Hello Spring (and a comfort blanket)

Can you smell it?

If you go outside, around the block or your daily walk (or run) in the park or forest, you can smell and feel it. Spring is finally here.

It blooms everywhere and smells deliciously of small spring blossoms and the warming earth. Little green leaves and buds are about to burst open everywhere. Nature takes its usual course, regardless of our current world turmoil and social circumstances.

It is a somehow comforting picture don’t you think?

The world seams to be both on pause and on hyperdrive, but my fingers are busy at their usual pace. 

Somehow I don’t seem to be able to concentrate long on one thing, instead flitting between projects and sometimes just tinkering. My knitting needles tick-tick-tick in rhythm as my hands move them through the dance of stitches that will become a jumper, socks or just samples. Everything is different around me, but this is the same. These fingers, this yarn, this movement.

The world is on pause, but not the clock and the days march forward. The calendar keeps turning pages as it waits for no one, it keeps on going, so I keep going too.

I put the kettle on and make another cup of tea. Connecting with my family and friends is often done in different, more creative ways and I never would have thought that seeing them on a screen could fill me with such joy.

I knit my worries into the yarn I hold because there’s nowhere else for them to go. I try and remember to keep laughing and finding positives, no matter how small they might be.

To help me through this difficult time I have started a blanket – I call it my lockdown blanket. Using one base colour (blue) and lots of random colours of yarn I have in my stash, simple garter stitch provides a soothing rhythm of tick – tick – tick .

In case you like this idea of meditation, here is the simple how to:

My Yarn is a combination of Rowan Baby Merino Silk DK (the base colour) and Rowan Wool Cotton (the random colours). I am using a 3.75mm long circular needle and cast on 200 stitches. Working in garter stitch throughout I alternate between the base and random colour every 2 rows, feeding the yarn up the side and start a new random colour when a complete ball is finished. To be completely random I do not choose the next colour but instead I just put my hand into the bag and pull the next ball out.

When finished the blanket will be approximately 95cm wide and 170cm long, a good size to snuggle under. However, you can make it any size you like by simply adding or subtracting stitches and rows.

Everything is different around me, but some things are the same: These hands and this yarn, and the clicking of my needles as I knit on. 

Until soon, stay safe and well xo.

march meet the maker

Hello friends near and far, I hope you are well!

Hard to believe but it’s almost spring. Last week we had the big freeze here in Wales with more snow than I can remember having for a long long while…

#snowday #thebigfreeze #madewithloops.co.uk

…luckily it’s almost gone now and today the sun is shining and spring is in the air.

Last week I started my posts for #marchmeetthemaker over on Instagram. This is a month long challenge hosted by Joanne Hawker and strives to be bigger and better than ever before this year! Basically you challenge yourself to do a creative post on Instagram every day for a month and hopefully making some new friends and discovering an incredible amount of new talent to follow. Most of all it will be a month of fun, telling the world about ourselves and what we make.

There is a daily prompt and it all kicked off last Thursday (1 March) and here is the story so far:

Day 1 – Y o u

As you all know me already I wont bore you with what I wrote that day, you can always find out more on my About Page.

Day 2 – W h e r e

#marchmeetthemaker #madewithloops.co.uk

I live and work in a small Market Town in North Wales, close to the Snowdonia Mountains and only about 20 Minutes from the sea.

Day 3 – H o w  y o u  s t a r t e d

#marchmeetthemaker #madewithloops.co.uk

Moving to Wales in 2004 gave me the chance to turn my lifelong hobbies of knitting & crochet into a business. It all started with a chance meeting of the brand manager of a well known yarn company. I worked for said company for 5 years before I decided to go it alone. It’s been a long slow road with up’s and many down’s, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Day 4 – F a v o u r i t e  M a k e

#marchmeetthemaker #madewithloops.co.uk

This was a difficult one as I like to make many things, but in the end designing shawls won.

Day 5 – P h o t o g r a p h y

#paintboxyarn #chunkypots #lovecrochet.com #madewithloops.co.uk

I mostly use my Smartphone to take my photos and VSCO, Fotor and ColorStory are my favourite apps for editing. Various backgrounds depending on time of year, mood I want to create and subject I want to photograph come in handy and recently I bought myself a studio lighting kit as the light here in Wales is often pretty dark.

Day 6 – W o r k s p a c e

#marchmeetthemaker #madewithloops.co.uk

This is a snapshot of my desk. I like to work in a fairly tidy environment and almost always work with mood boards.

Day 7 – R o u t i n e

#marchmeetthemaker #madewithloops.co.uk

I am an early bird and get up between 6 and 6.30am when all is quiet and still. A cup of tea and catch up with my Instagram friends followed by walking my dog. Shower, breakfast and then some housework before working in my studio for the rest of the day.

Phew!!! That’s the first week done 🙂 If you aren’t too bored and want to find out more about me and my work, I invite you to come back next week for the second instalment.

I am now also part of Makelight where the theme this month is colour and yellow for the next few days. I leave you with some Spring Flowers.

#makelightcolour #yellow #madewithloops.co.uk

Enjoy!

XO.

spring has sprung

Finally…the sun is out and the sky is blue!!!

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It has taken a long time here in North Wales to send Winter on it’s way, waving good bye to rain, wind and more rain, but we have finally said Hello to Spring. Over the last few days everything has suddenly sprung back to life, and has put a happy skip into our steps.

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Waking up to this view on a sunny day can’t be beaten, and driving towards my pretty town bathing in early morning sunshine makes me appreciate what a beautiful place I live in.

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Spring’s arrival is perfectly timed for the start of the holidays…

…holidays filled with long lazy mornings and putting our feet up doing not very much…

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…re-charging our batteries pondering over new creative ideas…

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…and taking Max for lovely walks in meadows full of flowers (broken toe permitting).

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I hope the sun is shining where you are. Have a lovely week everyone!

X.

Introducing…

dear diary,

First of all I want to say a big huge thank you to all you lovely people who have already purchased a copy of the latest Lola Loops book. I hope you enjoy knitting many of the lovely designs over the next few weeks.

Today I want to introduce the remaining four designs to you, so here goes…

Meleri Tie s2

MELERI – NECKERCHIEF

This cute little neckerchief bears no resemblance to the utilitarian versions worn by scouts and sailors. Quickly knitted in no more than a couple of evenings, this little frippery will jazz up any spring outfit and the styling  fits in perfectly with this year’s preppy look.

 

Branwen Vintage Beanie g2

BRANWEN – VINTAGE BEANIE

Using the 1920s era and the style of the Flapper girl as inspiration I created this vintage beanie hat. Dainty and quite elegant this style is perfect during the day, knit in fine wool yarn. Using fine cotton yarn with a thread of sparkle, it can easily be worn as a glamorous accessory for evening.

 

Anna Bag 1

ANNA – NAUTICAL BAG

A girl can never have enough bags and this little number says everything there is to say about summer. Bright and cheerful nautical stripes in classic colours are set off by a sharp green top and gorgeous red leather handles. To make it user-friendly the bag is lined and padded, making it perfect to carry all your essentials right through summer.

 

Alwen Scarf still 2

ALWEN – SPRING LEAVES SCARF

Darling buds of Spring are winding their way up (or down) this light but cosy scarf. Knit in Rowan’s new Soft Knit Cotton yarn, this scarf is super soft and right on trend in this colour too.

As you can see, all the designs can be knitted quickly and don’t require large amounts of yarn either. They make perfect gifts or you could just spoil yourself and keep them all. Whatever you decide, all of them are colourfully perfect for Spring & Summer.

Just like the first book, this one wouldn’t be the same without the fabulous Lola illustrations all drawn by ‘my man’. I think you will agree that they make the book extra special.

A selection…

Front cover sig

Lola Bag Sig

Lola Beanie Sig

Enjoy knitting the patterns x

Lola Loops – Six small things for Spring & Summer

dear diary,

Finally, after many weeks of sketching, mathematical work-outs, lamenting about yarn choices, knitting all the items, writing (and testing) patterns and a fun photo shoot, Lola Loops for Spring & Summer 2013 is ready.

Just like the first, this second Lola Loops book has been a true labour of love and I couldn’t have done it without the help and kindness of many people. So this is my official big – HUGE – Thank You to:

‘My man’, the artist Mark Gittins, who spends endless hours of his valuable free time sketching Lola Loops illustrations. Without them the books wouldn’t be the same.

Steve & Helen, of Stash Fine Yarns, who have been enormously kind and supportive, and I am so very grateful for their sponsorship of all my yarn needs for this book.

The stunning photos were taken by the very talented Amelia Gale-Hasleham on location at Pen y Bont Touring Park near Bala in North Wales.

Thank you, thank you to ‘my girl’ Anna-Maria, who did a fantastic job modelling with beauty and good humour in sub-zero temperatures – you are gorgeous.

A special thank you to my dear friend, Jackie Donovan, who yet again gave up many hours in her busy schedule to test knit my designs.

A big big thank you to all of you, I could not have made this book happen without you xx

I will introduce the designs over the next couple of posts. Here are the first two:

Gwendolen Shawl gp3

GWENDOLEN – REVERSIBLE SHAWL

Keeping the chill off during the first days of spring and cool summer evenings, this shawl uses the short row technique to give a cresent like shape and is presented in two verions. The first using Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend for a warmer hug, the second is knitted using Fyberspates Vivacious for a loftier drape.

 

Haf Socks still 1

HAF – LACE SUMMER SOCKS

Stepping out in one of summer’s main colours, these socks are pretty enough to wear in open toed shoes. The delicate lace pattern can easily be accomplished by knitters of all abilities. Perfect socks to put your best foot forward.

 

Lola Socks Sig

I hope you will enjoy knitting these designs as much as I loved creating them. x



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