It was red and yellow and green and brown and…

This has been a very visually stimulating week for me, so I hope you won’t mind a rather picture filled blog post.

A friend I used to work with in a former life send me a cryptic message a couple of weeks ago: “Look out for a parcel in the post”. I had no idea what to expect. What arrived was this!

There was an accompanying postcard, but all it told me was that my friend was having a sort through her textiles collection and she thought I might like this and that it was ‘authentic’. It is a small hat, for a child, knitted from the top down with ear flaps and knitted to a very tight gauge. The inside shows it was made using the intarsia technique which is perfect for designs with lots of patches of different colours in the same row. However, this technique is usually worked when knitting a flat piece of fabric and I cannot find a seam anywhere on this hat. It must have been knitted in the round. This leaves me puzzled. I contacted my friend to see if she had any more information. She thinks it’s from Peru, but really has forgotten as she’s had it for about 25 years or more. The bright colours were seen as desirable as they were Western chemical dyes. It really is bright – some of the colours are neon and they contrast so strongly with the probably undyed yarn used as the background colour.

I want to do some research into this and find out more about the knitting traditions from Peru and the surrounding areas.

My own colourwork knitting of the Little Orme Cowl has progressed well this week from the tiny circle of knitting I included in my picture on the previous post. It’s going to be super warm as not only is the fabric double layered from being stranded, the cowl is actually a flattened tube so you get four layers of wool between your neck and the icy winds! Ideal for when we can walk up the Little Orme (and the Great Orme) again. It’s always cold at the top! Remember that the mitts pattern is already available – it won’t be long before the cowl is as well.

Little Orme Cowl in progress next to Little Orme Mitts.

I think I’m about halfway round here. Once the knitting is finished I must remember to weave the yarn ends in before I graft the two ends of the tube together or there will be some unsecured ends that I won’t be able to access!

I had two creative successes this week as well. I finished spinning my gorgeous yarn from Anne Murray on Saturday. After letting it sit overnight I plied the two bobbins of ‘singles’ together on Sunday. Monday was skeining and washing and today it is dry. I’m probably biased, but it is a thing of beauty. Anne told me that it would fluff up and bloom after washing and she wasn’t wrong.

The yarn now has a bounce and body that wasn’t there yesterday morning. It also looks more green in real life than I can get the images to show, but either way, I love it! I think it will be the first of my hand spun yarns that I actually knit up as I can’t wait to see how it looks. But what to make?

On the baking front, last week’s sourdough was not great, despite being an improvement on the previous loaf. Yesterday I changed a whole bunch of things at once (which I know isn’t the scientific approach). I fed my starter with rye flour, put the heating on (I know it’s late winter/early spring, but it usually has to be making me shiver before I put the heating on in the daytime), left the starter on the window sill in the sunshine. For the first time ever it doubled in size!

Then more changes: I used 100g of starter instead of 50g, I reduced the water from 350ml to 300ml (along with 500g flour and 10g salt). It was a bit scary at first as I thought the flour was never all going to mix in. But it did. The dough felt and looked just right yesterday evening. I put its shower cap on and let it rest overnight on the counter. The mistake I made was not leaving the shower cap loose as the dough had risen to the top of the bowl and was completely stuck to the underside of it this morning. I finally managed to peel it off, but was a bit concerned I might have wrecked it.

Then, the cold proof in the fridge and the bake. I am delighted! There are still some improvements to be made, but this one is looking far more like a loaf. It’s taking a lot of will power to wait before cutting it open.

While I have been doing all these pursuits I have been listening to a new set of audiobooks. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness and read by Jennifer Ikeda is keeping me gripped, and I do like an audiobook that’s over 20 hours long. I’m just a few chapters into the second book of the trilogy at the moment (Shadow of Night) and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

So, I shall put the kettle on, continue knitting the cowl and listen to another chapter.

Stay safe and keep knitting, K x

What have you done today to make you feel proud?

Things I have learned this week:

I have knitted a lot more since the start of the year than I thought I had, especially when you see it all together. The green cardigan had already been a work in progress, but both sleeves have been knitted since the New Year. Everything else has been cast on since then. The geek in me wants to calculate how many stitches it all adds up to, but the realist in me points out that it’s much more sensible to say, “Look, you know it’s likely to be in the hundreds of thousands, if not the millions, so rather than working it out, use that time to do something more useful!” So, I will. I’m going to be casting off the body of the Serenity Sweater by Joji Locatelli today and will be continuing to work on my Little Orme Cowl. The cowl is so far that small circle on the needles towards the top left of the picture – there’s quite a lot to do. Down the left hand side (as I’m sure you’re dying to know!) are some swatches for my next Craftucation course – An Introduction to Lace Knitting. Look for that in a month or so.

