Friday 29 January 2016

Chalk painting furniture ...

I've always liked the shabby-chic look of painted furniture, but I've never been quite brave enough to take the paintbrush to anything that I liked having in the house. Call me a coward! Anyway, I have to dress up a stand for Knit & Stitch it 2016 and I'm on a budget (spent all the money on wool <ahem!>). I have four square metres of space, some (very ordinary) shelves that will be filled with my (very wonderful) wool and a (very ordinary) table and chairs where I'm scheduled to do some knitting demos - and it's all got to look super-duper wonderful on the shoe-string that is my expo budget.

Tuesday 19 January 2016

Knit & Stitch it 2016 ...

I'm doing my first knitting show at the end of February. Yikes! I'm so excited and so nervous all at the same time. If you're around in Farnborough on Friday 26th or Saturday 27th February do drop by. I'm going to be on Costa Brava Knitting's Stand (Stand number 38), and I'd be delighted to see a friendly face.

Saturday 16 January 2016

Moonlit London by the Thames ...

The weather in London has finally turned wintery, and the very best sort of wintery at that: cold and crisp with blues skies that make the spirits soar. Sadly we were unable to go out and make the most of it yesterday. I had a towering mountain of work, and a series of meetings that kept me indoors all day.

Finally night fell, and I had to take Emi to swim club. Normally I bring a book or some work, and sit around with the other parents waiting for our kids to do their stuff. But last night I brought the Wonder Dog, left the child with his chums and tore off to the river. It was wonderful. Exhilarating. Joggers jogged by; a few revellers hung around the riverside watering holes having a sneaky smoke outdoors. And apart from that it was just my faithful hound, the moonlight, the river and me. An amazing moment stolen from my normal routine.

Friday 15 January 2016

Ever thought of knitting bamboo?

I know it's not a fibre that people have traditionally used for knitting, but I've just ordered my first own-label consignment of bamboo yarn. It's all very exciting. I wanted to create something for summer in a sustainable fabric. Variegated yarns seem to be very in at the moment, and they also happen to be one of my favourites, so I've worked with a textile mill to produce a limited range of variegated colour-ways for Spring/ Summer 2016.

Wednesday 13 January 2016

Aran cowl ...

I've designed this wonderful Aran cowl for my Costa Brava Knitting workshops in February. I do hope my guests enjoy making it up and adapting the pattern to create their own unique holiday knits. What do you think?

It's a relatively straightforward project as both the cables and the central tree/ rope panel repeat over 8 rows, so they stay in step with one another as the project progresses, making it easy to keep track of where you are.

I used just under 2, 100g hanks of the wool (just under 400 m/ 440 yards), and it knit up on 4mm/ UK size 8/ US size 6 needles in the pattern at 47 stitches x 30 rows for a 10cm x 10 cm tension square. My scarf, before I folded it up and stitched it to make a cowl, measured 16 cm/6.5"  wide x 80 cm/ 31.5" long.

Just read on for the pattern:

Wednesday 6 January 2016

Grrrr ... not going my way ...

Don't you just hate it when everything gets knotted and you spend more time unravelling the wool than you do knitting the jumper? :-(( Normally I can count on Emi, Mr B ... the Wonder Dog ... anyone to hold their hands/ paws up obligingly so that I can unravel and wind my skeins into nice, neat balls of yarn ready to go. Today, however, things did not go according to plan ... .

Note to self: buy one of those umbrella-twister/ ball-winder combos to avoid nervous melt-down!!!

Sunday 3 January 2016

New Year, New Wool ...

It's turned a bit chillier here on the Costa Brava. The blue skies have gone, and in their place are leaden clouds and unkind sea breezes. Luckily we've not had to venture out very far, and have been cosily tucked up in front of the fire watching movies.

I've been road-testing a beautiful collection of hand-dyed merino wool. It starts out white, and they add dashes of dye until it's got a wonderful Jackson Pollock thing going on with depths and layers of colour. At first I thought that the multiple colour-way might be a distraction from the Aran stitch-work, but, now that I see it knit up, I like the look. What do you think?

Multi-coloured wool has the advantage of opening up all sorts of colour-matching/ clashing possibilities that a straight one-colour blend just doesn't touch.

Friday 1 January 2016

Happy New Year 2016 ...

May your pockets be heavy, and your heart be light.
May good luck pursue you each morning and night.

Traditional Irish blessing for the New Year