The These Islands Book Launch – Come See

final cover

Come and have a look at what you missed if you couldn’t join us and if you were there it’s time to see the photos.

It was all hands on deck to set up between the shop closing at 5 and the launch starting at 7.30pm but we managed and it was lovely to be able to see the design samples knitted up.

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The Happy Out Mitts that Sara had knitted up looked fab in the the Cinnabar shade of Smudge Yarns 4ply.

2015-04-09 19.09.11The Hip Hop Hat sample shown here is knitted in Smudge Yarns double Knit. ¬† The beautiful blue shade is Cairn, whilst the lime green is Fuggles, a name you just can’t say without smiling ūüôā

2015-04-09 19.08.40Confession time now, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the Crosshatched Cowl, it didn’t really appeal to me. ¬†However, I’m a convert, seeing the knitted sample in the shop last night really changed my mind about this piece. ¬†The colours in the Pencil Roving really pop with the Herringbone Stitch, it tempted quite a few people too, judging by how much of it was sold.

2015-04-09 19.10.15As I mentioned in the previous post about the book launch.  There were kits for the Beaker Shawl Knit Along available last night (I also have a few available here in the shop).  Much discussion was given over to choosing the complimentary colour for the KAL and as you can see from the photo, the choice was a made harder by the sheer scrumminess of shades available in the lace weight.

Don’t forget that if you ‘cast on’ your shawl via Ravelry by Sunday you’ll automatically be entered into a draw to win a hank of Smudge Yarns Laceweight yarn. ¬†(I’ll pop up a quick post later today on how to this for those of you that haven’t ever done this before.)

2015-04-09 20.07.03I kicked things off with my usual chit chat, minding my p’s and q’s a little and then handed things over to Sara so she could share with us how the book came about.

2015-04-09 20.07.32Sara handed the gauntlet over to Evin to tell us a bit more about the book and the ethos behind the yarns used, before we moved on to the socialising, laughing and general merriment.

2015-04-09 20.26.28The turnout for the launch was fantastic, it’s great to see fibre folk coming out to offer their support and better still when it’s for local knitterly people.

2015-04-09 20.26.34Dina my lovely and ever suffering daughter, went round with the camera gently persuading everybody to smile. ¬†Having reviewed the photos, it evidently meant she wasn’t in front of it at any time. ¬†Does anyone have photographic evidence that she was there?

2015-04-09 20.30.27See those smiles.  Fiona, Rachele, Sadie and Lee Ann seem to be enjoying themselves.

2015-04-09 20.29.35As do Noreen and Liz.

2015-04-09 20.33.08Hilda and Catherina posing for the camera (I think I spy a KAL kit there). ¬†Isn’t Catherina’s crochet Granny shawl beautiful?

2015-04-09 20.33.52Smiles all round from Joan, Erin, Sara and Carol.

2015-04-09 20.20.44Clare and Michelle doing a great job of enjoying themselves and plugging the book at the same time.

2015-04-09 20.29.58I managed to get in on the action too, laughing of course with Orela and Edwina.

2015-04-09 20.33.21How lucky am I?  My best friend Snadra was over from England too.

2015-04-09 19.07.02I know some of you will be eager to hear about the raffle prize, but I’m not quite ready to tell you yet.

2015-04-09 21.01.06It wouldn’t be a book launch, without a book signing or two as demonstrated here by Sara and Evin.

2015-04-09 21.00.11Having roped the lovely Carol Feller in to draw the winner I’m really happy to say Noreen won the hamper of goodies, can’t wait to see what she makes with the ‘special edition’ yarns.

I know you’re probably wondering…..

2015-04-10 14.39.07Yes, I did.

Happy Knitting!

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These Islands: Knits from Ireland, Scotland, and Britain Book Launch

Book Launch (2)

It’s all been confirmed, we’ve sat down, ¬†deliberated, cogitated and digested and I am now happily able to announce that the These Islands book launch will take place on Thursday 9th April from 7.30 to 9.30pm

These Islands includes eight never before published patterns for hats, a cowl, shawls, fingerless gloves, and boot cuffs using locally-processed wool made from the fleece of Irish, Scottish, or British sheep with names. The patterns are designed by Sara Breitenfeldt, Suzanne McEndoo, and Evin Bail O’Keeffe.

Suzanne currently lives in Edinburgh so won’t be able to make the launch however, both Evin and Sara will be available for book signing, laughter and fun.

bake

A Cork resident, Evin is the author of the 2014 Blog Awards Ireland award-winning craft blog EvinOK.com.  In addition to being a busy mum and her blog, Evin also managed to find the time to write and release her book Bake Knit Sew, which showcases a year of creativity in baking, knitting, and sewing. The book offers a complete year of projects! With over 50 full-color photographs shot on location here in scenic Cork.  To find out more about Bake Knit Sew or to order your copy head over to the Anchor & Bee website here.

smudgeMany of you will already have heard of Sara, now a Midleton resident too, ¬†as is the creator and owner of the ¬†hand dyed yarn company Smudge Yarns. ¬† Sara’s beautiful yarns are available to purchase via her website or in a handful of shops around Ireland, including mine ūüôā ¬†There is also a Smudge Yarns Facebook Page here and a Ravelry Group too for you to join should you want to show you’re appreciation.

The gates open at 7.30pm for the book launch, with everything kicking off ♥ proper ♥ at 8pm.  This will be a ticketed event due to the size of the shop, so spaces are limited.  There will be refreshments, book signing and all ticket holders will be automatically entered into the craft hamper raffle (more details to follow later, watch this space).

Tickets are ‚ā¨5 each and can be purchased in the shop with me or via the Smudge Yarns website here¬†

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In addition to the book, Sara hopes to have some of her yummy yarn on sale to tempt you, she will also officially launch her Beaker Folk Shawl Knit A Long on the night.  Kits will be available to purchase at the launch and we hope to get as many of you casting on for the KAL as possible.

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As a special incentive to get involved, everyone who ‚ÄúCasts On‚ÄĚ the project on Ravelry before midnight on Sunday 12th April will be entered in a draw for a special limited edition skein of yarn.

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The shawl can be knitted in one of two sizes, ¬†either as a smaller shawlette, or as a larger wrap. ¬†The photographs shown here have been taken from the book and have been knitted using Smudge Yarns Hand Dyed Lace Yarn¬†and 5.5mm needles. ¬†The featured colourway if you’re interested, is the beautiful denim hues of¬†ūüíô Beara¬†ūüíô

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If you’d like to have a closer look at the Beaker Folk Shawl, we’ve a sample garment on display in the shop at the moment.

I’m really excited to be able to showcase this brilliant book and hope some of you will be able to join us on what promises to be a great, fibre related evening.

Happy Knitting!

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Edinburgh Part 2 – Exploring

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Soooo many things to see, I have to go back. ¬†Preferably when it’s a little warmer and there’s a chance of the sun putting in an appearance, but return I will. ¬†It would have been sacrilege not to snap a photo of this daisy I spied carved into the end of a bench.

Edinburgh was everything I’d imagined and more¬†ūüíě

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No trip to the Scottish city would be complete without a visit to the castle of course, ¬†dominating the skyline as it sits perched above the other buildings. ¬†My word, you definitely know how high it is too when you get up there, because it’s blooming freezing.

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The castle itself is fantastic and much bigger than I thought, think fort rather than castle. ¬†Cobbled paths lead you to the different buildings which contain room after room of memorabilia from Scotland’s history. ¬†My favourites were the National War Museum and the Regimental Museums, I’ve recently developed a bit of an interest in military history and am hoping to visit The Imperial War Museum in London again this year ūüôā

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The Scottish National War Memorial is a truly moving place, which commemorates the dead of the First and Second World Wars and of military campaigns since 1945.  Around the main room you will discover books with lists of the fallen soldiers from each Scottish regiment.  The number of books provides a poignant reminder of all that lost there lives in defence of their country.

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In truth we didn’t leave ourselves enough time to truly experience the sheer volume of things to see at the castle and will have to go again when we’re next in Edinburgh ūüėČ

We rode the obligatory tour bus, but only managed to take one of the three tours and after dragging my poor husband to several yarn shops and haberdashery departments there was barely any time left for a wander through the cobbled streets, stopping for coffee and cake. ¬†I really can’t sing the praises of the public transport system in Edinburgh enough. ¬†An all day pass for the buses and trams costs only ¬£3.50 and you can travel the length and breadth of the city

Edinburgh is a bit of a haven for yarn shops, having already visited the yarn festival I thought it only fair on hubby not to take us too far out of our way.

I’m a bit of a department store haberdashery junkie, I just can’t help myself and have to look at everything. ¬†Jenners House of Fraser is smack in the centre of Edinburgh and their haberdashery department in the basement, was jam packed with a rainbow of colours from Rowan and Patons. ¬†Having popped in briefly on Saturday afternoon before they closed I was able to resit the urge to purchase something in order to save my pennies for the festival. ¬†if Rowan is your yarn of choice though I’d recommend a visit to either Jenners on Princes Street or the John Lewis which you’ll find in the St James Centre. ¬†John Lewis also had some of the fantastic but seriously pricey Wool and the Gang yarn and kits too.

Kathy’s Knits on Broughton Street offers some beautiful yarns, patterns and notions, concentrating on British yarns sourced from around the country including¬†Blacker Yarns, New Lanark, JCRennie, Jamieson & Smith¬†and¬†Eden Cottage. ¬†I didn’t stop long enough to purchase as it was drizziling a little outside and I didn’t want to risk having a grumpy, sodden husband. ¬†Next time when the sun is shining I’ll be sure to stay longer¬†ūüėé

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Ginger Twist Studio is an indie, vintage inspired yarn shop on London Road crammed full of yummy yarn, most of which is hand dyed. ¬†I’d met Jess at the yarn festival, but as I follow her on Instagram I wanted to pay a special visit to the shop. ¬†We popped in briefly on Monday when Jess was busy unpacking after the show. ¬†You wouldn’t want to turn up with a massive group of knitters as Ginger Twist is a little on the compact side, however this little haven is a hand dyed yarn lovers dream destination.

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Never one to resist hand dyed I opted for a hank of luminous lime sock yarn and the necessary shopper.

Up near where we were staying in Haymarket was David Drummond’s¬†¬†a traditional sewing machine and knitting shop with a vast selection of all things knitting, sewing and haberdashery. ¬†Rather happily I discovered some Wendy Alfresco Aran on special, which I purchased to crochet up a quick granny shawl on the way home. ¬†Four balls in a great charcoal shade for less than ¬£10 – bargain!

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In amongst all the travelling, walking, eating and touring I managed to get my knit and crochet on too. ¬†The bottom project is a granny shawl in Rico Galaxy Chunky yarn that I took with me to keep my hands occupied whilst on the plane (it’s a gift for a dear friend). ¬†I also managed to finish one sock and start it’s twin, but didn’t want to risk having my Knitpro Karbonz taken off me on the plane, hence the Alfresco purchase. ¬†You can kind of make out the lovely shade of grey in the photo and to jazz it up a little, I’m adding some rows in yarn from my stash.

I’ll be sure to post up some pics of the finished garment, but I could end up boring you as I’ve developed a bit of a hankering for granny shawls at the moment.

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First there was the blue one I made for myself here and then you might recall the photo from a previous post with all the ends needing to be sewn in? Well I finally found the time to do so and to give it a quick block too.

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I love it and it’s really warm having been made in the now discontinued King Cole Chunky Merino. ¬†Hopefully, you can never have too many shawls?

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The photographs make it look rather bright, when I like to think it’s a little more subdued¬†‚ú® only a little mind.

Happy Knitting!

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Edinburgh Part 1 – The Yarn Festival

2015-03-15 10.19.52-2I’ve wanted to go to Edinburgh for as long as I can remember and The Edinburgh Yarn Festival provided the perfect excuse to finally pay the place a visit ūüôā

The first thing to mention about the yarn festival is how many ‘stars’ of the industry offered classes, there were definitely more in attendance then I’ve seen at any other yarn show. ¬†Unfortunately, I’d missed the ones that interested me most as demand was incredibly high and most booked up very quickly. ¬†Who can blame them too, with names like Stephen West, Ysolda Teague, Rachel Coopey, Carol Feller, H√©l√®ne Magn√ļsson, Nancy Marchant, Veera V√§lim√§ki, Emily Wessel and Karie Westermann to name but a few.

I arrived at The Edinburgh Corn Exchange bright and early on Sunday morning to try and avoid some of the crowds, heading straight for the Baa Ram Ewe stall in order to purchase a present for a good friend. ¬†Saturday had been such a productive day with their Titus yarn that certain shades had sold out, including the one I was after. ¬†Undeterred, I had a great time playing with colours and trying to decide on the right colour combination for Stephen West’s Daybreak Shawl.

My plan of action when attending any yarn festival is to walk round all of the vendors once without purchasing and make a mental note of any ‘favourites’ before walking round for a second time to spend time investigating further and making any purchases. ¬†This ‘purchase’ round can in practice, lead to a 3rd and possibly even a 4th lap of the stalls, depending on how strong the ‘pull’ of some yarn is ūüėČ

With over 75 stalls to peruse I was a little spoilt for choice when it came to selecting goodies to bring home.

So what did I buy?

‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

Too much as per usual including

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Well, I couldn’t resist the Edinburgh Yarn Festival cotton shopper. ¬†You can never have too many project bags can you?

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I actually only bought the Tin Can Knits 9 Months of knitting book at the show, finding the other ones in a bargain book shop in the city.  I also purchased a couple of books on spinning and weaving in order to work on my ability in these areas.

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I was spoilt for choice with sock yarns, but was rather smitten by this hand dyed 4ply Blue Faced Leicester loveliness, from The Threshing Barn

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H√©l√®ne Magn√ļsson’s class was the one I’d hoped to be able to attend, having missed the opportunity this time round it seemed only fair that I bought one of her beautiful knitting kits. ¬†I opted for the Icelandic Spring Shawl in beautiful blues and greens. ¬†The lace weight yarn is a rougher texture than we’re probably use to now and there was another softer option available, I wanted Icelandic authenticity and I’m sure it’ll soften with washing.

Scary lace weight it may be, but the pattern I’m happy to report, is knitted on 5mm’s

I did purchase a few more interesting items including more yarn, but you’ll have to wait until I’ve made the projects up.

Of course no short break is complete without taking in the sights, including Edinburgh Castle and a few of the yarn shops more on that in part 2.

Happy knitting!

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Charity Knitting

Since 2015 began I’ve been inundated with questions about our next charity knitting campaign, what it is and how you can get involved. ¬†With lots of you eager to get to work I’m conscious that for now at least, I don’t really have anything in particular planned.

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In part it’s because the Knit Happens Campaign still needs to be completely wrapped up before moving forward. ¬†The ECCR have given me a rough total of the money they have from the campaign and I can happily report that I have lodged ‚ā¨2157.23 in the Knit Happens Credit Union account¬†ūüĆü ūüĆüūüĆü ¬†I hope to be able to pop up a post in the near future with the total amount of money raised, how many stockings we still have left and what we’re going to do with them.

Then there’s all the other stuff to contend with, including my biggest enemy at the moment time¬†‚Źį

As it’s unlikely that little ol’ me is going to master the dimensions of time when it will in itself take time, I can do my best to give you some ideas so you can put your needles and hooks to work.

I had heard recently that The Girls Club Cork were after chemo hats and have spoken to Caroline at the service to confirm this. ¬†The Girls Club Cork is a cancer support centre that offers advice, assistance and a good night out to members and their families. ¬†If you’d like to know more about the service and what they do, pop over to their website here.

So Where do you start?

Having typed ‘free knitting patterns for chemotherapy patients’ into the Google search bar, I can happily confirm that there are dozens of them out there for hats. ¬†Many of them on sites dedicated to knitting for charity.

Here are just a few of the ones I’ve discovered.

All Free Knitting  Рknitting

Headhuggers РKnitting & Crochet

Bevscountrycottage Рknitting & Crochet

Ravelry Рknitting & Crochet

There are a few things you need to bare in mind when making hats for chemotherapy patients.

  • The yarn you use has to be soft, heads are sensitive at the best of times. ¬†Baby yarn like Sirdar Snuggly Dk or something similar is ideal.
  • Some people can be allergic to wool, particularly whilst undergoing treatment, so it’s recommended that you use yarn with no wool content what so ever. ¬†Acrylic/nylon are best and cotton hats are fantastic for wearing during the warmer months.
  • Whilst lace hats look pretty, they’re not necessarily the most practical. ¬†I’ve read stories on several sites now from cancer patients that have lost their hair through Chemotherapy. ¬†Most have mentioned that they wear their hats to cover their baldness as well as for warmth. ¬†A solid stitch pattern would be more suitable where possible for this reason, as would a hat longer hat. ¬†One that covers the back of the head like a beanie rather than a beret style would also provide more coverage.
  • Lastly, the hats should be wearable, fun and stylish in order to make the wearer feel less self conscious and warm. ¬†Try to consider colour and style – would you wear it?

You can drop your finished hats off to the centre which is at¬†26 St. Paul’s Avenue, off Lavitts Quay, Cork (near the entrance to Paul Street Car park). ¬†It’s best to give them a ring to check if they’ll be open, the phone number is¬† 021-4949090.

blankets of hope

In addition to the chemo hats, The Girls Club Cork are also running the Blankets of Hope Campaign. ¬†Their Facebook Page is here and to be honest the poster says everything you need to know so I won’t rattle on. ¬†Having run a similar project in 2013, I can testify that knitting squares an blankets are an ideal way to get involved and to use up your stash.

I’ve had a look around for other campaigns and haven’t really found any that are running at the moment, other than the ones where the deadlines are this month like Knit a Daffodil for Daffodil Day and Age Action Shamrock’s Appeal, so if you know of any please be sure to let me know.

Something worth mentioning is setting up and running your own project for charity.  You could organise a coffee morning and sell knitted and crochet goods, giving the money raised to your chosen appeal.  Another option is to encourage the people in your local area to get involved and organise a community art project.  Ideas including yarn bombing a school, park, street lamp-posts or an event and collecting donations, the possibilities are endless.

I’ve loads of ideas for small, easy knits that are great to get people knitting and small enough to encourage people to part with a Euro or two. ¬†I’ll try and get some time to run up a couple of them and post here, so you can see what I’m on about.

Be sure to let me know if you hear of any other charity in need of bits and bobs.

Happy Knitting!

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Let’s Talk Magazines Part One

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At present there seems to be a real glut of knitting and crochet magazines available in the UK and Ireland, which could be seen as a good thing right? ¬†More Magazines equals more competition between the publications to get your custom therefore, you might expect magazines packed to the brim, full of up-to-date patterns and editorials, with reviews on the yarns and items you want to see. ¬†Sadly, I’ve noticed the opposite of late and in many of the magazines there seems to be a real thinning out of quality material.

As there are so many, this post could go on for ages, so I thought it best to split it into two, possibly more separate posts ūüôā

So which one should you buy?

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Lets begin with my least favourite and the most expensive – Knitting & Crochet for Baby published by Immediate Media Co. (top) contains 16 knitting and crochet patterns and came with 6 x 22g balls of double knit yarn, a set of 4mm knitting needles and a 4mm crochet hook for the princely sum of…. wait for it…… ‚ā¨13.74 ¬†ūüėĪ¬†ūüėĪ¬†ūüėĪ ¬†That’s the price of a book, seriously? ¬†Rest assured I would never usually buy such a publication but I felt it was a necessary purchase as research for this post. ¬†There is the argument that the knitting kit with the magazine is what your paying for and of course it’s part of it but you can purchase much better quality products for only a little more money, in colours you prefer and without the risk of ‘running out’. ¬†The patterns are OK, the odd one is even quite lovely but, it’s hard to look past the price even for someone like me, who has been known to pay silly money for the odd, out of print knitting book¬†ūüôä

‘Free gifts’¬†with knitting magazines are one of my pet hates, they’re anything but free. ¬†The price of the gift has been factored into the cover price and I for one would much prefer the option to purchase an issue without the free stitch markers, tape measure, cheap, and nasty knitting detritus ūüí©¬†

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Oops, it looks like I might have to reel it in a bit, but not before I talk about The Art of Knitting.

Again there was a pair of needles and 2 balls of wool free with issue 1, which I picked up for the bargain price of ‚ā¨1.50 in McCarthys in Midleton. ¬†The patterns are OK and there’s a KAL for a blanket, which is made up of squares you knit with the free wool, using the new weekly stitch pattern. ¬†Note I said weekly, that’s the problem there in a nutshell. ¬†Issue 1 was ‚ā¨1.50 and issue 2 was ‚ā¨3.50 but all subsequent issues will be ‚ā¨4.99 each, ‚ā¨4.99 per week and according to the website you will have enough squares to complete your throw in 90 issues.

I’m not going to lie to you all. ¬†I actually have the original part work sitting on a shelf in my office from when it was released previously. ¬†I bought it to have as part of the reference library I was trying to build for an idea I had for the shop, but under normal circumstances could anyone truly justify spending ‚ā¨444.12 on this? ¬†It’s an awful lot of money whatever way you look at it, don’t you think?

Most of the magazines are 50% more expensive in the Euro price when you compare it to the price in Sterling, so a magazine that sells for ¬£4.99 is likely to cost around ‚ā¨7.60 here.

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Next we have Knit Today, which also came with a free gift. ¬†I’d stopped buying Knit Today for the shop some months back, because I felt it was repetitive and dull, but I was pleasantly surprised by issue 109. ¬†I’m not sure if there’s been a change in the editorial department since I stopped reading it, or if it’s just a ‘good’ issue, either way it’s an interesting read once more. ¬†One extremely¬†positive thing to note is that the women’s¬†garment patterns in Knit Today are all sized to fit from 8 to 22 as a minimum.

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Love Crochet and Love Knitting For Babies aren’t so readily available in most shops. ¬†Produced by the same people that publish Knit Today, they’re bright, cheerful and pretty. ¬†Love Crochet is good for quick, cute projects, there’s a lot of frippery interspersed with the odd garment or blanket. ¬†Most, if not all of us are fond of pretty things, that are just that, they serve no other purpose than to be pretty and Love Crochet has loads of ideas to feed this need.

Love Knitting For Babies is just that, things for babies, cardi’s, hats, toys, etc. ¬†(I wouldn’t mind the odd dinosaur though, so what that says about me I’ll never know?). ¬†A lot of the patterns might seem familiar and that’s largely because they’re taken from the bigger mills like Sirdar, Patons and Wendy or from other books and publications.

2015-02-12 10.01.29Let’s Knit from Aceville Publications Ltd. ¬†is apparently the UK’s best selling knitting magazine and it’s easy to see why. ¬†First and foremost Let’s Knit feels young, vibrant and fresh faced, it contains a good mix of editorials, news, reviews and most importantly patterns. ¬†The magazine is backed up by a similarly looking web page¬†¬†complete with free patterns, a blog, how to videos and a craft forum to share in your hobby with similarly like minded people. There’s also a Facebook Page, Pinterest account and Twitter feed to soothe¬†all¬†your¬†‚ô•¬†knitty¬†‚ô•¬†needs. ¬†

Let’s Knit usually contains a good range of patterns with everything from toys through to garments, most of which could probably be best described as ‘modern’ rather than wardrobe staples (only my opinion). ¬†It’s a knitting magazine dedicated to knitting with the odd crochet patten thrown in for good measure.

Let’s Knit also champion the industry, from the little people like me, to the big boys like Rowan. ¬†They hold The British Knitting Awards every year and launched The Love Your Yarn Shop Campaign in 2014, which will I hope, continue to grow in popularity as Bricks and Mortar yarn shops are becoming even more of a rarity as the rise of internet shops increase. ¬†Without rent, rates and amenities¬†¬†these online businesses have minimal overheads which make it harder for us to compete very much like florists and supermarkets.

Have you seen any of these 6 publications, if so which do you favour? ¬†In the next post I’ll run through more of the available magazines, there are at least another 8 to look at.

Happy Knitting!

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Needle Ramblings February?

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My effort to knit or crochet as much as possible in 2015 is going well so far, six weeks have passed since the bells chimed in the New Year and I’ve managed to get a¬†‚úĆÔłŹ second¬†‚úĆÔłŹ pair of socks for my (always cold) tootsies knitted.

The yarn I’ve knitted is one I fell in love with on Instagram from Yesterdaydream; it’s their 4ply Superwash Merino wool in County Fair you can find their Etsy Shop here.¬†¬†As the yarn is so ¬†pretty, I stuck with the plainest of sock patterns which meant they were great for working on at knitting group and the cinema¬†ūüĎć

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I’ve actually made another pair of socks too, but they don’t count towards my ‘pair every 2 months’ challenge to myself as they were a gift for the lovely L√©ann, my sons girlfriend. ¬†They’re chunky socks because she’s currently in Poland on her Erasmus and it’s mighty chilly there . ¬†I adapted them from the Basic Chunky Sock Pattern from Patons that I was singing the praises of recently on the Facebook Page. ¬†I used the Serenity Chunky yarn from Wendy because the alpaca fibre should help with added warmth and I love the colour range too¬†ūüĆą I would probably have managed to get the pair (size 5/6) out of the one ball at a push, but had already decided to go for the coloured heel and toe. ¬†If you decided to knit them yourself I’d err on the side of caution and have an extra ball to hand just in case. ¬†The pattern calls for 6mm (I think) and I’ve used a 5mm to make the socks more dense, they’re still soft and cosy and are great as boot socks or for padding around the house in as slippers.

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I love my tags, which have washing instructions for you to mark on the reverse. ¬†I’d taken this photo with the intention of saying where I bought them, but I’ve completely forgotten :-0 ¬†A search on Etsy turned up some lovely ones though.

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I also finished the Cobblestone for Du as promised, but the word disappointed doesn’t even come close to describing how I feel about it. ¬†I even knew before I’d finished it, but you still live in hope don’t you?

So what am I unhappy with?

1) It’s too big – I made the medium and should have made the small.

2) It’s too boxy – probably a combination of the pattern and point 1 above.

3) The garter stitch yoke is clumsy looking – I think if I could bring myself to knit it again I’d switch to a smaller needle for the yoke.

4) The wrapped stitches are a little too obvious for my liking.

5) The yarn I used is rather unforgiving for this pattern, Sirdar Bonus Aran is a good basic yarn, I’ve used it several times before and have always been happy with the finished project. ¬†However the wool content is minimal and had I used the yarn I purchased originally for my son (a beautiful 100% Blue Faced Leicester), the jumper would have probably turned out much nicer because wool is springy and more forgiving.

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I’ve also finished crocheting another shawl for myself, but as you can see there’s the small matter of ends to sew in yet.

Having finished (or nearly finished) a few of my projects it seems only right to cast on again, doesn’t it ūüėČ

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My next pair of socks are going to be a pink stripey affair, plain again to facilitate easy knitting whilst talking.

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I’ve another chunky pair on my needles too, as I’m teaching a friend how to knit socks. ¬†I’m quite smitten with the pair I made above so thought they might be the best way to go in this instance.

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I’ve also cast on a Flax in the medium/large size using Rico Country Aran for one of four of us Kye won’t wear anything resembling a woolly jumper. ¬†Fingers crossed maybe, just maybe it’ll work out right for Du to make up for the enormous Cobblestone. ¬†Sixteen hundred and eighty projects on Ravelry, including one from Dina is a great indication of how popular this pattern really is and if that wasn’t enough to convince you, it’s a Tin Can Knits design too.

ūüĆĽ Happily¬†ūüĆĽ though, I can report that he is actually wearing it, mostly in the office/sewing/gaming room that we all share and which can be a little chilly even when we’re all in there.

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If you look closely, what looks like bobbles are actually threads that he gets covered in from working on his latest sewing project, more about that in a few weeks ūüôā

Happy Knitting!

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Winter Edition of Knitty

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The Winter edition of Knitty was published in December and I’ve only just managed to spend some time reading through it now? ¬†I say reading through it but that doesn’t seem the right turn of phrase, maybe it should be ‘clicking’ through it? ¬†Anyway, as I settle down in front of my computer enrobed in as many woolly layers as possible – there’s a window in front of my desk, a big drafty one, but the view ¬†(above) is beautiful.

I love the individuality of Knitty, which isn’t as reliant on the ‘big boys’ within the industry purchasing advertising and promoting their own agenda because it’s online, rather than in print. ¬†Not that I’m against knitting magazines, far from it, a quick glance into my office would confirm that, it’s just that Knitty appeals to the more creative, experimental side of me I guess.

As usual it all makes for a good read and being the 50th issue it’s jammed packed with articles, reviews and patterns.

Cracking on then

In Cool Stuffs there are reviews for several of the most recently published knitting books and the good people of Knitty also have a look at the Double Pointed Knitting Needle Sorter and Gauge and the Eszee Twist Tool for Spinners.

Donna Druchunas Ethnic Knitting Adventures article on Fighting Prejudice in Knitting and in Life makes for an interesting read. ¬†I shan’t go into more detail here in order to encourage you to take 5 minutes to have a read yourselves. ¬†The piece works as a great introduction to The Slouchy Saami Hat designed by Donna’s friend Susan Santos which she created after a visit to the Nordiska museet — the Nordic Museum in Stockholm.

