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.

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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

 

a very quick visit to Unravel

This weekend I had probably the world’s quickest visit to a yarn show.

Unravel postcard

I set off on Friday for my first ever trip to Unravel.  I had plans of spending the afternoon pootling around, looking at all the woolly gorgeousness, chatting to designers and yarnies, taking lots of photos, and just having a lovely time.  Well, I did most of those things, but just at a super-quick pace.

For those not familiar with Unravel, it’s in Farnham, Surrey.  It’s on the opposite side of London to where I live, so with a few train changes, it should be no more than two hours door to door.  However on Friday there was a horrendous accident on the train line out of London, so it ended up taking me a whole four hours to get there.  I could just about get to Scotland in that time!  After being stranded on various train platforms, I was this close to going home, but hey, I’d already bought my ticket and I knew I wouldn’t get another chance this weekend.

Unravel starts on the Friday afternoon, so with the unexpected travel delays, it was rather late by the time I arrived, and so I eked out every last minute until closing time.

My first priority of course was to head over to the Yarn in the City stall to snaffle my copy of the London Craft Guide.

London Craft Guide

One copy very happily purchased.

 

Socks! And yarn!

Look! My yarn! Now socks!

I then did a speedy lap around the venue.  There are a number of different rooms, of which I’m pretty sure I missed one.

(Helpful tip #1:  be sure to pick up a venue map and make sure you get to see it all).

Everyone I did meet was really lovely, and I managed a quick chat with several vendors I’d been dying to meet.

(Helpful tip #2: yarn shows are always quietest in the last hour.  It’s the best time to speak to vendors once the crowds have dispersed).

I’m afraid I have very little else to report on, but I’ll leave you with this image of these two chaps hanging out on the stairwell.  They made me smile.

Knitted pigeons

 

 

Paris-inspired socks

One of the most amazing things about being a yarn dyer is the opportunity to collaborate with some truly fabulous people and to get involved with some great projects.

I’m very excited to say that Travelknitter yarn has been used in a project that is very close to my heart: the brand new London Craft Guide by Yarn in the City.  This is just the sort of book that I would have loved to publish myself:  a great mixture of travel inspired knitting projects, coupled with a guide to London’s wonderful crafty venues.  Perfect!

My brief was to provide yarn support for a sock pattern inspired by the Eiffel Tower.  I instantly knew it had to be the BFL Supersock, which is my idea of the perfect sock yarn:  smooth sturdy-but-not-itchy British Bluefaced Leicester blended with nylon for extra strength.  I had a look through my own photos of previous trips to Paris, and decided to create a new blue-grey colourway, inspired by the glorious ironwork structure:

eiffel tower ironwork

After a few experiments at the dye pots, a new colourway was created:

Puddled Iron

 

I chose the name Puddled Iron, after the wrought iron that was used to build the Eiffel Tower.  I’m in love with this colour!  It has a more blue-ish tone than my usual greys, but I think it really works.   And I love how the kettle dyeing gives a subtle tonal quality to the colour, making it perfect for both plain and lace patterns.

Puddled Iron BFL

 

The images of the finished pattern have now been released, and I’m thrilled at how my yarn has been used to knit up these gorgeous La Ville de l’Amour socks by Fiona Hamilton-Maclaren.

La Ville d'Amour socks

Image credit: Juju Vail

The socks are worked toe-up (my favourite!) and the pattern comes in a range of five sizes too.  I’ll have to cast on for these beauties.

You can read more about the pattern, including an interview with the designer, here.

La Ville de L'Amour

Image credit: Juju Vail

I haven’t yet seen the sample socks, but Yarn in the City will be launching the London Craft Guide at Unravel (February 19-21), so I’m looking forward to seeing all the projects in real life.  And just to add to the excitement, you’ll also be able to pick up a skein or two of Travelknitter yarn on their stall!  BFL Supersock Puddled Iron will be available, as well as a few other lovely colourways.

