Wonderful Wonderwool

Well, this weekend just past I was able to go to Wonderwool in Wales.  One of my work friends decided about a week ago that she needed a yarn fix and had saved up her pennies, and so I felt it was rude not to go with her.  It was also a chance to see my thank you shawl and the bobble wrap displayed in all their glory on the Unbelieva-wool stand, and I was very proud to see them there in amongst the other wonderful shawls.

Wonderwool was brilliant.  We went on Sunday, and we were thrilled to find that it was busy but not too crowded, and that plenty of space had been allocated to the stalls so that you could see what goodies they had, and chat with the stall holders.  Everyone was so nice, and we felt very welcome.  There were plenty of places to sit and take refreshments (Knitting and Stitch Show, please take note) and lots to see.  And the sun shone! We had the best time.

Something very strange happened to me at Wonderwool.  I found myself drawn to knitting projects.  Knitting.  Pointy sticks and all that.  And not just any knitting but knitted shawls.  I bought the kit to make the Lulworth shawl pattern in purples and greys (it is beyond beautiful), and the yarn and pattern for the Festival Shawl by Caerthan Wrack using the grey and wine red DK pictured above.  And a pattern for knitted ‘slox‘ by Rosebuds and Rainbows which was just what I was looking for.  But the sudden urge to knit shawls has taken me by surprise.  I learned to knit many years ago, so I can do it, but I am so impatient and clumsy that I limit myself to small and simple projects.  I just just about do intarsia work, but even that is far from perfect.  The idea of knitting shawls has always sent shivers down my spine.  But these shawls were special, and perhaps I have OD-ed on crocheted shawls with all the shawl club activity!  So I am looking forward to getting stuck into them as a special project, but I need to keep up with my crochet work at the same time.  Happily, work is motivating me to do a lot of yarn related activity at the moment (i.e. it is horrible and stressful) and so I am whizzing through projects.

So, I treated myself to a Doctor Who project bag for my new knitting projects (Welsh memorabilia).  And on the way out we sort of fell in love with the 25g mini skeins of DK dyed by Moonlight yarns in the nicest shade of soft purple/grey I have seen in a long time.  Happily my companion had already spent all her cash by the time we spotted them, so they had to come home with me.  Watch this space for their reappearance in a project near you soon!

Sam’s revolution!

So I am a little bit excited.  A few days ago one of my friends made the snap decision that she wanted to go to Wonderwool, and we have decided to do the road trip to Wales to squidge yarn and generally be a bit silly.  An added bonus is that Sam from Unbelieva-wool will also be there so we can talk shop a little bit.

Sam has recently come up with two new shawl designs – one knitted and another crocheted – to add to her existing Cascade shawl design (which is 50% off at the moment!).  I tested the newest crochet shawl for her – this has been named the Revolution shawl, and I love it.  It is a great shape and has wonderful drape to it.  I had the pleasure of being a pattern tester for this one and I can testify to it being a straightforward one to do, and it looks amazing.  My pictures don’t really do it justice.

She is taking her new designs, along with my Thank You shawl and the Bobble Wrap, to Wonderwool.  I have decided to celebrate this weekend by applying an automatic 50% discount to all my patterns in Ravelry this weekend.  So if there is one you have been toying with getting, grab it now if you can.

Anyway, I love going on road trips like this one.  I get to be passenger this time so I have some quality hooky time in the car on the way up and back.  I do need to set a budget for this and stick to it.  I have a stash to bust, so I really do have to be strong! So only the really special stuff is likely to come home with me.  That’s the plan anyway.  Naturally, you will be the first to learn if I stuck to this!

I hope to put up a little quick stashbusting pattern on the blog this weekend if I have the time so watch this space!

 

Thank you…

So, finally I can show you the first shawl club shawl in all its finished glory, and tell you a little bit about it.  First of all, here it is in the shawl club peacock yarn that Unbelieva-wool dyed for me.  And it was exactly as I hoped it would come out. Giddy dancing all around.

