Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Love Your Local Yarn Shop Day!!!

Ahhhhhh. Here we are again! I can't believe that it's been a year since the last event. What event?!?!! LOVE YOUR LOCAL YARN SHOP DAY! The day when we come together and celebrate bricks and mortar yarn shops for the good that they do for the community and for the good that you do for us. Your support means that for yet another year I get to not have a proper job and mess around with yarn and sticks for your viewing and crafting pleasure. Amazing. I did a brill vlog about it which you can see by clicking here.

Once again there will be free stuff, cakes, biscuits, knitting, crochet, booze (hopefully, you have to bring it for licensing purposes), chat, laughs and generally yarny debauchery. (It's not that debauched - read about last years event by clicking here).

What have we got for you this year?!!?!? Well, the stuff I can tell you about is here:

Verity's Yarn!!!! We have the lucky dip that we have every year. That's up on t'internet and available to buy now:

The idea is, you buy a chance of winning them for £2. You can buy more than one chance - on the same colour or different ones or maybe two of each??? This yarn would be £15 so if you buy two options on each colour then you're so much more likely to win AND it's only a £1 more than you'd spend on a skein. Perfs.

When you knit with them you won't see the writing, you rip it out and work straight from the blank or you can rip it out, ball it up and work from that. Up to you. The message gets broken up so it'll just look like glorious hand dyed yarn but you and I will know that there's a little bit of your local yarn shop love knitting/crocheted into it.

This year there's a slightly extra thing in that the lady that won the #winning blank that we did when we won the Best Local Yarn Shop in the Midlands last year never collected it so everybody that enters in to win these four will also be entered in to win that one. Once you've won one I'll take you out of the mix so that there'll be five winners rather than four. That seems fair doesn't it?!?!

And what else. We have theeeeeeeeese:

Hand made crochet hooks by meeeeee! Some of them are freebies, give aways, I have to decide how to do that and the rest of them will be available to buy on the day and will hopefully be a regular item on the Knit Nottingham menu. There are plenty more but they all need photographing properly so gimme some time. That's hopefully happening today. Phew.

And we have Zoe Halstead coming again. She is so lovely and I'm so looking forward to seeing her again. You can read her interview from last year by clicking here. She was a real inspiration and help when I was in the process of getting my pattern PUBLISHED BY KING COLE. YEAH, YOU HEARD. MY PATTERN PUBLISHED BY KING COLE!


It was released last week but they didn't tell me so I've had to put it on order this week. I bought 40 copies so you better make it worth it haha. Obvs I'll sign the copies for you. And the yarn will be in and you can all bask in my glory. AHHHHHHHHHHHHH! That'll be available from Saturday. Big old launch party.
Obviously, as like any party, we'll have the bowl of goodness so once you've decided on what you're going to buy you get to lucky dip some sort of bowl and see if you've won 10% off, double points, 100% off, a kiss from Chris. Jokes. That's not available. Everybody seems to enjoy it so why wouldn't I do it?! Just bear in mind that it's not available on the Truly Hooked stuff. It never has been but I've been a bit lax (lacks?) about doing it in the heat of the moment. Because Vezza has bills to pay and I am a reasonable human being, we don't make much profit at all on her yarn but we still have to buy it at a relatively high price. Which means that if I give it away for free or even with a good percentage off I could be paying Verity for you to get free yarn. You can bollocks. Haha. So if you're buying some of her stuff then we'll just take that off whatever you win from the lucky dip. Yeah? Makes sense? It's all about supporting your bricks and mortar folks, don't be mean. :)

AAAAAAAAAAAAND. There's going to be a small sale on the day. A few bits that have been discontinued or that we've decided to not stock any more to make way for the NEW YARN that will also be available on the day. This is something a bit different to what we've stocked before. It feels gorgeous and it's a little bit of something special mixed with some good old fashioned acrylic that makes it truly affordable. Perfect for Knit Nottingham. Just what we're all about. And the patterns are good too.

And that's as much as I can think of for now. I'm sure there's going to be more stuff. I'm sure of it but I just can't think of it. Is that enough for you?! Are you coming?!?!?! Let us know!!!! Click here.

Also, amidst all that, don't forget that you can still vote for us for the Best Yarn Shop in The Midlands and also the Best Yarn Shop Day Event by clicking here. We'd love you if you did. :)

Love Your Local Yarn Shop Day - May 2nd - 10.30 to 6.30. 

See you there! Love,

Eleanor. xxxxxx

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Pattern of the Weeeeeeeeeek - Ada Lace Shells Top

I did say that this wouldn't make it onto pattern of the week but my feelings softened as I got going with it. I must admit the beginning was tetchy but the end was soft as butter. And the final product? Well. Boom. Even if I say so myself...

It's a dress and with my new skirt it doubles as a top! Boom! Can't say fairer than that.

Now, it's a paid for pattern. You can find it here: Ada - Lacy Shells Top by Vicki Chan. I've seen her work before and liked it but never been struck by the bug so much that I couldn't not have the pattern that very instant. Which was the first problem I had. I rushed into it. I always assume that I can just do anything at any time and there'll be no issues but actually, I should have bought the pattern and read it before I jumped right in. There's a lot to it. There's a lot of different versions of the same motif - each beautifully described but subtly different. I should have taken the time to read the key to work out what the difference was, as it was I was swimming around trying to find the right one that were called near identical names because they are near identical but each is ever so slightly different.

I should have also taken the time to think about whether I wanted to follow the written or the charted instructions. Yes, there are both. Isn't that great? Lots of crocheters seem scared of charts but actually they're amazing. They'd have solved some of my problems about the subtley different motifs because it's all there to count, I don't have to find the number that's different, it's just there. However, because of the way that the pattern's put together and that there are so many sizes, there are lots of charts. There is an explanation of which you use when but by the time I thought I'd have a go with the chart I'd already started the whole thing and changed sizes numerous times so I was completely lost. I think you need to choose one or t'other and either would work beautifully.

Which brings me to sizing. The day that I decided to make it was one of the first really nice days this year, it was also about a couple of days after the new colours of the Bamboo Cotton 4ply came in so I was always going to do it in that even though the original calls for 3ply/light fingering. I suppose the Bamboo Cotton 4ply counts as that but I should deffo have done a gauge swatch. Another of my personal problems with this was that it's top down and every size starts with the same chain and intial motifs which I LOVE!!!! I love this because even if you're massively overweight or underweight your shoulders change veeeeeeeeeery little. That's about your bone structure. You boobs change, your belly and your bum, your legs, the width of your arms - they change hugely and should be taken into account but your bones? They don't change. And designers ignoring this is why we fat women end up with armholes down to our waists, not everything needs to change when you get fatter and vice versa when you get thinner. Soooooooo, starting with the same initial chain is great. However, it lulled me into a false sense of security (or rather I lulled myself because I'm a lazy crocheter) into thinking 'I'll be roughly this size but I'll just start and see where I am' as in, I could go up or down a size later on, which I could and did.

Buuuuuut. I didn't counter into the fact that the pattern very nearly made my head explode! I honestly can't explain that now because as soon as I took the sleeves out of play and was working down the body I got it dead easy. The increasing happens within the motif so you're never doing half motifs or anything, it's always full ones they're just bigger or smaller so that can't explain it. I just went a bit mad. I think I went all in and was doing it whilst customers were in the shop and I was on the bus and chatting to Chris and whatever. But it went very very wrong, many many times. I left all the mistakes in. Obvs. But it did mean that I was so confused about that that I found thinking straight about the size difficult and although I changed it I forgot to which one and how much I'd done and. and. and. So by the time I took the sleeves out of play, they were on the smallest size and the body was on maybe the middle size and that left me with a body with the wrong amount of motifs and a different amount of motifs on the front and back.

ANNNNNND. It also meant that I couldn't work out how to do the simple change that would have made it fit me better which is to chain some under the arms. Lots of people, if you look through the projects, have made this slight adjustment to great effect and I felt like I should be doing it. But I couldn't get my tiny brain around it at the time so I just didn't bother and actually, given the Bamboo does stretch somewhat (usually a problem to be overcome, this time a great thing) it's worked out okay.

 Phew. That's a lot of writing. Let's have a photo:

Yoga dress. 

 So, the dress came out bigger than it should. This could be to do with my crochet gauge because recently everything's been too big, it could be to do with the yarn weight I chose (4ply as opposed to 3ply) and it could be to do with the stretch of the Bamboo.  But what it does mean is that I've ended up with a very wide neckline that hangs off my shoulders. I love this. But you might not. 

I suggest, dun dun duuuuuuuuuhn, doing a gauge swatch.

I also think that the Navia Uno would be amazing!!!! But then again, it's not a 3ply so you would need to do a swatch.

I think that's all I want to say about the pattern. It is a great pattern, despite my messing around and I love the finished object so much. I'm definitely going to do it again. The motif is just interesting enough that I think I can cope with that but maybe I'll wait a little while.

The colours that I chose were, from top to bottom, Pebble, Dusty Pink, Plum and a sneaky hint of French Navy in the Bamboo Cotton 4ply. I've always wanted to use the Pebble because it is just the most beautiful colour in the world but I didn't think I could cope with it on it's own so it's a lovely way for me to introduce that. I was only going to use the Pebble, Dusty Pink and Plum but by the time I'd got to the end of the yoke with the pebble I'd only made it to 6 repeats of the pattern. I wanted each strip to be the same amount of colour and 18 rows of the pattern altogether wasn't enough to make it into a dress/tunic like I wanted but it was too long for it to be a jumper so I needed to add something else. Opal was my initial thought but I swerved for the French Navy in the end as a less obvious choice and I'm glad I did. I love it. I did make sure to put a little of it around the sleeves which I think makes it look like it wasn't an add on even if it totally was....

And that's that. I know lots of people have been wanting to know more since it appeared on the Kitty Cafe vlog so I'm glad I've plucked up the courage to do it. Lots went wrong but in the end, didn't it turn out well????

Love Eleanor. xxxx

Friday, 24 April 2015

My Beautiful Customers and Their Beautiful Projects

I know you love looking at what other people have made with our yarn and you are in luck because I've been disorganised again and I've got a big old list of stuff that I haven't shared anywhere so..... sit back and enjoy. :)

In no particular order:

Ann's first sock!!!!! Ann is Toni's grandma and has knitted forever (I think??) but Toni's new found enthusiasm has fired her up. I know there were problems in these socks, extra stitches I think, but with Toni's calm guidance she has smashed it out. Aren't they great!?!?!? They actually almost make me like this brown yarn... ;) She's since started a beautiful cardi that I had a sneaky peak of the other day and I can't wait for it to be done. OOOOOOHWEEE!

King Cole Zig Zag 4ply in Mocha and the free pattern that comes with it.

LOOK LOOK LOOK LOOK! It's Totoro! I have no idea what that is. Some sort of Japanese cartoon character that I should know more about but apparently makes a really good knitting and crochet motif. Isn't it just the cutest!?!!?!!?! This is by 'ByRobin' I guess that's not her name, I guess it's a business name.... maybe just Robin? Hi Robin or ByRobin! It's made in lots of balls of the Cygnet Chunky and Robin's one of our internet customers and has been busy stashing this yarn over months and months and now I get to see this amazing thing! Isn't the internet great??? She has a blog and her photos are amazing. Once I get this, the vlog and the pile of patterns sorted then that's what I'll be catching up on. Gorgeous.

Claire appeared in our last customer photo blog too - she's bloody amazing, especially for keeping her head up over a difficult few weeks (and in that massive biker jacket she was wearing last time she was in. Haha). It's the first time I've seen this pattern (King Cole 4143 if you must know) knitted up - first in this photo and secondly in the flesh. This yarn really is perfect. Amy Blackwell described it as feeling 'like love' earlier on. (The King Cole Recycled Cotton Aran if you must know). It is lovely! Soft and drapy. Claire's had a little difficulty with the seaming, to make it neat she felt like she had to pull it tight but then it was a completely different tension so the softness of the knitted fabric. I guess you'd counter this by doing tiny sewing up stitches but I don't know yet. I'm doing a cardi in this yarn and from the same selection of patterns but I keep putting off doing the second sleeve. Yes, sss has struck. So I ought to get on with this so I can give you some actual advice. However, Claire's jumper was just perfect - the balance between neatness and tightness was near spot on and it looks good on, I tell you that for free. :)

Heather also appeared in our last customer projects blog too!Last time she made an amazingly cute bolero/shruggy thing and this time it's an oversized tee. Heather's a little concerned about the size and I see where she's coming from but it takes me back to when I was a kid and playing in the sun all day and mum used to put us in big oversized tee shirts and it was heavenly. This is the sort of top to wear with a nice denim skirt in the evening in the summer when you have to look reasonably put together but don't want to have to have things touching you. Does that make sense? She used the Bamboo Cotton DK and the Bamboo Cotton Prints DK for the top bit but before you all go mad and want to knit it - King Cole have just discontinued the prints. The buggers. To be fair, I don't think the chose the right colours - each one was lovely within itself but there weren't enough and I also think there may have been too many colours in each print. Oh well. That's life. It looks great on Heather though doesn't it?! :)

Ahhhhhhh. This is Sharon and Alice who were both on my lesson LAST SUNDAY and this photo was taken LAST SUNDAY EVENING! Can you believe that?!?! Lessons are such a lovely thing to do with you mum or your daughter and Alice is going to be a knitting superstar, I can tell. She already sews and plays the French horn (I think??) so she has many many talents and her mother must do too for bringing her up. Lovely ladies. :)

Susie's blanket. Susie's blood blanket. Susie did not crochet before she started this blanket. Just stop for a minute and think about that.


We had lots of discussions about how to put the blanket together, sewing, crocheting as-you-go. In the end she chose the latter option and used the Silver colour to do so. However, she'd laid the squares out so that they went from light to dark, can you see that? But once the Silver was in place that was lost a little bit so Susie came in and she was all like 'ooooooooh, it's not good, I hate it' and so on and so on. No. No. No. It's AMAZING! Amazing! I love it! You may not be able see this here but there are six squares with 3d flowers on, they're white with black middles, can you see? Just the whole thing is lovely. Neither of us were convinced about the colours when she first started - white, black, brown and grey but I'm definiteley convinced now and I kinda want to start one this very minute (but I have gay socks to finish, stop Eleanor, stop). In case you want to make it, and allow me to live vicariously, it's done in the Bamboo Cotton DK

Now, given that Susie has only just started crocheting with that blanket, what was her next thing? Only the last crochet thing that make me want to rip my hair out. haha. LOOK! She's using the rest of the Black Bamboo Cotton DK but I think she might end up using the Bamboo Cotton 4ply after she's had a good old practice. Can you believe this woman????

Ahhhhh. Moira's cardigan. Moira's lovely cardigan. Moira is one of our very experienced knitters but put it down for a long while and now every so often gets the bug to make something for herself or her daughter. This is one of those times. It's pattern number 4014 and it's knitted in the Moods DK which, if you're not willing/able to splash out on the Masham DK, is a lovely woolly subsitute. We had a few problems gauge wise which resulted in a few inches of the back being ripped down but now it's done it's spot on and I can see her wearing it an awful lot. Lovely. Can't wait for the next one which is even more spectacular but requires Patons to pull their finger out and get some yarn sent to me.

Ahhh. I think I did share this one. Did I tell you that Vezza's gone a bit sock mad? Well, she's made like more socks than me now, more often that not in her lovely hand dyed but of course she's still got a soft spot for King Cole Zig Zag like we all have. This is the Marine colourway. :)

I can't do this one justice. I've tried many a time. It is Davina's Navia Uno shawl, covered in many many coloured beads and it's absolutely delightful. She used the Charcoal colourway so it's a little bit more subtle than the black but it's still beautiful with an every day outfit to jazz it up. I must admit I was shocked when she was wearing it for work but why keep special things under wraps? You need to get them out and love them and appreciate them and (hopefully) wear them out which means you get to wear them more and you also get the memories of having used them. Perfect. I'm sure she'll let me know what the pattern was when she reads this because I can't remember.... 

This was Lindsey's beautiful wreath inspried by Attic 24 and crocheted in many colours of the Patons Diploma Gold and the King Cole Merino Blend DK for her mother for mother's day. I love how jolly it is and how I saw it in all the stages. We initially weren't sure about the colour scheme for the ring bit in the background but I think it's a lovely balance between that and the flowers. Her mum rearranged the flowers because a daughter can never do anything right can she? Haha. I think Lindsey did a bloody brill job, I'd have left her flowers where they were. 

I couldn't not show this off even though it's totally cheating. Izzy came on our Learn To Fairisle course just before Christmas last year (I'm running it again because I loved it so much but we're nearly booked out so.... chop chop) and bought the yarn to make this, King Cole Merino Blend DK, on the day I think or soon after anyway. She was tickled by a tropical theme knitted in double thickness pure wool and I must admit, I think everybody that sees it is too. She totally cheated by having more than two colours in a row but I think I'll let her off. Would you? 

Haha. You couldn't escape a customer blog without a nod to Toni could you? She sent me this photo of her newest creation sat on top of one of her oldest creations. Same needle, same size, same yarn - whooooooooooooole different gauge. Haha. It happens folks. It happens. This is made in her favourite, the King Cole Chunky Tweed with 6mm needles.

