Lancashire Lass

Last week I went ‘home’ to Lancashire to see my parents for a few days taking the 2 youngest boys along for a bit of a holiday.  I haven’t lived there for over 20 years, since I left University, but I still consider it to be home and am proud to be a Lancashire Lass who hasn’t lost her accent, or love for meat and potato pies and chips with gravy.

We spent quite a bit of time just chilling out at Mum and Dad’s, playing in the garden, swimming and doing local walks.  I went to visit my brother’s grave as it is nearly 3 years since he died.  He is in a lovely spot next to fields and it is a really peaceful place although it still upsets me to think that his life was so short; he died at the age of 37.

Towards the end of the week I took Mum and the Littlest to Sizergh Castle, a National Trust property on the edge of Kendal.  Sizergh is a medieval property set in beautiful countryside at the gateway to the Lake District.  It is still lived in by the Strickland Family and boasts a lot of ancient wood panelling some of which was in the V&A until it was returned to the house in 1999.  You aren’t allowed to take photos inside the house and although there were some interesting artefacts it wasn’t my favourite NT property.  I found it a bit dark and gloomy and it was very draughty.

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In the gardens there is a lot to see, and I would definitely recommend a visit during the Summer to see the Herbaceous Borders and the walled Kitchen Garden which looked very bare when we were there, because of the time of year.  However, Littlest loved the very scary Scarecrow 🙂

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He also loved pulling faces at his reflection in the water tank

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We loved the hens, especially the Lemon Cuckoo Neiderrheiner Cockerel who was strutting his stuff

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and generally running around to keep warm on what was a very cold day

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After lunch we went into Kendal to visit Williams Wools, a lovely wool shop on the High St which is owned by Adrienne Williams

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Th shop is a lovely haven of yarnie goods..there are local hand dyed yarns, as well as Rowan, Arancunia, Noro and many other brands. There is a really comfy sofa area in the middle of the shop and lots and lots of samples on display for inspiration

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I bought two skeins of Botany Lace to make a striping shawl, the variegated mustard yellow/grey in the middle and the solid mustard yellow on the right

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It was a lovely few days in a lovely part of the world.

Kirsty x

Languedoc Shawl

I have recently finished a gorgeous shawl commission for a lovely customer who lives in France.  The shawl is my own design and the yarn was dyed by me in colours requested by the client.

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If you would like your own uniquely designed shawl knitted in yarn dyed in your preferred colour scheme get in touch at kirsty@mossstitch.com

 

Just thought everyone would want to see this gorgeous shawl designed by Jemima Bicknell and just released. It is truly gorgeous.

Kate's Twirl

The Zelda Shawl by Jemima Bicknel
Jemima in the small Zelda Shawl

My lovely friend Jemima has just released her first shawl pattern – and boy what a pattern to launch with!  The Zelda Shawl is a truly gorgeous beaded shawl with a lace and beaded edging.  The shawl has been named after Zelda Fitzgerald, the original 1920s ‘flapper’, and the lace pattern is Art Deco inspired.  You can buy it on Ravelry on Jemima’s page: Jemima Bicknell Designs.

There are instructions, both written and charted, for a small and a large shawl.  The small shawl is black with silver beads and was knitted using approx. 400m (440yds) of laceweight yarn.  Shown above in Knitwitches Seriously Gorgeous Swiss Silk 2ply Laceweight (100% silk, 600m (660yds) per 100g). The large shawl was knitted in cream / pale gold with gold beads, using approx. 600m (660yds) laceweight yarn.  Shown below in BC Garn Jaipur Fino (2ply) laceweight, 100% silk, 600m (660yds) per 100g), Pale Gold, shade h69. …

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A new shawl

This week I have been dyeing yarn for a shawl commission, which will be winging it’s way to France when it is finished.  It’s always quite stressful dyeing yarn for people when they can’t just pop around to see the colours.  I can photograph them and e mail them, but the colours are never as true as they are in the flesh so you just have to hope it will be ok.  It does help that I now have a brand new SLR camera which takes much truer photos than my old compact or my phone which I used to use a lot because it was so easy to upload photos to Twitter etc.  But no more!!  It’s actually quite easy to upload images from the SLR as there is an SD card port on my Laptop and it will mean I can be more organised about photo storage too.

The colours that had been requested for the commission were silvers and silvery blues.  Because these are very similar I also dyed some dark grey so that I can use this as a darker contrast in the middle of the shawl border.

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The dark grey, which is blurred in the background is ‘Blackbird’. On top of this is the main colour for the shawl, ‘Woodpigeon’ and the two colours in the foreground are ‘Lapwing’ – the small ball on top and ‘Stock Dove’ on the bottom.

All my yarns are dyed in skeins and then I have to wind them into balls before they can be knitted with.  The smaller ball has been wound round a friend’s hands..it looks like a traditional ball of wool that you see in pictures or drawings.  The ball on the bottom looks more like a cake and has been wound using a swift and a ball winder.

A swift looks like an umbrella and is used for holding the skein.

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This keeps the wool at an even tension while it is being wound onto the ball winder

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So now the wool is all wound I had better get on with the knitting. Design is a secret for now 🙂

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Visual Overload

Visual OverloadYesterday saw me leaving home at 8am to drive to Unravel at Farnham Maltings in Surrey to attend Unravel, a 2 day knitting festival.  I only went for one day as I failed to persuade E to be in charge at home for the whole weekend.  He says I spend too much of my life surrounded by yarn as it is, so I guess I was lucky to even escape at all.

Farnham Maltings is a fabulous creative space based in the heart of the lovely Surrey town of Farnham.  It is home to artists’ studios, has a theatre and runs numerous courses and exhibitions.  In its history it has been both a tannery and a brewery. You can read more about its interesting past here.

The 2013 theme was focussed around the Best In Show illustration which was commissioned by Farnham Maltings from Illustrator Amy Blackwell and gorgeous project bags with the image were available to buy.  I of course had to grab one even though I have a trillion project bags already.  Oh well, I can always hide my yarn in it.

My friend H and I started the day doing a two hour workshop on dyeing using dye powders derived from plants and natural sources with the very talented Judy Hardman. You can’t do a huge amount in 2 hours but we got to mix a variety of naturally derived dyes to get different colours

2013-02-23 11.15.31 The yellows along the top were from pomegranate, Fustic, Dyers Broom, Coreopsis

The second row are purples and reds from Logwood, Madder and Lac with the yellow of Weld at the end

The third row shows Teal, Saxon Blue, Logwood Purple (which gives a grey) and Sorghum

We then dyed small skeins of wool and silk using a microwave to fix the colours.  It has definitely enthused me to try more dyeing from plants, both using available powders as well as plants from the garden. A selection of yarns dyed by Judy were on show which were beautiful.  Unfortunately she wouldn’t let me take any of them away 😦

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I love Unravel for its support of independent dyers, pattern designers and small British yarn companies and wasn’t disappointed this year.

I saw my lovely friends Max and Margaret on the Millamia stand and got to have a sneak preview of their latest adult collection Colour Coded which is beautiful and I cannot wait to knit the sweetest 3/4 length sleeve tie neck cardi.  Don’t think Margaret wanted her photo taken!!

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I also got to meet some lovely people who I chat to on Twitter. Danielle who runs A Stash Addict was exhibiting for the first time.

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 I bought a skein of vareigated pink/purple sock yarn to knit a small shawl

And there were some lovely woolly sculptures

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It was a compete overload of visual amazement, a day of joy of catching up with old friend and of seeing new friends.  I was bowled over to meet the very talented designer Ruth of Rock and Purl and Green Triangle Girl who broadcasts the fabulous knitting podcast and blogs at A Playful Day and can’t wait for next year.

Kirsty xx