There are lots of things coming up that I can’t tell you about just yet (but I will soon, I promise!), so I thought I would share this week’s progress with my various projects.

Yesterday I managed to pick the blackcurrants – I got 7.5 lbs of fruit off our one bush, which shows that netting these and the redcurrants has really made a difference. Again, it wouldn’t all fit in the freezer, so I used just over half to make a batch of jam. I do need to get some more jam jars – or make sure we use up some of the preserves I’ve already made. I thought the 8 jars I could find wouldn’t be enough, so I washed and sterilized a Kilner jar that had been storing dried fruit and thank goodness I did as that got filled up as well! It took hours for the Kilner jar to cool down and as there was some condensation on the lid I thought that would be the best one to open first. It tastes really good – rather like super concentrated Ribena…

The gooseberries have been hiding under their leaves and are very ripe, but if I get them picked in the next day or so we should be able to use them for crumble.

We also harvested our first round courgette! They are supposed to be picked when the size of tennis balls, so this one was a little on the large side, but it tasted fabulous with pesto pasta.

The few lonely broad beans in the colander are all that were on the plants in the garden (they went into the same meal as the courgette). When I picked them, the whole plant came out of the ground as though the roots hadn’t properly taken since being planted out. Next year I shall sow the broad beans directly into the ground and do it much earlier.

Beyond the garden, my spinning is complete – there are some irregular sections, but overall I’m very happy with it. Velvet Sixpence‘s Polwarth fibre has been a delight to work with.

I’m thinking about adapting my Fiery Dragon Skin Cowl pattern to include a range of yarn weights and this might be a good yarn to knit a chunky sample with!

Also completed is my lace-weight Marianne Half Hap shawl! I cast off this morning.

Straight off the needles it’s rather frilly and uneven, but that’s because it’s not yet been blocked. Blocking will happen tomorrow morning and I am going to be super careful with it as the gorgeous yarn, Northampton Shear Shetland Lace from RiverKnits, is a single ply with some very very fine sections. I think it will be more a case of easing and pushing the knitting while it’s damp, rather than pulling and stretching.

This means I can cast on another new sample of an existing design as part of my Summer KAL – this one will be Amy March Shawl using two beautiful skeins dyed by The Yarn Artist.

My Mystical Lanterns crochet blanket is now three strips wide and I started the fourth strip today – two and a half motifs are done on this one so far. I’m really enjoying this design by Janie Crow – especially as I’ve now got the main motif memorised which makes progress faster.

It’s a great stash-buster. The central ring of the motif uses hardly any yarn, so if I have a colour I think I have virtually nothing of I can still get it into one or two more motifs.

Progress has also been made towards the Pop-Up Wool Show that is happening at Hulme Hall, Port Sunlight in a month’s time (19th August, 2023) – yay! I’ve printed out the extra patterns that I needed.

Don’t worry, this isn’t everything I’m bringing, it’s just a top-up print to make sure I have enough of each design with me! Later this week I shall be sanding, waxing and burning stitch marker pots, and knitting/sheep themed coasters.

Now I’m off to a leaving do. It’s for my lovely wife who, after seventeen years in the role, is in her final week of term as a primary headteacher.

Whatever you’re doing this week, I hope some of it brings you joy. Take care, K x

One Stitch at a Time

Well, it’s been quite a week. Lichfield came out in The Knitter last Thursday and I’ve had some lovely comments about it.

I’m coming to the finishing stages of my Treasure Chest Socks design. The largest size is being added and knitted and I’m working my way through the gusset decreases currently. That will be out in October.

I do need a name for this design still. With some designs the name actually comes first because of the inspiration (as with Lichfield), but with others it’s one of the last things to do. I might even ask for suggestions…!

Tomorrow sees the halfway point of my Summer KAL. There’s another Zoom – this one is a knit and knatter, 12th July, 7.30-9pm BST, and just as before, the tickets are available online for free with a £3 paid option should the mood take you that way. If you’re knitting something of mine and you’d like to join us it would be wonderful to see you there.

I’m more than halfway through my Marianne Half Hap (my SummerKAL project), though I always forget how long a knitted on edging can take. There are some super fine sections in this second skein of yarn so I will need to be extremely careful when blocking it. I don’t want any nasty popping or snapping of yarn to occur!

