Saturday, 29 September 2007

Lime and Violet Daily Chum

Woo hoo! (Now calm down and stay professional) - the Skein Queen has been reviewed on the Lime and Violet Daily Chum blog - check it out here.

Thanks, Peachy!

Monday, 24 September 2007

Some more yarn goodness for your delectation

Would you like to see some more yarn temptation? For those of you on yarn diets, I say "pah" - blow the diet - indulge your passion. Life is for living. And for those of you on stashalongs, I say "nah" - forget about it - stashes are for adding to. (I kind of apply these principles to food and wine myself as well as yarn - that's why I have to spend so much time in the gym - I'm in the fit but still rather curvy category).

Here's some of the new yarn you can find in my etsy shop:

This is my first ever pure cashmere offering in Sour Fruits colourway - it's so buttery soft and indulgent:

And some more cashmere in Strawberry Hill:
Another new yarn type for me - this is a gorgeous 2 ply cashmere/silk. There are four skeins of each, so if you're in the mood for creating a beautiful lace shawl for Christmas, this Vintage Lavender would be perfect:
It also comes in Heatherberry:
There is some 4 ply cashmere/silk also using hand painted marbling which gives a variegated effect when knitted up - this is Raspberry Ripple:Then we have some lovely autumnal Superwash merino in Apple Cider. The colours just remind me of Bonfire Night standing round drinking spicy cider or ducking for apples at Halloween - one sold (to a fellow Etsian who lives in Reading - check out her shop here - really cool, unusual, freestyle knitted items). But good news, I made two - there's still one left.

And the final item was Tropical Crush in Plushness (sold).
Well, it has been a week of seeing some of the gorgeous creations you have been making with SQ yarn. A Dear Customer in Texas, Shelley, has just opened her Etsy shop selling adorable hats for babies and young children using natural fibres. She created this one with Lovebird cashmere/silk from yours truly so if you have any little ones why not check out her brand new shop and give her some Etsy love.

I was very naughty over the weekend and ordered some more STR yarn for this Chevron scarf (feeling extra inspired by Claire's and Sarah's beautiful ones) which is turning out to be the MOST expensive scarf ever not yet knitted. After ordering two skeins in Sherbet last time, I knew I needed a contrast colour, so went for two (well the postage is so outrageous, one has to make the most of it) - one in Olive Garden and one in Thistle. The Skein King was not supposed to know, until the lovely HSBC phoned up to say they spotted an unusual transaction on my credit card and had blocked it and wanted to check with me first. Had I tried to pay $xx to Blue Moon Fibers? Damn! Secret out. Fortunately, once I confirmed I knew about it, they released the dosh. (Sweaty moment, there thinking it wouldn't be mine!)

Then my trusty skein winder broke so has been taking about an hour to wind up each skein despite the use of six of Skein Princess's hair bobbles to hold it together (just marvel at the level of technology in this house!) Had to invest in another one.

Have big party planned for the weekend with good friends staying over - may tell more next week, or maybe not! Depends what happens at it;) Am having Big New Haircut tomorrow in preparation. Wish me luck - don't feel as wary as used to now I have discovered the joys of GHD hair straighteners.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Warning - Some actual knitting content

I just have to show you these first up:
Aren't they fab! Not my work, but a Dear Customer called Jo who knitted them in Skein Queen Sugared Almonds Plushness yarn:

These were the first finished items I'd seen knitted up in my yarn by anyone other than myself - what a privilege. Jo's made a beautiful job of them - if you want to see a closer photo of these beauties, try here.

This is my somewhat pathetic attempt at a (singular) sock. I started this God knows when - months ago - and finished this week! It's in Skein Queen Pale Cupid colourway in Lavish yarn:

It's the Carousel pattern by Violet Green and me and it just didn't get along, so much so that I've decided I'm not going to make the matcher. It was me, not the pattern (God, I sound like Ziggy talking to Chanelle in BB7) - at least I finished one of them!

And these are my knitted hearts for the November Craft Fair to show how my yarn knits up:

Note to self: No more photographing after daylight hours.

The first shows Empress in 6 ply cashmere/silk.
The middle one was the first one I made in some cotton to work out the pattern.
The end one shows Maharajah in 6 ply cashmere/silk.
I have a few more to make.

Here's a little taster of what's currently in the shop:

Fragrant stocks in Lavish

Firebird in Lavish

Key Lime Pie in Plushness

Clam in Plushness

River Thames in Plushness

Key Lime Pie in Divine

Clam in Divine

And I dyed up a record (for me) almost 50 skeins during the week (ah, the luxury of annual leave) including two custom orders - here's the obligatory drying shots:

Just got to get it skeined up and photographed first!

And finally, we had a family day out to the Royal Berkshire County Show at the weekend. No livestock due to the Foot and Mouth precautions - aw, was looking forward to seeing the alpacas - and couldn't find the spinning anywhere, but we had a good time.

The Skein Prince's artwork was on display in the Education Tent (well, not just his - the rest of his class too - his is the somewhat sinister looking mask with the devil horns?!)And here they are on the Carousel (I've niftily cut myself out - but I can assure you, it was fun!)

Friday, 14 September 2007

It's a bit late but...

Two days later, I'm finally getting around to putting the shop update photos on here:

This is Clam (sold)
This is Oyster
This is Sour Fruits (s0ld)
This is Empress (sold)This is Violet Pumpkin (sold)
And this is Sugar Mice (sold)I guess it's worth putting them up here for posterity and as a record for if any readers who may, on the offchance, happen to see a colourway they liked and fancied a custom order.

I've just started a mailing list for shop updates so if you'd like me to add your name, just email me here with your email address - you can unsubscribe at any time.

Following a request from a Dear Customer (DC), I've come up with some names for the types of yarn I sell (as "4 ply 55 per cent silk 45 per cent cashmere" is a bit of a mouthful), so here goes:

Plushness - Lambswool/Angora/Cashmere
Wisp - 2 ply cashmere/silk
Lavish - 4 ply cashmere/silk
Mellow - 6 ply cashmere/silk
Opulent - 4 ply pure cashmere
Blush - DK Cashmerino
Divine - 4 ply merino
Entice - 2 ply merino

Hope that makes things easier when browsing... You may notice some new yarn types - yes, a new order of base yarn is winging its way here as we speak.

Here is some more temptation - a sneek peek at next week's batch:

We have:
cashmere/silk (Lavish) in Firebird
cashmere/silk in new colourway
merino (Divine) in Key Lime Pie
merino in Clam
lambswool/angora/cashmere (Plushness) in Key Lime Pie
lambswool/angora/cashmere in Clam
lambswool/angora/cashmere in River Thames

Ooo, I nearly forgot, look what arrived from Blue Moon Fibers:
My lovely Socks That Rock yarn in Sherbet - all ready for my Chevron Scarf. Except that my good friend Rachel reminded me that I'd agreed to get some yarn together for her sister-in-law's craft fair in Devon and asked if I could knit up a little something, or several little somethings to show how the yarn knits up. I've come up with a little pattern (and it has to be little due to having about 1/4 of an hour a day left for knitting) which I'm quite pleased with. More on that to come...

Finally, check out the postcard which the Skein Queen Mum and the Royal Father sent from their little sojourn to the West Coast of Scotland:
They're a daft pair - and they won't mind me saying it, because they'd be the first to admit it!

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Shop update preview

As the shop shelves are looking incredibly bare, time for a shop update tomorrow (Wednesday) evening.

Four skeins of lambswool, angora, cashmere in different colourways.

Four skeins of cashmere/silk in a new colourway called Oyster.

Three skeins of cashmere/silk in a new colourway called Clam.

Other than that have completed three custom orders this week and shipped out over half of my stock. Have reordered base yarn, dyes, tags, ribbons, stickers, tissue, moo cards and filled out my tax registration form (thanks, Natalie). Skein King has started putting my accounts together.

Everything's taking shape and I'm gearing up for another big dye session this weekend.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Blobbing out on the beach

(This just looks weird and out of order now - it wasn't blogger's fault after all, it was Flock, the browser.)

Well, the holiday is starting to feel like a distant memory already - the tan's fading fast (factor 20 for the bod and 30 for the face this time round - what was I thinking in my younger days of coconut oil?) as are the mosquito bites. Poor old Skein King got stung by a jellyfish - and no, I didn't wee on it!

Speaking of fish, check out my sandfish - ok, so it needs a bit of work:
Skein King doesn't take a tan well being of the Irish skin variety - he sort of goes from blueish white to pinkish white - bless him - and this was after a three mile walk along the beach in the middle of the day in beating hot sun:
The kids enjoyed themselves:
And d'you know what they gave me for my birthday while we were out there? Domain names for and Guess that means I'll have to do something with them then... but perhaps not in the near future.

As for the reading, I finished How to Talk to a Widower - fantastic book, highly recommend it. The scenes between the main character and his father who had an Alzheimer's-type syndrome were so moving (I admit I cried) yet there were so many funny situations. I didn't see the twist coming - but then, I never do.

Got half way through Salmon Fishing in the Yemen - enjoying the story but not convinced of great writing style. Will definitely continue with it to see what happens.

And about a quarter way through The House at Riverton which I felt was more a book for winter evenings back home but am really enjoying this one too. Very Upstairs-Downstairs so far - not that I ever watched that tv series - too young, natch!

Thanks to the braw blog-blethers for schmoozing me - I'm highly honoured and very touched and glad I met you, missus. Just to explain:

Schmoozing is the natural ability “to converse casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection. Good schmoozers effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogsphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don’t limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello - all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship".

In return, I would like to nominate Marian at Freshisle Fibers - I enjoy her blog, admire her approach to dyeing with natural materials and appreciate her comments here.

And I should also say a big thank you to Sarah Godwin at travelcounsellors who organised our fantastic holiday - thanks for a great holiday again this year, Oh Queen of Travel!

Back in residence

SQ is back in the country after a short, relaxing wonderful holiday. Straight back into it though as the shop has gone mad - have been lucky enough to have lots of buyers - but desperately need to restock and had a couple of custom orders to dye up hence an all-day dyeing session today.
Can't wait to get this lot skeined up and into the shop. Had such a good time with the colours today (in between taking Skein Princess to ballet, feeding next-door's rabbits, posting an order and going to the pet shop to get two new goldfish which we couldn't get til next week - nowadays you have to fill the tank and let it stand for a week before they'll sell them to you and then, you can only buy one and come back a couple of days later for the next one - explain that to the kids! I felt like saying "Look, we bought a fish off you seven years ago and she's only just popped her clogs" - we can keep fish!)

Had a couple of large orders this week, one of which was from a lovely customer in USA:

Here you see two skeins each of Iguana, Waterlilies, Sugared Almonds and Firebird.

Actually managed to complete watermelon sock no. 1 in the knitting stakes.

I decided to make them more like ankle socks than a fuller length as I find it more comfortable with my Timberland boots in winter. One more to go... or will I be distracted by this:
My spinning kit arrived from mainewoodsyarn. I haven't really had a minute to look at it yet but will need to get au fait with spinning before the roving arrives from Natalie at Yarn Yard.

Well, having problems with blogger again so will have to tell you about my holiday in the next post...