Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Not just another Tuesday

I woke up this morning and bounded out of bed, full of energy and purpose for the first time in ages after a cold that has completely sapped my energy. By 7 am I had done some patterns edits, finished the front of a jumper (just a few rows, but still) and caught up on a couple of knitting podcasts.

My normal morning routine features both Instagram and Radio 4 as two of the first things I do. I have no idea why it didn't this morning, but for the first hour that I was up this morning the world was the same as it was yesterday. After I had finished a couple of things I looked at Instagram and first heard of the bombing in Manchester. I promptly switched on the radio to get more information. 

Image from Aleksejh on Pixabay

I know that incidents such as this happen with alarming regularity around the world, but they generally feel different. But Manchester feels closer, both physically (it's only 2 and a half hours away) and emotionally. The idea of a bombing that directly targets young people is hard to deal with, and today the world I inhabit feels less secure than yesterday. I hope all your loved ones are safe.

And yet life goes on. Next week is half term, so this week I'm focusing on pattern writing so that I have samples to knit next week. But a few thoughts in the quiet moments will be saved for those who have lost their lives, and those that are still missing. Stay safe.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

A wedge too far?

For the past week I have been working on the final wedge of my Dotted Rays shawl, hoping to finish it this weekend. On Friday evening I got to the end of the final wedge, leaving just two rows and an i-cord cast off. I knew I was cutting it a little fine with the amount of yarn I had - the penultimate wedge used a little under 50g, and the final ball of yarn (which I started on the second row of the final wedge) weighed about 54g, so it was going to be tight.


I weighed my yarn, then knitted the final two rows. I weighed the yarn again. The i-cord cast off meant that for every stitch cast off you have to knit three stitches; I did some quick (late at night) maths and concluded that I would not have enough yarn. I stuck the shawl back in its bag and went to bed.

The following morning I rummaged through several bags to stash to find 11g of purple yarn that would finish the shawl off nicely. I had lots of purple, but it was either too sparkly, too variegated, too speckled or too pink. I had a think and decided that rather than buying more yarn (and risking it not matching), the final two rows before the cast of weren't critical, and that I could get away with pulling them out, then doing the cast off two rows early.

I sat down and carefully tinked back the 525 sts of the previous row, then, for no particular reason, weighed my yarn again. Never trust maths done late at night: there was enough yarn! I swore a bit - delighted that I had enough yarn, annoyed that I can't do basic maths (I'd missed out a factor of two - I did think 11 g was a bit much for a cast off, even a 500 stitch I-cord cast on).

I carefully re-knit the row I'd just unravelled, and over the course of the day cast the shawl off (mostly while sat at soft play while my son was playing). And by the evening I had cast the whole thing off, with just a little scrap to spare.

An out-and-about cast-off
The final few stitches

The shawl is beautiful, the gradient is perfect for it, and there was virtually nothing left from any of the shades (the shawl weighs 270 g and there was 1.93 g of scraps left at the end). I'll share proper pictures later in the week (if it ever stops raining), but here's a little peek for now.

Cutting it fine? Or a job well done?

Have you finished anything this weekend?

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Yarning Along: The final wedge

This weekend I tried my hardest not to knit so that I could give my hands a bit of a rest. I managed a whole 48 hours without knitting, and haven't done as much as usual this week either, and my hands are thankful for that. Not knitting meant I had time to get the sewing machine out, and while I didn't manage to complete the two projects I had wanted to do, I did finally finish the curtains for my daughter's room, which I bought the fabric for in October and cut out in March. That project had been pushed up to the top of the to do list as the mornings have been getting lighter and I was getting bored of having to unpeg the blackout linings every morning... The curtains do still need hemming, but I'm pretending I need to leave them to relax for a few days to stabilise at their natural length before I do them (in truth curtain seams are long and by the time I had done them I was bored!).


I've been focusing on knitting for me now that all my commissions are out of the way, and my current favourite is my Dotted Rays. I have just started the final shade of purple and am on the final wedge, so this is nearly done (does anyone else speed up as they get towards the end of a project?). The project isn't very photogenic at the minute as it's all bunched up on the needle, but that can't be helped.


I finished reading After You this week, and while I enjoyed it I much preferred Me Before You. And I have made no progress on Spectacles this week, but know I will enjoy it when I next have an early night. The other non-knitting thing I am excited about this week is the arrival of my La La Land DVD, which was a birthday present (but hadn't been released in time for my birthday); I loved seeing it at the cinema and can't wait to watch it this weekend (and then several times afterwards - the cd of the soundtrack is in my car on repeat).


Linking up with Rachel for Yarning Along.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Confessions of a yarnaholic

A couple of weeks ago I had an email from a magazine saying I had won some yarn from Rico. Lovely I thought, not really remembering entering a competition (I often just enter all the competitions in a magazine as winning stuff is always nice). When I got home I looked the competition up and found that I had won a one-sixth share of 4 miles of yarn (I did some maths, that's about 500g of DK), in one of the six colours shown. The yarn arrived last week, and while Rico's merino is divine (and hard wearing - I have used it a few times for baby things), the yarn was a smoky rose colour, which I was never going to use. I put the yarn in the cupboard, and it promptly fell out again.

The straw that broke the camel's back! Beautiful yarn, but not my colour

I own a lot of yarn. There is yarn in almost every room in the house (the bathroom and downstairs toilet are safe). I have sweater quantities, and boxes of odd skeins, acrylic and wool. About 2 years ago I went through all the yarn and stopped tallying up the mass when I got to 5 kg. Since then the yarn pile has not gone down, and is quite a lot bigger. I get a lot of yarn for magazine commissions, and I always end up over-buying when I am designing something, and there are always more projects in mind than time on the needles.

This morning something snapped and I decided that today was the day: some yarn has to leave the house. As I want the space quickly (before I lose the impetus) I have gone down the eBay route, and over ten lots I have listed just shy of 4 kg of yarn. 4 kg! And that was just the stuff that I didn't have to sort through or make big decisions about, just the stuff that was taking up space. There's plenty more that needs to go.


Over the next few weeks months I am going to be a bit more considered before buying more yarn (I don't need more sock yarn), and will hunt right to the back of the cupboards and see what is really there. eBay might be busy with yarn for a bit... it really is time to liberate the yarn.


Sunday, 14 May 2017

Eurovision

I never really *got* Eurovision, I didn't watch it as a child, and when I was at university I was quite happy to give it a miss. But after university a school friend who had moved to London started hosting a Eurovision party every year, and some of those parties are among my finest memories. Even after I moved to the north I would always put Eurovision on the calendar at the start of the year and book train tickets to go down and see them for that weekend, even attending when I was many months pregnant (as was the host; comparing bumps is always fun!) with my daughter. And then a couple of years ago my friend announced that she and her family were moving to the country, Cornwall to be precise.

Cornwall to is too far to travel for a weekend from Durham. The train takes all day (nine hours) and the plane doesn't take much less time once you have to travel at each end. So for the past few years I haven't done anything for Eurovision (last year I spent the day in the office writing my PhD thesis; I listened to Eurovision on the radio; it's not the same without people, barbecued food and visuals!) and I've missed it.

Sweepstake preparation

I decided that this year would be different, and yesterday we hosted our own Eurovision barbecue. There was plenty of food and drink, cupcakes and brownies, bunting and a sweepstake, and a lot of small children running happily around the garden. And it was lovely. Only a few people stayed for Eurovision itself, as small children aren't generally compatible with late nights, but those of us that watched enjoyed the show (the digital effects were amazing! And yes, half of us were doing handcrafts while we were watching) and my son delightedly supported Australia, who he'd drawn in the sweepstake, even though he had no idea what was going on. 

The party bunting came out to play (I made it for my son's second birthday from play foam,
grosgrain ribbon and staples! It's wearing surprisingly well)
Cupcakes and brownies. What's a gathering without cake?!

