Allow us to introduce….. Maylin, of Tri’Coterie Designs

The Woolly Alliance has been full of Christmas spirit recently, mainly due to our involvement in the Indie Designers Gift-a-long 2014. Aurelie has been very busy behind the scenes too………and I have been hiding. (such is my nature!)

Tri’Coterie Design  Sock MCN HighTwist © sweetp

Today I have come out of hiding to share something exciting. As part of the Gift-a-long, I have been lucky enough to interview Maylin of Tri’Coterie Designs. Maylin is first and foremost an indie yarn dyer, but she also enjoys knitting, spinning, crochet, and as her Ravelry profile tells us she is also very good at daydreaming, and spending too much time on the computer! You see….just an ordinary lady loving all the things that we love too.

However, I urge you to read on as Maylin is anything but ordinary! In 2003, Maylin opted out of the rat race, leaving the UK to live life in Couesmes-Vauce, Pays de la Loire, France. A very radical move, and one I suspect many of us dream of but lack the bravery to carry out! Living in a complex of 3 yurts with adjoining huts and sheds Maylin puts her many talents to good use, in particular with yarn and colour…….(I can feel a purchase coming on!!!)

Tri’Coterie Design   Lace Merino Silk 600 © maylin

So, now that you know a little of Maylin the dyer, let me tell you something of Maylin the knit designer.

There are very few indie designers who can claim to have produced a design so popular that since its publication over 10,000 projects have been created and displayed through the pages of Ravelry.

But, what do you know folks?  Maylin of Tri’Coterie Designs is one of them!

The original Wingspan

Wingspan has become one of those iconic designs which has been knit, improvised and adapted by crafters worldwide.

I had many questions to ask Maylin,  and was rather selfish in my choice. (i.e. thinking only of my own intrigue) Nevertheless, I am sure you will enjoy this small insight into the word of Tri’Coterie Designs, so let me get down to that interview…..

Janice: Wingspan is one of Ravelry’s most popular designs, when the original was on your needles did you have any inclination you had hit on something very special? 

Maylin: Not at all! I was in a panic as I was doing a Yarn Club based on Angels. Three of us were doing the designs and I was dyeing the yarn. I had gone through so many ideas – I knew I wanted a wing shape and kept doodling Curves of Pursuit. It must have been working in my subconscious because I woke up in the wee small hours at virtually the deadline. I started cutting out triangles and moving them around. I got the shape I wanted and started knitting straight away. It flew off the needles. I think my main emotion was utter relief 

What I really wasn’t expecting was all the beautiful interpretations that people have done – so much better than my original. In particular the German Swing Knitters have some gorgeous examples. 

Below are a few of the many beautiful projects inspired by Maylin’s original Wingspan.

© LanArta

Janice: What came first your love of knit or your love of dyeing? 

Maylin: Knitting then spinning then dyeing. 

Janice: Who was responsible for creating your interest in all things fibre related? 

Maylin: My mother was a knitter but it was back in the 50s and very utilitarian knits.

I caught the bug when I saw a stand of Colinette yarn in Convent Garden. The texture and colours mesmerised me. I had to have some. It was my birthday and my brother bought me a sweaters worth. With 10mm needles I knit my first FO – a very lopsided cardigan in Red Parrot yarn which I wore to death. I still have salvaged yarn from that cardigan which I have earmarked for some felted slippers one day. 

Tri’Coterie Sock Merino 75 SW (self-striping) © maylin

Janice: Can you describe a typical work day in the dyeing yurt? 

Maylin: Unless I am nearing deadlines it doesn’t feel like work. There are so many processes from finding the inspirations, playing with the colours as if they were watercolours in a sketch pad doing the math to work out how it will knit up and the actual dyeing. These are the fun parts. Not so much fun is the prep work, tying skeins, reskeining, knitting panels, unknitting panels, steaming, washing, washing, washing, labelling, parceling etc. A typical day would include all of this. I touch base most days with my co-conspirator, Gabriella Henry, the New Zealand designer of Sweetp Knits. She does nearly all the admin, customer relations, organising Clubs etc. Without her I would be a disorganised mess. 

Now I have a purpose-built workshop I often have friends round to do crafty things – dyeing, knitting and nuno felting more recently.

