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Loving The Loop

Hello,

For my birthday my husband treated me with a visit to London including that very famous yarn shop in Islington, The Loop. I’ve read and heard so much about it  …. it certainly did not disappoint!

 

It was a fabulous experience, if only to see the amazing array of Woolly loveliness on offer …. brilliant colours, walls full of yarn goodies which most of us can only dream about!

Even the samples cry out to be touched!

Sophie Digard is a name which I have always associated with crocheted beauty – I did not expect to see so many of her things in the shop.

 

I’m sure we all recognise her subtle colourways from Pinterest – her designs and intensity of colour remind me of Kaffe Fassett’s patterns.

A few crocheted items caught my eye ….

 

… making me wish I had more time to experiment and reminding me of textured samples which still need submitting for my IDC course.

As my birthday present I chose from the hand-dyed 4ply section – I had already decided to buy yarn with which to crochet items from The Scarf Project by Joanne Scrace. Something soft, in beautiful colours and with good drape ……

….. just some of the possibilities.

my choices

Really excited to get my hook out and start with these gorgeous, squishy yarns but I must be patient. This was a very special present from my husband who appreciates my passion for yarn; I’m very lucky and can’t wait to start on one of the shawls in the New Year. For the moment, though Christmas gifts are top of the list – I expect they are on yours too.

Happy crafting,

Jenny x

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Sharing and The Sheep Shop

Hello again,

Following my last blog on Kaffe Fassett I have been totally spoiled – two days last week were spent in Cambridge with a friend who has always shared my passions for colour, yarns and blue and white china. In fact, she has always been an inspiration to me when it comes to crafting and collecting and we have shared our love of these for forty plus years.

During the seventies and eighties we used to scour every woolshop in every town we visited for oddments of beautiful yarns – natural fibres in the scrummy colours which KF used – to stash in colour-coded drawers! Bric-a-brac shops beckoned to us, promising blue and white china treasures – in those days you could pick up an interesting jug or plate for a few pounds if you were lucky.

All these memories were revived last week and my visit to The Sheep Shop in Cambridge was a real treat ….. scrummy, squishy yarns in a rainbow of fantastic colours, all so needing to be touched. Members of the knitting group were busy working on varied exciting projects – just how you imagine an inspiring woolshop to be.  The owner even wanted to take my photo – now that is a first!

spot the odd ball out?

spot the odd ball out?

Now, red is not usually one of my colours but I found a lovely lambswool-cotton blend ….

Lambswool

Lambswool poppy

………………………………   perfect for the Remembrance poppies which I wanted to make before going to the poppy workshop to be held in one of my local yarn stores.

Blue, white and red

So Wednesday was spent at Miju Wools in Gloucester working up poppies from different patterns; some will be sold to the local community with proceeds going to The British Legion and some will be passed on to friends and family.

Poppies

If you live in the Gloucester area do check out what’s available in Miju Wools

knit and natter

knit and natter

lots going on

lots going on

just look at the colours

just look at the colours

– they also have some super gifts for craft lovers many of which are handmade by members of their knitting and crochet groups. There will be more workshops leading up to Christmas and regular classes are held on a weekly basis.

If you remember last time I wrote I was working on a cushion cover using the “magic ball” method. In fact, it has worked out well and the colours all blend together nicely. In the interests of symmetry I should really make another one to go the other end of the sofa …. but there are so many other projects queued that realistically I don’t think it will happen this side of Christmas!

So, Halloween projects here we come – there’s not much time left.

Enjoy your crafting too,

Jenny x

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Kaffe Fassett revisited

Unheard of, isn’t it – two posts within a week of each other?  But if you were a passionate Kaffe Fassett fan as I have been for the last 35 years you wouldn’t be able to resist sharing the excitement of seeing his present exhibition in The American Museum at Bath.

Amazing from the moment you approach the entrance to the minute you leave. Lamp posts and railings are decorated with knitted and crocheted graffiti.Lamp 1

 

Lamp 2

Brightly coloured pom-poms and hand painted lanterns hang from a huge tree to welcome you.

Pompoms

 

Each zone of the exhibition represents a different aspect of Kaffe’s creations –

 

image

his knitting, his tapestries and needlepoint, pottery, bead encrusted, crocheted hats and paintings. There is even a reproduction of what might well represent one wall of his studio.