 

It is a similar shape to the Almejas shawl that is in my gallery – that was a pattern from inside crochet and I loved it as soon as I saw it because of the way it wrapped around the shoulders more than a standard triangular shawl did.  When I started trying to come up with my own designs, one of the challenges I set myself was to try to come up with something that had that general shape, but was more accessible and easy to achieve.  I also wanted this first shawl to include as many of my favourite basic stitches as I could.  So there are trebles, granny treble clusters, V-stitches and picots in there, as well as some back loop only work in places, to add to the texture.  There is nothing there that a beginner couldn’t master, and it grows quickly!  It is also deceptive.  One of my pattern testers who was hooking very loosely refused to believe it would use the whole skein of yarn when she was up to about row 25.  Then very quickly the yarn started to disappear!  It is also worth noting that it grows a lot with blocking – it looks quite neat and a little bit frilly after it has been hooked, but once blocked it opens up into a good sized shawl.

I asked for this in a peacock colourway because the shape of the shawl when laid flat reminds me of the shape of the top of a peacock feather.  It also happens to include the favourite colours of Anne Farmer of Ditsy Pips.  I dedicated the pattern to her as a thank you (this is why this is the Thank You shawl on Ravelry). When I was dithering about even starting all this, I had a day where I got myself very confused and convinced that it was going to be too messy and too complex to get into.  Anne talked me through how she set herself up and gave me a lot of very practical advice.  For her it was just a quick set of messages.  What she didn’t realise was how close I was to talking myself out of this before I had even begun, but the fact that she even replied to my message on a day when she had other things to worry about lifted my spirits and changed my mind.  Just knowing that someone who barely knew me didn’t think I was a jumped up idiot for thinking about this was the nudge I needed. I felt that I might be able to earn my stripes and eventually join the yarn army.  The kindness of strangers can be everything on a bad day.

So my other motivation was to create a great big yarny hug. To do this, I started out making this in DK rather than sock, as I also wanted to make a super cosy one (it was winter at the time). One of the shawls I wear a lot at home is a Penelope shawl that I made in King Cole Riot (before the days when hand-dyed yarn entered my life and depleted my bank balance). I wanted to come up with something that made people feel as comforted as I do when I wear that shawl.  So here it is, the first Thank You shawl I ever made, in an Unbelieva-wool DK called ‘new uniform’.  It was the only yarn I had in my stash where I had two skeins of the same colour…

I have been really fortunate to have been helped by two cracking pattern testers who have made sure this first pattern was easy to follow.  One of them sent me this picture of the version they produced, which I love.  Its so hard to find good models, you know…

IMG_2853

Apparently she won’t give up the shawl though.  I think I am going to take that as a bit of a thumbs up.

Lifesavers…

So, first week back at the day job was a timely reminder of why Knackered Psycho is important to me.  Lots of trying to catch up at work, asking the impatient to wait, the tide to turn back, and the world to stop so I can get off. A week of highs and lows, where I can feel proud and excited one minute, and depressed and incompetent the next.  Time away from work doing this gives me perspective and a sense of optimism. Time with yarn makes me feel happy and creative. Time with my daughter and husband reminds me why I do this to myself. So we push on. Resilience is about many things.  For me it is about hanging onto the best of yourself and making time to do the things you need to do to nurture those bits.  I now measure myself by a different set of expectations and standards, ones that I have set for myself.  It feels strange, but not unpleasantly so.

Each week its the small things that lift my spirits.  This week it has been the feedback so far on the Thank You Shawl pattern from the yarn clubbers (thank you!), sketching out the new concept for shawl number 5, winning the fabulous Defarge Yarns ombre yarn set in the picture above in a draw, and receiving the Rockamolly mug I ordered from Doodlestop. Never a truer word was written on crockery, especially after the week I have just had.

Owning a sketchbook again makes me feel strangely complete – last time I had one it was when I was in my twenties.  I still find it hard to put things down in it in case its ‘wrong’ so I still find myself searching for scrap paper to sketch my ideas on.  But I am getting there now, building the confidence spoil the pristine pages with my scribbles.  Its only for me.  Scrub that. I should have said “Its for me”.  No “only” – I need to stop doing that.

