Thursday, 31 May 2012

Now with added friends...

.... I am so thrilled to be able to announce a new blog sponsor! Our playful tribe has extended to include the talents of Rose Beck. Rose is a fabulous designer who I have always admired and invited on the podcast as soon as I could! I felt that Rose would be a great addition to the blog sponsors as her creative spirit and tenacity are just what this blog and the podcast are all about. I really hope you are able to show your support too. 

(c) Wovenhand
Rose designs shawls and accessories that make my heart sing and I know many of you are fans too. Her recent publication, the 'Archi- Textural Collection' is typical of Rose's work: clean, elegant and full of interest for knitters. Rose has a real fondness for lace shawls, especially simple, elegant shawls that make the most of today’s gorgeous hand-dyed luxury yarns and each new design always has my fingers itching to cast on. 

Some of you may remember the 'Sugared Violets' shawl that I worked up in Uncommon Thread some time ago as well as the lovely test knit that I was lucky enough to complete. I've chatted about her patterns on the podcast quite a bit as a result and have always enjoyed the intuitive way that they are presented. To find out more about Rose and her crafty life, drop by her charming blog or check out all of her designs on her Ravelry designer page.

String of Pearls

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

A Treat

I love second hand finds, especially if they're craft or cooking related. A little while back I attend Unravel but I neglected to share my prize find. While wandering around the different vendors we found a fabulous second hand stall with baskets, knitting accessories and all kinds of wonderful treasures. I lost a good half an hour looking lovingly at the items and decided something special had to come home and continue its craft life with me.

My purchase was a simple one: a repurposed box with knitting goodies inside. It wasn't purpose built but reclaimed for a crafty life by a knitter like myself. How do I know it was a knitter? Well, there were clues.....

Firstly I loved the box. Sadly, it had a sticker put on it some time ago so I need to get some fine steel wool and ease that off and give it a little beeswax to make it happy again. I googled the 'Punchenellos' label but couldn't find what this referred to. I'm intrigued, I'll admit!

Then there's the goodies inside: buttons, ribbons, trinkets and thread. I delved in further to find out more about this mystery crafter and found these little gems. 

Ah ha! A needle gauge and what else?

Tally marks inside the box. Love that

Friday, 25 May 2012

Episode 29: Back to Business

A Playful Day is kindly sponsored by Superknits, the home of super yarns for super knits. Please show your support for our playful friend by clicking on the link above- go on, spoil yourself!!!.

A Playful Day is also kindly sponsored by NorthboundKnitting, uniquely hand dyed yarn, spinning fibre and modern knitting designs. Please show your support for our playful friend by clicking on the link above.

A Playful Day is proudly sponsored by Candy Skein, hand dyed yarns sweet enough to eat! Please support our playful friend by supporting the banner above.

Show notes:

Readalong, the playful group on Ravelry
WWKIP day is coming! There's a thread in the group to help you find somewhere near you or tell people where you will be.
Ravelympics is also heading this way. Are you ready?
Fibre East is on 14th-15th July 2012. I'll be there on the 14th and hope to see you too.

Off The Needles
Afterthought Heel Socks by Laura Linneman in RosieRetro colourway 'Nightbird'
A repair using the afterthought heel after a bad experience with Cherry Tree Hill SuperSock yarn. 

On the Needles
Julissa by Vanessa Smith in Miss Bab's Yowza! Whatta Skein! in the colourway 'Catherine'.
The Eternity Scarf by Michelle Wang in Berry Colourful Yarns Worsted MCN in the colourway 'Cinna'.

Munch, Burp, Schlurp
I talk about the lovely Super Natural Every Day Cookbook by Heidi Swanson of the 101 Cookbooks blog. 

Practical Pursuits
I talk about 'Of Bees and Mist' by Erick Setiawan and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
I recommend Books On The Nightstand podcast and 2 Knitlit Chicks.

Fly, Fly, Fly by Adrina Thorpe, available on Music Alley
Who You Gonna Run to by Blade of Grass , available on Music Alley
Contact me at:
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Thursday, 24 May 2012

12 Women in 12: Genny Stevens

I love indy types and I've made no secret about that fact. I love anyone with a vision to do things differently, represent alternative voices to the mainstream and offer a fresh look at something. It's why when I heard about 'Entangled Magazine' for the first time, my ears pricked. It wasn't just another publication focusing on patterns, models and trends but all things fibre, with stories and indepth features about specific aspects of the crafting world. I was hooked, so for this month's  12 Women in 12 I caught up with Genny Stevens, the creator and editor of Entangled magazine.

(c) Genny Stevens
Genny started out as a podcast host, recording 'Crafternoon Tea with Grannyg' which introduced her to interesting and inspiring fibrecrafters. For Genny, telling fibrecrafter's stories and connecting with people around the world was the part she loved the most and when she travelled to the US to attend Rhinebeck in 2010, things got even more serious. After this trip, Genny knew the global fibrecraft community was where she belonged and so decided to somehow make this her world.

Like many of us, Genny was in a job she really hated which compelled her to look at what she was going to do from a point of viability. Looking at her options, Genny knew that things such as dyeing or designing wouldn't work for her because in her own words she either didn't love the process enough for it to be a profession or it lacked scalability, relying on output vs hourly input i.e indie dying. On January 19th 2011, Genny suddenly realized that her true love was magazines as she loves to tell stories and it built on her previous skill set. Genny then identified a friend who was a magazine editor in her circle who would mentor her and set about the hard work it takes to set up your own magazine.

Building on the contacts that she'd made during her podcasting days, Genny was quickly able to attract talented writers to contribute to her publication. Once the first preview launched however, Genny had writers contacting her directly, attracted by the quality and focus of the magazine. And how did she keep them? Well, in Genny's words:

"I think they continue to be involved because I give writers a lot of free reign with content - I want them to write about stuff they're interested in, and to write the story how they see it."
(c) Entangled magazine

That's not to say Entangled has been an easy ride, with all of these writers flocking in and the international respect that it has quickly earned. Like any publisher, bills have to be paid and when you are a one woman show, finding time to dedicate to advertising, promotion and all the things that help you keep up with magazines produced by big publishing houses is tricky to say the least. Entangled is presented digitally in the hope to level the playing field, it provides content at the same cost at the same time around the world. When Genny has an issue to go, there is no delay with distribution and people get it immediately into their inboxes. It was one of the ways Genny could establish Entangled magazine on an international level and large scale.

What's more, Genny shares her vision for a good craft story with readers and has launched an indiegogo crowdfunder that will allow Entangled to grow and compete in an international market. Like so many crowdfunders, it presents supporters with the opportunity to be part of a community whice goes hand in hand with Genny's philosophy. When I asked her what advice she would give those who wished to try something similar, her advice was clear,

"Surround yourself with awesome people, find your cheerleaders - you might be surprised by who they are and who they are not, and don't be afraid. Having a good community is key and be open to where you find that. Be open to all possibilities, take every opportunity, and don't be afraid to change your life."

Genny remains pragmatic however, insisting that you need to be honest with the hard work and type of skills you need to use in order to make such a venture a success.  She admits that she loves editing and publishing Entangled and looks forward to working on it every day. It's not just a hobby, it's a work commitment and Genny strongly advises that people keep that in mind and know where their exit strategy is if it becomes too much.  Genny believes that starting your own venture is a huge sacrifice and how far you will go to make this vision a reality is all about preparation, dedication and support.

The view from Genny's home office keeps her sane!
A huge thank you to Genny for sharing her words, her advice and her vision with the playful readers. I wish her every success with her quest for craft stories.

Stay tuned for more 12 women in 12 and please do join in to show your appreciation for great business stories by either tweeting along on twitter (#12womenin12) or sharing your feelings on your own blog. Be sure to let me know/ link us in, I'd love to know what you think!

Thursday, 17 May 2012


I have a regular knit/ book club that I attend. We swap books, talk about what we like/ didn't like, drink tea or Prosecco and knit. It's fab. 

I'm loving the discussion part and I'm dreadful at knitalongs so I've proposed a readalong in the Playful Group on Ravelry. I'm aware that with Tour De Fleece and Ravelympics looming there's lots of time for listening to books (or reading if you're that clever a sausage) while we craft but perhaps not too much time to knitalong with another deadline. 

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Tag You're It! Feat. Susan Crawford

A Playful Day is kindly sponsored by Superknits, the home of super yarns for super knits. Please show your support for our playful friend by clicking on the link above- go on, spoil yourself!!!.

A Playful Day is also kindly sponsored by NorthboundKnitting, uniquely hand dyed yarn, spinning fibre and modern knitting designs. Please show your support for our playful friend by clicking on the link above.

A Playful Day is proudly sponsored by Candy Skein, hand dyed yarns sweet enough to eat! Please support our playful friend by supporting the banner above.

Show notes:

Don't forget to claim prizes!
The Scrappy Cowl Recipe
A great reaction to Giving

Team Sasquatch

Guest Susan Crawford tells us all about her wonderful knowledge of vintage knitting and her upcoming title Coronation Knits.

Fly, Fly, Fly by Adrina Thorpe, available on Music Alley
Crazy Rhythm by Bing Crosby
Contact me at:
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Friday, 11 May 2012


I was chatting to the giant the other day about blood donation. Yes, it is the kind of conversation that can come up in our house. I was reading a piece that outlined the decline in donations that occurs during national celebrations such as international football  tournaments etc. With the Olympics and the Jubilee this year, there's concern that donations will hit further rock bottom than they already have (economy is also a major factor). 

It was only while chatting that the giant revealed he'd never given blood. I was stunned. How do people NOT give blood? I mean, in my case it's obvious- I have a rare blood clotting condition. I am 100% dependent on enough people with my rare blood type donating but can do nothing to return this favour. It hurts when I read that commonly used statistic: 96% of us rely on the 4% who give blood. 

It was only when I said 'but doesn't your work provide a donation day? Or wouldn't you have thought about going with friends?' that his blank look really hit home. No one the giant knew in his daily routine was giving blood and certainly not on a regular basis.

