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?

Yarndale Is Almost Here

It is that time of year again, where the weather starts to get colder and the nights are getting a little darker. If you are a knitter, this is the perfect time of year for falling in love with your hobby all over again. I always find myself looking longingly at all of the beautiful blanket patterns on Ravelry and wishing that I was more confident in my crochet abilities.

Nothing inspires me more than a few hours spent admiring so many beautiful projects on Ravelry and then spending a day at Yarndale where there are so many talented independent dyers selling such lovely yarns. Last year was my first visit to Yarndale and I am very excited to be going back at the weekend. I am already compiling a list of yarns to buy and people to see.

Say hello if you see me!

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?

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Valentines Day Gifts for the Knitter You Love

ValentinesGiftsCashmereClouds

Having spent most of my teen years working in various greetings card shops, I am always aware of the holidays and how close they are to all of the other holidays. Valentines Day always seemed to sneak up on me though. Maybe it was that I became accustomed to seeing all of the red cards, envelopes and wrapping paper that also came with Christmas. Once again it has managed to sneak up on me, so I thought that I would compile a little list for you of great Valentines Day gift ideas for the special knitter in your life (and there is nothing wrong with that special knitter being you!)

1. “Tahitian Sunset” Merino/Silk sock yarn by Wren House Yarns – Okay, so you may not be able to whisk the one you love off to Tahiti just yet, but why not bring the Tahitian sunset to them. This yarn is pink enough to suggest all that is expected on Valentines Day, but without seeming cliche or overdone. I love this colour combination, and the pairing of 80% superwash merino and 20% silk creates a lovely, soft yarn. It is the perfect way to tell any knitter that you love them. Photo from the Wren House Yarns Etsy page.

2. ringOs in ‘Boys Wink’ by Fripperies & Bibelots –  My stitch marker collection is ever growing, and I have been looking at these for a while now. Fripperies & Bibelots sell these in so many different colour combinations and name them just like dyers name their colourways. These brightly coloured markers would be perfect for a wide range of projects and come in the adorable tin as pictured. There are 10 in a set and are made of lightweight anodised aluminium rings, adorned with beautiful seed beads which are glued in place over the join. Photo from the Fripperies & Bibelots Etsy page.

3. Crochet Project Bag by A Needle Runs Through It – This large project bag makes my heart race a little, and it may well become a Valentines day gift to myself. As a knitter who has always wanted to crochet and is finally dipping her toe in the water, this makes me remember to keep practising because of how badly I want a crochet blanket. The colours are amazing and I love that this bag is big enough to fit anything from socks or mittens to a lace shawl with room for all of the essential extras. You can never have too many project bags,and you could always fill it with a skein of yarn to make it an extra special gift! Photo from the A Needle Runs Through It Etsy page.

4. Knit Pro Marble Interchangeable Needle Set Limited Edition – Knit Pro, or Knitters Pride depending on which side of the pond you are on, have released these beautiful interchangeable needles. They are the perfect present for knitters who deserve a little luxury. This set includes 8 pairs of interchangeable needles, four cables, a needle sizer and a set of cable connectors…perfect for the knitter with numerous WIPs.

5. Constellation Drop Spindle by Hiloris Yarnorium – This item combines two of my biggest interests – fibre crafts and space. I fell in love with this drop spindle the second it popped up on my Etsy feed, and I already know that one will be working its way to my home very soon. I have picked the Pisces constellation as that one is mine, and the coolest thing about this spindle? The constellation glows in the dark! This is one of the most interesting designs I have seen, and would be perfect for a beginner or intermediate spinner. Photo from the Hiloris Yarnorium Etsy page.

 

What would you like to receive for Valentines Day?

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.

Itsmypartyreview

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

BASHTHESTASH

 

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?