……..public aclaim

 

 

Vote For Us v2

 

You may or may not know we have been nominated for the above awards. Head for the Lets Knit website and cast your vote for various knitting products (and the best independent retailer in Wales). Casting the vote entitles you to a chance at winning prizes and us a chance to head to London for the award ceremony. (I promise to blog the whole ‘yokel in the big smoke’ experience).

We do stock a number of product winners from previous years like Stylecraft’s Special and West Yorkshire Spinners and we have done since we opened. So we like to think we keep good company anyway. It can’t hurt to do a little advertising can it?

Thunder and lightening

I don’t know if there were multiple storms last night but we had a corker………. the sheet flashes woke me and the rumbles were gigantic. And lashing rain – I could see the big plops landing in my head when the rain started (even though I stayed in bed). The sheet lightning was so bright I could see it through closed eyes (sleeping again not an option!). Not the sort of storm I remember from my childhood. When from home on the high side of a Yorkshire Dale, we watched the storm clouds cracks and zigzag forks driving down the Aire Valley passed us toward Bradford.

As I laid there counting the time between flash and rumble – I got to thinking knitting …..doesn’t everyone? My current projects are almost finished.  The Shenandoah jacket needs part of a sleeve. Peter’s jumper needs bands for the armhole. Rugby man, can wait!. I listed the yarn for new projects in my personal stash and realised there has been a bit of an obsession over the last year.

The yarn for ‘Breathing space’ Triskelion’s Cassiopeia, and Cambrian Mountains Slate; some Whislebare 4ply in Yeavering Bell in Mulberry Mead and Little Grey Sheep’s Laceweight (in a colour that I think was midnight but could have been twilight or even thundering) turns out was called Dark Clouds overhead!!. There’s Manos del Uruguay lace in Apalachian.  (The contrast shade in my Shenandoah jacket). All seemed to be thunder inspired shades of dark violet/purple/slate/plum/mulberry/lavender/rose/mud/ – the colour names issue again.

Not something I can sort by showing you as the photos don’t show the real colours. I also realise I’ve made several dresses, a coat, tops and trousers in shade of this colour which meld as a wardrobe but were all described as various shades or tones and of I’ll plump  for …. puce ( Just to cause more controversy). Some are, himself would call brown and I might call taupe. Some are definitely dyers violet. Some well, didn’t look anything like the colour they transpired to be when received, shall I say!

It has even crept into the shop from my favourite shade Slate from Cambrian Mountain’s Wool, Ramsdale’s mulberry, woolyknit’s BFL amathist, WYS’s exquisite , Wendy’s Air and a new linen mix from Erica Knight -lacy (there a new one) all have that about them. Oh I do hope you like that colour too.

 

It’s a happy colour I suppose, not regal purple more violet/red/pink when added to grey in a weave became that taupe. Not so fashionable maybe, in some guises a bit out there and flashy (when close to magenta). A bit hard to match to buttons and shoes but as ‘homemade’ wardrobe person that is part of the appeal.

What next ? —

I have been playing with the Little Grey Sheep’s mohair for a shawl or shrug to go with a dress but can’t decide on the garment. Then that new viscose linen looks like it will make a project I have been looking to do for a while a ‘Curl’ from Hunter Hammersen’s book Curls. Then there is always a Merit beret; that Fairisle waistcoat; Ydalir shawl or a Funyin hat ………………..

I did get back to sleep eventually .. what else does a woolshop owner dream of   ?????

Looking, seeing — come in and stay a while?

This is the season of tourists – lovely people with time to browse and money for a holiday projects.  I am happy to say we have return visitors – “oo we visited last year and just had to come again” – and those who find us on-line “please drop in and visit in person” and some who just pass through Lampeter and find us………DSCF6038

At the Old Post Office — since we moved in the address has been a blessing – it’s a land mark (ask google maps) and its a quite beautiful building.

