I had a good mooch around the old home town this week while the bookhound rushed eagerly into the dentist and I quite got the feel for knitting winter woollies.
A browse in the wool shop was disappointing and I expect the woman in there had good reason to sit lifeless and depressed behind the counter.Call me a fussy and demanding customer; you could have had my money with pleasure but please, I wanted cheery encouragement as I bought my Rowan Big Wool,so that was a no sale.
Years ago I ran a little business called Woolly Pullies. Bookhound to blame again, me feeling that my creative abilities were fading with 3 children under the age of 4 (surely our finest creation?) he came home with a very old and very basic Knitmaster 321 knitting machine and I was instantly smitten.Knitting a jumper in an hour had a real attraction when an hour was the most time I had.
I started to research traditional Fair Isle patterns and proceeded to punch out the cards by hand for the machine to read. I then invented a basic jumper pattern, sourced some wool from Jamieson & Smith in the Shetlands and got cracking on pure wool jumpers for our children.
Of course it was only a matter of nano seconds before I had requests to do them for friends.I wasn't the only one who was polyester/acrylic-averse and so Woolly Pullies was born.
Then things got scary because before I knew it, at £12 a jumper (that was a lot in 1986) I had £400 worth of orders and shops asking me to supply them.I fulfilled that lot and then panicked and stopped. Shame on me but suddenly it had the potential to be huge and I had 3 very small children to look after, we already ran one business of our own and I had no energy to start organising the out-sourcing of the work. What had been fun and pleasure was about to become big business and I wasn't up for the challenge then.
The knitting machine has long gone and I much prefer to hand knit though I do still rather vainly stitch the labels in anything I make, but now I fancy a go at some intentional felting. I've done my share of unintentional felting over the years but I've never seen the point in knitting something twice the size you want and then boiling it to within an inch of its life to shrink it on purpose.
But felting is big and this little book was irresistible despite the doom-laden atmosphere in the shop.