Episode 85: Countdown

On this episode of the podcast we’re counting down to the Yarnporium - only five weeks to go now. Eep! We’ve cast on for the Yarnporium Countdown KAL - are you joining us?

Thanks to our sponsor: The Yarn Collective

This episode of the podcast is sponsored by The Yarn Collective, a fibre and design company focused on working with independent designers to bring you luxurious hand-dyed yarns in a range of inspiring colourways. These international designers represent the best of modern knitwear design and include Bristol Ivy, Melanie Berg, Carol Feller and Michele Wang. Each designer has created and curated a distinctive and wonderful line for The Yarn Collective. You can find out more about the yarns by visiting www.theyarncollective.com

Episode 85 - Coundown to Yarnporium.JPG

Yarnporium Countdown KAL

The Yarnporium Countdown KAL officially kicked off a week ago. Thanks to those of you who joined us on Instagram Live for the cast on and huge apologies for the loss of sound at the end. We’re still getting used to the whole IG Live thing!

If you want to join in, head over to our Ravelry group for more details and show us your yarn and your progress. Don’t forget to tag your projects on Ravelry and Instagram with the tag #YarnporiumKAL2018 to be eligible for some fab prizes too.

Want to use Walcot Yarns for your shawl? Head on over to their website before September 30th to get 10% off your yarn purchase! Use the code YarnporiumKAL2018 to get the discount added at checkout.

What we’re working on

Rachel is working on Béton Brut for the Yarnporium KAL and has finished a new crochet pattern that is AMAZING for handspun! She plans to release the new pattern in a few weeks time. Rach is also finding all kinds of lost WIPs and has plans to make the 21-color slouch hat from Blue Sky Fibers.

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Allison has two KALs on the go with the Béton Brut shawl as well as the Tullameen Mystery KAL for SweetGeorgia Yarns - using some of their new colours for fall/winter. She’s finally cracked her super secret project too.

Countdown to Yarnporium

At the time of recording the podcast there were only 6 weeks to go until the Yarnporium - which means there’s now even less time!

Things you can look forward to at the show:

  • Indie Designer Day and the Yarn Lovers Lounge - sponsored by The Yarn Collective and featuring book signings, meet and greets with designers and trunk shows + mini cafe - all happening on Friday, November 2

  • Makers Walking the Talk Series with The New Yarn Barons, Your Pattern in Print and The Story of Laine - happening on Saturday, November 3

  • VIP ticket holders and Saturday workshop participants will also get early access to the marketplace from 9am before doors open to the general public at 10am on Saturday

  • A fantastic line up of workshops on both days with teachers that include Kelbourne Woolens, Nathan Taylor, Jane Lithgow, Karie Westermann, Kate Atherley, Carol Feller, Renée Callahan, Jonna Hietala and Sini Ellen and Julie Knits in Paris!

Workshops are starting to sell out and we have a limited number of early-bird tickets so make sure to get your tickets soon!

Many thanks for joining us for another episode! You can find the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio (please rate, review and subscribe!) and you'll find us on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter, in our Yarn in the City group on Ravelry, or in person on Wednesday nights at our knit night between 7 and 10pm at The Breakfast Club on Battersea Rise.

Music credits (available on NoiseTrade)
Revolution - Kate Tucker
A Good Reason To Smile - Chasing Noise

Episode 78: The Making of a Magazine

Wow! Do we have a special episode for you today!

Yarnporium 2018 logo with background AW.jpg

It’s the big Yarnporium announcement you’ve been waiting for! Workshops! We are SO excited about the roster of teachers that we’ve got lined up for you at this year’s Yarnporium. And quite an international roster too! We’ve got teachers from the UK (of course!), Scotland, Ireland, France, Finland, Canada and the USA too. Here’s a run down of who’s coming:

England: Renée Callahan, Jane Lithgow, Nathan Taylor

Scotland: Karie Westermann 

Ireland: Carol Feller 

France: Julie Dubreux (aka Julie Knits in Paris)

Finland: Jonna Hietala and Sini Ellen from Laine Magazine

Canada: Kate Atherley

USA: Courtney Kelley and Kate Osborne from Kelbourne Woolens

Tickets for the workshops will go on sale on June 1st. You can find all the class details as well as bios about all of our teachers on our website.

What we’re working on:

Allison is now on sleeve island for her Mon Manet by Jonna Hietala (and actually finished it since we recorded the episode), in La Bien Aimee Merino Aran in Grellow and as always happens at about this point in any one of her projects is now thinking about what she wants to knit next.

Rachel has finished all the pieces for the Lilly baby sweater by Justine Turner (machine knit) and now just has to put the thing together and knit the edging! She finished a long standing UFO – the Teign Wrap by Linda Lencovic in 4 indigo dyed colours of Baskerville. And she’s still going on the sleeves for Marginalia (slowly but surely).

The Making of a Magazine:

If you’re a knitter and you don’t know Laine Magazine (or Laine as we used to call it) then we think you’re really missing out. Since launching just over a year ago they’ve experienced an explosion of growth, going from naught to 50,000 copies in that short period of time.

We sat down at EYF to chat with editors Jonna and Sini about how the magazine came to be. 

Wrap up:
Many thanks for joining us for another episode! You can find the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio (please rate, review and subscribe!) and you'll find us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, in our Yarn in the City group on Ravelry, or in person on Wednesday nights at our knit night between 7 and 10pm at The Breakfast Club on Battersea Rise.

Music credits (available on NoiseTrade)
Revolution - Kate Tucker
A Good Reason To Smile - Chasing Noise

Yarnporium Workshops: Haps, brioche, crochet, colourwork and more!

After last year's Pop-Up Marketplace and when we were getting into the planning for the Yarnporium one of the first things we knew we wanted to add with a two-day show were workshops. As fun as all the yarn-fumes and shopping are, sometimes it's nice to be inspired in another way. Learning a new skill is a great way to stretch that creative muscle!

Our venue space at King's College on the Strand was hugely attractive from this perspective as not only does it have the large marketplace space we were looking for, but being a university it also has smaller classrooms that are perfect learning in an intimate, group setting.

The workshops we've selected to be part of this first ever Yarnporium are a similarly intimate group. Each workshop is limited in size to facilitate the best learning experience possible, which is ideal as we've got some super classes that we've selected just for you. Here are a selection of the classes on offer at the Yarnporium:

Karie Westermann's stunning Mahy shawl uses the hap construction techniques taught in her class.

Karie Westermann's stunning Mahy shawl uses the hap construction techniques taught in her class.

Knitting Hap Shawls - The Yarnporium is happening during Wovember after all, and what could be more woolly than a warm Shetland shawl to wrap yourself in? Designer Karie Westermann is joining us from Glasgow and will expertly guide you through the various techniques used in a hap shawl.

Brioche is even more fun when it's two-colour brioche!

Brioche is even more fun when it's two-colour brioche!

Brioche Next Steps  - Want to take your brioche skills to the next level? Join Renée Callahan of East London Knit to learn two colour cast-on and cast-off and other advanced techniques for this hugely popular stitch that shows no signs of slowing down!

Hook onto a great class with Joanne Scrace from The Crochet Project!

Hook onto a great class with Joanne Scrace from The Crochet Project!

Crochet for Knitters - Come learn from The Crochet Project's Joanne Scrace how to be mutli-craftual! Joanne will teach you how to wield a crochet hook like a pro and show you how versatile adding crochet to your knitting skills can be.

Wool fibres and yarns are de-mystified by Julia Billings of Woollenflower.

Wool fibres and yarns are de-mystified by Julia Billings of Woollenflower.

Fibre and Yarn 101 - Another woolly-focused class in honour of Wovember! Julia Billings of Woollenflower is hugely passionate about all things wool. She'll help you to navigate through this overwhelming subject to learn how to choose the best wool and yarn for your own projects.

Colourwork can be as colourful as you like!

Colourwork can be as colourful as you like!

Yarn and Colour Choice for Stranded Knitting - Designer Juju Vail loves swatching for colourwork projects with the result that she'll have lots to share with you on all she's learned! Then stranded knitting goes high-tech as you'll learn about apps you can use to explore your own colour combinations and design ideas!

Phew! So many great classes to learn from and be inspired by. And that's not all! Karie Westermann will also be teaching a brand new class for us on Knitting the Landscape and knitting and crochet designer (and professional photographer) Kat Goldin of The Crochet Project will show you how to take your project photographs from good to great! (Both of those classes are almost full, so be quick!).

Full workshops descriptions can be found here, or click here to register! All workshops include automatic entry to the marketplace on the same day. 


Episode 16: The One With All the Announcements

Shout outs:

We talk a bit about our lovely day out at the seaside for the Brighton Knit and Make Social, which was a rousing success! There was a bit of stash enhancement, but it wasn't too bad... We also made it through the Nike Women's 10km run with unscathed and with pretty decent times!

What's going on:

26-27th June - Woolfest, Cockermouth, Cumbria

1st July - Tickets go on sale for the 2015 Great London Yarn Crawl and the Pop Up Marketplace.

4-5th July: Fabrications 15th Birthday Celebration

19th July: Introduction to Lace Knitting with Jemima Bicknell at Loop.

25-26th July: Fibre-East, Ampthill, Bedfordshire. Rachel will be flying solo at the Porpoise Fur booth that weekend, so come by and say hello!

What we're working on:

Allison has finished her Mind the Gap socks, featuring the amazing Mind the Gap self striping sock yarn from Trailing Clouds. She's working on the Pebble Beach Shawlette by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade, and is swatching for her version of Karie Westermann's Byatt Shawl in Viola baby alpaca/cashmere/silk. She's finished up her Rocky Mountain Dyeworks BFL/silk fibre in True Turquoise, and is getting a bit panicked about all the projects she needs to finish before she shoots off on holiday this summer.

Lobster wool/flax

Lobster wool/flax

Rachel has finished spinning up some truly amazing wool/flax blend in "Lobster" from Spunky Eclectic. She's making great progress on her Byatt for the GLYC 2015 KAL, and slower progress on her lined mittens for the Not-A-KAL KAL (now finished).




All the announcements (squee!):


We've got the 2015 GLYC Routes up and ready to go! This year we've put together 12 routes, with 10 slots on each route, so we look forward to having 120 Yarn Crawlers join us this year! Tickets will go on sale at 10:00 am on 1 July, and will be £18 each - this includes admission to the Yarn in the City Pop-Up Marketplace for the special GLYC Kick Off Party, and after your route is finished.


We put a call out for Volunteers for both GLYC Yarn Guides and for the Pop-Up Marketplace - please get in touch if you are interested in volunteering for either event!


We are thrilled to also be able to announce that we will be extending the yarny fun throughout the entire GLYC weekend, with the addition of two workshops on Sunday, 6th September, taught by the fabulous Kate Atherley. More details on the workshops can be found here.

Tickets for the 2015 Great London Yarn Crawl, the Yarn in the City Pop-Up Marketplace and the Kate Atherley workshops will all go on sale at 10:00 on Wednesday, 1 July 2015 (Happy Canada Day!).

You can find us on RavelryFacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest. Please don't hesitate to share your thoughts and feedback with us, and please come say hi at any of the events we're attending if you get a chance! Everyone is also more then welcome to come join our Wednesday night knit group from 7-9 pm (or longer) at The Goat on the Rise, Clapham SW11 1EQ.

Music credits (all available on NoiseTrade)
Loneliness & Alcohol - Jars of Clay
Everything You've Done Wrong - Sloan
Fierce Flawless - Ani Difranco
Crazy Life - Toad the Wet Sprocket

An interview with Felix from KNITSONIK

As it's now only a few weeks until our Quotidian Colourwork workshop with Felicity Ford, we want to give you all a bit more information about Felix, her fabulous book, and what workshop participants can expect come 26th March.

The KNITSONIK Colouwork Sourcebook by Felicity Ford, aka Felix

The KNITSONIK Colouwork Sourcebook by Felicity Ford, aka Felix


The KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook is such a different way to approach stranded knitting - was there a specific event or experience that led to the system for converting everyday objects and sights into colourwork patterns?
I can't say it was one specific event or experience. I do remember staying with my friend Kate about five years ago and seeing her Alice Starmore book of Fair Isle Knitting. I recall being absolutely blown away by a section in that book showing an inspiration source with a knitted interpretation beside it; it's a very small section but it spoke to something in me.

During my stay we went to New Lanark mill and picked blueberries for a crumble from the bushes in the nearby valley. I also filled a bag with shades of New Lanark yarn in heathery purples and greens and plums and pinks and cast on a hat celebrating the inspiration of the blueberries and that wondrous afternoon. My patterns didn't show up very well and I was gutted to discover that translating the 3D world into stranded colourwork was much harder than I had assumed!

Another time I dyed some yarn with walnuts from outside St. Mary's Butts - a local landmark here in Reading. I knitted the yarn into socks celebrating the patterns of the brickwork and there was something delightful about walking around my town in socks inspired by - and physically dyed by - bits of my urban landscape. When I was invited to act as guest patron for Shetland Wool Week in 2013 I wanted to share how seeing the textiles from Fair Isle and Shetland had inspired me to start knitting stranded colourwork from my own environment.

I came up with the Quotidian Colourwork class idea, and then spent six or seven months working out how to show other knitters my creative process. It was in those quiet months before Shetland Wool Week that the system was born! This is the same system which I use in my Quotidian Colourwork classes, and which underpins the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook. 

Reading bricks in stranded colourwork

Reading bricks in stranded colourwork

What do you hope people who read your book come away with?
I hope it will give people a fresh perspective on everyday and familiar objects. I hope it offers practical tools for translating the world into stranded colourwork. And I hope that people come away feeling encouraged to celebrate their favourite things and places in stranded colourwork! I also hope that people come away feeling braver about striking out on their own amazing knitting adventures. 

What kind of inspirational objects do your students bring along to your workshops? Are there some that are easier to translate into colourwork then others?
People bring the most wonderful things! Photos of homegrown veg; old button boxes; tins; favourite books; patterned china... one very special thing about the class is hearing why people have chosen their objects... it makes you realise how much stuff we have around us which inspires us all the time. 

I think that although anything can be celebrated in stranded colourwork there are definitely things which can make that translation more complex. For example I have noticed that students sometimes bring two or three things because they can't choose just one! I love this enthusiasm but it can be difficult to work from several things at once; you know, it can be a bit overwhelming.

I also think family photos can be hard as people are tempted to try and capture every detail of the people they love which is - as you can imagine - quite a tall order! I think choosing just one object and then really going into that one thing in some depth can be easier than bringing lots of things, and an actual object can be easier than a photo because you can turn it around in your hands, hold it up to the yarn to find colour matches and look at it from different angles. In my own work I have found that if I'm working from photos it helps to have lots of images of one inspiration source all taken from different angles; you can find a lot of shapes and patterns that way!

All that said, I really enjoy working with my students to get the best out of whatever they bring to Quotidian Colourwork classes and sometimes the best part of a Quotidian Colourwork workshop is seeing a huge stack of stuff that someone is really enjoying exploring; or working to find just the right shades to describe a wonderful family moment. Everyone has a slightly different creative approach and I love the challenge of finding new ways to support different learning styles. 

What was the biggest challenge in putting the book together?
The biggest challenge was getting the system laid out just right. I wanted to offer a framework and guidance without being too proscriptive and to encourage knitters to take risks and to find pleasure in their own creative knitting process. I knew this might be a bit tricky because knitting books necessarily make clear distinctions between doing it RIGHT and doing it WRONG! This is essential when you are making a sweater that requires hours and hours of knitting! You want a good fit! It has to be RIGHT! But when it comes to designing your own stranded colourwork based on things you love, the error margins need to be much more generous and forgiving. That RIGHT/WRONG format will shut down little ideas before they get off the ground! For guiding swatching, process, mistakes and exploring, a different instructional style is needed. It took trial and error to find the right voice for explaining The KNITSONIK System. However I've had lots of positive feedback from people who have the book so I think it was worth the effort! 

How does your work with sounds fit together with this book?
The impetus to celebrate the everyday world around me started with my work with sounds. In my work as a soundartist I share everyday sounds in ways that highlight their specialness. I like to think that my stranded colourwork swatches do the same thing; for example after looking at the swatch based on my battered little plastic digital recorder (EDDIE) many of its little details stand out more. It seems more special when it is photographed together with its matching swatch. 

The A4074 and the swatch it inspired.

The A4074 and the swatch it inspired.

Amedee Ozenfant once said "Art is the Demonstration that the Ordinary is Extraordinary" and I love that quote and agree with it. I love highlighting the specialness in things that are sometimes overlooked, underloved, tender and ordinary whether I am working in knitting (KNIT) or in sound (SONIK)! Just as in knitting there is a craft to recording sounds and stitching them together. You have to have the right tools and you have to take your time and to think about textures and structure.

To give a specific example of how knitting and sound fit together in the book, one of the subjects I chose for my stranded colourwork adventures was also the focus for a documentary radio show I made for the BBC. I wanted to make a radio show celebrating the road on which I most often drive and I spent the summer of 2010 walking around that road, interviewing other people who use it, recording the bands who play at festivals around the road and so on. In the radio show I celebrate the sonic textures of the road and my relationships with the other drivers who use it. Although the swatch I created from the same road is a very different kind of record of place and texture, I am not sure that I would have ended up knitting that road if I hadn't already fallen in love with it through sound. 

On one of your recent podcasts, you talked about how this project has opened up a new range of opportunities because you have some financial space to think about what to do next. Can you give us any hints about what lies around the corner for you?
I'm currently focusing on completing the album of sounds and songs that accompanies the book - the KNITSONIK Audible Textures Resource - it's taken longer than I'd hoped because managing book sales has been a bit more work than I anticipated (ahem)! I'm really enjoying getting back to more sound recording and editing for that.

I'm also doing quite a bit of teaching this year and expanding my class repetoire to include new concepts growing out of the original Quotidian Colourwork class. As well as our workshop on 26th March I'll be working with Brenda Dayne on our Gwlana retreat in May and teaching at Shetland Wool Week 2015 in October. I love teaching and am really enjoying opportunities to do more of it in coming months!

In terms of other long term plans I don't want to share too much but I'm thinking a lot about ways of applying stranded colourwork to garments because as every knitter knows, the ultimate fun in designing your own amazing patterns comes from wearing them.  

Many thanks to Felix for taking the time to answer our questions, and share a bit more about the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork process. Tickets are still available for her Quotidian Colourwork Workshop, happening on Thursday, 26th March 2015 from 6:30-9:30 pm at Homemade London. We hope to see you there!