Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Welcome to 2017!

Welcome to a brand new year with brand new ideas, brand new inspiration and brand new yarn! Only joking about the yarn part - despite my valiant efforts at cold sheeping last year the stash grew. A lot.

Cold Sheeping

Last year I cold sheeped - as in, I didn't buy yarn. It was my goal to not buy yarn until the annual trip to Dublin in October/November. The only exception was if I needed an extra ball or two to finish a project.

I was doing well, I managed a few weeks then slipped off the sheep,hopped back on for a few weeks and then fell off again. Mainly because Fine Fish Yarns had yarn clubs. But mostly the yarn stash was decreasing, slowly but it was still going the right direction -  downwards.

Then August happened and the floodgates were opened. The yarn flooded in for months! I'm still waiting on one more skein arriving from the Fine Fish yarn club,.  Basically, all the manic knitting and destashing had been undone (166 balls), and now the stash is in the region of 53 miles (and 385 balls)

So no more yarn! It doesn't fit in its designated space and it threatening to take over the living room. So thats the stash I'm knitting up first. 

There's all sorts in this pile - hand dyed, sock yarn, chunky, cotton - a real general mix. 

The good thing is that I've plans for most of it (socks, a scarf, mitts, slippers etc) so hopefully I'll get stuck in and get it all worked up!

Whats on the needles?

I'm trying to get the wips from the living room stash sorted out first - I've finished 2 scarves and 2 hats so hats this year (and its only the 3rd!) 

This is a hat that I actually dreamt of one night in April, then decided it would be a good idea to try and knit it up.....the dream hat was much nicer but it was my first go at designing something so I can only get better. 

See, I don't appear to like it at all cuz I can't even take a decent photo of it, lol. Maybe at the weekend I'll get a good shot of it and maybe even learn to like it a bit more.

Now that the hat is done, I'm onto Hulk and Spiderman number 2:

I made these two for Christmas presents and others have seen them and requested their own,,,,the things you do for love, eh? 

As well as these two, I've got a pair of socks on the go and another hat. Seems I'm in one of those hat moods which is quite strange since I don't wear them myself! Of course these hat are anything but plain, I'm sticking beads in left, right and centre! Why I do this to myself I'll never know, but I'm enjoying myself and thats all that matters.


Other than cold sheeping, I'm trying to get the wips sorted out. I've a blanket thats as old as the hills that I need to decide what to do with and a cardigan thats 3/4 finished. 

Enjoying what I'm knitting might be another one, no point knitting a project you hate after all. If I don't like the yarn then donate it. If I don't like the pattern then delete it. Its a hobby after all.

So what resolutions are you making?

Tuesday, 29 November 2016


It's been AGES since I last wrote a blog post, and I think that's partly due to the disaster that was the vlog.....stupid computer screen kept blacking out and by making it come alive again the sound/picture sync was lost. I will try again some day but I think I need a better camera than the one built into the actual laptop. If anyone has any recommendations I love to hear about them.

So whats on the needles??

That's the problem with Christmas, lots of stealthy knitting goes on so I can't show much. What I can say is that I think I'm nearly done with the knitting, just a sock really to go and a Hulk or two, lol,.

I think this one is rather obvious

The world and his wife knows that I have an affinity for Stylecraft Special DK and I have to say that a fair few Christmas knits are made out of it. The above project is bottle green and silver while the below is being made using lipstick and royal blue.

I just have wee Spidey's arms left to knit and then the fiddly details, but I have to say its such a great wee pattern that I'm going to buy the Hulk and use Meadow green and Emperor purple to knit him up.

I've also been knitting extremely secret things for the Christmas swap....so I can only show you a very unhelpful picture, lol. All you know is that its in Lion Brand Cotton but I'm sure you could take a stab in the dark as to what its to become.   This is technically finished, just the ends to go....and they'll probably be sorted 10 minutes before I need to leave the house to attend the very swanky Christmas outing (its in the Titanic complex this year, nothing but the best for us knitters!)            

What else have I been up to?

I've been bitten by the dyeing bug, and to date I've 6 skeins under my belt -  all dyed differently to try out various techniques. I've 2 new ones to show off, a rather subtle one I dyed for a friend....I call it "Peaceful, easy feeling" and I really like it. Its not bright and in your face like some yarns I've dyed up.      There's nice light and airy colours in this one, light blues, greens, pinks, yellows and silver.  The recipient seemed to really like it which is the main thing.

