knitting, Uncategorized

Christmas is Coming…

Isn’t that a great name for a yarn? Last week I shared my spoils from Festiwool which included this beauty ‘Christmas is Coming’ by Rosie’s Moments.

Christmas YarnIt’s so festive, it makes me happy every time I look at it! I have been itching to wind it up and cast something on this week, but have been super disciplined and finished my yak shawl first 🙂

Here it is ready to be blocked tomorrow.

Tibetan Cloud ShawlSo now that’s off the needles I went ahead and wound up the Christmas yarn today – see how it sparkles?

Yarn winding

Christmas yarnI have since been trawling through Ravelry looking at shawl patterns that will show off this beauty, and I just can’t make up my mind…

You will see from the pictures above that the colour changes are fast and frequent so I want something fairly simple that will let the yarn do the talking…and I have narrowed it down to these 5 designs…

Nirmilintu by Heidi Alander

Nirmilintu shawlWhat I love about this design is that the lace pattern looks like little Christmas trees 🙂 I think they may get lost in the yarn though…

Pogona by Stephen West

Pogona shawlThis shawl is such a beautiful shape and the stitch patterns will show off the yarn perfectly.

Summit by Mandie Harrington

Summit Shawl

I love, love, LOVE this stunning and unusual design! I won’t have enough yarn to make the full size wrap though so it will probably end up more of a scarf.

Miss Winkle by Martina Behm

Miss Winkle Shawl

A simple, squishy garter stitch shawl with a pretty loop edging, this could work nicely 🙂

Filigree Shawl and Scarf by Michele Bernstein

Filigree Shawl

Finally a lovely classic shawl with just the right amount of lacework. And I do love lacework…

I knit up a swatch to see how the yarn works: 15 rows of garter st, 15 rows stockinette, 1 knit row and a leafy lace pattern (please forgive the bad photo)

SwatchWhat do you think? Which pattern would you choose for this yarn?

Any suggestions will be gratefully received as I really cannot make up my mind!

Happy knitting x

knitting, Uncategorized

A Visit to Festiwool!

Last weekend my friend Vero and I took a trip to Hertfordshire to check out Festiwool. Festiwool is a fairly new yarn and wool fair, I think this is its 2nd or 3rd year.

We drove through the pouring rain on Saturday morning arriving around 11am and made a plan to try and complete a circuit of the exhibition before buying anything…

There was a good selection of stalls selling every kind of yarn imaginable from brightly coloured roving to some seriously sparkly silk.

Sparkly yarn

And there were some lovely projects that caught my eye as we wandered round. Check out this adorable cat tea cosy from the Woolly Chic stall.

Wooly Chic cat tea cosy

The cute crochet gingerbread people from the Crochet Chain

The Crochet Cabin Gingerbread

And this stunning Persian tile blanket by Janie Crow

Janie Crow Perisian Blanket

One stall that really captured my imagination was Maggie Stearn and her examples of solar dyeing with natural materials.

Yarn solar dyeing

The process involves placing fibre or yarn in a jar with the dye material and mordant and leaving somewhere warm and sunny for weeks (or months) and letting nature do it’s work. Some of the examples shown were colours obtained from saffron, indigo, red cabbage, flowers and even avocado!

I was very tempted to buy a kit, but I didn’t – it’s the wrong season for sunshine here at the moment…I might give it a go next summer though!

I was also inspired by the Spin City stall with the abundance of vibrant coloured fibres and gorgeous sparkly drop spindles.

Spin City Spindes

Spinning is something I have yet to try my hand at and Louise from Spin City was only too happy to give a demonstration on how it works. It does look like fun but I resisted the urge and didn’t buy one at the time as Vero kindly offered to lend me her drop spindle to see how I get on first.

So that was a circuit completed and it was time to do some shopping! On my list of definite things to get were buttons for my Peggy Sue cardigan. A visit to the Textile Garden button stall ticked that one off.

Textile gardens buttons

I got 2 different types as I couldn’t make my mind up…I think I prefer the blue and white but then again I do like the contrast of the green…decisions, decisions….

Buttons

I was also in the market for a pretty yarn bowl. Plastic tupperware bowls are all very functional but not so inspiring… I ended up buying this beautiful hand made bowl from Wendy Fowler Pottery.

I love the quirky, sketchy nature of the design.

I had seen a really handy gauge swatch and needle measurer on the Rosies Moments stall which I went back to get.

Gauge and needle measurer

And whilst I was there I also saw this amazing Christmassy yarn.

Christmas Yarn

It’s a fingering weight merino and nylon blend with added sparkle. I couldn’t resist!

I also picked up a sock kit. It came with aran weight yarn, a little project bag, 4 x 5mm dpns and a sock pattern, all for just £12! This is the yarn that I chose. I showed it to Mr. A when I got home and he really liked it so I will be making the socks for him 🙂

Aran sock yarn

My final purchase of the day was this little project bag from Watercolours and Lace. It has cats on it. I was sold.

Knitting project bag

All in all I was impressed with Festiwool, there was a great selection of stalls and interesting things to see and I came away feeling very inspired.

Note to self though, I.do.not.need.any.more.yarn*

And speaking of yarn if you want to see some seriously lovely stash then check out Vero’s brilliant podcast Along the Lanes. This week she takes us through her amazing yarn and fibre collection, and also has fun with mixed media painting. Who would have thought bubble wrap could have so many uses!

*for now!…