Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Make, Do and Knit

This is what my stand finally looked like at the weekend....
As you all could see from my previous post, I took wwWWWAAAAAAAY too much yarn with me, hehehehe, but at least now I can have a bit of a hollyday from dyeing and get some other stuff done :)
I had a wonderful time and met a lot of loverlee peeps :)

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Beautiful Buttons :)

I took delivery of these wonderful buttons last week, and I mounted them all on card last night, in preparation for Make, Do and Knit....
Arn't they beautiful!!!
Mr TreeGems is such a talented artist :)

Confessions of a Test Knitter...

Now, as many of you know, I am a great lover of hats. If you look in my Ravelry projects I'd hazard a guess that over 75% of them are hats, and most notably designs by the most venerable Millinery genius, WoollyWormhead

I stumbled across Woolly on the interwebz about 4 years ago, just after she published her Jester Hat as a free pattern, and met her for the first time at an event called
SkipNorth in 2007. We instantly clicked, having a similar outlook on life and creativity. That was the beginning of a friendship that has resulted in me becoming one of her regular test knitters, on Wee Woolly Toppers to begin with, and then most recently, on Twisted Woolly Toppers , her new book of Cabled, Twisted and Bias hats that's just been published.

This blog post is part of the "Blog Tour" for TWT, so I suppose I'd better stop sounding like a crazed stalker totally biased (no pun intended) fan girl and more like a book reviewer ;)

Chevron Beanie



I test knitted three of the ten designs in the book (pictured above) and that is what I'd like to talk about, if I may: the whole process a design goes through before it can be released for publication. I am a designers dream as a test knitter. I am a really literal when it comes to following a pattern, don't ever ask me to "Use my imagination" in my knitting. If things aren’t laid out in a really simple and easy to understand way, I am stumped, and you just try and get me to follow a pattern without a picture to refer to!!! This book has both written and charted instruction though, if you prefer charts. Me, I don’t do charts…no way. Give me written instruction every time!!

Woolly has a dedicated band of test knitters for her designs, and when a pattern idea is first written, she puts a shout out to us all. All her patterns are given a certain level of urgency & sizes that need to be tested, so there were always at least three or four hats made for each design in her new book, as the size ranges are so diverse (...that is one of the many things that is so appealing about TWT, there are such a great range of pattern sizes, so you could knit the same pattern a number of times for lots of different sized heads).

Woolly herself will always have made one or two, but other sizes are needed to test the pattern, because, for example, the instructions for the small size will differ from a larger one, and so on. Each hat in Twisted Woolly Toppers has been test knitted at least once in every single size, some sizes and designs more than once.

So along the way, us loyal band of trusty knitters, from all over the globe, will help eliminate various errata such as typos, misplaced commas and spelling mistakes etc and we'll also help out with descriptions. A pattern can go through 4 or 5 revisions until it is ready to go to the next stage, technical editing. Woolly is a very thorough designer, and considers every opinion and suggestion put to her. All of us are made to feel totally valued for our input, in fact it helps her to consider all the angles, so to speak. The final concept of how it is laid out and the whole look and feel to the written instruction always stays with the HatMeister though ;)

Something totally new in this book though is her exploration, in pictures, of her design influences. This, for me, is a real bonus, both as her friend and a fellow artist. It’s helped me understand the creative stimulus surrounding these hats, and what has given them their amazing structural qualities.

Woolly has come such a long way in 4 years…published 3 books, moved from bricks and mortar to living in a converted bus on a commune in Italy, and has had a beautiful baby boy.

I can’t wait to see what’s next!!!

Woolly and I are both going to be at Make, Do and Knit in Liverpool next weekend. I’ll be selling a full range of hand dyed yarns and fibres of course, and Woolly will be launching Twisted Woolly Toppers.

So, if you have a free afternoon, and live nearby…why not come along, browse the myriad of stands and get a signed copy of a lovely hat pattern book while you are at it??

