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Upcycled Hats from House of Cheviot Sock Tops

They say when one door closes, another one opens. After Hawick Knitwear closed, I lost one of my suppliers of waste knitwear for upcycling. However I’m delighted to have hooked up with another of Hawick’s knitwear manufacturers. This time, I’m recycling waste sock panels from The House of Cheviot, manufacturers of luxury country socks.

Upcycling House of Cheviot kilt hose

Using waste panels from Scottish kilt hose from The House of Cheviot in my upcycling

When Ian from The House of Cheviot got in touch to see if I could do anything with sock tops, I had no idea what I could do with them, but suggested he sent down a box full.

Waste House of cheviot Woolly Pedlar recycling

Waste sock tops from House of Cheviot sent to The Woolly Pedlar for recycling

I was delighted with my shipment! They were fabulous pieces of fine merino wool with a bit of stretch, in the most wonderful patterns.

I asked the question over on my Facebook page, of what my followers thought I should make with them, and suggestions came in thick and fast. Legwarmers, tea cosies, mug cosies, hats, scarves etc.

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The thickness of the knitwear meant that my usual modus operandi of putting seams on the outside wouldn’t work, and the width and height of the panels also limited what could be done. I’m afraid the boxes sat in the corner of the workshop for a while while I scratched my head.

hats

Then it came to me – my husband has a Tibetan style hat which he loves, made from panels of recycled cotton. Bingo! I pinched his hat for a while and made a pattern from it with the help of Julie from One off Projects who helps me sew here at The Woolly Pedlar. A new hat was formed, made from recycled country sock tops. I bet no one else is making these!

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What I wasn’t prepared for was the rush of online sales that followed as soon as they had been made! It would seem folk love my sock top hats, which I’ve named ‘Thinking Hats’.

Thinking Hat upcycled recycled merino wool sock top

‘Thinking Hat’ upcycled from recycled merino wool sock tops

I took the first batch of hats to Hexham Farmer’s Market and put a few on the website shop. They were a resounding success at the market, and I was soon pedalling to the post office van with orders to post.

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I will be getting in touch with The House of Cheviot today to get another shipment of sock tops sent down, and I’ll have plenty ready for all my Christmas events, and for the web shop.

I think they’ll make great Christmas presents!

Head to the ‘Events’ tab to see where I’ll be selling my woolly wares next, or you can shop online.

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It’s all gone a bit ‘backendish’ as they say in Weardale

Before we moved to Bridge Cottage, Tim and I lived in Upper Weardale, in an old leadminer’s cottage which we’d renovated ourselves. They had a saying in Weardale (well in fact they had a lot of sayings, this is but one of them): ‘It’s all gone a bit backendish’. This feels like the  right word for today. It would seem summer is thinking of retreating, and signs that autumn is on the cusp are all around. In fact, as I write this, I need to go and find a woolly wrap or light the fire!

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As I drove past the conker tree last week, I noticed the leaves beginning to yellow, and Mr Tim has just ordered an apple crusher for the million, zillion apples that are about to fall. Mind you, having said all this, yesterday was a blazing hot day! This weekend we are home alone without ‘kids’ for the first time in twenty-five years. It is odd to say the least, but we’re ok with it too, and I sat with feet up in the garden, a glass of chilly white and a good book by my side.  It soon turned cooler though and we lit a fire in the recycled washing machine drum while Tim tested the LED solar lights he’s been rigging up on the sauna and for my stall.
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The weather hasn’t been as kind today, so after a long lie in and breakfast in bed, I’ve been working on the website. One of my favourite products are my bedspreads. Having just decorated our south facing spare room, I now have the perfect space to get my double and kingsize bedspreads photographed, and have now listed several of them online. There are a couple of new ones, including these two. You can find all my bedspreads, blankets and throws in the soft furnishings department of the website shop.

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It feels like it could soon be time to get snuggly!

Christmas bookings are all in now and the diary is looking really full. If you’re wondering where I can be found during the run up to Christmas, then check out the Events tab. Here too, is the list so far:

  • Sept 10th Hexham Farmer’s Market , Hexham Northumberland
  • Sept 18th Rothbury Vintage Fair, Rothbury, Northumberland
  • Oct 22nd Hexham Farmer’s Market
  • Oct 29th Pop uP Shop at Treacle Wool Shop, Morpeth, Northumberland
  • 10th – 13th November Brocksbushes Christmas Fair Stocksfield, Northumberland
  • 19th -20th November – The Hearth, Horsley, Northumberland
  • 25-27th November, Alston Moor Crafts Christmas Fair, Town Hall, Alston, Cumbria
  • 26th November, Jesmond Alternative Christmas Market, Holy Trinity Church, Jesmond, Newcastle
  • 10th December Hexham Christmas Fair and Hexham Farmer’s Market

So, without further ado, I’d better sign off for this week. There’s loads more to tell you, but that will have to wait for this month’s newsletter which will be out soon

Bye for now, and thanks for reading.

Now, where did I put those armwarmers?

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In Celebration of the Apple

apple-1Those of you who have been following my musings since the Bridge Cottage Way days, will know I’m passionate about eating seasonally, and in this blog post, I am going to deviate from all things woolly and talk about how apples have dominated my week.

We’ve had so many windfall apples recently, and I’ve enjoyed stewing them with the few autumn raspberries or blackberries from the garden to have with my porridge. The rest I’ve left on the ground for the blackbirds and thrushes who hop around munching on them and sharing them with the slugs.

apple-3It was Apple Day this weekend at the Hexham Farmer’s Market. I was there with my stall, and Transition Tynedale were opposite with their locally produced apples and apple press, which kept us all going with delicious fresh apple juice. Other stalls had baked pies and other appley treats. The market was buzzing, and it was great to see so many folk out and about, buying local produce. The Woolly Pedlar had a great day too, with lots of sales, orders and several donations of jumpers to recycle.

apple-4My only contribution to the apple theme, was to make this autumn coloured sweatercoat, which, with a lot of poetic license could be likened to a Russet apple! Back home, Tim had also been juicing our apples, and I set about baking some raspberry and apple scones. I just added a few raspberries and chopped apple to a basic scone recipe – they were delicious and went down well with my daughter and her boyfriend for Sunday brunch.

apple 2 On Sunday I took a day off from woolly pedlaring, and made five jars of this delicious Apple and Lemon Curd. I’ve been wanting to make this recipe for Bramley Lemon Curd, taken from the River Cottage series of books, ‘Preserves’ by Pam Corbin, for ages. One of my Facebook followers has asked for the recipe – so here it is, copied from the book:

Bramley Lemon Curd

Makes 5 x 225g jars

450g Bramley apples, peeled, cored & chopped

Finely grated zest & juice of 2 unwaxed lemons

125g unsalted butter

450g granulated sugar

4-5 large eggs, well beaten ( you need 200ml beaten egg)

Put the apples in a pan with 100ml water & lemon zest, & cook til fluffy. Beat to a puree or pass thru a seive.

Put the butter, sugar, lemon juice & apple puree into a double boiler or bain suspended over a pan of simmering water. As soon as butter has melted, & mixture is smooth & glossy, pass eggs thru a seive and add to mixture. Make sure mixture isn’t too hot. (no highter than 55-60 deg). If mixture does split, take the pan off the heat and beat with a whisk until smooth.
Stir the mixture over a gentle heat and cook until thick and creamy. This will take 9-10 minutes and will be 82-84 deg on a sugar thermometer. Immediately pour into warm steralised jars and seal. Use within 4 weeks. Once opened, keep in the fridge.

I hadn’t made this before, and was really pleased with the result.

The other appley dish of the weekend was a blackberry and apple crumble and custard for Sunday dinner, which came after the Roast Lamb which I’d bought at the Farmer’s Market, which was accompanied by veg from the garden. To finish it all off, we had some super cheese bought from the Leaside Cheesemakers at the Farmer’s Market. Great to have so much lovely seasonal produce both at home and at our local market, and super that lovely seasonal British apples have taken centre stage this week.

HFM1I’ll be back at the Hexham Farmer’s Market in two weeks, on Saturday 24th October with some fab new kiddies’ ponchos for Halloween plus lots of other new upcycled designs. So it’s back up the stairs to the woolly garret for me this week, but with plenty of yummy stewed apples for my porridge before I start the day. Three cheers for seasonal eating, and three cheers for the British Apple!

 

 

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It’s Good to be Back

I wonder if any fellow artists out there are like me, and have a restless night’s sleep before an event? I usually fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, but on Friday night it took ages to get to sleep then I tossed and turned, and woke at five, a full hour and a half before I needed to get up. Call it nerves, excitement, adrenalin, call it what you will, it isn’t conducive to having the energy to run a stall the next day!

Stall-HexhamThe Woolly Pedlar was back in Hexham Farmer’s Market! After a summer away at festivals, I was looking forward to rejoining the other producers at my local Farmer’s Market. I had been watching the forecast over the coming week, which had been bathed in an Indian Summer, with crisp cooler mornings, and lovely warm sunny days. The weatherman said this was all going to change at the weekend, with wind and heavy rain on Saturday morning.

Now, some of the other stallholders (Billy from the veg stall especially) had previously remarked how it only ever rained when I was there! So, watching the forecast carefully, I was worried that I was going to jinx the market yet again.

Sure enough, I woke far too early at five, and listened to the rain starting to hit the windows.

I need the help of my husband to set up my stall, so at 6.30 I woke him up and we grabbed some breakfast before driving the van to Hexham. I needn’t have worried about a thing. The rain was gentle and the welcome from Peter, Hexham Farmer’s Market’s main man was awesome.

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After a big bear hug and a lovely warm welcome back to the market, I felt immediately at home again. We have a lovely community amongst the other traders and townsfolk in Hexham. Shop owners such as Mary from Gaia in Market Street, took the trouble to stop by and wish me luck for the day. I really enjoy being part of my local town’s trading community – we are such a supportive bunch.

Well, it rained cat and dogs all morning, and despite having a stall full of lovely new ponchos, jumpers, sweatercoats, baby blankets, armwarmers and scarves all I sold one one baby blanket and one pair of baby legwarmers!

What’s more, I had forgotten my knitting!!!! Five hours of sitting in my tent watching the rain!

Still, I had a lovely day, commiserating with my fellow stallholders. One of whom gave me a bag of free watercress she’d picked from her river the day before. Julia, The Moody Baker was next door and we gave each other a big soggy cuddle when we were feeling bleugh!

I really hope that the next Farmer’s Markets I’m attending (10th & 24th October) will be kinder to us stallholders – preferably cold and crisp – the ideal weather for selling woollies!

11-AprilIf you want to know where I’ll be selling my woolly wares next, hop over to the Events Page.

Local Stockists can also be found on the website.
If you are not local to the north-east, there’s always the website shop, and if you don’t see what you are after then get in touch – bespoke orders are a pleasure!
dollIf you are in Hexham on 10th or 24th October, then do drop by the stall and say hello. If you are clearing out any wool jumpers then bring them along and you’ll get a discount voucher for use on the stall or online.

It’s back upstairs to the woolly garret for me tomorrow. With just two weeks to go til the awesome Festival of Thrift, and a much depleted rail of jumpers following a brilliant summer of selling at festivals, I am feeling the pressure to build up my Christmas stock (sorry to mention the C word in September!)

So, good night one and all, I’m off to watch This is London ’90.

 

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