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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
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.
I’ve been thinking about the colours for the Post Office Run club yarn due to go out at the end of this month. Here are a few of the photographs which have been giving me some inspiration for colours.
Signs that spring isn’t far away – new growth:
The gorse is beginning to bloom:
I’m lucky to pass by Andy’s small flock of Hebridean sheep on my way to the Post Office:
A phenomenon which is really tricky to photograph – the purply/reddish/brownish tinge that the hills adopt, caused by the birch trees that cover them:
Lochinver – with angry clouds approaching:
Passing through the township of Clachtoll:
And always a view to cheer my heart:
If you want to join the club and receive your first package in March, then you can join here. The club is available on either the Reliable Sock Yarn base or a 100% Bluefaced Leicester yarn base.
This week a really special little parcel dropped into the post box. And I really mean little! I wasn’t sure what it was, and my first view made me none the wiser:
It came to me from Chris Smith, at A Fine Yarn in Darlington. Chris stocks my laceweight yarns. As I unwrapped the surprise package, I was completely overawed by the workmanship and skill which had gone into making what was held in the pink tissue paper:
To give you an idea of scale, here is the tiny treasure leaning against a pound coin:
I have never been one for knitting toys, as the thought of all that sewing up and stuffing and stitching puts me off, but just look at the scale of this! I can’t imagine knitting something this small, never mind stuffing it and sewing it all up. It was one of Chris’s customers who had made it, and this is the smallest she has made so far. Just look at the detail.
And if you still can’t get a sense of scale, here it is leaning against my fingers:
It has been all about colour this week. I have been putting together new colours on the Warm Hearted Aran base, some of which sold out very quickly! The most popular colourway was Festive Lights, a colour which, up to now, I’ve only done on the Reliable Sock Yarn base, but which I decided to test out on the aran weight as this base contains some silk, and l knew it would just sparkle. And sparkle it did!
I’m really enjoying working with this yarn base on Strokkur. It is growing so quickly, and I’m already up to the point of starting the sleeves, so it is proving a really quick knit.
I’ll need to wait for needles to arrive for the sleeves as I’m opting to do the sleeves on DPN’s rather than on a circular needle. Strokkur is the first garment (as opposed to accessories) I’m making with this yarn and so far I’m very happy with the way the yarn is responding. It shows the shaping well, which I always consider to be important.
I’m using Teal for this garment, which was sold out earlier in the week, but which has now been restocked.
In search of more colours we had a short Sunday Walk. Lexie is still not 100% so we can’t go too far with her. But she takes every opportunity to drink from rain puddles in the rocks:
And I wasn’t disappointed by the colours despite it being a fairly dull day. Shafts of light over the sea always look exciting, if somewhat moody:
and the lichen and mosses never fail to provide some colour, even in the depths of winter:
What colours will next week hold? I’ll be focussing on drawing up colours for the Post Office Run colourway for March. Remember, if you want to join the Post Office Run Yarn Club, do so now if you want to join in time to receive the March package. The feedback from the February colourway has been very positive, despite some of the colours being ones which I consider quite challenging to work with. I won’t show you the February colourway just yet, as some parcels have not quite reached those places furthest from the UK, although I’m reliably informed that it has reached parts of the US and New Zealand.
The photo below showing a rather crumpled red cardigan indicates that Floriston is finished! Well, the knitting is finished – she has still to be tidied up and blocked. But essentially, the really hard part is done.
And so over the weekend I had the luxury of casting on Strokkur. I have decided on the base colour (the deep, dark, rich teal)
but I have yet to decide on the contrast shades for the yoke of the sweater. Fortunately I have a bit of time to decide. I keep putting different shades together but I simply cannot make up my mind. I was sorely tempted to make the main shade Winter Beech Leaves as I really like this shade, but I wondered if it would be a little too overpowering. Maybe as a contrast though?
I have quite a few knitting projects on the go. And no, I am not going to admit to how many …. exactly. But a few. Sari hasn’t grown much since my last post about her. Okay, to be honest, it hasn’t grown at all! Not because I have fallen out with her, but because she demands 100% of my concentration with absolutely no distractions. And it isn’t often that I have that kind of free time. But she is not forgotten.
When I’m busy in the dye shed I can snatch a few rows of knitting while waiting for pots to bubble. And I love having something to occupy my hands while I keep an eye on the yarn. But it has to be simple knitting – the sort of thing you can pick up and put down and not have to worry too much about which row you’re on. And then I am also always looking for good samples to knit which will show off my yarns to their best. Simple and stunning! I have been working on Floriston for some time now too, as I got “stuck” on the front bands. She is very nearly complete and I just need to knuckle down and finish those borders. But again, because the border is a lace pattern this isn’t something I can knit in the dye shed.
So as an incentive to finish Floriston (which is so nearly finished!), I promised myself that once she was finished I could start a new, simple, quick knit project. And I was labelling the new Warm Hearted Aran for the shop, and thought that would be a lovely yarn to knit up into a sample for the shows during the year. Looking through patterns on Ravelry I decided that Strokkur would make a good sample.
But I need you to choose the colours:
Green Sphagnum Moss, Winter Sun and Winter Beech Leaves as the main shade?
or Cold Winter Day, Assynt Lochs, and Teal as the main shade?
Or do you have any other suggestions for colour combinations? You can see all the Warm Hearted Aran shades here. Perhaps I should use Assynt Moon as the main shade, but what other two shades?
Please throw your suggestions at me, and while doing so, please cheer me on to finish the left front border of Floriston so that I can move on to a new project. Thank you – I need your help!
As many of you know, I have been organising what have been known as Knitting Retreats, but which encompass all things yarny and fibrey and woolly for the last couple of years. This year is no exception. These retreats are not knitting courses, they are retreats in the true sense of the word. You come with your own projects or ideas, and simply work on them in your own time and away from your day to day life. You may also choose not to work on a project, but instead to walk, or talk, and I can guarantee laughter.
The first retreat will be held on the island of Tanera Mor, one of the Summer Isles located off the west coast of Scotland, in September. You can find the details of this event here. The Summer Isles are beautiful, and remote, and you can read all about the retreat that was held on the island last year on my blog entry here. This will be the 3rd time that we are returning to the Summer Isles to be looked after by Lizzie and Richard Wilder Williams and their team. This retreat location is very special. At times we will be the only people on the island. There are hills to climb, otters to find, and there is peace and quiet.
The second retreat will be on the mainland in October, and is due to be held at Glencanisp Lodge, which is part of the Assynt Foundation which was formed during a community buyout of the Drumrunie and Glencanisp estates near Lochinver, in the parish of Assynt. The Glencanisp Lodge website has not yet been updated with the details of this retreat, so below are the details of this event. This is the first time we’ll be running this retreat at Glencanisp, and I’m thrilled to say that I have the valuable support from my friends Lizzi MacDonald and Lindsay Roberts who will be providing the catering for this event. The rooms in Glencanisp do vary, and they will be offered on a first come, first served basis.
Both events are run on a very relaxed basis. The idea is that you take time away from your day to day lives, and give yourself some space to enjoy your textile passions. There are no formal classes, but on past retreats I know that many have learnt from others in the group.
Bookings for these retreats are done through Glencanisp Lodge and Summer Isles Enterprises directly, and not through me.
So, who is up for a retreat?