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Reading List: My favourite blogs

22 Feb

Mmmmm, pondering what to write today, it occurred that there are a gazillion great blogs out there, but tracking them down can be tricky.

Some of the ones I like are well known, some not so much, but all are worth a peek, I hope you’ll agree.

So, here we go!

1. Posie Gets Cozy

Portland designer Alicia Paulson has an impossibly beautiful home, an incredible collection of sweet felt, cross stitch, embroidery and crochet patterns, and takes truly beautiful pictures. I’ve made A LOT of her designs. Go Alicia!

2. Yarnstorm

Quilting, baking, knitting, crochet, art and gardening, with Jane Brocket, who has a spectacular eye for colour and a ‘can do’ take on life.

She started me on my quilting journey. And hurrah for that! (More quilting here this weekend if that’s your bag)

3. Brooklyn Tweed

Jared Flood has superstar status in the knitting world, but is also an accomplished photographer, and now has his own yarn range. If any designer will persuade you to get into knitting, he is it.

Here’s his Rock Island shawl. Not one for beginners but totally GAWJUS.

Rock Island

Photo (c) Jared Flood.

4. Craftiness Is Not Optional

Mum of two and sewing genius Jess posts daily about clothes, with regular free tutorials on kid’s and women’s clothes and accessories. Great for last minute presents. I love her ric-rac flowers.

5. Feminist Ryan Gosling

This blog exploded just a few months ago, and riffs with exceptional humour on the whole F*ckYeah web meme that won’t go away. Succinct feminist theory and hot pictures of Ryan Gosling. What’s not to like?! This is my favourite post.

6. The Sartorialist

I love Scott Schuman for his coverage of the shows, but his street snaps are second to none. A superstar fashion blogger who deserves to be so.

7. Needled

Scottish knitwear designer Kate Davies takes you on adventures through the Highlands, and regularly reveals her latest, exceptional design. She has a penchant for ‘woolly wool’ and Fair Isle and great taste in dogs and hats.

Like this one…

8. Cotton and Cloud

Kyoko Nakayoshi is a talented Japanese knitwear designer, who I feel privileged to have worked with regularly over the past year. Her blog is full of useful knitting tips and techniques, as well as links to lovely products like these fab knitting needles. Knitscene recently named her one of the top 8 knitwear designers to watch in 2012, and deservedly so!

9. Birdface

Helen Ward is a graphic designer with a sideline in amazing paper art. She has occasional tutorials for everything from pretty Christmas decorations, to  leg warmers and is always inspirational. She rocks!

Here’s Helen with her fabulous knitted gate, which she created during Totterdown’s Woolly Wonderland

10. Jen Arnall-Culliford Knitwear

Jen AC is a widely respected technical editor with a sideline in just-so designs. She’s also my friend, and the person who encouraged me to go for my job on The Knitter. Thanks Jen!  Her blog is a lovely mix of knitting, stitching, foodie loveliness and good old common sense.

Enough from me. I’d love to hear about your favourite blog, so leave me a comment!

One day to go til Totterdown is a woolly wonderland!

17 Nov

Wow. Well, after three months of knitting and crochet by the lovely people of Totterdown and Knowle, this weekend is IT. It’s time for Totterdown’s Woolly Wonderland at the Front Room!

Hannah, Violeta, Ange, Jean, Pat, myself and a few others were at Arnos Vale cemetery this morning, finishing a few things off and hanging up the first of the pieces. We hope to be finished by early afternoon tomorrow, so that the children at Hillcrest School can see all their hard work sparkling in the autumn sunshine.

We’re not going to spoil the surprise of what everything looks like in situ, but below are just a few pictures of the project, in progress over the past few months, and some of the amazing people who’ve made such a generous contribution, of their time, skills, materials and enthusiasm.

If you’re not on here, it doesn’t mean we’re not grateful, we just didn’t take your picture!

Do come down to the cemetery over the weekend to see everything up in place. There will also be a knitting and crochet cafe at 19 Summer Hill on the Saturday and Sunday from 12noon to 6pm both days, when you can come and do some crafting, and have some tea and cakes.

The cakes are being sold in aid of Refuge, so if you have time to make a few, or fancy contributing some shop-bought ones that would be absolutely fantastic. Just drop them by 19 Summer Hill any time over the weekend (although maybe not 5.55pm on Sunday or we’ll be forced to eat them ourselves!),

As well as our crafty cafe, Hannah’s house will feature photographs by Violeta and screen-printed T-shirts by the Bristol Hospitality Network.

As an aside, you may have heard that there was an arson attack in Arnos Vale a few nights ago, which destroyed all the seasoned logs which the cemetery normally sells over the winter. This means a loss of about £2,000 in income for the cemetery, so if you feel like you want to, you can make a donation to buy a virtual log.

OK, here come the pictures! If you have anything ‘last minute’ to give us, just email with the details, or come down to the Spielman Centre in the cemetery on Friday morning where there should be someone who can collect it from you.

Jean making a giant crochet flower
A pom-pom finger knitted snake, made by one of our younger members
Violeta gets Pablo crocheting early…
Frances, with just a few of her beautiful garlands
Ladybirds in progress…
Sarah and Ange with their accidentally coordinating projects – and outfits
Betty and Pat enjoying some alfresco crafting
A beautiful garland posted to the project. Thanks!
Knitting in the pub!
Val and some other knitters at The Oxford
Linda and her amazing snake

With thanks to Emma Turner for the lovely pictures from The Oxford, Hannah for her sterling work with her phone camera, and absolutely everybody else too!

Guest blog: Totterdown’s Woolly Wonderland – Everything you need to know!

10 Oct

Hi! We hope you are all well and, if you’re already involved in our fun little project, enjoying knitting away for the Woolly Wonderland!

If you’ve not heard of us, then here’s the score. We are a group of local knitters and crocheters, and we’ve got a fun plan – to decorate Totterdown with knitting and crochet for the Front Room art trail on 18th – 20th November 2011. The Arnos Vale Charitable Trust have also asked us to make a knitting and crochet trail using the trees in the cemetery for Front Room weekend. We are planning a nature theme.

Over the art trail weekend we’ll have knitting, tea and cake at a house in Totterdown. Don’t worry if you can’t knit or don’t have wool, we can help, and children are very welcome too.

We are making 15cm squares and 15cm wide strips of knitting or crochet, and knitted or crocheted flowers and animals. These will be placed on the trail in the cemetery, and also used to decorate the streets of Totterdown. Please bring anything you make to one of our gatherings or send them to us – you can get in touch via this blog, or, email, or phone 07791 983040.

Phew! Now that’s all out of the way, this is just a wee note to tell you that between now and the Front Room weekend (November 18 to 20) we will be meeting TWICE a week – once in the day time, and once in the evening.

We’ll be at the Pieran Centre Cafe in Arnos Vale cemetery every Sunday from 1pm to 3.30pm, and at The Oxford pub in Oxford Street, Totterdown, every Monday, from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

Do come along!

If you need some inspiration, here are some lovely flowers that Laura made for the project. We think they’re gorgeous!

See you soon we hope,

Hannah, Rosee and Violetta xxx

Totterdown’s Woolly Wonderland – more fun and games!

28 Sep

Hey there lovelies!

Just dropping in to let you know that the next gathering for Totterdown’s Woolly Wonderland is on Monday October 3rd and we’d love to see you there!

After such a fun meeting at the Thali a couple of weeks ago, we’re hoping for another great turn out of knitters and crocheters to help transform Totterdown into a Woolly Wonderland for the Front Room Arts Trail in November.

We’ve also been asked by the Arnos Vale Charitable Trust to make a trail by decorating some of the trees in the cemetery.

If that sounds like your cup of tea then please do come along to The Oxford pub on Oxford Street on Monday at 7.30pm to find out more and join in.

We’ll be making 15cm x 15cm squares and strips of knitting and crochet, and knitted and crochet flowers, birds and animals.

