Report on cross-breed sheep for higher quality wool and John Arbontextiles in North Devon

Devon Mule sheep cross bred Devon breed with Blue Faced Leincester produces softer but strong wool, used in this instance for walking socks.

Countryfile BBC1 Sunday 24th January 2016.

Or catch up on iPlayer 
Posted in Devon, socks, Wool, yarn | Leave a comment

How Zen is Your Knitting?

Do you enjoy knitting in a group? 

Mary Mussett and Dr Vikki Haffenden are very excited to be bringing these developmental Knitting Workshops to various venues in Brighton during 2016. In these workshops we will be combining our professional experience to provide you with the opportunity to enhance your skills in both mindfulness and the craft practice of knitting. 
More information to follow soon

Posted in course, Workshop | Leave a comment

Correction to ‘Felted Tote Bag’ in The Knitting Book p 350-351.

Correction to ‘Felted Tote Bag’ in The Knitting Book p 350-351. Corrections in bold and italics. 

Cast on 50sts.
Starting with a k row, and working in st st, inc at both eds on 5th row. Work 10 rows without shaping. (52sts).
Row 16 (WS): Inc in first st. p15, cast off 20sts. p15 inc in last st. (54sts)
Carry on as pattern is printed.

Apologies – just have to remember that those wonderful pattern checkers are not infallible. It’s all in the numbers…

Posted in errata, hand knitting, knitting patterns, the knitting book | Leave a comment

British Knitting Awards 2015

A big thanks to all of those who voted for The Knitting Book in the British Knitting Awards 2015.

‘The Knitting Book is the book of all books for the knitter, whether you are a beginner or have been knitting for years…This book is so full of great information that it’s an essential companion for every knitter.’
( )

The Knitting Book is available in Australia and the US, and has been translated into Dutch and German.

Knit Step by Step
is also available in German and Portugese.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Patterns on Ravelry

My hand knit patterns from Rooster Book One are downloadable from Ravelry:

Man and Babies’s Hat

 Soft Baby Blanket

both patterns are worked in the lovely Rooster yarns.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My Passap E6000 is out of the cupboard!

I have finally unearthed my Passap E6000 from its hibernation and even got the motor running!
Of course I still don’t have much time to use it – but last night I stole a few hours to try to remember how to use it. Luckily I spent the summer servicing a ‘green’ Passap and bringing it back to life, its just the electronic patterning that I have lost touch with.
So here is my first piece off the machine that even warrants mentioning. Its a racked tuck pattern with a needle selection on the front bed, knitted with manual settings only as I didn’t have the energy to tackle the controller at the time. Its knitted in 2/16nm lambswool and washed.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

An award!

How exciting to have been awarded a place in the British Knitting Awards. Thank you to all who voted for my book. I will be going to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Olympia next week to receive my award.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

France, food and cycling

We are coming to the end of a 2 week holiday in Brittany in our caravan. I have just eaten a delicious lemon tart.

Whilst eating it I have been busy though, knitting a thick lining for the tea cosy for when we take the caravan out in colder weather. We did that at Easter and there was ice in the fire-bucket, plus the gas heater broke so we used the oven to keep warm. But I am moving off the theme of food and France.
Food, always an enjoyable topic, has been fun this holiday. We have a Remoska cooker which we use when on mains electric which can be used to make tremendous meals. It does great jacket potatoes as well. Salads have featured large though as its been so warm.

Aubergine and Feta bake is tomorrow, but I have made bread, pizza, lasagne, birthday cakes,  bolognese sauce, loads of dishes in the Remoska. The slow cooker is also useful, great for bolognese, stews, curries that will cook whilst we are out during the day. I’ve not used that this holiday as its so warm, but it was great last summer when we were walking in the New Forest and Forest of Dean. 

We have been cycling along parts of the Nantes to Brest canal towpath – the Velodyssey, and it’s been lovely. It’s flat, which is ideal for the folding bikes we have with us, and cycling gives you time to see things and the opportunity to just get off and potter in villages and towns. 

The other thing I have managed this holiday is to thoroughly teach myself how to Tunisian crochet. Thanks to Michelle at for her helpful advice and simple pattern to get me started. 

The yarn isn’t very good for the stitch as its not got enough twist, so splits easily as you can see, plus of course I have brought a slightly small hook just to make my task more difficult. However, I have the basic technique now so will work on it further.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Illuminated Bernina 1030

I have replaced the LED strip lights my son originally fitted to the underside of the arm of my Bernina 1030 sewing machine. These had to come off when the machine blew it’s circuit board and needed repairing. They lost their stickiness, and as the set-up had never been very satisfactory due to lots of wires I looked for a better design. This new configuration of lights in series came from a YouTube video tutorial here: The tutorial is very clear and simple to understand. 

I bought LED light strips from Maplin (20cm length with 12 LEDs in all in multiples of 3 and which I cut up into 2×6 lengths). I chose the non-waterproof as these mould to the curve better than the plastic coated ones I have tried before. I will see if they catch on the cloth more or get damaged easily – the reasons I originally chose the plastic coated version. These cost £5, the little plug was from the original lights and had cost £1.20 and the wires were odds we had around. The transformer from the original lights was from an old telephone. 
My kind husband helped with the soldering having watched me having problems as the soldering iron would not melt the solder. It was only when we searched this up online that we realised the tip was likely corroded and a new one needed. After a trip to Maplin and £7.99 for new tips it was plain sailing.

It works a treat, and the minimal wires are all held tidily at the back with sticky-backed Velcro cable strips, plus the wire to the transformer is easily removable to allow the machine to fit into the solid plastic cover that comes with the Bernina 1030. The Velcro strips were £4.15 for 10, and although I considered using Sugru to make cable clips I decided to spend the money on these instead.

I bought the 4 original strip LEDs from eBay with the wires already soldered on. However this, and the fact that the seller had cut off the little copper terminals at the opposite end meant they had to be wired in parallel and rendered it impossible to now put them into series. Wiring them up and attaching them in parallel onto the machine looked messy as there was so much wire, and four strips was really overkill. 

Two strips seem more then adequate this time. I could of course buy some more and add another two to the existing two if I find it necessary, or even use one of the waterproof strips if I take off the old wiring. As you can see, even without its own two lights illuminated there is a much better field of light for working on black fabric and at night. 

Whilst installing the lights on the machine I managed to break one of the solder joints, but easily re-soldered it. 

So just to mention, when the machine blew up (hmmm, that was fun), white smoke and stink of melting plastic… I found a really helpful machine repair workshop in Portsmouth, Hampshire called Sueco who fixed and serviced the machine for what was a shocking figure; but far less than the cost of replacing a Bernina of this quality at today’s prices. They were the only local company of the many I called who a) knew what the problem I was describing was likely to be b) confidently said they would be able to fix it and  c) could give me a rough estimate for the job. So thank-you Sueco! It now sews smoothly and quietly and, let’s hope, for a long time to come.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Blocking knit 2

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment