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All the Things; All the Feels

Today I’m really tired. I spent the weekend in London for the lovely, lovely Yarnporium and while I took yesterday off, I am feeling a bit rough around the edges today.

I spent Friday at the Victoria & Albert museum in London which is dedicated to arts & crafts and design. I took in the Opus Anglicanum: Masterpieces of English Medieval Embroidery with a friend and also lingered with the sections on medieval European art. Saturday I taught two classes at Yarnporium (and managed to get lost on my way to teaching the Knitting the Landscape class which I thought was very on-message and method of me). I caught up with vendors and friends before heading to an evening do thrown by LoveCrafts in Bloomsbury. Sunday I spent the morning at Yarnporium again meeting awesome folks before spending my last hours in London at the near-by National Gallery.

I had been quite nervous about teaching Knitting the Landscape as the class had been commissioned by Yarnporium and thus was brand-new. The class went really well, actually, and I was blown away by people’s willingness to reassess their approach to knitting. I found it so inspirational to hear people’s stories and I loved how individual all the finished pieces looked. Though there are some limitations to the workshop (such as it can only really work with a large number of participants), I will be adding it to my repertoire going forward and I cannot wait to see how people interpret their world through knitting.

I have only just unpacked my bags from Yarnporium and now I’m off to Northern Ireland. I’m teaching Shetland Lace at Glen Gallery – this will be my third year of teaching their November workshops and I always look forward to my visit. So, laundry to do, samples to air and then it is off again..

.. but before that happens, I just want to tell you something that happened yesterday. I learned that I have been nominated as Designer of the Year in the British Craft Awards. This nomination really floored me – particularly because I am nominated along some serious heavyweights like Martin Storey and Marie Wallin. Having begun designing on a whim whilst working for a yarn company to making designing my full-time career just two years ago and now being mentioned alongside people I really admire .. well,  I cannot begin to tell you how much this means to me. I am not quite sure what to make of it all, but I am so pleased to see woolly chums like Tom of Holland, Knit British, and BritYarn nominated in various categories. It feels like we are slowly changing the conversations we are having about knitting. Hooray.

I’m off to continue work on the book and answer questions from my inbox. Please be patient: I won’t have access to internet or mobile data whilst in Northern Ireland!

Looking Forward To… Yarnporium 2016

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I’m currently packing my bags for London. This weekend, November 5 & 6, I’ll be teaching at Yarnporium which is taking place at King’s College on the Strand.

(Let’s just stay with that mental image for a while. If you had told me 20 years ago that one day I’d be teaching at King’s College, London, I would have swooned. It is so exciting for this bookish girl from Nowheresville, Denmark)

I’m teaching two workshops: my popular Introduction to Shetland Haps class and a new workshop called Knitting the Landscape which I have developed by request. Obviously I’m really excited (and a little bit nervous) about these classes and I cannot wait to meet the people taking my classes.

Teaching is really rewarding: I feel I always leave a workshop feeling I’ve learned something – this can be anything from a cast-on someone’s grandma taught them to a better understanding of why one specific thing can feel daunting for a knitter. I take these things and I pour them into the other parts of my working life – I’m particularly focused on demystifying knitting and helping people the best I can.

You cannot talk about an event like Yarnporium without talking vendors. I have several earmarked already: my friends at Blacker Yarns (we are currently collaborating on my book!), Ginger Twist Studio, Midwinter Yarns, Kettle Yarn Co, Travelknitter (also a book collaborator!), The Wool Kitchen, Woollenflower, Triskelion yarns and the awesome ladies of The Crochet Project .. and that is just to start! Also excited to finally catch up with Knit With Attitude and A Yarn Story! There’s also an Indie Focus section which I’m really pleased to see.

And to cap it all off: I have a thing at the V&A on Friday which relates to my book research. It’s going to be a glorious weekend and I really hope to see a lot of friendly & lovely faces there.

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Yarnporium & A Trip to Yorkshire

Last week I went on a research trip to Yorkshire for my book, This Thing of Paper. It was the first of two research trips and I am glad that I scheduled it while we are still working on the patterns. The second trip will take place later this year and be less visually intensive but perfect for the essays. Thank you to everyone who has made this work possible.

I had a profound experience when I travelled south to York, and I’m going to write more about that in a second. First, though, a very exciting announcement.

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I’ll be teaching two workshops at the Yarnporium show in London this November. First, I’m running a half-day class on knitting hap shawls which covers the classic Shetland hap constructions, how to deal with lace charts, and how to work applied edges. I will also cover any questions on how to customise & design hap shawls. Then, I have developed a class especially for Yarnporium called Knitting the Landscape. This class is an exploration of psychogeography and knitting. We’ll talk flaneuring, urban exploration, inner/outer landscapes, and how to express your own paths in knitted pieces that’ll keep you warm on your journeys.

I’m so honoured to be asked to teach a class like Knitting the Landscape – it’s really a step outside what you’d expect from a knitting workshop and it gets us all thinking about what we can do with our everyday making. I like that.

Now, back to my research trip.

I spent part of my trip in York itself. The city was founded by the Romans, then became a major settlement for the Vikings, before growing into a significant religious site and wool trading centre in the 13th and 14th centuries. Much of York’s city centre is well-preserved within the city walls (of which some date back to 300AD, but most to the 12th and 13th centuries) and the famous Shambles is a well-preserved medieval street. Between my appointments, I enjoyed walking around discovering small details here and there.

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We spent two days at the York Minster itself – one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in the world with various secondary buildings like a library and stonemason’s court. The level of detail is astonishing: little mice carved into the stonework, gargoyles peeking out, statues with changed faces, elaborate cope chests,  and the awe-inspiring architecture of the Chapter House (and its tiled floor). It was easy to spend hours here and we did.

But what I did not expect was to have one profound moment that reduced me to tears.

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve always loved stained glass. The deep, rich colours and the layers of allegorical imagery with so much religious and historical significance .. so when I saw York’s Five Sisters window, I was taken aback.

However, there was something different about the Five Sisters window. It is mostly composed of grisaille (grey) glass with just a few coloured pieces inserted here and there. Grisaille was made by painting patterns on pieces of silvery grey glass. The pieces were then arranged into intricate geometric patterns using lead to hold the pieces together. I speculated that the geometric patterns may have been influenced by crusaders seeing Islamic tiles on their travels (the timeline would be right, I believe).

So I sat there beneath dark windows with strong geometric patterns and I had a strong emotional reaction. The window reminded me of the first time I read TS Eliot’s The Waste Land which was also formed of ‘fragments shored against these ruins’. Something about the small, insignificant pieces that swirled together in highly complex patterns to create something bigger than themselves. Small glimpses of colour and light to break the dark complexity .. the more I looked at the window, the more I cried.

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I later learned that Five Sister was last restored in the 1920s and dedicated as a memorial to the women who died during the First Word War. Mrs Little, a local woman, had a vision of long-lost sisters guiding her towards the window and as she approached, her sisters faded away to be replaced by five women sitting in a garden sewing needlework. I am moved by Mrs little’s words: “After the war was over, when memorials on all sides were being erected to our brothers, I often thought that our sisters who also made the same sacrifice appeared to have been forgotten.” Names of more than 1400 women are inscribed on oak panels nearby.

I sat there for nearly an hour underneath that window and I could have stayed much longer. Great art is what changes us and the way we look at the world. I never thought a 13th century grisaille window would affect me so but it did.

Life is so much greater than just our own tiny selves. We combine to make sense of it all.

With Love From Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2016..

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I just waved goodbye to a good friend who had been teaching at EYF 2016 and was passing through Glasgow this morning. We never got a chance to connect during the festival itself – the weekend was hectic – so it was good to relax together for a few hours. This is what I both love and find so frustrating about fibre events: I get to see all these incredible people but I only meet them for a brief second.

Glimpses of connections. Fragments of conversations. Moments of meeting like-minded folks. I talked to Tori Seierstad on the bus about knitting local and Norwegian spinning mills. Donna Smith made a comment to me that made me think about knitting in a new light. Career advice was doled out (I both gave it and was on the receiving end – there will be a few changes going forward). I saw old friends and made new ones. And so many people I did not even know was there or that I missed seeing.

