Sunday, 27 February 2011

Use it or lose it - Bodkins of Thundersley

I wrote earlier in the year about using local shops... but I left a recent discovery off the list.  Tucked away in Thundersley village is a proper wool shop called Bodkins.  Over 50 years old and with everything that you did not know you needed in there and I think it has the potential to be my bank manager's nightmare.

Whilst looking around, we got to chatting about how independent wool shops were disappearing and I was really shocked to learn that if you excluded the shops in Leigh-on-sea and Southend the next nearest shop as the crow flies is in  Erith in Kent but I bet it is not a patch on Bodkins!

Here is the web link: and below are some pics I took on my trip there

Now you know that this is going to be good because...
You start to dribble when you see what they have in the window, Rico,
 Debbie Bliss, Eco wools, Sirdar, Sublime... let me into the shop... NOW!

The owner, Jo had escaped from behind the till and was sorting out piece of Mini Pompom work for a customer...  it looked as though she was knitting up Rainbow Puffed Rice

Just look and lust!
My official driver for the trip - aka as my lovely sister Annette, and yes, she bought the pattern and wool so far she has only completed the front but it is only 12 hours later

And the great thing about the shop is there is something for everyone's price range and we are not talking the dreaded Chemist's shop wool

I bet you are all wondering whether I bought anything, well here it is but missing two balls cos I have already knitted up a bag from Nicky Epstein's, Knitting Block by Block which I will blog about soon

From designer wools, via mid range to affordable wools, this shop just rocks and the service is brilliant.  I haven't even mentioned the buttons, ribbons, threads, pattern books, there is just so much in one little shop.  Where can you stand and chat, swap sloe gin recipes, debate the erratum slips in books, to say nothing of knitting porn, you know when you just look at books and dribble?  Do you know when I grow up or when I win the lottery, I am going to have a shop like this, I wonder if I should check my ticket now?

PS - There is even free parking, it really doesn't get much better than this, does it?

Monday, 21 February 2011

The Rico Can Can Scarf

Let's be honest, by now scarves are pretty boring, at least that's what I thought until I discovered the amazing Can Can wool from Rico.  Actually wool is a bit of a misnomer, it is really is a tape

I like a fairly thickish scarf so here is what I do when I make my scarves.

First of all open up your tape as below, it will become quite wide.

 To cast on, you literally put your needle through the tape, about two wefts down (remember in fabric weft is the row which goes from left to right).  Be brutal, poke the needle through the tape, bring the need back to the front and about 1.5 - 2" (or if you are a young thing, about 5 cm) further on, poke the needle through again, you now have two stitches.  For a skinny scarf you will need eight stitches for a luxury thick scarf you will need to cast on 12 stitches.

How easy is that for casting on?

 Now start knitting your first row, remember to open up the tape, now as if you are going to knit put your needle through the first stitch, with the open tape catch about two rows down on the weft of the tape on the needle in your right hand and pull it through like a regular knit stitch.  Now I warn you, this will take you back to when you first started knitting and no-one had taught you how to wind the yarn around your needle as you will have literally take the yarn between your thumb and forefinger to ensure that the tape is open.

As you continue to work, the ruffle will develop on both sides, making the scarf rich and luxuriant.

 As you can see, it really is a different scarf, which all my friends have admired, which is probably why I have four more to make!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Copyright vs Copywrong

I have spent an interesting afternoon, reading and thinking about copyright and how it pertains to what I make.

Often I will see a pattern or an idea that will start me off to make a pattern of my own, the pistachio cable scarf is a case in point.  I wanted to make a scarf for a friend, had four balls of wool and then wanted a cable to do, frankly what I came up with was not exactly rocket science and I know that similar cable patterns could be found elsewhere but it was my idea with that wool and those needles.  The other scarf came from a marvellous store of ideas the amazing website but the technique that I learned from it has spurred me on to try a variation.

I also found this fantastic book by the amazing Nicky Epstein, a great challenge to my knitting but it too has spurred me onto another project... more of which, very soon.

However, when it comes to copyrighting, what is really sad is when you read about really large firms ripping off the little people, the small designer, so I was really shocked when I read this blog about how Claire's Accessories ripped off the Designer, She Draws:

Her blog is definitely worth a read and I am sure she would appreciate your support,