(Not so lazy) days of summer…part two

How is everyone doing? I’ve finally had my holiday so now I’ve got some more time to look back over the last few months to let you know what all we have been up to. What a busy summer we have had!

I am always admiring older patterns and was asked earlier in the year to make an Aran cardigan from a 1960s pattern.

The cable design was much more complex than any I had done before but it turned out really well, don’t you think?

Next, how about this little number for an 80s revival? I just love this and I think it would work well today.


I had to put a shirt underneath as it was a little too big for me around the arms and the neck. This was probably due to the yarn I chose. I used up this red cotton I already had in and I love it.

Lastly, and under pressure from my Nathan, I tried my hand at toys. Now I know why I do not make them. Hats off to all of you who dom but I found it a bit of a nightmare! All those fiddly bits and a hell of a lot of sewing at the end (pardon my French). Long story short, I managed to make Nathan’s dinosaur which he calls “Skinny”.

Now Nathan wants a Godzilla!

Here are some pictures from an expert toymaker which I spotted in Cockermouth over the summer. I have been collecting bears for a number of years and my husband bought me a lovely knitted one for my birthday a few years ago, so it was no wonder I fell in love with these when I saw them at the Woolfest. They are just gorgeous. I could always try my hand at one of these – you never know…..

Well, enjoy the last of the summer, and start thinking of the Autumn which is my favourite time of year.

To stay updated with our news in the meantime be sure to like us on Facebook or follow our tweets on Twitter. You are welcome to drop us a line anytime, please say hello!

Lots of love

Frances x


(Not so lazy) days of summer…part one

Dear Friends

I cannot believe it is the start of September already and some of us have not even been on holiday yet. Don’t worry, I’m going next week 🙂

It’s been a busy summer and I thought I would recap on some of the events and experiences over the last few months. So much has been happening we can’t fit it all into one newsletter, so here’s the first instalment.

There was the wonderful 2014 Woolfest in Cockermouth, Cumbria at the beginning of the summer. I went last year and it was just as good this time and, if possible, there was even more to see this year. This is a definite “must go to” event for all you wool lovers out there. I do believe there was something similar going on in Harrogate. I hope some of you got over there but I couldn’t make it (decorating, worst luck).

I have also attached some great picture of the spinners. This is an absolutely magical craft and I am so glad there are some lovely people out there keeping this alive. It’s like lace making, its such an art and a dream to watch. I keep promising myself I will have a go next time I go to a fair. We shall see. And speaking of old traditions, there was more entertainment to enjoy from troupes of folk musicians and dancers.

Last but not least, it would not be a woolfest without pictures of some local celebrities whose hard work growing all that wool made all of this possible!


You’ll be able to see what else we’ve been up to this summer in our next instalment which is coming very soon!

Until then, lots of love.

Frances x

A spring in our step…

Dear Friends, I hope you had a lovely Easter with family and friends as I have had. Oh, and not to mention the chocolates!

The kiddies have been off school and we took Nathan to the natural history museum in Manchester. We have been a number of times but we have to make regular visits to see Stanley (if you know the Manchester Museum, Stanley is of course the T-Rex skeleton hanging from the ceiling).

As we progressed through the foyer and steered Nathan away from the gift shop (everyone knows that’s where you go on the way out, not on the way in) there was a huge display of coral to draw attention to endangered coral and the Great Barrier Reef, only this was a display with a difference: the coral, fishing nets and even the jellyfish were all knitted!

Just take a look at this absolutely amazing artwork. The colours were vibrant and the variety extensive. This must have taken ages to do and so much skill to create the finished effect.  A ‘very well done’ from me to textile artist Karen Casper.

I have been a little quiet since the New Year because I have been snowed under with knitting! I am just about done now, having three pieces to finish before taking a well-earned break.  My goodness the projects have been varied, from fluffy mitts to a pirate jumper. Keep an eye on Facebook as some of the pieces will be featured there before going on to the website.

Robert and I have also added some new photos to the ‘inspiration for you’ photo albums here on the website, definitely worth a look if you’ve not checked them for awhile. Do get in touch if you want to add something to our website or Facebook.

See you soon,
Love Frances x

Deep in the heart of Texas

It’s a few days until Thanksgiving, that time of year when our American friends traditionally get together to celebrate a successful harvest before winter sets in. Did you know our webmaster is a born and bred American farm boy? A few weeks ago Robert returned to the USA and visited the Texas State Fair in Dallas. Here’s his special report from deep in the heart of Texas:

This was my first visit to Dallas and it’s true what they say, everything is bigger in Texas. I could easily have spent a couple of days wandering around the Texas State Fair. There are several shopping marquees, an auto show, regular cooking demonstrations, huge butter sculptures, pig races and of course fairground rides.

Everything is overlooked by the fair’s giant cowboy mascot, Big Tex.

Of course all this excitement is going to make visitors hungry. Although there’s all the traditional American treats like corn dogs, chewy pretzels, funnel cakes and snow cones, Texas is famous for its deep-fried dishes. Each year fair goers willingly risk clogged arteries to taste the latest creations, whether it’s deep-fried Thanksgiving dinner, deep-fried cinnamon rolls or deep-fried peaches (there’s even been deep-fried butter). You can also buy a T-shirt with the slogan ‘I got fried at the Texas State Fair.’

The fair is where farm kids and homemakers from all across the state compete for prize-winning purple ribbons. An entire pavilion is filled with their creative crafts and cooking, including an entire wall of jams and preserves.

There are many display cabinets and I knew that our Parlour Boutique followers would love to see some of the knitting and needlework. Some of it was a bit wacky, like this cigarette-smoking granny, faux fox wrap and yellow school bus scarf.

They also had all sorts of hats, jumpers, scarves and socks for keeping warm (even though the four seasons in Texas are almost summer, summer, still summer and Christmas). 

Who knows, maybe this will give you some ideas for your next knitting project. If you’ve seen anything unique when you’ve been out and about, why not send us a message on Facebook or tweet to us on Twitter?

That’s all the news for this special international edition of the Parlour Post. Click back again soon!


Let’s get knitting

A work colleague wrote this for me. Thank you Val, I think it’s brilliant (and it’s never to late to learn, you know).

After The Op

Oh I wish I was able to knit
Instead I’ve been told I can…sit
Hour on hour, time can’t go slower
Nothing to do but look at the mower
Oh I wish I was able to knit.

A blanket I could make
Instead of eating this cake
A pair of socks, a scarf or a hat
Or you know, knit any old tat.
Oh I wish I was able to knit.

But no I just sit here twiddling my thumbs
Perhaps I’ll become one of those beach bums
Goodness know what I’ll do in a bit
Oh I wish I was able to knit!

Have a great weekend wherever you are and see you again soon!


Wonderful World of Wool

Dear Friends

July has been a busy month, but at last I am able to share my experiences with you following the Cockermouth Woolfest.  What a brilliant day out.  As you can see it was extremely popular, even though this was the second of the two-day event.

Being the city girl I am on my first visit to the woolfest, strappy sandals was just not the recommended footwear – wellington boots would have been more appropriate!

To my surprise it wasn’t just stalls and people selling their wares, but real live animals! The wool was so ‘fresh’ it was  still roaming about on all four legs.

Just look at this beauty, you must agree this looks like a ready made cardi!

There were alpacas and many different types of sheep but rather than take pictures of each of the different breeds, I took pictures of the cute ones;  I know, I let my heart rule my head.

There was even a beauty pageant for the prettiest goat and to be perfectly honestly I saw quite a few pretty ladies.

Amongst the varied stalls there were demonstrations showing felting, which is something I have never tried but very interested in. Lace making too, which is just so beautiful to watch. There was weaving and spinning and they even had the children taking part.

It was all so inspiring and such talent you could have watched them for hours.

The stalls were magnificent and some we knew such as Laughing Hens and Susan Crawford Vintage knits. They had ready-made knitwear, lots and lots of yarns and books galore. I could have spent a fortune because everywhere you turned there was something you felt you had to have, I needed all of it! AND they even played music to entertain you.

Take a look at these novelty items – just brilliant…..

All in all a fantastic day out, thank you so much to the organisers! It’s on again next year at Mitchell’s Lakeland Livestock Centre in Cockermouth, so mark your calendars now for Friday and Saturday 27 & 28 June 2014 and go visit. There is honestly something for everyone.

That’s all the news today for this edition of the Parlour Post. The best way to stay informed is to like our page on Facebook or follow our tweets on Twitter.

See you next time,

Frances x

My inspiration

For this newsletter update I thought I would take a ‘leaf’ from nature and all things natural. After a recent visit to the grounds at Castle Howard where the flowers and fauna were in full bloom and absolutely spectacular, I could not resist sharing this.

Here are some of the flowers and plants that I photographed (and yes it was a particularly lovely sunny day). Whilst going through the wool cupboard back home I noticed that I already have a good supply of yarns in these beautiful colours.

Just look around out there and get inspired, you never know, a particular colour combination that you are unsure about may turn out to be perfectly natural.

Hopefully through the summer I am going to make these into something scrummy.

I shall keep you posted and between you and me, the red is my favourite and most dynamic, why wait for Christmas to wear red?

That’s all the news today for this edition of the Parlour Post. The best way to stay informed is to like our page on Facebook or follow our tweets on Twitter.

Enjoy the sunshine while you can and I shall be in touch soon.

Frances x