Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Happy Christmas and a merry Hogmanay to you all!

This is last year's mantlepiece display for a bit of festive cheer - sorry you couldn't all come round for some nice mulled wine and a few nibbles...

Now, let's see if I can remember how to blog - it's been a while, hasn't it.

Are you in a Christmassy mood yet? We went to see the panto tonight and I'm almost there - haven't heard any children singing Away in a Manger yet - that always brings a tear to my eye and marks the official start of Christmas.

I have some actual knitting content for this post. I hope a certain Granda Gerry isn't reading this. This very night, some socks are born and unto Granda Gerry they will belong as around six months ago, his very eyes chose the colours and his very hands dyed up this skein:
I thought I'd knit them up into a pair of socks for Christmas and although they came out a little on the feminine side, I think he'll appreciate the thought:
They are BOTH finished - I just haven't got a photo of them - hey, it's nearly midnight and dark outside!I used Skein Queen Plushness (80% lambswool 10% angora 10% cashmere) which is an absolute dream for socks. I used Violet Green's Standard Sock pattern, adapting it slightly for his size 9 feet.

And I made a start on my first Clapotis (ok, I know I'm slightly behind the times here). I dyed up four skeins of Skein Queen Aran silk in plum, raspberry and sage...and got stuck in...Still a long way to go, but I'm enjoying it. This is the amended photo. The first one I had up on Ravelry was the embarrassing one where I hadn't used the stitch markers properly (thanks Claire for helping me out with that one - you are my knitting guru!). I'm just rubbish at using them and NEVER use them on socks - I just remember where I am, as I always have done on every bit of knitting I've done from jumpers to baby clothes to socks to gloves. But I thought I'd better try them on this and got it cringeworthily wrong - but they looked very pretty along the edge ***blush***. Oh well, if it wasn't for Ravelry, I'd still have them wrong.

A tiny tempter of what's to come in 2008:Aran silk

Darker, more broody colourways

More collections sold as one listing

A very Merry Christmas to all my Dear Customers and all my Dear Readers and Friends. I do feel privileged for meeting so many fellow yarn enthusiasts this year (and friends who feign enthusiasm and listen to me drivel on about it). I now declare the shop is officially closed for Christmas and New Year and will open again on 5th January. Enjoy whatever you're doing over the holiday season and whatever you're knitting and see you in 2008.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Free Pattern for Lavender Hearts

Due to popular demand (ok, I think maybe two people asked) here's the pattern for Lavender Hearts. They make a good last-minute gift - they take around an hour to knit and about another hour to make the little lavender bag that goes inside and stitch up. They could make a good stash-protector for a fellow knitter.

Pattern now improved and available as a pdf here.

Materials - scraps of any yarn - around 24m. I used SQ cashmere/silk.
Needles - I used 3.25mm for 6 ply DK and 3.75mm for 4 ply sportweight

For lavender bag - a scrap of material, some lavender, needle and thread.
Short length of ribbon, decorative button.

Heart shape (make 2)

Cast on one stitch.
K inc. 1 st at each end of row. 3 sts
P inc. 1 st at each end of row. 5sts
K inc. 1st at each end of row. 7sts
P inc. 1st at each end of row. 9sts.
Inc. 1. P9. Inc. 1. 11sts
Inc. 1. P11. Inc. 1. 13sts
Inc. 1. P13. Inc. 1. 15sts
Inc. 1. K15. Inc. 1. 15sts
Inc. 1. K17. Inc. 1. 17sts
Carry on alternating P row with increasing at each end of knit row until 29st ending with P29.

To shape top of heart:
K15. Pass one st. over. Leave remaining st. on holder. Work on 14sts.

Dec. 1. P10. Dec. 1. (12sts)
Dec. 1. P8. Dec. 1. (10sts)
Dec. 1. P6. Dec. 1. (8sts)
K2tog across. (4sts)
Cast off.

Rejoin yarn and reverse shaping.

To make lavender bag, cut thin, cotton material into square around 2" x 3". Stitch around in a running stitch, stuff with lavender and sew up.

Stitch up two heart shapes, insert lavender bag, leave opening for ribbon at top. Place ribbon in hole and stitch button into place using stitches for button to secure ribbon in place. Add decorative crochet if required by stitching in place after creating three loops of chain stitch.

Happy knitting

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Be prepared to let a bit of wee out when you see this

For those of you who haven't seen this already in the Lime n Violet board over on Ravelry, you've just got to check this Sexy Turkey Hat out.

Then for extra glamour for your male partner on a night out, why not knit him one of these Bearded Caps.

Back to business, last big shop update before Christmas is up there now and includes the Royal Collection:Vintage Jewels, Chocolate Teal, August and Fragrant Stocks - this tempting foursome is listed together.

Free knitted heart for my first five customers. And next (smallish) listing should include some sumptious Aran weight silk - if I can let any of it out the house, it's SO SO gorgeous. Have to dye some up for myself for the famous clapotis - next project.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Ragamuffin mitts and other stories

Dyeing yarn in a cold, cold garage (you know, the famous SQ royal workshop mentioned on my Etsy shop front) at this time of year requires several layers of warm clothes, some knitted socks and anything else that keeps you vaguely warm. If I had a pair of long johns, I'd wear them - I'm not proud! I realised I needed a pair of fingerless mitts that didn't mind getting covered in dye.

So, a quick search in John Lewis and I couldn't resist this Noro Kureyon:

Then I found this pattern from Another Knitting Blog.

And then I made these:These should do the trick and I'll still be able to open the fiddly tops on the dyes.

I sent this lot down to the Studio Opening in Devon for this weekend, but I have a sneaky suspicion quite a lot of it may be winging its way back - though haven't heard for sure yet. Yarn and knitted goods don't usually fare well unless displayed alongside more knittery things, but it will just mean all the more goodies for the shop:

Perhaps now would be a good time to soothe our souls with some yarnie goodness:
Chocolate Teal in Lavish

Willow Blue in Opulent

Cranford in Divine

Moomin in Divine

Liquorice Allsort in Divine
Perfume in Divine
Golden Compass in Entice
Mango Martini in Entice

Fairytale in Entice

Chinese Mulberry in Wisp

And finally, Skein Queen has just this week agreed a wholesale order with an online UK-based retailer. More on that in a few weeks. I'll also be revealing further details of mentions in national knitting magazines, including the chance for you to win some free SQ cashmere/silk...