Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Do As I Say, Not As I Do.

Hmm. Dye lots. So I kind of think they matter and I kind of think they don't. When companies dye a big batch of yarn together they call it a dye lot. The take up of dye can be affected by the yarn base used, the weather or atmosphere on the day, minute changes in the amounts of dye/water, the way the dyer feels. All sorts of things. Companies often tell us that dye lots don't matter because it's all done by machine but one lot of wool from one lot of sheep will be very different from another lot. Imagine a sheep living in Australia versus one living in the Cotswolds. Not that the fibre for our wool is from Australia or the Cotswolds, that wouldn't be Knit Nottingham prices, but of course a sheep living in a dry, arid, desert-y type area is going to produce different fibre from a sheep living in lush, leafy, green England even if they're the same breed and even if they come from the same stock originally. It just makes sense. Think about how much lovelier your hair is when you eat well and treat it right (note to self...).

I know embarrasingly little about the way that yarn is sorted and processed on a commercial level but it's my understanding that it's basically graded by the wool board and then the yarn is mixed together within it's grades. So you wouldn't, unless that was your USP, buy yarn from a specific farm or flock or even area but wool within one category. Which means that the fibre is much more standard than my Australia/Cotswolds example above - slightly variations such as from a wet summer or a hard winter in a specific area - are kind of ironed out. But of course there are going to be variations. Same with cotton, bamboo, alpaca - anything natural. I'm trying to think about what might cause variation within an acrylic fibre but I can't. I'm no expert.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, even if the dying process is automated there area always going to be variations in the fibre. Which is a long winded way of saying that dye lots matter.

Sometimes different dye lots look and work the same. Sometimes they don't. Mostly you can see that in the ball but sometimes you can't. My advice, if you have an errant ball, is always to try and use it for edging or something separate. For a baby's cardi you'll probably get the fronts or sleeves out of one ball. The seams in the garment, between the bits knitting in different dye lots, make any differences look like shadows. It really works. The other trick, if you have about half and half different dye lots, is to work two rows of one dye lot and two rows of the other alternating for the whole thing. The two rows mean that you don't have to break off the yarn each time so it's really no extra sewing in ends and if there is a difference in dye lot, the stripes carry on throughout the thing so they look like a design feature. Ahhh! And finally, if you have just the one ball and you're not sure it's that different, then wait until you have about half a ball of the last stuff left and then two and two stripe as before with the new ball until the old one has gone and then you can carry on with the new one. Yes?

They're my tricks anyway and they work. And lots of you have tried them and they work for you.

All of this depends on you actually checking dye lots (the general you... it's usually me that ends up checking them for people). This is something that I did do on the project in question and then I carried on using the one ball in the markedly different dye lot anyway. Because I'm an idiot and I don't care about making two shawls exactly the same in less than a week. Why would I!?!?

Remember I talked about how a customer had given me my next project in this blog over here? Well, it was a commission really. I'm making one of the lovely Sues a shawl for a wedding that she's going to in a couple of weeks. With my holiday looming, the Love Your Local Yarn Shop Day coming up and a to-do list that I've made myself as long as both arms and Boyf's too I knew I wouldn't be able to knit her one so I offered to do a Fantasm like the one I made in Verity's Yarn:

It's nice isn't it!? And I got that one done in less than 24 hours. But probably only because I LOVED the yarn and couldn't wait to see it worked up. But I knew, even if that kind of mental obsession wasn't there, I could get one worked up in a week with time to spare to block. We decided on the beautiful Cygnet Truly Wool Rich 4ply in the Dove Grey and she wanted it just a little bigger than the one in the window - a proper shawl. So I started on Thursday evening with a 4mm hook. And it was good. I took no photos of the process because it was one of those ridiculously quick I don't want to stop I just want to make kind of projects. And then on Friday, as I was travelling home, I started a new ball. Did a few stitches. Stopped. Carried on. Stopped. And finally, accepted the inevitable. The bloody dye lots were different. I'd done so much on the first ball that I couldn't rip out but I also couldn't give her this as a commission. So I carried on. Thinking that I could over-dye in a mixture of blues and greens because the flowery bits kind of look like a peacock tail don't they? I thought I might pass it on to Verity to dye but then I thought about how much fun I'd had when I dyed the yarn for this shawl:

It's the first version of Elise Shawl that I did and it started my love affair with quick, simple and effective crocheted shawls. 

So I decided to give it a go myself. I think I finished the shawl that night and started the next one the day after. That still looks like this:

It needs to be done for Saturday but I'm just about half a row away from finishing the final repeat of the 'pattern pattern' and then I'm just going to finish the rest of the ball with ch5, dc into the chsp all across for ever more. So that'll be quick and easy and I'm planning to introduce Boyf to the joys of blocking tonight. He will LOVE having a wet thing and loads of pins in his bed! LOVE! Haha. 

Now, usually I'd want to split that part of the blog and the next part of the blog into two but I have things to write about for the rest of the week and I'm dead excited about this so I'm going to carry on. Apologies for the essay... 

So, I messaged Verity who gave me all sorts of advice about how to dye with food colouring. You can find all sorts of info about it on the web but she's done it a lot and she's my friend and therefore I get a free load of brill info from the horse's mouth as it were. She told me about vinegar. You need to soak the thing in vinegar before you dye it to help it take up the dye. I didn't have a lot of vinegar so I used this stuff:

Well diluted. I guess you're meant to leave it for half an hour or so, so that all of the fibres are properly soaked but I didn't have the patience for that. Oh no. I'm guessing I left it for about 15/20 minutes whilst I emptied the dishwasher, filled it and then searched for the cake dyes... This is all we had:

I really was hoping for some blue and green but we work with what we've got don't we? Therefore I used the red, as there was the most there. In my head I was going to put a stronger solution on the flowery bits and then a weaker solution on the rest of the shawl to make those pop but that just didn't happen. I ended up pouring the whole solution, diluted, into a cake tin to wiggling the shawl around a bit. It looked like this: 

Which was a portent of what was coming - deffo no bright, blood red which is kind of what I hoped... Then came time for the 'saran wrap'. When I was dying first time, I came across that phrase, which is the American way of saying cling film and assumed it meant like a thin gauze-y material. I've no idea why. I've also no idea why I didn't just google it seeing as my instructions were from the internet. I ended up using my hair dying towel then and half of the colour went on there rather than the yarn... but this time I had Verity to remind me that it was cling film. It's harder to wrap a shawl in cling film than you might imagine and it ended up looking like a blood bath in my utility room...

But I did it. And then it was time to put it into the microwave. Vezza said about three 4/5 minute bursts but I didn't ask what heat level or whether to let it cool in between. So I watched for the first four minutes:

That's my casually interested face. And then for the second four minutes I did some crochet in another room. Then I head a bang and this happened: 

Cue frantic whatsapping to Vezza. All was fine but it did look like a placenta. I put it in for another two minutes and then took it out and put it in the fridge to cool for a bit before rinsing until the dye (kind of) went clear. I'm far too impatient for all of this. Dying deffo isn't for me.

Then I went upstairs to block it, hoping that it would be done for this morning. I tried a slightly different style this time. I put the bottom point at the corner of the bed and slowly pinned the edges to their side of the bed, bit by bit, and then afterwards I came to pin the middle bit and across the top, stretching gently. It worked much better than my usual way which is to start with the top and then stretch the point to within an inch of it's life, working and stretching towards the pins already in place at the top. I find that the original pins often pop out of place and I can't stretch the point into a proper triangle at the bottom, it's kind of longer and pointier whereas I like a corner of a square kind of effect. Does that make sense? Anyway, this is what it looked like:

Which is probably the worst photo ever in terms of colour, composition and focus but it does show what it looks like. And how I'm a sloppy blocker in terms of getting the points even but they'll relax a little anyway and if anybody notices then they're too close - step away. 

This is a pretty good representation of the colour. It's maybe a little dark but it's like amethyst isn't it? Which is deffo not a colour I would ever make a shawl in but it certainly is one that I appreciate and I'm glad I've now got a shawl in it. :) I kind of didn't think of the effect of working the red over the grey. I assumed I wouldn't get a bright bright red but maybe more cherry-ish. Dee will be laughing at me here, I really have no idea when it comes to colours (but I'm still right about kingfisher/teal...). And this is what it looked like this morning: 

Love! Apart from my tired face. I need some make up desperately. Blurgh.

