Tag Archives: Devon

John Arbon Textiles

I’m sure if you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I recently worked on Icon Dress in John Arbon “Knit by Numbers” double-knitting wool. I seriously love this yarn – and here’s more about the company behind it!

John Arbon Textiles
John Arbon Textiles

John Arbon Textiles

Have you happened to listen to Episode One of the podcast? At one point I went off on one about John Arbon Textiles, and their display at Unravel 2014, which was beautiful and graded and just super stunning. The display prompted me to buy the yarn for the Icon Dress.

Gradients of colour on the John Arbon stall. I talked about this display in the first ever podcast, and think about it -all- the time. This photo taken at Unravel 2015, after a year of waiting!
Gradients of colour on the John Arbon stall. I talked about this display in the first ever podcast, and think about it -all- the time. This photo taken at Unravel 2015, after a year of waiting!

John Arbon’s Mill is based in Devon, which is where I spent my teenage years, so rather close to home for me. The actual location of the mill is North Devon (I was south) in South Molton on an industrial estate. The yarn shop is based in Lynton at 19 Queen Street, Lynton, Devon EX35 6AA – it is open Monday to Friday from 10 am to 4:30 pm; for more information, check out their website.

Devon, showing the location of the shop (coast) and mill (just below Exmoor, the green patch top right).
Devon, showing the location of the shop (coast) and mill (just below Exmoor, the green patch top right).

Excitingly, you can visit the spinning mill! As well as a planned open weekend, the company is hoping to create a special scheme so that visitors will be able to visit at other times – watch this space for more information on that. I’m practically jumping at the chance to go down. Especially as this is all around Exmoor and the North Devon coast – exciting places to visit. In case you never get the chance to do this, they have produced the best video I have seen of a spinning mill so far. Isn’t the music incredible??

Obviously, there is a lot of spinning and production that goes on with all of this, and not only do John Arbon Textiles spin their yarn and sell it to us fibre-hungry knitters, but they also knit socks for those who cannot so they can have the feel of lovely homespun, handmade socks without having to learn a new skill. (I know what I would prefer, but each to their own!)

Alpaca Socks, available from John Arbon.
Alpaca Socks, available from John Arbon.

Not only this, but some of the yarn they spin comes from the fleece of Exmoor Blue-Face Sheep, a breed which combines the strength and durability of the Exmoor Sheep with the softness and handling of the Blue-Faced Leicester fleece. I cannot find a high resolution photo of the flock, but here’s one from an article in the Western Morning News about the fact that the mill provides this wool to Saville Row.

Exmoor Blue Face Sheep.
Exmoor Blue Face Sheep.

I have met the team behind the wool a number of times, and you have the chance to do so too! I am looking forward to my next encounter with this fantastic British wool company. This will be on the weekend of the 16th and 17th of May 2015, when they are having an open weekend for people to come and admire the workings of the mill. If you’re interested, find out more here. If you can’t make it to this, find out what other events the company will be at on their website.

There you have it – John Arbon Textiles. Check them out if you’re interested in knitting British, and definitely watch the video if you want to gain some insight into how a traditional worsted wool mill works.

Much love,

Corrie xx

The Icon Dress, knitted in John Arbon Knit by Numbers DK.
The Icon Dress, knitted in John Arbon Knit by Numbers DK.
Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s about the journey, not the destination…

It has been a tricky few weeks and I’ve been reminded by my lovely family and friends to concentrate on the journey rather than the destination. I thought I would take a moment to celebrate some great things about my journey this last week! Please join me, and let me know what you have been enjoying this week.

Enjoying the Journey

It has been the most positive week, mental health wise, that I’ve had for a long time. It feels wonderful to start enjoying things again! I can’t express how delighted I am that I can enjoy the simple pleasures that have been lost to me for several months. October brings me plenty of things to revel in:

  • Plutonium Muffins has been featured in Let’s Get Crafting Knitting and Crochet! If you’ve come here from there, hello! Lovely to meet you! You can find the podcast here.

    Plutonium Muffins in the press!
    Plutonium Muffins in the press!
  • The Gilmore Girls have come to Netflix! They got me through my final rocky year of university, and I’m so happy to have their great sense of humour and caffeine fuelled madness to enjoy while I’m knitting. It beats daytime telly, that’s for sure!

    Lorelai Gilmore knitting :)
    Lorelai Gilmore knitting :)
  • John bought me a new notebook! The business plan is going to be for my next big project, but no more details here – you’ll have to wait, hee. I love notebooks, and I love this.

