Tag Archives: Yarn

Secret Stash

I’m going to be coming down to Devon a lot in the future, and I decided I needed a stash down here…it shall be my secret stash, and I shall call it squishy. Being local, I had to stash local yarn, obviously…OK, so it’s not so local, the roving is from Uruguay and the sock yarn from Germany, but the shop, Hulu Crafts, was local!

Stash from Hulu

I blogged about Hulu last year when this was my local yarn shop – to read that post go HERE. I was absolutely delighted to be able to go back to a knit and natter last night. This will be a monthly event for me, and I will even be able to go to their Christmas dinner! I’m so excited.

I have been into Hulu twice in the last four days, and fell in love with two things that I decided I needed to stash. The first was an Opal sock yarn. I knitted my first ever socks from Opal yarn, and they are the best pair I have – I prefer them to Regia, Artesano, and all of the yarn from small yarn companies that I have bought over the last few years. I actually noticed it when Vicky posted about it on the 22nd of August and decided I must look when I was next home.

She still had it! So I bought it.

The roving caught my eye as I walked past it, and I’ve always wanted to try Manos del Uruguay fibre but never seen it in person. That was snapped up – the colours are fairly similar to the Opal yarn, but I’m loving it and started spinning straightaway. I fascinated everyone at Knit and Stitch at Hulu, and Vicky posted a photo of me doing it to the Facebook page! (I’m famous, heehee.)

My secret stash to hide in Devon!
My secret stash to hide in Devon!
Dragon roving.
Dragon roving.
Opal Sweet and Spicy 2
Opal Sweet and Spicy 2
Vicky's post about me on Facebook!
Vicky’s post about me on Facebook!
The yarn that made me fall in love with this colourway.
The yarn that made me fall in love with this colourway.

Anyway, now that you’ve drooled over my secret stash, carry on!

Much love,

Corrie xx


PS Anyone recognise the quote in italics in my introductory paragraph?

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Presents from New York!

m4s0n501

My lovely JS got back from New York today and he brought me presents! I asked him to go have a look in some yarn stores but then reconsidered and didn’t give him any recommendations – so he had to make his own decision and went to Knitty City which is just near Central Park while he was exploring the park.

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New project – Icon Dress

I am officially starting a new project – the Merino Dress! Before I go on to the details of that, though, I would like to introduce you to the newest member of the family: Piccadilly.

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Erquy…or, never knit without stitch-markers

I have been working full-steam ahead on Erquy for the last week, with not much progress on anything else (although I did knit a quick hat which I will show off on Friday). It’s also the middle of the month, so high time for an update to my resolutions…

Erquy

This was my progress on Erquy last week.

Erquy, with a pretty border, a light green stripe and not much else.
Erquy, with a pretty border, a light green stripe and not much else.

Shortly after taking that photograph, I entered the first dark green section and took it to Knit Night (at Loop, if you’re ever in London on a Thursday night, come along!)

There, I realised that in my haste on the tube, I had miscounted something and created less of a zig-zag as the pattern is designed, and more of a y-shape on one of the sets of increases. I wasn’t using stitch markers at this point, as I have been primarily knitting this on the tube or bus, and I always, always lose stitch markers.

I was advised to ignore the mistake and just go back to the original pattern – the problem was my stitch-count on two sections was now off, with too many on one side and too few on the other. In and of itself, not a problem – except the bottom of Erquy is knit up in a gorgeous Feather and Fan pattern, and my stitch count needs to be spot on when I get to that point.

Feather and Fan pattern - click the picture to find out how to knit it.
Feather and Fan pattern – click the picture to find out how to knit it.

I didn’t frog, I ripped back the ten or so stitches and fixed it all on the needles. I was silent for most of the session at Knit Night, and if I had been thinking straight I would probably have put it down and started something new – something stocking stitch – and then gone back to it in the quiet of my own home.

I am incredibly proud to say that I managed to fix it. OK, yes, there are some monstrous holes where the yarn has distributed itself unevenly – but I’m sure that I will be able to block this out, and even if not, I don’t care that much – as long as the stitch count for the lace is OK, I really don’t mind.

Holes where a major mistake in Erquy was corrected.
Holes where a major mistake in Erquy was corrected.

I am now knitting with colour coded stitch markers – black for the start of the round, pink for a decrease and blue for an increase, and I’m halfway through the main zig-zag section. I will then be on to the Feather and Fan pattern, and then I have to decide whether or not this will be a dress.

Progress!
Progress!

I am on the fence when it comes to that. I *want* it to be a dress, but I am beginning to realise that with the yarn this may be impossible, as it’s woefully inadequate to be anything too big. I don’t mind too much – it was souvenir yarn bought in Brazil and anything made from it will have wonderful memories associated with it!

I have made an important discovery here. I don’t usually use stitch markers when a project is ‘portable’, but the time lost while correcting mistakes because you lost count while tutting at a screaming toddler on a train is worth more than an active piece of equipment (as long as your sm’s aren’t made of, like, pure gold!) Life lesson learned.

Righto, best get on with some things!

Much love,

Corrie xx

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FO Friday – Campaign for Wool yarn

I’m really happy to show you pictures of my Campaign for Wool yarn for FO Friday. I finished it last weekend when Craft Boss was round, and it is now sitting on a cajon in the lounge waiting for a project to be found that will suit it. I suspect it will become a hat. Watch this space!

Campaign for Wool yarn

I won the purple roving from the Campaign for Wool following Wool Week last year, and it languished in my stash for ages, with occasional attempts to spin it thwarted by my dissatisfaction at my prowess on the spinning wheel. Then, I went to Unravel 2013, and everything changed.

Fibre stash from Unravel.
Fibre stash from Unravel.

Following that show, I managed to spin up my Cheviot fleece into the resolution yarn – and at that point decided I was ready to try spinning something a bit more exciting. I had bought a lot of roving in funky colours – yellow, red, orange to name a few, at the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show, and I was going to spin it with my purple roving if I did nothing else.

So, I started and I got about a quarter of a bobbin in. Then, I moved to Devon. The post about this was fairly anti-climactic, you may not have even realised how big the move was until I just didn’t go back to Kent if you were just a reader…and my spinning wheel sat in storage. For five months.

Purple-Roving

I moved back to London, and the spinning wheel sat in storage for another two months while I was settling in – with some of the singles still sitting on the bobbin, poor things.

During this time, I was working on the roving on a drop spindle that I picked up in Hackney. I have a huge drop spindle JS bought me in Cornwall a few years ago, but it is no good for anything but really thick yarn, so the purchase of my little one was a blessing.

Spinning purple roving and mini spindle.

Finally, I took out my poor neglected spinning wheel and I had my spinning lesson a few weeks ago. I set to finishing my Campaign for Wool roving with enthusiasm, and last week, I finished it!

Getting enthusiastic once I got home.
Getting enthusiastic once I got home.

I hadn’t really realised how much this yarn has followed me through this year, but now that I’ve written all that, I feel like it has been on the same journey I have! We are both now settled in London (sort of) and life is reaching a rhythm that I am finding pleasant, and that is having a healing effect on some of the aspects of mental health that I have been finding most troubling for years.

2013 in handspun.
2013 in handspun.

It definitely needs to be a hat. A hug for when the brain is having a struggle I think. So, that’s the story of the Campaign for Wool yarn! What are you working on? Did you do anything for Wool Week?

Much love,

Corrie xx

PS I didn’t mean for this post to get so philosophical. Or…musing I suppose. Here’s an image of a puggle.

A puggle - or, a baby echidna.
A puggle – or, a baby echidna.
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Artemis the Fowl

Introducing Artemis.

I have recently made a new friend, and for my new friend, whom we shall call Hot Wheels, I made a felt parrot. Although we met under a month ago, it didn’t take long for me to realise that Hot Wheels loves parrots – the following cake her mother made for her birthday, a parrot onesie and the general frequency with which she mentions parrots were a good indicator.

Amazing parrot cake!
Amazing parrot cake!

Artemis the Fowl

This may seem off-topic, but I reset my Pinterest the other day, and in doing so I discovered a tutorial for turning felt into parrots. I adapted it ever so slightly, but not a lot – the original tutorial is here, and I changed it by blowing up the template 200% so the final Artemis was a lot bigger than the pirate parrot in the tutorial.

Half complete Artemis.

What did put me off was that the author said that it would take seven hours to make – as I wasn’t trying to make it up as I went, I found that it was a lot faster than their time, so don’t let that deter you. This is a good example of how long it can take to write something, and how quick it can make someone else’s job, so I would like to take a moment to thank the author, Britta J, sincerely for their help. Artemis has a bright orange belly.

I did all the machine sewing in about 15 minutes (including cutting out time) and all the hand sewing was done on the train on the way to London. Artemis was completed in just under two hours, and I adore him. He rode on my shoulder for three days until he was presented to Hot Wheels – upon entering her flat, which is adorned in parrot toys, pictures and general parrot geekery, I realised he was coming home.

Making Artemis on the train.

Next time I make one of these, or anything in felt, I’ll probably use a lot more beads and bits to add more glamour; but the feathers make it really special, and you will all be seeing a lot more feathers in my crafting!

Artemis perched on JS shoulder.

As you can see, still no knitting going on – I have no yarn in London and I will not buy any, so I still have about a week before I’ll have anything to show you. You’ll have to enjoy my hexagons until then!

Much love,

Corrie xx FO Friday with Tami's Amis


Photobucket

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KCBWDAY3 – Stash Composition

Today the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week prompt is to create an infographic – my chosen one is my stash composition. I fervently hoped when I saw the prompt that it was just Mimi being creative and that we wouldn’t all be doing them. I was sad to find out that some people have done some truly incredible infographics – I’m thinking of Sarah from Crafts from the Cwtch in particular. Sigh. I had to do one too.

I know what an infographic is – I do have a statistician boyfriend, after all. I do not have the graphic skills to make anything as glamorous as Mimi’s Peamonkabeetee, nor Sarah’s regular versus blogging knitters doodle. I decided to go old-fashioned, and used pens and paper.

Stash Composition

Having relocated from Kent to Devon, I know my crafting stash composition. Intimately. I am a multi-crafter, and although I have a number of other crafts that are not included in this infodrawing (cross-stitch, mosaic, wood-work, paints, beading…….), I wanted to finish this before next year, so I chose the three most numerous. Each box indicates the proportion of each material. You may notice a common theme running throughout.

A knitter's stash composition.
A knitter’s stash composition.

The diagram at the bottom shows the composition of my WIP basket (which is actually a pocket-thingy hanging on the back of my door). Needles indicate active projects, ‘empty’ pockets show those waiting to happen…they’re definitely not used for yarn storage in RL, honest!

And, although Archie no longer uses my yarn as a bed, the proportion of straw to yarn is PERFECT from our cohabitation-in-a-flat days. I still find rabbit fur in some of my stash.

Your daily photo of Archie, having swapped his nest of yarn for decking!
Your daily photo of Archie, having swapped his nest of yarn for decking!

I sincerely hope that nobody is ever going to show this to JS. I may well be disowned – we all knew I wasn’t great shakes with maths, but this cements it. Although I am quite pleased with my drawing of Archie, look at that cheeky little grin!

Much love,

Corrie xx

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CSHC Show and Off on a Grand Adventure…tomorrow

Archie and I are all packed and ready to go down to Devon tomorrow. I’m nervous about it, and I have been sitting here trying to work out why for what feels like hours. It finally clicked when I was going through my day and trying to figure out if everything was in the car. As you look at this photo, don’t worry about Archie being in his travel box overnight…he will spend his last night in his hutch, fear not!

Archie will be carefully watched over by Archie-Penguin, Skinny Liz and Sam the Penguin.
Archie will be carefully watched over by Archie-Penguin, Skinny Liz and Sam the Penguin.

I’m terrified that I’ve left something important behind. Like, you know, my 60 cm circular needles, or a WIP that I haven’t worked on for ages but might decide I need to pick it up again tomorrow? What if the yarn I want for my April Resolutions has gone missing behind some washing and I don’t realise till I get down to Devon?

I think that people may be able to see that I'm a yarn addict from my boot.
I think that people may be able to see that I’m a yarn addict from my boot.
Spinning wheel wrapped up in a blanket, along with boxes (!!!) of knitting needles and patterns.
Spinning wheel wrapped up in a blanket, along with boxes (!!!) of knitting needles and patterns.

It’s all a bit silly, because I’ll be back to Kent every two weeks for medical stuff…but that’s the nature of the beast I’m running from, I suppose!

Creative Stitches and Hobbycrafts Show – London

I went to the Creative Stitches and Hobbycrafts Show again yesterday, in London this time. It was a fantastic day – because I’d already been before (sort of), I was a lot more relaxed about going to various stalls, who I wanted to talk to, what exhibits I felt I hadn’t seen my fill of and so on. I also didn’t spend so much money! I bought one ball of yarn and a bit of fibre, which was a very good change.

The most GORGEOUS bear. Look at that nose!
The most GORGEOUS bear. Look at that nose!
Gorgeous yarn bought for some socks.
Gorgeous yarn bought for some socks.

The friend I was with, Curlywurly, did loads of workshops, and I joined in on some of them, which was a big change to the last trip. I missed out the Decopatch workshop, because I have done loads of that before, but we did both sit down and knit a link for the world’s longest knitting chain! After the show we also went to a coffee shop and used the fibre I’d bought to needle-felt some baubles

Knitting links for the worlds longest knitted chain.
Knitting links for the worlds longest knitted chain.
Fibre, me doing some needle felting, and Curlywurly's ball on both sides.
Fibre, me doing some needle felting, and Curlywurly’s ball on both sides.

