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Authors & Artists: Hello Astrid

When I grew up my best friend was called Astrid. I don’t know if she were named after Astrid Lindgren (I suspect as much) but I do know that I loved reading books by someone called the same as my best friend. Then Astrid moved schools and met cool girls who liked clothes and makeup way more than books. Heartbreak is really hard (especially when you are a kid) but books get you through.

Yesterday I released the Astrid hat.

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When I released the Lindgren mittens back in December, I had a slew of people asking about a hat. As it happens, I had left-over yarn from the mittens – and I also had cold ears. You can see where this is going. Yes, this is a companion pattern.

It became very clear during the design process that I didn’t just want to take the colourwork pattern from the mittens and slab that on top of a generic hat. I just don’t work that way and I wanted something that had its own identity whilst still calling back to the mittens. Instead I took the pattern from the thumb and opened it up across the top of the hat. The lower rim has the same pattern as the mittens but I love how the hat plays with “open” and “close” patterns.

The pompom is striped – Katya Frankel has a neat little tutorial on how to get a speckled pompom. To get a stripe you simply add more layers of your contrast colour before going back to the pompom’s main colour.

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We had the first photo shoot on Boxing Day on the beach in my favourite Scottish fishing village. The weather was horrendous. I had sleet flying in my face and the wind was blowing a gale. I was so happy to be wearing my cosy mittens and hat. The weather did not make for great photos, though.

The next day we went back as the weather had cleared. We had a lovely time climbing the rocks, watching the surf and strolling down the coastal path.

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And I felt much better about having a camera pointing at me.

As Dave was taking photos, I thought about my life and the things we go through that make us the people we are today. As a lonely child, I found solace and strength in books. As an adult I do the same – but I also find strength and joy in making things, sharing my makes with other makers, and in walking down steep coastal paths with my best friend who understands silence and everyday beauty and me.

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2016: New Words & An Almost Blank Slate

2016. I start the year with a spring in my step. I gave myself real, honest time off and I cannot believe the difference it has made to my general state of mind. I did a touch of dress-making, I watched a lot of films, I went for long walks with D. and I finished some work knitting. I also had a lovely Christmas in Aberdeenshire and I spent New Year’s Eve in Glasgow. Oh, and I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens twice because I am a nerd.

So, 2016.

I sat down this morning and made a quick list.


While I am not one for inspirational quotes, I found having a word lodged at the back of my mind incredibly useful last year. I also think we all have a word or two guiding us throughout our lives (“family” and “money” are two such words I have encountered a lot). It’s just nice to sit down and really have a think about what I have to have a guiding principle – and this year it is joy.

I struggle a lot with perfectionism (like many other creatives do), work/life balance, and my desire to say yes to everything. By asking Will this job bring me joy? Does designing this fill me with joy? If I go to this event, will I enjoy it? I hope to have a tool that will cut through a lot of the noise. Will it work?

Well, I ended 2015 looking like this. Yes, it’s a hat to match the Lindgren mitts. Yes, the pattern is forthcoming. Most importantly, I look happy and relaxed. Here’s to joy in 2016.

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2015 – A Year In Knitting

2015 was a terrible year, generally speaking. It was a year that seemed to bring out the worst in people and the world appeared to be heading towards darkness, fear, and hatred. I finally stopped watching the news this year (and I’m a total news junkie). Instead I tried to find beauty wherever I could find it: art, literature, and kind gestures.

But I am also a knitter and knitting brings solace (even when I’m stressed out of my skull over deadlines, I love knitting).

So, I’m going to spend this post looking back at my year in knitting (and crochet).

2015 was my first year of being fully self-employed. I made the big leap in 2014, and 2015 was a year of me realising what that meant. I got used to a full inbox and I learned big lessons on Saying No to Things. I travelled a lot and I met so many brilliant, talented, wonderful people.


