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.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

New shop - mark II

It's nearly ready - just waiting for PayPal to approve the new account - so I'm hoping that will be by the end of the week, or early next week.

In the meantime, some photos of the yummy pre-dyed cashmere and bamboo now in stock:

Sky 100% cashmere

Periwinkle 100% cashmere

Midnight 100% cashmere

Peapod 100% bamboo

There's not a huge amount of hand-dyed this time round as I've been so busy getting the shop ready but there will be this little skein of Plushness in Fandango.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Pocket Socks

Skein Princess is delighted with her first pair of hand-knit bedsocks. I used the Sock Buddies pattern from Fab Feet and Cosy Toes by Anna Tillman. They have little pockets knitted into them as she's a hoarder and she loves to tuck away precious little "treasures". I still have to knit a pair of white bunnies to put in the pockets if she decides against the various options of bobbles, sparkly hair clips or tiny Puppies in my Pocket dogs. I think this pattern shows off the colours of Secret Garden in Plushness but as usual, there's alway a "quirk" in my knitting. Somehow, I managed to get the pockets both on the same side - she doesn't mind! And neither do I.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Skein Queenery and other tales

Glister - a new hand-dyed laceweight silk from Skein Queen in Jade Palace and Camellia

I thought I'd start by clarifying my plans for the direction of the kingdom of Skein Queenery. I'm happy with the new website but am in the process of building another shop. The current one is O.K. but I'm not happy with just O.K. - I'd rather have super-dooper. So the new shop will have several advantages including the ability to pay using debit/credit cards, full tech. support and a couple of other things which I'll go into when we're ready to launch. All-in-all, a bit of a transitory period, but I'd rather get things even better make the shopping experience as easy for you as possible.

The new pre-dyed ranges from Lotus Yarns will be launched with the new shop. The photo above shows the yummy Bamboo Soft - 100% Bamboo yarn in a range of 15 colours - loosely spun allowing the structure of the yarn to wick away moisture making finished garments extremely comfortable to wear, especially in warm circumstances. Like silk in sheen and drape but less expensive.

Also in the new range will be 16 colours of 4 ply pure cashmere. If you like my Opulent base, then you'll already be familiar with the buttery softness of this 100% cashmere.

So why introduce pre-dyed colours when you're a hand-dyer? Well, I'm not going to be giving up the hand-dyeing! These are additional options so that the shop shelves don't look so bare in between dyeing sessions - and also, hand-dyed yarn may not be suitable for every project. This gives an extra opportunity to buy high quality yarn not available elsewhere in the UK (except from my friend Abby at soon-to-be-launched Crafty Yarn).

The South Hill Park Christmas Craft Fair was really fun and successful too. Now, bear in mind, crafters have to be pre-selected to exhibit at this fair and there's a lot of competition to get in, and then look at our stand!
I call it an eclectic mix of yarnie goodies - others might say jumble sale! I think we stood out from the minimalist, well-lit, white-and-chrome stands around us - in a good way (I hope!) I was really surprised how much interest there was in the yarn. I started with this much:

And came back with not much at all. I'll list a couple of skeins in my Etsy shop over the next day or two - there's even some Plushness which didn't prove as popular as the Kimono silk.

Sour Apples


Even my knitted lavender hearts did well - more surprise! I did about 13 of them and only a few came back.

And even my effort at stitching sold:

The best bit was chatting to Helen of Angharad and Kira all day. Thanks to Knitwit and alabamawhirly (knit happens) for organising it - worth clicking the linky (lots of lovely Christmas presents made with SQ yarn, some of them.)

It was also lovely to meet up with Machi of Magpienest, Tara of Kennedy Design and thanks to Rose, Phil and Tristan for popping by and the lovely Yvette who brought these that she'd knitted in Wisp to show how the yarn knits up - all these out of one skein of Wisp!

Some mitts

This is a purse but I wanted to try to show the lovely slip stitch (like linen stitch) she worked up.

