Category Archives: Yarn

My First Wollmeise

I cannot take credit for the title of this post – that goes to Minxy, who suggested it at Knit Night for a blog post of her own which she hasn’t even had time to type up yet. Sorrrrry. However it an apt one, as we have both purchased our first skein of Wollmeise within the past fortnight, both from destashes on Ravelry.

My skein is a Twin Sockenwolle (80% superwash merino, 20% nylon). I am intrigued. It is wound tightly – so much so that the 150g skein is no bigger in its current form than a standard 100g – and it feels much smoother than the ‘Pure’ (100% merino) that I briefly fondled I Loop earlier this summer.

There are a lot of people out there who rave about Wollmeise. I can’t tell how much of this is to do with the actual properties of the yarn and how much of it is about exclusivity value – it’s amazing how much more attractive something becomes when it’s hard to get. That said, there is talk of excellent stitch definition, and the colours… oh, the colours…

This is my skein, in the Zenzi WD colourway:

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I am not going to lie. I am in awe of those colours. I tried my best to capture them using a point-and-shoot digital camera and light image manipulation, but even that photo struggles to convey the intense saturation and the richness of the ginger and the caramel, the chestnut, the biscuit, the dark brown so inky that it’s almost black, but with almost blue-y tones where it merges into a lighter colour again…

I haven’t dared to unwind the skein yet. It’s just so beautiful. I almost don’t care what the base is like. I have a sneaky feeling that this first skein of Wollmeise may not be my last.

UK Summer Stash

I blogged about my holiday haul from Holland at the end of July. Today it’s the turn of all the crafty bits and bobs that I have acquired during my various UK travels this summer.

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My in-laws moved to Richmond, North Yorkshire in July, and we visited them on their first weekend in their new house. It was a busy weekend, but we did poke our noses into Richmond market where I was delighted to discover Woolmouse*. The pictures on the website really don’t do it justice – it was a large and cheerful stall packed with nice-quality-but-not-extortionate yarns.

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I was tempted by the huge range of local Yorkshire yarns that they had for sale, but they were all in worsted weight which is not something that I’m really knitting with at the minute. It would have been rude to buy nothing, though, so I got some undyed Araucania Ranco and a pack of lovely little mother-of-pearl-esque buttons:

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Then there was Suffolk. We arrived in Southwold on the Saturday. On Sunday I was wandering down the high street and saw a sign pointing to a quilting display and fabric pop-up shop in a room at the Swan Hotel. Who was I to refuse?

In the downstairs, DaisyMay Quilting were showing off an assortment of their long-arm quilting work. They had some fantastic quilts on displays, but there was no contest when it came to picking a favourite:

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Upstairs, Glenroy Designs had a fabric sale. Even though I’m not normally one for quilting fabric, I spent about an hour in there, oohing and aahing over the fantastic range of cottons, chatting to the ladies in charge and trying to decide what to spend my pennies on (because there was no way that I was leaving empty handed). Eventually I settled on three fabrics. Two fat quarters – autumnal leaves for myself and a Japanese-inspired design as a present for K – and 1.5m of a rich berries design, which I intend to turn into a top of some sort.

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I came across some yarn which I didn’t buy, but totally would have done if they’d had it in the 4-ply weight. Dunwich Heath is one of my very favourite places to be and we were there at the very best time of year for it – when the heather is in full bloom and the bright purple sets off the yellow gorse, just-turning bracken and the blue of the sea behind. I think the notice displayed by the yarn speaks for itself really:

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And last but not least, I finally bought Simplicity 1882 because I found it on sale in John Lewis in Norwich!

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It’s been a great summer 🙂

x

*geddit?

Holiday Haul

(Warning – long post ahead!)

Jonathan and I have just got back from an absolutely fantastic week-and-a-bit in Holland. You’re not going to get any photos of the holiday itself, I’m afraid, because I hardly took any. Jonathan takes arty photos of buildings, but getting him in front of a lens is like pulling teeth and when it came to it I decided that I’d rather just enjoy the experience fully in the present rather than always trying to be capturing it for later.

If you’re interested, we went via car and ferry (Harwich – Hoek v Holland) and our rough itinerary was as follows: Delft, dunes south of Schenveningen, Amsterdam, Gouda, Antwerp, cycling in Midden-Delftland, Delft again briefly, Utrecht, Kinderdijk. Monster. Harwich. The A14.

So yes. We fitted quite a lot in to a relatively small space of time.

This is what I bought that may be of interest to you lot (or as Jonathan suggested for the title of this post “Oooo, look, I went on holiday and increased my stash”):

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The August edition of Knipmode. Well c’mon, I was in Holland. It’s kind of compulsory. That said, I have a feeling that this issue may have come out while we were there, because I flicked through a different (presumably July) issue in the supermarket (!!) at the start of the week and was left completely uninspired. August’s issue has several patterns that I like in it, however, and I shall do a separate post on those at some point. I did also eye up August’s Burda, and chalked it down for a maybe-when-I’m-back-in-the-UK purchase.

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Yarn! Namely a Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball and a coordinating ball of cream 4-ply which are totally going into the Ravelry queue as a prospective Dreambird. These were both bought from de Afstap in Amsterdam, mere moments after I had discovered to my dismay that Big Shoe is closed on Mondays (I had trekked across the city with an increasingly grumbly hip to go there specially after a recommendation from a sales assistant elsewhere*). Finding such a lovely yarn shop 100m down was my consolation prize, and whilst they sold mostly Rowan, I was incredibly excited to find my first in-the-flesh Zauberball.

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Fabric. Oh yes. Fabric. I was very restrained and only came back with three pieces. This might have been more, had I not been in Utrecht on the wrong day for their fabric market.

So anyway, L-R above we have:

  • 2m of poly chiffon. Yes, you read that correctly – poly chiffon. I have probably taken leave of my senses having been too scared to even handle chiffon before, never mind sew with it, but could you have left that beauty in the shop? Hmmm? Each one of those black centres has a tiny silver dot in the middle. €7.95/m from one of the shops on Albert Cuypmarkt.
  • 1m of burnout cotton – same sort of weight as a nice quilting cotton. I love the pattern, the warmth of the cream colour, and hello, burnout cotton?! €8.95/m from the same shop. Possibly I should have pressed these fabrics before taking photos? Whatever.
  • 1m of viscose jersey. This was expensive fabric by my standards at €15.95/m (from Stoffenhuis Anja in Gouda) but I just loved it too much to leave behind. I also picked up a couple of 3m of bias binding in navy and cream respectively ‘cos well, it’s probably a useful thing to have knocking about and at €1.25 for 3m I didn’t feel I could complain.

What really struck me was the apparent omnipresence of sewing in the Netherlands. Even towns which didn’t have an obvious fabric shop had haberdashers stuffed to the gills with threads, trims, ribbons, buttons…

As mentioned above, both Burda and Knipmode were standard features on every magazine rack I saw. One supermarket I was browsing in also sold a Simplicity pattern magazine – sort of in the style of the two aforementioned and offering a handful of patterns that I recognised as having already been published in paper format by either Simplicity itself or New Look.

Maybe the grass is greener. Who knows? Either way, it was a wonderful, wonderful holiday, and not just for the purchases. I shall leave you with a few parting shots:

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Necklace designed and beaded by yours truly at Lazuli, Delft

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Suntan!

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What Jonathan brought back to the UK

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The most fabulous tights you ever did see!

‘Tag!

x

*It turns out that I even have big feet in Holland. Most UK women’s shoes stop at a 41/UK7. Most Dutch women’s shoes stop at a 42/UK8. I need a 43/UK9. I find the lack of larger shoes in Holland rather odd, given that the average height there is distinctly greater than in most other places and for once I didn’t feel out of place in this regard – or not so much, anyway. My quest for awesome shoes was ultimately successful, however – at the end of the week I bought a pair of these beauties whilst in Utrecht.

BiCraftual

I’d consider myself a sewist first and a knitter second. Chronologically, of course, but also in terms of my identity.

Despite this, my knitting has been getting rather a lot more attention over the past few months. I put this down to several things:

  • Knitting is portable. I can take it with me on car journeys, pick it up at lunch breaks, knit in bed…
  • Knit nights. I dedicate an evening a week to going out and socialising and knitting. This is part of my routine, again in a way that sewing just isn’t.
  • Knitting is still new and shiny for me.
  • Ravelry is a place where I spend quite a lot of my internet-time these days, and the resultant inspiration factor is huge. Sewing doesn’t have the equivalent. PatternReview.com is great for a purpose but it’s not a site that one browses in the same way. I was an avid member of TheSewingForum.co.uk for quite a while but it’s not the same – more of a forum (as the name suggests) than an all-encompassing resource. And I did once briefly venture onto MySewingCircle.com but… meh.
  • I can knit when my hips are grouchy.
  • I can knit when I’m too tired or depressed to entrust myself with electrically powered sharp-moving objects.

So since its inception back in January, I think it’s fair to say that this blog has been all about the knitting. My mind still wanders from one craft to the other, though, on a fairly regular basis.

Yesterday I was in a knitting mood. I picked up some of the newly released Katia Air Lux yarn at a local yarn shop. This stuff feels incredible. It is a viscose/virgin wool 3ply with a beautiful shimmer and it is so light and so soft that there was no way I was leaving it in the shop. In a serendipitous piece of timing, I have paired it up in my queue with Ysolda Teague’s Orchid Thief Shawlette which will totally qualify for the Crafting Library KAL if and when Chrissy launches it!

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Today my head has been all about the sewing. And so it naturally followed that my retail therapy would wander in that direction too. Why yes, of course I need more fabric. *ahem*

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Are you bi/multi-craftual? How do you handle your hobbies vying for attention?

Impatience

Q: What does no swift and impatience 13g from the end of your shiny new skein* get you?

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A: A tangle of Tosh.

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Bah.

x

*From the incredible Loop, which I visited on a day-trip to London yesterday.

The Web of Colour

Colour is wonderful. Colour is magical. If I studied colour for a hundred years I could never hope to get my head around its shifting hues and saturations, its infinite variety, its combinations and its contrasts and its blends.

But the same thing that makes colour so brilliant is what makes it so hard to pin down over cameras and computer screens.

I gave into my Colourmart longings not long after writing this post, and ordered some DK weight silk in ‘peachy powder’. But when it arrived, it was a lot more ‘powder’ and a lot less pink-toned than I was expecting. The photo on the left is the ‘swatch’ photo from the Colourmart website. The photo on the right is the one that I took – it’s not a brilliant shot, but it’s probably the most representative one of the colour that I could get.

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Disappointed, the yarn sat in its bag on my floor for a few days while I decided what to do. Its tones shifted as morning went and evening came. It lay there, shimmering, taunting me. Eventually I decided to send it back, as I knew that there was no point in spending a lot of money on a yarn that I wasn’t in love with.

So a few days ago, thanks in no small part to Colourmart’s superb customer service*, my replacement silk arrived. I’d bought 300g of the ‘peachy powder’ and they only had 200g of leftover ‘peach’ with which to replace it so I threw 100g of cream into the basket too.

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This time I took the yarn out of its bags and took photos against some white printer paper. The photo of the cream is pretty accurate, although the stark white background is bringing out its yellow.

The peach is quite a lot more saturated and quite a bit less pale in real life. It’s an orange-y peach, but holding it up against my face brings out a slightly pinkier hue. It certainly suits me better than the ‘peachy powder’ did, even if I like the colour less ‘on paper’. I want to use it to knit a non-maternity of Petal if I can possibly eek it out of the yardage.

Petal: project photo by Stefanie Japel

 Oh, and as for the cheeky extra Colourmart purchase from the Ravelry destash of a fellow LSG-er… om nom nom nom nom is all I have to say about that!

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x

*No commission etc.. But I sure wouldn’t say no 😉

Yarn Lust

We humans are perverse creatures.

I’ve had a bad couple of weeks or so. Money’s been even tighter than I expected, due to the fact that my back gave way ten days ago and I ended up at the chiropractor for emergency treatment. I’ve been in pain; I’ve been angry; I’ve been worried about life-stuff; I’ve been really quite depressed.

All I wanted to do was to splurge on yarn to make myself feel better, and I wasn’t even able to do that. If you’d asked me one week ago what I was definitely going to buy once there was some money in my bank account, it’d have been this:

1. Merino/cashmere aran weight from eBay, in a flecked navy. Isn’t it pretty?

2. Mulberry Silk fingering weight from DyeForYarn on Etsy. Omnomnomnomnom.Passing leaf storm - Silk Yarn Fingering weight

3. Whatever amazing yarn ColourMart happened to be offering at the time (I couldn’t even bring myself to look).

4. Knitting Goddess 4 ply 100% silk. This yarn is discontinued, but that wasn’t going to stop me ogling people’s stash photos on Ravelry. This one belongs to pmcblonde. Just look at that pale gold on the right hand side. Absolutely stunning.

It is now May. My pay arrived. I went back onto the internet, ready for that splurge.

  1. I didn’t buy the merino cashmere aran weight. I stilll love the cake photos, but I came across a picture of the knitted fabric that it turns into and it just wasn’t what I’d had in mind. Too flecky.
  2. I didn’t buy the DyeForYarn mulberry silk. I still love it, but the colours were all screaming Autumn or Winter to me and I’m in the mood for Spring.
  3. Colourmart didn’t have anything that was grabbing me. As you know, I’m all about the colours… and none of the colours on offer were quite right in a yarn that I wanted. They have some pretty merino singles, but I’m in the mood for silk, baby. Yes, I have expensive tastes. Sigh.
  4. I would totally still buy that pale gold 4 ply, but the whole being discontinued thing makes that harder.

There’s nothing quite like wanting something until you can have it, is there?