Life With Yarn

Archive for June 2012

So this weekend was Woolfest in Cumbria – two days of yarny sheepy goodness. After some negotiations with my husband, I managed to spend the day there on Saturday. This was the first time I’ve done any big wool-related gathering and to say I was excited in the few days before it was putting it mildly.

I set off on Saturday morning from Newcastle to drive across the country to Cockermouth. On the way, it occured to me a couple of times that this was possibly a sign that my yarn addiction was serious, considering there were flood warnings in place in some parts of Cumbria and Cockermouth has been known to flood previously in quite a devastating way. But onwards I went, driving through the rain and arriving at Woolfest as it opened.

I was like a kid in a candy store. I grabbed a programme and started wandering round. I’d been advised that going round once making notes was the best thing to do and I’m glad I did but it was just completely overwhelming. After months of not being able to buy everything I wanted, I had quite a generous budget from my savings. I didn’t want to blow it all in the first 30 minutes – which I could quite easily have done. So I wandered, marking on the programme the stalls I definitely wanted to return to and then had a sit down to recover. I’m the same in bookshops, by the way, if I have some money to spend on books, I wander round for ages completely overwhelmed by the choice of it all. When I think about it, it’s no wonder my eldest has a terrible time choosing between two or more things she likes, I am the same.

It took a while to start buying, but once I did, boy did I have fun! This is my haul:


Among this lot is some gorgeous 100% silk lace, 2 different sock yarns & some dark red lace from Ripples Crafts – the red lace is for a cardigan for me and the grey sock yarn is for socks for the husband. There’s some lovely silky camel lace and more sock yarn from YarnAddict, more lace and sock from Artisan Yarns, sock and some mini skeins from Laal Bear, some gorgeously coloured sock yarn from Easy Knits and, finally, some undyed sock yarn from Bluefaced. This last is going to be my first attempt at dying my own yarn, I picked up a starter kit from DT Craft & Design and plan to have a go in the next couple of weeks – watch this space! Not pictured are a couple of patterns from YarnAddict and a copy of Barbara Walker’s 2nd Treasury of Knitting Patterns.

But it wasn’t just all about boosting the economy and supporting indie dyers. I also learned a few things along the way. I had an informative chat with Debbie from DT Craft & Design about dying and the best way to achieve the result I wanted, I watched a demo from Anni of YarnAddict about adding beads to knitting a crochet hook (looked so much simpler than threading them onto the wool beforehand!) and saw someone using a drop spindle which looked really interesting and definitely something to look into in the future. There were some spinning wheels for sale (a bit out of my budget) but I’m not sure I have time to start spinning large amounts of fibre.

So, all in all, a very good day. I met some great people, everyone was really friendly, and I enjoyed being able to wander the stalls without anyone nagging at me or complaining they were bored. The biggest problem I have now is that the socks I was knitting before I went to Woolfest (the ones that need to be completed by June 30th for my 26 pairs in 52 weeks challenge), well, they seem quite plain by comparison. I can’t wait to get working with the new yarns and make some beautiful things from them. Oh, and of course, I’m already saving for next year!


I finally have photos of the new skirt!



So with the photos, I had no real excuse to delay the pattern writing and grading part of it all. This is the first time I’ve ever done a garment and graded it, so Sunday afternoon was a steep learning curve. The first thing I learned was that my daughter is an odd size, so my sample/her skirt didn’t fit neatly into one size, so I had to work out the numbers for all three sizes. It took a couple of hours and a little bit of muttering, but it is finally done. I need to type it all up this week and then see about getting it tested.

I do find myself nervous about this pattern, far more than the others I’ve done so far. I wouldn’t go anywhere near calling myself a designer right now – I’ve released one paid for pattern (a personalised Christmas stocking) and 2 freebies on Ravelry. The freebies are fairly straightforward patterns and that makes them safe, in some strange way. But the skirt is something I came up with for my daughter. She loves it, but, to be honest, it’s pink and she’s 5, it was always going to work. It’s whether other people will love it enough to knit it that has me stressed. I always wanted to be a fashion designer as a child, right up until my A-level art teacher told me I wasn’t unique enough and didn’t dress uniquely enough to be any kind of designer. Nice dream-crushing, right? I guess it comes down to that.

In the meantime, socks are still flying off the needles. Another pair finished yesterday, another one should be finished by Wednesday night at the latest. Then it’s more socks and then I’m going to start thinking about *whispers* Christmas knitting.

I’ve been working hard for the past couple of weeks, doing the job I occasionally do that brings in some money. It’s only occasional but when it hits, it’s a case of everything else taking a back seat for a week or two until it is done. Thankfully, it is now winding down so I can get back to doing the fun stuff, like knitting.

Of course that is not to say I’ve been working all hours and not doing anything else. I’ve still squeezed some knitting in. I finished my mock socks, which were designed by Rose Hiver:


and I also finished the other pair I was working on, from Wendy Johnson’s Toe Up Socks for Every Body:


The yarn for these was from a sock club from YarnAddict, one of my favourite indie yarns. This photo doesn’t really do the colour justice, they are much more spring like.

I’ve cast on 2 new pairs of socks as well and they’re progressing nicely. I (foolishly) signed up to the 26 pair plunge over at Ravelry, which ends at the end of this month. I’ve completed 21 pairs so far, the ones in progress will take me to 23, so I still need to complete 3 more pairs before the end of the month. If I knit nothing else, this is certainly doable. I’ve been known to knit a pair in 6 days, but it does mean ignoring all other knitting and I don’t like to do that.

Also, because I love the pressure, I decided 6 days before a birthday party that I would reknit the skirt I’d blocked. After trying it on the eldest, I had blocked it too aggressively on the waistband, so had to sew some elastic on, which was no problem. But I still wasn’t happy with the pink over layer, which kept curling despite blocking. So I ripped them back and reknit them in seed stitch and now they lie beautifully flat. I even managed to finish it in time for the skirt to be worn to the party, where she promptly spilt tomato seeds over it. So once it is washed, I will be getting some shots of it. The pattern is virtually written for this one size, I just need to grade it so I can arrange some test knitting.

Finally, because I clearly don’t have enough on the needles, I cast on Shelly Kang’s Sock Yarn Blanket to use up all those leftovers from the many many socks I have knit. I managed 5 mitred squares whilst travelling to visit family over the long weekend. I get the feeling this project will never be finished, I will also have more leftovers to add to it.

On the cards this month then – a lot of sock knitting, some pattern grading and my first trip to Woolfest which I am getting quite excited about. I’ve been saving up so will be looking forward to getting some lovely goodies in my short trip there.

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