Category Archives: Yarn

Spinning, pirates and kids

It’s been a while since my last post so I thought an update on what’s happening might be a good thing to do. Today I’m actually resting after a visit at my daughter’s kindergarten. I was invited by her teachers to talk a little about knitting, spinning and that sweaters don’t necessarily have to come from a shop.

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My visit wasn’t very long as obviously such kids get bored very fast so I showed them some things that can be knitted or crocheted (together with gorgeous toys made for my kids by Gosia), we spun a little bit of woolly yarn and wove a small blanket. The kids looked really interested and I bet it must have been pretty awesome for them to see a real spinning wheel (that most of them probably know just from Sleeping Beauty).

I wrote that on Thursday then life happened :-) Continued today…

Yes… I started spinning! I’ve wanted to have a spinning wheel for a while now but every time I said something to my husband he was like “not-enough-space-too-much-yarn-blah-blah-blah”. ;-) Until we went to Yarndale and he got to see lots of spinning wheels to realize that they are not actually that big and eventually he got me a gorgeous Ashford Traveller.

(Yarndale and Swiss Wulle Festival deserve a separate post soon!)

My wheel came in the post shortly after the festival, Marcin waxed it and put it together and I got down to work as fast as I could. Starting with pretty ugly and bulky “so-called-handspun”, I tried to practise very often (considering I need to knit too) and even attended spinning workshops with a very talented Polish yarnie/spinner – Justyna from YarnandArt. I learned how to control my feet and hands properly, how to use a blending board and came out filled with lots of passion.

My first proper handspun was a pomgranade blend of merino and Zwartbles purchased from John Arbon Textiles, which became a new Sand Bank for my son.

Then I made a crazy colorful yarn for my daughter. It’s so crazy mostly because I was still trying to learn how to make proper fractal and the result is… well, see it for yourself :-) I got it caked and need to make a new hat for Agnieszka, most likely a Wurm.

Then I finally spun something really pretty, I guess ;-) This time I divided the top properly to get a perfect fractal spin. The colors (dyed by Justyna again) blend so nicely in this one! The yarn itself is still not perfect (I sure hope I’m getting there soon), but I think it is good enough to go to a lovely home. This one will not stay in my stash but is destined as a prize in the upcoming mystery KAL.

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I got about 280 meters (per 100g) of 100% Corriedale. Cozy, woolly and purple :-) Perfect for a pair of mittens or a hat. blog3

The last time I held a mystery KAL was about 2 years ago. It was Fuego Hat and we had lots of fun while knitting it. At the beginning of this year some of my friends asked me if I’d have another mystery KAL, but I wasn’t really sure. I realized that some things just need to evolve on their own and not be pushed too much to become something nice and knitworthy, and that was the case here. Whenever I sat down to make a “mystery design” my mind went blank. I had some ideas but all of them seemed so… boring. Until Emily (from Rainbow Heirloom) and I decided to make a shawl. A colorful, wearable and really nice shawl. A perfect Mystery Shawl!

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The KAL begins on Monday. I can’t wait!

We are planning to send out clues in three languages: English, Polish (thanks to lovely Hania) and French (thanks to fabulous Marion) so I hope you can make it! There will be some cool prizes too and among them you can find my purple handspun :-) Additionally, till 23rd the pattern is at a discounted price so if you feel like having fun check for more info here!

See you on Monday then.
(Next time I hope to write a recap of my journeys to the knitting world with a really nice giveaway too so stay tuned!)

Garter, Babushkas and Mad Max

Seems at the moment my blog should change its name from Lete’s Knits to Lete Travels ;-) Yes, yet again I’ll be talking about a festival – this time in Berlin.

We loved this trip a lot and I’m saying we as this time I was accompanied by my Hubby. I’m so grateful he was with me as thanks to him (and my car ;-) we could easily move around Berlin.

