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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

June Knitting

OK, so admittedly this post is a little late. I'm actually closer to posting July's projects! But, I've been without internet access for two weeks - which for a blogger, online shop owner and general Netflix junkie like me - is HORRIBLE.

But, let's not dwell too much on that, and we can focus instead on some lovely, scrummy knitting.

Tyrian was my main project - I really feel like I invested a lot of time, love and beading into it. In fact, I've spoken about it so much on the blog you're probably sick of seeing it! So I'll keep it brief and tell you I loved knitting it, I hated blocking it, but I ADORE the finished project.

I completed the Stormborn socks - sometimes when knitting socks for my husband I really curse the fact that he is so tall - therefore has GIANT-BIG feet.  I'm still in love with the Spiceman pattern, and knitting it in yarn that I dyed myself made me so happy. I love how subtle the turquoise, green and blue blending is, and how the yellowy-gold is a nice bright pop.

I've been aware of the Leftie pattern for a while - and always found it quite similar to the Firebird that I knitting as part of the Ravellenic Games last year. Since I'm a fan of big shawls, I always preferred the Firebird. But then at Yarndale I saw a woman knitting a Leftie, and it was so beautiful in real life I just couldn't resist adding the pattern to my queue. I'm making it in a soft grey that I dyed, with the beautiful 18 colour rainbow from Fab Funky Fibres.

I suffered a bit of a knitting funk recently and just needed a small, quick, fun project to jerk me out of it. Biology 101 had been in my queue for a REALLY long time - as an animal scientist and knitter, how could I resist it?? The knitting was a breeze and then I had the most fun needle felting all the internal organs.  It felt somewhat sadistic stabbing frog livers and lungs with needles - but I am really happy with the result.

Stoney Brook Top really caught my eye when Holla Knits released it. I couldn't stop imagining it in a beautiful hot, summery pink. I decided to cast off my fears of garment knitting and got stuck in. I got horrifically stuck - but I was given some really indepth advice by a lovely, kind knitter on Ravelry. I have also stalled a bit recently as I need to block the top portion of the top, but it's been really stormy and wet here. Blocking inside is impossible for me, as I have an adventurous ginger cat who likes to eat pins.

Finally the Birding Cape. I can't tell you how much I LOVE this pattern. I also really love the yarn. And the combination - swoon. It was such a lovely knit, and I couldn't stop running the yarn through my fingers. It's Rowan Creative Focus Worsted that I snapped up in Hobbycraft when it was reduced to a really low price.  Not only do I love the texture, loftiness and softness of the yarn, but the colour is just gorgeous. I'm a huge purple fan - and this is the perfect purple to me.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Kelp Forest

A while ago I heard about a collection of knitting patterns inspired by the Harry Potter books - The Unofficial Harry Potter Knits. Being both a fan of the books/films and knowing that the patterns would have a slightly magical slant to them - I needed a copy!

It took me a while to track one down - but when I finally did, I was really pleased. The magazine was full to bursting with beautiful patterns - and to my eye, none so beautiful as Susannah IC's Mermaid's Song shawl.

I don't actually have much lace yarn in my collection, but I had a beautiful, soft 100% merino from Rosie's Moments in a lovely, earthy, mossy green which reminded me a bit of kelp.  I also had some Miyuki magatama beads in a white/grey mix, that reminded me of little raindrops that I bought during a previous bead binge. The perfect combination! I couldn't resist casting on.

You begin by knitting the cable, lace and beaded trim - which although it's slightly fiddly isn't hard to memorise. Or, it isn't if you don't try and watch The Vampire Diaries while doing it. In the end I was incredibly grateful for the fact I had remembered to put lifelines in my knitting after each repeat, because I think I pulled out my work 6 or 7 times. After the trim - I found the main body just flew by - and I pretty soon had an FO.

My only problem is blocking. I have steam blocked it a little to open up the stitches. But it needs blocking within an inch of it's life I think, and I just don't have the space to do that. It's perfectly wearable as a little shoulder shawlette. But, ideally I'd love to give it a nice, firm block to really enhance it's beauty.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Bumper Shop Update!

The shop has been updated with four 100% BFL aran, two BFL/Nylon sock and two North Ronaldsay lace weight skeins.

The lace weight is a new base for me - and is 100% British heritage wool. North Ronaldsay wool is pretty rare - but is a lovely strong, sturdy lace perfect for lace shawls. Both of the colourways are Robot Unicorn Attack II-themed. Veil of Wrath is a lovely goth blend of purple, lilac and deep black, while Celestial Resonator is a blended mix of blues and purples. Both are inspired by unicorn body parts from the game, so I guess a little morbid gothness is right!

I've also restocked Team Rainbow - which seems to sell within the same day every time I restock! It's one of my favourite colourways, I love how the white space blends with the bright colours and I love that it's showing Team Rainbow pride!

Cotton Candy is a new colourway for me - and is inspired by a 1980's My Little Pony. It feels odd to be using the American word rather than candy floss, but I'm going with the My Little Pony name! This is shaping up to be one of my favourite colorways - both to dye and the finished product.

It's also available in 100% BFL aran.

I've also added a pretty special skein - based on a myth about Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. Rumours are flying about that it was designed to be played alongside The Wizard of Oz. I'm not sure how true the rumours are - but it made a pretty unusual yarn - Dark Side of the Rainbow!

Finally, I've added a couple of semi-solid colours. Both are inspired by myth and legend - which seems only right considering I am the CRYPTOzoologist!

Firstly there's Gorgeia - inspired by the Greek legend about the origin of coral.

And finally there's Kelpie, inspired by the Celtic myth about tiny little water spirits.

All are currently available in the shop!

Behind The Business: White Space

As a new dyer, the first thing you are told in class is to avoid white patches - don't tie your skeins too tight, make sure the dye covers both sides of the skein, rub the colour in etc. But why should we be so cautious to cover up the white? I mean, it's not exactly white - it's more a lovely creamy, milky natural colour. And I, for one, think it's far too beautiful to cover up.

Some of my most popular colourways - such as Team Rainbow - utilise the white space to counterbalance the WOWBRIGHT of the rainbow colours, whereas others, such as Cotton Candy use it to facilitate a blend between the two main colours.

It can be difficult to retain the natural colour - as dye can run, but if you are careful with exhausting the dye bath and with how to wrap the skein before heating then it should be fine.

I love seeing natural wool colour shine through, and it's wonderful to see the colours that different wools are. Wool is beautiful, and I don't see why it can't be just as desirable as the bright colours that dye can achieve!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Final Fantasy & Robot Unicorn Attack II Colourways

The shop has been updated to include a pair of 100% British BFL Aran-weight skeins.

The first is called Carbuncle, named after Final Fantasy 8's adorable little green pixie pal who you can summon to protect your party. He's such a cute little scamp I couldn't not dye a colourway inspired by him. And as it turns out, it looks beautiful - the blue and turquoise meld perfectly, while the red adds a pretty cool pop.

The second skein is inspired by the insidious Team Inferno from Robot Unicorn Attack II. My husband (who is in Team Inferno), pointed out that I have a Team Rainbow it's only fair I include a Team Inferno. I'm torn up upside, although I bleed rainbow for my team, this skein is PRETTY. It's a blend of fiery colours inspired by hellfire and smouldering coals.

The BFL base takes colour beautifully, and just glows in the sunlight, and I'm proud to be supporting the British wool trade. These skeins (and all of the yarn I sell) were spun in my home county, which just fills me with pride.

Artist in the Limelight

This week I'm featured over at the lovely Katrina Sophia's blog as her Artist in the Limelight.

I'm chatting about yarn inspiration, British wool, David Lynch and weird knitwear.

You can view the interview here:

Thank you so much for having me Katrina!


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