Day Trip!

Last weekend some friends and I traveled from North, South and West to meet in London for a day out!

We started the day in Ray Stitch. I’ve never been there before and it was a lovely shop with great fabrics and a huge variety of dressmaking patterns.

I completely forgot to take pictures so I nabbed the one above from their website! They also had lots of garments made up so it’s definitely worth a visit.

After a nice lunch and general pootle we popped into Loop where we all fell in love with a gorgeous blanket (and pointed at it apparently)!

I managed to resist buying any yarn – although there was a very tempting mini-skein bundle in shades of blue and teal… and lots of other yummy looking yarns!

My mission for the day was to only buy something if I saw an absolute bargain or something that really blew me away…. and then we went to Liberty!

It definitely wasn’t a bargain, but this Tana Lawn did blow me away! I’ve been wanting to introduce more orange and red into my wardrobe and the colours in this are perfect!

I always have a handy little sewing book with me – containing my measurements, how much fabric I need for the patterns I want to make, my colour palette and yarns from garments I’ve already made (for matching).

Having that information with me is great because it stops me buying on a whim. I know that I have enough of this fabric for a t-shirt or vest, it will go with my cardigans and most importantly – it will suit me!

Any shop tips for my next trip to London?

Yarn Expo

I’m so excited to be exhibiting at Yarn Expo next weekend – the first yarn show in my home town of Nottingham!

I will be bringing copies of The Knitted Nursery Collection and my new book Cute Comfort Knits.

I will also have yarn packs for some of the most popular projects in The Knitted Nursery Collection

And yarn packs for some of your favourite projects in Cute Comfort Knits

Perfect for Christmas gifts or Christmas day knitting projects!

I will also have some old favourites, including kits for the Triangle Hat, Bobby Scarf & Hat, the Dice Cowl, Twinkly Beaded Collar and the Lazy Lace Cowl.

So make sure you get to me nice and early before I run out!

I’ve also done a big shop update, so if you can’t make it to Yarn Expo you can still join in with the shopping here.

While you’re in town – make sure you pop in to Knit Nottingham as well! Just a stones throw from the show.

See you there! x

 

Stitches

This week I got to spend a few days fondling and hugging yarn on the Rowan stand at the ‘Stitches’ trade show.

Yarn hug

It’s no secret that my favourite part of the day job with Rowan is nattering with knitters and merchandising yarn…so trade shows and consumer shows are always good fun.

We had a beautiful new display fixture, lots of gorgeous yarn to fill it with and no shortage of passionate and inspiring yarn shop owners!

We showcased lots of new things for Spring/Summer – including the super cute new book from Martin Storey, Little Rowan Explorers, and Quail Studio’s latest – Kids Essential Knits. These and other new Rowan books are hitting the shops now – so keep your eye out at your local yarn shop!

We also had an exciting sneak preview of the first in a new series of books from Kim Hargreaves! Coming soon…x

Kaneshon Cardigan

After knitting Kim Hargreaves Captivate cardie from North on teeny tiny needles – I was ready to do something a bit quicker!

Cotton LustreKaneshon is designed by Sarah Hatton and knitted in Rowan Cotton Lustre. I’ve never been much of a fan of tape yarn, but this felt so soft in the ball and I was in love with the cornflower blue, so I decided to give it a go.

To start with – my dislike of tape yarn wasn’t cured! Whilst knitting up the back I felt that the stitches were coming out quite unevenly. I think this was partly due to it being a tape yarn, but it being cotton didn’t help. Many knitters are a bit looser on one row than the other – for me I am slightly looser on a purl row. I never notice this with wool, but cotton is less forgiving and with this being a heavier weight yarn I could really see it!

I also haven’t knitted a garment using circular needles in a large size before. I’m a pit knitter (as Sarah Hatton calls it), meaning I tuck my right needle in my armpit. I started using circular needles for my selfish knitting a while ago as it’s easier on my wrists, but I still do all of my work knitting on straights so that I can pit knit. I’m much slower on circulars and find larger sizes rather fiddly, which I think was a factor in my uneven tension.

I stuck with it and by the time I was on the front I had got used to the yarn and needles and was rather enjoying the tape yarn!

Kaneshon1

I’m really happy with the finished cardie. I was worried it might ‘grow’, because the yarn is heavy, but the seams have given it structure so it should be fine. It looks lovely with my bird and butterfly dress and is the perfect summer replacement for my lost Teal cardigan.

Have you finished anything recently?

Yarn provided by Rowan

Show me your stash!

I’m always interested to hear knitters talking about where they keep their yarn stash. I’m often told that knitted projects awaiting sewing up are hibernating ‘in a bag under/behind the sofa’. Whilst some knitters display their stash with pride, some keep it hidden away in nooks and crannies around the house (if you can’t see it then it’s okay to buy more – yes?!).

So I thought you might be interested in seeing my stash!

Starting with my work stash – does that count? I need yarn for workshop samples, project based workshops where I take the yarn along, and also for designing. Since turning my spare bedroom into a workroom, I now have some lovely Ikea cubes which are perfect for yarn storage. I tend to keep my workshop yarn in the packs, with odd balls and pre-wound balls in baskets and bags.

The Ikea wine-rack insert is a knitters dream! I use these dividers for my design yarn because it’s easier to see at a glance what I’ve got.

I also have a little basket which sit’s next to my Ercol armchair, containing whatever work projects I’m currently knitting (this often overflows!).

And my favourite bit is the little shelving unit I made to sit above my desk. This is where all my odd balls/part balls retire to, for a bit of peace and quiet!

My personal stash is actually not too huge. Back in my mid-twenties I moved back in with my parents for a year, and condensing my belongings from a big house into my childhood bedroom resulted in many trips to the charity shop with bin bags full of yarn and fabric.

This was rather heart-breaking and I promised myself then that I would only buy/keep yarn that fitted into one of the following categories:

  • I have a definite project planned for the yarn and it will be knitted (at some point).
  • It’s unbelievably lovely and I can’t part with it.
  • It’s irreplaceable (ie, discontinued, a one off or vintage inherited from grandma).

I have (mostly) stuck to this! I have a shelving unit full of yarn for projects eagerly waiting to make it onto the needles. Random bags all over the house which are my WIP’s (work in progress), and then there is my wooden chest of shame. I bought this chest for the living room so that I could keep my WIP’s out of the way and safe from the cats – but I’m not sure what’s at the bottom of it and I’m afraid that this is my equivalent of ‘in a bag behind the sofa’.

So now that I’ve finished my latest garment – I’m planning to tackle a couple of things from the chest of shame before I start the next!

I’d love to see pics and hear tales about your stash! x

Yarndale

Another weekend- another crafty show!

I didn’t make it to Yarndale last year, so I was very excited to hear that Eleanor from Knit Nottingham (voted best yarn shop in the Midlands two years running in the British Knitting Awards) was planning a coach trip again. Read Eleonor’s blog about the day here.

It really is knitters heaven! I had a small budget, which I spent quite early in the day on a couple of blankets from Longwood Blankets– and I then found it very difficult not to blow the budget on some baby camel and silk yarn from Watercolours and Lace– it was soooo soft!

A lovely day was had by all and here is my overview in pics.

I fell in love with the Alpaca’s. Particularly the one in the picture above- I’ve never met such a smiley alpaca! A few years ago I went on holiday to Devon and spent my birthday at The Alpaca Park. It was one of the best days I’ve ever had- I really adore alpacas and I’ve found a place in Sheffield called Mayfield Alpacas, which I think should be the destination for our next knitting road-trip!