I’ve also realised that it’s only five and a half weeks until the Pop-Up Wool Show in Port Sunlight. That means there are spreadsheets to sort out, patterns to print, kits to put together and wood to sand, oil and burn.

I picked the redcurrants! Well, most of them. After the fourth massively overloaded colander went into the sink I decided the birds could have the rest. The netting is now just on the blackcurrants which are waiting patiently for their turn.

I think I got about 10lbs of fruit, after pulling the berries off the stalks. I was going to freeze it all, but there just wasn’t room in the freezer for that much, so I turned 6lb of berries into jelly and the rest is frozen.

I’m doing quite well with my plans for this month so far. I finished reading Melmoth. I have also finished spinning the singles of the Polwarth dyed by Velvet Sixpence and I shall ply it once I get back home.

I’ve spun the whole braid onto one bobbin (didn’t plan ahead), and, as I want a two ply yarn, I think I shall bracelet ply it, which means I will need to ply the whole thing in one go.

I finally did some embroidery. I realised that my plan of completing two 10 x 10 squares of the chart in a month was a little unambitious. At that rate I will still be stitching this piece in 2045! So I have completed 6 squares of the chart and I’m going to finish the whole of the bottom row this month as well if I can.

Even if I complete one whole row of 10 x 10 squares per month that will still take until about Christmas 2024. Crikey.

I’m at Mum’s again for a few days and she has completed the bag for me that was originally supposed to be a folder cover. It’s really rather amazing. I’m going to add a couple of magnetic closures to the inside top.

There were two partly completed folder covers and Mum wrote out the instructions for me to do the other one!

I also was allowed to have a look through one of her fabric boxes and choose some fabric to take home – there will be lots more sewing in my future!

Do you ever feel you have more things you want to do than there is time to do them in? I do, but I’m finally realising that I can only do is what I can, one stitch at a time.

Take care one and all. Have a good week and do some stuff that makes you happy, K x

Fourth of July

Some days don’t begin quite the way you’d want them to. I’d been looking at the netting on the currant bushes yesterday and thinking that the wind / local cats had dislodged some of it and I needed to sort it out.

Then this morning, what do I see? A dark brown bird had got inside and was struggling to work out how to leave. Cue me dashing down the garden in my nightie to help it out. It was a thrush and I’d not seen one for a while. Once it located a gap in the netting, it claimed its independence and was back up on the rooftops pretty quickly! From the kitchen I’d thought it might be a female blackbird, but you can’t mistake that mottled feathered breast up close!

While I was down the garden I decided to try to re-secure the netting to avoid a recurrence and I thought I’d check out the progress of the veg. I found a courgette just about ready to pick (so I did). Large teaspoon for scale.

But the broad beans look rather pathetic and more worryingly were covered in light grey feathers… I wondered if the sparrow hawk had been back, but if it had been I probably wouldn’t then have found most of the poor wood pigeon at the bottom of the path. I’ve tidied it up now, but it was not the most pleasant start to the day – for me, the thrush or the pigeon!

I’m quite impressed that after all that, I *still* managed to write my newsletter and get it sent before my 9.30am haircut.

On a more exciting note, I got my subscriber and contributor copies of The Knitter through the post yesterday – and my design is on the cover!

Meet Lichfield – it’s the spotlight pull-out so there’s no page number. Issue 191 will be in the shops on Thursday 6th July, or if you’re a subscriber too you may already have it!

Why Lichfield? Well, the border design reflects the stone niches carved on the front of Lichfield Cathedral.

It hardly seems possibly that only three days ago (on Saturday) I was recording a video on how to pick up stitches at the very edge of garter stitch, including picking up front and back in the same stitch. Any yet now I only have 16 rows left to do of the 50 rows in the border of my Marianne Half Hap Shawl!

At this rate I will have finished it before the end of the Summer KAL, which runs until the end of July. But that’s ok – there’s another of my designs that I want to knit a new sample for too so I can start that 😉.

Remember, if you are taking part in the Summer Knit-along by knitting any of my designs, you can share your progress on social media with the hashtag #KathAndrewsSummerKAL and/or sign up to come to the mid-KAL Knit and Knatter on Zoom next week. (Weds 12th July 7.30-9pm BST). Tickets are free (although you do have the option to pay £3 if you really want to.