It was built in the 1930’s, the foundation stone says 1933. There are I’m told, 83 such buildings in the UK built by the GPO as multipurpose buildings (PO, telephone exchange, sorting office, and PostMaster’s accommodation). Ours has many of the original features, high ceilings and an air of  authority – it looks like a Post Office should. That is why it is a Grade 2 Listed Building to protect its authentic originality.  Inside the original doors the moulding and panels are intact (some hidden by wool!), the majority of the counter is still here all be it turned round. On the outside we have a proper red letterbox and a red sign – we look like a Post Office should. Just like buildings built to house Banks, solid and dependable and familiar.

However, that is just what people (especially visitors) see is – a Post Office.  At least once a day someone asks “Are you the Post Office?” The PO services were moved to the Co-Operative supermarket in around 2008. After four years of living in this space, it has stopped surprising me that people only see the vestige of the previous life of this building. Afterall we see red as a colour before we see anything else. And well it looks like a Post Office! What does surprise me is how many people blame me when it isn’t a Post Office. Sorry, but it’s not my fault the PO moved nor can I take down the red sign that still hangs outside (it is part of the ‘Listed’ status). But you are welcome anyway………..

It is a lovely space to work, please excuse our red sign that misleads you in, thank you for visiting and please stay a while.

Oh, think of me as I wander off to the sorting office to collect our post every day. Thanks to the original purpose of the building we don’t have a letter box of our own!!

Galavanting

In March I escaped to Scotland for a holiday and spent time at Edinburgh Wool Fest. Busman’s holiday so speak. I don’t often get away but last weekend I have been off exploring again. Visiting very old friends (from University days many moons ago). They have a farm on the north end of the Isle of Man. I don’t go to easy to get to places. Before we set off they had told us they were thinking of taking on milking sheep!!

Well that surprised you didn’t it!?  Surprised me too largely ’cause, well we don’t do we? Even if you come from a farming background, milk comes from cows doesn’t it? When I thought about it I do know sheep can be milked. Feta comes from ewes milk and even good old Wensleydale Cheese was originally a ewes milk cheese ( I don’t know if the breed is a milking sheep). Deep in our history eating sheep’s milk was normal. Many of our tall UK sheep breeds were dual purpose milk and wool. Why eat your assets!!

The breed they are looking at is Zwartbles originally from The Netherlands where they are milked. We have had a little of the wool from a local herd but there is none in the shop at the moment. I was sure I’d seen some somewhere……..thats when I realised that the just cast on cardigan I was planning to take as the travel project was….. John Arbon Harvest Hues  which is a Merino Zwartbles blend.

 

It is a 4ply so I’m working on a 3.25mm ( with my sloppy knitting I needed to go down a size to work on stocking stitch). The pattern is a top down cardigan in garter stitch. I like the top down technique because:  one it lets me fit the neck first (the tricky bit if you are a big girl) and two if I have a fixed amount of stash yarn that bit get done first and the length isn’t such a panic. The sleeves get finished last so they can be shorter if I’m running short too. I like how you can cast of for a neck edge and provided you get the proportions of stitches right for the front, sleeves and back you just increase regularly for and get a Raglan sleeve top and the stripes match!!!

I’m working on circulars they are easy to travel with as you can scoop it all up with the needle points out and the cable holds all the stitches together. However I do get people trying to work out what on earth I’m making as the unconventional piece of knitting grows!!  The wool is a little fluffy at the moment but  it is knitting well and in the garter stitch it is making a thick light fabric and so far I have used about a quarter of the gold colour skein (100g) and almost 1 skein of the sycamore green. Plenty left of that purchase to get to the end …. a test run for some Manx wool maybe.

Hat again…..

JpegWell after the last little issue with hats, I had to get back on and have another go with vaasetter beret . This time with less expectation and more testing. The pattern is a very good one for  beginners to fairisle. Worked in the round colour the pattern is always facing you. The floats at the back are short because the pattern is made up of rows of peerie (small) flowers and geometric blocks. The decrease is easy too. Jamieson and Smith’s Heritage range is quite a soft 4 ply nice to work with. Natural fawn (stock due end March), indigo, and moss green.

The hat does come up big as the pattern suggests so for those with big heads or long tresses! For little noggins I suggest casting on 112 work the rib band then increasing in 2 rows (not 1 as pattern) after the band to get to the same number of stitches as the pattern to complete the repeats. Lovely and much admired.

