Archive for the “Uncategorized” Category

Just a note to let you know that I have a bunch of books, yarn and fibre to destash during February. I’ll be donating 50% of all proceeds to MSF for use in Haiti and anywhere else they’d like to send it.

Please visit my Ravelry de-stash page for yarn and fibre…


Folk Mittens by Marcia Lewandoski *sold*

First Book of Modern Lace Knitting by Marianne Kinzel

The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns by Ann Budd

Plus a couple of stitch dictionaries, and some spinning books including The Ashford Book of Spinning by Anne Field

Make me an offer!

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Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone again for all their heart-felt comments and thoughts responding to my previous post. I know I haven’t yet replied to everyone individually, but I have each message saved andthey mean a lot to me.

In some ways, this has been a difficult period and talking about it is something I’ve put off, and shoved to the back of the closet - hence the empty blog. I can be very rational at times (good training from Neil) but to bring to an end something that I worked hard for for two years cost me some tears and there were some lurking feelings of failure alongside as well.

Now though, I’m knitting and spinning again (with a timer set) and my spirits are back up. It’s not a huge blow, I’m now doing something I love just as much, which will keep me physically healthy so that I can keep up the fibre part of my life, just at a slower rate than before. If I had any doubts about the decision, they were put to rest by my osteopath who applauded my news wholeheartedly (but with sympathy of course).

So anyway, I have a new day job - my course starts on Monday! - and I can still knit and spin for about half an hour at a time, I just set the beeper and then make sure I stretch out properly afterwards. I’ve started up the chat-room again, Wednesday nights now and using Ravelry chat through my group there as Lingr is now shut down. There’s also future Spin! designs in progress and I have one or two other ideas in the works too.

Thank you again to everyone who has hung around and supported me through this, and shared your stories with me. It’s been the network of great friends that I have that has kept me going (there were times I was thinking of putting the stash on ebay) and reminded me just how much I really love all things yarny, and that it’s still worth doing, even at half-speed.

Next post will have pictures of yarn I promise!

x x x x

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SOAR is amazing. Absolutely awesomely fantastic! Meeting people in real life that I’ve known for ages on line is the best part, but the classes are fun, the food is good and the surroundings are beautiful.

To back pedal… The trip started on Sunday morning with cab booked for 6am. Heathrow to JFK was about 7 hours, then I caught a cab to Brooklyn to pick up Jimbob, and we went on to the Port Authority to get a bus to Mt Pocono. The ride was about 2 hours, and I finally landed up at SOAR at 5:20pm, 14 hours after leaving home. The jetlag is still lingering a little - I woke up at 5am today and couldn’t get back to sleep - but, by experience, I expect to be okay in a day or so.

This is where we’re staying:


And the view from our room:


I’m sharing with Kai, and after a rather hyperactive reunion on Sunday I’m pretty sure we haven’t stopped talking for a second. It’s a good thing we’re not in the same class as I’m pretty sure we’d be driving everybody nuts.

I left all my class stuff downstairs, so I’ll take pictures and write more about that tomorrow, but here’s the highlight of my day:


This is me, with Maggie Casey (THE Maggie Casey) learning her technique of making rolags. I kind of crashed her class to do it (not during classtime of course) but she is incredibly nice and was very happy to humour me.

More soon…

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I’ve wanted to go to Sweden ever since I studied Swedish at uni, and was very excited to finally arrive in the country and have the chance to practise a bit of language (most of which of course, I’ve forgotten after 12 years). I have also studied Scandinavian history and a bit of Nordic textiles in the past and my interest was fired up.

Ostermalm waterfront

Modern central Stockholm though - it’s hard to put a finger on. It’s very clean, very neat and tidy, straight streets and shiny shops. The transport is efficient and everyone smiles and speaks perfect English. Somehow, it didn’t feel quite real. It was almost like when you see a movie about a city, or on a smaller scale, a reality show - where you know someone’s been around before you and tidied up and cleaned the toilets but left just enough clutter lying around so it looks kind of true-to-life, or when the real estate agents take photos and they warn you to remove 75% of your personal belongings before they come. I think I’m explaining badly, and don’t get me wrong, we had a great time. Maybe I’m just used to travelling to European cities and seeing a bit more disorder and debris. And the feeling of general order and tidiness is probably merely a positive reflection on how efficiently Sweden is run.

Nobel Museum

Stockholm’s gory mediaeval history provided us with plenty to do - we’re not really into walking around looking at paintings and sculpture, but show us a dungeon or an armoury and we’re right there. We wandered around the Royal Palace in the Gamla Stan (old town) for a day, visiting the ruined foundations of the original fortress and learning the rather gruesome history of Sweden’s rulers since the Viking era. The armoury, in a different part of the palace, displayed such illuminating articles as the shirt Gustav III (II?) was wearing when he was assassinated - complete with bullet hole and blood-stains. There were more suits of clothing, also complete with bullet holes, and the stuffed skin of the horse another king was riding when killed in battle (also complete with bullet hole in the neck). It was very cool!

Palace Guard

Also on the path of history, but this time more in my line than Neil’s, we spent a day at the Skansen open-air museum. Enclosed in a huge park, it consists of original buildings brought from all over Sweden. Farmers’ cottages, manors, mills, shops etc. There were loads of staff around dressed in costume and ready and willing to answer questions and demonstrate traditional crafts and discuss the history and displays. I want to include more detail about what I learned - so I’m saving it for another post.

Soldier's Cottage

On the same Island as Skansen is the Vasa Museet - a purpose built museum as big as a stadium housing the restored warship the Vasa, which sank on her maiden voyage in the 17th century. They finally found her and hoisted her up and after 40 years of restoration she’s on view. Apparantly, she was the inspiration for the ship in Pirates of the Caribbean. The Swedes still liking their gory displays, you can see the skeletons of the drowned sailors which they found with the ship. Preserved and documented with loads of information about their characteristics and possible features etc. If you’ve ever watched Bones, it was just like it - reconstruction of the facial features and bone tests to tell what the person’s diet consisted of etc. Very cool.


Apart from the museums, we wandered about and enjoyed brilliant weather. Sat in cafes, ate meatballs explored the winding little streets of the old town and its tourist shops. We bought kitchenware, ate smoked salmon and drank vodka. Prices were atrocious, Neil was paying £5.50 for each bottle of beer in one restaurant we went to, but quality of food and service were both excellent.


Yarn shops were plentiful, I bought some lopi-type yarn and some local carded batts, will take photos tomorrow. I saw mostly English yarns, like Louisa Harding, but there was also plenty of others: Jade Sapphire and some handpainted yarns in one shop, and some gorgeous Danish yarns. The ladies in the shops I visited did their best to answer my questions about sheep breeds and wool types etc, but I think I need to do some more reading to find out everything I wanted to know.

Wool Shop

I’d love to go back and study more history, and more textiles - definitely take a course here sometime, and generally just revel in Nordic-ness. It suits me rather!

Post boxes? No idea

We only had three days due to a latish flight on Saturday, but we managed to squeeze a fair bit in. There’s loads more pictures, plus commentary on our Flickr photostream.

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Thank you so much to everyone who took time to complete the survey. It was really interesting reading through all the data, particularly the comments from the last two questions. I was glad to see that a lot of the answers fitted with plans I already had for the site, but I also got some valuable suggestions and new ideas for direction.

You may have noticed that the home website has a new look, there’s still some parts to finish off but the templates (thanks to Grit and Michaela!) are in place and it’s navigable. If you want a peek, check it out at, but if you can wait - give me another day or so to get it looking really snazzy!

And of course, what you’ve all been wondering about - the prize draw! 43 people left a comment (although 65 completed the survey - 22 didn’t want yarn?) returned me a number, drumroll…


Comment number 35 was Elizabeth! Congratulations :-D You didn’t leave me your email address Elizabeth, so I hope you’re reading this and will get in touch.

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Yesterday’s class was great fun, and everyone was making actual yarn within half an hour! We moved on quickly from park-and-draft and the new spinners were able to ply their yarn and start their next spindle-full.



It is awesome to watch a person’s face as they learn a new skill and feel that fantastic sense of achievement when they see the limp fluff turn into something bouncy and knit-able. It makes me remember just why I became a teacher in the first place.



This beginner’s class is running again in September, and Alice and I have scheduled more classes for later in the year, including a Mohair special, just in time for fleeces to arrive from the kiddies on the farm. Pop over to Socktopus to book your spot now.


With thanks to Alice - chief photographer!

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