February 2011 Blog Posts

Eat Your Greens (25th Feb)

The latest Macmillan yarn poll is based round fruit and veg – aubergine, potatoes and kiwi fruit. Usually I only dye up the winner (aubergine) but I couldn’t resist potato yarn.

Gothic Aubergine and Superb Spud will both be in the shop on Monday.

Buttons Mark 2 (23rd Feb)

It was lovely to catch up with lots of the knitting goddesses on Saturday. As well as the chance to knit, natter, eat cake and laugh, I also had the chance to do a bit of informal market research.

Buttons will be appearing in the shop, although not for a few weeks. I’ve worked out a better way of making the button backs so buttons sit better.

I’ve also been playing with the idea of flat buttons without a shank – and once I’d made these and etched them I think they look rather like sea glass.

And the winner is … (again) (21st Feb)

The choices for this week’s Macmillan yarn centred round cake. Cake with monkey decorations.

The winning delight is pastel blue with caramel highlights – so I’ve added some monkey brown to bring you

Monkey Cake

There’s also a little monkey stitch marker – some slightly more wonky eyed than others !

Yarn – and Buttons (18th Feb)

I’ve just added the last of the yarns for this week to the shop. There’s more 4ply sock yarn, more take five sock yarn, mini skeins and a couple more sale goodies.

For a while now I’ve been thinking that I’d like to have some buttons for the shop – but not run of the mill buttons. So last night I had a bit of a play with some glass and made these. They need a lot of work – but I think they might turn out to be just what I wanted all along.

Something Different (17th Feb)

The great workshop tidy up has produced some interesting things – and lots of pens. I am no longer surprised I can never find anything to write with, as each of the 27 pens I’ve brought into the workshop seem to have decided that hiding under the skein winder is a good idea.

I’ve also worked my way through a crate of yarn which houses odds and ends, and yarns which we’ve thought about adding to the shop, then chosen something else.

So there are some interesting things in the sale shop – and I’ve just added two yarns that we’ve never stocked.

The 4ply was a possible luxury sock yarn as it has merino, bamboo and silk as well as nylon. It’s a gorgeous yarn – and I only went for a different yarn as I thought that the 350m length might not be enough for some knitters.

The other ‘reject’ is a gorgeous yarn – a 100% silk boucle in a DK weight. I love this yarn – but boucle doesn’t lend itself to anything other than plain knitting, so again I chose something else.

So both offer a great chance to grab a bargain – we’d have sold the sock yarn at £14.50 and the silk at £16.00 for a 100g skein.

Also back in stock (and not before time is the comments coming in with orders are anything to go by) are mini skeins. There will be more of these over the coming weeks.

Happy shopping.

Sweeties (13th Feb)

The last poll to choose a Macmillan yarn colourway was based round sweeties (just because we needed a change from cake!)

Here’s the winner – Raspberry Ruffle. It will be in the shop tomorrow.

Also in the shop now are lots of new bargains in the sale section – so happy shopping.

How The Professionals Do It (12th Feb)

Not that long after we moved to the Isle of Wight I signed up for some photoshop classes in an attempt to improve the photos I use in the shop and blog.

I ended up in a class full of interesting people – and containing two retired professional photographers. I very quickly learned that I didn’t need to learn photoshop, I needed to learn how to work my camera. Lots of help and advice followed, and most of the photos I take these days work out pretty well.

I’m at the end of a project which means I need some photos for publication in print rather than on the web, and that means a new set of challenges. When we did the feature for Inside Crochet, a friend’s daughter who is doing a level photography came and took pictures for me. I ended up with several hundred photos, but although I loved some of her ideas, none of the pictures worked – focus was off or there was something in the background. As I was working to my ususal deadline (need to do this yesterday) I ended up taking the photos myself – and while they were fine they could have been a lot better.

So this time round I had a plan. The plan was that I would feed professinal photographer coffee and cake, and in return I would get pictures.

The best laid plans and all that – instead I got a bit of a masterclass.

We sat down and discussed what photos I wanted – 12 in all.

Then the fun really started.

Professional photographer reckons that the way to take good photos is to take 1 shot and to do everything you can to make it work – completely opposite to the view of take 50 photos and 1 will turn out.

So we found my tripod, got everything I wanted to photograph ready, set up the first photo, looked at the lighting, moved things, looked at the lighting again, and finally pressed the shutter.

And annoyingly the phots are better than anything I’ve taken up till now.

All in all it took less than an hour to get the 12 shots I wanted – much less than it would have taken to take multiple shots then choose which worked best. Even better, I don’t need to spend time trying to pick which is the best photo from a set.

The main thing I learned? – less is very definately more.

The Other Day Job (10th Feb)

Before I started dyeing yarn for a living, I worked as a holistic therapist – mainly doing craniosacral work, with some aromatherapy and massage.

Dyeing took more of a front seat when we moved into a house where you often risked life and linb to get the length of the hall. I don’t think there’s a floorboard in this house that hasn’t been taken up at least once so wiring and piping could be sorted out.

And finally, finally I have a treatment room again, and am starting to see patients. It’s made me remember all the things I miss about what was my only job for a long time.

So now I have pretty much the perfect mix. Just might be an idea to remember my rubber gloves before I start fishing things out of the dye pot though as I don’t think that purple hands are a great feature on a therpist.

Back To Work (8th Feb)

After a weekend spent seeing friends and eating lots of delicious things, today was back to work.

Being self employed and having a job which doesn’t really require me to stick to too much of a schedule, I find sunny days very tempting, especially when we’ve had so much wind and rain recently. It would have been a lovely day to go to Ventnor sea front, sit in my favourite cafe, drink tea and eat chips.

Instead I finished winding up the February When Vampires Knit Socks skeins, and dyed several colours of cashmere which should be in the shop tomorrow.

So all very productive.

Curves. Lots of Curves. (5th Feb)

At the start of January I decided that as well as setting a couple of resolutions for the year, I’d try to do things for a month.

My January aims were to actually take my vitamins every morning instead of watching the bottle gather dust, to blog every day and to make 1000 lampwork beads.

The ultra simple step of putting my vitamins beside the kettle means I take them every morning almost without thinking.

Blogging every day has been fun – sometimes it’s been a couple of sentences, sometimes more, but I’ve enjoyed it. While I suspect that a post every day for a year would be a touch excessive, I’m going to make sure I post at least 3 times every week.

As for lampworking – well I made 1004 beads and I’m totally hooked. To celebrate I bought a tutorial about making lampwork goddesses – and my first attempt, although rather – ahem – curvier than I’d planned is one that I’m really chuffed with.

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