Monday, 30 May 2016

Knitting Magazine's - July 2016 Men's issue


I've been writing as Purl About Town since 2008 and have seen the magazine change over time. This year we got a new Editor Christine Boggis and it's been great to see how she's put her own stamp on the magazine. The month it's the Men's issue which I think its a particularly good one.


It's refreshing to see a man on the cover for a change. I wonder if it makes it stand out on the shelves more? 

Inside there are some great articles on male designers including Easyknits and Steven West, both of whom I'm a big fan of.

My favourite feature this month is that several of the male knitting patterns are show on both men and women. 


I think this works really well as we all like to climb into a boyfriend, dad, or male friend's big cosy jumper from time to time. I'm sure there are lots of jumpers that have migrated from one part of the wardrobe to another over time.  I think the designs they have chosen work equally well on both sexes and I just thought the idea was really fresh for the magazine.

Why not check out this month's Knitting Magazine and let me know what you think?






Saturday, 28 May 2016

Red or Blue - who will win?


Today I took a trip to Knit with Attitude in Stoke Newington with the sole purpose of buying some terribly unseasonal aran weight yarn for a new project I am keen to cast on. I'd done my research on suitable yarn options available in the store, I'd figured out my yardage and how many balls I'd need for my project. At this point I was a smug so-and-so.

The shop was lovely as ever; bight and airy with a lovely selection of yarn, books and tools. I grabbed the yarn I really wanted, but all of my planning didn't prepare me for the fact that they did not have the quantity I needed to complete my project. So, less smug, I went to my second choice and was informed that only two of the available colours had the number of balls I required in stock. Thankfully both colours would work fabulously. And so began the deliberating between the red and the blue.
"Blue really suits you" I said
"But red is super festive and you'll be wearing this in winter" was my reply.
"You have blue knits, remember that blue period you had? Go for Red it's different" but this was batted down with "You know you will definitely wear the blue, don't knit something in a colour you won't wear." 
But I was feeling bold and I decided that red was definitely the way to go.

Continuing in my smug vein I wanted to be sure that this yarn was going to work out with my gauge, so I bought one ball sat down in the shop and proceeded to start a gauge swatch. I was suddenly aware of the people working in the shop rummaging through yarn, pulling packs off of the stock room shelves and generally looking for something. As I measured my swatch and decided that yes, this yarn was just right for my project, they informed me that there was a mistake in their system there in fact was not enough of the red. Only the blue had enough balls for my project. So that sneaky blue won! Now I have sixteen balls of blue for my project and one random ball of red. So I guess that will be a baby hat then?

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Colouring in


It was my birthday last week and I was given this colouring book from Mason Dixon Knitting by a family member. It's filled with knitting and yarn based line drawings ready for you to give them some creative flair. My favourite images are those with individual stitches to colour. You could do anything from a variegated yarn to a Fair Isle pattern!

I love the idea of meditative colouring. It has a property similar to knitting where your mind is allowed to wander as you work. It's been scientifically proven now that it's good for you and your brain to spend this sort of quiet time, with your hands busy allowing your head to process things. My problem is giving myself that time. I always convince myself that there's something else more important to be doing and so meditative moments get pushed back, overlooked and replaced by other things. I'm hoping that I can take this colouring book and actually spend some time with it.


If you're interested in checking out some colouring books which combine your yarn love with pencils and paper then there's also Franklin Habit's I Dream of Yarn, which looks really cute! 

Now, I'm off to to sneak some of Flo's colouring pencils away from her!

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Broken needles


I knit on the London underground to and from work every day during the week. I like to take something easy and portable so that it can quickly be stuffed in and out of my bag while I battle with the other commuters. I've taken to working on a blanket project which I've named The Leftovers as I'm using up sock yarn remnants to create squares. These will eventually be sewn together, probably in about 10 years time, as I'm going to need a lot of them to make a substantial enough blanket.

Last week I took this particular square out of my project bag on the Central line and discovered that one of my needles had snapped. I'm not sure how they got broken. Did I sit on them? Did I shove something in my bag with too much force? Whatever it was I could not knit for the rest of my commute and therefore was not a happy traveller.

It was a Lantern Moon set of rosewood sox sticks that I bought back in maybe 2007-2008? So I guess it was their time, even though in my mind I expected them to last forever.

Fair-well faithful needles. May your journey to the needle graveyard in the sky be smooth and without snags.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Purple Juvel


This Easter the Mr, Flo and I went for a long weekend to Mersea Island in Essex. I needed a satisfying project to work on during the car journey and in the cosy evenings in the little cottage we had booked. I have had 6 balls of Noro Cash Iroha in my stash since 2007 when I snapped it up at a John Lewis haberdashery sale. Please keep in mind that his was a pre child purchase. The colour wasn't really me, the weight was all wrong for a garment and I never found the perfect project for it, so it lay in my stash un touched for nearly 10 years. Suddenly with this trip on the horizon I saw my chance to make it work.

Flo had been asking for me to knit her something for some time. I had managed a quick Father Christmas hat and chunky snood for her in recent months, but she was looking for something of jumper or cardigan grade. I did a bit of Ravelry hunting and found the Juvel free pattern by Yarn-Madness. The pattern is primarily for hand spun yarns, but as the Cash Iroha is a single with quite a bit of texture so I thought it would be a good substitute.


I had seriously considered this patten before casting on and I had surmised that it was the perfect spring throw-on cardi for a child that says she's never cold, but feels freezing to the touch. The purple seemed like an easy win for Flo who professes to loving girly colours, despite being a bit of a tom-boy. So I cast on and made quick progress with the Aran weight yarn. The next day I revealed the in progress pattern and yarn to Flo who promptly told me she didn't like it and wanted a pink cardigan instead. Stupidly this actually managed to wind me up as I really thought she would have been pleased about the project. But who was I kidding? She's 6! She doesn't realise how cutting her comments were to me. So after a quick lesson with Flo on how to be grateful I continued knitting.

Lots of knitting was done on the trip and the cardigan didn't take long to finish. It only took 3 balls in the end so the remaining yarn is back to lingering in my stash. As soon as it was done Flo was more than pleased to wear it and has since repeatedly asked to wear it, which just goes to show that kids will say anything to get a rise out of you. I think you can tell from the photo evidence that the Juvel is indeed a hit and will hopefully keep her warm this Spring, if she bothers to keep it on.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Yarn Shop Day 2016 - Wild and Woolly


Today was Yarn Shop Day, which is a chance to celebrate and support your local bricks and mortar yarn shops. I really believe that this is a truly worthy cause. Who wants to buy all of their yarn online without a chance to squish, sniff and gaze at it lovingly before deciding to take it home?
So, I made my way to Wild and Woolly in Lower Clapton to join in with their Purly Queens Pop up, which was basically a whole host of fabulous designers and dyers show casing their wares.  In attendance was Anna Maltz, Jane Lithgow and East London Knits Renee Callahan who all had samples of their designs to try on, which my Mum took full advantage of, as well as patterns to buy, kits, project pages and more. TravelKnitter and The Wool Kitchen were also both there with their gorgeous yarns for sale.

The shop was packed when we arrived, which isn't hard as it is a small space but it was lovely to see that so many people had turned out to browse, buy and simply sit and knit. As usual the knitting community welcomed everyone in and there was a lovely atmosphere in the shop, in fact people even began spilling out onto the pavement it was so busy.

Mum trying on the Seceles sample
After a while there was a quieter spell and Mum and I were able to sit down with a cuppa and a home made biscuit to review our possible purchases. In the end I came away with a skein of The Wool Kitchen 4ply in the Ground Control colourway.  This was from the David Bowie collection that Hannah had dyed up before Bowie had sadly passed away. Perhaps she had the inside knowledge on that one ;-) I also bought the pattern for Jane Lithgow's Broadlands Mitts which I just loved when I tried them on. Mum bought East London Knit's Klee Collection, the Seceles pattern and the yarn to knit it. Score all round.


It was a really fun afternoon filled with chatter and lots of squishing, sniffing and gazing at beautiful yarn and patterns.  I hope you had the chance to join in and visit your local yarn shop and if not, make sure you keep making those purchases in person rather than always online. Lets keep our yarn shops in business!

Friday, 29 April 2016

Where have I been?

I've been right here! 

I've still been doing my article in Knitting Magazine but found it increasingly harder to keep up with the blog while doing a full time office job, wrangling a now six-year old child and of course enjoying knitting. Excuses, excuses, right? 

I guess that the knitting blogger landscape also became incredible competitive and overwhelming. At times it has felt like I couldn't keep up, so why bother? But I realised that I shouldn't really need to compete with anyone. I love to write and I love to knit. Writing is such a wonderful gift that I shouldn't limit it. I also feel that I should exercise it to keep my writing in good shape. So here I am, where I've always been, but ready to blog again. Let's go.