19 Jul

I have seen this yarn. And it ROCKS. Get your pre-orders in!

Today we’re launching Shetland Heritage yarn, the newest addition to the collection.

Shetland Heritage yarn recreates the original characteristics of handspun ‘wursit’ used in old Fair Isle garments. The yarn is replicated from that found in knitted Fair Isle garments in the collection of Shetland Museum and Archives.

Wool experts, specialist dyers, curators and knitters have worked together to develop and trial Shetland Heritage yarn, which is worsted spun from Jamieson & Smith’s combed tops to give a soft feel, and a smooth finish. The yarn is slightly finer than the four ply we use today to knit stranded colourwork and Fair Isle. Instead, it gives a definition and complexity of colour and pattern that goes right back to the nineteenth century.

Shetland Heritage Yarn is part of a collaborative project between Shetland Amenity Trust, Shetland Museum and Archives, Curtis Wool Direct and Jamieson & Smith (Shetland Wool Brokers)…

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Choo choo!

23 Jun

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Storm’s birthday was over the Jubilee weekend, so we postponed her treat for a couple of weeks as everyone was away on the big day. Something tells me we won’t get away with that next year…

I’ve wanted to go on the Avon Valley Railway (real steam trains!) for yonks, so this was my perfect excuse, haha.

We packed a picnic, roped in some family and friends, and somehow secured the only sunny day in a fortnight of rain. Hurrah!

I wish all train stations still looked like this…

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They swap the engine from one end to another half way through the journey so we got to see this…

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And this…

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Everyone seemed to like it…

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I loved watching this…

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And seeing this…

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(expert tickling by Abby)

And then we had cake (lemon – yum)

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And went home. Job well done I think.

Happy birthday chickie!

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Isla dress: New child’s dress pattern in The Knitter

15 Jun

Word up peeps. Just dropping in to say I’ve got a new pattern out this week in issue 46 of The Knitter, whatevs.

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Isla is a kiddo’s dress in Rowan’s lovely new Wool Cotton 4 ply, which is a fantastic yarn for spring/ summer, and most importantly for the Head Laundryperson in your house if you have a nipper, it’s machine washable.

It’s sized from age 2 to 10 and doesn’t take much yarn – even the largest size is 5 balls of the main colour, with tiny amounts for the colourwork.

Storm was kind enough to lend her modelling skills to the shoot…

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With hindsight, I should have added extra length to her ‘sample size’ as she is way taller than an average 3 to 4 year old – so it look super short. But it’s easy to lengthen if, like me, you’re the proud parent of a baby giraffe!

Look, matchy matchy!

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The bottom section is knit in the round and there’s hardly any shaping so it’s a great first Fair Isle project too.

Most exciting for me, this pattern is now available online to buy from The Making Spot, along with some of my old designs. Welcome to the 21st century peeps! Not that I’m saying don’t buy the mag, but, if you want to cast on, like NOW, you can – hurrah!

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More design news coming up really soon…

PS. Thanks to Al, James and Sarah for helping Storm have a great time on the shoot, Frances, for her amazing knitting, and Phil for taking such lovely pix.

Tallulah Pattern Review – the Jubilee Dress

24 May

When I was a stroppy teenager the thought of the Royal Family made me MAD. It’s wonderful to be a lot older and able to embrace my inner hypocrite!

While most of the time I’m still not that keen on our rather odd ‘rulers’ I am enjoying the national spirit that seems to have taken over this summer.

This week I saw the Olympic torch and finished Storm’s Jubilee dress. How terribly patriotic!

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This sweet halterneck was meant to be one of two dresses for her birthday, but it is sweltering at the moment so I just had to give it to her straight away.

Tallulah is dress number 2 in Jenifer Paganelli’s lovely Girls World pattern book  and is a simple breezy sundress. Perfect for a hot summer’s day (although you could always put a little shirt underneath it.

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The fabric is Sweetwater for Moda – Reunion Vanilla Baby’s Bunting and had sold out at Country Threads, when I went back to buy more for the lining.

It’s an American design, but it really is like it was made for this super-British summer – shame they didn’t do a red colourway too.

