Wool Maker Lane

knitting, spinning and life with alpacas

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Back in ‘Bris’

I am back in Bristol for a few days just to end off the summer before buckling down to some serious projects at work next week.  It’s great to have a bolt hole to come to in the centre of the city.  In Ireland we live in a fairly remote place and so it is  a treat to be in a place which has shops at the end of the road whenever we run short of anything.

One thing that I did run short of this week was knitting.  I was in such a rush to get to the airport at 4 a.m. that I didn’t so much as forget, but I didn’t have time to carefully take the stitches from my latest project off the needles and place them onto a piece of wool to bring with me.  The security at Dublin Airport is so strict that the needles would have been confiscated so it was all left behind me.  This, of course, was a marvellous excuse to start a new project once I arrived (following a few hours of sleep).


Close to where we stay in Bristol is a wonderful craft shop called ‘Creativity.’  Here I managed to buy some lovely wool called Ramsdale by Wendy.  It’s a double knit which means that I have to use smaller needles than usual and also I have had to jiggle the numbers where the stitches are concerned but that’s all part of the fun.  It’s what I would call a ‘flat’ yarn in that it doesn’t have much spring or elasticity but it is very soft and is a beautiful natural fern green colour.  It reminds me a little of the type of wool that you can get from Donegal Studio.  I didn’t have any needles smaller than 5mm so I toddled around the corner to the charity shop.  When I inquired about knitting needles I was presented with an enormous box full of hundreds of needles of any size that I could have possibly wanted.  I just pulled out the 4mm and went happily on my way to cast on.  I’ve decided to get as far as I possibly can with these mitts and just leave them here, unfinished, until I return so that I don’t have these panics when I have a dash for the airport.

The following day I dropped into the friendly charity shop again as the chap behind the counter said that he would dig out some knitting books for me which were in the basement.  True to his word there were plenty to keep me busy.  I bought a couple but it’s very difficult to come across books that aren’t geared for a beginner.  The one which I really do love is ‘Knitting over the edge’ by Nicky Epstein.  It has 350 decorative border designs and I find many of them really insightful.


This book is definitely coming back to Ireland with me so that I can experiment with some edges on my next mitten project.

Another find in my favourite local charity shop was a Nordic Jumper.  Wow.  I love Norway and have had the pleasure of being there a couple of times and I have seen these jumpers in shops there but never managed to get one.  Anyway I couldn’t believe my luck when I found this brand new, never worn, jumper, complete with buckles, for £3.99.  There was no hesitation.  I just had to have it.  It will get plenty of use when the weather turns.


This afternoon I took a dander over to the Clifton Suspension Bridge which was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in the 19th Century.  He was only five foot tall and so he always wore a top hat to make himself appear taller.  The bridge spans the Avon Gorge and is Bristol’s most iconic building albeit an extremely functional one.



Bristol is also famous for its Georgian and Victorian architecture.  As a port Bristol city centre was heavily bombed during WWII but the area around Clifton seemed to be spared.  Many of the large houses are now split up into apartments.


The other great thing about being in Bristol is that I have access to decent wifi.  At home I am lucky if I can send an e mail but while I’m here I don’t know myself with the constant connectivity.  I have had the pleasure of being able to listen to lots of podcasts from knitters around the globe.  One, I must say, that I really enjoy is by Andre Sue who is based in the U.S.  I love the way that she shares so much information about both spinning and knitting and how she focuses on techniques.  It’s so good to be able to learn from her experiences while at times identify with them.  Her podcast can be found on YouTube. Sometimes knitting or spinning can feel like quite a solitary activity but with the internet you can really feel that you belong to a much broader community…although geographically speaking quite a large one.