Events for 2015

It’s a bit late, but I thought I would put up a diary of the events I’ve bookmarked for the rest of this year. I’m not necessarily going to all of them, but I’m interested to know what I’ve missed off.

They’re not limited to knitting, spinning or fibre – I’m a lover of general craft, so if you see anything glaringly obvious that I’ve missed off, please let me know! It is by no means fully comprehensive – but I’m really sick of missing events, or finding out about them a couple of days before, or worse, after. I do try keep up-to-date on what is going on, but it’s quite tough. Time to do something about that.

Events for 2015

I haven’t got a lot of time at the moment, so I haven’t linked to all of these websites. I hope you’ll forgive me. They are easily searchable in your favourite search engine.

The Spring Knitting and Stitching Show – 5th to 8th March

The Muse Connection Volume 1 – 8th March

Edinburgh Yarn Festival – 14th and 15th March

p-Lush – 27th and 28th March

Wonderwool Wales – 25th and 26th April

Wharfe Wool Fair – 9th May

I Knit Fandango – 15th and 16th May

Annual Knitting & Crochet Blog Week – 11th to 17th May

John Arbon Open Mill Weekend – 16th and 17th May

Highland Woolfest – 23rd May

Proper Woolly – 30th and 31st May

Woolfest – 26th and 27th June

Fibre East – 25th and 26th July

British Wool Show – 7th and 8th August

Popup Wool Show – 15th August

Great London Yarn Crawl – 5th September

Yarndale – 26th and 27th September

Shetland Wool Week – 26th September to 4th October

The Knitting & Stitching Show Alexandra Palace – 7th to 11th October

Bakewell Wool Gathering – 17th and 18th October

The Knitting & Stitching Show Dublin – 12th to 15th November

The Knitting & Stitching Show Harrogate – 26th to 29th November

I’ll be at the Spring K&S Show this weekend, and I’m also going to the Muse Connection as I was lucky enough to bag a ticket before they sold out! I’ll keep you updated on what happens…

Much love,

Corrie xx

The Spring Knitting and Stitching Show starts today!
The Spring Knitting and Stitching Show starts today!`
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Hot This Week on Ravelry

I thought I’d show you all the patterns that have really caught my eye on “Hot Right Now’ on Ravelry this week. I visit that page about fifteen times a day…at least…so I thought I’d best put my visits to good use! Let me know if I missed anything good please.

Hot on Wednesday

Rams and Yowes by Kate Davies.

Rams and Yowes (picture taken direct from Ravelry)
Rams and Yowes (picture taken direct from Ravelry)

Kate seems to have been in my life a lot recently, with mentions on a number of podcasts, as well as her patterns following me around! The British Breeds sampler pack that I bought from Hilltop Cloud at Unravel provides fleece to spin into the colours and yarns required for the Sheep Heid; and then I checked out Rams and Yowes, which has some of the motifs in the hat. I love it – but looks like I’d have to do a lot of spinning to get enough yarn! The pattern is £3.95 and knitted in a fingering weight yarn.

Hot on Thursday

Pugs and Kisses by JennyPenny.

Pugs and Kisses (picture taken direct from Ravelry)
Pugs and Kisses (picture taken direct from Ravelry)

Because, you know, who doesn’t need a pair of mittens with pugs on them?! Another fingering weight yarn, the pattern is available in English and Swedish, and is EUR3.00 (about £2.24). I’m not sure this would be something that I would ever make…but they’re certainly unusual.

Caught my eye on Friday

Winterlong by Bristol Ivy

Winterlong (picture taken direct from Ravelry)
Winterlong (picture taken direct from Ravelry)

I adore the way the stitches seem to spiral around this cowl. It puts me in mind of icicles or lilies. Knitted up in a worsted weight yarn, it looks super cosy, particular with the squishy garter stitch. Bristol Ivy has just been interviewed on the pompom quarterly podcast – Episode 10, and it made me super excited to see this pattern pop up in the Hot Right Now box! This is £4.66 on Ravelry with loveknitting.

Flabbergasted on Saturday

Damask Cowl by Nancy Marchant

Nancy Marchant's
Nancy Marchant’s “Damask Cowl”, image taken from Ravelry.

