Thursday, 23 December 2010

On the First Day of Christmas....

Had a busy day today, found some time to wrap presents while listening to my favourite Christmas tunes. The one that got stuck in my head was " The 12 Days of Christmas", which got me thinking. If I had to put together a 12 knits of Christmas, what would I pick? so many projects to choose from, or being more realistic, so many knits so little time!

We all know how manic the run up to Christmas can be and that by the time the actual day rolls around, many of us are already Christmassed out. So what better way to cheer yourself up than by having some knit and crochet projects to look forward to?

So going back to the song presently on a endless loop in my head, although the original author is not known, they clearly had a great love of birds as six of the twelve days are about our feathered friends. Bearing this in mind and as few of us really have time to knit a project every day over Christmas, below is an abbreviated version. 

We have included both Knit and Crochet Patterns, hope the projects listed inspire you to try at least one and we would love to see the end results, so if you knit one of the projects, please send us a photo.

Days 1-4, 6 and 7 - 6 Knits of Christmas rolled into one! 
We found this pattern by Nancy Anderson, a cute and colourful addition to any Christmas tree.

Christmas Bird

7th Knit of Christmas 
Ok so these rings aren't gold, but we still reckon they will put a sparkle onto the dinner table. Created by Josie G.

Four (Napkin) Rings

8th Knit of Christmas
Since Maids a milking might be hard to translate into woollyness, we hunted around and found a more practical pattern, great for new additions to the family.

Milk Bottle Cosies
by Jessica Cook

9th Knit of Christmas
A modern take on nine ladies dancing, these socks are ideal for keeping your feet warm while you dance the night away!

Dancing Lady Socks
by Karen York

10th Knit of Christmas
We know, we know, there are no mention of dolphins in the song but lets face it dolphins are much more graceful than the average "Lord"! I know which one I would rather watch leaping around....

Leaping Dolphins 
by Karen Gielen

11th Knit of Christmas
Admit this is a bit of a stretch but we thought this was far too pretty not to include it. 

Pipe Bag (well a flute is pipe shaped!)
by Lisa Mustelier

12th Knit of Christmas
For our final knit of Christmas, we just had to put this one in, a unique and yet practical pattern and one that will be appreciated by any drummers you might know.

Drum covers
by Aoibhe Ni Shuilleabhain

This is our last blog of 2010, so wish you all a very Merry Crafty Christmas and Happy New Year, see you in 2011.

The Knit Nottingham team

Monday, 20 December 2010

Mistletoe and Wine (knitting and wine is closer to the truth!)

As Christmas is almost upon us, the hard working team at Knit Nottingham took some time out to celebrate the festive season, our hard working shop manager showed us how to do it with style, champagne and yarn...what more could you want?

 Well it wouldn't be a party without some knitting!

Things got a bit lively toward the end of the evening.....but thankfully Sue and Liese were able to save Pete from being eaten by his own hat...a cautionary tale that proves that some yarns just don't mix well with wine!!

Wishing all of our customers a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, look forward to seeing you all in the New Year.

For all you dedicated knitters out there, don't worry we are open between Christmas and New Year, see opening times below:

24th December: 10.30am to 4pm.

25th December: Closed.

26th December: Closed.

27th December: Closed.

28th December: Closed.

29th December: 10.30am to 6.30pm.

30th December: 10.30am to 6.30pm.

31st December: 10.30am to 4pm.

1st January: Closed.

2nd January: Closed.

3rd January: Closed.

4th January onwards: Open as normal.

Friday, 17 December 2010

spinning, early days.

So why would you want to spin? after all it takes time and practise and it would be much quicker to go down your local wool shop, pick the balls off the shelf and cast on just minutes later!
This post is an attempt to explain why I do it and a little of how to start, there will be pictures to keep boredom at bay. If you have just started to spin or are thinking about then welcome to the dark side!

After years of being fascinated by the spinning wheel going round but being too busy with other fibre adventures I finally gave in about 10 years ago and bought a drop spindle. Now I was very innocent about these things and the purchase of a spindle and what looked like half an iccky fleece for around £10 seemed like a bargain. What I didn't realise was that it was possibly the heaviest spindle ever made topping the scales at over 4 oz. As a comparison I usually prefer one coming in at about 20-25 gram these days. A quick two minute lesson and I was sent on my way.

spinning 014
Needless to say it ended up in the back of my craft cupboard for the new few years!

Spinning remained a mystery until I found myself needing natural colours yarn to use on felted bowls and vessels based on cave paintings and to spin them from the same fibres I was using for felting seemed to be the most natural answer.

cave painting project

. So I improvise and spun very short lengths using Maltese lace bobbins as spindles, it sort of worked, I got very excited about it, then broke my right arm!

I was now told to keep my fingers moving as much as possible in spite of the meccano type structure holding my arm together so as I couldn't hold a needle, winding a lace bobbin was proving nearly impossible but I could flick this spindle so the experimentation began.

spinning 003

Spinning is essentially drafting the fibre ( pulling the fibres apart until you have the desired thickness) and adding twist, as the scales on the wool fibres will 'grab' each other to help stop the whole thing falling apart. Early attempts are generally thick/thin/underspun/overspun but always amazing as YOU MADE IT! Practise helps and experimentation is fun.

hint of spring on my spindle


I now have favourite spindles that travel with me around the country.

dalesman 002

One of the most surprising outcomes from spinning has been the social side, more about that next time but just in case you wondered what Pete meant by spinning in cafes (see previous post), here's a taster.

spinnotts 024

If you want to find out more about spindle spinning, just ask Pete or myself ( you can find us through the shop) . If you want to find out a little about wheel spinning, stay tuned to this blog.


Monday, 13 December 2010

Meet our Artisans: Sue Routledge

Hi! I’m Sue and I’m half of the Forest Crafters team, the Woolly half! The other half is responsible for wood related crafting tools.

I’ve been a knitter and general hand-crafter for years always dabbling in something new and getting overexcited about it.  I started making the bags about a year ago when I met and was inspired by Bev Beattie. I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed making them and consequently haven’t stopped.  I’m always just musing on what the next one could look like. Along the way I decided that I wanted to create my own yarns for different effects and that started off my spinning obsession.  I started with a homemade CD spindle and now have 3 spinning wheels all with names!

I really enjoy the fun of creating the bags on big needles then watching as they felt in the washing machine.  The reaction I get from people when they see them out and about is very thrilling.  It’s great to be told ‘I love your bag’. My hand knitted and felted bags as well as hand-dyed and carded batts and hand-spun fibre, are all available for sale at Knit Nottingham. I am also looking into creating felted brooches and jewellery. 

I have begun producing all the yarn to make my bags, and include some commercial novelty yarns.  This includes using local fleece and preparing it from scratch.  That’s a real labour of love! And I’ve begun dyeing the fleece and the fibres I’m processing mainly with natural or kitchen-friendly dyes. I enjoy mixing colours and different fibres to create my ‘fantasy yarns’.

What’s scary is that I haven’t really had a disaster yet, because I’ve realised I like everything that turns out unexpectedly.  Watch this space!!  So far I’m really enjoying working with any fibre that is colourful. I do like some of the natural colours that the rare breeds sheep produce as well. Thinking of my current favourite, Gotland, here.

I wouldn’t be able to have all this fun without the support of the other half of Forest Crafters, my hubby. He has gallantly made fibre tools from that original CD spindle to his current stash including, beautiful turned wood spindles, orifice hooks and WPI yarn gauges, crochet hooks, shawl pins and nostepinnes.  He mostly uses recycled wood but is now looking at using native and some exotic woods and acrylics. He also produces beautiful turned pens and pencils, which are great for writing down all those essential pattern notes. And his latest project idea is buttons! Lucky me, I get to play with all these new toys first. Some of my hubby's hand crafted fibre tools are also available in the Knit Nottingham shop.

Follow us on our Blog.
We’re on Ravelry as ‘Suejay’ and ‘amonster’. Yes…he’s happy about that name!
We look forward to hearing from you soon.


Friday, 10 December 2010

Meet Our Artisans; Peter Smith

Hello All, 

We're starting a new series today where you can meet our lovely artisans. Hopefully you've noticed and had the chance to fondle our hand made products, we're over the moon that we been able to provide a platform for talented artists and crafters. I spend half of my days talking about how wonderful and creative these people are but here's your chance to get to know them a little better without me getting in the way. 

We're starting with one of our very favourites: Pete Smith (aka Wikkidknitter on rav). He's a young lad with big potential who's been at the very heart of the shop since its inception (honestly, once you've given him a cup of tea you just can't get rid of him...). 

Pete knits, crochets, tats, sews, beads and spins like a man possessed. You'll find his creations in the circular display cabinet in the shop and it'll be with us on every outing because of its popularity. We chatted with him to find out a bit more about his motivation. 

"I have been knitting most of my life and started to spin yarns on a drop spindle just over a year ago when I noticed Eleanor was using one and was fascinated by it. I got my first spinning wheel a few months after, one thing led to another and it just sort of took off and I love it!! my favorite fibers to work with.... anything soft or shiny!! Also I have been making jewellery and stitch markers for a few years but working with yarn and spinning are my main passions.

The items that I sell in the shop include jewellery, hand-spun yarns, a few hand knits from time to time and some stitch markers, though my focus is mainly on the hand spun yarns as I enjoy spinning the most.

I like doing lots of crafty stuff because I'm fidgety and need something to do most of the time. I wasn't known to stay still for more than a couple of minutes as a child unless I had something to do, which is still true now.

I get all sorts of reactions when spinning and knitting in public, as its not what most people someone like me doing in the middle of a cafe.
Traditionally it was the men who knitted and the women who spun, so by doing both I guess I am setting a trend for 21st century crafting to be popular amongst men once more."

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Larkhill Craft Fair

On the 12th December, Knit Nottingham will be going to the Christmas craft fair at Larkhill retirement village on the edge of Clifton, overlooking some scenic countryside. All visitors are welcome. The fair will run from 10 am until 4 pm. This map shows you how to find Larkhill, or for further information check out the Larkhill website.

We are really pleased to be attending, there is a family connection as Eleanor's grandma has lived there for just over a year. Eleanor loves all grandmas and granpas, so she is over the moon to be going to the fair.
Although knitting is not as exciting as sky diving, which some villagers have tried out, we are confident that are crafty wares will be popular, either as christmas presents or for the villagers own craft projects.

Larkhill is a wonderful facility offering independence, safety and a wide range of social activities to a too often overlooked group in our society. Eleanor and Kate will be running the stall, so come along and say hello, although you are more likely to find Eleanor in Larkhill's very own village pub.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Craft Mafia Christmas fair

As Christmas creeps closer the season of the festive craft fair is upon us. Last weekend we braved the cold and were down at the Apples and Pears and Crafty Wares fair in Sneinton Market, we had a wonderful if chilly time and met some lovely new crafters.

This Saturday, you will find us at the Hopkinson Gallery, for the first of the Craft Mafia Christmas fairs. This will run from 11am - 5 pm. As well as a wonderful range of yarns and artisan products, ideal as gifts for Christmas, two of our favourite spinners will be running the stall, Pete and Sue, so you will have a chance to try your hand at using a drop spindle. 

In addition Sue and Pete have set themselves a challenge to knit a whole scarf between them in one day, so stop by to cheer them on.

Look forward to seeing you down there, the address is 21, Station street, Nottingham. For more detailed directions and information on parking, call the Hopkinson Gallery on 0115 924 1440 and of course check out their website - Hopkinson Gallery.