Chloris Cowl

Chloris is the ancient Greek Goddess of flowers and spring time.  The name Chloris means means “pale green” and “fresh.”  Think of the spring greens you see when bulbs start to sprout and show through the ground and the fresh green buds of leaves on trees!

The Chloris Cowl celebrates the Wheel of the Year turning to spring with the promise of longer and warmer days.  Spring flowers bring us the first show of colour for the year, and I always think they are the most magical.  It’s like their presence thins the veil between worlds and you can see the fairy folk dancing in amongst them in skirts made of petals and hats made from Beech nuts.

Chloris Cowl From Behind at River 2 (1 of 1)

When designing the Chloris Cowl I wanted to evoke a feeling of spring and secret gardens.  Gardens that are long forgotten, where nature is free to roam and vine it’s way through once well kept spaces.  A garden no one else knows about but you stumbled upon one day and felt safe and protected within it’s boundaries.  A place where you might catch a glimpse of a magical creature fluttering past!

Chloris Cowl On Fence Cropped 3 (1 of 1)

The Chloris Cowl is a close fitting cowl with plenty of length to pull up over your ears while still keeping your neck warm.  Knit in the round using stranded colourwork to create bright and bold floral motifs, Chloris is designed to bring colour into your world when the start of the year is still grey and dreich.  The sample is knit using Queen of Purls Hand Dyed Citadel DK in Space Junk, Swamp Thang, Flowers of Sulphur and Love Lies Bleeding.  Citadel DK it a 100% British Blue Faced Leicester which gives the cowl a lovely drape with that beautiful silk-like lustre which BFL is known for.  It’s started and finished with striped garter stitch rounds which gives it a modern and fresh feel.  The pattern calls for the colourway Swamp Thang to be used as the contrast colour for the garter stitch, but you could use any of the contrast colours that you like.

Chloris Cowl From Behind at Pollock House (1 of 1)

I recommend this as an intermediate colourwork project as there are long runs of stitches which means long floats, the biggest being 17 stitches long, so I’d advise being comfortable with floating your yarns.  You can also catch the yarn at the back of a stitch if you prefer doing this.  I personally do not as it always shows a flash of the floated colour through the front of the fabric and messes with my tension.  I find the long float manageable in terms of length and wearability and there are only 4 rounds in the pattern that have this float length.

There are also 8 rounds which require the use of 3 colours at once.  If you are comfortable with stranded colourwork, this should be relatively easy if you’ve not done it before.  To finish the cowl, a version of the Icelandic Bind Off is used which makes an edge that is practically identical to the Long Tail Cast On that the pattern calls for.  I  will I’ll be providing video tutorials of how to manage your yarns for the long floats and three colour rows and a couple of other techniques used in the cowl.

Full disclosure – I have lost my camcorder and tripod so there will be a delay between the pattern being published and the video tutorials being made.  I’ve turned the shop and my flat upside down looking for them to no avail.  I had planned for the tutorial to be live at the time of the pattern release, so please bear with me, I’ll get them up one way or another soon!

Morning update – I found the camcorder and tripod!!!  Tutorials will be up next week!

Find the Chloris Cowl pattern on Ravelry here!

Use code GREENTHUMB for 25% off the pattern price until 23.59pm on 14.01.18!

 

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How To Make A Perfect Tassel Queen of Purls Style!

Perfect Tassel Queen of Purls Style

1. Start making a tassel as normal & tie the top to secure. I’m using a different colour so you can see easier, use any colour you like!

2. Grab a length of yarn about 30 cm (this really depends on overall length & thickness of your tassel but for a small one 30cm is fine!) that you want to tie your tassel with & fold it about a third of the way & place on top of your tassel as shown. Make sure the long length is at the top, the short length at the bottom & the ‘loop’ at the bottom of the tassel.

3 & 4. Now take the top, the longer length, & bring it down over the top of the shorter length (pic 3), then take it under & back over the top to start wrapping it. Keep wrapping in this direction working from the top of the tassel to the bottom. Wrap neatly so each wrap lies directly next to each other & wrap it TIGHTLY!

5. Keep wrapping until desired length but don’t wrap completely over that loop you made at the start. Thread your working yarn through the loop from top to bottom.

6. Pull the top piece of yarn, that short bit that you folded over earlier that is at the top of the tassel. You’ll start to see the loop tightening & disappearing under the wraps. Keep pulling until the loop disappears completely under the wraps, but don’t pull until it comes out the top again, you want it to be hidden! At this point I like to pull on both ends at the same time just to tighten everything nicely.

7. If you do want to use a different colour for this part of the tassel you can trim the ends flush to the wraps. If you wrapped tightly enough they will stay secure. If you are using the same colour, or more than one colour so it will blend in, you can trim the bottom length of yarn to the same length as the rest of your tassel. Thread the top length of yarn with a needle up & over the top, under the knot you tied the top of the tassel with, then down the other side & back under the wraps on the other side. Again trim to the length of your tassel.

8. Pull any unruly pieces into place & give a final trim if needed. Now you have a perfect tassel with a wrap at the top that also looks perfect all the way round!

Warm & Working is Back!

Warm and Working 2017

When? Saturday the 9th of December from 12 pm – 5 pm

Where? The Queen of Purls, 91 Saltmarket, Glasgow, G1 5LE

What for? We’re raising money for The Big Issue in Glasgow and taking donations of knitted hats, gloves and scarves to hand out to vendors to keep them warm and working throughout the winter.

Who’ll be there?  The Queen of Purls will be joined by Ginger Twist Studios, Rusty Ferret, Stitchbirdie and Woollenflower.

 

Warm & Working has become an annual event at The Queen of Purls and one that everyone looks forward to each year.  It initially started when Tipsy Knits (amazing podcast, btw!) co founder, Cia Kate, came into the shop asking if we could host an event for The Big Knitathon.  I’m 99% certain it was Cia who coined the phrase “Warm and Working” and I have 100% adopted it to advertise the event throughout the years!  It’s a great phrase and I don’t think you could sum up what it’s all about in three words any better, so thank you Cia for allowing me to adopt your intellectual property!FB_IMG_1509720604369A Photo from the very first Warm & Working event

In the run up to the event we are asking anyone who could spare some time and some of their stash to knit hats, scarves and gloves for The Big Issue vendors.  Over that last 3 years we have received so many generous donations from you.  These all get taken a few meters down the road to The Big Issue office where the staff and volunteers wrap them up then hand them out to the vendors as a Christmas gift.  The money that we raise during the event goes towards buying any wee extras that there might no be enough of.  last year we raised £130 and this went towards buying gloves.FB_IMG_1509720543012Just some of the donations of hats, scarves and gloves from last year

Warm & Working is about supporting our community in more way than one, so each year we have have a handful of local businesses vending at the show.  This makes it a great opportunity to touch base with vendors and buy from them to support local over the festive period and to hopefully put a dent in your Christmas shopping list!  This year we have Ginger Twist Studio, Rusty Ferret, Stitchbirdie and Woollenflower joining us and the regular QoP stock will be at hand too!Warm and Working 2016A packed QoP at last year’s event

Every year we have snacks and mulled drinks on hand and a great raffle with prizes donated by our vendors.  If you’d like to try your luck at the raffle or enjoy a drink and a snack we ask for a small donation of £1 for each of these items that goes to The Big Issue.  The Mulled Apple juice with a mince pie on the side is always a big hit!FB_IMG_1509720614260Mulled apple juice being prepared

We hope you can make it along this year to join in the fun! If you’re knitting any items to donate and would like to share them on social media, please feel free to use #warmandworking when posting on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  We’d also appreciate any blog shares with anyone you think might be interested in donating or coming to the event!

 

 

P.S Don’t forget your knitting!

 

Flags and Standards

Zoe outside The Queen of Purls Zoe standing outside The Queen of Purls

When I was a teenager, my friends and I would always make the trip east towards the Trongate when we came into town on a Saturday. We’d check out a small army surplus store on the Trongate for old army jackets which were every alternative kid’s winter jacket of choice, Record Fayre for CDs and those black hoodies with your favourite band logo on them, then we’d all head up to 23 Enigma on High Street. We loved checking these shops out week after week. The big, mainstream shops of the town centre held no interest for us and were just that; mainstream. We didn’t identify with what they were selling and didn’t want to.  We wanted to express our own voice and these were the shops that provided an alternative so we could do so.

Walking past Glasgow Cross Walking past Glasgow Cross with the flags

I have good memories of this part of town, from my Mum bringing me into town when I was younger and taking me to The Big Top, seeing the Red Hot Chili Peppers play at Glasgow Green (probably whilst wearing my RHCP hoodie that I had bought from Record Fayre), and watching the amazing kinetic sculpture shows at Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre. When the time came to start looking for a shop unit for The Queen of Purls this wasn’t an area that immediately stood out to me though. The area has had its problems and has a lingering reputation as a bad area of town. It is also rich in history, being the heart of Glasgow where Glasgow was originally formed. There are regular world class events being held at Glasgow Green; the 2014 Commonwealth Games were hosted there and the World Pipe Band Championships is a regular every year. These are events that attract people from all over the world and there is no shortage of things to do and see in the area when they visit. It has good public transport access and it’s walking distance from the centre of town; all important points to consider when opening up a shop! The more I visited units in this area, the more I remembered how much I enjoyed coming to this part of town. If you look into the history of the Saltmarket you’ll find it was originally named Waulcergait as it was known for wool production. It was when merchants in the street started selling salt for curing salmon that it was renamed Saltmarket. Eventually, I opened my shop here.

