Summer yarn, winter yarn

Here we are at September 1st already.  For those of you here in the northern hemisphere, I hope you had a fabulous sunny summer.  And for those of you in the south, I hope you’ve had a wonderfully woolly winter!

My own summer has been busy but enjoyable.  I’ve recently launched two new colourways (if you were at Fibre East at the beginning of summer, you would have seen them); one of them is pure summer and one is much more wintery.  Both colourways happen to draw their inspiration from Australia.  This was completely unplanned, but really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise as I’m finally going back to Aus for a visit at the end of the year, and so “back home” has been on my mind a great deal.

Two of my eagle-eyed readers were able to guess the inspiration location for my first new colourway:

Travelknitter_Freycinet_Pure Merino Sock

Named Freycinet, this colour is based on photos that I took during my last visit to Wineglass Bay, in the Freycinet National Park in Tasmania.  The East Coast of Tasmania was my camping holiday destination as a teenager, and I went back a few years ago.  Wineglass Bay is one of those amazing places that really does look picture-postcard perfect, and is well worth a short hike to get there.  This colour turned out exactly as I’d imagined from the very first skein, and I’m completely in love with it.

Travelknitter_LanewayCity_BFLSupersock

The second new colourway is completely different, and involves a quick hop across Bass Strait to the wonderful city of Melbourne.  It’s a city where famously everyone wears black (I’m sure that’s part of the reason why it suited me so well) and is the inspiration for Laneway City, a neutral dark grey to black colourway.  It’s perfect whether you want some cosy black socks, or for pairing with jewel tones in a stripey shawl.

Both colours are available online now.

I hope you enjoy a little taste of Aussie inspiration.

 

 

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Heading to Fibre East

The Etsy shop is shut, the bags are (almost) packed, and the excitement is high: this weekend will see Travelknitter yarns at Fibre-East in Bedfordshire for the first time.

I’m getting just a little bit excited about this now – too excited to type properly actually – so I’ll keep it brief!

I’ll be bringing all the yarns and colourways that you know and love, as well as a few limited editions and two new colours.

There will a new shade of grey to add to the collection:

 

travelknitter_greys

 

And a spiffy new holiday-inspired summer colour that I’m rather in love with:

travelknitter_Freycinet

I’ll be in the Jacob marquee, so please come and find me and squish some yarn.  Looking forward to it!

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The Travel Trio: a giveaway!

London Skies__by Clare Devine

In my last post I shared news about Clare Devine’s stunning new mini-collection of sock patterns, The Travel Trio.  I’m still ridiculously excited about the London Skies socks, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be casting on for a pair this weekend.  I’m heading on a roadtrip, so the timing is perfect.  As much as I’d love a pair for myself, I know that The Amazing Molly would really appreciate a pair, so I’m trying not to be too selfish!  I’m currently torn between using the original London Skies, or the Dabbling Duck colourway.  Tough call, but I don’t have long to decide.

The Knitalong for Clare’s travel-inspired socks starts tomorrow, and you can join in with all the chat over in the Knit Share Love Ravelry group.

Grellow Love__by Clare Devine

If you haven’t yet got your hands on a copy of the patterns, then here’s your chance:  I’ve got one copy of The Travel Trio collection to give away.  Whoop!

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Leave a comment telling me about a knitting-related souvenir that you’ve picked up on your travels.  You can comment either on this blog post or in the Travelknitter Ravelry group thread.
  2. Only one entry per person (no double dipping!)
  3. Competition closes Monday 20th June 8PM British Summer Time.

Good luck!

 

Update: 

Thank you so much to everyone who entered here and over in the Ravelry Travelknitter group.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone’s stories of travels and yarny adventures.

Thanks to the magic of the random number generator, the winner of a copy of The Travel Trio is Debbie (muirandco on Ravelry).   Congratulations Debbie – a copy of the ebook will be making its way to you.

Happy travelknitting!

 

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The Travel Trio

The Travel Trio_Clare Devine_June 2016

Designer Clare Devine has just released a brand new pattern collection, and I’m so excited!  The Travel Trio features three travel-inspired sock patterns, each designed in travel-inspired yarn.  The patterns are all designed to be perfect travel projects themselves, and are reflective of Clare’s recent move to Australia from the UK.

