Tag Archives: days out

Rainbow hat

The rainbow hat I made last weekend is now blocked and has its pompom sewn on.


I love it, it’s such a fun hat and the pompom makes me smile.


I wore it yesterday when I went to Unravel for the day, but sadly it was far too warm inside the hall to wear a woolly hat. Luckily I was still wearing a handknitted cardigan (my Cria, which got a lot of compliments) and a shawl, so my credentials as a knitter were never in any doubt. I had a lovely day catching up with friends I haven’t seen for ages, and even though it was so busy it was sometimes quite difficult to get at the stalls I seem to have managed to spend all the money I took with me without too much trouble!


I was also very impressed with the signage that had been put up along the road from the station to Farnham Maltings where the event was held!

Sheep sign

Given that I was out all day yesterday, it’s not that surprising that I don’t have much crafting to talk about. I am knitting more walking socks, which I took with me yesterday and made good progress on; today I finally started the final clue of the Ysolda mystery shawl, and also spun a bit more of the batt from the Hilltop Cloud learn to spin kit. It’s coming out much finer than I’ve managed to spin before, though I’m always getting quite enough twist into it. I’m pleased with my progress, though.

Yarn crawl

Yesterday I went to London for the Great London Yarn Crawl (kind of like a pub crawl but with yarn shops instead of pubs – far more civilised and much more appropriate for those of us who don’t drink alcohol).

Yarn crawl

There were five routes, and I had picked the purple route (what a surprise!). Each group visited four shops during the day, travelling between them by Underground, bus and train; there was probably as much time spent travelling, knitting and chatting as there was shopping, but the other knitters in the group were lovely and great company and it was fun to see the surprised looks of other people at the sight of a group of thirteen women all knitting on public transport. I completely failed to take any photos during the day, but there are lots on the flickr group for the day, including several of our group from Katheleen.

Unsurprisingly, I did manage to buy quite a lot of things.

Yarn crawl haul

We started the day at Loop, which was the only shop I’d been to before, where I couldn’t resist some Madeline Tosh Tosh Merino Light:


From Loop, we headed up to Finsbury Park and the Handweavers Studio, where I went a bit mad over the little sample bags of different kinds of fibre they had.


Well, everyone says that when you’re first learning to spin you should try as many different fibres as possible! I even got a tiny bag of qiviut, which is very soft but does remind me rather of the lint that we empty out of the vacuum cleaner, and I also bought a niddy-noddy to make it easier to skein yarn after I’ve spun it.

We then took a rather circuitous route (south to Green Park then about the same distance north in a slightly more westerly direction) to West Hampstead where we stopped for some lunch before visiting the Village Haberdashery, a lovely little shop as much devoted to sewing as knitting, where I bought the new Colette Patterns Zinnia skirt pattern. And then, finally, we caught the Thameslink train to Herne Hill and visited Sharp Works. I was flagging a bit by this point, but still managed to buy a skein of Manos del Uruguay Alegria sock yarn for T (never let it be said I go on yarny days out and don’t think of him!).

Manos Alegria

(I also had another present for T when I met up with him in the evening; a finished pair of Earl Greys from the stripy Sparkleduck yarn I bought for him at Woolfest:

Stripy socks

I was knitting on these on the train down and the various bits of public transport, finally kitchenering the toes and weaving in the ends on the Jubilee Line to West Hampstead.)

At the end of the day we all headed back to Waterloo for the “afterparty” in the upstairs room of a pub. For me, this was the only (comparatively) low point of the day; I was physically tired and had also reached the limit of my capacity to socialise with people and even if I didn’t find pubs difficult places to be anyway what I really needed was some quiet time by myself, and it turned out that the room was really not big enough for all the people trying to squeeze into it and the bar was very small and had a long queue and I really couldn’t be bothered to stand around waiting for my turn so I could buy a lime and soda, and with hindsight I should just have skipped it completely and found a quietish corner of a cafe to sit down with a cup of tea until it was time to go and meet T. But that’s really just me, and nothing at all to do with the organisation of the day, which was terrific, and I will definitely try to go along again next year, time and budget allowing!

Monday blues

I went to Fibre East on Saturday, which was lovely – I saw lots of friends and got to squish lots of pretty yarn, and didn’t even spend that much money. It was very hot, which was a definitely improvement on last year’s show when everyone was ankle-deep in mud. Really, the only trouble is that now I’m sad that it’s over, and I won’t see my friends again for ages, and I’ve spent most of the day feeling like I was struggling not to burst into tears. Especially when I popped out for some fresh air at lunchtime and ended up with soaking wet feet.


(I was inspired to wear this dress today after seeing a friend wearing the same one on Saturday, though it’s not like it isn’t a favourite anyway. I’ve had the cardigan for years – it was a present from my parents – though I think it may only be the second time I’ve worn that!)

What I did on my holidays

We spent the last week in Cumbria.

I finished my Mixalot socks:


(I also finished my Bigger on the Inside, though it still needs blocking, and knitted enough of my Lady Heather that it feels as though the end is in sight.)

T did jigsaws, including one based on a popular and long-running radio series.

Ambridge jigsaw

We walked from St Bee’s to Whitehaven over the cliffs.


We didn’t see any puffins, but there were lots of gulls and guillemots perching on the cliffs.


I even got to paddle!

(We also managed to get rather sunburnt.)

And I went to Woolfest, where there were sheep and goats and alpacas and angora bunnies.

Jacobs sheep

And lots of gorgeous yarn and fibre and other craft-related things, some of which came home with me.

Woolfest haul

And, most importantly, I got to spend yesterday with friends I haven’t seen in person for far too long. I know that lots of people are a bit sceptical about internet friendships and see them as in some way lesser than friendships made offline, but while I have been burnt a couple of times I have been burnt just as badly by “real-life friends” who turned out not to be quite as much of friends as I thought they were, and for me being able to talk to people through various online services and get advice and support or just distraction and pictures of cute animals when I’ve needed them has been incredibly valuable; I don’t think it would be exaggerating to say that on occasion it really has been a lifeline. But however wonderful it is to have such fabulous people living inside my computer, it’s even more wonderful to get to spend time with them in person and I hope it won’t be too long until the next time!

Sock it to ‘em

A few weeks ago, I mused on whether or not I could wear leggings and Mary Jane shoes with handknitted socks without ending up looking slightly mad, and everyone here assured me that it would be perfectly fine, particularly if I was meeting knitters. Given that the weather remains a bit on the chilly side for shoes and bare feet and I have really had more than enough of boots and that I was off to the Purlescence open day where I would be surrounded by knitters I decided to give it a try.


Shawl – Brandywine
Cardigan – Cinnamon Girl
Top – Uniqlo
Skirt – Next
Leggings – M&S
Socks – Vellamo
Shoes – Greenshoes

I think it worked, and I’m particularly pleased with the way the Fair Isle bands on the feet of the socks just show above the tops of the shoes.


The Purlescence open day was good too, and I managed to get the three small skeins of Voluptuous I wanted to go with my two large ones for a Chickadee. It was lucky that I had arranged to go with a friend, though, as that meant that when I got in my car (which I think I last drove in early March) and it didn’t start* we could change plans so she came and picked me up rather than vice versa as we’d planned and I still got to go!

*A flat battery is always a possibility when I don’t use my car at all in the week and only do so occasionally at the weekends, and I suspect the fact that for a lot of the last couple of months leaving the house at weekends at all was more than I was capable of hasn’t really helped matters.

Fair Isle weekend

I haven’t had a chance to do any sewing this weekend, as I’ve spent most of the two days at a Fair Isle workshop run by Susan Crawford at Darn It and Stitch. I’d signed up like a shot when this was announced, as I’ve been wanting to improve my Fair Isle skills and having taken a finishing class with Susan a few years ago I knew that she was a really good teacher and I was likely to get a lot out of the workshop.

I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Inevitably, there was a wide range of skill levels between the nine of us who’d signed up; some people were completely unfamiliar with working in the round, and while there was another continental knitter there I was the only person already familiar with both continental and English-style knitting, which gave me an advantage when it came to working two-handed. (Talking to the others there, I have come to the conclusion that I’m just an experimental sort of a knitter; some people are happy to find a way of doing things and stick to it, whereas my reaction to hearing about a different method is to think that I’ll give that a try, in case it turns out to be better than the one I was using. Which is how I started off as a standard English-style knitter and am currently a continental combination knitter.)

We spent the first day talking about how to hold the yarn, casting on and working a flat swatch (which I found interesting, as I’m not sure I would have dared to attempt colourwork with purl rows before!) and then choosing main and peerie patterns and working out colour selections for the larger sample we were working on today. (I took the opportunity to use up some of my sock yarn leftovers!)

Fair isle sample - 11am

At 11am today I had a little bit of ribbing; by 4pm I’d knitted this much:

Fair isle sample - 4pm

The course also covered steeking, although there wasn’t quite time for everyone to try it (I haven’t steeked mine yet, as I want to finish the second repeat of my peerie pattern and make it symmetrical first) so Susan demonstrated on one person’s swatch:

Susan demonstrating steeking

I suspect I won’t get round to steeking my sample until next weekend, but I think I’ll be able to remember until I get to put it into practice!

I really enjoyed having the chance to play with colours. I love colour, and someone actually told me last week that I was the most colourful person they knew, but Fair Isle is colourful even by my standards, and I was a bit worried that my combination of yellowy-orange, bright blue, bright pink and pale pink would end up looking like an explosion in a paint factory, even with a dark grey to tone it down. I needn’t have worried, I really liked the way it looks!

Fair Isle sample

Now I really want to try a proper Fair Isle project, though I don’t know what and I really do have enough things on the needles for now!

Yesterday’s news

I didn’t post yesterday, because I went to London again. This time it was for work (I was attending a conference on tax) although I also managed to fit in coffee with one friend at Paddington before she started work and I headed on to the conference, lunch with another friend who works in the same building the conference was held in, and a trip to Loop and Ray Stitch afterwards where I met up with two more friends and had a chat with a third who was working in Loop. It ended up feeling like a bit of a holiday, but it was also a rather long day (I left the house at 6am and didn’t get home until after 9pm) and even though I had managed to nip outside and take a photo of my outfit at quarter to six in the morning I really didn’t feel like posting when I got home.

I had spent quite a while planning out what I was going to wear. It was a work thing, so I wanted to look smart, but it was also London, so needed to be comfortable. And as I was meeting knitters there obviously had to be something handknitted in there. (Someone did helpfully point out on Twitter that she thought ‘smart, comfy and includes handknits’ pretty much described all my work outfits, but this had to be more so on every count.) Also, the forecast suggested that it was going to be warm and I didn’t want to end up sweltering or having to negotiate packed Tubes carrying armfuls of discarded layers.

Obviously, in the end I just went for the three-quarter-sleeves, opaque tights and shawl formula that’s been working so well for me lately.


Shawl – Citron
Dress – Mary Portas
Tights – M&S
Shoes – Arche

I am now considerably closer to feeling that these shoes really were worth the money, because they stood up wonderfully to a day in London. My feet were sore by the end of the day, but that was only to be expected after a day that involved a lot of standing and walking; the shoes didn’t rub, didn’t fall off and felt soft and cushioned and comfortable, but unlike most of the other shoes I have that I might choose to wear to London they also looked smart and professional and not clumpy and more casual. Now as long as they don’t end up wearing out ridiculously quickly I think I may have found my perfect brand of shoes, price or no price!

What I wore to London in the end

I did try shoes over socks and leggings, but wasn’t keen on how it looked. The main problem was really that the only shoes I have that fit over handknitted socks are red, and the socks I wore today are the same bright pink as my skirt, and really didn’t work with the shoes. And I couldn’t be bothered to try to find a pair of socks that worked with the shoes and the skirt, so I wore boots instead. It wasn’t really that warm, though it was gloriously sunny, so that was fine; ankle boots might have been better but as there are only about two weeks of every year when ankle boots are a better option than either knee-high boots or shoes I don’t own any.


Shawl – Juliana
Shawl pin – Purlescence
Top – Dorothy Perkins
Skirt – made from a Clothkits kit
Leggings – eBay
Boots – Duo

Anyway, I had a lovely day out and got lots of knitting done – I have now finished the lace section of my Bigger On The Inside shawl and am on the final pattern repeat of the foot of the second Betula sock. And we went to Liberty where I got to stroke the fabric and dream of the day when I’m good enough at sewing to feel able to try to make something out of fabric that costs £22 a metre…

Glove love

I finished the red Podster Gloves I started last weekend on Friday. Gloves really are amazingly quick to knit!

Podsters 2

I took the opportunity to tweak a few things I wasn’t so happy with in my stripy pair. I made the thumbs longer because the thumb flap on the stripy pair gapes a bit when the thumbs are closed, and knitted the ribbing for the mitten flap flat before picking up stitches for the other side; I sewed the sides of the ribbing down at the end so the flap comes a bit further down over my palm and because the ribbing folds over when the flaps are back they stay in place better. I also did plain stocking stitch for the fingers as I thought the ribbing looked a bit sloppy on the stripy pair.


This weekend was the annual gathering of the Yarn Yard Ravelry group in York. This year, rather than having a swap with named partners, anyone who wanted to join in was asked to bring a handmade gift and a label with their name on, and names were matched to parcels at random. Somehow this worked out perfectly; everyone I spoke to seemed to have ended up with a present that was absolutely perfect for them. I’d sewed a drawstring project bag, which I completely failed to take any pictures of before wrapping it up, and I was a little worried because the lining and drawstrings were very pink, but it ended up going to a person who really likes pink. And in return I found myself the delighted owner of the purple sparkly Glasgow School Mitts I’d been admiring on Roobeedoo‘s blog.

Glasgow School Mitts

(The colour is better in the picture on her blog.)

The weekend also involved the traditional p/hop swap (where I got rid of a large bag of yarn I was never going to knit, and returned with two large pieces of fabric), cake, giant naans, and lots of laughter and chatting and knitting and catching up with old and new friends. Oh, and quite a lot of weather, too: after a fairly clear drive up on Friday, this was the view from our hotel room window yesterday morning:

Saturday morning

And this was the view this morning, which was something of a relief given the prospect of the drive home:

Sunday morning

Ramblings about knitting

I’m back at work today after a lovely weekend at the Glasgow School of Yarn. I completely failed to take any pictures but Antje has put loads up on Facebook (you don’t need a Facebook account to view them).

I managed to keep my spending fairly restrained and mostly resisted the urge to buy random skeins of sock and lace yarn just because they were beautiful (I love beautiful yarn, but I do have rather a lot).

GSoY haul

Two skeins of Skein Queen Voluptuous (DK weight, 200g skeins so probably enough for a jumper), some Ripples Crafts 4-ply silk (because that was just too beautiful to resist), some hot chocolate onna stick, a mug (which is now adorning my desk in the office) and three balls of Jamieson and Smith to knit a fair isle Kindle cover, because I did a Fair Isle workshop with the lovely Liz Lovick which has inspired me with the confidence that I can tackle a colourwork project.

I’ve also got quite a lot of knitting done over the last couple of weeks, including knitting almost the whole of a pair of Podster Gloves over the weekend. Pictures will have to wait until this coming weekend, though, as it’s already got to the time of year when I’m not home in daylight during the week.

After I’d finished the gloves on the train home yesterday I tried to cast on for an Ishbel as the next in my A-Z of shawls. I’ve been meaning to knit an Ishbel since the pattern came out in January 2009; it was what inspired me to start knitting shawls in the first place. I bought a skein of yarn in mother-of-pearl colours from Skein Queen at a launch event for Ysolda’s second Whimsical Little Knits collection in November 2009 which has been earmarked for Ishbel ever since then. And yet, when I finally got round to casting on, I just wasn’t feeling the love; I went wrong within ten rows, and then when I tried a second time I went wrong almost straight away. And I’m honestly not sure I want another small triangular shawl with a stocking stitch centre and lace edging; these days I like shawls that I can wear as wraps with my work dresses, or more casual scarf-shawls in interesting shapes, textures and colour combinations. I fear that Ishbel’s time has passed without my realising it, and I in the A to Z may well end up being Isaura; I’m finding myself strangely drawn to the idea of using some tangerine-coloured BFL/silk laceweight from The Yarn Yard for it. And meanwhile, I have cast on some emergency socks (toe-up, vanilla, using the leftover yarn from the Podsters with contrast heels and toes to make the main yarn go further).