I quite enjoy an Instagram yarn festival/marketplace! I wasn’t sure I would like it as a set-up. Each vendor has half an hour on Instagram live to talk about their products and the processes and inspiration behind them. There’s no actual buying happening via the livestream, but I had the IG live up in one window and the website of the vendor talking in another next to it. It was a bit like being at a yarn show where you can talk to the dyers and suppliers of yarn and fibre and ask them questions, without the stress of being on camera or not knowing when it might be your turn to talk. Have a question? Great, type it in the chat. A number of skeins of yarn and a couple of plaits of fibre fell into shopping baskets. Well, it would have been rude not to! (and one of them has just arrived!! – Nene 4ply in Starry Night from Riverknits – and it’s gorgeous!! And the hand-written thank you note, written, I think, by one of the children, is a lovely touch.)

The marketplace mentioned above was the Sunday part of the virtual Knit-Tea Retreat, Nordic Edition, that took place over the weekend. I have learnt SO much about differences in knitting traditions from different countries (thanks to Karie Westermann) and in particular Swedish knitting (thanks to Estelle from Midwinter Yarns) as well as a fascinating talk on colour theory from Becci from Riverknits. I can now even identify the different Nordic countries on a map (yes, that sounds a bit pathetic that I couldn’t before, but geography was never a subject I excelled at).

Hønsestrikk is something I want to learn more about. Stranded knitting with political/ funny/ personalised motifs in bold clashing colours and with a feminist twist is something I could really get behind!

Sourdough starter is a tricky beast. My dough this morning looked like a bowl of over-excited lava after an over-night proof. I’m hoping it comes out better than the weekend ‘loaf’ which looked more like an alien space-ship and was all ‘gummy’ inside. I have also learnt to follow the damn recipe when it’s something new, even if it seems like your dough will never pick up all the flour initially. Don’t go adding more water – or you will end up with a sticky loaf that looks like a flying saucer…

Rice flour gets everywhere and it’s really gritty under your feet.

I still get really excited and do a happy dance when someone buys a pattern and even more-so when they buy a kit or a course. You know, just in case you felt like making me want to dance 😉.

What have you learnt this week?

Stay safe, warm and keep knitting. K x

Learn Something New

Nature is weird, wonderful and amazing. Only a few days ago it was so cold that the water butt was frozen solid and yet today we have been out for a walk without our coats on (!) and these bright pink flowers decided to open again. They seem to close at the end of each day and after the really cold snap we had I thought they were done for because they hadn’t opened in almost a week, but here they are. I don’t know what they are, but they are the brightest thing in the border and they make me smile. There is an app to identify plants on your phone by scanning them, but I’ve done the more traditional thing to learn this plant’s name; I took a photo and have sent it to my mum. She’ll know. (She did, sort of – it’s a ‘species crocus’, but she can’t remember the exact name!).

Yesterday afternoon the thing I have been raving about for months finally happened! Craftucation.com went live!! It was a soft launch with 13 courses available in a wide variety of crafts at the moment, but there will be many, many more coming. Two of the courses are mine (as I might have mentioned once or twice) and there are courses on crafts I’ve never even heard of before – and I have a fairly broad crafting experience. Ice-dyeing, anyone? This looks really cool! Or Anglo-Saxon embroidery? Beautiful! There are also ones you are likely to be more aware of – felting, crochet, sewing, cake sculpting/decorating, and more knitting. The folks behind this venture have worked so hard and have made the website easy to navigate and friendly as well, with a range of chat forums (fora?), including ones for the students of each course to share their progress, ask questions and communicate with the tutor. So, you’re not just on your own once you’ve bought your course, which is so important when you’re learning something new.

My Heart in my Hands Collection was published in full on Sunday too (it’s been a busy few days). It seemed appropriate to get it out there on February 14th! Photographing all three sizes of hat made me realise that there has been quite a lot of knitting happening here since the New Year. There have been these three hats, the matching cowl, my Little Orme mitts in (almost) original colours – I’m halfway through the second mitt, my Llanberis hats (at least two were knitted this year) and my Serenity jumper using my Bear in Sheep’s Clothing advent mini-skeins which is coming on nicely. I’m currently on the yarn from Day 14. That’s in six weeks! Oh, and I’ve been swatching like mad for my third Craftucation course – An Introduction to Lace Knitting. During the week I’m going to gather everything together and photograph it all to share with you visually next week.

I also submitted a design to a UK mag. It’s a lovely design idea that I really want to get out there. I don’t hear back for a little while yet, but I’ll let you know how it goes.

In sourdough starter news, I have had a breakthrough today. It’s been bubbling and looking interesting, but not actually growing in size. Some friends on Facebook shared their starter tips with me, many of which included ‘throw some rye flour at it’. I don’t have any of that, but I do have wholemeal, so this morning I fed the starter with a half and half mix of strong white flour and strong wholemeal. And it’s loving it! It’s almost doubled in size for the first time and I’m getting quite excited, especially as, having named my starter (Audrey) I was beginning to worry that I was going to need to try again. But, hey, the name is ready if that does happen – Audrey 2 (from Little Shop of Horrors in case that made no sense to you at all).

I’m still enjoying my spinning very much and am trying to ensure that I spin at least twice a week. I’ve finished the first half of the wonderful fibre dyed by Anne Murray that I showed you a couple of weeks ago and started the second half last night. Mostly I’m getting an even twist and a regular thickness, but sometimes I lose my way a little and it just stops holding together. I think because I am focussing hard on not over-spinning it and making it too tight there is a tendency to go too far the other way and not put enough twist in. Perhaps it’s a hint that I need to spend a bit more time with the online course that I’m using (Spinning with a Purpose, by Katie Weston from Hilltop Cloud)?

Anyway, that’s enough from me for today – I have spinning to do!

Take care, stay safe and go explore something new, K x

I can hardly wait!

Only six days to go until the launch of Craftucation! My kits are all put together and I’m really proud of them; pure wool yarn from Wales and Yorkshire, bamboo knitting needles, metal stitch markers and tapestry needles, ribbon, cotton project bags and notions pouches and, for the kit with stuffing, either pure wool stuffing or synthetic stuffing made from recycled plastic bottles. Some of them are going to Ewe Felty Thing which is the home of Craftucation and some of them will be listed here on my website (from Monday 15th) if people want to buy them directly from me. These kits contain almost everything you need to complete the course projects (apart from a pen to make notes and something to pin your knitting out onto for course 2). They aren’t an essential purchase if you are taking the course, but they do supply you with quality materials.

KfB1 Kit
KfB2 Kit

I’m going to tell you a little more about my courses and what they contain today. All of the online courses on Craftucation are yours for life once you have purchased them, to work through and return to at your own pace. There will be message boards for fellow students to share their progress and tips and tutors will be able to use these message boards to answer students’ questions.

So if you have ever wanted to learn to knit, but never had the opportunity or someone to teach you, now is your chance!

Knitting for Beginners 1 is a course for complete beginners to knitting, showing you how to cast on, knit, purl, cast off, seam and stuff your knitting to make a gorgeous little knitted creature in a choice of two sizes, along with many tips on solving common problems for new knitters. There are over 100 minutes of detailed videos along with downloadable pdfs that contain the text and many still images from the videos along with the pattern for future use.

Knitting for Beginners 2 builds on Knitting for Beginners 1. You will learn a second cast-on technique (did you know there are well over twenty-five?), how to knit two stitches together, make yarn overs, use stitch markers and use knit and purl stitches to create wonderful varied textures in your fabric. You will also learn how to follow knitting patterns and be introduced to the concept of charts. You will create knitted bunting triangles and two different textured mats. This course contains over two and a half hours of detailed videos and associated pdfs!

From Monday 15th February there will be links to each of these courses on my website that will take you directly to them. If you know anyone who would like to learn to knit – young or old – please point them this way!

I had a really interesting conversation last week with some of the other Craftucation tutors and the range of skills people have to share with you is amazing – I can see there will be some new crafts I will want to learn myself! I’d better get a bit better with the spinning wheel first though – speaking of which, aren’t these colours stunning? This fibre is merino d’Arles and is dyed by Anne Murray.

