Initially I hadn’t planned on visiting the show but a couple of opportunities arose which made it a good excuse to combine these meetings with seeing some of our non knitting friends. (As for who I’m meeting, can’t say, sorry!) Plus going to EYF meant I could basically drool my way around the Corn Exchange at a fibre event which started after Sam and I relocated to the south coast. What I hadn’t envisaged was being asked to be part of a panel discussion on Diversity and Inclusion taking place on Sunday the final day.
Those of you already aware of the current conversations about racism and the lack of diversity in the knitting community will know that this was arranged to replace the scheduled speaker, Kate Davies who unfortunately had to withdraw due…
You know me, I love to weave on my 18″ rigid heddle loom. Sometimes I just warp up the loom with some leftover yarns, or lone skeins that were remnants from past projects. I try to avoid waste wherever I can.
For this project, I used odd skeins of bright coloured DK weight yarns from Unbelieva-wool and Skein Queen. I ran off a length of fabric until I ran out of yarn. There was enough there to make a skirt… so I did, sort of!
The fabric width was only 14”, so to make the skirt slightly longer, I used the remaining length, divided it into 4 equal widths and sewed them together lengthwise. That would give me a waistband as well as some length.
In an attempt to make the skirt look a bit more professional, I lined it using some polyester fabric from an old kimono-style dressing gown. It is a slippery sucker to work with on a sewing machine, but luckily I didn’t have to hem it!
Feeling ambitious and also inspired after watching The Great British Sewing Bee on BBC TV, I thought it would be a great idea to put in darts. This would give the skirt some shape and look less boxy. The fabric is quite thick, so I’m not sure it was such a good idea, but anyway I left it in. I also tried to insert a zip, but the fabric kept growing sideways and the more I ‘handled’ the fabric, the wider it seemed to get. So I ripped out the zip and inserted a crudely applied waistband elastic instead.
I wouldn’t call myself an experienced sewist because the stitching on this is laughable, but having said that, the skirt actually fits well and is very wearable!
I normally put my clothes through hell, so we’ll see how long this skirt lasts before I yank it on barbed wire, or Velcro, or something ridiculous like that! 😂
The Luxury of Hindsight…
If I were to make this again, I would:
use a wool yarn with nylon content for extra strength (not essential, but nice to have).
make the fabric wider, if possible (the full 18” width).
use a lining fabric with less static electricity!
make a waistband casement instead of sewing the elastic on directly onto the fabric.
don’t bother with putting in darts! I mean, who cares?!
OK, OK, yes… I know… I’m guilty of this too! But I’m only doing it for uniqueness sake, which helps to make it easy to find my patterns in the Ravelry database! Most other patterns have ‘normal’ names that either describe their shape, pattern or style etc.. There’s also been a trend in unpronounceable pattern names (ugh!). But really, I don’t go out of my way to make my patterns sound idiotic, because in fact there is an actual reason behind their names…!
Tanjobi = Japanese for ‘birthday’.
I do actually speak Japanese – not super-fluent, but enough to get around the country, ask for directions, order a beer and find a toilet – you know, essential stuff! The reason for calling this pattern Tanjobi, was that I designed it on my birthday. Simple as that! I could have given it a name that best describes the design… yada yada… but really, it would have gotten lost in the database under names such as “Emily” or “Cable Sweater”.
Actually, I was going to call this top ”Ready, Steady, Knit!” (named after a popular British TV cooking challenge show called ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’ – see it on YouTube: http://youtu.be/cW4GfQ6L2Oc)* on account that I had a limited amount of yarn in these colours and that I wanted to wear the resulting item for an event coming soon. So, the pressure was on for me to get it done by Christmas and I wasn’t sure if I had enough yarn to even make it. Under Duress felt like a more appropriate name somehow!
*I still think Ready, Steady, Knit! should be a thing – in this case, a knitter is given an amount of yarn (any colours or bases) and their goal is to create something using as much of it as they can! Sounds like a fun challenge to me!
