A couple of months ago Annie from Little Skein in the Big Wool contacted me to ask if I would consider being interviewed for her shopcast, as part of the activities surrounding the launch of her Secret Garden knitting kit. Now, if you have followed me for a while, you will know that as well as being addicted to stitching, I am also a voracious knitter. So when Annie explained a bit more about her project I just couldn't say no.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Little Skein, it is a small independent knitting business with a bit of a twist. Annie makes limited edition kits based on classic children's books, with an exclusive pattern inspired by the story, luxurious fine yarns, custom project bags and all manner of associated optional notions and add-ons, like copies of the book in question, sweet little themed stitch markers, handmade porcelain buttons and metal shawl clips, and other lovely items that fit with the theme. For her latest kit, the Secret Garden Shawl (a beautiful, super-soft, leafy wrap designed by Alana Dakos), I was one of these add-ons. Or at least my book, Secret Garden Embroidery, was.
Annie normally sticks to knitting but, like me, she is easily persuaded into other crafts too, so my embroidered take on the secret garden theme fitted right in. In the shopcast we talk about how Secret Garden Embroidery was made, my inspirations and experience of running a craft business, stitching, knitting and myriad other things. Our connection wasn't great so you will need to bear with the sound at times, but Annie was so charming to talk to that the resulting interview is really quite lovely. You can listen to it here.
As a thank you for taking part, Annie very generously offered to send me one of the shawl kits to have a go at myself, and I cannot tell you how much of a treat it was to receive. In fact when I came to choose my options, I was so enchanted by the kit that I ended up buying some extras from her too. The kits are now officially sold out, but Annie has said that she will try to put a few more in her shop in case any of you would like one too - thanks Annie! Find them here. They are not cheap, but my goodness do they live up to the 'Luxe' in the name. The new kit, Salutations (based on Charlotte's Web), looks similarly spectacular.
As you will see from my photographs, I have been so overrun with Cindermice that I have only gotten as far as winding my skeins into balls (my shawl should look like this when it is finished), but even this was a pleasure because the yarn feels divine. And I get to use my wonderful wool winder and nostepinne. The former was a gift from my grandparents and it has revolutionised my knitting. I used to spend approximately five hours trying to wind a skein into a ball from the back of a chair, or contorted on the floor with the wool around my knees. This led to nothing but knots and frustration. The wool winder makes it infinitely easier. And as a bonus, I am totally in love with the box it came in. Utilitarian and stylish and lovely. Why don't more things look like that these days? I got my nostepinne from Unravel earlier in the year (much better looking and easier to store than those new-fangled plastic things). The other thing in the picture is my yarn butler, a present from last Christmas which I don't know how I lived without. No more chasing balls of wool around the floor and picking off the bits of fluff they collect on their way. I need another four of them.
Oh, knitting how I love you!
Disclaimer: I received the Secret Garden Shawl Kit as a thank you gift from Annie at Little Skein and was under no obligation whatsoever to write about it; I did so because it is lovely and I thought you might like it too!