Cheetahs © maylin Tri’Coterie Designs

Janice: You describe your inspiration as coming from fantasy themes, such as vampire lore and areas of the paranormal. Could you give us a little more? Are these ideas ‘in your head’, from the pages of books, internet sites….I am intrigued? 

Maylin: They are mostly from books, TV and films. This is where I make the embarrassing confession that it all started with Twilight… I had been dyeing for some years before I become enmeshed in the Twilight Fanfiction Community (specifically the Unicorns Unlimited Group on Ravelry.) A few of us started dyeing yarn inspired by characters. As time has moved on this has become more general but I still find it a great starting point for visualising colours. I also like to time colours to coincide with events – like the Hunger Games films or a new season of Game of Thrones. One of my most popular colours is Daenerys, Mother of Dragons from GoT. This is a good example of how the inspiration works. Her colouring (distinctive to her family) is described as silver-haired and violet eyed and the yarn is 2 shades of grey and violet.

Janice: What are your daydreams for 2015?

Maylin: Health has been an issue in 2014 but I am hoping for improvements this year which will enable me to work more. I love to collaborate and have a few designers I will be collaborating with this year both with yarn support and with designs. My head is bursting with design ideas waiting to come out. They still wake me up in the middle of the night! 

I also want to do a couple of indigo dyeing workshops with friends and possibly add indigo dyed yarn as a regular thing for sale.

Thank you Maylin for taking the time to answer my questions. I have thoroughly enjoyed my escapade into journalism and would like to leave you with my favourite quirky design from Maylin. Steam Punk Mini Topper is now available as a free download. This felted hat was an exclusive to Tri’Coterie’s Tinker, Knitter, Octopod yarn club…… I think it would suit Wee Black Faced Sheep very well! Perhaps a sophisticated addition to his Leprechaun outfit? What do you think??






Posted in Christmas, Crochet, Design, Festive, France, General, Gift, Irish traditions, Knit-Along, Knitting, Ravelry, Review, Spinning, Toy, Uncategorized, Yarn | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Indie Design Gift-Along: Chevrons everywhere

(Following up on last “Indie Design Gift-Along”-focused post… here is another post with lots of pretty pictures…)

Chevrons, I Love Chevrons!

The other day, as I was browsing patterns from participating designers, I kept on day-dreaming of knitting all these lovely colourful patterns. It took me a while to realise that, for many of them, they had one thing in common: they were featuring chevrons!

And then, I looked down at what I was knitting on… and guess what, I was knitting chevrons too!

The Woodcarving - ©Aurelie Colas

The Woodcarving – ©Aurelie Colas

… Yes! On the palm-side of The Woodcarving mittens! Chevrons!!! Aren’t they pretty?
(about the Woodcarving, if you haven’t already, remember that you have until this coming Sunday to redeem your coupon code…)

Apparently, I’m in love with these fun zigzags. And my goal today is to enthuse you over chevrons too!

Chevrons! Chevrons Everywhere!

There is a designer out there who always surprises me with her creativity, original constructions, and sense of humour: Lee Meredith, also known as leethal, has a very unique style. In particular, I am in love with one of her recent collections: “Color by Number”, which contains the fun colourful and “chevron”-ful Color by Number Chevrons Cowl

Color by Number Chevrons Cowl by Lee Meredith

Another design that called my name is Meridith Shepherd’s Color Infusion. The two sided cowl, with two layers of stranded knitting contrasting each other, makes for a striking piece. The colour combination is perfect: bold on one side, more tamed on the other. I would love to cast on this one in the near future!

Color Infusion by Meridith Shepherd

Sophisticated as usual, Alex Tinsley put together in a very pretty cowl the two colours which I can’t resist as a duo: grey and yellow. Her Chevzam is absolutely lovely. And the photography is perfect as always!

Chevzam by Alex Tinsley

More chevrons, and yet another cowl, perfect for these special left-overs which may be lingering about in your stash, Laura Aylor’s Aftermath is simple, yet effective. Knitted in a tube grafted together, it should be a rather quick knit!

Aftermath by Laura Aylor

After so many cowls, I would like to share with you a couple hats, which use different techniques to create the chevrons. First, “vertical” chevrons, a little like my mitts, but constructed totally differently: Roman Hills by Andi Smith is stunning, especially with a variegated background, don’t you think?

Roman Hills by Andi Smith

Finally, the creative use of the slipped-stitches in Mimizan, by Tess Young, makes for a very cool hat! I love it! (… and I’ve been to Mimizan too!)

Mimizan by Tess Young

So… are you a chevron-convert now?

Posted in Design, Gift, Knit-Along, Knitting | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

The Woodcarving

In my last post, I teased you a little with a “moody” picture of a lonely mitten. Now, I am delighted to share with you a few photos full of sunshine of a colourful pair of mittens. And I must say, I’m rather proud of these!

The Woodcarving - ©Aurelie Colas

The Woodcarving – ©Aurelie Colas

Below is the little blurb I put together to tell you about the inspiration behind the mittens…

Inside Castle Fraser (Scotland) is a little room, with a woodcarving of a standard-bearer sheep in a recess on the wall. Of French origins, the Fraser family descends from continental settlers, as part of the Norman infiltration in the 12th century. This Scottish standard-bearer sheep is strangely similar to the emblem of the large city of Rouen, in Normandy (France).

These cosy mittens link both sheep, as they face each other and proudly stand on the back of the hand. Stranded throughout, with a thin knitted lining, The Woodcarving mittens are worked with Shetland wool, as a nod to the French standard-bearer sheep, symbol of the guild of drapers and woollen cloth traders.

Intriguing, don’t you think?

The Woodcarving - ©Aurelie Colas

The Woodcarving – ©Aurelie Colas

The outer shell is knitted with 12 lovely colours from the Jamieson’s of Shetland Shetland Spindrift amazing range of colours. The lining is knitted with one colour of the Jamieson’s Ultra (laceweight) for added warmth and cosiness. Should the 12 colours scare you, don’t hesitate to substitute them for a single foreground colour, a single background colour, and a touch of contrast on the braids! Gradients (especially handspun!) look really lovely too…

The Woodcarving - ©Aurelie Colas

The Woodcarving – ©Aurelie Colas

Should you want to knit a pair of these special mittens, for you, or as a gift for a loved one, you can find the pattern for sale on Ravelry here. To thank you for reading our blog and bearing with my multiple digressions, please enjoy 20% off with the code blogreader (valid until Dec 7th).

Many thanks, and happy knitting!

Aurelie / spinnygonzalez


PS: Did you notice the disappearing cookie? That’s the fate of the Little Man.
PPS: And yes, of course this coffee was all mine! :)

The Woodcarving - ©Aurelie Colas

The Woodcarving – ©Aurelie Colas


Posted in British Yarn, Design, Knitting | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Indie Design Gift-Along: Baby and Children “coups de coeur”

(Following up on Janice’s post… here is a post with lots of pretty pictures. And a little bit of the Castle Fraser mystery unveiled…)

Knit and win prizes!

The Indie Design Gift-along is going strong. The opening sale has ended, but most of the festivities are still ahead! There are still hundreds and hundreds of prizes to be won. To participate, just hop over in the Gift-along threads, play in one of the many games, knit along, or just chat and have fun.

All our paid-for patterns are eligible for prizes in the knit-along. As long as you cast on after Nov 13th, and bind off before Dec 31st, you’re good! Post pictures of your finished object, and you get an entry in the big prizes draw. Post pictures of your WIPs, chat along, and it gives you as many chances to be picked at random for even more prizes.

While I participate as a designer and am also a moderator in two of the KALs (all Hats and Head things, all Mitts and Hand things), I am also participating as a knitter. Mostly, I have decided to use my “free time” to knit for my little ones, using some lovely patterns from the participating designers. While browsing designers catalogs of self-published patterns, I kept adding lovely patterns to my knitting queue (and to my library!). Some of the patterns were already on my bookshelves or my digital shelves, and browsing through them reminded me how much I would like to cast on and knit all the things now-now-now.

Pre-blocking, just off the needles, my "Biscuit Milo"

Pre-blocking, just off the needles, my “Biscuit Milo”

One pattern has already made it to my needles, and is finished and blocking right now! And it even enabled me to win a prize (a coupon code for a free pattern) as I posted a progress picture a couple days ago. Isn’t it great?

Because there is no reason why I should suffer from this cast-on-itis alone, I will share with you some of my favourites. And today, I will focus on Baby and Children pretties, since it’s what is on (and off!) my needles at the moment, and at the top of my knitting queue!


My Baby and Children “coups de coeur”:

There are a few patterns on Ravelry that seem to have been knitted by virtually every knitter but me. Milo was one of them… Designed by Georgie Hallam, it is a little vest sized from newborn to 6yo, with a simple garter raglan yoke, and a boxy body with a cable on one side. A very very quick knit, versatile and unisex. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t knitted one already… so I started a Milo 4 days ago, and finished it yesterday. It’s now blocking and it should be just the right size for the Little Miss over the winter months.

Milo – © Georgie Hallam

Next on my needles for the Little Miss is the cutest little dress ever: Summer into Fall. The only reason it has not jumped the queue and is not yet on my needles is that I need to make a swatch… This cute dress is the latest child design from Lisa Chemery, and I can’t wait to knit it!

Summer into Fall – © Lisa Chemery

When I finish Summer into Fall, it will be hard to resist casting on another of Lisa’s designs: Entrechat. This is the cutest bolero, available in many sizes, from baby to child. I would love to have the time to knit a child version for a little girl I know. And Little Miss is likely to have an Entrechat in her wardrobe very soon too!

Entrechat – © Lisa Chemery

As for the Little Man, don’t worry: he will also have an expanded wardrobe thanks to the Gift along! Next on my needles for him is an Abate by Alicia Plummer: a modern looking jumper, very roomy with deep ribbing, which will hopefully grow with him. The collar is very fun too!

Abate – © AliciaPlum

When I need a break from all these little garments, I plan to cast on for an Howlcat (or three), by Alex Tinsley. In my knitting dreams, I would have time to knit one for the Little Man, one for my brother, one for me, and perhaps another couple more… Howlcat is the simplest knit ever, perfect mindless knitting, with a striking result thanks to a little twist of creativity: it transforms from a cowl to a hat, and back to a cowl… It looks like a great knit too for the non-knitty people.

Howlcat – © Vivian Aubrey

Not too sure yet whether I would like to knit the garment I’m listing below for the Little Man or for Little Miss, or for both of them… Inspired by the lovely drawings from William Morris, the very talented Ann Kingstone recently published the most adorable bunny jumper: Sweet William. Perhaps I should just knit it for me, as it also comes in adult sizes!

Sweet William – © Ann Kingstone

A simple (but effective) looking design is Vikki Bird’s Fluffy White Clouds. I like the candid look of the blanket, perfect for a young child, and like an invitation to dream and sleep happily. For the intarsia lovers among you, have a look at Vikki’s work, for lots of cute designs for little ones.

Fluffy White Clouds – © Practical Publishing

Perhaps it’s because I am in a blue phase. Perhaps it’s the cute braid. Perhaps it’s the big pompom… but I love the look of Watkins, by Aimee Alexander. Should I knit one for the Little Man, for one of his friends, or… for me?

Watkins – © getknitty

Finally, there is a collection of hat which brings me a smile every time I look at it. The idea behind the collection and the creativity of the designer are fantastic. Have a look at Paper Hats, by Amy van de Laar. Paper Crown is probably my favourite of the 5 hats, but they all are cute!

Paper Hats – © Amy van de Laar

Aren’t they cute designs? Do you understand now why I want to knit ALL THE THINGS???


There is something else I am working on. Do you remember the Castle Fraser throughout the Year collection?

I have spent a large part of my knitting and designing time recently on the third design in the collection, which I teased you not long ago with a photo of the finished item inside-out.

I am now confident that this design, of which I am quite proud, will be released really soon. I have yet to have decent pictures taken, which can be a challenge this season in our little corner of the world, but I am confident. Just need to wait another week or two.

For those of you who would like to see more of it, look below… If you don’t, close your eyes now :)


© Aurelie Colas

© Aurelie Colas

Yes, it’s a mitten. Fully stranded. And lined. With braids. And many colours. I love it.


PS: Yesterday, I made my grand debuts on Twitter. Don’t laugh. I’m too old for these things! If you want to say hi, or see what I’m up to (for when I figure out how it works, you know…), I’m @spinnygonzalez there.


Posted in Design, Gift, Knit-Along, Knitting | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Deck your pins with skeins of yarn…..

….And join us in the 2014 Indie Designers Gift-a-Long!


Deck your pins with skeins of yarn….And join us in the 2014 Indie Designers Gift-a-Long!

Disclaimer: some of the links in this blog post will bring you to the right page only if you’re already logged in to your Ravelry account. 

Regular readers may remember Aurelie’s post from 2013 which described the dawning of an idea. Aurelie wrote:

“Just over a week ago, a bunch of independent (knitting) designers started “talking” (that’s “keyboard-talk”) about joining forces to make our little voices heard a little louder from our wee corners of Ravelry and through the Interwebs. The idea was to organise a little “knitting event” all together, each of us advertising for it and supporting it.” 

GAL14_logo-800Now, to cut a long story short, this little ‘knitting event’ turned out to be a little bit bigger, and a little bit more successful than any of us could anticipate. Not only did it result in thousands of knitted gifts being exchanged all over the globe but also brought new followers, friends, opportunities and recognition to many, many independent designers who are often swallowed up by the mass of talent out there, and who struggle to be seen and heard.

Not long after Gift-a-Long 2013 ended, participants and designers alike, began to ask…..Will there be a Gift-a-Long in 2014?

And, the answer…YES, AND IT STARTS TODAY!! (If you are with us here in the UK, it is actually the early hours of tomorrow morning)

Some of you may now be asking, okay, okay, we get all that…..but I don’t really use Ravelry or know anything about it? What is an Indie Designer Gift-a-Long?

Firstly, what is Ravelry?  In the words of my friend:

Ravelry is the social network for knitters / crocheters / fibre artists from all over the world. It is a fantastic tool to browse for patterns or yarn, organise your projects, drool over other people’s projects, dream about what you’re going to knit / crochet / create next, share knowledge (or just chat) with thousands of other crafters who have the same interest in knitting, crocheting or crafting. Joining Ravelry is free, and it’s a wonderful place.” – Aurelie Colas

So now you have a better understanding of our wonderful world of Ravelry, let’s explain the rest….

“What is the Indie Design Gift-A-Long?

It’s prepping for the holidays as only fiber folks can, with special deals from tons of indie designers!

The Indie Design Gift-A-Long is a 2 month-long KAL/CAL of holiday gifts made from patterns designed by 293 independent designers. From November 13 at 8:00 pm (US EST)/ November 14th 1:00 am (GMT) through – November 21, 2014 at 11:59pm (US EST)/ November 22nd at 4:59 am (GMT) these 293 indie designers will be discounting between 4 – 20 of their patterns 25% for this event. There are eight KAL/CALs to participate in, prizes of all sorts given out, games, and generally a lot of fun! The Gift-A-Long KAL/CALs will run from November 13 at 8pm (US EST)/ November 14th at 1:00 am (GMT) through – December 31, 2014 at 11:59pm (US EST)/ January 1st at 4:59 am (GMT)

How do I get the discount?

It’s easy peasy! Just purchase the patterns you want directly from the designers’ Ravelry shops between 8 pm US EST on Thursday, November 13th and 11:59 pm on Friday, November 21st (between 1:00 am GMT on Friday, November 14th and 4:59 am on Saturday,  November 22nd), and enter the coupon code giftalong2014 at checkout and 25% will be automatically taken off the total price.” – excerpt taken from Indie Design Gift-a-Long Announcement thread, which can be found in full here.

Once again, Aurelie and I are both taking part as independent designers in the event, with selected patterns from both our stores receiving the 25% discount for the stated sale period.

  • Aurelie’s patterns which qualify for 25% discount during sale period are here.
  • Janice’s patterns which qualify for 25% discount during sale period can be found there.

(23 Nov 2014: update to remove links now that the sale is over)

Throughout the event any self published pattern from participating designers can be purchased and will qualify for the Gift-a-Long and therefore the prizes too!

  • Aurelie’s self-published patterns which qualify for the Gift-a-Long are here.
  • Janice’s self-published patterns which qualify for the Gift-a-Long can be found there.

Special Information:

1. For those who have bought any of our participating designs in the past, you are more than welcome to participate in the knit-alongs and enter your new projects to win fabulous prizes!

2. In addition to the games and prizes on offer in the Indie Design Gift-A-Long Ravelry group why not ‘double dip’ your chances of becoming a winner by posting your GAL/KAL projects in our Quarterly Finish-a-Long @ The (Auld) Woolly Alliance Ravelry group too!

Finally we just want to say……enjoy viewing the many, many  designs on offer, take inspiration for your Christmas gifts from this wealth of talent. Have fun, make friends and join in the wonderful world of Ravelry, and the Indie Designers Gift-a-Long 2014!

Who knows we may even bump into you along the way…….

Posted in Christmas, Community, Crochet, Design, Festive, Gift, Knit-Along, Knitting, Ravelry, Sale, The Auld Woolly Alliance Group, Toy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Great British Sock Yarn, Inventors and Scientists

In my previous post, I teased you gently about a few exciting things coming up shortly… Well, one of them has just gone public, so I can unveil it!


But first, I would like to tell you about someone special. I met this person once, at a little yarn festival in Chester in 2012. I doubt she would recognise me if we had the chance to meet again in real life, because I was quite shy and I’m not even sure I introduced myself. And if I did, it was probably along the lines of “hi, I’m Aurelie and I’m addicted to your yarn. May I look at your stall and buy more, pretty please?”

Her name? Joy. But you may know her as The Knitting Goddess. If I had to present Joy, I would probably say that she is the independent dyer responsible for my addiction to sock knitting, and to sock yarn in general. At least 90-95% of the socks in rotation in my sock drawer are knitted with her yarn, and most of my (rather large) sock yarn stash comes from her dye pots. And because she doesn’t dye only sock yarn, I also own quite a few skeins in some of her other yarn weights too…

Recently things got even more exciting on the sock yarn front, and fingering weight in general. Joy and her partner have sourced some 100% British yarn bases, with wool grown and spun in the UK. This is very exciting and appeals to my desire to reduce carbon footprint and help sustain the British industry. It is also a great way to ensure that yarn is produced with high standards, and with fair wages to those involved in the production of the yarn, as well as reducing the impact on the environment (especially if you compare with mass produced yarn, with wool travelling from around the world, spun in an emerging country at best, and made superwash with some questionable chemical process). Would I prefer to buy British yarn? Yes, please!

Recently, I have enjoyed using Joy’s new 4ply High Twist 100% Bluefaced Leicester in the first two designs of the Castle Fraser collection (Windows and Balustrades, and Balustrades and Slates). I was also very lucky to knit with one of the first batches of the new British sock yarn (45% British Bluefaced Leicester and 30% mixed British wool, 25% nylon), for the semi-solid turquoise sock in the pair of Grillage socks. Finally, the Britsock yarn is Joy’s “oldest” British yarn among the fingering weight bases. And although I have not used it yet in a design, I have knitted a couple pairs of plain vanilla socks using the self-striping Britsock… and these are the warmest socks I own! The alpaca content is like magic.

As you can tell, I am quite addicted to Joy’s yarn, and have been a faithful customer ever since I started knitting socks. Of course, when I started designing socks, it was only natural that I used Joy’s yarn too (remember that my sock yarn stash is mostly from the Knitting Goddess…).


Imagine my surprise when I received an email from Joy, asking whether I would be interested to be one of the designers for her upcoming sock club in 2015. To say that her request made me fall from my chair is an understatement, and I am extremely grateful that someone as talented as her would trust my little brain and my clicking needles.

drum roll please…

Today, Joy revealed her yarn clubs for 2015, with subscriptions soon to be made available in her shop. I will design 6 sock patterns, alongside the very talented and world-famous Rachel Coopey (eeek, this is slightly scary for me!). After a little brainstorming session around the theme of “Great British Sock Club”, I suggested a theme for my 6 designs: “Great British Scientist and Inventors“. Joy liked the idea, and my little grey cells came up with 6 “subjects” within this larger theme, which will use 6 semi-solid colours from the cooler end of the colour spectrum.

This is all I’m allowed to tell you for now… But all this is very exciting, isn’t it?


Sock-ly yours,
Aurelie / spinnygonzalez


PS: Should you want to join one of Joy’s clubs (and perhaps the sock club featuring my designs?), please note that sign-ups will open on November 16th in the Knitting Goddess’ shop.

Posted in British Yarn, Design, Knitting, Socks | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Back from Ballater

It has been such a long time since my last post that I feel my head drooping in shame, life has been very busy lately but thankfully Aurelie has been kept the blog interesting and up to date in my absence while at the same time juggling her wee ones, her designing, her knitting and her home. Thank you so much Aurelie, you are an inspiration x.

Loch Muick

Loch Muick

On 18th October our family set off on holiday. This year to Ballater on Royal Deeside, about an hour and a half drive from our home. We had a wonderful, relaxing and peaceful week and spent some precious time with our family. When packing I made the difficult decision to take with me only ‘personal’ knitting (no work allowed). As a result I completed one Fair Isle sock which I have been working on sporadically for almost 2 years! (I even  turned the heel of its pair!)  Our evenings were spend playing board games and watching films. We were so remote we had no internet connection…. for 7 days it was blissful!

Glen Callater

I wanted to share some of the lovely scenery with you, as we did quite a bit of walking and cycling during our stay. And, we spotted some rare wildlife while on a ‘Safari’ too!

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Most of all however, I wanted to share with you something quite unexpected which we stumbled upon quite by chance.

While driving through Braemar one wet and windy day I noticed something going on…….

What's going on here?

What’s going on here?

Later that evening I was reading the local newspaper and spotted an article advertising the Braemar Creative Arts Festival and the work of a Fringe group – The Deeside Knitwits. Through this article I was to learn of almost 200 knitted birds nestling in the village of Braemar, each and every one knitted by a member (or friend) of the group…..I had to go!!!!

 Jock's Road

Jock’s Road

The next day we were walking along Jock’s Road in Glen Callater, it was quite cold, wet and muddy. (Due to an incident involving a ladylike slide down a banking!) I was feeling a bit chilled, as my right arm, leg and ‘bahookie’ were caked in mud. So, when we got back to the car we decided to return to Braemar for lunch.

The stag, sporting the festivals very own tartan and wee felted birdies.

The stag, sporting the festivals very own tartan and wee felted birdies.

We stopped at a lovely cafe called Taste, where we were greeted at the entrance not only by a Stag with felted birds hanging from his antlers, but also a giant haggis!

Giant free range haggis

Giant free range haggis

Once inside we met some parrots and knitted Stags head.  In an adjacent room sat and organiser of the Festival and ….a knitter from the Deeside Knitwits! (Fate is a funny thing, is it not?) We had a very interesting and informative chat together where we exchanged some knit and natter details and I was given the name of Rosy, the ‘heid yin’, of the knitting group.

After lunch we took a short walk around the village and spotted many feathered (woolly) friends.

Please join me in my journey…..

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Once again I am astounded by the creativity, humour and kindness of knitters. The Deeside Knitwits describe themselves as, ‘A community knitting group based in Royal Deeside, Scotland who create knitted installations to raise awareness and funds for local charities…’, this year they raised £700 pounds which will be split between Scottish Natural Heritage, Braemar Village Hall and a donation to their seniors Christmas lunch. What an achievement!

When we returned home Rosy and I contacted each other and had a lovely chat about past and present activities of the Deeside Knitwits. Rosy explained that getting organised for the festival is an enormous task. In order to have everything complete in plenty of time  members can begin knitting as early January and February! They have an impressive history with some astounding achievements…..

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In 2015 the Woolly Alliance are hoping to take part in the festival by designing a pattern or two. Can’t wait to find out the theme?!!  Maybe some of you would like to join in too??

You can find out more about The Deeside Knitwits and their adventures on their dedicated Facebook page. Meanwhile, I wish them luck for 2015 and look forward to working with them soon.

P.S. In my last post I promised to keep you up to date with my Christmas Stocking saga…..Festive Christmas Stockings was finally published last week….Hurrah!!

Festive Christmas Stocking in 4 ply

Festive Christmas Stocking in 4 ply










Posted in Community, Design, Festival, General, Knitting, Scotland, The Auld Woolly Alliance Group, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment