Saturday, 9 April 2016

Stitched together

The last few weeks has got me thinking. Thinking about the knitting/crochet/general fibre craft community. As I mentioned last post I've been watching and listening to a ton of podcasts related to mostly knitting, and I've been struck by how overwhelmingly supportive and positive this community is. Podcasters recommending each other, yarn dyers telling you to check out another dyers wares, without a hint of competitiveness between them. Designers showing off someone else's design they're knitting, and encouraging and complimenting each other.

I see the same generosity and support in my own day to day knitting. I just got back from meeting up with a wonderful woman who I consider my knitting mentor and more importantly my friend. On the face of it, it may be slightly unlikely that we'd be friends. I am a 37 year old library assistant, mum of two boys and rather a homebody. She is a retiree, a grandmother and one of our patrons at the library.

 Three years ago, during Knit In Public week, the library I work at decided to celebrate and asked for knitters to come and join me for a one off, 3 day knit in public event. We had such a fabulous and successful week that we decided to create a once a week knitting group that would meet in the library. Suffice to say we are still going strong, and the group has grown and strengthened over the years.

Every Thursday those that can make it meet in the library, I take cuppa orders and usually one of them brings some home made goodies. They are all so different in their abilities and interests but all share the love of the craft.
There's sharing of tips, patterns, and new wool discoveries.
Passer-by's stop and talk, and sometime join in.
There's encouragement and support, not only in knitting but our lives as well.
It has become an important day in our calendars.

Thanks to those ladies, I knitted my first shawl, the Boneyard Shawl by Stephen West, I've learnt to knit socks, and gained confidence in my abilities.

My friend has been there from the start and has been a huge encourager and mentor.

The beginnings of my Spring Festival Shawl

A few days ago, I hit a snag in my new shawl project, the Spring Festival Shawl, and sent an S.O.S to her via Ravelry. She wrote back with a few suggestions and agreed to meet for coffee if I needed....
and I did need it!
We sat and drank hot drinks, chatted and knitted and she managed to trouble shoot my knitting and encouraged me to trust myself. I left with a bit more knitted, and a lot more confidence.

 We may be so very different but the shared passion and love of our craft has made for a surprising friendship. And I'm so very grateful.

Jo xx

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Wooly things...

I have disappeared down a rabbit warren of wooly distractions lately. Podcasts of both the audio and video variety have been taking up an inordinate amount of my time. What an amazing resource and a brilliant way to share the love of all things fibre and knitting! I feel like I'm not alone in my all encompassing love of wool, knitting and general wooly love.
Merlin joining me/distracting me as I knit another pair of socks!
If you are at all interested you should definitely check out LegacyKnitz  video podcast. This is a podcast hosted by a mum and daughter (Sue and Chelsea) team who are just ridiculously adorable, talented and entertaining. So much gorgeous wool and patterns shared and I'm always in a better mood after watching!
Another fabulous video podcast is Inside Number 23
Katie the host is another sunshiny personality who shares her love of knitting, yarn and sewing in an entertaining and inspiring way. She has a fabulous vintage aesthetic and a hilarious sidekick pug who sometimes steals the show!
Audio podcasts that I love and am inspired by include:
Woolful- This is Ashley's podcast and I cant speak highly enough of it! Here she interviews knitters, designers, farmers, dyers, shop owners and others that are involved in the fibre community. I am constantly inspired by everyone's stories of hard work, fibre love and passion for the art and craft of making.
Truly Myrtle is Libby from New Zealand, a knitter, designer, sewer and a generally inspiring woman. Listening to her has triggered a long held desire to start making my own handmade wardrobe. This is the year for me to get sewing, knitting and making...even more!
There's a whole lot more out there, like I said, it's a rabbit warren of podcasts, one mentions another and before you know it you're sitting down to listen to a new one! Dangerous if you want to get anything else achieved!


I've been loving knitting socks, and recently made a teensy pair for my new little niece. A gorgeous pair of socks to match my bigger pair, and made from left over wool. I have enough left over for the next baby in our family, due any day! I got the pattern off Sue of LegacyKnitz. She has it up on Ravelry, in the LegacyKnitz podcast forum. She has been using the pattern to make mini socks for an Advent garland, but I thought some tiny toes would look adorable in them.
Deliciously teensy socks to match Aunty Jo's.

Imperfect but delightful.

I recently popped in to my local fabric and wool shop and in the process of buying some thick bright wool for my nieces 7th birthday I also discovered some amazingly soft and scrumptious 100% Alpaca yarn. I hadn't heard of it before but the colours and the feel of it was just too tempting. It's called Bella Storia Royal Alpaca, is a 2ply and is heavenly to work with. After a bit of searching I found a pattern for a cowl I liked and using Patons Embrace in matching colours knitted double. I have to say this is the most delightful and enjoyable thing I've knitted in ages. It's so soft and luxurious, I just can not wait to finish and have some chilly days so I can snuggle in to it!
It's as soft as the bottom of a newborns foot!!
 The pattern is Typha cowl by Kirsten Kapur. Its a paid for pattern, and is the first time I've knitted anything slightly lacy, but the pattern is easy to follow and I'm feeling a real sense of joy as I knit it!


I have also been sorely tempted by the joy that is Etsy, and hand dyed yarns! As it's my birthday next week, I allowed myself a little indulgence and purchased two skeins of the most scrumptious and beautiful hand dyed yarns. I was excited to find one of the dyers lives not too far from me, approximately an hour away, so I felt good about supporting local as well as my habit! 
So soft and squishy!
 This is a beautiful green yarn from Toomuc Valley Yarns. The colour is even more beautiful in real life and so soft! She has lots of gorgeous yarns and I think I'll have to indulge again soon!
The next skein I'm hoping to use in a project with my Toomuc Valley wool as they look stunning together.
Beautiful speckly wool.
This is from Pickle and Co Fibres also on Etsy. Whilst it's not technically local, being in Queensland and the other end of Australia to me, it's still Australian wool and an Australian dyer so I'm happy with that!
This is just a skein of heaven and I keep getting it out and fondling it, just to enjoy it's fabulousness! I can not wait to find the perfect project for these babies!
Now all this talk of wool and knitting has my fingers itching to play, so I'm off to grab a moment with my wool!
I hope you get a chance this weekend to indulge in your favourite pastime! I know I will be!
Jo xx