A Skill For Life
If you know our story, you will know that we were taught to knit as children. Mum could knit and read patterns before she went to school (my Grandma disliked casting-on and ribbing, so teaching my mum to do it benefitted them both!).
Mum carried on knitting her whole life, but I hardly picked up a pair of needles again until in my 30s, but for me it was like riding a bike!
Knitting is a fantastic skill to encourage children to learn. Not only does it assist with developing fine motor skills, it also teaches patience, concentration and can ignite in them a passion for creating, that can last long beyond childhood. And what's more, it does all of the above without the use of a screen!
My eldest boy is 6 and has been keen to knit since he was 4, but his ambitions of knitting his brother a scarf or a new pair of gloves never really amounted to much, as at his age he just doesn't posses the concentration or patience.
Not wanting to discourage his interest, we wrote down a simple pattern for a Knitted-Bow. It was only 10 stitches wide and 14cm long and was an achievable project for a child (or any beginner in fact).
Knit With Them
Whilst older children may be able to follow written instructions by themselves, younger children will need your help to understand and practise their new skills.
When helping a child to knit:
1. Try sitting them on your lap so that your hands and their hands can work together in the same direction.
2. Use small needles that they can manoeuvre easily (mum used to tuck her mother's needles under her arms whilst knitting but this isn't ideal).
3. Simple is best to begin with. Simple stitches (this pattern requires just one), and simple language - we use an easy to remember rhyme. IN through the front door. AROUND the back. OUT through the window... and OFF jumps Jack.
4. Encourage them to count the stitches at the end of each row, this helps to quickly find out if a stitch has been dropped so it can be rectified before a big hole appears in their work.
The Knit-A- Bow Kit contains everything little hands need to complete this project, including a link to online instructional video support.
I love how gently the seasons seem to blend; the leaves are begining to turn, but the sun is still warm when it shines. The days are shorter but there's still a blackberry or two to be found on the bushes (if you know where to look!). It's almost as if neither summer or autumn have quite yet claimed September for their own - a seasonal 'no-man's-land' if you will, and in my mind that's a perfect blend, a time to look back fondly on the summer memories that are not yet to distant to recall their warmth, mixed with excitement and anticipation for the season to come!
Here are a few of our summer memories preserved
Meet Mum, The Maker
You won't find many photos of Mum on here or any of our social media as she likes to keep a low profile, but with the release of our latest pattern it feels only right that I share this picture and that's because this is mum's baby (not the rather pensive looking one pictured, but the woolly one on his head). So here is the Largo Bonnet in the designer's words:
"The Largo Bonnet is our third pattern and was devcloped while Abi was getting ready for her first child (Rainer) to start school. Hard to believe that was two years ago, and now the second is ready to start! We already had two successful rompers which we had designed together and I really wanted to do something different. I love the shape of the pixie style bonnets as they are snug around a young child's ears, and the shape reminds me of the bonnets my Mother used to make, both for us and any of her friends who had young children.
It took some while experimenting with various stitch options until I settled on the simple brioche stitch, which gives a lovely density and is so soft, I love it. The beautiful Russian grafted seam is a new technique for me and although it usually results in a smooth finish similar to kitchener stitch (but much, much easier), it gives a lovely ridge when coupled with the simple brioche stitch. I wish I had kept track of just how many I have made now both for our internet shop, and following in my Mum's footsteps, as gifts for all our friends when they have little ones.
I am always happy to get an order for a Largo and feel quite possessive of it as I have exclusively designed it, and have knit every single one myself. Now I am pleased that we are sharing the pattern, and look forward to seeing the results of your hard work. I hope you enjoy knitting it as much as I do."
Evacuee children, London, ca.1940
I can't tell you how many times we've heard 'If only I could knit!' But the truth is anyone can, and in May we thought it would be fun to knit a romper along with you. You don't have to be a beginner to join in, but if you are ~ we will be making a series of videos to get you started and we'll also be anyswering any questions you fire at us as we go!
