Toasty & Textured

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I feel like I’ve wasted so much time this week trying to post here, Ravelry and Facebook without any success because our internet has been so poor ūüė° ¬†So the first thing I did when I arrived at the shop this morning was upload lots of photos to store in my various media libraries, ready for the next few posts. ¬†I also managed to get the pattern for my latest hat Toasty & Textured up on Ravelry at last too ‚≠ź

The hat is knitted in 1×1 moss stitch with Rico Essentials Big on 7mm needles. ¬†I’ve also knitted up a couple with Rico Flame and will try and persuade Dina, to let me take a photo or two ūüėČ at the weekend to post here.

January can be a difficult month for some after the extravagances and the build up of the festive season, even the most positive among us can feel like the wind has been knocked out of us a little. ¬†I’m fortunate in that Dina’s birthday is on the 16th, which gives us something to enjoy and this year she’ll be 25!!! ¬†So to ‚ô•celebrate‚ô• I’ve made the pattern for Toasty & Textured free to download until the end of the month with the coupon code 25.¬†

Be sure to enter 25 before you checkout and remember to share you’re projects so we can see. ¬† The hat is super speedy to knit and will work for both men and women. ¬†I’m hoping to find a couple of sneaky hours to have a play with combining some of my stash yarns and will post photos of the results here if they work.

Happy Knitting!

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So Much Yarn

There have been so many yummy yarnny deliveries of late that the stock rooms are fit to burst and there’s a danger that I’ll go in one day and never return o_O

There were 2 deliveries last week, 2 the week before and there have been 3 so far this week, with at least one more due. ¬†Sadly, this does mean that I’m a little behind when it comes to telling you all what’s in and even more behind with knitting my samples for the shop ūüė≥

Cracking on then –

Last week was a good week for those sock knitters among us with several different items arriving in to help keep your toes toasty. ¬†The Knitpro Karbonz in 2.5mm are back and I’ve also stocked up on the 2.5mm Knitpro circulars too.

Now for some yarn porn

2014-11-14 09.29.043 delightful shades in Opal Beachcoming

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The almost complete range of Opal Solids

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Something we haven’t had for a while now – 6ply sock yarn. ¬†It’s the Daydreaming range from Opal. ¬†Can’t wait to give 6ply (double knit to you and me) socks a go ūüí°

Another new addition and one completely at the other side of the woolly spectrum is Flame from Rico Yarns.

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Flame from Rico, is a lightweight super chunky yarn, note I said lightweight. ¬†Each 50g ball contains a whopping 90 metres and knits to a tension of 10 stitches to 14 rows on 10mm needles. ¬†it’s a wool blend, 40% wool/60% acrylic and I’ve opted for 6 of the available 7 variegated shades (2 of them were very similar). ¬†Reasonably priced too at ‚ā¨4.99 per ball – Bargain!

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We have patterns too and I’ve promised Dina a cardi but I have to cast on a jumper I’ve been promising Durahn first. ¬†In the meantime I think I might get a hat knitted up for the shop and possibly the odd Christmas gift too.

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Happy Knitting!

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A New Aran Weight Yarn

My target customer in the shop is me, which probably means I tend to put a little too much thought into what we stock at times. However, I think and hope, that it’s what’s brings people from all over the country through our door?

For me as a knitter, there is always room for improvement and there been a couple of yarn qualities missing from our shelves that I would like to see including, a high percentage, wool blend aran weight. ¬†So I’ve spent a lot of time researching suitable yarns initially, by looking at the fibre content versus the recommended retail price and the range of colours available. ¬†When I’d narrowed it down to 4 yarns I bought samples to knit up, in order to access the finished fabric by comparing the stitch definition, drape and weight.

I know it probably seems like a lot of trouble to go to for one yarn, but this is going to be a staple in the shop, so it has to be right as there’s not enough room in the shop to have several yarns that do the same thing.

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Of the four I knitted up, New Zealand from Adriafil came out top. ¬†The 75% wool, 25% acrylic blend is a pleasure to knit with, it creates great stitch definition and produces a smooth fabric that’s not too heavy. ¬†With some blends the acrylic can make the yarn look ‘shinny’, but there’s isn’t a hint of it with the New Zealand.

