Tuesday, 1 December 2015

King Cole Zig Zag

Oh I do feel like I've neglected this little blog but I'm coming back to you! I have stuff to say, I just feel like I've had no time to say it! It also helps that I worked an 11 hour day yesterday on my day off so I'm kind of up to date with the time sensitive stuff that I need to be, well as up to date as I can be before other stuff turns up, so today I've been nicely relaxed, chatting away to customers, doing a bit of knitting and listening to podcasts (naughty, shouldn't do that in the shop...). I've also eaten a lot of skittles and here I am, full of sugar, ready to talk about the King Cole Zig Zag as if it's a new yarn! Well, it kind of is... let me try and explain.

Zig Zag was one of the things that I needed to get from King Cole when we first opened. I'd tried it before and was blown away by how well it knits and wears and the colours and the price. It was, in fact, the first thing that I wrote on my first order form to King Cole and we've had it ever since. King Cole have really got it right on this one, you get it in packs of six rather than 12 and this is great because mostly, people want one ball (occasionally two and some brave people take more for garments etc.), and as King Cole (mainly, gah!) sell to independents they've really got it right because most of us can't store that amount of wool for that amount of time. I love it as a knitter/crocheter and as a retailer. Brill!

Over the years they've come up with new colours and designs. It's called Zig Zag because all of the original colours ended up looking like this:

I went on rav to see if I could find any examples to borrow photos of (linked and requested obvs) but I found loadsa photos of the Zig Zag made by my regular customers so now I don't need to request because I know they'd say yes and they'd bloody better or they're banned from the shop. haha. Anyway, these are Sarah's Zig Zag socks in the Rhapsody colourway which is one of the ones that has recently been discontinued and I am so sad because it's the first Zig Zag that I ever bought and the reason I fell in love with it in the first place.

It deffo shows why the yarn is called Zig Zag in the first place. Lots of short sections of colour that build up on top of eachother in slightly mismatched ways and create and actual Zig Zag. Until you reach a heel where the stitch count changes and all of a sudden colours are on top of other colours and it looks like a whole different yarn. This will make you feel very excited (me) or horrified (Sue... haha).

Anyway, then they started making stripes, I think when the cottoned on to how popular socks are, the first set of those was released around the time of the Jubilee so we ended up with this:

By Ollie aka Joxter on Ravelry (who is sadly no longer a customer because he moved to London and hasn't updated his Rav acount since summer 2014 - he'd better still be knitting, such a talent).

This stuff sold really well for us and I was very pleased that they'd come up with new colours after so long.

And then! Out of nowhere, they came up with six new colours that look like this:

Again borrowed from the lovely Mrs Hirst. Can you see how different these stripes are? Love them! This was also the point when they changed the make up of the socks from 50/50 wool/nylon to 75/25 wool/nylon. I actually quite liked the 50/50 stuff, I couldn't tell a difference in the wearing or washing and it just somehow made it a little different to the other stuff on the market but bringing it up to a 75/25 mix does make it a very definite, identifiable sock yarn. Meh. Not much in it. What was important to me was that the price didn't change. Yes. 25% more wool and the price didn't change. Another reason to love King Cole - good to the knitter, good to the retailer (kinda, sometimes, unless you're bothered about them being in John Lewis. Gah!).

Anyway, at the time when they brought out that, they brought out five other colours all beautiful. AND THEN THEY DISCONTINUED THEM! GAH! King Cole! But it's okay, don't worry, they brought out six more new colours one of which was this beauty:

Beautifully knitted by the lovely Claire. The stripe sequence changed again and I loved it!

AND NOW THEY'VE DISCONTINUED THIS LOT! But it's okay! They've brought out this lovely lot:

Calypso - Stonewash - Caribbean
Crush - Majestic - Camouflage
Now, I suspect that the Crush, Stonewash and Camouflage will be stripe sequences that we've never seen from King Cole before, very subtle, very soft, perhaps not even striped. And I suspect that the brighter colours are BACK TO THE ORIGINAL ZIG ZAG STRIPE THING! Which I have missed and I'm excited about.

If you've followed the many, many links through to the Zig Zag over the blog you'll see that some of the older colours are still around. I have a theory. King Cole are doing what I do with the Regia Sock yarns; getting a certain amount of stock in and once it's gone, it's gone. I imagine they're doing it on a bigger scale than I do though, hahah. This works for sock yarn because once you're a sock knitter, you're a sock knitter but it'd be rare for you to use the same colour more than once (apart from like reasonable colours like black) and therefore, you can go a bit wacky with the colours, sell it all through and then get more in. It makes sense and it keeps it fresh and exciting! If only we could do the same with marriages ey? Much less divorce if we all did it the Knit Nottingham way. I haven't been told any of this, I just have a hunch and I think it's a good idea so I hope I'm right. It does mean though, if you're in love with any of the older colours then you need to get in there quick sharp because they'll almost certainly be gone at some point. And it also means you want to get the new colours in sharpish too. However, King Cole obviously take a lot longer to sell through their sock yarns because the last time they released colours was in Spring 2015 and it's only just run out (ish) so you have a little time.

I just want to share this one photo of the new Crush colourway:

How fit is that? King Cole should totes hire me as a photographer.

And finally, I should tell you, I just can't resist my own yarn. Everything I sell here I'm desperate to work with. Everything. I don't just write these blogs or film the vlogs to tell you about wool to make you spend money on any old shit, it's always stuff that I love. Anyway, shut up and show:

This is the new Majestic colourway in the Zig Zag and it will be a pair of socks for Christopher for his birthday... on Saturday... what's the betting he'll get socks still on the needles? It's suitably bright but boyish but I know he would have preferred the Crush, it's just that those will be mine all mine. Ahhhhh. So excited to see how this works out!

Love Eleanor. xxxxxxx

p.s. I forgot to tell you that every ball of the Zig Zag comes with a free pattern for ladies small socks through to big ol' mens socks. How cool is that?

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