Sunday, 27 March 2016

A wee cough...

It's a week since I returned from Edinburgh and I expected to be telling you all about my trip as soon as I got home.  Then I got flu.  Not a cold, not just a fever but aching limbs, lack of appetite, bone crushing weariness and zero desire to look at any electronic device.  I haven't even felt like knitting.  I must have been really ill!  One week on I still have a cough but at least feel able to share with you the most amazing colourful fibre experience that was Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2016
Just look at this selection from the many stalls in the market place : hand dyed yarn from The Little Grey Sheep, felted slippers by Edinburgh based Felting Studio, more skeins of hand dyed from Tall Yarns and fabulous  merino braids from the Porpoise Fur stand where I chatted to the charming Rachel Brown.

Each afternoon I was also helping on the stand belonging to Lindsay Roberts The Border Tart.  Lindsay, pictured left, dyes yarns and fibres with natural indigo as well as spinning beautiful fibres into yarn.  We met on a knitting retreat in 2014 and Fiona, standing beside me was on the same holiday.  Dorothy was interloping from the Ripples Crafts stand!  It was fun selling Lindsay's yarn, buttons, sari silk etc and meeting her customers.
Especially when Renee Callahan of East London Knit and Karie Westermann stopped by.  I also got the chance to meet and chat with other stall holders and admire the many goodies for sale.
From top left, going in a circle, here's Helen from The Wool Kitchen, me and the irrepressible Jess from Edinburgh's favourite wool shop Ginger Twist StudioLucy Hague and her beautiful Celtic inspired shawls, in the presence of royalty with Zoe Queen of Purls, me and my pal Helen of Ripples Crafts and Louise who is Spin City and whose Instagram I love!
No one minded being approached by complete strangers admiring their knitwear.  I accosted Nathan the Sockmatician to have a wee chat about his Sanquhar scarf and he explained the double knitting technique he'd used to create this very inspiring masterpiece.
Finally, the festival had visitors from all over.  These ladies are from Norway and came to find me after my husband told me his colleague's twin sister was at the festival - that's Turid Bo on the right.  Geoff has worked with Laila for years but I bet they never talked about knitting as much as when they found out this coincidence!

I had such a good time meeting people, helping out, shopping...  I haven't even mentioned any of the gorgeous purchases I made.  A future blog post for certain!


Wednesday, 16 March 2016

The eve of something special

It feels like the night before Christmas.  Tomorrow I am going to Edinburgh.  I'm attending the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, the UK's premier urban knitting event (according to the website), for the first time and I couldn't be more excited.
I'll be wearing this cardigan I made.  Knowing I wanted to wear it to Edinburgh really made me focus on getting it finished.  The pattern is Leaving by Anne Hanson. I'll also be wearing this wee crocheted shawl which is Fortunes Shawlette by Tamara Kelly
Both garments have been made using yarn hand dyed in Scotland - I knitted the cardy in merino dyed by Helen at Ripplescrafts and I crocheted the shawl in yarn dyed by Lindsay aka The Border Tart. Helen and Lindsay are exhibiting at the festival and I'm delighted to be helping Lindsay at her stall for part of both days.  I still have time to attend a class and enjoy the market place in the company of my knitting pal and travelling companion, Alison, as well as the hospitality of my sister who conveniently lives in Edinburgh.

But this festival is about more than just shopping.  It's bringing together like minded crafts people from all over the world.  It's a chance to meet people known only on-line thanks to the fibre community's virtual glue that is Ravelry and to renew friendships made in yarn stores and on retreats. It's an opportunity to meet the podcasters many enjoy whose episodes frequently accompany my crafting and who make me feel like I have an enthusiastic friend in my kitchen telling me all about her latest projects.  It's saying knitting, crochet and fibre crafts are really popular, hand made is truly valued and wool is cool!
The knitting community is generous with its time and materials.  Louise Hunt of Caithness Craft Collective podcast appealed for knitted baby hats to be donated to one of the special care baby units. I've managed to make two wee hats for early arrivals in the past couple of days. They really didn't take long to make and only use scraps of leftover yarn.

In the months prior to the festival, I've listened to Louise Scollay of the KnitBritish podcast get increasingly excited about the event as she revealed details of the knit night meet-up, podcast lounge, ceilidh and exclusive magazine.  I followed Helen's advice on her Curious Handmade podcast by looking sensibly at my yarn collection and all my works in progress, some of which I've realised I'm never going to finish.  Here's a case in point which I started in 1986!!
And finally, I've read some great tips for maximising enjoyment at knitting festivals by Victoria at Eden Cottage and Karie Westermann on their respective blogs .  In that spirit I've documented what I'd like to make in the future and what I'd like to buy in the lovely notebook my daughter gave me.
I know I'll be like a child in a sweet shop so I hope to be making careful, considered purchases.  We'll soon see if that happens!


Saturday, 12 March 2016

Taking up from where I left off...

I wrote my first ever blog post in September 2004 accompanied by this (slightly blurry) photo.

So... many moons ago, I spent 3 months crossing America in a 29 foot motorhome with my husband and two daughters, then aged 6 and 9.  Prior to our US road trip, my journalist friend Anne suggested a 'weblog' would be a useful means of maintaining a diary which our family and friends could access whilst we were travelling and at no cost. Sounded good.  Though some blogs had been around for 10 years in 2004, it would still be another two years before the BBC had one.  It seems really antiquated now but during our Antipodean gap year adventure  in 1991/2 with my then boyfriend (now husband), we'd kept in touch with home by letter using post-restante addresses and guesstimating where we might be.  This whole weblog thing might really take off!

My husband did a great job of updating the blog of our family trip while we were in America - during that time I only contributed two blog posts.  It's only taken me eleven and a bit years to write another one.

So here I am, taking up from where I left off.  Thanks to my two girls, now 17 and 20, who have thoughtfully designed this blog, complete with my 'neveratalooseend' logo, they've provided me with the means to document my crafty projects, baking successes and some aspects of our family life which we're happy to share.  I hope you'll enjoy sharing them too.


Saturday, 5 March 2016

Happy Mother's Day and Welcome!

Hi Mum! Welcome to your beautiful new blog! Eilidh and I know how wonderful and creative you are, and as the wool shop's life is coming to a close we wanted to make sure you had somewhere that you were able to be creative. This is your new blog Never At A Loose End and we hope you love writing it - we know that we'll love reading it!

Lots of love x

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