I taught so many workshops all over the UK – from the buzz of Hackney in London to the quiet, quiet countryside of Northern Ireland. Bikes, busses, trains, and ferries. Astounding views ranging from the Lake District, Scottish glens, the flat streets of Cambridge, and the strange aircraft hangar feeling of a giant exhibition hall.

Design-wise, 2015 was another busy year.

I released three Authors & Artists patterns: Byatt, Mahy, and Lindgren. I had a few patterns published elsewhere: the Chard top in Knit Now and the Swale hap in the wonderful Drift book by Eden Cottage Yarns. I also had three sock patterns released with Old Maiden Aunt yarns, and the Crosstown Traffic released as a Malabrigo Quickie pattern. And I released the lovely HYGGE collection: Fika, Top Hygge, Skovtur, Brygga and Tryghed.

14 designs in one year – that should be grand, right? I feel quite bad about the low tally but I also know how much I ripped out and how hard I’ve been on myself (..may 2016 be the year of less perfectionism). I also worked on a few things that are yet to be released. I also knitted myself a comfy jumper with no pattern to show for it.



I went on three knitting retreats.

The first one was in February in Dunoon and had amazing views. I hung out with my Glasgow posse, watched Labyrinth & Flash Gordon for the first time, and knitted myself a Hetty cardigan.


The second was a combination knitting retreat/hen party for one of my dearest friends. We stayed in a fabulous farmhouse in the Yorkshire Dales. We watched cheesy Doctor Who episode, ate cheese, and I played the worst round of pool ever seen. I also worked on the Mahy shawl constantly.

The third knitting retreat was in Lancaster at the Crawfords’ farm. A handful of designers camped on site and we spent a very fruitful summer weekend learning from each other, working on various future designs, and cooking amazing food. I was working on something that is yet to be released. Here’s a photo of some yoked jumpers/cardigans we were sporting.


(photo by Katya Frankel)

And then there were events. Three in particular stand out for me:

The Edinburgh Yarn Festival was such momentous event for me personally. I tend to sit on my own and work – and suddenly people came up to me and chatted. You are real! There are people out there! I had some thought-provoking, smart conversations and I got to spend time with some very special people. EYF 2015 was the event that made me realise that it is all real. You guys exist and you are awesome. Also, there was much yarn.

Yarndale 2015 was a mad lark. I said hello to so many people, talked so much, and did so many things for one very short day that I had to take a short holiday afterwards. Most of all, Yarndale was the day of the Scollay-along meetup and I got very verklempt.

And In the Loop 4 was fantastic. An inspiring three-day conference on all things knitting & textile. I gave a paper on Faroese knitting and the idea of tradition. Three days in the company of some of the brightest thinkers on knitting culture and knitting history. It really made me think hard and restored some confidence in my ability to think. I am eagerly awaiting the next ITL in 2017.


(photo by Jeni Reid)

Looking back, 2015 was probably the year of meeting people. I am a natural introverted hermit who lives in her own head, so it was a challenge for me at times, but I learned so much from each and every one I met.

2016 looks to be busy in terms of me being on the road talking to fabulous folks, but I have blocked out several weeks of me-time. I think I need that in order to be able to work. I am looking forward to seeing new faces and go places I have never been.

Thank you for 2015. It’s been a tough year out there in the world, but thankfully there has also been knitting and good people.

Authors & Artists: Lindgren Mitts

I was a bookish child, and when you are a bookish child in Scandinavia, you grow up reading Astrid Lindgren. Lindgren was a Swedish author who wrote books for children of all ages. I grew up alongside the unruly children of the Bullerby books and the exceptionally naughty Emil from Lönneberga. I cheered for the feisty Pippi Longstocking. And I was heartened by the strong, empowering presence of Ronja the Robber’s Daughter when the Brothers Lionheart broke my heart.  Astrid Lindgren’s characters were constant companions – I learned so much from her books about love, family, friendships, and the power of gentle, yet firm civil disobedience.