Group shot at Glasgow Cross Group shot at Glasgow Cross

Despite all this, there is one question that people keep asking. Where are all the businesses? If you’ve been to the shop you may have noticed many a vacant shop unit in the area. The shop units available here are all owned by the council. When I was looking for my shop there were a few units in the area, but not all of the shops lying empty were being advertised. Three and a half years into my lease they have still not been advertised as being up for rent. I’ve had people from several organisations come into my shop asking for ideas on how to fix this and plenty of ideas have been put forward. The council has been approached with ideas, but they all seem to be rejected. It seems they are happier getting no rent than letting people have a shot at building a successful business. Businesses in the area are being hit with the charges for historic repairs to the buildings they set up shop in. I myself was expected to pay a VERY large sum of money upon signing my lease for repairs to the building that had absolutely nothing to do with my yet to be realised business, but because of the type of lease you sign as a business owner, I would have been liable for them. News stories are being published about historic buildings that are in line to be demolished to make way for student housing. There’s something not right going on here and none of the businesses that have been asking what’s going on are getting any clear answers. What council would want a historically rich part of their city to remain vacant from business?

McLennan Arch at Glasgow Green Another group photo opp at the Mclennan Arch in Glasgow green

This area could and should be what it once was. Thriving small businesses that offer a shopping alternative to the big and often mundane businesses of the City Centre and help create a sense of community. Small, independent businesses bring life and soul into communities. They are often run by people who live in the community themselves. They offer something different, something more ethical, they give back to their communities and they provide colour, texture and narrative in a world of banal mega stores designed to blend in and purposefully not be different.

View from the Briggait The exhibition of Flags being set up in the Briggait

I’m not the only person who feels this way and was absolutely delighted to take part in the High Street & Saltmarket: Past, Present, Possible event organised by WAVEparticle on the 22nd of July. This event celebrated the past history of High Street and Saltmarket, the present day lives of residents and retailers and looked to the possible future of the area. The team at WAVEparticle made one hundred and one flags and standards which were flown during the Merchant City Festival Carnival procession. Each one had an image that represented the businesses on the High Street and Saltmarket and the history of the area. The Queen of Purls was represented by a ram! After the carnival had passed, we walked down High Street and Saltmarket towards the Briggait with flags flying and gave cheers to each business we passed on the way that was involved with the parade. It was a real boost to morale to hear everyone cheering for the businesses we passed.  It gave a sense of pride to those who have made High Street and Saltmarket their home.  When we reached the Briggait we listened to a presentation from the Scottish Civic Trust on the history of the area and were all treated to lunch. Around us, the WAVEparticle team was quickly setting up a pop-up exhibition of the flags.

Talk by Scottish Civic Trust Listening to the talk by the Scottish Civic Trust

The enthusiasm the WAVEparticle team brought to the event was much needed. For some businesses there have been years of struggle and dealing with a council who doesn’t seem to care about the residents or the businesses here. It was nice working with people who genuinely do care. It was exciting and invigorating seeing and being part of a project that actually came to fruition, especially one where every member of the community was included and invited to participate. It is roots movements like these that make a difference for people in the area and attract those from out with. I hope this was the first of many celebrations of life on the oldest line in Glasgow and that it can once again thrive as a shopping destination as it used to. Residents should feel proud to live on these streets and potential business owners and start ups should find it a desirable area to open a business, as I did when I signed the lease for 91 Saltmarket.

Sean with Flags at Briggait  Sean, one of the WAVEparticle team standing next to one of the flag exhibits

 

 

Getting Ready For Yarningham

I have been spending my weekends getting yarn dyed up for Yarningham which is on the 15th and 16th of July at Stirchley Baths in Birmingham.  This will be my first year at Yarningham and my fist time visiting Birmingham.  I’m looking forward to a road trip and getting to hang out with my sister and most excellent friend Emilie.  You may already know this opera singing, brioche knitting airport connoisseur at as eflatmajor on Instagram!  Birmingham, you better be well stocked with gluten free snacks for us three!

I though I’d take this video of me dyeing up some yarn for Yarningham so you can get a wee glimpse into how your yarn is prepared.  There is also some bonus silly music!  It would be great to see you there if you are coming along for the show.  Do come and say “Hi!”  I will have lots of lovely hand dyed to tempt you over with!