Sunday, 31 July 2011

Knit nation - Part 3 Photograph your fibre

On Sunday morning I attended the Photograph your Fibre class with Franklin Habit, it was 3 hours jam packed with information on how to take better photos and get the best from your camera.

We were supposed to bring the manual for our camera but I was given my camera by my sister and I have less than no idea if she gave me the manual at all and where I put it if she did. Happily, when I got to class someone mentioned they had downloaded theirs from the manufacturers website and the day before a lovely lady in the tea salon had shown me how to download PDFs to my iPhone - thats what you can serendipity (one of my favourite words, I will use it as often as I can), I managed to download the manual and it was a big help.


Part of the class was talking about putting together an inexpensive light tent - this the one Franklin brings to his classes, it can be packed away in to his suitcase, I'll be trying this out, I'll let you know how I get on.

Franklin was a joy to listen to, he's so funny and engaging and although there was A LOT of information (I made A LOT of notes because my memory is not great!) I could have listened to him for another 3 hours. He recommended this book for further reading and I will read it on holiday, it will be the only actual book I take along with my kindle.


(What I really learned is I need a better camera.......)

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Knit Nation - Part 2 The one where I learn to spin.....

On Saturday afternoon I attended 'Introduction to Top Whorl Spindling' with Carol and Pete Leonard. In October I took a spinning class and failed miserably, I didn't give up but I got very frustrated, watching 'Respect the Spindle' and trying some fibre bumps from HilltopCloud resulted in a breakthrough and I was able to 'park and draft' (which means I could spin the spindle and draft the fibre but not at the same time).

This class consolidated everything I knew and I can now spin! (small round of applause) Here is what I produced in the class:


Two little skeins of slightly thick and thin but most definitely YARN.

The class was great, the teachers were friendly and knowledgable, I also learnt how to ply and was inspired by the lovely finished items knitted from spindle spun yarn which were on display


Inspired, I visited the market place and bought a braid of fibre from Old Maiden Aunt, I started spinning in on Saturday night and even managed a bit on the train journey home on Sunday, this is my progress:



The fibre is black shetland and tussah silk and it's really lovely, I think I'll probably knit it up in to arm warmers and maybe stripe it with something else.

To practice plying I finished spinning the little samples that Megan from The Thylacine very kindly sent me:



Not perfect but it's ok, I did get in a tangle towards the end and had to abandon a little bit, I couldn't save it from it's knotty fate.

I'm really pleased that I've conquered a new skill and you can expect lots more spinning from me in the future!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Knit Nation - Part 1

Last weekend was Knit Nation in London, this was the second year this event was hosted and this year was every bit as good as last year. The shopping was great, the classes were fantastic but what really makes the whole thing is without a doubt - the people. The people who organise, the people who attend, everyone is so friendly, at various points in the weekend I just sat down next to people I had never met before and chatted.


I met new friends, caught up with old ones and put names to faces/ravatars/twitter personalities. One of the highlights (apart from the classes I took, which I'll blog about separately) was the charity Bingo on Saturday, although it did require concentration and I couldn't chat during the games and there were maybe a few too many games, there were lots of giggles and a great atmosphere. The Bingo caller was very funny and charismatic, especially impressive when we found out he was only 15 - if he doesn't end up on the stage or television, I'll eat my (knitted) hat.

The Marketplace was a delight, so many lovely vendors and their beautiful wares, here are my very favourite purchases:


A lovely card from TillyFlop
A bag from NicsKnots - a vintage William Morris print and a bag design that hangs from your wrist while you knit to keep your yarn ball off the floor
Some Chiaogoo needles from Loop - I'll do a proper review when I've used them but I'm excited by their pointy tips!
Lego Head Stitchmarkers from The Bothered Owl (who are no more but their new companies The Undercover Owl and The Quizzical Owl will be up and running soon)
Some very cute duck stitchmarkers from StephCuddles


Some lovely Sokkusu sock yarn
Gorgeous Milly Sock Yarn from Juno Fibre Arts
2 skeins of Wollmeise - the grey for man socks (cabled so I will be glad of the extra yardage) and the blue/green for a Lintilla


My favourite new discovery of the weekend was NiMu yarn - I love the colours and the unusual dye techniques, the top one is Eclipse which is a dark grey with tiny flashes of colour which will knit up in to little flecks.

When I got home on Sunday night I was exhausted - too exhausted to knit on the train but I did spin for a while. It's Tuesday and I'm starting to feel normal again, who knew that chatting and knitting was such a energy sapping activity?

Monday, 11 July 2011

Louder than a Hitchhiker...

I've finished my Hitchhiker Scarf! I've had my eye on the pattern for a while and when I saw a KAL was happening in the GothSocks group on Ravelry, I was helpless to resist! The pattern is simple but clever and addictive, once I had about 15 points I rationed myself to knitting 2 points a day to ensure I got other things done - otherwise I would have neglected everything else and knit this all day! I got 40 points in total, I've got a small ball of yarn left but my scales are broken so I don't know exactly how much but I would guess about 3 grams.


The yarn is a delight to knit with and the colours are beautiful and so bright! I know some people are not big fans of garter stitch but I love it, it's so squishy and warm.


I blocked it in the sunshine on Saturday morning, it dried in record time - in fact I spent longer looking for my blocking pins than it took for the scarf to dry. I looked and looked, couldn't find them, used dressmaking pins instead, remembered they were in a safe, sensible place in my knitting bag which is so unusual for me I didn't even bother looking there. I scare myself sometimes.


Here I am wearing it, taking my own photo so it's not perfect but I can't tell you how much I love this, I might even break my 'never knit the same pattern twice' rule for it!

Friday, 8 July 2011

A (Knit) Night to Remember

Last night I went to Knit Night at a brand new yarn shop, I would use the word local, it's a 30 minute drive each way so i don't know if it really counts as local but it's totally worth the drive!

I've been looking for a Knit Night to go to for ages and I'm always jealous when people say they've been to one. I had high hopes for the Fibre Flurry shop in Kings Norton and I wasn't disappointed at all. The shop is lovely, lots of great brands including The Knitting Goddess, NDS, Babylonglegs and Excelana (I've been wanting to have a look at that one and I'll definitely be investing in some soon!), a nice selection of books, bags, buttons and needles and a seating area.

As for the actual Knit Night bit, everyone was lovely and friendly, there was laughter, chat and cake - and the cake was delicious! There were quite a few summer shawls being worked on, I was knitting my Hitchhiker, it's a perfect knit and chatter pattern (I'm planning on casting it off later tonight).

One of attendees had the most fantastic crochet bag I've ever seen

One side has intricate realistic fruit and the other has the same fruit but in natural colours and a crochet pencil colouring in one of the raspberries, the creativity is astounding, she explains all on her Rav page here (I got lost in her projects for a while, I WISH I could crochet!)

Of course, I didn't come away empty handed! I got a Zauberball in mustard and various grey/browns, a skein of Babylonglegs in a deep blue and a tiny ball of Opal that is too cute for words!

I will be going regularly and I would recommend it to anyone who lives close enough!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Are we nearly there yet??

I'm getting ready for Knit Nation, it's only a week and a bit away now and I'm a bit excited!

I went last year and it was brilliant, I couldn't say a negative thing about it (except I wish it lasted a week!), it was well organised, friendly and fun. The class I did was informative and interesting and the marketplace was small but perfectly formed. I am anticipating this year will be just as good, if not better because I'll be there everyday this time!

I'm being hyper-organised and collecting together all the things I need for my classes

I'm doing Introduction to Top Whorl Spindling on Saturday afternoon, Photographing Your Fibre and Lace Edgings on Sunday. There's a spindle from HandSpinner for the spinning class (I have sort of taught myself to spin already, I was a bit impatient to learn! But I'm sure I'll still learn a lot!), spare batteries for my camera in the photography class, and some left over Baby Ull and 3.5mm tips for the lace class.

I have got at least one set of 3.5mm tips already but the only ones I could find were attached to my Shipwreck Shawl.

I know that they are interchangeable and this means that you can unscrew them, put the nifty little caps on the end and use the needle elsewhere

I also KNOW that if I remove the needle tips from this shawl, the already slim chance that it will EVER get finished will evaporate.

So I ordered another set from P2tog.

There is method in my madness.... (or more likely madness in my method)

There are a few more bits and pieces I need but I'm nearly ready, if you're going to Knit Nation and you see me (I will probably wear a badge of some sort with CoopKnit on it) say Hello, I would love to put faces to names or just meet new people!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Socks fit for a palace.....

Maybe not the kind of palace you'd like to visit though....

My Volturi Palace Sock pattern is now available to buy:


These are toe-up socks with a bit of stranded colourwork, a bit of lace and a bit of cabling, bit of everything really. There are increases before the colourwork detail on the cuff so you don't have to worry about it not going over your heel (although I would still recommend knitting this section loosely).


This sock is inspired by the room in which Bella meets the Volturi after travelling to Italy to save Edward. It is not described in detail in the book, but the set which was designed and built for the film draws on Tuscan Renaissance architecture with cream and green marble, columns and clean lines. The light, airy space is a contrast to the dark and dangerous Aro. These socks have green toes which have curves leading in to the cream marble columns and carvings. The cuff has a pattern inspired by the one of the tiled patterns on the floor of the chamber.


Even if you don't like Twilight (and I know some people don't!) the main inspiration for these socks is beautiful Italian architecture - whats not to like about that? These are among my favourite socks of all time (just don't tell the others, it'll hurt their feelings)

You can get the yarn I used from The Knitting Goddess - if it sells out she will probably dye more at some point, she's nice like that.