Saami

Susan took her inspiration from the exhibitions of Swedish folk art and fashion from¬†the Saami (or Sami), the Arctic indigenous people of northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Russia. ¬†The traditional folk costumes of the Saami are often adorned with bright bands of weaving in geometric and floral designs, ¬†if you’re interested in knowing more, pop over to Roman K’s fantastic blog dedicated to folk costumes.

glove

Franklin Habit’s Stitches in Time column has a pair of vintage gloves for us in the 50th issue. ¬†Franklin has adapted the pattern from Weldon’s Practical Knitter, oh how I’d love even one of them. ¬†Knitted in 4ply yarn the gloves are sized to fit a man, however Franklin explains that simply shortening the fingers should make them a better fit for women as the ‘hand’ part of the glove is quite elastic.

Amongst my favourites in the pattern section are

alice

Alice by Juliett Turjoman Рa very unusual hat, knitted in aran weight yarn the hat is made in 3 seperate pieces. Juliett was took inspiration from Parisian designer Alice Bernard who was a successful couturière and hat designer during the Roaring Twenties

lean

Lean On Me¬†by¬†Anna Maltz – a dazzling, slim fit tank top which I adore. ¬†It’s worked in double knit and has steeks, but could prove so tempting that it has to be knitted :-0

sloppy

Smithfield Pullover by Amy Christoffes – a cosy, oversized, top down, aran weight jumper. ¬†No endorsment is needed as it obviously sells itself. ¬†My only problem would be making sure it didn’t wander off with ‚ô• Dina¬†‚ô•

Minetta

I also love Minetta by Kirsten Kapur but as beautiful as it is, there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s knitted in 4ply (sob), one day…..

Last but not least in Knittyspin there are a couple of interesting articles well worth a look at including one on jar dyeing by Laurie Osbourne.

Why not pop over to Knitty if you haven’t already and have a look for yourself ūüôā

Happy Knitting!

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Magpies, Homebodies and Nomads

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‚ô• Magpies, Homebodies and Nomads ‚ô•¬†from Cirilia Rose is a compendium of beautiful patterns designed by Cirilia herself and photographed by the exceptionally talented Jared Flood. ¬†Within it’s tempting cover Cirilia explains that she has split the patterns in the book into three sections, each one accommodating the different parts of our knitterly personalities.

Magpies contains designs to utilise those beautiful small amounts of precious yarn that many of us purchase with no project in mind but know we just have to have. ¬†Like Cirilia, I myself tend to buy a ‘souvenir’ hank or two and find each evokes a memory of a trip somewhere, time inevitably spent with my loved ones and I love the process of finding a worthwhile pattern to knit.

magpies

Within the Magpie section there are 8 designs, including one of the main reasons for my purchase and necessary addition to my fibre reference library.

The Isla Cardigan shown here with The Marion Collar is I think, a beautiful classic piece of knitwear.  Cirilia has used Zealana Rimu DK which is a blend of merino and possum fibre.  The deep rib creates an empire waistline whilst the slightly puffed shoulders and three quarter length sleeves add to the vintage look.  The cardigan is completely set off with the addition of the Marion Collar, but I think we could be forgiven for wearing it without.

I’m also rather taken with the Breve Cowl which has been knitted with 2 very different yarns – Noro Silk Garden and Rowan Denim. ¬†The easy 2 row lace pattern can be used effectively with most yarns and because it’s a wraparound cowl, the play with colours and textures of the layers created, is simple but effective.

homebodies

Homebodies is for comfort, feeding the nester in all of us. ¬†Whether it takes the form of cosy slippers or comfy homewares, it embraces early evenings spent in by the fire. ¬†Within the Homebodies section of 8 patterns there are some lovely designs including Heima Slippers, Borgarnes Pillow and the beautiful Loro Vest. ¬†Heima Slippers to indulge my current sock and slipper knitting fetish and the Borgarnes Pillow appeals to the eco warrior in me as it’s knitted in t-shirt yarn. ¬†The Loro Vest has universal appeal, looking great whatever the weather, layered over a summer dress, jeans or leggings.

nomads

It’s the Nomads section that has truly caught my eye and resulted in yet more additions to my ‘must knit’ wish list. ¬†The first temptation comes in the form of the Gezell Coat made in¬†Royalpaca from Schulana which seems to be a aran weight yarn, meaning it won’t take too long to knit¬†ūüėČ Although hard to see in the photograph , there are little knitted bobbles adorning the hem and sleeve edges to add interest.

Next we have the classically shaped Coterie Cardigan with it’s double breasted, military detail and beautiful I-cord edging. ¬†Once again I can happily say ‘it’s aran weight’¬†ūüĎć

The kaleidoscope of colour that is the Studio Pullover is pure rainbow pleasure in a jumper, but look past the colourful heart and you’ll notice the jumper is a cleverly constructed, saddle shoulder, aran weight wardrobe staple (for me anyway). ¬†I do love the multicoloured heart and have even had a look at Hippie Chix fibre Art locks¬†¬†but I’m not convinced it’s me. ¬†Sadly the Rittenhouse yarn from Manos del Uraguay has also been discontinued so I’ll have to look for an alternative. ¬†How bad¬†ūüėú

Cirilia has included the usual page of abbreviations and a couple of pages dedicated to ‘special techniques’ and this book does contain a few including, provisional cast on, applied I-cord, Kitchener stitch and short row shaping. ¬†Don’t let that put you off though Youtube is a fantastic resource and Craftsy always has fantastic classes on offer and of course there’s always¬†me¬†. ¬†If I don’t know, I’ll want to, so it’ll just be an opportunity waiting to happen.

