I found this lovely cowl pattern in our favourite knitting magazine 'Knit Now'. It's designed by Cilla Webb and the original is knitted in doubleknit (Louisa Harding & Debbie Bliss yarns). I loved the way the self striping yarn interacts with the plain yarn and had a look around the shop to see what I could use. We had a single ball of Drops Big Delight which creates a nice wide stripe so the hunt was then on for a contrast. Ruth and I have been trying to find a way to showcase Wendy Cairn -- it's a lovely aran yarn but it doesn't display well -- it seems to suck light into it and not reflect it back so it looks quite dull. Looking at it closely though it is made up of a dark yarn with different coloured fibres through it and the colour I chose (3288 Cyclone) mixes really well with the Big Delight and isn't dull at all. The joy of a cowl is that it doesn't really matter if you swap yarn weights as tension and size isn't an issue so instead of the DK yarns specified I'm using these two arans. I probably should have used a 5mm instead of the 4.5mm needle that I chose but the fabric is still lovely and soft and cosy. We'll have some more Big Delight delivered sometime in the next two weeks and there are four colours of Cairn to choose from so this may well become a kit!
Now to mention the fly in the ointment -- since taking this photo and bragging on instagram about how it is an easy pattern that can be knitted while talking, I have knitted another 20 or so rows and then notice the rogue garter stitch row at the top (the orange row that looks as though it is folded). Do I take down 32 rows or hope no-one else will notice. Pride goes before a fall!
In our drop-in this week we were admiring the amazing window display shared on facebook of a dress made entirely of poppies. At the same time, one of my friends came in with a poppy she had crocheted and details of the pattern . I mentioned that Pontyclun Primary School will be delivering poppies that the children have been making to us and other businesses in the village for us to create window displays for Remembrance. The ladies from the drop-in have taken the bull by the horns and are busy knitting and crocheting poppies for us so that we can emulate the dress (although we may only manage a mini-skirt) as a backdrop for the children's artwork. Keep and eye out for the window displays in the village after half term and as a teaser here's some pictures of the inspirational window and a few poppies made by Ruth and myself.
Look what we've received today!
My sister, Lynda Jones, makes the handmade jewellery that we sell in the shop and so we asked her to make the shawl pins for our Luxury Gift Box. This parcel arrived in the post today during our Drop-In so it just had to be opened immediately.
It took a bit of doing, but where there's a will and a sharp pair of scissors, there's a way.
So this is what was inside:
Ten silver (stamped 925 with maker's mark) shawl pins to go into our Luxury Gift Box. The pins are so pretty and Lynda included a fine leather thong to convert it into a necklace and a silver polishing cloth to keep the pin nice and shiny.
Now all we need is for the silk cashmere to be delivered so that the boxes can be made up ready to ship. Get your order in quickly by clicking on our Gift Ideas page and then following the link.
Here at the shop we like to look after our customers well-being so we have planned our Autumn courses to make sure you don't suffer Idle Hands Syndrome*.
Our Intermediate Crochet course starts on 09 November and runs for three Wednesday morning sessions. The course costs £35.00 and Gaelle will be teaching about circles, hexagons, flowers, leaves buds to name a few. You will need to book promptly though as we only have two places left..
Gaelle will also be running a couple of Christmas workshops In November and December beginning with a crochet bow for beginners on 19 November and a crochet stocking or snowman on 3 December. Each workshop is from 10 till 12.30 and cost £25.00.
Now we understand that it isn't just crocheters who suffer from Idle Hands Syndrome so we've put together a Winter Woolies Knitting Workshop for the 19 November from 10 til 3. We'll show you how to knit fairisle, intarsia and cables -- in fact all you need to know to make yourself a lovely winter woolly.
Check out our workshops page for more details and how to book
* severe restlessness caused by not having any knitting on the needles or crochet on the hooks. )Closely allied to boredom eating syndrome)
You might have noticed from bits and pieces on the media that it is British Wool Week. We try to keep a selection of British yarns in stock all the time and have Woolyknit, West Yorkshire Spinners, Wensleydale Sheep Shop, Ty Mel and Wendy Ramsdale to name but a few. These wools may cost a bit more than synthetic yarns but they are a dream to knit with. The Blue Faced Leicester yarns are just so soft -- Ruth and I want to try them all. Our other notable British yarn is Woolly Wumpkins and Michelle will be introducing her new self-striping yarns on Saturday so it is well worth a visit.
Also on Saturday we will be celebrating British Wool Week by offering the Woolyknit Lofty Treasured Blanket Crochet kit* at £60. We have two kits so you'll have to be quick!
*kit contains 11 balls Lofty Chunky, pattern and crochet hook
It just goes to show that my kids to take notice of my blogs. Yesterday Tash said 'if you haven't got any knitting to do you can re-knit that union jack sweater you said you would do'. So now I need to re-write a pattern to make it bigger and get started. No rest for the wicked!
Yesterday for the first time in about ten years I found myself with nothing on my knitting needles -- sort of! You have to understand though that there is shop or work knitting and home knitting which in my head are totally different even though they use the same pair of hands to complete them. My nothing on the needles shock refers to home knitting as I've been finishing off projects to clear my head for new ones (Woolly Wumpkins* comes to mind here) and to clear the space around my chair in the sitting room. A big project finished is Tasha's university blanket (no knitting left just needs backing and embroidery twiddles) which has cleared a very large space and will keep her nice and cosy when she can't afford heating or food from her student maintenance loan.
Anyway I was feeling very smug until I realised I wouldn't have anything to knit while waiting at the dentist's yesterday so I delved in my knitting bag to find some yarn and instead came out with a project bag with a cobweb shawl that I cast on about two months ago, did three edging scallops and put away again. So I didn't have nothing on the needles -- my smugness was misplaced!
*don't forget Michelle will be in on Saturday from 11.30 for a couple of hours with here new self-striping yarns.
Earlier in the Summer Michelle from Woolly Wumpkins brought her camper van together with loads of her amazing hand-dyed yarns to the shop to talk about her sock yarns and what else you can knit with them apart form socks. We all enjoyed it so much that we have invited Michelle back and she will be bringing her new self-striping yarns to showcase. Michelle will explain how colours pool and flash and the lovely effects that can be produced with her absolutely addictive new yarn. I've only seen pictures so far but Ruth and I will get a sneak preview before everybody else arrives! Michelle will be here in the morning and as an added bonus 15 October is also our Crochet Surgery morning so if you have any problems with your crochet, Gaelle will be here to help out. Put the date in your diaries now and don't miss out!
Our next knitting workshop in the shop will be based around Winter Woollies. We think it will be fun to learn how to make Christmas or winter woollies.
Some knitting techniques evoke Christmas. Intarsia (think about all those Reindeer jumpers) fairisle (snow and skiing) and cables. The workshop will introduce these techniques. In the morning we will create mini-jumpers (or hats if you prefer) using intarsia, fairisle or cables and then in the afternoon look at how the techniques can be used on a full size garment. We'll also think about what colours and yarns to use to show off the techniques best. You can book the workshop by going to our workshops page and clicking on the book now button. The cost is £60 including refreshments, lunch and some materials. Book now for this Saturday 19th November from 10 till 3pm.
One of the best thing about owning a yarn shop is that we get to squish loads of yarn. The problem is that it is really hard to let some of it hit the shelves for our customers -- we would really rather just hive it off into our own stashes. New in today is some yarn we've been waiting for from Filanda and it is begging me to take it home! I will restrain myself though so our lovely customers can have a look too. The yarn in question is Filanda's Lacanapa. it is 70% wool and 30% hemp and at £4.95 for 50g, it's good price too. The yarn is technically a doubleknit but can be knitted on larger needles too to create a lightweight aran. I'm in love with shade 82 which is a lovely aqua blue/eau de nil. Sadly Filanda don't give their yarns names but as other manufacturers never put the names on the ball bands anyway that isn't really a problem.
While I'm on the subject of yarn names why don't the names make it to the shop? When the reps visit and show us their wares, many of the yarns have lyrical names conjuring up hills and dales (Wendy Ramsdale's Malham and Settle) or Song Birds (West Yorkshire Spinners' Bullfinch and Kingfisher). When the yarns arrive though those lovely evocative names are replaced with colour numbers on the ball bands. There must be a reason! On the other hand, Woolyknit yarns do have numbers but they only put the name of the colour on the band, Sunburst, Cherry, Rainbow. I know the number is necessary as names are quite subjective (even just calling something navy blue can provoke a few disputes) but it would be nice if the name made it to the customer!
Welcome to our blog
Here we will share our experiences of running a local yarn shop in South Wales.