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Happily hooking away

Ladies crocheting around the table
A bunch of new crocheters working away at the wool shop, in Olney.

Our first crochet course is in full swing. We’re having fun and for what I can see learning a lot too.

I must say that even a dyed-in-the-wool knitter as myself have managed to pick up a bit of the ‘hookers’ art’. In between serving customers and making teas and coffees I managed to learn how to loop around doubles and trebles, and even to make a little ‘granny square’ – well, that was with Sue’s help, and despite my inability to count… (I found out that 3 x 4 = 16 and that 16 – 4 = 10,  but that’s another story and I never boasted of being excellent at maths…)

What everyone did was progress at a fantastic pace. It is most encouraging to see the work that has been achieved after only a couple of sessions. Who knows what gorgeous things are going to turn out of those hooks after 4 classes – I’m really looking forward to see them.

On my part, I’ll continue ploughing through (at the moment making a little bag with the technique Carol taught me a while ago) and I’ll be posting some pictures of my work here in the blog.

So, we’ve decided to run this workshops again we’re now filling places for our second wave, due to start on Wednesday, 13th June (after half term). Obviously those of you on the waiting list will have priority, but there are still some places available at the moment of writing this blog. Please call us on 01234 910547 if you want to book a place in advance (recommended, as places are limited). The details are as before, 2-hour lesson, on Wednesdays from 14:00 to 16:00, materials included, plus tea/coffee, for £20 per session.

I look forward to meeting you.

Crochet lesson
Sue, one of our crochet tutors with some members of our first team of crocheters.
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Hooking up

Hello again.

Good news for wannabe hookers – of the yarn kind 🙂

Finally we’re resuming crochet lessons here at the wool shop. Our lovely Sue and Carol have devised some lessons and made themselves available on Wednesdays to teach us all to hook and loop yarn to gorgeous patterns, even to dyed-in-the wool knitters as myself!

Our tutors are expert at crochet AND knitting (you see? it’s actually possible!) and very patient – and the results are immediate: the day Carol taught me to do a simple crochet stitch I made myself a little mobile phone cover, and a couple of days later I had managed a shopping bag made out of sturdy craft cotton.

I love crochet – although I’m still at the ‘crawling’ stage I can already see many possibilities. At its simplest form it produces a denser fabric than knitting, it has less ‘give’ and that makes it ideal for projects where you want the material to keep its shape, such as bags, mobile phone/ipad/kindle covers, cushion covers, structured jackets… and when applied in a more ‘airy’ way you can make the most beautiful lacey effects, perfect for shawls, scarves, hair accessories, and other pretty things.

Whereas knitting is usually done in a linear way – because even circular knitting, entrelac and other techniques involve lines albeit shorter, crochet is more versatile in that one can create easily all sort of 2D and 3D shapes, probably that’s why so many yarn sculpture artists tend to use it for their work.

I’m inspired by extreme crochet, both the tiny and delicate lace work produced by Mediterranean artisans, and the super chunky colourful work in happy colours that’s so fresh and popular at the moment. In fact I’ve been playing around making big flowers in a simple chain stitch design (made up as I go along, as usual…) in Tierra, a very thick, felt-like yarn by Katia, that has some really nice colours – I’ve chosen fuchsia, red, lime green, purple, and stone colours to make up a scarf (or perhaps a summer shawl… see how it goes). As you can read it’s not an exact science, more like a bit of an experiment… photo will appear in this blog when it’s finished. Even though I’m very much of a ‘newbie’ I feel that learning to crochet I’ve acquired a valuable new tool to my yarn-playing kit.

Anyway, if you too fancy learning to crochet and live within a reasonable distance of the wool shop, our classes will take place on Wednesdays, from 14:00 to 16:00, and will start on 9th May. The groups are limited to a maximum of 8 people so it’s advisable to book in advance, you can do that by phoning us on 01234 910547. The classes cost £20 and will include some yarn to practice with during the lessons. Because the classes are designed for small groups, each participant will receive plenty of individual attention and will be able to work at her/his own pace, without pressure.

Happy ‘hooking’! 🙂

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New arrivals for Spring

We have received some extremely ‘squeeshy’ and soft Malabrigo yarn in the shop. So far there’s some super chunky Rasta; an aran weight, Rios; a double knitting, Arroyo; and a gorgeous buttery lace weight. Those of you familiar with Malabrigo won’t need to be told how gorgeous the colours are. If you’re new to this yarn think of paintings: soft watercolours, vibrant Van Gogh, Monet’s ponds and waterlilies, are all reflected on Malabrigo’s skeins.
Malabrigo colours
Some of the beautiful colours in the Malabrigo range
Shoppel sock yarn
Vibrant Zauberball and Lace Ball from Shoppel

We’re also welcoming to the wool shop Lang yarns (I couldn’t resist their Seta Tweed – 75% silk 25% cotton blend, and have already started knitting a summer sweater – I must say I’m thoroughly enjoying this natural luxurious yarn, and although it has a high silk content the price is very reasonable too!). But there’s not only silk, also tempting me from the shelves are the beautiful earthy and rich colours of Samea (a textured soft cotton) and the sophisticated elegance of Korfu (a linen based yarn that looks more like refined silk) – I particularly like the gold and orange (unusual for me who tend to gravitate towards the greens/blues/purples side of the spectrum).

From Lang we also have some chunky cottons for fast and natural knitting, both for the house and garments.

Korfu gold and orange yarn
Two of the vibrant hues of Korfu

 

 

Another yarn recently arrived and flying off the shelves is Shoppel Wolle. A lot of seriously funky socks are being knitted out of those yummy Shoppel balls. Fresh pink and green combinations, vibrant reds, purples and oranges, and harmonious blends of different colours are also competing to be knitted or crocheted – I can already see some super sexy lacy stockings, elegant shawls for those garden parties… if I only had a few more pairs of hands and more time!

Our good old favourites are also sending their spring and summer yarns: we have some lovely new scarf yarn from Katia (Bossa Nova, similar to Ondas and Rico’s Can Can, but wider and shinier with new colours).

Boss Nova scarf yarn
New Katia scarf yarn: Bossa Nova
Detail of Azahar, by Katia
Detail of Azahar, a new yarn from Katia

 

Another new comer is the beautiful Azahar – Spanish word meaning orange blossom – reminiscent of laceborders. …and more, including the new season’s magazines.

King Cole has also sent us an excellent range of colours in their Bamboo, a bamboo/cotton blend, well supported with patterns and we’re also waiting to receive their new cotton yarns, almost wool-like in softness but with the clean feel of cotton. The colours are light, mainly pastels and sweet pinks and purples, ideal for babies of all ages 😉

Looking to the very near future

We’re now in touch with Colinette and hope to be stocking some of their colourful and exciting range of yarn very soon, I’m crossing my fingers for April.

…so I’d better stop typing and start knitting! Those samples won’t make themselves – and that’s my excuse… 😉