Tag Archives: Spinning

June!

Last month ran away with me – I am so pleased it is June, and new things are happening! My Bloglovin’ feed has 239 unread posts, my email had over 130 new emails to go through, and I haven’t been active on the blog at all! I attribute this to the flat being in a state as I’ve been working on various things. Well, I’ve spent the last two days Sorting Stuff Out, and I can now be in a healthier headspace and physical space. Hurrah!

June has Big Things happening, with a trip to the other side of the world, work for a new client (!) and Plutonium Muffins Ltd. two month birthday! Before I go on to that, here are my May Resolutions results.

I’m having trouble with taking photos at the moment, my phone has something funky going on with it and I need to figure out what this is – so excuse the lack of recent photos!

May 2015 Resolutions

I’m glad I’ve reviewed these, because I was feeling awfully despondent about how little I had achieved. As it turns out, I managed to do more than I thought I had. Hurrah!

  1. Turn the heel on Masokisi – success! After knitting the cuff a bit, I realised how big they were – and had to frog right back to where I started turning the heel. I’ve never swatched for socks before. I may start.
  2. Finish Naloa – success! And it’s super comfy too.

    The full and complete Naloa spread it in all of its glory.
    The full and complete Naloa spread it in all of its glory.
  3. Finish first half of alpaca fibre – success! I’ve also dyed it. It’s pretty :)
  4. Sew together hexipuffs for Tonks – success!
  5. Learn one new technique on my loom – fail…but I did learn more about the fulling process on finished weaves, which I thought was good work on my part. I need to get a new reed so I can weave fingering weight yarns.
  6. Make John’s birthday present – he got a new laptop case!
  7. Make Nico’s birthday present – failed.
  8. Make Mum’s birthday present – failed, but I sent her blank canvases instead, which I hope she will love!
  9. Mend dungarees – failed.
  10. Mend sweater – failed.
  11. Make Tonks a new bed – success – there were enough hexipuffs to make that a new bed for her!
  12. At least 7 hours leisure craft per week – yes, I believe I did.

I tried to be very specific for May, and I didn’t think it had worked. However, as I didn’t do as badly as I thought I had, I will try it again this month!

June 2015 Resolutions

John and I are going to Australia for a month on the 28th of this month! John is best man at a wedding, we are going to see Melanie in Melbourne, and the new baby in Auckland. It will be a busy July – but also preparation for Australia will be important.

  1. Decide which projects are going to Australia – because, travel knitting!
  2. Sew some presents for Baby Oliver – I knitted him Foxy Loxy, but he deserves more!

    A completed, lumpy, perfect Foxy Loxy!
    A completed, lumpy, perfect Foxy Loxy!
  3. Sew ring cushions for wedding – I’ve been commissioned to do this.
  4. Update Etsy shop – I have a lot of stuff to go on Skinny Lizzy…watch this space.
  5. Sort out insurance for Towersey – I have a craft stall at Towersey Village Festival from 28th to 31st August this year.
  6. Correspond with potential spindle supplier – a British wood turner saw me spinning this weekend and was intrigued.
  7. Scour half of the fibre from last year’s birthday – I was given a black fleece of unknown origin, and I really need to get it clean so I don’t lose my chance to use it.
  8. Figure out what overlocker requires – I was given an overlocker/serger last year, and I need to figure out what is wrong with it so I can start using it!
  9. Finish alpaca fibre – I’ve only got black fleece left now, I’m so close!

I think that’s enough to be getting on with for now. Please do come and join the Resolutions Monthly group over on Ravelry if you would like to join in on the fun! Have a great month.

Much love,

Corrie xx

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Normal Service (and the winner)

I’ve had such a crazy few weeks with preparations for a craft fair, but things are back to normal now that it is June. I will sort out my Resolutions for last month and the coming month tomorrow – for now I just wanted to announce the winner of the Owl Print Panda Giveaway!

And the winner is…

Lise! Not only did Lise enter via Plutonium Muffins and her social media, but she also blogged about the giveaway and was very nice to share this with me. Her favourite stitch marker was the bobbin, and her favourite pattern designed by Amanda was the Felted Fox bag. Congratulations, Lise, check your email for instructions!

The stitch markers Amanda sent me to give to one of you!
The stitch markers Amanda sent me to give to one of you!

Amanda’s generosity has extended beyond the giveaway, with an offer to anyone who didn’t win. To get a 10% discount on a purchase from the Owl Print Panda Etsy shop, simply enter the code ‘SUNSHINE’ at checkout.

My collection of stitch markers from Owl Print Panda.
My collection of stitch markers from Owl Print Panda.

The next giveaway is for the spinners and/or budding spinners out there, so keep an eye out…this one will last slightly longer as I am off to Australia for a month shortly, and won’t want to have the giveaway end to deal with while I’m there.

Before I head off Down Under, though, there is plenty to come. Just in case you are looking for a hint of what will be coming in the next month on Plutonium Muffins, think spinning, dyeing and a bit of knitting!

Much love,

Corrie xx

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Friday Round-up: sewing, sewing, spinning

This week has disappeared in a spiral of sewing and spinning – I’m so surprised it is already Friday! (I actually don’t think I know what day it really is? Monday?!)Anyway, with instant gratification something that I’ve been needing, as well as a craft fair in Kent to prepare for, I have been busy.

I didn’t post last Friday because I was at iKnit Fandango. Find out more about that in the Plutonium Muffins podcast, here.

Birthday

It was my lovely Wonder-Mum’s birthday on Tuesday, and I sent her some blank canvases. I couldn’t think of anything else – until I figured that as a painter she would probably appreciate materials, in the same way that I love receiving yarn. She was tickled pink, and I can’t wait to see what comes from it.

Happy Birthday Mum

Sewing for me

Since leaving my job last year for medical reasons, I have spent much of the past eight months lounging around at home in my pyjamas or my dungarees. Following on from a previous Friday Round-Up in which I talked about how I’m trying to take myself more seriously, I realised I need some new clothes. With a huge stash of fabric, a small stash of money, and a subscription to Simply Sewing*, a new magazine, I decided to take this into my own hands.

I have a large bust and good child-bearing hips(!), with a slim waist. And I’m short, I don’t know if I’ve ever talked about that? 5’3″ or 161.5 cm, to be exact. So normal sewing patterns don’t really fit. As a result, I’ve been making muslins to try tailoring some garments to my shape. The normal thing to do would be concentrate on one garment at a time, right?

Cleaning my iron before I could use it.
Cleaning my iron before I could use it.
African and Indian fabrics to sew into clothes for me. If I think I can deal with the colours and designs!
African and Indian fabrics to sew into clothes for me. If I think I can deal with the colours and designs!

That’s not how I roll. I have three fabrics, three patterns and three muslins in various stages of completeness lying around the lounge, which looks like a fabric bomb hit it. I anticipate getting some of this done this weekend, and hopefully next week I’ll be in some new handmade clothes!

Tonks getting involved in the sewing.
Tonks getting involved in the sewing.
Simply Sewing Magazine.
Simply Sewing Magazine.

Sewing for you

I’m selling at a craft fair in Kent on the 30th of May. As well as aprons, sock monsters and sarongs, I will be selling my cards, a new range of baby accessories and other sewed goods that I have been busy creating in my fabric-bombed workspace. I will also have a donation bucket full of ‘failed’ projects. Read: projects that had something go wrong with them and I don’t think I can sell. These will be up for free, although I will be accepting donations to Mind if anybody takes anything and wants to give some dollar to a good cause.

Sewing bomb hits the lounge.
Sewing bomb hits the lounge.
Bibs for babies.
Bibs for babies.

Spinning

I’ve finished plying the first half of Follow Me Down Cousin Jack! I have just 80g of alpaca fibre left, and will be finishing that this week. I’ve been spinning like a fiend, and loving it. I do need to think about my posture, which is currently terrible. My back is rather sore because of the strain this is putting on it. Need to sort that out! But loving the spinning.

Follow Me Down Cousin Jack - half done!
Follow Me Down Cousin Jack – half done!

Needle Felting

I’ve been playing with needle felting again. I’ve been making sheep and a little seal! I donated one of the sheep to Tonks, who can not keep her paws off them. I think she loves the wool! Anyway, her behaviour has been so instinctive and raw, which has been really interesting to see. I couldn’t help myself, I had to give it to her. There’s something strange about seeing around 8 hours of work get shredded by your over-zealous feline…the sheep was going to go to the donation bucket as I wasn’t happy with it, and that felt a bit liberating. She has me wrapped around her little finger.

A needle-felted seal!
A needle-felted seal!
Tonks with her new toy sheep.
Tonks with her new toy sheep.

Because I’m spending so much time on the sewing machine and making cards, I haven’t really had time to blog as much as normal. The problem is, if you don’t make, you have nothing to blog about! My knitting projects are all proceeding apace, and I’m loving my hap at the moment. I’ll give you an update next week!

Much love,

Corrie xx


* Eagle-eyed Twitter followers will have noticed I had a rant about this the other day. I said some terrible things. I will explain next week, but for now I will say that I’m on the fence about my subscription and am wondering whether or not I should continue with it.


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Bank Holiday Cowl

I decided to take the Bank Holiday off – which means that although I didn’t do any blogging, I got loads of stuff done! The big news item is that I’ve finished Naloa! I haven’t posted any photos of it yet as it’s still blocking and I want to do a Big Reveal – more on that later.

I’ve done a lot of running, and finished knitting the “Bank Holiday Cowl”. You won’t have heard about this before, because I designed and knitted it this weekend.

Bank Holiday Cowl

I used up my skein of handspun by the name of “Pharaoh” for this project. There were 121 metres of this, and it came out as a bulky/super-bulky yarn as I was practising spinning roving – it was only the second yarn I’d ever spun.

The Pharaoh yarn ready to become a cowl.
The Pharaoh yarn ready to become a cowl.

I wanted a simple lacy bit that would keep the knitting interesting, while also giving the cowl some structure, while showing off my crazy yarn to the best of its ability! I flicked through my book of lace patterns and landed on cockleshell lace. This required a garter stitch pattern, and as I wanted to knit the cowl in the round, I decided to scrap the garter stitch and just do it stockinette – shortly afterwards, I realised it was the same pattern as used in a section of Naloa!

I actually knitted it three times. The first time was at Wonderwool Wales using 5.5 mm needles – I had a grey and purple section in the yarn, which I included. It looked absolutely horrible. I unpicked it and started again.

The second time, I cast on the same number of stitches but used a 6 mm needle. The purple/orange/yellow section of the yarn was much bulkier than the grey and purple bit, so I knew I would have an issue with sizing, but I wasn’t sure how bad it would be. I did six repeats of the lace pattern, and got through the first section of the cowl before realising that it looked absolutely huge, and I wasn’t going to have enough yarn. Off the needles and into the frog pond again.

Wearing the Bank Holiday Cowl as a cowl.
Wearing the Bank Holiday Cowl as a cowl.
And wearing it as a crown the day Princess Charlotte was born!
And wearing it as a crown the day Princess Charlotte was born!

I did fewer repeats of the pattern on the last go around, and was happy with what I got. I did a stockinette section with a couple of eyelets for each repeat section, and ribbing at the top. I only did two rounds of ribbing because I didn’t have enough yarn- ideally I would have done a couple more. So this is the third incarceration of the cowl. I really like it, not least because it’s my own handspun, but also because it’s my own design. It’s definitely an organic ‘Corrie’ creation.

The Bank Holiday Cowl in vivid glory.
The Bank Holiday Cowl in vivid glory.

What did you get up to this weekend?

Much love,

Corrie xx

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Friday Roundup: Yarn, People, Projects

I am grateful for yarn, the people I love, yarn and the cat. I’m also grateful that I need to do this Friday recap, because I’m feeling particularly miserable right now and it can only be good having to focus on the good things! OH, but…pinch and a punch for the first of the month!

I’m writing this at 4 am – I went out for dinner last night and feel really sick as a result of something I ate. I think it’s less to do with what I ate and more to do with the type of food that it was…very rich TGI Friday’s grub. I used to be able to guzzle the stuff…my iron constitution has apparently failed slightly since the last time I went a few years ago! So, here goes nothing.

John Arbon Yarn

I saw John, Juliet and Frankie, some of the lovely John Arbon Textiles team, at Wonderwool Wales last weekend. I had a bit of a revelation as I was debating whether my souvenir fibre from the show would be roving or a skein of the Dove Grey Merino Laceweight that I recently gave away…as much as I wanted the lace yarn, I could get more bang for my buck with roving, and I ended up getting 300g of beautiful pomegranate coloured fibre to spin at my leisure.

