully booked, however you can still book a place on the lecture. Due to the amount of interest we have had in the lecture over the past few weeks we are now taking bookings. The lecture is still free to attend, but you do need to call or email in to book a place on the lecture. Numbers are limited due to the amount of space we have and for health and safety reasons. Please pass this message on to anyone else you know who’s planning on attending and do get in touch as soon as possible.

Either call 01925 764231 or email info@blacksheepwools.com to book a place.

Arne & Carlos are coming to the Craft Barn!

Posted by Amy | Posted in Company News | Posted on 15-01-2016

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We are super excited to share that Scandinavian knitting designers Arne and Carlos will be visiting the Craft Barn this February. If you haven’t heard of the design duo then let me fill in a few gaps. Arne and Carlos have been designing for many years and have worked with many high end brands during this time. They are best known for their Fair Isle knits and very first craft book – ’55 Christmas Balls to Knit’. Since its release in 2010 it has been published in over 10 different languages.

They will be spending a full day here on Tuesday 23rd February, teaching a mini workshop in the morning and holding a lecture in the afternoon. In the workshop you can make a pair of wrist warmers following their pattern ‘5 Wise Virgins Wrist Warmers’. The workshop cost is £25 and includes yarns and refreshments. Book a place on the workshop here.

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Hear all about their interesting life in knitting at the afternoon lecture from 2pm – 3pm. It is free to attend and will be held in our spacious workshop room at the Craft Barn. Please call 01925 764231 to book a place on the lecture.