Archive | February, 2011

I am Knitting a Gift

One of my WIPs got complimented at knit night.

The beautiful Bellini Long Cardigan pattern knit in many colours of exquisite Rowan Felted Tweed.

‘Oh no,’ I said. ‘It will suit my mum perfectly and it will be safer with her, away from grubby toddlers. And she hand washes.’

But it’s just so damn pretty!

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Unravel – Farnham Maltings – 26th and 27th Feb 2011

This weekend is Unravel – A Festival of Knitting at Farnham Maltings, Surrey.

The Unravel website says

unravel enables everyone to indulge for 2 days in all things woollen! Activities will include a marketplace, talks, demonstrations, workshops and a knitting surgery amongst others.

Opening times are:

Sat 10:00 – 17:00
Sun 10:00 – 16:00

Tickets available here:

Single day ticket: £6 adv/£8 door.
Please note that single day tickets are valid for either the Saturday or Sunday.
Weekend ticket: £9 adv/£12 door;

Outcast members have stalls at this years Unravel. Skein Queen aka Debbie will been selling her hand-dyed yarn in the Great Hall. Sue – Half and Half and me Emma Bradbury will be exhibiting and selling our work in the Tannery.

I’d recommend starting off the festival with a talk by John Arbon – 11.00-11.45. The talk is titled ‘COMBING & SPINNING THE HILLS’. John will be talking about his Fibre Harvest processing and spinning project based in North Devon. He will cover how it all came about, why he feels it is necessary and what his vision of yarn and textile production is in the UK. John will also relate this to his latest Excelana yarn range which uses locally sourced Exmoor Blueface wool.

Reading Artist and Whiteknight Studio Trail member Caroline Marriott is also running a rag rug workshop. The class is fully-booked but hopefully some of her work will be on display too.

See you there.

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stoned love

I seem to have a compulsion to combine knit and stones. It’s to do with the hard and the soft, the cold and the warmth, the public and private, the weathering of both, and the letting go. Here are some of the ones I’ve left around the world – many of them in cemeteries – I like the respectfulness and calm. And most of them are red because that seems to be most affected by the light and the rain. And I like that they might be found much later, unidentified and bedraggled. And someone might wonder how they got there.

Pevensey Bay

The Virtuous Well in Wales

Parisian Cemetery

Abney Park Cemetery in London

Cemetery Junction, weathered over the years but still not eaten by the deer, although several others have been nibbled.

And I found thousands of examples in Japan – knitted bonnets and fabric aprons:

and left a contribution

And this is Robyn Love’s ‘It’ s cold outside’ – cozy for Richard Noseworthy, died 1965, Newfoundland.

Kari Steihaug’s boulder, I think in Norway. [Photo by Gunnar Klingvall]

and Naori Priestly’s Superpebble.
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The little knitting shop around the corner

There’s a street around the corner from where my mother lives where life is always on the move and hardly anything stays for long. This is the Chinese district in Milan and most of the traditional retailers left a while ago. All day long people run around on their bikes carrying piles of clothes and accessories hidden in boxes, disappearing to the edges of this acrylic land where buyers wait for them in everyman vans.

Before I arrived in Milan, I had read about a little knitting shop that opened next door to Macelleria Sirtori, the butcher’s shop, one of the few places in the area that survived the wholesaler invasion. So it was that one January evening I ventured out in the winter lights to go and have a snoop around. The shop launched on 1 October 2010 at no.27 in Via Paolo Sarpi, as part of an ongoing project of culture integration run in partnership by do-knit-yourself, a hand-made project for fashion design students in their second year of the Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti di Milano (NABA) art academy, and the academy itself.

It was small but perfectly formed with its predominant mix of Rowan yarns distributed by Coats Cucirini, run by lovely people sitting under a red knitted sculpture, surrounded by knitting patterns, little vintage treasures and hand-made pieces in a box that were left by those who had stayed a bit to chat while their hands were busy knitting, sewing, and embroidering. You will not be able to visit it though, the shop closed on 25 January 2011 as it was only meant to be a temporary place. But they might be back next winter…when the air is cold again and people want to stop for a little chat and a yarn cuddle.

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wild and windy

not such a bleak midwinter

Even on a wild and windy day in February in Lyme Regis there is still much for me to take inspiration from, especially when I’m by the sea.

Unfortunately all of this was too big to bottle, so you’ll have to make do with a pictures instead.

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Knit stools and Startitus

We’ve got a new space to fill at home so I’ve been drawn to inspiring ideas for the home. An article in Guardian a few weeks ago ticked a lot of the boxes for me (I was going to show you a peek here but I suspect it’s already lining the bottom of the rabbit hutch) – it showed bold, design-led knitted home accessories. At a price though, so maybe not ticking every box! That led me discover Knit Stools designed by Claire-anne O’Brien. Wouldn’t you just love to park your bun or tired feet on one of these?

Knit Stools, Claire-Anne O'Brien. Website:

I love the scale and construction of the knitted seatpads. They are reminiscent of hard cold iron chains and cables yet look amazingly tactile, squishy and inviting. Please can we have these at Jelly for knit nights.

Also, just wondering, is it just me or is Startitis a seasonal affliction? I’ll confess to what’s in my knitty basket for January … if you’ll tell me what’s yours and why ; )

New Year Startitis

1. The Knit-Night-Socks, requires no thinking. Round and round and round it goes … perfectly compliments tea-drinking, cake-eating and talking-with-hands.
2. The Meditative-Knit-Alone-Shawl, requires peace, concentration and repetition of the lace charts. I swear that THAT COLOUR lifts my spirits on the darkest of Winter nights.
3. The New-Two-at-a-time-Socks, because I’m susceptible to 2nd Sock Syndrome as well – as Startitis!
4. The Back-Burner-Cardigan, hibernating after home renovations, a trapped nerve and then Christmas gifts knitting finally destroyed all hope of me ever wearing this on Christmas Day.

There’s a few new yarn purchases in there too! (I have had a birthday so I’m allowed) They’re all begging to be wound … or just petted occasionally.

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