Sunday, 28 April 2013

4KCBWDAY7 Knitting & Crochet Blog Week – Day 7 - Looking Forward

'One year from now, when the 5th Knitting & Crochet Blog Week rolls around, where do you hope your crafting will have taken you to? What new skills, projects and experiences do you hope you might have conquered or tried?'

Hmm, where do we go from here? 

Well I am hoping to set up my own Perran Yarns website in the near future. I am planning to do this in collaboration with my husband so I can learn more of the technical web setup too. Who knows where that will lead!

Within my crafts, I'd like to do more with crochet motifs including publishing some patterns. Also I hope to create more patterns for my own yarns, and I'd love to do some collaborations with other local crafters - maybe create kits including their buttons, kit bags, my yarn & pattern, that kind of thing.

We'll see how far all of that has got in 12 months time!

How about you?

Saturday, 27 April 2013

4KCBWDAY6 Knitting & Crochet Blog Week – Day 6 – A Tool To Covet

Like a lots of knitters, I hate sewing up knitting. I much prefer to knit in the round; no seam to sew up, no seam ridge on the inside of the item, win win.

Over the years I've built up a good stock of Addi Turbo circular needles, which I love. They're smooth, the cables don't twist too much, and they feel good to knit with.

KnitPro Symfonie Rose
At knitting club I've noticed there is a love for the interchangeable needle sets such as this lovely KnitPro set. It's beautiful, and very handy if you just have one or two projects on the go. 

However I'm in the House of Bee, and I usually have lots of projects at various stages. The knitting sets come with several cables but just one set of each needle size. There's my problem. 
I'm sure you can purchase extra sets of needle tips, but they may not fit into that gorgeous case. 

These needle sets seem to me to be a great investment for a new knitter, who wants to increase their needle stocks. However having already invested a similar amount of funds in my existing needle stash, I'll stick to my trusty Addi Turbos.

Friday, 26 April 2013

4KCBWDAY5 Knitting & Crochet Blog Week – Day 5 – Something A Bit Different

'It’s the annual challenge to blog in a way different to how you normally blog.'

OK so let's try some verse and rhyme..

You know that I love to crochet and knit
It’s way more productive than just to sit
If not I would chew my nails and eat
Far too much.

My favourite yarns are wool and cotton
Though silk and bamboo should not be forgotten
Baby alpaca can be a real treat
Now and then.

I’d love to crochet and knit all day
How else would I use up the yarn, you say?
I could cross stitch a cushion so very neat
Or not.

And that's more than enough!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

4KCBWDAY4 Knitting & Crochet Blog Week – Day 4 – Colour Review

Colour, I just love it!

I guess if I'm making for myself then I would go for warm tones - reds, plums, oranges, pinks, purples, and neutrals like sand with chestnut brown rather than black.

However as the majority of 'makes' are for my Etsy shop rather than myself at the moment, literally anything goes!

As a yarn dyer I love graduations of colour, whether it's a semi-solid single shade or a riot of colours together. The tones and hues that come out of the dye pot fascinate - and often surprise me.

Barley Fields
For example I used to say I wasn't keen on yellow, but for the sake of completeness I dyed a multi-tonal batch of yellow DK merino for my shop. 
Sweet Chestnut

Wow was I amazed - I loved it! It reminded me of the fields ready for harvesting on my uncle's farm, and is one of my favourite dye lots to date.

Another favourite is this 'Sweet Chestnut' yarn. The amount of brown, bronze, and caramel shades is just incredible; I could gaze it it for hours!

Then of course we have my most current listing - the glamorous gleaming pure silk DK. So luxurious, this was a pleasure to work with. I love the soft blue, closest to 'Grayed Jade' in the latest season Pantone colour report.

How is all this linked to my House - the House of Bee? Well I guess bees are attracted to flowers of any colour!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

4KCBWDAY3 Knitting & Crochet Blog Week – Day 3 – Infographic

Eeuugghh! This post theme has given me the most trouble by far. I've been wracking my brain for 2 days trying to think of what I could base an infographic on, without so much as a sniff of inspiration.

In the end, I chose the 2013 Q1 sales figures from my Etsy shop, just so I would have something to show you.

I guess Supplies are high up the shopping list at this time of year! Interesting to see that crochet items are far outselling knitwear currently too; maybe as crochet is starting to make a strong show in the new season's high street fashion:
Fat Face Crochet Shrug
Joe Browns Fun Flower Crochet Purse

Crochet Pram Shoes

So great to see it out there!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

4KCBWDAY2 Knitting & Crochet Blog Week – Day 2 – A Mascot Project

Your task today is to either think of or research a project that embodies that your house/animal.

After much deliberation I have chosen my Honey Gold Button Cowl as my mascot project. 
Not an easy decision but one which encompasses a true journey, as well as signifying the yellow and black colours from my House of Bee (see yesterday's post)!

Since moving to Cornwall I have become a great advocate of cowls. 
They are far more practical than a regular scarf for a walk on a windy beach (inspired by our local Perranporth beach!), and equally as useful for saving money at home on a chilly day; wrapping your neck in a little luxury soon makes you feel much warmer and is infinitely cheaper in the long run than turning the central heating up.

Cowls with a fastening have a couple of advantages over the pull-on type:
  1. They can be worn in different ways; always a bonus to ring the changes
  2. They don’t mess up your hair; a windy beach manages that supremely without assistance.
This particular button cowl is my own design which originated from treating myself to a delicious skein of chunky cream Mirasol Sulka wool/alpaca/silk blend yarn from a Hejhog sale.

As usual I had no idea what I would use it for, but I knew the yarn would let me know. As I caressed the skein, a vision of a cosy little neck wrap burrowed into my brain. I browsed through my well-used stitch dictionaries and decided on Tassel Stitch – a textured pattern with the interest of a cabled effect but none of the extra-needle palaver.

I knitted the cowl, jotting down stitch and row counts along the way, and added a simple crochet buttonhole edging, ending up with 3cm of yarn to sew in! Absolutely nothing wasted. I finished the cowl off with a couple of large organic mother-of-pearl buttons purchased from Etsy seller Overspill. Perfect!

The pattern is now available in my Etsy shop as an instant download pattern or a kit with the Mirasol Sulka yarn.

I realised that the chunky baby alpaca yarn that I had hand-dyed was identical in metreage and weight. I had dyed a semi-solid Honey Gold as per the Pantone season colours, which I knew would compliment the pattern without drowning out the stitch texture. I knitted up the cowl and finished it off with handmade buttons in perfectly co-ordinating colours from Etsy seller PixiesDesign.

The button cowl is available to buy in my Etsy shop as a one-off, or you can purchase the chunky baby alpaca in a different colourway to use with the pattern
If you don’t see a colour that you like, let me know and I will hand-dye your own version for you at no extra cost!

Monday, 22 April 2013

4KCBWDAY1 Knitting & Crochet Blog Week – Day 1 – The House Cup

The House of Bee: Bees are busy and industrious, but can flit from one interesting project to the next as bright and shiny things capture their interest.

This is the only choice for me! I always like to have a selection of projects on the go, partly because I can’t resist starting new yarns and partly so that I have a fit-for-purpose project available at all times. That’s my excuse anyway.

I absolutely hate finding myself waiting somewhere without a project to hand – what a waste of valuable crafting time! I have way too little planned crafting time available so squeezing in a few more minutes here and there not only soothes my soul but also increases my creative productivity. There are 3 basic project types:

The Fly-By: A mini project that can be grabbed & remorselessly stuffed into a bag on my way out, it can be paused & resumed in seconds with minimal fuss. This type of project tends to be a small crochet item that doesn’t require a pattern once started such as motifs, washcloths, hairbands, etc. It’s the bite-size treat that’s perfect for beach trips and waiting rooms.

The Staple Diet: Something requiring larger amounts of fairly plain work, to make use of longer chunks of time where taking an extra minute or two to finish off a row/round is perfectly acceptable, although still easily transported. It can be crochet or knitting (mainly on circular needles), such as a scarf, mitts, hat, sock, etc. This little beauty is great for longer car journeys (passenger only!), knitting/crochet club, and film night.

The Mothership: Complex and/or large projects requiring attention, space, or more time to complete each row/round. These are the evening-only, after-the-kids-have-gone-to-bed, no-film, quiet-I’m-counting types of project, including that amazing lace shawl or your favourite cosy blanket project. It’s the serious one that eats time on a quiet night in, when the other half is on the laptop or at band practise.

I used to use a plastic supermarket bag per project, it was free and I was recycling. 

More recently I’ve been treating myself to little project bags now and again, such as this one handmade by Etsy seller BijouxBoutique. It’s another piece of creativity in my life, and I’m helping out another crafter at the same time.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Sneaky preview..

.. of the latest colourway of my laceweight merino silk sparkle yarn - Stormy Skies. 


Available soon..

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Finally... 2013 knitting!

Well it's taken 4 months, but I've finally started some knitting again! I seem to have been in a very long crochet phase - I blame it on my starting to go to knitting club...

Anyway here it is - a sock in progress, using the lovely Buffy sock yarn from Juno Fibre Arts, purchased at the KnitExpo way back in November 2010.

I'm using Wendy's Toe-Up sock pattern on a 2.5mm circular needle with a little rib added to the upper foot for a snug fit whilst maintaining the mindless knitting factor.

Hopefully they won't take too long!