And lastly but not leastly, Lindsey (again... haha), was inspired by the crochet elephant in the shop and has made herself a bunny from the Toft Alpaca book in the King Cole Cottonsoft. I feel like I love him/her but neither of us can work out what colour the eye should be - she's tried a range of greys, browns, black, cream and white and buttons, but nah. Doesn't work. What do you think? 



Eleanor. xxxxxxxxx

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

An Update

Gosh. I had the best day yesterday. The best. I woke up early which is all Chris's fault but I knew I had a lot of nothing to do so I got up anyway. First thing was first, I had to get to the Post Office. Decisions needed to be made whether I was going into town or staying in Beeston. Always town. If it's the option, always town. Which meant that I could get some sculpey from The Bead Shop. And if I was going to town then I might aswell pop into the KITTY CAFE(!!!!!!) to see Marie so I booked a slot before I even set off. Perfect. I spent a lovely hour there before heading back home, having some soup and spending some time with Versace in the garden listening to podcasts and sculpeying and drinking lots of tea. Perfect day.

The pasta maker kind of at work. I was trying to take a photo of the scratches I got from being a human scratch post to the kittens at the Kitty Cafe. They were on fire yesterday, playing and fighting and making a noise and I was sat in the perfect place - just at the entrance to the rest room for them - so I got them all. Ahhhhh lovely. Almost lovelier on my own than with other people. Loner. Anyway. This was my setup for the afternoon. More later. 

In the evening Chris and I go to salsa. This is Sophie who takes the lesson. She's French and she's lovely. She's a ballet dancer originally so she likes to put loads of twirls in and it drives me mad but she's a good teacher - nice mix of making sure you do it right and helping you relax. I've set up a Facebook group for it here because at the minute it's me and Chris every week and a small assorted group of singles so it'd be nice to get a proper group going. It's only £5 for an hour and the beginners class starts at 7.15ish. It's at the White Lion in Beeston which is just right across from the Tesco and also where the Wool and Wine group meet on a Tuesday. Honestly, it's worth popping along if you can make it because it really does make exercise enjoyable and you can be as two left footed as Chris is. Haha. COME COME COME!!!

I thought I'd share this for posterity. This is the chart that I put together for the wedding socks that I've been on about in the vlog for a couple of days (click here). I did it the right way round for starters and then just looked at the phone upside down every time I needed to knit it. For Graham's socks I swapped the T and the G around which I thought would be simple but really bloody wasn't. This morning I finished the initials on the very last sock, only took two rippings out, 9 countings, some increasing, some decreasing and lots of fag breaks to get there. But from now on it's plaaaaaaaaaain sailing. Touch wood.

Another for posterity. This is the first tram that I've seen on the Beeston line. Chris still found something to moan about...

Sculpey. An inordinate amount of sculpey. More another day. 

Ahhhhh. And here is the progress as of Saturday night (I think.... or maybe Sunday). So that's Theo's socks down to the toe and one of Graham's sock down to the toe. Now I'm on the last sock, Graham's and I'm about half way down the leg after doing this ribbing and the initials this morning. Heel at some point then the foot and then I have to decided whether I really do have enough for the toes and if I do then what patterns I'm going to do to make the differentiation easier. Then I'm going to give these a jolly good blocking. Literally the first socks that I've blocked. 

Photo from the Kitty Cafe!!! This is either Minnie or Daisy and they were both lovely little things. Whichever one it was it saw my knitting from across the cafe and came to accost me repeatedly. I have scratches all the way up my leg. I have many videos of the shennanigans but I'm so sick after this Vlog A Day April malarkey of waiting for videos to upload that I couldn't justify putting any on here. For each video I make I have to upload it to Windows Movie Maker and then, even if I don't do any editing, I have to save it in a different format which looks like an upload bar and then I have to upload it to Youtube and then I have to do some html. Didn't really think about that every day did I? Oh well, nearly over and very enjoyable. :)

And here is the beginning of something quite beautiful. That tiny little sprout in the middle of the photo is a marrow dear readers. At least I think it is. It's the first thing that came up from the seeds that we planted a couple of weeks ago and I do believe it's from the stock of seeds that I got from the mega marrow last year. Is this genetic modification? This year I will harvest only the seeds from the biggest marrow and so on and so on until I have a marrow that I can sale the seas in and you won't see me for dust (or sea spray).

And here's the setup proper. You'll have to excuse the state of the garden. We got it gorgeous last year but, like a good little housewife, I mulched the raised beds at either side of the path where I was sat here with cardboard. But when I came to take them up earlier this year the beds on the right side were all mossy and had very few worms and stuff so it wasn't healthy soil. The beds on the left side were great and I think that's because the beds on the right have concrete under them. The whole garden had concrete under it last year and we took up as much as we could but it took so long we had to just get the soil in and get going in the end because all the seedlings were ready to go in. This meant we left the concrete on the right side and just covered it in soil but it is where the mega marrows grew last year so I didn't think it'd be a problem this year but I wasn't happy with the soil health in the end. (Can you believe I'm talking about soil health?) So a couple of weeks ago I dug all the soil from that side and put it onto the other side hoping that Chris would help me smash up the concrete but now either we're weak or the concrete is significantly thicker but we can't do it so we're waiting for his dad to come down with a concrete breaker but his parents aren't fond of telling us when they're coming so they'll turn up one day with it and we have no say but until then the garden is officially a mess. Wow. That took a long time to say....  I still enjoyed sitting there with a pot of tea and my pasta maker though. :)

Gosh, that took so long to do I've got to be off but I got everything I wanted to say said so no problem really but no proofreading. Love,

Eleanor. xxxxxxxx

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Eleanor's Pattern of the Weeeeeeeek - 3914


I'm really happy to be presenting this today. Mainly because I've got a stinking cold and this is just what I want to be wearing. 

King Cole 3914 in the Bamboo Cotton DK (Damson, Oyster and Navy). How perfect is that for something to just shove on? It is not flattering. It's not horrendous but it's definitely not what you wear when you what to accentuate your assets.... Haha. Not with those pockets where they are. It's what you put on when you want to be relatively presentable without doing any work at all. It is an outfit in itself - this, leggings and flip flops and you too can be as beautiful as me!

Now, the pockets. This brings me to my top tip which is to just follow the bloody pattern when it tells you which contrast you should use to make the pockets. I'll explain why. I made a fabulous dress with the purple yarn (Damson) when the shop had been open about six months or so. I wore it a few times but came to the realisation that it just didn't suit me - and it was too pretty to be one I just shove on to look presentable, it needed styling to look okay. So it got left in the cupboard but I couldn't help but think it was a massive waste of yarn just hanging around with the towels. So, at some point last year I ripped it all out and started looking for an alternative. One fine day this pattern came along and I knew it was the one. I couldn't not cast it on so I started like that minute. You cast on the pockets first and they should have been done in the purple but the Damson was at home and because it had been so long since I knitted the original dress I had no idea how many balls I had at home but I certainly didn't want to start a new ball of purple if I had enough of the Damson back at home. So I started it in the Oyster thinking it wouldn't be that bad. But really, if you want to use the pockets, and I do because what's the point of having pockets if you don't use them, then the pockets are going to sag a little and then the lining shows. So, even if you're trying to recycle and be earth and pocket friendly - don't skimp on your pocket linings.

As it happens, I didn't have enough of the purple yarn and I knew that pretty early on in knitting the back. So about half way through I bought a couple of balls of the Damson and striped it in. Then on the front I did exactly the same thing, I did the same amount of rows in the original colour and then striped up to where the Oyster and Navy come in. I think I also did the same on the sleeves. Now. You can definitely see the difference with the stripes. Definitely. It's obviously a different dye lot being perhaps four years old... but I did wear and wash the original dress a fair bit so the colour had definitely changed anyway. But, because I did the same on the front and the back people either don't notice or they think that it's a design feature. So this comes to another top tip - don't be afraid of mixing dye lots. Definitely be afraid of using one ball of a different dye lot when everything else another one and you're starting half way up a sleeve but there are plenty of ways of including this lonely little dye lot ball in. The general rules are, if it's separated by a seam and it's symmetrical then it's gonna be alright. So you could do the sleeves in a different dye lot to the body as long as you do both sleeves. Or you could do the neckband in a different dye lot. And if you're doing that then you might as well do the welt and sleeve in the different dye lot if it means you can do the body and sleeves in the other one. Yeah? You have options. :)

So, on with the pattern. It's done in pieces and this is a good idea with the Bamboo Cotton. Cotton and bamboo both have a tendency to drop with wear so the stability that a seam creates is necessary (or a necessary evil if you love knitting in the round...). It has a drop sleeve, which means no shaping around the armhole or for the top of the sleeve, and this is good if you have a smaller bust to bum ratio - it creates a bit more interest up top so that's where it draws the eye. Added on to the stripey yokey bit which has the same visual affect and it's all about the small busted ladies out there (or the large bummed like me haha). However, the pockets where they are do mean that it isn't particularly flattering for people with a large stomach (or one that hangs down a little like mine does). I suppose you could move the pockets but I'm not sure where..... much higher and you'd lose your waist any lower and they're not useful. Or you could take them out. BUT WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT!!!!?????!?!?!? I will fight for pockets!

Other than that I will say that it is a lot of knitting. A lot of stocking stitch. I tend to like these projects a couple of times a year or if I'm planning to do something else whilst I'm doing it and I did think about casting another one on for when I'm called onto the tv at short notice - perfect for back and forth and back and forth. But thinking about it, wouldn't this be perfect for holiday knitting? Kids scratting around on the beach at Skeggy? Get a few rows in whilst drinking your dishwater tea on shivering at the sidelines. Eight hour drive to the Scottish Highlands? Perfs. Don't talk to me if you're headed abroad. Me and the hole in my ear don't want to know... ;)

And one more photo for the record:  

And a link to the pattern for the google rankings: King Cole  3914.

And, bugger it, a sneaky link to the King Cole Bamboo Cotton DK for the rankings too...

Love Eleanor. xxxxxx

P.s. Have you see our vlog about Love Your Local Yarn Shop Day????

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

A Fixer Upper

Like my fave song from Frozen. This blanket was a bit of a fixer upper.

Cathy, who owns a vintage reselling business and has a real eye for incredible things, bought this blanket for her granddaughter a while ago. It's obviously been used and reused and well loved. The colours are incredible and the stitching it beautiful. It's a real simple stitch, something like *treble into the top of the treble, ch1* and then in the corners it's very much a granny square corner. The yarn is something like a pure wool 2 maybe 3ply. But, as you can see, there was a stripe in it that was crocheted in something very different and it's that stripe (actually a partial stripe) that had worn through which is a such a shame.

Now, crochet is difficult to 'fix'. In knitting you can basically re-knit holes with a sewing needle if needs be, or knit a piece and kitchener stitch it in place or whatever and that's because knitted stitch, as I think of them, kind of aren't complete until you've done something to them. The best example of this is casting off, once you know you need to finish you have to do something else i.e. casting off in some way, whereas when you're crocheting the crochet stitch is complete within itself so when you know you want to finish you just stop. But because it's complete within itself in order to fix it you have to do some weird acrobatics to make sure that the stitch that was worked into the row that's gone wrong doesn't come undone. Acrobatics I tell you. 

Now, Cathy was going to do this fixing herself. She's a strong knitter but not so much a crocheter but she was going to have a go. But then she picked up some Riot DK and some Patons Diploma to make a fairisle for herself and she was gone. She brought the blanket to me, and the yarn and hook that we'd chosen to fix it with and hope for the best. That was a couple of weeks ago and I haven't had any time to do it until Monday but I did carry it round with me everywhere - like a bag lady - I was really looking forward to fixing this.

So on Monday I got to looking at the problem. Only part of the row was this thinner yarn but the colour that Cathy and I had chosen was the Pastel Green of the Navia Uno

 Because the Natural White just seem too stark against the ages creams in the blanket. But, despite the fact that the two halves of that stripe were in different yarns, they were both the same creamy colour and I just couldn't cope with the idea that half the round would be green and half would be cream. So the first decision I made was to do the whole round. I found the beginning of the thinner yarn that had broken, but before it had broken and chopped a small portion of it:

And then each horizontal chain bar between the trebles on the row above was chopped. snip snip snip. And then, for the section that I did at a time, I teased out the tiny curls of waste yarn. Cute.

Then I actually had to so some crochet, I did start by slip knotting and chaining some, and then I identified the bottom bit of the treble from the row above that I needed to secure:

I shoved the hook in which was pretty difficult because the hole at the bottom of said treble was super small because it closed around the thinner yarn. This became easier when I got round to replace the thicker bit:  

 and slip stitched through it.This was also a bit difficult because the old yarn was splitty from years of wear. But I did it! I soldiered on.

Then I worked a treble into the top of the treble from the row below, in the normal place that I would have done were I making the thing and then a quick chain before started the process of finding the bottom of the next treble to work into. It was slow going. A 2mm hook. Yeesh. And really, it's all a bit forward facing, like I've done a back post treble:

Can you see? However, when you look at the whole thing, it really works!

I'm pretty sure that were you not a crocheter I really don't think you would be able to tell. The colour works and from atop a pracing pony the slight variation in texture won't either. 

I am looking forward to giving this a jolly good block tonight because the Navia yarn fluffs up a beaut once it's blocked and I think it'll match the texture of the other yarn much better. BEAUTS!

And that's my fixing story. :)

Love Eleanor.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Pattern of the Weeeeeeeeek - Great British Granny Shrug


This week I'm talking about the Great British Granny Shrug. Full disclosure - it's one of mine - but because I got the idea from around and about I put it up for free. I'm featuring it because a version of it has made it into the window once more:

Just below the ceiling tile where the leak was. Ahhhhhh. Lovely.

Now, this is a very easy pattern. Even if I say so myself.

It's essentially made out of two granny hexagons. So if you've managed to make a granny square (for example if you've been on one of our Learn to Crochet One lesson....) then you can make this. All you have to do is start with six shells in the middle and then move outwards with six corners. Twice. Dead easy.

What does make people struggle, is the putting it together so I thought I might explain that a little better now with some of my beautiful artwork. So, you'll end up with something like looks like this: 

The coloured dots are simply where you fold it. You can fold the blue corners to eachother or the green ones or of the purple ones. (Just to be clear though, the colours in the corners don't appear on the work - this is just two show you that you have options which is perhaps why it's confused people doing the pattern.) Any will work. I used the purple ones:

Once you've folded the purple corner onto the other purple folder you'll get a 'T' shape as shown by the light orange dotted line. Dead easy. Then you need to: 

 Sew the red line to the equivalent red line on the other granny hexagon that you've made, making the back and that's when it looks like this:

 Can you see? And finally:

 You sew the tops of the arms to themselves and  that gives you the basic shape. It'll look like a much more beautiful version of this:


Lots of people have worked it out but I thought I'd make it super clear. I hope that helps.

Now, more about the actual pattern itself. I used the Fashion Aran when we used to stock in in 100g balls because I'd made a Union Jack hot water bottle cover and had loads left over which meant that the original uses a 4.5mm hook and aran weight yarn. BUT YOU CAN USE WHATEVER YOU WANT! The hexagons have to be the same size of course, otherwise they won't sew together nicely and you'll have one arm longer than the other but you can literally use sewing cotton and a .000000000005 hook if you wanted. You shouldn't want to do that though and if you do you need seeing to... If you look at the projects that people have made though you'll see they've done it in all sorts of weights.

Now, limitations. There are limitations to this pattern and that is that the chest/bust size decides the width and length of the arms and the body. 
 So the purple line indicates a quarter of the bust measurement. The orange line between the purple and blue ones indicates the length of the sleeve and the green line indicates the length of the jacket from below the arm. The relationship between the blue and the green line indicate the half width of the sleeve (which I think means that the crucial measurement of the length of the purple, blue and green lines is the width around the whole of the sleeve but don't quote me on this, all of a sudden it's got very mathsy in here...). Anyway, essentially, you don't have a choice, once you've got a bust/chest measurement, what anything else is doing to do. Only, you kinda do..... 

You can add on to the bottom of the cardigan or onto the length of the sleeves, really easily. Especially the sleeves, just go round and round in granny stripes. The bottom is a little hard because you'll have to work in rows which means you'll have one row of front facing trebles and one row of back facing trebles if you decide to go back and forth. If you've done one row stripes anyway and are therefore having to break your yarn at the beginning and end of each stripe then just make sure you're always working with the right side facing. If you're not doing stripes then decide whether you're ocd enough to care about that. OOOOOOOOOOOR. You can start from the very beginning of the hexagon, flipping after the sl-st at the end of each round so that you're kind of working back and forth and kind of working in rounds. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOR you could just think much less about this sort of thing than I do.

But! If you decide to do any of this adding onto anywhere, there is the added (and probably very slight or even unique to me) disappointment in losing the sheer simplicity of a bloody cardigan made out of two hexagons.


And that, as they say is that. Although, you probably need a proper photo of the thing don't you? Haha. 

Lovely ain't it?

Love Eleanor. xxxxxxxxxxx