Waltham Abbey Wool Show – the verdict

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Having taken part in the Waltham Abbey Wool Show on Sunday I should really have blogged about it straight away but to be honest I was so tired when I got home I decided to take yesterday as a ‘duvet day’ and come back feeling refreshed today.

The verdict? The show was brilliantly organised by the Kate, Diane and the ladies of The Crochet Chain. It may have seemed a bit of a shlep from Brighton but as it was actually only 25 mins from my parents’ home it was easy for me to get there. It was held in one of the Marriot Hotel’s meeting rooms and there was a varied selection of stalls including the lovely and hugely talented Janie Crow who opened the show, the exquisite crochet delights of Namolio, the rainbow of hand dyed yarns at Sparkleduck and Yarn Garden and the cute creations of Helen at Woolly Chic. It was lovely to meet new faces and catch up with a few …well let’s just say not so new ones. Of course I’d love to be able to show you a selection of beautifully shot, artfully composed photos taken with my latest model iPhone but sadly the house brick of a mobile that I currently carry around (and which is going soon I promise) can only take what you see below. So note to self, take a camera next time or change phoned and get the shots before it’s too late. Must do better at Unravel…

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Waltham Abbey Wool Show

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A new year and a new wool show. This weekend sees the first ever Waltham Abbey Wool Show which takes place on Sunday from 10.00am to 4.00pm at the Marriott Hotel in Waltham Abbey.

The show is being organised by Diana and Tina who are the ladies behind The Crochet Chain a local wool shop in Waltham Abbey that stocks all sorts of yarnie treats plus haberdashery, knitting needles, crochet hooks and accessories. I kind of found out about this show by accident on Twitter and am very pleased to have got in at the last moment so I’ll be there on this Sunday January 19th selling my lovely soft baby alpaca yarns, beautifully wrapped kits and patterns.

Come and look, touch and get inspired, there’s a Funky hat competition, lots of yarn to squish, demonstration areas as well as lots of skilfully made hand made items to buy.

Advance tickets are just £3 or alternatively you can pay on the door (£4). You’ll find more info on the Waltham Abbey Wool Show website here

Hope to see you there

J x

Brighton, sheep AND twitter?!

I have to admit that although I’ve lived in the Patcham area of Brighton for 2 years now and whilst I’ve made good friends, great apple chutney and questionable homemade cider I’ve never made time to read the local free magazine ‘The Post’. It comes through the letterbox monthly and I generally look at it for as long as it takes to put it straight in the recycling box (I know, sorry!).

I was about to do just that last night when, whilst flicking through the pages, I came across a piece by Caroline Donovan entitled ‘Watching Our Flocks’. Caroline is one of a team of volunteer ‘lookerers’ who help out with the sheep brought in to conservation graze the downland managed by Brighton and Hove City Council. I know that Brighton and Hove has a reputation for being ridiculously ‘hippy’ but the practice isn’t a new one. The sheep (in this case Herdwick) are brought down from hill farms up north to graze the council managed downland and it’s their grazing and general to-ing & fro-ing (not to mention the obvious brown coloured organic benefits  - I mean poo of course ) which prevents the land reverting to scrub with a loss of the various dependant wildflowers and insects. The sheep will be grazing various sites around the city until late Spring and I’ll hopefully catch a glimpse of them when we get up onto The Downs for a walk. In the meantime I’ve decided to follow their adventures on Twitter ( @BHSheep), yes they have their own account.

Conservation grazing sheep on Twitter, how very Brighton.

Danie Cabled Gloves

ImageHere’s the latest release from the Warm Hands, Warm Hearts collection. Danie is a cute but grown up glove pattern that combines twisted stitch ribs, moss stitch  and a twisting cable that wanders up the back of each hand

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The design started out as an idea that became fingerless gloves for my husband Sam. In this case the cable leads upwards from the back of the hand where the 2nd and 3rd fingers are worked in rib whilst the other fingers and thumb are plain stocking stitch. (The palm of the hand is worked entirely in stocking stitch). I knitted the gloves in the Fuchsia shade of my Baby Alpaca DK and couldn’t resist tipping the rib in Chestnut as a contrast. For me it just finishes the glove off perfectly.

I must say a huge thank you to my beautiful niece Danielle after whom the pattern is named and of course Sam for the lovely photographs. The pattern for Danie is now available as a PDF download from my Raverly Pattern Store here.

Happy knitting until the next post

J x

Bramble Lace Cape, Knitting Magazine issue 123

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I’ve just received my copy of the December issue of Knitting Magazine and looks what’s made the cover… my Bramble Lace Cape!

It’s knitted in my Chunky Baby Alpaca and I chose the wonderfully rich red Raspberry Twist shade because, well just because the theme for this issue was ‘Christmas Elegance’. I think that Emma and the team at Knitting have done another great job with the styling creating a festive vibe without going too over the top and having my design featured on the cover is a great way to end the year.

The cape is very simply shaped as it’s knitted flat on a circular needle (due to the width of the piece) with columns of Bramble Stitch alternating with columns of lace. Once the required length has been knitted and the centre back seam joined, the deep rib collar is added by picking up and working into the side edges. It’s knitted on 6 mm needles which means there’s still enough time left for you to make one for popping on with your party dress this Christmas.

Alternatively you could pop over to the website where readers of Knitting can get an exclusive 10% off the knitting kit. Whether you knit one to give or buy the kit I think either would make a lovely Christmas gift. Just use the code given on page 66 when you get to the checkout http://www.jeanettesloandesign.com/

Until the next post, happy knitting and keep warm

J x

Sweet Sweet Brown

This is the second design to be released from the Warm Hands, Warm Hearts mitten and glove collection. Called Sweet Brown these fingerless mitts combine a ball each of Menthe and Bitter Choc from my  Baby Alpaca DK range in an intriguing ‘Portcullis’ stitch. I love settling down with a cuppa and trawling through my many stitch dictionaries for inspiration and having decided that I wanted a stitch that created a crochet effect came across this technique in one of Barbara J Walker‘s ever brilliant ‘Treasury’ series.

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The mitts are worked in the round on double pointed needles so ugly or bulky seams to worry about which is good news as they’re designed to be worn with a neat fit (in the next week ‘ll be posting pictures of them photographed on a model). A column of beaded floats on the back of each hand provides a blingy contrast to the formal stripes and whilst the colours continue to alternate on the thumbs the gussets, worked in stocking stitch, provide a plain contrast to the main texture. If you’ve worked in the round and with beads before you could probably make a pair of these mitts in a weekend so they’re the perfect project to make as gifts.

What’s in a name? Well each of the designs in the Warm Hands collection is inspired by the beautiful women in my family so whilst Mrs T’s Mittens is dedicated to Mum, this one is for my niece Michelle with just a wee nod to the hilarious and now famous Ms Brown of YouTube.

The pattern, which includes full written instructions for 3 adult sizes is now available as a PDF download for £3.00 from my Ravelry Pattern Store here

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Warm Hands, Warm Hearts

Back in December of last year I wrote a blog post ‘The Inspirational Mrs T’ inspired by an amazing piece of knitwear crafted by my lovely Mum (you can read the original post here). Well not only did that dress inspire me to write  but it also sparked design ideas for a collection of gloves and mittens which I’m starting to release today.

It’s called ‘Warm Hands, Warm Hearts’ which is a play on the old adage ‘cold hands, warm heart’ which suggests that those of us with cold hands often conceal a warm heart. Despite the fact that I have such ridiculously bad circulation that my fingers have been seen to turn blue in the height of Summer (note to self don’t pick up cold cans) I’d like to think that my heart is always warm and never concealed.

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The first design from the collection is released today. Mrs T’s Mittens is dedicated to Mum (the aforesaid Mrs T) and as well as taking textural themes from the dress with cables, twisted stitches and bobbles, the shade of my Baby Alpaca DK that I’ve chosen to use is Kiwi which  brilliantly echoes the dress’ original colour, don’t you think?

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The palm of the mitten is worked in purl twist stitch which provides a contrast to the linear patterning and a each thumb is worked in reverse stocking stitch with a cable at it’s centre.

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The gloves which come in two sizes are knitted in rows on straight needles with a grafted top and a sewn side seam and pattern instructions are given in a combination of written and charted form.

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You can buy the pattern as an individual PDF download from my Ravelry Pattern Store here, don’t worry if you’re not on Ravelry yet, it’s free to sign up and you’ll not regret it.  The individual pattern for Mrs T’s Mittens is £3.00 or alternatively the pattern will be available along with the other 5 designs in ebook form (price £8.00) from December 1st. Just in time for Christmas…..