What I did for the Pinterest competition at Love Knitting

I actually had loads of fun with this Pinterest competition by Love Knitting. The idea was to tell “A Midsummer Knit’s Dream”, pin anything you want love and dream about. And of course pin some stuff from LoveKnitting.com, which isn’t hard 🙂

Pinterest is an image sharing network where you clip images into boards, as I wrote before, it’s blogging boiled down to its essentials.

Here is the winner’s announcement. I really like the two other boards chosen for prizes as well, by Jan Smith and Danielle Dammes. Actually, no kidding: when I saw those entries, and realized they had taken the Shakespearean interpretation. I thought I had misunderstood the competition! Theirs were full of lovely fairies and mystical magical elements as you’d find in the comedy.

So I’m really pleased my idea came through. Thanks to the team for picking my board!

What I did with my Midsummer Knit’s board

Guys, I spent a lot of time on this. It’s kind of embarrassing.

Tip: As you pin the items they stay in the order you pin them, and you can’t rearrange them. So if you want to pin and tell a story, you have to pin in the order you want the pictures to appear. So first I made one board, collecting all the stuff I might want. Then I re-pinned to a second board, editing anything that didn’t fit and to put them in order: yellow greens / seaside nautical / dream blues / faded end of summer.

I wanted to tell a colour story from the start of summer to the end: bright yellows of gorse and iris; to seaside fun to the faded summer colours of high grasses. I combined my own photos with pins. I also wanted to mix in my own plans for summer: to go to Rathlin Island, and have a few days this summer knitting by the beach. Along the way I got inspired by some artist’s work. And I also found some cool items and patterns on the Love Knitting.

I was especially inspired by this image of the Clover wool roving from LoveKnitting.

Doesn’t it look exactly like this photo of the coast?

I was so excited when I finished the board, I actually showed it to my husband. I think he did nod politely. It’s nice someone else thought it was worth a prize 🙂 Thanks to the team at Love Knitting!

So now I get a shopping spree. I’m planning on getting some nice yarns for children’s jumpers for Christmas. (It’s not too early to start, right?) Oh and of course this fun travel sized hook for some spontaneous rock crocheting on the beach 🙂

Pinteresting pinners on Pinterest!

First there were “web logs”, where people would keep track of interesting finds as they trawled through the internet. Blogs brought up questions about image/video reuse and copyright. But now many people and brands realize it’s free advertising… If referenced properly. I noticed a few years ago, many crafty blogs were just people with a keen eye, collecting other people’s images.

So then along came Tumblr, which allowed reblogging content, where you didn’t really have to even bother adding a few extra words. But Tumblr is very very bad about referencing the source of images and that really bugs me.

Now there’s Pinterest, which seems to me is a blog reduced to the essential idea of “logging what you find”.  But here, you gather (pin) images which aren’t your own into boards to collect them into sort of scrapbooks. And then other people pin what they like onto their boards.

If you told someone of the idea for Pinterest in maybe 2004, they would have balked at the idea. (Flickr was OK, because people shared their own pictures.) There are still issues of copyright or reuse to sort out. But I think the overall benefits to artists to get their work seen and shared is greater than the usual risks of unfair use. Pinterest also allows you to report pins, and you can fix source links for pins.

And Pinterest has reduced the action of “logging” to the bare essential of collection. And it’s fun! One nice thing is that unlike Twitter, you can choose what content you want to follow. You don’t have to follow all boards by someone, but just choose which are interesting yo you. Here are some of my favorite Pinterest boards.

Nicole Dupuis, of http://coco-knits.blogspot.co.uk/ (14k followers!)

If Pinterest was basically all pins by Nicole Dupuis, I’d still login to look around. Nicole has an incredibly consistent style and taste. This is Tricobsession if you love knitting! I do follow all of Nicole’s boards.

Nicole likes things a little worn, faded, muted, soft, mended and lived in.

Helen Richards, http://helenrichards.com.au/

Helen Richards has many great boards. I love her Creative Clothes board. There’s always something beautiful and sometimes challenging.

Also her board of her own work is lovely!

Dreamworld board by Nouf Aloz

I love this collection of lovely places. Sometimes there’s even pins of places in Ireland, and I’ve even gone to visit one in person, based on a pin!

Danica Suskin’s Big List of Everything (recently renamed great big list, I think?)

Danica is a stylist. I love that there’s no sub-boards, it’s just ALL GOOD STUFF, and she somehow manages to keep some kind of cohesive thread. Some random, some weird, some fun, some pretty, some striking. But visually compelling and a great board to mix in and keep your mind open 🙂

My own boards!

Of course I also often go back to my own boards, and lately I especially like this one for Crochet // Knit. It’s really nice to look at, because after all it’s many favorite things. 🙂 Sometimes I even forget what I have and Pinterest reminds me: you’ve already pinned that! So always worth checking back.

If you’re on pinterest, please leave a comment so I can see your boards.

Sankow’s Beaver Brook Farm in CT

I went with my sister and mother to a sheep farm: Sankow’s Beaver Brook Farm in CT (Connecticut), near my brother’s house. My sister was able to chat to Sue about the various trials and tribulations of sheep farming, and I dug into the piles of fleece and yarn.

Sue was very lovely and answered loads of questions. She used to show her sheep, but last did that in 1995 or so. Now the farm processes their own wool and food products for sale in markets around CT. The farm produces hundreds of pounds of sheep’s cheese, prepared foods, yoghurts and milk each week. Here’s a quick interview with Sue about cheese names!

Farming is hard. You’re dealing constantly with birth and death and body fluids and ailments. Imagine your own family’s bodies and all their ailments, then imagine you have hundreds of bodies and spirits to mind. It’s hard, it’s sometimes sad and exhausting. But you just have to see how lovely they are! This cheeky lamb was in the feeding spot.

cheeky lamb

The CT government seems to make it difficult to actually make a living in farming. The wool remainders with any dung are considered “hazardous waste”. And in some places in CT, like if you have a horse you need to have a dumpster to truck out the waste which you can’t compost…. because it would “stink”. When I was growing up, the towns near mine were full of farms. Over my lifetime they were sold and turned into posh housing developments with roads with names like Jennifer Road. Over time, the character of New England’s landscape has changed. Sue is holding out with her farm, but it sure isn’t easy.

Photos from our visit

You can see me standing here with Sue and my clutch of fleecy bits in front of a lovely New England red barn.

With Sue Sanjow on the farm

A shop sign! How cute!


Totes adorbs. My sister called these “teddy bear sheep” but this lamb is actually South Down.



This is a Tunis lamb. Lovely colour. Sorry it’s blurry!


Here you can see Sue showed me some issues with this fleece which was dry. This is the grading table. It gets bagged and sent down south to North Carolina. Then up to Vermont to be spun. They can’t clean it in CT simply because the waste of soapy water would not be allowed.

grading wool

Here’s some finished marled yarn hanks hanging.

Hanks of Marled yarn

It was a lovely visit and I learned loads. Mainly: sheep farming is really hard. Which is something I knew already~! But I appreciate all the work that goes into wool processing.



Going to Scotland! Visiting New Lanark Mill

I couldn’t quite convince my husband about going to Wales this coming weekend. Where I could “just pop into” Wonderwool. But when he said “Scotland” and “Ferry” it quickly brought to mind, New Lanark Mills.

Nice thing is, you can get both the tour of the woolen mill, but also a good history of “utopian socialism” and the work Robert Owen did to improve workers’ lives. Bonus: It’s also a World Heritage Site.

The fact that it just *happens* to have a yarn shop is, you know, a coincidence, right? By buying the wool, you’re practically donating. I mean it’s a registered charity!

We’re also staying in the mill hotel which I think is a pretty good deal. More info about all the attractions: http://newlanark.org/

Very excited to see an actual woolen mill and see Scotland again.