We have a couple of dear friends who we see about once a year. We meet up in a different place each year, stay overnight somewhere, eat out, explore the local area and generally have a great time. A couple of years ago we went to Lichfield – which led to the cardigan of the same name! Even though we don’t see each other very often, it never feels as though a year has passed since the last time.

(Speaking of Lichfield the cardigan, I was right about the sleeve cap length after all: the added rows didn’t work once I seamed the pieces together. There were other errors that had crept in to the pattern during the editing process too, so if you are knitting Lichfield, please check out the errata page!)

Last weekend we met up with our friends in Leek. None of us had been there before and we didn’t know it was the same weekend as the Leek Blues and Americana Festival, so the town was pretty full. It was nice to hear live music coming from lots of venues while we were there. We stayed at The Fountain Inn, which had a really cosy and friendly atmosphere, and the room was very well appointed. Before we went out to dinner at The Napoli (awesome vegan options!), we had drinks in the snug and I was able to just nip upstairs to grab my knitting! I find I’m able to follow conversations and relax more when I have my knitting in hand.

The photo I took was of an almost completed first sleeve of my Umbriel.

That sleeve is now done and the second sleeve is well on the way, with the short row sleeve cap nearly completed.

Whilst in Leek we had a good mooch around the shops. Naturally I found the yarn shop, Love My Socks, which is also called Moorlands Wool and Crafts. I had a lovely chat with Amanda, the lady who owns the shop, while I was buying a gorgeous skein of &KnitCo sock yarn, and it turned out that we’d met and nattered at the Buxton Wool Gathering in May!

I popped back on Sunday and got a few more little treats as well: a Chiaogoo 2mm 80cm circular needle (I’m embracing Magic Loop for socks), an Emma Ball tin for my larger stitch markers and a little tin of stitch holder cables from Ducky Darlings.

These are the same type of cords I got from All Wool That Ends Wool and I’m very pleased to say they all fit in the same tin!

Sue (my lovely wife) has quite a collection of googly eyes and every now and then they come out to play – she got some cracking shots on Saturday evening.

My version was a little more sedate, but the pizza box looks quite happy!

This was another brilliant feature of The Napoli – although our sharing starter was so huge (and delicious) that we couldn’t finish our pizzas, they were very happy to box up the rest for us to take away.

All in all we had a fabulous trip to Leek, despite the weather – it rained most of the time. We also very much enjoyed the craft/flea market in the town on Sunday morning.

This morning I got my new lenses fitted into my glasses frame. I can see brilliantly at distance (trees have leaves even when they’re far off – who knew?!?) and close up reading again, but you should see me at the moment; I keep shifting position trying to get the right distance between me and the laptop screen for optimum focus whilst experimenting with which part of the lenses to look through! The joy of varifocal lenses – I will work it out fairly soon, I’m sure.

As promised, my Bodelwyddan sock pattern was released on October 1st (after we got back from Leek!) and 50% of all sales throughout October will be going to Treasure Chest YGC. If you are a sock knitter or know someone who is, please consider buying this pattern and helping to support a great cause. Truly Hooked also has a wonderful colour way that she’s dyed especially for Treasure Chest and 50% of proceeds from that will also be donated. So you could knit Bodelwyddan using the Treasure Chest sock colour way and even store them in the limited edition project bag made by The Woolly Tangle! £10 from the sale of each of these bags will be going to Treasure Chest YGC during October. And they’re sweater sized project bags too.

I am very excited about Barragán Shawl Knitalong beginning in The Knitter. The shawl is going on some adventures this evening that I should be able to tell you all about next week!

Issue 194 is out tomorrow containing Part One of the pattern! I have wound my yarn and am ready to cast on with everyone. The 150g skeins are huge when wound – and they actually weigh about 160g. You even get a woven fabric label if you get a McIntosh yarn kit.

Remember you can still sign up to subscribe to The Knitter and get the yarn kit as a free gift (although there are limited quantities of the yarn for the subscription offer, so check carefully! Your first issue would be Issue 195, so you’d still need to buy Issue 194).If you don’t want to subscribe to the mag (or already do), but really like this yarn – and who wouldn’t as it’s hand-dyed 100% British Bluefaced Leicester – you can buy a yarn kit direct from James McIntosh.

I’m going to leave you with this little teaser.

It’s called Twisted and it’s a brioche moebius cowl. There is a two-part workshop next month (2nd and 16th November) at Yarn O’clock where you can learn how to knit it! I’ll tell you more next week.

Until then, take care and do stuff that makes you happy. K x

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