Tag Archives: Ysolda Teague

Like Christmas in July

I had to travel back to France in a hurry a couple of weeks back for less than happy reasons, but when I came back home, the postman had left me some amazing parcels, it was like Christmas in summer.

First of all, thanks to Shiela of HandSpinner.co.uk, which had put an offer in her June Newsletter, I received a lovely sampler box of fibres. Each of them feels softer than the next and I might  even have let out a few indecent noises when I took some out of the pack for a quick feel. There’s Cashmere, Camel, Mohair, Dehaired Yak, Baby Alpaca and Angora, and believe me, they all deserve their capital letters.

1: Mohair; 2: Camel; 3: Cashmere; 4: Baby Alpaca; 5: Dehaired Yak; 6: Angora rabbit

There is a good sample for each, which I think is incredibly generous and will allow me to fully experience each fibre. I have yet to work with these (except for alpaca, but I have never tried baby alpaca) so I’m really looking forward to trying them out. I will report on my impressions. But it will have to wait a few more weeks unfortunately.

The other happy thing waiting for me on the coffee table was the long-awaited but well worth it Little Red in the City by the talented Ysolda Teague.

I am so happy with this book you wouldn’t believe. I love the scrap book style of the whole layout. I have only had a cursory glance through it so far but I have to say I’m really impressed. It looks beautiful, fun and has what seems like a ton of information on fit, swatching and making your knitting work for you. Plus lovely patterns with a fairy-tale feel which still manage to look very wearable in real life.

At the moment both knitting and spinning time are extremely scarce in my schedule, so I truly cherish the prospect of having the time to properly experiment with the lovely fibres and explore the book fully in a week or so.

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Hands down my favourite gloves

In my last trip to Paris I was very restrained in my yarn purchases but I really couldn’t resist some gorgeous indigo alpaca at La Droguerie. I only took a 1oog ball, I didn’t have any specific project in mind, I just loved the lo0k and feel of it.

I’d been admiring Ysolda Teague’s Veyla for a while, and wanted to make myself a pair of these cuties. My only reservation was that I already have a few pairs of fingerless mitts, but I haven’t got any handknitted gloves of my own, it seems I have gifted away the few pairs I have knit in the past few years… So I just decided to alter the pattern a bit by knitting myself some fingers.

Veyla (Ysolda Teague) with fingers

I found the buttons in a car boot sale and I love the mother of pearl look and the contrast with the dark yarn (the color is truest on the photos of the gloves themselves). I think the fingers partly take away the edgy/lacy contrast of the original design, which is a shame, but I love them nonetheless. They might just be the classiest pair of knitted gloves I own.

The yarn was absolutely gorgeous to knit with and is gloriously soft to the touch. The gloves only used up 50g, so I’ve still got another 50g to use. Any ideas of what I could do with my remaining 170 yards of gorgeousness? Oh and I’ve still got 2 of my cute little buttons left…


La chanson du hérisson / The hedgehog song

La chanson du hérisson takes me right back to my childhood, it’s a sweet song from a French children musical: Emilie Jolie (1979)… It tells the story of a little hedgehog who’s really sad because no-one wants to stroke him because he is too prickly… until Emily comes around and saves him. I quite like this sweet cover version:

But beyond the fondness for the prickly beasty and the song, I have a good reason for mentioning hedgehogs here. A little while back, I took part in a contest on Ysolda Teague‘s blog and went on a hunt for hedgehogs in her photos. I counted all her little hedgehogs and for the first time ever, I won a prize: Yipppeee!

It was not only the Smith pattern, which produces the cutest little hedgehog, but also the wee mushrooms one, to create a small habitat for Smith… I was wondering what yarns I’d use, but then remembered that one of my aims for this year was to knit more with my own handspun. And the small amounts of yarn required for these two patterns are ideal for using some of those sample skeins I keep doing to try out different methods of drafting or plying…

White merino and Brown Blue-Faced Leicester, navajo plied on the fly.

I have been trying to practice spinning consistently thickish lately and I still have quite a bit of Bluefaced Leicester in a yummy humbuggy brown, which is slightly felted (shouldn’t have carried it around in a plastic bag for ages). I was finding it a bit easier to spin the BFL thick than the merino, I spun a few yards of each and turned them into a cute practice mushroom.

The pattern is really clever and uses a completely flat cast-on to provide a good base, and you then stack pennies at the bottom of the stalk before stuffing it so it can stand on its own: genius!

As soon as I was done I realised I couldn’t really just stop there… Navajo ply on the fly on the spindle is like magic: you have fibre in one hand and finished 3 ply yarn in the other. Before I knew it (and before the yarn had even been finished) I had started knitting a Smith in the same combination of yarns. Here he was in Paris discovering the world before I gave it to a friend for her baby son…

Since I’d forgotten my wee mushroom in my English home, Smith and the wee mushroom never actually met… I still have a very dark brown in unprepped Black Welsh Mountain which would make lovely hedgehog spikes… This mushroom definitely needs a hedgehog to go with it… can you see where this is going?

Oh and I don’t know if you’ve noticed but as soon as I wrote the title of this post it struck me how the two languages yield two very different sets of associations. The Hedgehog song might be familiar to Terry Pratchett fans: it is the mysterious rude song which Nanny Ogg seems to regularly break into singing when drunk. Its lyrics are never disclosed, to my knowledge at least, but it never fails to offend the people around her at the time.

I like the contrast between the sweet children song La chanson du hérisson, and a good bout of sweariness…

PS: I’m not done with the natural dyeing posts yet, just need to finish writing up the last two types of natural dyeing we did…