Saturday, 28 March 2015

Rucksack Oogling

It turns out I have expensive tastes in rucksacks. But they so pretty.  I found this whilst desperately plugging away to find a nice bag and retain a life free of back pain.  Why oh why do one shoulder bags kill me so much - I do reckon I always try to take too many things with me.  Of course I need two books in case I finish the first one, and a whole knitting project, a BMJ magazine in case I feel like learning and a flask of coffee in case I'm thirsty on the way in.  A snack?  Yes, that too, lets take some nuts, and you may as well throw in the things I actually need for work.

First up, Orla Kiely makes some beautiful stem print bags.   They're bright & shiny and totally up my street. 

http://www.orlakiely.com/uk.cfm/bags/etc/0ETCCMS138/33473/Multi/

Second on my list, are these gorgeous Kanken bags (I think I love the one on the left, but it's considerably more expensive...)



We're not even going to discuss the price of this leather one.



These Herschel bags are just too cute, as are the Sandqvist lot;




In an attempt to be self sufficient, I've been looking up free bag patterns to sew myself, but just haven't found anything which quite meets what I was looking for! 

Have you been making your own bag recently?  Or splashed out and bought a shiny new one?



Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Cuppa & Cake with Sylvan Tiger Yarn

Recently, I had a wee chat with Katie of Sylvan Tiger Yarn about her beautiful range of wooly goodness.  

I first heard of Sylvan Tiger Yarn when I was sent a beautiful parcel from the Golden Skein club, and couldn't wait to knit with it.  They became the Ithunn socks, and I just had to find out more about where this lovely yarn was born.







How long have you been dyeing yarn for, and what prompted you to begin selling your beautiful creations?

Well, I started researching and experimenting with natural dyes a couple of years ago, and opened my Etsy shop in December 2013.  People were admiring my yarns and the house was getting rather full of wool so I decided I ought to try and sell some of it!
I have a couple of confirmed shows in the diary - Wharfe Wool Fair on 9 May in Otley, near Leeds and Armley Mills Wool Fair on 6 June at Armley Mills Industrial Museum in Leeds.  I've also applied for Yarndale again, fingers crossed. I'm also dyeing up a big box of lovely British Alpaca yarn for County Alpacas, they'll have it on their stall at various shows throughout the year and I've just started dyeing up a bunch of fibre for Adelaide Walker, they'll have it for sale on their website very soon.  There's another little project with The Nude Ewe in the pipeline too, a range of Norfolk Horn yarn produced from a single conservation flock.  I'm test dyeing some samples at the moment and it's looking very promising, watch this space...


Your etsy shop is beautiful, what inspires your colours?

Thank you (blushes!) I love bright jewel colours, especially purple. Inspiration comes from all around really, the landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales, the Moors and the Lake District.  Even just random combinations such as paint splodges on a windowsill or lichens on a tree.  Sometimes from the dyes themselves too.  The natural dyes are sensitive to different minerals so adding things like iron or citric acid will change the colour, I like to experiment, a bit like a mad scientist at times!


When you're not busy making lovely yarn, what can we find you doing?

My day job is for the local City Council's Music section, we programme classical music events at venues around the city. I also play flute (or sometimes cello) in a local amateur orchestra and a wind quintet.  I love reading too and getting out and about in the fresh air.  I've just heard that the first lambs have been born at the City's rare breed farm so I'm looking forward to going lamb-gazing soon!


Do you get the chance to knit yourself, and what's your favourite knitted item?


I try!  I love knitting socks, I always have a pair on the go as travel/TV knitting. I love lace shawls too, I'm currently knitting a lace scarf for my Mother in Law, it's her Christmas present (Christmas 2014!) so I'm really trying to make some progress on it.  Then, I'll be able to cast on for your Ithunn socks as samples for my stalls at wool fairs this year.

Do you have any exciting news / events coming up this year?

I have a couple of confirmed shows in the diary - Wharfe Wool Fair on 9 May in Otley, near Leeds and Armley Mills Wool Fair on 6 June at Armley Mills Industrial Museum in Leeds.  I've also applied for Yarndale again, fingers crossed. I'm also dyeing up a big box of lovely British Alpaca yarn for County Alpacas, they'll have it on their stall at various shows throughout the year and I've just started dyeing up a bunch of fibre for Adelaide Walker, they'll have it for sale on their website very soon.  There's another little project with The Nude Ewe in the pipeline too, a range of Norfolk Horn yarn produced from a single conservation flock.  I'm test dyeing some samples at the moment and it's looking very promising, watch this space...



