Monday, 19 May 2008

Swap Questionnaire

Here's my swap questionnaire! Yey!

Part One: Crafting

Do you knit, crochet, or both? I'm really a knitter, but have just taught myself to crochet, so that I can do some ammigurumi eventually!

What do you like to make? I'm primarily a lace and socks knitter, as I never suit tops! I do like knitting hats, scarves, mittens, toys, felted bags, felted random things.. allsorts really!

Do you have a favourite project? Probably socks!

Do you have a favourite type of fiber or brand of yarn? Alpaca! I just love all natural fibres to be honest.

Do you have a least favourite type of yarn? Acrylic.. I'm a self-confessed yarn snob! :p

Do you do any other crafts? Lots! Beading, card making, photography, spinning (a bit), dyeing (of course!), and I want to try metal smithing, candle making, soap making and flower arranging!! I'm also awaiting a kit so I can put my sewing skills to use, and hopefully my sewing will take on a proper, proffessional look - I'd love that!

Do you knit in public? Yeah!

If so where do you like knitting and what is your "portable" project? I knit on public transport, in waiting rooms, in the pub sometimes, and my portable project is usually a sock.

What do you carry your "portable" knitting in? Whatever's on my shoulder! Usually my trusty suede shoulder bag. I'm a bit anal, I like the suede bag the best because being suede, it sticks to my shoulder, whereas other materials slide off!

When I go to knitting group I have a lovely tote which is red and black with big flowers on. It's full of random stuff! It's ace!

Are there any knitting gifts (book, toy, yarn, item, tool) that you have been lusting over? Last time I said no, then a week later thought of a million cool things. I'll have a look around and come back to this. OOOOOH thought of something - the dangly knitting needle earrings from Sassafras creations on etsy!! Ooh - I've just discovered the softness of the Malabrigo merino worsted.. *drooool* (If I think of anything else I'll add it!)

Part Two: Your Favourites

If you were a specific kind of yarn, which brand and kind of yarn would you be (and why)? I'd be.. hmm that's a hard one. I'm going to go for Mirasol Miski. It's stunningly soft, beautiful rich colours, and of course it's all in favour of the Mirasol project, which i'm a bit involved with myself.

What is your favourite colour? Purple!!

What is your least favourite colour? Bright green and bright orange.

What scents/smells do you like? I love white musk and vanilla, but mildly, I don't like strong smells/perfumey smells at all!

What don’t you like? Strong perfume, strong smells - they give me a headache.

How do you like to pamper yourself? (bubble bath, hand creams, massage, manicure) I sit and do some knitting! I do use the knitter's helper natural hand balm which my previous swap partner got me. But I don't use anything like bubble bath or manicures.

What goodies to you like to eat? (chocolate, biscuits, sweets,crisps etc) Apple strudel, apple crumble, chocolate croissants, pizza! Nando's! Errr mostly really fattening things! Not into bars of chocolate.

Do you prefer tea or coffee while you knit? Tea! Hate coffee!

Any particular kind? Yes!! I'm really addicted to this instant tea from Whittards, it's elderflower and rasberry, and it's mostly sugar and stuff, but does have some black tea extract in it! It's really nice!

Do you listen to/watch anything while you knit? (TVshow-Along, movies, music, podcasts, audiobooks) I tend to listen to Radio 2, don't watch TV much at all (once a week for the Apprentice).

Part Three: About you, Living & Past-times

If you were a specific kind of yarn, which brand and kind of yarn would you be (and why)? We've already answered this :p

Where do you live in the UK? (General idea not address) Lancashire and Manchester - and I LOVE both!

Have you always lived here, or did you grow up somewhere else? I'm a true lancashire lass and apart from uni, I've been here all my life!

What is your favourite place in the UK? Manchester and home!

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? Italy. I go to Venice every year, and we absolutely love everything Italian. Love love love it!

What other hobbies do you have? Loads - photography, shooting, dancing, ice skating, going to the gym, golf, mountainbiking, skiing. A lot of these are things I do every so often with OH rather than on a regular basis. The regular ones are skiing, iceskating, swimming and golf, oh and the gym and sauna!

Part Four: The Theme

As part of this swap we are asking you to post (or link to) a picture or photograph you like. Your swap pal will use the photo as a basis for a themed item or parcel.It could be of a specific item, e.g. Jellybeans, an Alpaca, a rainbow or a scene e.g. sunset, beach, woodland or anything else you can think of! Please add a few words to explain why you have chosen the photo if you think this is appropriate.It could be a photo you have taken or a picture you have found on the internet.

A photo eh.. I could pick about 20, I don't even know where to start deciding. An animal? yarn? a colour? a landscape? me being silly? hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Ok, here's my picture:

It's a woodland. This woodland is being advertised for sale, and I would *love* to buy it. I'd buy it and preserve it exactly how it is, and I'd encourage wildlife, and have bat and bird boxes, and stuff like that. I really hope this woodland doesn't get sold to developers - that really annoys me. There's plenty of room in the cities for regeneration, there are SO many unused buildings that we should be using and we're not. So that's why I've picked this picture - it represents my morals and ethics and is simply beautiful. Also I love bluebells, they remind me of wisteria which I really love too :)

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

UK Swap Number 2!

I'm getting involved!
This is my pimping stuff - if you're in the UK go join the UK Swaps group on Ravelry, it's a good, well organised swap, which gives you quite a while to do it, and the hosts are running wee competitions for cool prizes along the way.

Of course I'm biased, I'm donating yarn :p I've not decided what yet so can't tease you with it!

If you are reading this and want to join in, check out the blog at and leave a message telling them that it was me that pointed you in that direction ;)
Then go pimp the swap yourself too!

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Yarn, Pie, WIPs, Books and Nature! (Not in that order)

Well.. I've uploaded my pics in random order so that's dictating the order, I'm too lazy to go reordering all the photos!

This week hasn't been quite so hectic as usual, as my folks are away with two of the dogs, so it's just me and the remaining dog who's "too old" to go on holiday :( (She couldn't actually fit in the car was the real reason!)

Anyway it's been the epitome of peace and tranquility. Seriously. I've got quite a bit of knitting done, been at work, been baking, BBQing, and generally enjoying life. Well, until Thursday that is. At lunch time I suddenly felt quite ill, it was over 30 degrees C in the shop and I was so cold I had a thick jumper on!

I lasted out til 6pm (we were short staffed so I kind of had to). Then I drove home (very carefully!) in a daze of pain and dizziness, collapsed with a fever and slept til Friday. Friday was ok, but then yesterday I got bloody worse! My temperature rocketed and I seem to have developed a painful tummy bug :( so today I've not been able to eat a single thing, it's really annoying because I can smell my neighbours' delicious BBQ food!!

It's now pouring down and thundering quite badly, poor Bonnie is shaking and breathing heavily and I'm rather enjoying it.

I'll get on with all the stuff anyway.

First I got two books a couple of weeks ago. This jumped out at me and I HAD to buy it. It is beautifully presented, I can't wait to have a go at the wee dogs (need to get some fleece).

They're really quite realistic considering they're made from fleece!

I also just had to get VLT. It's been on my to-buy list for soooo long. I'm really glad I got it, the info in there makes great reading and the projects are beautiful!

I read the caption "self powere lawn mower", wondered 'what on earth??' then saw the photo...!

Ooooh we just had a REALLY big bolt of lightning and thunder! How exciting! (Poor Bonnie though :( ) I think the storm must be over us, it's gone really dark.

Anyway. Last weekend me and OH did some baking. After much deliberation we went for Banoffie pie. I love choc/banana ice cream and banoffie pie, so does he, and we baked it very successfully.. BUT the condensed milk was so damn sweet! It really ruined it! I was very disappointed!

Looks a mess I know, but it's really not easy to keep all neat!


I made a load of crochet stitch holders recently too. Firstly this cute elephant..

Doggie related stitch markers (the dog's a bit miserable looking though)..

Random purple crochet stitch holders..

And milliefiorie ones:

Oh and these ceramic beads remind me of Japanese art..

Ok, a few WIPs next.

In an effort to stashbust, I made a hat with a skein of Rowan Spray. It's pretty cool yarn. anyway, here's the hat:

It's funny isn't it.. it's for skiing, I'm going to add tassels I think. Sorry for the squint - it was very bright!

I've made a start on my Trystero Socks too, from and I do like them but they're pretty complicated really. I've done repeat one of three for the leg so not getting on very quickly!

I'm knitting a pair of squat mitts too. I'm using my ball of Trendsetter Tonalita, I've done the first one and left it OTN so that if I have enough yarn to make them longer I can do.

I had a sizeable stash of chunky yarn that's all my handspun, so decided it was time to knit it. I was going to do a scarf (unoriginal I know), but it's so heavy that OH suggested I make a few strips the same size and make a blanket :)

I love the purple, turquoise and white :)

Here's my nurse, Bonnie. You wouldn't believe she's almost 13 would you. Here she's telling me she wants dinner. She gave me the Look:

I said "what?"

She said "it's dinner time!" She's a right cheeky-pants, look at the glint in those eyes.

She showed me this too. It's the trough I grew my veg in last summer. It's now Holly's digging pot. Also her stash pot - here's the sock I lost a few weeks ago.

Ok, some nature for you.
In the course of the day, this was shut, then it opened, then it all got blown off, then it wilted!

Wisteria.. I love this plant, I think it's so beautiful.

I spotted this tiny beetle. It's only about 4mm in length =, but just look at the colour of it's shell!

I've forgotten the name of this, but it looks very pretty.

I think this is the yew tree? Not sure (sorry!), but I think it's pretty.

Just a wet leaf..

Love this daisy shot I got, I've set it as my desktop background :)

And finally... yarn. Not done much dyeing this week, cos I did it all last week!

Here's Barley Fields in merino/tencel sock:

A few skeins of the merino/silk laceweight..


Wood Elf:

This is sockyarn for Knitting Pixie. It's Pablo, it's her second skein, the first skein she's knitted up into a beautiful pair of socks which she designed herself, and the link can be found at the top left of my blog - check it out!!

This is Sugar Plum, kettle dyed. I really, really can't get the colours to photograph right.

This is another custom order for Pixie, I've actually named it Pixie seeing as it's her colourway! It's pale pink, pale blue, and a hint of lilac and turquoise.. hand painted. I'm very chuffed with it!

That's all! For some reason I thought there was more.

I'm going to knit again for a while. Try and get my 007 sock finished and my mitts done. Then I want to try and do some horseshoe. I've not been able to concentrate to do it for a few days due to being ill.

I actually got a new Bonsai last week. It's a real little beauty, but the photos can wait til next time :p

Sunday, 4 May 2008

More busy-ness

Well, I've been ridiculously busy, as usual! I've done lots of dyeing, I'm trying to keep a good range of colours and yarns in my shop, but of course it involves spending quite a bit of money in the first place!

I've barely had any time for knitting. My job's going ok, I do actually like it, and I like all but one person which is good going I think. I think I'm doomed though - last week on Wednesday I was in horrendous traffic and was an hour late, then on Thursday I was in a car crash! I won't go into the expense it's causing me!

Anyway, I have a completed WIP! It's Amanda's Squatty Sidekick, from Knitting Daily. It's a cool little bag, done in Twilley's Freedom Spirit. It took just over one ball.

I'm onto the second of my 007 socks. I can't believe how long they're taking. I just do them on my breaks at work, and when I'm watching a dvd (which isn't very often!).

This is the beginning of the second one. It's bright turquoise - I know the colour hasn't come out that well.

I've also done the cuff on my first Trystero sock, from CookieA. The pattern looks complicated, hence the longer than usual cuff! I'm going to try and start the pattern this afternoon though!

I am also still doing my horseshoe lace stole - I'm nearly halfway through now. Again - I can't believe how long it's taking!

I've had a shot at some card making. Obviously working in Hobbycraft it's difficult *not* to want to try everything out. So I gave in! I've put these in my shop as I thought they'd make lovely cards for swap parcels and gifts. I also had this idea - to make gift vouchers for my shop, which would neatly go with a card :) Hopefully these will make lovely gifts for folks that can't decide what to get their recipient!

Without more ado:

My favourite - I love this one!

The monkey cards are ones that I did first (before the above ones).

Ok so that's the cards. I've also dyed lots of yarn. I've actually done double the amount that I'm putting on here, some of it still needs reskeining and stuff yet. I love showing off my photos of my yarn, it's really satisfying to see it all together.
I tried out the merino/tencel sock yarn, and am really pleased with it. It's really soft and silky!
This is Broken Stones:

Poison Passion:

This is BFL DK in Kelp:

And in Phoenix:

This is some pure wool that I tried out. It's 'eco' friendly - hasn't been processed or spun with anything nasty. First in Cornflower:

This is Wisteria:

And Broken Stones:

Back to the merino/tencel sock yarn, this is fish n chips:

Delle (this is my favourite, I think it's lush!):

Pablo (poorly photographed, sorry!)

Ocean View, for Pixie (again, poorly photo'd):

I also got some new laceweight. It's 80% superfine merino, 20% silk and comes with a fantastic 1200 yards per 100g. I'm really pleased with it, it looks really fine and floaty, and as soon as my stash is down I'm going to be knitting with it (maybe a hanami).

Firstly in kettle dyed pablo:



Ocean View:

I haven't dared reskein any of them! It takes long enough reskeining the sock yarn, let alone 1200 yards! So if I get time I will reskein one of them maybe, but I probably won't to be honest!

When I get chance I'll show you the rest of the dyeing I've done (once I've reskeined!). There's another 4 skeins of merino/tencel and abother 8 or so skeins of the laceweight!

I'm off, I really want to get some knitting done before my OH comes round. I really want to get a couple of lace repeats done, and start on the Trystero socks!

oooh I forgot - I got some gorgeous new business cards this week! They are really lovely, I'm so chuffed with them, and was going to put a picture of them here, but that'd spoil the surprise (well, you know what I mean) for the people that have bought yarn and will get a nice new card attached :)

OOH - I've learnt to crochet!! Kind of.. I'm looking for a simple pattern to try out next!

Ciao for now!