Anyway, I have made it to the hallowed ground of Friday night without any casualties.  However, my most constant of all lifesavers has let me down – I have run out of teabags.  Bottoms..FullSizeRender.jpg.

All the beautiful things…

Well, its been a bit hectic to say the least over the last few days, but things are starting to settle down now.  I need to update my projects section of this blog to include some of my new patterns, but I did manage to get the wrap pattern up at the weekend.  The first shawl club shawl is also up on Ravelry for those of you who want to look, but I won’t post a picture here just yet, in case there are still folk (and I think that there are) who have yet to receive their boxes.  I will do a post on that one when I am able to.

The last few days have seen me revelling in some pretty things.  Some new yarn came while I was away, and I also finally saw a mannequin that I liked.  I have been looking for one for a while that I can use to put my shawls on so I can take decent pictures of them – hanging them on a coat hanger on the back of the toilet door doesn’t quite seem professional enough any more (don’t judge me, there is good natural light in there…).  Anyway, I found this one…

photo 54

…and I am pretty pleased with it, so you will start to see this one creeping into my pictures from now on.  It also has the potential to double up as a parrot cage if necessary.

And then, as if that wasn’t enough, the other half came back from his pottery class tonight with the yarn bowl he has been working on for me.  I asked him to make me a big one, because my current one is small and neat and just about takes one caked 100g skein with very little wriggle room.  So I asked him to do one that was a bit more roomy.  His labours are shown in the picture at the top of the post, and I have popped in a skein of Pollyorange yarn (from my Colour Me Happy box) for a bit of scale.  As you can see, I think he has nailed it and its a great effort for only the second thing he has made and brought home.  The decoration on the side of it is pretty awesome too…

Granny Blanket: Part 2

Blog followers will know that recently I started to post the instructions for constructing this granny blanket (the ‘knackered granny blanket’!).

Part 1 covered the instructions for making the five granny squares you need to start off with.  Hopefully by now you have your granny squares made and ready for joining.   To join them together, you will need your turquoise blue yarn (if you are following the colour scheme pictured here).

blanket

Reminder: UK Crochet terms are used throughout. TB refers to a Treble Crochet in UK terminology (DC in US terminology).

Special Stitch: TB3tog.  Yarn over hook (YOH), insert hook in space, YOH and pull up a loop, YOH and pull through first two stitches on hook only (2 loops on hook); yarn over hook (YOH), insert hook in space, YOH and pull up a loop, YOH and pull through first two stitches on hook only (3 loops on hook); yarn over hook (YOH), insert hook in space, YOH and pull up a loop, YOH and pull through first two stitches on hook only (4 loops on hook). Finally, YOH and pull yarn through all stitches on hook.

Instructions:

You are going to work along just two sides of your squares only initially, as shown in the picture at the top of this post.

Row 1:

Take your first square, join your turquoise yarn to a corner space, and chain 3 and work 2 trebles only into that corner space.  Next (chain 1 and 3TB) into each of the next seven chain spaces along, which should take you into the next corner space.  Chain 2 and 3TB into that same corner space so that you are turning the corner.  Then (chain 1 and 3TB) into the next SIX chain spaces.  Chain 1.

Into the next space (which should be your next corner space), work a TB3tog, pick up your next square, select a corner to join into, and then also work a TB3tog into that space.

Next (chain 1 and 3TB) into each of the next seven chain spaces along, which should take you into the next corner space.  Chain 2 and 3TB into that same corner space so that you are turning the corner.  Then (chain 1 and 3TB) into the next SIX chain spaces.  Chain 1. Into the next space (which should be your next corner space), work a TB3tog, pick up your next square, select a corner to join into, and then also work a TB3tog into that space.

Next (chain 1 and 3TB) into each of the next seven chain spaces along, which should take you into the next corner space.  Chain 2 and 3TB into that same corner space so that you are turning the corner.  Then (chain 1 and 3TB) into the next SIX chain spaces. Chain 1. Into the next space (which should be your next corner space), work a TB3tog, pick up your next square, select a corner to join into, and then also work a TB3tog into that space.

Next (chain 1 and 3TB) into each of the next seven chain spaces along, which should take you into the next corner space.  Chain 2 and 3TB into that same corner space so that you are turning the corner.  Then (chain 1 and 3TB) into the next SIX chain spaces.  Chain 1. Into the next space (which should be your next corner space), work a TB3tog, pick up your next square, select a corner to join into, and then also work a TB3tog into that space.

Finally, (chain 1 and 3TB) into each of the next seven chain spaces along, which should take you into the next corner space.  Chain 2 and 3TB into that same corner space so that you are turning the corner.  Then (chain 1 and 3TB) into the next SEVEN chain spaces. Turn.

Row 2:

Chain 4. (3TB and chain 1) into the next SEVEN chain spaces in the blue row just completed until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times, and then TB3tog twice into the next two chain spaces where the squares meet each other. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times, and then TB3tog twice into the next two chain spaces where the squares meet each other. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times, and then TB3tog twice into the next two chain spaces where the squares meet each other. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times, and then TB3tog twice into the next two chain spaces where the squares meet each other. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SEVEN times. Chain 1 and TB into the Chain 3 at the start of the previous blue row.  Turn.

Row 3:

Chain 4. (3TB and chain 1) into the next SEVEN chain spaces in the row just completed until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times, and then TB3tog twice into the next two chain spaces where the squares meet each other. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times, and then TB3tog twice into the next two chain spaces where the squares meet each other. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times, and then TB3tog twice into the next two chain spaces where the squares meet each other. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times, and then TB3tog twice into the next two chain spaces where the squares meet each other. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SEVEN times. Chain 1 and TB into the 3rd chain in the Chain 4 at the start of the previous row.  Turn.

Row 4:

Chain 4. (3TB and chain 1) into the next SEVEN chain spaces in the row just completed until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times, and then TB3tog twice into the next two chain spaces where the squares meet each other. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times, and then TB3tog twice into the next two chain spaces where the squares meet each other. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times, and then TB3tog twice into the next two chain spaces where the squares meet each other. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times, and then TB3tog twice into the next two chain spaces where the squares meet each other. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SEVEN times. Chain 1 and TB into the 3rd chain in the Chain 4 at the start of the previous row.  Break yarn. Change to next colour of yarn in sequence.

You can now continue the blocks of four stripes until you have a series of stripes as illustrated below:

photo 51

You can see in this picture I have already started to complete the stripes on the other side of the blanket, but you will only have one turquoise stripe in yours at this stage. Once you have got to this point, I will post the instructions on how to complete the other side of the blanket in Part 3.

If you get stuck, leave me a comment and I will be happy to help.

 

Back, and in business!

After a week away, I am pleased to be back.  Today is important, not just because I am back at home and reunited with my stash, but because it signals the start my experiment with designing and selling patterns.  You will have seen that I have the fantastic collaboration with Unbeliva-wool on the shawl club now in place and the first boxes have gone in the post today.  I have also added some new patterns of my own.  I will feature different ones on here on different days, but they are all up on Ravelry, and to say thank you to you wonderful lot for supporting me over the last few months I have set up a 20% discount for you this weekend (enter code BLOG20 against my paid for patterns for activate it).  The one I am really pleased with is this…

photo 10

Its called the bobble wrap and it uses lace weight yarn, and includes some beading if you fancy having a go!

The Moo-Ra dress is on its way next – I am just fiddling with the pattern before putting that in the store too.

Right, just a quick one for now as I have to finish unpacking and get some food into my small person.  I will do a bit more of a proper blog tomorrow.  But as you can see from the top picture, I now have business cards and merchandise, in the form of a single mug for myself.  I couldn’t resist putting this on the back…

photo 47