Friday, 26 October 2007

Can I bore you with more yarn?

Do you mind? I have some more if you'd like to see? Well, just in case, I'll show you - all listed in my shop - just click on the Etsy shop link on the right-hand side:

First up is Sour Fruits in Lavish:
Then Sweetbird in Mellow:
Next up on the catwalk tonight, we have Kew Gardens in Lavish which was one of my original colourways and sold within a couple of hours of my Etsy shop opening back in June (how excited was I!):
And then, fourth in my seasonal collection of yarns based on the 12 Days of Christmas is the brooding Calling Birds yarn in Lavish. The four birds which my True Love sent to me are actually Colly Birds and "colly" is the old word for coal, meaning that my True Love actually sent me four blackbirds! How kind. Here's my interpretation:
Moving onto the Plushness yarn, first up we have Candy Garden which is based on the colours of a beautiful throw I have in my sitting room:And again in Plushness, this is Green Skooshy:
For these Skooshy colourways, I'm using a different technique to achieve multiple colours for those of you who prefer a more random variagation in your FO.

Here we have Candy Garden again, this time in Opulent. I can't emphasise the gorgeousness of this pure cashmere enough - if you can imagine so soft it hardly feels like you're touching it? Kind of like that.

And finally, there's one skein left of Rose Vintage Lavender which is slightly darker than the original Vintage Lavender:And here's a custom order of two skeins of Gryffindor yarn I did for a Dear Customer over in Swindon:

And that is it for this week. ***Takes a bow*** Am I allowed a bow?

There nearly wasn't any yarn to be had this week for two reasons:
1. My merino base yarn being stuck in the post following the strike.
2. A dog - a big black labrador ran into our garage where I was mixing my colours with no owner in sight. It took me, Skein Princess, a new neighbour, an elderly man and my next door neighbour about an hour to locate it's owner - two young boys turned up for him. It was like something out of a nursery rhyme.

I have been a bit poorly this week and so didn't make it to a meeting in Bracknell about a contemporary art project to knit a cosy for the Tate Modern tower - yes, a cosy and yes, to cover a building - during the London 2012 Olympics. All the best to those running the project. It's mad but good. Am becoming a bit evangelical about raising/changing the profile of knitting myself and was trying to lure my friend Sarah into the goodness of yarn today in John Lewis... but I don't think she was having any of it!

Non-knittery stuff:

The Skein Prince and Princess attended a workshop at Jelly Leg'd Chicken this morning along with their friends to make Firework Pictures. The workshop was run by the lovely knithappens/alabamawhirly of Etsy fame and they thoroughly enjoyed it. Here's what they came back with:

Can you see the Catherine Wheels and the city skylines? Cool.

The lovely Rachel came over for lunch last week and we had a fab time talking crafty stuff and planning for the Christmas at Hillcrest sale including some plans for some kits. Rachel is a true Etsy addict and knew even more about it than I do and she showed me some of her favourite sellers, which is great because sometimes you stick to the ones you know. She brought me over this beautiful fern picture which she explained how she had made it - some kind of photo reactive paper - very clever:And just a quick mention for my first ever Australian customer who made me laugh when she said she wanted to stuff the yarn down her bra and carry it with her everywhere cos she liked it so much! Thank you - a true compliment!

Sunday, 21 October 2007

The Chevron scarf is OTN!

At last. I'm enjoying this so far (probably one of the rare few - still giggle inwardly when I think of the Lime and Violet podcast where Lime said she was knitting the Chevron scarf and Violet replied "Oh, I'm sorry"). It's got great tv watching knitability in this pattern. I opted for STR Sherbet and Thistle in the end.And another gratuitous photo:

And it's knitting up so quickly - this was only an hour or two.

Can you believe another knitting reference in Skein Princess's reading book this week:
It says "The children jumped and jumped and bounced and bounced. "Come on, Gran," they called.
Gran went on the castle. She jumped and bounced. "Good old Gran" called the children.

Can you guess what's going to happen with those pointy old knitting needles?
That's right. Naughty old Gran. She was in so much trouble the bouncy castle owner told her to get out.

What do you think? Stereotypical of knitters? Not stereotypical of Grans though - this one looks fun!

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

The never-starting Chevron scarf

First, I got some yarn to show ya - this little lot was listed in my etsy shop last night.

This is Raspberry Mocha in Wisp:
This is Steel Orchid in Lavish:

Dolly Bunting in Lavish (2 skeins sold - 2 left)

From the Twelve Days of Christmas collection, we have Partridge Pear (left), Turtle Dove (middle) and French Hens (right):
This is Fragrant Stocks in Plushness (sold):

And Skooshy Pink in Plushness (there's a Skooshy Green to come next week):

And finally, Blue Moccasin in Plushness which I thought could be perfect for man socks:
I have done a little bit of knitting this week - nearly finished second Watermelon sock and knitted a new heart which isn't sewn up yet so no piccies. Some more lovely Socks That Rock yarn arrived for the infamous never yet started Chevron Scarf:
This is Thistle and Olive Garden.