There’s no other way to describe my reaction to the Damask Cowl by Nancy Marchant other than flabbergasted. This is so incredibly intricate, beautiful, colourful – a real show-stopper. People’s mouths would literally fall open if they saw you wearing this…it looks like it can possibly be a handmade pattern. The pattern is US$5 on Ravelry – and utilises the extremely popular and topical brioche stitch.

Sizzling on Sunday

Bird’s Nest Shawl by Athanasia Andritsou

Birds Nest Shawl (picture taken direct from Ravelry)
Birds Nest Shawl (picture taken direct from Ravelry)

This is a lace pattern suitable only for those comfortable with knitting from charts. Featuring Estonian stitches and nupps, it caught my eye the moment the page loaded. I don’t like the colour the sample is knitted in – I would probably do it in a teal/blue/purple yarn. The pattern is free.

Massive on Monday

Lieselotte Shawl by Beatrice Perron Dahlen.

Lieselotte Shawl (picture taken direct from Ravelry)
Lieselotte Shawl (picture taken direct from Ravelry)

I really love those spiral motifs on the edge. Can you tell I’m feeling a bit cold and on a shawl kick at the moment? Free on Ravelry, there is currently a knit along for this shawl, which you can find information on here. This ends on the 1st of May 2015, so you’ve got a whole month if you fancy joining it.

This would be my shawl of choice if I weren’t currently on the point of casting on another one.

Bright on Tuesday

Fo’ Shawl by Dreareneeknits Designs.

Fo' Shawl (image taken direct from Ravelry)
Fo’ Shawl (image taken direct from Ravelry)

Having had a look at the sample, I love the look of this. The groups of eyelets/lace motif really appeals to me. The colours are fabulous as well – this is one for the queue when Cold Sheep 2015 has ended! The pattern is £3.89 on Ravelry (for some reason, my Rav is no longer showing me prices in USD) and in a light fingering weight yarn.


I hope you enjoyed this small summary – I certainly had fun doing it, so I might do it again!

Much love,

Corrie xx

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Finished Object: Rikke Cowl/Hat

I’m pleased to have a finished object for today – a cowl/hat which was derived from the pattern for the Rikke Hat! I originally started knitting this for a friend, but I was playing yarn chicken and I lost…badly. Instead of frogging and doing something else, I decided I could work with it and the project became one for me, as it’s a bit of a strange item.

The Rikke Cowl/Hat

When I finished the Icon Dress, I had 70% of a skein of John Arbon Knit by Numbers left, in a glorious orange colour. I also had some red leftovers from the turtles I made for John’s sister for her 30th birthday, so I threw that in as well. I striped the garter stitch brim with the red and orange, and when the red ran out, just continued with the orange.

The hat is meant to be super slouchy, and as a result it has a huge amount of yarn in it, relative to other hats…I discovered to my dismay that this was the reason for my yarn running out. Should have checked the yardage before I cast on!

By this point, I was so in love with the fabric I had produced that I decided to keep it. I don’t really like scarves because they get in my way, so I’m slowly building up my collection of cowls. After trying the item on before casting off, I decided it would definitely fit, and it was going to be part of my wardrobe.

The brim of what was meant to be the hat was knit on smaller needles, so it’s a bit tighter than the rest. I’ve found that if I wear it with the brim on top, the more drapey fabric covers my…collarbone area (what is that called? Breast? Chest?) and the tighter brim prevents drafts getting in.

I’ve also realised that I can wear it as a hat. No, really. I wear my hair up in clips the majority of the time, and it is extremely thick. The only hat I have that is slouchy enough to fit when I’m wearing the clip is the Romney Hat – but it does look a bit strange, as if I am a conehead. I refer you to the below photo.

Hat fitting my cone-shaped head.
Hat fitting my cone-shaped head.

However, if I wear the cowl/hat as it was originally intended, it covers my whole head, stopping just at the point where my hairclip becomes a problem. It’s the perfect solution – and when I get too hot, which is a common occurrence, I can just pull it down so it becomes a cowl. I can also fold it in half and wear it as a headband to keep my hair out of my face when I’m doing things that require good visibility.

