Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Knitwits Yarns

OK chaps - prepare yourselves for Adriafil!

Today I've uploaded all the yarns we have - patterns will follow but many of the yarns are DK so you can use our yarn convertor to calculate your quantities to any pattern you like. So, if we start with DK yarns we have:

Duo Plus - a cotton and wool mix in a range of colours. Click here for the Duo Plus page.

Next we have:

Knit Col. One of Adriafil's most popular yarns - 100% merino in a huge range of colours. Click here for the Knitcol page.

Finally, in DK we have:

New Zealand prints - 100g balls of pure gorgeousness! Click here for the full range of what we have in stock.

For those of you looking for Kid Mohair in fab colours look no further!

It's as wonderfully soft as it looks and can be used for any fine mohair work.

And, finally - possibly my favourite of all, becuase I love all the wool, slubby yarns - we have Baba:

I just love yarns like this and I'm sure a goodly number of you out there will too.

I hope we've got something there to tickle everyone's fancy - personally, I'm spoilt for choice!

And if that wasn't enough - I've heard today that the Katia autumn/winter range is one its way - more utter loveliness - not sure if I can control myself.

Let me know what you think of the Adriafil - I'm sure some of it won't be around for long!

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Knitwits Yarns

Last thing on Saturday - the G&T worked the other night so thanks for the encouragement. Today I have hot news!

Had a delivery from Adriafil yesterday - and it is GORGEOUS! All of it, without exception is TO DIE FOR!!

We haven't stocked Adriafil before so I'm very excited. We have 3 new yarns which are DK so you can use the yarn convertor to any of our current patterns plus there are a few of their own, we have one mohair (very similar to Rowan Kid Silk Haze or Colinette Parisienne) and one superchunky wool which is all for me (not really, but I love it, love it, love it).

I'm teasing you now because, obviously, FB has to photograph them all and I'll then get them on the system.

But - WATCH THIS SPACE! Much like the King Cole Inspire, I've been selling it as it's been coming out of the bags and boxes (Adriafil have really amazing packaging).

Ooh, yummy, yummy, yummy. Sometimes I really love my job!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Knitwits Yarns

I've had one of those weeks where you rush around like a blue-arsed fly and have nothing to show for it - ever get those? I've cycled to work, served lots of lovely customers (had one in today who'd heard about us on Ravelry, which was very nice), cycled home and gone to bed. I know I've done more than that but .... - you know what I mean.

I'll give you a quick chicken update - babies at one week old:

their Mum is so good and so patient! Imagine being in a small area with 7 babies ...........

... she occasionally flaps her wings and lets out a squawk and they all scatter - that must be the chicken equivalent of us throwing a hissy fit.

When it gets cold she sits down and they all crawl under her for warmth. All you can see is little heads peeping out between the feathers!

Tonight I might perk up my life by having a gin & tonic - what do you think?!

Monday, 20 July 2009

Knitwits Yarns

I picked up the neckband of TSTTITHOTWE yesterday morning in bed with FB gently snoring next to me and then, after a leisurely breakfast, I knitted the neckband. Not content with that I then picked up one of the armbands and knitted that too. AND I sewed in all the little ends around the neckband and the armband too - so - that's probably the most progress TSTTITHOTWE has ever seen in one day!

I had a migraine on Saturday (yes, another one) so was allowed the day off yesterday, which means I have accounts calling tonight and the second armband probably won't be knitted for another week at least. But, hey, progress indeed I think you'll agree.

FB worked like a demon over the weekend in the dye house so yesterday, after supper, my kitchen looked like this:
Somewhere behind that lot is an Aga, in front of which it's drying. The more astute amongst you may notice (on the left and right) a little space-dyeing that FB's been working on - it's looking good - he's a clever boy!

Tell me, do your kitchens look like this on a Sunday evening?

Conversation during dinner chez Hopson: Eric the 3-legged cat with attitude comes in the cat flap

this is Eric with me this morning as I'm about to get on my bike (high viz jacket and hat - hope you're impressed).

T: Eric's got a baby rabbit in his mouth.
FB: Get that *&%$@ cat out of my *&%$@ kitchen.
T: I can't pick him up, he's growling.
FB: I don't care about his *&%$@ growling, get him out
T: Oh, it's OK it's not a baby rabbit, it's a half rabbit.

Is it just me?

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Knitwits Yarns

We had a lovely new yarn in from King Cole whilst I was away getting rained on. It's "Inspire":

and comes in 7 different colours. There are several patterns (look down the left hand side of this page) and it's a standard DK so you can use our yarn convertor if you want to use it to any other DK pattern. It's an interesting wool/cotton mix and is very soft and, literally, flew out of the sack as Tracey was unpacking it (several customers just grabbing a whole pack!).

There are also new shades and patterns in Sirdar Soft Cotton 4ply - here. And I've added some new Soft Cotton DK patterns also - here. (Patterns are down the left hand side of these pages or use the pattern search tool.) There are more cotton DK patterns to follow on Monday for babies and children (just in case the sun decides to make an appearance)

Following the huge popularity of the Cornish Pewter buttons (which we've had to re-order already), we've also added a new flower:

We've no doubt this will be as popular as the others. We've had one customer put it on a Cornish Organic Navy jacket and it looks stunning.

No camping this weekend but - BIG NEWS - I finished the front of TSTTITHOTWE yesterday! and have sewn up one shoulder! So tonight/tomorrow I have to pick up for the neck - joy of joys. Everyone hates picking up, don't they? I go about it very systematically. I see how many stitches I need then divide the section into manageable chunks. So if, for example, it's 50 stitches down the left front, I divide the left front in half (25 sts each half) and then half again (12 for each quarter plus 1 at the half way point). I pin it out really carefully and then I know I have to get 12 stitches between pin a) and b) and then the middle point and then 12 between b) and c) etc. That way, if you get it horribly wrong you only have to pull back 12 stitches. If it's a really big pick-up I add stitch markers at, say, stitch 50 and then stitch 100.

I have one elderly knitting friend who reckons that when you've knitted all the pieces you're half way finished! I like to think that I'm slightly further than that but, we all know, the finishing makes or breaks a garment so careful picking and sewing-up are worth all the effort.

I didn't get the beads for the beaded gorgeousness last week but FB has picked them up for me today!! It's going to take great strength of character not to knit on a few rows of beads instead of picking up that neckband - I may need to knit a few on just to check they're the same as the first batch - what do you think? I could call it "quality control" - that would be OK, wouldn't it? That wouldn't really count. "Quality Control" isn't really knitting, is it?

PS: Later - FB just phoned - the bead shop was closed - no temptation after all - not sure whether to laugh or cry.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Knitwits Yarns

So, we went camping in Exmoor over the weekend. We are always late so I have a theory that if I tell the boys we're leaving at 11.00 we may actually get away for 12.00. I told them we were leaving at 11.00 and we left Penzance at 1.15. This may be a record, even for us, but was largely my fault as I worked until 12.00 and only then started packing.

We met up with friends who had been sending emails all week along the lines of, "have you seen the weather forecast" and "should we bring wet-suits" and "are you sure camping this weekend is such a good idea". We all decided to brave the elements - we're tough and hardy (or so we thought).

Saturday morning was OK and we went for a drive and a wander:
This is us with the Bristol channel in the distance and the dark ridge below the clouds is actually Wales.

On the way back to the campsite in the afternoon, the rain started. Well ... RAIN! You've never seen anything like it - torrential and downpour don't really do it justice. It rained, horizontally, for 14 hours non-stop. There are only 2 things to do in these circumstances - eat and drink. We did both, with gusto. FB and Jennie (she was/is a Queen's Guide and it shows) constructed a really rather splendid Heath Robinsonesque gazebo between our two tents from tarpaulin found in the boot of our car and bits of rope and sticks. It did the trick and we heated it with a barbecue (anyone who works for the Health & Safety Executive should close their minds to this excellent concept).

The next morning Adrian and Jennie's tent was awash and ours had survived remarkably well. T slept in the car - there are no flies on him.

Fortunately the sun then came out, all our friends left and we went for a glorious walk (during which FB got sunburnt) and n0-one, therefore, believes that it rained at all!

T - in the middle - is really getting into his walk - as you can tell.

We walked to Tarr Steps, which really are amazing.

For the record I am wearing a Debbie Bliss Astrakhan jacket which kept me warm and cosy all weekend.

We then constructed the gazebo Mark II

and enjoyed a slightly drier night.

By Monday we decided we'd pushed our luck and the weather forecast was still bad so we packed up and came home via FB's old school. Jonathan Edwards (world record holding triple jumper) is also an old boy (obviously a few years younger than FB!) and he recently opened the Jonathan Edwards Sports Centre there. Obviously, our own triple jumping bronze medal winner had to have a go:

Just so you know, the black square at the bottom of the picture is the start of Jonathan's world record jump. I am standing at the point where he landed! When you see it like that, it's a heck of a long way. T has about 8 metres to go - watch out Jonathan, he's after you!

So, conclusions from a wet camping weekend are:

1) if the weather forecast is truly diabolical, consider changing the date - the forecast may be right. If you ignore this advice, remember the following:

a) don't leave home without spare tarpaulin, rope and tool kit (including a saw);
b) when camping on a hill (as you will, inevitably, be) allow extra booze for spilt glasses and bottles (don't think it won't happen because, trust me, it will);
c) there is no such thing as "too much alcohol" when planning a camping weekend with a diabolical weather forecast. In fact, the worst the forecast, the more booze should be packed;
d) ditto the above but insert "bacon" for "alcohol";
e) 3 fruit cakes is no-where near enough for 10 people over 2 nights under canvas;
f) 100 bread rolls is a perfectly reasonable number to pack for 10 people over 2 nights;
g) in horizontal rain in a tent, no knitting will be completed - partly due to c) above and partly because knitting with soggy wool is no fun at all.

We came home to 7 new chicks.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Knitwits Yarns

The tedium of yesterday was relieved by moving little brown hen and her babes into their new accommodation. T went into the hen house and moved the chicks into an old guinea pig cage:
That's G receiving a baby. Obviously Mum wasn't happy and there was much squawking and flapping but G&T got there in the end.

Mum and babes were then moved up to the top and lawn and their new, luxury accommodation:

Little Brown Hen sat on 10 eggs and hatched 6 live babies, one who died and there were 3 eggs which weren't fertilised (which the boys broke open yesterday and stunk the whole garden out) - not a bad result.

Little brown hen is happy to be up and moving again (and is eating for England) and her babes are oh, so very cute.

The tiny bit of knitting you can see on the left of this photo is my Debbie Bliss Astrakhan jacket - what all good chicken farmers are wearing this year.

Mrs White hen is due this weekend so has been moved into the rabbit hutch in the hen house, recently vacated by Little Brown Hen. Next week's holiday project for my men is to build another luxury abode for her and her chicks (assuming they hatch) - it's a great pity my boys aren't doing DT GCSE as it would be the perfect project.

Today my treat is to go and collect the beads for the beaded gorgeousness - TSTTITHOTWE is crying.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Knitwits Yarns

I've had my nose to the grindstone for 11 straight hours today so am feeling a little bog eyed. I didn't find a £1m hole in the budget, Tinebeest, mainly because I haven't got £1m - maybe if I had my accounts wouldn't be so dreary (and I could afford an accountant to do all the tedious stuff for me).

Small excitement though was the arrival of 6 new chicks yesterday and today - very, very cute. Clever little brown hen.

My men went fishing, caught nothing but played with a pod of dolphins - I am very, very jealous.

....................................................I'm still waiting for Brad.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Knitwits Yarns

Today has been a better day - and a busy one. It started with a photo shoot this morning:

This is the Wool Britannia waistcoat that Tracey and I have been working on for a while. The pattern is now available here (I did finally get my calculations right but, I can tell you, it tested my GCSE maths [or 'O' levels as it was in my day]).

It also uses our wonderful Cornish Pewter buttons - close-up:

Don't they look great! We're low in stock of these knots but they're on re-order and will be here before the end of the week. I've also ordered some "flower" ones so watch this space.

I don't consider myself to be particularly photogenic (my chin is too big and I always look like I'm cross [perhaps I am!]) so waking up to a photoshoot isn't my ideal start to the day (also I'm pretty c**p in the morning) but I was quite pleased with how these came out - and, anyway, you're supposed to be looking at the waistcoat, not me.

I feel like I'm going into purdah tomorrow and Thursday but, trust me, I'll be beavering away and if anything exciting happens I'll let you know. Let's face it, "exciting" and "accounts" are a total contradiction in terms but, who knows, perhaps Brad Pitt will pop in for a cup of tea.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Knitwits Yarns

Do you ever get one of those days when you just wonder why you bother and you could just do with stopping the world and getting off for a few days? Well, I've had one of those!

We were planning to go camping on Bodmin Moor on Wednesday to one of the farms which supplies Cornish Organic with its wool - it's a wonderful spot and Dominic rents out Mongolian Yurts and has a great campsite and the most fantastic solar powered shower block imagineable - you can see it here. We always drive straight over Bodmin en route home so I thought a couple of days there en route to Exmoor (where we're meeting a bunch of friends this weekend) would be a nice break.

However, on the way to the Barn (scene of fire back in March, remember?) to see the central heating engineer who may (or may not) be fitting new, more economical boiler (which is not covered under the insurance but is just unbelievably ancient and, therefore, inefficient) - FB posed the awkward question as to whether we can or cannot afford said new boiler. My reply was that, basically, I haven't done the necessary accounts for a while so am not actually sure but said accounts might be finished at about mid-night tomorrow night and I'd give him an answer then. We have, therefore, regrettably cancelled 2 nights at South Penquite in favour of me spending 2 uninterrupted days in the office getting all paperwork finished and off to the accountant so that I can "relax" (FB's terminology) over the summer.