I might just have to go to Yarndale this year after all :p  If you can't wait that long, you can nosey at the yummy yarn over here



Also, the giveaway is still ongoing (until the end of March) for a copy of the Fearlas Mor pattern & skein of yarn! 




Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Gorgeous Giveaway with Sara's Texture Crafts

I've some exciting news!

After the release of my Fearlas Mor socks last week, knitted in lovely Sara's Texture Craft Sock,  Sara herself has offered two (yes two!) skeins of yarn for you to have the chance of winning, along with a copy of the new pattern!

You can see the blog post about these socks here, or view them on Ravelry here.  

The superwash sock is lovely to knit with, it has great stitch definition, a nice twist and is dyed so beautifully that even the subtle variations in the grey can keep you gazing lovingly at it instead of getting on with your knitting. 

To be in with a chance of winning this generous prize, pop on over to Sara's blog post for more details.
 

I'll also offer a copy of the pattern (without the yarn) as a compensation prize to someone who comments below to tell me what your favourite kind of sock heel is and why - or if you don't knit socks, you can just tell me your favourite thing to knit.  



Saturday, 7 March 2015

Edinburgh Yarn Festival


As you all know (of course you do) Edinburgh Yarn Festival is fast approaching!! This weekend, Saturday & Sunday, there will be a world filled with yarny delights at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh.

I'll be there with stitch markers and knitting patterns, along with some truly magnificent designers and purveyors of yarny wonderfullness.

Have a wee peek on the edinyarnfest.com website for a full list of vendors.

Also, as it is my quarter of a century birthday today, you can grab 25% off my ravelry patterns with the code ' QUARTERCENTURY ' :)


What do you have planned for this weekend? Are you coming to EYF?? Drop by for a visit! 


Saturday, 28 February 2015

Fearlas Mor Socks & Yummy Yarn


  

More socks!!  I have indeed been busy, and these little grey socks are one of my favorite pairs!  You can find the pattern on Ravelry here

Knitted in hand-dyed yarn from Sara's Texture Crafts, these socks are toe-up, part slipped stitch pattern, part lace pattern.  

In the Cairngorms, there is a rumour of a Grey Man, a Fearlas Mor, who roams the mountaintops waiting to waylay hopeful climbers. He has been reported as a ‘presence’ rather than a tangible being, and those sensible scientists have thought of a few explanations.

The ‘Broken Spectre’ is apparently a phenomenon which occurs when a break in the clouds allows us to see a reflection of ourselves on the next cloud, often accompanied by a rainbow called a Glory.
Despite this, some still feel the Grey Man is a manifestation of the spirit of the mountain – which is cool, if a little creepy.

As far as the yarn goes, it was yummy!  Hand-dyed by Sara, who guest posted here recently on the merits of being brave with your yarn dyeing adventures

I also used the Karbonz knit pro needles for this pair, and they were a delight to knit with.  As I mentioned in the needle review not long ago, they're just lovely and comfortable, and I will definitely be using them again soon. 

If you'd prefer something more summery, Braeriach and Ithunn sock are lovely, green & lacy, knitted in lovely yarn from Ginger Twist & Sylvan Tiger.  


What are you currently knitting?  What's your favourite kind of sock to make?


As you may have noticed a couple of clues to in the first photo, I'm off to Iceland this week!!  Very excited, all the winter warm clothes are looked out & packed, and I'm really upset I don't have time to knit a lovely warm cowl before I go!  One of my definite goals is to buy myself some lopi yarn for an icelandic sweater whilst I'm away.  Have you ever visited?  Can you recommend a yarn shop for me?!





Sunday, 15 February 2015

A Trip To Gingers


It should seem like a bit of a dream to nestle in amongst all of this glorious yarn, but it's a very real possibility at Ginger Twist Studio in Edinburgh.

Recently, I was very flattered to be asked if I'd like to take part in 'Designer of the Month' at Ginger Twist Studio - of course, I said yes; resulting in a wonderful day spent knitting, drinking tea, chatting to some amazing ladies who popped in for a wee visit, and a serious amount of yarn smooshing. 

