Tunisian Crochet – the best of both worlds!

We’re often asked…what exactly is Tunisian crochet?

Well, the short answer is that it is a craft that combines the best of knitting and crochet – you use a hook like crochet, but it’s as long as a knitting needle, and you keep a whole row of stitches on the hook, like knitting. You can achieve many different stitches and effects, and even combine it with regular crochet. It produces quite a dense and textured fabric, which is great for making warm and cozy cowls and mitts, or even fabric for bags, purses and cushions.


Why “Tunisian”? Well, the name is a bit misleading! It’s also been called over the years: Afghan Crochet, Shepherd’s Knitting, German Work, Railway Knitting (named after the girls on the trains going to work in English factories in the 1800s), Russian Work, Tricot Work, and many more. Some believe that the technique evolved from the ‘hook knitting’ of Egypt, Afghanistan, and Tunisia, which uses two long needles with hooked ends. We might guess from the terms ‘Afghan’ and ‘Tunisian’ that it originated in the Near East or northern Africa, but there’s not a lot of evidence to substantiate that. In fact, most believe that the term ‘Tunisian crochet’ was coined by the French. By the early 1800s directions for Tunisian stitches began appearing in publications for crocheters. It was used at the time primarily for blankets, as the dense stitches Tunisian lends itself so well to are ideal for creating warm layers. By the mid-19th century it was practiced in Western Europe and the British Isles (where, some claim, it was known as “Royal Princess Knitting” in honor of Victoria’s use of it). (Thanks to Crochetvolution blog for this fascinating info!).

If you fancy learning being part of the great resurgence of interest in this wonderful craft, our lovely crochet teacher Di Stewart is running a workshop on Tuesday 13th March. There are still some place available so get in touch to book! 01626 836203.

The workshop will teach you the basic stitches and techniques, working towards making a pair of unique Tunisian handwarmers (see below)


Once you’ve mastered the skills, the world is your oyster – here is just a small selection of the type of things you can make using Tunisian Crochet (images from Ravelry.com)



Learn a New Skill this Autumn

The leaves are turning colour, the days are getting shorter…what better way to prepare for winter than learning a few new skills with renowned designer and teacher Anniken Allis at one of our workshops?


Firstly on Tuesday 11th October we have Easy Lace Knitting.

A quick glance at the latest designs in the knitting magazines and online shows that Lace Knitting is more than just a skill – it’s an art form! Whilst it may look complicated, most lace patterns are made up of a handful of stitches which you probably already know. It’s not just for fancy shawls either – you can use lace to add a pretty border on some mitts, as a panel on a summery top, or even on socks and hats!

The workshop will teach you how to read the charts (which provide a visual aid to the written instructions), how to work the stitches and decreases required for lace knitting, how to add beads with a crochet hook, and how to shape within a lace pattern. It’s suitable for adventurous novice and intermediate knitters.


Next up we have an exciting workshop teaching you how to knit Two Socks at a Time, on Tuesday 15th November.

Why would I want to do that, you might ask? Well, did you know that Second Sock Syndrome is rife among sock knitters? The joy of finishing the first sock is replaced by the weary feeling of having to repeat the whole process again. As a result, single socks linger sadly in the knitting bags of many a sock knitter! Beat it by learning how to knit two socks at a time, top-down, using circular needles. You can either use magic loop method or the two circulars method, whichever you are most comfortable with. We stock a dazzling array of sock yarns in the shop – from self striping, colour-shifting, to self-patterning!

Learn how to cast on and arrange your stitches onto the needles, how to work the heel flap, heel turn, and gusset, and all the other skills needed to knit a pair of socks in one go. (Please note, this workshop is suitable for adventurous and intermediate knitters who have knitted at least one pair of basic socks from the top down.)


Both workshops cost £49 for the day, which includes Joyce’s delicious home-cooked lunch and teatime treats. For more information and to book please call 01626 836203, or email us at customerservices@spinayarndevon.co.uk

A little information about Anniken Allis…one of our most long standing teachers at Spin A Yarn, top knitwear designer Anniken specialises in lace knitting, which she loves to add beads to. Growing up in Norway, she learned to knit before she left primary school, knitting continental style. When she moved back to the UK, she resumed knitting, found a love for blogging (follow her adventures at Annis Knitting Blog), and started writing up her own patterns (we still have some of her earliest patterns here in the shop!).

