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.
A couple of weeks ago I was delighted to be interviewed by fellow podcaster, friend and all round good egg, Jo from the Shiny Bees podcast. The interview was published today, in episode 84 and there is a link here.
It was a reet good giggle and a delight to do. If you don’t listen to Shiny Bees (why not?), then I heartily recommend her. Listen in for information in what I’ve been up to recently, plus a couple of scoops and even something special just for you…
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!
My mind is turning towards next year and product development and I’d really appreciate some feedback if you have the time.
I’m currently developing some weaving kits based on 120-200g yarn (either a skinny version of Stanley, my Falkland merino, at 400m per 100g or a new merino/silk 4ply, again 400m), with either co-ordinated mini skein warps or a hand painted painted warp plus weft and instructions.
I’m also working with a crochet designer to develop some crochet scarf/stole kits. One of these would be a single skein kit, the rest would be based on mini-skeins, with one having 4 colours and others having more (potentially up to 15-20). I envisage these being Mobberley, merino or merino/silk, and would come with the yarn (somewhere between 100-300g based on early estimates) and a printed pattern.
I have researched prices of kits currently on the market (mainly knitting), but I’m interested to know how much people have paid/would pay for a kit at a show.
Thanks for your time, much appreciated. All responses will be entered into a wee draw to say thanks!
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).
You remember last time, I showed you some possible colour combinations for the Old Shale part of my Hap shawl? I made a decision! I went for this combination:Yes, I know it wasn’t part of the original choice, but it works better , I think.
I’m currently working on my Hansel Hap by Gudrun Johnson for the Knit British Hap-along and although I’m still working on the centre square, my thoughts have been turning to the striped Old Shale pattern around the edge. Out of the many colours of the Wildboardclough I dyed, which four should I use to complete this part?
I decided to try some yarn wraps in the correct proportions, to help out.
I thought it would help. But I don’t think it has! There only thing I can be sure of, is I don’t really like the first one. Ho hum?
I’m often asked what inspires me, but I never have a simple answer. Sometimes I’m influenced by the seasons and the colours I see in the garden. Often in the autumn I find myself dyeing with rich oranges, russets and browns, as if I am trying to capture the very leaves in my dye pots.
In the Spring I often end up dyeing lots of fresh greens and purples. It must be the crocuses!
Sometimes I’m just in a particular mood and want to explore the limits of one particular colour or combination of colours. Lately, it’s been greens and blues:
Wherever my mood takes me, though, it’s great fun exploring!