It’s all calming down a little now. The show went well, the new job is working out ok and today the sun is shining. This week I have been down the posh end of London for a work meeting, and the train was half empty and on time. I even got a little bit of hooky done on the train. My blood pressure has returned to normal levels and I have been headache free for four weeks. A cynical person might point out the link between this and changing jobs, but I couldn’t possible comment.
When I feel this relaxed I find it easier to come up with ideas for things to make. I fiddle with yarn and stitches just to see what they could look like. I sketch out ideas in my notebooks in grubby biro and draw little stitch diagrams so I can remember my thought processes. Not all of them look the way I think they should when I start to make them, but then I frog and let them evolve into something more interesting. I like to see where the yarn and my mood takes me.
So I’m feeling pretty productive at the moment. I’m enjoying the challenge of shawl club and I keep thinking of other things I want to make too. I need to make time to develop it all but I know I will. There isn’t a rush, there isn’t a deadline. Pass me my tea…
What can I say. As you all know this was my first (and potentially my last) yarn show on my own. I did all my prep, was as organised as I could be, and had wonderful support. But it doesn’t stop you being a tiny bit terrified. You can never tell how you will be received, either by the public who come or fellow (and more established) stall holders.
It turns out that I needn’t have worried. For a first outing Wool@J13 was a huge success – lots of people came (and the ones who promised on Facebook that they would really did materialise into actual human beings – yes, I’m taking about you, Manda), the sun shone for most of the time, and everyone was lovely. I was fortunate to be stood next to Sonic Knits, and two nicer people than Fiona and Gina could not be found. The ever supportive Sue Stratford was there too, along with the ladies from Kindred Creations who kept and eye on us newbies and kept us going with hugs and much appreciated advice. Sue won the prize for best stall in show, and I was so proud! I just wish I had got a picture to show you how amazing it was!
I had my wing woman with me, my bestie, who stopped me from flapping and generally was a calming influence and provider of teas. She also ensured that we sat up for Eurovision and a cheeky glass of Buck Fizz on Saturday night…
I got to finally meet Jo and and Jodie, who were wonderfully daft and really brightened my already sunny day. And my yarn friends came out in force too. Ingrid was full of energy all weekend, and made us all feel like we were old friends.
The thing that really set this show apart for me was the festival feel of it – beer stall and street food, park and animals for the children and non yarn lovers, plus live music, including that provided by a man in a kilt. I mean, what’s not to like…
So I already have ideas about how to make it better for next year, and I hope to squeeze in a few more shows before the end of the year. But Wool@J13 will forever hold a special place in my heart. It has made me brave.
The second shawl in the current season of Shawl Club is the Dopamine Wrap. I fancied doing something very different in shape, and I liked the idea of working with hexagons and piecing them together into something pretty. The idea of working a dopamine molecule in as a motif was something that I really liked. If I am honest, I like the plain version of the shawl so much, that I want to make it again without the motif, as the pattern of the shawl once blocked is so pretty it really doesn’t need much embellishment and the hexagons are very quick to make. I hope you like it as much as I do!
Right now I have come in here to take the chance to write a quick blog so that I can take my mind off of Wool@J13 prep. The car is loaded, my palms are sweaty and my best friend will soon be with me to give me a hand all weekend (I have the best friends).
In fact, I have amazing friends. I have friends like the glorious Hester, who made the WIP bags and hook cases for me. I have friends like Michelle, who made the dopamine and teapot stitch markers for me. Friends like Sue who encouraged me to try this on my own. And Sam, who has given me common sense and support in equal measure. You can’t do something like this on your own. You need your support crew.
The blog has been even quieter than normal whilst I have been in the throes of all this. Shawl club has started again and so I have been developing patterns on top of the show prep. Outside of Yarnworld, I have started my new job (going OK so far) and I am on the school PTA which is also, it turns out, something of a major time commitment with fundraising.
And I didn’t get a chance to tell you about the amazing send off I got from my old work colleagues. They decided that they would all buy me yarn or yarn-related goodies for my leaving present, and so I have 4KG of yarn, everything from hand-dyed luxury through to pretty and functional acrylic. A friend briefed everyone well. I struggled to find places to put it all, but I got there in the end!
The best bit was the memory box a colleague made. I had no idea she was crafty, but I was pulled to one side and told to open an envelope. Inside was a piece of card which was printed with memories that people had from their time working with me. Some words were in bold, and those words, I was told, were captured in the box. The box was a perspex cube, which contained a miniaturised representation of my office. Everywhere in the ‘room’ were tiny objects, and each one was linked to one of my colleagues’ memories of working with me. It was beautiful and unexpected, and it serves to remind me that sometimes you can affect people without realising it.
I’ve been meaning to write a new post for ages now. April marks the anniversary of starting KnackeredPsycho as a proper part of my life, and it’s exceeded my expectations. I checked Ravelry the other week, and over 650 patterns have been downloaded from my site. That might not sound much, but it’s exceeded my expectations for something that has sat at the edge of what I do. It does make me wonder what it might be if I really concentrated on it properly. To that end, this year is all about testing new waters. So I am busy getting my show stuff together for next month, and I can start to show you my goodies.
First up, the yarn! All the yarns I have commissioned have a psychology theme. These beauties are ‘split personality’ by Lollipop Guild Yarns, and they are just stunning…
The next yarns are by Dye Candy – ‘psychosis’ and ‘learned helplessness’. Hutch has absolutely done me proud with these…
And today I had the pleasure of finally meeting Hutch in the flesh. I can confirm that:
- She is real, and three-dimensional
- Her dog is a great kisser
- She is one of the nicest people ever
And I have the best stitch markers on their way from Yarnistry, example shown at top of post. I love a glittery brain! And talking of brains, I also have a rather fabulous friend helping me out by running up some project bags and hook cases in the brain themed fabric I showed you in an earlier post.
So there is more to come and more to share with you very soon, but thank you all for your support!
So I can finally show you the first shawl of Shawl Club Season 2 -the Sundae Shawl.
As you know, I am pretty rubbish at coming up with names for my shawls. This one is called the Sundae Shawl because it looks like one of those wafers that you stick in your ice cream when you are having a treat. And it also looks great in ice-cream colours. The yarn I used here is by Fleabubs.
It works really well with bamboo / merino mixes, although any yarn would work well with it. Plus it is one of those patterns where it will keep on growing if you have the yarn and follow the pattern of the rows, but the examples shown are post blocking and used just 400m of yarn.
It looks pretty great in grads too. This one is by Hooking Marvelous and it reminds me of a sunrise or sunset.
My next shawl will be revealed fairly soon as I did a special one-off pattern for one of the collaboration yarn boxes produced by Unbelievawool, Truly Hooked and Dye Candy. It uses three different skeins of yarn and is a bit of a departure for me but I am quite pleased with how it has come out!
So, it is really, really happening. I will have my very first stall at Wool@J13 in May! It is booked, and I am in the throes of organising my stock. I will, of course, be bringing my patterns, but I am putting together a sort of pick and mix feel to me stall: pick a pattern, pick a yarn, pick some extras and have them all beautifully wrapped for you, so you have a treat for when you get to open it all again later at home. Having helped out Sam and Sue on their stands, it seems that a lot of people like to see what is in their kit boxes before they buy them. So I decided the easiest thing would be to let people build their own kits, and make them as special as possible.
I have commissioned some yarns from Unbelievawool and Dye Candy, all on a psychological theme, and the testers look pretty special (the ones shown above are from Dye Candy). I am hoping to ask some of other dyers to contribute as well, but I don’t want to get too carried away for my first show. But I hope to be able to support some of my other favourite dyers too.
I have some hand made stitch markers already from Tinkaboo Crafts, and I have found some amazing fabric for project bags which also keeps with the psychological theme. All brains and neurons! I know they won’t appeal to everyone but I think the fabric looks pretty amazing. A friend is helping me by making them this time, but I plan to make some myself in future if I can find time (time is my enemy at the moment).
So my extras will be hooks, stitch markers (I hope to get some very special ones made to go with the ones I already have), and WIP bags. I am trying to source some shawl pins too, and keep toying with the idea of a small amount of things which feature my logo. What do you think? Do people like the idea of my little frazzled brain as a badge or a pin? Let me know!
I’m going to introduce a new feature, entitled ‘Stashdive Sunday’, and this week I wanted to kick it off by honouring the substantial contribution that Rox Driver has made to my stash, aka Lollipop Guild Yarns. Based in Nottinghamshire, she has produced some of my most beloved yarn pets and even inspired the creation of the Moo-Ra dress (I still have to finish writing that pattern up!). But the reason I want to honour her today is because it is her birthday, and I wanted to really embarrass her.
So I am going to restrict myself to some featured beauties from my DK and Aran stash, all dyed by her, and I apologise that my poor lighting really doesn’t do the colours full justice.
This next one was a custom dye and everyone who has seen the brioche it got used on comments on how fabulous the blue is. It is multi tonal, both dark and intense and yet bright and vivid all at the same time. No, I don’t know how that it possible either..
The next was from one of her yarn boxes, a nod to George’s Marvellous Medicine…
I have so many more of her yarns in my stash, and I would encourage you to watch her Etsy shop like a hawk. She also has a pretty good blog which I would recommend just so that you can drool over her yarn boxes as she reveals them.
Thank you Rox. And Happy Birthday! And you are still far too young…
So I am now in full on crafting mode again after a little bit of a sabbatical. Shawl Club Season 2 (“the sequel, just when you thought it was safe to go back into your stash…) has just launched over on the Unbelieva-wool page. As I type, Shawl 1 is on the floor and on my mannequin, and I am pleased with the pattern as it is one of those easy to do and relatively easy to remember patterns.
Last season I tried to vary the style and shape of the patterns so that there was something for everyone (the patterns are all available on my Ravelry store if you want to review them). It is quite a challenge to come up with a one skein shawl, especially those that will work with shorter as well as longer length skeins. The firm favourites last time were the Thank You Shawl and the Shieldmaiden Shawl, but I also have a soft spot for the beaded arches shawlette – more of a scarf than a shawl but there is something special about that beading and it seems to be a popular shawl for gifting.
This time I have learned a lot from what I felt worked well last time and this time I also want to keep with some easy makes with the occasional challenging element from time to time (but not too often). I am trying to vary the shapes again, but it seems that you like it when I play with textures and lacework as much as I do, so expect me to revisit those themes again. I also have an idea for some colour work shawls, and as ever Sam and I are keen to use as many luxury bases as we can.
I hope you enjoy Season 2, and if you haven’t tried it before consider giving it a try. As ever, I am always here to help if you need me!
At the moment, its all about show prep. The first show is actually the spring fair at my daughter’s school, where I am going to do a handicrafts stall. I am busy making lots of things that I think people will like, including shawls, socks, and baby things, as well as small things that I hope the children will want to buy like toys and so on. The lady who organises the local craft group in my village has been a brilliant help and also has a small production line going of pretty sewn items and crocheted owl things. Between us we are starting to accumulate a fair bit of stock. Pricing is going to be based on what I think the children will be able to afford as a suggested minimum donation, and I am hoping that the grown ups will be prepared to buy the more pricy items. They aren’t pricy at all when you factor in the cost of the yarn and the time, but I know how it is and so I am just hoping that people will dig deep if something is pretty enough and is a one off. It will be interesting to see how it goes.
I have also got very excited about preparing for my first proper yarn show on my own. I think I might have found a good one if they are prepared to let me in. I just hope my patterns are considered good enough by the organisers. I have some really beautiful kits planned and some of my favourite dyers have agreed to supply the yarn for them so I am just waiting for the word and then it will be all systems go. I really enjoy the product design aspect of all this, especially the packing and presentation of it all. I am itching to get started!
Since I last blogged I have also had a little treat trip to London to spend a voucher I was given for Loop. Loop in London is a beautiful shop with super expensive yarns and extras. It was such a treat to be able to splash out even though I am still on my yarn ban. I couldn’t resist this…