And the winner is …………

Nameless Hat Five


I’m sorry it has been so long since Woolly Wormhead and I asked you to come up with a name for her hat which she has designed in Ripples Crafts Warm Hearted Aran yarn.  It has been a busy few weeks, and there were a couple of small delays on the finalising of the pattern, so we decided to hold off until closer to the pattern release time.

There were some wonderful suggestions!  We had to check that the names were not already being used by Woolly for another of her designs, and we also wanted a name that had not been used too often on Ravelry for other patterns.   So I sifted through all the suggestions which you made and drew up a short list of five or six names for Woolly to look at and from which she could make her choice of name.

And the winner is ……….. drumroll please

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Woolly selected the name “Lexie” as she likes short names for her designs, and she also liked the close connection of the name to me and to where we live.  There are no other patterns on Ravelry (that I could find!) with that spelling of Lexie, and so that suggestion became the winner.

Joanne as soon as the pattern is ready I’ll arrange for you to receive a copy, and in the mean time I’ll email you regarding your choice of colour for the yarn which I’ll post out to you.

Thank you, again, to everyone who took part.

The first quarter of The Post Office Run

3 months have passed and 3 parcels of The Post Office Run Club Yarn has been sent to knitterly homes around the world.  So I thought I’d do a round up of the scenes and photographs which inspired the monthly colourways, as I did when I devised The Orkney Collection which is still available.

February was the first month of the club, and in some ways it was easy as there wasn’t a lot of colour about.  We are still well in the middle of winter in February in this part of Scotland, and most of the flora is dormant.  But there were two images which stood out and which formed the basis for the February colourway.  The first was a photo Stevan took of the Church door in Lochinver:


But the second was perhaps the more important one – Lichen growing on birch trees:

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During February I took a lots of photographs to act as inspiration for the March colourway.  I couldn’t ignore the phenomenon which I highlighted in this blog entry, and so I tried to achieve the pinky/purply/reddish/brown that is found during late winter and early spring in the Highlands on the birch trees:

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I was really pleased with the colours of March’s yarn, and it went down well with club members.

Then came April!  In the run up to the dyeing session for the April yarn we had day after day after day of stormy, dark, rainy weather.  There seemed to be very little colour around to inspire me, so I went with the flow and opted to represent the black, stormy skies which seemed to be prevailing:

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So …… if you like how I’ve interpreted the scenes which I pass on my way to Lochinver Post Office a few times a week, and you’ve been looking to join a yarn club, then please consider joining the Ripples Crafts Post Office Run Yarn Club.  You can join for 3 or 6 months and you will find all the details here.   You can opt for either the Reliable Sock Yarn base or a High Twist 100% Bluefaced Leicester base.

Finally, can I say a big thank you to all of you who came to the Trunk Show at A Fine Yarn in Darlington and to the Kntting and Stitching show at Rheged Centre near Penrith.  It was lovely to see faces that were familiar, as well as new faces.  And a very special thank you to Chris at A Fine Yarn for hosting the trunk show.  You looked after Lizzi and I so very well, and it was lovely to see Libby and Roles too.  To Marianne who allowed me to use her driveway – thank you!

And another special thank you to Lizzi and Dorothy for helping with the two events.  As ever you were the two glamorous assistants!  Dorothy was wearing her version of Catkin on Sunday at Rheged, but unfortunately it was hidden a bit under her pinnie, but here is the link to her Raverly project page for those of you who use Ravelry.    It was lovely, and really suited her.  As usual, we were so busy I didn’t get any good photographs.  Thank you ladies.  I look forward to the team being reunited at the Highland Wool Festival in May.



All set!

The Wool-mobile has been collected from Inverness:


and is packed with barely room for my suitcase:


Tomorrow will find me heading south down the A9 to pick up my friend Lizzi, before heading further south to Darlington to prepare for the Trunk Show at A Fine Yarn on Skinnergate in Darlington on Friday and Saturday.  Then we’ll be packing the van with what we have left and heading across the Pennines to the Rheged Centre near Penrith, where Dorothy will meet us, and we’ll be ready to open for business at the Knit and Stitch show at Rheged by 10.00am on Sunday morning.

Do you think I have packed enough yarn?:


There are packs of Shetland, Orkney Collection packs, along with all the normal yarns, and a few colour surprises too.  Those of you who have put in special requests – I think I have it all packed in too.  So do try and come to either (or both) events.  It will be lovely to see you.

Stevan is becoming a wool widow for the week while I’m away, so he will be keeping an eye on the shop while I’m gone, but orders won’t be posted, or in the case of pre-orders, dyed, until I’m back next week.  The yarn clubs remain open for membership all the time I’m away.  The April club yarn packages went to the Post Office yesterday, so they should be hitting doorsteps in the UK soon.

I haven’t forgotten about the “name that hat” competition.  The winner will be selected and announced on my return next week.

Assynt Walks

Lexie’s long term paw problems have meant that we’ve had to explore areas of Assynt that offer easier walking, and in many ways this has been a really good thing.  We’ve finally got around to exploring bits we’ve been meaning to explore ever since we moved here permanently 6 years ago!

