EYF 2016 – It’s Almost Time

It is almost time again for my favourite yarn festival  – Edinburgh Yarn Festival. It was my first time attending last year and it is the most wonderful festival full of yarn, fibre and crafty folks.

Edinburgh is such a beautiful city and there is something for everyone to fall in love with. I loved being able to sit in a coffee shop and look out at the Castle whilst knitting my Edinburgh socks. I have my ticket, and I will also be attending a class or two…the only thing I need to decide on is which WIPs to bring and how much money I can spend on yarn.

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There are always fantastic vendors at EYF and I am already giddy with excitement when I look at the list of vendors that will be there this year. I still have some skeins left from last year – I seem to be able to buy more than I can knit!

One of the most exciting things about the festival this year is that they are hosting a Knit Night on Thursday 17th March from 4pm – all of the details can be found on the EYF blog here. One of the things I love the most about EYF is that people come from all over the world to share in the woolly goodness – I cannot wait to meet so many other knitters and share in the fibre love.

Are you coming to Edinburgh Yarn Festival? Say hi if you see me!

Christmas Gifts for Knitters

It is that time of year again, where every non-knitter is wondering what to buy for the knitter in their life. To make things a little easier, I have decided to do a quick round up of knitting related goodies on my list this year.

Gifts For Knitters

1)Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting  by Ann Hood Possibly the only thing that I love as much as knitting is reading about/listening to others who are passionate about knitting. This book explores what is so magical about knitting in 27 essays.

2) Geode Glitter Sock Yarn – TheLittleMountYarnCo The lovely Madeline from TheLittleMountYarnCo dyes the most beautiful yarns and this is no exception. I love the shades of purple and blue in this sock yarn and the stellina adds just the right amount of sparkle – who doesn’t like a little sparkle at Christmas?

3) Sweater Stitch Markers – needleclicksEtc These beautiful stitch markers are just what every knitter needs to keep their projects organised and fun. They come in all sorts of woolly knits from socks and mittens to sweaters. You certainly won’t get these mixed up with anybody else’s stitch markers at knit club!

4) Sock Blockers – Knit Pro Sock blockers are an essential tool for those who love knitting socks…and it can get a bit addictive. There are so many lovely blockers out there, but the knit pro ones are a great starter.

5) Knitting Mug – KellyConnorDesigns this cheeky and playful mug is perfect for any knitter who likes craft based puns. This is the perfect gift if you do not feel confident enough choosing yarns or accessories.

What is on your Christmas list this year?

That Time of Year

secret knitting in progress

Well, it is that time of year again. The secret knitting has started…sort of, and by that I mean I have written a (long) list and have dug some yarn out of my stash. The knitting has not started yet, but it will very soon. I am really challenging myself this year, with eight things to have ready to gift by the 25th December.

There is something very exciting about making things for people that you love. I am very lucky that my list of people to knit for has grown so much this year, but with the excitement comes a little bit of dread. There is so much to be done, and I certainly feel the pressure to make sure that everything is as good as I can make it.

What are your plans for Christmas knitting?

Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2015

Two weekends ago, I was lucky enough to be at Edinburgh Yarn Festival, and I had the most amazing time. The previous EYF was in 2013, and although I missed that one, I was not going to miss this one – and am I glad that I was there.I had the best weekend I’ve had in a long time surrounded by great people.

I had managed to book two classes – Learning to Spin on a Drop Spindle and Sock Design. Both classes were full of insight and laughter, and I learnt more in those three hour classes than I ever thought I could. There was so much crammed into them.

EYF Banner

 

The marketplace was full of vendors from all over the world, and it was the perfect mix of local and international sellers. I spent so much time petting and stroking all of the lovely yarns and fibres on show, and more than a few came home with me. I also had the chance to catch up with a few friends and some familiar faces, as well as make new friends

Edinburgh Yarn Festival

The official photos were uploaded on Sunday (I spent too much time shopping and talking to take photos that were any good) and were taken by the wonderful Katie Blair Matthews. In this one, you can just see me right at the end, chatting with Victoria from Eden Cottage Yarns and Justyna – who were celebrating the release of their partnership, with Justyna designing the Aisling shawl in collaboration with Victoria’s beautiful yarns. I cannot wait to knit this shawl, and Justyna helped me to pick the perfect colours.

Speaking of colours, how perfect is this photo of the Easy Knits stand? I am a huge fan of Jon’s yarns and he is hugely talented with colour. I picked up a few things from him, including one of his new Gobstopper’s and they were as beautiful as usual. Katie must have taken this before the market was open, as Jon’s stand was busy all weekend.

Easy Knits EYF

Yesterday, it was announced that the next Edinburgh Yarn Festival will be in March 2016 and I am looking forward to it already. Here are my purchases…and there is plenty to keep my busy:

EYF Stash

Did you go to Edinburgh Yarn Festival?

 

 

 

 

 

Mothers Day Love

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Here in the UK it is Mother’s Day, and whilst I am away gallivanting at Edinburgh Yarn Festival, I have not forgotten the most special lady in my life. My mum.

My mum and I have always been close, and as I have grown up we have become even closer. She makes me laugh all of the time, and has always given me the best advice. She has always told me to follow my dreams, and to do the very best that I can do. She has taught me to never settle for second best, and that if I want to do something or be something, there is no reason why I cannot.

So this post is just a little thank you, to the woman who taught me everything from how to walk (which is pretty useful) to how to knit (which I often appreciate more) – I would not be who I am today without her.

 

Book Review – Greetings from Knit Cafe by Suzan Mischer

A few weeks ago I came across a book about knitting (which I always enjoy)…but this one had a very special twist. It contains the story of how my idea of heaven came to be.

Greetings from Knit Cafe is part pattern book, part autobiography, as Suzan Mischer described how she eventually fell in love with knitting, and decided to open her dream yarn store. Knit Cafe is everything that you could ever want in a yarn store, and Suzan sounds like the perfect owner.

After being taught to knit by her grandmother at the age of seven, and after a career in television as an executive at CBS (in which no knitting was done), Suzan decided to stay at home to raise her two children, and it was then that she rediscovered knitting. After spending many hours in Starbucks and wishing that they sold yarn as well as coffee, she decided to open a yarn store that also sells coffee.

There are thirty patterns in the book, that range from total beginner to more experienced, and I love that each one is modelled by or inspired someone that is a regular at Knit Cafe. The boxer shorts designed to be worn by women look very comfy, and there are several blankets that have taken my eye.

Overall, this is a great book for knitters who want to read about how Knit Cafe was started, and would be ideal for knitters who have just learnt to knit and are looking for something a little adventurous. There are even exercises to help keep those all too familiar aches and pains away.

If I am ever in West Hollywood, you can be certain that I will be paying Knit Cafe a visit.

You can purchase Greetings from Knit Cafe here.

Book Review: It’s My Party and I’ll Knit If I Want To – By Sharon Aris

Taking a leaf from the fantastic Breige over at Rare Opal, one thing I really wanted to do more of this year was to read more books. After a three year English Literature degree, and currently being half way through a post-graduate qualification in Charity and Social Enterprise Management, my love of reading has become non-existent.

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I first picked up this book in 2003, when I was first learning to knit. It takes a light-hearted look at the resurgence in knitting that occurred in the early 2000s, and follows author Sharon Aris as she learns to knit, and learns to love it. The chatty, informal style really spoke to me as I was learning to knit, and it was great to read about someone making the same discoveries as I was. As Sharon is based in Australia, most of her discoveries focus there, and as a new knitter it was fascinating to get an insight into all things knitting Down Under.

As a more experienced knitter rereading this book, it did not speak to me on the same level, but maybe that is because I am not a beginner anymore. Things have also changed so much since this book was written. No doubt if Sharon Aris was to write this book now, Ravelry and the rise of the online knitting community would feature heavily whereas the internet is not mentioned at all.

Overall, I think that this book would be great for beginner knitters who are falling in love with their newly discovered craft, but that more experienced knitters should stick with knitting writers such as the Yarn Harlot. Either way, this book is a quick read that provides interesting information about the history of knitting, whilst allowing you to follow one woman as she discovers a craft that has had such a profound effect on so many people.

If you would like to purchase this book, it can be found on many sites including Amazon.

Bash The Stash 2015

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It is no secret that I love yarn. I have since I first learn to knit, and since then my stash has been growing at an unbelievable rate. I have been knitting for almost 10 years now, and my stash acquisition is immense. I could easily continue knitting at my current rate and not need to buy anything for a good few years.

