Monday, 24 October 2011

Serendipity and wool

For several years, now, I have been a Twitterer.  Twitter seems to be one of those 'Marmite' things - you love it or hate it. Clearly, I love it! I have learnt so much by following people who are experts in things I know nothing about, and by following people with common interests, I have made friends all over the world, whom I am unlikely ever to meet, but who have enriched my life immeasurably.

I would like to tell you about one of the ripples that has spread from my involvement with Twitter.  Some months ago, I started following @SockYarnShop, whose 'real' name is Pip.  I'm not a great maker of socks, though I'm quite capable of it when appropriate, but I read through her tweets, and thought she sounded like an interesting person, from whom I could learn more about modern yarns, for instance.  We exchanged a fair amount of friendly nonsense online, as one does, and a month or so ago, she posted pictures of a new yarn available in her online shop.

It was a luscious, multi coloured yarn, spun from high quality wool, and was, therefore, way beyond my budget!  However, I loved it, and said so, adding that I wished I was rich enough to buy some!  Bless her, Pip sent me a ball as a gift, just for fun, in a glorious, carnival rainbow of colours.

Obviously, I had to return her generosity in some way, so I used some of the wool to make her a little bear, called 'Pip', of course! Having posted him off to his new home in Wales, I posted pictures of him on Twitter & Facebook - I now have more requests for a similar bear than I can handle!  There is one on the needles for one of my granddaughters (Christmas sorted!) and there will be enough wool left for one more - which will go on sale in @By_Local, since I can't pick from any of those asking for one - first come, first served!

If you would like to know more about By Local, which is a community gallery in Cheltenham founded & run by Rosie Lomberg (brilliant artist) and Keziah Kurg (makes inspired bead jewellery & stuff) go to

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Funky babies!

As a mother of 4, and a grandmother of many more, I despair at the impracticality and tweeness of most baby clothes! They are all pale colours that need frequent washing, and usually not that well made, so they only last for one child, which, in the current economic climate is certainly not good - having a baby is expensive enough, without having to buy new clothes for each child, my belief is that babies deserve good enough quality clothes that the standard items can not only hand down to siblings, but to the next generation!
This jumper, to fit a 3 to 6 month old, is knitted in a 51% wool, 49% acrylic yarn, so you have the natural warmth of wool, with the easy wash aspects of synthetics.  The neck is easy to get over a baby's head, and doesn't have a tight rib to ride up and leave the vulnerable kidney area to get cold.  The graduated colour gives interest, with out being too 'in your face' - probably most likely to be chosen for a boy, but, combined with denim could look good on a little girl, too.

This is a more 'girly' version of the same idea, worked in the same yarn, but a different colourway, and a traditional Fair Isle butterfly intarsia design, instead of the fishes.  Basically, I'm floating on the market the baby knits that I wanted when my children were babies, and my youngest daughter can't get enough of for her little ones!  Please let me know what you think about my approach to baby wear in the comments, I really need to know if I'm wasting my time!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Knitting jewellery

 In about 10 days I shall be teaching a workshop under the aegis of By Local, the gallery in Cheltenham where I sell my work.  Amongst the work I sell are washable necklaces, knitted from embroidery silk or fine cotton, with a sequence of bead being threaded onto the yarn before i start knitting. This is the technique I will be teaching at the workshop.  The knitting itself is fairly simple, and the geometry of the sequence is more or less the same each time, but the weight of the yarn, and the combination of beads, makes an enormous difference to each necklace.
If I use evenly sized, identical beads, the geometry  becomes immediately obvious, and the design looks extremely neat and conservative, however, the more varied the size and weight of the beads, the less ordered and 'tidy' it can appear, partcularly if i am fairly anarchic about the order in which they are threaded!  Depending on the weight of the yarn, and the size of the needles, the same pattern can make a choker or a long, pendulous necklace - to be frank, I'm never absolutely quite what the result will be!

Being made from washable thread, the results can be washed by hand - and actually hang better once they have been washed.  This makes them very appealing to those with allergies and sensitive skin, as they can select for threads and beads they can tolerate eg non-metallic, non-mineral or natural materials only.

I look forward to posting the necklaces made at the workshop on this blog ;o)

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Entrelac Clutch Bag

I love doing entrelac, unlike plain knitting, it exercises the brain!  I've been trying to find a way to use it for something useful for ages (not a jumper - since I smashed my elbow, I can't knit anything big - the perfect excuse to make small bits of nonsense)  A few days ago I realised that a rectangle of entrelac, folde and edged with a band of garter stitch would make an interesting shaped bag, and I was curious to see how the texture would hold up, once it was felted.  So here is the end result, compltet with a charming, pictorial ceramic button, and a little bead tassel for a touch of glam!  I think the texture stands out really well after felting, and the 2 different shades of grey, undyed wool, can be ditinguished, without looking 'wrong'.  Happy bunny!

If you want it, it's for sale in By Local, in the Regent Arcade, Cheltenham.  If you can't make it there, and want one like it, get in touch and I'll see what i can do ;o)