How hot has it been lately?
How hot has it been lately?
Oops, I think we have a problem?
The Olann and Warm + Woolly Campaign for The Simon Community is in full swing. There are shops and businesses getting involved and signing up to be ‘Drop Off Points’, there are library’s up and down the country popping up campaign posters and we’ve even been on the radio. Not that I managed to hear it though, as my broadband was awful on the day 😦
Anyway, as some of you probably already know, I’ve been involved in the odd charity knitting campaign in the past and as a result have written a few, easy knit patterns, that are listed on the pattern page here. (must tidy them up now and make them all uniformly me as Leftfootdaisy).
One of them, The Quick Chunky Hat, was originally used for our Chernobyl Children’t Trust collection. I opted for a standard chunky yarn, for a couple of reasons. The first – it’s mighty cold in Belarus and chunky hats tend to be cosier. Secondly, double knit yarn tends to be the most popular weight here in Ireland and if you hold two strands together when knitting, it makes a chunky = Great for using up your ends.
Going back to my original pattern with fresh eyes, so to speak, it occurred to me that the addition of a longer band, might be more beneficial when it comes to keeping out the cold. Ears are more delicate and therefore sensitive to the cold, so a folded band would add extra warmth, where it’s needed. The longer band also gives the individual a couple of options on how to wear the hat, depending on what they find most comfortable.
Those lovely people over at Thomas B. Ramsden (they distribute the yarns from Robin, Wendy, Twilleys and Erika Knight), gave me a couple of balls of Evolve Chunky from Wendy in different shades, for the magazine and I wanted to make good use of the remaining yarn.
Each 100g ball of Evolve Chunky contains a generous 180 metres/197 yards of yarn. The fibre composition is 10% Alpaca, 50% Wool, 40% Acrylic, which when knitted to the recommended tension of 14 stitches to 20 rows on 6.5mm needles, produces a lovely, light, warm fabric ideal for most projects. There are 10 shades of Evolve Chunky available, each with it’s own subtle changing tones and should you want to investigate further there are some lovely patterns available to support the yarn too.
I’ll update the pattern when I get a minute, but if you do want to knit this hat in the meantime. It’s the largest size and everything is the same except at the beginning I ribbed for 21 rows instead of 7, which then means you have to work until the hat measures 9 inches before you begin to work the crown shaping.
I’m pretty sure I have enough left to knit a second hat too, maybe I’ll stripe it with some of the blue?
Before I go…..
Did you notice that my URL has changed?
I’m now officially fibrestrumpet.com on the interweb (thanks to Shane, Dina’s beau).
If you’ve been following my exploits for some time now, I’m sure it’s pretty obvious, that I’m a bit of a ‘how can we help’ fiend? I’ve often found myself knee deep in knitted items, sorting out, bagging up and horror of all horrors – sewing seams 😱 To be fair, my long suffering knitting friends are usually roped in somewhere along the line too 💗 💗 💗
In the past getting a charity knitting and crochet campaign off the ground was relatively easy. I had the shop and a lovely customer base, who spread the word high and low. Once I’d got everything together and had a plan in place, I knew I could rely on everyone to champion the latest collection. Whatever the cause, the response was always fantastic and every time, I was honestly blown away with the amount of work everyone put in.
This time round, there’s no shop. There is a magazine, so you’d assume it would be much, much easier, but it’s not due for publication until next month 😦
The charity in question, is an Irish one and they’re in need of a long list of things, woolly and not so woolly.
How do we gauge interest?
How do we spread the word?
How do we collect the items and where are we going to put the drop off points?
It can only go ahead with your help, so I’m looking forward to hearing all of your ideas.
I know you’re all expecting a post about my exploits at Yarndale, but this is more important.
♥ Promise ♥
Debbie Bliss, has been a knitwear designer for over 30 years and was recently awarded an MBE for her services to the hand knitting and craft industry. Her designs are renown throughout the knitting world and include everything from classic shapes and beautiful baby garments to high end fashion knits and quirky accessories. I’m sure she needs no introduction, as most of you will have heard of her and many of you will have used her designs.
Debbie will be appearing at three yarn shops, whilst visiting Ireland and is keen for the shops involved to use her visit as a way to support and raise funds for their charity of choice. As Debbie is extremely busy she will only be able to squeeze in appearances at three shops this time.
The shops are, Crafty in Wexford, Vivi Trading Co in Kinsale and The Knitting Room in Malahide, all have promoted Debbie’s visit by way of a ticketed event. With the proceeds from the sale of the tickets going to charity.
