Friday, 30 December 2011

A new lease of life

I love buying things at our local auction, it's a treasure trove of all sorts of goodies. A lot of the items that get entered for sale really ought to go straight to the local recycling centre, but every now and again a real gem appears, you also get some real bargains, I bought a whole box full of ceramic jugs for £1 recently.
This little beauty of a sewing box had obviously been much used and loved, there were still pins, and pattern pieces lurking about inside it, however it was in need of a bit of a refurb, the lining was falling out, the varnish flaking off, and it was just looking a little tired.
I sanded off the old varnish (though I kept the original Murco brand mark), gave her a coat of oil, and re-glued the lining. She now sits beside the sofa and holds all my knitting notions (yes, I do have a lot of bits!).

In total she cost the princely sum of £16, an awful lot less than what I'd pay for a new box, and it wouldn't be anywhere near as lovely!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

New website

While the carder has sat unused for the last few days I've still been tinkering away on new ideas. A few emails have been sent sorting out new things for the New Year, but most excitingly HilltopCloud now has it's very own website.
For now it's a self designed job, so is very, very bare bones, however, it will give me a permanent base. There's a mini version of the Etsy shop on there (I'll still be using Etsy to sell most things), along with all my patterns, and some info about things I don't sell on Etsy. It's also going to be the new base for the fibre club.
Because I want to offer a variety of options for the club Etsy isn't really a very good home for it, the sidebar of the blog worked ok, but this way, it has it's very own home, and it's much easier for me to run.

I'm enjoying my last few days off, I'm going back to Sheffield to visit friends over the New Year, and plan on coming back to work refreshed and ready to go! First on the list is the fibre club parcels, the fibre has arrived and is sat looking at me waiting to be magicked in to something yummy!

Happy New Year to all of you, and thank you for making this year the best I've had in quite a while.

Monday, 26 December 2011

New Pattern- Cwm

I have a new pattern out, and it's my first ever published one. I started working on this pattern when I first moved to Wales back in April, and I'm so happy I can finally share it with you.

It's called Cwm, and was designed with handspun in mind. It uses 210m of Aran weight yarn in total, but to get the best from the pattern you need 140m of slightly smooth yarn (I used a worsted spun 2-ply), and 70m of a softer fluffier yarn (I spun woollen singles using a long draw method). If you don't spin you can of course use a commercial yarn, for the samples I used Drops Alaska and Drops Nepal, but you could use any yarns that give you that change in texture, how about combining yarns, KidSilk Haze would give a lovely fluffy effect.

As to why it's called Cwm, (pronounced Coom), it means valley in Welsh, the pattern is designed to create valleys surrounded by ridges of garter stitch. Down in the valleys you use your softer fluffier yarn, up on the hills your tougher, smoother yarn. This is just how it is with sheep, where I live, up in the hills, the sheep are tough hardy things, for the most part their fleece is used for insulation and carpets (though with a bit of careful selection I managed to spin something soft enough for a hat crown). Down in the valleys however, the sheep are far more pampered, their fleece is much softer, the sort we're far more used to spinning, and seeing as yarn to knit with.

The pattern doesn't produce a large shawl, though it would be very easy to enlarge it, and produce something bigger.
You can either wear it in a traditional way with the points at the front, though you'll need a shawl pin to hold it closed, or I tend to wear my shawls of this shape like this.

Turned around the other way, with the point to the front and the ends wrapped around my neck. It keeps me warm where I want keeping warm, but without adding too much bulk round the back of my neck.
If you like it, and would like to knit it, you'll need to buy a copy of Yarnmaker magazine. Yarnmaker is a British published spinning magazine, it features articles written by all sorts of people, about things that are of interest to anyone who works with fibre in anyway. Dot(the Editor) is committed to getting real people to write the articles (and is very helpful to first time writers), and as a result there are articles about all sorts of things that wouldn't necessarily appear in a bigger, more commercial publication.
I will be making it available as a download when the rights return to me, but for now, I really recommend you get your hands on a copy of the magazine. You can buy single copies, or a subscription here.