And so I designed a pair of utterly Nordic mittens with Astrid Lindgren in mind. The children of Bullerby could have worn these ice-skating. Maybe Emil’s sister Ida was looking to wear these, but Emil dumped them in the soup. Pippi misplaced them and only found them when her monkey put them on his ears. Who knows. I wore them to my favourite Scottish fishing village where I skipped stones.

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The Lindgren mittens are adorable. They are also a rather quick knit as they are worked in DK/light worsted on 4mm needles. No row uses more than two colours and the pattern repeat is pleasingly small. The only slightly fiddly bit is that the top uses a three-needle bind-off – I have included written instructions for this in the pattern (and there are some very good youtube videos too).

The mittens use three colours of double-knitting/light worsted yarn. My sample uses Drops Lima – a wool/alpaca blend. My sample used around 1.5 balls of shade 0701 (Petrol mix) and one ball each of shades 0619 (Beige) and 3609 (Red). Drops Lima is currently on sale until end of December 2015 which means the Lindgren mittens could be knitted or gifted for around £10!

Because I used a DK yarn, there are many alternatives. Blacker Yarns has a whole world of suitable British yarns (the Classic DK range is a favourite of mine). Eden Cottage Yarns Whitfell Alpaca DK would be super-cosy. Rowan Baby Merino Silk is top-range luxury (and I love how its heathered shades look in colourwork). Baa Ram Ewe’s Dovestone DK would be even more luxurious.


Over the last few years I have taught so many classes on Nordic knitting – I am always very keen on emphasising that Nordic knitting isn’t a monolithic beastie that resembles reindeers adorned with snowflakes. Lindgren reflects my own reflection upon the multiple strands that make up my knitting heritage as well as giving thanks to a woman whose books opened my heart and my mind.

“Everything great that ever happened in this world happened first in somebody’s imagination.”
– Astrid Lindgren

Stitch by Stitch

Nearly ten years ago I fell very ill. I was stuck in bed and was unable to pursue any of my usual activities. The days were passing at a snail’s pace and I grew increasingly frustrated. Then one day I told my partner to head to the local yarn shop to pick up some supplies. I had not been knitting or crocheting for several years, but I thought it may help pass the time.

I did not know that those simple supplies would transform my life.


This is the first hat I made. I still wear it.

When I was unable to feed myself or get dressed, I could knit three rows on a simple scarf.

When I was recovering from going to the hospital, I could sit up in the chair and sew on buttons.

When I needed to catch my breath from walking, I could finish the thumb on some mittens.

When I could hold a conversation, I found a knitting group and made friends.

When I looked in the mirror and recognised myself, I was wearing a handknitted jumper of my own design.

Stitch by stitch I remade my life. Stitch by stitch I became healthier. Stitch by stitch I regained confidence. Stitch by stitch, life changed and so did I.

I am forever thankful for the Making stuff impulse I had one day many years ago.

Crafternoons & Coffeespoons

Workshop season is drawing to a close with only a few classes remaining in 2015. The past few months have been fantastic but I am longing to spend time at home. Quite apart from a scary mountain of laundry and a suitcase still waiting to be unpacked, I also spending time with family and friends. However, I am already looking forward to 2016 which has some quite special things in store.


I am incredibly happy to announce that I’m running two special workshops on Shetland Lace for Aberdeen Art Gallery as part of their Birth & Baptism season. I always enjoy talking knitting in a wider context and while my workshops are focused on teaching you knitting skills, there is a bit more to these workshops. You can book either a Beginner’s Class (where you’ll make a bookmark and also learn more about motifs, techniques and construction) or an Advanced Class (where you’ll try your hand at designing a hap shawl and also delve into construction methods, design decisions and history). It’s a series of classes I have developed especially for Aberdeen, so grab those tickets while you can!

On the subject of workshops, it was a real treat to be on the other side of the proverbial table last Sunday. I took part in a crafternoon at Glasgow’s adorable The Butterfly & Pig Tearooms in the city centre. The Crafty Hen hosted an event where we tried out various crafts using Laura Ashley craft kits. I really enjoyed myself – who knew that craft workshops were this relaxing when you are not running them?! I had a go at two crafts – decoupage and needle-felting. Shall we start with the abject failure?