Each 100g ball contains a whopping 200 metres/219 yards which means very few are needed to to complete an average woman’s jumper. ¬†I find it knits to the usual aran weight tension of 18sts by 24 rows on 5mm needles without creating a very dense fabric. ¬†The colours are fantastic too, making it a great choice for babies and children’s knits too, not bad for ‚ā¨7.25 a ball hey?

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I’ve currently chosen 12 of the 38 available colours and intend to add more over the coming months and if there’s any you think we could particularly do with, please say.

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As I said I’ve had a play and have knitted up one of my favourite little patterns the In Threes sleeveless cardigan by Kelly Herdrich which is available on Ravelry for $6. ¬†If you don’t have Ravelry we now have in store access too, so you can purchase your pattern in the shop, we’ll print out a black and white copy and send the pdf directly to your email address too.

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My bands look a little rough here ūüė¶

Back to the In Threes cardi, it’s a great, speedy little knit. ¬†Knitted top down, with minimal finishing this little garment is hugely popular with the knitters of Ravelry with nearly 4500 projects to date. ¬†I’ve made six so far and count it amongst my ‘go to’ patterns. ¬†This little one is for the smallest size 0 to 6 months and it’s very generously sized. ¬†Having made this size before, I can confidently say that in most cases it’s a little more like 3 months to a year, so the baba will certainly get the wear out of it.

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It took one ball of New Zealand yarn in the lovely soft turquoise and the multicoloured buttons from Rico add a little something extra and are a move away from my traditional choice of wooden ones.

The little cardigan is on display in the shop so you can have a squidge and see how lovely the New Zealand yarn is.

Happy Knitting!

 

 

More Baby Knits

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I’ve been so busy trying to plan for our refurbishment that it’s ended up being a couple of weeks since I wrote my last post, despite having tonnes to tell you all about.

My needles and hooks have come close to combusting with all the use they’ve been getting. ¬†I’m currently mid way into at least two projects for the shop and I’ve just started another. ¬†I’ve been baby knitting for my friends first grandchild and another friend has just had a baby too :-0 and then I was trying to crochet up a few bits for The Craft Club Yarnbomb, oh and I’ve been crocheting for the shop too. ¬† (I’m so excited about the refurb, sad I know)

I thought you might like to see the little cardi I knitted up for baby Sean as it’s one of my all time favourite patterns.

Beyond Puerperium by Kelly Brooker is going to set you back about ‚ā¨4.20 via Ravelry here¬†¬†and it’s worth every cent. ¬†The pattern includes sizes newborn to 2 years with options for using 4ply, double knit or aran weight yarn. ¬†If you have time I recommend looking at what other knitters have made on the project pages as there are some great colour combinations and pattern modifications.

There is a free double knit version of the pattern available too in newborn size, if you want to try before you buy, but I guarantee you’ll be hooked.

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I’ve used a lovely vintage green Sirdar Snuggly DK with multicoloured buttons from Rico this time but I’ve made several of them now and am happy to report Dina has too, she’s actually making a lovely candy pink one at the moment (we’re sharing the buttons, I used the boyish ones she’s using the girlie ones). ¬†I’ll see if I can persuade her to let me post a photo or two here when she’s finished.

I’ve just sent all the yarn bomb goodies off so my next post will be a photo explosion of crochet creativity.

Happy Knitting!

Quick Knitted Gift For Kye’s Teachers

 

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On Thursday I posted up a photo of the present Kye made for his favourite resource hours teacher Mrs McCarthy, today I thought I’d share with you the little gift I knitted up for all of the teachers, secretary, special needs assistant and resource hours teachers including the very special Mrs McCarthy. ¬†Don’t panic it sounds like I’ve been knitting for a bus full when in fact there’s only 6 ladies in total as it’s a very small school.

I’m a regular reader of the blog Simply Notable, which is written by Carli and her mum. ¬†I spotted her post on The Almost Lost Washcloth Pattern and was delighted because it was just what I was looking for. ¬†Have a look at the blog here¬†Simply Notable¬†or you can find the pattern through the link on Ravelry here.

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The Spiral shape is created by using short rows, much easier than it sounds, you knit 14 points in total and sew the cast on edge to the cast off edge and gather in the centre with a running stitch.