Merino D’Arles dyed by Anne Murray

Well, it’s starting to snow again, so I’m going to gaze out of the window for a little while. I’m still busy with lots of designing things and I’ve nearly finished the final hat size for the Heart in My Hands collection. And I did make that sourdough starter – it’s two days old and seems happy so far!!

Stay warm and keep safe, K x

As the green blade rises

As we move into February the evenings have begun to lighten a little. I was really surprised and quite excited the other day to see that the sky was not dark at 5.15 when I looked out of the window. A sign of hope, along with the flowers that are blooming in the garden. Our garden currently has lots of hellebores, snowdrops and cyclamen in flower and it was even warm enough yesterday to get outside and cut away some of the old hellebore leaves and overgrown grasses that were trying to hide the snowdrops. The photo isn’t mine by the way – it’s from The Wildlife Trusts website and was taken by Les Binns.

Other new life is also making its presence felt. I have an urge to make sourdough bread. I know that most people jumped on this particular bandwagon last year, but I was just making standard wholemeal and seeded loaves. Now, though, the idea of sourdough made with my own homemade starter is calling.

If you follow me on social media you will have seen that yesterday Hanna Germander of Germander Cottage Crafts published her Designer of the Month blog feature for February – and it’s yours truly 😊! I did know it was coming out this month, but it’s such a buzz nonetheless. Go and have a look – I’ll wait. And while you’re there have a look at Hanna’s Etsy shop too – it’s super.

You know that I’ve been working on a hat and cowl to go with my Heart in my Hands mitts. The cowl pattern is now live! I wasn’t sure whether to grade it for a range of sizes or just have one size, so I asked for opinions on social media. One or two people said “Just do one, if we want to change anything, we will”, but the majority of folk were in favour of some guidance, even if just to avoid a bit of maths. So, in response to this, the pattern has various options:

  • The Standard Size (24cm x 72cm) with six chart repeats, including meterage used for each colour
  • Information on making the circumference bigger in increments of 12cm, including the meterage for each colour used in that amount.
  • Options to make the cowl taller or shorter by 8.5cm with guidance on how that would change the meterage.

This approach gives *almost* limitless combinations and I think the flexibility is much better than a two or three size pattern.

The hat pattern will be published soon – in three sizes. Very happily you can make the mitts, standard size cowl and large hat all from one skein of each colour of the yarn (Erika Knight Wool Local). You could probably even make the cowl a bit bigger too.

The last crafty thing I want to tell you about today is more of a reminder – Craftucation launches this month!! In less than two weeks, in fact, and I am getting very excited about it. The materials for the optional kits to accompany the courses which will also be available to buy from Ewe Felty Thing are arriving this afternoon (thank you, Yarn O’clock!) and it’s all coming together.

My audiobooks (yes, plural) this week have been from the Shardlake series by C.J. Sansom, narrated by Stephen Crossley. At one point the events completely intersected with the book I am also reading, Six Tudor Queens No.5 Katheryn Howard by Alison Weir, which was fascinating and slightly bewildering on occasion. It meant I had to keep reminding myself which bits were murder mystery and which were historical fiction. Both brilliant though.

Have a good week and keep knitting, K x

Twisting the night away!

When I woke up this morning there were so many things I wanted to tell you about, but now I come to sit and write they have flown out of my head. I’m sure they’ll come back to me. Is that another effect of lockdown, do you think?

One thing I have focused on a lot is my jigsaw habit. The main pic is part of the 700 piece one I finished yesterday. There are two others in the box of a similarly fiendish nature – one of chillis and one of zebras. Which should I do next? I’m leaning towards chillis as a break from the monochrome.

Anyway! I have news. My Beanstalk Throw is now available in its original format with the cable charts shown separately AND also (at NO extra cost) with a full chart (48 rows x 120 stitches) to be worked 3 and 2/3 times AND as a fully written out pattern. That should cater for everyone. I hope. There have been more than a handful of queries over the past four years as to whether the pattern was available in the last two of these formats and, as my most successful pattern in terms of projects, likes and sales, it pleases me that more people will now be able to knit it.

A cabled blanket
Beanstalk Throw – a cabled blanket

Cables are so fantastic. The fact that you can take a few knitted stitches and swap their position with a few stitches next to them, getting these incredibly varied ropes, braids and twines never ceases to amaze me. In fact, considering how much I love them, it’s just shocked me that I only have three published patterns (out of 40) that use cables! Three! I know I have designed more, so I must do something about getting them out into the world.

