I’m delighted to be attending the Edinburgh Yarn Festival as a vendor this year. I shall be at stand C1 in the main exhibition hall. I’ll be selling a range of my bags including: small project bags; DPN bags; project bags with individual skein holders; and two of my Joan Eardley inspired bucket bags.
The fabric of my bags is machine knit on my vintage knitting machine using either: wools spun at Knit Rennie in Aberdeenshire; or 1-ply Shetland wool from Jamieson’s of Scotland. My bags are lined with linen or cotton fabrics from Scottish Linen in Kirkcaldy, Fife.
If you’re coming along to the Festival, please come and say hello and show me what you’ve bought, what you’re knitting, or what you’re planning! See you there!
Knit Rennie Wool Bags
Jamieson’s of Shetland Wool Bags
One of my favourite trees is the Scots pine, botanically known as Pinus sylvestris. This native conifer can be found across Scotland, and in particular throughout Glen Affric to the west of Loch Ness in the Highlands. The photos below were taken over Easter 2013, on our last family holiday to Glen Affric. Our first family visit was in 1999, and we’ve returned on more than seven occasions!
When I came to design a new pattern for my bag fabric, the Scots pine immediately came to mind. Once I had drawn up a design using my knitter’s graph paper notebook from Rowan Morrison, I started swatching. Eight pattern revisions later, I was finally happy with the design which features both mature trees and saplings!
The woolly fabric is machine knit using beautiful 1-ply Shetland wool from Jamieson’s of Shetland. The first bags using this design, and lined with linen fabrics from Scottish Linen in Fife, will be for sale at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival in March 2017.
Being an avid handknitter, I decided to design and make a bag with handles that was large enough to hold, for example, a jumper or cardigan project. On 5th June 2015 I made my first small bag with the intention of sizing up rapidly. Twenty months later, I am finally happy with my design; I don’t like to rush these things!
The bag’s outer fabric is machine knit on my vintage Knitmaster. The lining and handles of the bag are made out of linen from Scottish Linen in Fife. I wanted the bag to be able to hold separately two skeins of yarn. After seven design revisions, I finally produced the skein holder I desired! It is also made from linen and is elasticated at the top to keep the skein secure. Each of the two holders per bag are attached inside the project bag by a button/buttonholed system. This means that they can be easily removed, and also washed if needed.
The project bag is wide enough to fit a Woolly Originals’ tool case or small project bag alongside the skein holders. The knitting or crochet project itself can be placed on top when not being worked.
The photos below show a bag in Woolly Originals’ Nordic Rose pattern. The first batch of these projects bags in Nordic Rose, Scottish Wildflowers and Bandit Brioche designs will be for sale in March 2017 at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. They will then be for sale in my e-shop by late March.
Copyright of Woolly Originals, 7th March 2017
So, confession time. I knit a brioche cowl this week using my friend Fu’s beautiful alpaca/Jacob sheep yarn known as the Bearford Flock. Hours after posting a photo of the cowl on Instagram, I put on a load of washing at 40 degrees. Unbeknown to me, I’d also scooped up my cowl that was drying on the floor beside my laundry basket! It came out of the wash approximately half the size and heavily felted! I was horrified: firstly at wrecking the cowl; and secondly at mistreating my friend’s gorgeous yarn from her equally gorgeous animals that she tends with love every single day!
So, what could I do? Well, I started knitting a second cowl straight away with the leftover yarn, and thought about what to do with the now unwearable one. A bag! I’d make a bag! And, that’s just what I’ve done. I decided not to cut the cowl but use it as a single piece for the exterior of my new bag. To line the bag, I carefully measured and designed an insert. I had the perfect material for this: the dark grey Burel woollen fabric I’d bought in Lisbon last November. So, here are a few photos of the whole process, and the finished result! I’m delighted with the bag which I’m going to treasure! And Fu, I’m so sorry!!!
Happy New Year!
To celebrate the start of 2017, Woolly Originals is having a limited sale of woolly bags from 5pm (Edinburgh time) on Monday 2nd January.
Let’s hope that 2017 is a positive year for everyone.
Merry Christmas to all of Woolly Originals’ customers and friends! As usual, rather than sending out cards, a purchase has been made from Oxfam Unwrapped (ref number 42962515) to say Thank you so much for all your custom, support and encouragement. Woolly Originals would be nothing without you all!
The purchase this year is a “Support a Budding Business Kit”. Oxfam state that this gift could help a budding businesswoman escape poverty and build a better life. It can help to provide the support she needs to get started, such as literacy and numeracy skills, or mentoring and advice. Your gift could be the start of something special, enabling a woman to earn an income, to invest in her business, and create a better future for her and her family. This gift supports our Making a Living (ML) projects.
An example of the sort of business project Oxfam support is:
Oxfam is helping small family coffee businesses in western Honduras to thrive despite facing a disease that attacks their crops. Esperanza Enriquez lost 75% of her coffee crop when her farm in western Honduras was hit a by disease called Coffee rust. As a result her income plummeted, but now Esperanza’s farm is thriving. Oxfam provided Esperanza with the support she needed to rebuild her business, like new coffee farming techniques and how to make fertiliser. We also helped to set up a co-operative so local coffee farmers could join together to access the equipment they need to roast and package up their coffee. By cutting out the middle men they’re able to earn more for their coffee. “The co-operative Oxfam helped us set up means I’ve been able to replant and move into toasting and packaging the coffee. With Oxfam’s help I hope my future will be bright again.”
My vintage Knitmaster knitting machine is a wee bit temperamental! It isn’t keen on yarns any thicker than the size of handknitter’s laceweight. Subsequently, I have struggled to source local wools. However, whilst attending a wonderful spinning workshop with Ange of Weftblown, she suggested trying 1-ply Shetland weaving wool from Jamieson’s of Shetland.
I sent off for two cones as a trial. I was delighted to find that the yarn was strong enough to cope with my machine. So, I then ordered a range of natural colours with a view to knitting up fabric in my Scottish Wildflowers design. I was delighted with the cones when they arrived, but experience has taught me that yarns dyed using “heather” techniques can be difficult to use in colourwork.
Hence, swatching began! Using six of the yarns as a base, I knitted up a range of samples. After washing and blocking, I sewed the swatches to a board so that I wouldn’t lose them or forget which colours I’d used! Now I can choose which combinations are best to use for my bags.