There is a fantastic network of paths which I’ve mentioned before called the All Abilities Path Network in Little Assynt, but close to that path network there is another circuit which, while not really suitable for wheelchairs, does have an excellent path surface and is easy walking, especially if you have sore paws, called Loch an t-Sabhail.  It is a circular route of approximately 4.5km, and takes about an hour and a half to walk.


Although there are some inclines (and some are quite steep) the walking is pretty easy.  The path takes you through young, small woodland areas and across open plains



And although you are really not far from the main road at all at any time, it feels like you’re a million miles away:


And all of the time your views are overseen either by the iconic Suilven, as in the second photograph, or the magnificent Quinag, a mountain which absolutely dominates the landscape, and which once overlooked a village, now sadly cleared:


Imagine waking up to that view every morning.  As you drop down from the village to Loch an Ruighean, your eyes are once again drawn to the series of peaks which make up Quinag:


And there is plenty to look out for along the way.  We saw quite a few of these last week:


Fortunately, for a change, Peggy did not try to kiss it – and believe me, she has tried in the past.  And right at the end of our walk, I was rewarded with a glimpse of my first primrose of the year:


Just a reminder that I will be heading to England this week, firstly to Darlington where I will have a trunk show at A Fine Yarn, the lovely shop on Skinnergate, on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th April.  Then on Sunday you’ll find me at the Rheged Centre near Penrith for the Knit and Stitch show being held there on Sunday 6th April from 10 until 4.  The shop will be pretty empty while I’m away, but I promise to restock it as soon as I’m back – assuming I bring anything back with me of course!



March can sometimes feel like it is Monochrome Month in the Highlands.  Colour hasn’t returned to the hills yet, and they still look grey and brown.  Photographs taken during March sometimes reinforce that sense of monochrome-ness:



Skies tend to be leaden and the sea grey:


and even the splashes of green on the hills have to work hard to draw your eyes away from the dark skies:


And then out of the blue March can surprise you:


and if you look closely you can see the promise of spring:



We have had snow flurries here in Assynt this morning, so winter hasn’t quite finished with us yet.

Scribblings ….

It was my brother in law’s birthday today – Russell is, ummmmm, older than me!  And my sister sent through some photo’s taken of him on the day.  I think this one was the most flattering:

photo 3


I’ve been working on Ravi Junior (designed by Carol Feller) for another great niece expected in April.


I’ve chosen to do it in the deep, rich Damson shade and the pattern calls for my much loved sport weight of yarn.  I was knitting this in the dye shed while the dye pots were bubbling, and I realised why I was so grateful for patterns being available as pdf’s rather than only in book format.  I scribble all over my patterns!


Surely I am not the only person who does this?  I did try keeping a notebook with all the notes about patterns in it, but I just kept losing the notebook.  How do you notate your patterns when keeping track of rows?  I’ve never got the hang of row counters, and so I find crossing off numbers far more reliable.

On to shop news – the Bluefaced Leicester Surprise! Surprise! packages went down so well I decided to do some in the 100% Shetland 4ply.  They are up in the shop now, along with all the details regarding choices in colour palette.


Surprise! Surprise!

If you’re old enough you’ll remember the days of Our Cilla hosting Surprise Surprise on ITV.   Well the surprises won’t be quite as overwhelming as the ones Cilla used to spring on folk, but hopefully the surprise you get if you order one of my Surprise! Surprise! packages will be a good one.


It’ll come wrapped up in a purple bag rather than a brown paper package, but there are a limited number available, so order soon.  Each bag contains 3 100g hanks of 100% Bluefaced Leicester 4ply yarn.  There may be 3 different colours in a bag, or they may all be the same colour – it’ll be a surprise (getting the idea now?).  The packages offer a 20% reduction over the full price of the yarn in the shop,  so as well as a surprise it is also a bargain.

Please note that the next time I am able to get to the Post Office is Tuesday this week, so any orders placed today or tomorrow will be posted on Tuesday morning.

Also, keep your suggestions coming for Woolly Wormhead’s new, but as yet unnamed, pattern.  Just post a comment on this blog entry.  You have until the 24th March to make a suggestion.  There have already been some great suggestions, but keep them coming.

Name That Hat!

Nameless Hat Five

Photograph courtesy and copyright of Woolly Wormhead

Not very long along ago I was talking to Woolly Wormhead on Twitter, and we got chatting about yarn.  And (to cut a long story short) I sent her some of the Warm Hearted Aran which had only just come in and joined the Ripples Crafts family of yarn bases.  Then, after one very long and trying day over on the east coast for yet another visit to the vet with Lexie, I came home to a message from Woolly Wormhead to say that she had finished  a hat design  using the yarn.  It was such a lovely surprise, and I was delighted at the finished hat.  Elegant, stylish, but also understated.

