Knit Nation 2011

Ahh long lost blog – I’ve missed you!  Jet lag, that is, waking at 5am in Ohio (I’m here for my brother-in-law’s wedding) is a blessing in disguise. What better time that to catch you all up on my slightly crazy last few months?

Our biggest news is this (found out on the 11th June 2011):

Oh yes, the two lines do mean what you think they mean. We are expecting, due 8 February.  So far so great, except, well, pregnancy hormones wreak havoc with day to day life… and bigger events! Which brings us to Knit Nation.

This July we had our second Knit Nation at Imperial College.  I need to thank several people and businesses – the first of which, and the most important, are our volunteer Crew.  Due to the above, I was crazy tired and incredibly cranky.  Michaela, who deserves special mention as the ultimate organiser ever, was the person who marshalled the forces and made sure everyone knew the where whens and whats of their volunteer roles.  The crew – who were amazing, kept me sane, kept me awake, and kept me from bursting into tears when I couldn’t have my morning breakfast baguette (yes I was also rather unreasonable and a bit of a drama queen as well as a total crankypants).  And of course, most importantly, they did a fantastic job of making sure the attendees, teachers and vendors were well looked after. A big huge thank you and sloppy kisses to all of the crew!

From left to right, back row: Sandy, Tina, Jaq, Lisa, Judith, Lucy, Carole, Saira, Tash, Michaela, Nora, Mel, Cookie. Front row: Mel H, Kerri, Jen, Ali, Koki, Alice.  Missing are: Tricia, Ling, Kate, Hattie, Nick, Dee, Marja, and our break down and build up movers and shakers Luke, Melissa & Paul.

And again from the back. 😉

We also want to thank our incredible sponsors Knitting Magazine and Ysolda for their continued support for Knit Nation. Thank you!

Our bingo night raised over £1600 for Refuge – which we could not have done with out the support of our generous sponors: Qiviut sponsors The Knitter & Knitspot, Cashmere sponsor The Little Knitting Company, and Merino sponsors Old Maiden Aunt, Signature Needle Arts, and A&C Black publishers. You can join us in raising more money for Refuge by picking up one of the bingo souvenir bags here.

And here are some random and fun shots! Lucy (our Wollmeise expert and *ahem* slight addict) with t-shirt she hand embroidered. It’s true too!

We had our very first Sokkusu Original stand – with all our lovely colours!

Queues outside for the Marketplace.

Even the local cops were curious – we didn’t get needles in their hands… next time!

The cutest little owls! I thought I tweeted it but drat I didn’t so here is a big thank you to KnitIam’s talented son Keane (12 years old) who crocheted these lovely little guys as gifts. Talented!! And oh so sweet. Thank you!

Happy Judith with cooooffeeeee!

There were also alot of Spritelings out and about – I didn’t manage to take that many photos but here are a few with details when I remembered to ask!

Elisala knitted hers in Sokkusu Original, HB2


Cream Cheese & Lox

This year seems to be all about change. My friend Ali has retrained as a horticulturist, Pippa an engineer is going back to college and retraining as a jeweler, and there are plans afoot for another friend to possibly head off to the chocolate and seafood of Belgium! And they aren’t the only ones. Hubby has been asked to move to Hong Kong, and in fact, is there already now. It’s just me and puggy for the time being, until he’s back in August.

And it seems that we will be over there before the year is out. I’m in two minds about the move – it is rather exciting and HK is quite an energetic place. The economy there is booming, I’m sure helped in no small way by the booming taking place all over China. The food there is awesome.  It’s close to Thailand, Laos, Japan, and Taiwan – places dear to my heart but quite far to visit from old Blighty. Tax is low, the transport system works. But of course, being over there means that I’m there, and my friends (who are basically my family too) are not. Which sucks. Super sucks. And let’s not even talk about the fact that Deuce can only get over there in cargo. 😦 Totally alone in a loud scary unfamiliar environment for over 13 hours.  Just thinking about it makes me feel sad.

But, I’ve been keeping my mind off things, what with Knit Nation around the corner, and dye orders to dye up.  I’ve also had a yen for bagels recently, and since I don’t live in a neighbourhood where I can just nip out to a Jewish bakers to pick up a dozen bagels (there is one place I can get proper bagels in my neighbourhood, but they are totally unreliable and frankly really airheaded about getting their deliveries) I figured, well, I better just make some myself!  So I assembled my ingredients, and got to work.  My first batch were cinnamon raisin.

After proving the sponge, then working the dough, making the bagels then retarding them in the fridge, I got to boiling them, then finishing them off in the oven.

They were pretty good, but I think they can be improved upon (J, I think you are right that baking/making food obsessively tends to run in the family!).

I made another batch of plain sesame bagels, because after the cinnamon raisin bagels, I really really wanted smoked salmon cream cheese bagels.  So off I went on round 2.

I overcooked these guys a little (should have adjusted for our fan oven) but they were tastier than my first batch. I left the sponge overnight, and the bagels retarded overnight in the fridge too (the cinnamon raisin ones only got 3 hours – I was impatient!)

Num num!