Speaking of getting things out into the world, my Heart in my Hands Cowl will be published later this week (and possibly the hat too). No cables in these as they are stranded knitting (often known as Fair Isle). I adore how the large size of the hat has turned out and I’ve charted up the small and medium sizes too. I think I will need to knit up a medium as well as I’ve had to change the pattern repetition to get the right size.

Woman with blue hair and coat standing in front of snowy holly bush wearing knitted Fair Isle hat
Me wearing Heart in my Hands Hat
Woman standing in front of a snowy holly bush facing away from the camera so the crown of her hat can be seen
The crown of Heart in my Hands Hat

The challenge now is to get photos of the cowl and the whole set that I am happy with as these are an important part of the pattern publishing stage.

The snow was quite impressive, wasn’t it? It’s still here, though melting more rapidly today as it has begun to rain a little. The pavements in the residential parts of our town are covered with compacted ice about an inch thick, so most people are walking in the roads.

The Llanberis MKAL is now complete and people are starting to show their completed hats on social media. I love all the different combinations of colours that were chosen. Anne at Yarn O’clock selected nine colours of Rowan Moordale for the kits and gave people a free choice about which three they used, which has resulted in great variety. Here are some of mine: The first is in Rowan Moordale and the second is in Shilasdair Yarn’s Luxury DK.

A woman standing in the snow, bending sideways to show the crown of her blue, silver and grey knitted hat (Llanberis Hat)
Llanberis MKAL
A woman standing in the snow, looking away from the camera wearing an orange, blue and green hat (Llanberis Hat).
Llanberis MKAL

So, lots happening and lots to do. Even before the hat and cowl for Little Orme that is also coming – the yarn arrived yesterday, so I’ll be able to get on to that later. All of which does help a bit to take my mind off waiting for a response from my last submission, although I must admit the waiting does make me a bit like a cat on hot coals!

Stay warm, dry and safe as best you can and if anyone has any top tips for keeping the neighbourhood cats off our veg patch and lawns it would be much appreciated.

Keep Knitting, K x

Rainy Days and Mondays

Yesterday was apparently Blue Monday. It’s not something I subscribe to, although two people I spoke to said they’d felt a bit more down than usual. I’m not sure that simply being the third Monday of the year is enough to qualify in this particular decade – there are plenty of other things going on.

It’s raining here in North Wales today. No surprise there, but it’s due to keep on raining for the next couple of days, after which we get a couple of days of sleet! Thank you, Storm Christopher. I am so glad we live up a very big hill – I would rather get snowed in than flooded any day. Despite the rain, or maybe even because of it, it is the perfect time to be knitting hats and cowls.

About a year ago, when I was doing stalls at the local pop-up shop, one of the people browsing said that I should do hats and cowls to match my stranded mitt designs and that is what I am currently working on. It was so lovely to return to charts I knew and ‘play’ with them, trying out different variations and seeing what I liked most. It’s ‘only’ taken me a year to respond to that feedback, but I get there in the end.

The cowl to go with Heart in my Hands Mitts is done. I just need to make sure I’m 100% happy with a couple of design decisions and then it will be published. The hat is not far behind. The cowl will be in one size (or maybe two), the hat in three, and there will be more maths involved in getting the sizing just right for the hat, hence why I did the cowl first! What do you think?

Heart in my Hands Mitts and Cowl

If you have subscribed to my newsletter via the sign-up on the website, you will know that there is a special 15% subscriber-only discount running until the end of January on ALL my products in the payhip shop (everything on the website links to this). This covers not only digital downloads of patterns, but also all the wooden treats and knitting kits too! What a bargain! I know I mentioned last week there would be a discount code in the newsletter, but if you sign up before the end of the month, that discount could be yours as well.

Llanberis Mystery Knit-along is going well. It feels weird that it will be over so soon though – the third and final part is being released on Friday. People are posting their progress on Facebook and Instagram, and saying that they are enjoying the pattern. That’s one of the things I like best about social media – you can see what people make with your designs and get instant feedback.