And I could focus on more important things :-)

I always have a big problem with what I should take with me in my WIP bag when I travel. In Edinburgh I learned a very important lesson. I took two WIPs with me back then, the first one were just sleeves, easy peasy but ehm I forgot they were attached to a sweater and that involved carrying a fairly BIG bag; the second was a cardi, a dark green one… well I sort of had to rip a little when I came back home. Dark yarn and pub knitting are not the best combination ;-)

So this time I took yarn for shawl designs that I’m asked to make – mostly in Garter stitch, and that means only knits! Clever huh? And no, I didn’t need to rip anything after coming back home :-)

In case you are wondering what the yarn in the first photo is going to be…yes, a triangular Masgot :-)

But the festival… It was so lovely to see all my friends and introduce my husband to many of them.

We tried to document all the people we met but I bet there are still some fabulous knittters missing in the pics.

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With Dieuwke and Fides <3
Big thank you to Mia for taking me to button heaven (or hell if you have problems choosing only one thing in the sea of choices like me) :*
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All of us petite girls ;-) With Rililie and Isabell (aka lilalu)

The trip to Berlin was also a treat to us as a couple as we could spend some time alone without worrying about our kids or curfew. On Saturday we had a really nice dinner with Victoria and David (the lovely crew of Eden Cottage Yarns): no rushing, just chatting, good food and… a little bit of rain on our way back to the flat which made us look in our shawls like Babushkas :-)

On Sunday evening we went to see Mad Max. I’m not a huge fan of this series of movies but I must admit it was one of the coolest action films I’ve seen in years (and it’s not only because I was focusing on the plot instead of knitting ;-).

The festival also introduced a new shawl design to my store. It’s called Silke and was created in collaboration with Cathrin from WalkCollection.

Silke is a traditional hap shawl, which means its construction is slightly different from other trangular shawls. First you work the Garter middle and then, once you pick up the stitches along its edges, you work the lace part. It uses only one skein of WalkCollection BFL Silky or any other fingering weight (400m).

It’s light, airy and will be reminding me of my German trip for sure :-)

#EYF2015

Seems like holidays is a good time for sitting down in front of the computer and typing a couple of words about what I’ve been up to in the last few weeks.

I admit March was a really busy and exciting month, mostly thanks to Edinburgh Yarn Festival. It was such an awesome festival! Can’t wait for 2016 now :-) But let’s start from the beginning…

I learned about EYF shortly after its first edition from my long online friend. Actually it was the first yarn festival I’ve ever heard of and I’ve wanted to see it for a long time, but after our visit in Brighton last year I wasn’t really sure it would happen (such a trip is pretty expensive :-/). Then after hearing “Are you coming to Edinburgh?” from a couple of knitting friends, I rediscussed the trip with my Hubby again, and he said “Go!”. Yay!

Edinburgh greeted me with Scottish weather. I landed in the rain late in the evening and got on the city bus very fast. Thankfully it took me almost directly to the place I was supposed to stay at, which was a private room rented  from a very nice lady called Rebecca. It was the first time I booked my accomodation not in a hotel or typical B&B and I can’t believe I haven’t done that before! I love the home-y feeling such a stay gives and, what is very important, it costs considerably less.

On Thursday afternoon I met up with my Danish knitting buddies and the whole knitty craze began :-)

In the evening we went to a pub. It was so nice to see so many people I know mostly online, or whom I last saw in Brighton.

On my left: Curious Handmade, Jeni from Fyberspates, A Playful Day.

Dieuwke and the girls went home earlier as they were very tired due to getting up at 5am to catch the flight but I stayed a bit longer… And then my little adventure happened. Yep, I got lost! At  midnight. In a strange town. Good I can communicate in English ;-) Turns out I got on the right bus on the wrong side of the road. I was blissfully checking my Instagram and Facebook feed and suddenly I realized that I should be home. I got off the bus and my GPS said “You’re 5.6 km from your destination”. Shoot! No way I’d spend my yarn money on the cab (I’m sure many knitters can relate here ;-) so after some time I finally found the correct bus stop and at 1am I arrived home. So much for an early night ;-)

On Saturday we began the festival with a fair isle class with Felicity Ford. It was so much fun and I see a lot of fair isle designs in my future now :-)

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After the class I finally got to the market place and stayed at Eden Cottage Yarns booth for a while. I’m not sure if you know (nah, I bet you do :-), but Vikki and I released a new shawl design during EYF. It was Aisling (which is pronounced Ashlyn) – a beautiful two colour shawl featuring a raindrop lace, garter inserts and a delicate lace & cable border. During the testknitting phase Vikki’s sample knitters made two versions which were on display in her booth all the time (one in action actually – we looked like shawl twins :-). Victoria was offering kits which contained the yarn, the pattern and flower seeds in the same color. How awesome is that! BTW, if you’d like to, she still has the kits for sale in her online store (custom kits also possible but without the seeds then). I must say that time was so magical and I’d love to thank everyone who came over to say hi.

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One hour before the market place closed I went to do some shopping at two places that were on my MUST-BUY list: Siidegarte and John Arbon. Gaby and Fides (who you can see in the pic above on my right) from Siidegarte make one of the most beautiful silk blends I’ve seen – I just can’t wait for the summer to begin so that I can knit with the awesome green silk/linen yarn I got from them. #mustknitfaster ;-) John Arbon was a must because of their socks. I love wearing woolly socks during winter but I don’t have time to knit them, so I left his booth with lots of alpaca and exmoor wool socks… and yarn for a new sweater.

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In the evening we enjoyed the Ca-Baah!-Ret with Felicity Ford and tried to guess the answers  to a terribly difficult pub quiz held by Ysolda. Ah yes, and they asked us to make sheep, well, sort of sheep :-) Clara Parkes who came to EYF with her latest book (about 20 of which I managed to throw at her in her booth, yep, I’m clumsy at times) picked the winning sheep. That night was really nice – lots of knitting, chatting and laughing.

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A pic taken by Jeni Reid. A minute after I threw the books at Clara. Felicity Ford in the front :-)

From Edinburgh Yarn Festival website

Sunday was much quieter for me and I could just look around the market place, say hi to many people and continue my shopping. But before all that happened, I had a chance to chat a little with lovely Jo from ShinyBees podcast. And I must say that this chat was really something as Jo asked me for an interview! We decided to meet in podcast lounge and when I came there I bumped into Stephen West himself (he was interviewed before me). I got so starstruck that I bet I was mumbling and forgot to speak proper English. ;-)

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The organization of the festival was amazing. It was located in the centre of Edinburgh, the market place was nice and roomy, and the amount of attractions prepared by Mica and Jo was just fabulous! I will be coming back next year for sure. What about my yarn haul? Let’s just say it filled my hand luggage completely and I have a lot of material for future designs :-)

That was my first trip to Scotland and I was really unhappy it was so short. My flight back home was scheduled on Tuesday evening so I decided to go sightseeing and look for haggis (I love eating local food when I travel). I had haggis twice and I loved it each time – it reminds me a little of our Polish kaszanka but is a lot more spicy (I know you can get vegetarian haggis too and I’ve heard it’s nice) – now I regret a little I didn’t get a chance to buy it in the store for my family.

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Here haggis is served with Scottish breakfast.

On Monday I managed to visit Edinburgh Castle, which took me about 3 hrs. Seems like a lot but, to tell you the truth, I feel I haven’t seen everything in the castle yet. Each point marked on the castle map deserves a lot more attention than mere audioguide stop and a lot more peaceful time to enjoy the heritage and history preserved in the stone walls.

That day I also went to National Museum of Scotland but I saw just one floor of artifacts, so on Tuesday I got up early, packed my bags, ate breakfast and went back to the museum.  I’m so glad I did it as this time I was just in time for a guided tour… and I saw gorgeous weaving looms, knitting machines, and fair isle, and tartans!

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I definitely want to come back next year, not only for EYF2016, but also to continue sighteeing as I feel there is still so much I missed: the galleries, the Museum of Childhood, the zoo, the dungeons! In the meantime I started planning what to see in May in Berlin. And I hope to see you there too :-)