29 September 2015

Stash Enhancement Etc

1.  Drops Baby Alpaca Silk. (I forget the name of the stand at Yarndale but readily available online.)
2.  Alpaca/Merino/Silk (Century Flower) by www.fleabubsbylala.co.uk
3. Merino Sock Yarn (Century Flower) by www.fleabubsbylala.co.uk
4.  Frozen Queen (Twinkle) by www.easyknits.co.uk
5.  Baby (Splendour) by www.easyknits.co.uk
6.  Wool/Silk by www.weaversloft.co.uk
7.  Luxurious DK by www.facebook.com/wildwoodwool
8.  Chameleon Sock (Not All Mathletes Are Treated Equilaterally) by www.purlescence.co.uk


Thank you for your lovely comments in response to yesterday's Yarndale post.  I'm delighted you enjoyed the tour!

I have loved photographing my Yarndale purchases to show you.  Aren't they just heart-quickeningly beautiful?  The girl done good, hey?!  I've included online links to the suppliers just in case you're tempted.  This, I think, renders me an 'enabler'.  Sorry about that! ;-)

A podcaster I came across once, I forget who, used the term "stash enhancement" for new yarn she'd purchased.  It made me laugh at the time but, you know what, I've decided to adopt it too.  Don't you think it sounds far less self-indulgent than "lovely stuff I've bought for myself"?!

A few weeks ago I treated myself enhanced my gadget arsenal (!) with this yarn swift in readiness for Yarndale …

(Honestly, it's so nicely made, I wonder if I could pop a pretty tray on the top and use it for serving crudités?!)

I once rather stupidly tried to crochet directly from a skein but got into a terrible tangle!  I'm presuming that I can use the swift with my wool winder and ball up my beauties in no time at all.

Anyway, I haven't quite decided what I'll be making with my yarn yet.  I have a few ideas but think I shall just stroke it for a little longer while I decide …

Before I close, I just want to tag on a few pictures I took on Sunday.  It was a glorious day so D and I went for a gentle walk around Swinsty Reservoir, which is between Harrogate and Skipton.  It was blissfully peaceful, particularly after such a frenetic day on Saturday.

We came across a small group of excited twitchers with telescopes and binoculars trained skywards and there above us was a circling osprey.  They're quite rare here in the UK so it was an added treat.  I didn't get a picture of it unfortunately but it was a pretty special way to end a wonderful weekend.



28 September 2015

Yarndale 2015

Friends, I have just had THE best weekend!!!

D and I went up north to beautiful Yorkshire.  We stayed in Harrogate which just so happened to be a short drive from Skipton, which just so happened to be where a certain yarny event was taking place.  

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you may remember that I actually went to Yarndale 2013 but made a pretty miserable job of recording the event.  This time I was determined to do better and take lots of photographs to share with particularly those of you who live too far away to ever consider attending.

I must admit, when I first arrived, I felt a bit like a child being set loose in a huge toy shop; I didn't know where to start or whether to laugh or cry!!!  Anyway, here goes and I do hope it gives you some vicarious yarny pleasure from the comfort of your armchair ...

This year's Flowers For Memories display in aid of the Alzheimers Society.

Yarndale 2013's bunting project, still looking as stunning as it did two years ago.

Yarndale 2014's marvellous mandala project.

The Yarndale 2015 sheep!

Now, I want you to imagine a sea of stalls stretching as far as your eye can see, displaying and/or selling absolutely everything yarn-related you can possibly imagine, a faint whiff of farmyards (sorry, once a townie, always a townie!) and the loud buzz of excited shoppers ...

Let's have an even closer look shall we …


www.facebook.com/tinkertailors.co.uk and www.facebook.com/wildwoodwool







www.purlescence.co.uk  These Indigo Dragonfly yarn colourways have the best names ever!  Apparently the lady who dyes the yarn is married to a poet who comes up with them.  I bought a skein of 'Not All Mathletes Are Created Equilaterally' which is a beautiful teal colour.  Other favourites of mine were 'Already Frogged' which is that gorgeous green you see and 'Maybe I'll Have My Minions Take You Out Back' which I think is the orange.  Genius or crazy, I can't decide!  :-)

Two of Edward's Menagerie from www.thetoftalpacashop.co.uk

And then, rather appropriately …

Nonplussed alpacas!

Wool Warehouse had a stand in the Knit 'N' Natter Lounge and were constantly busy.

This cheeky chops kept cropping up; I'm not terribly sure who she was ...

Lovely Lucy!

Lovely Yorkshire!

I'll pop back again tomorrow to show you my purchases but, before then, should just like to thank …

a)  All the kind stallholders who gave me permission to take photographs of their wares.  I desperately hope my links are all correct.

b)  All the wonderful bloggy/Facebook/Instagram friends I met either for the first, second or third time.  You were all a total delight and so much better looking than your photos!  ;-)

c)  All the lovely people who came and said "hello" to me and freaked me out by knowing so much about me!!!  (Helen, get yourself on Instagram NOW so that I can stalk you!).

d)  Lucy and the Yarndale team for all their unenviable hard work in putting together what really must be one of the best yarn events in the world.  I hope you are all having a well-earned lie down in a darkened room today!


22 September 2015

It Grows ...

This isn't my ‪#‎happyscrappyscarf‬ ... it's a path to a magical land where the sun always shines, where balls of yarn in rainbow colours grow on trees, where stitch markers tinkle in the gentle breeze, where unicorns with shimmering coats gambol, where an ice cold Pinot Grigio waterfall flows, where beautiful men* are always on hand to untangle knots or massage tired shoulders, where ends weave themselves in, spiders don't exist and EVERYBODY knows the difference between knitting and crochet!!!


*or women, your choice

9 September 2015

Happy, Scrappy, Go!

Hello, hello!  I'm so sorry I'm a day later than planned.  This post has taken a lot longer to write than I anticipated plus we seem to suddenly be in the midst of a flurry of house-viewings.  Nope, we've still not sold - one lady definitely wants it but has a house to sell and a couple of others are very tempted and have gone off to "have a think".  Pffft.

Anyway, back to happy scrappy news.

I've swapped two of the colours!  Once I'd added the gorgeous raspberry, I decided that the clotted cream and peach melba weren't sitting right with me - they were in conflict with the silver - so I removed them both and included a white instead.  Suddenly my palette is popping and looking less pastel.  I'm liking it very much though.

I've generated a new random stripe (it's a 3 x repeat) which I shall just use as a guide (starting from the top) and am all set.  I'm delighted you love the link to the stripe generator, it's great isn't it?

Remember, this project is very unplanned so it's still forming in my head.  One thing I have decided to do is to begin and end my scarf with a large stripe (15 rows) in the duck egg.  I think it will set the other stripes off nicely and, given my love for embellishments, I'm having ideas of adorning it with flowers or bordering it with coloured tassels.  We shall see.

You will notice from the picture below that I have left a rather long beginning tail of yarn.  It's a couple of metres long, loosely knotted to prevent it from getting in the way.  I often do this as a 'keeping my options open' measure.  If I later decide to add another row or trim for whatever reason, I have the yarn attached and ready to use.  That, my friends, is forward planning!

I have chosen to make my Happy Scrappy Scarf using purely double crochet (or single crochet in US terms).  I know a few people will throw their hands up in horror but, trust me, there is method in my madness.  I'm a huge fan of the humble double crochet, (I chatted about it here).  I find it extremely relaxing and actually the quickest of the stitches.  Despite a hook size of 3.25mm being recommended for my yarn, I'm actually using a 5mm.  Remember, the size stated on the yarn band is purely a guide.  You can get some really interesting results using bigger hook sizes, particularly with double crochet.  As you increase your hook size, so the density of the fabric you create changes.  I know from experience that using a 5mm hook with Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino produces the loveliest soft drape, particularly after the project has been blocked.  If you're using a double knit weight yarn with a recommended hook size of 4mm, I would urge you to try using a 5mm or even a 5.5mm if, like me you're a tight crocheter, and see for yourself.  Plus, of course, it works up a lot quicker which is always a bonus!

To begin my scarf, I made a chain of 41 with a 5.5mm hook.  This will create a scarf width of approximately 24cm or 9.5".  If my beginning chain is to be part of a straight edge, I ALWAYS use a larger hook.  Your tension naturally relaxes throughout a project so this prevents any annoying 'curvage'!  Swapping back to my 5mm and starting in the second chain from the hook, I simply double crocheted in each chain, going through one loop of each chain with my hook only.  I find this creates more of a definite and secure edge than going through two loops.  Once at the end, I turned, chained one and continued to double crochet.  That's all there is to it.

Changing Colours

I have tried every method of changing yarn colours conceivable and personally favour this way for stripes.  I am a huge advocate for crocheting in yarn ends as I go and doing it as neatly as possible.  However, I don't like to crochet-in both the end tail of one colour yarn and the beginning tail of the next at the same time.  I find it creates a bit of a ridge and changes the appearance of the stitches slightly.

I change my colours on the reverse side.  By this, I mean that the first stripe of each new colour will be worked with the wrong side of the scarf facing me.  (The beginning yarn tail will be on the right.)  Consequently the back of the stitches will show on the front of the crochet.  Does that make sense?  Let me talk you through it step by step …

With the right side of your crochet facing you (beginning tail will be to the bottom left) and approximately ten or so stitches from the end of the row, lie the new colour of yarn along the top of your stitches and crochet over it.

Turn your crochet over.

Bring the working yarn across your crochet and along the front of your stitches.

Remove your hook and pull up a loop of the new coloured yarn.

In the new colour, chain one and then continue to double crochet over the tail of the previous colour for ten or so stitches.  Gently pulling both tails will neaten them up.  Leave a little length in them - we'll finish them off properly after blocking.

I do hope that's clear.  It sounds a lot more of a faff than it actually is, I promise.  Don't forget it also avoids any lengthy sewing-in business at the end of your project!

This is far as I've currently got.  I think it's fair to say that I'm still very much in my comfort zone colourwise!  Very soon though, the green, lilac and apricot will start creeping in.  Eep!

I'm now off to make a cup of tea, put my feet up and carry on hooking.  I'll keep you posted with my progress.

If you are making your own Happy Scrappy Scarf, I'd love to see how you get on too.  If you're on Facebook, please feel free to post any pictures on my feed.  If you're on Instagram, perhaps you can hashtag your make with 'happyscrappyseptember' or 'happyscrappyscarf' so I can see it?  Otherwise, there's good old email!  With your permission, I'd love to include any photographs on a future blog post.

If I've forgotten anything, I'll be sure to pop straight back.  As ever, do let me know if you have any comments or questions.

Speak to you sooooon!