5 Places to Find Blog Inspiration

Finding blogging inspiration has been at the heart of this month's creative theme for An Inspired 2015 so I am finishing this month with 5 tips from Blogtacular co founder Kat Molesworth, who was last week's guest on the podcast. I've loved hosting the 'Love Your Blog' challenge and would really enjoy hearing what you got up to next. Let's agree to keep in touch, ok?

In the meantime, I've been hanging out at the #blogtacular twitter chat (this was actually part of last night's chat so it seems there's lots of us thinking about inspiration and blogging) and cant wait to take part in Blogtacular 2015. If you're going, do let me know- I can't wait to meet everyone!

5 Places to Find Blog Inspiration

5 Places to Find Blog Inspiration by Kat Molesworth of Blogtacular 

When it comes to blogging you can sometimes feel like your ideas have run dry. If you have been taking part in the Love Your Blog challenge it might be a while since you were writing recently.

Generating ideas isn’t a passive activity, sometime you have to take action to get the juices flowing. Here are five places to find inspiration for new posts.

 

1.       Write a list.

List posts tell people exactly what they are getting and allow you to share ideas without much detail. You might even find inspiration for longer posts in the reactions to your list.

 

2.       Go somewhere new.

Not only will taking your camera along give you something to write about but stepping out of your normal surroundings changes your perspective. The old phrase ‘a change is as good as a rest’ has its base in truth. Go somewhere fun, inspiring or exciting – just get out and experience something different.

 

3.       Have a chat with your blog friends.

Whether you meet up or talk over Skype getting together with other bloggers is a great way to start the ideas flowing. If you have like-minded bloggers in your area why not plan a crafternoon once a month?

 

4.       Make something.

Get creative and make something with your hands. If you find the flow of knitting projects doesn’t feed your blog fast enough why not try another craft which gives rapid results? It doesn’t have to be craft, share your latest decorating project or a recipe you love.

 

5.       Tell us a story about you.

Blogging is all about connection and opening up can help your audience got to know you. It might be how you got into your craft or what you wanted to be when you grew up – share something with meaning and you will reconnect to your own motivations.

 

However you decide to kick start your inspiration writing something, anything, is the first step and one worth taking.

Love Your Blog: Beginnings

Welcome back to our weekly Love Your Blog link drop! It's been fascinating reading so many wonderful blog posts from people exploring their sense of Community and Interaction. This week, I'm asking you to add your blog post about 'Beginnings' and return sharing mine.

Next week's prompt is 'Ugly'. Can't wait to see what you cook up!

Beginnings

It was hearing from so many bloggers last week that made me look back at some of my earliest blogger experiences. I started A Playful Day as a prompt for my own daily life, to encourage me to find a playful moment in every day. As a result blog posts would often be funny little stories about things like the neighbours having an exciting looking barbecue, cookie recipes, jumping in puddles and plenty of chatter about what I was knitting

black and white breadmaking photos from 2010! 

black and white breadmaking photos from 2010! 

It's been a funny journey going back into myself. The same people appear again and again like Lisa from Northbound Knitting who has sponsored me from very early on and supported my growth as a blogger, podcaster and knitter. There's something so reassuring to see my community has stayed pretty authentic feeling even with the way this blog and podcast have grown. There's much less knitting these days thanks to a sheer lack of time and poorly wrists so I tend to channel any knitting content into the podcast and use the blog to keep that broader, more playful feel. 

Food featured much more heavily on A Playful Day- I need to return to this goodness!

Food featured much more heavily on A Playful Day- I need to return to this goodness!

I guess I'm still finding playful moments and documenting them but it's more about what's feeding my brain these days from new designs, conversations with smart creative business women and a constant search for further inspiration after setting myself a creativity challenge with 'An Inspired 2015'. 

An inspired 2015 is a big part of A Playful Day's blog direction

An inspired 2015 is a big part of A Playful Day's blog direction

If you've been blogging for a long time, have you looked back on that first year at all? I'd love to know what you found!

