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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

What a day we had

My first ever yarn crawl! I know it was over a week ago and perhaps I should have reported back last week but... well... it was partly that last week was mad, so much to do and partly because I wanted to be able to share the amazing totals with everyone. so here they are

90 people, guided by 17 volunteers, travelled 9 different routes, visited 12 shops, knitted 149 items* and raised £812 for the charity Refuge.

Isn't that amazing? However, the official blog leaves out one crucial figure - How much did everyone spend?? But perhaps that is best left a secret between the yarn crawlers and their banks!  I was guiding Team Jacob along with Kate .  The first thing I noticed when we met for breakfast at a lovely cafe called The Kitchen Table, close to our first stop The Village Haberdashery was the lovely hand knits everyone was wearing

Elanor and Lucy in The Village Haberdashery, wearing their hand knits


Kate our other leader, with Lucy and one of the lovely ladies at The Village Hbberdashery
 At each shop everyone was so friendly and welcoming.  Our next stop was the Handweavers Studio. I must have been so distracted by the wonderful colours, spinning and weaving equipment (not to mention the coffee and biscuits) that I forgot to take a photograph there.

I loved the yarn Rhona was knitting into a baby jacket


If you are going to Prick Your Finger in Bethnal Green and happen to be a little peckish, there is a fab little place called The Larder right opposite. The menu is amazing, I had bruschetta with a spicy ratatouille and a little pot of mixed beans, Although I resisted pudding, it was a very tough choice, the Red Velvet cake looked fab

Putting my knitting down to eat lunch at The Larder 
Prick Your Finger has some wonderful unusual yarns and quite a vintage theme going on

Moira and Steph checking out the 70s patterns

And - look! how they wrapped my yarn purchase

Last stop, Knit With Attitude. Amongst other things I bought were some gorgeous stitch markers.  Then left them at the after party!! Thanks to the power of twitter I found them again!

Loved their extensive stock of yarn by Wool And The Gang
Of course we had goodie bags with beads and badges, skeins and soak and much more

about half of what I found in my goodie bag!
OK, I'm not going to tell how much I spent but here are a few photos of what I came home with...

Destined to be a very traditional shetland ring shawl but shall I dye it or leave it natural?

Malabrigo Sock, just because the colour is gorgeous

Patterns to knit up and sew

Sheepie spots, just because...
Like it?  Save the date, next year it's on 5 September

xx

c

* 150 I have just finished my contribution


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Yarn crawling

You have heard of pub crawling, once the staple of freshers weeks (perhaps it still is) and stag nights, before they became stag weekends and chaps had to jet off to places like Amsterdam or even Riga.  

Well this Saturday if you are in London look out for yarn crawlers (you can even join them if you are quick).

It's the day of The Great London Yarn Crawl



Nine groups of knitters (Romney, BFL, Swaledale, Cheviot, Jacob, Wensleydale, Shetland, Suffolk and Teesdale) will be knitting their way around yarn shops by train, tube and bus.  A little footwork will also be involved, I for one would like to see if I can knit walking! Maybe not! But one thing's for sure I am taking this project as there is nothing like plain rounds of knit stitch when you want to chat and int at the same time. It's the Waterlilly sweater from the spring edition of Pom-Pom Mag knitted in Kettle Yarn Co's beautiful Islington in Old Smoke colourway


Each group will be properly looked after by two well briefed guides.  This is us at Sunday's briefing meeting.


There will be goodie bags


And an after party, sponsored by the awesome Pom-Pom Mag

The whole thing is the brain child of Alli and Rachel of Yarn In The City and all net proceeds are donated to Refuge a charity that provides a safe place for women and children escaping domestic violence

Hope to see some of you are going to be there (do please let me know in the comments if you are)

xx

C

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Summer of quilting

Quite some while ago when I was listing the projects I had on the go I mentioned I was making a quilt for  a wedding present.  So today I have finally got around to the reveal

But first (patience!) the result of last week's giveaway - I used this random number generator, I know there are clever on line gizmos that I could use but as there are 8 people who commented on last week's post I decided to use what I had to hand this afternoon



(he is too little to know his numbers and he is better looking than a website).  The winner is Cathie who was the fifth person to comment.   This lovely skein of Madelinestosh, Tosh Merino Light in the  Thyme colour way is on its way to her.



So! Back to quilting...  I have a lot of books on quilting but when I went through all the designs it was obvious really, a double ring quilt for a wedding present.  I mentioned some while ago that I have known the bride since she was 6 and she became friends with one of my daughters.  I have watched her come through a couple of tricky times and grow into a lovely young woman with a beautiful family, I really wanted to make her something special to mark her marriage to a lovely man and celebrate her happiness.

My daughter helped me choose the fabric (I was very nervous about this as her home is beautiful, immaculately furnished in shades of cream and silver grey and she has very decided ideas on home decoration)

 I WAS slightly nervous introducing so much colour

some investment in tools (templates, a cutting mat and cutting wheel) was necessary

cutting out the individual shapes was almost the biggest job

a dry run - I was just dying to see what the colours looked like together

my favourite glass head pins placed at right angles to the line of stitching

ridiculously excited to see how the sections match perfectly where the rings intersect

measured on the top of my bed to see if big enough to begin the border

After machine quilting I love finishing off the edging hemming by hand




finished!

personalised

xx

c

the beautiful bride


Tuesday, 2 September 2014

As Temperatures Rise


Is it really six weeks since my last blog post? SIX weeks???  I've been away, well that's usually no excuse, generally when I'm going to be on holiday I plan ahead  and I blog... something, but this time I failed. Plenty of reasons but no excuses, it's just that it was so hot, 32deg in the shade and, well, I've done azure sea, blue blue skies, cats and goats blogs before and I was just so relaxed under the shade of an olive tree with a frappe cappuccino in my hand. Get the picture?

