Posts tagged Yarn
The Countdown: 8 Weeks to Go

I submit my manuscript 8 weeks from today. This is what I have left to do:

 

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77 balls of yarn. SEVENTY SEVEN BALLS OF YARN have to be made into something in 8 weeks.  That means I need to use about 1/day for the next 2 months.

And the postman wondered why I was crying when I answered the door today.

In the immortal words of my mother: You can do it. You can do it. If you put your mind to it.  

Yarn Parade

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Just some of the yarns coming into the house at the minute. 

-- The top one is a custom dye of Flump Aran from Sarah at Babylonglegs that begged and pleaded with me to make it into something beautiful.  I told it that I had no time for other projects that I needed to work on Work.  But it looked at me so forelornly and I was sucked in. I am going to try and write up the pattern today in my "free" moments.

-- Malabrigo Silky Merino in Cape Code Grey is another simply amazing wool to work with.  It is on the thin side of DK, but just shimmery and gorgeous.

- Do not adjust your computer screens.  The "retina singeing" green is another Babylonglegs masterpiece...Baron GreenBack on her Semi-Precious DK base.  I love working with silk.  While it is on the expensive end of yarns, I am a huge fan of yarns with a silk content for children.  They are light, wear and wash well, holds their shape and is great for maintaining body temperature. Plus I have yet to meet a yarn with a silk content that is scratchy.  Children's wear takes such small amounts of wool, that it doesn't work out to be that expensive for a jumper or vest.

- Finally, most unexpectedly lovely yarn is Artesano superwash.  Don't get me wrong, I didn't have low expectations, but I just didn't have any expectations because I'd never heard of it before.  It is soft, has beautiful stitch definition and is just joyful to work with. 

I have to admit that I have found choosing and sourcing the yarns challenging.  Its where my lack of years of experience really show as I simply have not seen and touched that many wools in person. Plus, the sheer number of options available is mind-blowing.  However, slowly I am getting there.  There are still a couple of projects that I have no idea what I am going to use, but I am hoping a trip to Loop Knitting next week when we are in London will sort me out.

In the Name of Research

I can't get these on to Flickr any other way. Sorry, instagram followers.

Fact: One never realises how much yarn there is in the world, until one starts researching a crochet book.

The range of makers, sheep, animals, fibres, drape, loft, ply, weight, place of origin, place of manufacture, dyes, varigation, self-striping, kettle dyed, hand dyed, dip dyed, hand painted, hand spun...MAKES MY HEAD WANT TO EXPLODE.

And after hours of researching online, I knew I had to go to a store and put my hands on some things to help it all seem a bit more, er, tangible. 

My creation

These things I learned:

- Apparently. if it was left up to me, I would make the whole book in shades of grey. I wouldn't even look at any lines that didn't have grey in them, because I must have some bizarre obsession with the colour. Upon further examination, of the last 12 of my designs or projects, 11 have been grey and the other 1 was supposed to be but the yarn arrived a brown shade. I wish I had thought of this pinboard (and I only noticed just now that one of my photos is on it, lol). I don't even look good in grey.

- Britain is even more of a DK nation than I thought.  So many of my favourite brands have discontinued their Aran weights. This isn't a deal breaker, but I am a bit disappointed that Wendy in particular has done this in some of their lines. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I like my yarn like I like my men...big and burly.

- No one stocks the perfect mustard yellow.  Since Rowan discontinued its honey colourway in Pure Wool, I am at a loss for the *perfect* shade of yellow.  Everything is either too sunshiney or too greeny.  I feel slightly bereft.  However, owning this bag would help me overcome (hint, Kevin, hint).

Sadly, I am no further in my quest for wool.  I have "ideas" and "resignations" - on that note I bought 2 teeny tiny hooks (2mm and 3mm - cripes that is SMALL) to possibly get my head around crocheting with sock wool. SOCK WOOL. It seems I will be developing a taste for tall and lanky...hmmmm.

 

Colour

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I am currently in love with this yellow and teal colour combination. I get into these phases where I crave colours, like my eyes ache without them. Yellow has been in this category for awhile, but other than the play table I have not been allowed to paint anything else *hands on hips and looks grumpily at Kevin*.  

The teal is a new addition, stemming soley from this cascade eco+ yarn in pacifica (bought from here). It is just lovely to work with and has grey and brown tones that give it a shimmery effect. The tape is part of my current washi tape obsession collecsion.  I have started a whole washi tape/highlighter organisational system.  I am on day 6 and still organised, so that is something, hey?  Its obviously the washi tape ;)

 

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thank you all for your support of Capturing Childhood! I am over there today blogging about why I started taking pictures.

Yarn: The Motherload

 

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I did give fair warning that it was arriving.  I prepared for it, sorted through the stash, warned the husband...but the arrival of over 2kg of spun gold STILL surprised and delighted me to no end.

Most of this is for things that I have to keep quiet (which I totally suck at, so NEVER tell me a secret and expect me to keep it!). However, I can tell you what I have been stroking over the last few days:

8x Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk.  The dark brown of this colour is called "Marmite".  Don't you just love it? (Unless you hate it)

3x 250g Skeins of Cascade Eco (and Eco+)

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3x Cascade 220 in pinks and green

1x Quince and Co Osprey in Honey (which is probably going to be returned as I thought honey = yellow)

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But best of all, I have 2x 100g skeins of utterly gorgeous BabyLongLegs "Flump" in Violant Streak.  Its being made into Avery as you read this.  To say it is divine is an understatement. 

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oh and I may or may not have ordered more Cascade Eco to make this cardigan for myself after seeing it here.  My friend told me to do it, so I blame her!

 

Now to find the time to do it all in!!

 

Yarn 'N' Stuff

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If I had to pin down the 2 questions I get asked the most they would be:

1."How do you do it all?" and

2."What yarn do you use?"

The answer to number 1 is quite simple:: I do not do laundry or vacuum, but the answer to question number 2 takes a bit more explaining.

Finding the right yarn for the Etsy and Folksy shops has been a bit of a challenge.  I tried a number of different weights and brands of wool, but really sruggled to source options that met my standards for quality, affordability and colour. Plus, with the amount of handmade goods I produce, heavier weight yarns are a necessity to get through the orders in a timely fashion and the UK is a DK nation.

I tried a ton of yarns...ordering samples of most every commercially available chunky yarn in the UK (ok, that may be an exaggeration, but I did order the samples I was recommended on Facebook).  It seemed like everything I tried would hit one target but not others.  Cascade 220 has a great range of colours and wears well, but I was unsure of its wearability for newborns and its thinness. Wendy Merino Chunky was lovely and soft, as well as reletively affordable, but the colours are too limited and muted. The same goes for King Cole's equivilant.  Texere's chunky wool has beautiful colours and a great twist and bounce to it, but is soooo scratchy, I couldn't see many baldy babies being comfortable.

For a long time I was a bit of a yarn snob of the "I just can't work with acrylic" variety. This lasted until 2 things happened-- number 1: my money ran out and number 2: my children beat the heck out of some lovely and expensive single ply merino, resulting in a sticky felted mess that looked worse when washed. 100& acrylic still gives me the heeby-jeebies, I must admit...its the squeaking on my crochet hook that puts me off. However, I've found that with the wool content high enough, the acrylic element is hardly noticeable.  

Ultimately, I have settled on 3 main yarns for my hats: Wendy Mode Chunky and Ice Yarn's Bellone, with a bit of Paton's Shadow Tweed thrown in. All 3 are about 50%wool.

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The range of colours in Wendy Mode Chunky is great. They have really expanded this recently and offer a good range of basic colours, as well as some unexpected ones. Another bonus it that it wears really well, there is still a bit of pilling from heavy use (for  example on Es slippers), but not nearly as much as many other chunky yarns I tried.  It is a very soft yarn, being 50% merino, so I am happy to make items for the newest of babies.  Another bonus is that my local store sells the yarn for those last minute dashes.

Another recent discovery is Yarn Paradise/Ice Yarns.  They are a huge yarn distributor in Turkey who offer balls of wool at ridiculously low prices.  Given this, I find the quality good.  I have recently started using their Bellone Chunky/Bulky weight for a few items and I must say I am impressed.  It is a single ply chunky with low twist, but it holds up extremely well to wear and tear and blocks up very soft. Their postage is expensive, but it still works out at very good value and they ship faster than many UK suppliers I deal with, with yarn arriving in 2 days.

For the owl hat and the mane of the lion, I use Patons Shadow Tweed.  I love this yarn.  It is so nice to work with and each ball has such a lovely range of colours.  It is single ply as well, and again holds up remarkably well to heavy use.  I live in fear of this yarn being discontinued as I feel it really makes both of those designs, adding depth and richness to the Lion's mane and the Owl.

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Ok, geekery over.  I'm going to do something cool.  Like floss or read my new book about knitwear design.

Sniffle, Snuffle
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Oh, the joys of winter...we are never really sick here (you know except for 5 months of constant debilitating pregnancy-related nausea...), but it seems the Scottish wet and cold has entered the upper respiratory passages of Ellis and I. 

In true toddler fashion, he is generally fine after a few hours of illness yesterday.  I, however, feel like I have been hit by a bus.  And so to bed.  With this complete and utter deliciousness to keep me cozy.

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See you next week!