Friday, 31 July 2015

Lots of finishing

As we head into the weekend and the start of August beckons, my attention this weekend will be turning towards WIPs that I need to finish for Stash Dash.

At the time of couting I have just over 9000m under my belt and just need that final push to get across the 10K finish line by August 14th.

First up are two pairs of socks that just need their afterthought heels and which I think will count for about 600m between them.

Then we have my I Heart Stripes shawl which has been on the needles far too long and just needs that final push along the loooong rows to finish it off. I think that will be about 400m and so these 2 projects combined should be enough to see me gaily over the finish line.

Of course the bulk of the meterage for my Stash Dash 2015 has been the 5000m or so tied up in the Mitered Crosses blanket. I've received lots of questions and comments about the blanket project - thank you to all - and so I'll make this the subject of it's very own #FOFriday post next week.

Why not join in with the #weekendwipalong hosted by Shelley at Little House in the Corner

Spill the beans on what you are working on and drop your link on her page so that we can all cheer each other on.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

The July Shrug

If you haven't yet found the lovely people over at Baa Ram Ewe you really ought to give their website a look. Not least because, in a radical move I have designed a shrug pattern for them to showcase their amazing 4ply yarn - Titus.

The July shrug uses 1-2 skeins of yarn (the small size with short sleeves can be knit in just 1 skein) and can be bought either as the pattern only, or as a kit with the yarn you would like.

The July shrug - pictured on the Baa Ram Ewe website
Titus is a wonderful blend of Wenslydale, Alpaca and Blue Faced Leicester and is available in a fab range of solid colours. In addition the talented indie dyer Joy from the Knitting Goddess has created a one-off range of overdyed yarns - Titus Goddess especially to showcase the collection.

Anyway, do pop over and take a look. I'd love to know what you think.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Fibre East 2015

I was really pleased to be able to go to Fibre East this weekend. I have been planning to go for several years now but the fates had always intervened. This year though, I was determined even though it meant going en famille after a busy preceding day at Whipsnade Zoo.

Sunday was unfortunately the wetter of the two days but we were undeterred (we holiday in the Lake District so rain doesn’t faze us) and we managed to see most of the vendors there. The lovely volunteers and organisers did a great job of directing us to make sure we didn't miss anyone out and I was pleased to be able to catch up with some old friends and make some new ones.
Fibre East 2015: Purchases

My first stop was with Rachel of Porpoise Fur as my fluff stash has been seriously depleted and I am keen to keep up with my spinning practice. I was also intrigued to notice that Rachel has an upcoming fibre club starting in September. With a celebration of women in science it seems tailor made for me and so I'll be saving my pennies from my birthday money for that one.

The Knitting Swede Stride sock yarn: Robin Red Breast
 I finally managed to buy some much coveted self striping yarn from the Knitting Swede after a protracted and heated debate with my sons, both of whom were very keen to join in with the stripy sock love. I wanted the yarny yumminess all to myself but they had very definite ideas. However, with some judicious use of grey yarn from stash for heels/cuffs I reckon I can eke out the yarn to provide socks for both me and one boy from 1 skein of yarn - we will see.
Yarns from the Plain Chelford sock yarn: Peaches & Apricot

It was a delight to meet up with Nic and see her relatively newly launched range of hand dyed yarns - Yarns from the Plain. I had seen some of her work online but in person it was a beautiful display with some very tempting bases and colours. I was very drawn to the blue/green shades of her Netherley Alderley base in the colourway Sassenach - no surprises there then and I also picked up a lovely skein of Chelford superwash sock yarn in the Peaches & Apricot colourway for a gift I am planning.

All in all it was a great day and now I just need to find more time in the day to knit All The Things.

Monday, 20 July 2015

On a little holiday

If you are looking for my blog post this week I am taking a little holiday and doing a guest blog over at the Owl Print Panda blog: link here

There has been much discussion recently in the craft world about mindfulness and crafting - the 'why' of what we do and the impact it has on our lives.

I was really pleased to be able to share in the discussion on this and would love for you to pop over and join me there for some crafty chatter.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Seaside and Cinnamon Buns

Yarn shopping is always fun. When it is combined with a sunny trip to the seaside, meeting friends and a Scandanavian bakery it is a recipe for the perfect day out.

Saturday saw me gleefully heading off to Brighton on the train, destined to meet up with Mairead - Vincakent and Kate - Scubamonkey at the wonderful yarn store that is YAK. I really enjoyed my first visit there some months ago and have been eagerly anticipating a second visit. It really is fabulous gem of a place, expertly run by Kate and stocked with an amazing array of yarns, notions and books. Even more so at the minute as she is playing host to all the pieces from the Interpretations 2 collection - the collaboration between Veera Valimaki and Joji Locatelli.

Despite the heat I was persuaded to try on the Adventurous coat and was instantly smitten. 

I would love a version of this in a deep rich teal shade - it would be perfect for autumn and would certainly liven up my school run mornings.

After much yarn squishing I settled on 2 more skeins of The Uncommon Thread 4ply fingering weight yarn to add to that already in my collection.
The Uncommon Thread: new additions to my collection.

I was pleased to see that the sock knitters of Brighton were well catered for, with both the new books by Clare Devine and Coop Knits in stock.

There is a fabulous range of yarns from The Uncommon Thread, Eden Cottage Yarns, Lioness Arts, John Arbon, Malabrigo and many more. I also spotted a new-to-me dyer called Life in the Long Grass which is definitely on my 'to try' list for the future.

And then it was time to try out the nearby Nordic Bakery. The cinnamon buns were highly recommended and I can see why. Good coffee, excellent cake, chatter and knitting - it really was the perfect way to spend a few hours.

Going to yarn shows is amazing and gives you a chance to meet so many new people but sometimes, just a few friends sharing their knitting and catching up over coffee is all you need for a great day.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Permit to Play

Following on from my recent blog post on creativity and new beginnings I wanted to say thank you for all the comments and feedback I received. They were all very much appreciated and in some ways, it's good to know that I'm not the only one to go through the odd 'creative slump'.

I've been doing a lot of reading/procrastination/housework avoidance on the subject and I have really enjoyed a book by Kim Werker which many of you might have already heard of. The author beind the 'Year of making' project also has a booked called 'Making it Mighty Ugly'. It's a fabulous resource and a guide for how to get the best out of your creative self, even when life is determinedly getting in the way. She shares some great tips and tricks as well as interviews with other creative types.

Other useful articles have been:

From this I have basically distilled the following:

1. Make time for it.

I am a great one for to-do lists and schedule practically everything about my day - even exercise. Whether I actually do said exercise is just between me and my snooze button though :)
My point is that everything of note in my life is planned - usually - making time for creativity should be the same.

2. Be consistent and 'show up'

Rather than waiting around for the creative urge to strike - see above
"Borrowing DS2's crayons - really must buy my own".

So, in the interests of striking while the iron is hot I am planning to schedule a dedicated amount of time in my day to just PLAY. No pressure, no expectations, just to play with something or at something. Whether I just have 5 minutes or 5 hours (wow - I wish), to just spend a few moments of each day doing something playful for me.
"Fun with colouring in"
I'll be sharing my playful exploits here and also on my Instagram feed using the hashtag #permittoplay.

Why not join me and let me know what you've been playing with?