Thursday, 16 May 2013

In Which Not One But Two Wool Shops Get Bigger and Better!

Wool shops are like buses ... well, nearly! Anyone who thinks that huge resurgence of interest in crochet and knitting is a fad need look no further than sunny Suffolk, where our interest in things woolly goes from strength to strength! This week, Lyndsey Hurrell moved her shop, Wibbling Wools, from Eastgate Street to Churchgate Street. This has more than doubled the size of her shop, as the picture below of the front window shows - it stretches quite a long way...
This is fantastic news for Bury St Edmunds knitters - she can now stock more colours and brands, developing the slightly cheaper end of the market as well as keeping stocks of the more luxurious wools.

There's more room to sit and browse the patterns, and plenty more wool spun in Britain - and some 'grown' in Britain, too.

Once the cafe here gets up and running in July, this will be an even better venue for Bury St Edmunds' knitters! 
Now, not content with Wibbling Wools' expansion, this evening I popped to Ipswich for the Opening Evening of Jenny Wren's Yarns. I've blogged about this shop before, when I went to interview Lois about it. She runs the business with her mother, and has been able to expand into a luxurious two-roomed new building, just over the road from their old site:
She too has much more yarn, as well as lovely jars of buttons. She also has some lovely vintage pieces of furniture - including a desirable red vintage sewing box which I found it hard to leave behind - from Betty Blue Hat 's vintage store, over the road.

Like Wibbling Wools, Jenny Wren's Yarns is stocking what looks like a great British wool brand, Diggle DK from I had a sneaky pinch and it has a lovely, proper 'wool' texture as well as a good range of tweedy and matt colours. Unbelievably, I'd gone to both shops without a project to buy for! How did that happen?!
It's fantastic that two local businesses, run by businesswomen with lots of knowledge and enthusiasm for their field, are doing so well. Long may it last!

Monday, 13 May 2013

#Handmade Monday - easy knitted wrist warmers make it to New York!

These aren't actually for me! I was just having a cheeky wear of them here before I sent them to @copperspiral in New York. She's already got them - so now I can publish this picture of them! They were super easy to make and I was rather sad to let them go. The pattern is from Bronwyn Lowenthal's Love To Knit book. They're made of Louisa Harding 'Thistle' yarn bought from @CafeKnit - and I made both gloves rather surprisingly out of one ball. The yarn is really lovely and soft and they were quick to knit on four 6mm needles. They were, er, even quicker than the pattern suggested because I made them a lot shorter in the arm. The ones modelled in the book came nearly to the model's elbow and were all bunched up - but I did about 23 rows then did the thumbs. For the thumbs, I used the 'live stitches' method rather than the method described in the pattern. It may well have worked fine, but I couldn't figure out how - so I stuck to a method I know works!

These are a really good gift for a friend - though I do have enough wool to make myself some now...

In other news: teaching crochet @cafeknit on Saturday was really good fun. I had really lovely students and everyone got to make at least part of a granny square, and tried chains, double crochet and trebles! It was interesting teaching crochet to knitters - it reminded me how different the skills are in some ways. I think a good time was had by all!


Wednesday, 8 May 2013

#WIP Wednesday and a review of 'Simple Crochet'

How nice to find a new crochet book in our local library!
I spent a very happy hour this afternoon reading Sara Sinaguglia's Simple Crochet. The tag line, 'With more than 35 vintage-vibe projects for your handmade life' was rather off-putting because I find the possessive 'your' as well as the ubiquitous word, vintage, rather irritating, but I'm really glad I persevered. The book has a lovely, informal tone and is peppered with details about the author's life and why she first made some of the projects in the book. As always in crochet books, there's a little too much in the How To section - this sometimes puts me off buying crochet books as it's rather repetitive. There is quite a lot, though, on something i really want to try: crochet edging on linen or cotton, so that part of the How To is quite eye-opening. Anyway, the book is themed around different rooms in the house and I was pleased to see that I'd make at least two things from each section. What I also enjoyed about this was that quite a lot of the projects involve sewing as well as crochet - the iPad cosy, for example, is made of fabric with crochet motifs sewn onto it - and these projects look really good. This book even had me contemplating crochet washcloths - and that is no mean feat! The photography is gorgeous, too. So - definitely worth a read.
And now for the WIP: so far, my preparation for teaching my first crochet course for Cafe Knit has only stretched to deciding what the wear. But then I thought I'd better write my pattern for crochet bracelets, which I hope will be easy for beginners to make in under three hours! Here they are so far:

I hope my crochet classes go well - it's hard to gauge how much a random group of people will be able to make in three hours! Still, at least crochet is east to unravel and quick once you've got the hang of it. Wish me - and my students - luck!