Clare says,

I love a good adventure and for me the best knitting companion to a great journey, whether near or far, is a pair of socks.

A good pair of travel socks needs to be easy to pick up and put down without having to do too much thinking. I am a big fan of the plain old vanilla sock but sometimes plain vanilla just doesn’t cut it. I often want just a little bit of detail – some texture, a smattering of eyelets or some interesting colour combinations.

London Skies__by Clare Devine_800px11

The first pattern in the collection is London Skies, named after the Travelknitter BFL Supersock that it is designed in.  Clare explains how she came to choose this colourway:

London Skies is a stunning layered grey, reminiscent of the low hanging grey clouds over London in winter. I knew that this colourway had to be used as my way to say goodbye to the city I love.

I really love Clare’s use of twisted rib in this design.  It’s so simple yet effective, and the texture adds an extra element of light and shade.

The collection includes two other patterns; one in golden yellow (Aussie Sunshine) knit in Phileas Yarn, and Grellow Love, knit in leftovers of both two yarns to make a grellow ankle sock – a perfect stashbuster.

I played around with a few skeins (as you do) to put together some grellow combinations myself.  This is the BFL Supersock in (L-R) Puddled Iron, Jaipur, and London Skies.  I think the Jaipur goes equally as well with either of the greys.  The Puddled Iron is slightly darker, whereas the London Skies and Jaipur are closer in colour value.

BFL Supersock

If you prefer a slightly cushier sock, or prefer to go no-nylon, these patterns will work equally well in the Pure Merino Sock (shown here in London Skies and Jaipur):

Pure Merino Sock

Clare is hosting a KAL from 17th June to 31st August, so head over to the Ravelry group to join in.  Hint:  there will be prizes!

I think my summer knitting schedule just got busier!  I’d love to know what you’ve got planned.

a weekend in Margate

After the detour to visit The Yarn Dispensary in Faversham (see last post), we headed on to Margate for a weekend away by the coast.

For those of you who are reading this from far-flung places, Margate is a quintessentially English seaside resort town in Kent, just a short trip outside London.  Like many seaside resorts, Margate experienced significant decline in the face of cheap package deals to places like Spain, where sunshine and warm weather are virtually guaranteed.  It has however benefited from recent regeneration and development (including the Turner Contemporary gallery), and I joined the Down-From-Londoners in checking it out for a couple of days.

When going to the seaside, of course everyone wants to stay right by the sea, right?  Here’s the view from the window of our rather lovely Air BnB flat:

out the window

Couldn’t get much closer than that!

One of the big attractions is Dreamland, an original “pleasure park” funfair that suffered from neglect but is now being brought back to life in a retro kitsch way, complete with fabulous Grade II listed wooden rollercoaster.  We spent an hour or two enjoying the rides, racing around on dodgems, and I even got to try roller skates for the first time!  It was all quite good fun (despite the grim weather) and there are plans for more of the park to be refurbished.

dreamland

Margate has a lovely old town with lots of second-hand (er, vintage) shops which are good to have a look through (but at London prices).  Sadly I came home without any new purchases.

Gillian from The Yarn Dispensary gave me a recommendation to try GB Pizza Co, so we went there for dinner one night.   I have to say it was great advice: the pizzas were super thin, super crispy, and thoroughly delicious.  An unexpected bonus:  they have Prosecco on tap!  Brilliant!  There are no photos however, because I virtually inhaled the lot.

929089C6-078E-4D80-B0DC-F6CECC9A6ED8

If you get the chance to go to Margate, definitely have a pizza and Prosecco and enjoy the scenery.

yarn shop visit: The Yarn Dispensary

One of my special skills is finding yarn shops at any travel destination.  No matter where I’m going, I manage to search out some yarny goodness, and it’s my favourite kind of travel planning.

So when The Amazing Molly booked us a weekend in Margate, I set to work.