It’d be rude not to ;)

Next week, you can visit Binge Knitter's Blog, for an interesting interview with Woolly :)

Blog Tour Calendar

http://www.bingeknitter.blogspot.com Katya Frankel, 1st April http://www.stolenstitches.com Carol Feller, 8th April http://www.knitwithkt.blogspot.com Katherine Vaughan, 15th April http://www.fainasknittingmode.blogspot.com Faina Goberstein, 22nd April http://www.tottoppers.com Kate Oates, 29th April http://www.independentstitch.typepad.com Deborah Robson, 6th May http://www.beebonnet.typepad.com Janel Laidman, 13th May http://www.knitcircus.typepad.com Jaala; Spiro, 20th May

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Well, I think I am ready.....

....for Make, Do and Knit in Liverpool this weekend......

This, dear friends, it what over 30 kilos of yarns and fibres looks like :)
Hurrah for my studio and wonderous, nay MAGICAL dyepots...!!!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Latest HandSpun :)

This is called “Ice Queen” and it’s made up of one ply of FatCatKnits Merino~Tencel (Timber), one of MerinoBoo from Spunky Eclectic and a final one of space spun solid Merino, so it will subtly self~stripe :)
There’s approx 225 yds/206 m and 130g.

This is called “Peach Stone” :)
There’s on ply of a merino/corrie blend from SCF, one of some MerinoBoo from FatCatKnits and then a solid ply of peach merino. It’s turned out waaaAAAY too peachy for me, so not really that enamoured with it…
There’s 146g of it, approx 248 yds/227 m…..DK/Worsted weight.

I like this one much more :)
It’s called “Celebrity Masterchef II" and contains one ply of merino from SCF, one of MerinoBoo from Spunky Eclectic and then one of Merino~Tencel from FatCatKnits……
It’s a real cornucopia of complementary colours, but it should subtly self stripe because of the ply of SCF..
I havn’t measured it or anything yet, but there’s about 150g….

All of these yarns will be available to buy on my stand at
Make, Do and Knit this coming weekend, and then if I come home with them they will go in the shop :)

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This is Noma, a hat designed in my handspun, by WoollyWormhead. It has just been published in Issue 127 of the Knitting and Crochet Guild's magazine, SlipKnot along with my very first print advertisement!! Heehee.....
It is knit completely in Garter stitch, which shows the depth of colour in the yarn beautifully, and as well as the pattern there is a short article about head measuring and getting a good fit for Hats.
You may recognise the handspun, as I made Dulcie from "Going Straight" with the other skein ;)

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

"BudgieBoo" Guimauve

I have wanted to make this hat since WoollyWormhead's book "Going Straight" was first published, but never quite had the perfect yarn for it.

I spun this yarn a month or so ago, and it's perfect for the modular, sideways design. There's meant to be ten panels in it, but because of my gauge and the fact I used handspun instead of Twilleys of Stamford Freedom Spirit DK, it would have been way too big. I knit the medium size first, and that came out too big at 8 panels, so I frogged (sobs) and made the small instead.....

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Knit on the Net, Issue 10

A little while ago, my lovely friend Susan asked me if she could interview me for her online Knitting Magazine, Knit on the Net
I was really honoured to be asked, and I think I wrote a thesis answering all her questions ;)
You can read all my witterings here
She also asked me for some yarn to do some designing with, so I sent her a couple of skeins of the now nearly all gone (sobs) Superwash British Merino......and she came up with a gorgeous hat pattern, Evangeline which is totally free, so if you have any semi~solid DK knocking about you must try it out!!!

(Photos courtesy of Susan Crawford)

March Madness!!!

I am sorry I have been very quiet on the blogging front......things have been crayzeemad here of late!!
Both my boys have their birthdays within 4 days of each other, one turning 11 this year, the other 7.... :)
I am also madly preparing for a show, Make, Do and Knit, on
Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th March, which is to be held in the beautiful surroundings of the historic Grade II listed Bluecoat School in the charming and lively suburb of Wavertree in Liverpool.
I hope you peeps who live near the venue can come and say hello..and if you bring me cake, you may get an unexpected discount ;)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Awesome Spinning :)

This is my February Fibre Club... a GlitterBall called "Frosty Skies", all spun up by a very talented customer.....she's navajo plied it, to preserve the colour repeats.....
I just had to blog it, because I just *love* the photograph...

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