One of the things I’m really trying to do this month is to not ‘waste’ time. I don’t mean I’m not going to relax or do things like read, or even sit and ponder the nature of the universe. What I’m trying to move away from is losing an hour or so scrolling random social media posts or playing online games – it’s quite shocking on occasion to look up at the clock and find it’s at least an hour later than you thought it was!

So, instead, my July plan is to:

1. Finish my Velvet Sixpence Polwarth fibre spinning – I’m really enjoying it and it’s coming along well.

2. Finish reading Melmoth by Sarah Perry. I started this book a while ago and it’s taken me ages to get halfway through it- so this month I will finish it!

3. Complete another 2 strips of my Mystical Lanterns crocheted blanket. I joined the first two strips together yesterday and I really like it so far.

4. Get back to my embroidery of Mum which has been sadly neglected. I’m going to take a slightly different approach and aim to complete two 10 x 10 squares of the chart rather than work on a single colour. I did this for the partial squares down the right hand side and it was really motivational to see a small area completed rather than little bits all over that don’t look as though much has been achieved.

I’m also intending to re-oil the bamboo kitchen worktops and keep a note of how far I walk each day with the aim of regularly walking further by the end of the month.

Those are my non-work-based plans! I’m trying to use SMART targets (that used to make me roll my eyes when I was in the classroom) as I’ve figured out that if I have a plan that isn’t ‘specific’, ‘measurable’, ‘achievable’, ‘relevant’ and ‘time-based’ – it’s far less likely to happen!

We’re also working away in the background to bring Yarn Gathering to you again this September – I’ll be able to tell you more about that in the next couple of weeks (yay!).

Do you have any plans for July?

Take care one and all, hold each other close and do stuff that makes you happy. K x

Let it Grow!

We’ve had rain – and the garden is very happy about it! There’s even some new life emerging from the champagne rhubarb crown.

The netting is definitely helping the currants to stay on the bushes and not get eaten by the birds. I saw a really good homemade fruit cage online the other day – made of two simple metal arches covered with either polythene or netting. It might be worth a try next year.

I’m not sure the broad beans are going to come to much – I think I sowed them too late. You can just about see the plants with a few very small pods in the left hand pic below! This morning I podded and blanched a batch of beans from elsewhere having saved the best eight to dry and sow next year. I might even do what my grandfather apparently used to do and plant them on (or near) Boxing Day!

An update on the quilting. After returning home from Mum’s I discovered that I did indeed have a walking foot for my sewing machine (it had come with one) and I’ve tacked the other two placemats. The backing fabric for these two is different from the first one, although it does still feature houses.

However, I only thought to look on Sunday morning for whether I had any quilting needles for my machine (they have a different type of tip to stop the wadding getting pushed/pulled through the outer fabric), and it turned out that I didn’t. I ordered some and they arrived this afternoon so I shall be getting on with completing the set of placemats tomorrow!

I finally got back to doing some spinning yesterday. I hadn’t done any for a while and I’m not quite sure why as it’s really hypnotic and relaxing – especially with the Polwarth fibre I’m using at the moment. This was dyed by Velvet Sixpence and it’s a joy to work with. I’m going to aim to get this spun up, plied and skeined in the next couple of weeks.

I’ve been really enjoying knitting up my lace-weight version of Marianne Half Hap for the Summer Knit-along. I got a little done during the Zoom Cast-On Party – lots of chatting and fun was had. and as you can see from the progress shots, I’ve done quite a bit more since. The yarn is gorgeous (Northampton Shear Shetland from RiverKnits) and still slightly greasy – in a good way! – so my hands are getting moisturised as I knit!

I also discovered an error had been quietly sitting in Row 33 of the central triangle (!); it said to place a stitch marker when there were 11 sts remaining on the needle, but it should have been 10… This seems like a small thing, but it could cause confusion and frustration to a knitter. An update has been sent out to everyone who has bought the pattern on Ravelry, and updated files are available to download from Payhip and Lovecrafts as well.

My sock design is all written up and I’m now knitting up one of the smallest size, just to check a few things. After knitting the socks in Zauberball Crazy, it’s nice to see how the design works in a more solid colour too.

