Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Deffo Not On Top Form.

You can tell I wasn't on top form yesterday. My lunch, as a grown woman buying her own food, was four dry ryvitas and a punnet of strawberries. Right-o. Mooooooving on.

I need to tell you about Knit in Public! It was marvelous! But not very debauched and I do believe that debauched-ness makes a KIP event, yes? Certainly last year we were *this* close to getting chucked out of the poacher - I took offense to somebody's definition of sock yarn (NYLON people NYLON!). Anyway, lovely stuff happened this year too. I'll show you:

We went to Fade and the Hard To Find Cafe just up Mansfield Road. It wasn't very busy and we took over one of the back rooms. A few of us turned up and then the Picnic organised by Knit in Notts turned up so there were many more. I reckon there were about 20 of us at the busiest point which was just perfect.

I set myself up near the entrance and started some steady drinking:

I laid the free stuff out on the table and people dived right in. Elaine was particularly pleased with her horrendous candy pink fun fur:

Hmmmm. Different strokes for different folks. To be fair, the plans for this stuff do sound pretty cute. Maybe I'll remember to keep you updated??

Steph baked AMAZING biscuits!

As did Singing Bird Artist but I forgot to take a photo because I am a tit. 

We discussed important upcoming projects, like this:

It's the Pearl Clutcher from Ravelry and once you've seen it you can't unsee it. I have genuinely spent some time trying to decide if I could get away with it? Perhaps in reallllllllly subtle colours?

On the way home I saw a friend I haven't seen in ages and we went for a drink and then I went to Boyf's where I made a giggly tit of myself infront of the in-laws. :) GOOD DAY!

I'll end this once more with an apology. This next super secret is taking it out of me a bit. It's consumed every day of my life since I first stumbled upon the idea and there's no end in sight just yet - especially seeing as the meeting about it that was supposed to happen last week isn't happening until the end of this week. I'm spending my time making more of the stuff but I'm not actually sure if I should be but where one door closes another one opens yes? So I'm in a weird place where I'm making stuff but I'm not sure what for but I have a self-imposed semi-deadline which is a lot more relaxed than it was the week before last but is still taking it out of me physically and creatively. My pointing finger on my left hand will never be the same. Suffice to say, in the three weeks since I've been consumed by this and therefore not blogging as much I've made, five and three halves of a blanket, two dresses, two jumpers, two cardigans, a soft toy, some booties, some bunting and a bowl. It does not stop. Anyway, I have some photos that I can show you without giving too much away.

That's certainly not all the bits, but they are the photos that I've already released and I've not been doing the secret for about an hour now so I'm starting to feel a bit antsy like I want to get back to it so I couldn't work out which of the ones I haven't released that I'm allowed to release. Oh. fml. This is going to be my whole summer isn't it? Haha. But once it's done it will be worth it! And you'll love it toooooooo. :):):):):)

Love Eleanor. xxxxx

 P.s. The Knit Now Mag's in and it's bloody brill!

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Introducing Bobica!

I am SO excited about this! I guess you could call it my first 'proper' crochet design. It's got a bloody chart and everything... 

First and foremost therefore, here's the Ravelry link. Buy my pretties, you're paying for my coach trips! :)

If I remember rightly, I drew this on the toilet whiteboard on Love Your Local Yarn Shop Day.

I had an idea about a plump round thing in the middle of a lattice as a shawl and I started swatching. That's about as far as I got because then there was the Great Flood of 2014 and of course I went gallivanting with the oldies. I really got going with the pattern on a Tuesday - I know this because I was at knit group and I nearly drove them mad because I didn't reveal what or why or for whom I was doing it. It's the first time I've kept a proper secret I reckon (about myself anyway, I'm relatively good at other people's secrets...).

It started off  that evening looking a little like this:

Which morphed into this:

And I've got an idea for that, don't worry... But that had worked it's way by the end of the evening to looking an awful lot like this:

That's the image I sent to Vezza to ask if she wanted me to write a pattern for her Grad Club. She LOVED it because she trusts me, god only knows why. She was as excited as I was, so the next day I started on the 'proper' thing - crocheting a bit, writing a bit, taking photos.

And then came the holiday bit. I did take the pattern as written, and a gorgeous Truly Hooked Seafoam grad with my on holiday but I got caught up in doing something else which will appear on the blog at some point just as soon as I've sewn in ends and worked out how/when I should wear it/if it needs something else. 

I'm pretty proud of myself that I got back on it and didn't leave it languishing too long. I think part of that is that Verity was so excited and had already started dying the yarn. I need a deadline/somebody that I like relying on me for shit to get done apparently... Look:

In my head the pattern was always going to be called 'cherries' and we discussed  the colourway she was going to make with reference to yarn in my shop. We gathered together a little collection of Bamboo, Cottonsoft, Pricewise, Patons' Diploma and Merino DK and it looked a little something like this: 

Can you see that's a little more 'berry' than 'cherry'? On top of the fact that by now I'd blocked the first full version of the shawl and the 'cherries' were much longer and less round than they'd originally been.

I still love them. I love the way that they look like they're hanging by a thread - like plump and delicious berries waiting to be picked by greedy fingers. Nom nom nom. I haven't shown you these have I? They're the very first strawbs from Boyf's garden - honestly the most delicious thing ever apart from the mushroom croquette thing at Verity's wedding.

 'Bobica' means 'berry' in Bosnian and Croatian. I like the jaunty sound. :)

Anyway, less about food (I think it might be lunchtime). It took me four full days to write the chart. It took a lot of the stuff that I've learned about internetting, patience and bloody steady fingers to do. I first drew all of the symbols and scanned them, then I cropped and saved the individual images. Then I had to 'rub out' the background of each bit so that all that was left was a see-through background and the symbol itself. I did this because in order to lay the symbols near enough to eachother the background of the individual ones were definitely going to overlap therefore they needed to be see-through. To save see-through things on a computer they have to be 'pngs' rather then 'jpegs' which is fine and I knew that. BUT if you save one that points right as one thing and then flip it so it points left and save, the left hand one turns into a bloody jpeg so it no longer has a see-through background. GAH! I lost about another half day to that, but I won't be doing it again, I can tell you that for free. 

 Each layer of the chart is then worked painstakingly on top of the last one. Making sure everything lines up is like trying to herd cats. Speaking of which:


I must admit, I am dead proud of this pattern. I think it's interesting - certainly, I didn't get bored doing three of them. I think it's neat - I love the way the body moves into the edge. I think it's a perfect size - more than a shawlette, less than a shawl so perfect for using as both - ta dah! YEAR ROUND USE! I think it's adaptable - looks great in Verity's Grads, looks just as good in the Truly Wool Rich 4ply. And most of all it's written with love. 

It's been tested a couple of times and we've ironed out some problems, but as always, let me know if you get stuck - it might well be you but it could equally be me and if you're having a problem then somebody else will be too. 

Apart from that, ENJOY!

Once again, click here for the pattern.

Love Eleanor. xxxxxxxx

P.s Since I wrote this yesterday (it was released with no fanfare because the Truly Hooker's were getting their boxes but not all of them had turned up so I didn't want to spoil the secret...) I've made the top ten Hot Right Now crochet patterns on Ravelry. THIS IS MY MOMENT! HA! It doesn't get better than that. :):)


I forgot to show you these videos. The first one is the cat enjoying the mouse that Lou (I think?! I will get your name one day...) from Loobylou Creations made for him.

Sorry it's sideways (unless it's righted itself now, it does that sometimes...).

And the second one is the cat, catnipped up to the eyeballs, enjoying crochet more than Boyf would like. Mwahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahaha:

I really enjoy Lou's creations and her blog. Chronic pain affects a fair few of my customers and I love that knitting and crochet (not so much crochet in Lou's world... One day!) offers a bit of gentle solace. And it's useful too. Look at this photo:

It's a cat from an adoption centre looking particularly happy with a mouse that she made. Ahhhhhh!

Check out the blog here and enjoy.

That's it. I can't talk about cats anymore because I'll be looking up ones to adopt. Off for more coding.

Love Eleanor.xxxx

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Oh Dear

It appears that I'm up to my old tricks again... But I have a good reason! Just not one I can share with you... My Mum and I had a good discussion a few days ago based on an idea of mine and it looks like I'll be putting in quite a lot of behind the scenes work that'll have to stay secret until I've spoken to some other parties. It might not stay secret for long depending on what other people have to say but if it does stay secret then we're looking at about a timeline of a year or so where I keep things secret but work on them pretty much non-stop. Which is not v. good for having a blog is it?! Hmmm. At least today I have other things to speak to you about - new wool! YEAH!!!

So, Mark from King Cole came to see me t'other day and as usual, I'd seen most of what he had to show me on their facebook group before he came. That freed us up to talk about wildlife photography which is his real passion... He even won a place on the Countryfile Calender 2013 with this photo!!

Click here for his website - he's actually brilliant. 

