Saturday, 27 April 2013

K is for Knitaholic - 4KCBWDAY5

Day 5 - Something a bit different!

Friday's entry is s little delayed...I'm moving this weekend so things are a wee bit chaotic, to say the least!! For something 'a little different' I decided to do a post with an A-Z of Knitting.


A - Addictive. Knitting is truly addictive once you get into the swing of it!
B - Bamboo, my favourite type of knitting needle, and a very lovely (and sustainable) fibre to work with too.
C - Cast on; where all the fun begins!
D - useful way of shaping a piece of knitting.
E - Environmentally-friendly. There are many reasons this craft can be eco-friendly, including the fact that knitters make pieces designed to be treasured and handed down for future generations. There are also plenty of yarns out there with real "green" credentials, produced via sustainable manufacturing methods, coloured with plant-based dyes and a host of natural fibres.

Crafting 365 Day 213

F - Fair Isle. A beautiful, traditional way of patterning your knits.
G - Groups. It's fun to meet other like-minded enthusiasts at a knitting group, or even share ideas, tips and exeriences with virtual groups on t'internet (hello Ravelry!)
H - Handmade. There really is nothing like a hand-crafted piece of knitting, made with care, love and attention. (Not to mention the odd dose of blood, sweat & tears!)
I - Intarsia. A great way of working coloured areas into your knits.

intarsia (front)

J - Jumper. Surprisingly, not something I have knitted that many of myself! (I'm more of an accessories kinda girl)
K - Knit. The first method for creating a knitted stitch most of us ever learn.
L - Lace...a variety of openwork techniques can be used to create lace fabrics, which I love.

folds of lace

M - Moss Stitch. A nubbly textured stitch pattern which I find very pleasing to the eye :)
N - Needles. An essential bit of kit for any knitter. I love how there are some really amazing options out there now, like beautiful wooden types and even wonderful colourful ones!
O - Online. A world of wondrous yarn havens, friendly crafters and a vast array of patterns await.
P - Purl. The yin to a knit stitch's yang!
U - Unravel. Always worth making sure this doesn't happen to your knits!
R - Rip back. Sometimes a necessary evil. Try to avoid having to do it with yarns like mohair - it's a complete nightmare, trust me!!

S - Stitch dictionary. I find these so invaluable for inspiration and ideas.
T - Time. Finding time to knit is sooo worth it. Knitting can be very therapeutic too.
U - Universal. I strongly believe that knitting is a skill anyone can learn, with a little determination and perseverance.
V - Vivid. These days you can acquire some fabulously vibrant colours. No need to be a knitting wallflower any more!
W - WOOL! One of my favourite fibres to create with. Also an incredibly versatile fibre.

Crafting 365 Day 148

X - X-factor. Yes, for me the art and craft of knitting really does have the elusive x-factor :)
Y - Yarn. Without it, where would we be?
Z - Zzzzz. I find a spot of knitting before bedtime can really help sometimes. Also, I just discovered that the word zephyr can mean "any of several delicate soft yarns, fabrics, or garments, usually of wool," according to the Collins English Dictionary!

Crafting 365 Day 223

Thursday, 25 April 2013

And the winner is...

WildKittens blog giveaway

Thanks to all who entered the WildKittens prize draw on my blog this month!

I have collated all the entries for each prize and used a random number generator to help me pick the winners.

Prize A was this cute cotton patchwork baby blanket in pretty pastels, which I designed and knitted. The winner is Annamarie Magee, with comment number 4 (of the entries for prize A)!

...and prize B was this lovely WildKittens pattern for knitting some baby shoes. The winner is "TopHat" whose comment for prize B was selected by the random number generator.

I'll be getting in touch with the winners shortly :)

Awash with Colour - 4KCBWDAY4

Day 4 - Colour Review

"What are your favourite colours for knitted projects. Have a think about what colours you seem to favour when yarn shopping and crafting.

"Only after writing this part of your post should you then actually look to see what colours you have used in your projects. Make a quick tally of what colours you have used in your projects over the past year and compare it to the colours you have written about. Compare this, in turn, to the colours that are most dominant in your yarn stash – do they correlate?

Now think back to your house animal - do the colours you have chosen relate to your animal in anyway - if you are in the house of peacock, for example, are your projects often multicoloured and bright?"

I feel that my favourite colours for knitted projects (and crafting generally) are more or less the same as my favourite colours overall: beautiful deep, rich jewel tones, as well as a sprinkling of neutrals and pastels to offset them.

Now to see if I'm right! (I imagine I'm not far off really, as I have a pretty good awareness of colour and frankly am quite obsessed with it.)

On reviewing the projects I recorded over the last year on Ravelry, I do think my initial assessment is about right. I'm not including in this review items I was commissioned to make as I do usually get requests for specific colourways when people order something!


I do know for a fact that my stash is dominated by reds, purples, violets, greens, teals, blues and greeny-blues - a veritable rainbow of saturated colour if you will.

This is tempered by my love of natural tones - many hues of soft greys, a hint of cream and a handful of inky blue and deep black. I also have a small collection of pastel yarns because I have a love for shades with a slightly retro feel - 1950s ice cream colours anyone?


Just realised I neglected to cover the final part of the task! Ooops. In any case, thinking about the colours that appeal to me and that I tend to craft with, I supppose they do correlate in a way (other than perhaps the neutrals) to the sorts of colours a *real* bee might be attracted to in the world of flora. How fitting!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Graphically Minded - 4KCBWDAY3

 Day 3 - Infographic

Today's task was to create an infographic or some kind of visual way of representing information relating to your beloved craft :)

As a Graphic Designer, this topic really appealed to me, rather unsurprisingly. I have been toying with the idea of creating an infographic of some sort for a while now and this seemed like a perfect opportunity to give it a whirl.

I'm a big fan of using an infographic to visualise statistics, facts and numbers... partly because I think it's so much more engaging than looking at some random digits, but also because (confession alert) I'm a bit of a geek. I'll happily pore over stats for my etsy shop or the Google Analytics for this here blog!

I was also curious about the readership of my crafty blog so I had a little look and made a nice bar chart with my findings:

It's funny how pleasing it can be to see some dull old figures rendered as a colourful little diagram!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

In the Honeycomb - 4KCBWDAY2

 Day 2 - A Mascot Project!

Today we were asked to consider a project which represents the spirit of the chosen "house" or animal. As you'll know if you read my post yesterday (and there's a hint in today's post title too), I decided to align myself with the House of Bee(s).

I opted for a rather literal translation of the theme, as you will see! Whithout further ado, may I present to you (a somewhat sleepy-looking) Papa BEE!

I decided to knit a bee on a bit of a whim, having spent an afternoon with my OH's little nephew, who is known to point and excitedly shout, "a Bee!!!" when he happens to spot one buzzing around the garden. (He seems to have a wee bit of a thing for these nectar-loving winged insects.)

 As it happens, the boy's third birthday was approaching when I was contemplating the topics in  advance of Knitting & Crochet Blog Week and I thought it seemed like a fun thing to have a go at, being no stranger to knitting the odd creature or two. I did a little search on Ravelry and found this cute toy bee pattern (which is also free), though I did adapt the wings quite a bit.

It's becoming a bit of a tradition for me to make things for the wee man... when he was a newborn I made him a funky baby mobile (more about that here and here) then as he got a bit bigger I knitted a pair of winter mittens for him. The thing which so far has had the biggest reception so far though was a knitted toy pigeon!

[Do excuse the slightly grainy pics - I hope to be able to show you some better ones when I have access to my camera but it's currently 35 miles away!]

Monday, 22 April 2013

4KCBWDAY1 - Knitting & Crochet Blog Week 2013!

Welcome to Knitting & Crochet Blog Week, which I'm happy to say I'm taking part in again, for the fourth year running! (Hard to believe it's been going for four years already!)

Day 1 - The House Cup

Today, the topic is to discuss "your crafting outlook/style" and choose a "house" which represents this.

I've chosen the House of Bee:

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."

I feel this animal (out of the four house choices: bee, manatee, monkey and peacock) most closely fits my knitting "style" - I tend to have several projects on the go simultaneously and I definitely have a chronic case of serial startitis! The lure of fresh new patterns and colourful yarn is sooo hard to resist though...

As a knitter I like to have multiple creations, usually at various stages of completion, but the thing I enjoy most about my approach to this craft is that I generally have one or two more complex, 'cerebral,' patterns in progress (for example a tricky lace pattern or one with lots of fiddly colourwork), as well as having a few of a more simple design underway.

This means I can knit to suit my mood - sometimes I want to work on something which requires quite a bit of concentration...and other times I like to have a simple project I can just work on in a less focussed way - such as when sitting in front of the telly of an evening. It's a great way of winding down, I find!

For more info about this annual yarny extravaganza, check out Eskimimi's blog. (Thanks to Mimi for creating the fab blog week graphics too!)

Sunday, 14 April 2013

April Giveaway!

I thought it would be fun to have a little giveaway frenzy on my blog this month. So to get the ball rolling, I've decided to do a WildKittens inspired giveaway!

WildKittens blog giveaway

Prize A

I'm giving away this cute Iced Gem Blanket which I designed after being approached by the charity Bliss to create an exclusive pattern for their Bliss Loves Crafts (craft club) members.

It's made from lovely soft cotton yarn in a patchwork of pretty pastel colours.
(Finished size is approx. 50 x 50 cm)

iced gem baby blanket

blanket detail

Prize B

I'm offering one of my PDF knitting patterns for Mary Jane baby shoes in your choice of the following sizes: 0-3 mths, 3-6 mths, 6-12 mths or 12-18 mths.

wee shoes

To find out more about the pattern I'm offering, check out the details in my WildKittens etsy shop.

How to Enter

Simply leave a comment on this blog post, letting me know which prize you'd prefer - don't forget to include an email address I can contact you on if you win!

[EDIT: Competition is now closed. Winners will be announced shortly.]

Closing date for entries is midnight GMT on Sunday 21st April 2013. One winner for each prize will be chosen at random.

(Please note that comments will not be published instantly, as they are moderated, so it may take a little time for them to appear.)

Monday, 8 April 2013

Edinburgh Yarn Festival

Let me start by saying this: Woooooooooool!, and some other fibres too, ha ha!

The first Edinburgh Yarn Festival was a grand day out for fibre fans, that much is certain. It was a properly dreich day but we still patiently queued in the rain - this very much set the tone for the day. Not in the respect of the damp weather, but more in the respect that people were generally very good-natured, considerate and patient.

...Which is just as well really, because by the time I got there (very late morning) it was mobbed! Though after a bit, me & my friends decided to grab a spot of lunch at a nearby quirky and - I think - recently opened bar on Leith Walk, a good choice as it turned out both in terms of timing and food! On our return things at the festival had thankfully calmed down a little and it was much easier to get around and see more of the stalls up close.

It was really great to see yarn spun, supplied and hand-dyed from all over Scotland (and a few from further afield). I am pleased to say that I have noticed a real upturn in the availability of Scottish wool [and other fibres] - something I am personally quite passionate about and I try to support whenever possible.

I was also intrigued to discover that Yarn Pony not only offers beautiful hand-dyed yarns but courses on how to kettle-dye your own too!

I was very restrained in my purchases on the day but I did see a lot of lovely things on the day - I could have happily gone on a giant fibre-y shopping spree! Instead I chose a few choice pieces and used the opportunity to do a little research on suppliers I can (and likely will) purchase from in the future.

pac-man ribbon

This Pac-Man woven ribbon is so, so amazing! I also love the Space Invader one from the same shop (Textile Garden) shown below. There's no way I was leaving without a little of each of them :D Their stall had lots of interesting trims and buttons for your every need.

space invader ribbon

I loved this stall's selection of pretty wooden buttons, many different designs too. I think they are done as some kind of transfer. (I just wish I could remember what the name of the business was so I could visit their website, argh!)

[EDIT: I have since discovered the buttons are from Skybluepink-Designs! Yay!]

pretty wooden buttons

(I also got some fab things for a yarn swap, but I don't want to spoil the surprise for my swap partner so no pics here of that stuff, sorry!)

Tin Can Knits - pretty patterns for adults, kids & accessories
Textile Garden - notions galore
The Thread Room - hand-dyed yarn in fabulous colours from Oz
Yarn Pony - scrummy yarn hand-dyed in Edinburgh & yarn-dyeing workshops
Avery Homestore - Edinburgh shop selling craft materials & homewares
Skybluepink-Designs - specialist supplier of unique yarns: rare breed wool, plant dyed, recycled, handspun
Strathearn Fleece & Fibre - raw fleece, batts, rovings and spun yarn from this Perthshire farm
Porcini & Button - handmade crafty things from Edinburgh
OwlPrintPanda - THE cutest little knitted fox purses, a fanastic selection of stitchmakers and earrings for the crafter in your life!
The Yarn Yard - yarns and fibre hand-dyed in Midlothian
The Border Mill - small-scale mill in the Scottish Borders, mainly processing alpaca fleece (I recommend visiting this site for the wonderful illustrations and "meet the herd" page!)
Alpaca Loft - lovely alpaca yarn and alpaca products
Ripples Crafts - yummy hand-dyed yarn from the Highlands
Shilasdair - yarn shop, dye house & exhibition on the Isle of Skye
Crafty Ally - knitting project & notion bags handmade from pretty fabrics
Cairngorm Bags - knitting bags made from fabulous fabrics
Fibre Forager - wonderful dyed fibres for spinning & felting

More info about the event here.