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.

heading up to EYF

I can’t believe the time has arrived, but bright and early tomorrow morning I’ll be on a train making my way to Edinburgh for the amazing Edin Yarn Fest.

I am typing this in a slight frenzy, with a long list of things to do before I go.  Like last-minute winding, labelling, printing, packing … all the usual stuff.

Labelling Tanami Dabbling Duck

Most of my yarn has been sent up ahead of time, so I’ve just got to sort out the remaining few kilos that I’ll be carrying with me.  Simple, huh?

boxes to EYF

I’m sharing a stall with Helen of The Wool Kitchen, and I couldn’t be more excited!  There’s something really wonderful about being able to work together with another awesome dyer from Walthamstow.  We both have completely different approaches to colour and dyeing, which makes for some really brilliant collaborations.  You’ll have to come by the stall to see what I mean.

wool kitchen

We’re on stall J6, and we’ve got a great corner spot.  Come see the East End Yarnies on tour!

Have you signed up to my (very occasional) newsletter yet?  If not, now is a good time to do so!   Just add your details here.

 

after the show

Phew!  It’s been quite a summer for knitting events!

Last month I spent a weekend in Brighton, with the excuse of going to Unwind Brighton.  Unfortunately the class that I was booked on to had been cancelled a couple of weeks prior to the event, so I was left with plenty of time to wander around the city, rummaging through some of the many second hand shops, and catching up with knitterly friends.

I even cast on for a new knitting project (and a sock, no less!);  Pavilion by sock designer extraordinaire, Rachel Coopey.  This is a pattern that was designed for Unwind, and drew its inspiration from the famous Brighton Pavilion.  It was released as a mystery sock pattern, meaning that there was a “clue” or part of the pattern released on a weekly basis.  I’m far too fussy to ever purchase and knit a mystery pattern, but I was late discovering this one so had already seen other people’s projects, so I knew it looked fantastic.

Pavilion Sock in travelknitter BFL

I’m knitting it in the travelknitter BFL Supersock in a dark teal.  I have to say, I’m really in to teal at the moment, and seem to be dyeing up numerous similar-but-different versions.  I’ve decided that there’s no such thing as too much teal yarn.

Unfortunately I’ve barely touched the sock since Brighton!  I have so many excuses:  I’ve been too busy;  I can only work on this pattern during daylight hours as the colour of the yarn is quite dark; it’s a bit too complex for knit nights… all the usual stuff.

I’ve just landed myself a brand new job which I can actually get to on public transport (you have no idea of the commute I’ve been doing for years), so I’m hoping that will mean an hour or two knitting time of each day on the bus.  I don’t know if anyone has ever been excited about a long bus commute before!

Last weekend The Amazing Molly and I packed up the car and headed north for the Pop Up Wool Show in Chester.  Although I often sell my yarns at events locally, this was the first time I’ve travelled to do so.  It was all rather frantic beforehand (a week of rain didn’t help with trying to get yarn dry!) but I had good fun once I was there.

I always love getting direct feedback on what people think about my yarns, and of course it’s fabulous catching up with old knitting friends, and meeting online friends in real life.

mini suitcase of mini yarns

I had the world’s smallest suitcase filled to the brim with little 10g “travel size” mini skeins.  It’s actually a vintage suitcase I picked up in Brighton, but it was in quite a state so I had to put in a bit of effort cleaning it up (if you need any tips on cleaning a vintage suitcase, just ask!).  I was pleased to see how popular the mini skeins were – they’re just so damn cute, and a really good way of sampling different yarns, or adding sections of colour to bigger projects.  They’re actually just wonderful for admiring in their own adorable way, without even needing to do anything with them (stash as art, anyone?)

The following day we decided to so some local sightseeing, so before driving back to London we did a quick trip to Crosby Beach just outside Liverpool to see Antony Gormley’s Another Place.  The weather was rather autumnal and definitely knit-friendly!

Antony Gormley

on the beach

It’s a permanent artwork consisting of 100 cast iron statues of Antony Gormley (each weighing some 650kg) spread out at various distances across the beach, all facing the horizon.  The tide comes in and out over the day, alternately revealing and submerging the statues at intervals.  After being exposed to the elements for a number of years, the statues are weather-worn and barnacled, with the tidemarks visible.  I imagine you could see something different on every visit, depending on the weather.

Definitely worth a trip on a blustery day.