One week until trading starts…

Wonderwool prep is still in full swing!

The fabric for my backdrop arrived yesterday – all 28 metres of it – about half an hour after I wrote the blog post…  but my printer is no longer printing yellow *or* magenta.  Unless I can get this fixed, I won’t be able to sell patterns at Wonderwool, and the notes that go out with my club yarns will look rather strange!

I’ve had a day off from actual dye work today – my back, shoulder and upper arm muscles have been screaming at me, and it *is* the weekend, after all.  Instead, I’ve concentrated on labelling everything I can.  Everything dry is now labelled, but I haven’t done the barcodes yet…

..however, it’s possibly best not to look at the amount of yarn that is still wet.

 

Countdown to Wonderwool Wales!

This time next week (barring any unforeseen circumstances), I will be in or near the Royal Welsh Showground, Builth, ready to set up my stall for Wonderwool Wales – the first big show I’m attending this year.  And, in truth, the first really big show I’ve ever attended as a solo exhibitor.

There is a lot still to do.

I have lost several weeks of working time recently, to illness and a technical hitch with one of my most-used dye colours that I really must blog about sometime, so I’m well behind on my expected schedule.  Here is a quick rundown of the way things currently stand:

  • I will be driving over to Wales on Thursday, so realistically, all dye work has to stop on Tuesday at the absolute latest.  (Yes, I’m still adding colour to fibre).
  • Most of the materials for the stall itself have arrived – with the exception of the backdrop fabric.  I ordered this a week or so ago, and I’m just hoping like crazy that it actually shows up.
  • …oh, and the additional acrylic stands that I ordered might not make it in time.  The connectors are out of stock.
  • I’d really like to spray paint the broom handles (for hanging the backdrop from) black.
  • I need to find and block all the sample knits that I want to display on the stall.
  • I need to write and print out all the informational materials for the stall.
  • All the weaving kits need assembling – they are currently just yarn. And the instructions need writing.
  • All my new stock needs labelling, pricing and barcoding.
  • The bunting project? May or may not see fruition for this show.
  • My printer is currently refusing to print yellow. This means I can print labels for my yarn, but not patterns (which include pictures).
  • Plus the regular kind of packing that needs to happen when you’re spending several days away from home.  Fun!

I’d love to say that I’m going to post regular blog updates as the show gets closer, keeping you up to date with the preparations and giving sneak peeks at the special stuff that I’m going to be bringing along, but I know how badly I tend to do with that sort of plan.  But I might.  Meanwhile, rewound yarn awaits labelling:

Winner time, and news from the blocking floor

Congratulations to…..

Irene!!

You win the six month Yarnscape club subscription!  I do hope you will enjoy it; I’ll email you shortly for your details and to confirm that you you want the sock yarn flavour.  🙂

Apologies to everyone else – but if you’re really disappointed (and a Facebook user), there is still one chance left…  Pop over to the Helping Herd group, who are raising money for Chris and Christina Silver, who live in Nova Scotia.  Back in March, a fire destroyed much of their farm, and, heartbreakingly, they lost many of their animals, too.  I have donated another six months subscription to this worthy cause; you can bid for it here.

In other news, I still don’t seem to have the Wolfram fever out of my blood.  I’ve knitted – and blocked! – a mini-Wolfram (a Wolfie?):

This one’s knitted in Yarnscape Lush, and it is shorter than the original, though just as wide.  When I’ve got it seamed up, it will be a single loop cowl with no twist – a perfect stashbuster!  (Sadly, it seems to be slightly out of focus…  …and please excuse the stained carpet in my studio.  Let’s face it, a cream carpet in a dye studio?!  Never gonna last…)

Club subscription Saturday Giveaway!

Signups for the next six months of the Wheel of the Year club are open for two more days!  I will be closing down subscriptions at the end of Monday so that I can get the next installment dyed up in time to ship for May day…

…and I’m giving away a six month subscription to one lucky winner!

Samhain: Into the Dark (gradient)

The winner will get to choose their club flavour: sock yarn, lace yarn or spinning fibre.  You will receive four club installments over the next six months, each inspired by the turning of the seasons. If you choose the sock or fibre options, each installment will contain 100g of hand-dyed lusciousness.  If you choose the lace option, you will receive at least 500m of yarn in each installment.  (Double-up options are also available: twice as much yumminess for much less than twice the price!  If today’s giveaway winner wants to upgrade their winnings to a double up, the cost will be the difference between the two club prices).