Knit Nation: More Carol Feller Classes

Due to popular demand, we have added two new classes for Carol Feller’s popular classes – “Short Rows Demystified” and “Seamless Knitting – Moving Beyond the Raglan” to the class roster at Knit Nation 2011! You can sign up at here.

Fisherman Twist

Carol Feller is an internationally published knitwear designer who has a great love of seamless designs and intuitive knitting.  She has been published in magazines such as Interweave Knits and The Twist Collective and her first book ‘Contemporary Irish Knits’ is being published with Wiley in August 2011.  You can see more of her work, as well as her blog, at


Carol’s popular class on Short Rows works students through several different ways of creating short rows until they find the method that perfectly suits them.  Once the short rows have been perfected students will learn all the wonderful uses for them; short row set-in sleeve shaping, bust shaping and shoulder shaping.  Learn how to use short rows to create the perfect garment for you.

Leitmotif Cardigan

Carol’s second class ‘“Seamless Knitting – Moving Beyond the Raglan” is an exciting class that explores the basics of seamless knitting and beyond.  Different construction types will be examined such as bottom up, top down and set-in sleeves. Students will learn the tools to create their own perfect fitting garments and even get started on their own choice of design in this class.  Tips on choosing the right sweater shape for you as well as how to adjust shaping to suit your own body.

KN2011 Class Schedule

The Knit Nation 2011 Class schedule is up! I’m so excited about the classes this year – we really have another wonderful team of teachers ready and eager to share their knowledge with Knit Nationites. I’m actually quite bummed since there are a ton of classes I would give my cashmere stash sock yarn stash right arm to take. Sadly, the bum side of being one of the organisers is that there just isn’t the time to take any classes (what was I thinking? Maybe I should change the rules….). Hee hee. You’ll all just have to take them for me and I’ll just live vicariously as I admire your swatches and class projects!

Registration will go live at the end of April, and if you’re signed up to the Knit Nation newsletter (at we’ll give you a heads up a couple weeks in advance.

I’ll stop here since I know you’re all itching to get to that schedule. Linky to the short version here and the long version (with class descriptions) here.

We’ll always have Paris

Thought I’d show you some yarn….




Lots more being dyed up ready to be sent out to the big wide world. Over the next two months, Sokkusu-O will be heading to:

L’Oisevethe in Paris (I think a trip to Paris is in order!)

Loopy Ewe in St Louis, USA (be still my beating heart!)

Holland Road Yarn Company in Wellington, NZ, owned by the lovely Tash B

and Stitch Perfect in Birmingham, in the funky Custard Factory.

I’m so excited to be part of the yarn lines in these fabulous shops. 😀  And of course, I’ll have some Sokkusu too for the Socktoshop, but I’m afraid you’ll have to be patient a little longer as I’m first getting the Knit Nation schedule out (yes it is almost ready. Just waiting for a couple final things before posting it – which should be this weekend!).

Knit Nation Mascots

A while ago I came across Irene Strange’s wonderful amigurumi and totally fell in love.

Bob & Daisy sheep


Dreamy Giraffe.

So when Irene agreed to create a fun brooch pattern for a Knit Nation mascot, I was super excited, and waited with baited breath to see what she would come up with.

I received a packet today, and opened the envelope to find these wee cuties:

You’ll be able to crochet your own versions of the Knit Nation mascots to wear at Knit Nation.  Either pug or sheep!  Which is kind of fitting, since the logo for Knit Nation was initially going to be this:

But Cookie nixed the pugs.  Sheep are, I admit, way more subject appropriate! But I have a total soft spot for pugs, so we have sheep mascots and pug mascots.

The pattern will be available in a month or so. I’ll let you know where and when once it is all set.


Knit Nation sneak peek!

It’s almost time to unveil our class schedule for Knit Nation 2011. We should have it ready in about a week’s time. Until then, Cookie & I thought we would whet your appetite (and alleviate the waiting jitters) with a list of vendors so far, and the teacher list!

2011’s amazing vendors will include (in no particular order):

John Arbon Textiles
Brownberry Yarns
Juno Fibre ARts
Renaissance Dyeing
Skein Queen
The Yarn Yard
Yarn Box
The Bothered Owl
The Little Knitting Company
Blacker Designs & Yarns
GMC Publishing
Jeanette Sloan
Tall Yarns’n’Tales
Sweet Clement
Loop Knitting
StitchMastery Knitting Software
Old Maiden Aunt
Habu Textiles
The Natural Dye Studio
Krafty Koala
Great British Yarns
Atomic Knitting
Knit Cook (Darlene Hayes of Nature’s Palette Yarns)

And finally, our 2011 teacher line up. All I can say is YAY!!! Here they are (again in no particular order):

Franklin Habit
Cookie A
Anne Hanson
Susanna Hanson
Susan Crawford
Clara Parkes
Merike Saarnit
Leena Alve
Carol & Pete Leonard
Judith Mackenzie McCuin
Julie Weisenberger
Carol Feller
Elise Duvekot

We hope that this list gets your imagination and knitting and spinning mojo running. We will be in touch via newsletter as soon as we have a definite date when the class schedule is going up.