I have mixed feelings - sorry to be driving over (and past) Bodmin - again but relief that, maybe he's right, and two full uninterrupted days in the office might just get me up and going again.

In the meantime, the Wool Britannia competition is now closed and we have chosen a winner! Roseberry Topping was our favourite and is an unusually shaped hill in North Yorkshire. I also think the colour of the wool looks amazingly like some fruit topping you might put on ice cream or a pie. The name was, in fact, chosen by two ladies who are each receiving a kilo of Wool Britannia as their prize. They can select their own colour but something tells me they might both be selecting "their" colour, no? All other entrants will be receiving their 10% off vouchers in the near future (I inserted letters and shade charts into 101 envelopes last night {after the tennis})- just as soon as poor Thomas has worked out how to deduct 10% off the gross price and not the net (which is where we're at at the moment). FB is going to spend the two "not camping" days dyeing more batches of the colours we're low in so we're fit and ready for all the orders.

I'm also still writing up the pattern for a fab Wool Britannia waistcoat that Tracey and I designed. Writing it up in 6 sizes when you've only knitted one is challenging my poor brain cells. As soon as it's done you'll see the pics.

At home we're eagerly awaiting new chicks (needless to say we've lost count of when they're due - I'm betting on Wednesday - and, yes, writing it on a calendar would have been the obvious thing to do), there's a force 6 gail threatening so no fishing so G mowed the lawn and they've put up the badminton net so now they can beat each other up over who's won or lost at that - pure joy.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Knitwits Yarns

I've had a busy, but boring, few days catching up on admin-type things (which seem to be never-ending).

G&T broke up yesterday (already?!) so have spent the last 24 hours beating each other up - the first week of the holidays is always hell before they settle into the routine and then the first week of the new term is also hell as well - what joy parenting is!

I've done absolutely zero knitting and we had to eat sausages on Wednesday as the boys failed to get so much as a bite. Apparently, we need to hang 3 sprigs of sage over the door of the house and that guarantees a catch every time you go out - tomorrow I'm going to raid the herb bed for sage!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Knitwits Yarns

I've just finished my radio interview (more of a knitterly chat really) for BBC Radio Devon and Cornwall. It's for a project about reviving industry and traditions in Cornwall and Laura had been interviewing people at The Ship Inn in Mousehole about their Star Gazey Pie, had been talking to a man in Newlyn about making pots from traditional withies, had been talking to someone in Newlyn about the traditional pilchard pressing and then came to me to talk about knitting as they wanted a female perspective. I rambled on a bit about the history of knitting in Cornwall (see here for a piece in our Cornish Organic Wool website) and then we progressed to natural fibres, local wools, ethics in clothing production etc, etc - as you can see, more of a chat than an interview. I'll let you know when it's being aired so long as I get enough notice. I hate hearing my own voice on recordings, don't you?

Back to Saturday, we had a great day for Mazey Day (part of the 9 day Golowan festival) and had a stall on the street:
That's Tracey and I in the afternoon sunshine. We're wearing fab t-shirts which Trace found with Shaun the Sheep on them saying "Bit of a Knit Wit"! Can't imagine why anyone else would buy them but they're great for us! (I hadn't realised how much shorter I am than Trace!)

The street was packed:

and you can just see the wonderful banners, flags and flowers which decorated the street all the way down.

We also had a march past from The Falmouth Marine Band in their Cornish kilts (I do love a man in a skirt):

We also had a couple of samba bands (which I love) but the pics of them are dreadful. Never mind, they're coming back again in August so I'll get them then.

In all, a really, really good day.

I've inputted more Baby Bamboo patterns and Tina Barrett, who designs for us for both Cornish Organic Wool and Wool Britannia, spotted my error on the Cornish Pewter Buttons page. The big heart is £3.10, not £13.10 as stated - whoops! Too much entering info late at night.

Tina is currently designing for magazines for autumn/winter so we'll let you know when they appear.

Talking of Wool Britannia, the "Name The Skein" competition is now closed! We've had a whack of entries - I'll count them up tonight - and all entrants will recieve a 10% discount voucher off their first order. The vouchers are ready and tonight I'll be inputting the names and addresses of the entrants to do a big mail-merge run. Before that, we have to decide on the winner. I have my own favourite in mind but we're going to sit down tonight/tomorrow so that we all agree. WATCH THIS SPACE! It's been great fun receiving all your emails and cards and there have been some great suggestions so we have a hard job to choose just one. Perhaps I should get FB to dye another colour so we can do it all again!

My men are currently out trying to catch supper and, once again, I'm keeping the faith and not defrosting sausages - one day soon we're going to go to bed very hungry indeed!