March newsletter

Hello again!

I could say this newsletter is late because of the snow … which actually wouldn’t be true at all as the snow has not held me up! It has stopped me making a trip to the very west of Wales where I have a caravan overlooking St David’s Head but that’s all now put back a week so I’ve had more time at home not less.

So what’s being going on knitting wise?

I’m machine knitting at the moment. This is a fine 3ply wool sweater for my partner, Gordon, to wear under his McNair walking shirt, a Christmas present from me.

The McNair shirt is made in Slaithwaite, a village near Huddersfield where we live, and is a great example of local small scale production. You can read all about it here, on their rather slick web site.   The shirts are not cheap and raise all the questions about how much we are prepared to pay for our clothes, showing it is that global capitalism has made mass production of so many goods so cheap that we can treat them as disposable blah blah … I’m sure most of you are familiar with the arguments on this. Anyway, it was a lot of money, like anything made in the UK that pays the maker anything more than living wage.

Gordon had been wearing an old cashmere jumper of my father’s under it. This goes back to when I worked in the knitwear industry and sometimes visited factories that would have garments on offer, so this is a beautiful garment, classic bottle green etc but with a moth hole right in the middle of the front, probably where some food or drink’s been spilled down it. No amount of mending, visible or invisible, is going to restore it to its former glory, but as an underlayer it’s perfect. However, a change is needed from time to time even if all these wool garments do hardly ever need to be washed, hence the call to action.

I suggested buying a merino base layer but when I admitted that I have some 3 ply pure machine washable wool on cone, a rare beast indeed, an order was placed. So it’s almost there, not quite enough for a photo though. I love machine knitting but as a process it’s not very photogenic, (unlike say hand spinning) which is a shame so here’s some not very attractive pics: (I don’t think machine knitting is meant for blogs or Instagram).

This is the start – the tension swatch, the working out and notes including the special green ruler for reading off stitch and row gauge. And while I was working out the shape of the garment, I had to search for a sleeve top shape and sound everything I needed on the Knitting & Crochet Guild web site here under the heading ‘Finding out more about designing’. It’s a mine of information and highly recommended although it’s not what I’d term designing, more pattern drafting.

Here’s some pics of the work in progress:

The blue is the garment and the yellow and green are waste yarn, used a lot on the machine.

Machine knitting is a great way of producing good quality garments quickly, or it can be combined with hand knitting or crochet to make items like blankets such as this one, featured some while ago. The central panels are machine knitted on my chunky machine and the deep border is double crochet. The yarn is all my own indigo dyeing, some over natural greys and dark greys. Design inspiration Amish and Welsh quilts by the way.

I’m also carrying on with hand knitting gloves for my friend Jenny a process not without upset as I had to undo about 3 hours of work when I realised that the yarn I was using was just not the right thickness. I do my utmost to use only stash yarn for these gloves and I’d run out of the perfect vintage pure wool 3 ply in the exact right shade of red, so I put in a heavier red which didn’t work. It’s on the white background, 2 pics, below. I then found a very thin pure wool on cone, and have continued with that. All is ok and progress is again being made.

And I’m also thinking about exhibitions, workshops and a lot of travel …. and hosting Beth Brown-Reinsel at the end of the month – thanks for the heads up Beth in her recent newsletter.

and wondering what I can do with this gorgeous yarn, a present from someone who knows I like to knit with 3 ply pure wool, (and there’s none better than Marion Foale’s) here:


I almost forgot to say that I have finished one or two of my many half finished projects …  a couple of Estonian wristwarmers.


News for July 2017

The month started with a visit to Estonia for the annual Craft Camp, my third time. I took workshops in knitting with Kristi Jõeste and Riina Tomberg, both of which were excellent. The other two workshops were indigo dyeing and Happsalu lace, again, both were excellent. The samples I produced are below and I hope you can tell which is which.

My own knitting which is ongoing is the gloves for Nick, almost complete. The other pair, for Jenny, are in the planning stage and I’m wondering whether to introduce some Baltic style patterns and techniques that I’ve seen and learnt in my visits to Latvia and Estonia this spring and summer.

These are actually almost complete, just the thumbs to knit, but I don’t have a more recent photo and I’m away from home in the very west of Wales. 

Farfield mill, outside Sedbergh, have invited me to show my gloves, planned for September and October. I went there on my birthday to discuss the arrangements accompanied by my partner and London grandsons. We stayed at Ingleton youth hostel and then visited Dent, home of the ‘terrible knitters’, and of Mary Allen, who was known to knit the patterned Dales gloves. Fewer than 20 pairs of these survive in collections in the U.K. 

So that’s it for now, I’m battling very slow internet and an iPad so perhaps more later in the month.

News for June 2017

As you may know from last month’s news, I was in Latvia at the end of May and start of June for the mitten knitting workshop organised by Senaklets,

the folk costume and textile centre in Riga.

