Thursday, 28 March 2013

Manly Man Hat

Here's something I should have posted a while back but didn't quite get round to taking pictures of 'til now:

Marks Manly Birthday hat.

It was spun from this gorgeous, custom-dyed Bluefaced Leicester and Silk fibre from the endlessly helpful Marianne from Picperfic who put up with me changing my mind back and forth about fibre contents and exact shades of grey and amounts of blue acceptable for a perfect stormy sky and all my other pettiness.
The braid was so pretty when it arrived I barely dared to start spinning it in case I muddled up all the colours.

But spun it I did, and in secret too, as Mark was inconveniently off work that week so I had to try and squeeze it in whist he was sleeping, and knitted it up using the Exeter Hat pattern which was a very good, quick knit and makes for an smart manly hat.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Plug and Play Pembrokeshire

So the day finally came for the Plug and Play marketplace in Pembrokeshire, and our first experience selling yarn face to face, and what a lovely day it was!

Mark got dressed in all his best "knitted Viking" finery:

Young Mark is sporting a Wollmeise tunic, the Urban Aran cardigan
and Gower Wool fingerless gloves

I couldn't decide which shawls and sweaters to wear for both the freezing outdoors and potentially warmer indoors so just threw a whole selection in the car. I think I changed neckwear 3 times along the way.

After a swift drive and a fruitless search for an open tea room on the way, we arrived early at the Beggars Reach Hotel and were warmly welcomed by Amy and Brenda who made sure that we were swiftly fed and watered. We were also introduced to our fellow vendor - the fantastic Caerthan from Triskelion Yarns (whose sweater I intend to shamelessly copy as soon as I can get my hands on some more Lopi )


Once the attendees where secured at the lunch table next door, we set up in the lovely bright room provided and were told not to tease the ladies as we carried our wares past the windows. After a valiant effort from Amy to keep the frenzied and clearly yarn-starved crowd at bay, the attendees were finally allowed in and an incredible blur of yarn and colours and oohs and aahs followed. It was such a joy to be selling to the converted, so different from the crafts markets I normally attend where you might get a confused look at most. I will be keenly following the progress of all my little yarns to fully grown projects from now on, I can't wait to see what these talented ladies will make of them! (and if you are one of these talented people, feel free to send me pictures and I will post them up)
The Gower Wool display - all the undyed
and the fibre are all gone!

All the new Lovely Linen colours

Amy Singer from Knitty with one of
her ill-gotten gains....I mean purchases:
a bright Periwinkle Linen Scarf.

We finished this perfect day by stopping off on the Gower to drop in unannounced on family and friends, ending the evening with an impromptu Sunday dinner for 5 complete with 4 kinds of roast veg, cooked, to my astonishment, in Marks mothers motorhome!





Monday, 18 March 2013

There's hope!

After yet another unseasonably cold snap last week, I was amazed to come down to our allotment and find that things have actually been growing! They're only little, but they are oh so pretty...

tiny garlic shoots
red currant

black currant that we inherited with the plot
Some of you might notice that the shop is currently closed - many many apologies for this: I have had the great honour to be invited as one of only two sellers at the Plug and Play retreat in Pembrokeshire this weekend and am frantically skeining, weighing and labelling in preparation!
Normal service will resume on Monday the 25th.

Monday, 4 March 2013

News from the shop

Last year - the first time we produced our Gower wool - we sold out of it by February and had to sit around and wait for the sheep to be ready to shear again and with the terrible year that it was, didn't have any more supply until October. Learning from that mistake, I asked for an extra sack of fleece to keep for spinning later in the year and treasured it in our garage until the current stock started running low.
 Now, a 20 kilo sack of raw sheeps fleece is not a small thing. It stands about waist high and pongs of lanolin. The sacks from the Natural Fibre Company who spin our wool are also bright white. Nonetheless, the courier company charged with transporting this gigantic, white sack have somehow utterly and completely managed to lose it. They've looked for weeks up and down depots in the country but have now decided that the sack is, in fact, gone.
We've been reinbursed for the value of the fleeces of course, but sadly, it still means no more Gower Wool until after summer shearing. There are still a good few hanks in both dyed and undyed colours available but that really is it for now!

So I have been thrown into dyeing my other bases for now, and with spring hopefully looming, I have prepared a few fresh and springy colours in the lovely Lithuanian linen.
It is a heavy lace to light fingering weight and this year we are doing it in the smaller 50gr hanks to allow you to mix and match the colours.
As linen is very absorbent, it takes the dye very quickly and thoroughly, making for an almost solid colour with only minor shifts expected of a hand dyed product.

For those not used to knitting with linen, it may appear stiff and stringy att first, but it softens in your hands as you work with it and will continue to soften for the many years that you wear it. Fantastically hard wearing, once blocked it also holds lace patterns beautifully without curling back up on itself and drapes very well.

I will be adding many more colours as soon as I dye them, as well as long long scarves made from the commercially dyed version of this same yarn. Let's just hope it will be warm enough for these lighter knits soon!