Archives for category: knitting

I’ve been very lax in my blogging of late, so felt I should show you what I’ve been up to.  I’ve been experimenting with new bits and bobs, including hand spun yarn and buttons…..

single printed buttons to spell out words…..’cosy’

hand-dyed, handspun BFL fleece…..

handwoven, tabby weave covered button.

possible design for cushion cover.

I’m also glad to report that Elena Costella‘s lovely yarn emporium is open again after all the dreadful flooding we had recently.  Elena, Leslie and all the willing helpers really worked hard to get the shop open again as soon as possible, so I hope everyone rushes down to replenish their yarn stash.

My loom is unfolded and ready for action.  I’m going to have a bash at some warp dyeing and have a folder of design ideas to try out.  Not all my activities have been wool related.  I made some yummy scones, using the River Cottage recipe, but replaced the cream with milk, and apple, rhubarb and ginger jam to top them off.  There was also some oranges in need of using, so they were turned into spiced marmalade.

Check out these bad boys!!  Big and crunchy on the outside and fluffy as a fluffy thing in the middle.

I was never keen on Rhubarb and Ginger as a child, but the addition of Apple made this lighter and really more-ish.

I spiced up the marmalade with some nutmeg, two cloves, and a little mixed spice.  I don’t like sweet marmalade, so the spices soften the sharpness of the fruit.

They are all residing in a wee cupboard in the kitchen, which Alan has renamed, ‘Bob Marley’……well there is jammin’.

As you know from my previous post, I’m one of the Maker’s of the Month for Concrete Wardrobe, in Broughton Street, Edinburgh.  When James and Fiona invited me, it was suggested that I could design something special for the window.  Well…where to start? My collection is mostly accessories, so I didn’t want to stray too far from that area.  I fiddled around with ideas, and finally came up with a design for a cape.   The definition of words is commonly a starting point for my work.  Cape works well on two levels,  not only as a ‘sleeveless outer garment fastened at the throat, and worn hanging over the shoulders’, but also as, ‘a point or head of land projecting into a body of water.’

The colours, textures and form of the cape were directly inspired by the coastal headland around Auchmithie, on the East coast of Scotland.  It was my favourite beach when I was growing up.

It’s a pebble beach, covered in some of the most beautiful stones.  I recently spent 3 whole days there recording the sound of the sea, collecting, photographing and making small site specific yarn related things.

……hand dyed yarn, found pebble and seaweed.

…..natural yarn, crocheted and attached.

…..abandoned boat, with the mist lifting.

You never grow out of looking for ‘stuff’ in rock pools.  Although the weather was pretty poor with the haar off the water taking hours to clear, it was still a wonderful experience.  It was very much a case of….to sea, but not seen.

As usual, most of my pictures were of the macro variety, leaving Alan to take some wonderful seascapes.

The resulting cape design consists of a combination of azure knitted felt, vintage checked tweed and some gorgeous self-coloured Harris Tweed, finished off with a wooden button.  I hand dyed the silk lining to create an effect redolent of water ripples.

This cape is a one off never to be repeated design, and I have to say that I found it difficult to part with!  I hope it finds a lovely home and is enjoyed by whoever buys it.

Just thought I’d post a few wee sneaky peaks at the new designs.  They are being launched on 1st August, at Concrete Wardrobe, Broughton Street, Edinburgh……..very excited!

‘peat stack’ egg cosies….

‘gansey’ tea cosy detail…..

‘gather’ together skinny scarf….

‘peat stack’ coffee cosy, button detail…..

There’s also a one off show piece for the window display, but you’ll have to wait until the launch to get a look at that.

It’s been ages and I apologise.  I still need to sort out my time priorities, but I’m working on it…slowly.   Around this time of year we are always on the look out for some special visitors in the garden.  We are fortunate enough to be surrounded by countryside and love watching all the creatures, big, small, feathered and furry, but there is one species that appear in abundance, practically overnight……..

I’m not exaggerating when I say that we get hundreds of wee toads and frogs migrating through our garden.  With all the heavy rain we’ve been having lately, their journey hasn’t been so difficult.  Usually we have to pick them up into containers and transport them over to the burn that leads to the lade where they will grow and eventually spawn.  However, because it hasn’t been too hot, there has been less danger of them drying out or hiding somewhere damp until it’s safe to move.  The only downside is for about 2 weeks we can’t cut the grass and have to be very careful where we walk…..not that we miss cutting the grass!

I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time in the studio.  I have been dying yarn on and off for quite a while for myself and as commissions, and the feedback has been really good, so I decided to take the next step and design some colour ranges to sell.  I’ve been experimenting and am really happy with the results so far.  My own handspun yarn is particularly yummy!

Once I had played about with some other colourways and different fibres, I sat down to work out how they would work together, and which yarns would be most suited for the collections, by season, project and cost.

Over the next wee while I’ll be designing patterns to go with the collections, and hopefully offering them in kit form, as well as individual skeins…..so watch this space.  They will be available on Ravelry, I am wildwoolwifey, and I will be opening a Folksy shop, too.

In the meantime, I am dreaming up some lovely handpainted warps for my loom, which I will be breaking out very soon.  I’m also knitting a long waited for cable hooded jumper for my hubby.  I’m using handspun oatmeal Blue faced Leicester, which is so soft and gorgeous, with brilliant sheen and stitch definition……my favourite fibre.  Other WIP’s are a blue cardigan for myself, which is nearly there, and tension squares of all the lovely yarn I have been dying.  I like them all so much, I’m not sure how I’m going to part with them.

Well, that was some weekend…..I even missed posting ‘funky friday’.  If I had been firing on all cylinders it would have been ‘fuzzy friday’ due to the over indulgence of this, on Thursday evening…….

So much wine....so little time

Luckily the weather was brilliant and sunny, so we didn’t look out of place wearing our shades when we visited Crail, in Fife, the following day.  It’s a stunning little village on the East coast with views over to the Bass Rock.  I’d hoped to buy a fresh lobster, but we ran out of time.

There was an amazing sand sculpture right next to the pub….

After our wee jaunt to the coast, we headed home for a Thai meal, cooked by yours truly, without wine this time, and some crochet instruction, for Gabs.

Saturday began at a leisurely pace, and as the weather was looking reasonable, we hopped on a bus to Perth.  We stopped into say hi to Elena, in her Yarn and Fibre shop.  Gabs fell in love with some very large oversized knitting needles, which were swiftly purchased, along with some yarn and a huge crochet hook.  I bought some yarn too, just to be polite, you understand, and then we headed into Perth.

The ‘Trove’ Exhibition was on at the Museum, so we stopped in to have a look round.  Some really amazing glass work by brilliant makers, and well worth the time spent.

Just as we were leaving the Museum the rain was threatening….and we are talking the big splashy stuff, so we ducked into the Concert Hall for a wee libation to wait it out,and boy, did the heavens open.

Luckily, the rain soon stopped and we made it to the bus and home without getting soaked.  When I say home, I mean via the shop with more of the local vino calapso.  Well, I *needed* a bottle of Elderberry to put in the steak and stilton pie I was making for tea….honest gov.  While I made the pie, Gabs prepared various soft fruits to have in a pavlova meringue, which I popped in the oven while preparing the rest of the tea.

We ate so much that PJ’s were in order and then we broke out the new needles and yarn…..

I wasn’t kidding….these needles are BIG!  But the great thing is that in no time at all, you’ve knitted loads…

(oops! fuzzy image)

It was a real treat to have Gabs up to Scotland to stay with us, and I hope it will be the first of many tweet-ups.  We hit it off immediately and have more than a few things in common, including our love of cake, and giggling.  Maybe next time Tony will come too, and Alan will have someone to talk camera’s, and lenses and all things photography shaped….or we might even manage a trip down South.

It’s my first ‘funky friday’.  I hope to bring a new ‘brought to you by…’ every week.  It might be things I have, covet, find or just think are funny or inspiring.  In honour of my new orange hair, here’s the first series of images……

orange insoles in baffie’s……super cosy and 3 new pairs up for grabs here.

orange thread…..

orange marigolds and California Poppies…

my lovely orange uke…..

orange nails…..

orange socks….

and finally, an orange scarf.  Hand dyed and knitted by yours truly.  Have a funky friday, everyone. :o)

Those of you who know me well are aware of my yarn obsession.  I try to kid myself that it’s all in the name of ‘research’ and totally work related, but who am I kidding.  I love the stuff.  So when I heard tell of a new yarn shop opening only a bus ride away, I was just a little bit excited.  I was crossing my fingers that it would be full of beautiful yarns, accessories and haberdashery items to make my head swim, and not an emporium of acrylic.  Don’t get me wrong…..there’s nothing wrong with acrylic, but getting your hands on anything but acrylic around these parts can be a bit tricky.

Well, Elena Costella Yarn and Fibre did not disappoint!  On approach, the exterior is classy with beautifully dressed windows.

one of the gorgeous window displays

Once inside you are greeted by the soft but intoxicating scent of lily’s and yarn.  It’s difficult to know what to do first, peruse the handmade buttons, grab and fondle the yarn of go straight for one of the big comfy leather sofas and just start knitting!

sofa heaven

Elena worked as designer, editor and journalist of everything knitting shaped at D C Thomsons for 30 years, but has thankfully, left all that behind to offer our area this haven to everything fibre and yarn related.  There is a knitting group every Wednesday night from 6pm-9pm, where chatting and cake are mandatory, so I will be trying my best to get along.  One knitter makes a special trip from Edinburgh!

And what did I purchase…..well I was very good and bought some lovely buttons for a cardigan I am making.

….and a ball of Noro Kureyon Sock wool, which is destined to become a crocheted summer shawl.

Elena is a complete delight and I wish her all the luck in the world, although I suspect she doesn’t need it…..her shop is FAB! And it goes without saying, that she’ll be seeing me again very soon.

There are a whole host of beautifully designed, handmade wares up for grabs in St Andrews, this coming week.  Fife Contemporary Art and Craft are holding a pop-up shop in St Andrews.  I shall be sharing the shelves with the likes of Lovely Pigeon, James Donald, Jane Gowans, Hannah Nunn and Claire Heminsley, to name, but a few.  I feel honoured to be included. Well worth a special trip.

'gather' shore detail