Go-to projects

I’m sure most crafters have them. A go-to project or pattern that is almost like comfort crafting. What is yours? Is it a vanilla sock pattern, or a hat, or maybe a shawl or scarf? Or maybe your default crafting is to crochet amigurumi?

I tend to binge on one sort of project until I’ve really had enough, and then I’ll move onto the next sort. This year, I’ve made lots of pairs of socks.

Blueberry Waffle Socks in Cuddly Owl Sock, colourway “Pollock’s”
Vanilla Socks with a slip stitch heel flap
Skew socks, pattern on knitty.com. Yarn is Turquoise Obsidian on OAY Cuddly Owl Sock
Pay Day Socks, pattern by Leah Oakley , handspun yarn.

And they’re still coming! I’ve got three pairs on the needles at the moment. I have one sock done of a pair of Butterblümchen socks (pattern by Christa Hartmann and it’s free on Ravelry), one and a bit of Fork in the Road socks by Lana Neel (also free on Ravelry) and one and seven eighths of a pair of Froot Loop socks (by Kristi Gelaci and guess what, the pattern is free on Ravelry, and also on knitty.com).

I feel the end of my sock phase approaching. But what will be next? Knitted toys?

Bugle the baby elephant – pattern by Susan Claudino, yarn by me!
Three Bonbon Bunnies for my daughter and two nieces – again, the pattern is by Susan Claudino

Or jumpers? Hmm. I’m thinking it might be shawl time. I’m feeling the call of the shawl!!

I’ve not knitted any for a while, but I think it’s time I brushed up my shawl skills as I’ve got a couple of design ideas blowing about in my head.

Butterfly Vines shawl – my own design
Pattern is Multnomah and I knitted this as a gift a couple of years back. I dyed the yarn.
My own design – Bonus Shawl – and my own yarn!
Haruni – a gorgeous pattern by Emily Ross. My own yarn.

At Yarningham I bought some lovely yarn from Little Boo Yarns. Two complimenting colourways on a sparkle base. I’m thinking that they will become a Duchess of Devonshire shawl. But first I’ve got to finish all those pesky socks!

Instagram yarn giveaway

I’ve reached 1500 followers on Instagram! If you are one of them, thank you so very much! If you aren’t,  why not go and follow me and you could enter for a chance to win this bundle of lovely yarniness…

That’s right. This pile of gorgeousness will all be going to one lucky person. So head on over to my Instagram page (@owlaboutyarn everywhere online, to make it super easy to find me!) and have a go. If you don’t enter you can’t win!

The giveaway will close at midnight on Sunday 7th August 2016 and I will draw the winner using a random number generator on Monday 8th, and announce it shortly thereafter! 

Good luck!

Cue very excited squealing and bouncing around!

I had a phone call yesterday morning which left me almost speechless (those who know me also know that it takes an awful lot to render me actually devoid of speech), shaking, slightly panicky but also hugely excited.

I’ve been trying to become more organised recently with my business (thankfully, as you will shortly understand). Although I’m still only working part time, given that children need to be taken to school, collected, fed, watered etc, I’ve been attempting to have some sort of structure to my working hours and plan what happens when, rather than waking up and seeing what I feel like doing that day. So, being organised, I have recently put in a large (for me) yarn order, made sure that this financial year’s paperwork was filed properly, made a plan for the yarn festival I will be vending at in the summer and made gentle plans towards preparing for that, bit by bit.

Then, yesterday morning I had a phone call. Chrissie from Wonderwool phoned to tell me that they had had a cancellation and to ask if I was still interested in having a stall! My mind went blank, there was a sort of mad humming in my ears and I asked if I could look at my stock levels and let her know later in the day.

OF COURSE I wanted a stall! It has only been my woolly ambition for the last several years (effectively since that very first yarn dyeing class I took) to exhibit at Wonderwool Wales! But what if I made a really poor showing? I certainly don’t have the stock right now to make a decent stall even at a tabletop event (maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but you see how I was thinking, right?), could I make enough items to vend at Wonderwool in three and a half weeks?

(Three and a half weeks! THREE AND A HALF WEEKS!! 24 DAYS!!!)

So I phoned my better half Rob. Then I phoned my yarny voices of reason Zoe and Ellie. Who calmed me down, bolstered me up and told me that I could totally do this, why had I not accepted Chrissie’s offer, email her immediately! So I did. Then I pinned and sewed and interfaced fabric for project bags like a mad woman all day, made lists, planned plans, bribed my two older children (aged almost 15 and 12) to take over some of the housework and cooking for the school holidays, mildly hyperventilated from time to time and tried to convince myself that Ellie and Zoe were right. I won’t cock it up, I have 24 days to prepare (23 now, but who’s counting?!), I have many, many skeins of undyed yarn and a huge box of undyed fibre to make a start on dyeing. More undyed yarn is only 24 hours away if I need it. I’ve already been preparing methods of display, so I don’t need to worry too much about that. I have hand knits I can show. I have lots of fabric and tonnes of charms to make into plenteous project bags and stitch markers.

And breathe.

I think I might be able to pull this off. Due to my propensity to both hoard things and to buy well in advance, I think I’ll have the stall fittings and a reasonable amount of stock to (hopefully!) sell. My to-do list is growing by the minute, but I definitely feel calmer today. My Voices of Reason and Calm TM (aka Ellie and Zoe) will be coming to my house sometime soon to help me organise my brain and make more lists. I so want to make a good impression, I don’t want to be a disappointment. I just need to stick to what I know, work hard, and resist the urge to panic. It would waste time! Oh, and programme the boys to keep the cups of tea flowing in my direction!

Wish me luck. Please! And if you are coming to Wonderwool, drop by my stall (eeeeeeeeeeeeeee!) and say hello!

Shop update

I put a few new colourways into the shop yesterday and today, both on fibre and yarn. The fibre is something special, a lovely merino/silk/stellina blend.

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The yarns are a mixture of bases, and I’ve even listed a skein of my handspun yarn for the first time!

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Today’s job was winding miniskeins. I managed 150 10g skeins. I’ll be sorting these into sets soon and then they’ll hit the shop, hopefully tomorrow.

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So if you’re making any sort of modular project using fingering/4ply/sock weight yarn, remember to come and have a look in my shop tomorrow evening!

Episode 9 – Blathering!

FOs
2 Bonbon bunnies (pattern on Ravelry by Susan Claudino)
Miss Winkle shawl using my handspun Sara’s Texture Crafts yarn. (Pattern on Ravelry by Martina Behm)
Spinning – Wingham Woolworks blue merino; Spin City Cinderella’s Slippers; Sara’s Texture Crafts Boysenberry merino and merino/tussah silk blend

WIPs
Another bonbon bunny

Plans
Hitofude Cardigan (pattern on Ravelry) using my Sara’s Texture Crafts boysenberry yarn
2 Tallulah cardigans for Erin using basic acrylic dk yarn
Spinning John Arbon ‘Grape’ merino blend fluff

Out and About
Met MariaSamira and her husband at Cardiff Castle
Davis Cup tennis quarter final tie at Queen’s Club, London
Tintern Abbey (except I forgot to talk much about it. I’ll write a proper post another day!)

Shop News
Shop update last week, lots of BFL tops and lots of different yarns. Miniskein update to come when I’ve had time to wind them!

Loose Ends
Britalong KAL with the Bakery Bears Obiwanknitter and Bryonybear – I’m offering a 15% discount until the 21st August with code BRITALONG2015. Also, happy anniversary to Dan and Kay, and happy wedding day to Zena (littleyellowuke)

Episode 7 – Birthday Week

Owl About Yarn episode 7

WIPs

Tonks Togs jumper from the Unofficial Harry Potter Knits magazine (Interweave Press), knitted in Wendy Fusion on 5mm needles.

Dragon Lace Pullover by Angela Hahn (paid for pattern on Ravelry)

Fondant Fibre punis

Finished Items

Sara’s Texture Crafts gradient BFL

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Drawstring project bag

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Acquisitions

Birthday presents

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Ashford hand skeiner
T-shirt from Ellie (which I’m wearing on the podcast)
A book about spinning and fibre from Zoe
A tin of goodies from Sarah

Fibre from @mestitcher (instagram)

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Swap parcel from @savvyskeins (instagram)

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My June @amieyes (instagram) club instalment

Shop News

I showed new yarns and fibre colourways that I hope to get into the shop in the next few days

BIRTHDAY DISCOUNT EXTENDED – enter HAPPYBIRTHDAYJENNIE at the checkout on http://www.owlaboutyarn.etsy.com and get 15% off your purchase. Offer valid until Sunday 28th June

I also showed the yarn I’ll be sending off as a prize for the Bakery Bears podcast Brit-along KAL.

Loose Ends

Three birthday cakes!

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Exercise – my sons and I will be taking part in a 3k family fun run in aid of George Thomas Hospice Care on the 5th July.

Spinning off the wheel!

Yesterday I finished up two spins – it was a proper plying party! I finished my Sara’s Texture Crafts polwarth.

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I got about 290 yards of 2ply and then had a bit left so I’ve got a miniskein of nply too. I can’t decide which one I like more! Then my overdyed John Arbon fibre sample. This was a blend of alpaca, polwarth and merino d’arles.

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I got 120 yards Navajo plied, which I think will be bulky weight yarn. I was really pleased with how it drafted, and I’m really looking forward to spinning up the other fibre I dyed.