If you’re in Cardiff tomorrow…

…come and see me at Roath craft market, on Keppoch Street in the Mackintosh Sports and Social club! We’re open for extended hours, from 9.30am until 3pm for these last two Saturdays before Christmas. And now for the two extra enticements to my stall; firstly, I am having a pre-Christmas sale! Buy one item of jewelry, and get ÂŁ1 off each subsequent item of jewelry purchased in that same transaction. So, you can get a very nice set of jewelry at an extremely reasonable price! Secondly (and probably more importantly) there will be a lovely big bowl of chocolates on my stall for all who pass, in the hope of generating even more smiles and lots of Christmas spirit!

Busy busy busy!

I really should have turned off my laptop by now, because I’ve got a thousand and one things to do, but I’ve been missing talking to you all so I thought I’d dive in with a quick hello! I’m just about to go off and dye up some of our new Stardust yarn, which is a yummy merino and nylon blend (perfect for socks) with the added bonus of a touch of silvery sparkle in there too (which makes it perfect for everything else in my book!). I’m having the hardest time not keeping all the yarn for myself, but I can’t knit fast enough to keep up with it all anyway, so I am just telling myself that I can always dye more for me when I have time to knit it!

I’ve already dyed up three skeins of the Stardust in purple and navy, and have sold all three, so I have my fingers crossed that it will be a popular yarn base. I also have some merino silk blend to play with today, as well as some laceweight yarn. I received a sample pack from one of our suppliers with the loveliest baby alpaca and silk blend laceweight, which I will definitely be keeping for me! So I’m thinking of dyeing up that skein today and trying to find time to knit with it sometime soon. Although, with Christmas looming, it may have to wait until January.

I’m off to Roath Market tomorrow morning, and am hoping that people’s thoughts will have turned to Christmas shopping when they come into the craft market. I will have my jewelry for sale, as well as a shawl knitted to my own design and of course our Jelliebean Yarns. I hope to have some more knitted items for sale in the next few weeks, but I’m working on a commission at the moment which really needs to take priority in my knitting time. However, hopefully that will be finished in the next couple of weeks, then I can really crack on with turning out some knitted gifts.

I don’t think I have much left to knit for my own Christmas gifting; I got the bigger items out of the way early on. There’s a few pairs of gloves and some hats to do, but other than that I think my home  made gifts yet to be made are mainly foodie ones which will have to be done nearer to Christmas anyway.

And a couple of photos to round off my update;

My first attempt at shawl design, and using my own yarn. I’m quite pleased with it, although there are a couple of points where I want to tweak the pattern before I publish it. Again, I think this will probably now have to wait until after Christmas – how that gets in the way of my creativity!

A cardigan for the baby daughter of one of my husband’s friends. I really need to get this in the post before C grows out of it, but I’m hoping to do a matching hat before I post it off, so I’ll wait a few more days.

Handsome (DS1) was ill at half term, and so I made him this bow tie to cheer him up. He is a massive fan of Doctor Who, but hasn’t dressed up as the eleventh doctor yet. I thought this might help him along!

So that’s a little insight into what I’ve been busy with in the last couple of weeks. I hope you’re all well, and that the approach of Christmas is filling you with glee rather than gloom!


In our flat, we’ve been unlucky with water. Mainly this bad luck has come from above – the flat above us seems to be very leaky – although we’ve had a couple of incidents within our own walls.

First off was when the washing machine in our upstairs neighbours’ flat wasn’t correctly plumbed in – this caused a beautiful mess on our kitchen ceiling, and yet it took them months to admit it was anything to do with them. Then came the time when a pipe burst under their bathroom sink in the middle of the night – water pouring through the ceiling in four out of six of our rooms, and we had to get the police out to rouse them to get the water turned off, as they wouldn’t respond to our hammering on the door. Next was when the owner evicted the unwakeable lads and, while readying the flat for sale, emptied an immersion tank full of water over their kitchen floor – which then filtered through to make my kitchen extremely damp. Most recently, my newest upstairs neighbours have been renovating their bathroom. They removed the tiles from their bathroom walls but then carried on having showers in the tub, not realising that the water would run down the wall, onto their bathroom floor and through my battle worn ceilings. And so I found myself, three days before a potential purchaser came to view the flat (she didn’t turn up in the end) up a ladder with some white emulsion, trying to hide the water marks!