I’d never been to the Kent Coast, so had no idea about the geography of the area.  However there was one yarn shop in Kent that I’d always wanted to go to, and I wondered if it was in the same general direction.

Checking out some maps gave me the answer I had hoped for:  with only a teeny-tiny detour, we could drive to Margate via Faversham, home of The Yarn Dispensary (previously known as The Old Pharmacy).  Hurrah!

I’d seen photos of The Yarn Dispensary online, and was drawn in by the sense of the history of the shop, and the beautiful apothecary styling.  I was certainly not disappointed.

The Old Pharmacy Faversham

The location is lovely, just in the middle of the town market square.  The owners Gillian and Sam were there when I arrived, and I got the most wonderful greeting!  I was so fortunate that Gillian even gave us a tour of the building and a bit of the history.  Of course my photos don’t do justice.

The Old Pharmacy

The building dates back to the 13th Century, and has a long history as a pharmacy in the town.  Gillian and Sam spent a year renovating the building before opening the shop in 2015, and it has been done beautifully.  The history!  The beams!  The wibbly walls!

collage

It’s also extremely functional as a yarn store, with lots of natural light and a lovely room out the back for hosting workshops.  I bet the knit nights here are fabulous.

IMG_0739

There was no way I could leave without a souvenir, and I knew I wanted one of the amazing “knitware” ceramics by Rose Dickinson.  They are all unique and locally handmade, and sell out as soon as they come in stock (I can definitely see why).  I chose this wee vase with a lovely green glaze, which is just perfect for storing loose DPNs on my desk.

new vase

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I get to visit again soon, and hopefully I’ll get to explore the local area too.  I can’t imagine a more beautiful, welcoming, historic yarn shop anywhere.

UPDATED UK knitting events 2016

A few months is a short time in the knitting world and almost as soon as I publish my list of the big events for the year, there are changes aplenty.  I was waiting on confirmation of one new event in particular, so this update list is now ready to go!

I’m particularly pleased to announce that there is in fact going to be a major yarn show in central London this year.  After the I Knit Fandango was cancelled, there was a massive gap for a London-based event to take place.  Coming up in November is the shiny new Yarnporium, organised by the Yarn in the City team.  That’s one to look forward to.

Here you go…

17 Jan
19-21 Feb
3-6 March
17-19 March
23-24 April
7 May
13-14 May
20-22 May
4 June
24-25 June
16-17 July
30-31 July
5-6 Aug
20 Aug
2-4 Sept
24-25 Sept
24-25 Sept
24 Sep-4 Oct
26 Sept-2 Oct
5-9 Oct
22-23 Oct
29-30 Oct
5-6 Nov
12 Nov
Waltham Abbey Wool Show Waltham Abbey, Essex
Unravel Farnham Maltings, Farnham, Surrey
Spring Knitting and Stitching Show  Olympia, London
Edinburgh Yarn Festival Edinburgh, Scotland
Wonderwool Wales Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells, Powys, Wales
Wharfe Wool Fair Otley Courthouse, West Yorkshire
I Knit Fandango Lindley Hall, London (cancelled)
Gwlana Powys, Wales (cancelled)
Leeds Wool Festival Armley Mills, Leeds
Woolfest Mitchells Lakeland Livestock Centre, Cockermouth, Cumbria
Yarningham Stirchley Baths, Birmingham (new)
Fibre-East Redborne Community College, Ampthill, Bedfordshire
British Wool Show  York Auction Mart, Yorkshire
Popup Wool Show Port Sunlight, Wirral
Bristol Wool Fair Clifton and Durdham Downs, Bristol (cancelled)
Yarndale Skipton Auction Mart, Skipton, Yorkshire
Masham Sheep Fair  Masham, Yorkshire
Shetland Wool Week Shetland
Loch Ness Knit Festival Inverness, Scotland (new)
Knitting and Stitching Show Alexandra Palace, London
Bakewell Wool Gathering Bakewell Agricultural Centre, Bakewell, Derbyshire
Kendal Wool Gathering Kendal, Cumbria
Yarnporium Kings College, London (new)
Festiwool Hitchin, Hertfordshire