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I made 8 of the washcloths in total, the first was more of a trial one to see if I liked them, the 8th was to use up the yarn and I can gift it to someone else later.  The yarn I used was Rico Essentials Cotton Aran and I knitted two washcloths out of the one ball.

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I bought some lovely handmade raspberry soap from our local health food shop Well & Good and wrapped the bars up with the washcloths and a bit of organza ribbon. Simples!

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Nice, pretty and personal.

Happy Knitting!

 

 

Exploits in Crochet

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Following on from the crochet madness of Dina’s scarf I thought I’d have a go at making something else and as you might have seen on the Facebook Page or Instagram I decided to have a go at The Chunky Crochet Basket by Elizabeth Trantham.

Heading outside to crochet in the sun, I was grateful I’d managed to get the bottom of the basket made before the rain clouds appeared and chased me inside. ¬†Thankfully Elizabeth has put photo tutorials to accompany the pattern up on her blog, great if you’re like me and assume because you can ‘do a little crochet’ you must be able to conquer the most complicated of patterns.

In her original basket, Elizabeth uses 2 strands of a super chunky yarn held together and an 8mm hook.  This means the resulting basket is sturdy and stands up independently like you might expect a basket to do.

2014-06-07 10.46.19Cue my attempt

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It’s general state of floppy isn’t really that bad.

I followed Elizabeth’s pattern but used 3 strands of Rico’s Country Aran held together and a 7mm hook. ¬†This meant the base of the basket when I’d reached the suggested 48 stitches was a little on the small side so I continued increasing my stitches until I had 72. My basket is approximately 10″/26cm’s across it’s diameter.

The basket is a very usable height at /19cm7.5″and as you can see I decided not to add the handles. ¬†I did work them up, but didn’t like the way mine turned out and my yarn was running a little short, so I completed 14 rounds of the half trebles.

 

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Perfect for my current crochet project, one of them anyway.

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I’m thinking ideal gifts for friends? ¬†Ones that don’t crochet though because I’m pretty sure I had more than my original 72 stitches when it came to finishing off the basket with double crochet (ahem).

Happy Knitting or crochet.

 

World Wide Knit In Public Day

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It’s come around rather quickly again this year, technically it’s actually a ¬†week but we’re celebrating on Saturday 21st. ¬†The Saturday knitting group is scheduled to take place on the 21st anyway, so it would be lovely to think the sun might be shining. ¬†Sunshine or not we can still knit can’t we?

As a little incentive to get a few more of you into the shop armed with your knitting and crochet we’ll have the market stall set outside as we did for Yarn Shop Day. ¬†For those of you that missed it before, there will be packs of yarn, books and maybe some other bits and bobs all at discounted prices.

Come and join us for a for a bit of open air knitting fun (fingers crossed anyway).

Happy Knitting!

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Granny Square Scarf For Dina

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You might have noticed I’ve gone a little crochet mad of late, I’m not even sure why to tell the truth.¬† I am and always will be a knitter and it kind of feels like I’m having a bit of an affair really.

The crochet is quick, instant colour gratification and in my case, used mostly for items of frippery.

This scarf for Dina, my daughter (she shows up here quite regularly and is equally obsessed by woolly things ‚Äď she‚Äôs been infected) came about when I was helping a customer to select colours for a crochet blanket project.

The aforementioned customer ended up choosing a more pastel combination I’d grouped together whilst I found myself fit to burst with the need to crochet these five up.

Casting the bookwork aside (any excuse)  I set to work on a granny square, still not sure what it would end up being.

I made a couple more squares and it dawned on me that a summer scarf was the way to go.

 

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First dilemma = How many squares?

It’s a summer scarf so it’s not really for warmth (hopefully). ¬†Originally I thought 15, but after trying it on several times I opted for 13. ¬†Each square is roughly 5″ x 5″ so the scarf is approximately 65″ long.

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Using all these colours unfortunately equals a lot of ends to sew in and I even found myself taking it to bed on one occasion, refusing to go to sleep until they were all done.

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Not too bad a job, even if I do say so myself.

Second dilemma = How to join the squares?

I could have sewn the squares together through the back loops only, mattress stitched them, over stitched them but instead I chose to crochet them together using double crochet.

This has created a beautiful ridge which defines each square and also ads a little weight to the front of the scarf.  Hopefully it will also mean it sits the right way out when worn.

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More ends to sew again, this time whilst waiting in the car for my youngest to come out after school. ¬†This time I refused to drive off until I’d finished. (my poor family)

I’m really happy with the finished scarf and it took very little yarn. ¬†Hopefully my beautiful daughter won’t mind me taking a pic or two of her wearing it for me to share here. ¬†In the meantime I’ve had to use a chair to drape it over.

What do you think?

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Happy Knitting!

Crochet’s fine too though ūüėČ

 

Yarn Shop Day – Saturday May 3rd

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It seems like I’ve been trying to write this post for weeks now what with computer and internet problems *sigh*

Anyway….

Yarn shop day (taking place on Saturday May 3rd) is all about you showing your love for local yarn shops.  It is also an important opportunity for bricks and mortar shops Рsuch as ourselves Рto remind our customers how valuable our personal experience and knowledge of all things wonderful and wooly really is.

Whilst the online yarn market is fantastic for those that cannot manage to get into a shop or can’t find something particular it is also unfortunately taking away from the tradition of local yarn shops. ¬†There is nothing better than going into your local yarn shop and having a good squidge and play with the wool, as well as getting hands on help and advice. ¬†Knitters and crocheters alike are an enthusiastic bunch and our shop has often played host to a number of excited discussions about new projects and ideas between strangers that have bonded over their love of the craft.

Yarn shops are fast becoming an endangered species and every week I will have someone come in and say how nice it is to have found a wool shop because they no longer have a local one.  A visit to the yarn shop was something I looked forward to as a child and even now I still get excited when I go to a new place and discover they have a yarn shop to explore.

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So in the spirit of all things woolly we are planning the following events, giveaways and special offers to celebrate Yarn Shop Day.

  • The first 15 customers to spend ‚ā¨25 or more receive a baby knits goody bag.
  • 11am – There will be a demonstration on how to use the amazing Clover Pom-Pom Makers.
  • 2-4pm – We are holding a competition to see who can knit a “Knit Happens” stocking the fastest.
  • There will be a woolly¬†raffle with prizes including Knit Pro needles, Scrumptious Yarn and a variety of books. ¬†(Details of the raffle will be posted here and on Facebook in the coming days.)
  • A free¬†Sparklemouse pattern will be sent to your via e-mail when you spend ‚ā¨5 or more.
  • Clearance packs of yarn and books will be available to buy throughout the day on our market stall outside at less than even Stash Dash Prices.

Throughout the week we will try (I stress the word try) to pop up photos of some of the items that will be  putting on the market stall and using as raffle prizes.

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Sparklemouse

Woolly Clearance

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The time has come to accept that my addiction for all things woolly might be getting a little out of hand. ¬†I know, I know, most of you had probably already spotted it some time ago now and for those of you that know me, you’ll know it’s not going to stop any time soon.

Facing the facts, I need to make space before I disappear into one of the stock rooms and never return -“suffocation from yarn, there are worse ways to go”.

After discussing it with friends, family and anyone who’ll listen, I’ve decided to give in and try an ecommerce site. ¬†My lovely customers have been asking me to do this for years now and I’m concerned they’ll think it’s so much more than it is (apologies in advance).

It is a clearance shop, with clearance prices.  The yarn will only be sold in packs of 10 balls and you can buy as many packs as you want at the much reduced prices.

I intend to work my way steadily through the boxes of Stash Dash yarn one at a time and will therefore be popping up new products on a weekly basis (I’m aiming for Tuesdays). ¬†The yarn will be from all the companies we stock and will include acrylics, wool, cotton, blends, etc, though once it’s gone it’s gone.

Postage here is still extremely expensive, with An Post the cheapest at this stage.

They’re prices are ¬†– ‚ā¨6.50 for 500g/1kg or ‚ā¨7.50 for 1.5kg/2kg

You can of course purchase your packs of yarn on the website and collect them from the shop, but I’d ask you to contact me to ensure I have it waiting for you at the shop for collection.

We’ll see how it works, maybe it will go so smoothly that I can be persuaded to look at running with a proper online shop at some stage.

For now this is where you’ll find us Online Clearance Shop

Please be patient with us, hopefully there won’t be too many teething problems ūüôā

Happy Knitting!