Tag Archives: stash

We have a winner!

21 Nov

Hello my lovelies. Sorry not to announce this sooner. It’s amazing how silly little things like sending a magazine to the press can get in the way of the best laid plans!

Anyway, to keep it short and sweet, we had 17 lovely entries to the Blue Sky Alpacas yarn giveaway and I’m happy to say that ‘stormandateacup’ (who made the 6th comment) is the winner.

Obligatory random number generator shot;

And here’s a wee reminder of what you’ve won…

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Nom nom nom!

Thanks to everyone who entered. You all rock!

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One hour project: Clothkits apple doorstop

8 Mar

Ooo, hello Clothkits. What a blast from the past!

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As a child I was usually dressed in either:

a) Something my mother had sewn

b) Something my aunt had designed

c) Something from a jumble sale

d) Something from Clothkits, which my mother had sewn

Once my mum made me a dress by tracing a Clothkits pattern onto an old curtain she’d got from a jumble sale for about 15p, thus fulfilling options a), c) and d) all in one garment.

Clothkits died a death in the 80s, but it’s back. BACK! And just as brilliant.

It now has yummy artists like Rob Ryan, Emily Peacock, and Echino Designs (lovely Japanese fabric designer) on board, and has revived some old favourites (I think my brother had this coat) and created some new classics.

Anyway, when I saw their stand at Ally Pally in the autumn I couldn’t resist one of their lovely apple doorstops (minimalism alert – we actually did need a second doorstop in addition to The Squirrel). Especially as they were just £5 (show offer – nice!).

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Of course, the kit has since languished in a cupboard for a few months, but when I finally got it out to make it took me less than an hour from start to finish. Great for a present.

Foolishly I forgot to trace the pieces before I cut them, (the nice lady on the Clothkits stand told me everyone does this) but actually the pattern is very simple – four triangles with the point chopped off, a square for the bottom, and a handle.

And, oooo, that lovely Clothkits babycord. Such great fabric (iron it upside down to avoid squashing it).

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Clothkits, welcome back (OK, I know it’s been a few years). You guys rock!

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Happy New Year! And a resolution…

1 Jan

2011 was a year full of lots of things. Lots of adventures, lots of work, lots of change. But, unlike in previous years, there was supposed to be less of something too – buying yarn.

But my stash doesn’t really seem to have diminished, partly because I now get new yarn to try out for work (yep, I know what you’re thinking, poor me), and also due to working with other yarn for my designs. OK, and yes, because I bought some, although not much, honest.

As of today, this is about a third of what I actually own. Doesn’t look too scary, does it?

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Although it does rather explode when you unpack it…

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Juliet Bernard, my lovely editor at The Knitter, spent the whole of 2011 on a yarn diet (including a trip to the knitting mecca that is Norway, which I think would have driven anyone to the brink), but as of today she is allowed to buy yarn again.

Well, if she can do it, I can too. can’t I? (No laughing please)

So, for 2012, I have a list of promises. Here goes…

1) I will NOT buy yarn.

OK, that’s long enough! I originally had a whole host of other good intentions, but as this one is going to be tough enough to follow on its own, I don’t think I should try any harder to set myself up for a fall.

As I’ve only been knitting seriously for about 7 years, I can get all my stash into three big boxes, including the one above –

However, THIS is what happens when these things get out of hand…(click on the pic for the full story)

(c) Mochimochiland

Yes, I think 2012 is going to require a LOT of willpower, but every time I feel myself wavering I will look at this picture and remind myself why I’m abstaining. Wish me luck!

PS. You can read more about my adventures in stashbusting on The Knitter website throughout 2012.

Peerie Flooers finished! And a little colouring in

6 Oct

It took me six days in the end to knit my Peerie Flooers (Rav link) hat. I was, as I said earlier, pretty obsessed!

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The thing about colourwork is that it’s addictive. As the pattern unfolds with every row, you get hooked on seeing what’s going to happen next.

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Making this hat (designed by the very talented Kate Davies) has got me thinking even more about colour than usual.

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I recently had the pleasure of swatching some Fair Isle style motifs in John Arbon‘s new yarn with vintage knitwear expert Susan Crawford, Excelana.

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It’s a beautiful yarn, perfect for colourwork. The challenge for a designer lies in making a relatively limited palette (there are eight colours in Excelana so far) work in harmony.

When working with a limited colour range, or in fact, any colour range, there is a great trick for making it easier. I think I first read about it in Alice Starmore‘s seminal Book of Fair Isle Knitting, but it’s a widely used technique.

Simply take your colour range and put it into black and white.

The easiest way is to take a picture using the black and white setting on your digital camera, but I prefer to take it in colour and then desaturate it in Photoshop, so that I can refer back to it.

This allows you to see the relative light or dark values of the colours. By having this extra info, you can then easily avoid putting colours which are of the same light/dark value next to each other, where a lack of contrast would make the patterning hard to see.

After that, despite all the colour ‘rules’ you may have heard of, everything else is just a matter of taste.

Having knitted Peerie Flooers in a combination of Jamieson and Smith 2 ply and Rowan Fine Tweed, I’m now looking at a new design using the Rowan yarn.

Here’s what happens when you take the colours away…

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Time to play!

Peerie Flooers: Hat obsession

30 Sep

It’s 1am and I should be in bed. But I can’t sleep. Because I have to knit my hat.

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Yes, I realise it’s too hot to wear it, but that’s not the point. Last week I finally managed to find the time to write about Kate Davies marvellous Peerie Flooers hat for Fabulous Pattern Friday on The Knitter blog.

Then, having hit my design submission deadline for next season (more Fair Isle for next spring – hurrah!) and having also written a feature for the brand-new redesigned Simply Knitting magazine, I sat down, took a breath and cast on.

I started my version of Peerie Flooers on Monday night. Having been up to my eyeballs with work for some time, I’ve given myself the week off to knit it. Happily, if I keep going like this, I’ll be weaving in the ends by the weekend.

This hat has me OBSESSED. Kate previewed the design on her blog so I already knew I wanted to make it before she released the pattern a (thankfully) short while later.

I raided my stash of Jamieson and Smith Jumper Weight yarn, bought three balls of the delicious Rowan Fine Tweed the pattern calls for (3 quid each, last of the big spenders), and dived in. Happily I’ve been able to share out what I don’t need with some other knitting friends, so at last count there are 5 of us, all in the various stages of making it.

I’ve modified the pattern, by using cream instead of oatmeal for one of the background colours and working the red and blue flowers in two, tonal, shades to give them a bit more depth.

Meanwhile  61 other people are already knitting it on Ravelry, and more of my knitting friends are casting on as I type. Obsessed? I’m not the only one…

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 woolywonderland@gmail.com.

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 woolywonderland@gmail.com.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Want to be kept up to date with what’s next? Just drop us a line to woolywonderland@gmail.com, 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.

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See you soon!