Wips & Blooms: October

Oh Autumn!

Autumn making

This is the month that makes my heart soar every year. The minute I feel September getting into its stride, I'm daydreaming about the leaves turning, the snuggly feel of wool and planning all the baking I possibly can. By the time we trundle into October, I'm bursting with excitement at all the best of the season. 

Wips and Blooms October

In my own making, I've been on something of a swatching journey. I spent a lot of the last month working on article commissions and material for the podcast, exploring local-to-me yarns. The journey has been soothing and fascinating. It has also been the perfect preparation for what I refer to as Knitting Season (yes, capitalised). 

To celebrate a little, Katie and I decide that this month's #wipsandblooms entries on Instagram should have the chance to win a seasonal treat. We would love to see the best of what October has to offer both in terms of sharing your process of making and the 'blooms' you've foraged and found. It's becoming sparse out there in the Northern Hemisphere; Winter is creeping in. However, there's still much to be found from rosehips to rosemary. We can't wait to see. 

All entries tagged with #wipsandblooms between now and October 31st will have the chance to win a special package kindly donated by Mimosa Street. I first discovered this independent store a few months ago and created a virtual wishlist for the new home when we eventually move. Most of Mimosa Street's products are handmade and they work closely with designer-makers to create beautiful items that can only be found in their store. 

When I asked for something to reflect October's foraged and found emphasis, I received the perfect items:

A Floella Vase: A fairtrade hanging vase made from recycled glass that would be perfect for little sprigs and blooms to brighten up indoors and outdoors. (I would love a little string of them on an outdoor snug!)

A poppy Seedball tin: Autumn is the perfect time to scatter poppy seedballs which were created by conservation scientist to offer a new twist on seed propagation. The wildflower seeds are rolled into little balls with clay, compost and chilli powder (to deter predators) and are a perfect way to grow native wildflowers that encourage bees and butterflies. 

Retro floral pocket notebook: Designed and printed in England and made from recycled paper, this pretty notebook is just the right size for musings on the move. 

wips and blooms October

So what will you be making this Autumn? You might even be preparing for warmer weather if you're in the Southern hemisphere of course! I'd love to see your making and crafting progress and hope to see your #wipsandblooms on Instagram soon!



Blog Tour: The Boardwalk Collection (and a giveaway!)

In a month celebrating Women as Makers, I was delighted to see a new pattern collection released that showcases an all female team. The Boardwalk Collection has been produced by Linda of Kettle Yarn Co to showcase her new base, Islington DK, and includes 5 female knitwear designers in a collection that includes 6 designs that will work well from Summer right though to Autumn. The fact the collection was shot by Juju Vail (who you might know as the talented photographer at Loop and Pom Pom Quarterly) and has been strongly supported by Allison Thistlewood (professional multiple hat wearer) shows what magical things can happen when women support one another to put out a great product. 

Linda kindly took some time to answer some questions I had about the collection as part of her blog tour celebrating the collection. Tomorrow, you can see one of the designer's, Isabell Kraemer, discuss her pattern contribution, Arcade (see below). 

Can you explain how you chose these female designers to collaborate with?

"The choice was an easy one as the designers are people whose designs I admire and with a similar aesthetic to my own! I admit that several of the designers are friends, so I knew the high quality of the work I'd be getting from them and that I'd love whatever they created!"

The Boardwalk Collection  (c) Juju Vail

What does the word collaborate mean to you?

"Collaborating is something I've always enjoyed when creating and feel it brings a richness to projects you'd never expect. There is something so joyful and rewarding in working with others - bringing something beautiful into the world together that is made better by working together!
In a way I feel that way about seeing what people make with my yarns as well...that it is a collaboration. I always get chills of delight when people bring their Kettle Yarn Co. projects to the booth at festivals to show me what wonders they've made in my blends! Fantastic!"

Arcade  in ISLINGTON DK  Verdigris , by  Isabell Kraemer   © Juju Vail for Kettle Yarn Co.

Arcade in ISLINGTON DK Verdigris, by Isabell Kraemer © Juju Vail for Kettle Yarn Co.

How did you go about commissioning the pieces, communicating aesthetic to each designer and tying separate design ideas together?

"It all started with Isabell Kraemer's beautiful Arcade design, which was designed as a stand alone project. When I received it I was so blown away by the gorgeousness of it that I decided to go ahead with the idea for a full collection that I've been kicking around for some time!
I decided to showcase the new bright colours I'd just created in my new weight of Islington, which is a lovely rounded DK."

ISLINGTON  - 55% British Bluefaced Leicester/ 45% Silk     © Kettle Yarn Co.

ISLINGTON - 55% British Bluefaced Leicester/ 45% Silk  © Kettle Yarn Co.

"The brief for the designs centred around the historic Hastings pier, which I've been fascinated with since we moved here. The light and views under the pier are amazing, so I knew I wanted to somehow incorporate the feeling I get when I am down there into the collection."

Pavilion  in ISLINGTON DK  Marigold , by  Renée Callahan   -  © Juju Vail and Kettle Yarn Co.

Pavilion in ISLINGTON DK Marigold, by Renée Callahan -  © Juju Vail and Kettle Yarn Co.

"I sent the designers a rather specific design brief about linear lines, lace and a link to the The Drifters 'Under the Boardwalk' so they could get a sense of the fun, breezy, seablown feel I was after!"

What did you learn from each other during this process?

"During this process I was reminded how important it is to be explicit in what I was after to make things easier for the designers. I knew this from teaching but it was so clear in this group how everyone approaches creating differently and how vital it is to let that bloom in its own way! "

Jetty  in ISLINGTON DK  Purple Reign , by  Linda Lencovic   © Juju Vail for Kettle Yarn Co.

Jetty in ISLINGTON DK Purple Reign, by Linda Lencovic © Juju Vail for Kettle Yarn Co.

"Pattern designing can be such a pressure-cooker as time constraints made it difficult for discoveries to grow organically and I am always astounded at how designers create beauty under such pressure. The designers in this collection really outdid themselves with talent!"

Bagatelle Cowl  by Rachel Brown in ISLINGTON DK,  Peony   © Juju Vail for Kettle Yarn Co.

Bagatelle Cowl by Rachel Brown in ISLINGTON DK, Peony © Juju Vail for Kettle Yarn Co.

The mood is free, seasonal and feminine. How did that help you style and present your collection?

"I had a style and mood in mind from the conception of the collection and new exactly what I wanted from the designs and final photos, so it was really quite simple in the end! Especially as all the designers did such a brilliant job interpreting the brief!"

I spy real life friends as models! This struck me as a piece made stronger by friendship with fellow female makers. Would you say that's true? 

"Absolutely! I am SO lucky to have such talented friends and it is always a pleasure working together. None of us are that comfortable in front of the camera but we had the amazing Juju Vail take the photos for the collection and the women knows how to make you laugh...what a talented photographer!"

Seaward  in ISLINGTON DK  Padparadscha  by  Rachel Coopey      © Juju Vail for Kettle Yarn Co.

Seaward in ISLINGTON DK Padparadscha by Rachel Coopey  © Juju Vail for Kettle Yarn Co.

"Another huge thank you to Renee Callahan and Michelle Zimmer for agreeing to model for the collection."

Promenade  by Maria Magnusson in ISLINGTON DK  N  eckinger ,  © Juju Vail for Kettle Yarn Co.

Promenade by Maria Magnusson in ISLINGTON DK Neckinger© Juju Vail for Kettle Yarn Co.

Like what you see? You can find out more on the Broadwalk Collection Blog Tour on this next few stops:

Isabell Kraemer

Curious Handmade

Renee Callahan

Maria Magnusson

Shinybees blog/podcast

Rachel Brown

Knitted Bliss blog


Win a skein of Islington DK!

Islington DK

If you want to get your hands on a skein of Islington DK Padparadscha, (as shown above in Rachel Coopey's Seaward design) all you need to do is leave a comment below telling me which pattern you would most like to knit from this collection. Be sure to leave your answer by 20th July 2015 as I will be announcing the winner on the blog on the 21st July. Good luck!

Episode 70: A Story of Two Houses

handspun yarn for sssalong
A Playful Day is proud to be sponsored by NorthBound Knitting, Sensuous Yarn: Modern designs. On Friday November 28th, there will be a Black Friday Fiber Update, with FREE SHIPPING!! Spoiler pics will be posted very soon. Click on the banner above for more information. 

A Playful Day is proud to be sponsored by NorthBound Knitting, Sensuous Yarn: Modern designs. On Friday November 28th, there will be a Black Friday Fiber Update, with FREE SHIPPING!! Spoiler pics will be posted very soon. Click on the banner above for more information. 

A Playful Day is proud to be sponsored by pom pom,   a quarterly publication based in London, UK for smart, creative types. The Winter 2014 issue is almost here and conjures   up a dream winter wardrobe, perfect for afternoons at the pub. For more information please click on the banner above. 

A Playful Day is proud to be sponsored by pom pom, a quarterly publication based in London, UK for smart, creative types. The Winter 2014 issue is almost here and conjures up a dream winter wardrobe, perfect for afternoons at the pub. For more information please click on the banner above. 


Show notes:

I recently reviewed Kate Atherley's forthcoming book 'Pattern Writing for Knit Designers' and will be hosting Kate in a special episode next week. 

I will attending the pom pom christmas party on the 6th December 2014. 


I encourage you to get a little selfish (or a whole lot!) in our Selfish Single Skein KALCast on will be 21st November 2014 and we'll announce some prizes and fun on Christmas Eve. Hashtags? #SSSalong #apdpodcast. 

I will casting on Jane by Jane Richmond with some delicious handspun. Back up option is Pasha, also by Jane Richmond. 

I give a few suggestions on working with handspun and have added a few useful tutorials to my spin spin sugar pinterest board. 


To show we're not always selfish, Cinnamingirl and I will be inviting you to sign up for a Secret Santa Pattern Palooza. You'll be assigned a giftee to secretly gift a pattern to then in January, we're going to knit up those patterns in a casual KAL. Watch out from 1st December 2014 for sign ups. 


I host Helen from Curious Handmade to chat about her holiday knitting. 

Knitvent 2014 includes the Candlelit Shawl

Pebble Beach Shawlette

Red Robin Shawl

Holiday Planner

Eden Fells hat for Helen's husband

Helen's beading tutorial

To win a copy of Knitvent 2014, please leave a comment below telling me which of Helen's patterns you would most like to knit by 3rd December 2014. Good luck!

Get 25% discount off Knitvent 2014 at checkout with the code APD25 until 12th December 2014. 



Fly, Fly, Fly by Adrina Thorpe, available on Noise Trade

Song in My Head by The Banner Daysavailable on Noise Trade

HarvestCal14 Inspirations: Get Layering

The countdown is on for the #Harvestcal14! Midday today I will be searching through all the hashtags, the chatter thread and the FO thread and hitting the random number generator. Tune in tomorrow for the announcements!

I thought I'd keep things a little fluffy today and talk about one of my favourite things about Autumn: layering! As knitters and crafters, Autumn has to be one of the most satisfying seasons surely? We can still wear our favourite tunics and tees but we can add all the accessories we want. More is more when it comes to feeling snuggly. 

Here's some of my favourite key looks with clickable images so you can get the goodies too:

The Blanket Scarf- I love the oversized scarf and the great news is that this season, the blanket scarf was all over the fashion pages. Fashion has a love affair with OTT textiles and as a knitter and lover of layers, that's something I applaud. 

Buy it: Zara's shawl scarf

Buy it: Zara's shawl scarf

Make it yourself: Jared Flood's Kelpie

Make it yourself: Jared Flood's Kelpie

The BIG scarf: Whether it's a Dr Who Scarf, a cabled thing of wonder or just garter, glorious garter, I LOVE my scarves big, chunky and hanging down to my waist even when I've twisted them up. In fact, If I can knot them and get all snuggled in and slightly ridiculous? All the better in my humble experience. 

Buy it: Big Scarves over at Hush

Buy it: Big Scarves over at Hush

Make It: Amy Miller's Parkway Scarf (I'd make this in Bulky to go big big big)

Make It: Amy Miller's Parkway Scarf (I'd make this in Bulky to go big big big)

Plaid: This was a big story on the catwalk and even me, non fashion follower sat up and listened because I was a 90's child and I wore plaid trousers just like those girls in Friends did. Oh the shame! I can't help but love the nostalgic feel though, can you?

Buy it: DKNY Oversize Shirt. Perfect with leggings, boots and some mitts. 

Buy it: DKNY Oversize Shirt. Perfect with leggings, boots and some mitts. 

Make it: Stephen West's Kex scarf

Make it: Stephen West's Kex scarf

Oversized Knits: The message I'm getting from looking around both in the stores and online is go big or go home where shape is concerned. It's like the blanket scarf came in and took over the shape of your entire wardrobe. Yum is all I can say!

Buy it: Oversized sweater via ASOS

Buy it: Oversized sweater via ASOS

Make it: Joji Locatelli's Boxy

Make it: Joji Locatelli's Boxy

So what are you wrapping up in this season? 


Don't forget t check out all our lovely #harvestcal14 prizes thanks to the sponsors!

HarvestCal14 Inspirations: Little Ones

Good morning all, how was your weekend? Good, I hope? Ours was pretty soothing, full of plenty of outdoor time which was much needed for all of us I think. It really brought home the fact that Autumn is creeping in as all the leaves are starting to drop and change colour and we've been collecting conkers and pine cones everywhere we go. 

It meant that this morning, putting a list of toddler activity prompts together that were Autumn inspired has been spot on for my mood. Some of these have gone straight into the 'must try this week' category. I've been using Pinterest activities more and more and I think I'll do a Playful Parenting segment on the podcast again soon about handy things to stock up on so you're ready to go whenever you see an activity idea that you really like. I keep things pretty basic around here as I am pretty low on time to prep, tidy up or store tonnes of options for play so these activities are pretty low on equipment needs too. 