This is a mini tank top that she worked in a zigzag pattern with another yarn.

And the reason I had to wait til today to blog - it's my sister-in-law's birthday today! Happy Birthday, Kathleen. She requested a knitted hat, so I made her this Koolhaas:

I love the end result but I won't be repeating all that cabling in a hurry - I think it's given me arthritis!

Monday, 17 November 2008

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Very occasionally, crafting has to take a back seat

So, apart from launching the shop and the winter sock club this week, what else has been going on the world of Skein Queenery?

After getting my children back safe and sound from a week staying with their grandparents and aunties over in Northern Ireland (and very spoiled they were too), I got all over-enthusiastic and did some baking with them on Tuesday.

Here's the ginger biscuits, but the banana muffins were a disaster so less said about them, the better.

Wednesday night was a very pleasant evening spent at knit night in Reading - the children came along too - and we all panicked about the lack of knitted/sewing/yarnie things we have prepared for the South Hill Park craft fair which is NEXT WEEK!!!

On Thursday, I had half an hour after school to come up with a tramp outfit for Skein Princess who was having a tramps party at Rainbows. I assumed it was the down-and-out kind and not the slutty kind! This is all I could come up with:

I regretted the hairspray later on!

On Friday, a lovely fibrey lady from Newbury came over and helped me wrap the last installment of the Autumn Sock Club parcels. We're going to do a skills exchange - she's going to teach me how to spin and I'm going to show her how to dye up her handspun to make a full garment.

Then Friday night was over to a friend's house for a night of girly chat and a wee swally or two. Back at two in the morning!

Saturday was spent finalising the Winter Sock Club places after running Skein Princess to ballet and a birthday party where she got to make cookies:

And Saturday night was over to our Iranian friend's house in Reading for a Bonfire Night celebration.
This year, our friend is looking after an 18-year-old Afghan boy. He cooked up an Afghan curry feast - he's a culinary genius. He's the nicest boy doing the best for himself here to get a good education. His father was a general, his mother a science teacher - both killed in the one day, along with his brothers and sisters. He was the only survivor and made his way over here when he was sixteen and our Iranian friend is like a mother to him and helps with translation, though his English is getting better and better as he's studying for A-Levels, so it has to be!

Today, we went to the Remembrance Parade - I thought of all the soldiers who died for us and of our Afghan friend.
Has anyone heard of Shared Learning? Does any other school in the country or world do Shared Learning? Well, our one does. Four projects to do between parent and child this term and four more next term. One on How Heavy is Your House, one on Teeth, one on your parent's favourite book and one on the geography, history, social and environmental aspects of your town. Each project takes a good few hours and personally, I think it's all a bit too much pressure! I liked the idea until the deadlines loomed.

So I took Skein Prince out on the bikes this afternoon and thought I'd share some of our camera work. Still got to put it all together in a PowerPoint presentation for next week!

Thank you so much for all the kind comments about the new shop and website - we're still working on improvements and there won't be an update this week as will be dyeing up yarn for the craft fair. And thank you to all the people who joined the Winter Sock Club - it's the biggest it's ever been and hopefully that means it will be even more fun! There are still a couple of places left in the Encore Unfortunate Club, so if you're interested, check out the shop.

Monday, 3 November 2008

1...and the shop is launched!

Tonight is an historic night in the world of Skein Queenery as the much-anticipated new royal shopping establishment is finally launched.

Click on the Shop link on the top right of the page if you want to start shopping right away, or the Website link if you want to go by the scenic route.

One word of warning - I believe items are held in your shopping cart but aren't actually yours until you proceed through checkout. There's just no way round this that we can come up with.

PayPal or direct bank transfer are accepted methods of payment and click on the currencies at the top of the shop to select your option.

Oh, and the Winter Sock Club places will become available on Saturday 8th November. It's already filling up from existing members, but there should be some more places available.

So without further ado, I am now mentally cutting the red ribbon so fingers crossed.. here goes..