Wednesday 9 June 2010

I'll Show You Mine:Purls of Colour

Today, Brigitte from Purls of Colour, Belfast, opens up her outside studio.

I knit and create my designs everywhere – in buses, on trains, in cafés, waiting in a queue…, but of course, I do have my home base in an old red-brick Belfast house. If the weather is not good (ie most of the time), I work from my living room/office. Sadly, however, the room is like the neverending story of never-being-tidy, so you really don’t want to see that. Well, I can show you some of my wool stash, which is far more organised than the rest of me: A much tidier and rather pretty work space is my outside studio in the garden. As soon as the sun appears from behind the clouds, I unfold my folding table and folding chair, get a huge mug of Fair Trade coffee, and knit in the sun (properly covered, of course).
A historian by training, one of my most important work tools is my archive, aka a thick folder with samples of all the wool I use for my designs.
Once a historian, always a historian, and I know I will never get away from archiving and footnoting! Each supplier and craft fair I buy from gets a page (or more) in my folder, if I am in another country and buy lots of yarn, the country has its own pages, and I add any information I deem important to it, such as what type of fibre (wool, cotton, banana fibre, etc), colour/s, where is it from, is it Fair Trade, organic, hand dyed, and anything unusual.
I often look through the pages, think about which yarns I want to use together, and which ones I want to re-order (if possible, because a lot of them are one-off buys, especially the hand spun and hand dyed ones).

Another of my tools is a thin booklet where I write down patterns I use a lot. This is the one I carry with me on my travels. I’m actually already on my second booklet, and more will surely follow, because I also have a stack of old envelopes full of design notes, which I need to add to the booklet. I love my outside office – sometimes our neighbours’ cats walk by, or a big grey squirrel does acrobatics at the bird feeder, and today, a massive magpie walked towards my table, looked at me curiously and then disappeared again. And I thought if I only could get yarn in those magnificent magpie colours of blue-black and white…


  1. How lovely! There's nothing like being able to work outdoors. :)

    Thanks for sharing with us, Brigitte!

  2. It's nice to meet someone who knits in public ;) I enjoyed your article,tx Brigitte!

  3. Great post AND you're a northen irish girl, like me!! Photos are lovely and I love the folder - where has all my historian-ness gone?

  4. Great article - there is definitely something wonderful about crafting outdoors - I often take my spinning wheel into the garden when its sunny.
    Thanks for sharing

  5. lovely post and the colours in your photos are gorgeous. Nice to see a post from my home city :)