Never one for big crowds, I stayed away from the really big vendors – but the marketplace still felt really intense. So many lovely people! So much amazing knitwear! Such a buzz! It felt so exciting and so overwhelming. I was very thankful to have Mr D with me – not only does he love a good chat but he was also excellent at supplying me with coffee.

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I think it will take a few more days for me to process EYF 2016. It was more international than ever – I felt this both in the Corn Exchange itself and certainly in my classes. It also felt more colourful – if that makes sense. Knitters were more stylish than ever and I saw so much incredible colourwork and colour combinations. I saw some incredible yarns up close – from undyed single-breed yarns where the vendor could tell me the name of the sheep to the high-end luxury blends with saturated colours. Orange and yellow were everywhere, but plant-dyed yarns were also pretty hot. Shawls dominated (so many Byatts! I loved them!) and socks were definitely less of a thing than they had been in previous years.

But mostly, like all EYFs, it is all about the people. I got to spend time with some very awesome people and it made me so very happy. Thank you Jo & Mica for another terrific year!

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This is one of my favourite photos. We were very, very silly.
L-R: Larissa of Travelknitter, me high on yarn fumes, Helen of the Wool Kitchen, and Amelia of Woollen Words

See You at EYF 2016, Lovelies

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I’m currently knee-deep in prepping for this year’s EYF. It’ll get done but I’m thankful I have Mr D chipping in! We will be at EYF Friday and Saturday (I’m also teaching Sunday). Will you be there? Wave your hands here, so I know to look out for you!!

(Note: I’m *terrible* with names & faces but can spot good knitwear from ten miles away! Don’t be offended if I mess up your name even if we spoke yesterday – I sometimes call my best friend by the wrong name!)

FRIDAY I’M IN LOVE

  • Come & say hello at the Ripples Crafts stand between 11.30am and noon.
  • I am teaching Pattern Writing in the afternoon – it’s a new & exclusive EYF class and I’m really looking forward to talk really nerdy stuff :)
  • I won’t be at the dinner or ceilidh, sorry.

SATURDAY’S ALRIGHT FOR, er, KNITTING (sorry Elton)

  • I’m teaching Faroese Shawls in the morning. Another new class and another one where I get a bit nerdy.
  • I’m doing a signing session/trunk show at Ysolda’s stall at 2.15pm. Bring your Wool Tribe magazines! Come and show me your projects! Grab a shawlfie with me! I’m bringing samples and patterns! Wheee!

LAZING ON A SUNDAY AFTERNOON..

  • Except I’m teaching Beaded Knitting in the afternoon. This is always one of the most relaxing workshops I teach and it’ll be a lovely way to wind-down after a hectic weekend.

GENERAL STUFF

  • Ripples Crafts will be stocking Frances Herself kits & is happy to talk colour choices if you cannot decide! She also has a few Byatt patterns in stock if you are looking for a hard copy. I won’t be bringing any Byatt patterns myself, just fyi!
  • The Queen of Purls is selling several of my patterns (including Mahy and Scollay) and is also bringing some really luscious samples. Her Mahy is just beautiful – go check it out!
  • I have recently cut my hair, so if you see a long-haired chubby brunette with a blunt fringe & black specs .. that is no longer me! I am now a bobbed-haired chubby brunette with a blunt fringe & black specs! I know this is a strange thing to point out but I have had this happen to an acquaintance recently!

RIGHT – WHO’S GOING?! What are your plans?

PS. If you are waiting for an email from me, please be patient. It’s all EYF prep, festival and recovery in Casa Bookish. If it’s urgent, please text me.

Getting Ready for Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2016

March 2015 052I cannot believe Edinburgh Yarn Festival is less than two weeks away. Where did the time go?!

Last year I was so busy that I never really made it into the marketplace and I missed out on so much. This year I may be teaching three classes, but I’ve made sure not to overcommit myself. No pop-up stall, no evening shenanigans, and no .. well, okay.. I do have a few things planned but I’ll get back to those closer to the Festival.

If you have never been to a fibre festival before, I wrote a small survival guide last year. EYF is one of the biggest events on the knitting calendar and my guide contains some great tips.

However, I’ve heard from people that they think EYF sounds too big and stressful – this could not be further from the truth. Despite the apparent scale of EYF, it is rooted in community. It is a real celebration of the knitting community, you’ll be among like-minded people, and there are big pockets of calm throughout. Last year the Podcast Lounge was an amazing place to hang out with comfy sofas, people knitting, and lovely podcasters like Louise, Jo & Louise spreading joy (and calmness). It looks set to be another great year for the Lounge, so that’s a great place to visit if you need a break from the marketplace.

Speaking of the marketplace, I have quite a few places I want to check out.

Blacker Yarns is one of my top priorities. They are sponsoring the Podcast Lounge and I’m keen on seeing the Tamar colour range as well as checking out a few other yarns I am curious about. Jamieson’s of Shetland is always another draw for me. And naturally I am going to swing past my friends at Midwinter Yarns to have a look at their Nordic goodies. I’ve primarily worked with their Pirkkalanka yarns  from Finland, but the Ullcentrum and Filcolana yarns are also well worth a look. The Gotland yarn is particularly lovely but you do owe it to yourself to have a look at Pirkkalanka. I’m also excited about New Lanark showing up to spread the word about their fantastic workhorse yarns spun just down the road from me.

Then the small indie yarnies. I missed Dublin Dye last year and I was kicking myself. The Little Grey Sheep is also on my list (mmm, gradient packs) and I’m so excited to see The Wool Kitchen with their modern, zingy approach to dyeing. If you’ve yet to see the stunning mohair/Wensleydale yarns from Whistlebare, you are also in for a treat. I’ll be there gazing adoringly.

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And perennial favourites too. I think it’ll be the first visit up north for Kettle Yarn Company – do not miss her. Linda has some really special yarns and a painterly approach to dyeing. Caerthan of Triskelion is your go-to man for rich, deep, astounding jewel colours. Eden Cottage Yarns is another must-visit with her soft, wistful colour palette and unique bases. Skein Queen is back this year with her luxury yarns – I especially love her eye for semi-solids. My good friend Old Maiden Aunt will also be back with her dark, rich colours dyed on the West Coast of Scotland. Finally, Wollmeise. If you need an introduction to Wollmeise, try a Ravelry search. Wollmeise is stuff of knitting legends: strong, vibrant colours on bases that appeal to both sock fans and lace geeks. I think she might be quite busy but I’m still planning to drop by.

ETA. Pretty darn excited to hear that the Knitting Goddess is not just bringing her exquisite hand-dyed yarns (don’t miss her Colour Wheels) but also FQs with screen-printed knitting designs. I swooned over them on Twitter and will be first in line to see these wih my own eyes.

Skein Queen Gotland loveliness

Three stalls you and I won’t want to miss:

Shilasdair hails from the Isle of Skye and I used their stunning Luxury 4ply for my Burnet hat you’ll find in Wool Tribe. Their yarns are naturally dyed (the plants are still picked by hand) and the colours are inspired by the Scottish Highlands.

The Queen of Purls is not just my local yarn shop, but also the name under which Queen Zoe dyes her own yarns. She leans towards a soft, nature-inspired palette (particularly good on yellows and oranges which can be hard to find). It’ll be her first time vending at EYF as Queen of Purls and I cannot wait to see her selection.

Ripples Crafts probably needs no introduction either. Helen lives up, up, up north in the Highlands and dyes yarns that reflect her surroundings. She has a big number of fans already, but if you are curious to see the yarn I used for Frances Herself, do pop by. I am certainly planning to do so!

Finally, finally, I am planning on simply catching up with friends. Because Edinburgh Yarn Festival is essentially about catching up with friends, forging new friendship bonds and being part of a big, lovely, squishy community. See you there.

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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.

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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?).

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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.

Yarndale, pt 1 – All the People, So Many People

“You travel a lot, don’t you?”, Lindsay (aka The Border Tart) said to me when we bumped into each other at Yarndale. Sometimes you need other people to state things. I do love a good train journey even when it means loud people at 6.30am or drunk people at 7pm. I love sitting by the window and watching the mist obscure newly tilled fields, the sun set over faraway hills, and the birds heading south in intricate formations. Alas, I don’t have as much stamina as I’d like and so a good train journey often means recovery time at the end of it. I had a seven-hour round-trip to Yarndale Saturday and I spent Sunday reading in bed. Today I am knitting whilst watch the sunlight play in the trees across from the living room windows.

Yarndale was really lovely, actually. I work from home and often I don’t really realise how many of you read this blog, knit my patterns, and follow me on Twitter/Instagram. I live in a little yarny bubble in my little leafy neighbourhood where I know everybody. Then I go to a place like Yarndale and you are all so very real and so very, very lovely. It was so overwhelming in such a fantastic way – so many stories, so many hugs, so much laughter .. it felt very special. I don’t really want to single out anybody but I want to mention two people in particular.

First, the lady from Northern Ireland who unfortunately caught me just as I was heading out to lunch. I am so sorry I had to dash off and not be able to spend more time with you – I really, really needed to sit down and have something to eat. I do hope we manage to see each other in November, but I understand if you cannot make it to the work shop.

Secondly, I was so incredibly pleased to meet Charlotte B. who I have known online for many, many years and whose support & encouragement over the last five years has meant such a lot to me. I would have loved to have spent more time talking to her because I would not be doing what I do today with her stubborn encouragement. Thank you, Charlotte.

I want to show you two moments from Yarndale.

Still thinking about this two days on. #regram @kateheppell and the #scollayalong meet up at #yarndale2015

A photo posted by Karie Westermann (@kariebookish) on

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We had a Scollay cardigan meet-up following the BritYarn and Knit British knit-along this summer. This is one of the most amazing/surreal/strangest/fantastic moments of my life. Look! I was so incredibly pleased that I was grinning like a loon! And I loved hearing all about the modifications – from the gorgeous woman who had turned Scollay into a jumper to the lovely lady who knitted the sleeves flat – and seeing ALL THE COLOURS.

Secondly, then was the book launch party at the Eden Cottage Yarns stall.

Hijinks, I tell you, hijinks. I had never met Louise Zass-Bangham before but often admired her work – and we got on like a house on fire! Not sure Victoria of Eden Cottage Yarns will ever allow us in the same place at the same time ever again. On a more serious note, Louise had sage words to say about friendship in the knitting world. Many of us are like-minded people who share interests and passions – why not make friends with the people you meet? I see so many posts on the Ravelry designer fora about “competitors” and I feel that line of thought means these people miss out on some fabulous conversations with pretty amazing people.

I am so glad that I made it to Yarndale despite a very early start. I hope to be back next year because I really like the atmosphere – it was colourful, warm, and very Yorkshire. I like Yorkshire.

Tomorrow I’ll share my very few purchases and talk about some of the vendors I met.

Yarndale, Hygge & Drift..

This is the week of everything.

My best friend is turning mumble, mumble – but she is in Sweden and I am in Scotland. I cannot celebrate with her and though it hurts every year, this year it feels worse than ever. So happy birthday to Christina, the light of my life. I miss you so much.

This is also the week in which I release three patterns (stay with me) and I’m going to a woolly event in North Yorkshire. It is the week where many other special people celebrate big events. It’s the week where I look at my to-do list and wonder what has happened to my sanity.

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This is Top Hygge – I was feeling very whimsical when I named it! It is the hat that spawned the entire HYGGE collection and the name is Danish slang for ‘peak hygge‘ -when things just cannot get any more chilled or happier. We shot the pattern photos during a picnic on Glasgow Green. It was a slightly damp day, but we had a picnic blanket and food with us plus the most amazing garden surrounding us.

The hat uses exactly one skein of Thick Pirkkalanka from Midwinter Yarns (worsted weight, it runs 170m/186 yrds per skein). It is a slouchy, relaxed hat with easy lace columns and a big pompom on top of the crown. The pompom eats up a lot of yarn, but thankfully the pattern is written so you just keep making the pompom until you run out of yarn!

I’ve been chatting to Estelle of Midwinter Yarns about Thick Pirkkalanka. It is a great woolly yarn with a lot of bounce and I found myself wondering what ‘100% wool’ covered. According to Estelle, the yarn hails from Norway before it is processed in Finland (I believe) and the wool comes from Dala and Rygja sheep. For some reason I thought there was a bit of Spæl sheep involved, but I cannot find any trace of that in our correspondence. I do love a bit of added Nordic-ness.

The next pattern from the HYGGE collection will be released this Friday. Dave and I went north this past weekend and somehow landed probably the best photos we’ve ever shot. It helps the yarn and the pattern are ridiculously photogenic, but I’m still really pleased!

bryggasmThe next pattern is called Brygga. It is a squishy, chunky cowl knitted in two hanks of Ullcentrum Lovikka (again from Midwinter Yarns). I rarely knitted with very chunky yarns, but I really enjoyed working with Lovikka which felt crisp and had great stitch definition. It is a Swedish yarn which is normally used for making mittens in Lapland and neighbouring regions, so I felt taking it out of that mitt-making context would be a lot of fun.. and it was!

Like all HYGGE patterns, I wanted the knit to be cosy and relaxed. I also wanted it to be really wearable and practical. In Scandinavia you are never far from the sea (we are the Viking nations, after all) and everybody spend so much time either on boats or watching the sea from the shore.

Brygga means jetty in Swedish – the quintessential place to watch life go by during the summer (either hurling yourself into the water or dangling your feet) and a fabulous place to rest during a chilly autumnal walk. We shot the photos in a small Scottish fishing village overlooking the North Sea – thoughts turned both to the lost landscape of Doggerland underneath the calm surface, but also of Scandinavia just beyond the horizon.

And then, finally, I am thrilled to say that I am one of the designers behind the brand-new Drift collection from Eden Cottage Yarns. I am honoured to be included with international names such as Thea Colman, Åsa Tricosa, and Justyna Lorkowska as well as homegrown talent such as Louise Zass-Bangham and Clare Devine (among many others).

I was asked by Eden Cottage if I wanted to design a shawl in the most soft, delicious alpaca you can imagine. I accepted the challenge and played with the traditional hap construction to come up with the Swale shawl.

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(photo by Eden Cottage Yarns)

Like so many of my patterns, I tried to keep it simple but effective. If you have never knitted a hap before, this would make a great introduction to the construction. Swale is knitted almost entirely in soothing garter stitch with just the edging providing a little bit of space. The shawl is quite large – but I find that I often prefer large shawls these days and Swale is relatively to knit because ECY Whitfell is a DK yarn. The alpaca also allows for fantastic drape.

You can see all the other Drift patterns at the Eden Cottage Yarns stand at Yarndale this forthcoming weekend. I’ll be at Yarndale on Saturday (catching the dawn train from Glasgow!). I’ll be bringing the HYGGE samples to the Midwinter Yarns stand (meet me there at 12.30!), hopefully get together with the Scollay-alongers at 2pm (check out the Brityarn group on Ravelry for more info), and then see you at the ECY stand at 3pm! Hopefully I’ll also get a chance to browse stalls as a regular person as I missed out on the marketplace at Edinburgh Yarn Festival.

Wowza, what a long post but so much is happening at the moment! I’m off to have lunch and will then attack my inbox with gusto. Wish me luck – and if you are going to Yarndale, make sure to say hello!

Two Events!

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I am currently putting last touches to my workshop schedule for late 2015/early 2016. I am sitting on my hands a little bit as some of the events are not mine to announce, but I can give you the heads up on two of the several one-offs I will be doing.

August 26-28, 2015: In the Loop 4 – From Craft to Couture. This is an academic conference held in Glasgow at which I am giving a paper on the semiotics of knitting with special reference to The Killing. Other speakers include luminaries such as Annemor Sundbø, Lynn Abrams, Jennie Atkinson, Tom Van Deijen, Roslyn Chapman, and Linda Newington. I am so honoured to be involved.

February 27-28, 2016: Joeli’s Kitchen Retreat, Manchester. This promises to be so much fun. I’m running classes alongside Kate Atherley, Jules Billings and Joeli herself. Some very special guests are going to be there alongside exclusive vendors. ETA: Joeli’s down to just eight four slots, folks!

Aside from one-off events I’ll be teaching at various yarn shops as well (old and new friends alike!) and I’ll be posting the schedule as soon as we have worked out all the details. Last year got a bit crazy (along the lines of “if this is Wednesday, this must be Belgium”) so this year I have included some downtime into my schedule, so I can a) sleep, b) spend time with my loved ones, and c) design!

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