Nameless Hat Two

Photograph courtesy and copyright of Woolly Wormhead

The colour which was used for the hat in the photographs was Assynt Moon – a silvery grey shade.  The hat is currently being tech edited, and Woolly hopes to have it ready for release some time in April.  The only problem remaining is that the hat needs a name.  So can you Name That Hat?  If you can think of an imaginative name to give this beautifully detailed hat, leave a comment here.  Between us, Woolly and I will choose our favourite suggestion, and the person whose name is chosen will receive both the pattern and a hank of yarn with which to make the hat for themselves.

So get thinking!  We want something original, fun and stylish – not a lot to ask really!

Nameless Hat Four

Photograph courtesy and copyright of Woolly Wormhead

You have until the 24th March to send in your suggestions.  Just leave a comment at the end of this blog entry to have your suggestion entered into the naming pot.  Good luck!

Oh, and when you’ve finished thinking of a name, make sure you visit Woolly Wormhead’s pattern page to see all her other beautiful designs, and make sure the name you’ve thought of hasn’t already been used.  She always manages to come up with a design which is timeless and stylish, but which is unmistakably a Woolly Wormhead design.


First Road Trip of 2014

It just feels like the other day that I was saying I was about to do the last event of 2013.  And here I am deep in plans for my first 2014 road trip which will culminate in 2 events.

At the end of March I’ll be setting off south, stopping first at Kelso to pick up my friend Lizzi, and then heading further south, venturing across the border, perhaps stopping only to look again at one of my favourite works of art:


and on to Darlington to set up a trunk show at the perfectly formed wool shop A Fine Yarn, run by Chris Smith.  This will be my 3rd visit to this wonderful shop.  If you’ve never been before and you live relatively close to Darlington then I urge you to go.  Not only does Chris have a good, broad range of stock in both yarn and knitting/crochet accessories, but her knitting and crochet knowledge is, in my view, the best bar none.

We tend to take over the shop a bit when we go down, as you can see:


but my yarn won’t be the only yarn there, so do come and have a browse.

I’ll be at A Fine Yarn on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th April.  I look forward to seeing you there.

Then early on Sunday 6th April, Lizzi and I will be setting off with the sparrows and heading right across the country to the Rheged Centre near Penrith for the Knit and Stitch show.  I did this event a couple of years ago, but we were clearly so busy that the only photograph I managed to get was while we were setting up!


If you came to that event then please be aware that this year the event will be held in the main section of the building, not in the underground section we were in last time.

I will be bringing a wide range of my stock to both of these events, but if there is something in particular that you’d like me to bring, please get in touch and I’ll do my best.

February – a Finishing Month?

I seem to have finished quite a few WIP’s (Works in Progress for the non-knitters reading this) this month.  First of all I (almost) finished Floriston.  The knitting part is complete, but those of you who know me will know what I’m like when it comes to picking up a sewing needle.  She has just a couple of bits that need sewing up and she’ll be done.  However, Strokkur, which I began on the 3rd February is complete!


I test-walked her yesterday with the dogs.  It was very blustery and cold, but I decided to brave it without a jacket, just to see how warm it would be.  And it passed with flying colours!


The yarn really is exceptionally cosy.   There is only a small section which is fair isle knitting, and I would say that for beginners to fair isle this is a great pattern to get you started.  The shaping in the pattern is good too, and I think if I had any criticism it would be that for my body, I would like it to be a little bit longer.  But that is purely being picky on my part.


Project Details are:

Pattern:  Strokkur

Yarn Used:  Ripples Crafts Warm Hearted Aran

Colours:  Teal (MC), Syringa (C1) and Assynt Lochs (C2)

Quantity used:  Teal – 570g, Syringa – 33g, Assynt Lochs – 28g


Also complete is a Clapotis which I began before I went to Australia in November.  I had intended to take it on the plane with me as flight knitting, but it was really a bit too big and bulky for that.  Again I’ve used the Warm Hearted Aran yarn in the colourway The Angel’s Share, which is one of the Orkney Collection Colours.


This is a very easy pattern – very much TV knitting.  It is knitted on the bias, and involves a technique which initially may make you shudder – you have to drop stitches to get the laddering effect in the pattern.


This is a very old pattern from Knitty magazine, and I’m probably the last knitter to get around to knitting this.   The resulting shawl/scarf is a scrunchable, cosy accessory.


And finally, something which I didn’t knit, but was very kindly knitted for me by Yvonne Davies.  It is a very pretty cowl, and the pattern is The Long and Winding Row (Ravelry link) by Susan Ashcroft.  Yvonne assures me it is another good TV knitting project.  Thank you for this Yvonne!


Yvonne’s version used 2 hanks of Warm Hearted Aran in A Dangerous Shade.  It is wide and long enough to wind both around your neck and over your head:


Using my glass head gives me the creeps a bit, but the weather outside is so awful at the moment, and certainly not conducive to taking artistic shots.

Finally, for those of you who do not receive the Ripples Crafts newsletter, a bit of shop news.  There will be an increase in most of the yarn prices over the next day or so.  This increase also includes yarn clubs, so if you haven’t joined but were thinking of doing so, then now would be a good time.  Prices will be amended for tomorrow morning.  Also, I have Yarn Pals back in stock.  Many of you have been asking about these, and I’m so pleased to have a supply again.