An interesting difference between these yarns is that although there is very little difference in the meterage of the two yarns – the Zauberball is 420m per 100g and the other yarn is a high twist 400m/100g, they seem to have quite a different gauge. The Zauberball definitely felt like a thin 4-ply as I was knitting it. I will knitting the start of the large size in a ‘standard’ sock wool such as Regia or West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply as well and see how the gauge and size compares. I want the pattern gauge and sizing to relate to most standard sock yarns so folk can reliably choose a size and it will work.

What’s the most important aspect of socks (knitting or wearing them) to you?

That’s all from me for today. Take care of yourselves, K x

Putting It All Together

Today I tried quilting for the very first time, under the guidance of my Mum, an experienced quilter. She had already made the top piece from four different fabric strips to make a simple but very effective seascape.

I’d like to share the process with you.

First up – ironing! A non steam iron and dabbing water on the more stubborn creases did the trick. The top right of the panel gives a particularly good sense of before and after.

Then I smoothed the top piece onto the batting, pinned it and cut it with the batting larger than the top panel. I cut it a bit more than was needed – first time over cautiousness!

The final layer was the backing fabric which was cut to the same size as the batting. It’s actually pinned and cut already on the right hand pic above. It’s the most gorgeous fabric!

Following the cutting and pinning I tacked it all together and took the pins out.

The sewing machine finally got a look in at this stage! I learnt how to ‘sew in the ditch’, joining the three layers together with three lines of stitching along the joins between the strips of fabric. Mum’s machine has a walking foot which apparently makes sewing quilted items much easier.

After sewing in the ditch, I had to trim the batting back to match the top layer, whilst being careful not to cut the back layer! That was when I realised I’d been overly generous with my margin – the batting is cut bigger in case the top layer shifts when sewing it, but it didn’t need to be quite that much bigger.

Then, we worked out how much the back piece of fabric needed to be trimmed, using a very high tech gauge (a piece of card cut from a Weetabix box) so it would be big enough to fold down to the batting edge and then fold over the front piece. I don’t think I took any pics of this stage.

I folded the pinned the long edges first, then I tacked them and finally I sewed them on the machine, aiming to keep the seam 1-2mm from the edge.

Once the long edges were done, I did the same with the short edges, trimming the corners a little so the folded fabric didn’t poke out at the corners.

The last steps were to sew the corners by hand, using the thread ends which I’d cut long and then to remove the tacking threads. I’m really pleased with how it looks and Mum is delighted too – she is both pleased with the sea-scape she created and being a proud Mumsie having shared a skill with me.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to today! I’m really looking forward to doing some more (there are two more top pieces made that I’ve pinned to batting – have you spotted that the first three pics are a different panel from the other pics?!), but my next immediate focus is the start of my Summer Knit-along tomorrow! There’s still time to get a ticket for the Zoom Cast-On Party at 7.30pm (BST) tomorrow evening.

What have you been up to? I’d love to hear all about it. K x

Sunshine After the Rain

The garden is coming on – especially after the rain/thunderstorms we’ve had over the weekend and yesterday. The courgette plants finally look to be developing flower buds and the broad bean flowers haven’t all been washed away by the rain. The rain has also given the chickweed and other weeds a boost so I shall need to get out there with the hoe soon as well. Each day the sun comes out and the plants look so much happier now we’ve had some water fall out of the sky.

I even got around to covering the currant bushes, though not very well… The bushes are actually one heck of a lot bigger than I thought. The netting we have only sort of reaches the fence and pulls down on the bushes somewhat. I’d had visions of creating some sort of rectangular construction with the canes with the bushes all inside, but it seems to be keeping the pigeons away so far, which was the intention. We ended up covering one of the gooseberry bushes too as it grows so closely to the currants.

The Zoom events are all set up for the Summer Knit-along and tickets are available to book. There’s a free option and a paid (£3) option. Both ticketing options give you exactly the same access to the event; I just want to give people a choice.

I’m hoping we’ll get some folk signing up for all these events. The cast-on party is next week!

If you’re thinking of joining in, please do book a place; there are 100 spaces available so you won’t be stopping anyone else from coming if something crops up! I don’t anticipate we’ll get much into double figures, but 100 was a good figure to choose to absolutely ensure anyone who wanted to could book a ticket!

On July 6th, Issue 191 of The Knitter will be out and in it will be a new design from me! It uses Pure DK from West Yorkshire Spinners which is beautifully soft, and the design comes in 10 sizes, to fit 71-167.5cm / 28-66″ chests.

I’m looking forward to making a start on a version of this for me (the sample for the magazine was a UK size 10 – size 2 in the pattern, so I won’t be able to wear it after it’s returned). That will be once I’ve finished my Marianne Half Hap lace weight sample during the Summer KAL,

The design I’m working on is nearly finished! Hurrah! I have 10 repeats of the edging left to do, a tiny seam, blocking, weaving in ends, measuring gauge and finalising the details on the written pattern. It’s turned out really well and I’m pleased with the construction and how it’s looking. The deadline is in just under two weeks so it’s all moving along to schedule. I wish I could share pics with you, but I’ll have to be patient and wait until nearer publication time.

I’ve done a little more on my Mystical Lanterns blanket designed by Janie Crow. I’m joining the motifs as I go as suggested, but I’m not entirely sure how long to make the strips as I haven’t got the same quantity of yarn even with the extra leftover yarn from Violet Green that I added to the mix of Wrigglefingers and Cambrian Wool. I might go with 7 rather than 11 motifs to a strip and if I end up with more motifs than I’m anticipating overall, it can be a wide blanket.

I love how it tessellates too!

That’s all from me today. Take care out there folks. Hold your nearest and dearest close and tell them you love them, K x

Join In

My current design is coming along well now and I only have the final edging section left to knit! But you knew I wouldn’t be able to resist making a start on the crochet blanket, didn’t you?

I’ve also just finished going through the tech editing process on another design and I hope to be able to share details of when that will be coming out soon. It’s very cool and is effectively two patterns in one.

You may notice the main menu of the website is looking a little different – I’m aiming for a sleeker look that is easier to navigate, with more drop-down options and fewer things to read initially. So, instead of ‘Patterns’, ‘Kits’ and ‘Wooden Things’ each having their own space in the menu bar, they are now drop-down options under ‘Shop’.

It’s a small change, but one I hope will help people find their way around when visiting the website.

During the past few days I have been taking part in an Instagram challenge to share images of my work each day and to nominate another artist each day to do the same. The format of the posts is as follows:

“I was nominated by @deunynknits to present 1 piece of my work each day for 10 days, with a nomination of another artist to do the same.

10 images, 10 nominations, no explanations, all to promote creativity, passion, the love of what we do and support our artistic friends.

Today I nominate…”

I thought it would be nice to share the images I have selected so far with you as well!

The designs are: (top row) Maid Marion Shawl, Nevern Throw and Diamonds in the Breeze and (bottom row) Of Night and Light, Into the Vortex and Angel of the North.

Marianne Half Hap Socks Yeah

Summer KAL

I’m going to be running a Summer Knit-along in my Facebook group and you are warmly invited to join us.

It will start on June 21st and run until the end of July. After running a poll in the Facebook group, I have decided that it will be an ‘open’ KAL – that is, you can take part by knitting any of my designs. And there will of course be prizes!

We’ll have a cast-on party via Zoom on Wednesday 21st June (7.30-9pm) and two more Zoom events during the KAL. Finalised details will be published on Facebook, Instagram and my website with links to book tickets for the zoom events.

I have decided that my project for the Summer KAL will be a new sample for my Marianne Half Hap Shawl. You, of course, are welcome to join in by knitting any of my designs!

The shawl was originally knit in a sport-weight yarn, and then in this 4ply/sock yarn (Socks Yeah!) and I’m now going to knit the pattern up in a lace-weight yarn. I’m going to use two skeins of RiverKnits’ Northampton Shear Lace

Next week I’m going to tell you a little bit more about this! 🥳

Until then, take care, keep an eye out for the KAL info and enjoy the sunshine (carefully) if you can. Kx

Second Time Lucky

This week I am only a little further on with my current knitting design in terms of knitting progress, despite the fact that I have knitted more than two feet of it in a week. How can this be?

After the first (quite large) part is completed, the design is worked in two directions, and I wasn’t happy with the fact the two ends weren’t behaving in exactly the same way. The reason for this was at the VERY BEGINNING of the knitting. I considered ignoring it (which didn’t sit right), I even briefly considered altering the pattern so the ends would be the same and letting the publishers know there would be a slight discrepancy between the pattern and the knitted item (that one got a really big ‘No!’ from my gut straight away). Which left one option. Rip it out and start again, altering the pattern and the knitting so it does what I want it to do. Which I did, and it now behaves perfectly and looks great. Oddly, even after a mountain of swatching this was one thing I hadn’t experimented with before the main cast-on.