Within my flat we have also had a badly fitted washing machine, which made a cupboard so damp it took months to dry out; a leaky toilet cistern which defied the efforts of several people to resolve; a fault around the seal of the thermostat in our immersion tank and a problem with the overflow of said tank which caused a constant drip out of the overflow pipe outside, at a time when I couldn’t really afford a plumber to sort it out and so it had to persist.

As you can imagine, all of this has made me more than a little twitchy whenever I hear a dripping sound. I have been known to leap out of bed at the merest hint of water being where it shouldn’t (ever since the ‘walk in shower’ effect we experienced in most of our rooms in 2004) and I experience mild panic when I see a drip on the underside of a pipe – is it a leak? Is it condensation? An unexplained mark on the ceiling can hold my attention for hours, as I analyse it and watch anxiously for signs of expansion.

So I can’t imagine how I would feel if I lived anywhere near Indonesia today. Those poor people, only six years after the Boxing Day tsunami which caused such devastation and so many deaths in that part of the world, so far have lost more than three hundred more people to the capricious tidal waves. And also, think of Pakistan and the devastating flooding there. I don’t know whether it’s just that I am taking more notice of these natural disasters as I’m growing older, or whether there really are more of them. I feel the need to give thanks that I was born into such a stable part of the world, and I don’t have the worries about natural disasters affecting my family and friends that others around the world must live with daily.

A real live shop!

This morning, I took some of mine and Ellie’s Jelliebean Yarns to Big Knitters yarn shop on Wellfield Road in Cardiff! It was very exciting! Anna, who runs the shop, had already made a space in the shelving for our yarns, and let me put it out myself! (I know that made me sound like a five year old, but I was THAT excited!)

Anyway, I took some photos (of course!) so that I could show you how beautiful our yarns look in the shop setting!

This is the shop that we are stocked in (oooh, even typing that makes me squeal inside with excitement!), right on the corner of a lovely, busy shopping street in Cardiff. Doesn’t it look lovely?!

There’s our yarn, on the middle shelf below King Becky’s yarn. It’s a great position in the shop, right opposite the door as you enter and next to the checkout. Don’t all the colours look beautiful together!

I’ll be going back in next week after my next dyeing session. I’m glad Anna’s so friendly and understanding about my need to go and say ‘hello’ to them now and again! Now, hopefully, the yarn shop’s customers will love them enough to buy them!

Exciting new venture (again!)

It’s not long since I told you about my Etsy shop selling jewelry, www.jennieworldcrafts.com. And yet there is another venture which I’ve not yet shared with you. Since the summer, Ellie and I have been dyeing yarn, and we also have an Etsy shop set up for that at www.jelliebeanyarns.etsy.com. I’m so enjoying doing this. It’s so close to my most loved craft; knitting. And yet it’s so different that I can flit from one thing to the other without getting bored!

Another thing about it that I love is that if I feel like knitting, say, a shawl in purple, I know that I can now go and dye that yarn myself rather than waiting to get to a yarn shop or wool festival before I find my perfect colour.

Anyway, I’ll share some pictures of my yarns with you in a minute, but first off, we had very good news at the weekend! As soon as we choose which yarns to take, we will have our yarn stocked in ‘Big Knitters’ yarn shop in Roath, Cardiff! This is tremendously exciting news, especially as we are such a new little enterprise. We’ve only been dyeing for a few months, but we’ve had such a gratifying response both from people we know and those we’ve only just met. Many of our friends at the local knitting groups have been kind enough to buy some of our yarn. We’ve also been fortunate enough to sell to crafters visiting from the United States as well as, via our Etsy store, to the US and Finland! And every skein I hand over or send off brings little shivers of excitement! It’s thrilling to think that, sometime in the future, this could be a viable, profit-making, income-bringing business for us!

Anyway, here are some of my yarns so far:

Firstly, those which will be listed in the shop in the coming few days;

Witching Hour

Midnight Jade

Autumn Days

And next, those which are already listed in the shop, or have already sold;

Acid Hiss

Blackberry Blueberry

Gryffie Roar

Ocean Swell

I am loving the opportunity to play with all the different colours and see how they all meld together so beautifully. My only problem at the moment is that I want to knit with them all! I have reserved a skein of the ‘Midnight Jade’ for myself (there have to be some perks to this job!!) and I’m designing a shawl with it at the moment. To my credit, I think I’ve only held back four or five skeins for myself so far, all to use to design new knitting patterns, so I think that’s pretty restrained!

This yarn is all British wool, from Blue Faced Leicester sheep in a 4ply or sock weight. The wool is yummy because it takes the colour so well, but it also has a sheen about it which really accentuates your work. We’ve also got new yarn bases in to try, so I’m looking forward to sharing some of them with you soon, just as soon as I’ve planned which colours to use for which bases!

Working hard at new things

I’m determined to, at some point, write about everything that I’ve been doing since I last blogged regularly. It may take me a while, but bit by bit I’ll get there!

At the beginning of July, I was trying to decide what to give to my sons’ teachers for the traditional end of year gift. Cheeky has two teachers this year, as they’ve come back from maternity leave on a job share, so I had three gifts to find.

I decided that they would have lots of chocolates, flowers and toiletries and so, being a 24/7 knitter, decided to use my talent for the greater good and make them something! I decided on mittens, being a lot quicker than scarves, and then decided to knit fingerless ones with the intention that they could be useful during autumn P.E. lessons in the cold wind!

The first pair I knitted from an existing pattern, with slight adaptations. For a start, the pattern made elbow length gloves but I didn’t have the time for that so I made them a few inches shorter. I was pleased with how they turned out;

The second pair, though, was a different story. I really wanted to make a pair of mittens with a cable (twist) design, but couldn’t find a pattern I liked anywhere. So then I sat and thought to myself, this is silly. I’ve been knitting for a long time now, I should really be able to design my own patterns rather than relying on Ravelry‘s database for everything. So I designed some myself!

I was really pleased by how they turned out, and also that I managed to match up the yarns exactly between the two gloves so that the stripes happened in the same places on each one! And then I had to make something for a Ravelry swap I took part in (about which, more later) and so I thought, another pair of mittens from this pattern would be a good idea, just to make sure that the pattern works well and there are no errors;

And here they are. I was even more pleased with them in a solid colour, as the pattern really pops at you from these ones. So i decided to bite the bullet and publish the pattern on Ravelry, which means that I’m now a published designer! It was very exciting to see “Jennie Powell’s original designs” above my pattern, and I’ve opened some floodgate or other in my mind. Every day I’m thinking of new patterns to create. I’ve just got to find the time to knit them now!

Traveling Woman

Before anyone gets excited (or anyone English corrects me on my spelling!) I’m not talking about me, I’m talking about the shawl I finished yesterday. The pattern is called Traveling Woman and I’m so pleased with how it has turned out.

I only began it when I went to the St Mellons’ Agricultural Show with Ellie on Saturday, but finished it up last night in time to cast on my next project!

This is the fifth (I think!) lacy shawl I have made now, but the first for myself. As such, I’m sure it will hold a place in my heart and get lots of wear!

The pattern is freely available on Ravelry, and I think it’ll almost certainly be one that I’ll knit again. The yarn was a 4ply sock yarn from Jelliebean Yarns (Ellie had a basket full on her stall at St Mellons Show on Saturday, in various colourways) in the colourway ‘Summer Meadow’. When I knit this again, I think the only thing I’d change would be to knit an extra lace repeat of the innermost scoops you can see as I had lots of yarn left at the end and it might as well be all knitted up rather than languish in a corner of my stash somewhere waiting for some little project to finish it up!

Anyway, having sent all of you into shock with two blog posts in the same week for the first time in an awfully long time, I’ll finish now as I want to go and see if my shawl is drying nicely (it’s all pinned out on my bed to set the pattern properly) and then I want to do a bit more on my next project before going out to do the grocery shopping.


Long time…

Oh my goodness, it has been nearly three months since I last posted. I am still alive, and still have all of my fingers and (most of) my mental faculties.

Life seems to have been very busy! The summer term passed me by in a flash, and all of a sudden my children are home for seven weeks. There was actual real live sunshine, and so I cut back on my internet time in order to get out in it! And I’ve been doing a lot of crafting, most of it knitting.

Most significantly (in my life, at least), we’ve finally managed to get our flat on the market, and are now keeping our fingers crossed that someone else will come along and love it as much as we did nine and a half years ago when we put our offer in to buy it! I’ve got a list of potential houses to buy, and so if and when we get an offer on the flat, we are ready to leap into action and organise viewings straight away!

I hope to find time to be back in touch with you all a little more now. The medical problem with my hands hasn’t gone away, I’m just trying to manage it in such a way that I actually get to type a little more. And, thank God I can still knit! So I can keep myself very busy with that in between brief spurts of typing!

I hope you’re all well, and enjoying summer (or winter, if you’re the wrong way round!).

Signing off, for now.

Huge earthquake in Chile and Pacific tsunami risk

I switched the news on this morning to see that a massive earthquake of 8.8 magnitude hit Chile earlier today. So far sixty four people are confirmed to have died, but I’d imagine this number will grow as communications are restored in the coming hours and days. There are tsunami fears across the pacific region, so eyes will be anxiously watching the coasts for a while. There is also the worry of possible aftershocks which I suppose would further damage already unstable buildings.

It feels like these natural disasters are getting more frequent. Maybe it’s just that, as an adult I take more notice or remember more of these events. But it really seems that every few weeks or months there’s something else happening in the world which is causing huge distress and loss of life.

As much as we complain about the weather here in Britain, it almost feels like we have a trade off in that we don’t have the reliable summers or settled winters, but neither do we suffer the unpredictability of seismic activity through earthquakes or volcanoes. Compared to many other parts of the world, we don’t have the drastically severe weather events such as the hurricanes, downpours of rain causing landslides and flooding on a nationwide scale, or drought. Yes, we’ve had a few serious floods over the past few years, but there we are lucky that we are rich enough as a nation to recover from them. In Britain we don’t suffer the sort of huge calamities which rob people of their homes and the capacity to rebuild their lives thereafter, and for that I am profoundly thankful. I only hope and pray that the people in Chile will be spared great loss of life, and that a recovery from this event can be effected quickly.

The Lancet issues retraction of MMR ‘dangers’

I’m a little behind the times with this, but as I published a post a couple of years back stating my position about vaccination I decided I’d like to follow up with the latest news about ‘The Lancet’ accepting that the evidence of the MMR vaccine being dangerous was false. I was prompted into recording this news here by a blog post by Heather Spohr in which she mentions that she has taken part in a Momversation about The Lancet’s retraction.

Having been attacked by commenters to my original blog post on the subject (I later found out that a post had been written on the Environment Of Harm Yahoo group website encouraging members to attack me on my blog) I at last feel a little vindicated in supporting vaccination. I know that to a large extent the damage has been done – in that public perception of these vaccines may have been irretrievably harmed – but hopefully the uptake of the vaccines will get back to pre-scare levels soon.