Episode 27 – Dreich January

A podcast for people who love knitting, Dorset Buttons, creativity & Scotland, especially the Highlands & Islands.

Welcome to the 27th episode of my podcast – Dreich January

Thank you for listening again or welcome if you are a first time listener.

The first episode of 2020!

We had a dreich January not a dry January!

I start off by chatting about how I’m getting on with changing my exercise habits which I spoke about in the last episode of 2019. So far so good with walking, Pilates, Boot Camp and Highland Hustle, a workout based on Scottish Dancing.

Even on a dreich day it’s beautiful. The view at the start of Boot Camp.

I’d also like to build in a new habit of listening to and watching podcasts on a regular basis rather than being a binge podcast listener! I haven’t quite worked out the format for this yet fitting them in around my social making versus my work making. Although I have just binge listened to Louise Hunt of Caithness Craft Collective who is always giving me a shout out & asking her listeners to smile at me. Smiling back!

The Weather

2019 finished with a beautiful day, colourful skies and we enjoyed seeing out 2019 away in our camper van on Skye.

New Year’s Eve, Skye

Then we welcomed in 2020 with a dreich day, such a contrast.

New Year’s Day, same location on Skye
New Year’s Day, same location on Skye

I explain what “dreich” means. A Scottish word that is often used to describe bleak, wet, grey, persistent, gloomy days. It’s origins as outlined in the Scottish National Dictionary are “extensive” “lasting” “tedious” developed later to being “drawn-out” “protracted.” It is certainly a word that lends itself well to describing these days that seem to be never ending of greyness and wet.

Therefore “Dreich January” is defined by the rain and wind which have been relentless. We had Storm Brendan in January although the name storms do not always equate to the severity of other storms we experience here on Skye. We’ve only had a couple of days of snow which provided a bit of respite bringing cold temperatures and blue skies.

Sunrise on a snowy day

I also chat about the lack of range of sunsets we normally see at this time of year and the change in light to the daylight hours.

Making

My shoulder continues to improve although making Dorset Buttons still aggravates it which is not good!

I finished my Doppio Colleseum designed by Fay Daspher-Hughes and it is now in the blocking bag awaiting the next stage of its journey towards being worn by me.

Do you think any of my shawls will be blocked before they are joined by another finished object?

I now plan to start another crochet project which will be 3 cushions to go with my Victorian Lace Panel Crochet Blanket, made with Rowan Cotton Glace which I did back in 2012 as part of a Crochet Along by Jane Crowfoot.

At New Year I cast on Love Note by Tin Can Knits. In my desire to get started on the project as well as getting distracted trying to work out how much positive ease to build in and which size to knit, I didn’t read the pattern properly and missed the provisional cast on.

Have you ever missed something in a pattern because of your over enthusiasm or being focussed on another area of the pattern?

All is not lost I was only a few rows in so easy to frog and start again.

The second knitting project I’ve cast on has enabled me to spend time doing lots of garter stitch which I love. I cast on Caress My Soul by Melanie Berg and am using Tanami 4ply, 50% baby camel and 50% silk by Larissa of Travel Knitter. Both Melanie and Larissa were sending donations from their sales to relief work in the Australian wildfires. They both had promotions at the beginning of January and it felt like a good match. I chat through their promotions and the story behind the colour way I have chosen to knit with, Laneway City.

I also touch on another craft I have done this month – a journal workshop here on Skye. And I mention a couple of designs from Jimi Knits which I have my eye on for my next cast on. Aggregate a arrowhead shaped wrap and a yoke cardigan, the Capel Cross Cardigan.

Currently the University of Reading is running a research project into the therapeutic benefits of knitting and crochet and I talk about this. If you would like to take part and add to the data here is the link.

University of Reading Knitting & Crochet Survey

Dorset Buttons

There has been little to promote on social media from this section as there is a lot happening behind the scenes at the moment.

What I can bring you up to date with is I have one of my new yarns currently being dyed in 7 colours and I hope to receive it all by the end of February. I have also just decided on 5 colours for one of the new breeds to be joining the TJFrog Shorelines & Strata wool collection this year.

There are some new Dorset Button Beaded kits due to be released at the end of February and newsreader subscribers will be the first to hear about them.

I am currently focusing on realising products that got shelved last year so I won’t be at exhibiting at events during the first part of 2020.

However I am very excited to be going to Unravel as a yarn festival visitor!

Local Lowdown

I chat about the ferry service from Mallaig on the Scottish mainland across the Sound of Sleat to Armadale on the Isle of Skye. After a disruptive and at times minimal service there are going to be additional crossings from March.

Skye Showcase

For this interview I travel Across The Bridge and over the mainland and across the Kessoch bridge to Inverness to meet up with knitwear designer Emily Williams who is @flutterbyknits on Instagram.

Listen in to hear about Emily’s journey from making as a child to being an engineer and a knitwear designer. Hear about some of her childhood making projects, her love of the outdoors, how she started knitting as an adult, her sewing projects, including a rain coat and how work as a designer evolved through modifying patterns for herself particularly around construction and size.

We talk about sizing and grading in knitwear design. Emily has also produced plus size garments and gives us a great insight into how pattern repeats, construction, style, technique, stitch type and ease all play a part in pattern sizes.

The difference between shape and size is an interesting concept in the pattern design conversation and we talk about as a knitter we still need to know how to change patterns to fit our shape which can be very different within one size.

Emily’s love of colour, especially blue and yellow, shines through in her designs along with her innovative construction.

Trondra – a hat with a twisted crown
Photo taken by Francis Williams & reproduced by kind permission of Emily Williams
Canisp – which grew from an idea to change the construction of raglan sleeves
Photo taken by Julie Rutter & reproduced by kind permission of Emily Williams
Wilkhaven – colour work sweater which goes up to a 66.25 inch bust with 3 different sleeve options.
Photo taken by Julie Rutter & reproduced by kind permission of Emily Williams

Emily tells us about her wild water swimming from lochs in the Highlands, beaches off Shetland, to a cave on Skye and we end up talking about jellyfish!

Emily is currently working on some collaboration projects and I am sure we’re going to continue to see some exciting designs from Emily. If you want to keep an eye on what Emily is doing then do check out her Ravelry Designer page or follow her on Instagram as @flutterbyknits.

That’s it for the first episode of 2020.

Til next time . . .

Music – the music is:

One Frog For a Prince, by Ron Patton & licensed from Melody Loops.

Bye for now.

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