    My new business plan notebook!
    My new business plan notebook!
  • The Must Stash Podcast. I love Stacie and Steph, and they are back to a regular podcasting schedule. I’m so happy to have them back! They are so great together, I love the editing of the podcast (which is really a videocast), they talk about interesting things and are always knitting the most wonderful projects. I’ve been finding them very inspiring this week!

    Watching Stacie and Steph as the Icon Dress grows!
    Watching Stacie and Steph as the Icon Dress grows!
  • I finished spinning Splash. I KNOW, RIGHT? I took the opportunity to play around with my spinning wheel while John was at a band practice, and the singles sat on the wheel for just over 12 hours to set the twist. I couldn’t wait any longer, and plied after a cuppa with a friend. I’ve left it drying in the flat – it will be dry when I return next week!

    Splash spun up and ready for washing and setting.
    Splash spun up and ready for washing and setting.
  • I’m on my way home to stay with my parents for a week. This is going to be a monthly occurrence for the rest of this year at least, and I’m thrilled to be able to spend time with them – and this lovely girl, who is now nearly 13 and slowing down a lot!

    Corrie and my beautiful Jet, a black Labrador (photo from 2011)
    Corrie and my beautiful Jet, a black Labrador (photo from 2011)

What have you particularly enjoyed on your journey this week? I would love to know what you get up to while you knit – I know a lot of people listen to audiobooks, some people read, some watch TV, others listen to podcasts, many people just concentrate on the knitting…! I do all of these and more, depending on the pattern, and I’m feeling so content with my craft today.

Much love,

Corrie xx

Posted in Knitting, Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A weekend of Granny Squares

I went home to Devon this weekend and spent the time in a very pleasant manner, working on my projects, drawing, visiting my grandmothers, eating good food and drinking too much good Devon ale. It was lovely being home – especially as I got the train to and from the county, giving me lots of crafting time!

I did manage to find some GORGEOUS green yarn which is perfect for my joins – remember this photo for the colours?

Gorgeous green and purples.
Gorgeous green and purples.

Granny Squares Progress

I have made tonnes of progress with my granny squares, with the first 24 complete and nearly crocheted together. The joining process took a lot of research on my part, and was a bit mind-boggling as I discovered there are about a hundred different ways to join them.

Laying out my Granny Squares while finishing the last two off.
Laying out my Granny Squares while finishing the last two off.

I went for the granny join, using this tutorial to choose. There were a number of reasons for choosing this one – first and foremost, I am concerned that the blanket will not be big enough and I wanted a join that will give me as much of an increase in space as possible!

Other factors leading to this decision – I liked the idea of making the join ‘part’ of the squares rather than A Border, the tutorial was fairly easy to follow considering I was on a train and had limited space and only my phone to read for the instructions – and it meant I didn’t have to learn any fancy new crochet techniques!

The first two rows joined with my perfect green!
The first two rows joined with my perfect green!

The blanket is working up quickly and I am pleased with it so far. I love the colours, and I am so happy I didn’t shy away from doing a radically different colour border as I absolutely adore the way it looks.

Other Weekend Antics

Wonder-Mum and I spent a while at home drawing and watching the Grand National on Saturday. I was feeling a bit distracted, and alternated between crocheting my granny squares and drawing – resulting in a drawing I’m not extremely happy with, but not totally unhappy either.

Wonder-Mum drawing with my pile of Granny Squares in front of her.
Wonder-Mum drawing with my pile of Granny Squares in front of her.
My finished drawing.
My finished drawing.

It was a wonderful way to spend the weekend, and I’m INTO drawing again. It’s been a while!

In other news – did you watch the Great British Sewing Bee Finale last night? What do you think? I was rooting for someone else, but I think the winner deserved her success too. Congratulations to all of them!

Much love,

Corrie xx

Another photo of purple and green flowers...can you tell I'm inspired?!
Another photo of purple and green flowers…can you tell I’m inspired?!
Posted in Crochet | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Baby Blanket is finished!

I promised I would write an FO Friday post yesterday, and intended to feature the Baby Blanket. Unfortunately for those grand plans, I ended up staying in the Netherlands for an extra day, so couldn’t do anything except eat waffles, knit and watch copious amounts of National Geographic when we weren’t lugging things up the stairs…

Om nom nom waffles...
Om nom nom waffles…

It’s a hard life!

Baby Blanket

This post is long overdue – the baby blanket was part of my July Resolutions! I finished it on time, but I never washed it, and I didn’t want to take photos of a slightly grubby white object…so having just had a chance to wash and block it, I can finally show it to you!

Blanket on a sofa...

The blocking didn’t work so well – you can see the corners are still curling a bit. The pattern was already fairly open, and you could see most of the detail, so I’m going to say it was a waste of effort. However, it’s also good because it means the intended recipient, who doesn’t know a thing about blocking knitted objects, won’t have to do so every time it gets washed.

