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.
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!
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?
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!
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.
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
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.
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:
Did you go to Edinburgh Yarn Festival?
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?
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?
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?
A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be chosen by the lovely Madeline of The Little Mount Yarn Co. to test knit her new sock pattern. It is a fantastic pattern and super easy – perfect for knitting whilst watching festive movies. Madeline published the pattern last weekend and you can get it on Ravelry. The Evergreen Socks were top of the Whats Hot list on Ravelry within 48 hours of being published, and everyone seems to be loving them.
I used 2.5mm DPNs and about 1.4 balls (320 yards) of Adriafil Classic Azzurra in a lovely festive green (colourway 035) – Madeline had already used a semi-solid colourway for her test knit, so I used a solid to highlight the stitch pattern of the tree.
These would be perfect for anyone who has already completed vanilla socks and wanted to try something a little different, or for someone who has never knit socks before and wants to give themselves an added challenge. There are no complicated stitches, and the pattern caters for two sizes (medium and large) and the medium size is perfect for most women – with a cast on of 64 stitches.
These will certainly be keeping my feet warm this winter. What are you currently knitting?
I have wanted to knit a Noro Striped Scarf ever since I learnt to knit as a teenager. It is so simple but the colours are stunning and there are so many possible combinations, that you could make them forever without getting bored of wondering which tones and shade will appear next.
The only thing that held me back from making one was the price. Noro was way out of my price range when I was a teenager, but I kept thinking that one day I would make one of my own. That day has come…
I am so happy with how it looks so far. I say so far, because it is not finished yet, but as this is my mindless knitting for the moment it is on hold due to secret Christmas knitting. This is the first time that I have ever used Noro, and as Jared Flood’s brilliantly simple pattern outline suggests, I am using Silk Garden. There are lots of examples on Ravelry of people substituting yarns, and they all look amazing too.
This was the wip what I had with my on the train to Yarndale, and it was perfect as I could just sit and watch the beautiful countryside go past, and when we pulled into stations I could have a little look at how the colours were emerging. It is so easy to see why people knit several of these, they really are addictive. I love how the yarn becomes softer once it has been handled. I was a little concered that it might be a big scratchy, but when I feel it when it is knitted up, it is so much softer.
Having spent the past hour looking at all of the beautiful things that people have been making with various Noro yarns, I have a feeling that this won’t be my only encounter with it.
They say that time flies when you are having fun, and that must certainly be true for me. It seems as though that August was only yesterday, but here we are in the middle of October and there are less than 75 days to Christmas. This sounds like lots of time to most people, but for knitters than plan to give their creations as gifts then it is not much time at all.
Sadly I do not have any photos of my knitting to show you today, as they have to remain as secrets for 75 days. As always though, the urge to cast on a new project is strong, and I am sure that there will be something new on my needles in the next few days. Usually I am quite a selfish knitter, but every now and again I like to surprise myself, and I will be knitting for at least four people. The yarn has been bought, and patterns have been decided on, so all that remains is the knitting…