And now we come back to the do as I say, not as I do. The dye lots still show. I can't photograph it very well but I've tried. It's less about the colour I think and more about the texture which means that one of the dye lots (the original) has taken up the dye in a much nicer way, it much more blue-y purple whereas the second dye lot has an almost orange tone which doesn't work that well with the amethyst. I do think that if I'd have managed my blue and green higgle-de-piggle-de idea that that would have been much better hidden. However, I also know that nobody's looking at dye lots and if they are, again, they're too close and need to step. away. thank. you. very. much. 

Can you see how the one further away is much less hairy? Texture deffo shows up better in the photos but I guess that the colour is affected by the texture so maybe that's actually the same but the texture makes it different? Ooooooh, I don't know. And I don't care. 

So - so as I say, not as I do:

Dye lots matter. 
Over-dying won't change that. 
When you've got it wrong, stop worrying about it, they're all just too close.

And that's my lesson for today over folks.

Love, Eleanor. xxxxxx

Thursday, 24 April 2014


So. Today has been productive! After like a week and a half of non-production... I'm not entirely sure why today has gone so well but I think it might be to do with the fact that Boyf woke me up early and made me a proper breakfast with hash browns and everything. What a man.

I was in town pretty early so I managed to nip into the Bead Shop to pick up these stunners to put on a top secret project that I'm designing:

Then when I got into work the webshop was finally back up and running! I still don't know what went wrong with it. Yesterday I was e-mailing back and forth with my hosts who said that they could take it back to the last backup but only if I could verify who I was and that took ages because it relied on my having the last four digits of a debit card I had like two years ago... I found it in the end and that was enough but they did then send me a message that I received this morning saying that there was nothing that they could do, the webshop was still down and I had to do something weird (perhaps with the php if that makes any sense to anybody!?!?) but magically and miraculously it's back up and I attribute that to the fact that I try to be a good person and I did some volunteering once. I've been all the way through to make an order and it worked for me - do let me know if you're struggling though.

Once that was up I could get on and finish our new style mailing list - there were lots of links that I needed to put in that relied on the webshop actually running... It appears that we have some problems with that though, including, but not limited to, the fact that the lovely lilac colour that I so carefully picked out is turning up beeeeeeeeeige for some people. BLURGH. I don't want beige on my mailing list! (Sorry Elizabeth... ;) ). Anyway, I'm waiting for more feedback, especially on the layout because it looks all wacked up on my e-mail but not when I download it as a separate file. I also have big plans to have a list of downloadable newsletters on the website so that people can see what they're signing up for but I've got to work out how to do that (and I will!).

Then I had a load of customers - thank the Lord!!! It's been mega slow around here (students have gone, bank holidays, nice weather, gardens, payday hasn't happened, the knitting apocalypse has come and everybody's lost their fingers... you know, the usual...) and the internet really keeps us going at this time of year, but without that and without customers I have been an unhappy bunny. And while the customers were here I managed to finish the knitting on Vezza's socks. This is the best photo I've got at the mo:

But there will be more, perhaps on here, perhaps just for my Rav sooner or later. There are plenty of ends to sew in once I find my scissors. One of those customers also left me with my next project - after I've done these socks completely - and I am very excited even though I'm desperate to start the socks in the yarn that Verity gave me. Blurgh.

And then, once the busy-ness had died down a bit, I got a couple of blogs written for the thing that I was on about a couple of days ago. Much more on that later - promise!

AND THEN! I remembered that I hadn't told you about this!!!

Which is Davina's version of the Summer Dress. (I don't think I've got a good photo of Davina yet but I do like how haughty she looks there :) :) ). But it isn't as simple as that... ooooooooh no. Her summer dress started off like this:  

Which eagle eye readers will recognise as the Cottonsoft in Cherry, Jade and Oyster (can we all just take a minute to notice that that is a link to a webshop, my webshop, and it works!!!). Davina was pretty sure than she wanted the Cherry and then we had to pick colours that worked together. AND I THINK THEY DO! But Davina thought that it made her look like she was dancing around a maypole. Fair enough. So, she's given the half done dress to me! And she chose her own new colours, out of the Bamboo Cotton (ANOTHER LINK THAT WORKS THANK YOU VERY MUCH) in brown (perhaps called Earth), orange (deffo called Crimson, and that's definitely a crime against colour naming) and teal (Opal). Notice that two of those colours aren't on the internet and that's because they're new and I haven't done them yet. Blurgh. I'll knock them on today, probably (probably not now... more customers... time flies.... tomorrow!). And she liked the new colours so much that she got the second dress done in like two bloody days! Or something ridiculous, the first one took a few weeks maybe?

Anyway, I've got the new dress now, it needs probably another two repeats and then I can wear it and everybody's happy! What a nice story. :):):)

And then, to top of my productive day, I've now gone and written a blog ain't I!??!!? Well done me!

Love Eleanor. :)

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

A lovely weekend and a broken webshop. Argh!

Perhaps this eight blog posts a month thing isn't working like it should? I get dead excited at the beginning of the month and then I write my eight posts and a few more and then... nothing... Ugh. At least it was only five days and not the months I'd been leaving you with recently... I think this can be a catchup type blog and Boyf is getting at me to show you the goodies he brought me back from his jollies but I forgot to photograph them (again) so that'll have to be another day.

Shall I start with Friday?

 I've been super ill. Like, not deathly deathly ill but pretty bad with a massive side order of shat-knacked. So I was going to take the nephew swimming on Friday but, and I hate to say it but this was happily, the swimming baths were all closed. So, I did a tiny little bit of accounting and had a nap instead. But then, I got up to some v. exciting things. Here's a little sneak peek:

Mwahaha! Can you guess where I was?! Yes, yes, yes. I was at Vezza's. National Love Your Local Yarn Shop Day is a-coming and I've got Verity making some veeeeeeeery interesting grads for me. But because she's now knitting her own blanks: 

It's taking a bit longer than it used to. So I helped her ball up some skeins, using a ball winder: 

And then knit up the blanks on a knitting loom pictured above. It's long and boring work and it bloody kills your arms. One day I'm going to go around for dying (I haven't told her this...) but I think I'll love that part of it. I think she probably loves it too but I'll be 'helping' not just stealing her favourite bits. 

Then I spent some time smooching and admiring.... Ahhhhh. 

And then, at the bottom of that massive box I found the skein on my dreeeeeeeeams! I can't remember what she's going to call it. But it's a rainbow in 12 parts around the skein. You can't tell that once it's balled up and I, for one, cannot wait to see what it looks like knitted up! 

 Buuuuut. There's a spanner in the works, I'm knitting these:

Which, up until the moment that I laid eyes on my new 12 colour rainbow, was the best yarn that I'd ever seen. It's one of the Two Of A Kind Grad Yarns but something went wrong during the process and it ended up with a load of knots along the skein so I'm knocking up some socks for Vezza and I do love it but seriously... I wanna knit MY socks. NOW!

By the by, there's nothing I can do with that apart from plod along. On Saturday I spent a fair bit of time knitting and chatting with customers so that by ten o'clock the first of the rainbow socks was done. On Sunday I had a lovely lesson teaching the second Learn To Crochet class - not much time for selfish knitting during a lesson, more's the pity...

On Monday, the weather was bloody miserable when we were woken up at about six. So we cancelled some plans to go bowling and sat around watching Game Of Thrones and knitting/crochet. But by nine o'clock or so the weather had turned  for the better and we were getting restless so we thought about going to Wollaton Park where two lovely friends were doing a craft fair (hi Steph and Rebecka! Hope it went well!) but we agreed that it wasn't enough of a challenge. Then we thought about Newstead Abbey but thought that wasn't countryside-y enough. In the end we agreed on Dale Abbey which is a ruined abbey just on the other side of Stapleford. It's in the middle of a picturesque village in proper countryside countryside if you know what I mean.

Five bloody miles. That's how long I walked. Up hill and down dale. Bear in mind that I'm not that fit in the first place but on top of that I've spent the last week on my deathbed and barely moved a muscle - certainly no muscles that didn't need moving... He also lied to me about how high we had to travel - he told me iis was 53 feet at the highest. It wasn't, it was 53 metres! That's three times as high!!!! And more, it's not just up 53 metres - it's up 53 metres, down, 20, up 20, down, 45, up 32... blah blah blah. Up and bloody down. But I must admit, it was worth it to do some sock knitting here:

What a view! It also meant that I saw and climbed my first stile since I was a child but apparently, the photo won't upload here... You know what I stile looks like though?

I saw the most beautiful bush in the world.

I had THE MOST AMAZING PICNIC EVER! Seriously. That tomato was the best tomato I've ever had and we had real tea, brewed in a tea pot, and drunk in proper cups:

Finished off with creme eggs. Ahhh Easter. I know what you're all about. 

Anyway, we found the Abbey - it's peaking right in the centre of that photo above the bush, behind a tree. That's all it was. One side of a building with no glass. And there are bushes and electric fences all the way around it so you can't see where the abbey would have been even and I actually took a video from over the wall and there were bloody animals - maybe cows - living there. COWS IN AN ABBEY!

And then we stopped off at a lovely cafe for ice cream and Elderflower drink. Lurvely.

Not enough knitting though. But I made up for that last night when I dreamt of a stitch pattern last night and I've just done a bit of texting and calling of my contacts and I might be publishing it through somebody else not just this blog and rav! IMAGINE!

I also dreamed about another opportunity that I forgot about because I am the worst business woman ever. It's a series of blogs for somebody else about what it is to be a yarn shop owner and I think I'd enjoy it, as long as it's not too often, perhaps once a month. So I've got back in contact with the lady and I'll see where that goes.

And on top of that I've been inspired to get the mailing list back on the go. Maybe this month! Maybe. We'll see. It's been a few months - I don't think we've done one since Christmas and it was always June that did it before so it'll certainly be a different tone... as it were... slightly less formal...

All of this comes from how slow last week and this have been! It's those bloody students leaving us to see their families. Can you imagine! And on top of that it's been nice weather. Ugh. I hate this nice weather. Today, miserable and rainy as it is, suits me much better. Ahh well, I never worry about slow bits now because I know you lot will be back in when projects are finished and the gardens are growing as they should... Especially when you see what we've got on order to turn up this week!

HAHAHAHA! AMAZING YES! These are new Riot DK's and Riot Chunkies and Zig Zag 4plies! AMAZING!

....Although I can't link those for you because apparently our webshop's gone down... I am well over today. Blurgh.

Right, I'm off to find all of the information for the the mailing list because if I can't do webshopping today then I'm going to bloody do something. Ugh. Can we all cross our fingers that the webshop is back up and running tomorrow? In t'meantime - click here to sign up to the new and improved mailing list (when I've done it...).

And I really am off.

Love Eleanor.

P.s. I'm in too much of a mood now to read through this so I'm sure there's loads of spelling mistakes etc. apologies in advance!

Thursday, 17 April 2014

The Struggle Is Real.

I am always going on about how I'm a fairisle knitter. Always. And I love it, I really seriously do. I have opinions about it and everything. But I have been slaaaaaaaaaaaain by this bloody pattern:

I first wrote about it on the 5th of April 2012. That's pretty much two years to the day. And I'm sure I discovered it before then! I've been really pleased with my lack of startitis lately but to be honest, the finishitis hasn't really stuck around because the eight-petal flower jumper is a bit of a slog and I kind of re-lost the enthusiasm for it (I don't doubt it will be back one day!). So, the other day I was reminded of this and I thought to myself - I'll just print it out and do a bit of translating. Hear me readers, the pattern is in NORWEGIAN! 

But it's not as bad as it sounds... Actually, it's pretty much all charted. It's a drop sleeve so the fronts and back are basic straightish rectangles and the arms are the same with just a little increasing:

 The Norwegian bits tell you to cast on and it's a lot of stitches so you kinda know it's fronts and back together. Then there are words and then a new stitch count so you assume that you do some increasing to the new stitch count. Somewhere in between those two instructions is the term '4cm' so you obvs do something for 4cm and on the original pattern there's no rib so it'll be a hem. To be fair, if you're a fairly experienced knitter, then it's going to be pretty straight forward. At some point they talk about 'cutting the knitting' so there's a steek in there somewhere which might put some experience knitters off but I've decided to work my pattern back and forth anyway, which I generally hate for fairisle but I don't fancy steeking a 70% acrylic yarn like the Moods DK even though you could, I tend to think it's just not that wise... So a steek for the neckline isn't necessary. 

I was also going to change the yarn to a 4ply. As it is the smallest size is like 48" bust finished and the biggest is like 50-something quite high sounding but in reality, the whole of that chart is the whole of the jumper so the rows matter as it were. Would be relatively easy to work out how many more rows you want and perhaps change the bird into a dragon  for a few more rows or perhaps add more of the bottom and top patterns but I didn't want to do any more maths than I really had to because I am lazy. Also, a snuggly DK fairisle cardi will come in dead useful. :) 

I am going to change the arm shaping though - I contemplated a yoke but I couldn't work out how to do that without lowering the main pattern so that all yoke decreases were made in a more modular colour pattern and that again, involves maths. So I think I've plumped for a raglan. I worked out roughly how many stitches I wanted at the shoulder and drew a zig zag line down from there so I know roughly when to stop. At that point I'm going to probably do both sleeves and join it all together to finish. Maybe. I checked my workings out once I'd got to the point where I'd done the first band of patterns - they measured a pretty perfect 4" on my knitting and a pretty perfect 0.75" on the chart. So every 0.75" on the chart is 4" of my jumper and that means I'm going to have about 15" before I start my armhole shaping. This is fine, I would usually have between 13 and 14 inches so it fits with the slightly baggy thing going on. Yes. Happy. 


Can you see where I went wrong? Hmmm. I bloody can. On the second row of 'diamonds' I missed the second to last row which means that the second diamonds are 'off'. I actually, totally, definitely thought about ripping back and then I like bugger that for a game of soldiers. I'd already done the first row of the proper pattern and that had made me want to rip my eyeballs out so I wasn't about to take it out. It's staying. It's 'handmade'. 

And why did it make me want to rip my eyeballs out?

This. Is. Why. 

The chart is tiny!!! I didn't think it would be a problem because it's also very clear from afar but the boxes are soooo tiny they hurt my eyes. No problem, I thought, I'll photograph a small part of them and that'll blow them up enough for me to see (I more often than not have patterns on my phone now anyway) but no! That doesn't work because the 'x's aren't all in their own boxes - they're ever so slightly off, and if one's off then the next one's off a bit more and if that one's off a bit more then the next one's off a bit more and so on and so on. Ugh. SO. I think I'm going to have to do myself a chart on the computer and then either download it to my phone or print it. Whatever. The chart is a mirror image though, so only one will do and I can, for example, chart all the way up to where I think my armholes will be and then do the arms (which won't need recharting because it's v. simple) and then spend some time charting some more.

I have deffo gone wrong in the first bit of it, to the point where I'm thinking, bugger it, I'm just going to join it and made a jumper instead. But I've got to persevere because this is like a knitting DREAM of mine!!!!

And anyway, it's what I'm going to do today because I've done all of the work I set aside and I'm still pretty snotty from the killer lurgy and my mood, and therefore the shop's mood, will improve no end once I've set this up properly

Love Eleanor, 

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Cushion Love.

I've never really had an urge to make cushions much. Lindsey from The Bank (mwahahaha) makes tonnes of beautiful cushions and really enjoys them but me? Not so much. I made one for my sister for the Christmas before last:

And I made two odd shaped ones when I very first started knitting out of stitch patterns I found in the Stitch 'n' Bitch book which have never been photographed. Maybe I will, to prove that I was once a terrible knitter...

But, dear blog readers, I am ill. In a particularly horrid way. And I think it's affected my brain in a way that makes me want to not only knit cushions, but in... dun dun duhhhhhhhhhhhhn... fashion yarn!

You've got to admit that that's the most perfect thing you've ever seen. So fluffy, so blue, so purple, so fat, so full of soft. Ahhhh. I want to go back to bed and sleep all over it. But instead I've brought it into the shop to inspire you lovely lot. Aren't I good to you? It's already sold two cushion's worth of yarn so I think I did the right thing. ;)

Thing about cushions is, a bit like scarves and socks, you have free reign to go a bit mental. Not that I did on this. But they really are the perfect canvas to try out stitch patterns and yarn that you wouldn't use elsewhere or that you're not sure that you can do. They're like a big and useful swatch. Better than a scarf because you don't have to think about the back side of it and you can use it all year round and the only people that will see cushions are the ones you invite into your lair. Better than socks because they don't have to fit or be comfortable under your feet. You can find cushion inners in all sorts of sizes, or make your own from an old bedsheet/pillow case, some stuffing and some very basic sewing, or - and this is the lazy girls' way - just bloody stuff the cushion cover with no cotton fabric in between! IMAGINE THAT SLATTERNLY BEHAVIOUR! 

The yarn I used was the one featured in the blog yesterday - the King Cole Romano Chunky. I realised though that I didn't give you the proper deets - not firing on all cylinders you see (not even the usual half a cylinder!). So here they are:

King Cole Romano Chunky: 50g balls, recommended 8mm needle, 62% polyamide, 25% wool, 13% polyester. 65yards. 60 metres. Hand wash only (bugger that - I'll be gentle machine washing that but don't blame me if it all falls apart...).

It's a sort of self-striper but with textures - one's really fluffy (that's the seriously soft bit), one's a bit ribbony and shiny and one's thick and thin and a bit wooly with different colours in. I couldn't work out a pattern to the stripes though like you can with say, the Riot DK, it all seemed to be a bit random which worked really well for me and made me very happy. 

And, because I've been asked, here's a very basic pattern for the cushion that I made...

  • I used five balls of King Cole Romano Chunky because I can't think straight at the moment but I think four would be a much better idea and you'll see why in the pattern....(Although, Lindsey has just very rightly pointed out that since you get five balls for £6 you basically get one free so you might as well get the five and have a spare.... orrrrrrrr... get 20 balls and have a whole spare cushion! Haha. You can if you want though, I'm not laughing at you, just my evil genius capitalist plan.)
  • I used 5.5mm needles because that's all I had but I think I'd use 6mm needles just because it'd be easier on the hands and come a little bigger. But deffo no as big as 8mm because then you'll be able to see the inner/stuffing through the fabric. 
  • A sewing up needle and some complementary coloured smooth yarn for sewing up.
  • A cushion inner that fits your squares or a load of stuffing (about twice as much as you think). My inner measures 18" by 18" I think but my finished squares were more like 15" across - I like a tight cushion cover - your mileage may vary. 
Pattern (you'll feel sick that I even called this a pattern....):

Squares (Make Two):

Cast on 3 stitches.

Row 1: Kfb into the first stitch, knit to the end (one stitch increased).
Repeat row one until you're just about to run out of ball one, as in you haven't got enough left to complete the row.

Row 2: k2tog, knit to the end (one stitch decreased).
Repeat row two until you have three stitches left, cast off.

You should have the littlest bit of wool left because k2tog takes minutely less yarn to work than a kfb - so you shouldn't run out. :)

Sewing up:

Use your complementary colour to sew up three of the sides, insert your inner or you stuffing and sew up the final side. Sew in your ends. Enjoy.

Good yeah? Even a newbie or a very poorly LYSO can make this. Get to it.

And remember, the yarn isn't on the internet so call us on (0115) 9474239 or come into the shop if you want some. First come, first served, and this won't last forever.

Love Eleanor. xxxx

Monday, 14 April 2014

New Product Launch (Kinda).

Can you remember when we got the Comfort Offer in? Well, we're pretty much at the end of that now. My god we had a lot!

I have this one little box and a triangle thing in the window left of it and that's it. Saaaaaad face.

It's really been a lovely little offer to have - especially coming into the summer months, lots of babies being born and little projects to relax the body after working hard in the garden (or just in a pub garden...). But don't be sad! I have something else for you!!!

In the same job lot, King Cole sent me loads of this!

It's the King Cole Romano Chunky and, against my better judgement, I actually quite like it! So much so that I'm making a cushion cover in it... 

Those of you that know me know that fashion yarn really ain't my thing. Fluffy, thick-thin, higgle-de-piggle-de colours... oh no. And this had all three of those, so why do I like it? The softness. Pure and unadulterated softness. Heaven. I do also like the way that they've put the colours together on some of them - like the Blueberry that I'm using: 

Now, I'm not going to get these on the internet because it's not something I'm planning on selling full time. The rrp is between £6.49 and £8.85 for a 50g ball. Ain't no way I'm selling it for that and if we can't make a profit on it then I'm simply not interested (let me refer you back to this mad little haven of a yarn shop being an actual business... ;) ). However, because I've managed to get it in this job lot then I can bring that price down to £1.50 (or five for £6 - that's a ball free!). That is £4.99 cheaper than the cheapest recommended retail price! BLOODY HELL!

We don't have all of the colours in stock - just the ones here:

and we only have 24 of five of the colours (12 of the beigey/greeny one) so it really is a first come, first served thing but if you've ever been tempted by this yarn and you're just not sure then it's going to be well worth giving it a go in these circumstances. Yes?

If you're not from around Nottingham but you want to get your mitts on this yarn - or any other - then do give us a ring and we'll take a payment over the phone ((0115) 9474239 - keep ringing if we don't answer, it's only because there are other customers in).

Right, I'm off. I've got a stinking cold, the shop's been dead busy (thanks!!!) and this was all the work that I'd planned to do today. I'm going to catch up on blogs and knit my cushion cover.

Love Eleanor. xxx

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Two of a Kind

*****Aaaaaaaand it's all gone. It'll be back soon though so keep an eye out! *****

***I wrote this a couple of days ago and put a quick photo up on the facebook group this morning and people have gone mad which means that all of the Rainbows and one of Alf's Paintings have gone. We're left with Berry One, Berry Two and Alf's Painting Two. If you want them get in there quick!!***

Ahhhhhh. More new yarn! I do like to spoil you, don't I??! It feels like there's been a lot of new yarn here over the last couple of months. FUN! This one though, I know you will love because it's a one off and it sold out within 48 hours last time! Welcome back, Two of a Kind:

Isn't it lovely?!?! Verity's now got her own knitting mill which means that the blanks that they're dyed on are going to be an awful lot easier to do and she has ideas for this stuff! This is everything that we have in stock:

Rainbows Three, Four and Six. The numbers follow on from the last lot (one and two) and Five is missing because of a cock up that we had and therefore it's already been bought. But these are for you and it was by far the most popular last time. Just look at what's been made!!!!

 Beautiful ladies in their beautiful rainbow shawls (faces cut out because I didn't actually ask for permission to plaster them all over t-internet...). I even persuaded Laura-Jo to block hers and it looks fahhhhhhbulous:


Next up, we have the Berries. Now, Vezza called these 'Pink Gradients' and I think she went a bit King Cole on us there because these beauts deserve something a bit more sumptuous sounding. The colours are absolutely stunning - deep, warm purples through to bright and vivid fuchsias through to delicate, salmon pinks. I can only imagine what these are going to turn out like. I know they'll be beautiful though.

And last, but deffo not least because these are like my favourite colours evah, we have the Alf's Painting collection. There is a little story here but first, have a gander:

Alf's Painting One and Alf's Painting Two.

So, Alf, he's a tyke right. Remember this?

Well, look at him wearing it here:

Borrowed from his Mum's facebook group - Truly Hooked. You can see it in his face that's he's up to some mischief can't you? He's into everything - such an engaged little boy.

I think Verity would prefer him to be less engaged with the dying process though. She turned her eyes away for a moment, probably to look after the babbeh or some such and when she turned around again and he'd done this:

The bottom one, not the top. What a child! Verity wasn't sure at first but I think that this'll make a really neat pattern on some socks, it'll be much less of a self-striper and more higgle-de-piggle-de than the other shades but I'm excited to find out! I suggest, if you want to take this one to give it a home, that you look for a simple pattern to let the yarn shine and the colours play - perhaps something like a slip-stitch pattern? Lynsey from Novice Crafter had great success with her Hue and Value shawl when she couldn't work out what else to do with a yarn - I think that would look great knitted with a Navy or Cream 4ply (perhaps the Truly Wool Rich?) or socks. Just socks. I am still on socks. Anyway, that's been named Alfie's Painting One.

The colourway at the top was Verity's way of going with the flow after Alf's engagement to see what could be done and I think that'll work out like a fauxisle pattern (you know like our Regia Mix It Sock?). Part of the fun is working out what will happen with hand dyed stuff though, I think. Like a little secret between the dyer and the crafter. :) This one's been named Alfie's Painting Two.


Guess what I forgot to do from last time! Only draw the bloody winner!!!! So, I've got Verity to do it now and the winner isssssssssssssssssssss:

And that, according to my records is the lovely Hilary Clarke. I can't wait to see what she'll create, she's a bit of a genius knitter. :)

And that's that. One more little link to the whole lot for you, be quick though, they'll be gone soon.

Love Eleanor. xxx