Even a bit of negative feedback can be useful – certainly more so than radio silence. I had an email a couple of weeks ago from someone who didn’t like the layout of one of my patterns. Initially, I was offended and a bit hurt, but after I’d got over myself (and had a sleep) I looked at it again and thought about what I could do to improve things. This is the Beanstalk Throw I wrote about last week and shows how even negative feedback can help you develop – as long as there isn’t too much of it!

I made the marmalade last Wednesday. It’s gorgeous, though it did take six hours – partly because I had forgotten that though my mum’s fast hob ring is front left, mine is back right, so if I want a fast boil I need to remember whose kitchen I am in! Fortunately I managed to move the preserving pan without burning myself. It’s a therapeutic process in some ways, whilst leaving you totally wiped out in others, albeit with the added bonus of about a year’s worth of marmalade.

13 lbs of Marmalade cooling in their jars

Yesterday I had some fun with my spinning wheel. I haven’t done any of the exercises in Katie Weston’s Spinning with a Purpose course for a while, so I had a go at making slubs and also some consistently thicker yarn than my ‘standard’ instinctive spinning tends to produce. I don’t know whether it’s a tension thing or if I just want to scrape every last bit of value out of the fibre I have, but I have tended towards the finer fingering-weight and lace-weight end of things. This was a challenge. I loved it. I’m also ridiculously pleased with the slubby yarn I made, despite the fact there’s only about two metres of it and I’m unlikely to ever be able to knit with it. I just want to admire it and pet it! WPI stands for ‘wraps per inch’, as in how many times yarn of that thickness can be wrapped around a piece of card or wood an inch wide. The gap at the top of the WPI tool in the photos is an inch wide (and the massive slub almost fills it!). The numbers under the horizontal lines show how wide a strand of yarn would be if it were 4/6/8 etc wraps per inch.

Slubby Yarn hung round spinning wheel
Massive slub on WPI tool
Skein of Bulky yarn on WPI tool
Single strand of Bulky yarn on WPI tool
Skein of DK/Worsted weight yarn on WPI tool
Two strands of DK/Worsted weight yarn on WPI tool

Speaking of challenges and learning new stuff – Craftucation will be going live in less than four weeks!!!! (Yes, I know four exclamation marks are a lot, but I think this warrants it). I will be jumping around and shouting about this more and more as February 15th comes around. If there is a new craft you are interested in learning, that will be the place to go. Not all the course will be up at the very start, but it will grow and there will be some wonderful opportunities to learn new skills.

Keep going – you can do it. And keep knitting. And stay warm. K x

Oranges and Lemons…

For the very first time I bought my own marmalade oranges this morning. I have been making marmalade for about three or four years, but in previous years the oranges had always been bought by my mum and I would make the marmalade at her house, after which we would share out the jars. Last year was the first time I did it without direct supervision. Trusted at last? Yes, but also she could no longer stand in the kitchen for long enough and instead checked on progress from her reclining chair. It is sad that this year will be the first time in 25 years that her house will not be filled with the wonderful smell of marmalade making and that I cannot travel to see her. Another little cruelty of Covid. So, tomorrow I shall make the marmalade and put some jars aside for the time when I am again allowed to visit my mum.

Over the past few days I have been doing lots of other making:

I have knitted my Part One of the Llanberis MKAL and enjoyed seeing others begin to post pictures of their progress.

I am now on the final part of my Avix cardigan by Jennifer Dessau and can hardly wait to finish the neck / front bands later today. This will be the second time I have made this pattern – something I hardly ever do unless it’s my own design. It’s a great cardigan and I want to wear it as soon as possible!

Yesterday I spun the second half of a mohair and wool mix that I carded into rolags last week – it left a really strange residue on my hands, a little like the oily wax from the skin of citrus fruit. It will be interesting to see how it behaves once plied and washed.

Mohair and Wool Rolags

I have been busy creating charts for FOUR new patterns – Stitchmastery is such a great programme. I’ve also been looking at my pattern for the Beanstalk Throw as I regularly get queries about whether there is a written version of the pattern or a single full chart and I will soon be able to supply knitters with those which I’m really pleased about and will open up the pattern to those who don’t use charts.

And! I have drafted my first newsletter!! It will be going out on Thursday to my subscribers with a special subscriber discount code that can be used on ANYTHING on my website until the end of the month. So, if you fancy a great deal – why not sign up to my email list?

I think all this ‘busyness’ has been partly a way of stopping myself from doing an impression of Edvard Munch’s famous painting, The Scream, over everything that’s going on in the world right now. Serious distraction and re-direction of attention along with doing things that keep my hands occupied so I can’t doom-scroll through the news.

Stay safe folks and, when you can, keep knitting and making stuff. It’s good for the soul. Kx

Let it snow! I’ll add another blanket.

Happy New Year! 2021 has begun here with flurries of snow and some crisp cold weather. Having taken the decorations down today and taken delivery of a new desk chair I have got my breath back and realised it’s quite chilly. 16.2 degrees in the house! Definitely calls for the ‘boost’ button.

The new desk chair is part of my push to look after myself a bit better – it’s a Humanscale chair, which are scarily expensive when new, but Sue got a reconditioned one last year from Corporate Spec and having discovered how supportive and comfortable it is (and that I can spin in it!) I have now got one of these as well. They are a quarter of the price of new – literally – and the ones we have had have been delivered in excellent condition. Yippee!! Hopefully the Voltarol will be able to go back in the cupboard!!

Lockdown is now UK wide, rather than just Wales and Northern Ireland as of last night. I hope it works and that everyone follows it properly. I will continue to send out orders as I get them as the post office is only a walk away, but I may limit trips to just twice a week.

It may just be the time to start a new project or treat yourself or a loved one to a ‘hug token’. They are available waxed or unwaxed (£2.50/£3.50) and can also be personalised (£3.50/£4.50). The one pictured is from old stock; the new blank hearts I have are slightly different; 5cm across and 2mm thick, with a very slightly different shape – a new photo will be uploaded soon!

Heart Shape with Hug Token burnt on

If you follow me on social media you will have seen that I had a happy dance this morning as Knit Picks sent an email promoting their blanket patterns in which both the blankets I had designed for them were featured! This was most exciting!

It’s a year and one day now since Nevern Throw was published and it seems to be doing well from looking at the ‘bestselling’ pages of Knit Picks website. You can even buy it as a kit from them. It’s definitely cold enough to put either that or Beanstalk on the bed this evening!

Don’t forget that Llanberis MKAL starts on Friday this week! There’s still time to buy the pattern and join in; you just need 25g of each of 3 colours of ‘sticky’ DK yarn and 3.25mm and 3.75mm needles (40cm circular and/or DPNS).

Next week I’m going to be introducing my newsletter to you. Subscribers will get regular discounts and special offers not open to everyone else, so it’s worth signing up!

Take care and keep knitting, K x

Somebody’s Everything

You may or may not have noticed that I’m tending towards using song titles for my blog posts. Music has been a huge part of my life ever since my mum used to hum into the top of my head to help me sleep as a baby. (And, of course, there were the 21 years when I was a music teacher for 11-18 year olds!)

I’m feeling quite sentimental today as it’s our 15th anniversary. We started off with a Civil Partnership and converted it on our 9th anniversary so that we became legally married. It’s the most amazing thing to know that someone has got your back through thick and thin and that you’ve got theirs too. And Dolly Parton’s song is also rather splendid!

Looking back over the past week I can safely say it has been eventful. So many people’s plans for the next few days have been upended and here in Wales ‘non-essential’ businesses have once again had to close their doors. There is definitely an air of increased caution in our town and most people are being even more aware of giving each other space.

It’s great that Yarn O’clock has several people already signed up for our next MKAL. As a reminder, Llanberis is a colour-work accessory, using no more than 25g of each of 3 colours of DK yarn, released in three parts and starting on January 8th 2021. You can buy the pattern on its own from me, while Anne is selling kits in the shop (and will post/do click and collect). If you buy the pattern on Payhip, just make sure you tick the box underneath where you type your email address (to allow product updates), so I can easily send you each section of the pattern as it is released.

There are new two new calls for submissions for me to experiment with which is perfect timing now that I have got my second Craftucation course up and listed, (of course, my brain has started planning the next course already…) and I’ve been doing more spinning! Lots of yarnie things to play with.

Anne was delighted with her yarn, created from some of the fluff she gave me.

Teal and black yarn handspun to about a sport-weight, lying on the sideboard

Today’s post will be the final one of 2020. I will write again on January 5th. It sounds like a long way off and who knows what the world will have brought us by then, but, in reality, it is only two weeks.

Until then, stay as safe as you can, enjoy Christmas and New Year however you keep them, and keep knitting! K x

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