Artisan yarn supplier meets vintage seafarer
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Laura writes for Cast off Collective

We’re excited to introduce a regular column called ‘Laura Writes’, written by a Cast Off Collective regular.

Laura burst into the shop on a mission for speckled sock yarn and has been a friend ever since; so much so that her group ‘ Knit Manly’ now meet in the shop once a month. 

Let’s get to know a bit about Laura…

How and when did you fall in love with wool?

I met my first crocheter about five years ago. I bought a hook, learned the basics, joined a local knitting and crocheting group, taught myself to knit a few months later and never stopped.  It’s now 2018 and I’d say knitting is my happiest pastime (with reading in second place). Oh, and I seem to be running a knit club now, though I frequently deny it. editor note: I thought you met at a hula hoop class?

Do you have a favourite knitter?

In terms of well-known knitters, I don't have a huge crush on anyone. Ankestrick has an understated palette that is very attractive, and I love the general Caitlin Hunter (Boyland Knitworks) aesthetic, although I don't anticipate making much more of her stuff. I just love to look at her colour combinations and colourwork designs. editor note: We all know Laura ADORES Stephen West.

What are you knitting at the moment?  Can we see some pictures?

It can take a long time to find a pattern that I think is actually worth casting on, but in the last six months or so there have been plenty and my wool corner is currently overflowing to the tune of six WIPs (Works In Progress).

I have a few sweaters on the needles. At the beginning of the year, Skein - an Australian independent dyer - declared 2018 the Year of the Sweater. This suits me very well - I have sweaters piling up in my head and Ravelry queue, so there are those. 

Then there’s a Westknits shawl (my fifth?) that I’m probably more than halfway through, plus my first pair of socks, which is actually half a sock and might not progress any further.

What about crochet?

I started a blanket towards the end of March. I thought it would use up some old wool but I’ve already bought new wool and I’m actually going to need much, much more. A blanket is not a good way to use up old wool ;)

What are your plans for ‘Laura Writes’?  Is this whole thing going to be about you?

Well, I’ll be sharing the projects I’m working on with you. Each is teaching me something or many things, so you’ll get to avoid my errors (make your own instead) and perhaps even be inspired to cast on a new project :)

But we’ll also have a look at what’s happening in the wider (wool) world - I’ll point you in the direction of some ace patterns and designers - and there’ll be lots of thoughts about knitting, crochet and the people who do these things. There may even be the odd word or sentence about my beloved local yarn shop – you never know!

Every day’s a school day when you’re a knitter, so I’ll let you know if I hear or learn any mega-tips. Actually, I was recently given several words of wisdom from one of my favourite designers that I’ll definitely share in a future post. (Those words have already changed the way I knit. Very exciting.)

Don’t keep us in suspense, share your words of wisdom!

Okay :) 

Sometimes, it just comes down to what you have to hand.


Experience really is the best teacher. 

There is a (longer) story to this, but essentially these are the phrases that have stayed with me and helped with the preparation part of my projects then and since. Less planning, more cracking on with it! 

Any random knitting facts you’d like to share?

I'll reject a yarn based on its name, even if I like everything else about it. I just can't knit with something called Double Bubble. Or anything with a popular culture reference if I don't watch the programme/like the band. Conversely, if I love a name, I'll try to convince myself I like and will use the wool, too, even when I know the opposite is true...

I also just (today!) learned knitting in the round with two circulars for small circumferences (my arm). I think it's going well - so far...

You’re a wool fan, right? 

Love the stuff. I’ll probably write ‘wool’ almost as often as ‘and’ or ‘the’. Don’t be baffled/infuriated (please) if you find the word ‘wool’ where you’d expect ‘yarn’. Wool is simply a far superior word in my opinion. Just look at it! To me, so much more pleasing than the generic ‘yarn’. Sounds more definite when you say it out loud, too (I’ll give you a moment).

What do you have planned for your first ‘Laura Writes’?

I've just been reading about a novel idea for a Knitalong (KAL), which may interest whodunnit fans. I'll probably also have to expand on the words of wisdom now! And I'll share a weird knitting habit, because as soon as I remarked upon it to my husband he said "blog topic". And he's right.

 Fantastic, can’t wait!

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