Tuesday 29 November 2016

Winter has come

I woke up this morning to the lawn covered in frost. With the fields across the road beckoning, I grabbed my camera and a warm woolly hat and headed out.

Although it was only 8.30, the frost had already begun to melt as the sun hit the trees. 

I'm not a regular photographer but even I appreciated the shards of sunlight piercing through the canopy above and landing on the ice and leaves and berries.


And the frost lined leaves.

Walking out into the main park, the normally vibrant green grass had been muted and sparkled.


The individual stalks reminded me of sugared angelica with the ice as the sugar. 

The perfect start to a rare day off. Have a wonderful week everyone :) 

Sunday 25 September 2016

Embroidery and the Great London Yarn Crawl

It's been a busy few weeks! It's my fourth week back at university and getting used to early mornings and commuting in the sardine cans known as the London Underground. The lectures have been very variable but really interesting. Needless to say, term time means less time for creativity so my knitted bunny has slowwly appeared with only one leg to go now and a bit of sewing together. One of my goals this academic year is to create a better work-life balance between revision and everything else. Fingers crossed. One website that has really helped me with this through learning how to organise my life better is bakadesuyo.com. It has great articles on being organised, formulating routines and prioritising the important things in life. It may not be relevant for everyone but it's been a great help so far.

On the creative side - I have been going to some great events. The first one was an embroidery refreshers afternoon with the London Craft Club.

Based in the back of a food and wares market, a small group of us gathered around a table covered in a rainbow of embroidery thread. We spent the first hour on colour theory, which is basically how to match colours for a project so it doesn't look like they've been chosen in the dark. It's a surprisingly interesting topic and after the class I have really begun to notice colour combinations used in advertising and patterns in Ravelry.

After that we got onto the pretty stuff. Embroidery! I think I went into sensory overload when I was told to pick just three colours out of the multitude on the table. Looking around the table at the others, I knew I wasn't alone. Sonia who was leading the class helped direct us to different shades of the colours we had chosen to make even more vibrant or pastel based groups. We then learnt how to place the fabric in the embroidery hoop and a few basic stitches. I've recently started following Sarah K Benning on Instagram so I drew a small cactus for my sample piece.

I'll post a finished photo so you can see how the rest of the cactus went :)

Then, very excitingly, I was a volunteer last Saturday at the Great London Yarn Crawl 2016 which was organized by the lovely ladies from Yarn In The City. It was so much fun! There were 12 teams of varying sizes all of whom went to three or four yarn shops around London. As a newbie volunteer I was given an easy route around three gorgeous shops in East London: Knit with Attitude, Fabrications and Wild and Woolly.

I started the Crawl at a little cafe in Stoke Newington called Chumleys so I had a central place for the yarn crawlers to meet up. All the tables were old school desks with the lifting lids and the walls were covered in posters. Not cheap but really good food for breakfast including bacon and pancakes covered in syrup. Yum! I had eight lovely women in my group all of whom were very keen knitters. As a beginner it was wonderful to be surrounded by experienced knitters who were more than happy to share their knowledge and hints and tips.

Each shop was very individual and really welcoming. Knit with Attitude was a mix of yarn, jewelllery and a few other items. From what I could understand the shop is shared between a few people which gave a mix of different mediums. As someone interested in just about everything and anything this was a great way to browse. I bought two skeins of 4 ply ‘scrumptious’ by Fyberspates in Charcoal (grey) and Oyster (pale gold).

Next stop was Fabrications based in Broadway Market. The owner, Barley, has been in Broadway Market for quite a while now and a lot of her products are based around her passion for up cycling and preventing waste. I particularly liked her cushions made from the inner tubing of bicycle tyres.  She very kindly let us sit and eat our lunch in the downstairs class space and made us tea. Thanks Barley! Fabrications run workshops in sewing and knitting which vary from beginner classes to different ways to upcycle clothing and other materials.

The wall of yarn at Wild and Woolly

Our final stop was Wild and Woolly. We arrived to find fresh tea and coffee and cake and biscuits made by Anna who owns the shop. It was lashing with rain by this point and we had ages between this shop visit and the after party. Was this a problem? Not at all - Anna invited us to sit and knit and natter for as long as we wanted and kept us topped up with hot drinks. She also gave us free reign over her ball winder which provided many minutes of fun. I wound my new skein I bought from Anna from The Wool Kitchen in Ziggy, it's amazing how different yarns can look in skein and ball form.

Image from Wild and Woolly

A fantastic day with lovely people and lots of yarny goodness! I cannot wait for next year with faces new and old and more importantly new shops to visit!

Shop links

Podcasts this week

Hey Sister Podcast

The Grocery Girls

A Playful Day

Friday 2 September 2016

What's On in September

I was just rereading my last post and I realised the events list at the end only included two of the September events that I wanted to mention. So here is the updated list with links to the websites. I've added a comment or two to some of the ones I have been to before or have organised to go to this year. I hope this will be helpful! I have also created a Pinterest board for events in 2016 and another board for events in 2017. Feel free to look at these for inspiration and ideas of what to go to. I will add new pins as I discover more events. Enjoy :)

10th September Yarn in the City's Great London Yarn Crawl London
The Great London Yarn Crawl is like a pub crawl but for yarn! The event is split into different routes which consist of either 3 or 4 yarn shops with lunch halfway. You are guided around the route by volunteers and they end with an afterparty where you can meet people from all the routes and can compare all your yarny purchases. A great way to meet people and discover new places to buy yarn and other supplies. http://www.yarninthecity.com/shop-profiles

8th - 10th September Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycraft Show Manchester

16th - 18th September Kirsty's Handmade Fair Hampton Court, London
A huge craft fair with two big tents full of stalls to wander around and plenty of workshops to try out throughout each day. http://www.thehandmadefair.com

23rd - 25th September MADE Brighton Brighton
A fair for contempary designers and makers. Www.madebrighton.co.uk

24th - 25th September Masham Sheep Fair Masham, Yorkshire
For the absolute woolly enthusiasts out there. This is a fair for sheep sales so of interest to wannabe sheep owners or those curious about sheep and where their wool comes from. http://www.mashamsheepfair.com

24th - 25th September Yarndale Skipton, Yorkshire
I would love to go this but can't make it this year. Yarndale takes place in a huge auction mart that is usually used to sell cattle and livestock based in Skipton, Yorkshire. Fantastic fun and over 180 stall holders. They also provide a wide range of workshops over the two days although these sell out very quickly so book soon! One of the organisers is the lovely Lucy from Attic24. If you can't make it, you can still knit or crochet a mini sheep that will be displayed around the event. http://yarndale.co.uk

29th September - 2nd October Lochness Knit Festival Inverness, Scotland
Loads of workshops and full of beautiful fibre, wool and many other things. Although it has knitting in the title they do have weaving and spinning as well. www.lochnessknitfest.com

Friday 26 August 2016


So this past week I went on a family trip to visit one of my many cousins. This particular one lives near St. Ives in Cornwall with his lovely family. I haven’t been down to that part of the country since their wedding a couple of years ago so I was really looking forward to the trip! From where I live it takes roughly seven hours by train, perfect for catching up with podcasts, reading and possibly creating a stitch or two.

View from the train en route to St. Ives

I left the bunny WIP at home as I knew I wouldn’t finish it in time to give to my little cousin by the end of the train journey. Instead, naively, I grabbed three balls of DK yarn and a few magazines for the train journey. 

Predictably I couldn’t find a project in the magazines that were suitable for what I’d brought with me. Rookie error! Always plan ahead! So instead I decided to knit an iPad sleeve making it up as I go along. I cast on 46 stitches in the grey at the top of the picture. The whole piece is in stockinette stitch with colour changes every so often. As you can see by the mess written on the page, I’ve kept track so I can repeat the pattern for the other side of the iPad sleeve. I’ve made this side slightly too big in case I want to put felt on the inside for further protection. I’ll let you know if the whole thing comes together! If it does, I’ll post the pattern at a later date. If I can do it, any beginner can do it :)

St. Ives Bay

The weather in St. Ives was very variable with sun and then gale force wind and rain only an hour later. We certainly saw the different moods of the sea which was beautiful in its own way.

 When the tide was out, you could see multitudes of mussels all snuggled together on the rocks. Beautiful. I’m tempted to get the watercolours out and have a go at painting this picture.

We also went to the Eden Project. When we arrived it was like the initial scene in Jurassic Park, with the massive domes appearing as you drove to the hilltops around the Project. This turned out to be surprisingly accurate as there is currently a dinosaur exhibit happening in the project. What an amazing place! 

The weather was mixed that day but inside the domes, or biomes as the correct term is, it was sweltering. I soon regretted my jeans and jumper once inside! The different flowers and plants were incredible and it is amazing to find them in this country. A few of the plant smells reminded me of my childhood in Australia. Simply wonderful. 

An aubergine flower!

The roof of one of the Biomes

A waterfall inside one of the biomes. It provided relief from the humidity inside.

Other than that, the whole holiday has mainly been long walks, time on the beach and with the family. I cannot recommend Cornwall enough. Despite the hoards of tourists (me included I realise), it’s a stunning part of the UK. If I’d had more time, I would have loved to walk further around the coast. Next time, perhaps.

Not a particularly crafty or creative post I know! So to make up for it, I have put a list of events coming up in September including the Great London Yarn Crawl (more on that in my next post) and also a few podcasts that kept me company on the long train ride south. All of them can be found on the iTunes podcast store for free.

Have an amazing week! And I’ll be posting soon with some actual yarn happenings.

Charlotte and Harvey x

A few things on in September

10th September   Great London Yarn Crawl run by Yarn in the City, London
Run by the lovely ladies of Yarn in the City - Allison and Rachel. The Yarn Crawl is split into different teams who are then taken around 3 or 4 yarn shops in London by volunteers. Its a great day out and an ideal way to meet fellow fibre folk and to discover new shops to add to your yarn stash. Tickets have been selling fast so get one while you still can!

24th – 25th September   Yarndale, Skipton, Yorkshire
I would love to go this but can't make it this year. Yarndale takes place in a huge auction mart that is usually used to sell cattle and livestock based in Skipton, Yorkshire. Fantastic fun and over 180 stall holders. They also provide a wide range of workshops over the two days although these sell out very quickly so book soon! One of the organisers is the lovely Lucy from Attic24. If you can't make it, you can still knit or crochet a mini sheep that will be displayed around the event. More info on the website.

Podcasts this week

The Crochet Circle – great podcast for crocheters, two very funny ladies!
Elise Gets Crafty – interviews with different designers and crafters
Curious Handmade – Helen Stewart talks about knitting, patterns and yarn. Really lovely and upbeat!
Yarn in the City podcast - same ladies as the event above. Its a bit like sitting with two really good friends and nattering about yarn and knitting.
No Such Thing As Fish – comedy show by the elves behind the hit show QI

Saturday 13 August 2016


Summer in England is a precarious thing. There is no guarantee of sunshine or nice weather and when there is, the parks are filled with us pale Brits baring as much skin as possible to try and rake in some vitamin D and that mythical thing - a sun tan. 

On the plus side it does mean we are immensely grateful for any sun we do get and also get to complain about the weather however it turns out, combining this nations two favourite past times - talking about the weather and having a little grumble. We love it!  

Personally, I have loved this summer. Its had the right mix of heat and cooler days enabling me to balance my indoor hobbies with my outdoor hobbies without feeling guilty about missing the sun. 

So what's been happening this week?

Well, I started my first ever knitting project:

So far I have a head and a body made. Two ears, two arms and two legs to go! This particular pattern even has 'easy' in the title which helped push me into actually trying a knitting pattern. Having never gone beyond a few rows of stocking stitch I thought it was time to take the plunge! So far this has been a really easy project as the pattern only uses knit, purl, kfb (knit into the front and back of a stitch) and k2tog (knit two together) and therefore is a gentle introduction into increases and decreases as well as pattern reading. I will post a photo once its done! For anyone interested, the pattern is from Let's Knit magazine, Issue 107 (July) and is Val Pierce's Easy Bunny. I've chosen slightly bolder colours than the original and as long as it doesn't look like Frankenstein's creation when its done, it will be coming to Cornwall with me to give to one of my little cousins. 
If you're a newbie knitter like myself, this is one to try.

I started making the crochet virus shawl, again great for beginner crocheters. However, I was called away halfway through a row and lost my place. So that has been frogged and will be started again once the bunny is finished. Its a great shawl to make as it looks really pretty and has a manageable pattern. Woolpedia.de have created some fantastic videos that take you through the shawl row by row in a really straightforward way. Just YouTube it or its also available on Ravelry

In an attempt to get rid of all the acrylic yarn that has somehow gradually appeared in my yarn stash, I have been experimenting with different techniques in rigid heddle loom weaving. Rigid heddle looms are very affordable and provide an easy way to try weaving without having to invest too much money. I currently have an 8 inch Ashford SampleIt loom, which is tiny but enables me to learn basic weaving without storage issues. If I could go back in time though, I think I would have bought a larger loom instead as the SampleIt loom is quite great to start with but is then limited in what you can make with it.  


As you can see the selvedges are a little wonky but I'm so happy I've learnt a few new techniques! The very top is a type of lace work, then I have Danish medallions, 2/2 twill with and without a line of plain weave between the rows and an attempt at pick up stick techniques on the bottom. Using pick up sticks was a little bit fiddly as I had to change them so often even for a simple pattern but I think the end result is worth it :)


And finally, non craft related but I tried a new recipe this week - Thai prawn curry. Delicious! Preparation took about 15 minutes and cooking about the same. Easy to make and soooo tasty! You can find the recipe here

That's all for now! I will leave you with one more picture of Harvey enjoying the sun and his favourite drink.  


Have a great weekend! And feel free to share any of your current works in progress (WIPs), I would love to hear about them :)

Charlotte & Harvey x

P.S. Feel free to follow me on Twitter @parfitt_cm and Instagram @charlotte_and_harvey

Saturday 6 August 2016

Fibre East 2016

First of all, I just want to say what a fantastic time I had at Fibre East this year. I have never been before but it is definitely going on my list of events to visit every year. I decided to take my mum along as she loves creativity but hasn’t discovered the joy of fibre just yet. Fibre East is based in Bedfordshire, a short taxi or bus ride from Flitwick station which is easily accessible from London. It is based in a beautiful school with large grounds providing perfect outside space to take a break from yarn overload.

The event was split into separate areas, each named after a breed of sheep – Jacob, Leicester, Romney, Shetland, Cotswold and Herdwick. As I wandered around, it was lovely to see happy yarnfolk milling about with lots of yarny goodness in their bags. Each section was full to brimming with stunning yarn from pastels to glittery to variegated colourways of every possible combination. Interspersed between the skeins were spinning wheels, looms and bundles of fluff and multiple other kits and tools. I don’t think I have ever seen so many spinning wheels in one place in my life! And the casual ease with which they were used was awe inspiring. 

My first stop on my pre-planned tour was Shetland, an area specifically for guilds. If you’re not in a guild, I would definitely recommend joining one. If you want to know why guilds are a good idea, let me describe my journey into ‘Shetland’. Within seconds of entering the front door, my mum was whisked off by a lady to try rag rugging while I was enticed to by the North Herts Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers (WSD) to try the shiny 8 shaft loom sitting on their nearest table. I think they may have noticed me staring at it longingly haha. I was shown how to move the shafts to create various pattern wefts and then completed one repeat of a pattern I forgot to ask the name of, I think it had rosepath mentioned in it somewhere. I was then pulled away by mum to watch a machine knitting demonstration by the Guild of Machine Knitters. Their shiny machine created rows and rows of stitches with such speed! Far more elegant than the machine sitting forlornly in my home. Like the WSD Guild, I was provided lots of advice, not only freely given but also with a true passion for the subject. It has also helped solve the mystery of why my knitting machine doesn’t work which was a huge relief. Each guild member had a badge with their Ravelry username on it so you can find like minds on the website. After their summer breaks, I am planning to visit a WSD guild and the machine knitting guild so I can further my very basic knowledge. After another chat with the Bedfordshire Guild of WSD, Mum and I headed out the door to the rest of the show and lots of yarn!

 Amidst the sea of skeins and balls of yarn, I spotted the above sign. Great advertising for the stall and also wonderfully creative. Just below this were a mother and daughter duo who were teaching spinning on a spindle and spinning wheel to show how the lovely fluff could be used from their stall. Have to admit I was a bit mesmerised by all the colours and how casually they chatted to customers while spinning.
Its difficult to describe quite how much there was to see. Each section of Fibre East was full of different products and I think there was something for everyone. For me as a beginner spinner and weaver, it was great to have an event that didn’t have such a heavy emphasis on knitting and crochet as there are plenty of shows out there for those already.  


During our wander around I of course had to buy a few things…. Each purchase came from one of the many independent small businesses on show.

Grendel Yarn from Hooligan Yarns

Grendels CV, http://www.hooliganyarns.com/

The above yarn came from a tiny smallholding based in Nottinghamshire run by a lady called Di. Each ball from Hooligan Yarns is spun from a single sheep and comes with a card introducing you to that sheep and their personality. My yarn was from Grendel, a very handsome sheep and this direct knowledge of the origin of the yarn will make the end project that I make from it very special. Also, while I was browsing and choosing what to buy, Di’s mum taught mine the basics of knitting and she’s been doing a little bit every day since. It is this gesture and that of the next stallholder that made the day special and gave the event such a welcoming feel. It also shows you never know where or how your creative journey might begin.

My next purchase was a pretty turquoise drop spindle that came with two types of fluff to spin. 


From Wild Craft, the spindle is light and with a little practice, easy to use. Noticing my interest in their stall, I was given a free lesson in how to use it and how to pull out the fluff into yarn using a method called Park and Draft. After a good ten minutes of learning, I happily purchased a spindle and can’t wait to get started with it and see what I can make.

All in all, Fibre East was a fantastic experience and I cannot wait to attend next year. As I gain confidence in my new hobbies, I am looking forward to visiting more and more events like this around the UK with my next planned event being the Great London Yarn Crawl in September (http://www.yarninthecity.com/glyc-2016). More on that soon!