Blog Week: Thea Colman of BabyCocktails

Tomorrow I will be publishing my answer to the 'beginnings' theme for the Love Your Blog challenge so hopefully see you there for the link drop and new creativity prompt?

Before then, you can enjoy some wonderful blogging inspiration to round off blog week thanks to Thea Colman. Thea is another of those knitting bloggers I discovered pretty early on in my voyage into knitting and the fact she combines her knitting with cocktails? SOLD!

Thea Colman the blogger & designer at BabyCocktails

Thea Colman the blogger & designer at BabyCocktails

"My name is Thea Colman and my blog is BabyCocktails, which is about my world of knitting and the  drinks.   And occasionally on the things that happen outside that in my travels.  To be honest, the blog has narrowed down these days to  mostly the knitting, and has less adventures lately,  probably because I adventure less and knit more these days.  But the drinks haven’t stopped…   

cocktails and yarn

cocktails and yarn

I started blogging for a business idea that never came to be, and just kept going with it.  I lived in a neighbourhood with a great bunch of women about 15 years ago and many of us had first babies and husbands who worked fairly late. By 4 or 5pm, there was always someone on the street who was ready to get together and make a drink and play with another grownup for a bit.  We called those drinks “babycocktails". 

I was knitting back then, and my friend Gabriella loved to sew and we had this idea to make baby clothes where we’d get thrift shop items and add edgings and borders and make them adorable and crafty while having our drinks. Our plan was to name that venture BabyCocktails.  So I got the URL and began blogging to test the waters a little, with the thought that eventually this would be our business website.  

I’m still very good friends with Gabriella, but that idea never took flight.  (The drinks may have gotten in the way of any actual planning or productivity.)  In the meantime, I just kept blogging about my knitting and whatever came to mind. By the time I started designing, the blog had enough of a following to keep the name and go with it.   

As I began designing,  the blog introduced me and connected me to the greater online knitting world.  Knitty had just begun, and other designers were coming out of the woodwork and it was great fun to feel like I was part of something besides my house and home.   And it gave me something to come back to and do each day. Reading other blogs and writing my posts were tasks that had nothing to do with childrearing and that was a great bonus in my day.  Plus, it made my fledgling little design business feel a little bit more real, as I saw page views and comments and felt  in touch with other knitters through the writing. 

The reason for the blog now is more about having a home for my business online.  I have so many Other Things to do, and the writing itself isn’t the a priority it once was, but it’s still fun and I do try to keep at it as best I can. I always use my blog when launching a pattern – it’s the between-pattern times that I need to get back to. 

Bailey's Irish Cream  by Thea Colman

Bailey's Irish Cream by Thea Colman

I focus mostly on my knitting, but I’m a bit chatty in real life – and on paper - so bits about my world always seem to seep in to the posts.  I don’t  walk around now thinking about what I’ll blog about, but usually I get the urge to share when I’ve just begun/finished a project – or when something great arrives in the mail, or I find a great drink.   

The non-knitting things I find bloggable are usually amusing moments  in my day that were vaguely knitting related - like the time  I found out there was a porn star with my name because another mother googled one of my hat patterns and informed me she’d  “found out” .  (The porn star is lovely but she spells Colman with an E, and I don’t think she knits, and she’s NOT me.)  Or the time I burnt an iron mark into the dining room table while blocking a sweater.  This week, I’ve been thinking about it as I’ve added something new to the bad art collection on my office wall. 

cocktail

The cocktails were not as important in the beginning, but once I started publishing patterns and naming them, I began to include lots of drinks.  So any time I have a new or unusual drink it makes me want to blog – especially if I can get a photo. My family and friends are conditioned not to take a sip of anything until I’ve had the chance to snap a pic. They roll their eyes and sigh sometimes, but they place the glass just so on the table for me and sometimes offer snippets for the post. 

Dark and Stormy  by Thea Colman

Dark and Stormy by Thea Colman

I think blogging showed me that I could put things out there. I’m not exactly shy in person, but I’m not overly confident.  Online, people can be much more black and white about what they want to hear or not, and comments and page views make you face the hard facts that show if people do or don’t care about what you’ve got to say.  It was intimidating.  

