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:

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Craft is the new luxury

As Giorgio Armani recently said: “The defining change in luxury has been a move towards personalisation and customisation, and a growing desire for true exclusivity.”

This quote is taken from an excellent article in the Sunday Times for 28th October called `The Birth of Nu-Craft'. I can't help thinking that Etsy surely has to be part of this re-emergence of craft and the fact that many forms of craftwork are being taken more seriously.

Then I came across a second article in the Times Literary Supplement for the 26th October by Tanya Harrod. As I haven't got a subscription to the TLS, other than at work, I'll attempt to summarise some of the main points:

In this Commentary article, sculptor Phyllida Barlow realises the craftsperson is competing with materialism on a gigantic scale and wonders how one competes with a giant global industry of objects.

It discusses the development of a 21stC arts and crafts movement in China - a turn to painstaking handwork as a response to destructive modernization.

The article also explores the relationship between craft and replication and the assumption that craft is traditionally viewed as a second-rate activity to art.

US sociologist, Richard Sennett explains why more and more people are turning from the workplace to craftwork. He claims we live in a world that singles out comparatively few for recognition, yet where we are endlessly assessed and judged. And argues that skills won through long experience appear to count for nothing and identities eroded as a result and so an increasing number of creative people "refocus" their energies on perfecting a craft for oneself.

To sum up, craft exhibition co-curator, Kate Westerholt says, "I see echoes of the Arts and Crafts movement. At the turn of the last century, people were tired of industrialisation; they craved individuality. We’re seeing a return to that. It’s like, I want beautiful things in my home, and the best way is to make them myself.

Buy handmade - support Etsy.

And keep knitting, crocheting, silversmithing, jewellery-making, bag-making and making beautiful things that make you happy. You're a talented bunch!

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

100th sale!!

Congratulations to Annette - she wins one free skein of her choice.

And thank you to those of you who participated in the other 99 sales and for your continued support. I am still a bit flabbergasted as my original target was 50 sales by Christmas.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Dear Customers' projects

There's some click-clacking being going on and two Dear Customers took the trouble to send me photos of their beautiful projects using SQ yarn.

Lindy in Australia sent me these photos of her gorgeous scarf in Raspberry Mocha 2 ply cashmere/silk. She's working a 2 row chevron repeat on 9/4.5 mm needles and I know she likes the bamboo needles.

Here's the original Raspberry Mocha yarn skeined up:
And here is it made up into a yummy yarn cake:
And the lovely Annette in the UK, knitted up these gorgeous, silky soft delicato mitts made out of just one 55g skein of SQ Lavish cashmere/silk in Fragrant Stocks colourway:

Annette knitted seven repeats of the eyelet rib on the cuff and three at the top and says they are a perfect way to try out different colourways. These have moved to top of my queue for my next project now that the Chevron scarf is finished.

Thanks for sharing - they really are beautiful.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Free yarn...

for whoever is my 100th customer! One skein of your choice for the lucky winner. (Update - offer now closed - we have our winner.)

You could win this:Poseidon

Or this:Pegasus

Or this:


So good luck over at my Etsy shop which is here.

The rules are pretty simple: if you buy more than one skein, you can have the most expensive skein for free. If you buy only one skein, I'll refund your PayPal payment including postage.