FO: Phyllis Socks

One of the first skeins of yarn I bought from Third Vault Yarns, at Nine Worlds in 2015, was in a colourway called Gallifreyan Sunset.  It’s a measure of how fabulous Lola’s dyeing is that she has me falling in love with colours and dyeing styles that I would normally never contemplate.  Orange is just one of those colours that doesn’t agree with, much as I love its perky cheerfulness.

img_2945But I fell in love with this subtle blend of orange and terracotta, with its flashes of bright yellow and the occasional dusty purple.  And not just for being based on Doctor Who.  Lola tells me that this is such a difficult colourway she can’t reproduce it.   I have one of the few skeins that will ever exist.

img_2947I’d been saving it for the right project, and these socks were the perfect project.  The pattern is Phyllis, by Rachel Coopey, one of the patterns from her collection Coop Knits Socks Volume 2.  I love the textured cabled diamonds, and the definition provided by the twisted stitches.   The long chart meant this wasn’t the quickest of knits.  And it wasn’t helped by a catastrophic case of yarn barf that meant I had to untangle and completely recake the yarn at least twice, once during the middle of one of the panels at this year’s Nine Worlds.

img_2946Hand-knitted socks are perfect for these cold, wintery days.  And it brings me a great deal of knitterly and geeky pleasure to know that under my sober work outfits with their sensible winter boots I’m flying the geek flag with bright and cheerful socks.

Fibre East 2016

After a gruelling few weeks, what could be better than a trip to a yarn show?  I took myself off to Fibre East with a couple of friends for the day about a week or so ago, to soak up the atmosphere.

Fibre East was a new show to me, but it’s become a regular fixture in the calendar.  It has a real focus on spinning and weaving, with some people from one of the local spinning guilds taking part in a ‘sheep to shawl’ challenge over the course of the weekend, scouring, carding, spinning and weaving freshly sheared fleece.

The Sheer Sheep Experience was there, exploring some of the UK’s native sheep breeds and the different characteristics of their coats.  (Though spot the Antipodean interloper on the far right!)

img_2406There was a shearing demonstration, using both electric clippers and traditional hand shears.  The lucky owner of the fleece, which had been auctioned earlier in the weekend, was also in the audience.

img_2396John Arbon had this beautiful antique on his stand.  It’s gloriously steampunk in design.

And there were lots of ways to indulge in some retail therapy.  I’ve noticed that the tougher the time I’ve had recently, the more outlandish my purchases are.  At Fibre East I kept being drawn to 80s style neon colours, in bright highlighter pen shades.  I mostly escaped unscathed, but there were a few I just couldn’t resist.

img_2439This pink, called Pink!, from WooSheeps, called to me from across the hall.  Paired with a more subdued charcoal grey, it will make a fantastic colourwork shawl.  And it comes in generous 150g skeins too.

img_2443I loved the neon spatter dye of For The Love Of Yarn‘s Speckled Lagoon, and picked up a couple of skeins in more muted shades.  They have some fantastic dyeing, and some beautiful shades.  I will definitely keep an eye out for them at future yarn shows.

img_2440As always, I had to pay a trip to see Lola at Third Vault Yarns.  Lola joked that I probably have most of her colourways in one base or another, but I still picked up these two beauties.  The top one (Bad Apples) will be perfect for a pair of socks I have in mind.

img_2448And I paid a trip to Sparkleduck as well.  If you like purple (and who doesn’t?!) Sparkleduck is the place to go.  These are all beautiful laceweights.

But these were probably the most unexpected purchases of my trip, and probably a measure of just how tired and run down I am.

img_2446I’ve never spun in my life.  But I came home with a sparkly top-whorl drop spindle from Spin City, and two lots of fluff.  I nearly succumbed to the one with candy-coloured unicorns, but went for the slightly subtler one with the iridescent heart-shaped confetti and glitter.

So, I guess I need to learn to spin.  Does anyone have any good resources they can point me to?

