Thursday, 7 December 2017

Christmas Is Coming

It's the time of year for Christmas parties, my Spinning Guild gives out gifts with strings attached!  This year it is Pearl fibre - we have to return next year with some sort of transformation - for once I took on the challenge and spun it up straight away, it's singles at the moment but I might ply it with something sparkly.

We popped down to The Big Smoke for a rather nice Christmas 'do' at Corrigans.  London's shop windows are very disappointing this year, even on Bond street which normally has a tonne of christmas glitz.  I found a few misappropriated punk sheep in a window full of acrylic.

My favourite was Arthur Beale London's Yacht Chandler,  I've never been into this shop before but always peruse the window - fabulous rope - but we were tempted and found such delights.

We rounded off a mammoth walking day - Euston, Covent Garden, Mayfair, Bloomsbury, Islington - by trotting up to the Wallace & Sewell sample sale,  it did not disappoint .

A smidge of work has been done though, a rather nice bit of hand woven now in the shop and some rather squidgy quiltiness.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Searching for Colour in London

I popped down to the Big Smoke for a little burst of colour on a dreary November day and I of course found it at Cornelissen & Son.

I love going in here, it's just along from the British Museum so we pass it a lot.

The window is always so tempting.

I went to see the new Living with the Gods exhibition at The British Museum, it was interesting but not a patch on Scythians - I may have to see that again before it closes.  My actual mission was the Jasper Johns exhibition at the RA which was so so.  I did manage a little pattern shopping at Liberty and a mooch around fashion, this little teal and orange number took my fancy but I'd need permanently bent arms to carry it off!

A bite to eat at Hakasan rounded the trip off nicely.


Saturday, 25 November 2017

Winter Colour

London Underground, the last of my precious moquette.

The next Shetland project, trying to decide on the perfect combo...

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Autumnal Making

It's been a busy few weeks here,  in half term we popped down to the British Museum to see Scythians - warriors of ancient Siberia, my aspiring archeologist and I can highly recommend it, we'd never seen anything like it.  
On the making front I've been hard at it.  While in Shetland I saw a lot of gorgeous knitwear, it's funny that seeing something in the flesh can make you desperate to knit it.  This was one such item of knitted goodness, it was in last years Wool Week annual, Sanik Shawl by Donna Smith and I had't given it a second glance but on a fellow student in one of my classes it was fab.  I am a big fan of Ultra, 50% Shetland 50% Lambswool so very light and very soft - I knit a big hap in it after spotting one on a knitter at 2016 Wool Week.  I headed over to Jamieson's to find a couple of balls Ultra for the border,  I had the Eesit in my stash and I went for Seascape and Titanic.  I cast-on on the flight home and it flew off the needles.

Last years trip took me to the Jamieson's factory in Sandness where I acquired some oiled cones, this one was 50% lambswool again but thicker than the Ultra, I teamed it with some Kauni and knit up an Elizabeth Zimmermann Henley, basically a formula that you use to make whatever you want.  Knit in the round and steeked this one had just been waiting around for buttons.

This one was hot off the needles for Shetland, Asa Tricosa's Mayhem cardigan,  I spotted it on the Ginger Twist stand at EYF and knit it up in Pirkkalanka from the fabulous Midwinter Yarns.  The clever thing about this design is that it's knit in one piece - just picking up the sleeves - but it's not a yoke or raglan,  you cast -on a shoulder and sort of build it up as you go.  

I've had this alpaca pom pom hanging around for a few years and I decided it's time had come, a very quick 16 Cable Hat from Circe Belles Boucles.

My fellow student in Shetland, Sarah - of the Sanik - also had some great little wrist warmers which she very kindly sat down and wrote out the pattern for me and here they are in some Ultra left overs!

I've had plenty of help in the studio from Percy and Queenie, we had a big tidy-up,

I think this trio may be off to join the circus.

I made myself a poncho from some Shetland Tweed, from Jamieson's at Sandness.

I've cut out a couple more for the shop, this is the first one out of the gates.

I've been busy with some vintage needlepoints, here's the first one in the shop.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Shetland Wool Week 2018

 10 Days of absolute joy, there's nowhere quite like Shetland.  I touched down at Sumburgh on Friday afternoon and headed straight over to the Jamieson's factory at Sandness, I had missed their tweed last year, so I was on a mission.
Saturday was lunch at Shetland Museum with an American friend I'd made on a ferry to one of the smaller islands the year before.  Over to visit the genius that is Nielanell in Hoswick.  Dinner with a German friend I'd made at Edinburgh Yarn Festival earlier this year.  Shetland is all about the people for me, the ones that are resident and the ones that pass through.
Sunday was a full day of Knitting Traditions in Sweden with Karin Kahnlund, brilliant, an excellent teacher, you'll also find her designs on Ravelry.  In the evening I attended the Opening Ceremony where I caught up with plenty of old friends.