Midwinter: Icicle (batts; alpaca/silk)

To enter

Simply comment on this post by 4pm UK time on Monday (that’s 8am in Los Angeles, 10am in New York, and (sorry) midnight in Sydney).  Or – buy club membership!  What?!  Yep – if you’re sure you want to be a part of the club, buy your membership now, and you will be automatically entered into the draw.  If you win, I will refund you the cost of a six month, regular size subscription, in full.  (Existing club members will also be entered automatically into the draw – no need to comment again!)

Candlemas: Alder (Footsie-HT)

Doodles in air…

I’ve been holding out on you.  Well, sort of.  A little bit, perhaps.

When I was planning to weave my latests scarf (warp shown here; I really must do a post about the finished scarf sometime…) I orignally intended to use Bunnylace as the weft.  So soft!  So fluffy!  So warm!!

So I dyed some this soft latte colour – only it looked dreadful with the warp.  It was too light, and had too much of a greying effect on the whole thing.  So I pulled it out, and found a different weft.  Since then, I’ve been doodling with the failed weft yarn – after all, it’s already wound into a ball.  So easy to pick up a pair of needles and play…

I think I’m finally getting something I like from my doodles.  The overriding theme so far has been ‘feathers’; the colour of the yarn reminds me of the collared doves who are currently raising two chicks in the nest they have built behind our satellite dish…

I’m maybe a quarter of the way through the design I have roughly sketched out in my head – and already the shawl is too big to pin out on the needles for a proper view.  This is where things start to make me nervous.  What if it won’t block out properly when I’m done?  What if the motifs don’t flow into each other as they should?!

Well…  How wrong could it go?  At any rate, this yarn is lovely to knit with; soft as feathers and light as air.

Wolfram unveiled

The weather was not too cooperative over the weekend, but J and I did manage to get a few photographs taken.  I had quite the line-up of knits needing their camera time, but in the end only Wolfram got a chance to shine.

Given that the weather was windy and quite chilly – when it wasn’t actually raining, too! – this was the ideal accessory choice.  Two layers of wool and silk, wound around your neck and chest, turn out to be remarkably cozy.  In fact, I’ve worn it pretty much every day since I finished seaming it up – inside the house as well as out.

We tried taking some shots of the cowl worn ‘long’, like a circular scarf, but it looked odd and (if I’m being honest) felt a bit pointless.  All that lovely warm fabric just hanging loose in a loop down to my waist, and completely missing the upper part of my chest?! I know I’ve seen cowls worn like this, but I don’t think it’s for me.  See?

But when I was looping it back up again, J suddenly had a Genium Moment and told me to, “Stop!  Leave it where it is!”.

What, like this??  If you say so!

OK!  It turns out that the cowl is exactly the right length to go once round my neck and once round my head, and it stays put, even on my very slippery hair.  I honestly never envisaged wearing it like this, but I definitely would do so.  It’s not as warm as a full hat or hood – after all, the back of your head isn’t covered – but it’s a lot toastier than no hat at all.  My photographer is great…  ♥

(I might have to find a new hair stylist, though…)

Fun with triangles

One of the things that I know I need for shows and fairs is samples.  SAMPLES.

The great thing about sample knits is that they give people the opportunity to see and feel the way the yarn knits up, not just the way it looks in the skein.  You can see the colour distribution, the stitch size, the drape of the fabric at various gauges.  The trouble with sample knits is that it takes a very long time to knit them.

So I’m knitting bunting.  Lots of yarn samples, lots of different colours.  Decoration and samples all in one!

I plan to mount them on white cotton twill tape, and write the yarn name, colour and possibly needle size on the back.  Yay laundry marker!

I should be able to whip up one or two of these per day between now and Wonderwool – enough for a ‘starter pack’ on the stall.  And the beauty is – I can keep expanding the bunting as needed!  (I’m quite pleased with this idea, can you tell?!)

That was not the weekend I was looking for…

Long story short:

  1. My relaxing weekend wasn’t.
  2. The winner of *last* week’s Saturday Giveaway is announced at the bottom of this post.