Full length shot of baby blanket on sofa for scale.

The baby it is intended for was born three months early – I haven’t actually met him yet, or indeed seen the parents for four months, and I’m trying to arrange a meeting. However, I hear he is doing well and all other details are to be discovered. I’m very excited to give the blanket to them, and will be making the trip as soon as I can!

Close-up of the baby blanket.

I’m going to Devon today to get the last of my stuff, and start my new job on Monday. It has been an extremely busy month, and I’m fairly looking forward to chilling out with a job that will require me to not travel for a while…….in theory!

That’s it for now!

Much love,

Corrie xx

Posted in FOs, Knitting, Resolutions | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Resolutions Update…and we are going geek chic.

I woke up this morning convinced it was Wednesday, and feeling a bit dull because I only have my baby blanket to show you…then I remembered it’s mid-July and I can do a resolutions update, which made me feel a bit better!

By the way, I only realised it’s actually Tuesday as I was about to post my WIP Wednesday post…so that’s all wrapped up for tomorrow then!

Resolutions Update

My three resolutions this month were:

  1. Finish the Luxury Gloves
  2. Finish the Baby Blanket
  3. Lost a dress size

They are all going relatively swimmingly. The Luxury Gloves were finished the first week of July, and the Baby Blanket is more than halfway done. I’ve been cycling and toning and not eating any carbohydrates in an attempt to lose some weight. I am already fitting better into some of my clothes, and I went dress-shopping when I was in London to celebrate. Things can only get better!

An innocent luxury glove!

Geek Chic

JS surprised me with a visit down to Devon this weekend for my birthday. I’m not normally one to brag about presents – but look at these! You all know that I’m out as a Harry Potter freak…so if you don’t know what these are, I shall explain.

The Deathly Hallows necklace which Xenophilius Lovegood wears to show he is a seeker of the Hallows. I’m also going to Hogwarts and I have my collectors edition text-books to take with me. Isn’t that awesome? I'm going to Hogwarts! The Deathly Hallows necklace. Harry Potter text books.

These inspired me to suggest to JS that we decorate our new bedroom in a “Geek Chic” style. What does that mean? Well, I’ve set up a board on Pinterest which will slowly show you…but for now, all you have to think about is T.A.R.D.I.S. wardrobe!


I have an exciting giveaway on a theme of “moving house” to set up for you all…it’s yet another book, but one of my favourites so watch this space! I’ll try launch it on Thursday or Friday.

Much love,

Corrie xx

Posted in Blog, Resolutions | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

[Review] – The Knitter’s Bible

It’s time for my long overdue review of The Knitter’s Bible by Claire Crompton. I hope you are all aware that this is my current giveaway! I was so disorganised that I forgot the book in Devon while I was in London, so I’ve extended the date to the 28th of June. Now, I know that it’s tomorrow, so my deadline is going to be midnight GMT.

The front of the Knitter's Bible.

Just a note while you’re admiring the photos of the lovely pages…the “PlutoniumMuffins.com” stamp is not in the actual book, it’s simply my attempt at protecting my images! The winner will not find this anywhere in the book, so fear not.

I also would like to say that I do not have a copy of the book myself, and I am so, so extremely jealous of whoever is going to win it. I will be buying it when I have enough money.

The Knitter’s Bible

The mini-blurb on the front of the Knitter’s Bible is The complete handbook for creative knitters. Flicking through, you get the smallest glimpse of this. The whole book is colour-coded (with some incredibly gorgeous pastels that make me happy). The sections are:

  • Getting Started
  • Creative Options
  • Exploring Options
  • Stitch Library
  • Projects

Signed copy of the Knitter's Bible.

Getting Started is a fully comprehensive chapter on everything from types of yarn, conversions from UK to other measurements, standard knitting techniques such as casting on, standard stitches and basic increases/decreases. The photos are clear, diagrams are obvious, and text is also focused on in as much details as diagrams, which I find very useful.

Creative Options covers more complicated techniques which a beginner knitter probably won’t be too interested in, but once you have covered the basics you’ll love to go back to this chapter. It includes techniques from lace to circular knitting, cabling to smocking. The example pattern is absolutely gorgeous and I would love to make this. Have a look at the colour!! I also adore the blue drink, I’d love to know where to get one like that.

Beautiful pillow and a fabulous blue drink!

Exploring Choices has got some of the more exciting options for knitting. These include beaded knitting, fulling (or felting), creating garments, and techniques allowing you to get more complex with your knitting, from picking up stitches to creating button holes. You can learn how to create the perfect seam, and how to correct a mistake.

The Stitch Library is fantastic. It includes so many stitches that I almost went into raptures when I opened it. This is the perfect place to try your hand at ‘making stuff up’. A good example of this is the Dimple Stitch, which I have found through this book and would love to use on a pillow. I would do it by simply making two squares the size of my pillow, in this stitch, and voila! My own design and my own fancy schmancy object.

Gorgeous texture stitches.

Finally, the Projects are to die for. They range from toys to throws, to sweaters for adults and children. I’ve seen one of these in real life during my lesson. Absolutely amazing, especially when it is finished properly. It’s incredible!

Beautiful sheep toy.

I hope this has inspired you a bit – make sure you enter now now now, as it’s your last chance!

Much love,

Corrie xx

Posted in Knitting | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on a Theme – May, Kent

I was really hoping that I could show you a Finished Object today, but I haven’t even turned the heel yet. I’m going to be very, very busy tomorrow! I was in Kent for a whole day yesterday – I had a doctors appointment that I couldn’t cancel, and it is Wonder-Mum‘s birthday this weekend, so I literally drove 600 miles to see my doctor for an hour and a half.

To get over the 600 mile drive (and the sore back), I took Tommy the Dog for his ‘Spring’ walk. I’ll admit I’m a bit overdue on this one…the last Thought blog was in January, but the bluebells are out, and they were worth waiting for.

Tommy and I chilling in the sun before the walk.

Thoughts on a Theme – May, Kent

We waited slightly long before leaving, and the golden hour of light was almost over before we even set out. Tommy was very happy to be out, and I was absolutely enchanted by the bluebell patches in the fields, before we’d even made it into Shadwell Wood.

Shadwell Wood from the footpath.

The first patch of bluebells.

The walkway was absolutely gorgeous – the colour of the bluebells hasn’t been picked up very well, because I’d missed the light. I have a cold and was feeling a bit miserable, but I was definitely cheered up by this! We have walkways like this to help keep the footpaths passable. You can see how muddy it was…

Muddy muddy muddy! Check out all the bluebells surrounding the walkways.

The next walkway along. I love the vertical lines in this photo.

I get so excited by fairy-tale scenes, as you may have noticed if you follow Plutonium Muffins on Twitter or Facebook! I post gorgeous things like felt booties and pictures of fairies all the time…and these little scenes here are absolutely perfect.

A fallen tree with bark and bluebells - picturesque!

Bluebells! Close-up taken with my iPhone.

Bluebells and tree-trunks. Gorgeous!

Walking past this field always gives me the most stark reminder of how the seasons change. You can see it in it’s autumn/fall and winter incarnations if you go here. I’ve seen it surrounded by gold and reds, being used as a toboggan slope and now in lush green grass.

A field that we've seen in other seasons.

When we got home, Tommy went rummaging in the flower-bed, and next thing I knew I heard something screaming! I grabbed him and he dropped the tiniest baby rabbit. It was so small. I picked it up to check if it was OK. It sat in my arms for a bit and I was just thinking I ought to take it inside to make sure it was OK (and reaching for my phone to take a photo) when it jumped out of my arms and ran for it. I figured it must have been fine, took Tommy in and that was that! Tommy looking for the rabbit even after it was gone.

JS reckons Tommy just feels bad that I’ve lost Archie and he was trying to get me a replacement!

I’m back in Devon now – loads of knitting to do, so that’s it from me for tonight.

Much love,

Corrie xx

Posted in Blogjacking, Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Photography and knitting patterns

I’ve been trying to learn about photography, looking for knitting patterns and abusing my sewing machine, which is going to need a holiday. As a result, I haven’t actually knitted a single stitch for about a week, and I’m starting to feel that my Resolutions for May could quite possibly not be met this month – even though I deliberately tried to be fairly restrained.

We have started a group on Ravelry for Monthly Resolutions – check it out if you are interested, we are going to build ourselves a little community I reckon!


Most of the photos for Plutonium Muffins are taken on my iPhone – I have a 4S and the camera is pretty good. However, it no longer cuts it when it comes to commercial photography for sales. Wonder-Mum has given me use of her DSLR, and I’m trying to learn about lighting, ISO settings and…umm…other things that I’m not sure about yet.

Apron on a gorgeous rose mannequin.
Apron on a gorgeous rose mannequin.

I can’t show you any sample photos as I’ve cleverly left the camera at ‘the other house’ at the moment, so I’ll try download them tomorrow. Here is one from my iPhone, of the fabulous mannequin that we found yesterday. Isn’t it gorgeous? I’m in love with it, and everytime I walk past it I put something different on it. Things for the fair on Saturday are shaping up!

Knitting Patterns

I’m planning to put together knitting kits and I’ve spent a long time on Ravelry looking for patterns that a beginner could use to knit, that isn’t just a square. I’ve found a few, but I haven’t had time to knit them at all. Could anybody recommend any for me? I want to get the younger generations down in Devon knitting, but kids get bored of squares. Little help?

I thought these bunnies might be cute, and they are squares, but alternatives are always welcome.

How are you all doing? I feel so isolated and miss my little community of bloggers and friends. My internet is so bad that I can barely load anything, let alone read the blogs I’m missing out on!

Much love,

Corrie xx

Posted in Knitting, Resolutions | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

April Round-Up and May Resolutions

I completely failed on my April Resolutions. Well, not completely – but, let’s have a recap before I decide what I’m going to do in May, because I didn’t take into account what I was doing in RL in April. Combined with moving to Devon, renovating the parental units’ house and taking up a market stall and having to have good available for it, I haven’t had as much time to knit as I would like.

April Resolutions Recap

I have definitely forgotten what these were, so here was the list.

  1. Knit three different sock patterns.
  2. Knit something with beads in it.
  3. Find a suitable pattern for Wonder-Mum‘s Big Birthday.
  4. Make a wool hackle.

In my update mid-April, I decided to scrap numbers 2 and 4, so I did that quite cheerfully and moved on. I started…two sock patterns, the Cadence Socks and Business Casual. I did not finish either of these. I did an amount of searching for Wonder-Mum‘s Big Birthday, and I haven’t made a decision yet. This is mainly because I don’t know if she would appreciate a knitted something…so we will work on that.

A secret item for someone special...WIP.
A secret item for someone special…WIP.

So – I didn’t complete a single one, and I only made slight progress on one and two.

May Resolutions

Taking into account the fact that I didn’t get any finished on my April Resolutions, I’m keeping May simple.

  1. Finish the socks currently on the needles.
  2. Launch my new website.
  3. Set-up new craft room in house.

I’m excited about setting up the craft room. I think there is some friction between my ideas for it and Wonder-Mum‘s ideas for how it should look. We were going to share craft rooms, but with my affinity for fibre and mum’s love of paint, we decided we wouldn’t mix well. It will be worked on, but only in the latter half of the month once I have gone to my first market and tried to make some money!

This is the only picture I can find of my old craft corner...looking forward to the new one!
This is the only picture I can find of my old craft corner…looking forward to the new one!

Are you doing resolutions? Join Mr Linky and I in a link-up!

Much love,

Corrie xx

Posted in Knitting, Resolutions | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Excuses…and goodbye.

Once again I must make my excuses – I never finished blogging for Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, I haven’t shown you any finished objects or WIPs, and I’m afraid we must say goodbye to our daily photos of Archie.

I’ve taken a stall at our local May Fair Market this year, and am currently frantically sewing to make wares for it. I’m also in the process of setting up a new website! After a lot of consideration, I have decided to keep Plutonium Muffins as a personal knitting and spinning blog – so the new website will not detract from our content, and things here will stay pretty much the same! I’ll let you know when the other one launches, if you’re interested.

Goodbye, Archie

I am fairly devastated to have to tell you all that Archie passed away a couple of days ago. We don’t really know what happened – JS arrived in Devon for a visit lasting a few days, and one of the first things we did was wander down to the garden to see bunny. He had been ‘refusing’ to come out of his hidey-hole all day, so I extracted him with some difficulty to let JS see him…and realised immediately that something was very wrong. He was very lethargic and unresponsive, and couldn’t move around on his hind legs.

Archie of the day...
Archie of the day…

We put him in his box with loads of bedding, fresh water and food. He drank some water, and I thought that he would be OK till morning, so we left him for the night. First thing the next day I went down to check on him, and make arrangements for going to the vet. At some point in the night, the furry little floppy creature had left us.

Archie, chilling in the sun while I knit.
Archie, chilling in the sun while I knit.

Archie has been around for longer than Plutonium Muffins has, and he’s going to leave a big hole in our lives. I am so pleased that in the last month of his life he got to experience the open wide garden, and generally be happier than I have seen him in the years we have been together. I hope he’s joined Norman in bunny and piggy heaven, and the two of them are running riot up there.

Archie, sleeping soundly in the car on the way down.
Archie, sleeping soundly in the car on the way down.

Normal service at Plutonium Muffins will resume! You can look forward to a WIP tomorrow – I leave you with some of my favourite photos and videos of my dear little friend.

Much love,

Corrie xx

Posted in Blog, Life, News | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments