Give it away, give it away, give it away now.

…Or “Two giveaways and a clear out” (I’d like to think I’m an Andie McDowell but I’m probably more of a hapless, disorganised Charlotte Coleman, this week especially!)

So, first things first, there are two exciting giveaways for you to enter.

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First – win a pair of weekend tickets to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival!

The Edinburgh Yarn festival is held on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th March this year and is just amazing. It attracts the best vendors, teachers and speakers and is a wonderful place to just go and hang out with fellow yarn lovers (but I fully recommend planning on quite a bit of shopping!!)

I am so sad that I am not going this year but with Unravel and Wonderwool (and my business partner on the other side of the world for ages) I can’t make it. I’ll be teaching that weekend at The Sheep Shop instead so won’t be wool bereft exactly.

Anyway, my loss could be your gain as the lovely Jo and Mica who organise the festival gave me a pair of tickets for my own use or to giveaway. I’ve decided to run it as an instagram and facebook competition so you can enter on either or both of these posts by tagging a friend you’d like to take (if they aren’t on instagram or fb just say, I’m not going to be all strict about it!)

Facebook entries

Instagram entries

This competition closes on noon GMT on March 4th 2016 so not long – good luck!

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The second giveaway is to launch the Crochet Yeah! book. Rachel Coopey of Coop knits has very kindly given us three skeins to make the Malvern Cowl (pictured) head on over to The Crochet Project blog to read all about the cowl and enter by commenting to let us know what you’d make first from the book.

The competition ends on at noon GMT on Wednesday 9th March 2016 and we will ship anywhere in the world.

So to the studio clear out. Things eventually reached critical mass in the studio again and I had to down tools to tidy as I couldn’t concentrate to work in all the mess. I decided that this time needed to be a bit more radical and that a lot of the yarn has to go. A LOT. I never think of myself as a hoarder but I do seem to have some issues around yarn. Possibly. My stash hasn’t quite reached unknittable-in-my-lifetime levels but I’ve been holding onto lots of things that I can’t see myself knitting or crocheting with and you know what, its holding me back. It sits there unloved making me feel vaguely guilty. And it is really nice stuff. I’d like it to find new homes where it can get used and loved. So I’m in the progress of photographing it all and listing it ready to sell. If you’d like to grab yourself a bargain pop over to my Ravelry destash page and have a look and check back because the process of cataloguing etc might take a while.

Doris the double bed Singer knitting machine’s fate is a little uncertain too….

And in case I’ve given you a horrible ear worm with the title, here are the  full lyrics to the song.

Christmas Right Brain Thoughts

The kids have broken up and so have I – the email auto responder is turned on and I won’t be back to my desk until 6th January. I shall be around a bit on social media and back to blogging after the break.

So what creative fun will I be having with the time off?

With (probably) no long car journeys in which to knit or crochet and a fair bit of  hosting (and all the cleaning, cooking and baking that entails) I’m not sure how much crafting I’ll be doing yet. I have two crochet shawls I’d like to get finished. One uses this luscious yarn and is in the “I’m not sure how much I like this design” stage of the design. I need to hold my nerve, make it and block it and then I know I’ll fall in love, I always do with crochet shawls.

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The other is a striped smooshy shawl that is such a simple design that of course it is giving me no end of grief getting it JUST SO.

Here’s just the sneakiest peek of it. Aren’t the colours just lush together?

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I plan to use at least one of the days to get Doris (the double bed knitting machine) out and pay a little more attention to her poor creaking latch hooks in the hopes I can knit something without stitches dropping off the edge. I was really hoping to make a gift for my mum for Christmas but it will have to be her birthday now. I really want her to have the first thing I make from the machine as she’s always been such a supporter of my crafts. She’ll be reading this (love you Mum!) so I shall say nothing about planned yarns or what the project might be for now but I’ll report back in the New Year.

Should any of this leave me anytime for something fun just for me I shall be knitting Antipodes by Truly Myrtle (here she is modelling, isn’t she beautiful? I’m hoping the shawl will make me look half as good!)

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The pattern is in my Ravelry library and I have been stroking various skeins to ask them if they’d like to become this rather elegant scarf. I haven’t picked a winner from among the contenders yet though. I’m hoping to at least get cast on this holidays even if I don’t get it quite finished.

So Merry Holidays and Festive Festiveness to my readers everywhere. I’d love to hear about your crafting plans this Christmas.

 

 

Doris the Double Bed Singer

I think I might be admitting to a new obsession here. I don’t know, we’ll see how it goes.

The story starts back in the summer when a friend listed her childhood toy on a village selling site. A kid’s knitting machine. How cute! I snapped it up.
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It was lots of fun to play with and produced some nice knitting. A fun novelty but not really terribly useful to me.  But it turned out to be a little bit of a gateway drug. :-/ Before I knew it I was stalking e-bay for knitting machines and I got a bit lucky. In deepest darkest Thetford (not too far from me but approximately a million miles from most of civilisation) was a vintage singer knitting machine on for 99p collection only and for ages I was the only bidder. Someone else did discover my quarry but I managed to pip them to the post with a last minute bid and won the auction for just over £10. Bargain. I absolutely didn’t know anything about knitting machines so it was a real punt whether it would work or not but I figured for £10 it was worth a go. I packed the kids in the car on the promise of a day trip to Grimes Graves (moderately engaging) and picked the machine up en-route.

This was a few days before the grand tour we did in the summer so after an initial look and determining that it needed a little work but that it seemed pretty complete I put it by for later.

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I had a little look at the booklet and was pretty amazed by all the things it could do and especially entranced by the idea of making socks. Just think, all those pretty sock yarns could quickly and easily be turned into lovely vanilla socks! I’d be able to make socks as gifts for everyone! Luxury socks! Stash problems would be vanished, and I could buy all the lovelies guilt free! Pretty exciting stuff!

And there it sat through Autumn, always something else I needed to do instead so I decided on a plan. I’d invite some friends over to help me work it out (on the promise of future socks.) Alice, a very experienced knitter (she sometimes sample knits for me) and Nicola who can knit but strangely chooses not to very much but is a sucker for a cashmere sock.

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The instruction booklet that came with Doris (a beautiful machine like this needs a name) is perplexing at best. It assumes all sorts of knowledge we didn’t have and then goes into minute detail on the strangest things. There are lots of different bits that need setting depending on what you are doing and no overriding explanation of exactly what they all are. However, with a bit of googling and a lot of trial and error we managed to drink a bottle of wine, replace all the broken needles, give it a clean up, work out how it worked and learn to thread it and cast on. No actual knitting that night. I definitely wouldn’t have made it that far without Alice and Nicola there to brainstorm.

Determined to crack it, I got Doris out a couple of nights later and had another go. This time I managed to get some lovely rib that I then mangled and a rather respectable stocking stitch out of her


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Stay tuned for the next stage in the adventure when Doris and I try our first sock! (I bet you can barely stand the suspense!)