This is the story of how it went… I was at my local yarn store when I spotted this gorgeous grey/black pompom. Next to that was a large ball of yellow chunky yarn called Roma by Debbie Bliss. The conversation between myself and the sales assistant went like this:
SA: Ooh, nice choice! What are you thinking of making with this? Me: A hat, most likely. SA: Sadly, we don’t store any patterns here for that yarn… Me: Oh, don’t worry about me, I’ll think of something. SA: What? You’re going to make something up? (now, she’s looking at me like I’ve grown two heads!) Me: Er, yeah… I usually do. SA: Blimey!
(shaking her head in disbelief) SA: I can’t imagine working without a pattern. You will show me what you make with it, won’t you? Me: Yes sure, no problem!
The next day, I showed her my finished hat. She was so amazed by it that she asked me to knit one for her too! And I did. Then I wrote the pattern for it and named it after her! Her name is Kerry, but for database reasons, I changed the spelling to Céri! 😊
It’s been a slow few months… battling with menopausal symptoms, I haven’t slept properly since November, I can’t seem to think straight and my body thermostat wants to play games with me!!! Grrr!! Anyway, I’m soldiering on. 😳 🔥❄😰
To keep me from going completely mad, I’ve been revisiting past patterns that I felt could be improved upon. Friday Street Shawl has just recently had a relaunch. I love this pattern and I’ve always wanted to explore the idea of having extra colours on it – and now I have! Check out the recent test knits too, they’re fab! ❤
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see that I don’t only knit, but I also play tennis! I started playing regularly when I was 40, but it was a steep learning curve. Things like: hand/eye coordination, muscle reflex and ball trajectory skills were not in my original training as a track and field athlete. Simply keeping the ball in court is quite an achievement, y’know! 😅
…and then there’s the weather conditions to contend with!
Can you be-weave it?!
Since the Scandinavian weaving workshop last year, I’ve been dabbling with proper weaving, using a rigid heddle loom. I’m still trying to figure out the terminology and finding useful ways to use weaving fabric, but at least it is helping me to beat down my yarn stash a lot faster than I could if I was just only knitting!
My first woven scarf (with mistakes galore!)
My second woven scarf (with fewer mistakes in it!)
My cushion cover
Now and then, an idea for a design comes to my mind, and if I bother to sketch it out it will eventually come out just like I imagined it. If I don’t sketch it, this means that it is either a simple construction and is easy to knit (therefore why bother getting the crayons out), or it is a complex design and I have no sodding idea how this thing is going to look!! Here’s some examples:
No sketch- uh, oh! But here’s the finished result anyway! Pattern: Massive Attack blanket.
Some are designed directly on the needles – don’t ask me how, usually I just cast on and see where it takes me…!
Below is one of two versions, I’m going to write up both:
Widden (shown above) – is the wide cropped, sideways knit top. Pattern is almost complete and will go for tech editing soon. Kirkbymoorside (the name comes from a town in North Yorkshire where I originally bought the yarn!) – a textured, squishy throw using Heavy worsted/Aran weight yarn. I can’t wait to start knitting this! 😀
I’m hoping to set off the New Year with a new craft skill, Weaving! Among all the textile crafts that I have yet to explore, weaving was somehow never considered before, that was until August last year. It was then that I had the chance to pre-order a rigid heddle loom from an independent artisan, with a promise that it would be ready to ship in a few weeks.
For various reasons, the seller could not achieve this, but I remained patient… that was until I took part in a Scandinavian Weaving Workshop in Oslo last October. After that, I could not wait to get my hands on this new loom so that I could knock out scarves, cushion covers, bags and all sorts!
While waiting patiently, I was using the frame loom from that I got from the workshop. It’s a cool little gadget, but it only does small projects. I could, if I knew what I was doing, make a number of small squares and stitch them together to make a bigger cloth – but that would require planning and patience, of which are in short supply at the moment!
In the meantime, I’ve been making all sorts of samples on my frame loom. I’ve been mostly using DK merino yarns, which seem to have the right thickness and strength to act as warp thread (lengthwise) and weft thread (widthwise) on the loom. Depending on how hard you beat the work, the fabric’s tension can be loose and airy (light beat), or thick and dense (hard beat). I must have been beating these suckers to death because a number of my samples are thick like carpet!