If you can’t make it to Unravel (or just don’t want to wait that long!) you can purchase the yarn right now over in my Etsy shop.

To get a copy of the London Craft Guide as soon as it’s released, you can pre-order your copy here.

This is one book that I can’t wait to get my hands on.

UK knitting events 2016

Happy new year everyone!  I hope you’re all gearing up for a wonderful 2016.  If that includes anything knitterly, then I hope I can help you out with my annual list of knitting events across the UK.

I always really enjoy putting together this list.  Dreaming and planning for trips is one of my favourite things, so researching knitterly trips is just my cup of tea!

As always, there are a mixture of well-established and new events this year.  Newly added to the list is Gwlana, held in Wales.  I’ve mentioned Gwlana on a previous post as a retreat, but I’ve heard whispers that there is something a bit different planned for May this year, so on the “events” list it goes!  I’m very much looking forward to finding out more.  Also new this year is the Loch Ness Knit Festival, about which very little is currently known.  Intriguing.

Get your diaries ready folks!

I’ve also put this information together in a handy PDF suitable for printing which you can download here.
So tell me, what are you especially looking forward to this year?

Update:  For an updated list, see my blog post here.

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
30-31 July
5-6 Aug
2-4 Sept
24-25 Sept
24-25 Sept
24 Sep-4 Oct
26 Sept-2 Oct
5-9 Oct
22-23 Oct
(dates tbc)
29-30 Oct
12 Nov
1-4 Dec
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
Gwlana Powys, Wales (new!)
Leeds Wool Festival Armley Mills, Leeds
Woolfest Mitchells Lakeland Livestock Centre, Cockermouth, Cumbria
Fibre-East Redborne Community College, Ampthill, Bedfordshire
British Wool Show  York Auction Mart, Yorkshire
Bristol Wool Fair Clifton and Durdham Downs, Bristol
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
Glasgow School of Yarn Glasgow, Scotland
Kendal Wool Gathering Kendal, Cumbria
Festiwool Hitchin, Hertfordshire
Knitting and Stitching Show Harrogate, Yorkshire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

where I’ll be

What a summer of festivals!  Not the usual music festivals that people usually got to in the summer, but rather yarn festivals!  I feel like I haven’t really had a chance to stop and catch my breath.

Not that things are about to slow down, mind you, but I am taking a slight change of direction.  The Big News:  I quit my job!  I finished up two weeks ago.  It’s pretty exciting, although not quite as dramatic as it sounds, as I’ll keep doing freelance work in order to keep food on the table.  Nonetheless I have a little plan to spend more time doing yarning, and perhaps even a bit more blogging!

So where am I off to next?

First up is my first ever trip to Glasgow.  I seem to be going up to Scotland on a semi-regular basis these days (and almost always for woolly events), but somehow I’ve never been to Glasgow.  I’ve booked the trip to attend the In the Loop 4 Conference.  A three day academic conference about knitting?  Oh yes, count me in.  And a knitting event where I won’t be doing anything work-related?  Even better.  I can’t wait.

IamgoingIAfter a week in sunny Scotland, it’s then only a few days before the Yarn in the City Great London Yarn Crawl and Popup Marketplace.  Quite a mouthful, but an awful lot of fun!  I won’t be on the yarn crawl itself as I’ll be flogging my wares running a stall full of hand-dyed travelknitter yarn.  It’s being held on Saturday 5th September at the beautiful Chelsea Old Town Hall, and if you like yarny things, I’d highly recommend going along.

YitCPopup

And then continuing the theme of rampant capitalism and self-promotion, I’ll be at the Hitchin Festiwool on 14th November selling my yarns.  This is the second year for Festiwool, and I had such a good time last year that I had to book again.  I found it to be such a friendly, relaxed event, with a really interesting mix of vendors.

Please do let me know if you’re heading along to any of these events too.  Would be great to catch up.