This Thing of Paper: A KAL

One of the knitting highlights of last year was surely the publication of Karie Westermann’s This Thing of Paper.  I had backed the project in the early days when it was crowdsourced through Kickstarter.  I’ve known Karie for a few years now, so I knew the book would be something great.  I mean, a knitting book about books and knitting?  Brilliant.

What does it mean to be a maker? What do handmade things mean to us? Who do we become as we read and knit? All these questions and many more are discussed in a knitting book quite unlike others.

Rubrication (2)

Not long after the project was launched, Karie asked to use my yarn in one of her designs for the book.  You can imagine my reply!  Two skeins of Tanami in Double Happiness were intended it for a shawl called Rubrication, so-named for the medieval technique of using red ink to emphasise sections of text in manuscripts.

I was then blown away with this amazing design appeared on the front cover!

Travelknitter This Thing of Paper

It’s been such a thrill to be involved with this project, even in a very small way from the sidelines.  It really is such a beautiful book, full of Karie’s thoughtful words, wearable designs, and stunning photography and layout.  The first print run sold out at phenomenal speed, but I still have some copies of This Thing of Paper in my shop now.

If you’re just casting on one of the patterns, Karie is hosting a TTOP knitalong in her Ravelry group.  There is some great chat happening, with regular “hangouts” with Karie herself.   As an added bonus, there are some rather nice prizes available, including two skeins of Tanami baby camel and silk in a colour of your choice.

Go, enjoy, make!

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UK yarn shows 2018

Happy new year everyone! I hope your 2018 is off to a good start.  For me the new year always means planning my yarn shows for the year, and putting together my annual blog post of the main shows around the UK.

The first show for the year is Waltham Abbey on January 21st, and this year I’m excited to be going as a vendor for the first time.  From all accounts I hear it’s a really nice, friendly event, and every time I’ve met the organisers they have been wonderful.  I’m looking forward to catching up with lots of local knitters.

I’m also going to be at the wonderful Edinburgh Yarn Fest again in March this year… it’s definitely not too soon to get excited!

(I’m also heading international this year as a vendor for the first time, so I’ll be posting more details about that, along with a little list of yarn shows in Europe.  Hit me up with recommendations!)

Travelknitter guide to UK yarn shows 2018

21 Jan                Waltham Abbey Wool Show Waltham Abbey, Essex
16-18 Feb         Unravel Farnham Maltings, Farnham, Surrey
1-4 March         Spring Knitting and Stitching Show  Olympia, London
15-17 March    Edinburgh Yarn Festival Edinburgh, Scotland
18 March          Cornwoolly Redruth, Cornwall
7-8 April           Spring Into Wool The Grammar School, Leeds
28-29 April       Wonderwool Wales Builth Wells, Wales
5 May                Wharfe Wool Fair Ilkley, West Yorkshire
12-13 May       Wool@J13  Penkridge, Staffordshire
13 May             Aberdeen Yarnfest Aberdeen, Scotland  (new!)
2 June               Leeds Wool Festival Armley Mills, Leeds
22-23 June       Woolfest Cockermouth, Cumbria
14-15 July        Yarningham Uffculme Centre, Birmingham
28-29 July        Fibre-East Ampthill, Bedfordshire
8 Aug                Yarnfolk Whitehead, Northern Ireland
10-11 Aug        British Wool Show  York Auction Mart, York, Yorkshire
25 Aug             Wool@Portsoy  Portsoy, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
1 Sept               Southern Wool Show Newbury, Berkshire (new!)
1 Sept               Wool is the Festival Lincoln (new!)
8-9 Sept            Perth Festival of Yarn Perth, Scotland
15-16 Sept       Cornish Yarn Festival Penzance, Cornwall
22- 30 Sept      Shetland Wool Week Shetland, Scotland
29-30 Sept       Yarndale Skipton Auction Mart, Skipton, Yorkshire
29-30 Sept       Masham Sheep Fair  Masham, Yorkshire
11-14 Oct         Knitting and Stitching Show Alexandra Palace, London
13-14 Oct         Bakewell Wool Gathering  Bakewell, Derbyshire
14 Oct               West Wales Wool Show Narberth, Pembrokeshire
19-21 Oct         Loch Ness Knit Festival Inverness, Scotland
20-21 Oct         Wooltown Ipswich, Suffolk (new!)
28-29 Oct         Kendal Wool Gathering Kendal, Cumbria
2-3 Nov            Yarnporium London
3-4 Nov            Stitch Fest South West Totnes, Devon
10 Nov              Festiwool Hitchin, Hertfordshire
10-11 Nov        Nottingham Yarn Expo Nottingham

23-26 Nov      Knitting and Stitching Show Harrogate, Yorkshire

Here’s to a fabulously yarn-filled 2018!
Note:  Updated so that dates are correct as at 2nd April 2018.

