Sunday, March 03, 2013

My Attic got plastered!

Squeeeee - I'm so excited.  ALL my stash and equipment is going to be stored in orderly and shipshape fashion in the new workshop/studio up in the attic - and it got plastered yesterday!  Now, all it needs are some cupboards, the electrics and light fittings and a carpet - then I'm all set to decorate and move in the furniture!  Really, this is SO exciting.  My dream of becoming a fully fledged knitting designer and teacher is underway.

The plaster only takes 4 days to dry and then it can be painted -which is amazingly quick.  The attic space isn't huge - but it will be MINE, all MINE - and how many folk are lucky enough to be able to have their own workshop?  DH is just pleased that all my stash can be squirrelled away from downstairs and he can stand a chance of keeping it tidy.  He always was a better housewife than me.

I'm also running a few workshops in the next couple months:

In the village - at my good friend Ruth's glorious house up Mapstone Hill - kitchen a la Provence, scrubbed wooden tables, cats curled up in front of (if not IN) the Aga, dresser piled high with eclectic china and OODLES of room - KNITTING 101 - an introduction to the basics.  Starts Wednesday April 17th 10-12am, and runs for 6 weeks.  Very reasonable at £36 per person, minimum of 3 to run, and maximum of 8.  Refreshments provided - bring your own yarn/needles.

At the HUB in Ipplepen - two Saturday courses:  the first is on March 23rd 10-1pm and will be all about the magical moebius cast on - the second is on April 20th 10-4pm and will be all about FairIsle/stranded knitting and working with colour.  Refreshments available from the cafe - £16 for the half day, £26 for the full day.

Currently working on several Lopi designs but also turning this handspun -  Louet fibre from the P/Hop swop in York last January - into a ruffled, cabled, smoochy 'short row shuffle' shawl.  I had planned to abbreviate all that to 'shoofly' but I discovered on Ravelry that there already IS  a shoofly out there so I'll have to put my thinking cap on for a new name.  The yarn was spun from a pencil roving that had two inch stripes in bright purple/blue/gold all along its length - hard to believe, ay?  It's turned out buttery soft and about DK weight which I'm knitting up on 5mm needles and the pattern is scrumptious and just what it wanted to be.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Phoenix and 'For the Love of Lopi'.

I retired from full time work as a midwife last November - several reasons, but chief among them was a wish to follow my heart and embrace my woolly obsession.  I want to spin, and knit, and dye and design and teach and spread the word.
Besides that, I could no longer face the on-calls at work - after a night up, it would take me going on three days to recover - and the hospital management expect team midwives to do an 'on call' at least once a week!  Imagine trying to recover from jet lag every single week.  I also noticed many colleagues getting ill - with breast cancer or fatigue syndromes or similar.  Several people I know of have died suddenly - and not just those people who smoke or abuse their health!  Time to live the dream methinks.

Time also to resurrect this blog.

I've got far too many projects on the go - but 'For the Love of Lopi' is currently winning.  Jamie wanted a jumper.  This wish coincided with me doing a Craftsy Course making a top down cardigan in Lett Lopi.  Lopi is an Icelandic wool which is sticky in the same way as Shetland wool, but thick and water repellant and very very warm - ideal for colour work.  This project so inspired me that I felt the need to knit several more.  I've finished a jumper for young honorary grandson Rafe and am half way down the body of the jumper for Jamie (Rafe's father).  I will follow this with a jumper for Charlie, Rafe's mother and Seth, my big handsome son.  A whole family of Lopi jumpers!   By then I might well have had my fill of Lopi.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The camera is here and I'm wading through destructions. Can't wait to try it out - tomorrow, I guess. This new (toy) bit of technology can take really close up pics and has 'intelligent face recognition' ("Well that's YOU out", husband quips, quick as a flash). It can detect when the person you are photographing is smiling or blinking and take the pic or not. It can be set to take serial pics and make them into a panorama, and can take pictures at night and of fireworks. I don't have to adjust aperture or shutter speeds or anything complicated like that - although I CAN do that if I wish. Of course I'm hoping to get some really good close up shots of my knitting and fibre art. And maybe some of my new 'journal spilling'...

Had an odd day at work - arrived too late to catch the baby I'd been called in to Labour Ward for: the mother got on super-shockingly quick so I just got to do the paperwork and clearing up.
But it did mean I didn't have to go out of my way to pick the camera up from the local Comet Store.
I've got three whole days off now to play! (Though I really must draw some alpaca cartoons for Jean).
New Camera! One of the excuses reasons I have made for not updating my blog as often as I want to is that I don't have a working camera anymore. This just won't do, so I'm investing in a new one - that's it sitting on top of this post. I'm picking it up tomorrow - not a digi SLR (my pocket won't extend that far) - but got a good zoom lens and it's big enough that even I shouldn't be able to mislay it.

