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Friday, 26 August 2016

Earbud Tidy

Today has been mostly earbud organisers.

Bears or dogs?

Or just a plain tidy.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The British Wool Show

My small assistant and I sneaked off on the train for a few days in York, primarily to go to the British Wool Show.   It's a lovely little show, very relaxed, not heaving with people, small but perfectly formed and the shuttle buses had knitted bunting.  We chatted with some very talented people and learned a few things about dyeing, spinning Angora and the Industrial Revolution, all things essential to the education of a girl in 2016.

We loved York, everyone we met was really friendly and we had many a good conversation with complete strangers on the trains, buses, the hotel, the wool show and even walking home in the dark from the fantastic show Sherlock Holmes at The York Theatre Royal.  I thought people from Stoke-on-Trent were the friendliest but York might give them a run for their money.  We'll definitely be back next year.

We stayed stayed at The Mount Royal, a swimming pool, killer pies and the best fishcakes for breakfast, what more could you want.

We also saw Mark Hearld's, very interesting exhibition, The Lumber Room. 

We were enthused by all things wooly at the show and Miss Belle has decided that she must learn to spin.  A top tip she was given was to try it with reggae to get a good rhythm going.

When I have been able to get a go on the wheel I had a go at some Alpaca given to me at my last spinners meeting.

We had a trip to the famous Market Hall Shrewsbury where I was very impressed by the offerings to be had at Ewe & Ply.  I had to try the local  Shropshire Ply 1512.  I've also decided to use my new found spinning skills to participate in the Tour of Britain - Tour of British Fleece.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016


What holiday fun is to be had from a kam snap/popper/prestud set.
I made her duvet cover about 5 years ago and now it won't spill the duvet.
Her choice of colours.

My big assistant has left school for now so he has a lot of time on his hands,
 enter, enforced creativity.

I dyed some brand spanking new, still in the package, vintage - about 60 years old - 
thick cotton sheets.  He machined and overlocked.

Everybody loves the press, 
particularly when you can have your favourite colour snaps.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Tablecloth Apparel

It seems I very much enjoy dressing as a tablecloth.
A £1.50 fabulous quality linen tablecloth from a charity shop, much laundered and so supersoft, I just cannot find modern cloth of this quality.  I think it looks a bit Toast.

A super bright vintage cloth called, 'Sunset Clover', guaranteed fast colours - well they definitely have been - made in England.  Don't make em like they used to.

This was my favourite of the bunch, vintage pure linen and printed blooms, what's not to love.
This one has already sold but I do have similar.

For those of us who aren't brave enough to be seen in a tablecloth.
Cherry red pure cotton brushed drill.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Victoria Line Moquette

I've taken delivery of some more TFL fabrics, original Victoria Line.

District Line, Piccadilly Line and Southbank - from the Festival of Britain buses, created from the TFL archives.  These have already left for Two Doors Studio in Alsager.

Thursday, 21 July 2016


I've made another Mary Rebecca by Ellen Mason on Ravelry,

I have been lucky enough to acquire a Westbury Spinning Wheel.  After about 6 years of going to Stafford Knot Spinners and being a member of The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers everyone thought it was time I had a go.  Obviously I'm a keen knitter and a felt maker and just  being there with the fibre-y people has always been enough for me, until now.  A member was given the wheel to pass on to a beginner who could make good use of it, it's former owner having gone to join all the spinners that have gone before, so I'd better prove myself  a worthy recipient.

My first spin, Lambswool and Cotswold.

Left to right, my first, second and third spin, I'm aiming for something like a Shetland jumper weight.

Another guild member invited us to meet her Alpaca, Corey and Magic.

Monday, 4 July 2016


This is my Houlland hot off the needles.  A beautiful design by the very talented Donna Smith from The Book of Haps from the also very talented Kate Davies.   I never cease to be thrilled by the fact that we live in an age when independent designers can get their work out there without 'big people'.  I always think about Elizabeth Zimmerman - what would EZ do? -  having her in-the-round designs broken down into separate pieces when written up by big yarn companies because us simple knitters wouldn't be able to  cope.  Ravelry, WOW, I remember the days when you went to the wool shop and had to buy the pattern and wool at the same time, you absolutely could not buy the pattern on its own, really!  I idle away many a happy hour looking at designs on Ravelry looking at what other clever knitters have done with them, how much yarn I will need and what's the construction technique before I click and pay and download and then I'm away.
  If only I good go back in time and tell the knitters I have known.

Houlland before blocking.

Houlland on the wires.

Before blocking.

Border before blocking.

The very same border after blocking.

I was desperate to cast this on but I didn't have the correct weight yarn * in a colour that I wanted - I already have a full hap that I adore in natural colours - so I improvised.  I had 150g of Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift and after a bit of maths and careful consideration of the schematic - always useful - I decided that I could get away with missing out one complete tree from the pattern, (one either side), and reduced the number of points on the border accordingly.  It weighs 135g so for once I wasn't playing yarn chicken and because it's a slightly thicker wool and I did it on a bigger needle I think it looks okay.  Lace knitting gives a lot of hours of good knitting and fantastic results for not much yarn/pennies and years and years of wear.
* It should be done in Jamieson & Smith Shetland Supreme 2ply Lace, 800m/100g.

In other news, my 15 year old first born has left school -
- we found the tramp in the garden - 
and somehow managed to be voted Prom King.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Woolfest 2016

Our annual trip to Woolfest was brilliant as always, we set off at half six in the morning and got home at midnight stopping off to eat at The Bitter End, what a treat. 

 I purchased many interesting things big and small but my fastest ever Woolfest project is the Merchant and Mills  Trapeze Dress from CoolCrafting. 
 I'd been considering this for a while but took the plunge after trying on their sample, always useful.   I made it up while the Saturday night football was on, just in a fine needlecord with a tiny bit of stretch as a test run for the Manx Loaghton tweed I picked up at the show.

Miss Belle always comes with us and I was under pressure to finish off her new cardigan which I'm happy to say she loves.  Mary Rebecca by Ellen Mason , a beautifully written pattern
 - I have also knit one for myself in red - both in Shilasdair from the very well stocked 
 Ewe and Ply in Shrewsbury Market Hall.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Cabin Shirt

This is how I spend my days, staring at the walls!
I had a bolt of really old french brushed cotton shirting, 
it's got a red and white stripped selvedge but I couldn't think how to incorporate it.