What are we knitting?
The Etive Romper ~ Why? Firstly because we love it; no matter how many things we make, when we have an order for an Etive it is such a pleasure to cast it on. It takes shape quickly, is knitted in-the-round, so requires minimal sewing, and it’s such a sweet and enduring style for boy or girl! The pattern is available from size 0-6m – 2-3 years, and if you sign up for our knit-along emails, you’ll receive a discount code to purchase the pattern at half price!
When do we start? And how long does it last?
We’re casting on May 4th, and we’re wrapping up May 20th. As with all knitting projects, we encourage you to swatch your yarns so can ensure you’re getting the right gauge to achieve proper fit.
If you are an experienced knitter ~ you don’t have to wait for our tutorials, you can just fly through the pattern at your own pace, although we’d still love to hear your thoughts about the pattern and see your progress pictures! You can use the #rainerandbearKAL on social media and we will be sharing our favourites on our blog and Instagram stories.
We will be covering the following subjects with videos and or step by step instructions:
Provisional cast on
Knitting in the round
This is perfect if you are a beginner as we will be here to help at any point along the way!
We hope you will join us!
Our SS18 collection has been a work-in-progress since last October. As always we credit Scotland as our inspiration for our designs, but it's runs deeper than that, and as I wrote a little about it for our new lookbook, I realised why.
The Butterstone Collection is inspired by the raw beauty of one of our favourite areas of the Highlands, Scotland, and the joy and adventure of simple pleasures that should represent childhood;
Waist high grasses to hide in, soft heathers to fall in, the stony shores of lapping lochs, and of course wide-open spaces for imaginations to ignite and burn brightly!
Scotland to us is the best parts of our childhood, the love of which, like an heirloom handmade garment is passed down to our children and our children’s children.
It's often while away together on holiday, free from the usual pressures, distractions (yes I mean wifi!) and routine of everyday life, that we feel most inspired and our ideas can come to life. So really the inspiration is so much more than just Scotland, it's family, being together, sharing adventures, experiences and the outdoors. It's carving our childhood memories into the hearts of our children and instilling a love of simple pleasures deep inside of them. So although to us Scotland defines that, to you it might be Cardigan Bay, the South Downs, Yorkshire's moors, or even that corner of Alaska that we recently shipped an order to! But if you know that feeling of calm, simple, outdoor times, shared with family; if it's etched into your being so that you can see, smell and taste the memories when you close your eyes, then you know what it is that inspires us to make.
This year we have named our collection after some of the places we love around Dunkeld in Perthshire. Below are some pictures of our stay there in October - and if you are really curious about how our new collection has turned out - you can view our lookbook for yourself!
This year has been full of change for all in our family. In May, after many false starts and exactly three months after losing a beloved parent, we welcomed our third son (twelth grandchild)
C o n r a d into the world and into our hearts.
We spent the summer healing, adjusting and growing together.
Further changes are to come over the next few months as we expand our pattern range and other
n e w products, and reduce focus and time spent in other employment to give more time to
R a i n e r & B e a r.
We are excited and hope you will continue to follow along with us on this journey.
Needles at the ready....
Our first pattern is nearly ready for launch!
The Etive Romper pattern will be available in March! Follow us on Instagram or Facebook for more details.
A frosty start to the new year!
But we are thinking ahead to spring & summer. We will be adding new products to the shop over the next few months, so be sure to look out for them!
These beautiful images were taken by Little Kin Photography owner Polly, of her little girl Elsie in the Archan Romper.
Polly is a London based photographer who seems to have an ability to capture totally immersive memories and moments, making you forget that a camera was even involved. Also a mother, blogger and general super-woman! You can look at more of her work or read her blog by following the links at the bottom of this post.
Although the weather is trying to trick us into believing that the summer will NEVER end (and we're certainly not complaining about that!), we are busy working on some very vintage little hats in colours that complement our winter palette. They will be online soon!