I chatted to the people from “Above and Below the Waves” – it turns out that the brains behind the installation, Alison Murray, lives in Devon, and the workshop is also down there! I’m going to see if I can go along and visit. I’ll talk about this more sometime this week – for now I need to go put the last few bits in the car and have a last supper with my JS.

How has your weekend been?

Much love,

Corrie xx

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Yarngate…

Yarngate? I’m sure you probably have some idea of what this could be. You probably even have your own experience of a yarngate you have come across (if you are a knitter).

Before I start, I would like to say that I don’t normally use this blog as a soap-box and I’m also not pointing fingers at anyone or anything (apart from maybe the human psyche, and our crazy behaviour). This is a commentary on society as a knitter…and also, as a shop-assistant.

Yarngate

I love my job. Especially when I get to work with the yarn (restacking, sorting, pricing, counting…). However, there is one thing that NOBODY who has anything to do with yarn, string or any fibrous thing enjoys.

Yarngate -- where tangled yarn ruins ones day.
Yarngate — where tangled yarn ruins ones day.

That’s right. Tangled yarn.

Last week at work I was sorting through the basket of fancy yarns, when I realised it was a yarn grave-yard. There were assorted yarns – 400 g balls of Aran, Debbie Bliss Cashmerino (which the shop hasn’t stocked in the months that I’ve worked there), the Rico CanCan that was meant to be in the basket, some unknown yarns and a variety of torn-off ball-bands. I picked them out, placed them in a Trolley of Doom, and continued.

Now, multiply all the balls of yarn that I found by each other (they were all tangled), with ripped ball-bands, and me with the responsibility of trying to restore them to a sellable state.

Yarngate!
Yarngate!

It took me two hours last week and two hours today. I spent a long time last week tidying the yarn remaining on the shop floor, making sure all the balls had substitute bands, and left work satisfied thinking “that’s going to keep it all tidy for at least a few days”. How wrong I was.

I entered the shop the next morning, and even though my trolley of doom had been wheeled into the warehouse for sorting, there was yarn, ripped ball-bands and tangles everywhere. I think the people who enter the shop go slightly mad the minute they get into the yarn section. They pick it up, rip the band off, twist it around something else and throw it into a massive pile. Why, why, why? Would you do that to your own yarn?

I just don’t understand why this happens. Forget that I work there and I’m the poor soul who has to detangle it. I wouldn’t do that. I love yarn too much. This seems sacrilege to me. Even before I got the job, if I saw a ball of yarn with a slightly loose end or damage in some way, I handled it extra carefully, with the care and love it deserves.

What's on Plutonium Muffins Facebook?
What’s on Plutonium Muffins Facebook?

This is a plea to you, readers. Please treat tangled yarn with compassion, and untangled yarn with respect. It takes the smallest stimulation to cause a ball of yarn to get angry and spring into knots. We must treat them well.

Anyway, I must get on. I have lots going on at the moment, work is very busy and the Customisable Gadget Case is progressing! How are you?

Much love,

Corrie xx

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Don’t bite off more (yarn) than you can chew.

I had work today. You know, work, at Hobbycraft? The job that I love? I learnt an important lesson today. Don’t be cocky, and bite off more yarn than you can chew. No, really.

I loaded up a cage in the warehouse today, happily aware that I had four hours to offload it into the yarn bays and that I would definitely have time to do all of it, definitely. I then headed upstairs to knitting, and started off-loading. Great.

Just so you know, the cage was piled higher than me in yarn. Literally.

Yarn piled higher than me!
Yarn piled higher than me!

Don’t bite off more yarn than you can chew

I thought I could chew a whole cage of yarn. I did, honestly. I was wrong. The bays that I was sorting had a few problems that I can’t discuss (I signed an NDA…) It was so confusing, and I eventually went to my manager and said “yo, Manager, can I fix this?” (I was a bit more polite than that).

The long and short of it was ‘yes, as long as you also offload your whole cage’. “Sure”, said I. “I can do that in an hour and a half.”

Boy was I wrong. I eventually left work at 18:05, an hour and five minutes later than I should have done. It was a bit of an eye-opener. I think I’m super-woman, but I’m just not. I did get it done, apart from some of the labelling, which required a little bit of magic that I just didn’t have available to me.

It’s the second time this week that I’ve had to admit that I’m not super-woman, and I hope I don’t start making a habit of it…the other occasion was to do with my pattern, and I’m proud of myself for that moment, even if I don’t like the outcome. All will be explained….!

What experiences have you had recently which have made you have to admit that you aren’t as fab as you’d like to believe you are? They’re a bit down-to-earth, aren’t they!?

Much love,

Corrie xx

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