Monthly Archives: February 2015

Fair Isle Knitting – a radio 4 programme for you to listen to + more knitting info

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current fair isle knitting from the shetland collection

current fair isle knitting from the shetland collection

During January, BBC Radio 4, and Woman’s Hour, unusually, had a theme running about knitting, which I saved and thought I’d put it up on the blog for anyone who would be interested.

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Among the old programmes they added to their ‘Archive Page’, was this one, about Fair Isle. I’ve never tried copying one of these before, so if it doesn’t work, the page link is below this box.
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I have tested it, and if you click “listen in pop up player” you should get a new page and the 30 minute programme, with picture, direct from the BBC.  The original programme was first broadcast on SAT 31ST JULY 2010.
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I’m not sure whether this is a permanent ‘archive’ or whether, if you try and listen to it in a few weeks time, it will have been withdrawn from the iplayer – but its here now, if you want to listen to it – along with a link to the full archive page, below.

Fair Isle Knitting

Listen in pop-out player

Moira Hickey visits Fair Isle, famous around the world for its knitting. With a plentiful supply of wool from the island’s hardy Shetland sheep, knitting kept many families from starvation, and the craft is still economically important for Fair Isle. Yet with Shetland schools soon to drop knitting from the curriculum, can it survive for much longer? Will Shetland’s children still learn to knit, and if they don’t, will it really matter? Moira Hickey visits Fair Isle to look at the importance of knitting to the islanders, and to ask what the future holds for this traditional craft. Available now

This is the link to the programme if you can’t use the the pop up link

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00t5vkh#auto

And this is the link to the whole Archive they put together on knitting

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/24yX6CDWJH6QkjvmJ3shhzF/radio-4-knitting

newz from julz: yarns for knitting & weaving

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scarfcopysThis post is written as a checklist for the latest newz from julz update, which goes out to all the customers on my mailing list – its easier to put the pictures and links on this blog, where they can be seen clearly, than try and put them all into an email.

I sell in the UK and WORLDWIDE

Anyone who reads this can join the mailing list – please go to the shop talk page, where you will find a form to fill in.  newz from julz updates are sent out when there is new stock or other useful information, and are not available unless you are on the mailing list, which has nothing to do with following this blog! If you want to know more about any of the yarns on this page, clicking on any warping yarn picture will take you to the ‘slideshow’ of these yarns and if you then click on the underlined caption, it should take you to the current listing.  Clicking on the pictures of the novelty yarns will take you to the listings directly. Of course anyone is welcome to buy anything they see on any of the sites I sell on – links to my etsy shop, my folksy shop, and my two sites on ebay, are underneath my photo on the right hand side.  If you are not registered on any of them, you are welcome to buy direct.

warping yarns for weavers

Warping Yarns are particularly strong and can take the strain of being the “vertical yarns” on the loom, as they are kept under tension whilst the cloth is woven.  They can also be used  for the weft – ie: you can weave with them – and for crochet and macrame. You can also knit with them.  Many knitters are so used to small balls of knitting yarn, that they don’t realise that you can knit straight from the cone – just put the cone in a bag or basket to keep it clean and allow the thread to be easily drawn. When you click on the pictures below, some of them will take you to julzweaving on ebay, and others will take you to julz craft supplies on etsy.  That does not mean that they cannot be found on the other sites, but as ebay listings don’t last as long as the etsy ones, I have used the etsy site for listings on ebay that are near to their end date. NB:  the links are current at the date of posting, but may not work in a few weeks time – that does not mean that I don’t still stock them – see below!

novelty yarns for textile arts

sample pack of tu-tu yarns

sample pack of tu-tu yarns

Anyone with an eye for unusual ideas and novelty yarns to experiment with will enjoy these ‘Imagine’ and ‘Tu-Tu’ yarns – but they may take some getting used to! Samples are available on request, and there is a particular sample pack of 4 colourways of Tu-Tu which is also listed.  If you would like to request a variation of colours, please ‘buy’ the pack and send me a separate request for the specific colours you would like in the pack.  (There are numbers on the banding that you can use for reference.

*tutu yarn mixed

hanks of multicoloured tu-tu yarn

You can actually knit with these, and create ruffles within your pattern, and there are links to free patterns on the listings, on both etsy and ebay – all of these are currently listed on both sites, clicking on these pictures will take you to one or the other. You can also use them as eyecatchers by weaving bits of them into your work, adding them to needlework and sewing projects and incorporating them in any any collage or textile art project.

hanks of single colour tu-tu yarn

hanks of single colour tu-tu yarn

Similarly unusual, and useful for art work, are the imagine yarns, which have been created to be used to make things like scarves without knitting them! They comes as ‘tubes of webbing’, and there is a link on the listing to a video that shows how to make a scarf in a few minutes.  Buy a hank and see what else you can use these for!

These listings have expiry dates, and the links may not work in a few weeks time, but I will have stock of most of the yarns shown on this page on a regular basis, so if you cannot find the listings, please use the form on the contact me page and I will send you the link.

hanks of 'imagine' yarn

hanks of ‘imagine’ yarn

Happy Chinese New Year

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Happy Chinese New Year

Is it the ‘year of the goat’, or the ‘year of the sheep’?  Well let’s ask an expert – smile!

Thanks Debbie, for permission to re-blog any of your posts, and as its the Chinese New Year on Thursday 19 February this year, I thought I’d choose this one, after all as you live in China, its the most appropriate one!  If readers are interested in this post, you might also like to look at the previous post on spaceship china “Going Home for the New Year”.

spaceship china

If you do a quick internet search, you’ll find the most popular Chinese New Year expressions are

新年快乐   Xīn Nián Kuài Le,  or 年年有余 nián nián  you yu.

These expressions are found everywhere on the internet because they are actually used regularly in China. The first one is simply “happy new year” and the second one means “every year have fish” – a way of wishing prosperity for all.

You’ll also hear 过年好 guo nian hao – meaning the old year has passed, and indicating best wishes for the passing of the old year and the beginning of the new.

With the year of the sheep or goat ( 羊 yang can mean both sheep and goat) arriving, expressions with these animals are popular. Whilst  expressions relating to goat are common , the cuddly toys which fill shops every Chinese New Year are more likely to be sheep than goats –…

View original post 105 more words

what is jute? – information sheet no 1

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Information sheets are an idea I have had for a while – these will, hopefully, be a resource for all readers. This is the first of a library of i/sheets that you can consult at any time. I do not intend to write them all – if you have an idea for one and would like to submit it, please use the form on the ‘contact me’ page.  There is no planned timetable for posting these, they will appear – as and when – a good subject comes along!

WHAT IS JUTE?

hessian sacking

hessian sacking

spun jute for weaving and twine

spun jute for weaving

I have been buying in quite a lot of jute, in one form or another.  There is hessian, cones of spun jute for weaving, and garden ties, shopping bags and laundry/storage baskets – all currently listed across the 4 sites you will find underneath my photo on the right hand side. (Clicking on these 3 photos will also take you to my sites.) I just accepted the notion that it is a cheap, reliably strong material from which certain products were made. I didn’t even pause to wonder where it grew and what it was – maybe you were always better informed than I was – but I doubt if everyone knows much about jute and where it comes from.

jute laundry basket

jute laundry basket

It is always described as Eco Friendly by my suppliers, and I can trust their descriptions, because they provide proof of where the items come from and even pictures of the people that make them. But – come to think of it – I can’t remember them doing a piece on jute! So the first place I went to for information was Wikipedia – easy as that!  They even had pictures! “Jute is a long, soft, shiny vegetable fiber that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. It is produced from plants in the genus Corchorus. ……..”Jute” is the name of the plant or fiber that is used to make burlap, Hessian or gunny cloth……..Jute is one of the most affordable natural fibers and is second only to cotton in amount produced and variety of uses of vegetable fibers. Jute fibers are composed primarily of the plant materials cellulose and lignin……. The fibers are off-white to brown, and 1–4 metres (3–13 feet) long. Jute is also called “the golden fiber” for its color and high cash value. Another search for pictures led me to this blog, written in 2012, so rather than paraphrase it, I’m just copying most of it from:

