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Vote for best picture of the month

Vote for your favourite blocking image this month on Instagram. The winner will get a special feature here on our community page and in our monthly newsletter. To submit your best blocking picture with KnitIQ Blocking Mats or KnitIQ No Rinse Delicate Wash, send us the link to your post via our contact form or tag us with "@knitiq Enter Picture Competition". Happy voting!

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Winner of Best Picture July 2020

July's winner of our Best Picture Competition is Ruth Izquierdo, aka @rizosknits on Instagram. Her vibrant colour and stitch pattern combination with the A Girl's Best Friend Shawl won your hearts. When we asked her about her passion in knitting, she told us that sustainability is most important to her: "I feel concerned about how much pollution textile industry generates, and the terrible social inequality it provokes. You cannot completely scape from the industry, but you can buy more responsibly by caring to know which companies you buy from, where and how they produce. We need to value each piece of clothing, and knitting is also a way to achieve that. Although I think we still need to be responsible as yarn buyers, find out how each company produces and dyes their yarn, how sustainable their project is, how their animals are treated. There are two small projects in Spain that are a great example of this: dLana, and  El Robledal de la Santa."

To get a better idea of these two brands, we went to have a look and these are the inspiring stories that we found:

dLana

In search for ethically and responsibly produced textiles in Spain, Esther and Javi came across the magnificent properties as well as long history of local wool production. Wanting to do something about the environmental and ethical challenges Europe's textile industry is facing, they went out and created their own network of local wool producers. Founding dLana in 2014, they have now grown to a small family business providing locally and ethically sourced wool and merino wool yarns as well as knitting kits and wool garments. To learn more about them, visit their store here.

El Robledal de la Santa

If you love Mohair, you'll love el Robledal de la Santa! Because not only do they produce beautifully hand-dyed mohair yarn, they also breed their own angora goats from which they generate the fleece to make it.

Using holistic methods to regenerate soil and capture CO2, they also put utmost care in their animals to make happy skeins from happy goats.

At times, they also run escape weekends on their farm to brush up on your Brioche skills and get an idea of the day-to-day of goat breeding and yarn production.

To learn more, you can visit their website, or follow on Instagram.

And because Ruth is part of a vibrant Spanish knitting community, we asked her about her favourite Spanish knitwear designers in handknitting, because we are curious and want to seize the opportunity to gain first-hand insight into the Spanish knitting landscape:

Lucía Ruiz de Aguirre Rguez

An award-winning independent fashion designer, Lucía started her design journey in handknitting in 2012. Since then she has built up an impressive range of work from beautiful shawl, sweater and cardigan patterns to a series of ebooks and courses.

Her latest achievement is a book called Básic(o) which contains 15 gorgeous patterns that inspire knitters with basic knowledge to expand their skillset while gaining confidence to knit anything. The book reads in Spanish and English.

To learn more about Lucíca, visit her website, or follow her on Instagram @luymou.

Carmen García Demora

With a background in industrial design and textile studies, Carmen has a natural passion and talent for handknitting which she vastly explored throughout her career as a consultant in the textile industry, travelling the world of craft from India to Tibet and beyond, as well as teaching knitting projects at university.

What fascinates her is how crafting brings people from all over the world together in one language - the expression of creative handicraft. Because "when women from different cultures who speak different languages and have different customs come together to knit, magic happens!"

Her latest ebook Knitlight II showcases 4 summer patterns inspired by flowers, their study, and the poetry they create both in words as much as in these beautifully designed summer garments.

To learn more about Carmen, visit her website, of follow her on Instagram @carmengarciademora.