But, I knew I wanted something new - something a bit different, something a bit exciting! With weather like we've been having (blurgh. not good for a ys...) you need something new and fresh to keep the interest don't you? So I've invested in the lovely Shine DK

 Now, this has been out for a few months and I'll admit outright that I forgot about it. I remember the Meadow colourway, which is really much more of a rainbow, making a massive impression on me but I was ordering a lot of something else at the time and couldn't afford to get anymore (I think it was when I got all of the Merino DK. Ahhh). For some reason this was back in his bag this time and I had the money to get it so I did. It's pretty much an acrylic but it has a thread of polyester running through it. It won't be everybody's cup of tea but I think that even people that don't like acrylics tend to not mind them for kids and seriously, they have cornered that with the Glacier, Blossom and Meadow. For those of you, like me, who don't mind a bit of acrylic for ourselves then worry not. This is spun in a very specific way which makes it super smooth, it has four plies in total which means that the fibres are packed tight into their tiny little plies and therefore lie smoother - kind of like the idea of cashmerino type yarns, yeah? I think it's going to mean that the yarn takes texture really well, I was going to say cable then but it'd have to be a special cable or design to work with the colourways. Lace, however, looks bloody lovely!

That's 3846. Imaginative... There's been a bit of discussion on this. Firstly, somebody reckons that nobody would wear it... well the model in the shop will be and then I will be. But I'm gonna knit the model first because I'm not convinced I'll wear the meadow. I may be more like to knit it in the slightly more sedate quicksilver or glacier. We'll see. Secondly, a few people have mentioned that they'd cast on all of the stitches at once so that you don't get the blockiness between the front and the back. That would deffo work, until you get to the armholes and I guess if you do a machine steek you could also do the rest of it like that. But I like the blockiness of it - I think, especially in the meadow, it makes it just a little more obnoxious which is part of the appeal for me. Anyway,  here are the rest of the patterns. I think they've done really well.

So that's the Shine DK. Enjoy.

Secondly. And this I'm really super excited about. Might we introduce to you the Bamboo Cotton 4ply. ARGH!!! I've been asking for this for a LONG time!

 Now, they've chosen the top ten colourways from the DK version but that's left us with a slightly muted palette. These probably aren't the best sellers in our shop but certainly the Opal and the Dusty Pink should smash out like they usually do.

The patterns provided are stunning delicate things:

King Cole 3920. Hope you can see that there's a little cable in there. Perfect for summer and layering going into Autumn. 

There's also this pattern: 

King Cole 3938. Which is style pretty horrendously. But I can see this. I have a vision! I'm going the left hand version in white and I'm going to put it over a bright bikini not a bloody outfit. This is for the beach! It is a better version, because it's handmade of course, of a kaftan! But I don't expect you to believe me, I feel like I'm on my own with this one but you'll all be on my level soon! Mwahaha!

 I was going to tell you about the brand new colours in the Fashion Aran but the lovely Chrissie's just gone and bought most of it! Haha. The Rum is now out of stock and we only have one left of the Lewis (I should have bought a million packs of that, I knew it'd sell!). Anyway, you can admire it by clicking here and look at this photo:

I feel like the Orkney needs more love but that's probably my fault - it's the blacky-grey hiding in the background there and it's lush! There are some new patterns for it too, they're right at the end of this list here.

And fiiiiiinally, we got two new colours of the Comfort Prints in.

Delight on the left and Spearmint on the right. Delight doesn't show up very well, it's a delicious mix of cream, dusky pink and beigey/browns. You're going to love it!

So that's the new stuff! I feel like there's a new energy in the shop now I've had a little move around and sort out.

And I was going to say more but customers have been in all afternoon and now it's nearly home time! So I'm offski.

Eleanor. xxx

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Machine Knitters :)

Afternoon Everybody. :)

I had the loveliest time last night and I want to tell you alllll about it! I went to see the Mapperley Knit and Natterers - a group of lovely ladies (and a few gents) who meet to talk about all things machine knitting. Now, I don't machine knit. I did it once and wasn't very good at all. Blurgh. But the garments that these ladies produced was just incredible! One lady I was talking to after, I could tell that her top was knitted but I had no idea that the skirt was too! It was a midi length pleated skirt in tiny tiny black yarn and it draped like a dream. It was so lovely to see the talent there! I was invited a few months ago to give a talk at one of their meetings and I said yes straight away without really thinking what I was going to talk about. My first inclination at these things would be something that I feel pretty passionate about like fairisle or socks but I couldn't work out whether that crossed over to machine knitting. So I decided to talk about the shop, which is the reason I was asked there in the first place so it seemed as good a subject as any.

Thing is, and you know me, when I start thinking about the shop, or anything, it just comes out in a big burble. The important part about giving a speech is that it has to have a backbone. A frame to hang all of your anecdotes and jokes and pithy one-liners on (not many of those I'm afraid...). I've had a dead busy few weeks and and even busier weekend so the first time I really got to thinking about it was yesterday in the day time. I decided I was going to talk about why I love being a YSO. My backbone was essentially - introduce the shop, when we started, why we started, how we started, our ethos and then I thought about six different reasons I love owning the shop - the wool, the people, the community, the freedom, the confidence it's given me and the free stuff (mwahaha). Within that frame I talked about neon things, knit club, affairs, the Healthy and Every Size Movement, Love Your Local Yarn Shop Day, the Christmas jumper, setting up a dating event for knitters, Verity, the Bead Shop, having stupid coloured hair, going to London, the birthday parties, the blog and all sorts of other things. I'm glad with the way I organised my thoughts because I was able to shorten a few of the points when I was running out of time. RUNNING OUT OF TIME!?! I HAD AN HOUR AND I RAN OUT OF TIME! Does anybody want to pay me to talk for 24 hours? I could totes do that. Totes. I summed it all up with the plan for the future and a nice cup of coffee (which meant I was awake till like three this morning - bad call, Eleanor).

The ladies were lovely and very appreciative - I get the impression that mostly their speakers were a little bit more sensible than me? They kept telling me how 'bubbly' I was. Well, yeah, I am. :).

I took a single solitary photo:

Which doesn't show the ladies to their best effect really. But I tried. the boss took a few photos of me as I was speaking so I'll share those if she sends them to me.

Now, the deets. The ladies meet on the first Monday of the month at Haywood Road Community Centre which is dead easy to find even if it is a little tucked away. I believe you can get there from six and they have a bit of a chat and buy some machine yarn from eachother etc. Then they have a speaker from 7 to 8 and then there's a bit more chatting afterwards and everybody left at about 8.45 or so. I have contact details for you so please don't hesitate to e-mail or comment for them but I'm loath to put them out there for security purposes. Do go on down if you get the chance though, it was seriously lovely!

  And now, why was I so busy? Bloody gardening. That's why. Boyf has a lovely but small garden that was covered in concrete. We started smashing the concrete last Sunday and that made me ache all week and then his parents decided on the spur of the moment to come up to help us take it to the tip. We got rid of loads of stuff! Smashed up a bit more concrete. Moved a completely full compost bin. Moved the normal and recycling bins out of the garden and into a ginnel that belongs to them but has been kind of co-opted by a load of nosy neighbours that have a legal (equitable actually. blah. law degrees) right to use it as a cut through and they do even though it's actually farther for them to walk. Whatevs. And then we started putting up a decking - which I didn't want but Boyf did but we ran out of wood. So that's why they'll be doing next Saturday whilst I'm at work. Thank the Lord! We borrowed a drill from my dad and I took the opportunity to photograph his cave:

Which goes some way to explaining the shop and why I'm so pleased that it's in the state that it's in. What I call tidy.

 Yesterday I spent some time moving the pots of things that we planted a few weeks ago into the raised beds which are the only part of the garden that we're not changing and cat helped a lot. Can you see him? Incidentally, he's deffo a he because I saw him spraying in a manly way t'other day. Knowledge is power.

Incidentally, have you seen this?

It's a decoy wasp nest knitted in super chunky. Find the pattern here: Robin Stephen's Wasp Away Decoy Nest and it's amazing!!! The idea is that wasps are terratorial creatures and if they see that there's another 'nest' nearby they'll bugger off somewhere else. I have an irrational fear of wasps (and bees but I am bothered about that and trying to stop myself) and I've seen a wasps nest and it made me feel sick and I would hate my life if I ever had to see one again so I'm going to wack up these buggers all over Boyf's garden whether he likes it or not. I'm thinking it'd be great in the Seriously Chunky but I reckon you'd have to up your needles to an 8mm so that it's still sturdy but you don't do your hands some damage trying to work it.

And, once this is finished and posted I'm going to get on with the final touches on the super secret project. Actually, the penultimate touches. Because Boyf's parents were down I couldn't use him spare bed for blocking so I still need to do that and photograph them and the weather hasn't helped with that but if I can get that done then I can photograph on Wednesday. It's really taken far too long to do.

And finally. A competition! Can you remember at Love Your Local Yarn Shop Day I said I'd be giving away a free Yarndale place and then promptly forgot? Well, I'm making that good now! I'm going to be asking a series of questions about Yarndale and the shop over on the Facebook and Twitter pages and every time you answer a question you get entered into a draw to win a free place! Only one entry per question though so don't go answering 20 times on Facebook and Twitter. ;) For those of you who have already booked you can have your money back (in shop vouchers) if you win and for those of you who haven't booked, I'm saving a space on the coach but separately from that there are only six spaces left so if you definitely want to go then you really need to book a ticket and then do all your entries for a chance of getting that money back. 

Click here to book your place.

And that's it! I'm off to tidy for twenty minutes and then get down to the super secret project.

Love Eleanor. xx