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Notice to Quit

Hello,

I have decided to permanently move over to my home for the last year, www.knitbritish.net

It has come to suit my needs a little more and so I am afraid that I will eventually delete this blog at morrolesssocks.wordpress.com

If you follow Yak and Mak, or you received email subscriptions to posts, then please find my email subscription facility at KnitBritish.
You will receive my posts – all British wool and fibre related tidbits, book and yarn reviews, podcasts and more – to your inbox as soon as I publish.

Similarly, if you got Yak & Mak notifications on your blog reader or your RSS feeds I would love if you amended these to point to KnitBritish. (if you are so inclined)

Podcasts are definitely on the cards for 2014 and you should be able to find them here, as well as on the website – I will be talking about my adventures in knitting with wool which has been grown, spun, sourced or dyed in the UK.

If you are on Ravelry I am Leira. I tweet @LouisebScollay and I am on Pinterest too.

Thanks for reading and following this blog and I hope you will continue to join me in this merry dance over at KnitBritish

hello….

… For the next 12 months you can find me at

www.knitbritish.net

Please do come on over and adjust your RSS feeds.

See you over there

 

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I have been having the most fun!

Since throwing myself head first into the idea of knitting British I have had nothing but fun and joy seeking out local grown, spun or dyed wool.

JEWELS

Have a look at just some of the utter jewels in the British Wool crown that I have stashed so far….

 

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“Seeking out” is perhaps a redundant term as there is just so much British fibre out there, just yearning to be used.

And it isn’t just our sheepy friends either, I can’t believe I have been buying alpaca wool imported from South America when there is an absolute wealth of yarn grown from flocks (packs?) all over the UK, even here in Shetland!
My wishlist is continuing to bust! I really hope Santa thinks I have been a good girl this year. Currently I have coveting this sumptuous green UK Alpaca sock from John Arbon! It just yearns to be squeeshed!

 

I will introduce more of the yarns in more detail as time goes on, but needless to say it is all wonderful stuff and I am really looking forward to working with it.

(I have just realised I have included all dyed in that picture. There is lots of natural too!)

HOW MUCH?

I know there will be some people out there who will simply disregard yarn because of the price. We all like a bargain, especially if you are a prolific knitter! But I am quickly beginning to realise that I would rather pay a little more for a quality item produced here in the UK.

Before I really began to knit with hand-dyed wools, I would baulk a bit at the prices, but look at this beautiful British BFL from The Yarn Yarn …no really, have a good look…

The Yarn Yard BBFL

It’s not a very good photo, but I am sure you can appreciate the different nuances and how each colour plays with the light. Can you imagine how lovely this will look knitted?  You will never buy a ball of wool from your LYS that has detail like this unless it is hand-dyed. I feel this is the epitome of an artisan craftsmanship.

The wool is was grown on the back of a happy British bred sheep and the wool was dyed by a wonderfully talented British based dyeing artist. There is no comparison really.

HAPPY COINCIDENCE?

And as luck would have it two wonderful British designers have just brought out beautiful pattern collection books all made in British fibre!

Ann Kingstone had been releasing patterns in what I can only describe as  salivatory manner;  drip feeding beautiful designs in Yorkshire wool on Ravelry, which lead up to the launch of her book Born and Bred in conjunction with BaaRamEwe (my new favourite online store). I certainly cannot wait to knit this!

Hild by Ann Kingstone

 Kate Davies has published her first collection of patterns Colours of Shetland, all Shetland inspired and using Jamieson & Smith wool. I am a sucker for a yoke and just look at this glorious example.

Puffins by Kate Davies

I am just giddily excited to be knitting with all this home-grown loveliness. If you are on Ravelry head on over to the Woolsack forum. JaneKAL has started a new forum where you can discuss your own ideas for projects knit in British wool.

I’d also (eventually) like to host giveaways, perhaps a blog tour or two and have a gallery of your own projects, if you care to share them.

New website going live soon  so all will be revealed in good time and due course, but needless to say, like Christmas, it will be here before we know it!

Ann Kingstone’s book, Born and Bred, is available from Baaramewe & is priced £12.99

The Colours of Shetland, by Kate Davies is available via her website priced £14.99

Etterscabs

Here is Etterscabs. The last item I will make in non-British wool for the next year.

back yoke

The design is Aftur, by Védís Jónsdóttir and I knit it out of two necessities. 1) I wanted a lopapeysa style yoke jumper and 2) I had a lot of Drops Alaska in my stash that, while a wonderful wool, it was taking up too much space in the stash. Stash space that is needed for British wool for 2013!

I am so delighted with this jumper, as you can see! I haven’t done a lot of colour-work, and I did struggle a little bit with working with only 2 colours (ye gods! should I knit a pattern that requires more!) but I am so pleased with how it turned out.

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I altered the yoke pattern from the original and I made the sleeves a little longer and added just a little waist shaping (as I always look boxy in jumpers) my only slight regret is that I didn’t allow for more…ahem…movement…in the bustular area. But one needs to feel snug in this cold weather.

I really don’t think I have been so happy with a creation in a long time. It had been blocking for over a week (I bent every single pin I had! But Dear Mother is going to lend me my Nannie’s jumper board for the future!)

I can’t think of a nicer project to close the chapter on one knitting year and embark on another.

More news of my 2013 adventures in British Wool soon…very soon. Meantime Lovely Fella – not content with dodging showers this morning to take my picture at Scalloway Castle –  is in the process of KnitBritishing up  a new web-space.

So exciting developments aside, I am about to go and marinade the lamb for dinner!

Catch up with you soon, and keep coming with your British wool suggestions. What breed of wool do you prefer to work with?

Ohh! Before I go, the name Etterscabs. Are you wondering? I don’t think it is an actual word. It was a word chosen  by a writing group I attended as a theme for the following meeting. It was chosen from this book. It was during the course of this meeting that I realised I am not someone who can write something on a time limit and procrastinating this was the most creative thing I had achieved in the allotted time. Hence, Etterscabs.

PD4A0591

It’s been tugging at my knitting belt for some time, ever since I was waxing knitical about a new yarn I was swatching, which came from a flock almost over the back garden from me (as the crow flies)… wouldn’t it be a great idea to knit as local or as British as possible?

This year (belatedly, granted), I set myself the Great Cardi Knit of 2012 challenge and I have loved having a theme to knit to, so it has got me thinking about what I might challenge myself with in 2013…(ocht! I know it’s only September, but it’ll soon be upon us!)

Last Monday I was on a train from Aberdeen to Edinburgh, and while sipping my East Coast Trains, First Class coffee (which was a bit second rate, truth be told) I was looking out the window. We passed a fairly large field of sheep, resplendent in their growing winter fleeces…it got me to wondering what the price of wool was for this year and if farmers were coming off any better this year, than in the past. And it tugged at me again…

…Wouldn’t it be great to try and knit with as much British wool as possible?  I tweeted right away…

A deluge (for someone with 75 followers!) of suggestions came my way and it soon became clear that there are lots of  folk out there who are growing, spinning, dyeing British wool – from big producers to the smaller, indy chaps trying to carve out a career selling and promoting brilliant UK woolly products.

Quickly ideas started forming. If I wanted to try and knit UK, I should really try and do my bit to promote the British yarn growers, sellers and dyers I will be buying from, through blogging, yarn reviewing etc…and maybe it’ll turn more folk on to them too. Not only would it plug great local & independent businesses, it would promote British wool and fibre and our native breeds, as well as supporting and promoting local purchasing.

It’s all ideas yet, but it is something I am considering doing…a regular blog on Knitting British and highlighting really deserving chaps and reviewing their yarn…

…what do you think? Would you read it? Would you share it?  Would you be likely to visit the websites and shops that I blog about?

Would it make you think about buying British; for example, alpaca wool from Shetland Alpaca or Toft rather than imported? Or how about considering hand-dyed yarns from Ripplescrafts or The Yarn Yard?

I am really interested in knitting with and blogging about the smaller, independent chaps… … would you consider an Artisan (if that isn’t too quaint a description) UK Knitalong too in 2013?

…Who would you recommend me to try? Or if you are a British yarn producer or dyer, would you be interested in taking part?

I’d really love to hear from you and hear your suggestions and see what we can do in our own small way to plug our brilliant local products and our great yarnies! Maybe I can even arrange some sort of giveaway or discount to have at the end of the Knit British year!

You can leave a comment here, tweet me or email me at louisescollay (at) hotmail.co.uk And please do share with your knitterly/crocheting/craftsty friends! I am compiling a list and would love to know of other UK independent yarn businesses.

#knitbritish

The Art of Books

   In my last blog I was telling you all about my love of the book, or rather my love of the craftsmanship of old books. I was also lamenting a little at the lack of art (of that standard and detail) in today’s books.  Today, as a happy sequel to that blog, I wanted to introduce someone who sees art beyond the cover and within the words!

 Bronia Sawyer is a British artist and photographer with an amazing talent in book sculpture. I found her work when I was doing a little researching on book art and when I saw her book birds, I was absolutely captivated!

how intricate are those birds, and so fragile! I can imagine so time-consuming and intricate to sculpt!

 Sawyer’s inspiration seems to come from her vivid imagination and the anxieties she suffered as a child…

“For me creativity and imagination go hand in hand. My imagination has always been vivid , it has been throughout my life, both a blessing and a curse. As a child it fed by nightly anxiety, creating faces in the shadows and monsters under the bed, but in the lights it fed my daydreams driving me to create worlds in which I felt safe.” 

As a child, it was discovered that Bronia had dyslexia and while her struggles with words drove her to more creative pursuits then, she feels now she is reconnecting with words and text, and coupling her “old weakness with words, with my artistic strength”.

 

   “I love paper it is so versatile but overall I favour books I love the texture of the paper the discoloured tones and the printed text. There is something warm and homely about a book something I find almost comforting although some find it horrific that i spend lots of time cutting up old books I love getting lost inside the pages and creating something new from something old and tatty.”

…When I look at her work, I feel like I am taking part in the story and Bronia creates different levels of interaction. Look at the last picture above. We can interact with it visually, but I look at the textual element, the dictionary entries defining each subject! Just wonderful!

If you wish to find out more about Bronia and see more of her work then please do visit her in the following places…But please don’t blame me if you get lost in her amazing world of words, books, sculptures, photography and stories…it is a captivating place to visit!

Her Website: http://www.littlebookbird.co.uk

On Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/broniart/

 

 

Book Cover Lover

“Never judge a book by its cover”, so they say…

… ‘They’ also say, “all that glitters is not gold”

But aren’t they pretty when you put the two together?!

Publisher Nelson, crica 1913 (no date)

    I work in a bookshop specialising in second hand and antiquarian books and quite often I will be drawn to a particular spine on a shelf… a unique font, a gilded image or embossed design… and I just have to gently retrieve it from the shelf and have a little fondle!  Ok…that’s perhaps a bit strange, but old books are fascinating and should be handled with wonder…and also care!

    If properly shelved, the spine of a book is the only thing a browser can see, it’s the only thing that gives us the initial information we need…What’s it called? Who wrote it? Who published it?

    Alas though, 99% of the time we probably only absorb the information written on the spine. If we do pull a book down from the shelf, it is usually the cover that one remembers most.

…granted though…every spine isn’t as beautifully attended to like this!

   When I posted a picture on twitter of one of these prettily adorned book frontages, a pirate pal dug up the most apt terminology… “Treasure!”, she said! And treasures they are!

To think that perhaps they have lain unloved on a shelf for many a year, decaying after years of unfondlefication (my own word!) and yet the pages well thumbed and its back almost broken from the years of activity it had before it came to lay..

And how inspiring…I think I see a knitted cable pattern hiding within The War of The Roses!

… and then along come I, catching your gilt edges shining just a little bit more in the sun today than yesterday…and I can’t help but admire and delve in for a better peek at all your prettiness!

I don’t think we do covers (or spines) the same these days. Oh! Don’t get me wrong, I think there is amazing cover art and artists working out there to peak our interests in the written word (for even though we shouldn’t judge a book by the cover, it is a major selling point) 

I am thinking particularly of artists such as Rob Ryan…his papercuts on John Connolly’s, The Book of Lost Things…the current Vintage collection that has been brought out in conjunction with the V&A, with covers designed by Zandra Rhodes and Philip Treacy… or the Puffin 70th Anniversary Designer Classics…

…Ooh yes these collections of pretties are very high on my ‘Most Coveted’ list 

But usually these kind of covers are limited edition, pretty costly etc, and it just makes me appreciate the workmanship and artistry of  wonderful rare old books even more! 

   One day I will blog about my favourite hand-written dedications inside books. Does anyone still do this? Once a friend told me not to write in any books I gifted her, in case she wanted to sell it on ebay! This was the same pal who asked the wonderful Armistead Maupin (his own books so beautifully artfully adorned!),  if he could sign a bit of paper for her to keep in the book, rather than the frontpages…presumably for the same reason she had given me!

  I like to see a dedication from the book giver to the book receiver. I love used books because they were pre-loved – maybe not always enjoyed, right enough, but I love the romance of it all – who gave it to whom? What was the sentiment behind the giving? Who touched the same pages as I do? Did they laugh or cry at the same parts I did? Mostly the questions are never answered, but they are part of the story nonetheless.

…Tomorrow’s weather is for rain. Not many people will be about if the weather is dreich, but if you have nothing else to do, come along and find me digging for treasure!

Yealtaland Books, Main Street, Scalloway. (01595) 880335

Yealtaland Books, Main Street, Scalloway, Shetland. (01595) 880335