Saturday, 30 June 2007

New skeinwinder

Yay! My new skeinwinder arrived this week. I ordered it from Maggie at Woolwing on ebay. I can make longer and better skeins now. I love it - except when I STILL get in a tangle, but I'm getting better.

But the arrival of this new contraption means redundancy for my trustworthy Niddy Noddy. Reckon he looks a bit sad. Awww...
This week, I have been mostly winding: four Cupid's Breath pink cashmere/silk skeins, two Betty Blue cashmere/silk skeins, two Grecian Blue cashmere/silk skeins and two Smugglers Cove cashmere/silk skeins. All to gradually appear on Etsy as the week progresses. Here's a sneak preview:

Cupid's Breath, Betty Blue and Grecian Blue

The Grecian Blue is more of a turquoise shade than the Betty Blue. I'm selling these solid colours in twos so buyer will get over 100g. Have decided to keep two of the Cupid's Breathe for myself as have always wanted to knit a pair of pink cashmere socks and have just acquired a lacy pattern from Violet Green at this week along with some gorgeous undyed superwash merino and laceweight merino.

And here's the Smugglers' Cove - this is one of my absolutely favourites, and was so tempted to keep it, but alas, too late, it's on Etsy (not any more - sold):

I had a lovely, creative dyeing day yesterday and came up with three new colourways.

Maharajah - rich shades of purple, red, gold and green inspired, of course, by the richness of India.

Empress - red, orange, gold and black (haven't quite mastered the black yet, so it's more like brown) inspired by the country of origin of the yarn and by the wonderful novel Empress Orchid.

Both of the above are in the luxurious cashmere/silk.

Old Rose Print - brilliant pink, pale pink, shades of grey and white. More on the inspiration for this in the next post. This colourway I tried out on the superwash merino and it's come up really well. Again, next post for photos.

Here's the work in progress on Empress and Maharajah:

Check out the new cheapo chips-and-dips tray - ideal for separating out the colours and the different dye baths. The second picture is the yarn steaming away in clingfilm.

And finally, I believe in supporting fellow Etsy artisans (well, that's my excuse for a lovely spend on things of beauty), so I acquired this from fellow Brit, Nina from Artquirk - it was picked for a Treasury and I just had to snap it up. I love her stuff and will definitely be back for more... This is called `A Row of Colourful Houses.'

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Pastel slub yarn

Despite being injured after pulling a muscle in my shoulder during Body Attack on Saturday (this is after falling over in the mud in Running Club on Wednesday and being covered in bruises -is exercise supposed to be good or bad for you?) couldn't go a whole weekend with no dyeing of yarn, so decided that some lovely pure wool slub yarn I'd purchased recently needed some pastel shades added to it. The result is subtle and makes me think of misty landscapes.

Purple Haze and New Forest Mist

I've added them to my etsy shop this evening. Speaking of which, had the most flattering feedback from my first customer, moohlah. Was really encouraging and has spurred me on to keep trying.

Popped into Hobbycraft at lunchtime and apart from getting loads of bits and bobs for making my fabric hearts like this:

Also purchased some gorgeous crafting papers and some clip frames and created these for our spare room/office.

This is my favourite one - pink birds:

Not bad for less than a tenner for all three!

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Very loved knitted teddies

Once upon a time, about four Christmases ago, the Skein Prince saw some brightly coloured wool in a shop and wished for a teddy. Henceforth, `Colourful' was born, according to my own made-up pattern.

He started off all blue, pink and yellow and very fluffy. He's been much loved, so much so, his hand has nearly been twisted off.

That same Christmas, `Flossie' came into the world for the Skein Princess.
This started off something of a tradition, and now every Christmas, a new teddy or rabbit comes into the Skein household:

`Marshmallow' `Wonderful' `Olivia'

And of course, Blue Kangaroo:
(Think this could've been from a Debbie Bliss knitted toys book.)

And now, the Skein Prince is making his own. This is Hooting Henry from Lucinda Guy's Kids Learn to Knit book:They absolutely love getting their knitted toy at Christmas as they know it's taken me ages to knit, they usually get to pick the colours and yarn and they know they can't be bought (probably a good thing!)

And finally, the gratituous stash shot (though be warned, I have another box plus a duvet-sized box full of wool I got given from an old lady moving house. I'll save those for another day.) This is all my handpainted stuff:

In fact, I liked it so much, I put a copy of it at the top of my blog.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Skein or skein? How do you pronounce it?

You live and learn.

Today I found out there are two ways to pronounce skein - some say skayn and some say skeen. I think the proper way is skayn but I like to think that skeen sounds more Scottish - like scone and scoone (little curranty bun thingy).

Check out this survey on pronounciation:

Anyway, I digress.

I meant to show this:

This is my River Thames colourway as described in last post. I've added it into my etsy shop but am tempted, as usual, to keep it for my stash, speaking of which, gratuituous stash photo coming in next post.

Monday, 18 June 2007

Etsy shop

After much work, have launched my Skein Queen etsy shop at last - I love the concept of a marketplace for handmade items. I'm gradually adding more items to it every couple of days and the most exciting bit was getting my first sale only a couple of hours after launching. A lady from Michigan purchased a cashmere/silk skein in Kew Gardens and it's winging its way to her as we speak.

Check out the scrumminess:

Kew Gardens skein

I have been working on a new colourway called River Thames which has beautiful blues, browns and creams which I'm going to put into the etsy shop in the next couple of days. Just reminds me of the colour of the Thames at Henley or Windsor on a summer's day. Am into English summer traditions and places for naming skeins at the moment. Fits into the tongue-in-cheek royal theme, I guess.

It's pretty exciting getting this all set up and following in the footsteps of yarn queens I admire who run such establishments as yarn yard and yarn pirate and sharing at etsy. They are my yarn heroines. Also Debbie at DT Craft & Design I consider my mentor and inspiration, not to mention her fantastic range of dyeing products.

As for recent knitting projects, well, this is how obsessed I am. I recently got given some vouchers for John Lewis. So, straight past the designer clothes section (that was quite difficult) to the wool section. I had the Skein Prince and Princess with me and they kind of spotted a bunny and an owl from the Lucinda Guy And So To Bed book and I kind of offered to make them for them. £50 later, I came out with all this Jaegar yarn and the pattern book!

This is Bella Bunny, complete with pair of knickers, which I won't show you - she needs a bit of privacy!

I've completed the front and back of Otto Owl for the Skein Prince - in the meantime, he's knitted his own Hooting Henry from Lucinda Guy's Kids Learn to Knit - yet to be photographed - that's for the next post.

And so to bed... via Big Brother.