I tweeted about this and had another shock- the only people replying were people like myself, who couldn't and wanted to as they understood the crucial need for blood donation. I simply couldn't wrap my head around it. Those who can in my family all give blood, we've learned what it means to be saved by it and as my sister once said 'some day, some one's blood may help save my sister, I want to do the same in return'.This from a girl who is rigid afraid of needles.

It prompted me to write this blog post to encourage you to give blood, encourage friends and family and be a superhero and literally save lives. If you do, please let me know. I'll be so proud of you!

For information about UK donations, please visit here.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Spinning Progress

Well it's official..... I made yarn

I have to say I loved playing with fibre and I completely and utterly understand the addiction to spinning. It is soothing and xen and you just feel so clever! I have so much to learn and my main issue was that I swapped for a second bobbin and put it on..... the wrong way round. So the second bobbin was less than smooth which is a shame as I was starting to spin really consistently. 

I am pleased though and while some spots are a little funky, I think I like what I produced. I couldn't stop laughing at the yarn before I'd given it a good soak and thwack. Talk about energised! I love the way though that you can calm it down. 

I see more spinning in my future. Of course the issue is now, what do you knit with an unknown yardage.... with an inconsistent weight? Anyone?

Saturday, 5 May 2012

A Different Kind of Recipe

Some time ago I submitted an article idea to Knit Now magazine that involved the rebirth of the scrap and its many uses. Since hexipuffs became the addiction de jour for many knitters, I was intrigued why scraps had been so maligned for so long. I wanted to write about it. 

There was one hitch: I had to include a pattern to go with the article. Now I know a fair amount about construction, technique, and many technical aspects of knitting. I know what I like. I like to experiment with patterns. I help edit patterns and I know how involved the design process is, what it takes to be a designer.

A designer I am not. 

So I proposed a 'recipe' in a tribute to Elizabeth Zimmerman. She was the mistress of a few details and careful things to consider and letting the knitter have their fun. Being a playful kind of girl, I approve and felt this was probably more within my reach. So this month, Knit Now features an article and recipe for mixing up colours in a Scrappy Cowl

The yarn is a lovely scrunchy aran weight from the wonderful Superknits called Catherine and is featured in Chasing Pavements and That Bar In Tokyo but can be knit in pretty much any weight. The article helps you choose colour and check out what you have as a scrap and the rest is down to a little playful imagination. 

I have been chastised for not calling this a design but I am firm in my belief that one project does not a designer make. I am also firm that writing down what you did is not the same as constructing something from an informed design process. I prefer recipe. I like anything that sounds yummy.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Pod-i-versary Winners

Well the response to the pod-i-versary giveaway was overwhelming and sitting and reading each and every post was so touching and gave me so many ideas. I have a podcast note book that I keep and let me tell you, there's a lot of 'MUST DO THIS' type notes in there currently. I can't wait to share another year with you all. Thank you for your kind and thoughtful messages. 

Of course, you just want to know if you were picked by the random number generator right? Ok then....

Winner number 101: HappyCrafter207- A copy of Juju's Loops, kindly donated by our friends at Loop, London
Winner number 118: Anitat- Romney Combed Top, approx. 4 ounces, colourway 'Femme Fatale' from our fabulous sponsor, Northbound Knitting.
Winner number 41: CraftFidget- two skeins Superwash Merino DK, 230 yards/100g skein, in the colourway 'Isis', also from Northbound Knitting, plus a copy of Uncommon Clouds and Quoth The Raven, Lisa's ebook pattern collection.
Winner number 97: Silverbirks- from wonder dyer Skein Queen, 2 skeins of Opulent cashmere, an Addi needle, a Some Lovely Things to Knit with Skein Queen yarn pattern booklet, some Fripperies and Bibelots stitch markers, all in a natural cotton drawstring project bag.

Winner number 174: Elliecat- a skein of Yummy Fingering in the winners choice of colourway (excluding retired club colourways) from our sweet sponsor, Candy Skein.
Winner number 144: Mooncalf - a copy of the Scrumptious Collection, Volume 1 and a skein Rural Charm 4ply in the winner's choice of colourway from our fab friends at Fyberspates (try saying that 3 times fast)
Winner number 169: Rhian82- a lovely project bag from the delightful blog sponsor, The Lollipop Stop

Please send me a PM on Ravelry where I am Greentrianglegirl or ping me an email at the usual address to claim your prize.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Thank you

I wanted to say a heartfelt thank you to every person who invested in the podcast for the donation incentive. I have now budgeted a year's worth of giveaways and trips and am so excited!

I have just hit the random number generator and have sent the emails to the 3 lucky winners. Please check your inboxes and spam and get back to me asap! 

Tomorrow I'll be announcing the pod-i-versary giveaway winners on the blog so please keep an eye here. 

Also, if you are a Londoner please don't forget to vote tomorrow for our London Mayor. London is having a huge amount of focus on it right now and after last summer's unrest, please take time to have your vote counted. If you're still unsure, there's a vote decider to help you get a summary of where you might sit.