As some of you know, though most of you don't, I lived in Edinburgh for 5 years whilst attending university.  Edinburgh is beautiful; it is unique, cobbled, romantic, surprising, massive yet tiny, comforting and awe-inspiring in equal measure.  And, as that train pulled into Waverly train station, a ridiculous sense of joy permeated my being.  You may think, at this point, I'm being melodramatic.  I can assure you, I was genuinely overwhelmed (+/- having some sort of location crisis). 

I love Glasgow as well, but for such very different reasons.  It's huge, filled with music venues & art exhibitions, has a character which can't quite be defined and never fails to surprise me in some way or other.  You CAN be in love with two cities at once.



Jess' store is adorable; perfectly appointed for it's purpose.  Along one wall hangs hand-dyed yarn of all types of colours & fibres.  They're hung lengthways rather than skeined to give a better appreciation of colour and texture, creating a dream-like wooly waterfall wtretching wall to wall.    Along the other rests balls of commercial yarns, ripe for picking.  Stitch markers and knitting accessories are shelved neatly above the yarns, below rows of knitted items Jess has lovingly put together herself.   The smell is one of fibre & tea - cinnamon, this morning.

Jess herself is delightful, welcoming and entertaining, and made me feel right at home.  Even little Fox was quite at home with his cup of tea.


Whilst we chatted, some of my designs were on display around the shop, including the newest addition - Braeriach socks (here on Rav), knit from Jess' own hand-dyed yarn.  Her mannequin was also very fetching in the Ashton Lane beaded circular shawlette & the Ardence Scarf



Of course, I didn't leave empty handed and now have two new sets of needles and a ball of yarn to show for my visit...

Apart from in her gorgous little shop, you'll find Jess at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival this March, too. 



Have you been yarn shopping lately?  What did you buy?  I'm desperate to get knitting with this lovely skein from GTS!



Sunday, 8 February 2015

Sleepy Sunday & Braeriach Sock


After a wonderful day at Ginger Twist Studio yesterday (more on that later), today is a day for knitting, reading and reorganising my stash several times until it is lined up just right.  

I'm very excited to tell you that my new sock pattern is out.  It's called Braeriach and is inspired by one of the highest mountains in Scotland.  Scrubby mountainside plants, beaten by the howling winds. Even on days with bluebird skies, you’ll find yourself buffeted in every direction by the mountainside ‘breeze’. An icy bite is never far away when wandering a Scottish Munro like Braeriach, but you could always rely on good socks to keep you going!  Braeriach is the third highest mountain in Britain (and feels like it, when attempting your journey up).

I'm going to level with you all, I strongly dislike climbing up a mountain.  Yes, yes, it's all very pretty and theres a sense of achievement when you get to the top - but it's freezing, and windy, and I can't knit.  

Don't get me wrong, strap some wooden planks to my feet and send me down a mountain and I'm happy as the proverbial pig, but there are wee lifts there to take you up again.

These socks are made from Ginger Twist sheepish sock, and it is very yummy to knit with.  




Whilst I was in Edinburgh I bought a set of hiyahiya interchangables, mainly so that I could have the wee Panda needle toppers and that they were on the needles they were supposed to be on.  It's not excessive, it was totally necessary.  Also totally necessary was the small 9" metal sock circular - because I bought a wooden one the other day and now have to compare them.  Yes. 

I also left with another skein of Jess' lovely yarn in merino/silk Hocus Pocus colourway.  Is is beautiful and incredible and I shall spend the day smooshing it.  But first I must finish things I'm supposed to be working on.  How many projects do you currently have on the go?  I'm trying to reduce the amount of WIPs lying around so am determined to get some of these finished.  Also, I'm sure I had more cables, so perhaps I have some long-lost projects hidden somewhere, long forgotten. 

Best of all, PomPom arrived this weekend, just in time for my cozy kntting & chilling session.  There are some truly beautiful items inside this quarter, and I'd love to knit them but am unsure how patient I am!  There is a glorious laceweight top, but I might have to wait until a few exciting secret things are finished first. 


What do you have planned for this weekend?  Are you venturing outside or settling down on the couch? 










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