That done …… I wandered off to find another project. I have searched ravelry for a cardigan jacket pattern in colour work and a boxy shape. I am not sure I am up to a 4ply  fairisle yet I came across a Melissa Lipman’s Shenandoah pattern. Worked in mosaic stitches the colour changes are slipped stitches. Oh what fun that is and quick too. Just have to decide which colour combinations I like…….. Oh on slip stitches you might like to check out Feastival (Triskelion Yarn & Fibre)

Now which one first.

Jpeg
mosaic stitch cushion a practice peice

Finally I want to show you this – Woods a crowd funded kntting book featuring breed specific wool from around Europe. One yarn design is done with Blacker Yarns wool incase you are interested.

What’s in a hat?

I am by anyone’s standards a plus size woman. I have been so all my life or at least all the bit I can remember. I was 5′ 6 ” tall when I went to senior school at 11, head and shoulders above my classmates. By the time I was 16, I was well over being a skinny flat chested teenager. Fashion has never suited me as a consequence I made my own and continue to do so.  I struggle with knitting patterns for a few reasons including that and frequently adapt them for my size and shape. I love books that help us adapt commercial patterns to fit people. Amy Herzog and Melissa Leapman who encourage knitters to adapt to fit you are my heroines! The only point where a ‘one size fits all could work for me ‘ is hats and mitts  and I like to knit these from patterns. This week I am a disappointed knitter.

I have for many months wanted to construct Kate Davies Scatness Tam from her book Colours of Shetland. I have also wanted to use Jamieson’s Spindrift  4ply. Because although we have the  Jamieson’s Smith Heritage range in the shop the colours are quite bright and I wanted to try the alternative spun on Shetland for research (also I liked their colour chart!). Over Christmas and for a number of weeks before I poured over that colour chart for the 7 colours for the project. Mid January the button pressed, I waited for my delivery of 9 colours (I couldn’t quite decide if the colour gradient was right) all the way from Shetland far far away! Next day it came! No disappointment there. The bag opened out popped these lovely soft yarns in deep heather colours but 2 of the balls were DK! Oh heck do I send them back ? – I knit a tension square (on straight needles,oh misguided one) I’ll cope. dscf5883-3

So to the pattern (available  from Ravelry via us). I have a head circumference 19″ (so, I have a small head!) the hat is to fit 21-22″ finished brim size 20″. I went for smaller needles (2.75mm) for  corrugated rib on the brim just to be safe. In two days it was finished. It is absolutely lovely in shades of peat, moorland red-brown on a natural grey back ground with just a touch of green. The pattern is easy to follow. The construction of the fold back brim very elegant. it went together easy and the fairisle pattern drew me onward. Two days and it was done and the whole thing sings. I tried it on it fits neatly on the back of my head, it is snug. Ta Dah!!!

And every time I wear it, it falls down over my eyes!!!!! The tam shape above the brim line is simply too deep for my little noggin – devastation. All I can think is that the pattern design is quite tall and when I am knitting in the round (which is all knit) it has effected my tension (maybe those 2 DK balls helped too). Oh dear ……….so off I went to find another pattern  ……. vaasetter beret

 

Sam Warburton?

It tells you much about my knowledge of Rugby when I heard the newsman talking about Mr Warburton and thought it was about bread. It also says much about the power of adverts that I then thought of frogs. Too much TV watching while ill. Mr Sam Warburton is/was the Captain of the Wales Rugby team I believe.

As you know I have been working on an idea to join in the celebrations of the University regarding the first rugby game in Wales (Side tracked) .

I finished Algy and well he is cute (not something said of modern rugby players often unless to provoke them!!). The feedback was positive – we are to knit a team!!

So Saturdays in February and March  from 1 O’clock come along and make arms, legs, heads or jumpers and longs. Some events will be in the University so watch this space. We’ll see how many team members we have by the grand sew up event on Saturday 1st April. OH yes I know! The University team colours first then if we get enough help a modern-day Welsh team.

I will have to simplify the pattern for mass production and as has been pointed out he needs more shoulder and less hips!!! Its a chance to have a go at toy making and knitting with small needles and real wool. Free admission.  They are made mostly in local wool. I need a source of local black for boots, otherwise we are off.