Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Happy Christmas and a merry Hogmanay to you all!

This is last year's mantlepiece display for a bit of festive cheer - sorry you couldn't all come round for some nice mulled wine and a few nibbles...

Now, let's see if I can remember how to blog - it's been a while, hasn't it.

Are you in a Christmassy mood yet? We went to see the panto tonight and I'm almost there - haven't heard any children singing Away in a Manger yet - that always brings a tear to my eye and marks the official start of Christmas.

I have some actual knitting content for this post. I hope a certain Granda Gerry isn't reading this. This very night, some socks are born and unto Granda Gerry they will belong as around six months ago, his very eyes chose the colours and his very hands dyed up this skein:
I thought I'd knit them up into a pair of socks for Christmas and although they came out a little on the feminine side, I think he'll appreciate the thought:
They are BOTH finished - I just haven't got a photo of them - hey, it's nearly midnight and dark outside!I used Skein Queen Plushness (80% lambswool 10% angora 10% cashmere) which is an absolute dream for socks. I used Violet Green's Standard Sock pattern, adapting it slightly for his size 9 feet.

And I made a start on my first Clapotis (ok, I know I'm slightly behind the times here). I dyed up four skeins of Skein Queen Aran silk in plum, raspberry and sage...and got stuck in...Still a long way to go, but I'm enjoying it. This is the amended photo. The first one I had up on Ravelry was the embarrassing one where I hadn't used the stitch markers properly (thanks Claire for helping me out with that one - you are my knitting guru!). I'm just rubbish at using them and NEVER use them on socks - I just remember where I am, as I always have done on every bit of knitting I've done from jumpers to baby clothes to socks to gloves. But I thought I'd better try them on this and got it cringeworthily wrong - but they looked very pretty along the edge ***blush***. Oh well, if it wasn't for Ravelry, I'd still have them wrong.

A tiny tempter of what's to come in 2008:Aran silk

Darker, more broody colourways

More collections sold as one listing

A very Merry Christmas to all my Dear Customers and all my Dear Readers and Friends. I do feel privileged for meeting so many fellow yarn enthusiasts this year (and friends who feign enthusiasm and listen to me drivel on about it). I now declare the shop is officially closed for Christmas and New Year and will open again on 5th January. Enjoy whatever you're doing over the holiday season and whatever you're knitting and see you in 2008.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Free Pattern for Lavender Hearts

Due to popular demand (ok, I think maybe two people asked) here's the pattern for Lavender Hearts. They make a good last-minute gift - they take around an hour to knit and about another hour to make the little lavender bag that goes inside and stitch up. They could make a good stash-protector for a fellow knitter.

Pattern now improved and available as a pdf here.

Materials - scraps of any yarn - around 24m. I used SQ cashmere/silk.
Needles - I used 3.25mm for 6 ply DK and 3.75mm for 4 ply sportweight

For lavender bag - a scrap of material, some lavender, needle and thread.
Short length of ribbon, decorative button.

Heart shape (make 2)

Cast on one stitch.
K inc. 1 st at each end of row. 3 sts
P inc. 1 st at each end of row. 5sts
K inc. 1st at each end of row. 7sts
P inc. 1st at each end of row. 9sts.
Inc. 1. P9. Inc. 1. 11sts
Inc. 1. P11. Inc. 1. 13sts
Inc. 1. P13. Inc. 1. 15sts
Inc. 1. K15. Inc. 1. 15sts
Inc. 1. K17. Inc. 1. 17sts
Carry on alternating P row with increasing at each end of knit row until 29st ending with P29.

To shape top of heart:
K15. Pass one st. over. Leave remaining st. on holder. Work on 14sts.

Dec. 1. P10. Dec. 1. (12sts)
Dec. 1. P8. Dec. 1. (10sts)
Dec. 1. P6. Dec. 1. (8sts)
K2tog across. (4sts)
Cast off.

Rejoin yarn and reverse shaping.

To make lavender bag, cut thin, cotton material into square around 2" x 3". Stitch around in a running stitch, stuff with lavender and sew up.

Stitch up two heart shapes, insert lavender bag, leave opening for ribbon at top. Place ribbon in hole and stitch button into place using stitches for button to secure ribbon in place. Add decorative crochet if required by stitching in place after creating three loops of chain stitch.

Happy knitting

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Be prepared to let a bit of wee out when you see this

For those of you who haven't seen this already in the Lime n Violet board over on Ravelry, you've just got to check this Sexy Turkey Hat out.

Then for extra glamour for your male partner on a night out, why not knit him one of these Bearded Caps.

Back to business, last big shop update before Christmas is up there now and includes the Royal Collection:Vintage Jewels, Chocolate Teal, August and Fragrant Stocks - this tempting foursome is listed together.

Free knitted heart for my first five customers. And next (smallish) listing should include some sumptious Aran weight silk - if I can let any of it out the house, it's SO SO gorgeous. Have to dye some up for myself for the famous clapotis - next project.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Ragamuffin mitts and other stories

Dyeing yarn in a cold, cold garage (you know, the famous SQ royal workshop mentioned on my Etsy shop front) at this time of year requires several layers of warm clothes, some knitted socks and anything else that keeps you vaguely warm. If I had a pair of long johns, I'd wear them - I'm not proud! I realised I needed a pair of fingerless mitts that didn't mind getting covered in dye.

So, a quick search in John Lewis and I couldn't resist this Noro Kureyon:

Then I found this pattern from Another Knitting Blog.

And then I made these:These should do the trick and I'll still be able to open the fiddly tops on the dyes.

I sent this lot down to the Studio Opening in Devon for this weekend, but I have a sneaky suspicion quite a lot of it may be winging its way back - though haven't heard for sure yet. Yarn and knitted goods don't usually fare well unless displayed alongside more knittery things, but it will just mean all the more goodies for the shop:

Perhaps now would be a good time to soothe our souls with some yarnie goodness:
Chocolate Teal in Lavish

Willow Blue in Opulent

Cranford in Divine

Moomin in Divine

Liquorice Allsort in Divine
Perfume in Divine
Golden Compass in Entice
Mango Martini in Entice

Fairytale in Entice

Chinese Mulberry in Wisp

And finally, Skein Queen has just this week agreed a wholesale order with an online UK-based retailer. More on that in a few weeks. I'll also be revealing further details of mentions in national knitting magazines, including the chance for you to win some free SQ cashmere/silk...

Monday, 26 November 2007 is launched

I know a man and he's a very clever man at things like numbers and computers and all the things I'm no good at and he's called Skein King (although that title may be a tad misleading given that every time he so much as touches a skein of yarn, it ends up in the biggest tangle imaginable) but his genius lies in the workings of a PC and he can turn bits and bytes into magic.

And henceforth, the kingdom of Skein has expanded to include the previously uncharted territory of

Now, I am a huge Etsy fan, as you may have guessed, and I'm not abandoning it as this will still be where my yarns will be for sale, but it has it's limitations in terms of grouping and displaying to best advantage. This is where the new website comes in as there's more room to group yarn types together, including sold ones, to enable a better choice for custom orders.

There's also suggestions for projects with each yarn type, a direct link to my Etsy shop and display of my latest yarns for sale. I have plans to include a Finished Projects page and a Free Patterns page. So if you have ever knitted anything in SQ yarn and would like to show it off on my website, I'd love to see it - we could get a little collection going and possibly link to the patterns if they're online ones? Also any feedback is greatly appreciated.

And there will be a shop update this week. The batch currently drying includes some new semi-solids in pure cashmere (Opulent) and 100% merino (Divine), and some new colourways in Divine and Entice.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Knit happens (and Yarn Yard Merino Club spoiler)

First of all, click on Etsy, (only until Thursday 22nd Nov.) now scroll down to the bottom - yes, featured Etsy artist - that's the wonderful Suzanne, owner of Jelly Leg'd Chicken gallery, aka Alabamawhirly and maker of the finest gloves in knittingdom. And I know, because I own a pair of her Dark Love gloves.
I LOVE these fingerless mitts and they have been much admired at school picking-up time.See how the contrasting stitches make cute little hearts? Lovely.

I acquired them from Outcast's lovely, eclectic-looking stand at the South Hill Park Christmas Fair where I met a lovely lady who produces and spins Alpaca yarn and is based in Hampshire. Could be a new yarn base, methinks. Perhaps better use up what I have already.

I also made another purchase from a fellow Etsian last week. The lovely Nina at artquirk sells the most gorgeous original artwork and prints. I already have Four Little Houses and A Row of Colourful Houses and just had to add these to my ever-growing street:
They still need to be hung, which will happen as soon as we stop having power cuts so I can get out to the garage and actually find the hammer! Anyway, she was kind enough to send me one free for being her 100th customer. Check out her shop - she does free delivery and is based in Southsea.

Chevron Mark II is off the needles, but not yet blocked or ends sewn in:

And finally, some yarn which winged its way to me over the last week or two:
This little beauty is from Kerrie at Hipknits and I'm ashamed to say, I've forgotten what I ordered and no label! I think it has silk or seacell in it - I can't even remember the quantity and it's gone from her site now. It was one of her more expensive yarns and I'm afraid it was love at first sight!

And this is from Natalie at Yarn Yard from the second installment of my Merino Club membership. It's based on moorland and the yellow represents gorse bushes, which so reminds me of my childhood running about on the Pentland Hills:
Finally, I just listed some sock yarn in my shop tonight:

Foxglove in Plushness

Frogpond in Plushness (sold)
Octopus in Endure

Dr Seuss in Endure

Friday, 16 November 2007

Chevron mark II

OMG, so much has been happening that I have neglected SQ blog.

First of all, I'm about 2/3rds through my second Chevron scarf using SQ Lavish in Fragrant Stocks and Turtle Dove. This will be winging its way down to Devon for the Hillcrest Studio Opening next week as another example of how my yarn knits up.

The shop shelves are looking a little bare as I've been concentrating on getting enough stock together to send to Maggie for the big event. Good luck to her and Jeremy for the weekend after next.

I've also got involved in a little copy editing of Yarn Forward magazine run by Kerrie of Hipknits fame. All I can say is, what a fab read for the next issue - if you don't have a subscription, it's well worth getting - it comes highly recommended.

Here's the artwork for my advert which is to appear in the next issue:Obviously, not quite readable in this format, but just to give you an overall impression.

This is my advert which appears in some Ravelry forums:
When I first saw it popping up, I kept squeeing for about the first ten times - how daft am I!

I have also found a wonderful pattern designer who has agreed to design some socks for my yarn for a forthcoming magazine article. Can't wait to see how they turn out.

Plan for the weekend is to make my way over to South Hill Park in Bracknell for the Christmas Craft Fair where some of the outcasters have a stand.

Met the lovely Machi for a Diet Coke over in Caversham this week as she wanted to buy some of my yarn. She has a B-E-A-utiful jewellery shop over at Etsy called MagpieNest. I love, love, love her Cross Over Sterling Silver ring and covet it. I will have it... one day...

As I had my yarn in that day, and as I'd been going on and on about it forever, my lovely colleagues wanted a look and they kindly bought loads! I think the men were almost as interested as the women and one male colleague thought it looked like a candy shop and asked if I dyed each strand! (If only I could - that would be beauteous!)

And as for yarn, I've been skeining and dyeing and skeining and dyeing and posting out and skeining. Here's a couple of custom orders I dyed up last weekendThis is Calling Birds.

And this is Chocca Mocha:
I've also dyed up some gorgeous Plushness yarn and can't quite decide whether to put it in the shop or send it to Devon... one skein is in pinks and purples and the other in shades of green. Was thinking I might just send the cashmere/silk to Devon as it will look lovely in a display.

Can you believe, yet another knitting reference in a Year One reading book - as Rolf Harris would say - Can you see what it is yet? The children in the story found it in their cellar and nobody knew what it was and it ended up in the museum - shame, I could've used it.

And finally, a gratuitous basket of yarn shot:
Oh, and the boobage situation - I have been called back for an ultrasound scan.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

I've got squished boobs!

Y'ouch! Went for my first mammogram today. After all those blog posts I read in October about checking your boobs etc, I took myself along to the GP and turns out I have a second benign condition to add to my first benign condition, which was diagnosed about nine years ago. The squished-boobs scenario was just an extra check and I've to go for a further blood test and go back to see the consultant, but the signs are good. (And the mammogram wasn't that bad! It was fine.)

Now, here is something knitterly I should've posted a week ago. The famous Chevron scarf is Off The Needles, blocked and finished! Oh, are you ok? Have you fainted? I'll just get the smelling salts!
And another shot:

And a final one:

I so enjoyed knitting this and hope to get another one on the needles in some SQ yarn very soon - just got to start the Delicato Mitts and finish more knitted lavender hearts first - oh, and there's all those knitted Christmas presents which aren't looking as if they're going to happen after all.

I did get another couple of lavender hearts done in preparation for the `Christmas at Hillcrest' Studio Opening - only two weeks to go - not panicking at all!

This heart is made in some of the Lavish yarn I dyed up at Debbie Tomkies' workshop in October.

How about a sneak preview of the shop update - I'm aiming for tomorrow evening:

This is Rose Gold in Entice
And this is Gold Rings - the next in the 12 Days of Christmas collection
I was attempting to be an Alchemist and turn yarn into gold - there's actually six different shades of gold, beige and pale yellow in this
And a new yarn type for me next - it's a 4 ply 75% merino 25% nylon sock yarn which I've called Endure. Ideal for hard-wearing socks.
There's more to be listed but I just wanted to show you this. The Endure yarns above are as yet unnamed but the top one reminded me of the Mystery Machine in Scooby Doo, so I decided to have a bit of fun and here's Velma in Divine yarn: