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Bits, Bobs and Other Oddments

Something of a final round-up post before the Festival madness begins (for me at least) on Thursday. That is when the last preparations for the event are made, and the set-up of my stand takes place.

So far, I’ve chatted a bit about the patterns and fibre I’ll be bringing, but there are lots of other goodies too!

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, or have been keeping an eye on my Ravelry group – you’ll probably have seen these sneak previews. But as a quick summary…

Handspun: I’ll have an assortment of handspun, varying in weights, yardage, colours (including gradients) and fibres. Some are single skeins (50-150g), others are multiple skein batches, (100g to 300g). These are both spindle or wheel spun. These are all hand wash only.

Mini Skeins: There a not insignificant number of mini skeins, with an approx yardage of 18-20 yds (though most should have more). These are perfect for hexipuffs and other patterns which call for many small quantities of yarn. All the yarn is 4 ply/fingering weight, and yarn types / fibre contents / colours can vary. These are all hand wash only. All mini skeins are labelled with fibre details (note that all mini skeins contain animal fibres).

Stitch Markers: Sets available as both 5 and 10 packs, and include ABCDE and 12345 / 67890 / 1234567890 labelled markers – perfect for those patterns which call for you to work between specific markers. There a small number of other sets available too.

Fibre Bags: Lots of different bags, covering a range of different fibres for carding, spinning, felting, etc. I’ll have mohair, silk (tussah and mulberry), ramie, bamboo, soybean, teeswater/gotland locks, silk hankies, angora, firestar and alpaca. All between 5-25g.

Fibre Samplers: Lots of little bits! These small samples (between 3-10g) cover a wide range of fibres and colours, and act as little opportunities to try out the wide range of fibres available. Good for small colour work project if you just need a little bit, or for needle felting.

Buttons: All hand-sewn, using 100% shetland wool and available in two sizes, and several colours. The smaller buttons come in 2 and 3 packs.

I’ll also have a very small number of felting needles.

 

So… two days, three sleeps to go… see you Friday!

Pattern Preview

We’re counting down the days now to the Festival… so here is a quick reference guide to the patterns I’ll have available there!

Pattern Preview

I’ll have a mix of digital only, and paper-copy+digital, patterns available during the weekend. I will also have all the samples for these patterns at the show too!

All the paper copies (barring Arciform) come with digital codes. These codes are Ravelry compatible and can be used as a discount voucher via the Ravelry shopping basket within the site. There is a very useful blog post from Ravelry here, which explains how to use them.

Don’t use Ravelry? Use the web address on the coupon label (the page is here), and enter the code, you’ll be able to access the pattern. (If you are a Ravelry user, and choose to access your pattern this way, don’t worry, it is still possible to add the pattern to your library).


Pattern Availability

Paper-Copy+Digital or Digital: 72 Degrees North, Apollonie, Briochaubles, Brome, Buttons, Cluaran Tea Cosy, d’Antigny, Duplessis, Evremond, Flexure, Flightless, Flock Together, Geometrickery, Helicoidal, Hildasay Mittens, Hildasay Tam, I Talk With The Moon Tea Cosy, Inverse, Irregularity, La Barucci, La Lune Rousse, La Païva, Léonide, Luck of the Irish, Lundey Mittens, Lundey Tam, Megalos, Metrios, Mikros, Mogador, Notus, Oculus, Peeping Sheep, Planetarium, Puffling, Tesserae, Voar.

Paper-Copy Only: Arciform.

Digital Only: Breacan, Kentigern, Laities, Riverscape, Sanu.

Collections are available as Digital downloads, this includes:

  • Courtesans: Apollonie, d’Antigny, Duplessis, La Barucci, La Lune Rousse, La Païva, Léonide, Mogador.
  • Hildasay Collection: Hildasay Mittens and Tam.
  • Puffinries: Lundey Mittens and Tam, and Puffling.
  • Trio Collection: Megalos, Metros, Mikros.

 

Iceland Again

We decided last year that a winter holiday may be a good idea – I can confirm it was! I’d been to Iceland before, and it was well worth the return trip.

We had a week and spent it exploring Reykjavik, and the south west area of the island. We had snow and sunshine (sometimes at the same time it seemed). And it was just fabulous. We did the touristy things like the Blue Lagoon, which was busy – though due to the temperature difference between water and air, the amount of steam meant you couldn’t see anyone else. Plus some of the museums in Reykjavik – namely the Settlement Museum and the National.

Obviously, yarn was purchased again… I acquired more Plütolopi (keep an eye out for a new wrap pattern later on in the year), plus bulky lopi and some rather lovely mohair blend. These were picked up from the Hand Knitters Association store on Skólavörðustígur, and from Storkurrin on Laugavegur. Well worth a visit. I also picked up a lopi cardigan from the Association store, which is my new favourite thing to wear (and so very, very warm).

Venturing out of the city, we did the Game of Thrones tour, and sledged through a small section of the Mid-Atlantic ridge… which was somewhat unexpected; plus the Golden Circle tour to Thingvellir, Gulfoss and Geyser.

We also did a highly entertaining brewery “tour” through Grayline, which turned out to be more of a “drink-lots-of-beer-and-laugh-at-comedy-routine” sort of thing. Highly unexpected and well-recommended.

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Plus it was an inspiration… if you’ve seen the post on the new braids, you’ll notice that these have Icelandic-inspired names. The colours of Iceland are varied and interesting, and they provide the perfect starting point for the braid collection.

Bring on the Braids

Braids

These are a new addition to my stock, custom-blended tops; these have been produced specially for me and are produced here in the UK. Each braid is 100g, and I have small spun samples of each of the bases to view.

The colour ways are inspired by Iceland following my recent trip there.

Nootka: Merino, Shetland and Soybean. The colour way is inspired by the purple hues of the Icelandic Lupin seen during the warmer months.

Gulfoss: Merino, Corriedale and Tussah Silk. A winter-inspired one, the waterfalls at Gulfoss partially freeze during the colder seasons and the ice takes on different hues – including some lovely turquoise shades.

Hekla: Merino, Shetland and Bamboo. One of the most active volcanoes in Iceland, the deep red of this colour way picks up on one of the shades associated with volcanic eruptions.

There will be limited quantities of these shades available during the festival, but all the colour ways can be custom-ordered and mailed following the festival (allow 2-3 weeks for delivery).

The London Craft Guide

London Craft Guide

Although it has been available for pre-order for a little while, the London Craft Guide from Yarn in the City was officially launched at Unravel last week, and I’m delighted to say that I contributed a pattern to the guide – may I introduce the South Bank Shawl!

The South Bank of the River Thames is a popular and busy tourist destination. With the London Aquarium, the British Film Institute and the iconic London Eye stretched along the riverbank towards the Millenium Footbridge.This lovely lace shawl is an ode to the London Eye, a giant Ferris wheel originally constructed for the Millenium. The tallest Ferris wheel in Europe, the Eye is a popular destination for tourists and locals, as it offers a stunning view of the city from 135 metres up. Worked in a luxurious silk-blend fingering weight yarn, this pattern includes half circle and full circle versions, with optional bead accents. (From the Ravelry Page)

The lovely yarn is Uncommon Thread’s Merino / Silk blend in the ‘Breath’ colour way, and the beads are silver-lined translucent crystal beads.

There is more information on the guide over at the Yarn in the City website. And there are reviews from Crafts from the Cwtch (which mentions my shawl!), Inspiration Knits and Knitted Bliss.


 

And the London Craft Guide will be at Edinburgh Yarn Festival. One half of Yarn in the City will be at the event vending as PorpoiseFur, and will have copies of the guide plus the samples to look at!


All images in this post (C) Juju Vail and Yarn in the City

 

All the Batts

Next up in the EYF previews are the drum-carded batts!

Drum-carded Batts - Gradient

All the colours! Compared to the natural batts I shared in the previous post, these batts are colour-focused. There are a variety of sheep breeds ranging from Merino and B.F.L. through to Romney and Dorset Horn. Some batts combine other fibres, including silk, camel, firestar and alpaca, amongst others.

What I’m particularly pleased with are the gradient batts, one of these is pictured above – a yellow-to-orange gradient (Cheviot base). These are perfect to spin up using the Navajo-plying method, in order to maintain the gradient. The big gradients are around 100g each.However, there are smaller gradient batts available (varying 50g-80g), these have been carded with smaller projects in mind. These gradients run from one shade to another and then back again which means that more closely matching items can be worked from the hand spun yarn.