I am so pleased that I decided to just go with it and keep the project. It has become such a versatile and loved part of my wardrobe – and it makes me think of the wonderful dress I made with the yarn too, which is a bonus as that’s one of my better knitting achievements.

The Rikke Hat itself is an extremely popular project – at the time of writing, it has 6,273 projects on Ravelry. The only downside to the pattern is that it’s knit in the round and intended to be garter stitch, so if you don’t like purling, it’s probably not for you – or you can convert it to a flat pattern. I have been determined to improve my purling, so it was one of the draws of the project for me and was no real problem!

Wearing it as a hat at Unravel.
Wearing it as a hat at Unravel.
The Rikke Cowl all nicely folded.
The Rikke Cowl all nicely folded.
Keeping my neck toasty warm.
Keeping my neck toasty warm.
The cowl, flat and a bright spot against our dark sofa.
The cowl, flat and a bright spot against our dark sofa.

 

I’d love to know if you’ve ever repurposed a pattern into something it wasn’t really meant to be…let me know!

Much love,

Corrie xx

The Philosopher's Wife
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March 2015 Resolutions

How is it the 1st of March already?! I’m sure I say that every month…time sure does seem to be flying these days, and I don’t like it!

February was a month of success for me. One of the best months I’ve had with my knitting for a very long time, in fact. Here’s the recap for you.

February 2015

I was accomplished! Here’s the list.

  1. Finish crocheting my sheep – hmm no, he’s still in my WIP basket, feeling neglected. Must pick him up again.
  2. Finish Monkey (oops, was supposed to do this last month) – yes, and they are gorgeous! I have an FO post queued, it was supposed to self-publish while I was away at Halsway Manor. Oops! I’ll publish it tomorrow.
  3. Knit a cowl from handspun – yes! The Dragon Cowl is gorgeous and smooshy and has barely left my neck since I finished it.
  4. Cast on a big project – And finished it! A fox scarf with 348 rows of plain stockinette in it. Photos and more details to come soon.
  5. Complete Week 8 of half-marathon training – yes, hurrah. You can sponsor me to do the Great North Run here. The challenge is in September, so I’ve got tons of time.

    The Dragon Cowl, started and finished in March.
    The Dragon Cowl, started and finished in March.

With that in mind, I’m going to try be as ambitious for March as I was for February.

March 2015 Resolutions

I’m scaling back on the amount of time I have to knit this month. This means I will almost certainly get more knitting done. As I start to feel better and take on more things, I am giving myself the rule that I am not allowed to do knitting for pleasure until the evening. It has worked for the last days of February – so I’m setting up March with that in mind.

  1. Spin for ten minutes a day – lots of new fibre to play with!
  2. Follow my new schedule every week day – I’ve set up a ‘school’ timetable that I hope will allow me to structure my days a bit better.
  3. Playing with my new knitting machine every week – I persuaded John to get me a new knitting machine as my old one was broken a year ago, and I haven’t been able to explore that side of the craft for a while. The new one is a Brother KH-710, and I love it.
  4. Knit my next pair of socks – I cast them on in hand-dyed yarn I was sent by SugarAngel from the Resolutions Monthly Secret Santa in December.
  5. Work on Naloa – I’ve wound the yarn, found a project bag, got the needles together…just need to sit down and make a start.

My running is going well – I will be up to 6 miles per run by the end of March, and you can see my progress and updates on my Instagram feed.

What are you hoping to achieve this month?

Much love,

Corrie xx

Lots of new fibre to spin this month.
Lots of new fibre to spin this month.
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Harry Potter Sock Saturday

If you don’t know yet, I’m one of the biggest Harry Potter nerds to walk the streets of North London circa 2007. I’ve been doing some pattern searching on Ravelry, as I’m supposed to be knitting 12 pairs of socks this year and have not yet started my second pair, let alone third…and inspiration struck when I debated knitting Hermione’s Everyday Socks again.

The designer of these socks, Erica Lueder, has got the best range of Harry Potter inspired socks that I have found so far. Get ready for some amazing designs…

Harry Potter Inspired Socks

Hermione’s Everyday Socks

The first set of HP socks that springs to mind when you mention Harry Potter are Hermione’s Everyday Socks. I’m pretty sure most sock knitters have at least cast these on the past, even if they haven’t necessarily finished them. My dad was the recipient of my pair, in a lovely navy blue Fyberspates skein. The pattern is available in French and German, as well as English, and is a solid knit for anyone looking for a project to just wizz around.

