Category Archives: Inspiration

Kaffe Fassett exhibition at the American Museum in Bath

20140328-202556.jpg

20140328-202801.jpg

20140328-202857.jpg

20140328-202936.jpg

20140328-203010.jpg

20140328-203048.jpg

20140328-203121.jpg

20140328-203149.jpg

20140328-203235.jpg

20140328-203348.jpg

20140328-203447.jpg

20140328-203545.jpg

20140328-203612.jpg

20140328-203659.jpg

20140328-203740.jpg

20140328-204422.jpg

20140328-204515.jpg

20140328-204542.jpg

20140328-204615.jpg

20140328-204646.jpg

20140328-204744.jpg

20140328-204834.jpg

20140328-204941.jpg

20140328-204959.jpg

20140328-205021.jpg

Go see it if you can – it’s awesome!
The exhibition will be running at the American Museum in Bath UK until November.

Take your family and friends and follow the Easter Yarn Bomb Trail in April!
>

20140328-210641.jpg

Advertisements

Meeting Erika Knight

I’m a big fan of Erika Knight and her beautiful range of yarn so I was extremely excited to hear that Erika would be visiting Beshley’s Wool Shop, one of my local yarn stores in Bristol today, to give a talk and sign books.

042

Beshley’s Wool Shop, stocking a gorgeous selection of yarns all sourced from within the British Isles, opened this year and you might remember me writing about it here.

Erika’s enthusiasm really shone through as she chatted to us about her career and her passion for design, knitting, crochet and home grown British wool, whilst we sipped tea and munched on cake kindly provided by Beshley.

We talked about how knitting is timeless – it can be very low tech, requiring only a ball of yarn and some needles, and yet coupled with todays new technology – the internet, Ravelry etc, it can take over the world!  One of Erika’s favourite quotes is that ” knitting is the saving of life” (Virginia Wolf, writer & knitter 1882-1941) – knitting is something that can be turned to at any stage of life, for all sorts of different reasons, and her message was ” its never too late to start”!

Erika has also worked with Rowan Yarns and we learnt how together with Marie Wallin, Rowan’s Head Designer, the Rowan British Sheep Breeds range was developed, to help support British hill farmers.

Erika later developed her own range of yarn, which is 100% British made and manufactured.  The collection includes Fur Wool, Maxi Wool, Vintage Wool and British Blue Wool with a colour range that is simply stunning:

Erika2

All of the colours in her range are designed to go together and coordinate and Erika has developed a selection of knitting and crochet patterns focusing on fashion accessories, that are simple and quick to knit.  I particularly love her Knit it Tonight Posters with each poster including patterns that can be knitted up quickly in one evening.

Erika5

Erika also kindly showed us how to do Swiss Darning, a form of embroidery which can be used to quickly add interest to knitted pieces.  This is such a great technique and I’ll definitely be trying it out myself.

Erika4

Erika and Beshley at the end of a fabulous afternoon:

Erika3

I left feeling VERY inspired  – I’ve had a fantastic afternoon – thank you Erika & Beshley.  I’m off to knit!

Links:

Erika Knight

Beshley’s Wool Shop

Rowan Yarns British Sheep Breeds Range

Have a fun weekend!

Claire x

Walled Gardens and Lavender Fields

Last week, we decided to grab a much needed day out before the end of the school term, just the two of us.  Its amazing what you can find on your doorstep for free without really travelling very far…
014

First we stopped off at the Walled Garden in the village of Mells.  I LOVE cottage gardens and would so love to have a garden like this.  Sadly, my garden seems to be a little overgrown with a few too many weeds at the moment!

015

020

018

021

019

024

We stayed for lunch – wood fired pizza from the Walled Garden Pizza Oven.  Soooo delicious! (Make mental note to research building a wood fired pizza oven at home!)

