Sunday, August 02, 2009

Shop Update - Again :)

Shop Update
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

More lovely batts for your spinning :)

Later news on the blanket squares and a move to a new blog perhaps?

Saturday, August 01, 2009


Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

Here's the last of the Tour spinning, finished last week but late to the blog :) I ended up with 2 skeins - one of 3 ply and one of 2 ply. The BFL/silk was denser than the BFL alone so the single came out shorter. I was pleased to see that my consistancy was good as both the other skeins were of equal length - that's a first. Just over 300yds of a squooshy DK wieght yarn, BSJ?

Friday, July 24, 2009

folksy update

folksy 22.07.09
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

Did I tell you I'm selling batts on Folksy? Similar to etsy but in £ rather than $

My shop is here, come over and see if there's anything you fancy ;) I'm happy to do custom orders too.

Knit me a square?

Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

Over on the Posh Knitter's Group on Ravelry we're knitting for the Macmillan cancer trust. Dee received the following message and it's taken hold and this is the first square to arrive, thank you Michaela :)

Squares are to be 20cm square (!) and garter stitch knit on the bias.


cast on 3 stitches
knit all rows increasing by knit front and back into the first stitch of every row.
when the side measures 20cm decrease every row, k2tog tbl at the start of every row.

please sew the ends in if you can as we'll assemble at our Macmillan coffee morning by crocheting all the squares together, Oh and it's aran weight please, nice and quick.
leave me a comment if you want to join in and I'll send my snail mail addy when you've got some squares to send

Here's the Macmillan message

Macmillan Comfort Blanket – The Knitter Campaign 2009

The Knitter magazine needs your help. As you may know, Macmillan Cancer Support is their charity of the year. They do an amazing job for people who are living with cancer and many of our families (including my own) will have been helped by their services. So important is this charity to the team at The Knitter that they are launching a Nationwide campaign called the Macmillan Comfort Blanket in association with the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning on 25th September and supported by Rowan.

They are asking knitters all over the UK to knit squares – 20cm x 20cm squares to be precise. In fact they would like knitters to host a Coffee Morning for their knitting group, friends and family and knit 40 squares to make a Comfort Blanket, 8 squares long by 5 squares wide. Each Comfort Blanket we make will be given to somebody who is living with cancer, so the more blankets we knit, the more people we benefit.

The Knitter have asked designers from around the world to create lots of square patterns especially for the campaign. Based on Rowan’s Pure Wool DK there are patterns for squares by Debbie Bliss, Alice Starmore, Meg Swansen, Kaffe Fassett, Marie Wallin, Kim Hargreaves…. the list is endless. These can be downloaded at

So here is what knitters need to do to take part in the Macmillan Comfort Blanket:

* Download patterns from
* Register for a coffee morning or donate online or call 0845 602 1246 quoting NA3
* Knit squares with your knitting group
* Take 40 beautiful squares and sew together into a Comfort Blanket
* Send you Comfort Blanket to: The Knitter Macmillan Comfort Blanket, Future Publishing Ltd, 30 Monmouth Street, Bath, BA1 2BW or drop it off at The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexander Palace.

The target is 100 blankets, that’s 4,000 squares, and you can keep updated with news of the campaign on The Knitter Ravelry group, and the Macmillan and Rowan websites.

Sadly some of us will get cancer. Think how much it would mean to you – the gift of a Comfort Blanket – knowing there are people out there you have never met who stand by your side lending you strength.

Thank you from everyone at The Knitter and Macmillan.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Posh Scarf from Sock Club

Posh Scarf
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

Why join a sock club if you don't often knit socks? Why! So you can make a scarf of course. :)

Posh Yarn Sock club June, Daisy, 100g, makes a plain tabby (?) weave scarf 8" x 70". Shows of the colour changes beautifully and much faster than knitting.

I need to work on my selvedges, a lot, must practice more.

Fabirc made of this yarn drapes beautifully.

Meanwhile Tour spinning continues, finished my Wildcraft Bluebell rovings last night, plied up in to a 3 ply, still drying. 300g of fibre to start with made up to 216yds of 3 ply and 19 yds of 2 ply as the SW BFL spun up to a little more yardage. Very please with how even this came out and in matching the yardages so closely :)

I'll go check if it's dry. Oh and do a wpi measurement, roughly DK by eye.

Friday, July 17, 2009

selfish by Spunky Eclectic

Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

Fibre Club June 09
spindle spun ply on the fly, lots to learn about consistency LOL got thicker and thicker as I went because I thought I was getting thinner and thinner so kept increasing the thickness to 'stay the same'. Started the second 50gm and it's going well but spindling takes a long time compared to wheel spinning.
Rejoined the spunky club today too :)

Last night spun up more than 100g of my Wildcraft Bluebells fibre, 2 plies of SW BFL already done, finish off the bfl/silk tonight and then make a traditional 3 ply, Using a control card so hopefully relatively consistent, fingers crossed.

Spinning every day as part of the Tour de Fleece. Loving it so far and enjoying the race too.

Started weaving on my Cricket again with some Posh Yarn Sock Club yarn - will photograph properly later :)


Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

theyarnyard club fibre
2ply from a centre pull ball
very soft and a dream to spin.

Ishbel for the teacher

Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

Imagine. Another school year over and another summer holiday. Where did that year go?

The long hot days of summer holidays stretch ahead of us, it's raining! :(

Happy holidays everyone.

Friday, July 03, 2009

etsy update 3-7

etsy update 3-7
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

The problem with not blogging for ages is knowing where to start when you come back to it.

Firstly I have an etsy shop selling Batts, roving and handspun yarn and I've just added a few new batts. The rest of the batch were sold to the ladies at the Stitch 'n' Bitch last night.

It's lovely to spend a couple of hours once a fortnight with like minded/obsessed folk. Very lovely and a real tonic.

A short while ago (mid June) I had my second pattern published in Yarn Forward magazine. There have been some changes over at YF including a new editor and going monthly. Hurray for a UK based knitting magazine with some serious patterns in. Interweave Knits is still great bt all that yarn subbing is hard work and it's a great feature of YF that they suggest 2 yarn possibilities for each pattern.

Meanwhile the last baby we looked after has moved on amidst many tears and fond farewells and a new baby is here and he's a peach. I love him to bits already. Sadly once again I am not allowed to show you a photograph :( but he's gorgeous and chubby and reminds me of DS2 when he was little. I found out today he'll be here until at least February next year and he's on the verge of walking so will be into everything by then, keeps me out of mischief. I'd like to thank Andrew for his continued support and enthusiasm and for the whole hearted commitment he shows to the babies. Every child should have someone who looks at them with love and affection and 'our' babies do - in spades.

I'm sure there are many other things that have happened between then and now and that most of the significant ones for me have been spinning related. I got a new wheel, I went to Woolfest again and I continue to be filled with bliss as I sit at my wheel. If you haven't tried it yet, what's stopping you?

I also test knit a beautiful shawl for Posh Yarn designed by Laura at FiberDreams, there are a few kits on sale in this weeks Posh update and we're hosting sa KAL over on Posh Knitters on ravelry.

OK back to my knitting as the end of term approaches and I think teach would like an Ishbel, don't you?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

City Pool Update

When we took Katy for her swimming lesson on Saturday morning the 'independent' market research people were there. They are called Total Research, an organisation that work through and for the council and are paid through the council payroll and the client for this survey is 'Leisure Services' at the council, but the gentleman assured me they pride themselves on being independent. They were giving out forms which involved a series of questions inviting further comment rather than yes/no/'choose the closest option' kind. One of the questions was 'did you know the small pool is going to close next year?' so it seems the 'done deal' is indeed considered to have been done.

Nice of them to do a consultation after they've decided the outcome!

Lots of people were rather exercised about the whole subject and I believe that they got a very vocal and negative response to the decision to alter the use of the building (or initially part thereof). Gentleman says he was surprised at the scale and level of feeling about the issue. Good!

I asked the gentleman whether once their report was complete I would be able to get a copy of it. As the report was commissioned by Leisure services it is the property of the council and it is up to them to decide whether to release it in whole or in part or not at all as they see fit. Hmm, maybe we require a little openness in local government here. So Newcastle City Council will you be letting me read this report and if so when? Gentleman says the report goes back to Leisure Services 2 weeks from Tuesday.

I understand that a certain Stephen Byers MP is a regular swimmer at City Pool I wonder what he thinks? Have you signed the petition yet? You might also be interested in this.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Newcastle City Pool Closure

The City Pool comprises two pools with the main pool being used by the public most of the time on week days. The smaller pool is used by schools and swimming squads of all ages for training and for adult classes.

Over the last month there have been many rumors about the closure of the City Pool. Numerous attempts by members of the public to obtain information from the Council were fruitless. Lots of phone calls, promises to call back not kept, appointments made and broken by the evasive councillors. The logic appears to be that we can't object if we don't know about the proposals for change of use of the baths. When people were seen taking measurements it transpired that the 'small' pool is threatened with complete closure. Whilst it is not a secret that the council have been trying to close the pool for years it is emerging that the council intend to use part of the building as a drug rehabilitation unit and have obtained a £5 million HLF grant.

A petition was gathered to be presented at Newcastle City Council Chamber by concerned swimmers. At the hour appointed for the council to discuss the proposals, petition organisers were informed that the meeting had been 'rearranged' for a later time. The councillor who put them self forward to speak on behalf of the swimmers to the council meeting, is, it transpires, also one of the key officials involved with the proposed the closure plan. Please consider adding your signature to the petition.

Apparently the council's position is that this is already a 'done deal'. In a chance encounter I obtained the details of the proposed closures today. These are: that the small pool be closed entirely; all different interest groups (classes, schools, swimming clubs, general public, etc.) who currently use the pool would henceforth be allotted a time in the large pool. For the general public this will mean that the new 'opening' hours will be Mon - Fri 08.00 - 10.00 and 12.00 - 14.00 a total of 4 hours per day (or 20 hours a week compared to 59 1/2 hours per week at present). It is unclear if there will be any public access on Saturday. Visit their website here for more information on the facilities currently available.

Staff at the pool confirmed that they forbidden from discussing these matters with the public. I also learned today that 'independent' officials will attend the pool on Friday, Saturday and Monday at about mid day with a view to canvasing opinion from the public although it is unclear whether this will later be trumpeted as belated and unpublicised consultation.

Having used the pool for 39 years, taught to swim there b
y my father, and with a child who is learning to swim there at the moment, three generations of my family have used the pool regularly. I have seen many attempts to close the pool in the past. The current strategy appears to be to make the use of the pool so inconvenient that numbers of swimmers are driven down and then the council will proceed with full closure on the grounds that the facility had insufficient numbers of users. Whilst the principle reason for coming to the pool may be to swim the additional business generated for local shops should not be underestimated and would be missed. The council are keen to point out as justification for closure that there is a pool being constructed as part of a sports complex on the same street. However what they fail to point out is that the University pool is a private pool for student only and none of the users of the City Pool will be allowed access.

Whilst there are other pools around the city this one retains a special and unique character with highly knowledgeable, long serving staff and lanes roped off and available for 'serious' swimming at all public sessions. Having two separate good sized pools allows for multiple use including by minority groups who need private swimming sessions and single sex swimming which are not possible elsewhere. The future of the Turkish Baths, Fitness Room and Sports Injury clinic would also appear to be in jeopardy.

We will be at the baths during one of the consultation events and will report back on what we learn. At a time when we are all being encourage to be more active, with a threat of growing number of people suffering ill health due to obesity and in complete contradiction with stated government policy to increase public swimming by allowing free entry for pensioners and children this proposed closure is contradictory and illogical.

Please feel free to comment if you know something we don't or if I have inadvertently misrepresented the council position. I am happy engage in debate.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

So... where was I?

Oh yes, I needs to nominate some blogs and I am going to cheat a little :) I've been thinking about sewing a lot recently and finding myself drawn to sewing magazines especially quilting and patchwork ones, so I shall digress slightly from the recent knitting mania and give you some links to patchwork/sewing related blogs. this lovely lady sometimes comes to our SnB meetings and her blog is a lovely place to hang out and look for inspiration - lovely reflection of a lovely lady ;)

I asked for some suggestions on Ravelry and these led me to the following stitchy places

all of this loveliness makes me want to get the fabrics out and play and as I am still waiting for a new placement I have time whilst Little Miss 6 years is at school so maybe I should make hay whilst the sun shines LOL it could be pouring next week, and as it's half term it probably will be. Perhaps I should be teaching Little Miss 6 Years to sew too - could be fun, will be a mess but could also be fun! If you've never done any sewing before this site might help.

So I am in search of small projects to make with the Little Miss and I think bags, little bags are a good place to start. Isn't a universal truth that small girls like small bags? It is in our house. Hmmm, and some soft toys of some kind. When I was a teenager I made lots of rag dolls so time to resurrect that idea too, maybe one of those upside down, happy/sad, asleep/awake dolls? Yes, that would be fun. And for me some quilting projects to finish too and a stichery I marked up but never got around to sewing, that was meant to be for Belle, are you still there Belle? I shall sew your stitchery first, a nice portable project if I put everything in a basket.

But before any of that I have a test knit to finish so to the knitting and I'll dream of sewing and get ready for next week and if it rains we'll have plenty to do. Having a 6 year old in the house can be a very good excuse to find you inner child. What would yours like to be doing for the summer?

Actually I have to confess to feeling guilty for flitting between crafts, and often feeling guilty stops me doing things. It's the same with wip, mustn't cast on the next project until the current one is finished! Sound familiar? But not feeling the enthusiasm for the current project means I just do nothing instead of finishing, so maybe a better attitude is to resist the guilt and give in to the temptation. After all I am not sewing or knitting or spinning to clothe or feed my family (thank heavens, they'd starve!) but because it brings me peace and joy, so why impose rules that constrain that peace and deadlines that limit the joy? What is it that makes us castigate ourselves for not meeting self imposed targets? Relax, enjoy, glory in the creativity and let it lead you where it will, on a whimsy, the process brings pleasure and if we stumble across a finished project along the way all the better. Ah, I feel much better already. Letting myself out of the straight jacket for the summer, after the testy Tilia that is. To work! Play time is next LOL

And if your wondering where to get the goodies, then I recommend Cotton Patch (no affiliation)

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Baby's Batt is finished

My creation
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

Do you remember a while ago the lovely Dee at Posh Yarn gifted me a batt called damsel in Distress? Well, if you don't, she did! I started spinning when I was still grieving my 'goodbye' for my most recent foster baby who had just left us to go to her new home. Spinning is such very good therapy :) I'm feeling much more my usual self and the batt is spun!

2 ply yarn 103g 411yds.

1aaaclubs 001

Damsel in Distress
70% Falkland
20% Alpaca
10% Silk
and lots of sparkle

1aaaclubs 002

and beautifully soft. I don't quite know what this will become yet, probably a Gail shawl. But I do know what some earlier spinning will be. I made some low twist singles from the Wildcraft Club Fibre and tonight I cast on for a Moebius Cowl. I have Claire to thank for that as she had her cowl at Stitch n Bitch last night and I was very taken with it :) Here are the singles and the specs BFL & silk: 203 yds, low twist thick & thin singles, spindle spun.

1aaawildcraft 001

1aaawildcraft 003a

1aaaviola 001

Meanwhile I am surprised and delighted to have been given an award by Helen over at .

Thank you so much Helen, to say I am delighted is an understatement.


The rules for this award are The rules of the "KreativBlogger Award" are to list seven things I love and then pass it on to another seven KreativBloggers. Tonight I am just too tired to know where to begin, it's been a very long day, but I wanted to share my glee at the award and to promise I'll look at passing it on to some more deserving bloggers tomorrow. Sleep well and pleasant spinny knitty dreams to you all

Friday, April 24, 2009

I don't often...

1aaaEaster09 051a
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

... but I do sometimes knit socks. Every time I do I wonder why I don't often :)

Toe up, sewn cast off, Posh Yarn, 60 stitches, heel flap, 2x2 rib.

I have happy feet, how about you?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Next Generation Knitter

1aaaK&spin 004
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

I should have been listening more closely a month or two ago when Myheartexposed on Ravelry started telling me about knitting looms.

I should have picked up on how very addicitve and wonderful they are. But I didn't.

As a treat for being good whilst fabric shopping K and I popped into the adjacent craft shop and found a set. They're great. Great for children (and especially for adults but shush) because there are no needles to drop. She can wrap and pick and it just grows and grows. We've tried needles and didn't get anywhere, too many thumbs!

Remember the Knitting Nancy of your youth, well, put her on steroids and you get one of these babies, circular knitting at it's best.

The only drawback is a lack of chunky yarn, but that can be remedied.

Of course said purchase has led to some book buying, I do like to have a library to go with each new craft venture LOL

Anyone got any recomendations to take us beyond hats?
Where can I buy a sock loom?
How didn't I know how easy and addictive these things are before?
Oh yes, that's right I wasn't paying attention when Myheartexposed was telling me just that a few months ago.


Can you see the concentration? Excuse the make up btw we were having a girly day LOL

1aaaK&spin 006

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Dees Batts

Click photo for bigness :)
Dees Batts
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

Over at Posh Yarn Dee has been learning to spin and Tony has started to dye for batts.

I was waiting for the postman this morning because the Posh Sock Club Yarn is due any day now, instead he brought this lovely surprise. Great, pink/orange/sparkly batt, lovely.

Damsel in Distress
70% Falkland
20% Alpaca
10% Silk and lots of sparkle

the wonderful colours we've come to expect from Posh and beautifully soft. I haven't bought any Posh Batts up until now, but I shall be watching future sales with great interest (it's beautifully soft) for some more subtler colourways like this one, I'm going to try for a laceweight from this batt. For more posh colour therapy try looking at their Flickr set.

I am looking forward to spinning this and it's amazing how pink is coming to me at the moment. From my limited knowledge of colour therapy I seem to remember that pink is the colour of 'unconditional love' and that seems very appropriate and healing as Baby left us a week ago today to go live with her Dad. Bon voyage Baby, I love you xxx

My most recently finished spinning was this batt from picperfic on etsy

1aaapinkfluff 003

1aaapinkfluff 002

which became this, Pink sparkly batts spun into heavy laceweight/4 ply, 2 ply, Pioneer, short forward draw, Shetland & sparkle


Whilst I have really enjoyed spinning and plying and learning how to make a soft yarn by not over spinning the singles I have also been watching all the lovely low twist singles other people have been spinning so, with the Wildcraft Fibre Club fibre, I thought I'd have a go myself. I didn't think I could manage it on the wheel so I went for a spindle to have a little more conrtol and reversibility and this is the result.

1aaawildcraft 003

1aaawildcraft 008

1aaaspunkyooooo 003

Karen's fibre is a beautiful BFL & silk mix, and a lovely colourway called Viola. I think I will make a cowl from it. The spindle is from Wildcraft too and I am happy to recommend them to anyone (no affiliation).

As I haven't blogged for a while here are some more photos to catch you up with some knitting too :)

1aaatess 008

1aaatess 012

1aaatess 013

1aaatess 017

1aaatess 010

The Tess d@urberville shawl, finally off the needles, remind me not to knit this much gs ever again in 4 ply yarn. Posh Yarn of course :)


A quick beret for DD1 using this free pattern a quick pallette clenser taking less than 2 days and 2.5 balls of Rowan RYC Cashsoft Chunky.

Lent finished early in my house as I failed miserably not to buy more fibre althogh this was a swap

1aaaspunkyooooo 004

and this was a gift from the Spunky Angels on Ravelry

1aaaspunkyooooo 001

I had to try Dee's roving from their first ever fibre sale, well I had to!


and a last bit of spinning, David's polwarth in Teresa colourway

11aaa 009

1aaateresa 001

yum yum, still my favourite fibre. Also from Southern Cross Fibre, this months FibreClub colourway was called Spring Forward, beautiful, rather than show you just the 1 fibre I thought you might like to see all the fibre David has on Flickr

Happy spinning everyone, and a little knitting time too. Life goes on, so must we and the kindness of knitty and spinny folk make the path easier. :)

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Monday, March 02, 2009

And the Fibre goes on ...


I spun/span/spinned some more of David's fibre. This time colourway midnight in merino and made these singles (above) which I plied into this yarn (below).


and it goes squoosh squooshy squooshy!

So soft and floofy and I think I am going to make me a big old comfort blanket because my baby fosterling is leaving us in 3 weeks, and, after 16 months and from the day she was born - I will miss that baby big time! and I'm gonna need me some comfort :(

In more happy news I am going to the big smoke for the day on Wednesday and that means 6 hours train ride with no children of any description so I need to plan some serious and most excellent knitting time! Can I knit lace on a train? Probably not, Perhaps I'll start that blanket :)

Send me a hug, I need one tonight.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

David is the man!

My creation
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

I've been neglecting the blog again, sorry blog, I love you really. Any and all free time is taken up with spinning, I do remember knitting but we spend less and less time together, some day we will have to become reacquainted as I have to do something with all the hand spun!

Here's some beautiful merino in Southern Cross Fibres Gecko by David Schulz. Beautiful fibre to work with and this 390yds of n plied loveliness just flew onto the bobbin with hardly any effort. The finished yarn is 20 wpi so suitable for a shoulder shawl perhaps?

Here's a closer look at the finished yarn.

gecko 006a

More of David's fibre arrived this morning and I've also spun the first of my Southern Cross Fibre Club instalments. Here's February's fibre and having recently been all about fine yarns I decided to go for a quick fix and spin this on chunky weight. Fibre first..

1aadavid 001

Beautiful smooth as silk fibre that spins like butter through your fingers and at this thickness was one evenings spinning singles and the next afternoon plying as a 2 ply to produce this 90 yds 7wpi

1aaloveovergold 003

If you'd like to see the other fibre which arrived today from Australia you can look at my Flickr here where you'll also see a few skeins of Posh Yarn which I bought recently. In my own defence I should point out that all of this was pre Lent as I am on a fibre fast and trying to use up my fibre/yarn stash. I've made it this far (since Wednesday) without buying either yarn or fibre but the whole of lent will be a challenge for me :) Especially as Dee and Tony at Posh Yarn are about to start selling fibre for spinning.

I'm off to London for the day on Wednesday and that means 6+ hours of knitting, something unheard of. I am about to start the last 1/4 of my Tess d'Urberville shawl but I'm not sure whether to take that as it is getting quite large for a 'carry on' project. I'm looking for an impressive project (there will be non-knitters we need to convert) and I will need to be able to chat whilst knitting so it needs to look hard but really be easy LOL Socks? All those needles are always impressive to the novice, or maybe a familiar shawl something like a Forest Canopy, lace looks hard but this pattern is so established in my head now I think I could knit it in company without too much trouble provided I had done the set up before I went. A whole day away from home is very unusual, the last one I had was last June when I went to Woolfest but even then I had the baby with me and I was driving so a whole childfree day with knitting opportunities is both unheard of, and very desirable.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


p hop1
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

If you've used the free pattern link in my sidebar, how did you get on? Today my copy of Let's Knit! magazine arrived and when I turned to page 8 I saw that p/hop has really gone 'public' now.

Click on the picture to read the article and remember to donate something to p/hop using the just giving widget to the right! People are p/hopping all sorts of things over on Ravelry, got anything you'd like to swap or donate?

ice queen

1aaicequeen 002a
Originally uploaded by Jam_mam.

I have been spinning again :)

and I started some more Southern Cross Fibre, just a single on the bobbin so far but pretty, pretty.

1aagecko 001


1aabordercrossing 002a

I got a cricket loom and made DS2 a simple scarf using Noro Silk Garden.

1aasammyscarf 007

The influx of yarn has slowed, somewhat, now that I am making my own LOL but my first Posh Yarn 'sock' club arrived. Much more beautiful in real life and pure alpaca.

1aasammyscarf 006