Shake off those January blues

Dear Friends

Is there anyone else out there who thinks January is becoming a very, very long month? I know we always seem to feel like this with the let down after Christmas and the new year needs a bit of a kick start, but honestly, it’s only the 16th….?!

As I seem to have all this time I thought I would look over 2013 at some of the really great movies. For me it’s the period dramas and it’s all about the clothes. What about Anna Karenina and the Great Gatsby, just to name two.

Gatsby and the Roaring 20s with lots and lots of style: those were my thoughts when I made some of the hats earlier in the year like these:

Anna Karenina was set in Edwardian times and for me the lovely fine leather gloves with the fur trim were just beautiful. My interpretation of these was to make a pair of pink mittens.

They are thicker to give them warmth, but the grey satin buttons and the fluffy wool round the cuffs add a little luxury. The cord to put through the sleeves of your coat is just hilarious!

What have been your favourite movies recently and did you find any fashion inspiration from them?

To stay updated with our news 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!

Until next time, lots of love and a Happy New Year to you all.

Frances x

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A quick hello

How has everyone’s Christmas break been so far? Still finishing off the leftover turkey and asking yourself why you did so many sprouts? Hopefully you are spending time with your family and taking a well-earned rest, we all deserve it.

One of the projects which kept us busy right before Christmas was this intricate baby’s christening shawl…are you expecting a new arrival in the New Year?

Just a reminder we are taking a break from all the knitting for a few days, but we’ll be back in early January ready to help and inspire you. Until then, best wishes for the New Year!

Frances x

Looking back on 2013

I expect that many of you, like me, are running around now like mad people trying to arrange everything for Christmas. Juggling family, home and job: it’s a balancing act. I have not even posted my cards yet!

It will all come together in the end, it always does. Yet the daft part is, out of all the things that are worrying you now, they just don’t matter on the big day.

To recap 2013, this has been a really busy year for me and I am now just trying to get the last of the Christmas orders out and posted – have faith, it will all be done.

On looking back we have made some lovely things like the jockey jumper as it has now become affectionately known back in April. We also had success with Hayley and her lovely angora jumpers which we showed off in our July newsletter.

I have tried to be quite diverse in the things I have made, like using different yarns and colours for baby things rather than the traditional pale pink and blue in baby DK. For instance, there was the navy jumper and shoes for a little chap called Danny.

We have finally made a contribution to the Menswear Department – a cardigan! (I will be building on this, I promise).

Hats and gloves in these lovely sets…

…not forgetting our three baby jumpers in this lovely Cookey Cream wool which I bought at the Cockermouth Woolfest back in July.

We made a shrug for a wedding back in September and gloves for a charity. We have ended the year with the craft fair at Bury Grammar School and by helping a very worthwhile charity, the Babygrow Appeal. We sent them some goodies and I hope they had a very successful night last night.

Lastly I would like to thank everyone on the team for working so hard this year and of course thanks to you too for looking in.

Our final thank you must go to our latest two lovely models who have made my hats look so special.

I shall be signing off now for a couple of weeks, but will be checking in on the emails when I can.

We wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. 

Lots of 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!

Robert

Autumn is on the way

Dear Friends

It looks like autumn will not be knocking on the door, but bulldozing it down soon! The local forecast says wet, windy and wintry weather is on the way but I cannot help it, autumn is my favourite time of year. I can’t wait for all those lovely jumpers and jackets, nice scarves and gloves (because they look nice, rather than because it’s freezing your fingers off).

Do you remember in the summer I went to the Woolfest in Cockermouth? I bought some lovely yarn called Cookey Cream (you have to love that) from The Marble Collection. It is made up of 75% Bluefaced Leicester wool and 25% British Alpaca which means 100% of luxury. The yarn is very soft and has a silky feel; it knits up as a DK weight. I have to say it was beautiful to knit with and I think you will agree the results are lovely.

I wanted to show that you don’t have to knit with baby blue or pink for small children. This boy’s jumper in the Cookey Cream with kangaroo pockets edged in blue and blue added to the collar is chunky and warm. The hat just finishes it off with the blue pompom. Made for approximately 9 – 12 months.

On a different note, it has been brought to my attention that we are neglecting the gentlemen out there. A great big sorry for that. To try and make it up to you I have made a cable knit cardigan which is perfect for this type of weather. You would not need a coat over this, it is chunky, soft and very very warm. The yarn I chose was Rowan Creative Focus Worsted in grey and it knitted up like a dream.

This particular jumper is for a 36 – 38 inch chest but I would strongly recommend that if you chose something like this, you go up a size. The pattern knitted up a little smaller and at the end of the day it is meant to go over a shirt or t-shirt. It’s worth thinking about when deciding.

 

Finally, sorry to mention the ‘C’ word but this is the time of year when I have to think about Christmas and the craft fair. I love it and every year it makes me smile. So if you can, get knitting those hats, gloves and scarves now so that you don’t get caught out in the cold!

To stay up to the minute with our news be sure to like us on Facebook or follow our tweets on Twitter. Of course you can drop us a line anytime, please say hello.

Until next time, lots of love,

Frances  

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!

Frances

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