Now we've done a practice run, maybe next year we can do something bigger! Are you a fan of Eurovision?

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I was blogging every day in May, but skipped yesterday as I didn't have time, and have decided that I am going to stop. While I have enjoyed writing more posts than usual, I have started to feel that the posts are getting a little repetitive! If you want to read what I posted in the first half of the month, follow this link.

Friday, 12 May 2017

F is for Friday and feet and failures...

Friday! The day before the weekend. I have managed to stick to not knitting, and have been occupying myself with lots of other activities: baking, crochet, and printing out things for Eurovision tomorrow!

First up, baking: one large batch of cupcakes and a batch of brownies. The brownies went perfectly. The cupcakes created havoc in the kitchen - I dribbled mixture everywhere while spooning the batter into the cases (and that was without any assistance from my kids), then exploded icing sugar everywhere when making icing with the Kitchen Aid. The worktop is still rather sticky...


Second: feet! My chameleon is finally back on track. Today I finished one leg and have started the second. I have no idea whether the feet are correct (I didn't realise from the picture that the chameleon has toes, but apparently he does), but I have done one and the other three will match.


Thirdly: printing failures. I order a couple of new printer cartridges earlier in the week as ours had finally totally run out. I excitedly loaded them into the printer ready to print some bunting for Eurovision tomorrow night (I am taking it seriously this year!), and the black one doesn't work. Boo. So I got as far as half an Albanian flag before giving it up as a bad job (it also turns out I was printing out bunting from last year's contest).


Not the best Friday, but onwards and upwards... What do you have planned for the weekend?

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I'm blogging every day in May. I you fancy reading along, follow this link.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Never not knitting

Last year in the knitting world the words to the Dr Seuss book Green Eggs and Ham suddenly started appearing everywhere, but corrupted to describe the actions of a knitter:

"I will knit on a boat, I will knit on a train... I will knit here and there, I will knit anywhere!"

And that describes my actions pretty well; I always have some knitting on me, just in case I get caught in a queue, or in traffic (obviously not when I'm driving!), or with a spare couple of minutes. I knit while stood in the kitchen waiting for pasta to boil and while watching television (I can do basic knitting without looking, and more complex knitting if what I'm watching isn't too involved). There are very few occasions when I do not knit.

Kitchen-knitting

But about an hour ago I cast off the final stitch on my latest commission. And I will not be knitting again for a couple of days. My recurrent knitting-related finger injury has returned, and requires at least four layers of micropore tape to make knitting bearable, and I have developed an ache in one wrist, so rather than pushing it and doing further damage, I am stepping away and not knitting.

I really should learn not to stab holes in my finger while knitting 

What does not knitting entail? I'm not really sure. I can't remember the last day I did not knit on - possibly when I was in hospital having my daughter a few years ago, possibly longer ago than that. My default non-knitting option used to be reading, but that's hard with two children to look after! I do have some seaming to do, so that will be done first. Then I might get some pattern cutting done. But when I'm out of the house and at a loose end? Who knows?! I wonder whether I can still crochet...

Seaming can be done with an injured finger

Wish me luck!

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I am blogging every day in May. If you want to read all the posts, follow this link.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Yarning Along: Getting strange looks in coffee shops

This week has been all about finishing things. By the end of the week three children's garments will have been cast off, blocked and have made it to the post, but as they're all for magazines you'll have to wait a while before I can show them to you. Yesterday I decided that I would go and sit in a coffee shop to get a garment finished rather than sit at home and stare at the housework that also needs doing. As the decision was rather last minute (I had my knitting and wallet in the car and little else), I had failed to bring my book (After You) out with me, so popped into a discount book shop to see if anything took my fancy.

I'm quite happy to read while knitting, so long as neither the book nor the knitting are too complex, so with that in mind I browsed the shelves to see what I wanted to read. Having dismissed the fiction shelves for being too cheesy or later parts of a series I hadn't read the earlier books for, I saw the biography section and Sue Perkin's autobiography immediately jumped out at me - look at the cover, isn't the design fab! So simple, yet so distinctive.