Okay, there are no photos of me needle-felting and I have nothing to show for my efforts. I have tried needle-felting before and I am ridiculously awful at it. All around me, people were making beautiful things (Jenny made an incredible 3D bird in no time) and I was basically just stabbing an ever more sad looking 2D Christmas bauble (which looked more like an Easter Egg than a bauble). After around 25 minutes of crying into my fibre, I just gave up. Sorry.

But to my eternal surprise, I really enjoyed decoupage. Who knew it was super-therapeutic to tear up pieces of paper and use copious amounts of glue to stick them onto shapes? I could have decoupaged all day long, I swear. If only decoupage would keep my toes warm, it would be my new favourite craft. Pretty paper -> tearing it up without care -> glue glue glue -> result! What’s not to like about that? The kit contained some exceedingly beautiful paper – shades of duck egg, primrose, soft blues, and dusty pinks. As always I tried to match my outfit.

And I ended up with something that I think is pretty respectable for my first go at decoupage. I’ve posed the result on a crocheted hand towel made by my mum (who is really, really getting into her crochet). It’s all too adorable for words. I’ve actually gone so far as to check whether Laura Ashley does dress-making fabric as I’m mildly obsessed with the bird print you can see on the heart (answer: not yet which is good for my purse .. but it does come as curtain material which means a bag down the line?).


So, craft workshops. Turns out they don’t always involve me travelling and dealing with piles of prep. Sometimes they just involve me trying not to glue myself to a table and how fun that was. The materials were gorgeous and pretty. I also delighted in meeting a lot of cool ladies (who were all so much better at needle-felting than I could ever be) and a gorgeous lemon/polenta GF cake served with copious amounts of tea. I need more Sundays like this.

Wear What You Make – Building a Handmade Wardrobe pt 1.

Over the last couple of months of using Instagram regularly I’ve noticed something. I feel happier and relaxed when I wear something I have made. And so my thoughts turn towards the fabric stash and wanting to make things that will continue to make me happier and more relaxed. Reader, I bought a  sewing pattern with a view to make some wardrobe basics that’ll keep me as happy as my knitted items.

But what about knitting?

Knitting is my first love and I am so lucky that I get to design what I want to wear – and share it with everyone! Wearing what I make is the best feeling (and I’ve started using #wearwhatyoumake as my own personal hashtag to track my handmade wardrobe adventure) and it’s something I’m thinking hard about for 2016 too. Simply put: I want what I design & make to be easily integrated into an everyday wardrobe.

I recently spent some time going through my clothes. It’s a good exercise that keeps me aware of what I own, what I treasure, and what I keep wearing. I do this semi-frequently and I always learn something from doing it.


  • Colours lean towards teal, navy, mustard, and deep cool reds. Neutrals are navy blue and brown.
  • I tend to wear dresses more than anything.
  • I wear the denim, skirts and the cord skirts most. Pencil skirts get most wear.
  • I own two pairs of trousers (1 pair of jeans, one linen) which I rarely wear.
  • Three cardigans get most wear: the Stevie Cardigan (knitted in navy Rowan Wool Cotton) is beginning to show wear & tear; my brilliant Scollay cardigan; and the mustard yellow Hetty cardigan which goes with everything.
  • I still wear shawls but I have grown fond of very big shawls recently – I tend to wear Proserpine, Fika (currently floating around Britain as a sample – I miss it), Swale and Kirkja (it’s smaller but mustard yellow).
  • I shy away from cute patterns (owls, deer, moustaches) but love geometric patterns. Mostly I like to wear things made from plain fabrics.



From the observations, I have learned the following lessons:

  • I love bold colour combinations.
  • I need more cropped cardigans.
  • I need another navy cardigan and another mustard yellow cardigan.
  • And a brown cardigan. And a teal one.
  • I need to add pockets to skirts & dresses. Pockets are brilliant, yet rarely appear in high street women’s wear.
  • I need to make myself more skirts (I’ve said this every year since 1989 or thereabouts).
  • Handmade makes me happiest.