Hermione's Everyday Socks
Hermione’s Everyday Socks

The pattern is very basic, alternating between knit rows, then K1, P1 rows to create a sort of edited moss stitch pattern. They’re fabulous, a good, rugged pair of socks. At the time of writing, they are a free design on Ravelry.

Devil’s Snare Socks

Next up is a lacy pair of socks where the panel of lace has been inspired by Devil’s Snare. The pattern is available in English and French, and is currently free on Ravelry. I can’t make any other comment, as I haven’t knitted them…yet.

Devil's Snare Socks (picture taken direct from Ravelry)
Devil’s Snare Socks (picture taken direct from Ravelry)

They’re for a fingering weight yarn on US 2/2.75 mm needles.

Dumbledore’s Christmas Stockings

One of the most notable lines for knitters in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is “one can never have enough socks”. Erica has taken this as her inspiration, and created a gorgeous design, which looks to me almost like a chessboard. They’re open to interpretation – I’ve mainly included them because of their inspiration! This is another free pattern on Ravelry, available in English.

Dumbledore's Christmas Stockings (picture taken straight from Ravelry)
Dumbledore’s Christmas Stockings (picture taken straight from Ravelry)

The Weasley Homestead

Erica states that these socks were inspired by the colourway, which is a Weasley inspired yarn, Flesh from the Cauldron Sock SW. I love the patchwork effect, and the colour really puts me in mind of the lounge in the Burrow (in the films). The pattern is free on Ravelry and available in French and English.

Weasley Socks (image taken direct from Ravelry)
Weasley Socks (image taken direct from Ravelry)

Hidden Stairways

The last of the Erica patterns that I wanted to showcase is Hidden Stairways, a whimsical pair of socks which I love the look of. The stairways at Hogwarts are something I have spent hours thinking about (I lived in a small town, OK?!) and I think she’s captured the spirit fairly well in the stitch pattern. Guess what? It’s free on Ravelry!

Hidden Stairways by Erica Lueder
Hidden Stairways by Erica Lueder

From Erica, my Harry Potter eye naturally led me on a journey to find other inspired designs…here’s a list of some of my favourites, found by searching “Harry Potter Socks”.

Fred and George Socks by Rachael Coopey, found in The Unofficial Harry Potter Knits, Special Issue 2014.

Fred and George Socks (image taken direct from Ravelry)
Fred and George Socks (image taken direct from Ravelry)

House Elf Socks by Ashwinder, free on Ravelry.

House Elf Socks, inspired by Dobby! (Photo taken direct from Ravelry).
House Elf Socks, inspired by Dobby! (Photo taken direct from Ravelry).

Nagini by Monkey Toes, free on Ravelry.

Nagini Toes (photo taken direct from Ravelry)
Nagini Toes (photo taken direct from Ravelry)

The Whomping Willow by Angela Tennant, US$5 on Ravelry.

Whomping Willow (image taken direct from Ravelry)
Whomping Willow (image taken direct from Ravelry)

So, there you have it! A very Harry Potter-ey Saturday treat for you. I’m off to unpack my (new) knitting machine, and immerse myself in learning how to use it for the next two days. Have a great weekend!

Much love,

Corrie xx

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Five on Friday – new link party!

There’s a new link party happening that I’ve just discovered via The Soaring Sheep! This is hosted on Love Made My Home, and the premise is that you talk about five things. I’m going to find it hard to pick just five! But I thought I’d give it a go, because it’s fun to review stuff.

1. Unravel

Top of my list for this week – and probably the rest of the month – is how great Unravel was. I had so much fun, loved the experience, adore my new stash…I can’t wait to go back next year.

Linda and Renee at their stand at Unravel.
Linda and Renee at their stand at Unravel.

2. Sincerely Louise

I made myself a Sincerely Louise bear, who is currently hanging on our wall and has been named Björn. He makes me smile every time I walk past him! Louise donated a kit to me to give to one of my lucky readers…you can enter here!