Spectacles is excellent, and I'm really glad I chose it. It's currently living in my bag along with my West Yorkshire Spinners Yarn Shop Day socks, which I'm also enjoying. I am trying to knit a bit less this week, but it is always useful having a book and some knitting in my bag, so the socks will be my out and about project, and when I'm at home I'll be catching up on some paperwork and getting on with my sewing plans to give my hands a break.


At home I will also be finishing After You. The plot got rather dark about midway through, but is starting to become a bit less so now, and I'm looking forward to getting to the finale. I will say though that in hindsight I might have been happier just reading Me Before You and imagining Louisa's exploits after that point!

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Tips and tricks: The afterthought lifeline

Sometimes when I'm knitting something goes wrong and I have to unravel a whole section (usually a sleeve when I've got the increases/decreases wrongly spaced, or the heel of a sock that has gone awry). If I'm not too far from the beginning I'll usually unravel the whole thing and start again, but if I'm confident that the section before the error was correct, I use this method, which I have dubbed the afterthought lifeline method of unravelling. Rather than tink (un-knitting each stitch one at a time), you pick up the correct stitches from way back before you start unravelling, then rip back to a fixed end point.

You will need:
Your knitting
A spare needle (the same size as, or smaller than, the needle you are knitting with)
A little patience

Step one: Work out where your knitting was last correct

Here the sleeve had the incorrect decrease rate so was too tapered. The last correct round is near the top of the sleeve, but after the yoke had been completed.



Step two: Pick up your stitches

Run your working needle (or a spare in the same size. If you're using the working needle you'll have to pull it out of any live stitches) through the right hand leg of each stitch in the row/round you want to pick up. Take care to pick up only stitches in the row you want, and not the rows above and below, also make sure you do not split the yarn - this makes it very hard to unravel later.

If you're working in the round, the final stitch will not be level with the first stitch as knitting in the round makes a spiral.

A good check that you've caught all your stitches is to count them. If you don't have the correct number, take a look along the needle and see if you've skipped one somewhere; the easiest stitches to miss are edge stitches and stitches at the ends of rounds.

Pick up the right leg of each stitch

Continue picking up all the way to the end of the round; if you're picking up in the round the
beginning and end will not quite line up

Step three: Unravel

Pull the working yarn gently to unravel the stitches. Wind the yarn back into a ball as you go to stop yourself getting into a tangle. Keep going until you reach the row of stitches that you ran the needle through. Pull the final row back very gently as you may have the odd stitch that catches.

If any stitches catch take a close look at how the stitch has caught. If you've accidentally split the yarn you may be able to give the yarn a little tug to release the stitch, but if it's a more significant catch, slip the stitches you have already rescued onto a spare needle and gently release the caught stitch; you can also use this method if you have accidentally picked up the odd stitch from the wrong row/round.

Unravel quickly
Unravel the final row slowly

Step four: Knit

At the end of the previous stage you will have a row of stitches ready to be knitted. The stitches should be mounted as shown below, with the right leg at the front. If that's not the case, knitting through the back of the stitch should fix the stitch orientation.

Correctly mounted stitches

I hope that has helped at least one person! With practice you should be able to use this technique for knitting that is more complex than basic stocking or garter stitch. If you have any questions, post them in the comments box.

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I am writing a blog post every day in May. If you'd like to read them all, they can be found here.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Planning for a little me time

The past month has featured quite a lot of secret deadline knitting, and finally an end is in sight, which can only be a good thing as I have a bit of an ache in my thumb and a puncture wound on my right index finger. And I am looking forward to a couple of days that feature no knitting at all to give my hands a rest.

I do have crafting plans afoot, with some sewing on the horizon, including a dress for me (New Look 6262 in some swallow print chambray) and finishing a baby dress for a friend's toddler (a WIP that I started in January. Ought to get a move on or the small person will be rather too large for it...).


