Category Archives: Yarn

A Weekend of Dyeing and Weaving with Aviva Leigh

natural dyesLast weekend I went off to reboot my creative vibe, which has been languishing under a layer of brick dust for far too long!  I trotted along to the Norwich studio of Aviva Leigh to spend an inspirational day dyeing with natural dyes to transform a variety of yarns,  followed by a day of mastering a knitter’s loom to create a piece of woven cloth.

We were fortunate that it was a small group, just the three of us in our rubber gloves and pinnies, oohing and aahing as Aviva introduced us to the magic of dyeing with plant leaves, woodchips, pomegranate skins and even crushed beetles! yarn for dyeing - Aviva Leighdye baths - Aviva LeighAviva Leighcrushed beetles - natural dye - cochinealIn my mind natural dyes were soft and subtle, but it’s astonishing how vibrant some of the colours are.dyed wool - Aviva Leigh workshopIt’s also interesting to realise that the building in which  Aviva has her studio is in the heart of the historic textile area of Norwich where the river used to run red with the waste from the dyeing factories.

By the end of the first day our heads were spinning with information!  So much to take in about the history, the geography and chemistry of natural dyes.  Aviva assured us that the following day would be relaxing and mindful, leaving the steamy atmosphere of the dyeing studio to weave our wool samples into cloth.indigo and pomegranate - natural dyesThere were just two of us the next day and it’s a very small world because we discovered that my fellow student follows Planet Penny – so, Hello Tracy!! We had a wonderful day experimenting with colours and textures and different effects.weaving workshop with Aviva Leigh  So much so that we both headed home having bought our looms, despite both of us saying the last thing we need is yet another craft.  It’s just so addictive.weaving workshop with Aviva LeighAutumn weavingI’m itching to get my loom ready for some more experiments but I will have to wait until I have fewer builders in the house.  Today there are four, it feels a bit like DIY SOS! But we really are on the home straight now, despite the fact that we’ve just discovered the new back door fits the aperture, but won’t actually open…ho hum…

I’ll be back soon…x

 

My Knitted Doll Blog Hop – Book Review

My Knitted Doll BookA little while ago I was asked by Sew and So if I would like to join in with a Blog Hop and review the new book, My Knitted Doll.

Now I have to admit I wasn’t immediately sure because from past experience I found knitted dolls to be, well, a bit twee.  However, I was sent some pictures and I have to admit, I fell in love!  Louise Crowther‘s take on the knitted doll is just so darn cute!Martha - My Knitted Doll

There are patterns for twelve different dolls, including a boy, and every one has their own individual wardrobe.  I really like the way the book is presented too; each doll has their own story and name.  I think my only criticism is that I would like more boys and boys clothes, but there is lots of scope to adapt the patterns and to make a special person their own Mini Me.

The patterns in My Knitted Doll are very clear and all the techniques are covered in the back of the book with lots of photos and explanations.

The book is published in November but I was sent a PDF copy to review and couldn’t wait to get the needles out and start knitting.  I chose Jane.  This is Louise Crowther’s version…Jane - My Knitted Doll…and this is mine…My Knited Doll - Planet Penny yarnAnd the added bonus?  Planet Penny yarn is perfect for all the patterns!  So I have a hard copy of the book on pre-order and I shall be knitting my way through it for birthdays and Christmas pressies, if I can bear to part with them!

Find Out More…

There’s a sneak peek below, and HERE you can pre-order My Knitted Doll and get the e-book free!

Find out more on the links below …
Tuesday 11th October – Interview with Louise Crowther on SewandSo
Wednesday 12th October – Eskimimi Makes
Thursday 13th October – The Creations of Crazy Dazy
Friday 14th October – Planet Penny

You can follow the blog hop on the Sew and Sew Facebook page and on Instagram using #MyKnittedDoll.  I’m really looking forward to see everybody’s different versions.  Do tag me if you join in!

Have a lovely weekend, I’ll be back soon…x

Cosy Wool from Cosywool!

Cosywool Comforts…

Cosywool - knittingCosy wool is just the ticket for the cooler autumnal days and in my last post I gave you a tantalising glimpse of my latest project.  As I’ve said before, I’m a bit of a butterfly with my makes so I love something which can be whistled up in a few days with great satisfaction.  It’s even better when I don’t have to stir from the comfort of my armchair, but just order on line!

So my lovely yarn came direct from Cosywool who, with the relaunch of their website,  had the brilliant idea of vacuum packing the yarn before shipping.Cosywool vacuumed packed yarnThis makes it small enough to go through the letter box which means no hanging around for the postman, and it’s weatherproof and animalproof (ideal if you have a dog like Higgins who thinks all parcels are addressed to him!)

I wasn’t sure at first, imagining it might look sad and squashed when it arrived but in fact it bounced straight out of the wrapping looking as fluffy as ever. (And vacuum packing has the added bonus of making your yarn stash look far smaller than it actually is!) Sirdar Click Chunky - CosywoolThe yarn is Sirdar Click Chunky, an acrylic/wool mix in warm Apple Red and I used Sirdar Pattern 76144, also available from Cosywool.  It’s described as a snood but it’s more of a snuggly collar to fill in the neck of a jacket; in a simple two row pattern which makes a gorgeous texture.Snood - CosywoolThis time of year I’m always on the look out for quick, easy and stylish makes for unique Christmas gifts, and I am determined be on top of the present list for once.  I’ve a feeling I shall be working my way through the colour range on Cosywool for my present list!

