Knitting

Where It All Began

I haven’t yet shared the story of how I came to be a knitter… Well it all started with a reenactment fair, a very unhappy relationship, realising that I might not be as academically minded as I would like and one ‘Happy Hooker’.

I can remember the exact point that it started… The desire to create. I had of course been introduced to plastic yarn, tight stitches and sticky metal needles sometime in my teens and found it a surprisingly stressful experience and not one I wished to continue with.

Walking round TORM (The Original Reenactors Market) in Coventry I stumbled across an incredible scarf that a woman had made up as a show sample. It was a simple (to her, but pure magic to me) treble crochet stitch scarf in a block pattern but done with colourful fingering weight silk and a fine hook… Wow! At that point in my life I had no creativity and very little colour whatsoever, I was at university doing a degree that would provide me with a future (or so I thought) but it didn’t speak to my soul like this little scarf had done!

I remember buying some bits and pieces from this lady and as part of that package there was a little 4mm wooden crochet hook and a skein of natural hand dyed blue yarn… It didn’t take long for a friends girlfriend to sit my down in the pub (I just happened to have the hook and newly wound ball with me at this point) and show me how to create a foundation chain and some basic stitches. That was it… I couldn’t stop!

It was a creative addiction that consumed me, something colourful and positive in my life to feed my imagination and drive me forward.

At first I thought there would be no way that I would ever transition to knitting. It looked so bloody complicated and at this point there were no YouTube videos or Ravelry… Just me and books! But slowly and surely I started to experiment. I was living in Oxford at the time and there was a lovely ladies clothing shop with a yarn section at the back in Jericho… So from here I bought my first set of knitting needles (Brittany Birch Needles) and some chunky yarn, I made a pair of two colour fingerless mittens… really badly sewn together with a thumb hole half way up but I didn’t care they were mine and I’d made them… I’d actually knitted them!

I now cannot imagine my life without knitting… It’s got me though some serious lows in my life and has remained the constant love. I do turn to crochet from time to time and for a while I worked with a shoemaker and designed some increadible one of a kind pieces.

Even though my roots are in crochet…. I am a Knitter!

Nu xx

Knitting, WIP Wednesday

Pebbles & Leather

I am really fond of this pattern, it started about 6 years ago and is yet another one of those patterns that I never had the chance to write down. I love the bobble pebble texture of these mittens and how they fit, so this is my motivation to get them finished and the pattern written up at long last… Ready in time for winter hopefully! The pattern will be available in fingerless and as a full mitten (when I get round to writing it up).

The yarn is integral to these mittens, they’re fabulous mini skeins from Riverknits. You can spend hours playing with different colour combinations (and I have!)… I love these tones and shades and how they work together. They’re really special.

Knitting

A Stash of Ones Own – Clara Parks

For over a year now I’ve been exhibiting my leather work in a gallery in Chipping Campden (my home town in the centre of the Cotswolds). It’s a little over an hours drive away from where I currently live and so I have two hours a day driving when I commute in to do my day stewarding. Recently I’ve been stressed… I’ve been winding myself up about some ridiculous things that I can’t control (other people and their actions surrounding the birth of our first baby… hopefully happening in January) and so whilst driving for that large chunk of time I get more and more wound up about things that I really cant control… Not good.

Today I decided to try and change this habit of behaviour that is clearly not healthy for me or the baby! So I started listening to Pom Cast… The Podcast from Pom Pom Quarterly. I’ve learnt a lot in the process of driving to Campden now, I’ve learnt that the sound system in my car isn’t really podcast friendly, I’ve also learnt that as a knitter I am in the company of some incredibly talented and very wise, beautifully unique women.

Part way thought the podcast there is a reading by Clara Parks, the author of the recently released book ‘A Stash of Ones Own’. It was wonderful to hear her strong and incredibly empowering thoughts behind how and why as knitters we build our stash’s and feel guilt about doing this. As women we are conditioned to feel guilty for carving out time for ourselves, it’s classed as an indulgence and not a necessity for our own health and wellbeing… We are just expected to continue as carers for our husbands, children and in later life sometimes parents whilst running and maintaining our own homes as well as the jobs that we do to bring in financial support. How, in this crazy haze can we possibly find time for ourselves? How could we be so selfish to possibly think about sitting down and adding a couple of rows to the jumper we’ve been knitting since time immemorial… But actually to me its more of a question how can we not set aside this vital time for just ME.

Knitting is my therapy, without it I am adrift in a crazy, anxious and stressful world. So the question is… How can I possibly be the best version of me that it is possible to be without it? Knitting is my recharge time, it’s what enables me to tackle the mountains of washing up… To breathe deep whilst wrestling heavy shopping bags and then getting hit in the face because the front door has bounced off a pair of trainers left behind the door… It gives me the room I need to bite my tongue, to smile (what might look like a grimace but I hope it looks convincing) and take on the chin the latest order of business and other people’s opinions about the baby, my pregnancy, our house, my job and what I ‘Should’ be making etc… Yes a hot bath with lavender oil helps but I’ve not yet mastered the art of knitting in the bath and so I find myself thinking about the projects that I want to knit and searching though endless Ravelry pages to see if someone has already designed the shawl I want to start writing the pattern for.

As women we have a difficult role still and it’s becoming more and more important in the crazy world to make sure that we are looking after ourselves and out for each other. I don’t feel guilty for knitting just one more round… At the moment I earn my own money and I can afford to buy the yarn that I want to (this balance will shift when I have bean but I have enough of a stash at the moment to hopefully keep me going for a little while!). There is always more that we can do, clean, sort… But I am very keenly aware that my mental health governs the mood of my household and my own physical wellbeing and so in order for everyone to be happy and healthy… let me have my hour… or two hours with my knitting… I’m not even particularly fussed where I knit or what the rest of the house is doing at the time… But my knitting is my own and for that reason I am incredibly thankful that I am a knitter.

Knitting, Knitting Accessories

Leather Knitting Bags

So what’s so special about leather? Is it the smell, the texture, the way that it ages and softens so beautifully…? Or is it all of those qualities that make it a truly unique material to use and work with?

Leather has always been special to me. Good quality leather glows from within and ages so beautifully.

The Photograph below was a recent commission showing the incredible natural scaring that can appear in leather.

So when I was recently asked to make a leather project bag for a friends birthday I jumped at the chance. I made her a two skein project bag with her company logo embossed in gold on the front. It was a really special project for me and one that I really enjoyed making. After seeing the project bag again after a a few months use I was amazed at how beautifully the leather has softened. So there was only one thing for it… I made up more and set up a little Etsy shop so that other could enjoy these too.

If you’re looking for something a little bit different to the normal project bag then pop on over to our Etsy shop and have a look, I have three different sizes available to pre order a the moment and if you would like something specific then please get in touch and I can make you something to fill your specifications.

Happy knitting

Nu x

FO Friday, Knitting, Pattern Release

New Pattern Release – Preppy Shawl

Just in time of the weekend! Grab a skein and a half of your favourite colours and join us in casting on this addictive new knit!

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An easy combination of cables and simple lace the repeatable pattern is knit from the top down ending with a strong preppy striped ribbed boarder.

All you need is 100g of your main colour and 50g of your contrasting colour.

The pattern is now available though our Ravelry shop and with the code PREPPYWEEKEND you can buy the pattern this weekend only for £1 (+ your countries VAT)

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Happy knitting everyone and have a great weekend.

Nu x

 

Knitting

A New Autumn Cast On

I’ve been completely caught up in the autumnal feeling at the moment. I love this time of year it really speaks to me as a red head. All of the colours are changing and the world is brown, reds and oranges.

I’ve taken this opportunity to indulge in some autumn design work and greasy from the inspirational chaos that was my weekend at Yarndale I’ve gathered by thoughts and I’m ready to start!

I thought I would just give you a quick peek at some of the incredible colours I’m going to be using. All BFL and all hand dyed in a UK based floating dye studio (I know right!… how and where do you find the space to dye as well as live! Amazing!), these autumnal masterpieces really hit me and wanted to work together.

As you can see form the pictures the colours work so beautifully together I’m hoping this is just going to be one of those projects that clicking onto place!

Have a great weekend everyone and happy knitting

Nu x

Knitting, WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday – Father Cables

As part of today’s WIP Wednesday I thought I would introduce you to my latest project…

So I’ve been carrying around a white alpaca pom-pom and a hank of ‘The Fibre Company’ Cumbria DK for over a month now waiting to turn them into a Father Cables hat by YOTH. I’ve been toying with the idea of coming up with a way of knitting a top down version as I want a deeper brim and as little waste as possible. Instead though I’ve opted for a preliminary cast on and I’ll go back after finishing the chart and knit as big a brim as I can and use up what’s left (hence the interesting stripe of bright green along the bottom of the hat)

I’m not sure if this is going to work but there’s only one way to find out!

The Yarn:

The Fibre Co – Cumbria DK – A blend of masham, merino and mohair… It’s turning out beautifully. I have recently been trying to experiment more with different types of fleece and yarns so that I can further my knowledge and develop a better understanding of what’s available. I’m really enjoying this voyage of discovery and it’s opened my eyes to a lot of sheep breeds that I wouldn’t have been aware of.

The Pattern:

As I used a different cast on method that I’ve going back to later it seemed like a lot of stitches but the cables really do start to pull everything together quite quickly. This pattern is available for free on the YOTH website. I was drawn to it because I really like the open cablework in the middle and the lack of repeated cables and generic braids. There is noting nicer to sit and knit on a cool autumn day than a few cables!

Although it’s the random movement of the cables that first drew me to this pattern I’m finding it a more involving knit than most of the hats I’ve knitted. This isn’t a bad thing as it keeps you involved in the pattern but it’s not knit night knitting as you do need to follow the charts and mark out clearly where you are.

As with a lot of repeating patterns I am finding that stitch markers in this case are essential to keep track of my progress…. Especially when knitting and TV watching!

Techniques Used:

Cabling without a needle:

Crochet cast on over your needle

Supplies:

Yarn – The Fibre Co, Cumbria DK purchased from A Yarn Story in Bath

Needles – Interchangeable LYKKE needles

Stitch markers – Bulb pin stitch markers in a variety of different colours available from Riverknits

Pattern – YOTH Father Cables available from their website

Pom Pom – Super soft white fluffy alpaca Pom Pom (not yet pictured) also purchased from A Yarn Story

I very much doubt this will be a finished object this week as I’m about to start switching for another project but you never know!

Hope your WIP’s aren’t getting you down,

Happy knitting

Nu x