Monday, 29 December 2008

January sale - it's almost here!

Here it is again - once-a-year sale starts Saturday 3rd January. 15% off everything in the shop for one week only.

SQ x

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Ding Dong!

One last post before Christmas just to say a very Merry Christmas to you all - customers, friends, readers and dippers-in - thank you all for coming by to my humble blog and for putting up with my bletherings and yarn obsession. I really do feel lucky to have met so many fantastic people and friends over the last couple of years.

Apart from holding up the queue in the Post Office for a full half-hour yesterday posting out the club parcels (thanks, Joy!), the Skein Prince's Plushness socks are finished.
And I've started some gloves for him for the cold mornings:

OK, it's a rubbish photo, but I used some Posh Yarn in Laura which I acquired at Wonderwool earlier this year and very lovely it is too.

Yesterday, we had an attempt at a very crooked Gingerbread House:

And the yarn in the photos is destined for a certain knitting magazine.

The shop will remain open over the festive period and yarn will be posted out on the first available posting date and there will be a small January sale once again. As for dyeing, I'll be in the workshop dyeing up some yarn for another knitting magazine and hope to have some of the new DK merino ready for early 2009.

Don't forget to keep your nominations coming in for the 2008 Squeeny Awards over on Ravelry.

A very, very Merry Christmas to you all,


Wednesday, 17 December 2008

2008 review

"And so this is Christmas. And what have you done? Another year over. A new one just begun."

How was your 2008? Are you glad it's over and roll on 2009? Or was it a good one for you?

For me, it was a great year for Skein Queen. Getting to "meet" new customers from all over the world; shop updates selling out almost instanteously; a brand new workshop; the big move from beloved Etsy to my new independent yarn emporium; my first small show; starting Skein Queenery group on Ravelry where I thought I'd be rattling about with the tumbleweed; launching of the Squee! Sock Clubs; gently venturing into the world of wholesaling my yarn and the acquisition of some new pre-dyed stock.

And I've had an article published in Yarn Forward; copy edited a couple of issues of the magazine; been to Olympia, Wonderwool Wales and Ally Pally; attended a Hyperbolic Crochet Reef workshop; participated in Sock Wars III; been to my first knitting hen party; participated in knitting hats for Innocent Smoothies and now this is starting to sound like one of those round robin letters you get in Christmas cards, so I'll change the subject!

I think I've been more than lucky. It was an awful year for some of my friends and family. I cannot tell you the amount of bad news I've heard this year from poor health to teenage pregnancies; from job losses to broken bones. How do you say how much sympathy you have for all those loved ones without sounding trite? Hopefully they know it. So any good news, such as a long-awaited pregnancy and a long-awaited engagement, have been like rays of sunshine and meant even more.

What does 2009 hold in store? On a personal level, it's likely to be a year of more change. Who knows what will happen between now and July, but the current plan is to take redundancy then after 17 years of working in the same publishing office. I'll miss the lovely people I work with and I have the option to stay on if I want to, but I think it could be an excellent opportunity to be able to devote more much needed time to Skein Queen. I have so many plans... so little time...

Knitting progress:

Skein Prince wanted some Plushness socks too. I'd done this little self-striping dyeing experiment a while back which was, at one point, a huge tangled mess, but it's looking a lot better now.
And I finished off Skein Princess's Pocket Socks with a little bunny. These socks are well-worn. She loves them - and so cosy.

And finally, progress (or lack thereof) on the bolero in Lotus Yarns Bamboo Soft. One front and the start of a sleeve! My Chinese supplier wants to put this on his website when it's finished and my friend Sonia has agreed to model it. Little does he know that I am Captain Slow of the knitting world!

Sock Club news - all the single and double helpings of the Plushness Pudding Club have been dyed up as have The Unfortunate Club skeins. All drying and waiting to be posted out over the next couple of days.

Maybe in 2009, I'll become one of those good bloggers who blog every day - not wait for a week then write a whole screed!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Feeling rubbish

Hands up - who hasn't had a seasonal cold this week and if not, how have you escaped? I've been feeling so sorry for myself these last two nights, I've gone to bed early with a book - something I haven't done for a while.

I'm about as slow a reader as a knitter - how I got through my English degree, I'll never know - not helped by the fact that I keep dozing off, but I'm really enjoying The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. Not the most light-hearted of subjects, it's about a nine-year-old boy who finds his father has been sent by the "Fury" to head a concentration camp and about him trying to understanding what he's seeing and why his father is involved.

It's reminding me of my recent involvement in the production of a digital archive of papers on Displaced Persons after WWII which was completely heart-wrenching - correspondence from people trying to find if their relatives were alive or dead, finding out which country they'd be relocated to and even when they'd get out of the camps - the last DP camp closed in 1957, which I found quite shocking.

Maybe I should stick to the yarnery and knitting of an evening!

Some brand new DK and Aran weight yarn arrived this morning. There's DK superwash merino, DK alpaca/merino and Aran BFL. All gorgeous stuff.

I'm thinking of dyeing up these thicker weights in standard colourways in jumper quantities - most likely semi-solid or random colourways in the same tone and am open to suggestions - plums, browns, greys, blues, greens?

And speaking of undyed yarn, look what the lovely Yvette brought me on Friday:

Handspun by herself - Wensleydale plied with silk. The photo doesn't do it justice.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Shop update preview

If I can stop eating these Maltesers and figure out why Blogger is insisting on underlining everything, then I'm planning a shop update throughout the day. OK, so I fixed the underlining thing, now I've lost all my colour settings *sigh*.

Here's your preview - some favourite SQ colourways, a couple of Christmas-inspired colourways and the long-awaited introduction of Plump Plushness - 150g of plush goodness which works out at a generous 450 yards. Two skeins would be enough for a small or short-sleeved garment, depending on the pattern.

I'll make a note of the last posting dates for Christmas on the shop site - not long.

Three Kings in Elegance - 3 skeins

Plum Betty in Elegance - 3 skeins

Beach Party in Blush - 2 skeins

Decadent in Blush - 1 skein

Lovebird in Blush - 1 skein

Country Road in Plump Plushness - 2 skeins

Dewberry in Plump Plushness - 2 skeins

Blueberries in Plump Plushness - 2 skeins

English Pewter in Plushness - 2 skeins

Wedgewood in Plushness - 1 skein

Mermaid in Kimono - 3 skeins

Frankincense in Kimono - 3 skeins

Dewberry in Mellow - 2 skeins

Caran D'Ache in Mellow - 4 skeins

Purple Turtle in Blissful - 1 skein

Mermaid in Blissful - 1 skein

Twelfth Night in Blissful - 1 skein

Fruit Salad in Opulent - 4 skeins

Monday, 8 December 2008

On a dark wintry night

Unfortunately, due to this dark, dark wintry night, I am unable to bring you any photos of tomorrow's shop update. And I wanted to show you all the Opulent, and the Elegance; the extra large skeins of Plump Plushness and the Mellow; the Blissful and the Blush, but it's too, too dark for decent photos and as you know, flash is the enemy of yarn photography.

As it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in our household, I shall just have to subject you to some Christmassy decorations. I've tried very, very hard to keep it simple this year and not fuss too much. The usual eclectic mix of ornaments gathered over the years - red, green and gold mostly, with a bit of whatever the children wanted to throw in.

Knitted "paper" chains from John Lewis

Have yet to acquire some ribbons to put up the Christmas cards, but we're getting there. This year will be a simple, family Christmas - just the four of us - with reindeer food, Santa's snowy footprints on the stairs and lots of phone calls to family. Then a big old party for Hogmanay down in the New Forest.

Look who fell asleep in the Advent village.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Thank you to everyone who mosied on over to the new yarn emporium to browse, register or purchase. I need to get restocked with hand-dyed but there's still some pre-dyed cashmere and bamboo in there awaiting the right owner. We had a few PayPal issues over the weekend, but they have now been resolved.

This week, I've been getting custom orders out for those who ordered them via the Skein Queenery group on Ravelry. See, it's worth joining! There are benefits. Next one-off custom orders likely to be February.

Here's a small sample of some of the custom orders:

Blueberries in Opulent

Decadent in Blush

Periwinkle in Blush

English Pewter in Blush

Wedgewood in Elegance

Seven Swans in Plushness

Fragrant Stocks in Plushness

Winter Hedgerow in Bamboozle

I've been "trying out" some of the Bamboo Soft from the shop. I love the softness, drape (like silk) and depth of colour. I'm knitting the Tie Front Bolero from the latest Debbie Bliss magazine. The fronts are knitted sideways. I've made a bit more progress than this, but last photo I took was last night with a flash and I have an allergy to using the flash!

Friday, 28 November 2008

Newest SQ shop launch will be...

...tomorrow - Saturday afternoon.

Prices start at £4.95 (around $8.90) for pre-dyed Bamboo Soft.

This shop is for keepers - no more changing shops for a loooooonnnng time! But I hope you'll like the faster speed times, the ability to pay by credit/debit cards as well as PayPal, the facility to pay in sterling, USD or euros and the layout.

Worth a peek? More details for directions to the shop tomorrow.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Shop preview - another glimpse

Cinderella's Dress in Plushness

Seaspray in Elegance

Olea in Blush

Reykjavik in Blush

Chocolate Cherries in Plushness

A glimpse of just some of the hand-dyed yarn which will be available when the new shop opens.