Classes and catching up

Hello!

I think I am almost over the Edinburgh Yarn Festival hangover. If you managed to go, you know it was an awesome event and I don’t need to tell you. If you didn’t manage to go, you probably don’t want to hear about what an awesome event you missed. If you didn’t make it this year, definitely come next year!

I will say that I met some wonderful fibre folk and I came home with some gorgeous yarn.

EastLondonKnit yarn purchases

I tried to be strategic and only bring yarn home with a project in mind. I introduced my current project previously, and it is very much in the works now. It may seem odd that I have mentioned a project revolving around the use of scraps and leftovers, and then come home with lots of beautiful new yarn, but my thinking was this: I want to create a collection that allows people to use up little odd bits of yarn and stash, but it’s also important to me that every design also works with available yarns in only one or 2 colours in larger quantities. I am still in the early stages of swatching and designing, but I am feeling optimistic about it!

Come learn with me!

 

I am pleased to announce some awesome upcoming classes in the next couple of months:

28 April I will teach stranded colour work knitting at Wild and Woolly in East London: Colourwork Magic part 1.

5 May following on from the stranded knitting, we will learn about the mysterious ways of the steek at Wild and Woolly in Colourwork Magic Part 2.

7 May I will be back in Bath teaching Brioche Stitch Basics and Brioche Stitch Next Steps at A Yarn Story, but if you can’t make that date, I will be back in October to teach the same classes.

loveknitting.com

 

And finally, I now have patterns available on Loveknitting.com, including Angelus Novus and several shawl and garment patterns. Please do pop over to have look:)

 

Happy knitting,

R.

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Port Townsend

Hello!

Just a note to start: I am teaching Brioche Basics and Next Steps in Brioche this Saturday at A Yarn Story in Bath. There are still a few places if you want to know everything there is to know about brioche stitch!*

knitting ELK brioche rib tut-14

*Well, maybe not everything… but all the good stuff;)

This January is all about organisation. I can’t tell you how much time I spent procuring planners and calendars and post-it notes. It is simultaneously a type of procrastination and a valuable activity. If nothing else, I am now well-informed of all the things I didn’t get to last year. As I was taking stock of the stash, I came across some very special souvenir yarn I bought last year on a trip to Port Townsend and am dying to show off to you.

Port Townsend is a lovely little town in Washington State, about 2 hours from Seattle. Although you could walk the distance of the high street in 15 minutes, it boasts not one but two gorgeous yarn shops.

Diva Yarn & Trim is a small but well-stocked shop tucked in to a building with several other shops. Many of the usual suspects were there, including lots of lovely Malabrigo among other luxurious yarns, but this is the one that caught my attention:

Yarn Small Blessings Farm

It is a sport-weight, 100% Romney wool in beautifully natural warm grey. The label affectionately informs the reader that this particular skein comes from the wool of Harriet the sheep. How sweet is that? The Small Blessings Farm is a very active small holdings in Enumclaw, WA and I have to admit I am looking for an excuse to visit on my next trip to Seattle. The question about what to do with a single skein of sport-weight yarn remains. It seems like a hat. Or maybe proper gloves. What do you think?

The other prize was Bazaar Girls Yarn Shop and Fiber Emporium.

Bazaar Girls Yarn Shop

I loved this shop. It is all the things a local yarn shop should be, with space for regulars to linger and a great array of yarn and fibre from small producers. I was lucky enough to visit while Kerri, the shop’s owner, was in and got a picture of her in situ.

Bazaar Girls Yarn Shop and Fibre Emporium

The shop is so well-thought out there is even a lovely porch for weary loved-ones to wait on…

Bazaar girls yarn shop

My treasure from this stop was a single skein of worsted-weight indigo-dyed Rambouillet wool. I wasn’t familiar with the Local Color Fiber Studio, but this yarn feels amazing! Another local business, this time from Bainbridge Island.

local color Fiber Studio

Again, I am thinking a hat… But really, I am open to suggestions! I would very much like to hear your pattern suggestions and just what you do with your single skeins of souvenir yarn.

The yarn was only one factor in a wonderful trip. Port Townsend is a wonderful place for a weekend away.

Port Townsend yarn shops

There are an abundance of fearless deer, no doubt the bane of local gardeners, but so damn photogenic.

Port Townsend yarn shops

The town traded heavily on its picturesquely decrepit Victorian history, a.k.a. photographer catnip. I took literally hundreds of photos. So much good texture and colour.
Port Townsend yarn shops

If you have single skein pattern recommendations, I would love to hear them and if you fancy learning all about brioche stitch and are near Bath, please come join the class!

Happy knitting,

R.

Stash & Pain

Hello!

It turns out one of the 7 deadly sins a hand-knit designer can commit is to design with discontinued yarn and it turns out I do this often.  I have only been designing hand-knit patterns for about a year, so I give myself a little leeway with the mistakes, but I have used discontinued yarn for at least 4 of the patterns I published this year.

I was reminded that I should do something about this sorry state of affairs as I was  listening the latest episode of knit.fm.  Hannah Fettig was all about the stash and her superb new Knitbot app and I was chivied into action to do something about my own.  So this morning, the only thing to do was an airing of the stash, ala Brenda Dayne.

So I tipped all the bins out and started sorting.

ELK stash before

before.

Compared to some, I realize this is small fry.  But for me, the issue of stash guilt is bizarrely real.  It drives me nuts to have all this lovely stuff, some of it for many years, and not have enough time or hands to make it All the Things.

I began the good work of sorting through what was truly loved and in significant enough quantites to design patterns.

the real ELK stash

In other words, the real stash.  There is something inherently beautiful and useful in each of these yarns.  There is luxurious Quince and Co., Heritage silk Cascade, but also a sweater quantity of Drops Alpaca and cascade 220. It all speaks to me somehow.  And none of it has been discontinued.  Yet.

So now I have this lovely little selection and want to know how to avoid putting this all back into a dark and unseen cupboard?  What are your stash display strategies??

Then there are the odds and ends.  Some beautiful, some cheap and cheerful.  I imagine in the near future I will be very organised and run knit-alongs with every new pattern I publish.  These will be some of the yarns that will go into goody bags and be the kind of random thing I could give to someone else to make something wonderful.

Give away ELK stash

Then we have the random swatching yarns, things I couldn’t quite get rid of, such as left over bits from projects that I loved.  These have gone back into the plastic bins…ELK Swatching stash

Which just leaves me with the last group.  The banished yarns. The full balls will go to Wild and Woolly‘s super Stash Depot.  So no problem there.  The other, much larger bag to the left, though, is a problem for me.

Stash to deport It doesn’t look so large in the pic, but it is around 5-10 kilos of odds and sods. Full balls without ID.  Many partial skeins and balls, even parts of garments.  The obvious answer is to just throw it away.  But this kills a little bit of my wish-I-was-an-eco-warrior soul.  I had a look on Ravelry, and none of the yarn collecting groups seemed particularly current, or nearby.  I am happy to send it/take it somewhere in the UK, but postage elsewhere would be too pricy.  I am open to suggestions.  If you know of any art projects/people who do amazing things with old yarn, please let me know!!

Happy knitting,

R.