Saturday, 30 July 2011


Hello blog.

Sorry I've been away for a bit, a result of which is that this is going to be epic. First I was very very busy, then I was very very not busy which led to me being quite lazy.

Well, lazy on the blogging front, but less so on the knitting front, which is good. I went to Knit Nation for one thing, which was fun, but not as fun as I thought it would be. I only went to the marketplace and I only bought five skeins of yarn (to me that seems a lot, but I don't think it is to a great many people). I went with my sister and my niece (Mini-C). Mini-C started getting a little scritchy after a while, so I gave her my camera to keep her entertained (also because I thought stall owners would be less likely to shout at a 10 year old taking photos than at me). She took about twenty in total, mostly of the Wollmeise on the Loop stall (we're training her well!). Here are a selection of hers:

And here are my pictures of some of the yarn I purchased:

Deeply Wicked sock yarn from Easy Knits in colourway Sunset (trying to pick a colour out of the stunning shades they had on offer was a nightmare! I made my sister help me because I'm very very bad at making up my mind when I'm forced to choose and more often than not walk away with nothing).

Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace in Gold. This was less of a problem choosing - I've been looking at the gold and the cherry colours and trying to pick between them for ages. Then when I went back to the stall to make a decision, I got there just as someone was buying the two cherry skeins they had. Problem sorted!

The Yarn Yard Crannog Lace, I'm not sure what the colourway is, but I know it's been the hardest to photograph. I've been wanting to try out the Crannog since I read about it being a high twist laceweight. Have I mentioned lately how much I love high twist?

I know I said I bought five skeins, but I'll save talking about the other two until later.

Sadly, we only spent about an hour and a half shopping and then, after a quick trip to the Knit Tea Salon, we departed. I definitely would like to go back next time Knit Nation is in town (or, you know, several towns over since I spent more than eight hours driving in order to spend a few hours actually in the place!), but I think I'll make some changes.

1. Book onto some classes - I really regretted leaving it this time around, especially with my sister raving about the classes she took. It also means I'll feel like I got more out of my trip to London.

2. Save up for longer beforehand.

3. Take something slightly more waterproof than my thin hoodie - it THREW it down!

4. Not believe my sister when she says 'let's go to Pizza Express for lunch, it's around here somewhere' when it's throwing it down (for the record, there is no Pizza Express in South Ken).

5. If I'm going to wear a shawl to a place in which I will be surrounded with knitters, I will in the future make sure it's one made from a pattern I can pronounce! I wore my colchicaceae shawl and embarrassed myself on several occasions when people asked me what I was wearing...

Moving on from Knit Nation, I've also completed two more shawls!

This is the Magic of Spring Shawl I've been working on for a while. Mini-C bought it for me for my birthday and I've knit it using some of my own hand dye that I've had hanging about for a while waiting for the perfect project.

And this is a Clockwork made using those other two skeins I bought from Knit Nation! The main colour is Socktopus Sokkusu Original in One Hit Wonder. I LOVE this yarn. Like crazy. For one thing, the colours are spectacular. I was looking for a purple or a grey and this manages to be both, but so subtley it blends perfectly. I have not been able to get a good enough picture of this really. It's also high twist (yup, love me some high twist), beautifully smooth 100% merino. So it feels lovely, looks lovely and knits up lovely. Now why isn't it more commercially available??!! I love indy dyers and all, but I really want some more already! The black is a 4 ply functional sock yarn from The Knitting Goddess that provided a great contrast.

I loved knitting this shawl which is so different from what I would normally make. No lace. None! Not a single yarn over. And yet it kept my interest and I love the way the garter stitch looks.

The last thing I've been working on is something I can't tell you about. I'm knitting on a super secret test knit. All I will say is that I dyed the yarn for it myself and the colour of it reminds me of Holland.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Enthuse me?

This time tomorrow I hope to be in London. Catching up with my family and planning with my sister for the following day. Knit Nation.

I should be thrilled and excited and unable to sit still. Instead, I am sleepy and exhausted and have had a headache for more than a week. It's called end-of-term-itis.

In two days time, I will be surrounded by the best fibres and colours available to the UK. I'm really hoping that I will be able to enjoy it while I'm there.

I was hoping to be able to take my blue shawl with me, but sadly I had forgotten how long a crochet bind off takes. I'm maybe a quarter of the way through, but probably not quite. So it;s not going to be done for another few days I would have thought.

Probably I would have been done by now if, last weekend, I had not picked up a book. I read a lot. I always have a book on the go and I can't imagine a day going by in which I do not read. However, as a dyslexic (with Meares Irelens), I am a slow reader. So for me to have sucked up an entire almost 400 page book in three evenings, it has to be a good book, so I am eager to recommend it here. The book was Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes. It's a compelling read about a relationship that descends into domestic abuse on one side and the recovery coming out of it - both told simultaneously. If you have been unfortunate enough to be caught in a controlling relationship, I can imagine that this book would be triggering, so maybe not a recommendation for you, because it seems so amazingly realistic. Whilst I am a reader, it's rare I find a book I do not want to put down, but this was one - I was more interested in finding out what happened next that in knitting! - and now I've finished, I want to read it again, right now.

Now I just need to get this excited about Knit Nation. Someone enthuse me?

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

In review

I was planning on posting up a review of some yarn I purchased a few weeks ago along with my WIP's. Unfortunately I just popped onto the website so that I could link back to it, to find out that it has been taken down due to a health scare. The message says that they are looking to bring the site back up, but will be cutting back on the yarns they carry. I'm hoping that the one I'm reviewing will not be one cut back, so I'm going to post the review anyway.

A few weeks ago, one Sunday evening, I decided to buy some yarn. I'd been thinking of trying to knit a quick stole to match the dress I'd ordered to wear to the school Prom (for the students I work with - I'm not 16!). I'd been umming and ahhing for a while as I was looking for a yarn that seemed to be impossible to find - light laceweight, in black and cheap with good yardage. Yeah, I'm pretty demanding!

While doing my research, I stumbled across Heirloom Knitting. Their Merino Lace fit the bill perfectly! 2 ply 100% merino, in a huge variety of colours, with 375 metres per 25 gram ball and at £3.25 per ball extremely affordable.

I ordered on the Sunday evening. On the Monday afternoon I got an e-mail saying they were really sorry, but the black was out of stock and they were unlikely to get any more in, would I like charcoal grey instead? I said OK since the dress I'd ordered was grey. The yarn arrived on Tuesday. Hows that for service!

I've really enjoyed working with this yarn. It's lovely and soft, the ply is fairly loose and it's working up beautifully and the finished item will be light and flowing and fairly stretchy. I really hope this is one of the yarns that Heirloom Knitting continue to carry as I would definitely be happy to add more to my stash.

Only problem is, the pattern, whilst visually stunning is a boring knit. It's made up of only two different rows repeated a number of times each. Also, the Prom was last week and the stole wasn't ready. But then my dress didn't arrive either, so at least I now have until next year!

In other news, the blue shawl is finally moving along after several false starts.

Hopefully I'll have it done by next Friday and will be able to take it to Knit Nation (so excited!)

For some other WIPs, visit Tami's Amis.