Organically Farmed Merino Laceweight in Dove Grey.
Organically Farmed Merino Laceweight in Dove Grey.

A follow-up email with Frankie resulted in the best thing ever – she wanted to know if I would like to try the laceweight out, and has sent it to me for review. I asked for it in red rather than the dove grey (my twenty minutes of pondering made me realise that the dove grey at least didn’t compliment my skin tone), and it arrived yesterday. I’ve got a new section of my lounge which showcases our whisky and yarn collection, and it will soon be joining the piles here.

Beautiful merino laceweight - review to come soon!
Beautiful merino laceweight – review to come soon!
The new whiskey and yarn shelf. With added Vitamin C for health!
The new whiskey and yarn shelf. With added Vitamin C for health!

Before you ask, this is not my stash. This is the stuff that I can’t bear to put in The Trunk for now, either because it’s destined for an approaching project, or because it’s too pretty.

Wonderwool Wales

While I’m on the subject, Wonderwool Wales was a-ma-zing. I was sent a press pass by the organisers and spent a good amount of the weekend going around trying to get interviews with a range of people. I managed to get five in the end, and am still editing my audio and putting the podcast together, but it will be up very soon. I was a little overwhelmed by how beautiful everything was, how many vendors were there, the live animals (as if the p-LUSH episode didn’t let you know how much I like animals) and the size of the show.

I even managed to persuade John to come, so he has met some lovely friends of mine, and two parts of my world have collided in a way that was unexpected, but fantastic!

John enjoyed being in Wales a lot.
John enjoyed being in Wales a lot.
An Angora bunny! So fluffeh.
An Angora bunny! So fluffeh.

Ginger Twist Studio Yarn

I know, I’m meant to be cold sheeping. However, when Jess of Ginger Twist Studio put a few skeins of Je Suis Pret, an Outlander inspired yarn, in her shop, I knew what I had to do. This stuff is gold dust. I have no idea what it’s going to be, and I haven’t bought yarn without a purpose for a long time. It’s on my new shelf of yarn, and I’m admiring it at every opportunity.

Je Suis Pret in all of it's Fraser tartan inspired Outlander glory.
Je Suis Pret in all of it’s Fraser tartan inspired Outlander glory.

Meeting all the people

There was a lot of meeting up with people this week! Although I have had a cold, I managed to see an old flatmate, a university friend and John’s family. We were celebrating two birthdays, one which I shall tell you more about when I am allowed to, and the other my friend Grumpy’s. I failed at being a friend and left her present sitting on the side, so what a shame, I’ll have to see her again!

I got no photos of any of this, which is highly unusual, and a mark of how good a time I was having.

Project Progress

I said I wouldn’t talk about one of these until it was finished, but you can get the gist of it here. I’m doing well, and also have three other projects on the go which are in active service and doing well. I suspect I will have two, if not three finished objects this weekend – not too bad! More information on my modifications of Naloa here.

The Unmentionable Project, which is currently playing in the plying park.
The Unmentionable Project, which is currently playing in the plying park.
Naloa, three-quarters done. I should have bound off just where you see the last stripe of grey.
Naloa, three-quarters done. I should have bound off just where you see the last stripe of grey.

That’s all for now! I’m hooking up with my usual link parties, and will see you for the round-up next Friday.

Much love,

Corrie xx


PS I’ve had to bow to financial pressure and put some ads on the blog. I always told myself I would never do this, but with costs of web hosting, podcast hosting and general living rising, I need to get extra income everywhere I can. If you fancy clicking on a link, I won’t stop you..! Or you can directly support the Plutonium Muffins empire by clicking on the Support Sheep in the links bar to the right, or by visiting the Skinny Lizzy shop.

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May Resolutions and an April Recap

Before you even come near me today, I’m going to warn you that I have had a particularly terrible April, and my resolutions are not going to be even slightly achieved. With that in mind, I’m going to keep things for May fairly free – I seem to be hitting that ‘oh my, it’s nearly summer’ decrease in knitting productivity…

So, here’s what went down (or rather, didn’t) in April. To find out what other people are up to on Ravelry, check out Resolutions Monthly.

