Monday, 2 November 2015


This is part umpteen of my occasional, slightly self-indulgent, look-at-these-prices series:

We're concentrating on an internet giant with the initials WW today, as Big D's seems to have fallen out of favour with many. Here goes:

Debbie Bliss Paloma: WW £6.29/TBF £5.95

Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply: WW £4.99/TBF £4.50

Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran: WW £4.99/TBF £4.50

Patons 100% Cotton 4 ply: WW £4.99/TBF £4.50

Patons 100% Cotton DK: WW £4.99/TBF £4.50

There are a couple of other yarns where the difference is negligible, and there's one yarn where this particular big boy site is maybe 25pence a ball cheaper. But overall, it's worth looking into your local wool shop - whether that's Three Bags Full or a different little shop - or shopping with the smaller sites, not just for good prices but also for fab, friendly, speedy service.

Okay, I won't mention pricing - or rather, people's perceptions about pricing - again for...oh, at least a day or so.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

The Piece Hall - what we don't know

Mini rant...

Every day customers ask whether Three Bags Full will be returning to The Piece Hall when the refurbishment is complete. The truthful answer is that we don't know, but the signs are that TPTB don't want us back. Mainly I'm assuming this from the fact that there has been virtually no communication from the people in charge of the refurb, or from the council, regarding the position of former tenants. No updates on the particular units we'd had allotted to us. In fact, no sign that those unofficial allocations will be honoured. They weren't confirmed in writing, but we were all asked what square footage we'd like and where we'd like our shops to be situated. There was no special tour arranged for former tenants; in contrast, I think all the recent tours were arranged during times when you'd expect little specialist shops like ours to be open and therefore the shop owners  - well, Mike and I certainly - were unable to attend. The obligation - which is in writing - for former tenants to be offered a unit in the refurbished Piece Hall, appears not to have been shared with the people who are arranging the new lets. Indeed, while we all spent many hours in meetings about this, and while the offer of a unit in the revamped building was very important at the time to all of us, it's now clear that it wasn't actually important to anyone on the other side of the table. How could the council not tell those letting the units that we have a prior claim? Did those hours of meetings count for so little?

It's now mid-October and the building should be ready for occupation by next summer. We don't know whether it's on track. We don't know how many retail units will be available. We don't know whether they'll be ground floor or first floor. We don't know how the trustees will square the need to make money from the building with the needs of retail customers (the disastrous Food and Drink Festival of a few years ago springs to mind regarding conflicting needs). We don't know what the terms and conditions for tenancy will be, nor the projected length of tenancy, nor the possible service charge, nor...well, anything else really. Because those in charge aren't communicating with us. Emails to relevant people go unanswered. To his credit, Cllr Tim Swift does answer emails but in July he said we'd all be contacted by the team 'in the near future'. Well, we're almost in the run up to Christmas and there's been no word. No communication; no courtesy; no interest.

Our tenancy at The Old Bank finishes at the end of May next year, so I need to be making some decisions. I don't know what any of the other former PH shop owners want - I suspect several have done better outside the Piece Hall than in, and that they're glad to be free of council control - but the refurb team should at least show a little thought for those of us who were willing to believe the council was acting in good faith two years ago and who would like to possibly take up the option of a return.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Here's another one

Again, really simple! I made this because there weren't initially (or ever?) any small projects for the gorgeous Debbie Bliss Paloma yarn and local people were baulking at the idea of paying £130 to knit themselves a cardigan (Can't think why...!) So here's my own small project Paloma idea. The red one I made was more attractive, but I can't find it right now to photograph it.

Three Button Cowl

A really simple but appealing cowl that can be worn long and loose or wound twice round the neck for extra warmth.

Four hanks Debbie Bliss Paloma
One pair of 7.5mm needles
3 large buttons

Cast on 26 stitches
Row 1 k3 *p2, k2* rpt to last 3 stitches, p2, k1
Row 2 k3 *p2, k2* to last 3 sts, p2 k1
Row 3 k1, *p2, k2* to last st, k1
Row 4 k1, *p2, k2* to last st, k1
These four rows form pattern. Rpt pattern rows until cowl measures approx. 45”
Change to k2, p2 rib: and work the following two rows, three times:
Row 1, k2, *p2, k2* to end
Row 2 k1, p1, k2,* p2, k2* to last 2 sts, p1, k1
Buttonhole row 1: k2, p2, cast off 2, p1, k2, p2, cast off 2, p1, k2, p2, cast off 2, p1, k2
Buttonhole row 2: k1, p1, k2, cast on 2, k2, p2, k2, cast on 2, k2, p2, k2, cast on 2, k2, p1, k1
Next row: work stitches as presented, but work into back of cast on stitches.
Work one more row, then cast off, sew in end and sew on buttons to match buttonhole placings.
A little reminder also, that if you like the pattern and think it's worth a small donation to The Knock On Effect, my late niece's fundraising project for those affected by cancer, then please go to:
where you can scroll down to the donate button. But just if you'd like; there's no obligation.

Friday, 2 October 2015

The missing pattern! In very big print!

Okay, here it is (finally...):

Chunky two colour cowl
Knit in the round version
1 ball each of two contrasting colours in Adriafil Mistero chunky – I used shades 32 and 26
Circular needle 6.5mm x 40cm
17stitches and 21 rows to 4 inches – it’s not crucial to have it exact, but somewhere near would be good.
a = main colour
b = contrast colour
Using your main colour, loosely cast on 96 stitches.
Join your stitches into a round, making sure they aren’t twisted, and marking the start of the round with a coloured thread or stitch marker.
Work 6 rounds of k1, p1 rib, starting with a k1.
Then start working in pattern as follows:
Pattern round 1: (k3a, k1b) repeat to marker
Pattern round 2: (k1b, k1a, k2b) repeat to marker
Work 28 pattern rounds in total.
Break off contrast colour.
Work 5 rounds of k1, p1 rib, starting with a k1, in main colour, then cast off in rib. Break thread, remove marker and sew in ends.
I wear my cowl upside down as I think it looks better that way!

Knitted flat version
1 ball each of two contrasting colours of Cygnet Grousemoor Chunky – I used shades 194 and 288
Pair straight needles 5.5mm
a = main colour
b = contrast colour
16 stitches and 19 rows to 4 inches – it’s not crucial to have it exact but somewhere near would be good.
Using main colour, loosely cast on 97 stitches, and work 6 rows of k1, p1 rib in main colour.
Then work 2-colour pattern as follows:
Pattern row 1: k2a, k1b, *k3a, k1b, rpt from * to last 2 sts, k2a
Pattern row 2: k1a, * p3b, p1a, rpt from * to last 4 sts, p3b, k1a
Repeat these two rows until 28 rows have been worked. Break off colour b.
Work 5 rows of k1, p1 rib in main colour.
Cast off loosely in rib.
With right sides together sew side seam using a simple overstitch.
Sew in ends.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Ravelry and the Chunky Two Colour Cowl

If I've established one thing today it's that I can't successfully navigate the many twists, turns, dead ends and other complications which make up the maze of the ravelry designer's account. I somehow ended up with two accounts. I don't know how, but I'm willing to accept it was probably an error on my part. My pattern wasn't connected to either of them. Then it became connected and a period of comparative peace ensued. Then it wasn't again and havoc ensued. By the time I'd answered a lot of questions from ravellers kindly trying to help me, and realised how little I could picture the shape of the site, a migraine was hovering. (Give me a flowchart or a site map or something! Just something so i can see how all the pages are connected for myself. Otherwise it's like doing a jigsaw without the picture on the lid.)

And it's like tatting: everything's fine while you're doing okay but, the minute you go wrong, there's no easy route back. Or no route at all. I was clicking on the same button at different times and being taken to different pages; how can that be? How can the site one time offer me a choice of my shop account or my designer account and then, another time, offer me my shop account or a different designer account. How?

Are you still there? Okay, this is the pattern that was on ravelry. I posted it saying it was free but if anyone liked it and wanted to donate a small amount to my late niece's fundraising project for cancer charities, The Knock On Effect, that would be fab. That still stands.

I'll upload it here as soon as I've had my lie down in a darkened room. And then another simple one straight after, just because I said I would.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

I've started, so I'll finish...

Or maybe I won't.

I've had a vintage jumper on the needles for quite some time. Maybe a couple of years. But the fact I was knitting it so slowly - even by my standards, which often see upstart new projects leapfrog with gusto over back burner knitting - was a clue that I wasn't fully committed to it. I liked the wool (Cygnet Truly Wool Rich 4 ply - perfect for vintage knits); I liked some aspects of the pattern; I liked the whole idea of knitting something from the very old knitting book that Mike kindly presented me with one recentish Christmas.  But long hours spent knitting into the back of every single stitch didn't endear me to it.

So I looked again at the completed back and realised it was probably time to call it quits. I could upravel the yarn. I could knit something I liked more. (I mean, it had puff sleeves - what was I thinking?) I could avoid the torture of knitting into the backs of thousands more stitches. And then this morning, I looked at some other vintage patterns and its fate was sealed.

Life's too short to finish books you're not enjoying reading or make jumpers you're not enjoying knitting!

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Now, what to make next...

My upcycling project with the very old and rabbit-mutilated crocheted blanket has finally borne complete new little blanketty fruit. And here it is. I don't think I was into subtlety colourwise back in the seventies, and it's pretty crudely crocheted - it definitely doesn't bear close inspection - and it doesn't have those lovely colour changes or 3D flower effects etc that current afghan patterns feature, but it'll still keep someone warmer than if they weren't huddled up in it. I did my best with the decades-old squares and the dark joining-up cotton that I could hardly see and the limited time I had available! (Hmmm, are there any more excuses I can think of for a less than excellent job?)

This one, on the other hand, is reasonably okay. Altho' the photo manages to make it look washed-out grey and pink, it's actually hot pink and a pretty green. It's a strange shape, but would make a lap blanket or a baby blanket, or something anyway.

These were both too late for the Nepal appeal so they'll be going to Knit for Nowt later in the year, along with the stuff made at the knitathon in September. Don't forget to let me know if you're coming along; we have so much acrylic that will benefit so many people once it's knitted or crocheted up.