Thursday, 30 April 2009

A bit of spinning, Socktopus trunk show and a Rainy Day Coraline

I'm quite proud of this. It's the first bit of spinning I've done with my wheel fixed and working properly and I finally feel comfortable with spinning and really enjoying it, so much so, I've signed up for a course with the local guild to learn more.

The fibre was from limegreenjelly - 100% merino - and it's called Just a Dream. I love the depth of colour.

I'm really looking forward to Sunday 17th May when I'll be at Socktopus in London. Alice invited me to come and do a trunk show, whereby I bring along a load of yarn for people to come and squidge, and she provides cakes etc. If you're in the London area on that day, I'd love to see you. I'm there from 12-5pm. In the meantime, I'm trying to put together a collection of free patterns to bring along.

Summer's coming - there are clear signs now. Okay, so it's raining outside as I write, but the grass keeps growing at the rate of knots, the poppies are about to flower, a multitude of butterflies are visiting our garden and yes, I've even seen some wasps (yuck!). In the true spirit of British optimism regarding the weather, I have the perfect summer yarn for you:

Lotus Yarns Bamboo Soft

If you're thinking of knitting a summer garment in silk or bamboo, it's worth bearing in mind Lotus Yarns Bamboo Soft as a possible option.

Take a look at the fabulous round yoked Coraline cardigan knitted by alabamawhirly using Bamboo Soft in Pewter. The pattern is by Ysolda Teague.

She calls it her Rainy Day Coraline (not too optimistic for the summer then?) and adapted the sleeves to a flattering three-quarter length.

Stunning job. Makes me want to pick out a colour for mine. Very inspiring.

Finally, thank you to everyone who participated in yesterday's shop update - parcels going out today so should be with you very soon.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Mini shop update

I have just a wee skinny shop update for you tonight - a kind of tempter to save you waiting for the bigger full-fat update coming very soon. It's very little, mostly of single skeins, but some of the semi-solid skeins would be very suitable for all those brand new Cookie A-style sock patterns out there at the moment.

Mermaid in Bamboozle (merino/bamboo)

Summer Bunting in Squash (superwash merino)

Olive Snook in Squash (superwash merino) - 2 skeins

Fruit Salad in Blush (merino/cashmere) - 1 skein

Applejack in Squash (superwash merino) - 2 skeins

Grass Stains in Blush (merino/cashmere)

Blueberry in Opulent (100% cashmere) - 2 skeins

Persian Garden in Elegance (merino/silk/bamboo/nylon)

Reykjavik in Blush (merino/cashmere)

Ashes to Ashes in Bamboozle (merino/bamboo)

There you have it - maybe see you in the shop later this evening. SQ x

Monday, 27 April 2009

Childhood memories of knitting

When I was recently up in Scotland, my mum dug out this old Patons Bazaar booklet full of knitting patterns we'd both made back in those days.

This was the bunny she made for me that partially inspired Flossie Bear from this earlier post.

She knitted him in dark turquoise and red body with a pink scarf if my memory serves me correctly. He was so plump and cuddly.

It was always the book I reached for when I rummaged through her patterns. I know I knit these delights at some point:

And sadly, mum no longer knits due to shoulder pain so she gave me this little lot of circular needles, dpns and cable needles. Never again will I have to buy a circular needle!

Have you got any childhood knitting memories?

Both Pudding and Unfortunate Club parcels were posted out today.

These were last month's offerings:

Blueberry Pie - semi-solid and multi-coloured options in the Pudding Club

Nevermore Tree - Installment the Seventh of the Unfortunate Club

And I'm thinking of doing a very small update of just a few skeins of Squash and Blush mainly in the next couple of days.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Ugly Easter sock

I'm ashamed to say that I managed to turn this beautiful skein of Socks That Rock Lemongrass

Into the ugliest sock I ever made.
So ugly, it will remain an orphan as I don't feel inclined to make a second one.
Beautiful yarn + gorgeous pattern = ugly sock. Sometimes the chemistry just isn't there. But I'll certainly be using the Embossed Leaves by Mona Schmidt pattern again - it was lovely to knit - but maybe with a different yarn the next time.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Easter in Scotland

Welcome back after the Easter break and there's loads coming up in Skein Queen land in the forthcoming weeks and lots to look forward to. More on that later.

For now, here's what we've been doing this past week:
Align Centre

Meeting my new nephew

Easter Egg hunt - actually outside - in short sleeves

Bracing walks in actual sunshine in Peebles

Climbing Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh

Looking somewhat windswept and interesting

Climbing at EICA - never seen a wall like it - built in a disused quarry and none of my photos convey the sheer scale of the place.

