Vix Knits… and crochets and sews…

My adventures in the wonderful world of arts and crafts

Stash busting!

I’m feeling a little cash strapped lately. Xmas wasn’t too bad on my finances but our recent jaunt to Iceland wiped out some spare cash and with a baby on the way I’m trying to be frugal.

So, in the spirit of frugality (is that a word? It’s been a long day!) I’m working through my stash.

I’m normally very good and buy yarn for specific projects but I can’t resist a bargain so I’ve got a few bags of yarn waiting for the ‘perfect project’

First up – ten balls of Luisa Harding Fleuris in a lovely chocolate brown. I had intended to make a cocoon shrug but it’s taking some experimentation because the balls are actually a lot smaller than they look!

Next – two skeins of Rowan Alpaca Colour in my favourite mustard yellow. To be honest I’m not at all sure what to do with this but I can’t resist a nice yellow. Any ideas are appreciated.

Then – several skeins of Cascade Pima Cotton in a beautiful turquoise-y teal. I think this will become a lovely crochet cardi but it needs to be caked before I can swatch (also, the pattern I’ve got in mind was a pig last time).

Also – a selection of lovely DK which I was accumulating with the view to designing a knitted chevron cardi/shrug. My passion of designing waned however so it sits in a box…

Finally (maybe) – a skein of green sock yarn.I bought this before my passion for socks started but, again, it needs caking before I can use it so is currently sitting.

I’m even using up some of my acrylic stash on an intarsia blanket for baby. More on that soon.

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A labour of love

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Nineteen skeins caked and ready!
Mum came over after work yesterday and we caked the yarns for our Daybreak shawls (kits purchased at the Knit and Stitch show) and my birthday Cascade for a cardigan.
One of the balls in the photo is the hand wound ball from months ago which took forever after a fight with a tangled skein!
Speaking of which, one skein of teal Cascade is still sitting in a bit of a mess – you can see it in the background! And Mum’s got four skeins of Debbie Bliss yumminess that fought back.
I’m sure we could have untangled it but our Indian takeaway seemed so much more important
The reason for sudden yarn caking industry? Check back tomorrow…

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Knitting and Stitching Show 2014: part two

Well, it’s a week after the event and I only now find myself with the time and inspiration to write… busy bee!

So, my mum and I went to the Show with our posh LYS Twist. We went with them last year as well and, again, had a great time.

I did suffer a few disappointments however and one came very early on.

I’m sure you’ve all noticed that I’m currently obsessed with Edward’s Menagerie so the Toft stand was high on my list of must-sees.

It was actually the first one we came across as we walked into the hall. The stand looked amazing, the animals from the book were all there, fluffy alpaca goodies and the staff were crocheting.

My excitement was short lived, however, because the yarns were the same price as online and the only special offer they seemed to be running for the show was a free pom pom when you buy two balls of yarn for a hat.

I went away feeling very sad so I was glad to come across one of my favourite stands from last year – Stitch Witch

Mum and I bought loads from them last year and this year was no different, we came away with fabric, wadding and buttons and then made another purchase because Mum fell in love with an Advent calendar kit (and I decided I needed some bias binding)

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The two Halloween fabrics and the orange came from Stitch Witch and I bought the others later on at various stands.

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I’m not sure you can see them very well but I bought some sheep buttons and some festive lighting string.

The little sewing kit was a freebie for signing up for the Abakhan newsletter

I kicked myself when we found the Brother stand because I realised I’d forgotten to check the model number on my sewing machine and I wanted to look for a zipper foot.

I remembered it though and the man was really helpful talking me through how it worked (turns out that the machine actually came with a plastic zipper foot so now I’m pondering selling the other)

So good was the salesman in fact that Mum bought an overlocker! She’s been wanting one since the Sewing Bee and they had a good deal on for the show.

Another stand that was high on our list was Aceville publications. They publish some brilliant magazines, including Homemaker which is our current favourite.

We were both after subscriptions and we figured there would offers on at the Show so we waited impatiently.

We were not disappointed! As well as getting the first three issues for just £6, there were loads of freebies.

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First, you get a goodie bag with an issue of one of their magazines (Mum went for Let’s Knit and I had Crafts Beautiful), two packets of yarn balls and needles, and a packet of felt. Then you get a choice of a Debbie Bliss pattern booklet with two skeins of yarn or a couple of kits… I think one was a knitted teddy

We went for the Debbie Bliss and Mum went home with my yarn as well because it was Winter Garden which is 20% silk so I won’t use it

Also on my list was Baa Ram Ewe but we didn’t find them until quite late on. I wanted to find them to get a book that I’ve seen, hoping it would be cheaper at the Show.

Unfortunately this was disappointment number two because they didn’t have it. Apparently it was a collaboration with Rowan and the stand at the Show was focussing on their Titus yarn.

We didn’t come away empty handed though because they had kits to make Stephen West’s Daybreak Shawl. I’ve seen versions of this that I’m simply not keen on but the sample they’d knitted up was amazing.

We both bought the kits but with different colours and Mum bought a blanket pattern too.

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I actually got more than we bargained for because I ended up with an extra mini skein!

When I finally decided to buy the needles I needed at the Show (again, I couldn’t find them any cheaper than online so I was reluctant) I bought one of the ones I need for another project and the ones I need for the shawl

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This is definitely my second best buy because I’ve already made so much more progress on the project than I was with straight needles (more on that another day)

I say second best because I bought some Stylecraft Special to finish off my fox (oh, I didn’t post did I?!) and I completed the crochet on the way home and sewed her together when I got home.

Turns out though that their Show price was still more than I can get the yarn for so I stopped at a single ball.

Last year, I kicked myself for not buying Woodland Knits when we saw it so we hunted down the stand (we couldn’t remember who it was but knew they had lots of Cath Kidston) and Mum bought it for me for xmas.

We both also bought the new Cath Kidston Sewing Book which comes with a brilliant kit for a sewing pouch.

I was surprised when I checked the list of stands to find that Sirdar didn’t have one. Turns out they were well represented by Black Sheep Wools who had literally two mounds of yarn for people to dig through.

My first thought was that I wanted to just jump into it and cosy up but I decided it might have been frowned upon.

I couldn’t resist a packet of Click DK in a yummy orange and I’ve decided what I’d like to make with it, I just need to find a pattern

And Mum and I went halves on a packet of Snuggly Kisses to make blankets for expectant friends

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I bought a few little odds and ends as well, ribbon and buttons and such ( you can see them in some of the above pics and in the main one below)

We had both set ourselves a budget and only blew it a little (not including Mum’s overlocker), we both got some gifts sorted and we both came away with some real treats so a good day all round

Now I just need the time to play with it all… I wonder if the sound of my sewing machine will disturb my sleeping husband…

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Knitting and Stitching Show 2014: part one

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Just a quick peek of today’s haul… I’m off to play!

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Shawl supplies

I’m sure I’ve mentioned my new obsession with knitted shawls…

But did I mention my struggle to buy supplies? We went to London last weekend and I failed to even find the circular needle required for my chosen pattern. The shop that I knew sold the required yarn (I’m actually using the recommended yarn in two of three recommended colours!) was too out of the way to get to with our limited time and the department stores we went to (Liberty and John Lewis) only seemed to stock Rowan.

So I ordered the yarn over dinner (it may have been an alcohol-fuelled impulse purchase) and hunted for a snazzy needle and stitch markers.

Since it’s a project for honeymoon, I want it to be special so I ordered my first ever KnitPro Symfonie needle and managed to get some yummy stitch markers from the same company with free postage!

Everything turned up last week

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Even looking at the pictures gives me a little thrill

I’ve just finished winding the first colour into a ball (by hand – is there anything more beautiful? Or exhausting?)

So, the question now becomes, do I start to knit or wind the others?

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A ponderance on unusual yarns

I have to admit to being a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to yarn. I tend to use yarns between 4ply and chunky, rarely super chunky and all these new novelty yarns hold absolutely no interest.

However, I’ve fallen in love with a pattern from the latest Mollie Makes. They’ve posted the pattern on their blog so check it out here.

The yarn in question is Louisa Harding’s Luzia but at £15 a ball, it’s way out of my price range. Well, okay, I could afford it if I scrimped on the other yarn and Steven has offered to buy it for me for Xmas but I resent paying so much for something so small (the pattern calls for two balls of Luzia plus some DK)

So, my ponderance is: what yarn, if any, could I replace it with?

Randomly enough, I dug out my knitted glove pattern (mine have gone astray) and one version uses a discontinued yarn from Stylecraft (Gypsy) which has a similar effect but the yarns seem to be categorised differently with Luzia as ‘fur’ and Gypsy as ‘eyelash’

Can anyone help me please? I’ve got no experience with these yarns but I fear my lust for the stole is too great to resist

Please please please?

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A nice warm fuzzy to brighten my day

I’m not sure if I posted about my disappointment recently regarding a ball of Stylecraft Special (possibly my favourite yarn)

Anyway, you know how there are sometimes knots within a ball of yarn where two sections have been joined together?

Well I was merrily knitting my Cricket Jumper one day when I came across FOUR knots in half a ball.

Then another one before I finished the ball and picked up a new one.

I was so disappointed that I wrote a complaint letter to Stylecraft. I hadn’t necessarily expected to hear anything back but thought they should know.

Imagine my delight to see this on the doormat this morning

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Hello, warm fuzzy!

To prolong the excitement, I opened my regular mail first (not very exciting and vaguely confusing)

And then opened my parcel to find these

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Extra warm fuzzy

Unfortunately, I have no current need for two balls of cream DK (the question is, how did Stylecraft know I was working with cream DK? Or is it a bizarre coincidence?)

So, any ideas would be lovely

I think I’ll sustain my warm fuzzy by crafting in front of the telly for a while and maybe do some more chores later… maybe

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Too little time, too little crochet

Wow, the last few weeks have been crazy!

The last time I posted, I was talking about my new job and the possibility of turning a jumper pattern into a cardigan pattern.

In the interests of chronology, we’ll deal with the job issues first.

I started two weeks ago and already I know it’s just not for me. The last fortnight has been a real rollercoaster but no matter how good a day I have, I still dread work in the morning.

I’ve been feeling really stifled and struggling to find time for anything so I don’t have much new news (still plenty of old news to catch up on though).

So, it’s back to job hunting and hopefully more time, energy and thought-space for crafting.

I’d still absolutely love to find a way to combine the two but I’m not sure how yet…

Now for the exciting news! I’m still trying to choose yarn but I think I’ve figured out how to turn a jumper into a cardigan.

According to Wendy Bernard (Custom Knits) it can be as simple as halving the stitch count for the front, knitting two front pieces and adding borders.

This is what I thought but it’s nice to have the theory backed up by an expert.

As for the yarn, the pattern calls for aran, not a problem apart from the fact that I’m trying to use stuff from my stash before I buy too much new so I’m trying to incorporate some of my existing colours.

It’s not making life easy but I’ve got other projects to do while I ponder it further.

So, wish me luck and crafting for tomorrow and I’ll be back soon

 

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Singing the praises of Wools Worldwide

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while but, with the move and everything, I keep forgetting.

So, you all know about my recent yarn issues.

But I never told you about the resolution to the problems.

I managed to find a website that had more than one ball of the elusive blue and put in an order on a Tuesday night.

On the Wednesday morning, I had a call to say that they only had two balls of the yarn and asking how I wanted to proceed.

The lady was really lovely and very helpful and we decided on keeping the order at two balls of blue and three of brown and getting a refund on the other.

The refund was put straight through and the lady said the order would be posted that day.

On the Thursday, I had an undelivered parcel which I picked up on the Friday.

Imagine my surprise, expecting it to be a wheel for Steven’s car, to discover it was my yarn!!

I was quite wary about ordering from a company that I hadn’t even heard of but I most heartily recommend them. And I think they do international delivery too

You should definitely check them out – www.woolsworldwide.co.uk

Also, check out these ball bands, it’s no wonder I struggled to find it!

 

This is the band for the blue, even on it’s own it looks a bit dated

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compare it to the others and you can see the issue.

Still, it’s been an adventure (now all I need to do is finish the blanket!)

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How do you stash yours?

So, among all the crazy sorting and packing and unpacking, came some distinctly calm and relaxed yarn stash sorting.

I was quite excited for this particular part of moving home and had loads of storage spaces designated for yarn and notions and books and finished pieces and all the other… accoutrements required for a life of crafting.

Obviously, before a stash can be put away nicely, it needs to be gotten out and sorted. Mum and I had some great fun with this one crazy Sunday while poor Steven had to work

As well as my own stash, I had recently acquired two other stashes when friends of ours cleared out the homes of elderly relatives and immediately thought of me (don’t you love it when that happens?!)

So, how best to sort my stash? Tip it all out on the floor obviously!

 

That’s my DK stash…

And that’s the rest, there’s some 4-ply, some aran, some chunky and some super chunky

It looks like a lot but I’m assured that it’s a fairly modest stash (or at least, I tell myself that based on what other people have blogged)

I thought I was pretty good at keeping track of my stash but I did come across several balls that I’d forgotten about (including a ball of the brown aran that I’m using for my AFB – after I’d ordered three more balls)

I nicely sorted these by weight and packed them neatly away… and then remembered the ‘new yarn’ that needed to be sorted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These goodies came from a friend of my mum’s – a few nice balls of yarn and assorted needles. I have no idea what I will do with any of it but yarn is yarn and, better yet, free!

 

This massive pile came from a workmate of Steven’s and contains loads of different yarns as well as lots of balls of the same (if you see what I mean)

There’s even a full packet of ten balls of Sirdar Snuggly Chunky, which I think might have been discontinued.

Again, little-to-no idea what to do with it but free yarn is free yarn

Add to all this, all my ‘project yarn’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This consists of the projects that I’m actively working on (currently only two!), projects that I’ve started but put aside for whatever reason, and projects that have yet to be started.

Again, everything was sorted and neatly put away to be shifted to and re-stashed in the new flat

I eventually got around to this a few days ago

Here are the results!

The projects all fitted nicely into four cubes although I shifted things about a bit so they actually fit into three and I’ve got one free for other important items (like my Kindle!)

It also leaves my project bag free…

 

…to use on the actual beach

The main stash also fits beautifully into four cubes with one free for assorted accessories

The cubes all fit away into large storage units (the Expedit series from Ikea – love it!) so it’s all neatly away but really easily accessible

So, how big is your stash? And how and where do you keep it?

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