The fact that people actually came to my blog and that they were interested in what I was saying and what I was putting out there in terms of design was very empowering and I do think it gave me confidence to put more things out there.  It showed me that I could create something and that people would come for it.  Which was amazing – especially when you spend your days home with a toddler, saying inane things for hours, right?  So for years, I could write stories about my kids and my life and the drinks and the knitting and it made a thing that I was into and people liked.  I found I liked having that little stage, so to speak. 

I find inspiration all over the place – I think that once you get deep into any craft, you see it everywhere.  From sidewalk bricks to tree branches to museum exhibits to shop windows.  Sometimes I take sneaky photos of people on the street because I love That Cable or Her Neckline.   I just deleted 1,200 photos off my phone because I’d used up 8 GB of my storage taking photos of things I was absolutely, positively sure would lead me straight to my next design.   (About 1,100 of them were never glanced at again) but in the moment, I see something and that detail is IT, absolutely IT.   

Mostly, I’m constantly inspired by the industry I’m in – a beautiful yarn can take me down a rabbit hole, or a sweater collection that Brooklyn Tweed puts out can get me thinking about tweedy cables. Every time that Gudrun Johnston publishes a design, I am inspired to do something steeped in history, and every time Joji Locatelli publishes a flowy cardigan, I want to make something drapey with lots of stockinette.  

But I think that answer kind of gets into  my design inspiration – for blogging, my world is focused on the knitting,  and I so wish I could take those perfect photos of folded knits on weathered chairs, and steaming teacups next to skeins of cashmere on a marble countertops.  I’m inspired to work my craft more beautifully when I see those blogs, but I know that in real life, I’m sitting on an exercise ball in my living room or working with a thousand papers piled near the burn mark on my wooden table, and the light is never perfect and that ends up being so much more ME that I guess it’s what I end up talking about instead.  Because, let’s be honest – that’s my actual world, inspiring or not and it’s what I know best."

Blog Week: Sarah Knight of Crafts From The Cwtch

Next up in Blog Week is  blogger who has been more of a recent discovery for me but I've had a soft spot for ever since stumbling over her chatty blog a couple of years ago. I had the pleasure of meeting Sarah recently and was thrilled- such a sweet and genuine person. She was just how I imagined her from reading her blog! 

Tomorrow, I have some #loveyourblog inspiration in the form of a podcast interview then a last blog post on Sunday to round this week off with a bang. Phew! Let me know what you've been enjoying ok? This has been a really inspiring week. 

Sarah Knight aka Craft from the Cwtch

Sarah Knight aka Craft from the Cwtch

"Hi, I’m Sarah Knight and my blog is Craft from the Cwtch. I’m a 40 year old mum of two and I write about all sorts of things related to knitting including tips, tutorials, patterns and reviews. I hope to encourage novice and experienced knitters to try different things and to have fun with their craft, but this isn’t how it began.

I started my blog in 2011. It was a difficult time for our family - within a short period we had experienced my father-in-law’s sudden death, the birth of our second child and relocation to a more rural area. I’d already traded an interesting and varied job, which included travel, for long days at home with leaky boobs and nappies. Then, following his dad’s death, my husband threw himself into his career. I loved being at home with my beautiful baby and toddler, but I felt isolated and quite lonely. My life had become about taking care of everyone else’s needs and there was nothing in it which was just for me.

One day I spotted yarn and needles in the village Post Office. I already knew the basics, but learning to make more complicated things and to follow a knitting pattern seemed like a good idea for a ‘personal project’. While searching the internet for tutorials, I found lots of knitting and crochet blogs I enjoyed, and I quickly decided to start Crafts from the Cwtch.

knitting on the needles

Back then, my blog had a dual purpose - documenting my knitting journey and recording the best moments from our days at home. It became a good reason to take photographs of interesting things - these were the days before Instagram - and to note what I was doing with the children. It helped me to focus on positive things. Through various link parties, I became part of a virtual community of knitters and crocheters. I could relate to these women and I got a great deal of practical help, as well as laughter and inspiration from their blogs and comments - several have become friends in ‘real’ life.