So, lots of knitting done, a good lesson learned, but only about 8 inches more to show for it in terms of volume compared with last week.

I have made the rhubarb jam! I had to wait an extra day and make it on Thursday as, after finding the recipe on Wednesday morning, I read the instructions to chop and layer the fruit with the sugar, cover with the juice of three lemons (didn’t have any), and leave overnight… Once the lemons had been bought and the fruit was prepped on Wednesday evening, it was such a quick jam to make. I included crystallised stem ginger, chopped into small pieces rather than a bag containing a piece of bashed root ginger. Five jars were made, which is precisely the quantity the recipe stated and it’s really good!

We also finally got the veg seedlings planted – today!

We have put five types of courgettes, two types of broad beans and some mange tout in the veg beds. They don’t look like much at the moment and I’ll have to water them regularly – especially since we’re not due any rain until at least the end of next week, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll get some crops from them. Believe it or not, this photo was taken after watering!

I had sown other veg too, but the French beans were completely eaten by the slugs and snails, the cucamelon is only just germinating and the coriander is *not* going in the ground (I’m not sure how the local cats would react to it) – I’ll put that in bigger pots and keep it inside or in the mini greenhouse.

Earlier in the week I also had my first go at making a babka. This had dried apricots, flaked almonds and homemade plum jam in it. The bottom took an age to firm up and sound hollow, so it got a little harder on the top than I’d have liked, but it was fabulous toasted with marmalade. I shall definitely be trying this one again! The recipe came from The Sourdough Whisperer by Elaine Boddy.

Three days ago I took photos of all our roses, thinking they were looking good. Whilst out in the garden today they looked even more glorious – so I photographed them again. Today’s pics are on the right. Not only are the flowers more open and fuller, the photos are better too!

Having enjoyed the yarn shows I’ve done this month so much I’ve been seriously looking at which other shows I could apply to. I have to take into account stand fees, distance/travel time and accommodation costs for each one as well as keep an eye on the widely differing deadlines – some are 16 months ahead of the event! I’ve got two more lined up so far this year, and because of the deadlines I’m looking at 2024 shows now. I have been very lucky so far and have been accepted first go at the shows I have done, but some shows tend not to accept ‘new’ folk (ie new to that show) the first time they apply, and it’s good to know that and be prepared for a ‘better luck next time’ or a ‘we’ve added you to our waiting list’ response.

This has also led me to wondering whether there are any particular wool shows you would like to see me and my designs at? If so, tell me in the comments and I’ll consider it!

Yesterday evening I was on the sofa winding yarn after a long walk around Liverpool (new iPhone battery achieved and excellent lunch had at Maray!) when I noticed my projects basket was somewhat overflowing. This morning I got all the bags out of / from the side of the basket and made an inventory of what was there. This is all of it. Let me take you though it in groups – strap in!

First of all, the three designs I am currently working on – two of which have deadlines. These are deliberately vague photos are the designs are not yet published:

Next, the bags with yarn for existing designs that I intend to knit new samples for. One of these has not yet been published, but I intend to knit a sample in a size I can wear, the other two are shawls (Amy March and Marianne Half Hap):

We follow this up with yarn for a design that is currently only in my head, but has been sitting there since October (the yarn and the idea):

Next, other projects that are in progress. The Beekeeper Quilt is an ongoing way of using up odds and ends of 4ply, there’s the socks for Sue I started a couple of months ago (plain standard sock that I usually knit) but deadlines got in the way, and my Umbriel sweater which still only has 1/3 of a sleeve on the body:

With all this you think I’d be mad to even consider anything else, wouldn’t you? But no, there’s more. These are projects ‘in potentia’ – the yarn and the pattern have been matched up, and in two cases the yarn is wound and needles/hooks readied: more bedsocks for Mum in Socks Yeah! DK (Bob, friend of Dave, by Rachel Coopey), Mackinac Mitts by Kate Atherley in Mothy and the Squid 4ply, and the yarn I was winding into balls yesterday – Welsh Mule dyed by Wrigglefingers (years ago) for Mystical Lanterns, a crochet blanket pattern by Janie Crow:

I make that six knitting projects in progress, and seven projects in waiting. Too much?