Björn the Bear on our wall.
Björn the Bear on our wall.
Tonks the cat meets Björn.
Tonks the cat meets Björn.

3. Being reunited with this girl

Tonks spent ten days with my brother, destroyed all of his bedding, alienated all of his flatmates and stank the place out. Isn’t she charming?! But I have been so happy to have been reunited with her, you never realise how much you miss your kitty until you are back together. Even if she did destroy a ball of yarn last night.

Tonks the cutey-pie.
Tonks the cutey-pie.

4. Needle-felting

I bought a Jenny Barnett kit at Unravel, and I’m loving this new form of fibre craft. I’ve tried it before, but never like this. It’s fantastic, I’m addicted!

A needle-felted sheep and a little seahorse called Champion.
A needle-felted sheep and a little seahorse called Champion.

5. New spinning equipment

I have some new equipment that I’m using joyfully! A smaller niddy-noddy for the samples I’m spinning up, a book on new techniques, a smaller set of hand-carders. It’s lovely to feel like I’m being a bit delicate, instead of attacking everything with gigantic paddles for hands.

My new, smaller model of niddy-noddy.
My new, smaller model of niddy-noddy.

If you’d like to see what other people are choosing as their five things, head over here. I have several finished objects to show you, I’m feeling super productive at the moment and big things are happening at Plutonium Muffins HQ, which you’ll find out about soon!

Much love,

Corrie xx

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Folk Arts with Shooting Roots

I have talked about Shooting Roots before, a folk organisation that John and I are involved in, alternately as tutors and participants at various folk events around the UK. If you’re looking for a better description, here is one in the words of the organisation:

Shooting Roots is an organisation run by and for young people, offering creative and participatory folk workshops at festivals and other events. In a nutshell it’s all about generating opportunities for young people to perform, develop friendships and access the folk arts.

We aim to do this through a three pronged attack –

  • Festival projects
  • Tutor training
  • Grass roots projects and an online community

We are run entirely by volunteers, who think Shooting Roots is so great they’re prepared to give up their free time to make it happen. Also it’s fun, and there’s nothing quite as good as making something amazing.

John and I spent the week before Unravel at Halsway Manor in Somerset, and I thought I’d share the experience with you.

Halsway Manor, just as the sun is rising on a Tuesday morning.
Halsway Manor, just as the sun is rising on a Tuesday morning.

Please note: I have not included any group photos as I do not have permission to post photos of the underage participants.

Halsway Manor with Shooting Roots

This is a programme held in the February half-term, at Halsway Manor. The manor itself is a national centre for the folk arts, and there are a huge number of programmes that are run, from violin-making courses to hurdy-gurdy workshops. Shooting Roots is aimed at 12 to 25 year olds, and gives them the chance to explore the folk arts. The youngest two participants were 12, and I was on the cusp of the older ‘kids’ at 25 – but it didn’t feel like it, as the atmosphere was extremely inclusive and we all enjoyed each others company in equal measure.

Five different disciplines were explored – music, dance, song, craft and theatre. I have, in the past, been a tutor for craft at folk festivals; but as a participant this time, I simply got to enjoy the whole experience. Throughout the four days, the group is working towards a showcase for the families so that mums and dads can see what their little cherubs have been up to on the course, which is fully residential; no parents allowed!

John and me, with the obligatory manor selfie.
John and me, with the obligatory manor selfie.

The showcase this year focused on four villages in traditional England, with four different tribes living in them and battling with each other through the medium of dance. A Great Evil occurred, and one person from each tribe had to go on a Quest to prevent dance being taken forever. The four heroes went on a journey while the rest of the cast provided props and additional characters using their bodies, voices, some costume elements and their crafted objects (more on that in a moment). At the end, dance was saved, and the tribes came out as a harmonious community.

With four slots each day to participate in each workshop (music and song were combined), the days started with a cooked breakfast at 9 am, and went on till 9 pm, when an informal session started. The first day was full-on with introductions to each other, playing ball games, then a start on each workshop. I did not do the theatre workshop, as I discovered within three minutes of the start of it that my anxiety would not let me deal with this without a large dose of medication…so I decided to give it a miss.

