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Friday, 26 July 2013


We were all so thrilled and delighted here at MillaMia to see the wonderful pictures of William and Kate with their new baby son leaving hospital earlier this week, and want to add our heartfelt congratulations to them on his safe arrival. I'm sure you will all agree that he looked utterly adorable, and I for one can't wait to see some of the beautiful portraits that are sure to hit the media in the days and weeks to come.

As a knitter, my mind inevitably turned to the idea of knitwear for this little baby, and on searching the internet I find that thousands of knitters across the UK (and indeed the world) have been much more organised than I, knitting swathes of incredible garments and accessories to adorn the future king.

One of the most incredible items I found is a christening robe made from Shetland supreme one ply worsted-spun, which was designed and knit by a lady called Sandra Manson from Bressay. The wool was of course, grown and spun exclusively in the Shetland Islands, took 6 weeks to plan and design and a further 2 weeks to make. Although there are no pictures of this incredible gown, Sandra designed another beautiful christening gown for Woman's Weekly, the pattern for which can be purchased directly from them.

If the thought of knitting a christening gown in single ply Sheltand yarn isn't for you, there are plenty of other super stylish baby knits that are practical too. With the royal baby boy in mind, here are a few of MillaMia's most popular knits for baby and we think they're all fit for a prince!

(posted by Max)

Friday, 19 July 2013

OLLE HAT - featured in the Telegraph Saturday Magazine

Every now and then a pattern comes along that takes knitters of all generation by their needles! It's not usually the most complex, intricate or challenging pattern - rather more often it is a relatively easy, small project that will deliver almost instant gratification. It's nearly always a pattern simply but stylishly designed, shown in a great colourway and appealing as a small, thoughtful gift too. A lot to ask of a single pattern you might think, but the Olle Hat from our book Bright Young Things has delivered on all counts!

This lovely, simple pattern was included in Daisy Bridgewater's 'Childrens Notebook' column in the Telegraphs' Saturday Magazine just under a month ago. Offered as a free download with a discount code to receive 10% off purchases on the MillaMia website, we were thrilled to have been featured in this very well-respected magazine.

As the magazine hit the shelves on Saturday 22nd June, Katarina was holding the fort here in London as Helena and I were out in Columbus at TNNA, and it wasn't very long before the first requests for the free Olle pattern began to drop into the inbox. Katarina sent us a first email saying that there was a steady stream of emails asking for the 'gorgeous stripey hat pattern', and then an hour or so later she sent another, more excited email to let us know that the requests were now dropping in at a rate of 3 or 4 a minute! As the day progressed, the emails kept flooding in, but now alongside orders for yarn with knitters keen to take advantage of the discount code. We were all ecstatic!

Nearly a month on, requests for the free Olle Hat pattern are still arriving in our inbox. We've had so many lovely little insights into where these hats are heading - for a new grandchild, for twins, for a new mum to learn to knit for her first baby, as a gift for a grandchild on the other side of the world - it's been touching and exciting all at once! We have estimated that over a thousand requests for the Olle pattern have so far been made - perhaps there will be a baby wearing an Olle Hat on every street come Autumn!

If you would like your own free copy of the adorable Olle Hat pattern, please just send an email to And as we would hate for our Blog readers to miss out on a bargain - we're offering a 10% discount on purchases from for a limited period (until the end of July 2013) using code BLOGOLLE13 too.
(posted by Max)

Friday, 12 July 2013

TNNA Columbus 2013 - Part 2

After the mayhem of Sample It! and the majority of Friday spent setting up the stand, we were whisked off to dinner by some friends of Katarina and Helena who live in Columbus.They had taken us to The Japanese Steakhouse on Thursday evening which was a new and very entertaining experience, if a little odd to be eating at what still felt like 4am in the morning to us! So on Friday we found ourselves in the German Village area of Columbus at a lovely restaurant called Lindey's. The surroundings were cool and classy, the service excellent and the food truly delicious.

We ate incredibly well during the entirety of our stay in Columbus, taking a trip to Easton Mall for shopping and dinner at Northstar Cafe on Saturday night and to a modern Italian called Martini in central Columbus on Sunday evening with the team from Classic Elite Yarns.

And, whilst on the subject of food, I can't talk about eating in Columbus without paying my dutiful respects at the shrine of Jeni. If there was one thing that I heard mention of MORE than yarn - it was Jeni's Ice Cream. There are not words enough to accurately describe the taste sensation that is Jeni's ice cream - so I will not try. Suffice to say that, if you're ever in Columbus, don't leave town without having your very own Jeni's experience . . .

Helena having her Jeni's moment and my choice of Salted Caramel, Brown Butter Almond Brittle and The Milkiest Chocolate in The World

Saturday morning saw the Show begin with a Hollywood extravaganza of singing and dancing on the trade show floor, in keeping with the Summer 2013 general theme. 'Hooray for Needlearts!' rang out across the floor as singers and dancers put on a grand performance to welcome the eager visitors queuing at the doors.

Soon, the visitors began to filter through the aisles, stopping at vendors and chatting with folk they already knew or had planned to meet. We were excited to show the new products to our current US stockists and thrilled to talk to potential new stores too. Shush - don't tell anyone! you can see a tantalising taster of these fabulous new yarn colours, and the third book in our adult collection in the pics below!