It was a packed programme including several workshops with glove and mitten experts, visits to museums and cultural centres, and a tour of the city where we were based for most of the trip, Leipaja, Latvia’s third city.

Here are some pictures from that visit. There are more in the Ravelry group ‘Knit like a Latvian’.

The mitten kits at Hobbywool in Riga

Similar colours to the pair I am knitting at the moment, above

A fine pair showing the ‘simple’ thumb construction 

A wonderful way of displaying mittens in this circle 

These are worn at funerals, hence the black.

Once back home from that I caught up with some machine knitting that I’ve had on the go for over a year, a jumper for Gordon, my partner. Since I try not to buy new yarn, this had to be made from what I had in my stash. I’d used the better colours in a previous jumper, so this one was tricky to design. I used the really small bits in the sleeves and then moved on to quite large amounts of red and black, left over from a Dennis the Menace jumper for a grandson some while ago. This is the result:

It’s all machine washable, very important I think.

The weekend of talks and workshops planned for March and postponed from then, took place over the weekend of 17th and 18th June. There was a heatwave in the UK then, so it was hard to even think about gloves of any sort, let alone woolly ones!

Here I am at the Knitting & Crochet Guild London branch meeting, the host for the talk, with the vintage Sanquhar and Yorkshire Dales gloves from the collection that I took to show.

On the Sunday I gave a workshop at Anna Feldman’s shop, Wild and Woolly 

huge thanks to the participants for making it a very enjoyable occasion. Here’s the hands with what was produced: by the way, the aim was to produce a sample with the techniques needed to knit gloves.

On the glove knitting front I am working on 2 pairs for very old friends. The first pair has a musical and Yorkshire theme, as befits the potential owner, a musician with family roots in Halifax. He chose the vintage colours as seen in a pair of Sanquhar gloves, yellow and brown. There’s crochets and quavers round the wrists and treble and bass clef son the palms. The Yorkshire tree of life pattern goes up the back of the hand and fingers.

Here’s both hands, photographed on a marble table in a very cold wet Brittany, where Gordon and I are staying with our friend Francoise. Good knitting weather! A bientot!

News round up for May 2017

Someone asked me if I have a newsletter and I thought no I don’t but perhaps I could try having one. At least that way I might post more regularly.

So, I had an article published in Vogue Knitting, about Sanquhar gloves. I felt extremely honoured to be invited to do this and very much enjoyed doing it, especially going to visit Sanquhar again, staying at the Blackaddie and meeting fellow glove knitter, May McCormick.

Here’s the cover and the first page of the piece:


I’ve restarted knitting gloves for friends and so I’ve been sampling and designing for my friends Nick and Jenny.  Nick is a musician and he chose the vintage Sanquhar colours of brown and yellow. These are the cuffs so far:

I have also opened a glove knitting Instagram account where you can find me as Angharadt. The pics are the same as what’s here though.

My work got retuned from the Make exhibition at Ruthin Craft Centre after a lot of kerfuffle with the post office or Royal Mail. It turned out they were just trying to be helpful but t seemed as though the parcel had gone astray for a few hours.

Finally, I write this from Latvia where I am attending a mitten knitting retreat. It is the last evening of a packed week in which we have seen other places than Riga, being based inThe southern city of Liepaja. We have seen more mittens than I would have thought possible and met more knitters ditto. I have tried techniques I’ve not even heard of and been to places I didn’t know existed. I’ll leave you with a picture of the Russian Orthodox cathedral here, the nearest I’m likely to get to the Kremlin.

I am part of an afternoon of talks

I’ll be at Ruthin Craft Centre tomorrow afternoon as part of their afternoon looking at ‘The Nature of Craft’. Also speaking are Edmond Byrne, glass and Sebastian Cox, furniture.

This is the link to the Ruthin web site which includes an image of my gloves: (in Welsh) (in English)

The previous talk I was planning, in London a fortnight ago, was cancelled, or actually, postponed. It will be rescheduled for June I hope.

I’m giving a talk!

Just thought I’d let you all know that I’ll be giving a talk in London on Saturday 18th March 2017 at 1pm. It’s a Central London Branch Meeting of the Knitting & Crochet Guild with speaker Angharad Thomas (that’s me!)
AAT, 4th Floor, 140 Aldersgate St, London EC1A 4HY

The title of the talk is Gloves: History, designing and making and I’ll show examples of my own and some made by others too – historic and from other countries.

Contact me via this blog or if you are a KCG member you can contact Tricia Basham to book a ticket – £5 members and £10 non-members.

After I gave an introductory talk for my glove exhibition people were very complimentary – so it is highly recommended! (That’s enough self promotion, Ed.)

Exhibition ends soon

Happy New Year!

My exhibition at the Bankfield Museum ends this Saturday, 14th January. It’s open all week from tomorrow to Saturday 10 am – 4 pm so I do hope that you can get there to have a look if you haven’t been already. There’s lots of other interesting exhibitions on there too.

Here’s some pictures if you can’t get there:



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