Or maybe a greek coffee

Seriously, though, do any of you manage to knit when temperatures soar above 30? Please tell all in the comments, do you still knit, and what do you knit?  I know some of you lovely readers actually live in places (parts of the USA and Australia come to mind) where half the year it is hotter, and even more humid, than the Greek Ionian Islands in August for weeks at a time.  So what do you do? Knit or not? And what fibre?

I did think - a bit- about what I would take with me knitting-wise and completed one item, the Hedy Lamar fingerless gloves. They are from my friend Kathleen's lovely new second volume of her series Silver Screen Knits (SSK, get it? Clever huh?)   I may have already mentioned that Kathleen and I did a mini yarn swap back in May/June time.  We were having lunch and she admired my Mind-The-Gap socks and mentioned that the yarn from Trailing Clouds was like gold dust.  Well I had a second skein so we decided to do a swap and as I wanted to make Hedy's gloves Kathleen would dig in her stash and send me something suitable in green.  Kathleen was not sure she had the right weight, the pattern calls for something between lace and sock weight, so she sent me all this!



I chose the Pagoda Lace, 55% silk/45% cashmere from Neighborhood Fiber Co (the colour way is Anacostia) because the fibre mix of cashmere and silk is sooooo gorgeous. And because it is a true lace weight I set about swatching to get something like the right size and shape.  The gloves are in a lovely stitch pattern that looks a little like fishnet but the shaping is very simple.  I calculated I needed about 30% more stitches to get the right size but would leave the shaping pretty much the same as being slightly wider at the wrist would be fine for me and length would not be a problem as I could try on as I knitted


I really could only knit in the early morning. Not a problem as I love getting up early on holiday, I love the peace and quiet of the time before everyone else gets up. And by that, I include the chirruping insects that began as the thermometer on the wall reached 23. 


After about 10 my hands on the needles got sticky and the yarn in danger of fuzzing and it was time for my usual breakfast  of yoghurt, nuts, fruit and honey and to take up my position under a tree or beside the pool with a book.


Or just doze in the sun


Slow progress, but at the end of week three they were done and I began to keep an eye out for a suitable place for their photo shoot.  By this time we had moved islands and discovered the best cocktail bar on Corfu, at the top of the old Venetian fort overlooking the ancient town. And in my hand? Well it had to be something bubbly for Hedy's sake.


What shall I do with the rest of the yarn?  Well, tell us all a little about your summer knitting in the comments section and in a week I will select a winner, using a random number generator, for one of the skeins. I'll name the winner in the next blog post (I'm happy to post overseas)

And watch this space, Kathleen and I were planning a linked pair of blog posts about now but she is a little busy at the moment as William Richard  made a slightly early appearance  right at the end of August, weighing in at a little over 7lb, but when Kathleen is back blogging there will be lots more chat about yarn swapping, sock knitting and perhaps another giveaway!

Xx



Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Dyeing in the garden

Did anyone else read 'dying in the garden' ?  When I received a tex from my friend Jenny saying 'come over on Wednesday afternoon, were dyeing in the garden'...just for one moment...  But it's high summer and her cousin Jo is staying and they both like to cook up some colours in the garden.



I'm not sure whether I am ready to get messy with colours and fibre yet but I do have a new camera (a tiny Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ8)  and it was the perfect afternoon for tea, chat and some snaps.

Apparently dyers do not usually share their secrets and so I have decided this post will be a lot shorter on words than usual and let the photographs (and my new camera) talk for me.

yesterday's fibre drying in the sun

virgin BFL pre-soaking 

dyes mixed and ready to go

some silk (far right) some BFL and some spun (Monet's garden)

spun autumn
and finally more garden colour  inspiration



xx

c





Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Tour de Fleece (or don't talk to me I'm spinning)

When my lovely friend and ├╝ber expert spinner Porpoisefur asked for folk to join her Tour de Fleece team I hesitated.  I became aware of this world wide spinning event where spinners form teams to spin during The Tour de France and tot up the spinning miles (watching the cycling while spinning is optional) from chat on Ravelry last year but felt far too much of a newbie spinner to think of joining in



After being reassured that entry to the team is at all levels, that everyone will improve by joining in and all we had to do was commit to two things,

  • to spin every day the cyclists are racing
  • to decide on a set of personal goals 

and

  • share experiences on Ravelry... 


Oh, that's three.

I joined in.  My goal is simply to spin a consistently fine thread that when plyed is knitable, I wanted to make something particularly lovely with this fibre that I bought at WonderWool.


BFL in Alma Tadema colour-way



But there are always un intended consequences.  For the first few days I persevered with my vintage Lendrum.  Despite greasing every moving part I could get access to (as advised by a very helpful lady I met in a yarn store one day). The yarn I produced was very lumpy

Mixed and unknown (to me) fibres




Perhaps it's the fibre and I'm not yet ready for mixed fibres, so I bought this from Porpoisefur, our lovely leader 

Falkland (lower left) Romney (top) Shetland (lower right)



Then I went away for a few days and drop spindling was the only option.  I got on a lot better, this is more fibre from Porpoisefur, baby alpaca in Leaf Peepers colour-way




But there was still the cranky old Lendrum skulking in the corner of my studio that simply would not be mastered.  So I bought a new wheel.  And not just any wheel but a Schacht Matchless.   A rather big investment but it is beautiful.  I nearly said she is beautiful despite not liking anthropomorphism, it almost felt right to give my wonderful new wheel a human personality





I would love to say I am now spinning a fine thread but that will still take time and the yarn is still rather organic.

corriedale


But by the end of July I have high hopes I shall be producing some very respectable knit-worthy yarn

xx

c