Saturday, 10 March 2018

Oh Hello 2018!

How lovely it was to welcome in a New Year and feel there are just so many possibilities to be explored and enjoyed.
My Year of Colour from Instagram (

I like to take time in January to take stock and set some goals for the year ahead. I'm going to put them under types of activity to make it more organised. My general goal for the year though will be to get my projects and craft room under control and organised. I will have to try really hard not to jump on band wagons when I see shiny new things on social media (it is now March and I am only just about to post and as you will see this resolve did not last long!). Here we go:



The Knit along with Marie Wallin for the edge to edge colour work cardigan Lerwick is going very well and I am enjoying knitting on this project. I am very pleased with all I have learnt along the way which I can see is making an improvement in the technique and the resultant patterning and tension in the fabric is much better. We have begun the section with the steeks for the sleeves and are awaiting our next video. 

I would like to make a goal of finishing all other colour work projects that I have waiting or already started.


I knitted or cast on socks for every month of the year in 2017 in an attempt to get through all the sock yarn I have and although I am not going to attempt that again I wanted to  aim at using stash rather than buy new yarn for sock projects but along came the Flower Power Fund     which is raising funds for Marie Curie Nurses. There will be twelve yarn collaborations throughout the year and I just had to support that. Norah George Yarns brought out a Snowdrop yarn and pattern for it in January. Then Helen of Handmade Curious started a sock club releasing a pattern every month that just seemed perfect for this. Just after that Danni of Little Bobbins Podcast released her new trilogy of sock patterns based on a romantic notion of the two names inscribed in her antique engagement ring. 
My goal will be to complete the sock society patterns.


I have yarn now for three cardigans or jumpers and would like to finish them this year and also to complete already started projects such as the Betty Mouet jumper and a slipover which has been on the needles far too long.
My goal will be to finish three garments this year.


I completed Carol Feller's of Stolen Stitches Bubble Wrap shawl knit along which was great fun and the yarn was fabulous to use.

My goal is to take part in Ravellenics, Tour de Fleece and sock knitalongs.

Then there were all the new books and magazines that require separate posts and lots of sewing and cross stitch projects too. I hope to get back to my blog soon for some more crafting updates. Next will be a review of Rowan Magazine 6

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Island hopping Wool - Shetland to Mersea

Marie Wallin's Fairisle Club Three - Lerwick

::My beautiful box of wool has arrived and now there is a flurry of activity sorting it out, getting everything organised and starting a swatch for gauge::

 ::This is the inspiring Club design and it looked so inviting - so let's dive in!::

::All the scrummy, yummy wool in gorgeous Shetland inspired colours and a folder with the pattern inside and the canvas project bag::What a wonderful project this is going to be to improve my colour work technique and to learn new skills too::

::So the first thing I did was to start my organisation and in addition to my folder where I am storing newsletters, the pattern, and notebook, I decided I wanted to make some cards in which I could record the colour name and number and the pattern symbol for that wool and the number of balls for each colour::I also put in a few strands of the wool with it's name so that I could refer to it if the ball band went astray::

::I took my inspiration from the Quince & Co colour cards but obviously tweaked it so that they would reflect the information I wanted to store and also to keep the aesthetic of the Fairisle Club Three:: 

::Another reason for going a bit above and beyond was that I am trying to learn new computer skills and to develop my knowledge of pages on my mac::

::I think it will be good to have a reminder of this beautiful project in the years ahead::

::I have already learnt some more about swatching techniques::how to knit a swatch flat using circular needles::how to work out the number of rows and stitches you need for your swatch::

::Another Ravelry user, Anne, had a very interesting blog post here about "following the straight and narrow in stranded knitting" which makes very good reading::

::I am already seeing lots of knitting expressions coming up on the Ravelry forums for this project that I am going to have to explore::"taking up"::"throwing"::

 ::Here I am then all set to start Chart A for my swatch for gauge::what is it about a new ball of wool and that first row that makes a knitter so happy::simple things::simple living::bliss::

Sunday, 27 August 2017

All Things Rowan Autumn/Winter 2017

Rowan Autumn/Winter 2017 season is here! So I thought I'd take a little tour through my new acquisitions with a quick catch up on my Rowan projects too.

