Studio Revamp

In preparation for the arrival of the Great Wheel, my studio workspace was due a revamp.  Time to get rid of the pile of cardboard boxes and containers where I stored my yarn collection.

My studio

Before

The OH redecorated the entire room and built 15 cubbyholes into the alcove.

After

After

I realise the yarn collection is quite modest by most knitters’ standards, but I confess there is an overflow in my wardrobe…

Till next time,

L x

 

Family heirloom – The Great Wheel

My Uncle David has offered me his Great Wheel to have for keeps. I am thrilled and honoured. I remember his Great Wheel from  my childhood and it is an awesome creation. Here is a picture of it from many years ago, with my cousin Libby demonstrating:

great wheel007

My Uncle, David Barnett, is an amazing engineer, carpenter and woodturner and he has designed and built all sorts of looms and spinning equipment over the years, in his spare time, as a hobby. He has made all of my giant knitting needles for my extreme knitting projects. He is best known for the Barnett Drum Carder, which was very sought-after by the spinning community for its superior design. Now he’s retired and he doesn’t make them any more, although they occasionally come up for sale on ebay and he can still supply spare parts.

I have wonderful childhood memories of family visits when I was encouraged to have a go at spinning, weaving, knitting, rug making, and embroidery. Obviously knitting became my thing and it’s never left me. But with my family history of old-time creative textile arts, I have always wanted to learn to spin. One of my Aunts was an expert spinner and weaver, and she used to teach spinning classes. She taught me to spin as a child, but that lesson is a distant memory now and sadly she is no longer here to teach me. But I’m sure my Uncle will show me how to get started.

As the only knitter in the family, they would like the Great Wheel to have a good home. It’s a very large thing so gawd knows where I’ll put it, but I will find a spot for it. My OH is fascinated and thinks it’s a wonderful thing to accommodate, and anyway, he has a nine and a half foot piano in the living room so is hardly in a position to object!

I found this video on YouTube showing a Great Wheel in action. It’s rather lovely…

Till next time,

L x

Sold the last cat basket!

The very last cat basket I have is a size Small which I made a while ago and sent as a sample to Anthropologie.  They didn’t go ahead in the end, which was just as well, since the wool has been permanently discontinued. So they sent the sample back to me and it’s my very last one.

Then today my boss announced she has just reserved a new kitten in the local rescue centre – a ginger and white cutie – to keep her older cat company. Could she buy a cat basket for him? A pleasure that my last wool basket is going to a home where I can see it again! The kitten is going to be called Jimmy – how adorable is that?

In case my own cats are disappointed, I’m sure I could pull together some scraps and offcuts, maybe undo a couple of smaller prototypes, to fashion the very very last ever basket to keep them happy too.

IMG_3168

Herbie would appreciate it.

Till next time,

L x

Giant wool really has gone

No luck with the search for a new giant wool supply.

I was in London last week doing a trade fair with the new day job. It was a high-end gifts trade fair and I took one of my smaller knitted baskets with me as part of our exhibit. It was a great talking point. I had the chance to meet various buyers from textile mill shops and visitor centres – the ideal people to ask about the supply of giant wool. Sadly, these people who were in the know told me that they did not know of anyone who supplied it. One lady recommended the company I had used before – who have now discontinued it.

So I think I really have to draw a blank!

But then a very helpful lady from Not On the High Street suggested t-shirt yarn, and sent me some pictures. I hadn’t heard of t-shirt yarn before, but it appealed to me because it’s a waste product of the textile industry, therefore I would be ‘up cycling’.  It also comes in all sorts of fabulous colours. I found some videos online of people cutting up t-shirts into continuous strips to make the yarn DIY-style.  So I had a go myself with an old t-shirt, and found that it knitted up quite well.

I’m feeling inspired….am now sourcing a good supply…watch this space!

14 x 10 in basket

No more giant wool in the UK!

This week I got a great order for TWO medium cat baskets from a lady in France (thanks, notonthehighstreet.com!)

IMG_2581

I realised I was down to my very last cone of giant wool and this order was going to use it all up. I contacted my supplier to place another order, and was shocked to find out the the wool is no longer available.

I contacted the only other supplier in the UK that I know of (who were more expensive), and sure enough they told me the same thing. This yarn is discontinued.

IMG_2377

A google search yielded nothing remotely like it. Which didn’t surprise me because it was hard enough to source any kind of giant wool in the first place. One of the suppliers helpfully sent me some samples of their undyed yarn. But their thickest offering, a soft wool roving, was not even in the same ball park as the giant wool.

So with great sadness I will fulfil my last order for extreme knitting cat baskets this weekend.

Unless anyone out there can recommend a supply?

Till next time,

L x

A Love Affair with Wool

One of the reasons I fell in love with knitting is the wool. The texture, colours, feel and even the scent of pure wool were very appealing – and still are. When I was little I used to go and stay with my aunt who was a spinning and weaving teacher. Needless to say she always had a wool-related project to keep me amused. I remember sitting in her garden one summer’s day, handling some raw wool fleece. My job was to loosen the fibres by tossing it into the air, teasing it out, and letting the air in. I loved the feel of the wool under my fingers and the scent of lanolin it left behind.  To this day, handling pure wool is happily evocative of those times.

The giant wool I use for my baskets and cat caves is not that far removed from raw fleece. It’s had minimal processing and still retains its characteristic aroma. I had a lot of fun devising my giant wool baskets and my cats love modelling them.

So I was thrilled this week when my extreme knitting cat baskets were featured on the Ovis-A wool blog.  Many thanks to Katherine for the mention!

Ovis-a.com is a new site which aims to promote and celebrate British wool and wool designs. From their Facebook page – “The overall ethos is to promote a forward thinking and contemporary way to showcase British Wool products, using a directory and showcase service.”  They are also on Twitter.

This is a great idea and I wish them all the best with their venture!

It's not finished yet, Herbie

It’s not finished yet, Herbie

Till next time,

L x

2013 in review

I just received my blog’s annual report and stats. It was fascinating reading!

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,100 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

My no 1 commenter is the lovely Jengolightly, who I would like to thank very much! Hugs to you for your support!

Life changed a lot for me in 2013. I broke my ankle and was made redundant. Now I am self-employed and it feels very exciting. I hope I can keep motivated, organised and efficient. That almost sounds like a resolution doesn’t it?

Herbie is a distraction

Herbie is a distraction

Happy New Year to everyone!

Till next time,

L x

 

 

Fishcloth makes a comeback

Just had a last-minute surge in orders for the Fishcloth dishcloth.

Fishcloth

Fishcloth

Pink, purple, and blue. Not quite enough blue cotton so quick order on ebay to stock up. These are going to the US so will have to get my skates on and get them shipped.

Another Cat Cave is also being despatched tomorrow for a lady in Buckinghamshire. The needles have been quite busy!

Cat-Cave-with-Label

The other thing is, that as of Monday I will be officially self-employed! Not as a knitter: that remains a very absorbing sideline. But as a fine art publisher! Scary, but exciting, with lots of potential. My new website has just gone live with a selection of artwork, and many many more pictures to follow.

Hoping your pre-season preparations are going well!

Till next time,

L x

 

Cat Cave with personalised label

I just finished a custom order for a Cat Cave and a 14 x 10 inch basket.

The customer’s name was Merlin so I made this special label for him. Too cute!

Personalised label

Personalised label

This is going to be his Christmas present.

Cat-Cave-with-Label

And the basket is for storing all his toys!

14 x 10 in basket

14 x 10 in basket

What a lucky cat Merlin is!

The Cat Cave in all its glory can be viewed on Not On The High Street, along with the cat baskets and other extreme knitting goodies.

I am also adding some cats and knitting-related fine art prints in the coming days!

Hope all your pre-Christmas plans are coming together,

Till next time,

L x

 

Check out this lovely blog

My Giant Cable Knit blanket has been included in Anthea Willis’s blog, Forest Flower Designs.

It’s part of her feature on cable knits. Her blog is absolutely beautiful, so definitely worth a visit, even if it is on ‘the other side’!

IMG_1761

Right now I am trying to type with Larry on my lap. He is really too big to fit there comfortably. I ought to contain him with an arm to stop him sliding off. But he manages to hang on, until he drifts off to sleep. Then I have to catch him before he falls.

Til next time,

L x