Tag Archives: Yarn

Local Yarn Shops: Cumbria Embroidery

I visited Cumbria Embroidery at the beginning of November, and am finally able to get this post out to you! John and I went to Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, North England for a Halloween party at Friend Dan’s house. I had been to the shop in April when we were up for a previous visit, and decided that this was the time to case the joint!

The outside fascia of the shop.
The outside fascia of the shop.

This post was queued for Tuesday this week. The scheduled post failed and I logged in today to double check everything. Just as I did so, Tonks jumped onto my laptop – she has an unfortunate fixation with it. She replaced over 1,000 words with the number “78” – no problem, I thought, I’ll just go back into my drafts and retrieve the saved copy. Unfortunately, WordPress had saved her post in the three seconds it took me to realise that Ctrl-Z wasn’t going to work.

No problem, I thought, WordPress does a versioning history that I can restore. Right! Except, they only work if your published version changes. So I am now faced with typing this post out again and I have forgotten some of the detail as it has been just under a month since I visited the shop! I’m so sorry for that.

Cumbria Embroidery

I’m not entirely sure of the name of the shop – it has a sign saying “Cumbria Embroidery Sewing & Print” and two websites associated with the address, which is 45 Crellin Street, Barrow-in-Furness. The websites are Cumbria Embroidery and Cumbria Sewing, and The Sewing Machine Centre is also cited as a business at this address. I hope that gives you enough information to help you find them if you’re ever in the area!

Anyway, enough waffle. The shop is a veritable Aladdin’s cave of yarn. I will come straight out and say that does not stock my usual materials of choice; I did not find much wool at all, there was little sock yarn that I would have used, but I was blown away by the choice and variety!

The main suppliers of yarn are Sirdar, closely followed by King Cole, Robin and some less well known value brands. The yarns are in jewel bright colours, with mind-boggling arrays of variegated yarns, eyelash yarns, fancy art yarn from Sirdar & King Cole, and enough sale yarn to stock up on a lifetime of string for less than £100. It was so much fun searching through the cubbies and having a look at everything, touching all the different types and dreaming of all the bright, colourful projects I could sink my claws into if I didn’t already have a full yarn-trunk!

I believe the lady who was in the shop on the day was called Sandra, although Tonks has ensured I can’t double-check that… She was extremely friendly, enjoyable to chat to, had a great manner and knew her customers as they walked in the shop! I was able to see many different people come in as I had sent the rest of the group off to buy me a breakfast burger so I could browse at my leisure (I’m a classy lady).

The sewing supplies were numerous – tons of accessories, a few knitting notions and plenty of fabric which I loved looking at! I found a wonderful range of buttons which I spent a long time admiring, but managed to avoid buying…but I also found a cross stitch kit featuring a sheep which I snapped up. I’ll take a photo of it when I have finished it.

I also bought some King Cole magnum lightweight chunky in bright orange and khaki, intending to make myself a hat, which I almost completed then frogged as I decided I wanted to do another design! More on that later. For now, glorious photos.

Accessories for sewers and beaders!
Accessories for sewers and beaders!
Look at those colours!
Look at those colours!
Robin Double Knitting yarn.
Robin Double Knitting yarn.
Many more notions and accessories.
Many more notions and accessories.
Knitted hedgehog in funky fur, love him!
Knitted hedgehog in funky fur, love him!
A Halloween display in the window.
A Halloween display in the window.
Funky art yarn which I believe is from Sirdar.
Funky art yarn which I believe is from Sirdar.
Buttons, so many buttons!
Buttons, so many buttons!
Patterns galore.
Patterns galore.
Sale bins!
Sale bins!
View to the back of the shop from the front.
View to the back of the shop from the front.
Panorama of one of the walls of yarn.
Panorama of one of the walls of yarn.

This blog post lacks the brilliance of the original one! I’m sorry – just look at this face and tell me I should be angry with her, though.

I do hope that if anyone is ever in the area and wants to find a yarn shop to visit, this is helpful. Do let me know if you do..!

Much love,

Corrie xx

PS you can now subscribe to new posts via email! Check out the widget on the right…it’s only taken me three years to activate this feature!