I know it looks upside down, but I like photographing the folded ends of the yarn downwards - don't ask me why...

These are the yarn cakes ready for starting the Chevron scarf:This is Olive Garden and Sherbet. Still not sure whether to use Sherbet and Thistle instead. Decisions, decisions... JUST GET STARTED WOMAN! But I'm being good and finishing one project at a time... just slowly.

Last week, I took myself off up to Derbyshire for a dyeing course with the lovely Debbie Tomkies. The setting at Eyam Hall was gorgeous and we had a great day just mucking about and experimenting with colour and yarn. I met the lovely Becky who I've since been in touch with through Ravelry (she got her invite the next day - how handy was that!) Check out the beautiful cashmere/silk that Becky dyed in the first photo in turquoise, violet, yellow and green - beautiful.

Ah - photos - Blogger - spacing - I give up.

Was gutted at not being able to make the Knitting and Stitching Show at the Ally Pally due to my Achilles heel injury - is exercise good for you after all? - and salt was rubbed into the wound when a mum at school said that her teenage daughter had gone and purchased the most beautiful yarn.

Still cheered up by the lovely Piglottie's banner for her blog. Looks good, huh? Love ya, oh Piggy one.

Also got around to photographing a small section of my stash - at least the stuff not in the attic - for Ravelry. But I am generally pretty good at using up what I buy and kind of have a lot of single balls of stuff - some Jaegar, some Debbie Bliss, some just don't know. And lots of bits of cotton - not looking forward to describing on Ravelry.
(Oh except for about 5 balls of Sirdar Bigga in Red, Pink, Orange and Brown which I bought when I thought I'd be this great knitting designer and was going to do a Lola coat from Charlie and Lola until I realised I knew not a lot about designing - am thinking it'll make a good bag now - not sure if it would felt nicely.)

Oh, and I've been meaning to show this off for ages. It's a beautiful handmade book which my good friend Rachel made for my birthday - a real keepsake:

Monday, 15 October 2007

Year One reading book

This tickled me. Skein Princess brought back this reading book for homework last week. Bet you want to find out what happened next... Suffice to say, the scarf helped rescue a boy who ventured out onto a frozen pond. Have to say, "knitting" is quite a tricky word to read for a little one.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Sneaky peek

I've put together a sneaky peek at what's to come in the shop update later in the week. I've been experimenting with tried and tested colourways on different yarn types and also taking a colourway and changing just one colour to see the overall effect. I've also been experimenting with different ways of photographing the yarn (until all 24 AA batteries we have in the house all need to be recharged simultaneously!)

This is Lovebird in Plushness:

And August in Plushness:
And October in Divine:
Which also looks like this:And this when reskeined:
Then we have Apple Cider (with Ice) - so-called because I used Ice Blue instead of Teal this time - it's in Divine yarn:
This is Banoffee Pie in Opulent:Which also looks like this:And finally, this is Faded Rose in Wisp:
I was going to do one of those surveys on the right-hand bar to ask you which type of photo you prefer, but you'll be fed up with that question from other dyers so I'm just gonna use 'em all - you get five photos on Etsy - with maybe the close-up as the main photo to keep the shop looking uniform. However, if you do have any strong opinions one way or the other, I'd still love to hear. I think of them as pile (of poo - sorry, just comes into my head); unskeined (solid colours) or reskeined (colours mixed up and how you would receive the yarn).

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Outcast knitters

Good news - I have some yarnie goodness to show you. It's been in the shop for a couple of days (I need to sort out the time-lag between shop updates and blog updates), but here you go:
Lovebird in Lavish - 4 ply cashmere/silk (Sold)
Check out the difference with this Mellow - 6 ply cashmere/silk - which I did for a custom order at the same time:
The Mellow seems to soak up the colour much more than the Lavish. But guess it's down to personal taste if you prefer the vibrant colour or the gentler shading.

Here is Fragrant Stocks (Sold) - rapidly becoming a favourite with me and customers alike:
And a new colourway inspired by the book cover for Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. This is Desert Dune - was thinking would make beautiful scarf if combined with other Lavish colours:Here we have Dewberry - it came up a little pinker than the last time I did this colourway.
And finally, some Plushness in Foxglove - I created this colourway for a Dear Customer and made two skeins at the time, loaded this one into the shop this week and suddenly realised last night that the item was "inactive" - I had forgotten to click "Final" when I was playing about with it on etsy. Anyhow, here is the second one (Sold):
I have been a busy little bee yesterday and today and have a further 25 or so skeins to prepare for next week in almost every yarn type. I have to keep some back in preparation for the "Christmas at Hillcrest" craft fair - which is at the end of November at Rachel's (soon-to-be-Etsian) sister-in-law's gallery/workshop in the West Country - but it's soooo difficult deciding which to keep back and which to list. (Did you notice I've forgotten if it's Dorset or Devon again, Rachel? Goldfish memory, I am. It's Devon, isn't it?)

It seems like so little to offer but thus are the limitations of being an evening/weekend indie yarn dyer. For the time being, SQ shall have to remain small and exclusive! What I can say is that I'm delighted with how it's going, by the customer support and wonderful feedback, by the new people I've met and by the fact I had set an original goal of 50 sales by Christmas from when I started in June and achieved it by September. So thank you to everyone. (Oooo, I hope I haven't jinxed it now by saying all that.)

Bearing in mind, I usually start around 9pm and finish around midnight or 1am, here's a rundown of what I did this week:
Monday night - skeining
Tuesday night - labelling yarn to bring along to knitting group - how did that take so long?
Wednesday night - first time at Outcast knitting group - got to do some ACTUAL knitting.
Thursday night - preparing base yarn for next day; more skeining
Friday night - preparing more yarn for dyeing; more skeining

Plus Ravelrying, blogging, Etsying, photographing... Didn't make it to one gym session, Body Attack class or circuits either - usually manage to fit in at least two if not all three.

So instead of flabbing about the house, on Wednesday night, I took myself along to the Jelly Leg'd Chicken gallery/workshop in Reading to meet the lovely Suzanne, a Dear Customer who owns the gallery, and the rest of the knitting group. They made me feel very welcome and were a really friendly bunch of people. It was so nice to meet fellow Etsians and yarn-obsessives. I particularly enjoyed chatting to Sarah who was an archaeological illustrator and knitting her first pair of socks - in cable. How brave is she!

I must admit it felt really strange to be knitting in a group at first - I don't know why - maybe because I don't like anyone to see the speed I knit at, or when I fudge bits, but after a while it was fine; everyone else was concentrating on what they were doing and I became less self-conscious. They wanted to see the yarn I'd brought along - here's a photo and another one here which Suzanne put on Flickr of it and they even bought a couple of skeins.

And finally, and I'm not sure if I'm allowed to show this yet, but I'm guessing no international Yarn Yard customers read my humble blog, and assuming that UK customers have already got theirs, here's Natalie's offering for my first month's merino club:
It's called Doodle, is 50% merino, 50% tencel and so tempting that I'm considering making a scarf out of it before I begin my Chevron scarf since the STR second batch hasn't yet arrived. I saved a sample from a stitch library at the back of a knitting magazine that may just do the job. Right must be off before network crashes again... I need to pick your brains in the next post.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Party weekend

OK, before you read on, I have to warn you, this is an (almost) yarn-free post - other than to say I've spent the evening skeining and skeining with a bit more skeining.

And to just say I'm planning on putting together a 12 Days of Christmas "collection" (the word collection being totally tongue-in-cheek) of yarns and here's the first. It's called Partridge Pear and is in the 4 ply cashmere/silk Lavish yarn:
Now onto other matters. Firstly, the Big New Haircut. It was rather more drastic than I planned going from long, light and a bit frazzled to short, dark and sleek.
My friend Debbie in the school playground said,
"It makes you look much younger"
My colleague Trevor said,
"Have you lost weight?"
And my Body Attack instructor shouted across the class,
"Debs, you could've been on Ten Years Younger!"
(Did I look that old and fat before? Probably, though I thought I was casually glamorous!)
So I think I like it, all in all! Made my day until I got so behind preparing for the party, then got a phone call from school saying Skein Princess had been sick, and then I got jammed in a parking space and reversed into a car with the mother watching. Then had to go back to school a second time to pick up Skein Prince.

After traumas sorted (SPss was fine - must've been running about too much after lunch), the party. Now I'm not sure I know my readers quite well enough to divulge what kind of party this was. I'll drop a few hints - there were 16 guests, lots of wine and nibbles, some games played (no, you're on the wrong track - it's not that pervy!), loads of laughs, a few renditions of "Bright Eyes, Burning Like Fire" (anyone remember Watership Down? And the kind of creatures that featured in it?), my friend Unity won the "Biggest Floozy" competition and £700 was spent. Got it? We're a classy bunch round these here parts! But what a laugh!

Our oldest friends from the New Forest - Guy and Jo and their children - stayed over for the weekend and my good friend Sarah came over with Dave and their girls for Saturday lunch and the weather was actually nice enough to sit outside - and have a giggle about the night before. We all kind of vegged out for the rest of the weekend and took the kids to the Discovery Centre and for a walk along the canal to get them out and about.
In case you're wondering, shadows of the kids fishing in the lake at the Discovery Centre.

I did my best to turn the conversation to yarn at every opportunity - because I am officially a fully-fledged Yarn Bore and proud of it - and even showed them my studio. Well, when I say studio, I mean an old kitchen cupboard (from when it fell off the wall in our kitchen laden with wedding crystal and Calpol) in the garage, an old table and some shelving laden with recycled plastic milk cartons and juice bottles. They did an admirable job at feigning interest.

And finally, I acquired this during the week - AT LAST, I hear you cry (at least if you read any of my earlier posts) - a vintage ball winder from ebay in full working order - please admire:PS The new skein winder arrived. Skein King offered to have a go at winding up a skein to help out... all I need say is that three days later, I had to scrap the yarn. Would he listen to my advice to avoid a tangle? Would he hell! I do have a photo but I don't think he'd thank me! He was only trying to help (I keep telling myself!)