Sensory Play

This great list of ideas via This Girl's Canon includes one of my favourite sensory tub ideas. We keep in a tub from Ikea that I fill from time to time with different activities like Cloud Dough, water play or shredded paper begged from the Giant's office. This one seems low cost and mostly made up of found objects (ie free). Perfect. 

Have water, will play. The Tot just loves water play and this twist via b-inspiredmam is a great seasonal idea. Time to get out that splashsuit though- naked water play is something we shall surely miss from Summer!

Sowsproutplay.com- I'm would take this wonderful pinecone painting activity outdoors because there's no way on earth this mess would fly indoors. Working from home, I can't have too much mess inside as my "office" doesn't work well with glitter and sand and I hate worrying about mess when the Tot should be just exploring. I need hoses and a quick tub of things for speedy clean ups. Also? How big are these pinecones?!?!? I love the spiced paint element too. 


Outdoor Play

Leaves, a few pipe cleaners and welly boots is all this threading activity takes. I love it and have just text a friend for a play date where we do this with our Tots. Thanking How Wee Learn for the inspiration of taking our obsessive collecting a step further. 

Add a little scavenging to your nature walk with a colour focus via Glitter Muffins. With so much interest in matching and sorting, I think I will be making a version of this without the fancy artist palette. A sturdy piece of card and some felt tips should be enough to get us started with a prompt. A great morning's activity I'm sure. 

Mud Kitchens- have you discovered the magic of these yet? I have to admit, I had my reservations as mud felt stressfully mucky with the Tot but you know what? There's something intensely satisfying about your toddler being so at ease with getting their hands dirty (oh Imagination Tree how you inspire me). I recommend some sturdy togs for this one.  

Fine Motor:

The Toddler is very into posting, threading and sorting right now so I stumbled happily upon this post earlier in the week via NurturingLearning.com. Ideas I can see us doing straight away are the acorn transfer with tongs (we just discovered tongs are hilarious fun), acorn posting in a tin with a slot cut in the top (have tin, will slot) and more leaf threading only this time with a button and elastic which I think might actually be easier than the pipe cleaners. I'll report back once we've tried it, probably on Instagram

Oh this one looks fun via The Artful Parent- contact paper, leaves you've collected and paper plates to make sun catchers. It's a variation on sticking the contact paper to a glass door and letting your toddler add things to a tree shape etc. We don't have easy access to that so suncatchers would work really well for us. Nature walk to crafty activitiy in the afternoon? Perfect. 

There's another version here via Fantastic Fun and Learning with leaf shapes to keep it really themed. 

All those paper plates you bought for Sun Catchers are the perfect paint trays for Leaf Printing. Gorgeous colours (and pictures of concetnration- how absorbed are those two tots?!?) via Meaningful Mama. 


I hope these inspire you as much as they have me. I'm excited to get outside with the Tot now. More tomorrow for the adults- layers and layers of shoulder season outfit inspirations!

Don't forget you have until midday 30th September to jump in and join us for the #harvestcal14 and don't forget, you can win prizes too!

Harvestcal14: The Prizes

Things are looking very inspiring over in the Harvestcal14 chatter thread so I thought I'd best share all the goodies up for grabs!

Firstly there will be lots to win from some of the vendors from the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunkshow thanks to Lisa being this month's podcast sponsor:

Robie Street by (c) Laura Aylor

Robie Street by (c) Laura Aylor

Laura Aylor is donating 5 designs of the winners choice. Laura is the designer who recently soared up the 'What's Hot' list on Ravelry for designs such as the Robie Street Cardigan and her Spiced Cocoa mitts seem perfect for Autumn. 

Berry Colorful Yarnings is offering a skein of the PERFECT autumnal self striping yarn. I mean really, just look:

(c) BCY

(c) BCY

Then The Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe is offering a lotion bar with a new scent that's perfectly timed: apple butter! This shop caused me some serious moments of weakness thanks to handmade lotions and balms with incredible scents. (Cinnamon Chai nearly came home with me. It's on the wishlist now let me tell you!)

(c) NBK

(c) NBK

Then Northbound Knitting who sponsors the show and blog has offered 2 skeins of Merino Silk DK in Metallurgy (be still my beating heart) and 2 braids of 'Japanese maple' on Superwash Merino combed top. 

So get tagging on social media, chatting in the group and share your final projects- all crafts are welcome!


PS We are so close to 1000 members on the group that I'm eyeballing a few extra prizes I've tucked away and might be hitting the random number generator a little early. I'm just saying....