April 2015 Resolutions

I was feeling rather enthusiastic when I set these…perhaps that was part of the problem!

  1. Follow running schedule – I’m only just on track for the half-marathon in September, and I’m not sure how I’m currently feeling about the Nike Women’s 10K in June…the schedule says I will be running 12km regularly by then, but it hasn’t been good and I’ve had to rewrite the whole thing. I have no sick days left…which means I’ve taken two months off training over the last five months, which is no good!
  2. Send baby jumper to New Zealand – I sent it off and the little kiwi was born on the 29th of April! His name is Oliver, and I’m in love. I don’t think the jumper has arrived yet though.
  3. Cast on a new pair of socks – I cast them on – I thought I was doing worse on this resolution, as I remembered it as being “finish” a new pair of socks, so that’s a relief!

    My vanilla socks in Biscotte & Cie's Felix base, colourway "Hope"
    My vanilla socks in Biscotte & Cie’s Felix base, colourway “Hope”
  4. Write learners pattern – nope.
  5. Publish boxes with cards in it – nope.

I can’t say specifically what made me fail on those last two, or why my running has been so sketchy in April. I’m going to change tack slightly for May and see if that helps. I think getting out of the house regularly will help me on a number of different things, so I’m going to start doing reports for you!

I’m going to get more specific on the next month’s resolutions than I have in a long time, and see what happens. I started doing fewer each month about a year ago when my mental health started deteriorating significantly. Here’s to progress!

May 2015 Resolutions

Here’s the list:

  1. Turn the heel on Masokisi
  2. Finish Naloa
  3. Finish first half of alpaca fibre
  4. Sew together hexipuffs for Tonks
  5. Learn one new technique on my loom
  6. Make John’s birthday present
  7. Make Nico’s birthday present
  8. Make Mum’s birthday present
  9. Mend dungarees

    My dungarees started with an artful small hole which has gradually increased in size with wear.
    My dungarees started with an artful small hole which has gradually increased in size with wear.
  10. Mend sweater
  11. Make Tonks a new bed
  12. Do at least seven hours of leisure craft a week

I think that will do! I have never, ever had this many resolutions before, and I’m interested to know how it will affect me. There are lots of birthdays coming up, so I’m going to have to make sure I’m organised!

I’ve also been thinking about doing a link party for Resolutions. However, this will not be free and I have to watch my finances carefully now (because Plutonium Muffins is now a limited company donchaknow) so I don’t want to cough up and do it without knowing whether or not it will be used. Do you think you would join in on a monthly resolutions link party?

Much love,

Corrie xx

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Follow Me Down Cousin Jack

If you’re a long-time reader of this blog, you’ll know that I have been working on the alpaca yarn project “Follow Me Down, Cousin Jack” for the longest time. Today is a fire-in-my-belly inspirational type of post to give myself a kick and update you on where we are at.

This has been kick-started by spending time with the Ashfield Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers over Wonderwool Wales – watching these amazing ladies do their thing and chatting to them has helped inspire me to get this project done!

Follow Me Down Cousin Jack

Here’s the recap of the project as we have it at the moment. Before I tell you about the actual spinning, come on a journey with me.

My parents live in Devon, and I used to drive down to see them on a regular basis. One day, I stopped for fuel at Honiton Garage – I was stopped short when I went in to pay by a huge display of yarn, fibre, felting kits and made items. I think the people behind the counter thought I was quite mad…the excitement at finding fibre in a totally unexpected place was quite shocking.

Tonks is really loving the alpaca fibre! I want to make her a bed of alpaca fibre so she can stop playing with mine!
Tonks is really loving the alpaca fibre! I want to make her a bed of alpaca fibre so she can stop playing with mine!

I bought two packs of Bearhouse Alpaca fawn fibre – for 200 grams I paid £6, which I thought was rather a bargain. This was unwashed and otherwise unprocessed – in order to get it into a form I could spin, I needed to pick the organic matter out of it. I decided to card it and make it into rolags that I could spin.