In stark contrast is "Kiss the girl"! This one is greens, blues, pinks and hints of purples and it turned out completely different to what I had planned in my head (but it seems that these things always do!) but it is so much better than what I thought it would be like.

This one is projectless so if you have an idea what you could do with it, make me an offer and its yours! Its 100% superwash merino 4ply and is 375m.

Deadline? What deadline?

I'm in the midst of a deadline to knit a pair of socks for a fellow knitters daughter. Of course things like dyeing and procrastiknitting are getting in the way BUT last week I finished the first sock (this girl has feet the same size as my BROTHER! Thankfully the leg is on the shorter side!) and the second is underway....I took this snap on Sunday so I can see the progress I make.

I'm hoping to have the majority of the remaining Christmas knits finished by Sunday so I can spend the remaining few weeks on the lead up to Christmas frantically knitting the things I forgot about in the first place......and finally give poor Spider-Man his arms which I know I'll leave until the last minute! He can't be a web-slinger without arms....

Dare I ask how your Christmas crafting is coming along? Or is that something we just don't talk about??

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Everytime I look at you, I dye a little

Sorry about the lack of posts the past few weeks – I did have a vlog/podcast thing done but its rubbish. The sound isn’t in sync with the video because the screen kept going dark on me… I’ll try it again this weekend and see what happens.

At the end of August, I took the day off work and headed up to Whitehead to Lighthouse Yarns for a dyeing workshop with Terri from FineFish Yarns.  I can not tell you how EXCITED I was to dye something. I had tried many years ago with koolaid, a sock blank and a microwave but I’ve shied away from using it because I didn’t want it to fade away into nothing.

There were too many of us to dye in the yarn shop, so we hopped over to the community centre across the street, got our tables set up and learned the mechanics of dyeing – basically there are none so just wing it!

So, after smothering the table with cling film, we picked our dye powder colours and drenched the yarn with a mixture of warm water and citric acid. The dyes were also mixed with the same solution and then the fun began!

After that workshop I just couldn’t help myself. I ordered some yarn blanks on Knitpicks and some dyes from Amazon.  I’ve only dyed up 3 skeins so far:

I’ve plans for more…..once I scrape the money together for more yarn blanks!

But there’s the problem. Does the handdyed yarn count as stash? Does my stash increase with every skein I dye? Or should be counted as an entirely separate stash?

Thursday, 20 October 2016

I made a thing!!!

Made a little podcast on Monday night - its short and sweet and took forever to get it to upload correctly! (started to reupload at 3am cuz I was thinking about it all night!)

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Annual pilgrimage planning

Its that time again when I'm getting myself sorted and organised for the annual trip to Dublin and I'm sure I'll need a rather large suitcase this time round....a bigger case than last time!

I'm at the point of the packing stage where I'm debating knitting. Do I take wips? Do I take something new and shiny and just for me? Or do I take some Christmas knitting with me?

This was one of the things I was tempted to bring. A fellow knitter has asked for help knitting socks for her daughter for Christmas and I volunteered.... so I was thinking that all that train time would be a good time to get the pair started IF I get my current pair finished (first one is very nearly done)

Or do i bring a hook and some cotton so I can practice my crochet?

Do I bring both? Do I bring none of them and bring something else?

Suggestions are most welcome!

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Hat Season

A few weeks ago, (August to be precise) Sharon opened the yarn floodgates and I ended up buying lots of yarn. This photo represents a lot of money! One particular purchase involves 30 balls of aran acrylic which I had never used before. I've only done something like that once before and regretted it, so I don't know what possessed me this time.  In this picture I've bagged the yarn up in their colour family and then I promptly sat down in disbelief of what I'd done.
Then I had a wonderful idea - Winter is coming and so everyone in the world needs a new hat!! I've 36 balls of this stuff, I should be able to cover the heads of lots of people! Firstly, I decided the nephew needed a hat (even though getting him to keep it on his head is a minor miracle) and if he got one then his BFF should get one too.

After a quick rummage thought the bags, I pulled out Seville Orange and Sky Blue. Quite a nice combo I thought. So I cast on the Helix Hat in the orange for the brim for the first hat and the blue for the second hats brim. I sewed on some helicopter buttons and called them a job well done.

Even though its the same colours of yarn, the two hats look completely different!

To continue the same but different theme, I knitted up two more hats in vintage pink and dusky lilac. Same thing again, same but different! (My Little Pony buttons on these ones though)

 So how do the hats look on?? Well this cheeky chappy is almost 3 and is the nephew in question. He was asked to smile but pulled a face and stuck his tongue out instead. At least I can see that the hat fits with room to grow.

I did manage 6 hats with 2 balls of the yarn though - that's a lot of hats in my future. So what is this yarn? Well its Paintbox Yarns Simply Aran and seems to be LoveKnitting's own yarn brand.

Its great yardage, great price and its really soft and snuggly when knitted up. I haven't washed it yet though but I've been pulling balls out of bags, across floors and from under tables and it looks like it can withstand a lot.

Also yup, I knitted the coat he's wearing too. Its a Sirdar duffle coat sirdar-380 but the yarn is Marble Chunky (I love all their colours!) . I know it goes up to age 7 so he'll be getting another in a year or so. Still looks good 2 years on!

Suppose I'll go start another hat or 12, only 32 balls to go!

Tuesday, 27 September 2016


Sometimes there's a project you love to knit over and over again. Sometimes there's a yarn that you just have to buy every time you see (and do some online stalking to make sure you get it)

For me, my obsession seems to be sock yarn. I love it. There are so many brands out there to choose from -  Sirdar Heart & Sole, Regia, my favourite Opal and the new sock yarn from Stylecraft called Head over Heels (which I may or may not have in the post....)

See, I've a sock problem. I've got sock yarn spanning a decade now because someone told me that "sock yarn doesn't count". Yeah right!! I've more sock yarn than anything in my stash at the minute (and another ball en route)

So, what draws me to sock yarn?  It has to be the colours. If the colour doesn't grab my attention then nothing else will and I think that's the case for most people.  Secondly, if its a yarn I haven't used before then chances are I'll buy it (the Head Over Heels is a perfect example. The Eiger colourway grabbed me and its a new yarn so I was sold!)

Many years ago in a yarn shop in Berlin I stocked up with Trekking XXL. I had 4 colourways, a red/black, a orange/cream, a green/cream and a black/green. Last August (that's August 2015) I cast on a pair of socks with the green/black with the intention of giving them to my brother for his birthday in October........they were only finished in August this year. Yes, they sat on the needles for a FULL YEAR!

Rye socks
I think this project suffered for two reasons. Firstly, I thought it would be a great idea to knit a pattern into the sock....it takes me an AGE to knit patterned socks. I get bored. I know, its strange that most people find plain socks boring, but I think they go very quickly whereas the pattern slows me down. Secondly, I found the yarn to be quite thin for a 4ply. It wasn't as soft as I was expecting, but then again the yarn had been in my stash for years and it looked like it was starting to felt.  I would like to try a newly made ball of Trekking to see if they've changed the recipe or maybe I just got a strange ball.   I did knit up one of the other balls 7 years ago for my dad. He didn't wear them for long as my brother stole them....that boy likes his handknitted socks and still wears them!!!

                                                                                                                            Now, the Sirdar is a nice yarn and I really enjoyed working with it.  The yarn was soft, springy and knitted up really nicely. Usually I'm not a Sirdar fan but look at the colours! Don't the just sing SUMMER at you!  The big chunky colour blocks are good too (you know when you're knitting and someone wants you to do something? "Just wait til I finish this colour" and away you go) I've worn these socks a few times and they wash well too...a nice all rounder type sock yarn.

Sock yarn is great if you want to get your moneies worth out of a yarn. Its hours of knitting for relatively little. Most yarns I buy seem to be around £8 a ball and they keep me going when I'm out and about. Great project for travelling or commuting to and from work.

So, time for some finished socks then. Some are new and some are very old.....but I'm working on a new pair and have some new to be sock yarns lined up to try - Knit Picks Felici, Lion Brand Sock Ease and Debbie Bliss Rialto Sock Yarn.

If you've never knitted a pair of socks, give it a go! You won't be disappointed.

3 yarns in these- black opal, bright Regia and pale opal
Sunshine Sirdar
Trekking XXL

Stolen pair of Trekking XXL socks

Funky Opal socks