022

035

031

On the way home we called in at the local Somerset Lavender Fields.  We’ve driven past the sign for the Lavender Fields many times on route to other destinations and I had no idea what gorgeousness lay hidden a short distance away from the main road.  With the heatwave that the UK is experiencing at the moment, it felt like we were in Provence! The views and the scent of the lavender was amazing:

058

065

041

042

067

There were even some lavender coloured sweet-peas!

059

Just enough time to enjoy the Lavender before a quick dash off on the school run.  A fab day out!

Do you love cottage gardens and lavender too?  Do you have a favourite flower?

Happy Holidays!

xx

Granny Bunting Fun and Crochet for Children

118

If you’ve been following the wonderful Attic24 blog, you’ll have heard all about the Yarndale Festival, a festival of creativity and craft, being organised in Skipton, Yorkshire this September. Inspired by Lucy of Attic24’s request for granny bunting for the event, and looking for something fun to do during school half term, we dived into our basket of Stylecraft DK stash to crochet some granny bunting triangles – how could we not oblige!?

125

My 10 year old daughter who is quite a crochet whizz these days (I had better watch out!) quickly whipped up a triangle or two whilst I was searching for Lucy’s bunting pattern on her blog. Proud mummy moment:

photo

Making the granny bunting is really quite addictive and we’ll be sending some off for Yarndale (the deadline for sending in bunting is the end of July if you would like to make some too) and also using the pattern to make some granny bunting for our camper van and maybe the chicken house – my girls think it might brighten up their day! (watch this space…)  Thank you Lucy for a super pattern and tutorial!

photo (1)

133

Here’s a snap of some of my granny bunting using my little stash of Rowan Handknit Cotton:

photo (5)

It’s great to have a child who shares my passion for yarny things. We taught ourselves to crochet using You Tube and books like Nicki Trench’s Cute and Easy Crochet.  A great little book for teaching children to crochet is ‘Kids Learn to Crochet’ by Lucinda Guy.   It features simple language and sweet animal illustrated characters with step-by-step instructions to help children to master crocheting chains and basic crochet stitches with projects such as a striped toy cat, a small bear, a sweet bag and some flowers.

In the early days, we went along to and were very inspired by a Scumbled Crochet workshop run by the talented Tamsyn G where my daughter made this gorgeous freeform crochet heart with ribbon and beads which we have in a little wooden frame:

20130603-111251.jpg

If you haven’t tried scumbled crochet yet, do check it out, its really fun and the results are quite beautiful.  You can see some of Tamsyn’s projects in the gallery on her blog here.

Here’s a snap of my daughter’s latest scumbled crochet project.  Its fun, portable and you can add to it whenever you fancy a spot of crochet:

photo (4)

Another great crochet book for kids that I’ve discovered is ‘Crochet for Children’ by Claire Montgomerie:

116

It contains lots of delightful projects (adults might be tempted here too!):

117

There are sections on techniques, including tools, how to hold the hook and the yarn, and instructions on basic stitches. The projects are set out in themes that include ‘warm and cosy’, accessories, bedroom essentials, playtime and amigurimi toys.

photo (3)

The author has also written a knitting version ‘Knitting for Children’ which is equally gorgeous and contains ’35 simple knits that kids will love to make’. We have a copy of this too!

20130603-081055.jpg

Of course, the younger members of the family shouldn’t miss out – I bought this second hand book recently for my three year old:

120

I love the start of the book:

122

The illustrations are so lovely, don’t you think?

124

The littlest member of our family likes to call our crocheted Granny Squares ‘Grandma’ and ‘Grandpa’ Squares: so cute!

P.S: I haven’t been asked by the authors to review these books – I just happen to like them 🙂

Claire x

Wooly Weekend Wanderings

We’ve been on a couple of fun wooly weekend family outings recently that I thought I would share.  If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you might have seen some of these photos already 🙂

061

In April we went to the free Secret Garden exhibition organised by the Milestone Trust at the Paintworks in Bristol which was designed to “bring the outdoors imaginatively indoors, and explore the way in which people interpret and play with green spaces”.

Entering through the enchanted forest of hanging trees, we followed the needle-felt sculpture trail,  through the graffiti tunnel to the beautiful secret garden with its knitted and crocheted plants.

050    052

053  057

Look at these sweet sunflowers and pom-pom tree:

060  063

A treehouse city:

064

Knitted vegetables and a knitted fruit tree:

069  070

As we left the Paintworks, I admired these Airstream Caravans and the cool urban landscape:

079  080

Stopping for a picnic lunch, we popped across the road to Arnos Vale Cemetry to discover it’s famous yarn bomb trail.  Arnos Vale Cemetry is steeped in Bristolian history – it was established by the Victorians in 1837 providing 45 acres of heritage and a rare wildife haven in the city.  My great great grandparents are buried there.  The cemetery is open every day all year round with “visitors being free to wander the site’s extensive network of paths, watch seasonal change and nature, discover the fascinating stories told on gravestones, pay respect to lost loved ones or heroes, follow a themed trail or sit and contemplate in a tranquil setting. Visitors can also take advantage of an ever-expanding range of exhibitions, self-guided trails, guided walks and events”.

As we set off, the start of the trail looked really quite promising….

082

Squeals of delight could be heard as my girls discovered the various wooly delights on display on a pretty primrose lined path that led down to the Atrium Cafe…..

087  093

090  101

104  108

094   100

098    106

Before our journey home, someone I know who really likes to crochet might just have left a little something behind…. I wonder if its still there!?

119

Our other wooly adventures in April took us to beautiful Wales and an annual visit to Wonderwool Wales.  Another great family day out.  I didn’t take quite as many photos as I did last year.  Here are a few favourite snaps from our day:

Shetland Sheep:

016

Inspiring crochet:

018

020

Obligatory welsh icecream from Llanfaes Dairy in Brecon (Blackcurrant flavour incase you are wondering!?):

014

Giant knitting needles and kits available from Abergwenllan :

025

A fantastic crocheted ripple blanket incorporating wool from 44 British Sheep Breeds from Eden Cottage Yarns (there are more details and photos on the ECY blog if you are interested):

026

An adorable ‘knit your own fox’ from BomBella Knit Kits:

017

And lovely vintage knitting accessories:

030

There was also an amazing knitted garden on display:

023

We drove home through some spectacular scenery in Mid Wales:

031

And headed home over the Severn Bridge:

IMG_0233

April was certainly a yarn-filled month.

Have a great weekend; I’ll leave you with a photo of some cheery Spring daffodils!

010

A Hat for the Spring : Adventures in Softknit Cotton

085

Remember this ball of beautiful indigo blue softknit cotton from my Rowan Beach Shoot ?  This week I couldn’t resist it any longer – I had to try out this new yarn.  I’d seen and admired Mel’s Downton Abbey inspired Nola Cloche by Hillary Smith Callis over at Coal Valley View and being a big fan of the TV series myself, I thought that it was the perfect pattern for my new softknit cotton.

122

The softknit cotton, I have to say is delicious : it’s a joy to knit with and the colour range is superb.  Who wouldn’t want to knit with shades reminiscent of beautiful seascapes like indigo blue, pacific, marine and seaweed?  Or how about sand, burnt orange and sunset red? Other shades conjure up images of beautiful summer flowers such as tea rose and lupin.   Softknit cotton is an aran / worsted weight yarn with a touch of polyamide for durability. It has a beautiful softness and drape showing texture and cable detail really well.  It’s machine washable (always a bonus!) so its perfect for knitting spring and summer garments.

004

The Nola Cloche itself is very easy to make.  Simply knit the brim with a lovely cable twist for detail, then pick up some stitches from around the edge of the brim to knit the crown of the hat, decreasing as you go.  I was intending that the hat would be for me but as I had to take photos, I think my model had other ideas!  She’s always been a hat girl!

012

Its a little big as its an adult size but I have promised to knit her one in a colour of her choosing 🙂

Nola Cloche 014

Nola Cloche 016

020

Rowan’s pattern support for this yarn is fantastic : check out Martin Storey’s Softknit Collection featuring a contemporary mix of fashionable and simple textured knits and aran and cable patterns on my Rowan Favourites Pinterest Board.  The softknit cotton is also interchangeable with Rowan’s Handknit cotton so you could also check out Martin Storey’s ‘Simple Shapes Handknit Cotton’ for patterns too .

046

Spring was definitely in the air today : wood anenomes were popping up all over the place.  I can’t wait for bluebell season.  We’re lucky to have this lovely bit of ancient woodland on our doorstep which is owned by the Woodland Trust.

050

Then we popped home to bake a loaf of bread for tea.

055

Do let me know if you try the Softknit Cotton or knit up the Nola Cloche: I would love to hear from you 🙂

Bye for now,

Claire X

Wool House

Would you like to join me on a visit to the Wool House exhibition at Somerset House in London?

163

Lots of pictures (!) : I wanted to try and capture the true flavour of the exhibition for you : enjoy 🙂

As you may already know, the Campaign for Wool launched the Wool House exhibition as the world’s biggest ever celebration of Wool, exploring interiors, crafts, fashion and all aspects of this wonderful natural fibre.  Wool House offered a window on the way in which wool can inhabit a space, with leading interior designers demonstrating use of wool fibre within their work across individual rooms.  You can find out more about the exhibition and the Campaign on the Campaign for Wool website.

Come and take a peak inside…

176  171

A dramatic black and white themed entrance hall greeted us including a life sized crochet bear created by Shauna Richardson.  Aren’t Shauna’s crochetdermy skills amazing!?

Look at this beautiful Hummingbird Wallhanging designed by Alexander McQueen:

177  178

The corridor linking each themed room contained this stunning 100 foot wool runner designed by Cristian Zuzunaga:

254  234

This Modern Room was created by Anne Kyyro-Quinn:

210

In contrast, the Natural Room was created by Josephine Ryan:

209  216

Every home needs a wool corner like this one, a cosy nook with a feature chair, maybe a table for books and some favourite things to make it a bit special…

214

Look at those gorgeous vintage welsh wool blankets…..

218

I completely fell in love with the Nursery designed by Donna Wilson:

191  202

194  193

195  196

Look at these amazing Wall Hangings by Claudy Jongstra:

229  233

Welcome to the Craft Room : a place to meet and enjoy workshops being run by Rowan Yarns, the Sublime design studio and Debbie Bliss, and watch spinning demonstrations.

265

When we arrived, great fun was to be had with both young and old enjoying the chance to learn to knit and crochet.  We were thrilled to be able to have a go at hand spinning yarn on a drop spindle:

239  244

We admired the many beautiful yarns on display and mood boards created by the designers:

242  260

263

248  250

This stunning granny squares throw made from Rowan Purelife Renew, designed by Marie Wallin and featured in Rowan’s Purelife Home brochure inspired my daughter to start a little crochet project on the train home (more about this later..)

259

You can read more about the Rowan Purelife British sheep breeds yarn range and accompanying brochures here.

I instantly recognised examples of Anna Wilkinson’s work; have you read her book Learn to Knit, Love to Knit?

240  268

The weaving room:

253  252

We just managed to fit in a brief visit to Liberty of London before our train journey home….

Haberdashery delights – Liberty Tana Lawn:

287  289

And swooning over Rowan Yarns of course! :

297  299

306  301

Finally, a walk through snowy London and some knitting (for me) and crochet time (for Miss E) on the train journey home:

311

Check out the fabulous Edmund the Easter Bunny pattern available for free on the Rowan website: a very portable little one ball knitting project just right for train journeys as were the Granny Squares crocheted by Miss E in Rowan Pure Wool DK.

Are you feeling inspired to bring wool into your life and home?

 As an ambassador for Rowan Yarns I’m looking forward to sharing my passion for yarn, knitting and crochet with you. I’d love to hear from you via my blog or my Knitandpurlgarden Facebook page  – I hope to hear from you soon!

Claire