Obviously there are problems surrounding a handmade wardrobe: slow fashion takes time, money, and skill. I am privileged because I can devote time to building a handmade wardrobe (and can justify it by calling it work). Not everybody can do that and that is okay. A good place to start is to wear what you make (and think about whether you’ll wear what you are making) – but that is something I’ll explore in the next instalment!

Happy November, everyone!

Clutching My Gladioli – On Making It Work as an Indie

Currently BBC4 is showing a series about the independent music business in the UK. The series traces how record labels like Factory, Rough Trade, Mute, 4AD, and Beggars Banquet made it possible for less mainstream bands to release records. Many of the bands turned out to be hugely influential and enduring (Joy Division, New Order, The Smiths, Depeche ModeThe Stone Roses, Suede, Franz Ferdinand, and Arctic Monkeys to name but a few!) and today UK indie labels continue to champion new music that would never be signed by major labels.

As someone working as an independent knitting designer, I recognised a lot of what was being covered in the documentaries – from small record labels operating out of a bedsit in Sheffield via creatives forming loose partnerships to dealing with complex distribution problems/solutions and worries over intellectual properties. I love many of the bands covered by the documentaries, but it was eye-opening to see how much of the amazing music was being created in an environment that was in many, many ways similar to how the indie knitting industry works.

Everything I do is created at my kitchen table. I have a small nook with a desktop computer (which needs replacing) and some bookshelves where I keep all my designing resources. I create my own layouts, my partner does my photography & art, I model my own designs, and everything passes through my hands. I deal with emails, accounts, wholesale, distribution, workshop dates, social media, marketing (which is always my sore spot), and obviously pattern designing & writing. I hire in technical editors to work on my patterns, but what you see is what you get and you get me.

And most indie designers work like that. Some have pooled resources, others have grown to the stage where they have one or two people on staff. But we are all just very, very small independent ventures.

Why be independent? Is it that much fun to do accounts at 11am on a Friday night? I think most people understand the allure of having full creative control – and yes, being able to decide what to design in which yarn is amazing – but the allure of intellectual property is even stronger. Quite simply, indies choose to own the right to their work.

I learned a hard lesson when I first started out: I handed over the rights to a pattern for a pittance and saw somebody else make a lot of money from it when I could barely cover rent. And that got me thinking. I still work with mainstream publications on occasion (and some of them are incredibly indie-friendly and lovely!) but time & experience has taught me to be wary of Big Besuited Companies offering me deals too good to be true.

Indies pay the price by having to do all the things – including all the tough things mainstream publishing would normally have done for us – but I maintain it is worth it.

So, clutching my gladioli, I began thinking about where indie knitting businesses are heading.

The BBC4 documentaries on UK indie record labels traced the trajectory from bedsit record labels with rough DIY graphics to bands like The Smiths appearing on prime time TV and finally a world where indie labels are regularly outselling the big record companies.

Knitting is not the music business (there’s a big difference in gender make-up for one thing! It made me sad to see many female musicians simply disappear as indie music became bigger in the 1980s and 1990s) but maybe there are lessons to be learned there.

Here are some of the lessons I have gleaned from the documentaries:

  • Surround yourself with people who understand and support your ethos.
  • Don’t try to follow the crowd but embrace what sets you apart.
  • Take control of as much of your own operations as you possibly can.
  • Choose your collaborators with care and imagination.
  • “Indie”can become a very diluted term when Big Besuited Companies realise it is an untapped market – this will result in products that look, talk, and walk like indies but have big money and committees behind them.
  • Digital marketplaces mean that everybody can sell their products (music, books, knitting patterns) so quality control is difficult. Indies still need gatekeepers (or “curators” as I believe the Pinterest generation calls it!)
  • Don’t believe the hype lest you want to turn into Morrissey!!

There isn’t a right or wrong way of making it work  as a creative. Some people work best as part of a larger team with stylists, graphic artists, distribution centres, remote printing, and so forth. Then you have stubborn donkeys like me who enjoy having my fingers in every pie.

What about you as a knitter?

Some knitters love following a particular design house and yarn brand with big budgets and aspirational marketing; others find themselves more at ease at an indie show where they get to know the dyers and the designers. Some people prefer buying a magazine with glossy ads and a plethora of patterns; others like buying single patterns they have especially chosen for one particular yarn. And some prefer to just spin their own yarns and knit without a pattern.

The world is your oyster – you can to pick and choose as you like. And as an indie girl that really makes me happy.

On Body Shaming, Self-Acceptance and Growing Up

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Hey, this is me out walking yesterday

I was heading home from Yarndale last Saturday. I had been on my feet all day talking to awesome people all day, so was relived to find a supermarket next door to the train station. I bought a sandwich, a fruit salad and some drinks – this would be my dinner as I’d arrive back in Glasgow around 10.30pm. The train was busy with rugby fans heading home from Leeds, but I managed a seat. I sat down, sighed with relief and took a bite of my sandwich. Behind me came a drunk man’s voice: “”You should cut down on your sandwiches; you’re a fatso” and I paused for a second trying to process what I just heard. The man continued to insult every single female in the carriage before moaning about his ex-wife to his friends. The guy clearly had a problem with women – and I ended up almost feeling sorry for the guy. He was born into this world with all the privilege at his disposal (straight, white male living in a First World country) and yet his life was such a disappointment to him that he felt the need to lash out at other people with less immediate privilege than him.

Then I started thinking about body shaming and how insidious it is. I was the first girl in school to hit puberty, though I was a year younger than the other girls and so, for a very long time, I had a very weird relationship with my body. I am naturally ‘blessed’ with an hourglass figure which meant I received a lot of unwanted attention when I was an insecure teenager and in my early twenties – both from men who viewed my body shape as an invitation and from catty girls in my school who viewed me as a threat (I never understood the last one, by the way). I wore baggy black clothes for a very long time trying to hide my body.

Looking back, I have been every clothes size imaginable – from a UK size 10 (EU 38, US 6)  to a UK size 22 (EU 50, US 18). I wasn’t very happy when I was a 10 nor was I very happy when I was a 22. My unhappiness had very little to do with my body and far more to do with my lifestyle: when I was a size 10 I was recovering from illness; when I was a size 22 I had just graduated from university into a job market that had hit rock bottom. Over the years I have learned that I feel most comfortable when I hover around a UK size 16 (though clothing sizes are very arbitrary at the best of times) – and I have realised I feel happiest when I don’t hide away in baggy, black clothes. My body is not a shameful object – it is just me.

As I get older, I feel much more comfortable being me. I have also become increasingly aware of how I live in a society that tries to fuel all kinds of insecurities to make me conform and consume. As a woman I’m told: be attractive! be attractive in a really specific way! be attractive in a really specific way and don’t have any opinions because that is unattractive! be attractive and then we will tear you down for being attractive! I happen to work in an industry that is full of strong women who run their own businesses. I see a lot more diversity in my industry (though we can always do better, but that is a big discussion and one for another day) than I see in mainstream media. I feel inspired and invigorated by the people who surround me – from the smart, intelligent conversations on Twitter to the slow fashion ethos I keep witnessing at yarn shows. I feel really empowered by the women around me – I am sure most of you don’t even realise how fantastic you are!

But if I had not just been at Yarndale; if I hadn’t stumbled into this industry where I see awesome women being themselves; if I hadn’t accepted myself for who I am; if I hadn’t realised that society doesn’t want me to be happy unless I conform (and bah to that!); if this train journey had happened to a younger Karie in another place and another time, I think I would have had a very different reaction. And that is actually the thought that’s haunted me for the past week or so.

(Yes, that is a new hat pattern. More on which later.)

PS there are a tonne of great resources on how to deal with other people trying to take ownership of your body, how to deal with body-shaming, and how to be a positive role model for young women in your life. I’m not going to add any links to this blog post, but feel free to share links on Twitter etc and I’ll happily do a round-up.

Yarndale, pt 2: Yarns & Friends & HYGGE

At the moment I am on a self-imposed mini-break, so I am a bit late talking about the things I saw at Yarndale. Still, it means I can look back and write about the things that really made an impact.

Firstly, Yarndale turned out to be one of my favourite yarn shows so far. The venue was decked out with crochet bunting, crochet mandelas and a lot of handmade signage. It felt very cheering and welcoming – in other words, very Yorkshire! The vendors were a good mix of perennial favourites, old friends, and small vendors who rarely do shows. I managed to get lost a few times and I know I missed a couple of vendors I wanted to see, but here are some of the vendors that stood out for me:

I completely missed her at the EYF marketplace, so I was determined to seek out Laura’s Loom – both her hand-woven fabrics and her yarns are gorgeous. Her materials are sourced from the Yorkshire Dales and Cumbria – and the colours are both rich and subtle. Blacker Yarns was another must-visit. I loved being able to browse their breed-specific yarns and work out future colour combinations in my head. I had lucky enough to previously receive a pre-release sample of their birthday yarn – the gorgeous Cornish Tin – and I tried to ferret out whether Cornish Tin was to remain limited edition or not. The fabulous Sonja said that when it is gone, it is gone. So get your mitts on it now!

The Island Wool Company and I go way back. They backed and supported me when I did Doggerland and we have another collaboration in the works. However, I had actually never met them in person – just a lot of long phone conversations! – so it was a huge thrill to finally meet one half of the team at Yarndale. Many hugs were exchanged and hopefully you’ll like what we have in store. Other friends with stalls included Sarah Alderson (who launched her book An Elven Reckoning at Yarndale – my personal favourites are the Norui jumper and the Rhien shawl), Ripples Crafts, The Crochet Project, Joeli’s Kitchen, my style crush Jess with her Ginger Twist Studio, Tilly Flop Designs with Julie’s amazing knitting postcards and tea towels (I lost track of where you were!), and the ever lovely Ann Kingstone. I also happened upon my old boss from my years with Rowan Yarns – it was so nice to catch up with Jem and see her designs. We both agreed that the past fourteen months or so have been such a whirlwind!

My purchases were modest. I have a lot of things on my plate over the next few months, so I wasn’t looking to spend a lot. However, I felt inspired by the Knit British single breed swatch-along, so I went looking for yarn that fit the bill. As Louise pointed out afterwards, I was meant to look for undyed wool but I crave COLOUR at the moment.

Yarndale purchases. Carefully plotted over the course of the day. #yarndale2015 #knitlocal #planning #singlebreedyarn

A photo posted by Karie Westermann (@kariebookish) on

I was quite taken with the Exmoor Horn Wool – the colour range was really, really nice and the yardage is good – and I am looking forward to seeing how it works up. According to the lovely people on the stall, the yarn is a recently off-shoot from the Exmoor Horn Breeders’ Society’s work on preserving one of Britain’s native sheep breeds. I am weak in the presence of a good story – especially one which involves heritage and landscape – and so two balls came home with me. I do have plans for them that involves more than just swatching, but I am not giving myself a deadline! I also bought one of the Wovember badges from Laura’s Loom – it matches my winter coat perfectly!

But Yarndale was also the book-end of two very, very stressful months. I spent my last reserves of energy that fabulous Saturday and I have been exhausted as a result. So, I had a very strongly-worded conversation with my boss (i.e. me), and she allowed me to take most of this week off. She should probably allow me to do this more often! However, the final HYGGE pattern will be a few days delayed, emails have remained unanswered, admin has been pushed to one side, and I’ve not done any design work. I am sure the world will not end.

PS. The BBC has a really nice article about the concept of HYGGE today. Thank you to everyone who passed me the link xx