Wednesday, June 24, 2009

priorities & essentials

as any knitter knows, our priorities are very different to those of non-knitters. non-knitters, when faced with a transatlantic trip of over two weeks, would be focusing on packing the essentials - clothing, toiletries, & all the other odds & ends that one might need to survive two weeks away from the comforts of home. knitters, on the other hand? well, we focus on the survival essentials as well - but our essentials are slightly different.
essential #1: will my finished-just-in-time, brand-new-summer-lace-shawl, blocked-this-morning-and-still-pinned-to-the-bed, dry in time for me to wear it on the plane tomorrow?

caricia detail
caricia shawl from, in handmaiden mini maiden, colourway "bronze"

essential #2: will my planned-for-weeks, endlessly-big-holiday-knitting-project-on-tiny-needles, swatched-with-love-and-care, actually keep me going for the whole two weeks, or should i pack a couple of skeins of sock yarn as well? (answer - yes. pack the sock yarn, just in case.)

steel crane swatching
paper crane cardigan by assemblage, swatched in my own laceweight held together with a strand of habu stainless steel/wool blend

essential #3: will the security folk, for the love of elizabeth zimmermann, will they oh will they... let me take my knitting on the plane??? (i'll let you know.)

monkey scum!
monkey socks, in socks that rock lightweight, colourway "pond scum"

now that the essentials are taken care of, i'll see if i can find some room in my bags for a few clothes - after all, i'll need to leave some room for the yarn i'm bound to bring back with me....
it's all a question of priorities, you know.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

tying up loose ends

i'm not a great finisher of knits. i love working on them, i love the knitting process, i love making up the pattern as i go along - but i don't love the finishing up. weaving in ends, sewing seams, knitting button bands & buttonholes & sewing on buttons? yeuch....
....which is maybe why this cardi is only now making its appearance - now that it's summer weather here, & too hot for wooly cardigans - despite all the knitting of it being finished nearly a month ago.

spring greens cardi 1

i'm quite impressed with how it's turned out - even the locals stopped to admire my handiwork, and made appreciative noises as they watched the photoshoot.

ducks in a row

& although i'm really happy with it, i can't help but be a little annoyed that i took so long to finish it up. the whole project has been a long-drawn-out labour of love, since it's the first ever large-scale project where not only did i do all the knitting & make up the "pattern" (such as it is), but i also made all the yarn myself - the bright green of the yoke is my own mill-spun hand-dyed yarn, and the rest is my very own handspun!

spring greens cardi 3

i worked on this throughout a very stressful period, and the combination of the simple pattern & the lush handspun merino/silk blend was hugely soothing. & although i had some slight doubts & misgivings about the "pattern" as i was going along, i'm really happy with how it's all turned out in the end.

project specs:
start date: 21st april 2009
completion date: 26th may 2009
yarn: main colour - my own handspun, a 70% merino & 30% tussah silk blend spun to a heavy aran 2ply, with roughly 680 grams & 620 yards; contrast colour - my own hand-dyed aran alpaca/merino/bamboo blend, 100 grams & 180 yards
needles: 5.5mm
pattern: a top-down round garter yoke cardigan made up as i went along

spring greens cardi 2
don't i look pleased with myself!!

Monday, June 08, 2009

a good weekend

phew... i'm back. and what a weekend....
thanks to the miracle of vacuum bags, we managed to fit the entire yarn mountain into two suitcases & one box, & packed the car up on friday morning to drive down to the much anticipated uk ravelry day.

packed & ready

it was cold, gray, horrible & rainy when we set up the market stall, after driving all the way down to coventry the day before, spending a night in a caravan, and getting up ridiculously early on saturday morning (who knew there was such a time as 5:30 a.m.??). the lovely lynette, who came to help out, didn't want to be in a photo, but i managed to snap her hiding at the back of the stall anyways!


it could have been an absolutely awful day - we were outside in the pouring rain for more than ten hours, sheltering under the foot & a half of awning overhanging the back of the stall. we were both exhausted, damp, & frozen, and were out there all day with hardly any time to grab something to eat or even to go to the loo! but it wasn't awful at all - it was absolutely fantastic. the rain didn't seem to put off any of the wonderful ravelry folk from coming out to see what all the market stalls had to offer - and even eloise the sheep guarding the old maiden aunt stock didn't put them off from buying lots & lots & lots of yarn.

eloise at rav day

despite the weather, we had a wonderful time - it was so great to put faces to ravelry names, and so exciting to see so many people buying the yarn i've spent the past few months making! i even managed to sneak a few minutes to run around the other market stalls & gather up some ravelry day booty of my own...

rav day booty

a beautiful hand-sewn project bag from chookiebirdie (i was actually selling these from my stall, as the woman who made them has a studio just up the road from me in west kilbride - i couldn't resist buying one for myself!); some lush merino aran in a vivid green from fyberspates, some knitpro dpns, and some gorgeous buttons from textile garden...


(i couldn't resist the bees, & i know exactly what i'm going to use them with already).
& although we were both utterly shattered by the end of the day, it was an amazingly wonderful experience. i managed to sell an absolute ton of stock (ok, i exaggerate slightly, but the car was about 15 kilos lighter on the way home!) & meet a whole bunch of wonderful ravelry folk - thank you all for coming out in the pouring rain to see my stall & buy my yarns (and thank you especially to liz, who brought me some lovely chocolate even though i assassinated her in sock wars a couple of years ago!!)
the ravelry day plans for next year are already underway, and this time it's going to be in stirling in august 2010 (& in case of rain, the marketplace is going to be inside, thank goodness!!). after having such a great time this year, i'll definitely be applying for a market stall at next year's event as well. all in all, a very good weekend - now, i think i need a nap!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

yarn mountain

sorry i haven't been around here much lately - i'm hoping things will get a little more "normal" soon. i've been very busy building a yarn mountain...

yarn mountain
(for scale, this windowsill is about 10 feet wide by 4 feet deep, and the sheep perched on top is about the size of my head)

i'm one of the marketplace vendors at UK Ravelry Day, and i've been busy dyeing up mountains of stock to take with me - it's my first time ever as a standalone vendor at a big fibre event, and i've been very worried that i wouldn't have enough yarn ready (seriously). now, i'm worried that i've dyed a bit too much - do you think i can fit all this plus three passengers in a clio?? (cozy.)
since i'm taking as much yarn as i can carry, i've set all stock levels in the shop at zero to avoid any duplicate sales - i'll be filling up the shop next week with whatever doesn't sell on saturday.
i'm heading down on friday for the day's event on saturday - wish me luck, and if youre coming down for the day, please come see me at stall #16 (map here) - i'd love to meet you!!
most of my prep work for the weekend is done, so there's only one thing left to do...


(p.s. - bring me large quantities of wine & chocolate, please.)