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Local Yarn Shops: Liberty

Today I’d like to talk about Liberty London, which I visited with Melanie a couple of weeks ago! I’m supposed to have been recording the podcast today, but the microphone has had issues (as in, it’s gone AWOL) and I will have to wait until tomorrow!

So, moving on.

Liberty London

Anyone with any sort of interest in fibre arts/fashion/sewing/high quality fabrics will know about Liberty. A department store in Central London, just off Regent’s Street in fact, the shop was opened in 1875, and has been at the cutting edge of design ever since.

Liberty from the front.
Liberty from the front.

As a store itself, this place is a gem which could keep someone occupied for hours, but make sure you either have been saving your birthday money for the last twenty years, you are very strong of will and set yourself a budget, or you are simply mindful of how much stuff you can cram into your suitcase/apartment/bedroom. I’m not going to go on about it too much, but I did take some photos of the various wonders that can be found in the shop – head to the bottom of this post for those.

Signage to make sure you know where to go.
Signage to make sure you know where to go.

You’re probably here for yarn, though. This is a knitting blog, and boy is there yarn to talk about in Liberty! The store is exclusively a Rowan stockist, and fittingly, has an enormous selection of the brand, from Kidsilk Haze to Creative Worsted, Big Wool to Truesilk. Pictures will tell the story better than I can in words, but I honestly think this is a fantastic place to browse a large range of Rowan yarn. The display samples were really inspiring – I particularly liked the blanket, and I had to physically restrain myself from buying some of the books which I have been coveting.

I found yarns which, once upon a time, I would have bought at the drop of a hat – a three year search for the yarn to make a Penguin Hat was ended here, and I will be making a return trip when I have saved up for that particular little project*. Stock aside, I enjoyed my browsing experience immensely.

The yarn section is near a skylight, which makes it nice and easy to see the range and appreciate the colours. I do not see well in low light, and artificial light will strain anybody’s eyes, so I really appreciated this. There is plenty of space for the yarn to be displayed, and wide corridors so that yarn connoisseurs do not have to shuffle past each other on their search for the perfect colour.

The display is neatly kept, which makes it easy to see everything and does not cause distraction. There was someone walking around making sure that all the balls were in their cubbies straight, with ball-bands on, which although a small thing, is something I always look for – who doesn’t know the frustration of finding what you think is the perfect yarn, without any information to go with it as the ball band has been lost somewhere in the ether.

The Liberty Mast going up the centre of the building.
The Liberty Mast going up the centre of the building.
Some lavender sachets in the shop.
Some lavender sachets in the shop.
Beautiful needlework showing the front of the store.
Beautiful needlework showing the front of the store.
Underneath the huge skylight sits the larger weight yarn.
Underneath the huge skylight sits the bulkier weight yarn.
A hypnotising wall of yarn! Pristine.
A hypnotising wall of yarn! Pristine.
The Knit Generation - almost the day it was released, a huge temptation.
The Knit Generation – almost the day it was released, a huge temptation.
Beautiful yarn, scarves in Big Wool and a gorgeous soft cuddly.
Beautiful yarn, scarves in Big Wool and a gorgeous soft cuddly.
More knitting on display - stunning in real life.
More knitting on display – stunning in real life.
Walls and walls of yarn, with Kidsilk Haze closest to us.
Walls and walls of yarn, with Kidsilk Haze closest to us.
Absolutely gorgeous blanket in the Rowan shop.
Absolutely gorgeous blanket in the Rowan shop.
Hypnotising Buttons - Black and White.
Hypnotising Buttons – Black and White.
Hypnotising Buttons - colour.
Hypnotising Buttons – colour.

All in all, I had a great two and a half hour bout of shopping. I bought buttons for the Icon Dress (the button display hypnotised me for about half an hour) and a little cross stitch of the front facade of the building which is sitting on my desk taunting me as I itch to try it out.

You can’t browse the yarn on the Liberty website, so the full range can only be appreciated in person. It’s worth a trip if you are in London anyway, if not for the world of wonder that will open to you when you see the other products in close proximity to the sticks and string! It took me seven years of living in the city to venture in – and boy do I wish I had done so before.

Much love,

Corrie xx

* If you follow the link and see I started that project before, I had to stop and rip because the yarn was inappropriate for the project. It became the Romney Hat instead.

Flowery Fabric in Liberty.
Flowery Fabric in Liberty.
Astrology Fabric in Liberty.
Astrology Fabric in Liberty.
Fun signs.
Fun signs.
Cats and plates, what could be better?
Cats and plates, what could be better?
Mannequins - a mere £1,500 each.
Mannequins – a mere £1,500 each.
Melanie and a cat plate :)
Melanie and a cat plate :)
I'm having a thing for peacocks at the moment - love this fabric!
I’m having a thing for peacocks at the moment – love this fabric!
Penguins! I must have this cup.
Penguins! I must have this cup.
Scallops and rainbows? This is perfect!
Scallops and rainbows? This is perfect!
Satin in the gorgeous prints, potential for a dress the next time I feel like making a dress for a wedding.
Satin in the gorgeous prints, potential for a dress the next time I feel like making a dress for a wedding.
Flower Fabric in Liberty.
Flower Fabric in Liberty.

Sea Scene Fabric in Liberty.

Blinds in the haberdashery.
Blinds in the haberdashery.
The story behind Tana Lawn fabric.
The story behind Tana Lawn fabric.
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Niddy-noddy operation

Melanie taught me how to use a niddy-noddy properly after we recorded Episode Six of the podcast yesterday – listen to this here (did you know you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes?). Now, you would be forgiven for thinking the operation of a niddy-noddy is fairly simple, right?

Oh wait, if you don’t know what a niddy-noddy is…it’s a tool used to make skeins from yarn, and is used when spinning to measure your yardage, as well as get the yarn off the bobbins into the skein. There is more information on Wikipedia.

Yarn on my niddy-noddy.
Yarn on my niddy-noddy.

Niddy-noddy usage

I had the whole ‘wrap the yarn around the prongs’ thing down to pat. It’s quite a nice rhythm when you get into wrapping a skein on the device – and the reason it is called a niddy-noddy is because it looks like it’s nodding away to itself as it rocks back and forth while yarn is wrapped onto it.

When I first got it, and spun my first yarns, I diligently wrapped it around and counted the number of wraps. I also measured the dimensions of my niddy-noddy so that I knew the yardage of each wrap. I decided that it was one yard.

Bear in mind that this was three years ago. I was enamoured with my new toy (and in the throes of the tail-end of a depression slump). OK, remembering that?

Melanie put a skein of freshly spun merino and silk singles onto the niddy-noddy – and quietly questioned my assertion that one wrap was one yard. It was at this point that I learned that a yard is in fact much less than 192 cm – which is the actual length of one wrap on my niddy-noddy. After explaining (very kindly) the error that I had made, Melanie probably went off laughing at me. Eek!

It took me a few hours to come to terms with this (in my brain, one yard was a completely unknown quantity!) and I then sat down to count my yardages of all my previously spun yarns. The new totals are below.

Pharaoh Yarn - 121 meters, 133 yards.
Pharaoh Yarn – 121 metres, 133 yards.
Sherbert Yarn - 167 meters, 184 yards.
Sherbert Yarn – 167 metres, 184 yards.
Resolution Yarn - 460 meters, 511 yards.
Resolution Yarn – 460 metres, 511 yards.
Splash - 118 metres, 130 yards.
Splash – 118 metres, 130 yards.
Deep Dive - 140 metres, 154 yards.
Deep Dive – 140 metres, 154 yards.
Lagoon Yarn - 192 meters, 211 yards
Lagoon Yarn – 192 metres, 211 yards
Willy Wonka - 246 meters, 270 yards
Willy Wonka – 246 metres, 270 yards

I can’t yet decide how I feel about this. Probably more accomplished – I had been feeling fairly low about my spinning output, and it turns out I have nearly double what I thought – but it also serves as a reminder that sometimes I can be a little proud, and next time should just ask about three years sooner!

Have you ever been in a similar situation to this?

Much love,

Corrie xx

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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!

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


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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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