I’ve been looking forwards to this last weekend for quite some time.  Life has been unusually hectic recently, and this weekend was designed to be relaxing, family-filled and fun.  The plan was:

  • Drive to hotel Friday evening; nice dinner with parents, early night.
  • Spend Saturday in hotel lounge with knitting and laptop. Blog updates and pattern writing. Perhaps a walk around lunchtime.
  • Meet up with brother late afternoon; head off to evening shindig for the wedding my parents were attending during the day.
  • Relaxed extended family lunch on Sunday
  • Drive home.

What I actually got:

  • Friday went as planned, ackshully.
  • Saturday morning, immediately after breakfast: hear that my parent’s home has been burgled overnight.
  • Spend half an hour calming them down to the point where plans can be made. During this time, I heard my Dad use the F-word for the first, second and third times in my life.
  • Find out that my parents have neither buildings nor contents insurance for their home. Repeat calming exercises for my mother.
  • Dispatch Dad to drive 4 hours to assess damage, make secure and stay home overnight. Cancel Dad’s lunch orders for Sunday.
  • Drive Mum to wedding, where I fill my Dad’s place during the ceremony, sitting around phase and ‘lunch’ (which starts at 16:30. I do not do well when hungry). Note that I have only brought relaxed clothes and evening clothes for the whole trip; I feel quite sparkly. I also miss my lunchtime rest (as mandated by occupational therapist) and have to make small talk with total strangers.
  • Lunch is excellent, including the wine (which I cannot drink as I am the driver).
  • Drive back to hotel with Mum, to pick up brother in order to return for evening shindig. Realise as we’re driving back that I’m too tired to safely repeat the trip later. By this time, I’ve missed my afternoon rest, too.
  • During drive, receive text from Dad saying It Could Be Worse, and that he’s planning to drive 4 hours back the next day, arriving in time for lunch. Please could we reinstate his lunch order?
  • Decide to have dinner at hotel with family. We only finished lunch an hour ago, and ‘light bites’ are only served till 5pm. Order a starter for dinner, and nothing else.
  • Sunday’s lunch with aunts, uncles and cousins, some of whom I haven’t seen for nigh on 20 years.  (One in particular I remember as knee-high, learning to ride her bike and very wobbly.  She is now a teacher, and got married last year!!).
  • Drive home. So tired by the time I’m back that J packs me straight off to bed for a rest. Too tired to read Rav, or follow a sentence to the end.
  • Properly in bed before 9pm.

So: not so much according to plan, then.  It’s particularly annoying as this was going to be the week when I started working on my preparations for Wonderwool Wales in earnest – but I think I’m going to have to spend a couple of days relaxing first.

I *have*, however, drawn the winner for last week’s Saturday Giveaway.  Congratulations to Eskimimi – a very familiar face on Ravelry, from some of the UK boards (and I think she’s a spindler, too!).  Mimi, I’ll be emailing you for your postal address soon, so I can send you your yarn.

On a related note, I’ve been in a reflective mood regarding the club and competition.  I think I will try and post a retrospective of the last six months over the next week or two – not that I’ve finished much, of course, but I think it will still be fun!

Saturday Giveaway: Ostara sock yarn

I promise that one day soon I will start writing blog posts that aren’t just about prize draws; I really will!

In the meantime, though, the latest shipment of yarn and fibre for the Wheel of the Year club has gone out – and I have a spare skein of sock yarn!  This is a special, bittersweet shipment for me: it is the last shipment of the first six months of my very first club.  If that sounds a little bit convoluted, it is!  But in summary, it means that this is the last skein that some of my first club members will receive.  Others, of course, signed up for the full year, and have four more to come!  (And still others have signed up for the next six months – some new, some returnees!  I am sorry the first six months is over – it went so fast! – but I’m really looking forwards to the months to come!)

Anyway, if you feel like getting in on a little bit of the yarn club action, comment on this post before noon UK time on Monday 26th, and you will be in with a chance of winning a really rather lovely (if I do say so myself!) skein.

 

Sweet winnings

OK!  I had 21 entries in the book draw for Sweet Shawlettes – and random.org says the lucky winner is…

Congratulations, Sparkleduck!!  You get the book.  Everyone else – thanks for playing!  Please come back next week when I’ll have a Wheel of the Year sock yarn skein to give away to one lucky winner.

Myself?  I think I’ll be casting on arabesque.  Just as soon as I have some needles free…

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