deep breath

IMG_4027So I have survived another Shetland Craft Fair! I have had a very busy weekend, and I’m very happy with how it went. This year they had the stalls spread out over two parts of Clickimin, the Main hall and the Bowls hall. (Clickimin is a Leisure Centre, hence the use of a indoor Bowls Hall, the Food Fair was also in the Squash Court!) Initially I was a bit worried that people wouldnt know there was another hall full of stalls but they seemed to find us. That is my Dads stall behind mine, he is a local cartoonist and has been doing Craft Fairs for years!

IMG_4025 IMG_4032I didn’t change my stall layout much from last year, Its one of those things that I should really spend a lot more time thinking about, but when it comes down to it I went with what worked last year. Of course it could be improved and I will try and do that for next year.

IMG_4030 IMG_4023

I had a few smaller Crofthoose cushions and I sold all of them, I nearly didn’t take them because I thought they were maybe too small.. (and a bit pointless) And I sold lots of my usual size. It is always a bit scary putting out what you make to the general public. I run in very ‘knitterly’ circles so most of the people I know, through my work at J&S, blogging, instgram etc.. sort of understand the amount of work that goes into these cushions. They are a bit of fun of course and not exactly a necessity to have in life.. but I will say they are fully functional cushions so they do serve some purpose (particularity are a travel pillow, those lums will fit perfectly around your neck!!) but as always I was pleasantly surprised that people seem to like my little cushions.. and I really liked that now i’ve been doing this for a few years I had repeat customers and people buying ones because ‘so and so have one on their couch’ haha!

Photo 16-11-2014 05 06 58 pm (1)

This is all the stock I was left with at closing time tonight, which is great! I have a few orders but all very manageable so I don’t feel too stressed about it. The first year I did the Craft Fair I totally overdid it on the custom orders, so I have learnt from then.. I’m not very good at saying no, but you must be brave sometimes!

thanks Vivian for the photo :)

thanks Vivian for the photo :)

I was asked lots and lots of times if my items were hand knitted and I tried to not feel a bit disheartened when I said, no they are machine knitted and watched the persons face change a little (not everyone of course but it is an reaction I get a lot) My things may be machine knitted, but they are machine knitted by me! I hope my last few blogs about how much work I have put in shows that it is not ‘cheating’. Machine knitting is a skill in itself, it is not hand knitting no.. but I am proud that I knit each row myself on my machine. Apart from help stuffing the cushions from Mam and Peter I do it all myself. My mam and my sister helped me out on the stall and of course I had Dad behind me (literally) so I am supported but I’ll tell ya, It can be lonely knitting cushions! That would make a good country song title…

IMG_4028

This machine knitting talk is quite apt as yesterday morning, Kate released more information about Cockatoo Brae, the cardigan which I knitted the body and sleeves for her on my machine for her new book which comes out very soon. That is the way hundreds upon thousands of Shetland Yokes have been made, with a hand knit yoke and machine knit body. I have made four yokes for myself in this way so later this week, (hopefully) I will put together a post explaining a bit more about how one goes about doing that.. disclaimer.. the way I do it might not be the way it is has always been done but I have noone to show me these things so I have taught myself in a way that gets the job done, which after all is the most important thing.

Back to work tomorrow so I better get to bed! Speak soon,

Ella xx

ready to go..

IMG_3976

IMG_3978

IMG_3995IMG_3994IMG_3999

Kathy Cadigan recently posted a photo on Instagram of her crofthoose.. sorry Kathy, I stole your pose..

Kathy Cadigan recently posted a photo on Instagram of her crofthoose.. sorry Kathy, I stole your pose..

IMG_4010

Sorry to anybody waiting to hear from me, this past few weeks have been filled with knitting, washing, sewing, stuffing and more sewing.. on top of working full time.. phewf. I am tired, but I have had the past couple of days off to get everything finished and I’m ready for tomorrow.

The Shetland Arts and Crafts Association Christmas Craft Fair is Shetlands biggest craft fair and this year is the biggest ever with over 90 of Shetlands Crafts people selling their wares, it is held at Clickimin, and takes place tomorrow night, all day Saturday and Sunday.

This is my third year doing the Craft Fair, but every year you still get a bit nervous, Wish me luck!

Ella xx

fair isle toorlie cap

IMG_3939-2

I don’t know about you, but as soon as I have a lot of stuff to do I suddenly find all these other things to be doing… and the above hat is case in point. Yes, i did need a hat, but did I really need to design one? Not really.. But its done now and in the spirit of true procrastination I have even made a PDF that you can purchase from my ravelry page if you so wish!

IMG_3945

In celebration for my trip to Iceland, I decided to combine two of my favourite things, Icelandic Wool and Fair Isle! This hat can be busted out in one night if you want or you can take your time, either way It wont take long til its keeping your lugs toasty warm!

IMG_3941-2

I had a look in my many Fair Isle books and decided upon this motif from Sheila McGregors ‘Complete Book of Traditional Fair Isle Knitting’ and I’m very pleased with how striking it is in chunky wool. I used Alafoss Lopi, in burnt orange and ash heather and it is so warm! I sewed on this Pom Pom from my collection of accoutrements but its totally optional of course.

IMG_3954

I went for the extremely well thought out name of ‘Toorlie Cap’.. a toorlie is a hat in Shetland dialect. Aaah.. the way I have with words. Inspired.

IMG_3951

Ive spent the day today knitting cushions and I will be doing the same tomorrow so really I just popped in to show you my hat, Im really pleased with it!

Speak soon! xxx

knit, knit, knit..

Hello! Thank you all for the lovely comments about my trip to Iceland, at the moment it seems a million miles away.. I am preparing for the Shetland Arts and Craft Associations annual Christmas Craft Fair. This involves a lot of knitting. Since I work pretty much full time my knitting is resigned to evenings and weekends and I am feeling pretty tired! It will all be worth it though, this is my third year doing the Craft Fair which is quite exciting and does make me quite proud of my peerie business. I wish I kept a note of how many crofthouses I have made, I would love to know how many are out there..The furthest in the world that I know of are Australia and Canada.. and one is en route to America as I speak!

IMG_3926

IMG_3924 IMG_3921 IMG_3918

IMG_3885I have tried to refine a few of my crofthouse designs and also do some new things (which I’ll show you soon!) so I’m feeling quite happy with how everything is going. I have a huge amount of wool.. so the trickiest part is choosing colours!

IMG_3878 IMG_3876 IMG_3874 IMG_3869

All this machine knitting has made me long for some hand knitting and also in Shetland – its gotten chilly! so to appease this urge quickly I have knit myself a fun hat using chunky icelandic wool.. knit up in one night it has hit the spot! Ill try and share it as soon as I can.

I think this is my favourite photo.. In case you wondered there are 174 rows per cushion..

IMG_3886

Speak soon! Ella xx

iceland

next year I am going to Iceland!!!!!

photo by kate davies

photo by kate davies

As you know, I have a love for Icelandic textiles (ahem, ahem, ahem) which I thought like some of my knitting phases would come and go BUT ever since I got into it, rather than abating the urge has grown stronger.. So, I took a deep breath and booked myself a place on one of Helene Magnuson’s knitting tours in  May 2015, this one to be exact: Spring Knitting Retreat.

photo by kate davies

photo by kate davies

I am so excited. I booked my place on Monday, and my flights from Edinburgh (the irony of flying south to go north isn’t lost on me..) the trip contains so many things I would love to do and I cant believe I will be doing them!! I’m not a big traveller and I am an especially nervous island girl but somehow, rather than being nervous about going on my own to a foreign country (either a great idea or idiotic) so I am beside myself to be going on a knitting holiday to Iceland!! I’m sure this is what knitterly people feel when they come to Shetland.

photo by kate davies

photo by kate davies

sigh.. so if you would also like to go to Iceland, I would urge you to come on this trip if you can. Luckily I have a large stash of Icelandic Wool so apart from my business knitting (I am a cushion making machine atm..) I shall spent from now til May making myself many Lopi Jumpers

Speak soon,

Ella xx

my wool week

If you read my blog you are probably interested in Shetland Textiles, so you probably knew last week was Shetland Wool Week. It is by far the busiest week of work for me and Sandra who I work in the shop at J&S with. We are pretty busy anyway but at Wool Week everything goes into overdrive! I blogged over at the J&S blog so head over there for some more in depth info as to what was on throughout the week at Jamieson & Smith. I met loads of people who told me they read my blog which is very exciting and crazy to me, and it makes me quite proud of my little old blog. So thank you to anyone I spoke to, and sorry if you spoke to me at the end of the week. On Friday afternoon one lady asked for my colour help and my brain had actually melted so I just garbled at her.. very helpful!

I was taking photos all week so I thought I’d share some of my photos.

fleeces at the Guild Teas

fleeces at the Guild Teas

Ganseys at the Shetland Museum

Ganseys at the Shetland Museum

Sandra inspecting some lace

Sandra inspecting some lace

Felicitys brilliant new book and a swatch from it

Felicitys brilliant new book and a swatch from it

speaks for itself..

speaks for itself..

amazing sewing at the Shetland Museum

amazing sewing at the Shetland Museum

look familiar? I was so excited to meet this lady who chose her colours based on Annie's Loki cardigan!

look familiar? I was so excited to meet this lady who chose her colours based on Annie’s Loki cardigan!

Samples from Gudruns Trunk Show

Samples from Gudruns Trunk Show

the middle woolstore ready for Oliver's talk

the middle woolstore ready for Oliver’s talk

Mini Hap Shawl from Gudrun's class

Mini Hap Shawl from Gudrun’s class

Gudrun's new half hap patter

Gudrun’s new half hap pattern

Mary Janes amazing sample

Mary Janes amazing samples

fleeces at the opening ceremony we took down from J&S

fleeces at the opening ceremony we took down from J&S

Fair Isle Cake

Fair Isle Cake

The shop ready and tidy

The shop ready and tidy

chunky waiting to be ransacked..

chunky waiting to be ransacked..

It was a great week, but very tiring to work I’m sure you can understand.. but I loved it! As I always do, this is my 4th Wool Week that i’ve worked at J&S and it was actually through helping at my first one that I got my job so thank goodness for Wool Week!

I am now on full scale craft fair knitting mode so things might be a bit quiet here til after it in November, although I’ll try to post when I can,

speak soon xxx

my knitwear collection

collection

I have quite a large collection of knitwear (your so surprised..) some of which I’ve never mentioned on here before, and some of it certainly doesn’t warrant an entire post BUT I thought people might like to see and its also handy for me.. to keep an eye on what I already have.. before I go wandering over to ebay.. again.I have added most of my stranded knitwear but I still have all my Lace garments to add, If it proves popular I may add all my accessories too.. who knows. So if your interested in what kind of knitwear I have please hop on over here.

Speak soon xxx