It must have been divine intervention then for me to come across the Bash The Stash 2015 forum thread over on the British Banter Ravelry group.  The challenge is simply to reduce your stash during 2015, and there are three categories:

Cold Sheep – Not buying yarn except if there is something you need to finish a project/attending a knitting festival

Lukewarm Llama – Trying to knit more than you buy

Frozen Shoulder of Lamb – No new yarn will enter the house!!

I have chosen to go Cold Sheep as I already have plans to attend two knitting festivals this year, and it would be a shame to go all of that way and then not buy anything! So far I have done really well and not purchased anything, despite seeing some very tempting bargains.

I have even begun allocating some of the yarn in my stash to specific projects so that I can begin to knit them as soon as I want to without having to worry about matching yarns to patterns or not knowing that I already have the perfect yarn in my stash.

The hashtag #bashthestash2015 is being used on Ravelry and Instagram for those that want to take part, and I have even been extra nerdy and developed a spreadsheet for myself.

What is your stash like?

My Crafty Challenges for 2015

2015 is already shaping up to be a pretty exciting year for me. I have a four day trip to Edinburgh planned for the Edinburgh Yarn Festival (and to celebrate my birthday) and a little holiday in Devon planned as well. It is so nice to have things to look forward to.

2014 was very much a year of work for me. Having found a career and job that I love, I threw myself into it completely, maybe too much at times, and for 2015 my aim is to try to find more of a balance. Thats it. No crazy resolutions (well, there is one but I will save that for another post) just a promise to myself to be more mindful oto slow down and enjoy things a little more.

A few months ago I was talking to my friend Breige, and she was discussing having a craft afternoon once a month. This is a brilliant idea, and something that I have been thinking about since. We were discussing all of the different things that I could try, and I have come up with a list of 12 crafty challenges for 2015. They are:

  • Learning to spin on a drop spindle
  • Making stitch markers
  • Dyeing yarn with Kool Aid
  • Learning to crochet
  • Rediscovering sewing
  • Learning embroidery
  • DIY Sharpie mugs
  • Knitting a lace shawl
  • Make 5 Christmas decorations
  • Knit one garment for myself
  • Complete my yarn ball cross stitch
  • Experiment with pom poms

What are your crafty challenges for this year?

Listening to Knitting

I first discovered podcasts when I was in high school. At the time, there was no Ravelry, no Youtube and no Facebook. I had read about podcasts in the various knitting magazines I was into at the time, and was fascinated that people would create these shows just to talk about knitting.

Fast forward a good number of years and podcasts are a firm fixture in my life. I love that come are audio only, whereas others are on Youtube. Each and every one that I listen to gives me new ideas and inspiration, and I often find myself looking at show notes to find the names of dyers that I want to check out. Podcasts can be a fantastic way of discovering new dyers, patterns and techniques, and I thought I would share a few of my favourites with you today.

  1. Dairyland Knits – Top spot has to go to the fantastic Josh and his podcast all about his knitting adventures in Wisconsin. I always enjoy Josh’s podcast, it is always full of new yarns, new dyers and little bits of information. Josh also talks about his experiences of living in Germany,and I could quite happily listen to him speaking German all day long. Occasional sentences are clearly not enough. His podcasts are weekly, and cover all sorts – from knitting to canning and orchids. He also knits the most beautiful items. Check out his Ravelry group here.
  2. Little Bobbins Knits- This podcast is hosted by the lovely Dani, and it first caught my attention as she is from England. It is always nice to see a fairly local knitter and to learn about what yarn they have been buying. She always has lovely projects to show, and she also has a shop.Her Ravelry group is here.
  3. Cast On – This was the first podcast that I fell in love with. Brenda has such a soothing voice, is the perfect audio companion for your knitting adventures. Her very last podcast may have been in October, but with 132 episodes to catch up on, you’ll be fine for a while.
  4. Knitting in Circles –    This is a recent discovery for me. Aimee and Darren share their knitting and spinning projects every week, and with Episode 151 being their most recent – I have lots of catching up to do. Their Ravelry group is here.
  5. Mole Knits – This is the first venture into podcasting featuring myself and my friend Amy, and as such it has an honorary spot on my list. If you feel like listening to two Brits as they stumble through their first podcast then please do. We also have a Ravelry group.

Which podcasts are you loving right now?