Well, last week saw me return to my favourite yarn shop in Dundee, fluph. As the website states, it is more than just a yarn shop. It is a sanctuary, a place of warmth and laughter and the heart of a wee knitting community that stretches further than the outer edges of Dundee.
The owner LJ is one of the nicest people in the industry and a pleasure to spend time with. She’s worked hard to build a real sense of community around the shop and I love to do trunk shows here as it feels much more like an afternoon spent with friends than a hard-sell in a yarn shop.
As for an illustration of what I mean by a community that stretches beyond the bounds of Dundee, I give you this picture:
This is a picture of LJ (on the right) and Lilith, the genius behind Old Maiden Aunt. Lilith had come for a day out from West Kilbride, on the other side of the country, along with Ange Sewell, of Weftb Blown, over whom I have to admit I got a bit fan-girly. I’ve been following Ange for a while on Instagram and I love her work. She is a weaver inspired by the Scottish weather, and she completed the same course at Bradford that I’m currently on a couple of years ago. I find her work really inspirational and when I grow up I’d like to be just like her!
So it was a successful trip and a delight to go back to Dundee, in addition of course to seeing Arthur and Oskar, LJ’s gorgeous Spaniel boys. I love doing pop-ups, so if you would like me to come to your LYS or Knit Group, please contact.
Remember I told you last week about how Agrarian Artisan and I are working together to host the Cheshire Fibre Festival on Saturday 1st October at The Hall at Marthall? Well I’m delighted to announce that Jenny Barnett, Feltmaker is joining us. She will have a stall and also run a workshop in the afternoon. We’re so excited to have Jenny with us; I hope you are too!
The aim of the Trail is “to help NW fibre artists and small producers to promote their work to the public via exhibitions, sales, demonstrations, workshops etc. 30th Sept – 14th Oct”. Well, what’s not to like? I hit the “Like” button and began to ponder how I could get involved. Suggestions on the page included having a pop-up shop (but where?) or an Open Studio (have you SEEN the state of my house?) and to begin with I was a bit stumped. The idea of an Open Studio sounds so wonderful and a couple of my friends have done it in the past but to be honest I live at the bottom of a very long cul-de-sac in a rabbit warren estate, so parking is not ideal and my house is just not suited to a stream of visitors. Oh, who am I trying to kid? There’s nothing wrong with my house, it’s just my lifestyle that doesn’t lend itself to it!
Anyway, while I was deliberating and had come to the conclusion that the only possible way was a Pop Up in a local yarn store (and to be honest the number of ones with space available in my immediate locale is dropping…), Valerie dropped me an email. She hosts a regular crochet workshop which falls within the fortnight, but a Monday might not be the best day and her venue has limited parking. While pondering the use of another venue, she had realised that there was a lovely village hall nearby, but the cost of the hall hire was prohibitive on her own – would I be interested in sharing the costs? Within a very short time, we’d bounced ideas around and I can now proudly announce that Saturday 1st October sees the very first Cheshire Fibre Festival, at the Hall at Marthall, just off the A537 Knutsford to Macclesfield Road. Valerie will be offering a range of crochet workshops and selling her patterns, I will have my yarns and fibres for sale and we have also approached a number of other Cheshire based Fibre Artisits to see if they would like to be involved. I’m delighted to announce that Crafts From The Dungeon is one of our vendors.
Right now I’m wobbling between excitement and terror (but hey ho, what else is new, lol!) Keep the date free and keep your eyes peeled as we release more details…
Some of you may have noticed that there is currently no yarn in the shop. That’s because I am in the middle of a big stocktake prior to having a big update towards the end of the week. I am currently taking a break from my tally sheet with a cup of coffee and The The blasting out. I am seriously having to resist the urge to roll around on all the skeins laid out on the floor…
Due to increases in raw materials towards the end of last year I am unfortunately having to increase some of the yarn prices. I’ve held off as long as I can, but from the next update, Nether Alderley will cost £15, Chelford will cost £14.50 and Mobberley and Stanley will cost £14. Other lines remain the same. Fibre prices currently remain the same and there is some fibre in the shop, along with the second quarter of the Fibre Explorers’ Club.
I’ve had so much fun designing the colours for this! It’s a quarterly club, with Round 2 covering the second quarter of 2016. Each month for the three months’ duration you will receive 150g of fibre, hand dyed by me in a not-to-be repeated colourway. So far in Round 1, we have had two fibres that are brand new to Yarns From The Plain and I’ll be dyeing the third and final fibre of Round 1 next week. I haven’t yet made the decision about Round 2 yet, but what I can promise is that each month’s parcel will contain 150g of fibre of which at least 75% is British (or British Overseas Territory) wool. It will probably be combed tops… but might not be! The club will cost £50 per quarter, which includes postage, and each month’s parcel will be sent out by the 20th of the month. Sign ups for round two open on Friday 4th March and close on April 5th unless the club sells out beforehand. It is a three month subscription and places are limited – so what are you waiting for?
[This link will take you to the club section, but the club itself won’t show up until it goes live on Friday.]
Ok, so I can’t say much at the moment, but if you like crochet, then keep a look out over the next few months as there are exciting developments happening in this little part of Cheshire.
New weights in old friends…
The “K” word…
So excited I could burst!!!
In addition to this, there are still a couple of spots available in the first Round of the Fibre Explorers’ Club.
This is a quarterly club, with Round 1 covering the first quarter of 2016. Each month for the three months’ duration you will receive 150g of fibre, hand dyed by me in a not-to-be repeated colourway. Sometimes the fibre may be a familiar face, sometimes it may something a little less common. It may even be a special blend created specifically for the club. What I can promise is that each month’s parcel will contain 150g of fibre of which at least 75% is British (or British Overseas Territory) wool. It will probably be combed tops… but might not be! After all, we are exploring, right? The club will cost £50 per quarter, which includes postage, and each month’s parcel will be sent out by the 20th of the month. It is a three month subscription – so what are you waiting for?
Back in August, I shared my excitement about one of my yarns being featured in a pattern on the front of Inside Crochet issue 69. Now I’m delighted to say that the pattern is available to prchase individually from the designer, Valerie . In fact, if you purchase the pattern through this Ravelry link, you will also receive a code that will give you 10% off not just Mobberley DK, but any DK yarn in the shop.
I’m currently working my version up in Mobberley DK “Strawberry Blush”. I love how the colour change happens on the corner!
If you enjoy crochet I would urge you to pop over to Valerie’s website, Agrarian Artisan. It’s full of gorgeous pictures, top tips and fun CALs. It’s a must!
Over the last few weeks I’ve had fun with our Spinning Guild’s Celebration of British Sheep Challenge. We have decided as a Guild to try to spin as many different British breed fibres as possible, with a view to using the spun yarn to create an 8 inch square, using knitting, crochet or weaving. These squares will then be joined to make a series of blankets, themed along fibre types, e.g. longwools, hill breeds, etc. It’s provided everyone with a chance to spin outside of their comfort zone and try something new. In one week alone I washed samples from Rough Fell, Lleyn, Derbyshire Gritstone and Lincoln Longwool (they’re now waiting to be spun!) and then a couple of weekends ago, spun Oxford Down from a carded batt (from the magnificent Griffiths Mill) and Hebridean (which involved making rolags and spinning long draw – neither of which are skills I am comfortable with!) I have a stacking crate now full of washed samples ready to dip into when I get the time (I should be weaving, but that’s another story….). Of course this all ties in nicely with the Knit British Breed Swatchalong (more details at the Knit British site) but it also got me thinking about exploring and trying new things…
Which has lead to this:
Yes, the Yarns From The Plain Fibre Explorers’ Club. This will be a quarterly club, with Round 1 covering the first quarter of 2016. Each month for the three months’ duration you will receive 150g of fibre, hand dyed by me in a not-to-be repeated colourway. Sometimes the fibre may be a familiar face, sometimes it may something a little less common. It may even be a special blend created specifically for the club. What I can promise is that each month’s parcel will contain 150g of fibre of which at least 75% is British (or British Overseas Territory) wool. It will probably be combed tops… but might not be! After all, we are exploring, right? The club will cost £50 per quarter, which includes postage, and each month’s parcel will be sent out by the 20th of the month. Sign ups for round one open this Friday. 6th November and close on December 31st unless the club sells out beforehand. It is a three month subscription and places are limted – so what are you waiting for?
In my last post, you may have noticed some cute little guys on the table. I was delighted to be able to offer Dizzy Sheep spinning kits at Kendal at the weekend. In fact they proved so popular that my initial stock had sold out by lunchtime! Luckily my amazing friend Mandy dropped some more off on Sunday and I’ve now uploaded the remaining stock into the shop.
At last! A simple kit that allows you to separate out the steps involved in spinning. The Dizzy Sheep is great for beginners and experienced spinners alike, allowing you to spin on the go. Small and compact, Dizzy Sheep can be popped into a pencil case to take out and about. As you draft horizontally, it’s easy to spin sitting down with Dizzy. He even tells you which way to twizzle to spin or to ply!
We’re delighted to offer Dizzy Sheep, designed by Crafts From The Dungeon, for £16 or as a kit put together especially for Yarns From The Plain for £20.
The kit comes with everything you need to get spinning:
•One Dizzy Sheep raring to go
•50g of hand dyed British fibre
•Detailed photo tutorial.
They are currently available in 5 different hand dyed shades of Cheviot from here.
Anyone who knows me knows I love Woolly Wormhead – the woman is nothing short of a genius! With that in mind then, I am shamefaced to say that she very kindly gave me a copy of her latest book some time ago to review and, due to the ongoing technical do-dahs that is thwarting the podcast I haven’t done it. I know, I know. I’m crap.
However, the other weekend saw me at a show that was a little… quiet… shall we say, so I took the opportunity to cast on a new hat, as a stand sample. I used a skein of my Mobberley Aran, in one of my favourite colourways, Bewitched:
I have an e-copy, which is never quite as easy to slip through as a hard copy, but as ever, it’s a Woolly book, so it’s a feast for the eyes. The photographs are as usual, very strong. I like Woolly’s aesthetic, and enjoy seeing models that one would perhaps not see elsewhere; in this case, real women full of sass! As a sometime glasses-wearer whose bodytyoe does not conform to a societal norm, I love these models and a particularly like the urban background in these shots to. There are at least two shots of each of the ten hats and they allow you to see how the hand-painted yarns are used within the designs. Woolly has specifically designed this collection to use those gorgeous skeins that we fall in love with, buy and then stare at because we don’t know what to do about them. she has also designed it to celebrate the joy of indy dyers, and of course, that’s something I can get behind!
The designs themselves each feature garter stitch somewhere, which I really like for hand painted yarns. They also have strong structures (but I wouldn’t expect anything less from a Woolly pattern) and a variety of styles. My personal favourites (at the moment!) are Helical, Jetty and Lamitra, although I also love Cornice. It’s not a style that would suit me, but it makes me grin!
All the patterns are available in at least three sizes (and most in four or five) and the instructions are clearly expressed. I happen to know that Woolly takes time to ensure her patterns are tech edited, copy edited and test knitted thoroughly, so it is rare to find any errors in them. This book also comes with clear tutorials you may not be familiar with, such as garter stitch Kitchener and a provisional cast on using a crochet hook.
I cast on for Helical, but really it is more for a DK weight yarn (I foolishly grabbed the Mobberley Aran instead of the Mobberley DK!) and I didn’t like the way it was pooling. However this is the joy of this book – if your yarns doesn’t work with one pattern, you are bound to find another where it does. A few days after I cast I on, I ripped out and started Jetty instead, which is a much better combination of pattern and yarn. No photos yet as I’ve only done the brim so far, but I will photograph it when I’ve finished it. I’m currently away on holiday, so hopefully I’ll be able to get a wiggle on!
If you would like your own copy of Painted Woolly Toppers, it is available as a Ravelry download for £10. Print copies are available from MagCloud for $25 (which is around £17 at present).