Thursday, 13 December 2012

Bringing light

Today is Lucia day in Sweden - it is considered as the darkest day of the year and to celebrate the light returning, we have candle lit processions and serve saffron buns, or "Lucia cats".
It is possibly my favourite holiday, an occasion for a magical moment of a quiet breakfast by candlelight with the darkest of mornings still looming outside...and wearing tinsel in your hair!

This year however, I have opted for a distinctly warmer, fresh of the needles, tomte-hat. I am still looking for a good translation for "tomte". The swedish word is used both for Santa and for these small house-goblins who are kind in looking after your home and your animals but mischievous in their love for Christmas food...They are also the ones who get accused if anything goes missing in the house and turns up in a funny place!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Helsinki part 1

Finished my first instant gratification project with yarn bought during my recent trip to Finland!

Chinook Scarf  in Malabrigo Worsted, Colour VAA - 2skeins

Altered to a garter stitch body and added pompoms. An absolute joy of a yarn to work with, and gorgeous to wear.


Helsinki has plenty of yarn shops! It was incredible to plan a trip not just around one special treat, but around 3 or 4, and then find out that there are more shops still from our non-knitting guide and then accidentaly stumble on yet more stalls and little shops here and there...
I bought the Malabrigo from one of these surprise shops, the beautiful and vast Priima Lankatalo .
Located on the second floor above the Emmaus charity shop - my second favourite thing in the world is hunting for bile coloured 1960s crockery - it's a huge space with a fantastic range of yarns. Not so many Finnish makes, but full ranges of brands such as Malabrigo, Aracaunia, Debbie Bliss and Lang, not to mention the Wall of Noro (although I did find the Noro priced a little steeply compared to here in the UK, but it's still beautiful to look at). 


The visit to Emmaus and the junk shop next to it didn't yield that much by way of crockery (for which my luggage was thankful) but I found a few lovely vintage christmas textiles, and my mother spotted this fantastic, handmade, Marimekko-esque woollen wall hanging for me!


Monday, 3 December 2012

The stillness before christmas

Wishing you all a happy 1st of advent - now begins the time when I perhaps feel at my most swedish, surrounded by candles and lights.
As I am home with flu, I've had a chance to make a little start on a Chinook scarf in some delicious Malabrigo Worsted I bought in Finland at the weekend....much much more about that as soon as I regain the capacity to string sensible sentences together!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Good day at the market

I attended my local village market today with my little knitted and crocheted bits, along with things I make from vintage fabrics. Given that the forecast looked like this this morning:

we weren't exactly expecting much in terms of turn-out.

Nonetheless, the market had moved to a different venue from before - indoors for most of us - in the lovely bright village hall. I set up, got a lovely big mug of tea and settled down with the end of my Kingswood cowl.

As it happened, the weather stuck to being nasty and wet rather than torrential and stormy as predicted, and quite a few people in barbours and wellies turned up! Business wasn't exactly booming, but I had enough big sales to make it definitely worth coming out for.

Of course, as is usually the case whenever I attend any markets, I end up spending all my earnings with other stalls! This time I was rather sensible and "only" came away with a beautiful Welsh Spalted Beech key ring and a very special treat of Welsh cider-washed cheese - perfect peppered with garlic and baked in the oven for a rainy day treat. All I need now is to actually find the house keys I was going to put the key ring on...

Monday, 19 November 2012


Our new addition, Arlo.


Glorious nippy Sunday morning in Machen....
Although maybe I should have some concerns about the need to scrape the inside of the windscreen...

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The product testing department

As part of our fibre bartering system, Jan got to be the first to try spinning the new Gower fibre (I traded it for a camel....but that's a different story).
In the space of a weekend, she spun, navajo plied and knitted this lovely hat of her own invention and design and showed it off at last nights knit-night. I'm afraid I grabbed her for the photo so fast that she didn't get a chance to take her coat off!


Thursday, 8 November 2012


I have been approached to supply sock kits in Gower Wool to the lovely , so this week I have been working on a prototype for a pattern to go with the kit - just a super-easy, festive stripe which is knitted a little larger and looser to allow the socks to be lightly felted in the machine. I accidentaly felted my christmas socks from last year and they became the softest warmest thing on earth, so now I want to spread that toasty joy!
These knit up really really fast, I only cast on late Sunday night and have been knitting a little casually in the evenings...the second one is already on the needles.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

First Gower colours

Blueberry soup - inspired by a Swedish dish served on particularily cold winter days.

Laverbread - A Welsh seaweed speciality, fantastically healthy, and so delicious for Sunday breakfast!

 Denim - a good basic colour...just like jeans, really.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Gower Wool and Gower Fibre

Introducing this years batch of wonderful Gower Wool and the new addition Gower spinning fibre.
This wool comes from sheep belonging to our family on the beautiful Gower peninsula in Wales, with a little help from Mr Owens prize-winning Bluefaced Leicesters in Conwy. It is then processed by a small independent mill in Cornwall, making it a truly Celtic product!

The blend of Bluefaced Leicester and Black Welsh Mountain fibres produces this lovely ice grey natural colour....and a soft, fluffy sport to DK weight yarn, perfect for extra warm socks, winter accessories and lightweight but toasty sweaters. It will also felt beautifully.
The spinning fibre is the same blend and...well...just lush, as we say here.

Both are available in our Etsy shop right now.


Thursday, 1 November 2012

A little whisper of spring

100% Fine Lithuanian Linen in a heavy lace weight, the colour of my favourite deep purple lilacs with little flecks of sky blue.

Happy Halloween!

I used to dread Halloween. It used to just mean incredibly drunk people in tacky plastic outfits knocking about outside our house until the early hours on a week night, and you certainly didn't dream of opening the door to anyone.
It's rather different in the country though, and a lovely opportunity to meet a few of the neighbours whilst they chaperone groups of children from door to door. What we've also discovered is that it is the perfect opportunity for Mark to show off his Art Degree credentials and fully express himself artistically through the medium of Pumpkin.

We had two last year. This year we have five. I fear eventually we will become that house covered in decorations that people will come from neighbouring villages to see...

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

It's heeeeeeeere!!!

The Gower Wool, the wool that we have had spun from the family sheep - and with a little help from some prize-winning Bluefaced Leicesters in Conwy - was delivered tonight.
A huuuuge sack of soft, squishy yarn and a smaller one of delicious fibre for spinning, both in a beautiful, natural light grey resulting from the blend of soft bfl and black welsh mountain wool.

NB: full size cat included for scale.

Oh, I guess we'll be having pumpkin soup then....

Sunday, 28 October 2012

On the needles...October


Great Big Sweater
Debbie Bliss Luxury Donegal Tweed - Chunky
An idea that started off as a grey poncho and became an oversized orange sweater instead. Working top-down, currently dividing for pockets, then ready for the bottom rib.

The beautiful season

Autumn is my favourite season: the richness of the colours, the first chill in the air, the pleasure of a warming pot of tea and finally the opportunity to get out all those cosy woolly knits!

It's already our second autumn since leaving north-west London for a small village in South Wales....and we're still pinching ourselves every day, waking up surrounded by hills and woodland, and coming home to the smell of log fires all around us!