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The Dark Self

Last week I visited this an exhibition in York called The Dark Self.

The artist, Susan Aldworth has created this collaborative piece of work which explores the experience of sleep.

It was most interesting to me as it involved ‘1001 embroidered pillowcases hung from the church ceiling, sewn by local people, community groups and schools’

There are also prints, sculptures and a film to see in this very peaceful and atmospheric installation.

It’s open Wed-Sun 11am-4pm until 3rd September 2017 at York St Mary’s YO1 9RN and admission is free.

 

The pillowcases are all old hotel ones (nice bit of up-cycling) and they have been sewn onto using a limited colour palette which is pleasing to look at and I think suits the theme rather beautifully. I took lots of photos which give a feel for the experience, but it wasn’t easy due to the way they are all hung, so if you’d like to get the true atmosphere it’s worth calling in if you’re close by.

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Quick and Easy Scarf

A couple of weeks ago we had a little sight seeing trip to London for the weekend.

Obviously I needed a bit of knitting to take with me for the journey, and I had nothing appropriate on any needles, so a new project was called for.

Having found a very charming skein of sock yarn in my stash (Ripples Crafts Hand Dyed Sock Yarn), I cast on for a scarf and was jolly happy with myself!!

There was plenty of knitting time on the train and a tiny amount of knitting time during our stay.

On returning home I decided that the scarf was not going to be long enough with just this one skein of yarn.

I was very happy to find some yellow West Yorkshire Spinners 4ply which went really well with the one I was using and merrily continued with my new scarf. Now it is finished and I am very pleased with it.

This is such an easy stitch to do, creating something which looks very impressive, especially when combined with a yarn such as this from Ripples Crafts. It would make a nice winter scarf if done on larger needles using something chunky!!

I’ve written out the pattern and you can download it for free here.

 

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Fern Scarf

I am working at increasing the number of knitting patterns available to buy from my website at the moment.

The latest addition is called Fern Scarf – named after the Fern Lace stitch pattern that I have used.

Last week we had some gorgeous spring sunshine so I ventured out into the garden to take some photos of the scarf in the beautiful natural light. 

There are 2 different sized scarves that you can choose from and you will need 200g (448m ) DK.

The scarf can be made in 2 different widths, the finished size is approximately 230cm x 15cm (168cm x 24cm)

You will also need a pair of 4mm needles.

I have used West Yorkshire Spinners Bluefaced Leicester prints DK. I really really like this yarn (see my Petal cushion using the same Owl colour-way). First of all it is bluefaced leicester which I love because it is warm and soft and silky. Secondly, the colours which they have chosen on the theme of Country Birds. When you look at the ball of yarn it is amazing to see how the knitted fabric turns out. The scarf shown is in the Owl colour-way and I have done a little swatch here in the Blue Tit colour.

This stitch is very pretty and works so well with the print yarns but I think a plain colour would also be very attractive. If you’re nervous about tackling anything beyond stocking or garter stitch, this could be an ideal project for you to try. The pattern repeat is worked over only 4 rows with the wrong side rows being purl only (except the g st edging), so there are only 2, easy to memorise, pattern rows to tackle. It truly is much easier than it looks and I’d encourage you to try it.

There is a garter st edging at either end and along each side to prevent that curling up effect which is typical of certain stitches.

I like this Blue Tit swatch so much that I’ve cast on the wider version of the scarf.

I hope you might be inspired to cast on one for yourself.

 

 

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Crazy Lazy Daisy Cats

Just thought I would share something I did last week.

This little project has been hanging around since the summer when I did some insane embroidery whilst on holiday.

I was in need of a new make-up bag so decided to make one for myself.

Having routed out some suitable contrasting fabrics and a zip I was ready for action.

 

It didn’t take long to construct a little zipped bag which I lined with the cheerful pink and green fabric in what looks like a roof-tile design. I have 2 bags now…one to keep my embroidery projects in and one to store make-up 🙂

The finished embroidered design is definitely more than slightly over the top, but I am pleased to have put it to good use. I am always underwhelmed with my zip fitting skills and this occasion is no different. The zip is fitted and it works fine and it looks ok, but could most certainly have been done much better. Therefore I have booked myself a day out to learn how to do it properly at York School of Sewing. I’ll let you know how I get on!!

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Exciting News

Now that seven months have gone by since we closed the shop in Tadcaster, it might be time for me to be thinking about doing something new!! I have promised myself a gap year and believe me a gap year is what I am having. I am using this time to do the things I enjoy and to try out new things. Last week, for example, as mentioned on this blog, I tried out basket making. I have also tried fused glass making and created my own fairy lights.

I am having lots of trips out and walks in the countryside as well as spending time with my family.

Another very important part of this gap year is completing my City and Guilds knit design course, of which I am on the last leg (I hope).

However, yesterday I did achieve a significant step with regards to what I might do with myself once this ‘gap year’ is over. With a lot of  help from my husband, who is much cleverer at these things than I am, I now have an online shop on this website!!

It’s not a very big shop, there is only one product at the moment, a kit to knit the cushion seen above, but it will grow.

I chose one of my knitting kits to be the first item available. Indeed this was the first knitting pattern that I ever wrote. I was inspired by a lady who came into the shop looking for something to knit during a hospital stay. I think I remember correctly that she hadn’t done any knitting for a while but as she knew that she was going to be needing to fill her time, she had a desire for a cable knit cushion cover. We had no patterns available at that stage, as it was very early days and we hadn’t built up our stock, so I came up with this one.

I have blogged about this pattern before. Some people are a bit frightened of cable knitting, but it really is easier than it looks and very satisfying. This cushion is a brilliant introduction to cable knitting and can be tackled by novice or experienced cable knitters. One of my customers in Tadcaster knitted several of this design as unique and stylish wedding gifts.

The kit contains 4 balls of Sirdar Chunky Crofter, 3 coconut buttons and the pattern and costs £12 plus postage.You will need 5.5mm, 6.5mm needles and a cable needle. The finished cushion will fit a 14″square cushion pad.

More knitting kits and patterns to come!!

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Fun and Festive Knitting

My last blog was about the lovely Knitted Bible which came to our local church. I came away from my visit with a pattern for a knitted angel ,which people were being invited to make and donate to a collection at local churches. I thought I would contribute a few to the collection and enjoyed knitting up the simple pattern in some lovely soft Sublime Alpaca yarn.

img_3124I gave them to my Mum to take to the Methodist church and I am told that the angels were handed out to people who visited during the Christmas Tree Festival that was held in December. Hopefully people have enjoyed having these knitted angels in their homes.

I also spotted a bit of knitting on display in Wetherby which is always nice to see. I do like a knitted nativity!!

img_3159I like it because of the story it’s telling and the fact that you can create a tradition of taking the display out every year and I like the blissfulness of someone using their love of knitting to produce something which will bring pleasure to others.

In this case, it may have been a group effort and I like that too, how sociable to get together and do your knitting.

I shared this picture on twitter and a few days ago I got a tweet from Julie Wilcox who obviously likes a knitted nativity as much as I do. She was very lucky to find one in a charity shop. I wonder if someone donated it because it was unwanted? or maybe they knitted it specially for the shop to sell. It seems a bit sad to think it could have been unwanted, but I know that it is now being truly loved by someone who appreciates it. Whoever knitted it almost certainly enjoyed the process of creating it and now it’s bringing joy to someone else. Who says knitting is dull, boring and out of date?

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Knitted Bible comes to town!

There has been a display in our local church today showing 33 bible stories that have all been knitted!! This is the work of the congregation of St Georges URC Hartlepool and it goes on tour around the country.

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It was like the whole inside of the church had been yarnbombed!

They were happy for me to take photos and share them on here so here you are hope you enjoy.

this camel was lovely
this camel was lovely

This is such an impressive achievement and on several levels.

A brilliant way of depicting these stories and also a celebration of talent and imagination on the part of the knitters. All beautifully presented. Thank you to all those involved I know you have given joy to many.

I also came away with a pattern to knit an angel as part of a plan to ‘angel bomb’ the village!!!

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My First Yarndale

Yesterday was my first visit to Yarndale.

Even though it’s in Yorkshire I’d never actually been before! When you own a yarn shop it’s not easy to go to any events on Saturdays (unless you have a stand – which we never have) and Sundays at the end of September always seem to be really busy for our family. When you don’t have a yarn shop anymore such things get a bit easier to arrange.

I used the park and ride car park which was very easy. I could have got on one of the free shuttle buses but I needed to find a cash machine so walked the short distance from the car park into Skipton and had a wander through the town. While I was there I popped in to the appropriately named ‘Three Sheep Tearoom’ for a coffee and a very tasty sandwich.

Then it was another short stroll to the Auction Mart. There is a Yarn walk through the park, which you can follow but I missed it as started from the other side of town.

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I knew I must be almost there though when I saw this sign and followed the last part of the route, decorated with lots of knitted and crocheted bunting, down to the entrance to Yarndale.

 

I’d heard about what a good show this was and I wasn’t disappointed. There was a really relaxed atmosphere. The place was very busy and packed with stalls but most of the pens were a decent size so you could get in where you wanted to. Most importantly for a yarn show, there was plenty of yarn available, to suit all tastes and purses.

At one point whilst wandering around these characters suddenly appeared.

I have no idea where they were headed!!!

There was musical entertainment and plenty of food available too.

I was on a self-imposed yarn buying ban but I did purchase some quirky greetings cards from Temporary Measure. I got some from them at Woolfest and some of them have been used, so took the opportunity to stock up.

My personal highlight was the stand belonging to Anne Brooke where I bought some more cards and a small stitched picture.

I am very interested in this kind of work at the moment and it was lovely to see all her pieces. She has her own fabric range as well.

I also rather liked this on the Embroiderers’ Guild stand.

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Salts Mill

I am being kept occupied this summer driving my golf-mad son around to different courses where he has matches and competitions. This is how I found myself in Saltaire at 9am on a Monday in August!

I could have headed home but I haven’t visited Salts Mill for a few years and it’s always worth popping in to have a browse around the shops and look at the paintings and artworks by David Hockney and others. The mill doesn’t open until 10am so I found myself a lovely coffee shop and spent some time wandering around. It was a lovely morning and very quiet.

The Mill opened in 1853, built by Sir Titus Salt alongside the adjoining model village which was to house his workers. Production of cloth at Salts has not taken place since  1986 but, the following year, the mill was purchased by the late Jonathan Silver, who re-imagined it as a place where culture and commerce could thrive together.

In 2001, Saltaire became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. UNESCO noted: “Saltaire is an outstanding and well preserved example of a mid 19th century industrial town… The layout and architecture of Saltaire admirably reflect mid 19th century philanthropic paternalism, as well as the important role played by the textile industry in economic and social development.”

If you are visiting for the first time, don’t use the side entrance as I did, make sure you go in through the new (since my last visit) main door where you will find information on what there is to see and where to find it as I did not find the signage around the place very clear. After I pleasant wander round the various shops I watched a film about the history of the building which I found very interesting even though I have been on 2 excellent guided tours of the village in the past (school trips with my boys when at Primary school).

Finally, I visited the 3rd floor. First of all I spotted some wool in the gallery called People and Process: a History of Salts. People and Process tells the story of the Mill through objects great and small: machinery, clothing, art – even a precious plate from the lavish opening banquet of 1853, to which Sir Titus Salt invited 2,440 workers and 1,310 guests.

There was also an exhibition called ‘The Arrival of Spring’ by David Hockney. This set of 49 original works were drawn by David on his iPad in 2011, and printed at an incredible scale. This was so inspiring,  I really like the idea of a study like this which gives the opportunity to really look and be amazed at the little things you might have otherwise missed. Well worth a visit!