FO:  Two By Two

Recently I did something I’ve never done before: I took part in a gift swap through one of the Ravelry groups I am a member of. it was organised by Lola from Third Vault Yarns.

The rules were pretty simple.  Each of us would take it in turns to host Sadie, a knitted bunny, for two weeks.  At the end of the fortnight Sadie would get posted on to the next person in the chain with some surprise gifts.  There should be one handmade gift, which didn’t have to be knitted, and one shop-bought gift.

I received a beautiful handmade notions pouch with some stitch-markers and a colourful scarf  The pouch is large enough for a small project  and the scarf has quickly become my go-to office wrap for when the air conditioning is fierce or i just feel the need of an extra layer

Unfortunately, the package spent a week at the sorting office waiting to be collected, so I only had a week with Sadie. She missed the chance to come with me to the Sri Lanka Test Match at Lord’s, and I didn’t get to take her on a business trip to The Hague.  But we packed in some fun.

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After spending some time chilling with Baby Groot, I took Sadie to a recording of a Radio 4 comedy called the Now Show, which was doing a special for the EU referendum. The recording was at the beautiful Radio Theatre in Broadcasting House. Unfortunately I couldn’t get any pictures of the auditorium (not allowed).

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But I did get this snap of Sadie meeting a Dalek just outside.

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And later that week Sadie helped me vote in the EU referendum itself.

But it wasn’t long before I had to wave Sadie off on her travels again, this time with gifts from me.

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My handmade gift was this pair of fingerless mitts, made in Rowan RYC Baby Alpaca DK. The pattern is Hands of Blue by Lucy Hague, a Firefly/Serenity-inspired pattern. I love the texture  created by the twisted stitches. I also popped in some handmade stitch markers and a notebook before sending Sadie on her way.

FO: Narcissa socks

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an FO.  So let’s put that right.  Here are my Narcissa Socks.


The pattern is from Knitting Wizardry, which is the UK title of a book of patterns inspired by Harry Potter.  The book was a birthday present from a friend of mine.  When I saw these socks, and that the pattern was by Rachel Coopey – one of my favourite sock knitting designers – I knew they were the first thing I wanted to make from the book.


The complicated lace pattern – and the rash of baby knitting I’ve had to do recently – means these socks took longer to make than I was hoping.  I cast them on in May last year, and finished them early in April.  (That’s nearly a whole year for a pair of socks!)

Plus they’re right and left-footed, with a column of twisted stitches running down the outside of each foot.


The yarn is a beautiful variegated skein of Posh Elinor, in a colourway called Time, Gentlemen Please.  I love the mix of bold blues, with touches of purples and browns in there too.  I’ve had it in my stash for a while, waiting for the perfect project.

Now I just need to work out what to make from the book next.

Love Your Yarn Shop Day 2016

Last Saturday was Love Your Yarn Shop day.  Last year I was away on holiday, and visited a shop in Co Sligo, Ireland.  This year, I thought I’d stay a little closer to home and visit two of my closest yarn shops, on a bit of a mini yarn crawl.

My first stop was Sharp Works in Herne Hill.  It’s a shop I go past every day on my way to work, but I’d never been inside.

It’s certainly worth stopping for a visit if you are passing – it’s exactly the kind of yarn shop I’d like to own myself.  It has an interesting mix of brand and more unusual yarns, including some things (like Navia) that are a little bit rarer in the UK. There was a whole cabinet full of commercial sock yarn and a few more unusual things.

It’s a busy little shop too – in the short time I was there lots of people popped in and out, many of them looking for help and advice with their WIPs or new projects.


When I’m visiting a yarn shop I normally like to buy something a little unusual that I haven’t been before.  As you can see here, I binged a bit on Juniper Moon Findley.  It’s a laceweight mix of merino and silk that I’ve not seen before in real life.  It has a lovely handle, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it works up.