But for now it's back to the needles. Do you ever find you need to switch crafts for a day or two? Which crafts do you turn to?

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I'm blogging every day in May. If you fancy reading all the posts, you can find them here.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

The Knit Night Collection: The people behind the designs

Just before Easter I launched my Knit Night Collection: three pairs of socks named after some of my favourite knitty people. And thankfully it has been really well-received, so thank you to everyone who has purchased the patterns and is currently knitting a pair of Lyndas, Amys or Sara Elins!

Today I thought I'd tell you a bit about the people I named the socks after.

Lynda

Lynda socks

First up, Lynda. I met my friend Lynda at a newly-launched local knit night a few years ago. I'd been looking for more local people to knit with as, strangely, the people I worked with weren't all that interested in my knitting. Every week Lynda would come along, chat and knit socks. I had always vowed not to knit socks (I have huge feet and was concerned that they would take forever; that I wouldn't like wearing them when they were done; and that I would never be able to knit tightly enough to make a viable sock), but there was clearly something enticing about watching someone knit socks. So one day I found myself in a local yarn shop holding a ball of West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in the Blue Tit colourway and some tiny knitting needles; I immediately sent Lynda a text to ask if she would help me knit my first socks.

The following Monday night at our regular knit night, Lynda arrived and handed me two books on sock knitting: Getting Started Knitting Socks by Ann Budd and Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oates. Over the course of the following week I read the whole of the Ann Budd book, knitted a swatch for my first socks and cast on. Within a couple of weeks, with a lot of encouragement from Lynda, I had my first pair of socks. And with that I was hooked! I now always have a pair of socks on the needles (and the accompanying sock yarn stash accumulation issue...), and I have Lynda to thank for that.

Amy

Amy socks

I met Amy early on in my PhD; I had just moved back to Durham having been away for a few years, and in the interim all my old friends had moved away. Whatever the course was on wasn't terribly interesting, so it rapdily became an opportunity to get to know a few more people at the university. Amy was heavily involved in GirlGuiding, and invited me to come and help at a local Brownie unit, something I had done when I lived in Cambridge, but hadn't thought to continue doing when I moved. Over the course of the following few months we got to know each other and realised we had a mutual love of crafts.

A few years ago, Amy moved away (she finished her PhD a lot faster than I did!), but our friendship continued and we sent photos of our crafts back and forth, both really appreciating having someone to 'talk' to about whatever it was we were working on. At some point we both learnt to knit socks and shared our frustrations with whatever yarn/needle/pattern we were working on. I knew as soon as I started writing my collection of sock patterns that I would want to name one of the patterns after Amy and was delighted when she said yes! Thank you Amy for coming on my knitty adventures!

Sara Elin


Sara Elin is one of those knitting friends that I haven't actually met, and instead know solely through the internet. When I first started writing a blog, Sara Elin was a frequent commenter, referred to the blog via my brother who knew that Sara Elin liked knitting, and is now my most frequent commenter, and we routinely send emails back and forth too! There are lot of knitters that I have never met, but count as friends, mostly through Instagram. While these socks are named Sara Elin, they are for all the knitters I know but have not met; the people who I most frequently chat to about whatever I'm working on, the people who understand what it is to be a knitter. Thank you all.

I have a KAL for the collection* going on in my Ravelry group, which finishes at the end of May, so you have plenty of time to join in if you'd like to. And you'll be eligible for prizes if you finish just one sock!

*Ravelry link, you'll need to be logged in for this link to work.

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I'm writing a blog post every day in May. If you'd like to read them all, follow this link.


Saturday, 6 May 2017

Some socks are not meant to be

Once in a while the universe shouts loudly that I have too many projects on the needles. As it was Yarn Shop Day today, I wanted to cast on my limited-edition West Yorkshire Spinners self-striping yarn in their Yarn Shop Day colourway. I had the yarn ready, and yesterday posted the options for heels and toes to Instagram for a few opinions (overwhelmingly blue, if you discount the many people that suggested mix and match; anyone who has ever seen my sock drawer is aware that is not an option). I knew I would need another ball of whichever yarn I chose as a contrast, so popped into the yarn shop in town yesterday lunchtime to pick up a ball, only to find that they were out of stock of both colourways! Rather than hunt through all my cupboards to find some 2 mm needles, I had also decided to get another set of needles for this cast on (yes I have plenty, but all the good ones are in use), and there were none of those in stock either.


Not one for quitting, this morning I drove to the next-nearest yarn shop, where I bought one ball of the pink and one of the blue (still a little undecided in which colour to go for), and my son added a ball of blue self-striping for some socks for him (he commented on the way home that it wasn't fair that only one person in the house could knit, as he'd like to knit socks too, so that's a future wet weekend sorted), but still no 2 mm needles.

Blue stripes that have been claimed by my son

Before we'd gone out I had located a Knit Pro Zing 2 mm circular needle, but when I took it out of the bag to cast on, I remembered my (almost) irrational fear of knitting socks on Zings; I don't like them and they don't like me (many reasons, but I can't get consistent gauge with them, which is the main one). So when we got home, I dug out the bag of emergency needles: magazine freebies, half pairs and cheap needles purchased when nothing else was available. Hooray, a 2 mm 80 cm circular needle. And I cast on.


I'm using blue for the contrast, and the needle is totally fine. A bit stickier than I'm used too, and the join isn't the smoothest, but certainly not too bad. And I am making excellent progress. Sorry to all the other sock projects, you might be on the sideline for a little longer...


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I am blogging every day in May. If you'd like to read the other posts, click this link.

Friday, 5 May 2017

My feet are (probably) larger than yours

A little break from crafting for the blog today, instead I'm going to ponder on shoes...

Looking at the photos for my Knit Night sock collection,* you may think that I am always wearing glamourous, vintage style shoes, and while I do own several pairs of heeled Mary Janes, you'll more typically find me in boots or trainers in the winter and Birkenstocks in the summer. I have large feet (UK 10, EU 44), and finding shoes I like and that fit is hard work (my feet are not wide; the proportions are pretty standard, just bigger than most of the population). The largest size for standard women's shoes in the UK is an 8 (EU 42), with some shops stocking a 9 (EU 43) - I often mention the issue to the staff in shoe shops and am repeatedly told there is no demand (trust me, there is!). As a result, the vast majority of my shoe shopping is done online.

Knit Night Collection - lots of sizes to even big feet!

The seasons I struggle with most, shoe-wise, are spring and autumn, when it's too warm for boots and too cool for sandals. At the minute I really like the casual dress with plimsolls look (which would be perfect with a lot of the dresses I'm hoping to sew in the near future), but my feet look pretty ridiculous in plimsolls and basketball shoes (especially with dresses; I have bought a pair of basketball shoes to wear with jeans - they're unisex, which makes buying them much easier than buying other shoes)! So my quandary at the minute is what to wear with summer dresses before the summer weather starts.

Basketball shoes - ok with jeans, not so good with dresses

Does anyone else share the large feet issue? What do you wear with summer dresses during the day? Which suppliers do you like best?

*I am running a knitalong for the Knit Night Collection in my Ravelry group from now until the end of May. If you'd like to join in, follow this link (Ravelry link, you must be logged in for access).

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I am writing a blog post every day over the course of May. If you'd like to read them all, they can be found here.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Yarn Shop Day 2017

This Saturday is Yarn Shop Day, a celebration of the local yarn shop and their role in the community. I don't have one single yarn shop that is my 'local', but I do have several local favourites where I go to see yarn in the flesh (colours and textures are always better in real life than they are over the internet), talk to the staff about yarn and patterns (yarn shop staff at small yarn shops, at least the ones I've come across, are generally very knowledgeable and willing to help) and get involved in the local knitting community. Many also run classes and events, which can be excellent places to expand your crafting knowledge.


Many local yarn shops are holding events to celebrate Yarn Shop Day, a map of yarn shops taking part can be found here, so if you're free, why not pop along to your local and see what's happening. Or you could try out somewhere new.

Unfortunately I'm not going to be able to make it to any yarn shops this Saturday as we already have plans, but I will be knitting some of this exciting self-striping sock yarn, a limited-edition release from West Yorkshire Spinners on their Signature 4ply base, which I've raved about previously. And if I get a minute tomorrow, I will be popping into a yarn shop to get hold of some yarn to use as a contrast for the heels, cuffs and toes. The yarn is only available through yarn shops, not on the internet, so if you want some for yourself, you'll have to head to a yarn shop and hunt some down!


Are you doing anything for Yarn Shop Day? Which is your favourite yarn shop?

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I'm blogging every day in May. This post is the fourth. If you'd like to read the others, follow this link. If you're getting involved, let me know in the comments!


Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Yarning Along: Chama, chama, chama, chama, chama, chameleon!

Last weekend I had a little look through the cupboards at some slightly neglected projects. The one that stood out most was my TOFT chameleon. I had been so excited about the chameleon when TOFT launched it last summer, and only resisted buying because the hand-dyed kits were cost-prohibitive. In the autumn TOFT released new kits featuring their coloured yarn, which, while expensive, brought the cost down to an amount I was willing to pay.

I started excitedly in the gap between Christmas and New Year, optimistic that I could finish the chameleon pretty fast. But it turns out I couldn't. There is nothing difficult about working on the chameleon (fiddly, but not difficult); the pattern is really clear, but I have to concentrate on every stitch, which makes it hard to work on when I have the children around, and when I don't I have other things I would rather work on. But I want the finished chameleon, so this week I am going to work on it.

The chameleon's body and head are already done (I finished the head on Sunday), just four legs and two eyes to go. Maybe I'll have a finished chameleon by the weekend...


And as it's Wednesday I'm joining Rachel for Yarning Along. I'm still reading After You, and enjoying it. It's rather different to Me Before You, with only one central character in common, but I'm finding it interesting and want to know what happens.


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I'm blogging every day in May; this is post three. If you'd like to read all the posts, follow this link.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Lucy Locket Land

I meet a lot of people via social media, and some of them become friends in real life too. One of these friends, Lucy, announced earlier in the year that she would be opening her very own yarn shop.

So last month, I went to the grand opening of Lucy Locket Land.

Lucy has been running craft workshops and crafting groups in her house since the start of the year, and the shop is clearly designed with this purpose in mind. There is a large table for groups to work at and around, and lots of comfy sofas to make yourself at home. The shop is decked-out in a vintage style, and the whole shop is warm and welcoming.


Lucy has sourced items for sale from a wide variety of local artisans, and you can buy jewellery, bags, cards, felted items, ceramics, etc., as well as locally-sourced yarn, including yarn dyed by Lucy herself and her daughter, Penny. Lucy also stocks plenty of yarn from West Yorkshire Spinners, which is a favourite of mine.


The event was held in the evening, and while the shop is a bit of a drive from Durham (it's a little under an hour's drive), it was definitely worth it. I spent a lovely couple of hours sat on the sofas knitting on a pair of socks and chatting with fellow crafters. Of course I did a little bit of shopping too, and came away with a few beautiful items: a skein of yarn dyed by Penny (which you might recognise from the Lynda socks I shared last week), a couple of balls of Bergere de France Gloomy 50 (perfect for a pair of socks), a gorgeous little project bag with a rabbit on it, some mini skeins and a card. I also signed up to do courses on lino cutting and printing, and dyeing mini skeins (much easier to do in someone else's space than my kitchen!), and can't wait to go back!


If you'd like to visit Lucy Locket Land, full details about how to get there and opening times can be found on Lucy's website. I highly recommend it!


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This post is the second of my Blog Every Day in May posts, head here to see them all.