I’ll be doing some more work on my nearest deadline piece tonight, even though I am so itching to do a bit of crochet! At least I know I definitely won’t be ripping it back to the start this week!

Remember, any wool shows you’d like to see me at – pop it in the comments.

Have a good week – I’m off to play with some yarn 😊, K x

Simple Joys

Last week’s blog ended with my plans for the week – make some rhubarb jam, plant out the veg seedlings and knit. I’ve achieved one and a half of those – the ‘half’ is that I have at least picked and washed the rhubarb, ready for jam-making tomorrow.

I have done lots of knitting. The single cast-on row I showed you last week is now a piece of knitting over two feet long and I’ve changed colour. The section I’m currently working on has a small pattern repeat and I’m really enjoying seeing the fabric emerge with this repeating lace design worked into it. I’ve also got all the individual stitch patterns written up and charted and the pattern as a whole is being written as I knit. I can’t show it to you yet, but you will see it once it’s published! My deadline is in just under five weeks and it will be published over the autumn/winter.

I’ve also finished a sock of my own design. It’s a textural design that will be in four sizes (I knit the largest size) and will work equally well with solid, semi-solid and multi-coloured yarns. Again, I’m not showing you any details until nearer it’s publication time (October, I think), but I can show you the photo I shared on social media last week when I noticed it was matching my clothes. I’m currently knitting the design in Schoppel Wolle Crazy Zauberball as I figured that if it will work with such a ‘busy’ yarn, it will work with anything!

The Moebius workshop at Yarn O’clock went well on Thursday and it makes me want to design another moebius pattern! I will be doing that I’m sure, but I need to get a few other things off the knitting/designing to do list first… I don’t have any more workshops/knitting classes scheduled yet, but there will definitely be some starting in September, so keep your eyes on the “Where I’ll Be” page!

Do you remember how last week I was so pleased that I’d managed to do yarn shows on two consecutive weekends? That was followed by a single day out for me and my patterns this past Saturday. I was at the Cheshire Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers‘ Friendship Day in Frodsham Community Centre. It’s a lovely venue and the ladies there were very friendly, welcoming and helpful. Seeing some familiar faces among the other vendors was great too!

I even got to have a double table length, which has supported my feeling that I need to book a larger stand size for future events where possible. Here’s a comparison:

Left: Buxton 2m x 2m, Right: Wool at J13 2m x 2m

Cheshire Guild WSD 4m x approx 1.5m

What do you think? I will have a 4m x 2m space at the Pop-up Wool Show in Port Sunlight on 19th August which will be lovely. A larger stand space generally costs more as you might expect, so it’s a case of working out whether it will work economically for each event I do. I was really lucky that the Cheshire Guild only asked for 10% of takings rather than a table fee and offered me a double table space on arrival. And there was still a full bag of samples left at home!

After three events on the trot, it seems really odd that the next show isn’t for another three months. I think I might get withdrawal symptoms as I really do enjoy the buzz of a wool show. But as well as enabling me to work through my future and semi completed design plans, it will allow me to do more of the ‘house’ things I want to get done, such as making jam and planting out seedlings.

We also had one of those unexpected, and less fun, house things to deal with over the past couple of days – our toilet flush broke! We now have a completely new mechanism installed in the cistern and we’re just waiting for our neighbour (who specialises in kitchens and bathrooms and is an absolute star) to pop back later on and finish attaching the lever/flush handle to the cistern itself rather than it poke out the top and then the lid can go back on. (Because things are never entirely simple are they? The lever that came with the unit wouldn’t unscrew so we ended driving back to Wickes yesterday evening to get that bit replaced. They were very helpful!). It was such a joy to have a working toilet again last night and it will be even more of a delight to have it all back to normal and tidy as well.

What simple things have brought you joy this week? K x

Sumer is icumen in

So I did it – two yarn shows on consecutive weekends! It wasn’t planned, (Buxton had to move its dates from March), but it seems I can do it! And I really enjoyed them both in their different ways. It’s always good to talk to fellow crafters and introduce them to new constructions or techniques. Two colour brioche got the most attention this weekend (Jo March, Beth March and Meg March), closely followed by Tiffany and, no doubt influenced by the warmer weather, my summer lace-weight throw-over, What Do Points Make?

