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!

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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!

Easter Weekend, part three – was I supposed to resist the wool?

On our way to our holiday house in Dolau, I saw this sign;Wool Emporium sign

Of course, my yarn-shop starved brain screamed to GG to make an emergency stop as soon as I saw the sign, and of course he refused! However, my brilliant best friend Maria took pity on me and we called in there on our way back from a trip to Llandrindod Wells to buy milk.

wool shop

¬†This was the view of the back of the shop, and the entrance (sort of in between the ex-tree trunk pillars, bottom left-ish of the photo). The shop itself seemed to focus a little more on made up goods rather than materials, but there was a decent selection of specialist yarns in a corner upstairs, as well as some wool for felting which was very tempting but I managed to resist! However, Maria is a bad influence on me, and on finding some skeins of hand dyed laceweight¬†kid mohair, neither of us could resist. We’re planning a weekend away later in the year, and we both have visions of wearing light and pretty shawls while wandering around our chosen destination! So, to our choice of yarn.

Maria's wool

¬†As I’ve said, the yarn is a laceweight kid mohair (and soooooo gorgeous to handle), and we spent ages agonising over the different shades available. In the end, Maria chose this pale green with hints of peach, and I chose the marbled blues below. Neither picture (taken in the evening in our farmhouse) really does credit to the glory of the colours, but I was determined to have these wound into balls before coming home, and so this was the last chance I had to photograph them before they looked like colourful tennis balls! I’ll be sure to photograph the finished articles one I get through them (definitely a May or June project!), and hopefully in the right light you will be able to see how lovely the yarn is.

My wool

Completed projects 3 and 4, 2009

brown and gold scarf

So, here’s two more projects that I’ve recently completed. At least having a cold means that I can be productive in alternative ways, and I don’t have to stop altogether!¬†First is¬†a picture of a bronze-coloured scarf which is a present (belated!) for another friend of mine. She should also have had it at Christmas, but I only finished it last week; I’m sure she won’t mind as she likes Christmas to be spread out!

pink hat

This photo is of my hat which I finished this morning. I had three balls of this dusky pink wool (Bergere de France, Magic) sitting in my cupboard, and decided that I should really use it up rather than having it gathering dust – I’ve got plenty of other places to gather dust, and I don’t need to create more! The hat used a ball and a half, so I’m thinking of finding another pattern to find either a collar or a pair of mittens to use up the yarn.

The yarn stash is starting to decrease! And I’ve never made a hat before, so I can be happy on two fronts!