The socks that almost never were..

I’m finished, at last! These socks were nearly a gonner last week, when I managed to drop my knitting bag in Victoria Park and lose them halfway through sock number two.  Luckily, through the powers of Twitter, I was able to get them back! Someone had saved them from being eaten by playful puppies and handed them in to Mrs Brown’s Cafe in the middle of the park.

Although sadly at some point the lovely bag they were in was snapped up by someone less honest.  It was just a tote bag, from Windmill Hill city farm, but  I was given it when I worked in the Windmill pub, and it made me feel part of a nice community.  It saddens me to think that the person that took must also be part of that community that I felt was so friendly.  I’m consoling myself with the fact that I got my knitting back, and that I could always go and buy another bag, but it’s not quite the same.

The yarn is Regia Mix-it, and the pattern just a toe up formula I was trying out. I’m making a bunch of stocking stitch socks as my “bus knitting”, which hopefully my feet will appreciate come winter!

Beshley’s Wool Shop, Bristol

I’ve been trying to find the time to post this for over a week – ever since I found myself slightly over-excited in Bristol’s newest yarn shop – Beshley’s Wool Shop – on it’s opening day, 21st June.

Beshley had the idea to open a yarn shop about 5 weeks prior to opening (I know!), and then says she went shopping for yarn a couple of weeks later.  The shop is well situated in Clifton, off Whiteladies road in Alma Vale Road.

Beshley’s USP is that all the yarn she stocks is British (whoopee!) which is fantastic news for us in Bristol.  The city as a whole is quite eco-conscious, and it’s great to see a new shop supporting the yarns grown, spun and dyed in our Isles. Stockists so far include Erika Knight, Jamieson and Smith, Woolyknit, West Yorkshire Spinners, Artesano, Donegal Yarns, Blacker Yarns and John Arbon Textiles.  I also spotted a few books by Kate Davies on the shelves.

The shop itself looks fab; all the artwork drawn by Beshley’s illustrator boyfriend, including the logo and prints decorating the walls.  The space itself is large, but not stuffed, leaving room to breathe and move around, and the mixture of modern and vintage furniture adds a homely touch.

The yarn you can see here is West Yorkshire Spinners, who process Bluefaced Leicester, Shetland, Wensleydale and Clun Forest yarn. This is on my list to try!

I worked with Erika Knight the last few years and I’m excited that her yarns are now readily available so close to home.  They were all grown, spun and dyed within something like 2o miles of eachother, which makes the whole collection really special.  The British Blue Wool shown above is gorgeous to work with, 100% Blue Faced Leicester, so soft and available in 25g balls.  The idea is that you can grab three of any colour and they will always compliment eachother – it works too!

I’ve yet to try Jamieson and Smith but I’m told that once I do there is really no going back.  Based in Lerwick, they are enhancing the profile of Shetland wool to raise the price paid to local wool producers.

As if that wasn’t enough to whet your appetite, we found Lily and Boo’s Cupcakery just around the corner! Who could resist?


Bristol Harbour Festival

Last weekend was the annual Bristol Harbour Festival.  As I’ve been here just under a year, this was my first one, and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

I have to say, it was pretty fab – considering it was a free event run by volunteers.

We began the day watching a rather awesome band called Adding Machine at the Louisiana.  Now I’m not the best person for describing music, but I have to say I loved their 80’s sound, described as a cross between Depeche Mode and Sioxsie Sioux, which went right through me and made the hairs stick up on the back of my neck.  Yup.

We spent most of the day at the Amphitheatre, sat with friends sampling local beer from Bath Ales and Bristol Beer Factory.  These photos are in no order and are just of things I saw that looked photogenic! This train was powered by solar panels.

My camera died at this point, so the rest of the photos were taken on my phone, hence the slight fuzziness!

Irene Ship Bristol Harbourside
This is Irene (the ship, that is.  That’s Chris taking a photo of me snapping him).  She was built in the early 1900’s and sailed through two wars and the great recession.   I’ve never been big into boats, but this one was beautiful!

Spot the odd one out?

The festival was massive – much bigger than I expected, and I was gutted that my camera battery went so early on!  I was also sad that we’ve not been practicing our swing dancing – the lindyhop session looked like fun but we couldn’t remember any moves!

A Resolution to be a Better Blogger!

Hello and apologies for my lack of posts over the last month.  I’m not sure what’s happened really, I’ve lost my mojo recently and haven’t even got much done by way of knitting.  I thought I’d share with you some photo’s from the last couple of weeks to make up for my lack of craft content!

On the 4th July we took a day trip to Llangennith in Wales to get some fresh air (and some surf, in Chris’s case).  It was a pretty rainy day to start out with, but then this lovely little pocket of sunshine opened up! It was a shame we hadn’t taken the tent, as neither of us had anything pressing the next day we couldn’t put back.  Instead we went for a couple of games of pool and curry in the pub before heading back 🙂

These next couple of pictures were taken at Bristol Harbourside, just outside the Arnolfini, which might just be my new favourite knit spot.

I find when I’m designing it’s so easy to stay within the confines of my house, or pop out to the local park to get fresh air.  I still don’t feel like I really know Bristol all that well, and I don’t know that many people still after a year.  So aside from blogging more regularly, I also want to get out a bit more and see stuff, even just sitting here for an hour made me feel like I was letting the world in a bit more 🙂

This weekend Chris was playing at Latitude Festival with The Paper Cinema.  I was lucky enough to go along too, and we had a chilled few days pottering about seeing what took our fancy.

Latitude 2012
The Paper Cinema Latitude 2012
The Hurly Burly Cafe - Latitude 2012
In the past I’ve always gone to festivals for the bands, so it was nice to see some of the other things that were going on.  We spent a bit of time in the comedy tent, at the disco shed, in the woods watching visuals, and discovering new music and crafts.  The picture above was taken in the Hurly Burly cafe, where the burritos were delicious and accompanied by the staff showing a dance to Tune-Yards ‘My Country’.

The rain managed to hold out most of the weekend, though it did come down a bit in the night so it was pretty muddy!  We were all quite ready to leave on Sunday afternoon, despite most of the music I wanted to watch being on that evening.  There’s just something really tiring about not being able to sit down all day (I’m not sure what that is…)

Monday was Chris’s birthday so we went to Bristol Zoo.  This should have been a blog post in itself really but most of the photo’s I took aren’t blog worthy.

This is an Inca Turn.  They were in with the penguins and weren’t shy! Frequently they flew up and perched on the fence we were leaning on.

Male Inca Tern at Bristol Zoo
And lastly, some butterflies, that I failed to get the name of, but they impressed me none the less.  This first one has obviously evolved to look like an owl.  How amazing is that?!



Wednesday WIP – Giving an Old Loom New Life

On Monday I was super lucky to be given this loom from the lovely Jeni at Fyberspates.

Harris 4 Shaft Table Loom

After meeting Divaweaver at the Southbank Arts Trail back in May, I’d been inspired to give weaving a go.  So when I saw Jeni’s tweet that she had a loom requiring a new home I knew I had to go and rescue it.

Harris 4 Shaft Table Loom

Now I know nothing about weaving, nor which parts of the loom I need to fix up.  I’m going to start with a bit of dusting and go from there.  I’m not even sure what any of the parts are called, so I joined this Ravelry group in the hope that some of the experts there might be able to give me a nudge in the right direction.

Harris 4 Shaft Table Loom

I think these wires are called the heddles.  They appear to be ok, maybe a little rusty, but I’m hoping they’ll clean up ok.  I also know I need to get a new reed as the one for this machine is missing.  Any advice would be gratefully accepted!

Harris 4 Shaft Table Loom

As luck would have it, this morning I met with another lovely lady called Claire, from Bristol Sewing School, which opened in March about 10 minutes from my house.   I learned that not only will they be running weaving workshops, but knitting machine courses too, hurrah!  So there is hope yet to get even more creative hobbies than I already have.

Harris 4 Shaft Table Loom

I’m not sure if it’s possible to take a trip out to the Fyberspates workshop and not come back with yarn – I know I didn’t manage it.  There are so many pretty colours! I had to restrain myself and just buy the one skein, which I think was pretty good going considering I haven’t bought anything new in at least 6 months.  Unless you include yarn for gifts.

I don’t.

Fyberspates Yarn

I’m not sure what to make with it yet – a lovely pair of yellow socks or a nice lacy fingering weight hat.. I’m not letting myself play until I’ve finished my bolero though!

After the drive back I found there was a street party in full swing near our road, so went down to take some snaps.  I love living somewhere with such a lovely community feel to it!

fraser street street party bristol

Fraser Street Street Party Bristol

Street Party Bristol Balloons


Where did the last week go?

I haven’t stopped blogging, I’ve just lost a week! The sad thing is, I haven’t really got much knitting done either, I’ve been trying to get the neck of my bolero right, and every time I get somewhere near it, I change my mind and frog it back again.  Argghh!

So here are a few photos from the last week..

Bristol Balloons
Bristol Balloons - view from my window
my first latte art
my first latte art!
Radio Head
Book before bed
Victoria Park Bristol
Victoria Park
A Catch up with My beau
A Catch up with My beau
Edmund Burke
Edmund Burke plays with a yoyo
Veg Fest Bristol
Veg Fest Bristol - Nom!
lunch in the park
lunchbreak in the park - warm enough for a bikini!
View of Clifton from the River
Another lunchbreak, and here I sat to knit..

As you can see, it’s been pretty glorious here! I have been preparing this week, as it’s my last day at work on Friday before I go self employed (excluding the odd shifts I will be working in my lovely local pub.)

Bring it on!

An Inspirational Saturday at Bristol Southbank Arts Trail

An Inspirational Saturday at Bristol Southbank Arts Trail

I woke up yesterday morning feeling like death warmed up.  A combination of a full working week, followed by my first shift in the pub and a sleepless night left me in urgent need of some coffee and some good food.  So after my friend Lucy asked me to meet her at the Old Bookshop I was more than happy to find this in front of me!

Breakfast at The Old Bookshop, Bedminster

We were about to embark on the Southbank Arts Trail, and I had no idea what was in store.  As it turned out, this breakfast was to set us up for the day, as we hit the streets on our bikes for the next six hours to cover only half of what we wanted to see.

One of the first places we entered was The Bed Workshop, which was decorated wall to wall with illustrations and would be hosting a ukelele rock opera later in the day.  Sadly we didn’t get to see that, however I did pick up these lovely cards by Melanie Wickham.

Bristol Hand Printed Card by Melanie Wickham - Southbank Arts Trail
Handprinted by Melanie Wickham

Handprinted Card by Melanie Wickham - Southbank Arts Trail

I also bought this print by Lou Archell, who I have just discovered also has a lovely blog!  I fell in love with this print – I seem to be rather attracted to tree type imagery at the moment.  Now to find a frame!

Lou Archell Tree Print - Southbank Arts Trail
My lovely new print by Lou Archell

We entered an array of houses and public spaces exhibiting everything from illustrations and photography, to pottery, glassware and textiles.  It was a real inspiration how motivated these artists are, and I found myself feeling a little bit overwhelmed!

Divaweaver's beautiful patterns - Southbank Arts Trail
Divaweaver’s beautiful patterns – click for facebook page

The artist that stood out the most to me was Angie Parker – aka Divaweaver – who took the time to show me how she makes her beautiful rugs and upholstered chairs.  I’ve never seen any weaving done before and was mesmerised by the loom and how the fabric came together.  Angie also had a great tub full of coloured yarn that I clocked as soon as I walked in, from which she had chosen some wonderful colour combinations for her rugs.

Heading homeward I decided I need to be more proactive when it comes to making things. I’ve been having trouble sitting down and getting things done recetly – I’m hoping this will all change when I finish working full time.

My knitting machine set up
All set up and ready to go!

So after knitting a few rows of my bolero and feeling sorry for myself this morning, I thought I’d give my knitting machine another go.  I want to make some fair isle purses for Art on the Hill, and that means knowing how this thing works!  I persisted and learned how to programme in my own pattern, taken from an image I’d found online, which I converted to a bitmap in Photoshop.


This is where I need some advice.  To programme in your own pattern on the Brother KH965, as far as I can tell, you have to sit for ages pressing one of two buttons, which makes the same shrill noise every time you press it with no option to turn the sound off.  I know this is an ancient piece of kit, but after an hour and a half this drove me nuts!

Finally I finished programming and rechecking, I’d done some practice rows of knitting, so it was time to knit the owl 🙂  I hadn’t anticipated what to do when the stitches come of the needles when you are knitting with two colours.  When hand knitting, I always fix mistakes from the right side of the work, but with the machine you have to work from the back, which is hard because you can’t see what’s going on in the pattern.

A poor attempt at machine knitting
Sad owl that looks like a cat

So here he is.. a sad, fat, pale owl because in my haste I forgot that I should have charted him in rectangles rather than squares, to allow for the fact that stitches are wider than they are high.  I felted him slightly, largely because I wondered how the yarn would react but also so it would like flat for a picture.   Not bad for a first attempt I suppose, though I am put off by the frustration I went through trying to programme this guy in.

I think what I really need is someone like this lady to come and rewire my knitting machine so my MacBook can talk to it:

Any volunteers?



Sunshine – Finally!

After what seems like weeks of rain, we’ve had a beautiful weekend in Bristol! Determined to make the most of it, we spent a very lovely couple of days out and about.

Ashton Court Bristol

When we moved here in August, I went straight into full-time work for the first time in years, and the 8 hour days really knocked the energy out of me for about 3 months.  By the time I got used to it, it was dark by 4pm and wet outside, and it felt like we’d missed the summer and the best time to explore a new city.

Two Trees, Ashton Court, Bristol

I’m excited now as summer approaches, and the 9 month contract I signed up to at work comes to an end.  It was the best way into Bristol and an opportunity I couldn’t turn down, but I’m looking forward to part time work again and the chance to do some freelancing, design more knitting patterns, and finally get out and see some of the area we live in 🙂

Red Tree

These first few pictures were taken yesterday at Ashton Court – our first visit and I am sure we will be back soon!  The weather was gorgeous and I got a little snap happy with all the colours around, it’s been grey for so long I was a bit over-excited!

Sunlight coming through the leaves

Ashton Court Bristol

After a lie in  this morning, a late breakfast of Spanish omelettes and a bit of Googling, we set off on what turned out to be about a 38 mile cycle ride to Clevedon.  I wanted to see the sea, and although Clevedon isn’t technically a beach (I don’t think) it was the closest place we could get to (and cycling meant it was free!)

Cycling Bristol to Clevedon - Approaching Pill

Portishead Cemetery

The wind was against us on the way there and it was more hilly than expected, but after a quick pit stop for lunch at Portishead Cemetery, we finally made it to Clevedon, and back!

Clevedon Pier

So this evening is all about stretching, eating curry, ginger cake and custard, Nutella from the jar, Game of Thrones and knitting.  Hurrah!