Review of The Knitting Book

Thank you ‘butterfly reader’ for your review of The Knitting Book:

‘I do use other books as well as this one but this is the one I return to when I can’t remember how to do something’

read the complete review at:

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Sequin yarn on a drop spindle

Its that time of year again when I become inspired afresh to spin when I freshen up my skills to teach basic principles and practise of spinning to the first year knit students. This year, I am concentrating on using drop spindles as the wheel can be quite intimidating as an introduction to spinning. Drop spindles are so accessible, and the look of pleasure on their faces when the first successful section of yarn is spun is so rewarding makes them the ideal introductory tool.

We start with tops so they don’t have to card (time is short for the workshop), and I buy both tops and spindles from Wingham Wool Works, and find the dyed Merino tops a really easy one for beginners as the long fibre is more forgiving of slipping fingers and fumbled drafting.
I have made a few quite successful drop spindles out of chop sticks and wooden toy wheels which work well for those who choose not to purchase their own spindle (although as these cost less than a round of drinks I try to persuade them to invest). I discovered the wheels weren’t quite heavy enough, so have added a few pennies secured with BluTak as an interim measure – seems OK for the moment.
So whilst demonstrating I have spun a reasonable amount of purple tops up, and spent last evening plying this with a thread onto which I have threaded sequins – so have now got a pretty decorative yarn I will knit up and post here when done. Hopefully I have balanced the yarn sufficiently – but we will see. The fibre length for this was much shorter than merino so it is consequently a more woollen effect yarn.

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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 
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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

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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