Tag Archives: stash

look where I went today

Purl City Yarns
Purl City Yarns, Manchester’s new LYS, opened today! To much excitement amongst us Mancunian knitters. Until now there has been no proper wool shop in the city centre and we are so happy to have one this amazing.

prettyThere’s a wonderful range of yarns, from reasonably priced workhorses, through designer yarns to fantabulous indie dyed gorgeousness.  Featuring lots and lots of sock yarns om nom nom. And wickedly tempting alpacas – I say wicked because I recently discovered I am allergic to alpaca (sobs). But oh wow the cottons! I’ve never met Austermann Algarve before – that’s some of it over there <—. For some unknown reason most yarn manufacturers produce cottons in “summery” ie pastel/muted/Bor-ING colours. Not Austermann, their cotton comes in a stunning range of colours. 

And there’s more yarny goodness to come – the Malabrigo and Lorna’s Laces and Skeins haven’t arrived yet!

Don’t just take my word for it, rubbish knitter loves it too (plus she has better photos than me).  And so does I dream of crafting – but she’s a bit biased, she works there. Here she is having a hard day at the office.
Even better, visit it yourself next time you’re in Manchester. Or make a special trip. We’ll take you for tea in North Tea Power afterwards if you like.

What was that? What did I buy? Have you seen my stash? Why on earth would I need to buy more yarns? retro OK of course  it turns out I do actually need more yarns (yes need I said, NEED) and came home with this (remarkably restrained, I thought) bag-ful, for Sooper Seekrit Project.


summer school

One week of summer school down, one to go. Obviously an important part of my preparations was deciding which knitting to bring – when you’re going to be away from home for two weeks, with evenings alone  in your room, you have to have plenty of projects to hand.

Just before I came away, I cast on for a Faroese shawl (Litla Dimun from Folk Shawls).  Faroese shawls are traditionally knit from the bottom up, so the pattern starts ‘cast on 421 st’.  Eep.  But at least the number of stitches will decrease as the shawl grows, so it should get quicker.  Which was no consoloatino when I spotted a mistake in the lace pattern a few rows down, and am going to have to frog 3 rows of 400+ st.  Boo hoo.

So I have set the shawl aside for now (for ‘set aside’ you could read ‘shoved into a bag in disgust’) and cast on some socks instead – Hallows & Horcruxes pattern by Kate from Green Eyed Monsters, using the Old Maiden Aunt yarn I got in a swap.

And it hasn’t been all work and no play.  Friday afternoon was free so my bff came over and led me astray in the yarn shop, the second hand book shops, the cocktail bar and best of all, the button shop.  York has the most amazing button shop, Duttons for Buttons.  If you are ever in York, go.  It’s button heaven.

duttons interior

happy day

I didn’t want to go the library to study today, but I managed to drag myself away from the sofa and the knitting and get some work done. And the knitting goddesses smiled on me for my dedication. When I got home, there was a huge parcel of wool waiting for me from Lerwick.

jamieson smith aran

I ordered this at Ravelry Day on Saturday, so that’s pretty good service.

little things …

I love shade cards, they make me happy. I don’t know why, exactly. Perhaps it is the siren call of new yarn? And also childhood memories, I remember my mum choosing yarn from shade cards.  Anyway, I was pleased to pick up some shade cards at Ravelry Day.
shade cards
A major drawback of ordering yarn on-line is the unreleability of computer monitors’ colour representation. Is not a big problem for one hank of sock yarn (not a big cost and even if you hate it when it arrives, it’ll do someone else) but it is a gamble ordering a jumper’s worth sight unseen. And while I do support my local LYSs, they can’t always meet my colour/weight/content/price needs on a particular project (and distance buying is not a new phenomenon, my mum bought wool by mail order in the 70s).

Now I have the Jamieson & Smith cards I can order from them knowing the colours I’m getting. Am looking forward to my Ravelry Day order arriving from Shetland soon; the colours I’ve bought are indicated on the photo above.

didn’t we have a lovely time

at UK Ravelry Day? Yes we did! I had such fun meeting & making knitting friends, having tea & cake (and later, wine & ice cream sundaes) while knitting and talking knitting. Old friends, new friends, Manchester friends, internet friends, … it was great to sit and chat and knit with so many lovely people.

