Saturday, 31 March 2012

Thank You Very Much

As you know, this month we've posted a blog a day. Your response has been amazing.

So we thought we would take this opportunity to say thank you very much to all our followers – without you our daily postings would not have been anywhere near as successful. Eleanor has already posted about the little gift in the next newsletter, so we look forward to you reading about us there as well next Tuesday.

June x

This last month has been great fun ( although my own blog has been slightly neglected ) and hopefully you have found a little more about the three of us, although after a few drinks you may find out more than you ever need to know!! Thanks for all your support xx


And now it's my turn!

It was my idea to do this, on the spur of the moment, and what an idea it was! Our blog stats have near enough trebled for the month and somehow that feels like a big massive achievement that I want to tell the world about. I've been a bit obsessed with checking them...

It's a funny old time for knitters and crocheters with the weather that we've had over the past week but hopefully we've shown you that you can still have some fun with little objects, cottons and bright, funky colours. Now the weather's taking a turn for the 'worst' (I love snow!) maybe it'll give us all a little impetus to finish of those wintery projects just in time for the next bout of sunshine.

We've still got a few posts that were written as part of this blog-a-day month but never got up so we'll not go back to sleepy blog time yet and I've rediscovered my love for blogging so I promise it won't get as bad as it was...

Thank you for reading and make sure you sign up to the mailing list to keep up with everything that we're doing.

Love Eleanor. :)

Friday, 30 March 2012

What an Alternative!

I recently knitted a cardigan in the lovely Heritage DK, and as is the way of these things, I had almost a full ball left over. Fortunately, I had just bought issue six of Knit Now and there was the perfect pattern – the Tangled River hat by Woolly Wormhead.

What I liked most about this pattern was the alternate cable cast-on, which was new to me. It gives lovely stretchy edge which preserves the integrity of the 1x1 rib. And it was so easy. If anyone wants to try it, the instructions can be found here.

As you can see, this rib is a work of art – if I may say so. And the hat itself is a joy to wear as it is so flattering.

So, a big thank you to Woolly Wormhead for both the pattern and the cast-on.

June x

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Mailing List

We've run an e-mailing list for about forever, it was one of the first forms of promotion that we did. It's lovely to do - gathering together thoughts from throughout the month, taking photos of the yarns that are catching our eyes and the patterns to go with them (or sometimes standout patterns on their own), we tell you what's going on with us like events and workshops etc. and generally have a good chat.

It comes out on the first Tuesday of the month. Seems like odd timing I think, but we chose that because when we first started the fabulous girls at The Bead Shop had done some research and that's when they had the best response. So we piggy-back on their experience and hard work...

Anyway, in the March newsletter that went out on the 6th we featured the gorgeous Galaxy DK and a shawl pattern that we think goes beautifully well with it - 3157. And has it generated some sales?! Blimey O'Reilly it has! Haha, this marketing lark, ey?

The day after one of our lovely artisans, Hilary, came in with her versions. She'd seen the version that we have in our shop (knitting by the wonderful Anne, our sample knitter) and wanted to show me hers so we ooh'd and ahh'd and I took some photos. Here's her 15 minutes of fame:

From Afar.



From left to right, she'd used the purple, Mars and Fuschia. I like how subtle the Mars is, not like a 'proper' self-striper - just enough to give it some interest.

Thing about Hilary is that her finishing is fantastic. I think a lot of people get that wrong but Hilary is one of life's perfectionist - her hair and make up is always spot on and it spills over into her knitwear. Lovely, really nice. 

So, if you want to become as inspired as Hilary was - why not sign up and get your monthly Knit Nottingham fix?

This next newsletter we're planning a little gift so it'll do you well to get on there and see what the fuss is about. 

Love Eleanor. :)

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Here's a Lazy Post.

I've been meaning to tell you about this for ages but I've not got round to it and today seems like the day. I'll be teaching lessons for the National Trust! The NATIONAL TRUST!!! I am way over excited about this. We were one of those families where the parents dragged the kids around dusty old houses nearly every weekend. I sort of hated it at the time, I'm sure there was more 'interesting' stuff going on, but now all I want to do on a lovely sunny day is wallow at some ancient architecture and imagine sleeping in a mega short four poster bed finished off with a scone and tea served by lovely women in pristine black and white maids outfits. Because I don't drive, and I'm always so busy here, it's not really an option but I can live vicariously by working there!!