Monday was a 'Picture Perfect' lecture in the museum and then over to the Ollaberry Hall Happening.  I went last year and many haps have been knit and knitters enthused since then.  Monday evening was a talk from Gudrun Johnston, 'The Shetland Trader'.

Tuesday was a full day of enamelling with the very talented Shetlander, Helen Robertson.  I made a shawl pin, trinket box, big buttons, small buttons and stitch markers and learned a lot.  A quick visit to the chippy and off to Hoswick for a class with the very talented Hadewych van der Werf from Holland,  'Mother Astrop', a completely new knitting technique that I will be returning to.

Wednesday was a drop spindle class, although I can spin I've got absolutely no idea with a drop spindle, but I have now.  The evenings entertainment was, 'In Conversation with Di Gilpin and Marie Wallin'.

Thursday was a full on all day class with Di Gilpin and Sheila Greenwell, 'Design your own garment'.  I learned a tremendous amount  and it was a great class, I may also have purchased the pattern and yarn for Di's Arabesque with amazingly fitted everyone in the class and looked good,  watch this space.  The evening was spent with the lovely 'Ladies from Thingborg', an inspirational and entertaining bunch.

At some point I had my first ever mussels at Fjara, they always look to messy for me but my German friends showed me how to eat them with a shell as tool and I am hooked.

Friday was a talk at the museum, 'The Warp Weighted Loom' and a bit of shopping.

 I ran every other day with spectacular scenery of course

and a fair amount of wind, it's a lot easier to run with it behind you!

A talk from Oliver Henry at J&S on wool grading, again, I learned a lot.

My view at breakfast.  Saturday was the makers market which was absolutely packed, I was in and out ninja style for my purchases.  I then spent some time at the Textile Museum at the Bod of Gremista and talked with the spinners there, one of whom I'd met in a pub knit night some years earlier - is a small world.  The afternoon was a leisurely knit in the hub where I found a friend I'd gone to Fair Isle with the previous year and a Swedish lady with fantastic knits and I dragged them along with my American friend and Shetland friend to see Judy Dench in Victoria & Abdul, followed by a very good lobster.

Sunday morning was spent in Hoswick, 'Sharing Sherry, Cheese & Shortbread: Playtime', a lot of fun and chat and again, learning.  Then on to the Sunday tea at Tingwall run by the Shetland Guild of Spinners Weavers and Dyers, with the magically replenishing cups and catching up with good friends.   The evening was spent learning Shetland cooking customs over a chicken dinner with a friend and  her lovely family in Brae.  Needless to say I was stuffed at the end of the day.

On my final day, the Monday after the official close of Wool Week I took a class at Red Houss with Mike and made myself a peerie jumper.

Friday, 6 October 2017

End Of The Summer

Where did the summer go?  I took a trip down to P & M and managed to treat myself to a Majacraft Little Gem that can go out and about with me,  I spent the last sunny day getting to grips with it.  I spent a lot of time listening to Yarnspinners Tales which put me on to..

Norman Kennedy   and I downloaded  From Wool To Waulking, heaven to watch.

My other half and I nipped off to Cannes for a few days to celebrate our 20th Wedding Anniversary. 

I've taken a fair few flights over the past weeks but this was the best,
 Tunnock's tea trolley on the way to Shetland Wool Week.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Hand Crafting

A fabulous piece of hand spun, indigo dyed - by hand obviously - vintage linen, you just can't get it like this anymore.  Distressed leather compliments the character of this linen perfectly.

All edges hand bound with a vintage Tootal scarf, as good on the inside as the outside of course.

I acquired some gorgeous French needlepoints, 
the Young Girl Reading, Fragonard will be staying in our house.


The reader and the hunters have had a long soak and a bucket full of dirt later are now having a good stretch in the sun.

I'm a novice spinner and so foolish that I didn't think of the consequences of letting my little spinner have fun on my wheel with lots of colours and bobbins, the problem being you always need an empty bobbin to ply onto!  I've found what I need on  a lovely Etsy shop.

I've finished a sweater that I hated from about 2 inches up but I ploughed on,  it's now in a dark corner awaiting inspiration.

Most remarkably of all, I have made myself a cover for my trusty Juki, a beautiful piece of double woven wool from Riverside Crafts.  I've been sewing seriously for the last 20 years and have never got around to dressing my machine, the rest will be cosied up I'm sure.