Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The Big Ish.

Sooooo. I've just realised that I never actually told you about this on here and I know there are some people that read the blog but not facebook - Imagine! Next year will be different, I promise!

We were doing a charity drive! But it's over now. The Big Issue were doing a Knitathon where knitters were asked to make 6 by 6 inch squares to be sewn together into 12 square strips and sent off to the Big Issue to break a record for the biggest knitted blanket (that's why crocheters weren't invited - sorry!!!). I read somewhere that the blankets would be broken down to give to the homeless but I can't find that now. Ahh well. Click here for more info.

To be honest, we didn't make a particularly concerted effort - we picked a day (16th November), asked people to knit squares and get sponsored and spent that day sewing the strips together. It was fun! Dee brought lurrrrrvley homemade cake and her and Maria deserve massive bonus points for sitting outside all day! They got plenty of people donating to the cause.

 This is they looking delighted in their work... 

When everybody else turned up they preferred to sit inside and I obviously had to host them. ;)

I've got a list of everybody that participated but it's definitely missing some because there were plenty of non-regular-customer people who dropped in squares and strips without having a chat and we're eternally grateful to you too but I don't have your names - sorry!!!! (and I'm forgetful anyway, so tell me off if I've missed you...) In no particular order:

Dee, Karen, Debs, Elizabeth, Stephanie, Elaine, Davina, Pat, Gemma, Suzanne, Maria, Hilary and meeeeeeeee. 

All STARS! Every single one of you! Thanks!!!

So, the deadline was yesterday... Last week I started getting the strips together, sewing the last few (when I say last few I mean... 192... I am a real star ;) ) but I got bored, and tired and then left it until yesterday when I realised we were missing the deadline. We were left with three random squares and I couldn't just send them in like that so last night my Mum and I knitted nine more, I sewed them together and we were off.

Everything fitted in this MASSIVE box. 

Which was an actual nightmare to parcel up: 

And I knew I had to deal with the detritus all around afterwards. Ugh. 

I sent this letter in to them - totes profesh, you know me: 

I counted the money which came to....

A total of £233.96!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WOWOWOW! More than I'd ever thought! And bear in mind that one of our knitters sent her money off separately and I think that was just over £100. Can you believe it!???!?!?!

I realised that a load of people who had been sponsored had given us money and, I couldn't send that through the post (t'other day I got a Christmas card posted through the letter box that had been opened just like normal. Now I ain't blaming anybody but I'm sure the people at the Royal Mail know as well as we all do that often Christmas cards have money in...) so I had to get to the bank, pay in the money and then transfer over to the Big Issue. Brill. Dead easy yeah?

Nah. Not with RBS... Lovely RBS... So I deposited the money into the shop account no problem, got a print out of that. Then I handed over the Big Ish details and she sent the money off to them. Got the print out, put a copy in with the letter I sent them and everybody's sponsorship forms and the cheques that we got and sealed it up. I needed to deposit some normal money into the shop account so we went ahead and did that and it was then that the woman behind the desk realised that she'd send the Big Ish money from my personal account! And it couldn't be got back!!! Ugh! I'm genuinely suprised that there was enough money to cover it but apparently there was... So. We transferred the money from the shop account to my account and everything's right and I'll just make a mention in my accounts next year. Bloody hell. (On a side note - if anybody that gave us cash wants a copy of the bank transfer note give us a private message on facebook or an e-mail and we'll get a scan over).

So, with that done and my letter to the Big Ish ready to send I carted everything off to the Post Office. WHERE I GOT FARTED ON! SOMEBODY FARTED ON ME! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT! Nothing more to say on that note really. Again, if you need the proof that the stuff went give us a pm or e-mail.

So that's the Big Ish story. Massive thanks to everybody that contributed and I'm totes going to do it next year because it wasn't that bad. I'm toying with the idea of doing something for Syria because the news is just making me want to weep but I do have a ridiculous list of stuff to do and I could be on the verge of a breakdown (ahhhh, Christmas) so if anybody knows of a group or charity let me know and I'll pass the details through. In the new year I'll decide if I can cope with organising anything myself. 

And now... Christmas... We've decided our opening times!!!! AND THEY'RE GOOD!

We're going to be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day and any Sundays like normal. Every other day from Christmas Eve to the 31st we'll be open 10.30 to 3pm.

We're back open like normal on the 2nd. 

I'm having some time off!!! I was in the shower this morning writing a mental list of all the stuff that needs to get done. A lot of that is cuddles with t'nephew and boozes with t'sistah. Quite a lot of it is knitting socks. And the majority of it is making sense of my living quarters which have gone to pot since Yarndale pretty much from when it feels like everything has been travelling at 80mph and my days off have involved bed and knitting commissions. I might also sneak in some time with the boyf. In fact, I'm going to meet his parents (down south... uh oh) and his mum has expressed an interest in knitting again so I'm going to give her some Gypsy Chunky, needles and a pattern for Christmas. What do you think?

Separately from that. I have been beading. What is it about this time of year?? On Sunday evening (after a double lesson!) I made this:

From a kit at the Bead Shop. (I LOVE THE LADIES THAT WORK THERE - they don't seem to mind my farting about and they do a brillo loyalty card). Doing that gave me the bug so last night I started this:  

Which is going to be a glasses chain thing (you can buy the nobbly end bits from the Bead Shop) and I got the beads from... you guessed it... the Bead Shop (I've no idea what colour they are but I most enjoy that there are a few random coloured beads in there and I'm sure most people would chuck them or save them for another project but it just makes me love them more - little light blue and white sheep standing out in a crowd of royal blue < 3 ). Sorry. But going in there a few times has been like a lovely respite from my stressful life so it's worth a big promotion. 

Also, please take no notice of the beginning of the piece - I have never started peyote stitch successfully... I enjoy the fact that it settled (without me planning anything I might add) on an even number though which means that you do the same thing every single row rather than having to look to see if you have to do a row 1 or 2. It's a bit like when you're doing a 2 by 2 rib and you do it over a multiple of four so that every row starts with two knits - soothing and no looking down at your knitting. Ahhhh.

And I think that might be that. I am planning to tell you about my Christmas knitting but... uhhh... it's not finished yet and I have this pile to sort out today: 

Fare thee well.

Eleanor. xxxxxxxxxxx

Friday, 6 December 2013

Did I ever tell you about the time...

that a world famous knitting super star asked me to knit her a sweater? Amy Singer of Knitty? No? Allow me...

This is how it started. Can you see a mistake? I could and it drove me mad (sorry Amy...) so I ripped it out (in Starbucks, it felt right somehow seeing as it was Amy's second home here) and started again. And then I got waylaid with Christmas jumpers and then neon and then the Christmas window... Anyway, I'm about back to where we started and I've changed the size a little at Amy's behest and here it is. I'd forgotten how perfect a pattern the Beatnik is, every cable's so perfectly placed and there are some cute little features that mean the cables at the side really pop - not that you'd tell from my horrendous photography... 


Anyway, it's being done Amy, I promise! slowly but surely. Not likely for Christmas though, I have a request for a set of Gruffalo hat and mitts. Seems like the Canadian winter goes on for quite a while though? ;)

That's it. That's all I have to show off about now. I'm off. 

Love Eleanor. xx

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Get Your Thinking Caps Out

Because I have an idea!


That's our Christmas window and isn't it beauts!? I wasn't feeling very inspired this year because I'd already knitted the advent calender in the colours specified and they're not traditionally 'Christmassy' - I love them! You can see that hanging in the window here.

 Incidentally - how does that bloody Christmas tree make you feel!?!? On top of the woooooorld!?

And then, when I was plucking up the courage to do the window (they take all day and lots of physical ups and downs), I dragged out some signage from the lovely Jem and found this box:

And you know how I love love love neons now (apparently....)?? Well, I was inspired by the hat that the bloke on the right of the box is wearing. Good yeah? Apparently skiers and snowboarders are totes into neons... So I just copied his hat and it took about half an hour all in all. 8mm hook. Brill!!!

And on top of all of this neon, rainbow madness. We, as a shop, got a gift from boyf t'other day! LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL THEY ARE! He didn't buy them for me, he bought them 'for the shop' so we can all count that as a gift, yeah? Good man. But lilies and roses and pink don't really count as 'Christmas stuff' do they? But they need to be in the window otherwise they will get knocked off.

So, naturally, the Christmas window is a proper rainbow riot and I'm dead pleased. That got me thinking about a gift that we could give to you lot. And it's inspired by the box from above and the 'My Mountain' concept by SMC (essentially, lots of Germans (love Germans) are designing mental hats in one specific yarn line and it's all over Pinterest and it's got it's own Facebook group).

Now, I love our SMC yarns, I do. But I also love our other yarns. And I love accessories that aren't hats. So how about:

a competition to design an accessory in anything bought from us!?!? 

