Friday 27 June 2014

Guest blog post for Let's Knit Magazine

I was recently invited by Let's Knit Magazine to write a guest post for their blog. I was inspired to write about my experience of keeping sheep here in the Highlands and about ideas for my knitting patterns. You can read the article here.

Friday 20 June 2014

New mode of transport...

If you live in Yorkshire or have Yorkshire connections no doubt you will have heard Le Tour de France will arrive soon for Le Grand Depart. Constant news about this may have influenced my recent purchase of a new bicycle. However, I'm not entering into competitive cycling just yet and probably not on this model. This is to transport me to the local shop, gallery and cafe over in Torridon. Of course no shopping basket is complete without a string of handmade bunting. Thankfully for this outing it wasn't pouring with rain and neither was the track covered in mud. I think on those occasions the bunting will have to stay at home. The view over the loch on the way to Torridon is stunning on most days but on this particular morning it was especially so.

For my bunting I made some basic granny squares. The crochet flower pattern came from Attic 24 and the knitted triangles were made with the pattern 'Knitted Bunting Flags' by Green Mountain Mama on Ravelry. Then I joined them together with a crochet chain. For all I used Jamiesons of Shetland yarn.

If you are interested in bicycle themed knitting and crochet then this book may be of interest. I haven't seen this in person yet. I first saw it advertised on the Baa Ram Ewe website. Here's what they say about it 'Bespoke' celebrates the magnificent bicycle with 10 knit and crochet designs for you and your bike. I like this yoke cardigan called Woodrup by Ann Kingstone. But I must resist until I finish the yoke cardigan (Couronne) already on my needles in January and still needs to be finished!

Have a great weekend!

Image from Baa Ram Ewe

Tuesday 3 June 2014

Highland Wool Festival - Part 3

In my third and final post about the Highland Wool Festival 2014 there are four more exhibitors to mention, Uist Wool, A'Nead, Alpaca Loft and Yarn Garden. I hope there will be another event next year, this first year seemed to be well attended and very much enjoyed by every one I have spoken to. You can keep upto date with news via the Highland Wool Festival facebook page.

Uist Wool
Based on the Isle of Uist in the Outer Hebrides Uist Wool is a community project that will operate a new spinning mill and wool centre. It's in the development stage with the aim of providing employment, training and to revitalise an island industry.

Jenny of A'Nead knits the most delicate fine cobweb lace. Much of the yarn is also hand spun by herself. My photos don't do justice to the beautiful bridal lace veil she had on display along with the selection of other colourful lace accessories. She is based on the lovely Isle of Eigg.

Alpaca Loft
It was busy around Sue MacBride's Alpaca Loft stall with people eager to look and touch the soft yarn and knitted samples. Sue is based at Carnoustie in Angus. The company has patterns and kits in a range of natural and dyed colours.

Yarn Garden
George and Louise run the Yarn Garden and are based in Newcastle. They have a huge range of colours and the yarn comes in a wide range of weights from cobweb lace through to chunky. They also have a range of patterns and knitting kits.

Sunday 1 June 2014

Highland Wool Festival - Part 2

In part 2 of my visit to the Highland Wool Festival (part 1 can be found here) I have five more exhibitors to mention. They are Woven in the Bone, Natural Born Dyers, Shilasdair, Travelling Yarns and Skybluepink Designs.

Woven in the Bone
Sam Goates is the woman behind this artisan handcrafted woven cloth. Based at Buckie in Moray Sam explained to me how the name for her enterprise came from a book of Weaving Songs by Donald Murray. The unique designs of tweed and woollen cloth are woven on a restored Hattersley foot treadle loom. Her website is being developed but you can find her on Facebook as Woven in the Bone. I'm looking forward to following the develpment of her exciting new venture.   

Natural Born Dyers
This independant yarn dying business was set up in 2010 to produce high quality yarns and and fibres with natural dyes. All their yarns are sourced from UK suppliers. You can find their website here.

Based on the Isle of Skye Shilasdair is an independent yarn dying company specialising in natural dye materials.

Travelling Yarns
Catherine Sclater runs Travelling Yarns from her home in the Scottish Highlands near Inverness. She attends craft fairs around Scotland and runs courses for Fair Isle knitting.

Here's a lovely interview with Catherine where she explains the inspiration behind her yarn business, dying yarn with natural materials and demonstrates some spinning. Click on the image to view.

Travelling Yarns Video

Skybluepink Designs 
Jennie Howes of Skybluepink Designs spins and dyes yarn. She is based near the border between Scotland and England.

I didn't have chance to chat to Jennie in person due to the number of people crowded into her stall space and requiring her attention. I did however manage to speak to Steve, 'her assistant'. One of the items he pointed out that caught my eye was the felted scarf at the centre of the display. Jennie made this with over 120 colours of Jamieson's of Shetland yarn. The pattern is available on Ravelry called Fusion Scarf.

Jennie and Steve also organise the St Abbs Wool Festival which takes place twice year in March and October. You can find details about the festival here.

I'll mention a few more exhibitors in my next post.