Oh and the shopping! A bit of rain wasn’t going to come between us knitters and stash enhancement opportunities. And there were many opportunities, even if the alpaca was all off-limits to me.
wet alpacas

I did go with a wish-list (and having given myself a strict talking too about not spending all my money on sock yarn) and met so many lovely yarns it was hard to choose. In the end I came home with
rav day haul
Clockwise from top left:

And …. also placed an order with Jamieson & Smith, which is coming by post – a jumper’s-worth of Shetland aran for a Bountiful Bohus cardigan.  I am kind of wondering at the crazy of knitting a project that is steeked (!) out of wool that felts if you look at it but the Shetlanders have been doing it for a long time and it seems to work out for them.  And I met knitters on Saturday who assure me steeks are nothing to fear, so I am going for it.

Oh and I got the buttons for the cardigan too, from the Textile Garden stall.  It was 3 deep all day, their button selection is teh awesum!

and possibly best of all … I got my own real, genuine ravelry badge!
Hello my name is audreym

joy of knitting #1

I recently took part in my first swap on ravelry, the ‘Sock Yarn from your Stash‘ swap.  My package from my up-stream partner Sandykins arrived from Sweden yesterday.  As if getting a parcel from overseas with sock yarn in it wasn’t exciting enough, she squeezed so much more loveliness into the box
my first swap-box
The yarn is D-i-C smooshy in ‘Into the mystic’ which will be perfect for monkeys or a boteh.  And a heap of knitting things and treats: bath confetti (yay I love baths), strawberry & rhubarb scented candles (mmm), chocolate hearts (yum), Swedish fruit tea (my Swedish friend will be jealous), Christmas decorations (cute), Addi sock needles (yay), knitters’ thimble (ideal for colour work which I am into right now), little tape measure (fits perfectly into my out-and-about knit-kit), needle holders (perfect to help me keep all my w-i-ps tidy) and a card with a cute sheep magnet on.  Thank you, Sandy xx

overcome by the yarn fumes

This is what happens when two knitters ‘just pop in for a look’ at Abakhan
we went to abakhan
Some of this haul is my belated birthday present from Chrissie, and I think once the Christmas knitting is finished I will have having a shawl frenzy – a big clapotis from James C Brett Marble and a bloom from Patons Spirit.  I still feel that wearing shawls make me look like I’m on my way to a mine disaster but I just love to knit them.

Oooh and I am participating in my first swap – a ‘sock yarn from your stash’ swap on Ravelry.  I’ve send a parcel to Anne-Ruth in Norway, now I’m waiting excitedly for my parcel from my upstream partner.  Surprise yarn in the post, what could be better?

water, taken in moderation, cannot hurt anybody

Mark Twain clearly never blocked Noro Kureyon.

I decided to make a calorimetry headwrap as a quick gift for a friend, and thought this would be a good opportunity to try out the Kureyon, a yarn which is [legendary/infamous]* on ravelry. Now, from reading around ravelry about Calorimetry I knew people find it tends to come up big.  But as I’m knitting it for a large man with a lot of hair and I know my tension tends to be a little on the tight side, I thought I’d be OK with the full 120 stitches.  And it was OK, perhaps a little large but certainly wearable by a large man with a lot of hair.  But then I showed it the water.  And got my comeuppance for risking the wrath of  knitting goddesses by ignoring their first commandment ‘Thou Shalt Always Swatch & Wash’.

I washed it very gently in tepid water and ba-boom it grew 15 %.  That’s insane.  I do love the Kureyon colours and I can forgive its eccentric spinning and occasional bits of twig.  But I can’t live with it growing that much with water.  I will use it again for small things like calorimetries and maybe felted things like tea cosies but not any kind of garment with it.

Anyways I frogged the original calorimetry and tried again with a fresh ball of Kureyon.  I went down two needle sizes to get a firmer fabric, and cast on less stitches (96 instead of 120).  After 10% + growth on blocking, it was perfect.  I hope it keeps Vladi’s head warm in the world’s colder trouble zones.
calorimetry, for Vladimir
Pattern: Calorimetry by Kathryn Schoendorf (mods: 96 st & 4 mm needles)
Yarn: Noro Kureyon 52
Needles: 4 mm straight

Calorimetry itself is also [legendary/infamous]* on ravelry.  Some people are incredibly snotty / snarky about popular patterns.  ‘Why oh why does everyone think [pattern x] is so great?‘ they wail ‘am I the only one who has never knitted  calorimetry/clapotis/monkeys?‘ For which read, ‘I am such a superior knitter, vastly more creative, talented and original than you poor sheep‘.   Yes that’s right, I only knit patterns because everyone else does.  Hmm could there be a reason these patterns are so popular?  Is it just possible that people keep making them because they are well written and produce great FOs, rather than just because everyone else is making them too?

* delete as appropriate

on the podium

ravelympics medal
I have won my first Ravelympics medal, in the scarf stroke event, with my Boteh Scarf:

boteh scarfboteh detail

Pattern: Boteh scarf by Kathy Merrick
Yarn: Araucania Ranco Solid
Hook: 4 mm

Loved this pattern and am really glad I bought it. It looks complicated at first but is quite easy to follow and to memorise. The only real problem I had was with the finishing, crocheting all around the edge of the scarf. Pattern says do about 2 stitches for 3 rows but that was far too tight for me, after 4 or 5 times of trying different combinations I ended up crocheting a stitch for every row. I think I will be cranking out a few of these for Christmas presents.

And I am half way through my first sock put sock, fingers crossed I will get it done before the closing ceremony. And must not forget my flag or my WiP wrestling either … (sorry, did you say ‘work’ or ‘studying’? didn’t year you, lalalalalalaalala I can’t hear you ….)

Oh and these are Bea’s socks, I don’t think I ever put up a picture of them after they were finished:
socks for Beatriz
Yarn: Zwerger Garn Opal Regenwald / Rainforest (shade 1614 Frog)
Pattern: Violet Green Sock Pattern Generator
Needles: 2.5 mm Clover Takumi bamboo dpns

Ummm and I seem to have somehow aquired more sock yarn ….
sock yarn shame
oh OK then I bought it, had some spare money at the end of the month which I spent at Violet Green and the Natural Dye Studio. So all my disrectionary spends for thismonth (and next) were spent, and the very next day I went and left my mobile phone on the bus and need to buy a new one ….. oh well, mobile phones don’t keep your loved ones’ toes warm in winter.

nor any skein to buy?

I expected to be disappointed in the yarn shopping opportunities in Scotland. I know of old not to get excited at signs for woollen mills. Whatever else they sell (usually low grade tartans, half-price cashmere jumpers and assorted ‘Scottish’ tat normally made in China) it is rarely wool. Years ago they would carry jumper kits, for arans and fair isles (often with a pre-knitted fair isle yolk leaving you to knit the boring bit yourself) but they don’t even have those, now. So I knew it was a forlorn quest but while in Callander I had to stick my head in the door of one of the many Traditional Trossachs Tartan Scottish Edinburgh Woollen Mill shoppes and ask. No, said the Woollen Mill lady, we don’t stock wool. I asked if she knew anywhere else that migh sell it, well the chemist has a few balls of acrylic she said.

Oh well, no yarny souvenirs for me, so I wandered back up the high street to meet the family. Eeep what’s that in the window of the teeny little shop? Hand knitted things for sale? A couple of balls of Patons? Looks promising …. the inside was dark after the sunny street and I couldn’t see until my eyes adjusted, so I asked the shop lady if she had any local wool? There’s my handspun she replied, and pointed to her spinning wheel. Oh my gosh I have hit the mother lode.
Kipp Crafts, Callander

Went back a couple of days later (leaving family behind this time, no-one moaning muuuu-uuuum to interrupt the yarny joy) and shop lady’s mother was in the shop. They keep their own shetland sheep, shear them themselves, then dye (or not) the fleece with natural dyes and spin it into yarn. And it is beautiful. And they charge an embarrassingly small amount for it, less than many higher end factory made yarns. She showed me the sacks of fleece and the yarn she was spinning ‘dirty’ (straight from the sheep, to be washed after spinning), demonstrated a hand spindle (they sell those too but I resisted) and told me all about their small holding. She didn’t have a large amount of handspun in stock, it has been selling really quickly (not surprisingly, what better holiday souvenir could a knitter want, or a non-knitter take home to a knitter friend) . Of course I had to bring some yarn back for myself and for Shadi and for Chrissie. She only had a small piece of the dark purple logwood ‘first dip’ I loved best. But she is going to dye and spin me some and post it to me.
holiday haul (handspun from Kipps Crafts)

If you are ever in the Trossachs, go to Kipp Crafts (17a Main Street, Callander, Perthshire, closed Saturdays). You could not ask for a better holiday yarn experience. And afterwards, head a mile up the road to the Lade Inn at Kilmahog for lovely food (son particularly recommends the Double Chocolate Fudge Cake) and beer (they brew their own and also stock a huge range of Scottish bottled beers) and folk music. Staying there all evening sampling the various ales before attempting to cycle home through the forest in the dark is optional.