Jute Harvesting and Basic Processing

jute rope

jute rope

Jute is a natural fibre that is mainly grown across West Bengal in India and in Bangladesh with some also grown in, Myanmar, Uzbekistan, Thailand and China. The jute is taken from the stem and the skin of the stem, which is called the ribbon.  It is a crop that has been used for centuries and there is evidence that the Chinese were using jute fibres as the basis for early paper. The industry really began to develop with the building of large scale mills during the time of the British East India Company.  The jute was initially exported to the UK and to Dundee in particular, where there was a well-established flax industry. Initially the fibre could only be processed by hand but it was discovered that whale oil allowed to be processed by machine.  The jute industry went through a boom time and the factory owners in Dundee became known as the Jute Barons.  This is yet another example of the value being added to the product outside of the “colonies” for the greater good of the colonial powers.  Following the decline and fall of the British Empire and the discovery and mass production of artificial fibres the mills began to close.  The industry has been in decline for some years, and although the demand for natural fibres has improved things, the increase has not been as great as hoped. Jute is known as the “golden fibre” in Bangladesh and is an important source of income for the farmers. I took these photographs during my recent trip to northern Bangladesh, around Saidpur. It was the end of the growing season and the harvest was just beginning. The jute is harvested and then allowed to soak for a few days in water before the fibres can be stripped off and left to dry. It is then transported, often by bicycle rickshaw, to collection points before being taken to the mills where it is processed and turned into the familiar fibres found in sacks, carpet backing and bags. Jute can also be processed into finer, more delicate yarns which occasionally are turned into clothes. Jute awaiting harvest Jute being harvested The jute is then bundled and left to soak in water.  Here it’s soaking next to a partially flooded Hindu graveyard After the jute has soaked for a few days, the fibres can then be stripped from the stems The fibres are then dried, often on the side of the road before being taken to the collection points and then the mills And going back to Wikipedia

  • Jute fiber is 100% bio-degradable and recyclable and thus environmentally friendly.

    coffee sacks made of jute

    coffee sacks made of jute

  • Jute has low pesticide and fertilizer needs.
  • It is a natural fiber with golden and silky shine and hence called The Golden Fiber.
  • It is the cheapest vegetable fiber procured from the bast or skin of the plant’s stem.
  • It is the second most important vegetable fiber after cotton, in terms of usage, global consumption, production, and availability.

Jute has loads of uses – and the leaves are eaten in many of the producing countries These are the 2011 production figures for the various countries that produce jute:

Top ten jute producers — 2011[8]
Country Production (Tonnes)
 India 1,924,326
 Bangladesh 1,523,315
 People’s Republic of China 43,500
 Uzbekistan 18,930
   Nepal 14,418
 Vietnam 8,304
 Burma 2,508
 Zimbabwe 2,298
 Thailand 2,184
 Egypt 2,100
 World 3,583,235

How to shorten a metal zipper without wrecking your good sewing scissors

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Some time ago, I came across a post about shortening zips – an idea I hadn’t come across before. I did ask the lady if she would like to contribute a piece for my SHOW & TELL feature, but I never heard back from her.

I went looking for it, for the Re-Blog Wednesday challenge, and I couldn’t find it, but I did find this one, written in 2012, it is a step by step tutorial on how to do it – hopefully some of you will find it useful!

whirlwind

Shortening a coil zipper is easy – just cut through the teeth and whipstitch a stop, right? But what about if you’ve got the problem of a pattern that needs an 8″ zipper, and all they carry in the silver zipper department is this zipper, which is clearly 9″ long  –

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I’ll admit that up until this week, I would have just cut off the end of the zipper and sewn over the teeth. Of course, I woulda wound up potentially damaging my scissors, AND I’ve definitely bent a few needles using this method. Last weekend, I realized that there is a better way to shorten a metal zipper that keeps your scissors sharp and doesn’t risk the potential eye injury related to flying shards of broken needles. So here I share with you my revelation!

Shortening a metal zipper

Supplies

  • metal zipper that needs to be shortened
  • a needle-nose…

View original post 605 more words

Aside

snippet heard on the Jeremy Vine Show (BBC Radio 2) whilst I was driving this afternoon ….not verbatim

“Well I’m a delivery driver, and we’ve got wi-fi in our

vehicles, so when I’m on a break I’m sitting in the van

designing websites for WordPress customers”

He went on to ask for tax advice and what he needed to declare as a small business.

7 Feb:  I’ve now had time to listen to the whole 2 hours of Thursday’s show on iplayer:

On Jeremy Vine today  subjects covered are FGM, Tesco’s supply chain, an interview with a German journalist who had access to ISIS, and nine to fivers, which is where the snippet above came from.  If you only want to listen to that its 1hr 36mins into the programme.

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WordPress Travelling Salesman …..?