Sunday, 29 July 2007

Museums and Cybermen

What with it being summer holidays 'n all, I took a day off work and some flexi and we had two museum trips this week - we're all cultured out! They were two very different trips, the first to a traditional small market town museum which was free and had two trails for the kids - one of them being to search for clues as to which plants were used for dyeing fabric - Newbury was a centre for textiles, weaving and dyeing - so I was in my element.

The second trip was to the "modern" Milestones Museum in Basingstoke. Very different - with faux Victorian streets, shops and factories. The children really enjoyed it especially when they ventured down an alley, opened a door and found a man sitting on the toilet reading his newspaper in the outdoor lavvy! They also enjoyed dressing up as Victorian children. Look at the posing going on-
Skein Prince wanted to keep the coat cos he thought it was like Captain Jack's in Dr Who. Speaking of which, as there's a birthday coming up, another costume was purchased -
The summer holidays continue... Granda arrived over from Northern Ireland today for a week so who knows what mischief the three of them will get up to! Granda tried his hand at dyeing today and do you know what colours he choose? Red, white and blue for one skein and Green, gold and white for other. Can you tell where he's from?!

Thursday, 26 July 2007

From pastels to rich hues

I have some new additions to list in my etsy shop over the next couple of days and here's a sneak preview:

First up, we have a beautifully, soft cashmere/silk which I have named Pitter Patter for obvious reasons:
Next up is another pastel colourway, this time in the long-promised cashmerino which is so soft and gorgeous and lovely to work with. This one is called Fondant

Third up is another cashmerino number, this time showing its flamboyant side in rich, vibrant, passionate colours. Let me introduce Flamenco:
And finally for tonight, we have the ever-popular Superwash merino yarn in marine shades of aqua, turquoise, deep blue and citrus green. This is Rock Pool:
And that, ladies and gentleman, is all for tonight. Thank you, and goodnight.

Ravelry update

Woo hoo!

Just checked out the antsy rating on Ravelry and it did take my original registration. I know this is only relevant and fascinating to me, but thought I'd post it anyway:

Found you!
  • You signed up on June 12, 2007
  • You are #8361 on the list.
  • 1667 people are ahead of you in line.
  • 12112 people are behind you in line.
  • 32% of the list has been invited so far
Anyone out there already a member? How's it working out?

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Recent dyeing activity

This is what I've been up to this week.

I got myself onto Flickr at last. Here's my Flickr page. Sure there must be some way of creating a mini link but will get to that some time. So far have joined 4 groups - Yarn Porn, For the Love of Fiber, Hand Dyed and Pimp their Etsy. If anyone knows any other good ones...

Fragrant stocks

Gorgeous cashmere/silk in pastel shade of pink, lilac, lemon, pale green and white.

Already sold in Etsy, but it's my favourite yet and will definitely be repeated this colourway - or as close to it as I can get. I was inspired by a beautiful barrel of stocks just bloomed in our garden, but realised afterwards that if anyone bought it and knitted it into socks, well, the name could be very appropriate, put it that way!

Also this: Sugared almonds

This is in my newly acquired lambswool, cashmere and angora and I cannot emphasise enough how gorgeous this yarn is to work with.

And finally, a beautifully soft 2 ply laceweight yarn in a colourway called Lagoon. This one also sold quick sticks which is fantastic.

Berkshire floods

A4 through Thatcham

Blogged with Flock

Friday, 20 July 2007

Flash floods

Phew - that was close. The water came up to the sill on the front door and sort of up the toilet, but we were a lot luckier than the many in our town now spending the night over at the community centre.

I was in at the office party over in Reading oblivious to it all. Poor Skein King was trying to bail the water away and got a call to pick up the kids early from school. It took him two and a half hours to walk to school and back for a normal 10 minute trip. The water was coming down from the hills in torrents and he nearly got swept away on the way over, then couldn't find anywhere safe to get the kids across the roads.

I was giving a colleague a lift back from the party and he knew his house has been flooded, but we couldn't get back as loads of roads closed, gridlock and had to drive through really deep floods with smoke coming out of the engine. Despite the traumatic journey, he was grateful for the lift as none of the trains were running as the water was up to the platforms in the stations.

Eventually got back two hours later and found out my friend's garage had flooded with the water up to her husband's vintage Cobra car's wheels.

Water receding now... BBC camera crews overhead in helicopters... been a weird day.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007


Oh poo, poo, poo!

Thought I'd signed up to this new site weeks ago but just checked the "antsy" list and neither of my email addresses were on it. I must've imagined signing up - doh! Especially after I smugly told Skein King yesterday, who thought he'd found something new, that I was one of the 17,000 who'd already signed up. Was awaiting my invite any day. Oh well - start again - I'll get there in the end but it will probably be live by then. Poor Jess and Casey over at Ravelry - must be overwhelming for them.

Breathing space

Just about recovered from wild weekend - should not be happening at my age.

My lovely Moo cards arrived today - 100 of them. Now I can feel like a proper crafty businessy-type person. Photos to follow in next post.

One of the one-skein socks is coming on - nearly finished. Though it will be a bit miraculous if I can squeeze another one out of the one skein - we shall see.

Got some dyeing time after work today. The lambswool/angora/cashmere is absolutely gorgeous to work with. Can't wait to show off the results. Must dry first.

Overdyed some 2 ply laceweight merino which I'd dyed green last week but I wasn't happy with the result, so added some deep turquoise and blue. The result is much better - nice vivid colours.

Best of all, my customer in Prague loved her Bohemian Blue yarn. She's going to send me a photo of the shawl she's crocheting with it when she's finished. Can't wait to see it.

Ordered some lovely yarn from Yarn Yard - could no longer resist - Natalie does some gorgeous stuff and her blog's addictive. Check out the link on the bottom right-hand side.

Jotted down a pattern tonight for a cotton knitted heart decoration adorned with mini hearts. Got one half knitted up, just have to complete the other side.

Finally, here's a classic from the Skein Prince:

Picked him and his friend up from wall-climbing. His friend said "I see you had the roof of the car down on the way here" I said I hadn't. My son said "Oh, just a bad hair day then?" They are NINE-years-old and have the cheek of nineteen-year-olds!

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

First custom order

Very exciting week in the world of the Skein Queen for two reasons. Firstly, first wholesale order from China arrived:

Lovely cashmere/silk, some cashmerino and a lovely soft worsted blend of lambs wool, dehaired angora and cashmere. Gorgeous! Look and drool!

Just as well I placed that order, as they day before it arrived, I had my first request for a custom order from a wonderful and talented fellow Etsian in Prague. She wanted a grey blue colour and possibly an indigo to follow. So I got busy:

After a few panics about rubbish lighting making the grey blue look grey and gloomy, this is what's winging its way to Prague - hope she likes it:

Bohemian Blue
Ordered some moo cards this evening - can't wait to see them. Will post here when they arrive. Plan to include them in my parcels to customers and give them out to anyone who'll listen to me yabber on about wool!

Looking forward to a weekend with friends - Friday night out for a birthday meal with the girls and then down to the New Forest to spend the weekend with our old friends (they're not old, we've just had them a long time.)

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

One skein socks and other bits

To support my etsy site, and for a bit of fun, I thought I'd have a go at adapting a Carosel socks pattern by Violet Green into ankle socks and see if they would knit up with one of my 55g skeins. So I reserved one of my Cupid's Breath solid shade of pink for the job as I have always wanted a pair of pink cashmere socks. (Don't know why, just for a bit of luxury.)

I had to frog the first attempt, but am in the swing of the pattern now:
The Skein Prince is also pleased with his finished Otto Owl from Lucinda Guy's And Now to Bed book:
He's pretty cute and very quick and easy to do. The front is knitted in one piece, with the body being made using reverse stocking stitch and even his beak is included in this one piece and sewn up later.

And here he is with the Skein Princess's Bella Bunny:

And here's... oh Bella, we really didn't need to see your knickers, you big show-off! Too much information!
I had no lilac wool, so dyed up some cotton and it came out the perfect shade for her whiskers and eyes.

And finally, some gorgeously soft 4 ply superwash merino in shade of magenta, pale pink and greys inspired by my recently acquired Old Rose Print:

Obviously it has to be reskeined before appearing on etsy, but you get the idea. Yet another one I want to keep myself!

I placed my first wholesale order with my Chinese supplier this week so am looking forward to a rather large delivery of 4 ply cashmere/silk, DK cashmerino and a lovely worsted blend of lambs wool, angora and cashmere. I can see from the TNT site that the package is in Leuven, Belgium, so shouldn't be long now! V. exciting.

Have lots of ideas bubbling away for my etsy shop. This isn't one of them but thought I'd throw it in.

I love the green, cream, gold and silver combination and added the green ribbon in the middle which says "Friendship" on it.

And finally, an unexpected bit of artiness which the lovely Skein King volunteered me for. I said I'd help out at the school fair last Sunday and yes, I was willing to do any stall and what did he volunteer me for? Face painting! Thanks! Have never done it in my life. Had to practice on two reluctant children on Friday night:

Fortunately, I was with another lady and we discovered that she was good at trains, footballs and snakes, and I could get away with roses, flowers, butterflies and hearts. It was quite good fun in the end... but a glass of the old vino was called for!