Friday, 31 January 2014

Striping away the winter blues.

I'm sure I'm not alone in finding this stage of a British winter, especially a damp, dull, droopy one like we are having at the moment just a little bit lacking in colour. It's at times like this when I like to rummage around in my stash and am often drawn to the warm, spicy colours that this season seems to lack. 

The other day I found five single skeins of sadly discontinued Clan by The Yarn Yard each of which is enough for a pair of mittens but needs more for a larger project. I was then really lucky and bagged two skeins in a lovely neutral creamy shade at a yarn swap which really brought the whole colour scheme together and gave me enough yarn for a substantial and cosy shawl.

The pattern I chose is Different Lines by Veera Vallmaki which I have made in two colour versions a couple of times before. It is perfectly relaxing knitting combining plenty of unchallenging garter stitch with short rows which keep the project interesting. I also love the reversibility of garter stitch and the fact that it looks good from all angles, folded or flat, which makes it a very wearable piece for someone like me who can't stay tidy all day no matter how hard I try.

In fact, if you'll excuse me I'm going to have a brief interlude contentedly curled up on the sofa adding another colourful stripe while the last of today's murky light drains from the sky.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

A wool show and a double pattern launch - oh my!

For those who might imagine that this blog has been quiet because not a lot has been happening, nothing could be further from the truth. The first part of the New Year was an absolute blur of preparation for my first knitting show as an independent exhibitor, the Waltham Abbey Wool Show held on 19th January. There were display materials to gather, samples to make and of course, a couple of new designs to launch at the show. It was quite an eye opener to me which gives me new found respect for those people whose presence at fibre festivals we take for granted.

The show that I chose to make my debut is a first timer itself so it was difficult to judge how many people might be there and the sort of things that they might be interested in. With the assistance of my lovely friends Ruth and Nic I set off nervously but couldn't have been more pleasantly surprised. The venue was comfortable and well organised with everything we needed and organisers on hand to help if required. There was a good mix of stallholders selling yarns, kits, fibre and finished items, a lot of whom I hadn't come across before which was really refreshing.

The most gratifying thing, for both ourselves and the organisers of the event was the steady stream of customers. I understand that 250 were expected, 350 hoped for and in the end over 500 people came along. We were busy all day and sold more patterns than I could have ever dreamt of. I have to say that this was in no short measure due to the amazing skills of my friend Nic as a stallholder. She was able to enthuse about my patterns in a way that I couldn't do without self consciously blushing to the tips of my ears!

 The show also gave me the opportunity to present my newest set of patterns. Following on from the successful launch of a sampler version of my Fairlee Mittens at the end of 2013 I have now released a much fuller version of the pattern with a range of five sizes from extra small to extra large which can be knit in five different weights of yarn from chunky to sock weight. The version below is a Sport Weight Medium knit in Yarn Yard Hug, a lovely bouncy, soft merino.

I have also released a sister pattern, a top down fingerless version called Combley Mitts. They are named after Combley Great Wood on the Isle of Wight where every year our family used to visit in the autumn to collect sweet chestnuts. These mitts are an elegant but simple pattern which will make use of any spare ball of yarn. They use the same thumb shaping as the Fairlee Mitten and carry the three by three rib pattern throughout the body of the mitt to ensure a snug fit around the hand.  Most sizes take less than 50grammes and as they are knit from the fingers to the cuffs it is easy to use every scrap of yarn.

Below is the Aran Weight Medium in Jamieson's Aran which is a beautiful earthy, hard wearing 100% Shetland yarn.

This pair which I have to say are my personal favourite are the DK Weight in medium and are made from JillyBean Yarn Dorset which is a lovely rustic yarn made from Dorset Poll and Alpaca fleece. 

Both these patterns are available to buy as Ravelry Downloads by following the links in this post or in the side bar.

So, as you can see, there has been plenty going on - from now on I'll try to keep you posted a little more regularly!