I have a subscription to Rowan Magazine and I particularly enjoy the Autumn/Winter editions. There is a free gift with the subscription and I chose the "mohair haze" and four 25g balls arrived with two patterns by Martin Storey for a hat and wristlets. The magazine also came with a newsletter and a Members' Exclusive Collection of patterns.

Having seen the beautiful gift yarn I recalled a pattern by Kim Hargreaves called Mist which is a lovely slouchy ribbed hat in her book "Still" and decided that I would use two of the balls combined with fine lace to knit that instead of the Martin Storey pattens although I might be able to make the wristlets from his pattern with the other two balls of yarn.

I'm making some progress and am intrigued to find myself knitting a new stitch to me which is creating the interesting rib in this hat pattern. The hat is knit in the flat and seamed.

Rowan Magazine is usually divided into stories and this edition has two: Kinship - which is a story inspired by Rowan's original roots, housed in a beautiful old woollen mill and the surrounding landscape of the stunning Yorkshire Dales.

And Dawn til Dusk - which was inspired by knitwear that can take you from the office to evening drinks or slouchy layer pieces that can be worn for an afternoon stroll or as a cover-up over evening wear.

I have already fallen for a cheery scarf design by Martin Storey called Veiled which will look great with my winter coat.
The other designers featuring in this edition are: Lisa Richardson, Sarah Hatton, Marie Wallin, Jennie Atkinson, Galina Carroll, Emma Wright and Georgia Farrell.

As well as the patterns there are articles and I very much enjoyed the one about Churchmouse Yarns where they sell tea as well as wool! That's a perfect combination in my view.

The newsletter comes out twice a year and usually has a free pattern and a couple of essays or interviews as well as details of new yarns and books. It takes a look at the new Autumn/Winter 2017 season, talks about catwalk trends, looks back at previous editions, compares heritage Rowan with the Rowan of today, gives a list of Rowan magazines and brochures and lists workshops at John Lewis. It packed with articles and also runs a fun competition with a signed copy of Lisa Richardson's booklet Timeless Cocoon as the prize.

The interview with Martin Storey was very interesting and I do think the beautiful oversized scarf in the feature will be very popular.

As well as the newsletter there is the Members Exclusive Collection which contains five patterns by Martin Storey and Lisa Richardson.

 I particularly liked this one by Martin Storey which is knit in Alpaca Soft DK which is one of the new yarns:

The Timeless DK booklet is a collection of six designs by Martin Storey and has some very pretty everyday cardigans which I think will look stunning in the new alpaca soft dk which Martin says is his favourite of the new yarns as it looks fabulous in colour work, cable and textured stitches and is lovely to knit with. I can't wait to try it.

I think the colour palette is so pretty. It is a soft mix of extra fine and super fine merino wool and baby alpaca.

Bibi, the pattern below is my favourite and the model, Lara looks gorgeous in it. It has two dots which Rowan suggests has simple techniques with straight forward knitting and introduces various shaping techniques and is for the knitter with a little experience.

Then there is another new yarn called Cashmere Tweed and the booklet that accompanies that yarn has seven modern Scandinavian and Icelandic inspired patterns. I love the hat and scarf on the cover. Cashmere tweed is a premium yarn made with virgin wool and cashmere.

Here is another beautiful pattern with a lovely celtic colour work pattern designed with a very contemporary feel.

So now for a little Rowan works-in-progress update. I am working on Amaryllis from Marie Wallin's book Springtime which uses both fairisle and intarsia techniques and which I am hoping to have completed before starting Marie's new Fairisle Club 3 in November when we will be knitting the cardigan called Lerwick.

So a busy knitting time ahead but first I must go on an enforced knitting break as I have developed some problems with my left thumb joint (I am a right handed knitter) and I am so glad there are such a lot of new Rowan publications to keep me occupied while I heal!

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Marie Wallin's Fairisle Club 3

Tour de Fleece in July was very hectic and now it is all over I am happily signed up and looking forward to Marie Wallin's Fairisle Club 3. We will be knitting her new pattern Lerwick which is a stunning multi colour work edge to edge wrap cardigan. 

There is an active group over on Ravelry where we are all getting very excited in anticipation of our yarn Spindrift of Jamieson's of Shetland arriving.

I was lucky enough to spend a very happy time at Jamieson's on the first Shetland Woolweek holiday a couple of years ago. We had an excellent guided tour and were able to spend a long time choosing wool in the shop afterwards. I chose some beautiful tweed material and aran yarn. So I will be delighted to see the colours Marie has chosen.

In the meantime, I am putting together a few bits and pieces to make a Marie Wallin section in my craft room and to go with the Fairisle Club 3 "Lerwick" project. So far I have put together a folder for anything I print off including newsletters. I have found a notebook and a notions bag and when the wool is here and the project underway I have a couple of fun ideas to decorate my folder some more - it's the creative gene - it is difficult to keep it under control!

I have some shade cards from Jamieson's and have been spending time getting to know the colours and imagining how the wools for this project will look.

We start the knit along at the beginning of November and I have a colour work cardigan Amaryllis by Marie under construction which I would like to have completed by then.
I'm also gathering up some books to put in my Marie Wallin corner and getting ideas for even more projects.
So it looks like a Marie Wallin filled time ahead knitting-wise and that is going to be a lot of fun.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Tour de Fleece 2017 Team Sasquatch

::Well we are off! I have joined Team Sasquatch on Ravelry which has been set up for those who love podcasts:: 

I was part of this team back in 2014 and spent a couple of year's with Team Fondant Fibre but wanted to catch up with some of my stash this year and felt I would get a lot of motivation from Team Sasquatch.

I set my goals and decided on my projects and introduced myself on their group page. This is week one of the tour even though we won't officially start until Saturday 1 July through to Sunday 23 July.

I am not planning on finishing every project but my goal is to achieve a finish on at least one. I will be using my spindles and my spinning wheel and will be using a variety of fibres.

So week one completed!

Monday, 27 February 2017

Visiting a Silk Weaving Workshop in Myanmar

I was so lucky recently to enjoy a visit to Myanmar (which some people will know as Burma). The beautiful country of the golden stupas and pagodas, temples and monasteries.

Whilst we were there we visited a silk weaving workshop where women still make the traditional Longyi which is a two metre stretch of fabric worn wrapped around the lower body by both men and women. It is a very versatile garment which can be wrapped so that it can be used as a hooded jacket, a sling for carrying a baby or a backpack for a water bottle. It can be wound so that it becomes a hat on which large trays or baskets can be balanced. It can also be pulled through the legs to become shorts which are useful for playing football or when going out in a fishing boat.

The men's garments are called pasos and the ladies a htamain. The ladies wear theirs tied in a different way to the men and are generally much brighter silk colours and patterned in contrasting colours. There are cotton ones for everyday and silk for more important occasions like weddings. 

Here are some photos I took and you will see how they are still using traditional methods and there are no computerised processes at all. I was very surprised to learn that almost every longyi you see is made in small workshops like this one and all by hand.

Silk really does hold colour better than any other textile as you can see in this cabinet of thread waiting to be used.

 Here are the bobbins wound up ready for the start of a new project.

As you can see from this weaving they are making other items from the silk weaving and this could be for a table.

Although the looms are very large, the ladies sit side by side and there is a nice atmosphere created by the very hard working women in the workshop.

These are very dexterous hands - just look at all those shuttles.

A view of the back of the workshop.

Trying to get the right shot of the looms in use.

The equipment is very traditonal and all hand worked.

Working with both her left and right hands at once.

 The wonderful colour combinations you can achieve with silk.

Here is the silk on the bobbins for the machine above.

I didn't crop that lady with her head in her hands out as she looks as if she is overwhelmed with so much choice. These are all the finished longyis in the shop area.

And here I am in my beautiful blue htamain on our boat the Princess Panhwar. I opted for an easier version which has long pieces of material which you wrap round and tie. I didn't think I would be able to manage the traditional way. You have to make sure your pattern lines up on the edges. I found it very comfortable to wear but I did wear another long skirt underneath as I thought it was a bit see through. I bought mine from a stall in a temple we visited as I was very taken with the two toned effect of the blue material which shimmers very prettily in the light. We had an entertaining afternoon when the staff modelled the different ways of wearing the longyi and showed how to tie them.

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