There’s lots of free yarn available, patterns and friendly advice and encouragement if you’ve never tried to knit or crochet before (or, like lots of people we’ve met, haven’t done it for a long time).

Since our last meet up we’ve had all sorts of offers of help and generous donations, including a knitting machine, lots of cones of machine knitting yarn, and hand-knitting/ crochet yarn in lovely bright colours. If you’d like to join in, but don’t have much time, we’d love to take any unwanted materials off your hands. Just drop us a line at

If you want to keep up to date with what we’re doing then please subscribe to our email list by sending an email to

There are also lots more people interested in getting involved now, and we’ll have more news on that at the meeting on Monday.

Hope to see you then!

Knitting at the Thali – the Woolly Wonderland is go!

23 Sep

Wow. We’ve already been overwhelmed by the response to our idea to cover Totterdown in woolly goodness for the Front Room Art Trail this November.

But we were still pretty bowled over when 20 lovely knitting and crochet volunteers turned up to our first meeting at the Thali cafe this week.


The meeting was a huge success (even if I say so myself), with lots of volunteers to make squares, stripey strips, birds, and flowers for our trail through Arnos Vale, and some extra goodies for the streets of the art trail itself.

A jolly time was had by all, new friends were made, our donated yarn stash was extensively raided (yay!) and we ended the night on an absolute high, fuelled by the yummy poppadums and chutney provided by the Thali, and a cheeky Asian beverage or two.


We’ll have a new meeting date for you very soon so keep your eyes firmly fixed here or on the Woolly Wonderland blog. There will be leaflets going out in the local area too, for those without access to the internet.

Since the meeting we’ve had more donations of yarn (lots of lovely bright colours) from The Knitter magazine, the offer of an entire knitting machine, plus cones of machine knitting yarn, and even a crocheted stair runner to wrap around a lucky tree in the cemetery. Phew!

Thank you so much for getting involved and making what was just a vague idea two weeks ago into something quite spectacular.


Want to be kept up to date with what’s next? Just drop us a line to, or rugby tackle me in the street if that’s more your style.

Special thanks for the meeting go to Hannah, for booking the room, little Pablo, for not making a fuss about being out and about rather than tucked up at home, and everyone who turned up to offer their help.


See you soon!

Arnos Vale – nature trail scouting

19 Sep

To get a few things sorted about Totterdown’s Woolly Wonderland before our first ‘proper meeting on Wednesday (7.30pm at the Thali peeps! Be there and you’ll get poppadums, chutney and free yarn!) Violetta, Hannah and I all trooped off to Arnos Vale on Friday.

We were greeted by the cemetery’s public engagement officer Felicia who showed us some of the places a knitted trail could go, and also told us about some of the symbolism of the graves and monuments in the cemetery.

I’ve lived near Arnos Vale for 9 and a half out of the last 11 years, and at times I’ve visited the cemetery daily. My daughter would only sleep in the afternoons as a baby if I pushed her in her pram up and down the top path ( but I couldn’t stop for  second or she’d wake up!).

I thought I knew it pretty well.

Turns out I was wrong! It was completely fab to get another (and much more knowledgeable) perspective on the cemetery, find new paths I’d never walked along before, and discover a whole heap more about the history of this amazing place.

The more knitters we get, the more we’ll be able to do here so, even if you can’t make it Wednesday (did I mention it was at 7.30pm at the Thali? I did? Oops) then do get in touch via here, or at or find out more at Totterdown’s Woolly Wonderland.

See you soon I hope!

Totterdown’s Woolly Wonderland

15 Sep

Since I posted about the TotterdownFront Room Art Trail last week, things have, err, gone a bit nutso round here! To say the idea to bring yarnbombing to the streets of Totterdown has gone down a (yarn) storm is something of an understatement.

Find out lots more on our new official blog for Totterdown’s Woolly Wonderland, and get involved people!


By the way, our lovely new poster war designed by the uber-talented Joff Winterhart. What a clever chap!