However, the wonderfully talented tutor, Lizzy, gave everyone a wonderful time as they split into groups and headed off around the grounds of the manor to explore and get to know each other, and work on their traditional theatre skills. Although it was similar to ‘drama’ as I knew it in school, the focus was on a traditional story line, and there was an element of folk story-telling in this workshop.

View out from the garden of the manor.
View out from the garden of the manor.

We were then split into groups, and my half went on to a Border Morris workshop. Our tutor, Grace, was the person who recites the poem ending “…will dance for you!” in the below video. Border Morris is a type of dance performed with sticks, reminiscent of sword fighting, using big heavy sticks to create interesting rhythms and a rather dangerous environment. I was reluctant to join in…but it was so much fun. I really enjoyed myself, and it felt wildly exciting to throw sticks around (literally) in the name of art. The dances we worked on were featured in the showcase as part of the fighting between the tribes.

It was then on to craft. For obvious reasons, this was the workshop I was most looking forward to. My wonderful friend Lizzie (who has featured on the blog before) was the leader of the workshop in conjunction with Marcus and Hugo. They taught us how to do wood-working without power tools. I kid you not, I think this was one of the greatest few hours in my life – we were set loose on logs with axes, billhooks, draw knives, lathes, sandpaper, saws…even John got really into it, and discovered the state of crafty concentration that I go into when I’m spinning. It was really good fun, and allowed me to gain further appreciation of how things that were handmade in the past were really handmade. Wandering back to the manor that afternoon, I was looking around the wood-panelled rooms with stunning carvings and beams, and marvelling at the number of hours and effort that would have gone into it.

John and his recently de-barked morris stick (which turned into a bit of a baseball bat)
John and his recently de-barked morris stick (which turned into a bit of a baseball bat)
Me with my slightly less de-barked log and a draw knife.
Me with my slightly less de-barked log and a draw knife.
Sitting on the draw horse in my own little world (and looking oh so stylish)
Sitting on the draw horse in my own little world (and looking oh so stylish)

We were making our own morris sticks to use in the showcase, using a sycamore tree that had been cut down on one of the leader’s farms. It was seriously enthralling, and I spent many of my spare hours (when I was supposed to be knitting) in the craft workshop, either working on my stick or helping out where others were unable to complete theirs in the time allotted.

From the craft workshop, we did song and music. I love to sing, and I haven’t played my violin for a really long time – so I joined in with song, and we learned a couple of songs from tutor Nonny. Unfortunately, I had a terrible cold and consequently lost my voice, so I did not get a chance to continue this workshop through the week. Folk singing is one of the best forms of singing I know. Anyone and everyone can do it, and it sounds great whether you’re in a concert hall, or sitting round a table in a pub several pints down and slightly worse for wear.

The music workshop, with Matt, worked on a big tune for all the musicians to play, as well as splitting them into groups and learning tunes on a smaller scale. This is not classical music – they do not use ‘dots’ (or notated music) and all the learning is done entirely by ear. There is small emphasis on playing perfectly, and more focus on playing as a group, enjoying each other’s company and just having the confidence to explore your instrument with other people.

Tutor Matt playing the bass banjo during an impromptu session in the Halsway Manor bar.
Tutor Matt playing the bass banjo during an impromptu session in the Halsway Manor bar.

The week continued in this vein, and the showcase was held on the fourth night to great applause and many congratulations. John and I now have our sticks standing in the hallway with pride, and my appreciation of folk arts has magnified ten-fold. Talk about crafty roots, these were exploring the roots of the British culture and it was just amazing.

The front door to Halsway Manor! This may not be the original...but just think of the work that would go into making this.
The front door to Halsway Manor! This may not be the original…but just think of the work that would go into making this.
An English rose carved into a fireplace inside.
An English rose carved into a fireplace inside.
Wood-working was a bit of a theme! This guy on a lathe was carved in the most exquisite detail.
Wood-working was a bit of a theme! This guy on a lathe was carved in the most exquisite detail.
John and I took a walk to the top of a very high hill the morning we left. With views of the Bristol Channel, Cardiff and the rolling Somerset, this was a beautiful - if chilly - experience.
John and I took a walk to the top of a very high hill the morning we left. With views of the Bristol Channel, Cardiff and the rolling Somerset, this was a beautiful – if chilly – experience.
The local landscape is filled with architecture that is gorgeously unique to Somerset. Can you see the castle turret in this photo?
The local landscape is filled with architecture that is gorgeously unique to Somerset. Can you see the castle turret in this photo?
Colourful Janet labels one of the notes we bought in the Halsway Manor jig.
Colourful Janet labels one of the notes we bought in the Halsway Manor jig.

I’ll next be involved with Shooting Roots over the summer, and I can’t wait to see this incredibly inspiring team of tutors and ‘kids’, all of whom are such a joy to be with. If you’re interested in the organisation, either for yourself or for your kids, please check out their website HERE, or send me a message!

And yes, I did get some Somerset souvenir yarn…watch this space for more information!

Much love,

Corrie xx

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The new Unravel stash…

I bought fibre at Unravel. I know that a lot of you may be referring me back to my New Years Resolutions…

Go cold sheep – no more yarn, roving or fabric until 1st January 2016.

I shamelessly broke this, in line with the caveat I made when I started the resolutions, which was that I was allowed to buy souvenir yarn. I couldn’t go to Unravel and not enhance my stash…could I? So here it is.

Unravel Purchases

First up was Pom Pom Quarterly, Issue 4. I used to have a subscription, but this unfortunately expired and I no longer receive my gorgeous tissue-wrapped magazine in the post every quarter! I’ve had a quick look through the magazine and it’s got some brilliant patterns, as well as the usual articles. I adore the cover project, which is Tambourine.

pompom Quarterly Issue 12
pompom Quarterly Issue 12

I then fell down at Hilltop Cloud. I’ve followed Katie for a really long time, but had never bought anything from her. However, the brilliant British Breeds sampler pack found its way into the bag in the nick of time – it was the last one on the shelves and there’s no way it was going to anybody else! The hat depicted on the label is the Sheep Heid, by Kate Davies – it’s on the wishlist.

British Breeds sampler from Hilltop Cloud.
British Breeds sampler from Hilltop Cloud.

Specific order of purchases now gets fuzzy – I briefly visited Purlescence UK and got myself a bottle of Soak. I have been using those small sachets of Soak that you get free at random events for special projects when blocking…but I decided it was time to just get over it and buy a bottle. This stuff will be well protected from flat mates, who have no idea of its worth!

Soak, ready to be put to work.
Soak, ready to be put to work.

While down at John Arbon’s stall, after having a lovely chat with Juliet, John Arbon’s wife, I bought 100 g of 40% superfine alpaca, 40% organically farmed Falklands merino and 20% A1 Mulberry Silk. This is in shades of black and grey, and reminds me of mint humbugs. It’s so soft…I can’t wait to get started on it. Find out more about John Arbon here.

Humbug Roving from John Arbon Textiles.
Humbug Roving from John Arbon Textiles.

Having admired her stall for years, I finally broke down and bought Jenny Barnett’s book, as well as a starter kit to make myself a needle-felted sheep. The book is brilliant, the patterns are brilliant, my sheep is baaaarilliant. (Sorry). I also made myself a seahorse, who is called Champion…be prepared to see a lot more needle-felting in my future posts!

Needle Felting Workshops with Jenny Barnett, and a needle-felted sheep.
Needle Felting Workshops with Jenny Barnett, and a needle-felted sheep.

Next up are another two sampler packs. The red and curly mohair is from Hammond Mohair, and will form the basis of my first ever goat spinning! I have a pack of mohair from another source – more on that later – but I’m probably going to just spin up a sample skein of this and see what happens. The silk hankie came from SparkyKnitters.co.uk. I have no idea what to do with it…but it was decently priced, and I’m looking forward to exploring with it.

Mohair and Silk from Hammond Angoras and SparkyKnitters.com respectively.
Mohair and Silk from Hammond Angoras and SparkyKnitters.co.uk respectively.

My favourite purchase came from Spin City. First up was a spindle, which I stupidly broke…Louise was extremely sweet and gave me another one to replace it, and I am so honoured. I also got some nebula fibre, an alpaca, Tencel, angelina and merino blend. Words can’t describe this, you have to have a look yourself.