Ooh, I’ve just mentioned the C*******s word…  I’m really sorry if you are not ready to hear it, or are you planning ahead with lots of knitting, crocheting and sewing in mind?  If you would like to share your ideas, please do, you might just inspire us all with the very thing for a tricky relative!

I shall be back this Friday with a Blog Hop, which I’m very excited about.  Do join me then…x

Crochet sweater - Planet Penny

A crochet sweater for Autumn

The autumn equinox, the first day of autumn…It seems a really good day to unveil my hunky, chunky crochet sweater!

As mentioned in my last post, this crochet sweater was inspired by a Frank & Olive Crochet pattern. However I had different yarn, I was making a different size, I wanted a different neck and longer sleeves and so I had to basically make it up as I went along!

The yarn is  Merino Blend Aran superwash wool (anti tickle too!) by King Cole in a gorgeous shade of Aubergine, bought from the Wool Warehouse. (I love buying from the Wool Warehouse, the yarn arrives in a gauzy drawstring bag which makes every purchase feel like a pressie!)

So there isn’t a pattern as such, but if you would like a crib sheet of how I worked it out I’m very happy to share so please let me know if you are interested.

crochet sweater detail

neck – edged with crab stitch

crochet sweater detail - side slits

detail – side slits

crochet sweater - Planet PennyIt’s exactly what I need for cold winter days in the studio, and there’s just about room for Higgins too!

So do leave a comment if you want to know more.

And I’d also like to ask for a little feedback from anyone who has subscribed to follow Planet Penny by email.  The widget appears to be misbehaving!  If you have arrived here because you’ve received the email, brilliant, can you tell me it’s working for you? If you have been expecting an email, haven’t received one and have arrived accidentally to see where I’m hiding, can you tell me that too?  I will need some ammunition so I can go and moan at someone! Thank you, lovelies…

I shall be back here soon with a review, and news of a super duper giveaway on the newsletter so please sign up for that.  I know that bit is in good working order!

See you soon..x

Edited to add: link to the crib sheet here

The Crochet Retreat with Frank & Olive

Well I’m home, bright eyed and bushy tailed from a simply stunning weekend at the very first Crochet Retreat with Frank & Olive and can’t wait to tell you all about it.

I hopped on a train to York on Friday afternoon and after the taxi driver had negotiated the rush hour traffic I arrived in the peaceful Yorkshire countryside at Deighton Lodge, a converted farmhouse.  Here I was welcomed by Ruby and Kim, of Frank & Olive Crochet.Ruby & Kim - Crochet Retreat with Frank & OliveRuby is a fabulous crochet designer as seen in Mollie Makes, Simply Crochet, Inside Crochet and Kirstie’s Handmade Britain.

As the other ‘Happy Hookers’ arrived we were given a very welcome glass of Prosecco to sip while we gazed with wide eyed wonder at the heaps, piles….mountains of gorgeous yarn which surrounded us.  Just yarn heaven!

Crochet Retreat with Frank & OliveI really wanted to bring this sheep home! DMC sheep - Crochet Retreat with Frank & OliveThere were pattern books galore to inspire us and it wasn’t long before we had all dived in and started new projects and we were a little reluctant to stop to eat.  That is until we saw the gorgeous Greek themed feast which had been prepared, just scrumptious!

And that is how the weekend continued, with fabulous food and drink, more yarn than we could ever use, inspiration, lots of laughter and new friends.  It was exactly what I needed and I’ve come home thoroughly inspired.Marna Lunt - Crochet retreat with Frank & OliveRuby had arranged a workshop with  Marna Lunt the textile artist who is lovely and had us all crocheting, cutting and stitching to make our own creations, I’ve nearly finished mine…Marna Lunt workshop - Crochet Retreat with Frank & OliveThe final luxurious touch was a massage with Nassira, who was fantastic – it just added that extra relaxing element…

So I’ve come home full of enthusiasm and have only been slightly daunted by discovering that our internet is on the blink! So. I might get this published, who knows but hey…I am sooo chilled…

If the Crochet Retreat with Frank & Olive sounds like it might be right up your street you can find out more about it here… and I’ll be back soon to share a few more of my makes…x

Spinning a yarn…

Probably the last thing I need right at the moment it a large consignment of yarn…

My home is full, the studio is full and also the shed.  Full of masses of stuff I’m just not ready to part with at the moment.  But hey, why not just add to the fun and throw in a mountain of colour!

And it’s worked…

Planet Penny Cotton Colours Yarn New Colours

Great excitement today when the yarn arrived.  I had samples of one of the colour collections over the weekend so I’ve already been experimenting and I’m itching to have a play with the other colours, a pastel rainbow.Plant Penny Cotton Colours pastel yarnI hope to have these ready for the Etsy shop very soon, I’ll let you know.

As a little aside, do you like cross stitch?  I’ve inherited sooo many knitting, crochet and needlecraft books from my mum and I’ve had to be stern with myself and say that the one thing I’m not going to have time for is cross stitch.  But I do have these lovely books…Cross Stitch books

…from Donna Kooler, Jane Greenhoff, Katrin Cargill, Patrice Boerens and Better Homes and Gardens.  If you are interested do get in touch via the contact form.

So, I’d better to get to work.  I have a basket of cotton yarn beckoning to me!

See you soon…x

 

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