Saturday, 31 August 2013


My stash is currently compromised of an abundance of Rico Design yarns that I purchased last year when Olly and I had just moved to Somerset, and I was still unemployed. I made a wholesale bulk buy with the intention of keeping some of the lovely stuff for myself and selling some on ebay for a little bit of pocket money. This was not a successful endeavor due to starting full-time work very shortly after, moving house and generally being too lazy to keep the ebay posts updated. Pocket money is no longer an issue, but this stash is.  I'm still quids out and knee-deep in unopened packets of yarn, and 18 months later, I'm getting kind of tired of looking at these yarns. I bought entirely too much cotton instead of wool blends, which is just no fun now that we're approaching "knitting season" and the new autumnal colours are coming out. I will say though that the cottons have come in terribly handy for babies.

So many babies. My cousin's wife gave us beautiful baby John Henry this spring. Another cousin delivered the delightful little Sunny this summer. My friend Julie gave us adorable little Lucy. Sarah had her third in a line of what might be many - baby Ava. Our friends in London just greeted a humongous little boy into their lives this week. It's all very exciting, and I owe them all tiny little knits.

I had intended to go to the Glastonbury Wool Festival last Saturday but found myself absolutely paralyzed with "lady pains" and couldn't so much as leave the sofa once I made my way there. So there I sat all day, dreaming at 10AM about the sheep run down Glastonbury High Street, wondering at 2PM about the fashion show, and generally feeling sorry for myself. I was in good company as Olly was in a good deal of man pain after a late night out. So we watched a several hours of Netflix rubbish that afternoon, and I managed to knock out nearly a whole entire baby cardigan.

Rather than dive straight into aforementioned stash and reach for a fresh ball of yarn, I decided to unravel the beginnings of what was probably never going to be a cotton top. That's the picture you see above. It's a lovely open fan stitch from a vintage 80's pattern that I lost interest in almost immediately after starting and was honestly never going to complete. It felt good to get rid of a dead WIP and empty the project bag, freeing up some space in my ever more-stuffed desk drawers. It felt good to rewind the ball of cotton yarn and make something new. It felt good to practically finish the project in one day! More about the FO and the Glastonbury Wool Festival to come...

Friday, 19 July 2013

Report Back: Somerset Fleece Fair 2013

Last month Olly and I drove down to the Hatch Beauchamp village hall for the annual fleece fair organised by the Somerset Guild of Weavers, Spinners, and Dyers. I missed last year's event so was extra excited to go along this summer, and I can't believe how my husband indulges my new fleecy obsession. Now, I'd reckon a guess that I've spent twice as much time spindling that knitting in the last few months, but somehow my fluff stash just keeps growing! I'll admit that I'm saving a 400g bag of merino top that I got for Christmas. It's simply too lovely and fine and abundant to attempt to spin without a wheel, which I don't own!

I knowing that my stash was well past what Annie over at knitsofacto calls SABLE (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy), I sort of promised myself that I wouldn't buy any wool products at the fair. It was accessories that I was after. At a recent one-day spinning course that I took in Wells, local teacher Mary Stanbridge recommended looking out for a distaff. For those not in the know (which I wasn't), a distaff is a freely-hanging gizmo worn around the wrist that holds your fiber to keep it from getting caught up in your spinning. I bought the one in the foreground of the photo above, and let me tell you, it's a revelation!

We stopped to chat with a few of the wool suppliers, but it was darn near impossible to ignore the two gargantuan wheels prominently displayed on stage at the far end of the village hall. When curiosity got the better of us, we sauntered over and allowed ourselves to be lured up on stage to have a go at spinning on them. Tracy and Trevor Miles taught us how to turn the great big wheels slowly around while drawing the wool out into lace-fine lengths. Tracy regaled us with the history of the Georgian Great Wheel, the product of her research and her father's fine carpentry skills. Owning one of these great creations is aspirational spinning. When I win the lottery, I'll buy a big fat house and a Georgian Great Wheel to put in it.

I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but Olly is an enthusiast and collector of vintage bicycles. Turns out his fascination with anything that has wheels and bearings translates to crafting devices, which is great for me because I'm sure by Christmas I'll be gently nudging an Ashford catalogue under his nose. But all of this is to say that we talked poor Tracy and Trevor's arms and legs off about their wheels, and we were practically tossed out of the village hall around closing time. But not before I finally caved and bought, not wool, but an alpaca fleece! I haven't done anything with it yet. I'm quite intimidated by owning half of an animal's coat, and I just haven't had a day to think about processing it in the last month, what with Glastonbury festival and then the E5 festival in London. We're off to the Godney gathering tomorrow, but hopefully I can pull out my fluffy treasure on Sunday!

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Knitting in the Sun

It's been a while friends. I feel the need to apologize for my long absence from the blog. I seem to have disappeared just before Christmas, inevitably when I became too absorbed in finishing gift projects to write about them. The bustle of the season came and went, leaving behind the long cold winter nights that are simply not conducive to taking and posting photos after office hours. Spring refused to show its face here in south west England until at late May. And it felt like it would never again be too hot for woolly knitting.

In the last few months I've taken a spinning workshop, spun at least 200g of top on a drop spindle, visited Barcelona, started a new job with a new organisation, and I'm just about recovered from volunteering at Glastonbury Festival. Perhaps I've just been enjoying life too much to document it on my blog. Perhaps its just that I needed a break.

Today is the hottest day on record so far. At last. And I'm off to the park to sit in the sun... with my knitting.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Stella's Shawl

Today is my mother's birthday, and I wanted to share her gift with you on the blog. This is the very popular Revontuli pattern found as a free Ravelry download. I used one ball of Rico Design Superba Poems in the Denim colourway. The pattern calls for 800 yards, and at 459 yards one ball is far from enough to complete the last 20 or so rows of the pattern. Nonetheless, my finished object is plenty big to wear as a scarf through the mild Texas winter. 

I have read a lot of complaints about the unevenness of this yarn, and I can attest that it varies from so thin that you think it might break to almost chunky at times. I lucked out with this ball, which was a pretty consistent fingering weight throughout. It's incredibly soft, and the colours and price point are pretty hard to resist. So if you come across at your local shop, I'd recommend it for any garments other than socks. The unevenness would drive a fussy sock knitter mad.

The Revontuli pattern is super easy to follow and memorize, although it took me at least two hours to knit the first five rows! After that, the whole shawl knit up in a couple of weeks. I had fun showing it off to my coworkers as I knit on my lunch break in the canteen - although I have to concentrate on lace knitting and just make too many mistakes if I try to converse and knit lace at the same time! The result of public display of knitting addiction has led to many wonderful things though. One coworker asked me to teach her to knit, and she's already made two gorgeous chunky scarves and a hat. Another has picked up her needles after 23 years and trumped the rest of us by knocking out a cabled hoodie in three weeks! And one of our cooks asked me to knit her granddaughter an aran cardi for Christmas.

It's so nice to reflect on how knitting has brought me new friends over the years. It also allows me to send a piece of myself across the ocean, all the way to Houston. Each time my mom wraps herself up in her new shawl, she is wrapping herself up in my love. Happy Birthday Mom! xoxo

Friday, 30 November 2012

Sweater Heaven

Someone once told me that they would never buy me a sweater (say, for an all important holiday that happens to be coming up soon) because they know I could knit something similar or better. I was so saddened by this because while I could probably knit any of these yummy sweaters above, it would take ages and cost a fortune. I find myself thinking the same thing when I'm browsing shops, and the result is that I have maybe three sweaters in my entire collection. I have set down my cabled aran jumper that I'm so hoping will be finished by the holidays to work on a baby cabled cardi for a coworker. And as long I have projects on the go for other people, my sweater knitting need will go unfufilled. So friends, family, dear husband... feel free to buy away!

1.  Acorn Intarsia Jumper
2.  Proenza Schouler Sweater
3. Komodo Crema Cardigan
4. Marsha Animal Print Jumper
5. Lottie Sweater by A.L.C.


Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Crochet Peter Pan Collar

Detachable collars. A thing of the 80's? And the 60's before that? Perhaps. But they're back. And I just made one! I'm not sure how I'll style this yet. Not being a huge fan of crew neck anything, I don't have many of the right tops that could be accessorized with a collar. But now I have something to watch out for in charity shops. The pattern is by Emma Escott and is available as a free Ravelry download. I used some leftover Debbie Bliss DK cotton in a soft champagne colour that I picked up at Loop in London a few years ago. This isn't exactly a stash busting project, but it's a good way to use up about 20 grams or so. And it's quick! Incidently, those the last photo is of the curtains in my bedroom. I wasn't sure about them at first. They were put there by my landlord. But I'm really loving them and their vintage funkiness right now. I find myself staring at them blanking while I daydream and scheme more crafting projects, so they must be calmly inspiring.