Anyway, this is a lazy post because there's not much to it:

The info is all on there and here but I'll write some bits out in case you can't read that (terrible!) picture.

The knitting will be on Sunday the 8th of April and the crochet will be on Monday the 9th. Both lessons will run from 11am to 4pm and all materials are included. The price is £35. We'll be more or less working the Learn to Knit/Crochet 1 and 2 but we won't have enough time to go through reading commercial patterns - but that explains why the price is a bit higher than a normal one day. We'll be making sheep and working with the gorgeous Pure British Wool Aran.

All bookings are made through Clumber Park itself so if you fancy a lovely day out with your family or friends give them a ring on (01909) 476 592.

Other stuff is going on - I think they're hoping that some little lambs will be born on the day and the spinners will be there too. Hopefully it'll be a lovely day, it was last year, so you can also have a walk through the grounds and bring a picnic. It'll be like something out of my childhood!!!

Also, I'm being paid a proper wage for this which is paying for my holiday so if you'd like to contribute to me not having a nervous breakdown, and you fancy learning another skill, give us a little booking.

Love Eleanor. :)

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

I had an idea

I worked it backwards.

It's my day off today. I got up later than planned at about 9.30. It was nice to have a little lie in. I'm taking some antibiotics so I have to take that first thing and wait an hour to eat. In that hour, for the last week, I've been drinking black coffee, reading the paper and knitting. It's allowed me to finish some socks that have been WIPs since January... I am really enjoying my hour but now the clocks have gone forward I can't seem to wake up with the hour spare, I wake up when I did before and have just enough time but nothing to spare. But because it was my day off I took the hour even if it wasn't really my hour. Know what I mean? So, I had my hour. 

My morning hour sock (the other was just hiding in this photo): 

Then I made an omelette with lots of fresh veg and coffee with milk. Then I trotted off to the local Co-op. It was a lovely walk in the sun and I bumped into one of the lads from the Jamaican shop next door which was unexpected but nice seeing as he carried my heavy bags (manners are big in Jamaica apparently :)). We talked about all the veg in the shop now and that led on to us talking about fruits and then flowers. He dropped me off at the Co-op and lent me a pound coin to get a trolley and off he was on his way but he left with me images of delicious, glistening fruits and bright, tropical plants. I kept thinking about this poem which we studied in my GCSEs - I wasn't fond at the time and I'm not a massive fan of poetry now but I love all the vivid colour she describes. Right here, at this moment in time, is when I came up with my idea

I bought what I had to, which was veg for a jokey but hopefully delicious dinner (I bought a packet of 'Cock Soup' mix from next door...). Then I wandered. The spring sunshine led me to the clothes store at the back of the shop and my eye fell on these little stunners: 

The dress was £5! The sandals a little more but I'm trying to avoid buying throwaway flip flops this year and I only have one other pair of sandals. Lovely summery stuff ey? Perfect for holidays! :) 

Then I nipped to the toiletries aisle. I won't bother you with a description or photo of what I bought but it's all for summer and for pretty-fying as my new hair has made me conscious of not looking like a mad old bag lady... 

And right next to that aisle was the sweetie aisle and right next to that aisle was the dilute drinks aisle. So I set myself up for lunch:

which I ate outside on the decking.

As I'd already read the paper and my hands were too full to knit or crochet all I had to do was look at the world around me waking up for spring. I saw my first big fat bumble bee and countless ladybirds as well as fresh new buds and daffy-down-dillies in all their sunshine gorgeousness. So after lunch I grabbed my camera and had a wander around the garden and then, because I was so excited that the world seemed to agree with me about my idea, I wandered around the house. Photographing this and that. Here is what I saw:

You'll have to forgive the empty tile, I've no idea what happened.


