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?

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.

 

Valentines Day Gifts for the Knitter You Love

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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.

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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?

Happy New Year!

For once I am a little early with the celebrations this year. Whilst it has been a fair few years since I have stayed up and partied the new year in, I have always liked the idea of a new year, and the focal point for so many people in assessing the year they have just had, and looking forward to the year ahead. I like the idea of everyone trying to do better, be better and to achieve their goals.

As a lover of lists, every New Year is a chance to write yet more lists and discuss them with others. My focus this year is mostly around my well-being, and knitting is a huge part of that. I have compiled a list of challenges, to push me to try new things and develop new skills, and I will share them with you tomorrow.

For now though, I will simply wish you all a very happy new year.