The theme is going to be colour! Extra points for neon! (Lies... It's going to be judged by you lot and you might not love neon with the deep passion that I do). Make of this what you will - stripes, fairisle, neon, intarsia - just something that brings the colour elements of the design to the forefront.

Items can be knitted or crocheted (or both) but they must be designed by you.

They must be some sort of worn accessory - hat, scarf, cowl, gloves, mitts, leg warmers but not bags, cushions, poofs etc. 

As many entries as you want - I figure there's only so much knitting/crocheting you can do.

Entries must be in by the 5th of January (send via e-mail, twitter or facebook) when we'll make a Facebook album so that you can peruse the entries and vote! (Don't worry, you can see the album even if you're not on facebook and vote over e-mail).

Winners will get a £20 voucher and the yarn that they used to make the accessory back. :)

I AM SO LOOKING FORWARD TO WHAT YOU COME UP WITH! This is going to be brill isn't it!? And I thought good timing because you'll all be busy making for festive gift giving, yes? So it's just a chance to be creative while you're doing it and maybe win things!

Right. I'm off to buy a new heater seeing as this one's pretty much kaput and I'm so bloody cold in this wind!!!!!

Love Eleanor. xxxxx

P.s. Here's what I'm making - not that I'm entering...

Once again. Neons. Love.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Nearly Two Weeks?

Where on earth has that gone!?!?

 Well. I'll tell you what. It's gone on knitting these buggers:

I am inordinately proud. LOOK AT THEM! Bloody hell. Haha. Read more here.

I'm still not quite ready to tell you what they're for but they have been collected and the person is very happy with them and you will find out a week tomorrow. I think.

You know how brill I am at washing though? Well... The big one was pretty much done two weeks ago, I blocked the body bit, did the embroidery on the lion, sewed the arms in, did the neckline and thought I'd leave the final blocking until they could be done together. So, on Monday night (after twoooooo days off frantically knitting (and getting mighty drunk in between)) all of the bits for the little one were done by about half past seven so I thought I'd skip the blocking by hand bit and send them both in for a quick wash and spin. Then I spent a few hours tidying, showering, sewing the sleeves on this beaut (which is much more beautiful than the picture suggests):

Which is a shrug that Verity crocheted for me which was just a bit too small, together to make a cowl which hasn't been off my neck since and generally having a 'Sunday' evening. It was lovely. Just before bed I nipped downstairs to grab the bits and bring them back upstairs for blocking. And, you guessed it (especially if you're on facebook) the white bits were pink. I genuinely nearly cried, spend about an hour scrubbing with some oxy-whatever-cleaner and googling what to do.

In the end I left them both to soak in the bathtub with heaps and heaps of two different kinds of oxy cleaner. In the morning they didn't look much better so I shoved them in the washing machine with more oxy cleaner and some colour liquid and hoped for the best. When I got into work I went and spoke to the ladies at the dry cleaners up the way and they told me about some colour corrector stuff so I got June to cover the shop whilst I madly ran around town spending far. too. much. money on all sorts of colour correctors, colour catchers and stain removers and headed back to mine on the bus. Got to Canning Circus and realised that I'd forgotten my keys. Got off the bus. Walked down to the shop and started again.

When I got in and checked the jumpers they were almost right all by themselves! Again, I nearly cried!!! I rang June to make sure I was doing the right thing by still using the colour correctors and she said she would so I did my thing and sent it all back into the washing machine. Then I went back to the shop and after that knit club (which was much needed after the stress). Thankfully when I got back in the evening they were sorted so after dinner I got the embroidery done and sewed it all up. Went to bed at 2am very pleased with myself. I finished the neckband yesterday morning and the job's a bloody good'n ain't it!? :)

So, with that finished yesterday, I decided to do a bit of *sort of* selfish crochet which has been on the go for a while. It's actually for Verity's baby and I'm glad it's finished but I can't work out if it's quite right and the terrible thing about giving things to expert crocheters is that they know when you've done it wrong... Anyway, I bought some beautiful ribbon this morning to go on that and at some point I'll write a blog about the bits I've done (when I've actually got anything properly finished. Everything I've made for t'babbeh so far is buttonless/ribbonless/final-rib-less... Oh well. It was only due last Sunday...).

And then I started back on this beaut:

Remember? Oh yes. I bought the buttons this morning from Pikes (I was hoping for neon yellow. They have every neon but yellow... so I bought wooden instead which might be more sensible anyway). I intended to spend about an hour finishing it but it's actually taken all day because I really didn't think about what I was doing so I ended up with hundreds of ends and some weird 'half' seams to sew and for some inexplicable reason I decided to use 13 buttons instead of a sensible eight. 'On what!?' I hear you say:

OOOOHOHOHOHOH yes! This is the bit I couldn't work out how to describe... Essentially, you know those Breton jumpers with the three buttons at the shoulder? Like this?

