Saturday, 29 August 2009

Knitwits Yarns

I have to confess to a small hangover this morning. Last night was one of those nights which I knew would lead to a hangover but I really didn't care and - in an inevitable kind of way - it did. Under these circumstances (and I think I ought to add that I actually don't drink very much so mornings like this are pretty rare for me) I find really, really naughty food is a great cure. I started off in a very well meaning way this morning with a bowl of sultana bran but, as the day has gone on, things have rapidly deteriorated and I've just found a chocolate doughnut a real boon. There are also some chockie bikkies in the cupboard which might well have my name on them and FB has just put some roast tatties in the Aga which will definitely help.

I think tonight is going to consist of tonic water (without the gin) and some gentle garter stitch (details of which on Monday - I have to hide the garter stitch from the beaded gorgeousness in case it cries).

A few weeks ago when FB launched the space dyed Wool Britannia

I asked for suggestions for names for these two colours. Gemma Gray has suggested Sanna for the pale one and Rannoch for the dark. Sanna is a beautiful beach on the west coast of Scotland
and Rannoch is a moor in Scotland. The colours in the dark space dyed wool reminded Gemma of the beautiful heather colours on Rannoch Moor.

Two skeins will be winging their way to Gemma once she's decided whether she wants one of each or two of the same - decisions, decisions - sorry Gemma.

Make sure you're all sitting down before you read the next sentence.......

Tomorrow I am having a day off.

This is a rare and wonderful occurrence and I intend to enjoy it with no guilt and no hangover. We'll re-group on Monday. Have a happy Bank Holiday weekend.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Knitwits Yarns

Whilst I was away at Fibrefest we had two deliveries in the shop which I can now update you on!

The first was from James Brett so we now have loads of:

Marble Chunky - here,

Baby Marble - here

Magi-Knit - here

Magi Knit with Wool - here

and Marble DK - here

We also had a delivery from Sirdar, so we have lots of:

Snuggly DK - here

I'm so glad I wasn't here to unpack that lot!

G took his French GCSE a year early and we heard today that he's got an A - I am a very proud Mummy and FB is a very proud Daddy. This time next year it'll be time for all the others - and it'll go by in a flash - gulp!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Knitwits Yarns

Friday will go down in history as one of the most stressful days of my life - ever. I'm only just recovering. Not only did we have to go to Fibrefest but we also had to go to the funeral of FB's beloved aunt, Phoebe, before we set off for Tiverton.

FB & G spent most of Thursday loading the trailer and car with wool and general exhibition paraphenalia. On Friday morning they attached the trailer to the car (having left it in the garage overnight), wheeled it out of the garage and **CRACK** the axle broke and one of the wheels buckled. This was at 10.30 - funeral at 2.30.

FB and the BinL hurtled across to St Ives to hire a van and as they disappeared in a cloud of smoke from BinL's van FB shouted out that I needed to get the flowers for the funeral and, by the way, we've run out of chicken food. It was at about this point that my migraine really set in.

What FB hadn't told me was that he hadn't even ordered the flowers!

In the end, all was organised, migraine tablet was taken (and worked, thank the Lord), funeral was reached in the nick of time. The dress code was bright colours, Phoebe had a wicker coffin entwined with flowers, she had organised the entire event and, I have to say, it was the best funerals I've ever been too - in fact, considerably better than some weddings I've been to. She was laid to rest in Zennor Churchyard, which is a pretty good place to end your days.

There was champagne and Cornish cream tea afterwards which FB partook of (the champagne, not the tea) - I had tea (delicious scones and cake) as, obviously, I was driving.

Set off in huge hired van and - lo - the A30 was closed due to an accident. It took us over 5 hours to do a journey which should have taken 2. Nightmare. Reached the B&B, couldn't park in their car park due to scaffolding (which I hit) - 10.30pm - total sense of humour failure. Drove off, leaving FB running up the road after me - B&B owner left the scene pdq - she wasn't hanging around for our "domestic" - oh, no.

We ended up eating a curry takeaway in our room with a bottle of plonk and crashed out at about midnight.

Up at 6 because, obviously, we hadn't had time to set up the stand. Shot out (no breakfast - this is served from 8.30 to 9.30), picked up some sandwiches and hurled the stand together in the nick of time. Not how we wanted to do things but, needs must.

In the end we had a great day - met lots of lovely people and introduced some to the concept of environmentally friendly, locally produced organic wool! Lou Butt from Yarn Forward magazine was telling me about a couple on her stand who didn't knit, crochet, spin or sew - kind of makes you wonder why they were at a Fibre Festival?

When we got back to our room, FB suggested we relax for a couple of hours - I read two lines of the newspaper and the next thing I knew he was waking me up and asking if there was any chance we could get something to eat! He then asked me what my perfect scenario would be and I said the perfect scenario was him allowing me to go back to sleep whilst he went and got a takeaway. Didn't get away with that one but we did find a very nice Chinese.

Next morning (early - missed breakfast again - breakfast even later this day as the owner had been out on her hen night) we re-organised the whole stand so it looked like this:

Please note I am proudly wearing my Wool Britannia waistcoat.

The finale of the story was the phone call from the B&B the next day - for payment! We had left so early that no-one was around to take our money. I asked for a reduction as we hadn't had breakfast on either day. No reduction was forthcoming. We paid full price for B&B when we only had one B - money for old rope, I reckon. If anyone is going to Tiverton and would like the name of this august establishment, email me. We won't be going back.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Knitwits Yarns

Today is FB's and my 21st wedding anniversary - and they said it would never last!

We're both in maximum full-stressed mode today so I shall keep my observations short:

1. 21 years goes by damn fast.

2. 21 years ago we never dreamt we'd be running our own businesses from this beautiful part of Cornwall - let alone that they'd involve wool.

3. 21 years ago we hoped to spend some time travelling together. We've been incredibly lucky to have achieved that too - we've walked to Mount Everest, climbed Mount Kenya, travelled through China, climbed Ayers Rock and walked in the Grand Canyon. We've also take our boys on two unforgettable trips to East Africa where we've walked for days and slept under the stars and fished and swum on the reef. We are very, very lucky and we know that.

4. 21 years ago we had 100 guests at our wedding. Many of them are still our friends - we've all moved to different parts of the globe but our friendship remains - that's a very special thing.

5. 21 years ago we hoped we'd have children. The two we've had have exceeded all our expectations - they are bright, funny, confident (but without a trace of arrogance), fit, sporty and loving. They are, without doubt, our finest achievement.

6. 21 years ago tomorrow we went to Kenya for our honeymoon. Tomorrow we are going to Tiverton - hey, ho.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Knitwits Yarns

We went camping and I have almost recovered. We left late (obviously) so only just got there in time to put the tent up in daylight - top tip for camping (after many years of experience) always try to put your tent up in daylight and always put it up sober. Darkness and inebriated is always a total disaster - trust me.

We went to East Prawle

which is right at the bottom of Devon (so far south in fact that our mobile phone logged on to Orange France [when we could get a signal which wasn't often] and the radio was playing French radio programmes).

We tried to barbecue in the tent using the old tried and tested method but only succeeded in smoking ourselves out so Nick (FB's and my best man) bbq'd in the drizzle, bless him. By 11 I was shattered and the drunken, boring stories of old Army days combined with smut and innuendo were wearing thin on me (the only woman). The men retreated to another tent and I went to bed but first, obviously, I needed the loo. Could I find it? I could not! I wandered 'round the field getting wetter and wetter and couldn't work out why there was a hedge between me and the lights. Returned to the tent ranting along the lines of "all I want to do is find the *&%£$ loo - is it too much to ask? - I need a *&%£$ pee and I can't find the *&%£$ loo and I'm *&%£$ off and I want to cry". In the end I pee'd in the hedge.

In the morning the loo was perfectly visible and I'd been heading in completely the wrong direction.

We went to Salcombe:

which is very lovely and full of very lovely (expensive) shops and lots of yachting types - most of whom have probably never been on a yacht in their lives but like to wear all the correct gear. We blanched at the price of things and retreated to the nearest pub.

I managed some knitting (revenge for the boring smutty stories), didn't drink too much (unlike the men), didn't sleep very well (there was an "incident" in East Prawle on Saturday night which the police seemed to think necessitated their sirens going off at about midnight and then someone's car alarm went off intermittently all night) and came home absolutely shattered and having put on about half a stone. On the plus side it was great to catch up with old friends and we did a lot of laughing which, at the end of the day, is what it's all about.

I am trying to input more patterns but failing miserably due to Fibrefest pressure this week. The mountain of dyed wool waiting to be transported up to Devon is now reaching epic proportions so I do hope we'll see loads of you there and you'll come and introduce yourselves. One the one hand I'm hoping to do loads of knitting - on the other I'm hoping we'll be so busy I won't have time. See you there!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Knitwits Yarns

I'm back! Had a few crazy days when blogging just didn't get a look in but have had a vaguely "normal" day today, back in the shop and back serving customers which is what I enjoy. It's Fibrefest next weekend so FB is dyeing wool like crazy and drying it is a nightmare and then it comes down here to the shop for the girls to label up and then it goes back home waiting for the trip to Devon. FB left the dye house at midnight last night and was back in there at 7 this morning - all a little crazy.

Last weekend's Pirate Day in the street was great - the sun shone, the street was packed and everyone seemed to have a good time. I knitted - obviously - with giant needles.

That's me with a rather fetching Cap'n Jack Sparrow (who has now reverted to his alter-ego of Martin, the hairdresser from next door).

This is me being photographed by the local paper's photographer. To be honest, I've been so busy today I haven't seen if I made it to the paper or not.

This is our local MP - Andrew George - having a go - he's always a good sport (don't ever get him and FB on a dance floor together if you can avoid it - it'll be mayhem). Andrew was really concerned about dropping a stitch but I reckon they'll be pretty easy to pick up as he was reassured.

This is one of our local samba bands - Penzamba - going past. I love their music and usually get up and have a boogy but was rather hemmed in by large knitting needles!

Captain Benbow - the Pirates Rugby Club mascot - was on hand to support - he got dreadfully hot, poor chap! In the background you can see our local firemen plus engine who also came to support.

One of the local schools made this fabulous pirate ship which they let us borrow. Cap'n Sparrow (aka Martin the hairdresser) kindly posed for us.

And this is what I knitted. Sorry if I look like I'm pulling a face but it's actually really heavy!

This weekend we're planning to go camping in Devon. No, I haven't forgotten our last experience of camping (14 hours of horizontal rain for those of you who haven't read that entry), yes I'm prepared, yes I've bought the obligatory 110 bread rolls which 7 people will eat with ease, yes I'll remember to take more fruit cakes and yes we've packed loads of booze. It is absolutely guaranteed to rain so - be warned - if you want a dry weekend avoid Salcome because we're on our way. On the plus side, we have no eggs about to hatch so Mother-in-law (who just happens to live next door to us, thank the lord) has only got 22 chickens (of varying sizes), 3 cats, 2 fish and 1 guinea pig to look after - should be a breeze, don't you think?

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Knitwits Yarns

Bed at 11.30 last night, up at 6.30 this morning and in the shop for 8.00. Knitted with the giant needles for 4 hours in the sun, met lots of lovely people and lots who think saying "you've dropped a stitch" is highly original! I also met a lovely lady who's just finished knitting on cocktail sticks - if only I'd known - we'd have made a right pair. Photos will follow tomorrow - we even got our local MP on the giant needles.

I promised/bribed the boys with a Chinese takeaway tonight so FB is ordering that and I'm closing in 15 minutes and am going home to a stiff G&T, Chinese and bed - cream crackered.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Knitwits Yarns

Tracey and I have just had the most bizarre afternoon when we sat for ages (me inputting on the site and she knitting and chatting) with no customers at all and then, at about 4 o'clock, the shop was packed with loads of lovely customers buying loads of lovely wool. It was completely manic for about half an hour and then went back to quiet again - at which point we tried to remember what we'd sold, updated the stock lists, put wool back on the shelves etc, etc - quite bizarre - perhaps they'd all come of the beach at the same time as it's a glorious day down here today.

Before the lovely hordes descended I managed to input all the new Katia yarns. As I mentioned before, we have lots of lovely new colours in Azteca - here:

Azteca multi-coloured Aran weight - how can you resist?

Then we have a new yarn, Astrakan here:

And another new yarn - Surprise - here:
which is a single twist, slubby yarn - really soft and some wonderful patterns to follow (bear with me on this one!).

Then we have Sugar - here:
which is a self-patterning baby 4-ply yarn in 50g balls. Now I have a confession to make about this yarn - when I was unpacking the boxes I thought to myself "why did I buy more self-patterning DK when we already stock James Brett DK?" I felt a bit of a twit and put it down to either a senior or menopausal moment. It was only when I was inputting the recommended needle size on the web-page that I suddenly thought "3.25 needles??" and then the penny dropped and I thought "that's why I bought it - it's 4ply - and no-one else does a self-patterning 4ply and that's a really good addition to the range and, thank God, I'm not going insane after all".

Finally, we have a really interesting yarn called Paillettes - here:

This is a "knitting in" yarn which you knit alongside your normal yarn to add a glittery, sparkly effect. It's particularly effective for edgings, collars, ribs and things such as scarves. I'm going to try and find the time (ha) to knit a ball up with a ball of Adriafil's Mohair - which, I think, will make a spectacular winter/Christmassy scarf. I reckon about a 4.5mm needle should do it - slightly loose but not ridiculously loose.

Tinebeest (of the comments) came to see us today which was lovely. We had a long chat and managed to match her up some Cornish Organic to finish off a really pretty sweater she had knitted and she also brought a most fantastic sock she'd just finished. Somehow I just can't get into knitting socks but this one really was a work of art.

Tomorrow is Pirates Fun Day in the street so I have to be in town by 8.00 - I'm not good in the mornings so this should be fun - FB (just back from Gloucestershire), G&T [who are appalling in the mornings] and me. Teddy is in the window in his pirate bandana and eye patch - comment of the day from passerby: "well, it's just an ordinary teddy wearing a pirate hat" - what did she think it was?!!!! Tracey had to go out to the back of the shop in case she wet herself.
Knitwits Yarns

So I was sitting quietly knitting the Beaded Gorgeousness last night and realised I'd knitted row 2 instead of row 4 (again) and let's not forget, this is a 4 row pattern, so I had to tink back 2 rows - and then it struck me - Julia (you fool) ........................ this is what row counters were invented for.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Knitwits Yarns

I've been flat out today what with one thing and another and have - finally - done my Pirate window - dressed Cornish Organic Wool teddy:

in a pirate bandana and eye patch! Obviously this is him without his pirate accessories but I'll get FB to photograph him in his current state when he gets back from his trip "up-country" (as they say in these parts).

FB has gone to Gloucestershire for the night to look at sheep and wool (worrying, I know - actually, it's really worrying when he can walk (or drive) past a flock of sheep and identify the breed). He's taken the camera but will be back in good time for Pirate day on Saturday.

G&T made a cannon for the window out of an old loo roll inner - I think they may have a future career with Blue Peter.

Because Thursday is Marie's day off I'm in here from the crack of dawn 'til late so FB made a huge shepherd's pie yesterday so I didn't have to cook - he really is a little gem sometimes - note the use of the word "sometimes".

Beaded Gorgeousness is proceeding slowly - no change there then.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Knitwits Yarns

Today I have spent my time unpacking boxes of Katia yarn from Spain and they are yummy, yummy, yummy. FB will endeavour to photograph them tomorrow for you. There are lots of colours in the really popular Aran weight - Azteca plus lots of new things to tempt you.

I've also been unpacking buttons so, if there was a particular button we were low on, go and check them out - here.

In knitting news, I knitted about 6 rows of the beaded gorgeousness last night, realised I'd started on the wrong row (and it's only a 4 row pattern for heaven's sake), unpicked 6 rows, knitted 2 and went to bed - went to bed slightly cross if I'm honest but cheered myself up by remembering that I had actually still ended up with the right number of stiches, despite picking back a lacy pattern so gave myself a pat on the back for that.

In answer to Tinebeest's query: we're having a Pirate Family Fun Day in Causewayhead on Saturday to raise money for our Christmas lights (which the Council don't help us with one little bit). Weather permitting (and in those 2 words do the whole day hang) we have a range of activities including a Tinkerbell dressing up competition for the children, treasure hunts with clues in the shop windows (haven't done my window yet, slapped wrist), free face painting for children, a fire show and the Penzamba Samba Band will be playing and parading up and down the street from mid-day. In addition, Bob McCreadie (from Pirate FM) will be in the street all day playing music and there are loads of typical fete type games like "Guess the Number of Jelly Beans In The Jar" - that sort of thing. G&T are manning the jelly bean stall and refuse point blank to dress up as Pirates so, as they both play for the Penzance Pirates Rugby Club they're going as Pirates Rugby players - major compromise!

So, what on earth has this got to do with my giant knitting needles? Well, for National Knit In Public Day last year I got the big needles out and a couple of friends came along and we sat and knitted and loads of people offered to give us money if we had a collection box. So we dashed down to the Oxfam shop on our street and got a collection box from them and raised over £40 in one day! - Oxfam were delighted, as you can imagine. So I figured we could do the same things again. The story is that the Pirate ship has been through a terrible storm and their barrels of food were washed overboard so a clever lady pirate (me!) has got two oars and started knitting with rope to knit a fishing net to try and catch supper. If the thought of watching me knit with the giant needles and rope (in some ridiculous pirate costume which I haven't invented yet) on Saturday appeals to you then I'll see you here!

They're all off to the gym tonight - aaaagh - peace!

Monday, 3 August 2009

Knitwits Yarns

I've been cooking on gas today - got up early (couldn't sleep - not sure a knitting blog is the place to talk about the dreaded "night sweats" but, take a tip from me, if you're suffering from the sweats it's much easier to knit with pure wool than squeaky acrylic - trust me, on this one I know what I'm talking about. And for those of you who think I might be a little young for "night sweats" - bless you all but I've been assured they can start any time after 40). But I digress (just for a change, I know) - got up early, tackled the paperwork, finished today's allocated pile of paperwork, completed final insurance claim for the Barn fire (back in March - can you believe it?), answered a million phone calls and then I came into the shop.

It's raining again - just for a change - so we've been busy and met some really lovely holidaymakers. I'm planning to knit with my giant needles on Saturday (weather permitting) and one nice lady said she'll come and bring me a cake and a cup of tea and her knitting and knit with me so, if you're reading this - I'm holding you to that promise, nice lady.

I've ordered more sock wool and have just finished the pattern for the Wool Britannia blanket so it's now available in store and online (as they say in all the best adverts). Just a reminder:

Tracey rattled it up in about 2 days - what a star that girl is!

T has gone to rugby training in Truro tonight so I'm in charge of food. As I was "on fire" this morning, I'm now flagging so I'm thinking something really sophisticated like bangers and mash - followed by knitting with beads - yum!

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Knitwits Yarns

Ladies and Gentlemen - I give you The Slowest Tank Top In The History Of The World Ever!!

I did it! I was a very good girl and I sat down last night and sewed up that last seam and I sewed in all the little ends and then I had a lovely Gin & Tonic - and then I had a glass of wine - and then another glass and then the evening deteriorated to wine (and home made doughnuts) at our neighbours' and I got to bed at 1am this morning. I think that's the only way to end an epic knit.

Is nine months a record for finishing a tank top? I think it must be pretty close. I'm thinking we should start a new category in Ravelry (or somwhere similar - or possibly on this blog) for the slowest knits. Obviously we'd have to set some rules:

1. It has to be a continuous knit. You can start it at home and then take it to work and then take it back home again but you can't knit loads of other things in the meantime and just abandon the knit - you have to be semi-continuously working on it. That Kaffe Fassett coat you started 30 years ago and abandoned half way through the second front and it's been in the bottom of your wardrobe all this time doesn't count.

2. We may need some proof as the start date - in my case the start date was so long ago that I don't have the pattern book in stock any more and we've sold out of lime green (we could, of course, get some more if anyone wanted it).

3. You can't intentionally knit slow to be part of the club. In fact, your intention is to wear said item for Christmas/holiday/party. As the intended day approaches, you don't abandon hope but just switch to another deadline. My tank top was supposed to be for Christmas - now it's finished in perfect time for this autumn (or, indeed, the current inclement weather - perfect timing in fact).

I think this club could be a go-er.

Quick chick update - remember these babies?:

Our first batch of baby chicks.

Well, this is them this morning:

and, yes, that's me wearing a rather fetching tank top!

Beaded Gorgeousness - here I come!

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Knitwits Yarns

We've had a pretty busy week here in the shop. Even Radio 2 has been talking about the atrocious weather in Cornwall and, trust me, it has been appalling. However, every cloud has a silver lining and we've been very busy here in the shop - meeting lots of people who are returning visitors, several people who've been on the site and several who've seen us on Ravelry - it's great to put faces to names.

You may remember me mentioning FB space dyeing Wool Britannia - well, it's now in the shop and on the site - here:

We've yet to name them so they're currently SD Light and SD Dark (which stands for Space Dyed Light and Dark) - hugely unimaginative, I know - any suggestions for places in the UK which you think of when looking at these colours? There'll be a skein (or 2) in the post for anyone who comes up with a really good name (or 2).

Tracey and I have also designed a pretty baby blanket in the light version. I'm still typing up the pattern but it should be available by the beginning of next week:

We've (well, actually, Tracey) also rattled up some squares in the new Adriafil yarns so you can see how they knit up. If you go to the Adriafil page, you can now see that some of the images show knitted squares - we do our best to help!

My men went fishing again today but the sea was so rough they got half way out and turned round and came straight back - FB's now at home defrosting something (and has just had a phone call from his Mother saying "where are you"? - he'd left her at the beach and forgotten to bring her home!!).

AND FB went and got my beads for The Beaded Gorgeousness. I've been incredibly, admirably restrained. I've left them on my desk, looked at them occasionally, worried about how heavy the shawl is going to be - but I haven't knitted a single one in. I now have one seam to sew up on TSTTITHOTWE and I have a dilemma - again. I have a feeling in my waters that I might crack tonight and have to knit a few beads in. It's Saturday night and I don't feel like sewing up a quite complicated seam (I need to get all the colours lining up). However, if I'm good and forgo my G&T for an hour I could get the seam sewn up and we could then photograph it tomorrow and I could then show it to you (assuming I like it after all this effort) and I'd then feel really good. But I know I'd also enjoy knitting a few beads in. Oh, what to do!