Friday 25 November 2016

Festibear ...

Okay, he's arrived a bit late. I'd intended to have him off the needles in time for Festiwool, but, with one thing and another, life got in the way and poor Festibear missed his launch date. Still, better late than never, as they say. He can be a Christmas bear. I'm sure there are lots of little people up and down the land who'd happily give him a home for the holidays.

He's knit in the round (mostly) from my own-label Costa Brava Knitting Splatter dash Merino double knitting wool on 3.00 mm/  double-pin needles. You'll need about 70 g/ 140 metres for a bear of these proportions (he stands 30 cm/ 12" tall). In addition to the wool you'll need a circle of felt (diameter 9 cm/ 3.5") for inside his head to hold his facial features securely in place, some toy stuffing and a pair of 6 mm safety eyes. You may even like to push the boat out and treat him to a nice length of velvet ribbon, just for decency's sake so that he's not a naked bear ... .

Anyway, whichever way you want to dress him up, please read on for the pattern.

Tuesday 22 November 2016

Ealing's swamp cypress ...

Today I'm loving a swamp Cypress - native of a mangrove swamp in the Florida Everglades, - that's made its home in Walpole Park. Who'd have thought? A swamp cypress? In Ealing?

Walpole Park, Ealing, London, W5
Ealing's Swamp Cypress

Sunday 20 November 2016

The Knitting History Forum ...

Yesterday I went for the first time to a meeting of the Knitting History Forum. I'm an avid knitter and a keen social historian, so it was always guaranteed to be something that I would find interesting. What I wasn't prepared for was the colourful cast of characters, with strong and very well-informed opinions, who made up the audience. Yes, the speakers were interesting, but the folk scattered around the room were brilliant. They listened attentively, needles clicking as the speakers talked, and then asked incisive questions, and chipped in with additional information from learned papers and books that they'd written on related themes themselves.

Here in London I'm an enthusiastic lecture attendee, but I've never been part of an audience in which every other person brandished knitting needles as they listened. Of course it makes total sense that they should be multitasking in this way. Indeed educational psychologists often suggest that having something to fiddle with whilst you listen helps the information go in, and so many of us (self included) enjoy our favourite television programmes curled up on the sofa working as we watch.

We had lectures about Frisian lace making, the publication of knitting and crochet patterns in northern Europe from 1790 to 1870 and debunking the myths around Shetland lace making. The speakers included a museum curator from the Fries Museum in the Netherlands and a clutch of academics.

Listening in the audience were no lesser authorities on the subject that Professor Sandy Black of the London College of Fashion and author of (amongst other books) the wonderful Knitting: Fashion, History Craft, which is one of my favourite reference books, Dr Jane Malcolm-Davies, author of the Tudor Tailor, Dr Angharad Thomas of Knitting Gloves, who is the Textiles Archivist at the Knitting & Crochet Guild and Joyce Meader of the Historic Knit.

We had been invited to watch two recent documentaries on the history of knitting to which several members of the audience had contributed before attending, so that we could talk about them in the discussion section. I found them both interesting, and recommend them to you if you've got an idle hour to fill over the course of the next few days.

Fabric of Britain - available on BBC iPlayer until Thursday, 24th November.

The Secret History of Knitting - available on YouTube.

All the best for now,

Bonny x 

Monday 14 November 2016

Thank you to all my lovely Festiwool customers ...

It was a truly splendid little fair with lots of lovely, friendly people - both buying and selling. I'm always impressed by how nice yarn-lovers are. I know it sounds schmaltzy and trite, and that there are always exceptions to every rule, but in my experience - gleaned from days on my feet talking to the passing public at yarn fairs, and weeks of my life given over to knitting retreats - I've come to the firm view that a love of all things woolly is, of itself, a pretty good character reference.

Friday 11 November 2016

Festiwool 2016 ...

I’m really looking forward to Festiwool this Saturday. If you’re in the Hitchin area please drop by and say Hello! I’ll be on the Costa Brava Knitting stand all day.

It’s a lovely, friendly fair with some fabulous exhibitors – just the thing for stocking up on all your woolly essentials for the cold weeks of November and December … brr … isn’t it cold these days?

Friday 4 November 2016

Happy Friday, peeps!

We've been battling to make teddy bears - and not teddy mice. It's been a challenge, but we're getting there.

This was the outlook across the dining room table yesterday afternoon as the sunlight filtered in through the half-open shutters.  Emi was writing an essay about three birds in a nest, and battling to get the punctuation right, whilst I persevered with my teddies, battling to get the eyes sufficiently far apart. A nice bottle of red beckoned with the necessary promise to get me through until dinner.

Tuesday 1 November 2016

Teddy Mouse ...

We've been practising for the 11+ exams over here at Talk-a-Lot Towers, and I can't exactly say that it's been a bag of laughs ... . 

To keep hold of my sanity I've been playing around with some of my Merino double knitting, trying to make a good-luck mascot for the big day. The idea was to create a teddy bear in this lovely tweedy wool, but do you know what happens when you make your teddy's eyes too close together ... he morphs into a Teddy Mouse!

Anyway the pattern's a work in progress, and were he given a voice to reply he'd probably quote Marilyn Monroe and tell us: Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's always better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.

And his name is ... Dave. Not sure why, but it's definitely Dave. 

All the best for now, and happy All Saints' Day!

Bonny x