My purchases from Spin City!
My purchases from Spin City!
My favourite purchase of Unravel...Nebula Fibre from Spin City.
My favourite purchase of Unravel…Nebula Fibre from Spin City.

You may notice…no yarn! So although I bought more than I was supposed to, it was all fibre, and all with the aim of exploring new techniques and fibres on my spinning wheel. I tried my best to stay British, but I don’t know where the silk in the hanky comes from, and the origin of fibres in the Nebula roving is also uncertain, unfortunately.

I am very pleased with my purchases, and can’t wait to see how my spinning education progresses with the exploration of all these fibres.

Did you go to Unravel? Manage to buy anything that makes your heart sing?

Much love,

Corrie xx

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[Giveaway]: Sincerely Louise bear cushion kit CLOSED

I’m here to give you the great news that you could win a Sincerely Louise kit to make a bear cushion! It’s really very simple – for more context, you can check out Episode 9 of the podcast, which is all about Unravel 2015 and the fun I had there. For details of the giveaway, read on!

This giveaway is now closed.

Workshop with Sincerely Louise

I was lucky enough to attend a workshop with Louise Walker of Sincerely Louise at Unravel 2015, in which she taught myself and nine other lovely knitters, how to make a bear head! The pattern was for a cushion, but with some slight tweaking, it was possible to mount the bear head on the wall as faux taxidermy – which I did!

The materials were provided at the workshop, and included:

  • yarn
  • 9mm knitting needles
  • plastic safety eyes
  • a knitters darning needle
  • stuffing
  • the pattern

My bear (who is now called Björn and is mounted in our hallway) took me just over 4 hours to complete – two hours in the workshop, and two at home. Worked in just seven pieces (of which four make up the ears), the only techniques required are: knit stitch, purl stitch, increasing (Louise uses kfb) and the ability to sew the head up. It is so simple that this would be an ideal first ‘increasing’ project for a totally new knitter. It’s also so quick that an experienced knitter can whip one up in an evening.

When converting the pattern for the mount, we had to do some sewing up to get the knitting on the boards – I took a video of this which I will post for you very soon to allow you to get your hands on it if you should wish to do this.

The kit is not currently available online (as far as I can see) and although I am sure it will be soon, you will be getting the paper pattern with the rest of the goodies if you should win!

Louise chatting to some other attendees.
Louise chatting to some other attendees.
The start of my bear in the workshop.
The start of my bear in the workshop.
Lovely Sincerely Louise "Here's One I Made Earlier"
Lovely Sincerely Louise “Here’s One I Made Earlier”
Louise teaches Bella of thestitchsharer.com how to mount her bear head.
Louise teaches Bella of thestitchsharer.com how to mount her bear head.
A Sincerely Louise polar bear pillow.
A Sincerely Louise polar bear pillow.
Björn the Bear on our wall.
Björn the Bear on our wall.
Tonks the cat meets Björn.
Tonks the cat meets Björn.

The winner will get what they need to complete one bear head pillow. So, how do you enter?

Entering the Giveaway

You must:

  1. Go to THIS LINK and goggle over Louise’s offerings (I really, really recommend the book)
  2. Return to this specific blog post on Plutonium Muffins and leave a comment saying which kit you would most like to buy from Louise
  3. Up to 3 additional entries can be obtained by sharing this post on social media. In order to qualify for this you must notify me that you have shared the post and provide a link.

The giveaway is open to all, and will close on the 2nd of March at 5 pm GMT. The only restrictions will be governed by your countries posting laws – I am not currently sure, for example, if the wooden needles will be allowed in Australia.

Thank you so much to Louise for the generosity in offering this up for the giveaway!

Good luck!

Much love,

Corrie xx

Posted in Knitting | Tagged , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Podcast Episode 9: Unravel

Here comes a special, Unravel edition of the Plutonium Muffins podcast! If you would like to hear about how the weekend went for me, take a listen to this very selfish episode. I had a fantastic time, and am looking forward to next year already! Keep listening to the end for a cheeky opportunity to win a kit to knit your own bear head cushion, designed and provided by Sincerely Louise.

Click HERE to enter the giveaway. Continue reading

Posted in Blog, Crochet, Events, Knitting, Podcast, Spinning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments