Thursday, 17 December 2009

So here it is Merry Chistmas everybodys having fun.........

Hi long time no blog. I have been sooo busy, not that I am complaining, but I havent had time to blog.

The dressage champs are on Sunday so I have been trying to squeeze in as much riding as possible, I have also been busy trying to send out the back log of Percy Penguin Knitting Kits.As well as finish off all of my Christmas and birthday knitting. Tracy called round last Sunday and I realised that I still hadnt finished her Birthday Present (her birthday was in August!!) so I had to finish it off for her whilst she visited. Just in time I think as the weather has gotten really cold over the past couple of days. Its going to be Minus 5 tonight so her Frost Hat (by Louisa Harding featured in Knitting Magazine) should come in handy.I eventually finished Miss Marple. I love it - Willow Tweed is such a lovely yarn it is really soft when knitted up. I do like Louisa Harding patterns though as they are great figure flattering garments. I have also finished at last a jumper I started last winter from the Rowan Kid Silk Aura book - havent taken a pic yet but it is a proper Christmas Jumper Red/Green/Cream - No Reindeer but a bit Val Doonican - now you all cant wait for the unveiling can you? As soon as somebody comes round for a visit I will pop it on and get the picture. The Noro gloves also got finished this week in time for Secret Santa. I love them - really funky with a black coat. If I get fed up over the Christmas period I might make myself a pair.

Had a visit from the Rowan Rep today - still not allowed to have the pics of Issue 47 on the website yet. The magazine is due in 15th of January so will have till wait with breathe that is baited until I get the go ahead. My knitting kit for the new Revive yarn turned up though today. So I will be busy making Cardoon over the next couple of nights. Not sure if I have raved about this yarn enough yet....... 100% Recycled Cotton, Silk and Viscose - very drapey - just lovely.

If you buy any of the knitting publications that are out there keep your eye out for "5 Minutes with Knits in the City" in Lets Knit and Knits in the City "Top Knits" in Knitting. Both articles are in the Feb issues.

I advertise in these mags every month so it was a nice bonus to get these article opportunities.

We had a Stitch and Bitch Christmas do on Tuesday night where we exchanged Secret Santa gifts. Everybody made a real effort and we thoroughly enjoyed the evening. NOTE - I obviously dont get out much as my ability to drink alcohol has wained. Three wine and sodas and I was well away. Apologies if my Amsterdam stories offended.

Will post pics of the Secret Santa gifts when I get some pics from Candice.

Have a great Christmas everybody - and lets all have a brilliant 2010.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Dressage Local Championships

Well this should make you laugh.

Me and my horse (Treacle - show name Reynard)

have qualified for a local Dressage Championships that will take place at Aintree. So for the next few weeks I will be trying to learn Novice 38 (that is the test that I have to perform).

Sounds easy - well not for me - in my old age I seem to have developed a loss of memory. Dressage tests are made up of a number of movements that you have to perform on your horse (a bit like figure skating although you don't jump into the air and do a triple salko unless you are really unlucky) so you have to learn these movements and perform them in a set routine.
When we were younger (that's the horse and I) we were OK at this but after my many accidents (broken neck, splintered hip and broken leg) I am a bit stiffer and Treacle who is also ageing is stiffening up too.

I will be quite happy if we remember the test, Treacle doesn't decide to stop for a Pooh and the Lady in the canteen doesn't decide to make a round of Cappuccinos when I am on my way into the ring. So keep your fingers crossed that we make it round in one piece, without any errors and that we don't come last..........
On a knitting note - I have almost finished off Miss Marple - hee hee - well who doesn't want to finish her off? Miss Marple is a sweater that was featured in The Knitter Issue 11 I think. I am doing it as a KAL with one of my customers. Just finishing off - should be done by the weekend.
I have completed Featherbed a hat from the Louisa Harding Little Cake Book. Its for a present so I didn't make it too slouchy - used some Kashmir Aran that I had left over and think that it has turned out OK. I have to use the bear as a model as there wasn't anybody available to take my pic in it. He looks better in it anyway.
I think I might make a few more for presents. Off to finish off Miss Marple now!! Small things really do amuse me.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

OOOh This is One Student I'd Like to Get my Hands On

Ben FoglePublished: 1:15PM GMT 20 Nov 2009

Ben Fogle learns how to knit with Gerard Allt at his 'I Knit' shop in London

Despite the fact that I have put myself through extremes all over the world, I was out of my comfort zone with this one.

The closest I have ever come to knitting was 10 years ago on Castaway when I had to darn my socks. And I couldn't help thinking about the 7th Earl of Cardigan, after whom the knitted garment was named. He led his woolly-jacketed cavalry in the Charge of the Light Brigade and dropped much more than a stitch.

Today, knitting is largely considered a feminine pursuit yet hardy sailors, fishermen and shepherds were among the first knitters in history. As well as its purely practical benefits, knitting enhances motor skills and concentration, plus there's that sense of pride and fulfilment on completion of your creation.

Armed with these thoughts and a pair of size-8 needles, I turned up at I Knit, a small, welcoming London shop where knitters can chat, drink and relax late into the night.

The plan was to make booties for my newborn - for a novice like me, this seemed over-ambitious. But what are challenges about if not perseverance?

I eventually completed two neat(ish) rows, though I confess knitting is a lot harder than it looks; lose concentration and you lose your place.

As I got into my stride, my competitive edge came out. I found myself sneakily looking to see if my fellow knitters were progressing faster than me (happily, they weren't). I began to realise how therapeutic - not to mention handy - this skill could be.

I could use it on expeditions to patch ripped tents. People may laugh at the thought of James Cracknell and me sitting knitting in Antarctica, but you really have to make do and mend down there and it'd be fun to make woolly scarves in cold places.

These days there is a growing demand for hobbies that enrich your life, and research conducted by American Express has identified the rise of these "Potentialists", a merry band I count myself among.

Knitting is an art I could develop with time. I have this romantic notion of sitting at home, my wife feeding the baby and me knitting little hats. We'll be relaxed with the dogs at our feet. So I'd better put in more practice.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Bonfire Night!!!

Its Bonfires and Fireworks everywhere tonight and typically it is raining. I am obviously indoors try to keep my neurotic dog quiet. She has been whining for 3 hours solid and keeps landing slap bang in my lap at the most unfortunate moments - whilst trying to drinking a super hot cup of coffee and more importantly whilst blogging.

I was advised to ignore her yelps and to encourage her to play but she is not having any of it. When I send her in search of the stringy (toy) she just does a few laps like a panther about to strike and then starts whining again...........

Had a visit from the Designer Yarns rep today and have taken delivery of two new Noro Books.

Both are really lovely - sometimes I think the Noro designs are a bit antwacky (unfashionable for those who don't speak fluent scouse). But these two books are great value at £7.50 - the designs on the cover say it all.

If anybody hasn't met the members of the Prescot Stitch and Bitch a picture of the crew is shown below. This isn't all the members but just a select few.......

I have finished off a few items lately - haven't been able to take pics of them all but the bag - yes the bag that caused a few issues - how to sew together etc. is finished!!!! Hip Hip

It isn't too bad is it? The Pudsey Bear is for the Wine Bar where we have our Stitch and Bitch Sessions - they are having a charity night. Not my best work but hopefully he will help them raise some money for children in need.

Just shouted at the dog and she is sulking. Have a great Bommy Night.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Website Updating

I have been trying to get feedback on the website for a while now and today I bit the bullet and posted a request for feedback on the Ravelry - British Knitters Forum.

Wow - loads of really useful comments came flooding in so I am busy trying to implement the changes as quickly as I can.
Will try to make this blog short and sweet. Studio 17 came in last week and it has been selling really well. I like the fact that each garment only takes a small amount of yarn - below is a selection of the patterns included in the book. Check out the Website for the others.

Kim Hargreaves Winter Blooms is due in November. I have taken lots of pre-orders for this book - looks like it is going to be another Kim Hargreaves Smash Hit.........
I have finished my Rowan Brendalyn and also the felted satchel. Will add pics as soon as I get some time.
Favourite knitting programme "True Blood" just starting so I can start on my new project.
Miss Marple - made from Louisa Harding Willow Tweed - pattern featured in Issue 10 of The Knitter. I am doing a Knit Along with one of my customers so will post the pics to record the progress.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Football - OK so its a one off

Football has meant that this weeks Stitch and Bitch Session needs to be cancelled. Pha!

Never mind normal service will resume next Tuesday 27th October 2009 in the Print House at 6.00pm

Just a quick update. I have had a really busy time lately. Went down to the Cotswolds with a couple of friends for a horse trials event. Had a great time. Good food, great company and my friend did really well at the event. Although it was October the weather was fantastic and I came home with burnt lips (probably wind burnt but even so.......)

Orders have been coming in thick and fast so have been busy sending them out to customers. Still getting a lots of custom from the US. I think the exchange rates have a lot to do with it but I am not complaining. The Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong orders have also picked up. I AM GLOBAL!!

I Have got a new Louisa Harding yarn in stock - Kashmir Aran it is beautiful. Sooo soft. It is used in the Queen of Hearts Pattern book that I keep raving on about. See Marmalade far left.

Also new in is Patons Eco Wool Chunky Knitting Patern Book 3758 which includes 11 projects - Womens Knits and Accessories - One of my favourites is this Jacket in Fishermans Rib.

Eco Wool is 100% wool and is great value at £2.95 for 50g.

Also new in (not even on the website yet) is Noro Men - New for 2009 The first ever Noro book for Men , a must buy for all Noro Lovers. At £7.50 this is also great value.

Noro 26 - the one that everyone is raving about on Ravelry is also now in stock. This is a fantastic value book at £4.50, not only do you get lots of patterns but you also get to lean how Noro make yarns from start to finish , you get to meet all the team and there are shade cards for every yarn , what more could you ask for !! I attach a couple of the patterns from the book for your perusal. Both of these books will be on the Website tomorrow.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Sorry - havent been blogging enough lately

OK so I apologise for not blogging regularly. I have been extremely busy with orders, deliveries, stock takes etc and although no excuse for not blogging not really that interesting to blog about.

Stitch and Bitch is still going well. Rain did stop play for a few people this week but the die hard factor were still there (you know who you are).

I haven't got much knitting done either. I am making Brendalyn in Rowan Lima - my favourite yarn of the season along with Louisa Harding Thistle and Debbie Bliss Fez. I have finished the back, left front, sleeve and am currently on with the second sleeve. I am making in a nice grey and looking forward to wearing it with the felted satchel I have made (version of netherley from the Rowan 46 magazine).

Debbie Bliss A/W mag has sold well. There is a lovely bag in this book that I fancy making but I have to complete all outstanding projects first. I have also agreed to do a Knit Along with one of my customers. We are going to make Miss Marple from the Knitter issue 10. (sorry no pic available)

It is made from Louisa Harding Willow Tweed. If anybody wants to join us you can contact me through the blog or Ravelry or e-mail We will be starting towards the end of this month so plenty of time to get the materials together and to phsyc (not sure of spelling) yourselves up!!!!

Friday, 25 September 2009

Just a Quicky

Haven't blogged for a while have been busy with advertising!! - There is a lot to be said for working for a large organisation where you have specific departments for certain tasks. One of these would be marketing. Its the artwork. I am not great at it. Will get better though. Will have to as there is only me to do everything at the moment.

When I am a household name I will have staff to assist me............dreaming the meantime I need to unpack some new stocks.

Have you seen the Rowan Greatest Knits that is due into stock any day now. Well it is a collection of 30 patterns from the last 30 years. Second row down right hand image is the first Rowan garment I ever made in Rowan yarn. I used to buy the patterns and use cheaper yarn to make the items. For this jumper I used the correct yarn in exactly the same colours as shown. It turned out fantastically and I kept the sweater for years until it became bally and unwearable. I loved it so much I am going to make it again when I get the book. Another lovely book that has just come in is Debbie Bliss Tips for Knitters - at £7.99 I think it makes the ideal Christmas present for a knitter.

The new Debbie Bliss Mag is also in stock finally and has been selling like hot cakes. Some people on Ravelry have said that its not as good as previous mags but I particularly like the Union Jack Cushion and the Dog Bed........ Makes a change to make something like this. Or is it because I am patriotic??
Brendalyn going well (that's my latest project) would like more time to knit but there is work to be done.
Not so much of a quicky after all.
Coffee calling............

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Hang Over Cures

Yes I am hung over. I have done everything to try and get rid of it.

I have been to a One Day Event in Somerford where my friend was riding and have eaten everything available.

Cereal for BFast - Good. Then drove to the event - sausage barm - oops!, Double Whammy ice cream rum and raisin and honeycomb, a pound (yes a pound) of home made fudge various flavours - my fave was Turkish Delight - OMG sugar overload. Needed something savory then to counteract the sugar - Large Quarter Pounder Meal - Diet Coke (I am a saint) followed by a mint aero Mc Flurry.

House needs vacuuming - too full to even consider this so I have had a play on the comp instead and have found this free pattern that is on the Rowan Website. Think I will make some bunnies - maybe that will cure the hangover, or maybe a Chinese mmmmmm.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Burghley Over for another year - Boo! Winter Knitting - Yeah

Well I'm back from Burghley. Had a great weekend - just finished all of the washing!!

The weather was great - dry and not too hot. The event was very exciting this year - Oliver Townsend won (probably doesn't mean anything to the none horsey peeps out there). He has now won Badminton and Burghley - If he wins at Kentucky he will match Pippa Funnels achievement of the grand slam!!

So that is it for the big events for another year so onwards and upwards - lets get knitting for Christmas. Is it too early to sneak in a pic of Santa yet?? Well we have to plan as we all know knitting takes time, its not as easy as shopping, wrapping, giving. It involves, planning, shopping, making (with love) wrapping and giving - and if your lucky they actually like it!
I have made a couple of things so far. One for a 40th, one for a present - cant say what or who they are for in case they read the blog. I am working on a felted bag - yes I know I have been doing it for a while but other things have cropped up. It is drying as we speak in the garden as it is actually a nice day today.

The pattern is "Netherly Satchel" in the Rowan 46 Magazine and says to use Cocoon. As this was an experiment I opted to use Freedom 100% Wool. It is less expensive - it took 20 balls!! Yes 20 balls of the wool and has turned out a bit bigger than the Rowan one - I have washed twice trying to shrink that is why it is drying again. I like it though and will use it when finished - all I have to do now it put the base on and line - thinking a funky orange to match the fair isle patterns.

One of my on line customers Jobo - has sent through a pic of her finished garment - Cardigan made in Rowan Purelife Organic 4ply cotton. She has made a fabulous job on this item. Hope you all agree.
Don't forget to send through your finished items and I will showcase them for you on this blog. Also don't be shy add to add comments please - I know people are reading my blurb but either I am too boring to comment on or you have nothing to say (and I cant believe that as I know a lot of you personally).

Have now got the new Louisa Harding Queen of Hearts in stock again. Sold out of my first batch very quickly - a great buy at £7.50.
The fingerless gloves look a must for Christmas presents - Oh no I am off again. I think I am getting obsessed.
Now back to my red hat with pom pom!!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

End of Month.......

When you are running your own business no matter how small there are certain tasks that need to be undertaken at the end of each month. These tasks are not difficult but they are time consuming so I apologise about not adding a blog after last nights S&B.

Not a big turn out last night. People returning to school (as staff not pupils), going to see Harry Potter before it is off the big screen, illness, having their car stolen!! and other legitimate excuses. There were 10 of us last night but we were as loud as ever.

Ausie Ann has been creating a wool mountain - she has bought so much yarn off me lately she must be doing most of Santas knitting for him.

I have become hooked on scarves - it wont last long but for the knitting group they are very handy to work on. They are getting more and more intricate too. I am usually a cable or fairisle girl but this lace stuff has grabbed me. Saying that I have just completed Hoy from Rowan 46 and it turned out well. Made from Felted Tweed Chunky didnt take long to knit up at all.

The pockets are as shown on the pattern but I think they are a bit
high for a man - probably just too trendy for the men I know!!!

Business has been very brisk - Little Cake by Louisa Harding and Precious by Kim Hargreaves have sold really well as have the new Louisa Harding Yarns, Thistle and Willow Tweed. If you are looking for a stylish knit to treat yourself these books are great. They also make great coffee table books or fantastic gifts.

Dont forget to send me pics of your finished garments so I can post them on this blog.

I am off to Burghley Horse Trials tomorrow for 4 days, lets hope the weather is dry. I can cope with cold or hot but wet is just a pain. They have great stalls there and I always end up buying something totally impractical but what the heck...... You only live once.
Speak to you all next week.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

More - yes thats right - More Stock!!!

I seem to have gone mad!! The thought of Autumn/Winter yarns and all sense of reason has left me. Over the last month I have been getting carried away with all the new lovely yarns out there and suddenly they have all appeared at my house......

It looks like the invasion of the woolombies (x between wool and zombies). Every where I turn there is a pile of wool smiling at me. Whilst I eat my dinner, watch the TV even when I go to bed.

Silly me - when I decided to start the business I though a small bedroom with racking would be plenty of room for storage with the other small bedroom as an office. Wrong Wrong Wrong!

The plan is to convert the cellar but that will take wonga which I am short of at the moment as it is all tied up in this lovely stock. Now I love wool as much as the next knitter but sharing every room in your house with it is well you know.

I am sending out orders daily but it looks like whilst I am asleep the wool is multiplying - instead of Jackadoodles I will soon be overrun with Woolrussels. Although Talulah has an aversion to anything wooly and she has been spayed anyway.

Wow that really was a rant but I feel better now.

Knitting anyone?

Saturday, 22 August 2009


I have attached a picture of a baby hat that Candice made last night. It is from Baby Knits for Beginners by Debbie Bliss and is made of Baby Cashmerino. It is really cute, what makes this post different is that Candice is NOT a baby person!!! I love the way it has turned out though. She is making the sandles from Blankets Bears and Bootees (Debbie Bliss again) next. Cant wait to see how they turn out.

Have had a bit of an issue with paypal - they changed code on their payment site but didnt tell other websites to amend their code, thus my paypal was out of action for a few days. Everything is back to normal now - phew!! Orders are now arriving and I am making a dint in all the new Autumn Winter Stocks.

Speak soon.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Louisa Harding Launch of Little Cake

Another busy week.... As you know Tuesday is our Stitch and Bitch night so I was busy trying to get the new products onto the website - have failed miserably as other things keep cropping up. I am however determined to give the website a good going over today......Thus I am writing on the blog??

That aside I am still contemplating the Louisa Harding launch I attended on Tuesday. I loved the garments and the new book Little Cake. The pics are on the site. Yarn requirements being added as soon as poss.

The book uses two new yarns - Willow Tweed which knits as a DK and Thistle which is Aran weight. Part of Louisa's (I can call her Louisa now without giving her her full title as we have actually met) charm is that the patterns are very feminine and a contrast to the New Rowan 46 magazine look, i.e. the designs are not bulky walk the dog type products. I have started to make the Pikenaze Scarf in Willow Tweed (picture below) as a sample to show the knitting group next week. It is a lovely project and only takes two balls of the yarn. I think the scarf makes a fantastic Christmas present so I think I will be making a few for my friends this year.

The book - well wow what can I say. The photography is fab - there is a conversation with Louisa running through the book and each garment has that "I want to make it/own it" factor. Some people buy Recipe Books and dream about making the dishes. I love to read patterns and imagine that I have made the garments. I really would recommend this book - it is fantastic value at £7.50 yes thats right £7.50!!! Can you believe it? 26 beautiful patterns for £7.50.

One of the ladies in our S&B is a big Louisa Harding fan but thought that she wasnt experienced enough to tackle one of the projects from the 2009 S/S Nouveau book. I convinced her that she would be fine and she has just completed Anouk. Pictured here with my dog and at home.
I hope you agree with me she has made a fantastic job of this garment - she is now making Odette - this is her first attempt at knitting on the round and also incorporating the fairisle technique.
I love it when people are ambitious as they get such a fantastic sense of achievement when they complete their projects.
If you are a member of Ravelry you might be aware of the Louisa Harding Lovers group. There has been a forum discussing how age appropriate Louisa's garments are. Sue is no longer a teenager and the garment looks stunning on her.
Thats all for now. Better update the website so that you can all get on and buy a copy of this fantastic book.