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

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Summer's gone

Well that was a long summer break I took by accident. I didn't mean to abandon the blog for so long but time seemed to get away from me. But at least the month off has provided me with lots of blog fodder so that'll keep us going for ages!!

The last time I was here I was frantically knitting away on Echo Beach for the wedding. Well, it was cast off and blocked on the Thursday night, and here it is artfully draped over the dress:

Ready to roll!
What can I say about it? Its a lovely wrap, the yarn is delicious and the patterns not too scary once you get started. However, its too short. Now I put 2.5 skeins of the alpaca silk into it, and it was a bit awkward to wear. BUT all is not lost!

I was sitting in a hotel in Donegal, mulling over the fate of echo beach and coming to terms with the fact that I wasn't 100% happy with it, when, all of a sudden I had a flash of inspiration. I could lengthen it!

After a discussion with the knitters, it was decided that adding a few repeats was indeed the best option. Now to source the yarn which was going to be a problem as Artesano are no longer trading. I tried the place when I got the emergency skein - no luck. I tried ravelry, no luck there either.

In a moment of desperation, I placed an APB on the Stitch n Bitch Facebook group and my search was successful! Andrea was willing to part with 2 skeins that she had and now.....now I'm just waiting on the time to rip the cast off and a chart back and carry on.

So you'll see a lot more of echo beach in the future!

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Echo Beach

For the past few weeks I've been working on what I once upon a time would have classed as a scary pattern. It has charts, yarn overs and dropping stitches!

I'm talking about Echo Beach. Its designed for a laceweight yarn but I had seen a beautiful sample of it knitted in Artesano in The Constant Knitter in Dublin 2 years ago. It was always in my mind and I had decided to knit it for my cousins wedding....which is in 10 days time. I think I started it a bit later than I should have BUT I'm over halfway there!

I had gotten a dress last August and wanted to pick the teal out...so I ordered some yarn from Artesano and picked the Alpaca Silk in the Drake colourway. Isn't it lovely!

Its a really nice yarn to work with. Its a 50g skein but has a good yardage in it (219yds) and the wee skein seems to last forever. I don't think I can say anything bad about this yarn....except that the alpaca does make me sneeze sometimes, lol.

So I was knitting away quite merrily, dropping stitches every now and then just to mix things up, when I had a rather disturbing thought.... I've nearly 6 repeats of the chart done but I don't think its going to be wide enough!

Sunday afternoon was spend hunting though ALL the online yarn shops trying to find another skein in the Drake colourway so I could have it on hand just in case...and emergency skein if you will. Well, said skein arrived today so I can breathe easy for another while, just the ticking clock to worry me now.

As for my project, she's getting lots of love and attention at the minute:

I'm not sure if its the phones camera, or the new laptop, but the colour doesn't show up properly on the screen (you'll need to see this on the Artesano website, its a beautiful colour)  So here we have the dropped stitches.

In the pattern there are two options for the dropped stitches,1 or 2. I went for 1 and it looks alright to me. The 2 dropped stitches just makes the pattern stand out a bit more I think.

See my cute little stitches, they're so soft and smooth I can't help but rub my face in it lol. As I said above, its just a lovely yarn and really quite reasonably priced. Without the emergency skein, the whole shawl/wrap would only have cost £10 to make....you couldn't buy one for that amount of money!

Here's a shot of what I had knitted so far on Sunday night, you can see how the whole thing will look when its done. If you look closely, you'll see Buzz Lightyear and Jessie from Toy Story on the stitch markers.... the project lives in a Toy Story project bag at the minute too, lol. Have to let the inner kid have some fun you know!
For project bags and things, check out slippedstitchstudios.com but you might get hit with the customs charges. For a more locally made project bag of any size/design, my good friend Jaele   would be willing to discuss your requirements and make you the project bag of your dreams. I've a few of her creations.... I must hunt them out and take snaps to show you.(the rubber duckie one and the my little pony ones are my favourite!)

Can't stay here all night chatting, back to the knitting!                               

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Silence is golden

For the past few weeks we've had 2 visitors here at Stash HQ....my sister and her Westie.

My sister only knits in my presence so that I stop nagging her about how great a hobby it is, how you can make the item you see in your head exactly as you imagine it etc. So in the above photo, she's keeping me happy by knitting a mitt. 

She actually finished them, and was rather chuffed with herself (as you would be) so she started another pair. The yarn she used was Stylecraft Cabaret in Rainbow and they're really pretty.  The yarn has a strand of metallic thread running though it which makes them shiny...thats probably what drew her attention to them in the first place actually.

As for the pattern, it had to be something easy that she could follow without too many complicated stitches and no purling! So one pattern sprung to mind - Ysolde's garter stitch mitts.

Even I managed to rustle up a pair or two of these. There are 2 pairs of these, honest. For his I used Adriafil Knitcol and knitted the pattern up as written. For mine, well I've a thick wrist so I made the mitt a repeat wider and it fits well. As for the yarn, well I received this skein in the Christmas swap a while ago and thought that it would make perfect mitts - its Fine Fish Yarns DK in a lovely blue called Innis.

The gruesome twosome left on Wednesday and Friday, so the house has been very quiet without them. Himself keeps looking for Gibbs and is a bit disappointed when he remembers that he's gone home (seems he was a bit mopey which is a victory for us, lol) and I've a mitt to fix for the sister.....but I am getting loads done on my shawl.

I did get new yarn this week, all the way from Australia, but I'll leave that for another day.

Thursday, 21 July 2016


A few weeks ago, in the looming days before World Wide Knit in Public Day, the hubby and I took a little trip on the Stenaline from Belfast to Cairnryan. I had gotten very cheap seats in the St Patrick’s Day sale (and, with hindsight, I should have bought a few more seats) so it was a very cheap day out.

He packed his book and I, obviously, packed my knitting - there were still a lot of creatures to create for the WWKIPD!

While on the trip we got upgraded to the very posh Stenaplus all because the captain couldn’t let us on the bridge (It’s a long story)!

So, we’re sitting in Stenplus in our big swirly leather chairs drinking the free wine (well, he was, I wasn’t) when something happened

From my needles a little ladybug was born!


This is Max.

Max is rather a shy little ladybug.

Shy but with a curiosity about the world around him. He stared out the window trying to work out where he was.

All that looking and staring didn't help him, go he tried logging into the ships computer....

But that didn't work. It drove him to drink!

And donuts

Ahhh! Tartan biscuits! Scotland must be involved!

He wondered if this magazine would help

Ah, he could see land! But he still didn't know where he was.

Luckily Max met two other ladybugs, Marcus and Marian. They told Max that he was born on the journey home from Scotland 

And that he would now be living in Northern Ireland!!

Max, Marcus and Marian moved into our house after that journey. I would like to say 'and they all lived happily ever after' but alas that's not true.

Marcus and Marian went to our World Wide Knitting in Public Day and spent the day playing games with the children...and they never came home. 

Max likes to think that they're having fun playing every day....maybe one day he'll see them again.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Rather hectic

It's been rather crazy around here for the last two weeks or so, all in preparation for worldwide knitting in public day

We had a brilliant day, and Jaele wrote a great blog post about our day over on our group blog down the crafting rabbit hole

Hopefully this will give you an inkling of the amount of work Jaele's put into organising it all.

And what have I been doing?  I'm media management. I'm the one gearing everyone up on Facebook, learning how to use twitter and being snap happy on instagram.

It doesn't end there! Jaele and I were on radio last week promoting wwkipd and the week before that I was in the paper!

Wanna read it?