Yeah? Well I decided to do that but alllllllll the way down the sleeve! YEAH!? Good iDeA!?!? YEAH!?!?!? I know. I'm a bloody genius. Only, I didn't take into account the button band on the sleeve and how many fewer stitches I'd need so there's some weird decreases hiding there but I actually don't think that affects things. What does affect things is that the buttons are on the left hand sleeve when they should be, and I wanted them, on the right sleeve. And there are loads of buttons. And I should have sewn the plackets together first and the buttons later - as it is it's a bit wonky. But whatevs. I actually think I'm in love:

That was literally the best photo we could take today (things with boyf are still going well and last night he cooked me dinner with THREE DIFFERENT KINDS OF MEAT(!!!) in it and I think I'm still digesting...).

Now, the bottom needs more rib to balance out my fat arse. And I have about a third, maybe a bit less, of a ball left so I'm going to take the cast off out and just carry on until that's gone. I haven't sewn the tail in to that end:


So, that will be done.... Maybe. My lovely friend Sue sent me a bike in her big house clearout so I think the first real outing will be this Saturday when boyf and I are cycling around Attenborough (weather permitting) and/or to the pub. :)

Thinking about it, if I'd have actually thought about it before casting on, I would have done many many more cables. Maybe another six? Oh well. You live and learn. I can't see me needing another jumper with neon cables so I'll just have to appreciate the one that I've got. :)

That's it. It's six o'clock. I need to answer e-mails and get to Dee's to get fed and watered.


Eleanor. xxx

Saturday, 9 November 2013


So. Neon, ey? What a trend. What a beautiful beautiful trend. Well, I'm slightly late, because apparently it was a trend in summer 2013... However, nobody presented me with neon cotton (ahhhh, neon Cotton Bamboo. Be still my beating heart... Maybe one day King Cole!?). The lovely Jem, however, presented me with neon chunky just a couple of weeks ago (and neon sock yarn though that's stuck somewhere in the annals of Regia's warehouse, be patient). And I've gone a bit mad.

The first thing I did was these beauts:

The main yarn there is the Lova Superchunky in the Beige/Pink (love an inspiring name...) and the contrast in the Pink in the Boston Chunky. I knocked them out on Wednesday (I think) which is the first day they came in. Somebody described them as 'oven mitts' the other day, obvs she's off the Christmas card list, but she's kind of right... they ended up a bit big. So be it. They're warm.

The next day was the first full day that these beauts were in the shop and the lovely Robin came in looking for some inspiration. Now, Robin's a man who loves a bright colour (and ponchos.... tssk...) so eventually we came up with a combo of deep navy, bright shocking red and the neon orange for a cowl. The background was to be navy with intarsia cable columns alternating red and orange. Seriously. Phwoooooar! If that wasn't the last ball of the red (and the last ball of the navy before our order appears) I'd have totes cast that on and been happy with it. Unfortunately a navy backgrounded, alternating cable columned cowl isn't much fun in just neon orange. So I had to make do.

LOOK! Look at what I've gorn and done...

Can you see? That was definitely the best photo I could do in the circumstances...

It's a blady jumper ain't it!? Can you imagine how beautiful this is going to be!? IMAGINE!!! It's got a beige Grousemoor Chunky background and I've done cable columns in the neon yellow Boston Chunky.

I did a gauge swatch. Let me repeat. I did a guage swatch.

On 7.5mm needles. 3 stitches per inch. Cast on 90. Did a bit of rib. Couple of rows in the neon to start off with and then began my cables. They're 4 stitch cables, cable forward I think but I'm doing it without a cable needle and it seems to matter less. I did 6 cables all around because in my head that meant that there were then 8 sections of beige and I could just do an increase every beige section a bit like a top down raglan but not on any proper lines. But apparently 6 cables meant 7 beige sections which meant that I did one increase per section and then an extra increase in one section per increase row and I moved the section that I did the extra in on by one each time. Does that make sense? Anyway, that increase rate kind of worked until I started 'fading out' the cable columns (as in, each cable sort of whisps away at differing points) and then I got too confused and just did some increasing where I fancied it.

Once it looked about right, as in the ribbing was where I wanted it and the knitting reached almost to my arm pit, I divided the jumper - a 6th for each sleeve, a third for the front and a third for the back (roughly, there was a totes random amount of stitches, like 213 or something so I put a bit more in the sleeves and front than the back).

Now all of the cables have whisped away, I'm ready to join in the round and I want to do some shaping like the Owls Jumper and then I haven't decided if the sleeves should be full or 3/4. We'll see. Top down knitting is just full of decisions (and surprises).

There is an extra design feature thing but I'm going to tell you about that when I'm done because try as I might I just can't explain that to you without sounding like an absolute mental. Suffice to say, it involves buttons and I am v. excited!!!

I'm hoping to have the body done by tonight and maybe the sleeves by tomorrow, pick up buttons on Monday and present the finished article by Tuesday. Hahaha. We'll see.

Are you excited?!!?!?! Me too!!!

So, finally a montage:

The Lova Superchunky which totes looks more impressive in real life. Seriously, it coaxed Jazz out of her yarn diet. 

 Look how happy she is with her funky bag. Haha. Love Jazz! :)

And Boston Chunky which has totally stolen my heart. Ahhhhhhhh. 

And that's your lot. I have to tidy before the lesson tomorrow and clean this bloody toilet which is a disgrace on my good housewife name. 

Love Eleanor. xxxxxx

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Speaking Too Soon A.K.A. Flying By The Seat Of My Pants

I HAVE A SECRET! It's probably not a massive secret but it's my last commission ever (stop laughing people) and it really is my last commission it's a big bloody massive headache. You may have heard about it in the shop because I can't keep my mouth closed but if you haven't heard about it in the shop then hopefully it will remain a secret by the end of this post.

I have a headache and it's my fault because I've lost my glasses and I've spend around 10 hours over the last few days staring intently at small boxes on a computer screen. I can pretty much type without looking and I want to drink some coffee to see if I can get rid of this headache before I commence the next stage and this will be a big blurrrrrrrge onto the page which will hopefully leave you with no clue as to the reasons behind my project. It's a little delve into my brain anyway - everybody's got to enjoy that - right?

So, I'm knitting a Christmas jumper:

This much you already know. 

On the front of this Christmas jumper there needs to be a lion. A lion from the Square to be precise. I said yes. I'm a tit. This much you already know. 

Last Thursday I began thinking about the process in earnest. It's for a 'large man'. What the bloody hell is a 'large man'?. I've gone for around 44-46" chest because that's just a bit bigger than me and I have boobs and I'm a 'large woman'. Does that make sense? Is that what you'd do? Walking up to Dee's last Thursday I did some maths in my head. This was going to be aran therefore 4.5 stitches per inch (spi). 44 divided by 2 (for the front/back) is 22. 22 times 4.5 is apparently 144. Yeah. That's the extent of my maths in my head... 

So, on this basis I decided that I needed a lion pattern around about 96 stitches wide. Ravelry does not do such a thing. I needed to think about it myself. Not having graph paper with me I decided to have a go at some bits and bobs. This is what I ended up with: 

Quite a look, I'm sure you'll agree. The bottom two bits of white are some sort of attempt at the legs, the middle thing is obviously some sort of head and the top thing needs explaining. 

See, I've had in my mind for a while that instarsia is too blocky. I remembered that the last time I sat down and watched This Morning in full (a couple of years ago... before the shop...) they were talking about pixellated florals and how brill they were. Something like this: 

So, I kind of got to thinking that if something is pixellated then other stuff needs to be not pixellated. Yeah? Which means that we need nice smoooooooooooth edges. Which means that where one colours meets another we always want it to be at the same point and we can do that by increasing at one edge and decreasing at another there would be a nice smooth angle. Following?

I thought this would be perfect for the lion and his lovely smooth nose and mighty mane but I also had in my head that if I did my increasing/decreasing on the right side and purled back (phew, love them purl rows...) that I'd get any angle I wanted. But of course, you only ever get one angle if you do this. And I think it's about 60 degrees: 

But obviously, I'll need other angles, so I did the triangle thing with one side increasing and decreasing on every knit row and the other side increasing and decreasing on the knits and purls. That came out with a 45 degree angle:

Both useful. And that triangle was just my practice. Here it is again incase you're interested after the explanation:

And here are my lovely smooth joins.

Good aren't they? I won't use them for every bit of it but I will use it for the nose, the muscles and the mane I think. 

On a connected note, I also thought about double decreases for bits where I need a quick decrease but I decided after swatching to separate the accompanying increases by a row otherwise it looks dead bunched up. 
SOOOOOOOOOO. I got that far and thought, 'brill, I'll sort a pattern out this week'. Then I realised that the yarn I wanted to use was already cast on with a one by one rib! Last year I started a Christmas sweater for me in the Grousemoor Aran in the Cranberry colour but not got any further than partially through the rib... tit. But you knew that already didn't you?  Luckily though, it had 244 stitches exactly so I carried on knitting rib for a bit! Perfect! Only... not perfect.... because I didn't need 244 did I? It was actually 144. But actually it wasn't 144, because 22 times 4.5 isn't 144, it's 99 isn't it? And even if I carry on with the 244 rib stitches and then put half of those on hold to do the front and then pick the rest up for the back, 99 times two isn't 244. It's not even close to 244. It is, in fact, 46 stitches different which at this gauge equates to around 10 inches. 10 inches different. Fml. 

Ripped. Restarted.

Then I decided I needed a chart and started looking around for my squared paper which I couldn't find but whilst I was searching I became less and less sure at how artistic I was and so decided to look for a knitting pattern generator that I'd seen years ago. I found this one and downloaded it. I also downloaded GIMP and followed their (sparse) instructions to sort a photo of a lion out so that it could be made into a pattern. There was a lot of youtubing... 

I went from this:

To this: 

And it only took about 2.5 hours... Inordinately proud. Inordinately. 

Then they told you to cut the colours down to three, so I did: 

I thought that you can still see enough of the detail for that to be fine, yeah? 

Then you upload it to the program and they give you a pattern. Only it doesn't sometimes and I don't know why. But on the third time of running the photo through the program and getting more and more frustrated because I thought the hard bit was over, it worked! Only... there are 1000 pixels across that picture and that meant that there were 1000 stitches in the pattern. Also, it tells you about every single line, so it wasn't until about half way through that the actual pattern starts. AND. It was bloody written. Who writes intarsia patterns anyway? So. Balls to it.

I shut the computer down and went to the pub (which may be another cause of the headache). Talking to boyf, who is a geek of the highest order, last night it occurred to me that I may be able to pixellate the image and use that. So I found out how to do that this morning, more frantic googling, and ended up with this: 

 Note, I also cut most of the black out. But.... The edges are almost too blurry. So what I did in the end was essentially, decide where the outline was myself and transfer that pixel for pixel onto an excel spreadsheet (it looks a bit squashed because of the ratio between stitch and row height, I think...)(...I hope...):

The blue thing was something that I think is probably, maybe, going to be in red. All other details will either be chain or running stitched on later. Except maybe the eye. 
So, I have to print this out, work out some sort of code for the increase/decrease change overs and what are the stepped increases and then I can start knitting. However, I may or may not make changes to the outline as I go - only by a stitch or row or so though - for example I think the leg looks kind of thick. Do you? Did you notice that I wrote (top of the nose) by the nose? Just in case I couldn't see that. Ha.

And the reason that this is called 'speaking too soon' is that I think I'm sorted now but, like the rest of this process, I'm almost certainly not. Something else will happen that makes my life a bit of a nightmare. Obvs. But right now, I'm pretty happy with myself.

LOVE. xx

P.s. I've read and rewritten so much of this blog and I'm sure half of it doesn't make sense. If it doesn't make sense to you then blame me because it's almost certainly my fault... 

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Dee and Vezza. < 3


I've got real work to do so here I am - blogging....

I want to talk about my two friends Dee and Verity. I met them both through the shop and they're both now brilliant friends in their own right. I think I do them good too but most definitely they're better to me.

When we won our award they got it into their heads to get the Post down celebrate our win. Dee was going to make a cake (have I told you how much I adore her cakes?) and make a tiara and Verity was going to get all of our friends down and this was all in secret and the Post were going to turn up with a photographer and it was going to be a big celebration and it was going to be brill! BUT. Bloody Post. They ran the story a day early. Without a photo and without a presentation of cake or tiara (which turned into a rosette because of practical concerns involving wire and nobody stocking alice bands anymore...).

Out of nowhere last week (or maybe the week before now, doesn't time fly?) Dee messaged me to ask me if she could come the next day to discuss our Big Issue Big Knit (which I will blog about soon) and I was all like 'nahhh, I'm too busy. Too stressed. Too much stuff to do. Can we talk about it on the day we're already meeting?' and then she had to ring me and explain that she wanted to present the cake and the rosette because the secret had been let out by the bloody Post. On the phone I nearly cried. What a thing to organise! And what a thing to ruin. Bloody Post.

We decided to go with it anyway and arranged that Dee and Verity would come down on the Friday and we'd just have a bit of a knit and natter and eat cake. And then I got a phone call out of the blue on Thursday from the Post telling me that I'd been nominated (by another lovely customer who's become a friend) for Businesswoman of the Year. Ha. If only they knew how much time I spend flying by the seat of my pants. They wanted to come on Friday to take photos and a bit of an interview. I spoke to Dee and we fitted everything in and it was all going to be brill.

Then Verity came down with a vomiting bug. Then the photographer came 40 minutes early - before I'd put make up on or finished tidying the shop. Then the door started doing this horrendous noise thing. Seriously, I've never heard anything like it. So Friday was one big stress.

 But let me show you the beautiful things:

My beautiful rosette.

A nice photo of me. Isn't it funny how people that like you take loads better photos than people that don't? Thanks Dee.

Two of my favourite customers and a grumpy husband (who doesn't look so grumpy here but sorry anyway Ken) in the middle. ;) He's useful though, he was the one with a knife to cut the cake...

THE cake. I've only just realised that this is a bit 'oriental' (how completely vague) looking and one thing that I really enjoy doing with Dee is playing mahjong. Can you tell that it says 'No 1 LYS'? I couldn't. Ha. But that didn't matter as soon as you tasted it. Phwoar!!! 

In the end it was a lovely day. No thanks to the bloody Post. Ha. The photographer (or journalist I suppose) chose a horrendous photo for the article. Seriously. And all of my friends have said that it doesn't look like me but I'm getting recognised all the time like an actual celebrity and it always takes me by surprise and I'm never ready for a chat with my public so they probably think I'm right snooty. Let's hope they all find the blog post and realise what a fart I am...The article is here if you want to read it, but I suggest closing your eyes for a second whilst scrolling and then you'll never have to see that photo. Bloody post.

And with that, I'm off. There's tonnes to tell you but I'm working on a top secret Christmas project: 

And I think I may have just worked up the enthusiasm to count stitches, rows and then work out an excel pattern for the biiiiiig picture that has to be on the front.
Love to all Knit Nottinghamites but especially to my two beautiful and talented and bloody marvelous friends, Dee and Vezza. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

P.s. I hope anybody from the Post reading this knows that 'bloody Post' is tongue in cheek. We mega appreciate the space you gave us but maybe next time you could try using a photo where I don't look like an alien with a tiny tiny head?

Tuesday, 22 October 2013


I did no work last week. Well, I did on Friday. Catching up on a whole week's work in a day is not recommended but I did it! And...

I finished the dress!!!! Lots of you have seen it on facebook (130 likes and counting!). Here it is:


I realised when I took it off her that I'd put it on her back to front so there were literally no boobs to fill it out. Suffice to say it look quite a bit different on my body. I'll see if I can get boyf to take a photo on Sunday.  (I did - they're later on...)

I've had lots of questions about it and I think most are answered in the last post but I'll sum up here and then I want to talk about how I sort colours. With lots of photos. 

1). Can I make one? 

YES! Please do. I will write a rough pattern/recipe/guide at some point but it's really very simple and I talked a bit about it in the last post starting in the second paragraph after the first close up-y photo. 

2). Can I make a pregnancy version?

YES! Please do. Do that same stuff as before but do lots of increasing where you need it. Vezza has taught me that all pregnant ladies carry weight in different ways so you might need to do lots of increasing at the front or half and half at the front and back (I sincerely doubt you'd need to do more at the back than the front for pregnancy. Please consult midwife if this is the case). Photos when you've done please?

3). Where did you get your yarn?

Again, all in the last post. People give me stuff to pass on to various charities/good causes. I rootle through (if they've specifically told me I can) and snaffle any mohair and Noro ( < 3 ). I've got a bit more picky over the years but I've been stashing mohair fairly seriously for about five years and I have quite a collection. :)

3a). Can I recommend a yarn from the shop?

Difficult. I think part of the reason that this works is the fuzzy mohair allows the colours to blend a little easier. I used a 6mm hook so my natural reaction is the Cygnet Chunky perhaps mixed with the Cygnet Grousemoor Chunky to get a bigger colour range. But then I think about the stiffness and my heart leaps for joy at the Cygnet Superwash DK. What I wouldn't give to have a colour progression dress in that. Next project? Well, I've started two already today so maybe I'll finish some first.

4). Will you be able to cope with the mohair?

No idea. Literally. I was born in 1988 (it makes me sick that there are contestants on X Factor born in 1996. Seriously?!) so I missed that whole shebang. But. But. But. When I first started knitting I was slightly sensitive to wool - just a bit itchy, not scaly or weeping (hurl) - and when I got to be a knitter I decided that I'd just have to cope and now I can wear anything. I'm not suggesting that everybody can do this btw, there are many genuine allergies and there are also many people who don't like wool enough to work through the pain/irritation and I am not judging. It was good for me though. I'm assuming that there were people who could work through the mohair in the 80's so I'm going to be one of those people in the 2010's. Hard-headed? Me?!? Did I tell you about the time I taught myself to literally love brussels sprouts? MMMMMMMM. Christmas dinner. 

5). Tell me more about the colours.

Oh, if you insist. :)

So. Take this pile of nothing:

Take one of each and put it in a pile. Preferably on an atrocious floor: 

Start splitting the colours into colour groups/light and dark: 

It only has to be very rough for my kind of progression... Pick where you want to start and then start placing:

 Wow! What an atrocious photo! But you get the idea. I started at black, grey/blue was the obvious next choice because it's dark. The Riot, with it's teal/green stripe led nicely into green - dark blue-y green first, then lighter and yellower until the limey colour which sits quite nicely with the gold. Obviously, the lemon comes next and then I consciously thought of the next colour, the pink. I had in my head those Fruit Salad sweets:

Which, for me, is just the most delicious combo of colours. I could have gone to creams which would have led nicely into whites, blues, purples, pinks then reds for my money. But I didn't, I wanted Fruit Salads. So, back to the photo: 

Yellows to pinks to reds. Yeah? The row underneath is what I couldn't fit in. And sometimes you just can't fit things in and sometimes, just sometimes, you need to fit a colour in (if you've fallen in love for example) so shove it somewhere. Either where it'll stand out (put the blue in with the pink for example) or the place where it'll least stick out, like so: 

That's what I ended up with. Notice that I moved the grey and black around. Black to purple is a bit of a jump but in the general fracas that a progression in these colours would be, it'll all work out. :)

I kind of feel like this is a bit of a non-post because it comes so naturally to me. I struggle more when I only have a few more colours because if you're working with more than say, seven colours then you do have some leeway. Things settle themselves down when put next to other colours which means that you can add in some neons or ridiculous colours.

**Interrupting - that reminds me: LOOK WHAT I JUST PUT ON ORDER!


Interruption over.**

I think I promised somewhere upstream that I'd show you the photos of my wearing the dress. Bear in mind that we'd been to the orchestra so naturally I was drunk and boyf isn't a natural photographer and I'm not a natural model... 

 I'm really super pleased with it! I didn't need the belt with it but somehow, with the red shoes, I felt it toned down the outfit a bit and in my head fluff = inches but actually, it's pretty form fitting with my drastic decreases:

So I think I'll wear it without in the future.

I was also dead worried that it would be too hot and too itchy. I think the too hot think makes sweatiness which is what makes the itchiness. But, it wasn't too hot and therefore it wasn't too itchy! In fact, I was a perfect temperature all night. I didn't wear anything underneath it apart from bra and leggings which come up pretty high. Maybe I just have a high level of unitchiness or maybe it's the combo between the fairly expensive stuff (some of it was lambswool and angora rather than mohair...) being near the top and I made sure that the really horrid stuff (the lemon-y yellow if you must know) was well in the legging area. The fluff did get everywhere, boyf wore black trousers and a dark purple shirt and looked like a right tit but I looked brill so that doesn't matter does it? :)

Also! I got a compliment in the loo. Which makes it all worthwhile.

It's in the wash now. And it doesn't dry quick  - I thought it might seeing as it's pretty loosely knit but nah, two days it took. So the next time I'll wear it will be knit club next Tuesday because the girls kept telling me it was 'interesting colours'. Which means terrible colours. Feel free to abuse them. I do.

So, I've managed to get two whole posts about a project that took literally two days and involves nothing from the shop. You wouldn't want a lyso who wasn't dead excited about this sort of thing though would you? I think that's why we won the best yarn shop in the Midlands (and, as I keep saying, the Midlands is the best place in the UK and the UK is the best place in the world and the world is the best place in the universe and obviously, a yarn shop is the best shop ever and therefore we are the. best. shop. in. the. universe. Logic? I gots it.).

I'm off to cash up and get home. I have a commission to finish this week. Or else. It's been going on for a long time. If you've been into the shop recently you know what it is. Fml.

Love. xxx