Anniken taught herself lace knitting (and cables) by using online videos, books and magazines, and quickly realised that it was much easier to knit from charts. Her patterns are regularly published in national magazines such as Debbie Bliss, Knitscene, Interweave Knits, and she even achieved her goal of having a pattern published in Vogue Knitting!


Teacher Focus – Alison Crowther Smith

Alison is well known and loved by many of our customers, but for those new to her designs and workshops, we thought we’d share some information about her inspirations, design process and some of her latest workshops.

Alison Crowther Smith

Having previously worked for Rowan Yarns as a Design Consultant, Joyce met Alison through the Rowan Rep at the time back in 2008. A passionate and committed knitting teacher, she has taught regular workshops at Spin A Yarn, with her wonderful moebius cowl workshops often selling out within days!

(What’s a moebius cowl you ask? It uses a specially adapted cast-on to knit a continuous loop cowl with one half twist – which sits beautifully and shows off both sides of the knitting.)


Her knitting focuses on detailed, often delicate designs with the emphasis on accessories and the occasional foray into home-ware knitting such as cushion covers and wonderfully snuggly throws.


She is perhaps best known for a career-long love affair with one of our favourite yarns, Rowan’s best selling Kidsilk Haze, along with beads – exploring texture, subtle colour-ways and elegant knits.

When asked about her design process she said

“I am a very literal designer. When I see pleasing images, especially shapes, my mind instantly begins to try and recreate something of that imagery, in a knitted design. Once I know what I want to knit, I work backwards and layer the design elements into it. My focus tends to be on detailed features, such as a tailored cuff or a decorative texture, which I hope add elegance and a sense of the ‘whole’, as well as being really pleasing to knit.

Because I break my design process down into these layers, often the overall impression may be of an intricate, even difficult knit; but in fact, if I have a trade-mark I think it would be that each element of my designs is not very difficult to knit, but added together, they look as if they were. One of my aims is to make you, the knitter, feel amazing. 

I also like fairly small or medium-sized projects, because I am a big fan of completing my knitting within a reasonable timescale, or at least within my tolerance for boredom, which is fairly generous – but not boundless.”

Alison lives and works in Somerset where she draws inspiration from the local landscapes, saying “this large and beautiful county is full of vivid contrasts and atmospheric landscapes”.

We are featuring several new workshops from Alison in our Autumn Programme this year. More Moebius Designs is already fully booked, but here are two which you still have time to secure a place on!

Rise Scarf – Thursday 3rd November 2016 – £49 including home-cooked lunch and teatime treats.

Rise Scarf

Rise is a mirror image scarf – almost. On one side, the silver thread dominates, whilst on the other side, soft green woolen yarn eclipses the frost. Each year I am amazed by the sturdiness of snow-drops as they push through the crusted snow or frosted earth, granular from the repeated freeze and thaw. That is what I saw when I designed this scarf.


This slender tubular scarf is knitted in the round – on DPNs, by magic loop method, or on two short circulars – whichever method you are more comfortable with! You will need 2-3 balls of DK yarn, plus 1-2 balls of Kidsilk Haze, and 3.75mm plus 4mm needles suitable for knitting in the round – and one stitch marker. Don’t forget you get a 10% discount voucher (15% off for Loyalty Card holders) on the day if you prefer to choose when you get here.

Owl Mitts – Friday 11th November 2016 – £49 including home-cooked lunch and teatime treats.

Owl Mitts

Who can resist these sweet tiny owls adorning the wrist of these cute mitts? They are quick, economical, and a great Christmas gift too, particularly for any bird-lovers or teens (owls are still very trendy!). The owls are formed using cable techniques – you’ll be amazed to see them forming up before your eyes. The course is suitable for knitters who are reasonably experienced but if you cannot already knit in the round, Alison will teach you to do this on DPNs so please bring some.