Monday, April 04, 2011

I can now reveal one of my patterns from the Fresh Designs: Shawls book! (the other one is a toy - which is one of the last books in the series). I designed this Furzeleigh Lane Shawlet with bluefaced Leicester sock yarn from Babylonglegs - but it's truly a one skein project. Thanks to Shannon Okey - aka knitgrrl - for this preview~ doesn't the model look fab? - I love her hair. Check out the 'kickstart' project page for more information.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Good News! I got a letter from my shiatsu teacher Alex this morning - I passed my first year exams - I'm now qualified to give friends and family a really good shiatsu treatment - just got to complete 8 more sessions before I get my certificate. Want to volunteer to be guinea pig? This picture of a scarf blocking on disgustingly pink play mats is the result of a handspun yarn 'round robin' - the scarf has been all round Europe having stripes added by a dozen other knitters! We all started a 'seed' and passed it on - and we all got completed scarves back - interesting ay? It's very snuggly and warm and you too can join in a similar adventure by visiting the scarf journeys forum on Ravelry (THE favourite place to hang out and waste time peruse patterns and probably the one single biggest reason this blog doesn't get updated very often.)

And on behalf of the Spinners, Weavers, Dyers guild and all our various knitting groups, I am organising a coach trip to Wonderwool again this year (for my sins). Not so many takers this year, despite the coach having a loo on board (we were all crossing our legs by the time we got there last year!) Tickets only £20.50 roll up, roooolll up! Coach leaves Bovey Tracey at the ridiculously early time of 06.30hrs on April 10th and we don't get back till 8pm or so. And I won't be buying any more stash. no. I won't.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Patterns about to be published!

I am so excited - I have two patterns about to be published in Shannon Okey's (aka Knitgrrl) ten book 'FRESH DESIGNS' series. I can't show pics until the books come out - but, honestly, it's like being pregnant! I feel like I'm about to give birth!

The Cooperative Press facebook link is here. The concept is fascinating - the Company take all the responsibility to publish the books, photograph, present, promote (that's a lot of alliteration?) - and the designers pay nothing. Then the remuneration comes from Royalties - a third of the profits go to Cooperative Press, and the remaining two thirds gets divided up between the ten designers in each book. So I'll get 'divvie's' once a year - might not be much, but hey! my name will be OUT THERE as an up and coming designer!

We were invited to submit up to three designs for anyone of the following books: shawls, scarves, hats, gloves, mittens, kids' sweaters, womens and mens' sweaters and toys and bags.
I submitted three and got two accepted - a shawlette and a toy. Watch this space!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Happy New Year!
And long may we all continue knitting and spinning and creating!
Here is a pic of the first handspun (and hand-dyed too, incidentally - in logwood exhaust leftovers from Amanda Hannaford's dyeing workshop at the 2010 Samhain Fibre Retreat) of the year that has already been plyed and transformed into fingerless mitts: I gave the remainder (of which there was plenty) to my good friend and knitting protege, Kate (mummy to Josh and Elliott)

February - and I haven't yet posted. But lots of opportunities come my way! This is the time for blowing trumpets - paaaaaaaarp!

I have a regular slot on the back of Yarn Maker Magazine - my cartoon has an A4 pride of place. Just like a new mummy, I'm very proud :-) All credit to Dot Lumb for bringing a British Hand Spinning magazine to fruition - January edition out.

Last year, I had (the LIZARD) bag pattern published in Yarn Forward. THIS year I am about to have two patterns published in books - Shannon Okey is publishing the 'Fresh Designs' Series and asked for designers to submit a maximum of three - I did so, and got two accepted: a woezel toy and the Furzeleigh Shawl. I'll put up more details when the books are finally on the market - needless to say, I'm very excited.

Wrigglefingers and I are getting together to make "TUTLEYMUTLEY AND WRIGGLEFINGERS" - Don't we sound like a couple of Victorian pickpockets? We intend to run (more) affordable fibre retreats - the next one is in Bridgenorth June 3rd - 6th 2011 and will cost all of £95 fully catered (byo knitting, wine, chocolate). More details here
We're also looking to go round the festivals and teach colour blending and spinning. (vive la art yarn!) - next to be seen at Fibrefest! Ah, Batts, glorious, sparkly batts. Aren't they lush?

Speaking of which, I may be running a workshop! or three -
I've a friend in the village who has a just purchased a yurt and has a wonderful house and garden. She wants to run courses of various kinds and has dangled this carrot in front of my nose. I'm working on putting an introductory knitting course together.

The knitting groups have expanded - we now meet up 4 Sundays every month - two of which are in hired rooms with nuff room for spinning wheels to congregate.
I also met a wonderful new knitterly friend in Spin-a-Yarn last week - Hullo Emily (or purlysplendour on Ravelry!) (waves and jumps up and down in excitable fashion). WE were discussing our mutual obsessionspassions when she mentioned the powerful tool for community knitting has become! It's true!

Then today I popped in to the Chapel - something I've been meaning to do for a while: It's a wonderful place in Mortonhampstead aiming to bring local crafts and community into sharp focus - why not bring our spinning group to the Chapel, says Annie and Devina? Why not indeed?

And I'm getting so many ideas, so much inspiration.

I've nearly finished the first year of my shiatsu course - I'm sure this has helped push my creativity buttons and is helping me push towards taking better care of myself, leading a balanced life.
Al in all, I can't help feel that I won't be working much longer as a midwife, come what may. which is sad, the end of an era - but heralds exciting new beginnings. It's becoming harder and harder in this economic climate to be the sort of midwife who empowers women, who can build a relationship from the beginning of pregnancy and see a woman all the way through. The pendulum is swinging back to intervention and conveyer belt care. I can't bear it. Roll on retirement - sooner, rather than later.