Meanwhile, at Unravel 2013, I found UK Alpaca for the first time and I bought a pack of assorted black alpaca fibre from them. This is spinning discard from their own mills – I’m not sure why they can’t use it, and this is something that I should perhaps chat to someone about, but I’m finding it fine with regards to spinning it myself!

Both of these packs of fibre have been sitting around since I bought them, with occasional attempts to spin them. I had a really productive moment in February with my Dragon Yarn, which inspired me to get a whole bobbin of Follow Me Down Cousin Jack spun – that’s the right bobbin in the below photo.

The two full bobbins ready to be plied when I've got my act together!
The two full bobbins ready to be plied when I’ve got my act together!

What had been holding me back was the need to sort the Bearhouse Alpaca fleece, and turn it into some sort of object that I could spin! For the last month or so, I have been sorting through the fibre for fifteen minutes per day. Yesterday in the time I was going to spend blogging, I spent just finishing off that pack of fibre. I then started spinning it, and now I’m all ready to go on getting it spun and out of my WIP basket.

It’s amazing how this project has become this huge monster in my mind, because I’ve been worrying about it so much. I’ve bought some fibre this year, which I cannot wait to spin – but I’ve told myself I’m not allowed to spin anything else until I finish this project. Now that I’ve broken the back of it and have just the spinning left to go, I’m wondering what the heck has taken me so long – but that’s always the way with projects that stagnate, in my experience.

The leftover project, with the prepared fibre on the right, finished bobbins on the left.
The leftover project, with the prepared fibre on the right, finished bobbins on the left.

Once I’ve finished spinning the Bearhouse Alpaca fibre, I will work on the UK Alpaca pack, which I have used a bit to mix into the BA fibre, and the next set of yarn will be all black. I have a number of potential projects for the yarn lined up – one is Precious by Belinda Harris-Reid, the other Elijah by Ysolda Teague.

The next time I talk about this fibre, it’s going to be a finished project. That’s a promise!

The Bearhouse Alpaca fibre on the last bobbin.
The Bearhouse Alpaca fibre on the last bobbin.

Has anybody else got projects that you’re loving but just struggling to get through?

Much love,

Corrie xx

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Tonks found the alpaca fluff

I have to try remember to be careful about Tonks and plastic bags – she finds them, sits in them and loves them to death. I am well aware of the dangers of suffocation, and she normally has no opportunity to cuddle up in a bag while I’m out.

Tonks - "didn' choo know kitteh iz recyclehbal?"
Tonks – “didn’ choo know kitteh iz recyclehbal?”

I haven’t taken advantage of the term “Caturday” nearly enough since we got Tonks, so here’s a Caturday post for you!

Alpaca Fluff

I’m busily sorting the fleece for Follow Me Down Cousin Jack (the spinning project’s name is inspired by the song in the video at the bottom of this post) and the picked fluff goes into a bag, ready for carding. I had just finished picking my clump for the day, and put it down for a second to go get myself a cuppa. When I turned around, this is what I saw.

Tonks in a bag - phone filter still on mono thanks to colour theory!
Tonks in a bag – phone filter still on mono thanks to colour theory!
Alpaca fluff makes the best beds, om nom nom.
Alpaca fluff makes the best beds, om nom nom.

I think Tonks is very unsubtly asking me to make her a bed out of alpaca fleece. She has already commandeered my sheepskin rug and my patchwork blanket…this is one battle she won’t win!

Tonks has been very involved in the process since she arrived, and we have a nice rhythm going at the moment. I get up in the morning, eat my breakfast and answer some emails. Then, we go out into the garden and while I’m drinking my second cup of tea of the day, I catch up on blogs and sort through the fleece.

This is working amazingly while the weather is good – sorting the fibre is quite a messy process, it’s very dusty and good to do outside as it means I don’t have to clean the flat after each session. Let’s hope the weather holds, at least until I finish.

I’m trying to sort through the remaining bag of fibre at a rate of a big handful per day so that I actually finish it by the time the year is up. A very scientific method, you see! You’ll have to stay tuned to see how successful I am…

Cat Crafts

While we’re cat it (hur, get it?!) – John sent me a link for this book the other day. He thought I would absolutely love it, but I have to admit that I’m on the fence. What do you think? (The picture is an affiliate link that will take you to Amazon.)

You won’t find me buying it anytime soon…though I probably wouldn’t return it if I got given it, hehe.

