Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Falkland Chunky!

OH has dyed up some Falkland Chunky in his shop in 300g hanks that are perfect for the Monkey Puzzle Scarf.
I used 300g for the test knit, but had it in 100g hanks, which meant I had ends to join in and weave in as I went  - not my favourite pastime!
This yarn is so soft and squooshy, and would knit the Monkey Puzzle all in one, and you'll know that the colour will be true through the scarf (although OH dyes skeins together, there's normally some variation due to how he dyes semisolids and variegated yarns).  I've swiped a Scarlet Ibis, as I really fancy a soft, warm chunky scarf in a bright red to keep me warm this winter!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

We Love Our Supplier...

...who managed to find 8 cones of the Falkland Chunky I originally designed the Monkey Puzzle Scarf in. OH will be dyeing up 300g skeins, which is enough to knit the scarf, without having to join ends (or weave anything in other than cast on/cast off).
While OH is busy dyeing up the chunky (and preparing for a couple of shows we'll be attending - one near Edinburgh on 20th August, and one in Coldstream on 27th), he's having a sale to clear some space.
There's also some delicious local fibre listed. The Shetland and Shetland/Bowmont come from a farm just north of Alnwick, and the Manx is from a community grazing project - these sheep were in the country park where OH volunteers last summer, so we knew some of the sheep whose fibre he is selling! I've spindled the Manx, which was a delight, and have just started with the Moorit Shetland. The prep is sliver, which is a woolen prep, and is therefore good for soft and bouncy yarn.
In other news, I've started with this year's Guild Challenge - so my next post will include buckets, onion bags, and a human spin dryer!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Fresh Designs: Scarves - Monkey Puzzle Scarf

I’m proper published and all now.

Fresh Designs: Scarves went live late last night UK time, and is available as an e-book via There are ten designs in the book, many of which I really want to knit myself, and my Monkey Puzzle Scarf is in there as well.

The inspiration for the scarf is exactly as it says in the title – the Monkey Puzzle tree with its parallel arrangement of thickly covered branches. I wanted to design a scarf that would be a quick knit, even for someone relatively new to knitting, which would be warm and snuggly, and which would keep out the winter chills. So it’s very basic. If you can cast on, cast off, knit, purl and count, you can knit this scarf. It uses stocking stitch and reverse stocking stitch to create the texture. I’m also around to answer any questions you may have.

The book is currently only available via Ravelry, but will be available via the Co-operative Press website very soon. Both print and ebook versions will be available.

Another factor for me was that I wanted to showcase some of Jon’s beautiful yarn and for a quick and snuggly knit, the Falkland Chunky he was dyeing at the time I was working on this design (about a year ago) was perfect. Soft. Good stitch definition. Takes dye like a dream. Chunky, therefore quick to get results with. And here’s the hiccup. The base yarn he was using was discontinued, and trying to find a supply of a similar chunky has proven problematical. We thought we’d cracked it when our main supplier stocked up for winter last year with some Shetland Chunky (mmmmmm) – but sadly, he lost most of his stock in a fire before we could order. Thankfully, nobody was hurt in the fire, and he was insured, as not only are his yarns and fibres of the absolute best quality, but he is also one of the nicest people that you could ever hope to meet. Sadly, though, the chunky was not replaced at that time. On the brighter side, Jon has some beautiful Romney fleeces that he is going to get spun to the same specifications (fingers crossed, as the new machine to do this isn’t at the mill yet), and we are hearing rumours of a chunky British BFL yarn that will be available to us in the Autumn. Jon’s also doing his level best to find alternative, suitable, and economically viable chunky yarn (easier said than done, as “chunky” is a spec that covers anything heavier than aran weight, and there are massive discrepancies in the grist, thickness and characteristics of this size of yarn).

So bear with us!

Finally, I must say a massive THANK YOU to some wonderful people. To Shannon Okey, founder of Co-operative Press and the brains and elbow grease behind this whole operation. Shannon has been fantastic to work with – from the very clear call for submission, right the way through to the message that the book was launched last night. To Abra Foreman, who interned with Shannon over Summer 2010, and put up with strange questions, organised the submissions and was a lovely person to boot. To the wonderful Jon of Natural Born Dyers who not only provided me with the fabulous yarn, but who is also the love of my life, and who has shared all the good and bad (including me bouncing up the stairs at bedtime last night saying “it’s been PUBLISHED!!!!!”). To the other designers – it needed ten of us to make the book – and I will be knitting many of their scarves as well. And to anyone who has defied boredom and self-promotion and gushing and general me-ness to survive this long and thinks “I might just have a look at this book”. Especially if you also buy it and knit some of the patterns.

The photographs in this post are copyright Fractured Photography, and are used by kind permission of Cooperative Press.

Thursday, 14 July 2011


I'm starting to get excited. I mentioned a while ago I have a pattern in a book being published by Co-operative Press, Fresh Designs - Scarves - and a couple of nights ago, I looked over the final edit of my pattern and the photos for it.
If that's not enough, Shannon's posted a picture of the covers today (apologies to those without a Ravelry account - I'll link to another picture as soon as one's available).
So it's real, and I'm getting VERY bouncy!
I don't know the publication date as yet, but Shannon assures us we're nearly there now!

Monday, 11 July 2011

New Pattern - Bassenthwaite Shawlette

Bassenthwaite is the only Lake in the English Lake District – all the other bodies of water commonly referred to as lakes, such as Coniston and Windermere are meres or waters! We love the Lake District, and have holidayed a few times on the shores of Derwentwater, always making the short trip north to Bassenthwaite to walk in the woods, or try to spy the Lake District Ospreys.
This shawlette is knitted from side to side on the Baktus principle – so you knit the first half until you are approaching the half way point of your yarn, then you start to knit the second half – the idea being that as long as you start decreasing before the halfway point in your yarn, you won’t be racing the yarn down to the last half inch to finish!
The shawl is knit with a garter stitch body, with a scalloped lace edging that has been taken from
Barbara Walker’s “A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns”. It is relatively “easy” lace, requiring only a knowledge of knit, purl, yarn over and knit two together to complete the lace pattern. Knit into the front and back of the same stitch and slip, slip, knit are needed for the body increases and decreases respectively.
The pattern is available via Ravelry if you want to take a further look, we will have it with us at Coldstream's Wool Festival on the Saturday of the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Monday, 16 May 2011

I am very proud of someone...

OH and I reached an incredible number of years together over this weekend. We celebrated up in the Scottish Highlands.
Now I'm home, though, I can show you just one of the reasons I love him so much, and why I'm so proud of him.
He's going to be at Woolfest this year - and a very special announcement has been made.

Monday, 4 April 2011

A Secret Sort of Revealed...

I've been sitting on a bit of a secret.

I'm not very good at keeping secrets.

Today I can finally go SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! and tell you I have a design going to be published in a book later this year! The book is "Fresh Designs: Scarves" and is being published by Co-operative Press, the brainchild of the amazing Shannon Okey. It's a scarf, and it's designed to be a very straighforward knit, in some of Jon's yarn.

Now - Shannon is doing her level best to publish this series of books (there's 10 in total covering everything a person could want to knit), but despite how superhuman she seems, she really does only have one pair of hands. To help get this series out more quickly, she's put in a bid for a kickstarter campaign - if $5000 is pledged by April 30, then there'll be a matching fund provided, which will really speed along the publication. To encourage donations, there's some pretty good prizes up for grabs, from PDF copies of Shannon's own latest book, "The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design" right up to 3 days of private fibre art tuition one to one. Even a single dollar will help get this off the ground more quickly!

That's all I can reveal at the moment - my scarf's not available for a sneaky peek as yet - but hopefully, soon...

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

In Dreams Clue 1

Originally uploaded by Panperoxide
This is the beginnings of the In Dreams shawl - a mystery KAL being run by Susan Pandorf which I mentioned in my blog post yesterday. The yarn I'm using is Fyberspates Sparkle Merino / Silk Lace, and the beads are 8/0 beads from Rosarama, my local bead shop (how cool is it that I have a local bead shop - especially one packed to the brim with beautiful beads and findings, and run by a lovely lady who's a skilled beader and designer in her own right).
So far, I'm loving the design - it's going to be semi-circular, and dripping with beads. The yarn is absolutely beautiful to knit with as well - I love all of Jeni's yarns I've tried - it's all really top quality, and her colour-sense is amazing (not to mention she is also one of the nicest people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting), and this one is no exception. The sparkle is subtle, but visible - not too in your face, but it adds a shimmer, and doesn't fight with the beads.
So - three blog posts in three days - and I've still got stuffs to share! And on Saturday, I'm off to a beginners' weaving workshop at my local Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, in Stocksfield - so another craft to have a play with!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

And Hot on the Heels.... Shawl #3 - Little Leaves

Originally uploaded by Panperoxide
And here is my third shawl of 11 - Little Leaves by Susanna IC, knitted in Posh Yarn Eva 2 Ply. This pattern was fantastic to knit - an easily remembered lace pattern, and a great shape - easy to wear as a shoulder shawl or a pretty scarf.
The yarn is pretty special, too - Eva is 55% silk, 45% cashmere and soft as butter - Dee at Posh Yarn gets limited stock of this beauty, so it is very precious - the put up is 55g / 400yards, and this shawl uses up less than one skein.
The next shawl is on it's way - I'm taking part in the "In Dreams" KAL run by Susan Pandorf, which is a semicircular shawl, knit from the top down, and part of her Lord of the Rings series - it's based on Galadriel's crown, and as Galadriel's one of my favourite characters from my all time favourite read, I was sucked in. The clues are out every 2 weeks, so that one will be a slow, steady reveal (and there are 5000 beads in the pattern!). I've also got the pattern for Galadriel's mirror, knit in 1200 yards of 4 ply. So that's 5 of the 11 taken care of - 6 more lovelies to choose!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Batik - Shawl #2

Originally uploaded by Panperoxide
Finally - Shawl number 2 for 11 Shawls in 2011! This is Batik which combines cables and lace for an incredibly textured shawl, which looks fabulous knit up - I've used Wollmeise 80/20 Twin sock yarn for this (the other skein from my grab bag, which included the yarn I used for Haruni), and the deep saturated greens really work well with the pattern.
It's knit from the bottom up, so there is a bit of a race to the finish as the rows get shorter and shorter, and the ball of yarn gets smaller and smaller... I can fudge a top-down shawl where I may run out of yarn, but haven't yet figured out how to do this with a bottom up, without ripping back or pleading in ISO/Destash threads.
Shawl #3 is hot on the heels - I'm just enjoying having a couple of ready made blog posts here!

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Haruni - First Shawl of 2011

Originally uploaded by Panperoxide
Haruni by Emily Ross
Knitted in Wollmeise 80/20 Twin sock weight, colourway WD Lila Ludmilla
Cast on 01/01/2011
Bind off 03/01/2011
Blocked 08/01/2011
Yardage used - one full skein - 510 yards / 466 metres

Love it - taking part in 11 Shawls in 2011 on Ravelry, and this is No 1!