Freestyle knitting taking flight

As blogged about at Clasheen the last couple of weeks have really been totally taken over by golf, Open Week duties and a wonderful ‘Felt and Nostalgia’ workshop with Jeanette Sendler.  Thankfully I discovered the wonderful world of Jane Thornley’s freestyle knitting and this has given me a textile related fix in the evenings when I have been too tired to felt or do anything else except collapse on the couch.  Coming from a felting background I must confess to being a total natural fibre snob but it has been quite a revelation discovering some of the new environmentally conscious yarns and exploring all the different renewable or recycled sources that they have been created from.  Freestyle knitting encourages a playful sense of stitch and colour combining, nothing is forbidden and mistakes get turned into successes, my kind of style!  Yarns that I previously thought horrendous can, (horrendous being a subjective term) in combination with more restrained fibres can have the ability to lift the knitting and give a little pop to an otherwise plain piece of work.  Deciding that nothing ventured nothing gained I ordered a batch of oddities at knock down prices from Kemps Wool Shop just as an experiment and as soon as they arrived Carmen (we had been felting together when the post came) oohed and aahed over some of the more whacky offerings!  Immediately we looked at each other and simultaneously decided that a freestyle scarf in peachy teracotta tones would be my hand made Christmas gift for Carmen!!!  Here is a picture of it as it progresses on the needles. 

Scarf for Carmen

The bamboo tape is an absolute dream in the hand, beautifully soft and in lovely rich shades but I suspect it will not be the easiest to weave in and secure the ends, not worrying about that at the minute however!  The yarn that has been the biggest revelation is Patons ‘Coast’ in soft teracotta (they call the shade salmon), it is a polyamide, acrylic, cotton mixture with little ‘tags’ sticking out and I am finding it gorgeous to knit with.  Kemps is a wonderful online shop if you are looking for cheap and unusual yarn, my package of 14 balls only came to £15.96 including P&P and I will be definitely ordering from them again!

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Crazy cowls from gorgeous weavers waste!

Far too much going on at the moment with not enough hours in the day to write about it properly either here or on my main felting blog Clasheen but I just HAD to share with you my latest happy accident!  On Friday evening and Saturday morning some American fibre friends called to visit with me and we had a great time discussing all things Ireland and all things wool, yarn and felt related.  I am not going to mention their names yet from a security point of view until I know for sure they arrive safely home but as soon as I know their 4 week trip to Ireland and the UK is over I will link through to their website and hopefully you will see all the exciting textile adventures that they have been filming along the course of their travels.

Lilac mohair crazy cowl!

AARGH!!!!! 

I have just lost all the rest of this post in the publishing and unfortunately I really don’t have enough time to write it all again.  Forgive me for the resulting brevity now but what I really wanted to mention was the gorgeous weavers waste I picked up at Cushendale Woolen Mills over the weekend.  These balls of wide wool ‘yarn’ are off cuts from the selvedge edge of some of the mill’s woven home textiles and wearable wraps, I think that they knit up into wonderful and funky cowls!  Check out Flickr for some more detailed images of this lilac and an ocean blue cowl but if anyone is interested in purchasing one of these cosy and fun pieces I am happy to bill you directly through PayPal at a total cost of $38 including P&P to anywhere in the world!  Please email me if you would like to order either the lilac or the ocean blue cowl.

Stimulating weekend and last chance to book fibre workshops!

We had an amazing time over the last few days experimenting and creating with Dutch felter Lyda Rump!  All the participants had a brilliant time as Lyda is both an inspirational artist and a highly accomplished tutor.  Over the next couple of days I will be uploading more images to Flickr and blogging about the workshops on Clasheen.   Pop over there if you are interested in a little more information about what we all got up to from Friday to Sunday but here is an image of Gerd’s gorgeous hand dyed silk chiffon and merino neckpiece to get you inspired. 

Gerd's beautiful silk and merino neckpiece

If this has got you interested in a bit of fibre experimenting why don’t you come along to the next ‘Pick up your Needles’ session on Sunday 21st February at the Tinahely Courthouse Arts Centre, Tinahely, Co. Wicklow?  These great sessions are organised by Irene Lundgaard and Stephanie Kennedy, felting, knitting, crochet and spinning are on offer (obviously I am facilitating the felting!) and any workshop is available for the special price of  E55 to include all materials plus ongoing tea, coffee and homemade cookies throughout the day!  If you are interested in learning a new craft or honing your skills click here to book your space or read a bit more detailed information.