A trip to North Berwick - an old childhood haunt - and always freezing

Hope you all had a relaxing Easter break, if you got one and perhaps you may never want to look at another piece of chocolate - at least until the start of May.

Actual knitting content to follow.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

I'm embracing my inner fibre fiddler!

Help! I can't stop spinning.

Especially when such temptation as this arrives in the post. The lovely and very generous Rockpool Candy got wind that I was under the weather and sent me these utterly gorgeous batts called the Hippy Dippy Ice Cream Mix and containing merino, banana, soya, silk and silk waste and get this - especially mixed for me!

Inga recommended spinning a single from each and to get away from trying to create smooth, even yarns and go for lumpy, bumpy to show off all the fibre elements - well, I certainly achieved that!

The good news is that this afternoon, when we were supposed to be heading for Scotland but couldn't because the car died, Skein King repaired my spinning wheel. So for the other two batts, I should be able to make a better job as the wheel has finally got the pin in and doesn't slip, so I should have much better control.

Then I heard that Inga wasn't well (and has since had a bit of an unfortunate dyeing accident), so in return, I sent her my first proper attempt at dyeing fibre (plus some Desire). It's 100% BFL and it's certainly something I plan to do more of to sell in the shop later in the year following several requests, but I'm taking my time about it, making sure I fully understand the spinning process and all the possibilities and working out the best way of dyeing. Ultimately, I'd like to create more intense, deep colours - that's the goal.

In the meantime, I'm just having fun with all the beautiful fibres out there - I'm especially smitten with Picperfic's Fluff n' Stuff.

Here's some of her BFL roving plyed up - apologies for the rubbish photography.

I love the reds, pinks, corals and cerises in this one.

This one is called Fairground - it reminds me of Easter.

I'm going to be offline for the next week or so - have a relaxing and happy Easter break.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Our very first Featured Knitter

I'm delighted to be able to introduce the first in a series of Skein Queen Featured Knitters. As you probably know by now, I get very excited at seeing what you knit with SQ yarn, so this is the perfect opportunity to see some of your beautiful creations.

Our very first Featured Knitter is Maki Aoto who lives in the dynamic Fukuoka City on Kyushu island at the southern tip of Japan. She moved back to Japan recently after spending some time in the UK, not far from SQ hq in fact.

How many years have you been a knitter?
It's difficult to tell. I learnt very basic knitting when I was a child, but then I knitted only occasionally. I became a knitting addict four years ago after a 20-year break!

Did you teach yourself or somebody teach you?
My mum taught me how to make crochet chains and garter stitches when I was 8 or 9. Other than that, I am a self-taught knitter.

Do you have a favourite technique or favourite garment to make?
I like to make something that involves shaping, cables and/or lace. I tend not to use more than one colourway in a project to avoid darning ends. I usually don't knit socks because I am not good at making the same thing again (get easily bored).

Do you have favourite colour combination?
I love shades of soft pink, lavender and silver grey. Among SQ colourways, my favourites are Pale Faded Roses and Pearl Fishing. I still regret that I couldn't purchase a jumper amount of the Duchess Pearl Fishing. ;-o

What's your favourite Skein Queen yarn base?
It's hard to choose from so many gorgeous yarn bases. Having said that, I love Opulent, Wisp and Blush. I think I am biased towards cashmere. My first Duchess yarn is on the way, so this might be my new favourite.

What's the knitting scene like in your area? Do you belong to a knitting group? Are there any local yarn stores?
I haven't heard of a knitting group in my area. Maybe I should start one myself! Our local yarn stores - there are several in my area - usually don't stock what I'm looking for, and I always end up buying my yarn from online shops in the U.K. Sock yarns, as well as lace weight yarns, are hard to find here.

Maki's Projects

Livia from Yarn Forward Issue 11 - knitted for and modelled by her daughter in Bamboo Soft using Rose Pink and Sugar Pink.

Branching Out scarf by Susan Lawrence knitted for her daughter in Opulent - Fruit Salad colourway.

Whitewater Wristwarmers by Jennifer Meyer knitted in Opulent in Candy Shop colourway.

Meida's Socks by Nancy Bush knitted in Plushness in the original Pink Lady Apple colourway.

Just Enough Ruffles by Laura Chau knitted in Plump Plushness in Faded Roses colourway

Mullins Bay by Jeanette Sloan knitted in Mellow in Medieval colourway which Maki calls her Tudor scarf

Juno Regina Stole by Miriam L. Felton knitted in Wisp in Teal Reykjavik colourway.

Many thanks to Maki for being our first Featured Knitter and I can't wait to see more of your beautiful projects.