 

Woolness = Wellness

Many of you will already be aware that it is currently Wovember, the month that is all about celebrating wool.  This year the theme is “Woolness – Where Wool Meets Wellness”, and “Woolness = Wellness” is the prompt for day 2 of the Yarn in the City Instagram Challenge.

I wasn’t planning on writing this blog post, nor even putting up an Instagram.  (I’m not even putting up a photo, the cardinal sin of the internet).  The thoughts came to me this morning as I was lying in bed, contemplating the day ahead.  I’d allowed my mind a bit of space to wander, as the heavy rain allowed me to declare in advance that today was going to be a low-key indoors day.  Sort of a mental health day, where I try to take a bit of pressure off myself (but still somehow needing to be a bit productive).  I’ve already had a few days in bed this week thanks to an underlying health condition, so the topic feels especially relevant.

There is an increasing body of research on the health benefits of knitting, and especially for mental health.  If you’d like to find out more about the therapeutic benefits of knitting and other crafts, Betsan Corkhill’s site Stitchlinks is a good place to start.

This is the bit where I come out to you all:  I’m not really a knitter.  I can hear the gasps! An imposter!  I mean, I know how to knit, and I carry my project bag with me every day just in case a suitable knitting opportunity arises.  Many of my friends are knitters, and I’ve built a business based around knitting.  But I don’t have an innate need to knit every day, and weeks could easily go by without having knit a single stitch.  I’m incredibly envious of the stunning knitted projects that I see people create, and I wish that I was  driven to knit more so that I could have a handknitted jumper for every day of the week, or a drawer full of handmade socks.

I find that I don’t need to actually knit with yarn for it to be an integral part of my life.  I’m surrounded by wool and yarn.  I work with it, I dye it, I read about it, I talk about it.  My home is filled with wool, whether dyed, undyed, knitted or unknitted.  I wear wool clothing every day, even in summer, whether handknitted or factory made.  I love the cosiness and sturdiness of wearing wool.  It help grounds me and keeps me in touch with something real.  My natural inclination is to spend far too much time in my own head, and my day job only exacerbates this.  Wool is an antidote that brings me back to the tangible.

If I don’t necessarily knit with it, then what else do I do with yarn?  I just enjoy it.  In my business, I dye it, skein it, twist it, label it, wrap it up in tissue paper, and send it off to new homes to be loved.  I pile it up, I rearrange colours, I put different combinations together.  I relish all the different textures; smooth or rustic; chunky or delicate.  I don’t quite roll around in it, but a dear friend has (only half-jokingly) suggested creating a yarn pit to do just that!  Just playing with yarn, without even needing to knit a stitch, still brings together all the same sensory experiences.  Essentially, I just like to play with wool.

Tomorrow you can find me back at Wild and Woolly, rearranging the yarn cubbies, tidying up all the gorgeous skeins, getting my weekly therapeutic dose of real joy.

And the winners are…

Thank you so much for your entries to the Travelknitter / KnitShareLove From Dorset With Love giveaway.  I structured the competition from a purely selfish perspective: so I could read about all your wonderful road trips!  It seems like such a long time since I’ve been on a trip myself, and as soon as the warm weather arrives all thoughts turn to adventures.  You’ve given me some great inspiration for future plans!

I’ve drawn the names out of the figurative hat (aka random number generator).

Drum roll please, and the winners are:

  1. Mel  – one skein of hand dyed Travelknitter Extra Fine Merino DK in your favourite colourway
  2. Gill – one ebook of the full From Dorset With Love collection
  3.  GardeningWitch and Becca – each win one digital copy of the Lulworth Cove hat.

Congratulations everyone!  Please drop me an email (travelknitter at hotmail dot com) with your contact details, including Ravelry ID).

Happy travels!

 

New pattern release: From Dorset With Love

Some of you may already have noticed that Clare Devine has released a new collection of patterns, From Dorset With Love.  Clare has a way of  coming up with wonderful patterns with special details that are always completely wearable.  From Dorset With Love is inspired by a life-changing road trip that Clare made to Dorset two years ago.  The images she describes are so evocative and make me want to hit the road myself.
The collection contains six patterns based around Dorset locations.  I was particularly excited that the first pattern released was Lulworth Cove, a slouchy beanie pattern knit in the snuggly Travelknitter Merino DK.
Clare knit the sample using the London Skies colourway (always one of my favourites), and the sample has such a beautiful, timeless quality to it:

Photo by Kate O’Sullivan @aplayfulday

For my own sample I wanted to try something totally different.  I anticipated that the stitch pattern would show up a variegated colourway really well, so I went with my Travelknitter Merino DK in Brambleberry.  I love the effect!  It has a totally different feel to it.  Huge thanks to my friends Vicky and Helen for joining me down the pub: Vicky for modelling and Helen for photography.  The next round is on me.
Travelknitter Brambleberry DK Lulworth Cove
To celebrate the pattern launch, Clare and I have put together some goodies!
Clare is offering a 20% discount to my followers who purchase a single pattern from the collection.  Simply purchase the pattern via Ravelry and enter the code travelknitter20 to claim your discount.  This offer is available until 31st May.
I’m also hosting a little competition here on my blog, and we have four prizes up for grabs:
  • One skein of Travelknitter Merino DK in the colourway of your choice
  • One ebook of the full collection
  • Two digital copies of the Lulworth Cove pattern
To be in the running, just leave a comment on this blog post and tell me about a special road trip you’ve either been on, or one that you want to go on.  The competition closes at midnight, Monday 29th May (British Summer Time).  Looking forward to hearing your tales!

UK yarn shows for 2017

Happy new year everyone!  I hope your 2017 is off to a good start.

My 2017 has been great so far: I’ve just been back in London for 2 days after returning from a whirlwind trip to Australia.  It was pretty amazing, and now my head is buzzing with all sorts of thoughts, ideas, and half-plans for the year ahead.  Once I recover from the trip and get back in to real life (and some sort of sleeping pattern), I’ll be sure to do some posts about my travels.

travelling wombat

Thinking about the year ahead, I bring you my list of UK knitting and yarn shows for 2017.

This is an annual list that I’ve been compiling for a number of years now.  As the knitting community continues to grow in the UK, there are more and more events being held around the country, with new events each year, and some events being discontinued.  It’s becoming trickier to keep up to date with what’s happening where!

Keep in mind that in addition to the 25 events that I have included, there are many other smaller events around the country aimed at local communities of woolly enthusiasts, so be sure to keep an eye out for those.  I’ve listed the larger events that knitters more often travel for.

I find it really helpful at the start of the year to get an overview of what’s coming up over the next twelve months.  I hope you find it useful too.

My own first scheduled show for the year is the wonderful Edinburgh Yarn Fest, where Travelknitter and The Wool Kitchen will again be sharing a stall again (a great time is guaranteed!).  I’ve applied to be a vendor at other events later in the year, so I’ll let you know about those once details are confirmed.

travelknitter stall

UPDATE 16.02.17:  A month is a long time in the knitting events world.  Since my original post, there’s been one cancellation, one addition, and a change of venue.  The list is now duly updated.

Download a PDF copy of the 2017-travelknitter-guide-to-uk-knitting-events-updated.  Enjoy your travels!

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November yarn shows

Where has the year gone?  It seems I blinked and missed it!  It just means that now we’ve reached autumn, the knitters’ favourite time of year, and it’s peak yarn show season.  Being a solo yarn dyer I try to plan out my year’s schedule carefully, but sometimes it’s a bit like buses that all come along at once.

First up is the Yarnporium this coming weekend, November 5th and 6th.  It’s an event held by the team behind Yarn in the City, and there is a great range of stalls and workshops over the two days.   The event is located very centrally at King’s College London on the Strand, and is perfect for people travelling across London as well as further afield.

yarnporium

Then the following Saturday 12th, I’ll be back at Hitchin Festiwool.  This is my third year there as a vendor.  It’s always such a friendly event, and I’m very much looking forward to catching up with lots of people from previous events.

hitchin-festiwool

I’ll be bringing your favourite colourways of course, as well as a brand new Brambleberry colourway inspired by the season.

These are my last two shows for the year, so I hope you can come along!

 

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