Blogging on the road takes on a whole new meaning for me as I sit in the back of the bus typing this! No doubt we'll be parked up and settled in for the night before I finish typing (rear suspension + tiny netbook screen + European keyboard = interesting typos)
We've spent the last few days in Cheshire visiting the truly lovely Fibre + Clay shop in Knutsford. When I say it is truly lovely, I mean that. The shop, the owners, the hospitality - everything. We couldn't have spent the first part of the tour, my first ever tour, in a better place.
Saturday was all about Hat Design. I love teaching this workshop, as not only do I get to talk Hats all day but I also help knitters understand how to take their own measurements and make themselves a Hat that fits. We discuss different styles, shaping, incorporating stitch patterns and more. It isn't a prescriptive workshop - we cover the basics and then I go with the flow of the students and cover their needs. The need to be flexible can make it more intense to teach but that makes me love it even more - everyone comes out with a Hat that they want.
Image copyright Fibre + Clay
Tuesday morning is one of the weekly knitting meetings at Fibre + Clay and they asked if I'd visit and talk Hats with them. And talk Hats we did!
People are always telling me how Hats just don't suit them, so one of the things we focused on was how to wear a Hat. It's true, not every Hat suits every person but people who don't suit any Hat at all are very, very rare indeed. Picking the right style and shape to suit your face is key, but how to wear it on your head is the secret to being a happy Hat wearer.
Most of the Hats shown here are berets, and this was the most popular style by far in both the design workshop and the 'show and tell' yet that doesn't make them all the same. The different elements that make up a design, whether it be yarn choice, weight or drape, the different types of brim or how a stitch pattern affects the fabric all make a subtle difference in how a Hat looks. The most noticeable differences come from the brim choice (rolled brims are softer on the face) and how far down or back the brim is worn. Don't be afraid to experiment when trying on Hats!
I really did have the loveliest time - thank you Riana and everyone at Fibre and Clay for making me feel most welcome :) If you find yourself in the area, do pay them a visit. It is a beautiful yarn store but it's more than that too - it's full of beautiful ceramics and buttons, gorgeous hand made textile jewellery and other such gems.
Whilst I was at the shop on Tuesday morning, Tom took Aran to see the Jodrell Bank and I was a little sad that I missed it. Still, Tom tells me that Aran absolutely loved it, and was especially entertained by the 3D cinema. It would seem that planets flying out of the giant screen directly at you don't scare our boy.
We stayed at a couple of different campsites, as we made visits to my aunt & uncle in Sandbach (hi Janice & Graham - I know you're reading!) and to Just Call Me Ruby in Southport, making the most of our time. By far our favourite campsite was a little site called Strawberry Wood, just outside Knutsford.
Some the sites we've stayed at have been set up for statics, with space given for tourers and tents. This site was different because it was all for tourers and motorhomes and had plenty of space for each pitch.
That awning hiding behind the tree and foliage to the right of the photo? That was our neighbour. All the pitches around the outside of the site are separated by dense greenery and trees, giving you complete privacy. Even the pitches in the middle, where the trees where less dense had more privacy than just about every other site we've stayed at. There's no shop and my internet dongle struggled to get a signal (and I suspect most mobile networks would have virtually no coverage as it's slap bang in the middle of the woods) but other than that, it was perfect.
Well, that's all so far - what a great few days! And as suspected we're now parked up in a campsite in Bardsey, Leeds, ready for tomorrow's visit to Baa Ram Ewe.