I love knitting - but then I guess you knew that.

Recently I picked up a link on Twitter from Natalie at The Yarn Yard which increased my appreciation of knitting and knitters by showing how smart knitters are.   Knitting is often looked down upon as a hobby which folk with nothing better to do, do, so it was refreshing to read this alternative view - do take time to read it.  Now I can't say I've ever considered that reading a knitting pattern is similar to a programmer writing a complex computer program (or as the writer points out interpreting a computer program), but it is good to get a different perspective on something which I enjoy.  I have taught knitting to many knitters at the beginning of their knitting adventure, and I always enjoy seeing the light bulb moment when they realise that knitting patterns are not impossible to read and follow, or out to trick them somehow, and yes they can complete an item of knitting which is wearable and attractive.   In my own knitting experience, Fair Isle patterns have almost always been charted, but these days many lace and aran patterns are charted too,

which sometimes strikes fear into knitters, but like written instructions, with a few pointers, a key, and words of advice and encouragement these too can be disentangled and safely navigated.  You just have to have the right tools to unlock the key.

Returning to the article I referred to above, another thing mentioned is the way patterns are marketed in a way that implies you have to use a specific yarn for a pattern.  I think I am fortunate in having grown up knitting in a country where most of the yarns referred to in patterns were simply unavailable, so substitution of yarns was never an issue for me as it was a way of life.   It seems to me that recently marketeers have cottoned on to the fact that knitting is popular again, and it warrants their attention and expertise in order to persuade us to buy certain yarns/fibres/brands.  But do you know what?  We don't have to!  We can choose whichever yarn we want.  If you're prepared to do the sums you can even knit a DK in pattern in 4ply and vice versa.  Patterns are not set in stone - they are guides which allow us to change in whatever way we wish to.  Think of it as personalising a pattern. Making it unique.

On a different tack, it has been a tiring couple of weeks at Lockhart Towers with a mix of shows and exams, but Stevan has now finished exams for this semester (although there is still a major project to get in) and I'm looking forward to Gardening Scotland at the beginning of June near Edinburgh.   The shop is being updated regularly with different yarns, but particularly focusing on the Na Dannsairean 4ply and the Silk 4ply and Lace, so keep checking the site from time to time.  I tend not to have a specific time for updating the website as this can sometimes lead to frustration for shoppers.  I prefer to sneak up on you with an update!  I have put some beautiful shawl pins up on the shop site.  These are hand made for me by Les Smith in Darlington and they are stunning, with sharp points on the pins.  They just fly off the shelf at shows, and there are just a few left in the shop now.  Once these are gone there will be no more until after Woolfest.  Each pin is unique, so if you see one you like, grab it.  I have to admit that the heart shaped ones are probably my favourites!