Yarndale!

Last weekend at Yarndale was great fun and I had a lovely time hanging out on the RiverKnits stand with Becci and Markus (and Bryn). I was very lucky that, as well as it being the launch of Agnes and Tiffany (the two new shawls), they had also invited me to bring some of my other patterns and samples with me – so I had half a table and a long clothes rail to display my stuff on.

This is the fab video that Becci took of the stand just before everything got going on Day 1 – clicking play will take you to Instagram to see the video, but that’s ok – I’ll wait for you to come back!

It was the first two-day event I’ve been at for the whole time, and folk are right – that concrete floor gets mightily cold! However, the marching band that came around regularly on the Saturday helped warm us up and get the blood moving as you couldn’t help but dance to the beat.

There was no band on Sunday, but instead some rather large sheep did the rounds – pursued by a very friendly sheepdog! Unfortunately, my pic of the sheepdog is rather out of focus as I was laughing so much when I took it – the dog kept pausing to wag its tail!

It was wonderful to talk to people about yarn all weekend – and so lovely to see reactions to Agnes and Tiffany as people came towards the stand. I certainly got a big boost from hearing all the comments and from talking to people about their plans for knitting them.

Another bonus was being able to look round the rest of the show, especially on Sunday morning shortly before opening. Getting a chance to chat to some of the other vendors (including some who had been at Yarn Gathering the weekend before – hello Tanya from The Woolly Tangle and Lyn from Gwennol Designs!!) was great too.

So, Yarndale is done, and Agnes and Tiffany are launched. What’s next?

There will be a “Cast-on/Cast-off; Beginning and Ending Well” workshop at Yarn O’clock on October 18th, 6.30-9pm. There are only going to be 4 spaces, so book early! (I know there have been some requests for another brioche workshop and that will be coming, but not until at least November).

I’ll be teaching three workshops at The Knit-Tea Retreat in Cardiff on October 22nd-23rd: Moebius Knitting, Stacked Stitches (learning to use the techniques used so spectacularly by Xandy Peters in their designs), and Cast-on/Cast-off. I’ll also have a stand at their marketplace on the Sunday afternoon.

I’m working on plans for the next MKAL with Yarn O’clock (you’re not getting any clues as to what it’ll be yet!) that we’re aiming to run in January. In fact, swatching for this is taking place this week!

AND, there will be a third RiverKnits shawl joining Agnes and Tiffany! I got to choose the yarn and discuss ideas for it at the weekend. Here’s a real teaser in the form of a black and white photo so you can’t even tell what the yarn colours are:

Phew! I think I’m going to have to make the spaces bigger in my forward planning section of my next bullet journal as the pace of things is definitely picking up.

What are you up to at the moment? What are you working on or planning to make next?

I heard a wonderful quote this morning, apparently from Albert Einstein:

“Creativity is intelligence having fun”.

Albert Einstein

And we all need all the fun we can get, right? It’s been shown (not sure where, so I can’t give you the citation) that even forty minutes of making/crafting is truly beneficial to your brain chemicals. So, go make something. And take care out there, K x

We Made It Happen!

I can hardly believe it’s just two days since Yarn Gathering. It was a wonderful day and everyone who came as both vendors and customers were really enthusiastic about the event. We’ve already had people asking when the next one will be! To which we gently reply – next year. Once a year is enough, especially as there are so many other yarn shows around the UK to which people have commitments.

I was really busy on my stand throughout much of the day, which is my way of saying, “I’m sorry, but I didn’t take any photos”! There are some photos and videos of the day taken by Anne on the Yarn Gathering North Wales Instagram page and if you search the #YarnGatheringNorthWales or #YarnGatheringMold hashtag you’ll see some other posts too!

I popped into Yarn O’clock this morning to see Anne, and we both said, “We did it! Was it real?!” There is such a sense of relief that it all came together, everything worked, everyone turned up and no one had to pull out through illness. Add to that the sense of accomplishment at making something really happen and the tiredness of having run a stand myself as well and it starts to feel a bit dreamlike!

A special thank you has to go to The Daniel Owen Centre for hiring the building out to us and allowing us to move furniture around to suit our needs. Also to Rick from The Gathering cafe in Mold for his AMAZING vegan blueberry muffins that kept the vendors topped up with sugar and blueberry goodness through the day (great call on that one, Anne!). And, also to Mold Town Council, the Mold Food and Drink Festival, and all the shopkeepers in Mold and Buckley who all put posters up for us!

So, that’s done, and it’s on to the next adventures. I promised you some exciting news this week and I am indeed able to share two big things with you.

The two shawls I have designed for RiverKnits are going to be launched this weekend at Yarndale in Skipton! Here they are in all their glory; Agnes:

And Tiffany:

I will be there, on the RiverKnits stand (K10) during the weekend (10-12 and 2.30-4.30 both days), so please come and say hello if you’re going to Yarndale. I will also have a selection of my other designs with me there, both the samples and printed patterns, all of which can be made using RiverKnits yarns!

The second piece of exciting news I have is that I am one of the tutors at the Knit-Tea Retreat at Insole Court in Cardiff next month, October 22nd-23rd! I was really pleased to be invited to teach at this event – I went to one of their online retreats during lockdown and really enjoyed it. There are three other tutors and we will be offering a wide range of workshops. There are interviews with each of us on the Knit-Tea Retreat website so you can find out more about us and what we are offering, but in brief:

I will be teaching Möbius Knitting, Stacked Stitches and Cast-on/Cast-off. There will also be workshops on Beginner Crochet Amigurumi, Fun with Fibre and Intro to Drop Spinning with Angela Hart, Lino Printing with Bethan of Joy House Creations and Yoga for Crafters with Lisa Hassan-Scott! There will be a marketplace on the Sunday afternoon (where I’ll have a stand), and lots of tea and cake and opportunities for socialising with other knitters and crafters.

If this sounds like your cup of tea (see what I did there? 😉), have a look at the Knit-Tea Retreat website. Places are limited and you don’t want to miss out!

In the meantime, I need to finish printing out copies of patterns to take with me to Yarndale (I’ve just run out of A3 paper, so that’s something I’ll need to tackle first thing tomorrow), finish writing up the pattern for my secret knitting – it’s blocked out beautifully and I’m so pleased with it – and get it posted off to it’s destination and, at some point, finish the ironing. Have you noticed the word ‘finish’ is cropping up a lot here?! I’ve done most of the printing, about 85% of the writing up of the pattern and half of the ironing, but none of these jobs are done until they’re done – and finished!

Yesterday, as you can’t have failed to notice in the UK, was the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth. Even though I’ve found the media coverage of the past ten days somewhat overwhelming, we did watch the procession and the services on the tv. The precision and hours that went into making that happen were breathtaking, and the music was exceptional. It was wonderful to hear so many pieces that I know well and have sung myself over the years. There was a lot more of the events of the day covered than I was anticipating (though the previous days’ coverage should have given me a heads up!), but I could at least knit on the comfort of our sofa whilst dipping in and out.

Take care one and all, hold those you love close when you can, and come and say hi in Skipton if you’re there at the weekend! K x

P.S. I’m currently enjoying my use of the Oxford comma – if you know, you know!

Coming Together

By this time next week Yarn Gathering will have been and gone! It’s such a strange thought; all these months of planning are essentially leading up to six hours (10am – 4pm). But what a six hours they will be: joining with other enthusiasts in the yarn community, sharing stories and buying from our wonderful vendors.

We are glad that the Mold Food & Drink Festival is still going ahead (like us, until the date of the Queen’s funeral was announced, they were a little uncertain about potential clashes). Do go and visit them as well as coming to see us in the Daniel Owen Centre. The Food Festival is always worth a visit, with live music to entertain you as well.

As a reminder, our vendors at Yarn Gathering will be:

Ewe & Ply

Felinrhyd Spinning

Gwennol Designer Handknits

Soggy Kookaburra Crafts


It’s going to be a very busy couple of months for me now and the forward planning section of my bullet journal is really starting to come into its own.

There are the final few things to organise for Yarn Gathering, such as taking posters to the Food Festival during their set-up period. They’ve kindly agreed to display our posters at their entrance and exit.

I finished my secret knitting on Sunday (much to the shock, amusement and sympathy of Twitter as I admitted I had taken ONLY that project away with me during the past couple of days – I got home at lunchtime today). The written pattern now needs to be finished and checked and the knitting needs to be blocked and posted to its final destination. I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out and can’t wait to see how it looks when blocked.

The two shawls I have designed for RiverKnits are being launched at Yarndale on September 24th-25th! I am very excited about this, and the photography (done by Becci) is amazing. You may well see me around during the weekend as well…!

Here are sneak peeks of both of the RiverKnits’ shawls:


Tomorrow I have two meetings in one day. That’s something that hasn’t happened since I left the classroom! And one of them is going to have part of it recorded, so now – of course – I’m wondering whether my hair is blue enough…! I’m hoping to be able to tell you more about both of these meetings in next week’s blog post.

And on top of all these things, I am starting to work on the next Mystery Knit-along (MKAL) to be run with Yarn O’clock, think about when I might schedule some beginners’ knitting classes and get back to completing the Nevern Throw Expansion Pack which had been moved to the back burner during the past month or so. Oh, and I’m starting to plan which yarn shows I might apply to as a vendor next year…

But, first things first: Yarn Gathering is THIS SUNDAY, 18th September. Please do come – entry is free!

Human

There’s a magpie hanging out on the back fence. Every now and then it wanders over to where some of the raspberry canes overhang and has a peck at them. It’s the most chilled out magpie I’ve seen in a while! I have to say I don’t mind it helping itself as I harvested a load of raspberries yesterday afternoon, and any that the magpie is able to get to are either too ripe or completely out of reach to me!

Yesterday evening I sent out my monthly newsletter. A few hours later I had a look at the Mailchimp app to see how many people had opened it and noticed it was 55% opens and 8% clicks. Once I was in bed though, it occurred to me that the clicks number was odd because, after pressing send, I realised I had forgotten to insert a link to Cat and Sparrow’s yarn kits for my latest design (Bargello Aurora Wrap).

It was one of those thoughts that niggles at you. You know the ones? And then it occurred to me. I had written the newsletter using an old one as a template. Which probably meant the clicks were to links from the old newsletter that had stayed in place after I’d replaced the photographs… Argh!!

First thing this morning I braced myself to check and, sure enough, if I clicked on the photos in yesterday’s email… they took me to completely unrelated webpages. So, I went back into Mailchimp, removed the old links, added some new and relevant ones, added an apology to the top of the newsletter and re-sent it.

If you are one of the people who subscribes to my newsletter I am so sorry you ended up receiving emails two days in a row from me. I really do try hard not to send things out into the world until I know they’re right and it’s one of those occasions where I have to remind myself that all people make mistakes and we’re only human, etc, etc. (If you don’t yet subscribe, please know that this is a rarity, and that all subscribers get a permanent subscriber discount code to use on Payhip and Ravelry).


Anyway! One of the things I wrote about in my newsletter was the Bargello Aurora Wrap that is featured in this month’s issue of The Knitter magazine (Issue 180). Rachael of Cat and Sparrow, who dyed the yarn for me from the picture of the North Lights that I showed you last week, has yarn kits for the wrap, which is very exciting. The Knitter have shared one of the fabulous modelled shots of the wrap on their social media and written some rather wonderful words about it too!

We think Kath Andrews’ new wrap design is out of this world! Her ‘Bargello Aurora Wrap’ has a mesmerising stripe pattern, inspired by the distinctive zigzag stitches used in Bargello tapestry work. The project uses some unusual increase and decrease methods, which result in dramatic point details along the edges. It’s knitted in five complementary colours of Singular BFL, a hand-dyed yarn from Cat and Sparrow. You can find Kath’s pattern in Issue 180.

The Knitter, Facebook, 4th September 2022

Here are some of the shots Rachael took on a tailor’s dummy:

Those pointed zigzag edges are achieved through blocking as well as dramatic increases and decreases. (Soaking the wrap, then pinning it out firmly whilst damp.) There were a lot of pins involved. With some designs you can simply pin the outer points, and you could do that here, but you would get a different end result. Here are two photos from the blocking stage. The left hand image shows the outer points only pinned, which gives a curved line to the points overall. The right hand image shows the full pinning with every change of direction, and the mid-points between them in the zigzag, pinned into place. I think you’ll agree it was worth the effort!


There are only twelve days now until Yarn Gathering!! Above is the flyer with the full line-up of vendors. If you head over to the Yarn Gathering page you can click on each of them for more details about their business and what you might be able to expect to see on the 18th.

DO come and join us – we’d love to see you!! With eleven vendors spread out through the hall and the cafe space of the Daniel Owen Centre, there will be plenty of room for you to see everything and everyone without feeling too crowded. It was lovely for me to meet up with LottieKnits at the Pop-up Wool Show a couple of weeks ago and I am really looking forward to seeing all the other vendors and catching up. This is one of the joys of a yarn show and one of the aims of Yarn Gathering; you get to talk to people, have conversations, share ideas, ooh and aah over other people’s stalls and purchases – in fact, have some human contact!


In other knitting news, I am on the final section of my latest secret knitting (though you won’t see that one until January…)!

And – I have finished the socks for my nibling, apart from weaving in the ends. I am very pleased with them and hope that they will be too:

I used The Knitting Goddess‘s 4-ply BFL Nylon yarn in semi solid black and Trans Pride Flag. I could have bought some Stripey Stripes of the pride flag yarn, but I wanted to get a whole skein so I can do other things with it as well later on. I just had to wind off a pink-white-pink section between the blues so that the flag was correct and matching on both socks.


I think that’s everything for today. I’m trying to get my head around all the [insert adjective of your choice] things going on in the big wide world outside of my wool-based bubble. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I can get rather cross about politics on occasion, but for now, I’m going to aim to be more like this morning’s magpie; chill out and eat a raspberry now and then.

Take care all, K x

It’s A Kind Of Magic

Back in February I had a design submission accepted. I was asked if I would be interested in using a particular dyer’s yarn and I jumped at the chance. The dyer in question is Rachael of Cat and Sparrow. We had some communication about the project and she asked if I had particular colours in mind. I replied with “Something like this?” and sent the picture that had inspired the design.

When the yarns arrived I was utterly stunned. “Something like this?” – it was exactly like that!! Rachael had worked absolute magic. The yarn is Singular BFL, a Bluefaced Leicester fingering weight singles yarn. ‘Singles’ just means it only has one ply. It was a joy to work with and I am SO pleased with the results.

When you are sent a specially dyed set of yarn that’s all there is – you can’t just go and buy some more to experiment with – so, although I’d swatched my idea thoroughly in completely different yarns and was clear on how the pattern would work, there wasn’t a lot of wriggle room for playing with and checking the best order of colours. So, I turned back to a technique from my City & Guilds in Hand Knit Design (thanks Loraine!). A great way to try ideas out and compare them without using up lots of time or yarn:

Trying out colour order options

The finished pattern – Bargello Aurora Wrap – is being published this Thursday (September 1st) in The Knitter, Issue 180 (that link should update to be Issue 180 on Thursday). Rachael is selling kits of the yarn on her website, dyed exactly the same as the yarn I knit the sample in, for you to knit this lovely wrap. And the finished design and kit has a 10+% meterage buffer for each colour, so it won’t be a disaster if your tension is a little looser than mine. You shouldn’t end up playing yarn chicken!

5 Skeins of yarn in a pile. Dark Blue, grey, blue-green, apple green and jade
Bargello Aurora Yarn Kit from Cat and Sparrow UK

The wrap is worked lengthwise in order to get the maximum effect from the angled stripes (you’ll see…!), which has the added benefit of minimising the number of yarn ends to weave in once you are finished!.

Here’s a very sneaky peek from when it first came off the needles, before being blocked:

Bargello Aurora unblocked

This yarn has no problem being blocked firmly despite being a single ply construction – it was surprisingly strong and has great stitch memory. I’m not showing you the finished item though – you’ll have to wait until Thursday for the big reveal on that one!


Whilst the news of this design is very current, the wrap was knitted many months ago (in March). This week I have been working on two knitting projects, one of which I can show you. The latest secret knitting is coming on well and I’m now on the fourth section of five. I had got as far as halfway through section three before (did I tell you?) when I had to admit some aspects were not pleasing me, so I cast off, blocked it and reconsidered. That was definitely worthwhile as it looks FAR better now – tiny tweaks but they’ve had a big impact. Of course, I can’t show you that one.

The other knitting project I cast on for on Thursday. I finished it last night and it is now blocking on a balloon.

That’s the joy of a hat – it’s small and quick and this one was good telly knitting (apart from when I missed a couple of yarn overs and had to fix it a couple of rounds later), especially as the yarn was a DK weight and light in colour. The pattern is Rachis from Woolly Wormhead and the yarn is from The Midnight Dyery (dyed when she was The Project Bag). I highly recommend the pattern (and the yarn)! I made the fourth size of six (21″) and there was plenty of yarn left from a single skein.


The other piece of big news is that Yarn Gathering is now less than three weeks away! When Anne at Yarn O’clock and I first started talking about and planning this event, September seemed such a long time away. And now it’s so close!

It’s very exciting for us that, since we first circulated the idea amongst yarnie friends/possible vendors, there has been such a positive response. We’ve even had some local fibre artists we didn’t know about contact us and ask if there might be room for them to have a stand.

Hopefully you’ve seen the posts that I’ve been publishing on Instagram and Facebook in the past week or so, each one spotlighting a different vendor. Yarn Gathering even has its own Instagram page now (@yarn_gathering_nwales) which should make it even easier for people to get details about the vendors they can come and meet. And, of course, I’m updating the webpage whenever I get additional info.

Yarn Gathering will be a small event (only a dozen or so stands), but since the Mold Food & Drink Festival is also on, it’s a great opportunity to make a day of a trip to our lovely corner of North East Wales!

I think that’s all I have time to tell you about today – I’m now going to help my lovely wife attempt to straighten up the washing line with the use of potting grit down the side of the post… Wish me luck! K x

Showtime!

We did it!

The PopUp Wool Show on Saturday was definitely a success. The organisers were great and there were even some people on hand to help haul heavy things up the steps when we arrived. I am incredibly grateful to Sue for being such an amazing assistant – and for bringing all the stuff in her car that wouldn’t fit in mine. We were both a little tired when the alarm went at 5am on Saturday morning, having had an interrupted night driving to check Sue’s workplace after the alarm went off at 12.30am… However! We survived and I would bet that none of the lovely people who stopped by the stand would have guessed we were each running on two chunks of less than three hours sleep.

So, today I’m going to show you a few pics from my stand and show you the one thing I bought myself – yes, even though I was running a stand I still managed to buy something!

All these pics were taken early in the morning just as we were finishing setting up (we arrived just after 7.30am and were set up by about 9am), so there will be other folk in the background setting up their stands, and lots of bags and boxes around.

A few vendors were unable to attend due to illness which meant there were some spaces. I ‘cheekily’ offered to take a larger space if it would help fill a gap and surprised myself by filling up a lot more room than I’d anticipated!

From left to right, this was my stand:

With ‘Daisy’ on the left, modelling West Country Gothic and the single colour version of Marianne Half Hap:

The classic bunting across the front of the stand and Calon Cariad at the end in Wool Local. Other designs on this table were Beth March Shawl (which was a lot more popular than I’d anticipated and I ran out of printed copies), Little Orme Hat and Mitts and Heart in my Hands Collection. I love how the covered heads look – so much better!

Nubble Mitts on the top of the mini table were also popular – I sold two kits of that design. They were the first Mystery Knit-along that I did with Yarn O’clock! Next to the mitts is a head wearing Nubble Hat (which you can’t really see) and Mirror Mirror Möbius. At the end of the table is Maid Marion Shawl with another sample of West Country Gothic overlapping it.

Propped up against the second (!) table is a framed set of sheep photos taken and edited by Sue. Aren’t they cute? This table has Anne’s Jubilee bunting across the front and some bunting kits on the end of the table, along with Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary lavender bag kits. Much of this table was used for patterns and for my portfolio, showing the requirements for each of my (50+) designs.

Just in front of Sue is another head form wearing Llanberis and Fiery Dragon Skin Cowl.

The right hand side of the second table has our bare stem tree behind it with the Mini Socks Advent Calendar displayed on it, along with my hand burnt wooden hanging hearts and some beautiful hand turned light pulls that were made by a friend’s dad. In front of the tree are the Advent Calendar kits, coasters and some more stitch marker pots. And, of course, a bottle of hand sanitiser just in shot.

Another sample of Calon Cariad is at the end of the second table (this one in Socks Yeah! that I made during the KAL in February) and in front of that is a folding table I borrowed from Anne. Drifting Leaves is tied on the left and Nos Da is draped over the top. Yarns for these designs fill the ‘shelves’. And what is that to the right…?!?!

This, my friends, is a very Heath Robinson set-up. A small side table with an old-fashioned folding sweater blocker on top of it. This was held securely in place with four bungee cords (cunningly hidden by the knitting). Draped across the arms of the sweater blocker are (L-R): Into the Vortex, Amy March Shawl, Diamonds in the Breeze, Helena Rose Stole, Jo March Scarf and Angel of the North. Below on the table is Croeso Baby Blanket.

It may look a bit as though wash-day has become very fancy, but I wanted to display as many shawls as I could and, without wall space (or any ‘gridwall’), this was my solution – and it worked! (In my defence I did see another stand which was using a clothes airer for the same purpose.) There was a lot of interest as people rounded the corner – they would stop and pick up the corner of a shawl or turn over the brioche scarf to see the reverse side – and often enough that interest turned into a lovely conversation and sometimes even a sale. It was a huge boost to my confidence to hear people’s comments as they looked at my designs too.

My purchase was some incredibly vibrant Bluefaced Leicester fibre to spin. I bought this braid of gorgeous neon green from Wild Field Fibre – do look them up!

I can hardly believe there have only been three days since Saturday! I’ve launched the Mini Socks Advent Calendar pattern online, written a newsletter for subscribers with a discount code, completed an application form for NEXT year’s Pop Up Wool Show, re-printed patterns, reorganised stock, been to IKEA and got some boxes to help create clearly defined kits and allow me to exhibit almost the same amount of items with one table instead of two, reorganised stock again in light of new boxes and knitted some more of nibling’s sock (finished the heel gusset now!).

Tomorrow I have to crack on with my secret knitting project and double check / correct some patterns that have just come back from my tech editor!

And can I remind you about Yarn Gathering?

Social media posts are going to focus quite a lot on this in the next couple of weeks, in particular showcasing each of our vendors in turn – today it’s Trevor Blackburn’s turn. We’d love to see you there.

That’s all for today – it was quite a lot, wasn’t it! And it was quite a show. Take care, K x

Paper

There has a been a huge amount of paper in my world over the past few weeks – particularly yesterday. Which is why this morning I thought, “What day is it? Wednesday? But… I didn’t write a blog post yesterday!!”

So, what papery things have been happening? I’ve been printing copies of my patterns for the Popup Wool Show this coming Saturday. Or at least, I had been attempting to. I wanted to print most of them as A4 booklets (so, A3 paper folded in half). When I bought my last printer I was looking for this facility and yes, it printed A3 and yes, it printed duplex. However, it was not until we had it home and unpacked and I had tried every possible setting under the sun that I discovered it did not actually print A3 duplex. Argh. Grrr.

I’ve been attempting to do work arounds by manually turning the paper over, but the printer was frequently picking up several sheets at once (usually on the second pass) and smearing ink everywhere. It had got to the point where I was only inserting a single sheet of A3 into the tray at a time as I was so sick of wasting paper and ink. And then I was sick of wasting time!

The printer got sworn at on several occasions (not that that helped). Eventually at the weekend I gave in and ordered a new printer that actually does print A3 duplex (and also photocopies and scans A3 too!). It arrived yesterday afternoon and was immediately pressed into service. It’s forced a rearrange of the study that actually makes it feel more spacious, even though the new printer is slightly bigger. And the patterns? Wow, I got everything I needed printed out in three hours – which would have taken more like three solid days and lots of pleading, swearing and crying with the previous one. The patterns look fantastic and I can’t wait to show folk at the show on Saturday – I will have at least one copy of everything with me. Below is a small selection!

A selection of my printed patterns spread out on the carpet overlapping with each other.
Selection of printed patterns from Kath Andrews Designs

The new printer is a Brother MFC-J69550W – and after 24 hours or so I am incredibly happy with it. The two paper trays also make life a lot easier as I can have A4 in one and A3 in the other. It wasn’t until I got the final pattern printed out this morning (after some last minute updating to the layout) that I realised how stressful the previous printer had been to use!

Other papery things this week have been the polystyrene heads I have been covering with Décopatch paper to make them look nicer while they are modelling my hats and cowls. I’ve done a third one since taking this picture and have one left to do tomorrow.

Two head forms sit on a pale gold carpet in front of a brown sofa. The left one is covered with blue and green peacock feather paper, the right with blue and pink peacock feather paper. They are shiny.
Décopatch Heads

Also, the paper copies of Haven; Knit Lace Patterns arrived! The books look beautiful as Knit Picks books always do. As I get two copies of each book I have a pattern in, I will be doing a giveaway for one of them with my Facebook group at some point in the near future. So, if you’d like a chance of winning one, go and join!

Two copies of a knitting book are on a pale gold carpet. The front cover showing a seated woman knitting wearing jeans and a blue lace shawl is upwards on the right copy, overlapping the back cover showing on the right. There are three pics part visible on the back - all of the same woman wearing different knitted lace garments.
Haven; Knit Lace Patterns

Have I done any knitting in the meantime? Yes, a little!

The new secret project is coming on nicely, after a few little tweaks to allow for the differences between the yarn I swatched with (a really rounded and bouncy DK from Colinette) and the yarn I’m really using (West Yorkshire Spinners Fleece). As it’s secret I can’t show you yet, but I think you’ll like it when I do!

I finished one sock for my nibling and started the second one: Yarn is from The Knitting Goddess. The black yarn is hard to see in the evenings unless I’ve got a really good lamp on it; definitely more of a daytime knit.

One complete sock and a sock in progress on a pale gold carpet. The majority of the sock is semi-solid black yarn with a trans pride flag striping just below the cuff
Trans Pride Flag Sock

I’ve also got about one third of the way through the next square in the Nevern Throw Expansion Pack. I may alter the bottom of the curves in the centre a little. Yes, I did pin straight into the carpet. If I hadn’t the photo wouldn’t have shown you much – the lower image of the two is the same knitting unpinned!

'split screen' photo. The upper part shows a stranded square in progress pinned out to show the celtic knot work patterns on it, the lower square is the same knitting without pins - all rolled up.
New Nevern Throw Square in progress

This was knitted whilst watching the new Elvis film – it’s really good and I’d recommend it. I don’t consider myself a big Elvis fan, but the film certainly had me tapping my feet and having a little chair boogie every now and then!

One more head to cover with paper and shiny glue and then it’s all systems go for the show on Saturday – Hulme Hall, Port Sunlight, 10am-4pm. There’s also a heavy duty wire shelving unit to assemble tomorrow, but I’ll tell you all about that once it’s done!

Take care one and all, and I hope to see you at the Popup Wool Show on Saturday if you’re anywhere around the North West of England at the weekend. K x

Holiday

The past few weeks have been a patchwork of working really hard and relaxing in different places.

Part of my set-up practice for Popup Wool Show shows the different colour yarns I will have with me for Nos Da kits and also the gorgeous colours of laceweight available for my various lace designs, including Drifting Leaves (attached to the left side of the table).

Nos Da and Drifting Leaves with yarn

The floor plan of the show has been published and I’m delighted to see I’m right next to Lottieknits – she has such wonderful colours in her hand dyed yarn.

Popup Wool Show Floor Plan

We were in Pershore recently and I acquired this bag at a cool shop called Follyies. It’s perfect for a large sweater quantity project – and has an internal zipped pocket to keep the bits and bobs safe.

‘My Doris’ bag

We had a little day trip to Chirk last week and bravely walked across the aqueduct which is right next to the viaduct! There’s also a patch on the canal path where you can stand with one foot in Wales and the other in England! Apparently that’s unique on the UK waterways.

Ronnie by Chirk Viaduct (whilst on Chirk Aqueduct!)

When visiting family we often stay in a Premier Inn, but sometimes it’s nice to treat ourselves. This is the view from our room at The Crescent Turner near Whitstable. You can see the sea and this room has its own little terrace to chill on!

View from our room by day

And the sunsets were magnificent! There was one tree that was silhouetted against the sky with the colours shading between blue and orange – it could almost have been an African skyline!! Sadly I didn’t get a photo of that detail.

View from our room at sunset

Ronnie continued his adventures and decided to do his impression of The Lady of Shalott over a clear running patch of river in Canterbury. He’s getting far more adventurous in his old age (he’s been with us for 20 years now!).

Ronnie trying to be The Lady of Shalott

I have even been able to get some knitting done that I can share with you! This sock has made excellent progress and should be finished in a day or so. The trans flag stripe is from a whole skein of Trans Pride Flag yarn from The Knitting Goddess. She sells little ‘stripey stripes’ too which are two sections of yarn containing one full flag each, but I wanted to get a whole skein so I could do more. These socks will be a gift for one of our niblings and they have been gamely trying on the sock in progress so I can ensure a good fit!

Sock for nibling coming on!

One of the drawbacks of writing my blog on my phone seems to be that I can’t include links – but I will add them in as soon as I get access to my laptop again. [eta – links now done!]

I hope you’ve enjoyed the mix of pics today! Take care and keep hydrated, K x

The Kits Are Alright!

The past few days have been mostly about prepping for the Pop-Up Wool Show at Hulme Hall in Port Sunlight on August 20th. I’ve been checking my stocks of kits, gift tag sets, patterns etc and making lots and lots of lists! I’m quite proud of my kits. They all come with a cotton project bag, metal stitch markers (if needed and the correct number for the pattern), a printed pattern and yarn in majority natural fibres.

Today a folding 6 foot table was delivered. Not only do the legs fold away, but the whole thing folds in half so it can fit in the car!

I’ve also borrowed back lots of knitted samples from Yarn O’clock and borrowed a couple of little stands to add to my display set-up.

The Mini Socks Advent Calendar looks great on the tree!

Mini Socks Advent Calendar, Kath Andrews, on tree

I also took pics of it hung on the mantlepiece and a door, as not everyone has a tree they can hang 24 mini socks on.

The kits are all made up and include stitch markers and the tags for the numbers, as well as 10cm pieces of ribbon to tie them to the hanging loops and one long piece of ribbon to hang them from.

This is what a four colour kit looks like:

Mini Socks Advent Calendar Kit Pinks

The striped sock has been test knit (by Anne at Yarn O’clock) and she made hers super stripy, as one of her yarns was variegated. Doesn’t it look cute?

Striped Sock from Mini Socks Advent Calendar

There have been a few things happening this week that are not wool show related. I finished the Morse Code Cowl! It is currently drying having had a bath this morning. I was very pleasantly surprised that no dye emerged while it was soaking, despite the yarns being such deep saturated colours – excellent yarn from The Travel Knitter.

Morse Code Cowl Front, poem by Sue Finch, knitting by Kath Andrews
Morse Code Cowl Back, poem by Sue Finch, knitting by Kath Andrews

I know the poem will be impossible to read, partly as it curves around the cowl, partly as it’s in Morse Code and partly as there is not a lot of contrast between the two yarn colours, but it’s satisfying to know that it really is Sue’s poem. This is the actual poem that I knitted into the cowl:

This Was Once a Good Poem

but it has eaten cheese and pickle rolls for a week now

and it can’t work out why the vitamins aren’t working.

It rocks in the chair until its eyes are too tired to see

and has scared itself with thoughts of Autumn spiders

under glasses in the hallway.

It is wondering if it is true that conkers in corners

keep arachnids at bay

and is now standing in the dark

sniffing last year’s horse chestnuts

desperate to find their scent.

Sue Finch

I also took delivery of some yarn for a project I won’t be able to show you for AGES, but it’s going to be a fun one. The yarn is gorgeous – Fleece from West Yorkshire Spinners in Ecru and Fellside – and I’m looking forward to casting on later today.

West Yorkshire Spinners Fleece in Ecru and Fellside

We harvested our broad beans at the weekend, along with the first two of our squashes/courgettes. The broad beans were pitiful in quantity, but tasted good. This is the entire crop in the left-hand photo!

And on a slightly less healthy, but very fun, note – did you know you can now get BLUE Jammie Dodgers?! They are filled with coloured, berry-flavoured apple jam.

Blue Jammie Dodgers!

Anyway, today’s post was going to be a short one – but it doesn’t seem to have turned out that way! Take care one and all, and if you happen to be in the Port Sunlight area on August 20th it would be great to see you!

Christmas in July

The Mini Socks Advent Calendar is almost complete! The socks are knitted, the ends are woven in, the hanging loops have been crocheted and sewn on (and more ends woven in) and they have all had a nice relaxing bath. The measurements and gauge have been taken, the pattern is written up and checked and I’ve decided what order I’m going to hang them in.

A close up of the mini socks drying in two rows on white foam mats. 10 are visible. A larger sock is at the bottom right. The socks are a mix of solid colours, stripes and colour blocks in various combinations of four yarns; purple, pink, red and multicoloured.
Kath Andrews Mini Socks Advent Calendar close-up

Although there are twelve pairs of socks I have decided not to hang them in pairs, but instead following the sequence: solid-striped-colour block. And overlaid on that is another sequence following the colours of the cuffs; red-pink-multi-purple up to the halfway point and then reversed. I like it, but if you make the advent calendar you can hang them in any order you prefer! You could even hang them all separately on a Christmas tree to make the hunt more of a challenge.

All I need now is for the small round kraft labels to arrive so I can tie the numbers on to the hanging loops and string the whole thing together with ribbon and hang it up for some proper photos!

The kits are prepped – I’ll have seven with me at the Pop-up Wool Show – three in the colourway shown, two in a blue/green/purple/multi combo, one in just red and cream and one in blue and cream. All using West Yorkshire Spinners ColourLab DK, with the multicoloured yarns being two of the Zandra Rhodes special colourways.

The Mini Socks Advent Calendar takes 200g of DK yarn and I was able to get the larger Day 25 bonus pattern out of that amount as well, though it might be a push if your gauge is looser.

Kits will be £20 to include the yarn, a printed copy of the pattern, stitch markers and a cotton project bag. The pattern will also be available on its own as it makes a great stash buster!


A small hand knitted sock in stripes of blue, pink and white lies on a pale gold carpet.
Kath Andrews Tipton Sock

I’ve been on a bit of a sock flurry! This is Tipton. It’s small because this version was actually a swatch for a submission, but it’s intended as an adult sized sock. While it wasn’t chosen to be part of the collection I submitted it for, I do like it and have decided to work on the pattern for self-publication. This sample swatch was knitted with CoopKnits Socks Yeah! I’ve had the colours for ages and think they’re now discontinued, so I will need to go on a yarn hunt (what a shame…!) for current yarns in these colours. I’ll tell you more about Tipton another time.


A cross-stitch in progress showing a variety of pride flags
Safe Space by Peppermint Purple in progress

My cross stitch is coming on. Safe Space by Peppermint Purple is a fab design that comes in both cross stitch and blackwork versions and includes a huge variety of pride flags. 50% of the profits from the pattern go to Stonewall as well. Can you see any similarity between one of the flags and Tipton?


An embroidery in progress re-creating a b&w photo of my mum in her twenties
Photo Embroidery of Mum in progress

My intention to complete four more colours this month is stalled – partly as I’m currently working on one of the most prevalent colours. It’s a dark grey which is almost indistinguishable from the black and it’s not easy going on the eyes. I’ve found a good solution to help me not lose my place on the chart in between stitching sessions though – a small post-it with an arrow drawn on it pointing at the last stitch I worked. Using magnetic strips wouldn’t help much with this one as the colours jump around so very much. I think I’ve done more on Safe Space instead as it can be worked without reference to the chart for every single stitch!


A close up of a stranded hand knitted cowl in progress. Main colour is dark red. Black is used for purl stitches in the corrugated ribbing and the morse code poem
Kath Andrews Morse Code Cowl 2

Do you remember the red and black yarn I purchased from The Travel Knitter at the RiverKnits Open Day? It’s halfway to becoming a stranded cowl. The Morse Code Cowl, as I have called it, has one of my lovely wife’s poems translated into Morse code and then converted into a knitting chart. That was a LOT of work, before I could even cast on! But it’s coming on. I am most pleased with the section that isn’t Morse code – the part that will say “Poem, Sue Finch“:

The other side of the hand knitted cowl in progress, showing the poet's name - Sue Finch - worked in black on a dark red background.
Kath Andrews Morse Code Cowl 1

The link on her name will take you to her publishers where you can read some reviews of her first collection, Magnifying Glass. (And you can buy it if you like what you read!).


The last pic I’m going to share with you is one of those roses I rescued last week. They still look might fine in their bowl of water! The orange has changed to a more pinkish shade now and they’ve opened up, completely filling the bowl. It was a really good way to save what otherwise looked like a bunch of flowers destined for the compost.

A glass bowl filled with nine rose heads floating in water. They are orange shading to pink in the centres.
The rescued roses – one week on!

Take care one and all, and look after the folks around you as well as yourselves. And, if you can, go knit something – maybe plan ahead a little!

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