There were also lots of positive responses to the suggestion that I expand the size range for Honeybun Cardigan up to adult sizes – it’s currently for ages 1-8. So, that idea is definitely being moved up the list!

I’ve even started thinking about which other yarn/wool shows I might apply for…

This weekend I also saw some folk who I either had only previously ‘met’ online or who I haven’t seen for months, which was lovely.

There was a definite ‘festival’ vibe to the Wool @ J13 weekend at Bishton Hall. The sunny and warm weather made an appearance and so people were relaxing outside in-between passes of the marquee or workshops. We opened up a join in the side of the marquee to let some fresher air in as well.There was a fabulous singer who accompanied herself on guitar and it was so good to hear her music drifting into the marquee.

On both days I treated myself to the most amazing chickpea curry from Atia’s Kitchen / Zainz Catering, which then led my stand neighbours to go and order the same thing!

So, as I said on my social media post last night, thank you so much to everyone at Wool @ J13 who came and said hello, had a chat, took a card or bought something – you’re all super. And thanks also to the organisers and volunteers who helped unload the cars, made sure we had drinks and opportunities to go to get some lunch or have a wee throughout the weekend! 

I have to admit, though, that the past couple of days have been taken at a much more sedate pace. The groundsheet is now upside down on the patio drying out (there was a lot of moisture and humidity in the marquee) and, once the washing has dried and been brought in, I will hang up my sheets of polythene to dry out too. These were placed over my stand during the evenings/nights to protect everything, and they did the job very well, but the parts that reached the grass got quite wet.

What’s next? Well, on Thursday evening I am teaching the magic of Moebius Knitting at Yarn O’clock in Mold. Moebius knitting creates a moebius strip (or infinity loop) that has just one edge and one side whilst still being a 3D object – it’s all in the cast-on and we’ll be learning two different ways to cast on to create a true moebius during the workshop. It’s the technique I used for my Mirror Mirror Moebius and Forest Ferns Moebius cowls. There are still one or two spaces available if you want to join us! See my “Where I’ll Be” page for full details.

And on Saturday I’ll be in Frodsham for the Cheshire Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Friendship Day where they invite members of other guilds along as well as local fibre folk. I’m looking forward to that.

With all these events I’ve been paying more attention to the health of my iPhone battery – as I use it alongside my Zettle reader to take card payments. Did you know you can check it by going to settings/battery/battery health and charging? Mine is ‘significantly degraded’ apparently. However, there are service options listed, which include having the battery replaced! I didn’t even know that was a possibility until recently.

So, I checked it out last week and there was a place in Chester that could do it – brilliant! I made an appointment for this morning and drove over to Chester especially with anticipation in my heart about not having to recharge my phone at least once a day!

However… After I had arrived in Chester I received an email that said they would have to cancel my appointment as they didn’t have the battery in stock. Bear in mind the appointment was made 6 days ago and they themselves had sent me an email reminder yesterday! I found the shop and went in anyway to find out what they could do. The chap behind the desk told me they hadn’t got the battery available, because they only get one at a time and someone had reserved it yesterday (for this afternoon). When I pointed out that my appointment had been made a week ago – which surely should have priority over one made five days later – he said, “We don’t check future appointments at the end of the day. Maybe we should start doing that” – this bit got a “Yes, that would be a good idea!”. Also, even if they did have one, they would need my phone for 1-3 working days – no mention of which was made on booking or on the confirmation or reminder emails.

Bother (or stronger words to that effect). I’d been really pleased that I could get this done without going over to the Apple store in Liverpool, but it now looks as though that will be the only option if I want to get a new battery for my phone. I’ve deliberately not named the shop as I’m sure they’re perfectly good at most of what they do, but on this occasion it wasn’t great.

Anyway, that was the frustration of my morning. First world problems I know, but it was very irritating.

I am now going to show you something very exciting. It doesn’t look like much yet, but I have swatched and swatched and written and charted and now?

I’ve cast on. My next design is on its way into being! Those of you who know my preference for circular needles may well be wondering what’s going on. Don’t worry, I’m changing needle size now I’ve cast on – and that one *will* be a circular! The yarn is BFL 4ply from McIntosh and being Bluefaced Leicester wool it has sucked up this vibrant colour beautifully.

Take care one and all and do some stuff that makes you smile this week. I’m hoping to make some rhubarb jam, plant out the veg seedlings and knit. K x

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