Friday, October 31, 2008

What's happened?

Don't know what's happened to this week? It's gone every so quickly. The girls have been on half term holidays all week and juggling frantic knitting for a deadline and the kids being home has been quite hard this week. I'm trying ot remember what we've done this week now but to be honest it's mainly a blur of knitting with the odd activity thrown in to keep the kids happy.

I'm making progress on teh knitting, after a disaster on Wednesday or was it yesterday?! Don't remember now. I had it all knitted up, blocked and laid out on the dining room table ready to start making up and the sleeves didn't fit the armhole. AS it's my own design this was a major bummer and there was no option but to frog the sleeves and re-do and also re-do part of the arm holes. This was for a deadline for a mag today so it's been some major knititng going on but luckily, thanks to a very understanding and wonderful editor, my deadline has been extended so crisis over and all night kniting sessions avoided. And I'm back on track.

I've also been taking pics using 'Daisy'. I'm always a bit worried of taking pics inside and it's been wet, dark and miserable all week but yesterday afternoon there was a bit of bright weather so I pulled Daisy over to a bright spot in the lounge with a bit of bare wall behind her and snapped away. Pics have not been edited yet but here's a taster of the pics I got of 'Midnight'.
Took some pics of anotehr design too but can't show that one. I'm planning to re-do pics of all my shawls and scarves in due course.
I'm taking part in two Secret Santa swaps on Crafty Yarns Forum this month and I received one gorgeous parcel the other day. It's a secret swap and we have to include a clue, my clue is this gorgeous pink bag and I love it but I've no idea who it is from. Any ideas what hte name of the design is anyone? The parcel also contained some gorgeous Kidsilk Haze, chocolate and a poutporri pot. I've no idea which swap this is either as we're doing a normal Autumn Secret Santa and a Poor Man's Santa. So I'll have to do some detective work this weekend.

Today, we're off to Plymouth this afternoon to meet up with a friend and her daughters, a couple of hours of shopping, then a meal out and cinema. We don't do halloween in this house and staying at home on Halloween is a nightmare due to all the kids around here trick or treating and unfortunately some of them are less than pleasant. After an incident a few years ago we now go out on Halloween, that way our kids get to have fun and we avoid having an evenign spoiled by trick or treaters.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A new spinner

Yesterday afternoon, during a break from sorting out my study, Emily asked me if I could teach her how to spin on my drop spindle. We'd already ahd a go on the wheel a month or two ago. so I dug out some fibre and my drop spindles and we gave it a try. She managed quite well and has already had to empty her spindle once. She spun for ages yesterday afternoon and she's at it again today.
This is what she had yesterday afternoon.
She's already learnt how to knit and do cross stich and is keen for me to teach her how to crochet and she's done some weaving. I think we have another fibre addict here. When she learnt to knit and weave she insisted she needed a yarn stash so I'm sure she'll be asking for a fibre stash now. LOL

The studio re-organisation went well yesterday and it's already a thousand times better. I took pics of it before I started but I'm not sure I'm brave enough to share them. They're truly horrific. The two new shelving units are making a huge difference. I've got one big tower of plastic drawer untis housing my stash and two shelving units housing lots of dyeing stuff, some stash, yarns for sale, design stuff and all my bits and pieces. I've still got a bit of orgnising left to do and I want to reorganise an catalogue my stash. And to fit all my stash into my studio. At the moment I've still got quite a lot in my wardrobe and under my bed. Maybe when it's all done I'll be brave enough to share photos.

During the re-organisation yesterday I also got all my lace designs out and re-folded them and put them in a new place. Some of them need re-blocking and one or two things I've forgotten aobut. So this week I'm going to get it all out and re-do photos using Daisy as a model. I got a couple of new designs which I've not for various reasons gotten around to finishing off the patterns so that needs doing too.

On the knitting front I'm still working flat out on the secret project but it's going really well and I'm adding inches.

Today is a bit of a miserable, wet Sunday afternoon. Everyone's feeling a bit down, tired and in a funny mood. Simon has just take the dog out for a moorland walk so hopefully that'll improve his mood a bit. I'm off out to get a familly film in a minute then we're having a family film afternoon. Which is a good excuse to do lots of knitting.