You will need 2 balls of DK yarn with a high wool content, plus 3mm needles to knit in the round. Also 3 stitch markers, a cable needle, 20 beads (size 5 or 6), or 20 tiny buttons (we stock some!). If you are a very tight knitter please also consider bringing 3.25mm needles. Don’t forget you get a 10% discount voucher (15% off for Loyalty Card holders) on the day if you prefer to choose when you get here.

To book just call 01626 836203 or email us with your contact details and which workshop you’re interested in on customerservices@spinayarndevon.co.uk and we’ll call you back. You can view all our workshops at https://www.spinayarndevon.co.uk/workshops/

We also sell Alison’s latest and VERY gorgeous pattern book, Elements, in the shop. You can read more about it here.

Smith and Jones Elements Cover


Spin A Yarn talks to….Lorna’s Laces

Lorna’s Laces are the newest addition to the shelves of Spin A Yarn. Joyce chose their hand-dyed Shepherd’s Sock range as she loved how their fresh, bright and contemporary range of colourways shine on their beautiful quality sock yarn.


We know this company is new to many of you, so we asked owner Beth a few questions – and hope you enjoy her replies!

1) How did Lorna’s Laces come about – how did you get into yarn dyeing? How many people now work with you?
Lorna’s Laces began life on a small hobby farm in California in the 1990’s. The original owner had a couple of sheep and a few angora rabbits whose wool she spun and dyed.

As time went on, she began buying commercially available yarn and dyeing it for her local market. And people loved it! Slowly but surely, the yarn became more well known and the company grew. But, her true love was designing patterns rather than dyeing yarn, so she decided to sell the company. That’s where I come in.

I worked for many years in publishing. It was a great job, but I knew there was something missing, passion. I left that job in 2000 and went on a search for it. I studied bread baking at the French Culinary School in Manhattan and worked some odd jobs here and there, but nothing was quite right.

Maybe I should back up a little here and tell you how I came to become a knitter. I don’t have the classic story of learning from my mother or grandmother. When I first started that job in publishing, I had just moved to a new city and didn’t know a single person. I worked from home, so things were very lonely. One day, I met with two of my colleagues and they were both wearing hand knit sweaters. I was intrigued. So, the next day, I went to my local yarn store and signed up for a class. I was immediately hooked. Not only did I love to knit, but I had found my community. I wasn’t lonely anymore. I was home.

Lorna's Laces owner, Beth

Lorna’s Laces owner, Beth

So, we’re back to the part of the story where I’m tying to figure out what was going to be next for me in terms of work. It is the fall of 2002. One evening I was thumbing through a knitting magazine and ran across one of those small classifieds in the back. There was a yarn company for sale and I replied to the ad. We spent the next couple of months negotiating the contract and in January of 2003, I became the owner of Lorna’s Laces.
We are not a big company, just seven of us. We all wear many hats. You likely to find me answering the phone or up to my elbows in dye. It’s all in a days work.

Lornas Laces stand

Lornas Laces stand

2) We love all the unusual colourways and their equally fun names. Where do you find the inspiration (for both!)
Colorways come from many places, but mostly from keeping my eyes open and paying attention to the world around me. Let me give you a couple of examples.

– One Fall evening I was walking home and noticed a big terra cotta pot of yellow and orange mums on a neighbors porch. The next morning I went into work and put dye to yarn and created Glenwood. It’s a lovely multicolor with orange and yellow for the flowers, a sage green for the leaves and brick for the pot.


–  Another time I was shopping for bath towels. Instead of walking in and just grabbing the color I needed, I stopped and really looked around at the way the different colors played against one another. Some of them spoke to me and a 10 minute trip turned in an hour. I moved things around, made piles and more piles, took some pictures and put everything back. That trip gave me inspiration for a few different colors.

– The last thing I want to share with you is the power of serendipity. We had a batch of a color that turned out badly. Some yellows and purples got mixed up and looked just awful. They were so bad that I didn’t even want to throw them in the millends box. I had some leftover dye from another color I was working on. I just poured them all together and tossed in the ugly yarn. Lo and behold, Lakeview was born. I had to do a little reverse engineering to figure out how to recreate it, but it was worth it. Lakeview is always one of our top 10 best selling colors.


We really try and have fun with the names. We generally pick a scheme for the season and go around the table and everyone gets to pick a color and match it to a name that fits the scheme. We’ve done Gentleman’s Haberdashery, Favorite Chicago Landmark, Chicago Mayors, Silly Monsters….

3) What’s your favourite base yarn to dye, and how do you go about selecting unusual new yarns and fibres to add to your collection?
That’s a bit like asking “which is your favorite child”? Can I pick two? I love dyeing Shepherd Sock because it behaves very well. It’s the child who does what it is supposed to and is a bit predictable. It drinks up dye and almost always turns out the way it is supposed to. Haymarket [single ply 100% Bluefaced Leicester wool] is a bit more feisty. Colors are bolder and even though we sometimes get a surprise that extra depth of color is always worth it.

630 Bittersweet

Shepherds Sock

4) Is there a style of dyeing you most enjoy? We love your speckle and splatter shades and think they must be great fun to create!
Right now, I really enjoy dyeing SplatterShot!. I think that’s because it is new and a bit of a challenge. I have been doing the traditional multis and nearly solids for over a decade and this brings something fresh and fun to the day.

Lorna's Laces Splattershot style yarn

Lorna’s Laces Splattershot style yarn

5) For a customer new to Lorna’s Laces and wanting to try them out, what would you recommend as a great project to showcase one or two skeins of your yarn?
There are a few things that have caught my eye lately. Reyna from Noora Laivola is a lovely shawl that makes multicolors sing. Sarah Abram’s Sigrim is a great one skein project as well.
Fine Kettle by Jeanette Cross requires a third skein, but I wear mine all season long.

Fine Kettle shawl by Jennette Cross

Fine Kettle shawl by Jennette Cross

Vashti Braha’s Bare Bones Scarf is nice for crocheters. It’s so hard to narrow things down when it comes to socks. You can’t go wrong with classics like Cookie A’s Monkey Socks or Grumperina’s Jaywalker. I also like to check out Hunter Hammerstein’s offerings. Her Pelagia Noctiluca and Singularly Disenchanting are both really nice. [Note from Spin A Yarn – click on the pattern names to go and check them out on Ravelry! And if you have any trouble accessing Ravelry, we’re always happy to help you get set up.]

Jaywalker Socks

Jaywalker Socks

6) We currently stock Shepherd Sock… increasingly, many of our customers use sock yarn for knitting shawls and other accessories. What type of project do you particularly enjoy making yourself, and love seeing your yarns knitted up as?
I always have several projects going at once. Usually one that is simple that I can toss in my bag and go and another that requires a little more attention. I’ve been on a small project jag lately making lots of shawls and socks. But I’m hearing the siren song of the sweater lately. Maybe it’s because fall is right around the corner. Sweaters are substantial and there’s nothing quite having someone admire one and being able to answer “Thanks, I made it myself”.

Ripplerock Wrap

Ripplerock Wrap by Allison LoCicero – knitted in Shepherds Sock, from the latest Twist Collective pattern collection.

7) What was the inspiration behind the brand name Lorna’s Laces?
Sorry, I don’t have a good story here… The company was named by the previous owner. When I bought it, it was an established brand and I decided to leave it alone.

8) And finally, we’re great animal lovers here at Spin A Yarn. Tell us a little bit about Sam!
When I bought Lorna’s Laces, my husband and I had two Great Danes, Hank and Pearl. Isn’t if funny that I ended up working in yarn? Anyway, after we lost Pearl, we took a couple of years off. When we decided we were ready for another dog, we decided that we wanted something that would live longer than 7 or 8 years. We also talked about getting a mature dog. One that would be house trained and quiet. We even tossed around the phrase “old and fat”. Well, let me just say that plan didn’t quite work out. We went down to the animal shelter and immediately fell in love with the five month old bundle of crazy we named Sam.

lornas laces Sam

I had his DNA tested and it turns out he’s 1/2 Boxer, 1/4 German Shorthaired Pointer and 1/4 American Staffordshire Terrier. We love him to pieces and wouldn’t trade him for all the yarn in the world.