Debbie Bliss kicks off her whirlwind tour of Ireland with a visit to The Knitting Room in Malahide this coming Monday, 5th October. Tickets are €15 each, with 100% of the proceeds going to The Simon Community. Brendan from The Knitting Room said ” he couldn’t think of a better way to kick of the busy Autumn/Winter season, than with a visit from Debbie Bliss”.
Debbie’s visit is also timed perfectly to coincide with The Knitting Rooms promotion of The Simon Community’s Winter Woolly Campaign, which Brendan and Carrie are fully committed to for the coming season. More about that to come in a separate post, but if you want to get involved now, you can drop off any warm, woollen items to The Knitting Room where they have a collection point set up. Clair Rooney from The Simon Community will also be in attendance at The knitting Room Debbie Bliss event, where she will talk more about The Simon Community Campaign.
The tour goes from Dublin to Wexford next. Diane from Crafty in Wexford told me “everyone is really excited to have Debbie visiting the store. They are expecting a really great turn out for the day and are thrilled by the level of support from the local and wider community”. Debbie will be at the shop on Tuesday 6th October between 11am and 3pm. Tickets are €5 each, with all proceeds going to Wexford Hospice Homecare who provide an invaluable, home based Specialist Palliative Care Service in County Wexford.
Last stop for Debbie is Vivi Trading in Kinsale on Wednesday 7th. The shop is hosting two separate events, one in the morning and another in the afternoon, in order to accommodate as many visitors as possible and raise funds for their chosen charity, Kinsale Youth Support Services who work to support young people and promote positive mental health in the local community. Tickets are €15 each with every cent going to the charity.
Meagan, proprietor of Vivi Trading Co. commented “Debbie Bliss is one of the people I admire most in knitting. She has set a standard with the quality of her wool and yarn products, and for me she is the reference in design and fashion for modern knitwear. I’m personally really looking forward to meeting her and I have to admit I’m particularly honoured that she has chosen my shop from which to host one of her only workshops in Ireland this year,”
For all three stops of the tour Debbie will have a good selection of her knitted garments with her for people to look at and try on and will be talking about her design process, great for all those budding knitwear designers among you.
Quite by coincidence Debbie’s visit coincides nicely with National Knitting Week a UK campaign, with a slogan that’s close to my heart – ‘Commit to Knit for Charity’.
In the past, when we ran the charity knitting campaigns via the shop, I was amazed by the support these campaigns generated from the local, national and international woolly community, so I have no doubt that most of you will get your needles and your hooks out to show your support. There are lots of charities that need your support including the Annual Big Knit, many of the Maternity Units up and down the country are usually in need of premature baby knits (contact your local hospital to check first), Feileacain are sadly always in need of blankets. Knitted/crochet blankets are often wanted by your local animal shelters and community hospitals too, again it’s better to contact these directly to check first.
I’ll get back to you all with more information about the Simon Community Campaign ASAP.
In the meantime, maybe I’ll bump in to you at one of the Debbie Bliss events?
Well I’m excited anyway.
You might remember I’d said I was up to something when I closed the shop?
Well I was and……
Drum roll please
My very good friend Deirdre and I are happy to announce the upcoming lauch of ‘Olann and‘ an online fibre magazine focusing on the Irish market.
We’re busy working on the first issue at the moment and it’s due out the third week of November…. yippee!
Expect loads of fibre, yarn and crafty goodness and we’d love to hear your ideas too.
You can find us in the following places so far, with more to come soon, including a blog 🙂
Instagram = @olannandmagazine
Pinterest = olannand
Facebook = Olann and
Twitter = @olannand
We’d love to have as many of you on board, so be sure to come and join us.
Happy Fibre Crafting!
Whilst in the grips of ✨weaver fever✨ I’ve still been doing the odd bit of knitting, but even that’s gone a bit bonkers, as I seem to have found myself gripped by sock madness.
Despite having (pause to clear my throat) several 😉 projects on the go, with more on the ever expanding ‘to do’ list, it seems I really am just happy making socks. Maybe it’s because they require little or no effort, except when it comes to the heel and toe. Could it be that they’re just so portable. Perhaps it’s simply because I love my socks.
Whatever the reason, things got a little out of hand last night 😵⚡️🐒
The socks in the photo at the top of the post are my Comicon socks. You might remember I bought a ball of the shy, retiring yarn, whilst taking Kye to London at the beginning of the summer?
The socks, I have to admit are beyond my expectations, I can”t wait to wear them and I would, only they’ve come up a little small 👎
I switched from my usual 2.5mm needles to 2.25mm needles after having a discussion with Dr. Sock about how both of us felt our tension was becoming slightly looser. In my head I’d computed the difference and had allowed for the slight change this could make in the finished sock, but of course this doesn’t mean I remembered when I was knitting. Actually to be fair, I did remember whilst knitting the leg part of the first sock, but then I completely forgot when I’d finished turning the heel and working the gusset.
In my defence, I was closing the shop at the time.
Usually I’d try my first sock on when it was finished just too check everything was right before moving on to the second, but of course I didn’t. Luckily, I copied the first sock, so both of them fit perfectly on the leg and heel, they just need to be a tad longer.
Now I have a pair of socks that need their toes ripping back so I can add five or so more rows. Luckily, I have plenty of yarn left to do this, but it just seems like too much to concentrate on at the moment though.
Much like picking up the stitches to make the gusset on this sock did last night as well. My living room can be quite dark and I was too comfortable to move to the kitchen, well that and I was enjoying watching the episode of Eastenders I’d recorded earlier 😱
So what’s a girl to do, when her knitting just isn’t happening?
Yep, you guessed it. I cast on another pair of socks 🙈🙈🙈
Must be going through some kind of orange phase.
Moving swiftly on….
You might have noticed they’re on metal needles?
The needles ar Knitpro Nova Cubics, they’re also 2.5mm and I’m not sure I’m going to stick with them. To be fair, they do feel so much better than your standard coated steel knitting needles that you see everywhere. They’re still metal though, so they are no way near as comfortable, flexible and quiet as my usual choice of Knitpro Symphonie, Cubics or Karbonz.
I’ll let you know if I change over when I’ve done a bit more knitting.
I am considering mixing it up a little, only a little though because I’ll still be using 4ply. So many of my friends are expecting and I’m way behind on knitting gifts, so I think it might be time to crack on with a little Newborn Vertebrae by Kelly Brooker of Pekapeka Design Studio. I’ve never made one before and it looks interesting, what do you think?
I’ve been trying to write this post for many hours, days in fact and I’m still struggling with finding the right words , so maybe I should just come straight out and say it, then explain?
We’re closing down.
I know there are a good few of you that will read what I’ve written, then re-read it, possibly even more than once. I also know some of you might think I’m having a laugh, or playing some kind of practical joke, but I’m afraid it’s true L
I think I’ve known it’s been coming for a long time now, but like most of us do when faced with a tough decision, have been avoiding making it. Now it seems that the universe has stepped in and taken over, the elements have all lined up and the conclusion has pretty much, been made for me.
It’s been almost 10 years since my husband and I moved to Ireland and I opened my little shop in Dungarvan (I know some of you will probably be surprised to hear that I’ve been at this for that long).
Since then I’ve moved premises more times then I, or my ever suffering husband care to remember, but I’ve always felt the shop was ‘home’ when we eventually came to Midleton.
I can’t say ‘I always wanted to own a yarn shop’ because I’m not that kind of person, I’m not really aspirational, my life hasn’t worked out that way. I’m what most people like to refer to as a bit of a ‘hippie’ I guess and I just amble through life trying to do what feels right at the time. My love of all things crafty combined with the terror of moving to a new country and knowing I’d need to find ways of meeting people, resulted in the shop. Which several years later became the Knit you know and I hope, have loved?
Throughout the 9 odd years I’ve been extremely lucky to have met some truly wonderful people and am blessed to be able to call many of them friends, lifelong friends too (I hope). It’s easy to take for granted how the people you meet can brighten your day and adjusting to life without the smiles and chat with my regulars is something that I know will take time.
How we’re closing and when we’re closing are some of the more practical things I shall need to tell you about. I shall pop a separate post up about this over the next little while; I just have to finish typing it up.
In the meantime I hope you will all understand that I don’t really want to talk about the why’s and where for’s because in all honesty closing the shop is not as a result of just one thing.
You name it and it’s probably a factor – family, health, wealth and happiness there are changes happening in every aspect of mine and my family’s lives and this is just something that needs to happen.
The Facebook page as you know it will eventually be going, but I shall still be on Instagram and blogging about my fibery exploits among other things. Hopefully a few more of you will come and join me here by following the blog and then we can keep in touch?
Most importantly I want to say a very big ♥ heartfelt ♥ thanks for all your support over the years.
It’s true I’m afraid, I’ve been having an affair…
Tempestuous, tumultuous, impassioned and at the same time harmonious, equable and calm, all the things you want from a great romance. Don’t be mistaken though, I shan’t be running away any time soon and shifting my allegiance, it’s just a 💕 dalliance💕 I’m sure
My husband? No we’re fine, never better actually.
Thanks for asking.
So what am I referring to?
Why, knitting of course 😊
I’ve been neglecting it a little you see, becoming slightly enamoured with my sewing again, as myself and my sewing machine become reacquainted.
I’d spotted this top/dress on Instagram from someone who was posting daily photos for #MadeinMay. (The idea being that for every day of May, you’d try to wear something you’ve made yourself.)
So…. I went off in search of the pattern – as you do 😉
The top is called the Wiksten Tank designed by Jenny Gordy and is available as a downloadable pdf via the Wiksten website here It costs $10 so it was a bit of a gamble, but as I had the material already, it wasn’t going to be too bad. Mind you, I did use to make clothes for Dina and Durahn when they were smaller and I was forever ‘upcycling’ jumble sale and charity shop finds. It wasn’t really upcycling, just what you do when your disposable income doesn’t stretch as far as you’d like it too, or your short with big boobs.
The sewing machine and I aren’t firm friends yet, it wouldn’t behave as well as I would have liked, but I did manage to make my Wiksten Tank and I’m so very ♥happy♥ with it, that I’ve already bought some material to make another one. I’ve gone for somewhere between top and dress length, so I can wear it more like a tunic over a tee-shirt and jeans. The fit is good and whilst I could tweak it with the odd dart here and there and maybe nip it in a bit under the arms, but why bother when it’s fully serviceable as it is 🙂
In the meantime I guess I should get on with some of my many ongoing projects.
Whilst unpacking all my project bags from my lager knitting bag, I discovered that I’ve left the crochet blanket I’ve been working on too, at home in the living room. I realised we have loads of duvets at home, but very few blankets. Something I can at least, start to work on rectifying. This is proving to be a little addictive though, my mantra has become ‘just one more round’, fine when it was smaller, but now i could loose an hour or so.
Whilst typing this post, it occurs to me that it presents an ideal opportunity to also tell you about Zebrino, the latest offering from Adriafil.
Zebrino is a self patterning yarn with 125 metres/136.70 yards approximately to each 50 gram ball. It’s made from a blend of 53% wool 47% acrylic and is a worsted/aran weight.
For now I’ve only gone with 4 of the above shades just to see what the yarn is like. The colours in stock are shades 61, 62, 64 and 67 and I’m itching to have a go at knitting with it, but as the pile of projects in the photo above shows, I should probably control the urge for a while longer. I’m thinking a big, oversized jumper though and maybe a scarf or two as Christmas presents.
Knitting and crochet were for many years seen as seasonal hobbies, often traded in for gardening during the warmer months. Fortunately, for us yarn shop owners, this isn’t so much the case any more and there are lots of us out there who see the summer months as a great excuse to sit down with friends on the beech, or by ourselves taking in those Vitamin D producing sun rays with our latest projects.
Copious photographs in previous posts and on Instagram will go to prove that I will knit just about anywhere, having been known to pull my needles out at music festivals, steam rallies, Ardmore Beach and on tour buses to name but a few. Regardless of the time of year I’ll knit.
As my ever suffering hubby and children will confirm, Love me, love my knitting.
I would have to confess though, that when selecting a yarn to knit with, cotton wouldn’t usually be my first choice as I tend to find it tough going on my hands, particularly if it’s mercerised.
Mercerisation (if you’re interested?) is where the yarn is given a Sodium Hydroxide bath that is neutralized in acid. The process increase the strength of the yarn and is what gives mercerised cotton it’s familiar lustre too. It’s also said to make the yarn adsorb dye better, which is how such bright colours come to be achieved by the spinning mills and as a ‘by the way’, it results in a yarn that is mildew resistant too.
If I was to opt for cotton and i occasionally do, I’m much more likely to reach for a ‘raw’ cotton (un-mercerized), something very like Classique Cotton from Stylecraft Yarns, which is super soft and comes in a range of beautiful colours and costs €5.95 per ball. Each 100g contains 184 metres/201 yards of 100% cotton and knits as a true double knit on 4mm needles, with a tension of 22 stitches to 28 rows over a 10cm/4″ square.
I’ve chosen 15 colours from the range to begin with including (from left to right)
Plum, Poppy, Hot Pink, Shell Pink and Shrimp.
Seville, Sunflower, Leaf, Soft Lime and Azure.
Greek Blue, Lavender, Wisteria, White and Ivory.
Classique Cotton has been a Stylecraft Yarn staple for some time now, so as you might expect there are a good range of patterns available in knitting and crochet, for adults, children, accessories and home wares.
Some of my favourites include.
Pattern 9133 is a t-shirt style knit with decorative eyelet stripes in sizes 32/34″ to 40/42″.
If you enter Classique Cotton into the yarn search bar on Ravelry, you’ll notice the yarn has been used for over 470 projects including everything from dishcloths and bunting to jumpers and blankets.
I imagine by now, there’s every chance you’re wondering what the photograph at the top of the post is all about? It’s actually the widely anticipated three new shades released by Stylecraft in the Special DK range. The new shades are (from left to right).
Storm Blue, Parma Violet and Sage.