This weekend, the 26th and 27th July is rather a momentous one for me. For the first time, my friend Nic and I will have our own stand at Fibre East, a lovely fibre festival in Bedfordshire where Nic will be selling her beautiful hand dyed yarns and I will be selling my patterns.
I'm delighted to say that I have a new collection of patterns which will be launched in hard copy at Fibre East and will be available online via Ravelry next week. I thought you might like to see a preview of at least some of them.
As you will know, my favourite things to design are fingerless mitts. I love wearing them as they are such a practical item for someone like me who lives in a city and needs something to keep my hands warm when it is chilly but is forever getting on and off buses, in and out of shops and really can't be doing with pulling my gloves off every time I need to reach for my Oyster card or rummage in my handbag.
Despite living in the city, I am still a country girl at heard and most of the inspiration for my work comes from my childhood home on the isle of Wight. The first pair of mitts I wanted to show you are no exception.
I am pleased to introduce the Bouldnor Mitts. The inspiration for these heavily cabled mitts comes from a small, rather inaccessible and rocky beach on the north west coast of the Isle of Wight. On the surface it doesn't have a lot to offer as once you have scrambled down the overgrown footpath to reach it there is only a small patch of shingly sand and blue slipper clay, perfect for getting on you shoes and annoying your mother with.
As you explore further you discover that there are rocky ledges and long fronds of seaweed making the footing quite treacherous so after much slipping around and gasping and giggling everyone is pretty much wet through. It is these fronds of seaweed that inspire these mitts.
Although the charms of this beach may not be obvious it has hidden secrets which it doesn't give up easily. We always used to visit with our Uncle Bern and Aunty Gert who knew every inch of the land and shore. They would bring with them huge prawning nets (and a small one especially for us kids) which we would push through the seaweed and sand and if we were lucky would catch ourselves enough prawns for a beach barbecue.
There is nothing quite like sitting around a fire, wrapped in towels after hours spend splashing around pushing heavy nets through the water, peeling fresh prawns and watching the sun go down over the sea from a beach where you are the only people there. On an island crowded with holiday makers this was a rare and special secret place.
When I look at these mitts I think of the way the fronds of seaweed wrapped around each other and how jealously they guarded our harvest. It is, however, a simple cable pattern knit in fingering weight yarn, in this instance Quince and Co Tern, a wool and silk blend in the appropriately names shade Kelp.
I hope to see some of you at Fibre East. Nic and I will be in Cotswold Tent. Do come over and try on these mitts and imagine yourself sitting on a rock, looking out to sea from a small deserted beach.
Thanks to Nic for the great photos.