Anyway, of course, I didn’t need the extra bit after all. What IS it with pattern allowances? The pattern said 1.1m of fabric and 35cm of lining. I had just 1m of fabric total and was left with plenty over. Eyeroll.

This is a very simple dress, and I really like the shape of it. Like the Mary’s Sash Dress from the same book, the pieces all seemed to fit well, although the front piece was longer than the back so I had to trim that at the end. My only mod was a double seam around the bottom hem and side vents to make it super neat.

After taking her lunch in her paddling pool, Storm retired upstairs to get out of the sun for a little jam session and some pictures.

She recently broke one of my guitar strings from playing too hard. She really gets into it…

THWANG!

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Is it just me, or is this pure Elvis?!

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OK, self indulgence over.

Oh yeah, while I’m here, remember the Ma’am Mat?

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I couldn’t resist. I swear it tastes better. Happy almost Jubilee!

Quilting the easy way, part 3: Super neat quilt binding

16 May

I’m not going to talk about mitred corners. Partly because I can’t get the hang of them, but also because there are heaps of posts out there already about that.

But! It is a bit frustrating to machine piece and bind a quilt only to have to hand stitch the ‘wrong’ side of the binding. I just couldn’t get it to look neat on the first quilt I made.

Then I stumbled across a great YouTube vid, which of course I now can’t find, which showed me Another Way. This is what you get at the end of it…

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All you do is make sure that when you sew on the binding to the top of the quilt you leave a raw inner edge which you can fold the binding over and meet the stitching on the other side – so make your seam just under half as wide as the binding.

Like this…
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Once you’ve machined on your binding (and done your fancy mitred corners, natch) fold over the binding to the underneath of the quilt and then simply lace the the edge of the binding through the seam. Like this…

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Clever huh!?

Back to school sampler

14 May

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I can’t believe Storm will be starting school in September. It wasn’t so long ago she looked like this…

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Storm was a pretty teeny baby, born 10 days early and weighing 6lbs 7oz. Al had to go out to buy premie clothes for her as everything was just too big.

Unknown to us until a few days before she was born, Storm had been breach, sitting cross legged like a little Buddha for probably 2 months. It was a long time before she ‘unfolded’. Her legs would always ping up inside her sleep suits so we took to tying the legs (the romper’s  not hers, haha) out of the way.

But she grew mighty fast and now everyone thinks she’s older than she really is.

It’s her 4th birthday over Jubilee weekend, so, as she’ll be one of the young ones in her school year, I thought I’d give her a helping hand.

I’ve already started one alphabet sampler, but I’m also making her a cross stitch one, which I’m enjoying more, basically because it’s easier!

It’s Alicia Paulson’s Winterwoods design and I am a little in love with it.

My favourite bits are the teapot…

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and the wellies…

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and the deer…

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but it really is all lovely…

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I slightly worry the letters might be too stylised and therefore not as helpful to Storm as they could be, but I hope she likes it anyway.

Man they grow up fast, don’t they?!

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Ma’am Mat: New design in The Knitter

12 May

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Apparently it’s the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this year. Did you know that? Me either 😉

Anyhoo, to celebrate, I got all patriotic for a little design for The Knitter which is out about now.

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In the mag it’s known as the Jubilee Placemat, but I would have loved to have been able to call it the Ma’am Mat. As in Ma’amite. Arf.

It’s knitted in Excelana‘s new DK weight yarn which comes in some lovely vintage colours.

I had great fun finding the props for the photoshoot – the mug was my fave (from Cancer Research UK – £3!) and is now residing in my kitchen cupboard, where it has become my ‘mug of choice’. (Minimalism alert – Al managed to break my purple Pantone mug about a week after I bought it so we are on an even keel mug-wise, you’ll be relieved to hear.)

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The mat is worked flat and then the edging is picked up and worked in the round. It would probably take a couple of evenings to make and uses less than one ball of each colour – you’ll have plenty left of the red and the white, not so much of the blue.

Annoyingly, I brought it home and now can’t find it, so for now I’m stuck admiring these brilliant pictures (styled by Sarah Clark at The Knitter, who is just top at that kind of thing – thanks Sarah!).

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I suspect on Jubilee weekend itself a lot of peep’s breakfasts won’t be quite as civilised as this one, what with the four day holiday, ahem.

Happy knitting!