Studio

 

The whole experience is an unforgettable riot of colour and texture – absolutely worth a visit if you in the Bath area before mid- November.

Seeing Kaffe’s designs again reminded me of the time in the eighties when a friend and I used to delve into the bargain baskets of every possible wool shop in search of oddments of co-ordinating yarn with which to try out his patterns.  The excitement of finding some subtle shade in delicious silk or mohair led us to stash drawers full of different colour ways.

I was also reminded of Kaffe’s Persian Poppy design which he always called the big cheat because it uses the Magic Ball technique. You simply tie together differing lengths of many shades of yarn winding them into a ball as you go – for example blues and purples in one ball and neutral shades in your second ball. This means that you can incorporate multi colours into the knitting but only ever using two balls of wool. Ingenious ….. apart from the knots!!

My Persian PoppyPersian Poppy

It set me thinking about whether this method would be possible in crochet so I collected together all my different oddments in two colours and started winding.

Blues….

Blues

…and neutrals

Neutrals

I’m thinking coloured circles on a neutral background like the poppies – maybe something quite small such as a cushion cover.

This is where I am at the moment …Circles

 

image

…not quite sure that it will work as well in crochet as it did in knitting.

Of course, when Kaffe Fassett was encouraging us to use so many colours in the eighties self-striping and hand-dyed yarns were not available but we’ll see how the experiment goes.

Anyway, I still believe that when in doubt about which colours to add to a project we ought to take Kaffe Fassett’s advice and add twenty more.

Happy colour work!

Jenny x

 

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Sock yarn but no socks!

Hello everyone,

What is it about sock yarn that makes it so irresistible? For me I think it is the colours. Don’t get me wrong, I like making socks and loved the sock-making classes which I attended at Miju Wools in Gloucester where I met some great knitters and had some expert instruction from Michelle  but when I see sock yarn it is not socks which come to mind first.

There are so many other ways to enjoy the colours of sock yarns ……

For ages I have wanted to try a sock yarn example of the granny stripes pattern from Lucy at Attic 24 and some recent stash busting led me to  this project.

an odd mix of colours

an odd mix of colours but I like them!

 

so pleased with Lucy's picot edging

so pleased with Lucy’s picot edging

 

During a visit to Get Knitted in Bristol for a Debbie Abrahams workshop on working up one’s stash I saw an example of this beautiful moebius cowl by Amanda Perkins. The choice of sock yarns there was quite amazing and the design such fun to work with the colour changes.

couldn't resist the yarn

couldn’t resist the yarn

 

The following pattern for a baby cardigan was designed by Frances Fletcher and can be found here.  I discovered it initially in a lovely little yarn shop in Hereford which has, sadly, since closed down. The yarn originally chosen was hand dyed and one skein was just enough for the project. This ensured complete originality on each garment. At the moment  I am making this for a friend’s new baby (pics of completed item to follow) and I am using Regia Kaffe Fassett Ombre Design for this one – I just love the muted colours which remind me of the heathery shades chosen by Kaffe during a visit to Scotland. He learned to knit on the train journey back to London and went on to complete his first striped sweater….. and the rest is history!

worked sideways

worked sideways

 

image

 

Another discovery has been the mitred square – using the pattern by Sue Ann Kendall found here I made this buggy blanket from oddments of sock yarn and incorporated one solid shade.

sock oddments well used

sock oddments well used

 

simple but structured

simple but structured

 

just love the way colours work together

just love the way colours work together

To me it is amazing that all the colours blend in so well and it is such a fun pattern to work. Each new square is added as you go so no seaming at the end. Brilliant!

The woolly prawn tie – well, I couldn’t not mention this could I since it is one of the patterns in The Woolly Prawn. The design is so simple but the finished tie can be so different depending on what type of sock yarn you use.

neat knot, sir!

neat knot, sir!

 

yarn bombing!

a spot of local yarn bombing?

So, you see, there’s no need to feel limited to socks when you browse through the wonderful colours of the sock yarns in the shops or online. There are so many ways of enjoying those shades or even using up remnants when your socks are completed.

Well, I’m off to enjoy the glorious spring sunshine now or, more precisely, to do a spot of gardening. Hope the weather stays fine over Easter.

Happy Easter everyone,

Back soon,

Jenny x