Looking back at my early posts, there are occasional signs that we were dealing with more challenging aspects of life - some of my most personal posts include reflections on the loss of loved ones - but I didn’t want my blog to become a sad or negative place. This remains one of my rules - if I have nothing good to write, I won’t write at all. Thankfully, our lives are much more settled these days and I usually have plenty to write about!

Inspired by nature.jpg

I’m often asked about my goals for the blog. There has never been any ‘plan’ for CftC. As in the beginning, I’m still writing about the things that interest me. I’ve never been a slave to statistics and the blog is not a stepping-stone towards some other goal - it is what it is. I only hope that visitors leave feeling time spent on my blog has been worthwhile. I post various things I have found inspiring, but it’s not always about knitting.

When deciding what to write, I think about the things that are happening and try to present them in a way that might be useful to someone else - if I’m going to an event, I tend to post about preparing for that type of event, or what it means to me, rather than just saying that I’m going. If I try a new technique which I like, there’ll be a tutorial / discussion of when it might come in handy. As a reader, I’d find this more engaging, so I assume that the readers I  attract will feel the same.

Journal keeping and other tricks bloggers use to create blog content

Journal keeping and other tricks bloggers use to create blog content

As an avid journal-keeper, I write down any ideas I have (when knitting, listening to podcasts, drawing, reading, or doing just about anything else), however small or insignificant they may seem. My journals are full of partially formed blog posts (and designs) so I need never ‘look’ for inspiration - it’s already there... provided I noted it down (I have a terrible memory).

It is a cliche but the last few  years of blogging have changed my life. As well as helping me through a tricky time (in the beginning) and giving me a relaxing child-friendly hobby (essential during the ‘toddler years’), I’ve learned so much. On a personal level, blogging has made me more reflective - if I didn’t write about knitting, I wouldn’t think about it so much, and probably wouldn’t have realised just how much I missed having a creative outlet in my twenties and early-thirties. While I was busy earning a living, I didn’t make time for the things that fulfil me the most. I have learned that my well-being is directly related to the amount of creativity in my life, and it doesn’t really matter whether it comes in the form of knitting, doodling, writing my blog or colouring with the kids. Creating - anything - is really important to me.

The online community of a knitting blogger

The online community of a knitting blogger

On a practical level, blogging has developed my writing skills and helped me to remain disciplined and organised, despite being home alone a lot of the time. It has taught me to remain curious and not get stuck in a rut with my craft. It has brought some lovely opportunities my way too - I didn’t plan to design or write knitting patterns, but that has been a natural progression and something I enjoy very much. Nowadays I’m invited to take part in all sorts of interesting things (like #LoveYourBlog!) and to contribute to blogs and publications alongside some of the people I have been following since 2011. It feels quite strange as I’m just sitting in my Cwtch, writing about the things I’m interested in. I’m constantly amazed that something which really started out of loneliness has had such a positive impact on my life and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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Sarah’s Top Tips for loving your blog:

  • Read other blogs to figure out what you like and don’t like, but don’t compare yourself to other bloggers or try to imitate them. Doing your own thing, in a way that feels right to you, will help you to find your voice and to attract the ‘right’ readers for your blog.
  • Make use of the ‘Draft’ and ‘Schedule’ functions. There will be days when you have LOTS to say - write lots of posts that day but publish only one. Save the others for the days when you have absolutely no inspiration, for there will be plenty of those too.
  • It’s ok to say no. You may be offered all sorts of “opportunities” and freebies - some might sound too good to be true (they probably are). Having integrity and trusting your instincts will be worth it in the long run - stay true to yourself and to your readers.
  • It’s also ok to say yes. Advertising and sponsorship can work really well for everyone involved when the brands/products are relevant and well matched. I love getting recommendations from my favorite bloggers because I feel I can trust the brands they are affiliated with.  
  • Keep a journal - note down your ideas and reflections, even if you don’t know what to do with them yet. You’ll be amazed at how useful they are in learning about yourself, and how much more productive you become when you do start to use them. (This tip isn’t limited to bloggers!)"



 

Guest Post: 5 Tips for Great Blog Photography (of Your Knitting!)

I have spent a lot of time creating content for blogs, websites and Social Media pages and one thing I have really learnt is that great images speak far louder than most words. Whether you write a personal blog or help maintain a professional blog, how you achieve great images on your blog is pretty important to engage your audience. Getting the best shot you can of your knitting is something many of us crafters can relate to and I wanted to share some ideas. I decided to ask the very talented and knowledgeable Jennifer from the Down Cellar Studio podcast as I've enjoyed her photography segment for years. Jennifer is going to walk you through how to get the best possible images you can for your blog with minimal equipment.

Thanks Jen! (all images click through to Jeni's project pages)

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After you've spent hours (or maybe even weeks or months) knitting on a project, it's always nice to take a great photo to capture the moment. Maybe you want to share it on Instagram, add it to your Ravelry Projects Page for posterity, send it in an email to a friend or loved one, or just keep it for yourself as a memory of this beautiful handcrafted item. But photographing knits isn't always simple. I'm often asked how to best go about getting a good photo without having a degree in photography or a really fancy camera. Fortunately I think there are lots of great options that don't require anything more than your phone.

 

So grab your smartphone or whatever camera you have handy, follow along with these 5 tips and I think you'll have a photo you can be really proud of!

1. Use Natural Light whenever possible: aim for early morning hours or an hour or two before sunset for more even, less harsh light.

  • Why? Photographing knits in mid­day sun will cause harsh shadows that can be distracting or even obscure the detail you're trying to highlight.
  • Options: Obviously there is a lot of natural light outside but try to look for even light not dappled shade. You can also capture the natural light that finds it's way inside. Position your knit with a window to the left or right to avoid strange shadows.
Photographing Knits (c) Jennifer Lassonde

Photographing Knits (c) Jennifer Lassonde

2. Choose a background that isn't distracting.

  • Why? You want to draw focus to your knit so look for a background that doesn't take away from your subject.
  • Options: You could use something plain (a white wall, a plainly colored floor or couch cushion). But your background doesn't have to be completely plain. For example, I took this photo outside in my backyard. The green grass goes nicely with the color and adds a little texture too.
Using Interesting Backgrounds (c) Jennifer Lassonde

Using Interesting Backgrounds (c) Jennifer Lassonde

3. Avoid shadows. 

  • Why? Shadows can obscure parts of your knit, taking away the beautiful detail you're trying to capture.
  • Options: always try taking photos from various angles. Position yourself and the camera from above, below, and straight on to see what works best. I often find that holding my phone or camera out to the side can help avoid my body casting a shadow on an item. Don't be afraid to play around with it (it won't take long I promise)

4. Play around with posing & positioning.

  • Why? Some hand knits will lend themselves to be laid out flat while others really need to be hung up (or better yet worn) in order to show what the item is and how it is intended to look. Sometimes it takes a little practice to figure out what works best.
  • Options:
  • Lay flat: for this sweater, I laid out a black blanket on our deck late in the day to avoid shadows. It took a few minutes to make sure I could capture the whole sweater without my own shadow being cast upon it, but soon enough I had a photo with minimal shadows that shows all of the details, shape and design of this beautiful sweater.
Close up photography (c) Jennifer Lassonde

Close up photography (c) Jennifer Lassonde

Hang to display: for items that don't look as they should when laid flat, a coat hanger can be a great option. This works especially well for sweaters and shawls. If you have a hard time finding enough natural light with a neutral background inside, take your hanger outdoors. Look around your yard and you likely start seeing all sorts of possibilities for hanging­ on a fence, on a light or light post outside your house, on tree branch, on a railing. Here are some examples I've found in my neck of the woods.

Outdoor Photography (c) Jennifer Lassonde

Outdoor Photography (c) Jennifer Lassonde

Outdoor Photography (c) Jennifer Lassonde

Outdoor Photography (c) Jennifer Lassonde

5. Be sure to capture your knit from various angles. If your knit has different details on the back and the front, you'll want to capture both sides. If there is a lot of detail in one portion, I'd recommend getting a close up shot of that detail and then also a full shot of the knitted piece to better show the context.

  • These are photos of my Lush Cardigan, photographed by my partner, Dan. With a little guidance he captured both the front and back of the sweater and took a stance slightly above me when capturing the back to show how the lace detail really wraps around my shoulders. I love the effect this creates.
Photographing Knitwear (c) Jennifer Lassonde

Photographing Knitwear (c) Jennifer Lassonde

Trying different angles also works well for capturing socks. I personally think socks looks best on feet so whenever possible I try to photograph them while wearing them. Admittedly you may need to be just a little bit flexible to do this but if you are the result is worth it. First I put my legs straight out with my feet flexed. I set up two pieces of foam core board­­ one underneath and one at a 90 degree angle (leaning up against my deck railing). Then it's as easy as pointing the camera straight out and voila!

Close up Shots (c) Jennifer Lassonde

Close up Shots (c) Jennifer Lassonde

But for these socks I also wanted to show off the contrasting heels. By putting my feet together and shooting down, it was easy to show them from another perspective.

Photographing Details (c) Jennifer Lassonde

Photographing Details (c) Jennifer Lassonde

Just one more thing to keep in mind­­ take a lot of photos. You’ve got nothing to lose with digital media­­ if the photo comes out terrible you can delete it. I recommend taking a lot of photos from different angles potentially with different backgrounds. Then pull them all up on the computer before you decide which to keep and which to delete.

I hope these helpful hints work well for you the next time you're snapping photos of your latest finished object!

 

 

Jennifer Lassonde is a blogger, knitter, knitwear designer and host of the Down Cellar Studio Podcast. Jen blogs about knitting, photography and her other creative pursuits on her website where you can also find details about her designs. Find Jen on Ravelry as BostonJen, on Instagram & Twitter as @BostonJen1.

Love Our Indies with Louise Scollay of Knit British

Following on from the thought provoking piece by Victoria from Eden Cottage yarns, next in the 'Love Our Indies' series is a guide to Knitting British and buying local by Louise Scollay. You might know Louise for her excellent podcast but it's actually her blog that I've been devoted to for some time. Horrrified by the number of imported yarns in her stash, she set about knitting British, educating herself about different breads and the production behind goods she was buying. It makes for an interesting read and helps me make informed decisions as a consumer of both local AND global goods (more on the open market another day....!!) What I love is that I can think of ways to ask questions in any context whether it's souvenir yarn abroad or locally sourced at home. 

 

(Post reproduced here with kind permission)

: : Knitting British – Dos and Don’ts : : 

This may sound controversial but don’t believe BFL is the only British wool. Don’t get me wrong because I love Blue Faced Leicester and have heaps of it in stash (and have you seen the sheep - they are quite a noble breed!)

It is beautiful and I love how buttery, smooshily soft it is.  It is a very popular yarn, but if you are considering knitting British and include more breeds, I would say delve further as when I first started looking into British wool the searches through up a lot of BFL first.

I checked out the RBST site for rare & vulnerable breeds & searched on from there. It is good to get an idea of which breeds are most at risk and seeking out wool from breeds where your money will go back into supporting the sheep.

Check out Blacker Yarns too: they are a brilliant source of specialist and rare breed yarns as well as Welsh, Scottish, English and Falkland breed yarns.

There is a HUGE wealth of info out there on where to get British wool. I started to compile a stockist list, but nothing can compare to the wonderful time and effort Jane has put into maintaining her list at Woolsack - it is an absolute must when looking for inspiration and choices.

: : : :

Do cast your (knit) nets wide. Check out what is local to you, but also search by UK region and see which breeds are local to that area - I sort of wish I had started at one end of the map and knit my way around to be thoroughly region and breed specific!

There are a couple of groups on Ravelry concerned with the love of British wool and you are sure to find inspiration there…as well as here still, at good old KnitBritish.

Blacker Yarns Map of Sheep Breeds

Blacker Yarns Map of Sheep Breeds

 

: : :

Don’t believe the myth that buying British wool is expensive. I do not know who is telling this lie, but I have had to correct more people than I care to add up.

There are yarns to suit every purse. Even rare breed or at risk breed yarns are accessible and not too pricey. If you ever need any tips, there is a series of blogs on this subject below,

: : :

Don’t believe that just because the wool is from a  British company that the wool is grown or spun here. Many companies have their wool spun abroad, often in Turkey or Italy. That is not to say you would not be supporting jobs in some stages of production &  handling in this country. Do, however look to see if the company have any British yarn, or UK spun brands within their range. Rowan are a thoroughly British company, based in Holmfirth, and while many of their range are spun and dyed out with the UK they do have their British Sheep Breeds range and also their Tweed yarns (though, not felted) are spun in Yorkshire!

And while I am wary about buying wool that has had most of it’s processing done outside the UK, do remember that there is a British industry outside these isles. Falkland Merino is farmed organically on the British Falkland Islands and is processed, spun,  dyed and sold in the UK by the likes of LaxtonsBlacker Yarns andJohn Arbon.

: : :

Don’t be afraid to ask where the wool comes from, where the flock lives or which mill spun it. Most yarn sellers – particularly those involved with most parts of the process – will be more than happy to tell you, often at length. They know exactly how discerning knitters are when it comes to the fibre you knit with.

: : :

If you are allergic to wool, but still love knitting don’t forget that some acrylic wool is also manufactured in the UK. Woolcraft, Marriner, Jarol and Wendy all have some acrylic and blends which are spun or manufactured in the UK, but please check the labels.

Do remember that wool does not have to be difficult to care for. We all know the trials and tribulations of trying to wash and block out lovingly knit garments, but there are lots of machine washable yarns out there and I blogged on a few of them

: : :

Do support your LYS, if you can. I often hear folk say that their LYS doesn’t stock much British wool, but you can always ask them if they would consider stocking some.

If you regularly shop online, then look on Twitter, Ravelry, Pinterest or…*shudder* ..,Facebook and see if your yarn shop or favourite dyer are on there. It is a great way to get regular updates about the yarns they are dyeing, or when they have new yarns in stock and when their shop updates are.  It is also lovely to be able to say hello and tell them how much you like their products. Supporting your YS takes on new dimensions when you bring social media into the equation – I know I have come to look forward to reading their tweets and learning about the process they go through to feed our yarny habits!

: : :

Do just give it a go! Before I started doing this I did not ever think where the wool I knitted with came from. I just loved knitting. And then I began to covet wool and it was a short hop from there before I started asking myself the question, “Where did it come from?”

I love that I can look at my knits and know where I bought the wool and which breed it came from. The fact that it was all sourced from within the British Isles is just so heartening to me.

 

Thank you to Louise for sharing this helpful guide based on her journey as a British knitter, dedicated to shopping local. If you'd like to chat further about our Love Our Indies topic, join the conversation on Twitter or the dedicated Ravelry thread in the Playful Group. 

Welcome!!

So it's finally here, the new and sparkly website. Come on in, pour yourself a drink and make yourself comfortable. 

There's been some busy work going on lately and I felt it was time to get things looking a bit more streamlined and make things easier to find. You can find all the usual features here but instead of everything being dumped on hard to read pages, there's a dedicated section for the blog, the podcast and my professional side of things. 

On Sunday I should be hosting the latest podcast here if all goes to plan and it's going to be a packed one. I'll be reviewing and giving away a copy of Botanical Knits 2 thanks to this month's sponsor and I'll be discussing chocolate gin. Yes, you read that right. It's actually a thing. 

In the meantime there's some tea, biscuits and knitting needles. Come and relax. 

 

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