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Archived posts from December 2006 to December 2008 are missing their photos. Key posts will be updated as soon as I have time!

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now offering wholesale direct!


The mammoth task of rephotograghing and reformatting my back catalogue is almost done, with the exception of one or two patterns. All of the Woolly Toppers books have also been reformatted to work with the new printer guidelines and I can now let the world know that I have my own wholesale catalogue!

My patterns and books are all being printed by Magcloud for wholesale, and the quality is fantastic. When I took those first sample books to TNNA I felt proud of the product I was promoting, as the print and paper quality is so much better. Those who have seen the print copy of Painted Woolly Toppers have all commented how fantastic the photos look, and how they even look better in print than they do on screen. I've never achieved this with POD before, especially with CreateSpace (CS have their plus points but paper and print quality aren't one of them) and it feels... exciting. Like I've finally got the hang of this print malarkey.

And this in turn means I can offer wholesale direct. My stuff is still available through Ravelry In-Store and from Deep South Fibers. What I'm doing in is in addition to those, and in support of. Let me explain.

My wholesale catalogue comes in the form of a PDF, which is a comprehensive list of all my publications broken down into books, latest pattern releases, best selling patterns then back catalogue patterns, with the back catalogue listed via yarn weight then style. Each listing in the catalogue contains an active link to the (private) wholesale listing on Magcloud - each Magcloud listing allows you to browse the publication then add the item to your cart. It's pretty clever, really!

Streamlining the wholesale ordering process means that shops and yarnies order in their own time, when it suits them, without the need to place an order with me, have me place the order with Magcloud, then invoice the retailer. You buy as much or as little as you want (no minimum orders, pay at time of ordering) and the items are then printed either in Europe or the US, and dispatched direct to you.


Even if you're buying through DSF or using the Rav In-Store, the wholesale PDF catalogue is still a useful tool, as it allows you to preview the entire publication in your browser - which isn't possible anywhere else for digital sales! Infact it's rare to have this option with print sales, and it's a key feature that retailers have said they value greatly.

So then.... the wholesale catalogue is managed through the wholesale mailing list, where the price lists and bonus extras are also offered. The wholesale mailing list goes out every 2 or 3 months with news of new releases and an updated catalogue. This makes it so, so much easier for me to manage, freeing up time for creating more Hats.

And who can join the mailing list? Any yarn shop owner, yarn company or indie dyer/spinner. If you retail yarn and patterns, then simply send me an email with the name of your shop, your email address and your contact name with 'wholesale catalogue' in the title, and I'll add you to the list. I'm as happy for Etsy sellers to get in touch as I am larger yarn stores.

Please do let your local yarn shop or indie dyer know about this, and help spread the word. Thanks!


Introducing Striato


Striato is my latest pattern release, although having designed it 2 years ago it does feel a little strange to be introducing it as new!



The beanie version was published in Simply Knitting magazine last year, although I don't know which issue or exactly when, so I can't add that information to the Ravelry database. That said, only the beanie version was published with SK, and I'm happy to release both versions together within one pattern.



The pattern is designed for The Little Knitting Company's Cashmere & yak, which I've designed other patterns for, and it really is a luscious yarn. I got both these samples out of 50g of each with yarn to spare!



One of the reasons I'm later than planned publishing this pattern is the photos - I seemed to really struggle to get photos that I was happy with - it just seems to go that way with some Hats. This was the first time working with Silvia and she's great fun!



The pattern comes in 4 sizes, is provided in written format, and includes an illustrated tutorial for the cast-on. It's also available wholesale, so if you've got my new digital wholesale catalogue, you'll find the pattern in there already, so you can stock up on copies for your LYS.



play along with the IG Beanie

Fancy having a little fun on social media?


I was given a skein of Skein Queen Opulent Cashmere earlier in the year and let me tell you, it's divine. However, with 55g to the skein, it likely wasn't going to make an adult Hat (although the yardage is generous for that weight) and thought instead of making a childs Hat. And being that I was still very much in garter stitch mode having designed all the Hats for Painted Woolly Toppers, I thought I'd try a different approach to the ever popular square top beanie for kids (or Cat Hat, as it's sometimes known)


I love this shape - it's bold and quirky and a welcome change from the regular beanie shape. And that square top makes it brilliant for beginners, as there's no shaping involved. I've published a few free patterns in this style of late, and with each one I've tried to incorporate a new technique or method, to help push beginning knitters onto new things. And this design is no different - and actually, it's knit completely flat!


The simplicity of the design means I can post the pattern as a series of photo tutorials, and I thought I'd give sharing it via Instagram a try. The photos will also link to Twitter, and the hashtag on both is #igbeanie - use this to follow along, and use this tag to share your own #igbeanie Hats too!

If you're not on Instagram or Twitter worry not as my Instagram feed can be viewed in your browser - simply click the link, then click on the relevant photo and the corresponding text will come up (along with all the comments). You'll want to check in once a day and see which photos have been added - there isn't a way to get notifications of new photos being uploaded without joining either Twitter or Instagram.

The pattern is already on the Ravelry database, and the first intro photo talking about yarn and gauge is live. I'll publish the following photos over the next couple of days, to give everyone a bit of a chance to knit their strip of garter stitch and find out what they need to do next.



Selling Hitch

A few readers may remember my HitchHiker spinning wheel, that I imported to the UK several years ago, and hand painted....



Well the time has come to sell this wheel. I still love it and if we had all the space and money in the world, I would keep it. But we don't. And I have only spun 100g of fibre on her since I was pregnant with Aran, and he was 7 in March - this wheel really needs to belong to someone who will use her and love her, not keep her stored away in a bag! Last year I was lucky enough to get myself a Louet Hatbox wheel (which I took all the photos for but failed to blog about) and I've done more spinning on that than the Hitch - someone who spins as little as I do these days can't justify two wheels.


So yesterday we dusted her down, gave her a mini service and took lots and lots of photos. I've really no idea what to ask for her, as these don't come up 2nd hand very often, especially in the UK and Europe, and especially one with so much decoration. Shipping these over from the US isn't cheap and the import duty adds a hefty sum, and that's all been taken care of - this wheel was the first HitchHiker to come to the UK! After a lot of thought, I'd like to ask £250 plus shipping, and will list the wheel on eBay later today. I'd be more than happy to see her go to someone I know, so if you're interested send me a message!



Over the years I've had a lot of questions about the wheel, and Dave at Merlin Tree has developed quite a following, and there's a tonne of information now online. If you Google for the HitchHiker wheel there are many videos, demonstrating how the wheel works and it's own special charm, and there's an active group on Ravelry, too. Dave is incredibly helpful and hand makes all of these wheels!

I've always said that spinning on a hitchHiker is akin to driving a vintage car - it has character. It isn't as smooth as my Louet straight out of the box, but given a short learning curve you'll soon learn her quirks and what she needs to spin well. The wheel is quite capable of spinning all sorts, you'll just need to know what adjustments to make (hence the link to the forum and using YouTube)



I took rather a lot of photos yesterday, so here goes....



The standard flyer on the new wheels is slightly different to this one - this flyer is (I believe) from an Ashford, and there are 4 standard bobbins to go with it.  


The only real damage to the paintwork is on the back of the wheel, where the whorl runs. This is to be expected really - the wood was primed and painted in acrylic and then varnished, but wear will show eventually. It's very easy to touch up - the background to the paintwork isn't a flat colour, and the writing is simply done with a permanent silver marker!



The writing on the front of the wheel spirals, and is a description of the spinning process.







Anyone remember all the handspun yarns I used to sell? Well they were all spun on this wheel, and on this flyer. At the time there wasn't a jumbo flyer to go with the Hitch, so I made do. Since then, Dave developed a jumbo flyer, for which I was a tester, and that jumbo flyer with two jumbo bobbins is also included.





And there you have it! She's a beauty, isn't she? And rare. I'm open to offers but I can't afford to let her go too cheaply. If she doesn't sell for the right price I'd sooner hold onto her until we can find her the right home.

I'm still looking into courier options and shipping charges, and I don't see why shipping to mainland Europe would be a problem. I will also look into worldwide shipping, and if anyone interested uses a regular courier, I'm open to suggestions.

Once the eBay link is live, I'll link here. In the meantime, if you can help spread the word it'd be muchly appreciated!

(I'm feeling a little sad and nostalgic as I press the 'publish' button on this post... whoever owns her next, please look after her? Ta :)

eta/ I've found the original blog posts about the painting of my HitchHiker!

(for the 'Spinning' tag below for more posts featuring this wheel and the yarns it created)


eta2/ the wheel is now listed on eBay!


eta3/ the wheel has sold already! Wow! Thanks again for your support :)


Closing doors


Last week Aran had his latest consultant appointment, the first of his annual tests. He's now had clear results (i.e. no protein or blood traces, no kidney relapses) for 6 months and he's been discharged from the clinic :)

This is great news, as it means they're no longer concerned that he could have a kidney relapse if he falls ill, though we'll still monitor him for a while for our own peace of mind - we're so used to being in kidney watch mode that it's going to take some time to adjust. We'll now have his annual tests through our GP, which offers us more flexibility and will feel less... pressured. We're sick of hospitals.

He is as well as he could be. They can't rule out kidney disease later on in life, hence the annual tests. But we know that; we know that we'll likely never be told that he's fully recovered, but we'll take this silver lining, thanks. They do tell us his chances are good, and that's good enough for us. After a horrible 19 months we're so very glad to have reached this point.

What with the signing of the new contract on the Yard and now good news for Aran, we're finally starting to close doors on what has been a very challenging and horrible 3 years. 


ps/ I bought a new camera for work - a Nikon D5500 - and this is one of the first shots we took with it. I overspent on the budget, and despite the sting, I've no regrets at all. I'll be selling my D5000 (with it's 18-55mm AF-S lens) in the next few weeks.