Can't see him? Look a bit closer... 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a big ladybird fancier, but I do love a little splash of colour amongst the strawberries which grow wild in the cracks of the paving. 

I took this photo which I thought was great. It's a big old tree, covered in ivy now, that stands between ours and our neighbour's garden. God only knows how long it's been there but it was an established tree when we moved in nearly 25 years ago. When we were kids, my sister and her friends used to climb up it and sit in its branches eating a picnic-y kind of lunch. I like the pure sky intermixed with the crazy tree branches. 

I thought this was very English:

I took a photo of the very beginnings of my latest beady project. It's a big project with two facets and I didn't realise but it will look just perfect with my new £5 dress and perhaps my new idea.

The final photo I took, as I was about to head upstairs to the office, was this:

It's our front door and I love it. Stained glass is one of the most beautiful things to me and when it's in combination with a beautiful English spring day - is there any more lovely thing? From this photo I took the idea of light, dark and shadows.

I also ought to add a link here to a song that I've been listening to like a mad woman for the last few days. It's been with me as I wake up and when I go to bed and every minute in between. Apparently it's been number one for weeks but I don't give a fig for pop music so I had no idea. I've just discovered it. :) (I might also like it because the first bit is surely, 'Baa Baa Black Sheep'). 

I like the simplicity. 

And finally - the yarn that was my biggest inspiration being the first thing I saw when I woke up: 

Our fabulous Patons 4ply Cotton. Tonight, I shall swatch. Tomorrow I shall buy:

Yellow : Neroli : Nectarine : Red.

And then we'll just have to see what happens. 

So there's my backwards idea. It popped fully formed into my head and then I spent the day being persuaded by the world and the universe that actually, this is just what is needed. It'll fit in splendidly. 

One day I'll tell you what the idea is. :)

Love Eleanor.

P.s. This was written yesterday but I haven't the heart to change all of the tenses so it sounds like it was yesterday.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Inspiration Stations

I took these terrible photos of an antique backgammon board a few weeks ago. Isn't it DIVINE!? The man, one of Mansfield Road's drunks who collects treasures, believes it to be Turkish and I believe him.

Anyway, ideas have been percolating ever since then - and look what I've acquired now:

It's handspun from the lovely SheepySheepSheep Sue, who occasionally sells in the shop but hasn't for a while because she's busy training to be a nurse (could I like her any more?!).

And I was thinking, that, with this:

Which is a terrible photo of the British Wool Aran.

Hmmm... inspiration stations.

I must admit though, that that isn't as urgent as the idea that's been in my head all day. More on this tomorrow.

Love Eleanor. :)

Sunday, 25 March 2012

up to my elbows in fleece

blog 288spinning 001Sometimes I spin nice coloured braids of merino, either dyed by myself or indie artists who dye specifically for the spinners. These are very pretty, create colourful yarn and are generally fun to spin although I now know the better artists to buy from and how to dye without felting the fibre especially as merino tends to felt as I look at it. So something like this by Babylonglegs will spin up to look like this...

More recently, I have been playing with fleece direct from the farm complete with farmyard smells and general detritus. My latest spin was Dorset horn purchased as washed fleece a couple of years ago, carded, spun then washed to remove any remaining dirt it now looks like this.
Blog 2012 237
Dorset horn
Blog 2012 226
Dorset Horn

spinning charlie
freshly washed polworth

Polworth fleece from a fellow spinner made a similar transformation from raw fibre to a lovely soft 2 ply. seen here after washing.

knitting with Charlie

seen here after knitting. I will update you with the contents in the wash bucket in a later back to the house work!!

sue x

Saturday, 24 March 2012

The Joy of Socks

I wrote this post nearly a year ago and it never got published. It's a good one though - shows how my writing style's changed and apparently I was able to sort out adding photos then. I thought about adding them now but it's linked up really well and I really must get ready for the lesson tomorrow. Anyway, enjoy:

I know, I know, not a very imaginative title but it does put forwward what I want to say... I'm talking today about the joy of socks and not just any old socks - hand knitted ones! The joy of creating, smooshing, wearing and even washing hand knitting socks!!

I'll start by saying that it's Thursday the 30th of June and I'm only just cooling off from the last four days - blimey! On Sunday even I could barely knit it was just. That. Hot. Blurgh. Not nice for knitters and crocheters. So I've turned to socks.

You'll know by the amount of sock yarns that we have in stock, that we LOVE socks here at Knit Nottingham. In fact, I'll admit it's a little obsession of mine... I just love the tiny, tiny stitches and the fact that they're quick and easy and I don't have to worry if my bum looks big in a pair of socks!

I've not counted how many pairs I've made in the four or so years I've been knitting them but I would guess it's in the thirties. And that number's only growing since it's about the only thing that my Dad will wear that I knit for him...

Anway - here's a little short of all of the socks that I could muster at short notice - you'll notice there are some not in pairs - even hand knitted socks don't escape the dreaded sock-eating-whilst-its-in-the-wash-monster...


My first sock is the bright orange one - hideous acrylic and holes in my short rows but I did it before I was told I had to be scared of knitting socks. It's funny what you can do when there's nobody else to tell you not to! That's a single sock because in a drunken moment my best friend and I decided to swap socks so we'd be bonded forever. She's lost hers....

Anyway, if you fancy knitting something tiny, easy, dead fun and useful, here's my pick of the best free socks from around the Ravelry and the suggestions for our yarns:

Silver's Sock Class

I've given you this because it's a bog standard basic pattern and works for lots of different gauges (with a little input from you). It's a top down construction, meaning that you work from the calf past the heel and finish with the toe. Once you've done one you'll have a good idea of how the components come together and honestly, you'll be able to knit another sock with your eyes closed! Good for beginners. I'd recommend the Zig Zag sock yarn because it's good and cheap, there's a good range of colours - male and female, and the zig zaggy stripes will keep you interested. Nice.

Target Practice

I've not made these before - but I've admired them since about forever. Absolutely gorgeous and a really interesting concept. I'd say you'd need to have knitted some socks before you attempt this, although really, take no notice of me - it's only sticks and string! I reckon the Fortissima Sock would do for this. It's slightly variegated which will do nicely for this pattern because the lines of pooling will follow the bias of the material.

Komet Socks

Here's a pair that I have knitted. And loved. And my sister ruined. I don't blame her, well maybe I do, but it's my own fault really for only knitting for her in superwash yarn. The yarn I used was from an ebay shop called Angels and Elephants - lovely pinks, greens, purples and blues but mixed together to make some greys - absolutely gorgeous but really expensive! Anyway, I finished them in the middle of summer, tried them on and put them aside to wait for winter - they would have been so mega warm! They caught my sister's eye as she was getting things ready for the wash and - yep, you guessed it. Boo.

But I gave what was left of them to a good friend from knitting club and she made the most beautiful felted brooches and they're in my shop!!

Lovely ey?

I'm going to recommend the Cygnet Truly Wool Rich 4-Ply as a good solid coloured sock yarn in well over 20 shades for only £2.50 for 50g! Blimey! Choose a lighter shade to really show off the stitchcraft. Just a note on this pattern, it's really not a pattern. It's written in German and you only really get the chart. You have to work out how much and how to cast on, what heel and what toe to do. But I promise it ain't hard!


Finally the Skew sock. Which I have sort of knitted. It's one of my many, many, many UFO's but I think it's hanging about for a reason - they're knitted in Colinnette Jitterbug which is a lovely yarn but there's really not much yardage at all, so I'm gonna end up with some short short socks and I'm not sure if I like that look. Also note that because it's knitted on the bias the socks aren't suitable for those with over wide feet, unless you want to do some real maths - the material just won't stretch like normal knitting. It's also a toe up design, obviously meaning you work from the toe to the heal to the calf. There's plenty of designs like that but nothing that looks so striking.

I'll recommend the Fortissima sock for this one because it works as non-defined stripe which will work well with the bias, emphasising the flow of the stitches. It's also our most expensive sock yarn, only £8 though - not too bad, which I think works well with such a special pattern.

Anyway, no more sock talk, I've got work to do!

See you soon,

Eleanor. :)

Friday, 23 March 2012