Sunday, 27 January 2008

Le Clapotis est fini

Enfin! I enjoyed knitting this, but it was a lot of knitting - I could've knitted a sweater for the same amount of knitting - well, almost.

Et, voila (Kate Gilbert sitting casually yet glamourously sipping coffee outside a chic French cafe, I'm not!)
And will I ever wear it? Well, maybe not as a shawl - but I like the scarf wearability of it. The aran silk was perfect for it and gives it a good weight and warmth but I sort of wish I'd made it in a darker, maybe more aubergine colour.

So apart from posing at the French cafe (cough, cough, you mean back garden) I've been busy dyeing up this week's shop update which includes some vibrant aran silk, but I've also been completing several custom orders, one of which is this:
Periwinkle in Plushness

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

A bit of stash enhancement

It all started with some Christmas money, buying a skein or two, and once I started, I couldn't stop (worse than opening a packet of Hobnobs!) The orders from North America haven't arrived yet - I'll save that for a later post - but would you like to see the yarn candy which has arrived from the UK so far?

Some Manos from Loop:These little beauties arrived around 24 hours after ordering, so I'd highly recommend their store and service.

Before that, this Manos silk arrived from the Woolly Workshop:

I started knitting My So-Called Scarf with the second one and had knitted up a good few inches, but it just wasn't working out with this thinner yarn despite casting on 44 sts instead of the recommended 30 and also I'd taught my friend's five-year-old son to knit with it while we were away last weekend (he was fantastic, BTW and I've to dye him up some of his own yarn) so I frogged and hence the order of the thicker Manos above.

Then, as if I didn't have enough yarn, I ordered this from Hipknits:
And then this:
These skeins are a merino/bamboo blend and I can't wait to start knitting with them.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow because AT LAST I can return to the royal workshop to do some dyeing and get the shop restocked now that all the birthdays and weekends away are over.

See what happens when I can't dye - I order yarn! And knit - the Clapotis is very nearly finished. Whether I run out of yarn is a bit of an issue, so I might dye myself up an extra skein just in case. And when it is finished, I shall dig out my black polo neck, find my nearest French-style cafe, don my glasses for the intellectual look, wrap the finished Clapotis stylishly round my neck and pose with a big cup of coffee, just like Kate Gilbert did on the original pattern (that is Kate, right?)

Well, the final 40th birthday surprise for old Skein King was probably the best. He didn't want a surprise party or too much fuss, so I racked my brain, sent some emails off to some friends and family, they wrote a few words about him and I put together a This is Your Life style big red book. We had a lovely meal and a drop of wine on the Friday night with our friends on our weekend away, and afterwards read out all the tributes to SK. He was really moved that so many people had taken the trouble to put their thoughts down and it went down really well. He appreciates something like that far more than anything material (not to say he didn't get anything material too!)
Bless him!

Next week, I promise some SQ yarn!

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Shop update

I thought you might like to see some yarn for a change, instead of reading my whitterings and bletherings about birthdays, presents and the like.

Shop update tonight includes:Pink Champagne - worsted merino from Uruguay which I've called Cushy
Regency Rose - big skein (1500 yards) of laceweight cashmere/silk - guest yarn
Paris Green - big skein (1500 yards) of laceweight cashmere/silk - guest yarn
Mossy oak - cashmerino - Blush

And some old favourites:

Dolly Bunting cashmere/silk - Lavish

Maharajah cashmere/silk - Mellow

Calling Birds - Mellow

C'est tout!

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Large bags under the eyes

The January sale was a huge success and all the cashmere/silk sold out well within the week which is fab. The shop is looking pretty bare and I'm working to restock it - there will be another mini-update this week, but I'm away at the end of the week for more birthday celebrations, so it may be the following week before any substantial restock takes place - how dare real life interfere with yarnarie!

This week saw the SQ mentioned in Let's Knit magazine and there was much squeeing when my copy arrived. The photo of the yarn looked really good and they did a lovely write-up saying I was "the custom dyer of choice amongst discerning knitters". I quote that back at Skein King from time to time just to be annoying.

Also, a group of us Reading crafters did a short interview for Reading's Blah Blah magazine a while ago and it's out too - can't wait to see that.

Now that my camera's back in operation, I can show you what the dear Skein King got me for Christmas:Some Denise Interchangeable knitting needles - I sort of know these are from the Woolly Workshop as I saw the package arrive and had dropped heavy hints such as "I'd love some of those Denise Interchangeable needles from the Woolly Workshop!" They've already come in handy for the Clapotis - I'm just over halfway through now and loving it!

He also got me a t-shirt from Etsy:An Etsy badge:
And one of these gorgeous Pur Swivel rings from Gold Digger 79 in Holywood, Co. Down which is owned by the lovely Sarah, a friend of the family. She makes her own beautiful jewellery, but also stocks other jewellery artists and these rings are from Germany and you're supposed to wear two or three together and you can swivel the jewel to face in any direction. They are very collectable, as my sister-in-law will attest to!
As modelled by Skein Princess - very difficult to capture the beauteousness of these rings. One is a deep green and other a purple/blue.

He also got me a dance mat for the Xbox - this is the best fun as long as noone is watching. I look like a demented loony attempting to get my feet in the right place, but I don't care - I love it!

And what did I do in return for the Skein King? Well, you know it was his 40th on Friday?
Apparently, he arrived at work and there were photos of him dressed in a black, curly wig with his old Kiss tshirt on in the office lift! How did that happen? Then he got out of the lift and there was a huge photo of him as a plump toddler facing him. Who could possibly have done that? (She shrugs) And there were 50 or so other embarrassing photos of him all over all five floors of the building, including the loos. Not my fault that his colleague phoned me up earlier in the week asking for some old photos of him! Mwahahahahaha (evil laugh) I think he was mortified but secretly flattered that they'd gone to so much trouble! Do you think I should show you the photos? Leave a comment if you want to see them... if there are enough comments, I may be able to find them...

Then I surprised him and the Skein Princess to tickets to the Wizard of Oz at Southampton's Mayflower theatre. I think secretly, the Skein King would have preferred staying in with a beer, rather than travel 40 miles to see the lovely Matthew Kel
ly, Gary Wilmot, Russ Abbott and Gregor Fisher but he put on a brave face.

And so to the eye-baggage. The Skein Princess's sleepover with her friends went well - just couldn't get them off to sleep til 11.30. Two of them were down crying when one said that her daddy had said that before Santa had red clothes, they were sort of grey and green. That freaked them out and they were really scared (and over-tired). Ultimately, they all enjoyed it and will certainly remember it (me too!)

And now for a little bit of yarnarie:

I've been working on 8 skeins of Aran silk for a custom order for a very Dear Customer. This colourway is called Phoenix and there will be two spare skeins going up in the shop later this week:

Also, I received my last instalment from the Merino Club at Yarn Yard which is a gorgeous merino/tencel:And I treated myself to two more skeins of Noro during a visit to Bangor, Northern Ireland when I spent an afternoon in search of a yarn shop which sold hand dyed yarns. Couldn't find it and consoled myself with this from the yarn shop by the station - if anyone knows of the mystery shop, I'd love to know:
Claire's comment last week about the Noro virus made me giggle!

Right, the eye luggage is growing as I speak.... to bed.

Monday, 7 January 2008

January sale

Happy New Year! Hope you all had a fab Christmas and are ready for 2008.

I'm back and have been back a few days - the only thing keeping me from posting is a dreaded lurgy (who hasn't got it or had it?) and a broken camera.

I have so many photos to show you - but alas my camera has decided to download only our Christmas photos and refuses to load anything post 2008. So can't get anything into the shop until it's fixed.

However, the once-a-year-one-week-only sale is well underway with 30% off all cashmere/silk and there's not much left in the shop. Sale ends Saturday 12th January.

As for the lurgy, I'd had a chest infection rattling around since about September which got worse and culminated in an asthma attack on Christmas Day. I had to be nebulised at the doctor's and was threatened with casualty and a chest x-ray which I resisted - I'm a terrible patient. Bit better now at least, but every person I've spoken to seems to have had either flu or Noro virus in their family over Christmas.

As for knitterly things, I'm making good progress on the Clapotis and was knitting it on the HSS boat coming back from Belfast and in the car and found to my delight that I didn't get car sick while knitting. Makes the long journey from Scotland go much faster - along with subjecting (I mean educating) the family with a Lime and Violet podcast!

Most of my Christmas knitting was making a pair of socks for a Dear Customer who likes my yarns but can't knit, so as a one-off, I made these from Plushness in August colourway:Finally resorted to old camera using a flash so quality is rubbish and they look too green where the green and blue stripe up. I actually started them on the HSS going over to Belfast and it was really the first proper time I'd done Knitting in Public. A little girl was really interested in what I was doing and her mum commented on how beautiful they were turning out which spurred me on to do more KIP.

And am looking forward to doing more copy editing on a more formal basis for Yarn Forward magazine this year as Kerrie has teamed up with Louise Butt from Simply Knitting magazine in a new partnership which is great for the magazine. Can't wait to get my hands on the next issue.

Skein King hits the big 4-0 at the end of the week and I have a few surprises up my sleeve for him - he already had a surprise party when we were over in N. Ireland and had to wear a very fetching t-shirt bearing a photo of him when he was about ten! Hmm, let me have a rummage around my photos and see what I can find....
Ooooo, I am so dead!!

It's also Skein Princess's birthday this weekend and she's having her first ever sleepover - 3 friends - everyone keeps saying how brave I am!

The dye advertisements at the top are from the Ulster Folk Museum.