Monday, January 19, 2009

too popular?

i'm a little stressed, and it's all ysolda's fault. would you just look at this?


it's "ishbel", an amazing new shawl created by the extremely talented ysolda teague, who's chosen to use one of my handpainted yarns for this design. & since her designs are absolutely gorgeous, & since she's got quite a big fan club....
...not only am i completely sold out of the few skeins of this yarn/colourway that i had in stock, but i've got a big list of "pre-orders" to dye up as well (which i've never had before, it's very exciting!). added to that, my base yarn supplier has just informed me that they're out of stock in this yarn as well, and it'll be another three weeks before i can get my hands on any to start dyeing it up.... eek! i've emailed all the folk on the pre-order list to let them know about the delay, and i'm just keeping my fingers crossed that they won't be too upset about not being able to get their hands on the yarn immediately (it'll probably be the last week of february before the yarn is available to buy from me). to try & make up for it, i'm still honouring my 20%-off january sale price on this particular yarn & colourway, as long as the pre-order is placed with me before the end of january, so maybe that will help soothe any annoyances about the long wait!
it's very odd to be in this position - when i started up this business just over a year ago, i never thought that my yarn would be in demand enough to warrant having a "waiting list". even if it is only this one yarn & one colourway, it's still hugely exciting! but it's also a little weird & scary - the thought that people are queueing up to spend their hard-earned cash on something i've created is absolutely mind-boggling. thank you all so much - i hope you love it, when it finally gets there!!

p.s. just kidding, ysolda - i'm not mad at you, i swear! please knit more lovely things from my yarn... you know i totally love it!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009


where has january gone??? i've been crazy busy with work stuff, which is fantastic (although not so good for blogging!) - lots of you have been taking me up on my january sale challenge to clear out as much of my old stock as possible, and i've been dyeing like mad to create some lovely new things which will go into the shop soon (including some new knitting kits & some combed tops for spinners!). & here's where i've been spending most of my time:

the view from the doorway of most of the studio space

studio 2
the work area - huge big countertops! (with yarn drying in front - should have moved that for the picture!)

studio 3
storage - lots of base yarns, rovings, & other oddments. the doorway leads through to a utility room with an industrial-sized sink & more storage

studio 4
a wall of knitted samples to showcase all the yarns i dye & spin

studio 5
& an extremely comfy armchair, hiding a wee den for the pup

it's such an amazing space & i'm so lucky to have it - it's fantastic to be able to have all my stuff in one space, & to be able to work away to my heart's content and then leave everything out at the end of the day, ready for the next day's work! the pup is still getting used to "going to work" - he's a bit worried about strangers, so he's still in the stage of woofing at everyone who comes through the door (not ideal!). i'm hoping he'll get used to it after a little while.
having the space is also giving me some great ideas - dyeing workshops, spinning tuition, renting out spinning wheel time... and the list goes on! i've only been set up properly for a couple of weeks, though, so it may be a little while before i get everything organised. but in the meantime, the studio is open to the public four days a week, wednesdays to saturdays from 12-4pm - please come visit, you're more than welcome!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

january sale!!!

just wanted to let you know that i'm having a sale over at the old maiden aunt shop - all handpainted yarns are 20% off!!!
the sink in my new studio was finally installed over the holidays, and i'll be getting back into some serious dyeing starting this week (yay!). but in order to make room for all the new yarns i'll be producing, i need to clear out as much of the old yarns as i can - help me clear some space in my new studio!
the 20% off sale will run until the end of january, or until i run out of yarn; after that, i hope to have lots of new yarns & colourways to show you. the sale is on in my studio as well as online, so if you're near ayrshire, please feel free to drop by & visit - you can find me at studio 99b, main street, west kilbride; wednesdays-saturdays, 12-4pm.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

in retrospect

as you may have noticed, 2008 was the year of the sweater. i'd set myself the challenge of knitting one sweater each month, and for the most part, i managed to stick to the challenge (apart from taking some time off over the summer). so what did i manage to achieve?
there were a few roaring successes - the sweaters from january & february are definitely my favourites of the whole year, & by now they've been worn so much they're (sadly) starting to pill a little.

january sweater 1
january - my own variation of a free drops pattern

tangled yoke button detail
february - the tangled yoke cardigan from interweave knits

other successes...

waves in the square full shawl 5
april - waves in the square shawl by sivia harding

the mithril coat 1
the summer sweater, a.k.a. the mithril coat - pattern made up by me

september - cable pattern from juno (rowan magazine #40), with the rest made up by me

for the RSA (also successes)...

march sweater detail 2
march - pattern made up by me, with help from elizabeth zimmermann

december - pattern made up by me

one not-so-successful sweater (i'm largely indifferent to this cardi, and am more than likely going to rip it & make something else with the yarn, as i haven't worn it once since the photoshoot!)...

october - the sunrise circle 1
october - the sunrise circle jacket by kate gilbert

and, a couple of abject failures. may's sweater grew hugely after it was washed, and although i've worn it a couple of times (in the house over pjs - never in public!) the yarn has started to shed enormously to the extent that wearing it for an hour or two results in piles of blue fuzz throughout the house. & although this might be knitting sacrilege, i'm actually going to bin it (sorry!).

may - everyday tweed by marie grace (this is not an accurate representation of how the pattern should turn out!)

and november, which looked quite nice until i put it on - the armholes are oddly sized, and the overall fit isn't at all flattering. the yarn is salvageable, though, so i'm going to rip it out & make something else instead.

november edging detail
november - eyelet front vest from vogue holiday knits

& the final tally? ten sweaters - eight for me, and two for the RSA (hm - maybe the RSA deserves more knits than that next year?). & of those sweaters, six were fabulous, one was indifferent, and two were... well... utter rubbish.
i expected to learn something over the course of the challenge. & as it turned out, i've learned something quite unexpected. the sweaters that i didn't like & never wore were the ones that i knitted by sticking to a pattern written by someone else. and most of the sweaters that ended up being the best ones of the year - and by that i mean the most flattering, the most comfortable, and the most frequently worn - were actually the ones where i had invented the "pattern" myself, or where i had worked from a pattern that i had made huge adaptations to. & it turns out that despite my own knitting insecurities, i actually do know (mostly) what i'm doing - what looks good, what fits in with my life, and most importantly, what works knit-wise.
so with that in mind, here's to 2009 - the year of knitting experiments, where my challenge will be to listen to myself, ignore my insecurities, be creative, and "knit on, with confidence and hope". happy new year!!