Sunday, 29 April 2012

News From My Needles

I have been enjoying some good knitting time lately and have some FOs to share with you as a result. Firstly, do you remember the Never Ending Socks? Well, they are finally finished and I absolutely love them! The pattern is from the Laura Chau and is called Delicious Knee Socks.

I knit these up in the 'Brassica' colourway of Lush Sock with Tosh Merino Light in the contrasting 'Patina' colourway. These two yarns worked really well together and the sunshine yellow is making me feel very much like Spring (even if the weather isn't!) I definitely think that toe up and two-at-a-time socks is the method for me as I don't think I could knit a second sock this long!

I originally cast these on as part of the Uncommon Thread Sock KAL but needless to say I didn't finish in time. I am really pleased I went for it, but these were quite a long project. Worth it though, I absolutely love them!

There will be more FO news very soon....

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Marrakech (Part 2)

In the first part of my Marrakesh story I talked about how busy the city is and the experience of walking around the Souks. One of the things that really stood out about Marrakech was the way in which the main square changed at night. The best time to see the main square is probably around dusk when all the locals come out and there is lots of theatre and storytelling in Arabic. This felt thoroughly authentic and not like many of the things that are put on during the day for the tourists. Everywhere you turn there are food stalls offering all kinds of things like snails and soup and the air is heavy with the smell of food and spices.

There were a few times during the holiday there I was little unsure of what was expected of me as a tourist. For example, Moroccans have a very friendly and welcoming culture and you are often greeted as you walk about. However, you can sometimes quickly find yourself in an encounter with a snake charmer and unsure suddenly what to do! It can be a little difficult to understand the intention behind all of the new encounters but for the most part we really enjoyed ourselves.

One of the best moments was when we took a two and a half hour ride outside of Marrakesh into the hills and found a rug shop where we could buy authentic woven rugs. The man who was there to help us kept pulling out lots of fabulous rugs and talked through the kinds of dyes that were used and the animal that the wool came from. It was absolutely fascinating to me and the most exciting part was when he talked about the two women who had worked on the rugs by hand. Each day, for a few hours, the two women would sit together and weave or hand embroider the rugs while chatting and telling each other stories. This process can take three months and now that I have some of these rugs for myself I can't help but wonder about all of the stories that have been woven into the fabric.

Unlike much of the market, there was no expectation to haggle because the prices are fixed as the work is produced by a cooporative. It meant that the money goes directly to the workers and I could be really proud of the rugs that we came back with. The funniest part was that the owner asked if we could pay in cash to save them losing any money to the card company but we didn't have any with us that day. Instead of this being a problem he gave as the rugs and simply asked that the driver bring back the money once we had been dropped in Marrakesh to pick up some cash. We couldn't believe how trusting this man was. What an amazing experience!

Monday, 23 April 2012

April FO parade

April seems to be living up to its reputation for unpredictable weather, showers and generally feeling a bit gloomy. Rather than wallowing in this feeling, here is this month's FOs to inspire you. I don't think anybody could feel gloomy when they look at these amazing projects.

Dutte completed a beautiful cardigan recently and her project page is full of really cute pictures of her modelling the finished project. She looks so pleased with her work and it's not hard to see why. The pattern is called Acorns by Carol Sunday and can be found in Twist Collective's Fall 2010 issue. Dutte worked her version up in just under five skeins of Lush Twist held double in the colourway Nimbrostratus. It is absolutely gorgeous!

There is also a hint of things to come from Dani of Lioness Arts who has designed a very popular and extremely stylish shawl using a combination of her own yarn as well as Heavenly Fingering. Dani is currently experimenting with the design and assures us (her eager fans) that the pattern will be released in time for summer. In the meantime you can view one of the versions here on her project page. The colourway used for this version was Tea Smoked, a beautiful dusky shade of pink.

These socks knit up by Periwinkleblue are absolutely lovely and make great use the BFL Sock base in the colourway Nutcracker (the colourway for the February yarn neutrals club).The pattern is Polypodium Vulgare Socks by Hunter Hammerson which has lots of interesting construction features. The pattern and colourway are the perfect combination as the texture of each really suit each other.

Next up we have this beautifully intense shawl knit by Bluepetrole in 2 skeins of Silky Merino Fingering in the colourway 'Charred'. This shawl was a test knit the newly published pattern by Astrante called Campanule. The pattern includes different options for a different size shawl but this larger size looks absolutely luscious.

Finally, Pebbledashdiana has knit up this wonderful version of Veera Valimaki's 'Colour Affection' and can you believe this was only her first shawl? What a way to start! This was worked up in 2 skeins of Super Sock: 'Charred' and 'Cobble' as well as the lovely blue ('Constellations') from Lioness Arts 'King of the Jungle Socks'.

It's always such a pleasure seeing what people create with TUT yarn. Thank you for sharing ladies!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Marrakech (Part 1)

Last month I travelled to Marrakesh and have so much to tell you about this wonderful city. In fact, I have so much to tell you that I'm going to break it into two blog posts. The great thing about travelling is the stories you come back with the photography that you can share.

I have never been to Marrakesh and I imagined it to be very similar to some parts of Tunisia that I have previously travelled to with Souks and winding streets. I got quite a shock initially because all the Souks in Sousse were on an incline and therefore only space for pedestrians. Marrakesh isn't like this at all! As well as pedestrians on the streets there are donkeys, horses, carts, cars, vans, mopeds and motorbikes to deal with. I was quite overwhelmed at first at just how busy it was although once I got used to it, I absolutely loved it.

There is so much to see everywhere you turn in Marrakesh and one of my favourite things was the number of people who craft out on the streets. Whether they were working leather, turning wood, working metal or dyeing fabrics and yarn, there was just so much to admire. Every single crafter was very talented and being able to share this with my son Indi was an amazing experience.

For his part, Indy coped really well with the whole trip as he's a bit older now and can walk about easily. He was really interested in everything we saw and it was great to share so much with him. I would say his favourite thing was definitely the camel rides and he was well looked after because Moroccans love small children. Everywhere we went he got lots of attention and this culture is definitely one that embraces children exploring their environment.

This wasn't the most restful of holidays as you can imagine because it was just so stimulating and inspirational. There is constant noise and hustle and things to see at all times of day (I will tell you little bit more about this in the next post). For now I want to share some of the wonderful colour inspiration that I'm looking forward to drawing from when I next had the chance to play an experiment in the studio.

Monday, 16 April 2012


Lisa Mutch has produced another beautiful design using The Uncommon Thread yarns and I wanted to share the details with you as the pattern has just been released.

Serrate is a graphic cowl that makes use of some of Lisa's favourite design features: stripes, garter stitch and interesting lines that make for an unusual and appealing accessory. Knit in the round, the sharp and angular point gives Serrate a modern feel and would be perfect for the between seasons weather that we seem to be having lately. 

The pattern calls for two contrasting colourways of The Uncommon Thread Silky Alpaca Sport - another pleasing texture to this interesting knit. This base consists of 80% Superfine Alpaca and 20% Silk which appears both smooth and the little fuzzy in texture when it is in the skein and produces a beautiful drape when knitted. Knitted items will be soft, smooth and feel divine when worn close to the skin.With 286 yards (262 meters) per 100 gram skein, a purchase of this yarn would be ideal to knit sweaters, shawls and cowls as well as some pretty luxurious feeling socks!

You can find this yarn exclusively at Tangled Yarn and don't forget that you can keep in the loop about updates by following me on Twitter, Facebook or joining the Ravelry Group.