I've started planning my next project after the current secret one. I've got another secret one due by end of November so need to start that one but it won't be a project that'll consume all my time. I want to mix knitting it with some work on some other stuff. PErhaps I ought to start on some Christmas presents and I'd like to start planning some stash busting projects. And somethig I've wanted to do for a while now is to do some home knititng, ie cushions and perhaps a snuggly blanket.

I'm planning a credit crunch sale starting this evening too. So check out my shop for some credit crunching bargains.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Introducing Daisy

I'd like to introduce you to my new model. The girls and I have named her Daisy and she arrived late Wednesday afternoon.

I've wanted one of these mannequins for ages and from time to time I have a look on Ebay to see if I can snatch one up cheaply. Well on Monday was my lucky day and I managed to snap one up a few minutes before the auction ended. She's a bit skinny but hopefully it'll make getting good pics of my shawls easier.

Today was beautiful weather so I should have dragged Daisy out in the garden to take some photos but my main priority today was to get my Sockamania PLUS parcels out. Hopefully the good weather will last over teh weekend so Daisy and I can have a photo session then.

I did take some photos of the Midnight Shawl late Wednesday afternoon but it was already getting dark so the pics are not great.

Daisy will be living in my studio but at the moment she's in the corner of the lounge with the Midnight Shawl draped around her. A non-knitting friend popped by yesterday evening and admired Daisy and the Midnight Shawl. I think she looks good in thecorner of the lounge but I'm not sure the rest of hte family want her to become a permanent decoration in our lounge.

Yesterday I was teaching an advanced sock knitting workshop at Spin A Yarn in Bovey tracey. It was a great day with 6 great ladies. Two of them have been to my workshops before and it's nice to have people coming back for more. I worked them hard yesterday and it was definitely a challenging day. We did socks on circular needles, both magic loop and 2 circs, and we did them toe up. Just afterlunch everyone had completed one mini sock so we then had a go at doing 2 socks at a time on 2 circs. I use Turkish/Eastern cast on for my toe up socks and that's the technique I taught and it's agreat cast on but it's quite a challenge to start 2 toes at the same time but they all managed it. This was the first time I'd taught this workshop so I was worried about fitting it all in and how it would all go but I was quite pleased. Got a few tiny alterations to make for next time and I'd managed to make a few quite important mistakes in the mini sock pattern we were following, it was all to do with my appalling maths skills and trying to work out numbers when I was too tired.

This weekend my big plan is sorting out my studio. At the moment is a bit of a dump to put it mildly. I need tons mor e storage. I want shelving along one wall. It' a tiny room so I've got to make the most of the space I've got. At the moment I've got some plastic drawer untis and a book case but it's not enough so I'm having shelving along one wall instead. I've found some industrial looking affordable shelves from Argos so if I can get them from our local Argos store I'll be getting them tomorrow. Going to take me forever to get it all sorted though. I'dlike to get all my stash and undyed and dyed yarns in there plus all my knitting books, mags, design stuff, and all my knitting equipment in there. Will be a minor miracle if I manage all that.

My knitting at the moment is a secret project which has got to be finished by end of next week so the pressure is on. I must admit I work much better if I've got a tight deadline. I was commissioned for this piece months ago and I've done bits and pieces on it every now and then but now I'm getting close to the deadline I've got to focus on it and I quite like that. So no knititng pics this week. Once this item is done I'd like to cast on with some of my Ally Pally stash. Not sure quite what yet. Got a week to decide. Also got another secret design to be done by the end of NOvember so I'll need to get that started too. The pattern is alread ywritten up for that so just need to knit it.

Have a nice knitterly weekend everyone.

Monday, October 20, 2008

New Design & Ktog

I'm revealing the Midnight Stole today. If you're a Lace Variety Club member you may want to look away if you don't want your surprise spoiled. Only the design, the yarn clourway is different.

This stole was started before we went to London and I got about 1/3 done before we went. while we were in London I got very little done so when we came home it was non-stop knitting to get it done. I'd hoped to have it done by Thursday last week so I could send the lace parcels out on Friday but that didn't happen and I finally blocked the stole at 11pm on Saturday and subsequently the lace club parcels are going out today and tomorrow. My printer is now playing up after printing off half the pattern copies. My printer doens't like hard work so needs a break and then will hopefully be okay again.

Pixie's test knit stole arrived on Friday (or was it Thursday) and looks gorgeous. It's a bit smaller than mine as she did fewer repeats of the main pattern and her tension is much firmer than mine. My tension is quite loose when I knit lace and the thinner the yarn the looser my tension seems to be. I've got some pictures of Pixie's stole but no proper ones of mine as I was out all day yesterday and my model has been at school all day and now it's raining so I can't get any photos done anyway. So this is what I've got to share:

And this is how sheer my version is:

This stole should really be photographed by a model wearing a beautiful evening gown. Unfortunatley Vanessa doesn't own evening wear. I can barely get her into a skirt.

Yesterday was a fantastic day. I went to Ktog in Bovey Tracey which was another fantastic success this year. Tutley Mutley and her workers did a fab job of putting on the show. There were stalls selling yarn from Spin A Yarn, Coldharbour Mill, Devon Fine Fibers, Clare Crompton (author of the Knitting Bible series) and Jane Sowerby (author of Victorian Lace Today) were there too. I got my copy of Victorian Lace Today signed by Jane who had the stall next to me. I managed to have a quick chat to Jane and she was lovely. She'd also brought lots of the shawls from the book and it was fab to see them in real life. I hsould have taken lots of photos but all I managed to take was a photo of my stall. I forgot to take any other photos.

There were a knitting cafe there too and some other stalls selling stuff and a display of various knitted items. gorgoeus jumpers, shawls and socks and one item that stood out for me was a knitted thong. Yes you read right, a knitted thong (or g-string). It looked gorgeous but who would ever wear one?!

There were felting and spinning workshops going on, and I taught a mini sock knitting workshop. I decided to teach a short row heel with mixed success. I had 4 ladies in my class, 3 I already knew from the knitting group and my workshops at Spin A Yarn. We had a great time and I think everyone learnt something. Not easy to teach a sock knitting workshop in less than 2 hours.

Now I've got lots of yarn from yesterday to tidy away. There will be some new yarn in the shop thisweek. If you fancy joining the Sockamania PLUS Merino Sock Club then hurry up as I'm sending out the parcels by Friday. There are also 3 extra skeins for the Lace Variety Club so if you sign up quick you might get in for this month.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Lots of excitement

there are just so many things to be excitedabout right now and I'm just so busy. Working flat out all week on the new lace stole has paid off as I'm on the last 1/3 of the border andshould finish it tonight. Pixie's version arrived this morning and is being blocked.

I've been busy today trying ot get ready for the KTOG event in Bovey tracey, Devon on sunday afternoon. The event is in it's 2nd year and last year was fab and this year should be even better. There will be stalls including mine, workshops (I'm teaching sock knitting and there will be spinnin and felting) and knitting celebrities, Jane Sowerby (author of VictorianLace Today) and Clare Cromptom, author of hte Knitting Bible will both be there. I've metClare several times before and she's lovely and will be there with her new book which is fab. I'm really excited about meeting Jane Sowerby and I'm hoping she'll sign my VLT book. I'ts the book that made me fall in love with lace and it's such an inspiration. Will I be brave enough to show her my lace though. I'll have several of my lace shawls with me including the brand new Midnight Stole. I'll be selling my yarns and patterns too.

The Ribbon Scarf is selling well and we've already raised $50 for breast cancer. A huge thank you to those who've bought the pattern or any of hte special breast cancer fundraising yarns so far. I'm keeping a record of sales so I know how much to donate to charities at the end of the month. Next week I need to decide which breast cancer charity to donate to. Any suggestions?

No pics today but I will have pictures of the new lace stole over the weekend or onMonday and look out on Monday for lots of pictures from Ktog. If you live in devon or Cornwall then come along for the afternoon, it'll be well worth it.