Batts will be available (while stocks last) in the following colour categories: Blue, Brown, Green, Pink, Purple and Yellow / Orange, plus gradients.

 

The Madness is coming…

On a different (i.e. not related to Edinburgh Yarn Festival) note – Sock Madness is celebrating their 10th year on Ravelry. You can find the group on Ravelry here. The premise is quite simple:

Sock Madness consists of 7 rounds. Round 1 is open to everyone who registers during February. Everyone that finishes their pair of socks will move on to the next round, those who make a “reasonable effort” (which we’ve defined as one complete sock or two at a time both half finished) will continue to receive all the patterns. For the remaining rounds there will be a certain number of competitors on each team allowed through to the next round and each round that number gets smaller. In the final round the teams will compete against one another. (From the Ravelry Group)

So, competitive sock knitting with no clue as to what the patterns will be. They have shared an initial materials list, and excluding the warm-up / bonus patterns, the remaining seven socks will form the core of the event. Since my sanity is apparently on holiday I’ve signed up and have been sorting through stash to locate appropriate yarns, and have come up with the following:

Sock Madness Planning

  • (A) Old Maiden Aunt Merino (Berry Good) with translucent, silver-lined amethyst beads.
  • (B) Schoppel-Wolle Best OF (Flei ages Lieschen)
  • (C) Jamieson & Smith 2 Ply Jumper Weight (77 Black) / The Yarn Yard BBFL (Howzatt)
  • (D) Yarn Pony Mustang (098/200)
  • (E) Easyknits Super Sushi (Dusk)
  • (H) Ripples Crafts Hand Dyed Yarns Reliable Sock (Orkney Sea & Sky) with transparent, silver-lined sky blue beads
  • (I) Easyknits Super Sushi (Torte), with appropriate contrast yarn (10g)

Sign-ups close midnight (wherever you are) 29th February 2016. Are you going to join in?

 

 

 

 

 

Courtesans

If you hadn’t noticed, the Courtesans collection was completed in January. Eight shawl patterns. I’m incredibly pleased with how the collection came together, especially as this was my first big foray into developing a group of patterns together around a central theme.

The theme evolved from the fact that I have a small collection of books (mainly non-fiction) which I love. Two of them focus on Courtesans in the UK and France during the nineteenth century. The history of the women and the society they inhabited described within these texts continues to fascinate me, despite the frequent re-readings. To be blunt, I’ve re-read my paperback copies so much that they are starting to look dog-eared and rather well-thumbed. However, I have a lovely BF who tracked down some beautiful replacement hard copies for my birthday, including an illustrated version of my favourite. I’m rather lucky.

The personalities of these women, and some of the stories associated with them, meant that they were an excellent source of inspiration. I’ve tried to capture some of the individual character of each woman, linking the pattern motifs and other design elements to a specific aspect of them. So for La Lune Rousse, the courtesan Cora Pearl, was unsurprisingly, known for her trademark pearls. Therefore in the shawl I wanted to capture the idea of strung pearls – the short rows, beads and eyelets echo the idea of draped necklaces. With Duplessis, the strong image of La Dame aux Camellias meant that a flower-centred design was appropriate. Each of the shawls has a story behind it.


All of the shawls, included the beaded and unbeaded samples of La Lune Rousse and La Païva, are currently on display at Ginger Twist Studio, as part of Jess’ ‘Designer of the Month’ programme (February is me).

The complete collection will also be at Edinburgh Yarn Festival at my stand (and many of the shawls use yarns which will be available via other vendors attending the festival). Both the individual patterns (hard / digital copies available) and the complete e-book (digital only) will be available for purchase.


Courtesans Complete
The complete Courtesans collection: (clockwise from top-left) Léonide, La Païva (Beaded), Apollonie, Duplessis, Mogador, La Lune Rousse (Beaded), La Barucci, D’Antigny
The Courtesans collection – eight lace shawls inspired by some of the famous, not to mention notorious, women of the Parisian demimonde. With lace, texture and  beading, the collection reflects the personalities and opulence of these femme-fatales.
All patterns have both charts and written instructions, and where applicable, instructions for both beaded and un-beaded options. The collection has a variety of shape and construction techniques. All the shawls are one-skein projects.
For further information, see here.