Thank you for answering our questions, Beth!

You can view the yarns on our website here or pop into the shop and ask to pet them 😉

Shilasdair Yarns – Highland Inspirations from the Isle of Skye


all about shilasdair

Shilasdair Yarns were one of the first unusual British brands which Joyce stocked, introducing their beautiful yarns to us back in 2011.

We’ve enjoyed following the evolution of this very special company, and thought you might like to learn a bit more about their work.

Eva dyeing in the 90s

Eva dyeing in the 90s

Eva Lambert started her textile career as a tapestry weaver in the 1970s. Inspired herself by the intense but subtle colours of the Highland landscape and by a historic legacy of Scottish natural dyeing which once utilized such locally available plants as tansy, woad, lichens and lady’s bedstraw Eva began natural dyeing by hand for her own use in weaving.

Collecting plants for dyeing

Collecting plants for dyeing

Eva bypassed the old, smelly woad recipes – which required liberal macerations (soaking) with urine – and fragile lichen and other local plant ecosystems, for cultivated natural dyes, though common and easily grown tansy remained a favourite. She had no thought beyond her weaving requirements, but knitter friends saw this subtle variation and the vibrant beauty of natural dyed yarns, and began asking her to dye for them. By the 90’s Eva was hand dyeing full time and had her own shop on the magical Isle of Skye.

Owners of other shops had meantime visited the shop on Skye and begun to ask for the yarns. The final, logical step was to upgrade the dyeing facility and dye to trade, adding weaving yarns to the range. Shilasdair uses as much local, natural dye sourcing as possible, but the inspiration for the colour range comes from the intense palette provided by another nature source – the colours of wild Scotland and the Scottish Highlands.

Yarn being wound into skeins

Yarn being wound into skeins

Natural dyeing is an art, and Shilasdair’s skill lies in evoking those colours. Besides what they can glean locally, they build their palette with the tried and tested natural dye sources – indigo, madder, logwood, lac and cochineal. Shilasdair uses as much local, natural dye sourcing as possible, but the inspiration for the colour range comes from the intense palette provided by another nature source – the colours of wild Scotland and the Scottish Highlands. You can view their spectacular range of colours next to their inspirations on their website here: Shilasdair’s Colour Palette

A rainbow of Shilasdair

A rainbow of Shilasdair

Meanwhile Eva’s story took on its own impetus as she appeared several times on UK television programmes, lectured in UK and United States, and undertook historical dye commissions for public exhibitions such as that of the Great Bed of Ware coverlet in the Millenium Exhibition, Victoria and Albert museum.

Great Bed of Ware

Great Bed of Ware – Eva served as the natural dyer to the Scottish Firm of Angus Weavers commissioned to reproduce the linens and bed hangings of this historical bed.

Nowadays the principle remains the same, for natural dyes are still extracted by hand as can be seen in the tansy pics below, but now they are pumped through to yarns waiting in steam heated dye cabinets, allowing for 20 kg instead of 2 kg to be dyed at once. Compared to industrial scale production, this is still a small, hands-on, creative dye method. Colours can be changed and modified and subtle new colours produced when required – here at Spin A Yarn, we look forward to seeing the subtle changes in colour season to season with each new batch of yarn. Most importantly, the characteristic intense and beautiful variation is the same as it was in the 1970’s.

Using tansy for dyeing the yarn a beautiful sunshine yellow

Using tansy for dyeing the yarn a beautiful sunshine yellow

Shilasdair dye a range of different fibers, but Joyce chose their Luxury DK and 4ply for her customers –  a typically luxurious blend of 10% cashmere, 10% baby camel, 40% angora and 40% fine merino lambswool, which gets softer and softer the longer it is worn and has a lovely gentle ‘halo’. The colour is beautifully semi-solid, giving a gently variegated effect often only found in other high-end hand-dyed yarns such as malabrigo and madelinetosh. A quick look on Ravelry brings up some beautiful patterns knitted in Shilasdair – Manu by Kate Davies is one of our favourites (Jane from the shop has knitted it!) – you can find many more ideas here – or click on the pattern names below the images below to go directly to the patterns.


big star

Big Star by Julia Billings

windswept rav

Windswept by tincanknits

manu ravManu by Kate Davies

We’ve just had a fresh delivery of these gorgeous yarns in the shop, so do pop in and have a look, or view them online here. We’d also love to see any projects you’ve knitted using Shilasdair yarn – just share your photo on our Facebook page or email it to us at customerservices@spinayarndevon.co.uk and we’ll add it to our gallery.

Shilasdair Luxury DK

Shilasdair Luxury DK

With thanks to Shilasdair Yarns for their beautiful and informative website.

The Autumn 2016 Newsletter and Workshop Schedule is here!

While we might still seem to be waiting for Summer to arrive, you’ll be pleased to hear that our Autumn Schedule has just been printed and it contains a treasure trove of workshops, plus a free pattern from Malabrigo.

Autumn Programme

New workshops this season include…

Knitting the Octavia Shawl with Anniken Allis – a stunning new lace shawl, which you can accessorise with matching fingerless mitts afterwards!

Octavia Shawl Workshop with Anniken Allis

Octavia Shawl and Fingerless Mitts

A NEW, advanced Moebius Cowl designs workshop from Alison Crowther Smith, plus a workshop learning her cute new owl themed mitts.

Owl Mitts

Owl Mitts

An exciting opportunity to learn all about Estonian lace knitting with a new teacher, Ethel Hiller. You’ll learn some of the history and the main techniques needed for this exquisitely delicate knitting style.

Estonian Lace Knitting

Estonian Lace Knitting

We also have new workshops from Claire Crompton, Di Stewart and another of our very popular Spinning Workshops coming.

We’re also thrilled to be featuring a free pattern from Malabrigo – the Willowdell Shawl

Here’s a sneak peek…

willowdell lace

Keep an eye on your post over the next week or so – if we don’t already have your current postal address, just drop us an email at customerservices@spinayarndevon.co.uk and we’ll make sure you get one. Many of our workshops sell out very fast, so don’t delay booking when your programme arrives!

Plus…If you pop in to the shop to collect your copy, you can even book your place there and then.

Looking forward to a busy and fun rest of 2016 x




Trendlebere Pattern – Exclusive to Spin A Yarn

Exclusive New Pattern! (1)

Heather is a talented designer, graduate in Textile Design from the Chelsea College of Art, and local girl with a real love of British yarn.

We’re thrilled that she has designed a new pattern exclusively for Spin A Yarn, using Rowan Felted Tweed – one of our favourite yarns. Trendlebere is a relaxed raglan jumper, which can be knitted in any DK yarn – it can be knitted in one colour or with contrasting ribbing, and has a swing-fit and some drape for a contemporary look. Felted Tweed comes in a wide variety of rich tones and neutrals, and with it’s blend of merino wool, alpaca and viscose, knits up to create beautifully light and warm garments. If you’d like to substitute another DK yarn and aren’t sure how it will knit up, just ask us in the shop and we’ll help you choose something.

You can buy a copy of Trendlebere in the shop for £3.00, enquire to order it though our website here or we’re hoping to make it available to buy on Ravelry.com soon! If you knit it we’d love to see your photos – either share them on Facebook or Instagram (@spinayarnshop), or if you’re on Ravelry and you’ve set up a project for it, do let us know – here’s the listing on Ravelry.

You can also follow Heather’s exciting design work at her Facebook page: Woolly Minded Knitwear.

We’re going to be commissioning more patterns soon….what would you like to see? Let us know through our contact form here.


Last Chance to Buy Some Rowan Favourites!

rowan logo

Rowan are making room for some exciting new yarns and limited edition collections! Their new streamlined range means that some old favourites are sadly being discontinued.

Last chance to buy...

As we know our customers are huge Rowan fans, we though we’d let you know which yarns will be going, and give you the opportunity to stock up at a 10% discount (20% for Loyalty Card holders!).

We’re only able to offer what we have available in the shop, so if there are any from the list below that you want to stock up on, just pop in, email us or give us a call with what you need and we’ll see what we have for you! 

And don’t worry, Rowan are continuing to produce many other long-standing wonderful yarns such as Felted Tweed and Kidsilk Haze. If you have a Rowan pattern you’d like to knit which uses any of the discontinued yarns, we’ll be more than happy to help you find a substitute yarn from the many stocked in our shop.

Rowan Yarns being discontinued: 

Big Wool Silk
Superfine Merino DK & Aran
Pure Wool 4-ply
Kidsilk Haze Stripe
Mohair Haze
Wool Cotton
Rowan Finest
Rowan Tweed
Fine Art & Fine Art Aran
Alpaca Colour
Tetra Cotton
Cotton Lustre
Pure Linen
All Seasons Cotton
Soft Knit Cotton
Lima & Lima Colour
Fazed Tweed
Thick n Thin
Alpaca Chunky
British Sheep Breeds
Creative Focus Worsted
Big Wool Colour

It’s not too late to join our Workshops!

We still have a few workshops with spaces available this Spring/Summer – these are fascinating workshops, taught by some truly excellent teachers (who are authors and designers in their own right!)

Knit Diff Directions

Have a browse of the list below and if there’s any you fancy joining us for, give us a call on 01626 836203 to secure your place. All the workshops listed below cost £49 for the day which includes a delicious home cooked lunch.

Any questions about the workshops themselves? Just give us a call or email us!


22nd April: Fair Isle and Intarsia with Claire Crompton
Learn how to use Fair Isle and Intarsia together with slip stitch patterns and simple stripes to add colour to your knitting. In the workshop you will learn the basics of each technique, knitting samples of each. We will also explore some basic colour theory so you can be confident about putting colours together and altering a pattern into another colourway.


Examples of Fair-Isle Knitting

26th April: St Aubin’s Bay Shawl with Anniken Allis
St Aubin’s Bay is an elegant crescent shaped shawl worked from the top down with an eyelet garter stitch pattern. Two short row wedges and a beaded picot cast/ bind off add interest to a fun accessory. In the morning we’ll practice the techniques used to knit this shawl including short rows, adding beads using a crochet hook, picot cast-off and how to shape the shawl. In the afternoon you will start your own St Aubin’s Bay shawl.

St Aubin's Bay Shawl

St Aubin’s Bay Shawl


20th May: Knitting in Different Directions with Claire Crompton
Progress from making garments and accessories in rows and circular knitting, to knitting them in different directions. Join squares or circles, worked from the centre out or from the outer edge inwards to make pieces of knitted fabric. Learn how to construct garments from diagonal (bias) knitting and how to use short rows. In the workshop we will experiment with the techniques and you will be able to take away information and ideas for your own designs.


Knitting in Different Directions

24th May: Knitting the Mar Menor and Daisy Shawl with Anniken Allis
The Daisy and Mar Menor shawls are both fun shawlettes featuring unusual stitch patterns and the most popular shawls in the Shop! In this class you’ll learn the elongated and crossed stitch patterns used in these two shawls as well as how to add beads using a crochet hook, how to work a beaded picot cast off and how to shape both shawls.

Close up of Mar Menor Shawlette

Close up of Mar Menor Shawlette


2nd June: The Magical Moebius Cowl with Alison Crowther Smith
Using the cast-on made famous by Cat Bordhi, Alison will show you how to knit a lovely yet simple Moebius cowl using DK yarns and edged in Kidsilk Haze. The morning will be spent learning this cast-on and how to establish the Moebius, which once started, is easy basic knitting and purling. In the afternoon you will start your own cowl.

Moebius Cowl

Moebius Cowl

10th June: Starlight Fingerless Mitts with Anniken Allis
The Starlight fingerless mitts feature a beaded lace pattern and are worked in the round. In the morning we’ll practice the techniques used to knit these mitts including how to knit lace, how to read a lace chart, how to add beads using the crochet hook method and how to knit in the round on double pointed needles and circular needles using the magic loop method. In the afternoon you will start your own Starlight mitts.

Starlight Mitts

Starlight Mitts

22nd June: Hairpin Crochet with Di Stewart
Hairpin Crochet is an easy and rhythmical technique of wrapping and crocheting around a small loom pin, forming rows of loops which can be used in many ways. In this workshop you will learn the basic techniques of Hairpin Crochet and how to join, gather and crochet around the loops, using basic crochet stitches. It will also include how to make Hairpin Flowers and how to join them to make a Hairpin Flower shawl, with written instructions and a free pattern for the shawl.

Hairpin Crochet

Hairpin Crochet

24th June: Crochet in Different Directions with Claire Crompton
Explore motifs, spirals, flowers, fabric, three dimensional forms and loads of other ways to work crochet in different directions. In the workshop we will explore all these techniques and you will be able to take away information and ideas for your own creations.


Crochet shells


26th July: Persephone Shawl with Anniken Allis
Persephone is a crescent shawl worked from the top down. Multiple yarn overs used in the edging create a big impact. In the morning we’ll practice the techniques used to knit this shawl including how to read a lace chart, how to work large yarn overs and how to shape the shawl. In the afternoon you will start your own Persephone shawl.

Persephone Shawl

Persephone Shawl

Terri’s Wonderful ‘Spinning Around the World’ Adventure

Friends of the shop and regulars at our Knit Clubs will know of the amazingly creative and perfectly eccentric Terri Bate, who usually teaches our Spinning Workshops. Having recently retired from her job as a local midwife (including having delivered the babies of several staff and customers!) she has just embarked on an amazing adventure – Spinning Around the World.

terri cycle picture

Terri’s plan is to cycle solo to her sister who lives on Kangaroo Island, Australia (and possibly back again – she has 18 months to complete the journey in!), exploring textiles along the way.


She says:  “I want to live a simple life, getting up and going to bed with the sun, journaling, sketching, being in the moment and appreciating the big, wide world without the rush of trying to meet the many (more often than not) self imposed deadlines. Travelling slowly, meeting people – exploring inner and outer worlds and learning to live with less ‘stuff’.


I have the gear, the bike, the panniers etc – I have had all the vaccinations and I have pored over maps in anticipation.  I have even taken a couple of bicycle maintenance classes (not my forte, you understand).

terri bike

In no way am I setting a precedent – there are many, many, other solo cyclists who have laid the trail – from Dervla Murphy to Al Humphries, from Annie Londonderry to Anne Mustoe and Josie Dew, from Louise Sutherland to Rubina Soorty and Anne Wilson (I could go on) – that’s a deep wheel rut to follow.

I, too, will do this solo (I think I will meet more people if I’m on my own) though, hopefully, friends and family will come visit en route. I plan to use hospitality sites like CouchSurfing, WarmShowers for accommodation, or camp (have tent, sleeping bag, trangia stove etc).  I will take my knitting  – of course – I knit EVERYWHERE and am a complete geek!  Although I’m getting rid of ALL my stash apart from the teeny weeny bit I can carry with me. Deciding what to take will be a tough decision – but I can start hoarding again when I get back.

Many people have asked me if I’m ‘doing it for charity’, and I really hadn’t intended to, but then I changed my mind because that’s a woman’s prerogative apparently.  And P/Hop is the knitters’ charity (thanks to Natalie Fergie at Yarn Yard for starting it off – see http://www.p-hop.co.uk for a full explanation) so yeah, why not?

I’ll be raising money for Medeçins Sans Frontieres and have set up the Justgiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/Terri-Bate

I will be funding the travelling with part of my NHS pension (got to leave a bit for the other half to pay what’s left of the mortgage- him indoors, who is keeping the home fires burning) – but also selling the journal sketches for the price of a couple cups of coffee or pints of beer and sending them as postcards from wherever I am to the purchaser (donating a third of what I raise to MSF).

terri drawing 2

Terri set off yesterday, and we’re looking forward to following her adventures from here in the shop – we’re going to have a map in the shop to track her travels! If you’d like to follow her progress and (digitally) keep her company, her blog is http://www.tutleymutleytextiles.com/blog.

terri travels 1

Bon Voyage, Terri!