The most exciting news for me this week has to be the publication of The Knitter, issue 185 last Thursday. See that shawl on the cover? That’s Branwen, my design, and it’s a five part knit-along that is begin run during this and the next four issues! Part One is in this month’s magazine. It’s the top centre section of the shawl (in green). It’s a DK weight shawl, using West Yorkshire Spinners Fleece (2 skeins of cream and 3 skeins of green) and it’s sooo soft and cosy! Once I’d bought my copy of the mag in WHSmith’s I wanted to go round the town showing it to everyone and saying – look! I made that!

But not only that, this video shows you a glimpse of the (three page!) interview with lots of pics of my designs and lots about me, my designing, inspiration etc. If you ever wanted to know where it all began, this article will tell you!

Speaking of knit-alongs, this is the completed Part One of Am Byth MKAL. Also, a DK weight project, this one only uses one skein. You can see the design taking shape now, but can you work out what the project is going to be yet? All will be revealed on Friday, when Part Two is released.

I’ve had a burst of activity with my spinning in the past week. I finished spinning the braid into singles on Sunday, and today I chain plied the whole lot! The thing about chain plying is that as you are making a big loop in one hand to catch and pull the strand of yarn from the bobbin through (to form the next big loop – it’s like really fast giant finger knitting), you’re using the other hand to control the twist and your feet are working the treadles. I tend to find that the singles yarn tries to turn and twist back on itself when I’m getting going, until I get a regular rhythm going, at which point I don’t want to stop and have it all tangle up again!. This is partly because the singles are spun (twisted) in one direction and this makes the yarn unbalanced. Plying twists the yarn in the opposite direction which balances the twist and gives you a yarn that doesn’t want to turn into nightmare corkscrews.

I’m pleased with how the chain plied yarn has come out. The clear shift from one colour to the next has been maintained which I wanted, with a subtle blending of colours in places. It’s a little thicker than I was hoping for, but considering it is a 3-ply structure it’s pretty good. About a sock weight I think, but I’ll check it later once it’s been washed. I absolutely love the colours – the fibre was dyed by Sealy MacWheely.

Finally, there is some progress on mum’s picture embroidery that you can actually see! I’ve done (nearly) all of the column on the right hand side which was half a page wide (20 stitches) and three and a bit pages long (190 stitches) and I’ve made a start on the next full page width to the left. The sections where there are more colours, such as the bottom right corner, are much more interesting, but take so much more concentration – and there are about 40 different colours in that section, so it’s quite hard to keep track of as well.

I baked my first sourdough loaf of the year today as well. Audrey 2 (my starter), was living up to her name after going into semi-hibernation over Christmas, and it took a lot of feeding to get her active again! It’s a good loaf, although I dived into it for lunch before I took any pics (don’t worry, it isn’t all gone!). I shall have to remember to photograph the next one before slicing it.

There are still spaces available on my Knitting for Beginners workshops!

These are due to start on Feb 6th 1-3pm at Caffi Isa in Mynydd Isa, near Mold, Flintshire. If you or anyone you know fancies learning to knit in a small group, in a relaxed setting with access to tea/coffee and cake, contact me to book a space!

This is what we’ll be making (these are Knitting for Beginners workshops 1, 2 & 3 on my Group Workshops Tuition page):

There are also some spaces on the workshops I am giving at Yarn O’clock, but they are booking up fast! In brief they are:

  • Introduction to Socking Knitting, 16th February, 6.30-9pm
  • Stranded Colourwork, 7th March, 6.30-9pm
  • Finishing Techniques, 18th April, 6.30-9pm
  • Moebius Knitting, 18th May, 6.30-9pm

Full details are on my “Where I’ll Be” page and also on Yarn O’clock‘s website. Contact Anne to book a space on one of these.

Just before I sign off I want to tell you that I am sitting here typing this in the dark, running the laptop from the battery. There’s no problem; we’ve signed up to take part in the energy reduction trials that are happening. There was one from 5-6pm yesterday, today is 4.30-6pm. It’s amazing how many things are on or on standby all the time even when we only use them for a small part of the day. Or rather, I should say how many things were on or on standby. They’re not now – I’ve been going round unplugging stuff or switching it off at the wall! (Just like my dad – but then he used to unplug the tv aerial every night as well) The multi-sockets that each have their own switch are proving handy too. It’s also striking how much quieter the house is, which is interesting as I never really considered ‘things plugged in’ to have a noise, but I suppose they must!

Anyway, take care, stay warm. Dw i eisiau un deg un paned! (I want eleven cups of tea). Tell me what you’ve been making lately. K x

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