High Society preview, the third book in our adult collection and new MillaMia colours - coming to your LYS very soon!

As the stream of people passing and stopping by the stand got steadily larger, I began to notice faces that I recognised from Ravelry and the many knitting magazines that I read - the aisles were alive with knitting celebrities!! There were well known designers from across the globe including these famous folk - Martin Storey, Ysolda Teague, Ruth Garcia Alcantud, Woolly Wormhead, JuJu (from JuJu's Loops fame), Carol Feller, Rachel Coopey, the very lovely Sue Stratford (who was there signing her books with Unicorn Books) as well as Stephen West, Veronik Avery, Michele Wang, Amy Detjen, Annie Modesitt, Mary-Jane Mucklestone, Josh Bennet, Kristin Omdahl and Olga Buraya-Kefelien. I shamelessly requested a couple of pictures with Michele Wang, who is amongst the gifted and talented design collective at Brooklyn Tweed (and whom I was more than a little starstruck to meet!), and Jess from Ravelry took this fabulous 'selfie' with Christina (also part of the Ravelry team) and me! I know there were many many more fabulous famous knitter/designers walking the aisles and I only wish I could have met them all!

All too soon, Monday arrived and at 2pm TNNA Columbus 2013 was officially at an end. Helena and I began the sad task of dismantling the stand and packing all of the samples and yarn into boxes, marveling at how quickly the stands around us were deconstructed. With a plane to catch out of Columbus at 5.30 that afternoon we packed down with fast efficiency and were ready to go in just over an hour.

We said our final goodbyes to the wonderful people at CEY, and, pulling our suitcases behind us, walked out of the hall with one last thing to do before we left Columbus - a final trip to the self-flushing toilet.

I won't bore you with the details of the hideous delays we ran into trying to fly out of Columbus that afternoon - now, looking back on this amazing foray into the world of TNNA, I don't want to sully it with those last frustrating hours when everything else about the trip was so incredible. I know that I promised to tell you in Part 1 of this blog piece about TNNA, what exactly it is that makes this the BEST trade show in the world - but I'm hoping that you may have guessed by now . . . ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING!

(posted by Max)

Thursday, 4 July 2013

INTERVIEW WITH LOUISA CROMPTON - former MillaMia Design Intern

Louisa Crompton is graduating from Huddersfield University with a First class BA (Hons) in Textile Crafts, specialising in knit in 2013. We were very lucky to have Louisa intern for us at MillaMia in 2012, during which time she certainly taught me a thing or two about duplicate stitch!

1) You are an unbelievably neat knitter and your finishing is beautiful. Who taught you to knit? 
My mum taught me how to knit, my mum always has a pair of needles in her hands, I wish I could knit as fast as she does!! And my Nan is one of the best knitters I know, although she doesn't do so much anymore due to arthritis! I had been asking my mum to teach me from a young age but I pretty much have two left hands so it took me until my foundation year just before university to actually learn how to knit! My mum taught me the basics - casting on and off, how to knit and purl etc... I taught myself the rest through videos on YouTube, magazines and books! - I haven't stopped since!

2) How did you decide to follow a career in knitted textiles?
When I started University I had a taste of all the disciplines we could specialise in, including:  embroidery, print, weave, knit and even rug tufting, I hands down knew I wanted to specialise as a knitter, I am taken over by the amazing varieties of stitches and fabrics that can be produced using a pair of needles! I was even won over by using a knitting machine as well. In my second year of university I practiced a lot of natural dyeing methods and knitting the various colours into basic samples - the colours were always so dull, until I started my placement year.

3) We so enjoyed your internship with us at MillaMia. Why do you feel it was useful?
MillaMia has been the BEST thing to happen to my practice and career, just by simply working with such lovely quality yarns and colours, it opened my eyes to a new world of colour and quality and it has given me so much confidence in producing new and innovative designs. My techniques and craftsmanship has come on leaps and bounds since working for MillaMia too, although I have always been a perfectionist! I cannot describe just how invaluable my experience working for MillaMia and all the wonderful people on the team has been!

4) What inspires you? 
As a designer, upcoming trends are my go to for inspiration, my collection at the moment (Rendered Reality - For interiors) is inspired by the digital aesthetic and the interaction with design by using computers programs or apps to create pattern, lines and blocks that go on to inspire my knitted textile designs, what intrigues me the most is just how quick a design can be produced on screen and how long it actually takes me to knit the designs (sometimes I will spend 16 hours on one piece).

5) Tell us a bit about your current collection and your plans for the future.
My final collection has been kindly sponsored by Sirdar Ltd. I use these yarns and combine them with 3 shades of the MillaMia yarn (Storm, Midnight and Forget me Not). The panels are knitted on a domestic Brother knitting machine and the designs are layered on top of the knitted pieces using a technique called Swiss Darning, Swiss Darning is also known as a duplicate stitch, so this means I can produce another stitch on top in a different colour - allowing me to control the texture of the fabric, my designs aren't about being flat, I like how they almost pop up at you.

After graduation I hope to pursue a career as a freelance designer working for other companies while hopefully producing and selling collections of my own.

We are so pleased to be able to share some of Louisa's work and inspirations here, but if you'd like to find out more for yourself, please follow the links below.

(posted by Max)