Have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Breast Cancer Ribbon Scarf

I've finally gotten around to listing my new Breast Cancer Ribbon Scarf. $5 from each pattern sale will be donated to Breast Cancer charities in the UK. See my Etsy shop for more details.

It's knitted using my Merino Tencel sock yarn but any sock yarn can be used.

Spread the word and raise money for breast cancer research.

I've got to run now. Off to the Tangled Threads knitting group meeting at the Rod & Line in Tideford, Cornwall.

Nite x

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Excited!

I've had some great news today! I'm not sure if I can talk about it yet. I think I probably can but just in case all I'll say is that I've had a pattern accepted for publication by a well known online knitting mag. And I'm so excited.

I promised I'd share some pics of my Ally Pally haul. I'm so keen to start knitting with some of it but I've got lace and another secret project to finish first, then there are the Sockamania pattern for November. I've decided on the pattern for Sockamania November socks and have done a swatch. Still not sure about yarn colour for the PLUS club but I've got some ideas. I'm really keen to cast on but my lace project needs to be finished before I start anything else. I'm hoping ot finish the main panel of the lace project tonight or tomorrow then it's just the border to go but borders seem to take forever sometimes.

And here are the promised pics:

4 mini skeins of silk laceweight, 2 different weights, 2 skeins of each, from 21st Century yarns:

Natural Dye Studio BFL sock yarn - just couldn't resist:
Hip Knits Silk/bamboo:
Bamboo lace:
Knitwitches Silk Camel:
Panda Soy sock yarn - have wanted to try this yarn for ages:
Touch Yarns Lace - just had to have this colour:
Handmaiden Camelspin:

Any guesses what my favorite colours are and my favorite fiber blends? LOL. Not a difficult guess is it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Back from London and a new design launch




I'm back from London, actually we came home late SAturday evening but I was too tired to do much yesterday. But before I talk about London I want to show you my new design - the Breast Cancer Awareness 'Ribbon' Scarf. The scarf will be sold with all the profits being donated to Breast Cancer charities in the UK. In real terms the pattern will be sold on Etsy for $6 and $5 will go to charities.

The inspiration for the scarf is the breast cancer ribbon which is sold as pins here in the UK, I made a lace pattern to look like the ribbon and used it for the main panel and used a fern lace pattern as the border. The result is an easy to knit lace pattern which experienced knitters can knit in a flash and and it's easy enough for beginners to give it a go. Why not knit it for someone in your family who's been affected by cancer or in memory of anyone affected by cancer or just as a cosy neck warmer for yourself or a friend? Or how about (dare I say it...) a Christmas present? Sorry to mention the C (that's Christmas) word in Octobe but Christmas is not that far away. Yes, it made me panic too when I realised it.

The pattern will be up on Etsy tomorrow and I will try to list it for sale on the blog too. Just got a bit of editing on the pattern to do and add pics. The scarf takes just one skein of sock yarn. I used my new Merino Tencel sock yarn which only has 333 m to 100gr. All my other sock yarns have 400m so if you choose one of those you'll get a longer scarf too. There are some fundraising yarns listed on Etsy too, including some pink ones and some non-pink ones.

Back to London, we had a great time. the main aim of the trip was for me to go to the Knitting Show at Alexandra Palace which I did on Thursday. I had a fab day. There were lots of yarn stalls and lots of gorgeous, tempting yarns. I did buy a little, tiny bit of yarn. Here's a peak:

More yarn pics later in the week. It's all contained in the lovley Socktopus bag I got with the skein of Handmaide I bought at the Socktopus stand. I got some gorgeous silk and bamboo yarns and a skein of BFL. But I'll show you pics of all the yarns I got tomorrow.I also got the new copy of Yarn Forward magazine at the show. And my Walking Cables socks were in there. Walking Cables is a family of aran cabled hiking socks for the whole families with patterns for Mum, Dad and the kids. I've also got a shawl in the next issue, take a look on the back page for a sneak preview. Kerrie and Lou also had another one of my shawls on the stand which will be in a later issue. It was lovely to meet Kerrie again and to meet Lou and Sarah for the first time. I think they've done a great job getting yarn Forward where it is today and it's now for sale in Tescos and regular newsagents. Well done ladies!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

running out of time

I'd hoped to have the Breast Cancer Ribbon scarf pattern ready for today but it's not and it won't be. We're off to London tomorrow for a few days. Thursday I'm at Ally Pally. Yeah, really excited.

Not sure what we're doing the other days.

When we come back I'll get the Ribbon scarf pattern up. Some fundraising yarns up in the shop though.

The Lace Variety Club yarns are dyed and I dyed a few extras. They'll be drying while I'm away and posted out next Monday/Tuesday so if you fancy joining, be quick.

See you next week.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Finishing touches

I had a few items I was deseperate to finish before we leave for London on Wednesday. I wanted the Breast Cance Awareness 'Ribbon' Scarf. The pattern will be available from tomorrow and the profit will be donated to breast cancer charities. The scarf was finished last night and I could have blocked it last night but I was in a lot of pain last night and I normally block scarves on the floor and sitting on the floor bending over a scarf was the last thing my back needed. When I finally got around to blocking it at lunch time I decided it was small enough to go on the ironing board which made it a lot easier on my back and something I could have managed last night.

Anyway, here are some blocking pics. It's only 4.30pm but the light here is rubbish due to bad weather so the pics are not good. Better pics tomorrow and finished pattern tomorrow too.

I also finished the 2nd front on my Manos cardigan yesterday and started the sleeves. I'm doing the sleeves two at a time. I wanted it finished by the time we go to London and I may just manage it. I've hoping to block the body pieces tonight and sew up the shoulder seams to make sure my measurements etc are right. Wll be wroking on it at knitting group at Spin a Yarn tomorrow. It's a modified garter stitch so easy to work on while chatting. Got a feeling I may be sewing it up on the train on Wednesday.

I've not managed to make as much progress as I wanted over teh weekend on the Midnight Stole. I should have gotten much further by now. I need to figure out the border before we go too in case Pixie overtakes me while we're away which is highly likely.

Taking the stole to London with me to work on if we have any quiet time in the hotel. But it's not a take along project and I need something to take out with me too. So I'm taking my Scrolls handwarmers. First glove is done and I started the 2nd one and I may take along and start the 2nd Scrolls sock too.

I'd like to find a way of selling the pdfs of my patterns in a way that people can click on a link, pay hten immediately download the pattern. At the moment I'm e-mailing the patterns out after purchase but it means a dealy for the buyer and extra work for me and if I'm not available the pattern don't go out. Anyone have any idea of how to set this sort of stuff up and could help me or point me in the right direction? Thank you in advance.

Also want to show off my new Ravelry ads. The artwork was done by the lovely Susana from Portugal. Thank you Susana. Her blog looks lovely by the way, but unfortunately I don't speak Portugese. Love Portugal htough. Went there several times on holiday as a child.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In the UK October is Breast Cance Awareness Month. this year I've decided to join in the fundraising and I've just listed some Fundraising yarns with $3 from each skein sold being donated to breast cancer charities. So join in the fundraising and get shopping. there is a variety of colours and base yarns and there will be more to come over the weekend.I'm still working on my Breast Cancer Ribbon Scarf which will have all the profit going to breast cancer charities. I WILL get it done this weekend. If you want to grab some of the special fundraising yarn ready to knit the Ribbon scarf then I'm working it in Merino/Tencel but it would look equally good in Bambino or any other sock yarn.

I've been sidetracked today with my new lace project which is very addictive and coming along very nice. Want a sneak preview?
Another one?
The yarn is so soft and gorgeous to work with. It's one of my new lace yarns but I'm not revealing which one yet. I'm also adding beads to this project. I love the colour of the yarn too. It was one of those accidental dyeing incidents. I had something else in mind but it didn't work out so just chucked something else in with it. Love the result.

Las Sunday Simon and I went for a walk in a local wood. It was just a short walk as my back was very painful but I wanted to show you some of the photos. It was a lovely, warm and sunny day. the last warm and sunny day we had. It was sunny today too but it's getting very cold.Our dog Sam: