The secret is out: Yarn porn for Yarnporium

It’s no secret that I love a secret. And a secret that involves delicious yarn? Well it’s almost too much to bear!

Happily, my secret is out! Last week Countess Ablaze revealed on her Instagram that I will be bringing a selection of her yarns with me to the Yarnporium happening on November 5th and 6th in London. As if that weren’t enough of an announcement to cause yarn-y delirium, I’m also bringing a variety of yarns from Eden Cottage Yarns too!

I’m really thrilled to be bringing both of these ladies’ amazing yarns with me. While it’s great to bring my book and patterns I really love helping knitters choose their yarn for the project. It means I can help answer questions about yarn choice or the pattern, or a combination thereof. And really, if you’re getting a pattern and want to get started right away, what’s better than being able to get the perfect yarn in the same place?

So what am I bringing?

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Wool Week Workshop

A scene from Rams

A scene from Rams

Ha! Try saying that three times fast! (wool week workshop, wool week workshop…) Apologies, but I may be just a wee bit excited that there’s finally more than barely-there nip in the air on the school runs in the morning. It must be October!

October is one of those months that seems to catch me off guard completely. We’re no sooner settled into the new school routine when all of sudden there’s the Knitting & Stitching Show and UK Wool Week back to back. The minute there’s time to catch your breath it’s Wovember and then the steady downward spiral right towards Christmas. This year there’s even more going on than usual as I’m preparing for the upcoming Yarnporium show in November where I’ll be an exhibitor (more on that in another post!).

YARN - the movie: what more could I ask for?

YARN – the movie: what more could I ask for?

But before all that can happen, I’m delighted to be part of a day-long line-up of events celebrating UK Wool Week at the Maltings in Farnham this Sunday, 9th October. I get to kick things off with my workshop on playing with colour and then enjoy the rest of the day’s offerings. Emma Boyles of The Little Grey Sheep will be giving a talk in the afternoon about her small family farm that I’m really looking forward to hearing. Then there are two woolly film screenings: YARN the movie, and Rams, about two Icelandic sheep farmers.

Let's have some fun playing with colour

Let’s have some fun playing with colour

If you haven’t had a chance to take a workshop with me before and are curious about playing with colour in your own knitting projects we’ll be looking at choosing colour combinations with confidence. With a nod to Wool Week, we’ll also discuss how fibre type can influence colour. This is also a hands-on, playful class so bring your yarns or scraps that you’ve had a hard time deciding how or which colour combos would work best and we’ll work through them together.

It’s going to be a great day out on Sunday – I hope you can join me!

Saltfleet Cowl

One of the things that I love most about working as a knitwear designer are the collaborations. They could be with other designers, or yarn dyers or shops but they’re always a thrill. When the creative juices start flowing and we’re bouncing ideas off of each other is when I feel the most inspired and energised about my work. There’s also nothing like a fixed deadline to help spur things along too! This was the case with my new Saltfleet Cowl.

Introducing the Saltfleet Cowl

Introducing the Saltfleet Cowl

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Diving right back in

Hello friends! It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

Having taken the summer off I feel like my batteries have been properly recharged! We’ve had a lovely, lazy summer with camping and holidays, day camps and of course knitting and it feels amazing to have reconnected with my mojo!

Ah summer! I miss you already!

Ah summer! I miss you already!

It doesn’t hurt either that with September here all the woolly-ness has started off with a bang to keep the momentum going. Last weekend was the fourth annual Great London Yarn Crawl and once again I was signed on as a Yarn Guide. This time the teams were all named after stitches and we were Team Bobbles, visiting shops Nest, Handweavers Studio & Gallery and Fringe.

London project bag at the ready for the Great London Yarn Crawl

London project bag at the ready for the Great London Yarn Crawl

Hosted at Nest especially for the day was Linda from Kettle Yarn Co. who had a little pop-up shop with her gorgeous yarns and samples from her new book Baskerville: dawn to dusk. The garments were stunning and in a beautiful palette of blues. Linda was originally dyeing them with indigo but has switched back to her regular dyeing method for greater control and consistency. It was really interesting to talk to her about her dyeing process, and the Baskerville yarn itself which is a custom blend exclusive to Kettle Yarn Co. Linda talked about it some more in a “live” session of the Yarn in the City podcast at the after party, which you can listen to when Episode 45 goes up on their website.

Linda's Kettle Yarn Co. pretties on display at Nest

Linda’s Kettle Yarn Co. pretties on display at Nest

Following Nest we quickly made our way over to the Handweavers Studio & Gallery. I was determined for us to get in and out as quickly as possible as we’d been tipped off that there was an Arsenal game that day and we knew the area would be packed with people on public transport! Handweavers is an Aladdin’s Cave of treasures though, with so many different and interesting yarns and fibres for weaving and spinning – and knitting if you’re looking for something really outside of the box!

I can't wait to see what frothy fairy confections these yarns become!

I can’t wait to see what frothy fairy confections these yarns become!

My daughter has been obsessed with fairies this year and has requested a special fairy dolly for Christmas so the book Knitted Pirates, Princesses, Witches, Wizards & Fairies was my close companion on the crawl as I sought out yarns and trims that would suit a fairy’s wardrobe. Happily, Handweavers was a HUGE success on this front as I was able to procure some amazing novelty yarns that are perfect for a fairy’s fanciful ensemble!

After Handweavers and a spot of lunch we made our way to our final stop, Fringe. Like Nest, Fringe was also well in the spirit of the yarn crawl and doing something “extra” for the yarn crawlers. Erika Knight was on hand as their special guest and had a pop-up shop of her new yarns, Studio Linen and Gossypium Cotton – which we’d each been given a ball of in our goody bags as she was the also the title sponsor of the yarn crawl. And the samples of the garments were there as well.

And wow – the samples! Jean (from my knit group who was also on Team Bobbles) and I fell completely head over heels for the Studio Linen Collection which is classic Erika Knight. Clean lines, elegant in it’s simplicity, ageless garments that will be worn again and again. We each bought a sweater’s worth of Studio Linen to knit Sicily and I’m looking forward to our own mini knit-a-long. It was exciting to meet Erika and chat with her and learn more about her own process as a designer too.

Can't wait to get started on this jumper - for next summer!

Can’t wait to get started on this jumper – for next summer!

We did debate the possibility of squeezing in a fourth shop en route to the after party but in the end opted for a few well-earned cups of tea and some relaxing knitting and chatter before heading to the evening’s festivities. As in previous years there were fantastic door prizes and a Grand Prize raffle which helped to raise additional funds. All monies made on the day after expenses are donated to UK charity Refuge, which supports women and children who are victims of domestic violence. This year’s tally was over £1,000 making the tally over 4 years over £3,500!

If you fancy coming to London to check out any of the shops or another Yarn in the City event, they are doing a new show – the Yarnporium – this November 5-6, 2016 at King’s College on the Strand which will feature a marketplace, indie maker spotlight, and workshops too. And I’ll be there as a vendor with patterns and a few yarn-y surprises for you too. More on that another day!

Meet the Indie Dyer: The Wool Kitchen

It’s funny grey-ish day in London today. The sun keeps playing peek-a-boo and just can’t seem to decide if it’s going to stay out or not! No matter, we’ve got colour galore on the blog today thanks to Helen Reed of The Wool Kitchen. In what is possibly a HUGE occupational hazard, Helen is a local-to-me indie dyer here in London which makes it even harder to resist her wonderful yarns! Read on to learn more about Helen and her growing yarn-dyeing business.

Helen Reed of The Wool Kitchen

Helen Reed of The Wool Kitchen

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Knitterly distractions

I’m glad I took my kids with me to the polls yesterday, so they could see what happens and understand the process. I feel passionately that they understand that it’s important to vote – and that it’s up to them to decide how to vote. My son is into maths just now, so he understands how close the result was, and how important it is therefore that we have our say.

But since this is a blog about knitting and not politics, I’m distracting myself by getting my summer knitting planning underway.

Do you do this too? Planning for a season is something I find helpful, not just for a specific trip or outing. We’ll be in and out a bit over the summer hols and there’s the summer KAL happening soon on the Ravelry board. I’ve been thinking ahead to what I want to work on – and when – so that it’s easy for me to know which project to reach for. Here’s my plan:

I just love how light and airy Colour Trail is knit in lace - perfect for summer!

I just love how light and airy Colour Trail is knit in lace – perfect for summer!

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Have a Play: Using a gradient in Flight of Colour

I’m excited to share with you a new feature on the blog that I’ve been wanting to introduce for a while. I often get emails from happy knitters and shops that have knit samples of my patterns, but with their own playful changes. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember to make notes in your project page on Ravelry, or to look at what others have done. I thought it would be fun to have the knitters of those projects share their modifications here so that everyone can be inspired to knit their own version.

Sarah's Flight of Colour shows off a gradient interspersed with solid stripes

Sarah’s Flight of Colour shows off a gradient interspersed with solid stripes

Today’s guest blog post is by Sarah Lewis of Purlescence who created a lightweight shop sample of Flight of Colour using SweetGeorgia Yarns Tough Love Sock and one of their Party of Five gradient packs. Read on to learn how she did it.

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