One of the things I love about Cirilia’s book is that she’s also added a ‘recommended reading’ page or three, which includes several of my favourite books and one or two I hadn’t heard of. ¬†Me thinks further investigation might be in order ūüėČ

Happy Knitting!

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Still Trying To Catch Up Here

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I’m figuring that I’ll have caught up with my Christmas 2014 posts just in time for Christmas 2015 at ¬†this rate. ¬†In truth I could just post every day for a few weeks, but then I run the risk of boring you all to death, so I’m hoping that despite this being another ‘Christmas’ themed post, it’s still interesting?

It comes as no surprise I’m sure, to hear that I love all things fibre and have been fascinated by weaving for some time. ¬†Rather embarrassingly, I actually own several looms, I say embarrassingly because I’m not sure who I was trying to kid when we purchased a giant floor sized loom years ago. ¬†Truthfully, my intentions were good at the time and it was a complete bargain, but really???

My smaller, more manageable looms sometimes see the light of day and I was very lucky to have spent the day Tapestry Weaving with the very talented Pascale de Coninck¬†many moons ago now, but lets face it, I’m more than likely to be found with my needles.

I like to get the children I teach to have a go at making a secret Christmas gift for their favourite person, but it can be difficult to come up with something suitable. ¬†Some of the girls (they’re all girls at the moment) have been knitting with me for a couple of years now, whilst some are new to the hobby and need a little more time.

I spent ages researching different ideas and kept coming across weaving, particularly for wall hangings. ¬†They seem to be everywhere at the moment Pinterest is full of them and they’ve even made it in to several magazines.

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Having taught weaving to a group of children before I dug around and discovered an old loom I’d made with strong cardboard years ago and copied it, cutting ‘teeth’ out every 1.5cms. ¬†Ensuring you have an¬†even number of teeth to give you an odd number of wraps¬†will make things easier¬†(we had 9 warp threads) . ¬†I wrapped the warp threads and tied them at the back so the girls could crack on with the weaving.

Using a plastic needle threaded with the yarn of their choice, they wove a basic over and under weave, remembering to wrap the yarn the opposite way on each following row.  We had a couple of mishaps with un-weaving to begin with

 

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There were a few things I knew we’d struggle with, with the girls because of our limited time – namely the ends so I searched children’s weaving on Pinterest and happened upon artblog.com¬†which used tape to secure the ends – perfect ūüôā

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Every time we added a new colour we used masking tape to secure the old and the new ends to the board.  Try to make sure your masking tape is the easy lift decorating one or else you could end up damaging your fabric.

 

 

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Having filled their looms we worked on securing the warp thread ends.  Firstly I ran a line of tape up along one side of the warp threads on the back.

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Before cutting them straight down the middle.

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Flipping the work over to the right side, we knotted the warp thread ends into bunches of three.  Then lifting the tape on the back off we did the same at the other end.

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The tricky part was removing the weaving from the board, ideally when you weave the ends are woven in as you go, but that would have been far too time consuming.

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I had the wonderful task of peeling of the little bits of tape so we could lay the ends flat against the back of the piece.

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After a little trim, here’s where the magic from Bar Rucci’s post comes in handy – Gaffer Tape¬†ūüėć Using the super strong tape I ‚ô¶obliterated‚ô¶ the ends. ¬†The tape also made the weaving firmer and less likely to sag. ¬†Win, win¬†ūüŹÜ

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You can never have too many pompoms, so we added three to our wall hangings, which we tied to one end of the warp threads.  Covering our ends with a little more gaffer tape.

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Lastly, we ran a stick through the top set of warp threads to hang our wall hangings with.

 

Pausing here to thank my ever suffering sons – Durahn and Kye¬†ūüĎľ¬†ūüĎľ Who kindly went off hunting high and low for suitable branches, which they then cleaned and de-barked for me. ¬†Not that they had a choice you understand?

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Weaving is a great way to use up odds and ends of yarn and you can add lots of interest with funky fibres or strips of material.  Each of the girls chose their own colours and textures making each piece individual.

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At the back from left to right we have Megan & Katelyn and at the front there is Clara, Lucy, Uainionn, Aoife and Rinoch
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At the back from left to right there is Katelyn, Molly, Miriam, Rose and Sophie. Down the front we have Aoife, Rinoch and Hannah.

I think you’ll agree the girls wall hangings turned out lovely and festive (even the ones that are back to front¬†ūüė∂)

I think they all enjoyed it?

Happy Knitting!

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