I also bought this pure silk laceweight from SilkIndian, in some pretty pink and blue shades.  I have  no idea what it will be, but it demanded to be tried.

I went straight from Sharp Works to lunch with a friend in the centre of London.  From there, I walked down to the South Bank and popped into I Knit London.  Nestled in the community of small traders on Lower Marsh, in the shadow of Waterloo Station, IKL has become a bit of a London institution.  It’s founded on the idea of community and has an alcohol licence, so it’s open late into the evening and always has a crowd of knitters hanging out on the sofas and working on their projects.

One of the best things about IKL is the huge collection of pattern books that it stocks, including a lot of US imports and rarer titles.  It’s one of the few places in London where one can be sure to pick up a copy of Vogue/Designer Knitting.  (The other, strangely, is the branch of W H Smith in Victoria Station.)


So while I was in IKL I picked up two issues of Jane Austen Knits.  It’s always an interesting collection of Regency-style pieces, inspired by the works of Jane Austen.

On the yarn side, yes that is a skein of Wollmeise on the right.  IKL is one of the few stores to stock it, and they have a pretty good selection at the moment.  I fell in love with these bright purples. On the left is a skein of Fyberspates Gleem Lace in a some slightly autumnal variegated shades.  The two in the centre are a pair of IKL’s own sea silk/silk blend in some cheerful colours.  They will become a two-coloured shawl at some point.

FO: Sunnyside Cardigan

I think I may now have reached the end of my baby knitting odyssey for 2015-16, with the last of the baby gifts now completed.  That’s excepting normal Auntie-knitting duties, and any other babies that come along, of course.

So, this is Sunnyside.  
I came across this pattern when I read about Sally (soknitsome) making it while on a trip.  Once I saw it, I had to add it to my queue and I knew it would be perfect for a colleague of mine who is expecting.

This is a wonderful unisex cardigan pattern, which is great if you don’t know what sort of baby is on the way.  I made it in Baby Cashmerino, in a lovely shade of French Grey.  It’s a great neutral shade which should go well with most things.

Like a lot of people who’ve made this pattern I modified it so that the cables are mirrored.  I also made the buttonbands a little wider, by adding extra increases, to allow for the buttons I wanted to use, and my preferred one-row buttonholes.

With the baby knitting done, I can get back to focusing on making things for me.

FO: Alberta Shawl

One of my aims for this year, is to make a bit more of a dent in my stash of laceweight and sock yarn.  So, inspired by a friend of mine, I’ve decided to copy her idea and start an A to Z of shawls.  It’s a pretty simple idea: pick a pattern from my ever-growing queue on Ravelry that starts with the appropriate letter, match yarn to it and get knitting.

First up, is Alberta.  
The pattern is by Anne-Lise Maigaard.  It is based, in part, on the famous  designs by Herbert Niebling.  Niebling is known as the father of modern lace knitting.  He collected and documented traditional lace knitting patterns, and they are still used as the inspiration for modern patterns.

Despite the complexity of the design, this was a surprisingly easy and fast shawl to knit.  There is a lot of interest in the design, which made me really want to keep picking up my needles to make progress.

The yarn is Sparkleduck‘s Harmony, in a colourway called Rosemary Remembers.  It’s a 50/50 merino silk blend, which I bought at Festiwool.  It’s quite a subtle colourway, but I love the bright flashes of violet and lime green that pop through it.  To me, they are suffragette colours, which is one of the things that drew me to this skein of yarn in the first place.

It turned out I also had the perfect beads in my stash too.  These are a 6/0 bead in a pretty pink with an AB coating.  That iridescent AB coating perfectly matches the variegation in the yarn.  The weight of the beads also adds a lovely drape to the shawl.  I used around 62g of beads in all (of the 66g that I had), and was panicking that I was going to run out of them – these were not the most uniform of beads, and I had a lot of mishapes and discards to get rid of.

But I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out.  Onto the letter B …