Does anyone need a mug rug??
Weaving on a frame loom is surprisingly calming and enjoyable. It doesn’t take up a lot of space and you can watch TV while you work (great Netflix bingeing accompaniment!). You can do a small project quite quickly. Within about 20 minutes (I’m not properly timing myself, but I know it’s a short time), I could create a 16cm x 16cm (6.25” x 6.25”) square of fabric. Below are some of my samples where I’ve been playing around with pattern formations and tension.
Well, there’s no point just making squares and not knowing what to do with them, is there? So, why not attach them as feature pockets to my handmade project bags!
That, my friend, is the extent to which my fluency in Norwegian will go. That and perhaps, ‘Tak’. It’s embarrassing really, when I can already speak French and Japanese, it’s a wonder why I didn’t make more of an effort to speak Norwegian while I was in Oslo. I think it was mostly to do with the fact that the Norwegians already speak excellent English, therefore why should I insult/bore/inflict upon them my poor attempt at Norwegian?!
Oslo Strikke Festival 2017
A festival of yarn and crafts, was held in October at the famous Norwegian Folk Museum. An excellent venue for holding such an event. Not too large, but adequate enough to hold a fair number of stalls. Classes and workshops took place in outbuildings a short walk away from the main hall. And when you want to take a breather from all that yarn (not possible, I know), you can go out and visit the exhibitions and its real-life historical villages, buildings and homes.
I made the most of it and took a Scandinavian Weaving Workshop held by the lovely Gunn Kristin Halvorsen from www.scandinavianweaving.etsy.com. Although the whole workshop was being taught purely in Norwegian, I didn’t have any trouble following the instructions – after all, craft in any language is still craft!
I noticed how considerably colder it was compared to London. This meant that I needed something more substantial than the merino hat and mitts I was wearing. So, I bought some yarn and quickly knitted a hat and mitts combo – you know, like you do!
I went with a view to experiencing Scandinavian yarn and culture in the 5 short days I was there and I was particularly impressed by their transport systems! Norwegian yarns are very similar to our Scottish breed yarns – they appear scratchy, but are very light in weight. I was told that they soften up considerably once washed too, so I am really looking forward to diving into these beauties (below)!
Here’s a pic of my entire haul:
On The Subject of Mitts…
Newly launched is my Kitty Whiskers fingerless mitts pattern, written for the Addi Express 22-pin. This is a fun pattern that enlists the use of 2 colour yarns where one overlays the other and features a cute ‘braiding’ technique that look almost like kitty whiskers! 😻
After months of tweaking, testing and mucking around… I have finally published “Galliatt“. It is a turtle neck lacy poncho-style tunic, comprising 3 colours of worsted weight yarn (or any colour configuration you like!).
It is worked flat in two pieces. The sides are fixed together with your choice of fashionable buttons, facing back-to-back, therefore no button holes are required. It is designed to be roomy, so that you can wear a light sweater underneath. A practical piece for everyday wear.
Galliatt is a funny name, I agree, but really it was just a respectful nod to the yarn that inspired the design in the first place. De Rerum Natura’s Gilliatt is a worsted weight, semi-woolen spun, French and European sourced merino yarn, produced in France in an ethical and ecological way. It is available in natural and dyed colours.
Oslo Strikkfestival – Friday 20 October to Sunday 22nd October 2017. Oslo Strikkefestival is a fest for fiber-lovers and yarnaholics in the heart of Oslo! This years’ festival is over three days, from Friday, October 20th to Sunday, October 22nd. For even more fun this year, the festival is taking place in two different venues; Deichmanske Hovedbibliotek and Norsk Folkemuseum.
Friday October 20th: Opening Party! – Knitting lounge, Live Entertainment, Drinks, Snacks and Debates and Movies! Address: Deichmanske Hovedbibliotek, Arne Garborgs plass 4, 0179 Oslo.
Saturday and Sunday October 21st and 22nd – Marketplace, Workshops, Talks, Entertainment, Festival Knitting Lounge and After Party! Address: Norsk Folkemuseum, Museumsveien 10, Bygdøy, 0287 Oslo.