Have a great Caturday.

Much love,

Corrie xx

PS if you’re wondering what I’m on about w.r.t. phone filter and colour theory, read this post.

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Local Yarn(?) Shops: the Handweavers Studio

Lucky enough to live a few hundred metres away from the Handweavers Studio, I have never got round to actually reviewing it. Well, my friends, that has all changed! I went in a few weeks ago and spent a good long time taking photos and enjoying the vibes of the shop. The layout had recently changed, so I was a little bit lost, which made for a better review as I had to pay proper attention to everything.

The Handweavers Studio as you approach (complete with reflection of workmen!)
The Handweavers Studio as you approach (complete with reflection of workmen!)

The Handweavers Studio can be found at 140 Seven Sisters Road, London, N7 7NS. The website is here!

The Handweavers Studio

The shop is laid out into three sections, so I’ll go through them from front to back for ease of sorting out my photos!

Front of House

Walking into the shop, you are hit by the fact that there is stacks of wool, everywhere. I don’t mean that in a haphazard sort of way – more of a mind-boggling array of ordered merino tops, selections of yarn, and woven samples on a number of looms that are arranged around the floor. Display cabinets contain some of the more luxury items, including Turkish spindles and needle felting equipment that has fossilised dinosaur in it (see the photos for information on what this means).

Walking into the shop with a beautiful view towards the back of it.
Walking into the shop with a beautiful view towards the back of it.
Merino tops in the very front of the shop.
Merino tops in the very front of the shop.
A couple of looms, the Ashford Knitters Loom is closest to me.
A couple of looms, the Ashford Knitters Loom is closest to me.
A range of Turkish spindles in the front of the shop.
A range of Turkish spindles in the front of the shop.
Needle felting tools - with a fossilised dinosaur bone embedded in the handle of the needle holder.
Needle felting tools – with a fossilised dinosaur bone embedded in the handle of the needle holder.
The front of the shop, welcoming you with a riot of colour.
The front of the shop, welcoming you with a riot of colour.
Some felting supplies to grab and go.
Some felting supplies to grab and go.
Stacks of glitter fibre near the till.
Stacks of glitter fibre near the till.
Yarns and looms in the front of the shop.
Yarns and looms in the front of the shop.
More of the welcoming colourful fibre.
More of the welcoming colourful fibre.

The till is also here, always occupied by a lovely person – all of the staff have some interest in the world of weaving, and I’ve never yet had an experience where I’ve asked for advice or help and been unhappy with the response.

Almost the best bit in a shop full of best bits, is the book selection. They have everything you could possibly ask for and more. With a huge range of ‘how-to’ manuals on all the fibre crafts they cater to, as well as reference material and magazines that I honestly had no idea existed until I really looked at them, every time I go in I have a look at the selection and wish I were a millionaire! I have bought more than my fair share of tomes from here, and no doubt there will be more before I leave London.

The Handweavers Studio has got the most amazing selection of books, from general reference to knitting, spinning to felting, and obviously a lot of weaving!
The Handweavers Studio has got the most amazing selection of books, from general reference to knitting, spinning to felting, and obviously a lot of weaving!
A big range of spinning books.
A big range of spinning books.
Knitting Books are not left out!
Knitting Books are not left out!
Books on felting - not that I'm obsessed with felt at the moment...
Books on felting – not that I’m obsessed with felt at the moment…

The Middle Aisles

The centre of the shop is where the yarn is. Catering mostly to weavers, the majority of the yarn is on cones, in a bewildering array of fibres, colours and textures. It is quite hard to appreciate how incredible these yarns are as a (primarily) hand-knitter, as I’m so used to skeins – I will have to go back once my weaving skills have improved and have another look to fully appreciate everything. However, the amount of choice of colour alone is fabulous, and there are also beautifully presented samples on each shelf-end and wall to inspire you as you browse.

This section also has yarns that I would consider more ‘hand-knitters’ yarns, with beautiful hand-painted skeins, pure wool spun in interesting ways, tweedy yarn, fibre blends and ‘plain’ pure wool. There is colour and texture inspiration here in spades.

Can you see how you could get absolutely lost in the yarns?
Can you see how you could get absolutely lost in the yarns?
Yet more wool, and a noticeboard at the end.
Yet more wool, and a noticeboard at the end.
Bobbins full of yarn and a beautiful piece of weaving.
Bobbins full of yarn and a beautiful piece of weaving.
More yarns, more weaving.
More yarns, more weaving.
Beautiful silk yarns.
Beautiful silk yarns.
A selection of pure wool yarns.
A selection of pure wool yarns.
A bookcase full of handpainted yarns.
A bookcase full of handpainted yarns.
Another beautiful passage lined with yarn.
Another beautiful passage lined with yarn.
Close-up of those gorgeous hand-painted yarns.
Close-up of those gorgeous hand-painted yarns.
A lovely noticeboard with local messages.
A lovely noticeboard with local messages.
Notice for the London Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers.
Notice for the London Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers.
I'm going to contact this person - but for anyone in North Islington, a group for you!
I’m going to contact this person – but for anyone in North Islington, a group for you!

Equipment Shop

The back of the shop is where the majority of the equipment lies. With an army of spinning wheels, big looms and a variety of fibre preparation accessories, I normally head straight here to admire the architecture of my craft. I fairly regularly walk in looking for some random piece of equipment that I need right now that I’m sure I won’t find, only to see it nestled on a shelf exactly where I need it.

If by any chance the accessory I need isn’t there, asking for it normally produces results – I enquired on a specific size of niddy-noddy on the off-chance once, and within a couple of minutes it had been brought down from the top of the shop. Magic.

Sacks full of roving are also found here, whether it is different varieties of wool, processed tops or artificial fibres.

An army of spinning wheels - these are used in the lessons.
An army of spinning wheels – these are used in the lessons.
A hand-turned spinning wheel.
A hand-turned spinning wheel.
For the aspiring dyer, a huge range of types and colours of dye.
For the aspiring dyer, a huge range of types and colours of dye.
Weaving and spinning accessories, from carders to shuttles to wool winders.
Weaving and spinning accessories, from carders to shuttles to wool winders.
Sacks full of roving of artificial fibres.
Sacks full of roving of artificial fibres.
Sacks of more artificial or processed fibre roving.
Sacks of more artificial or processed fibre roving.
Here are sacks of wool roving for spinners and felting.
Here are sacks of wool roving for spinners and felting.

Lessons and Workshops

I have done a spinning workshop at the Handweavers Studio, with the talented Brenda Gibson. (Find out more here.) It took place on the shop floor, and it was great to have the whole shop at our disposal on a Sunday – it was not open to the general public, but we were able to browse as much as we wanted. I understand there is a big weaving classroom upstairs, but I’ve never been up there – I may ask for a tour the next time I go in, especially as I’m now a weaver too! Heehee.

They have a great range of classes and workshops, and you can also do a handweavers diploma through the shop – the full range and schedule is here.


If you hadn’t worked it out already, this is one of my favourite places. I would love the shop to have a sofa so that I could go in and just hang out…although I don’t think that will be happening anytime soon, just at my request! I have just one comment which I will include for the sake of balance.

First off, the shop is relatively pricey. I understand, as I’m sure most people do, that excellent quality equipment comes at a fair cost; but you can get a lot of the equipment that is sold here cheaper off the Internet. That said, I always prefer to support bricks-and-mortar shops, and I have bought many ‘somethings’ from the Handweavers Studio in the past when I could have ordered them cheaper off Amazon. It’s part of the experience of being able to handle things yourself before you buy them, and also not having to pay post and packaging! The chance to touch my roving and yarn before I buy it is also invaluable to me, really.

I fully recommend you make it your mission to visit the Handweavers Studio if you are a fibre crafter living in London, and have never been. The nearest tube station is Finsbury Park (which is also on the National Rail network…) and bus links are excellent.

If you do head over, let me know! It’s a ten minute walk for me to come meet you, and there are some fab places to grab a cuppa on Seven Sisters Road.

Happy Saturday!

Much love,

Corrie xx

The front of the shop from the middle of the centre aisles.
The front of the shop from the middle of the centre aisles.

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Posted in Knitting, Reviews, Spinning, Weaving | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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.
Posted in Crochet, Knitting, Machine Knitting, Resolutions, Spinning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments