Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Finishing Things

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

So - I spent the weekend finishing things off. Had to embroider all the things Tracey had been knitting for the photo shoot this weekend - that took hours. Mind you, she spent all day Saturday sewing them up so we're even stevens now.

Then I sewed up the tea cosy and decided it needed crochet edges to neaten it off (I'm not the world's greatest crocheter but I managed that) and then I decided it needed a flower on top so I knitted that.

Then I finished the first of Dad's socks. You may remember that I started that some time ago, well the first one is now finished and in the window for Easter so now all I have to do (as the pattern charmingly states) is knit the second one. Ever heard of Second Sock Syndrome (SSS). It's only his birthday at the end of May that's driving me on.

Now all I have to do is get FB to photograph the Hot Water Bottle Cover and Tea Cosy and for me to write up the patterns and those two patterns are done and put to bed.

And tonight? ............. Well, tonight I start swatching for the next hot water bottle cover and tea cosy combo which is currently whirring around my head.

There's never a dull moment!

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Coast 2 Coast

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

Yesterday was the inaugural Bolitho School Coast to Coast Challenge, which basically involved the entire school either walking or running from The Gurnard's Head Hotel on the north coast to The Bolitho School in Penzance on the south coast - a distance of some 7.25 miles.

This was a challenge so it wasn't by road but up and over the moor on footpaths and bits of road and lane. The weather was also a tad challenging with a cold wind and intermittent rain showers. The three houses at School were raising money for three local charities: The Cornwall Air Ambulance, Cornwall Hospice Care and The Handstand Appeal. G & T's house is raising money for The Handstand Appeal and, obviously, they both decided to run the course!

The walkers left in groups in the morning and stopped for lunch half way across. The runners started at 1.30 and the hope was that most of the walkers would be back at school in time to cheer the runners in. FB and I went to The Gurnard's to see the walkers and runners off and, to our dismay, had to spent over an hour in the pub waiting for the runners to arrive - what a dreadful hardship that was, in front of a roaring fire, chatting to Charles the landlord and drinking organic ginger beer (me) and local cider (FB). Oh, yes, it was hard work indeed.

Once the runners were off, we (I!) drove up to the top of the moor to photograph them as they came past. G was first:

Followed by T:

So we were cautiously optimistic for a Hopson 1, 2. And so it turned out to be. By the time we'd photographed all the runners at the top and then driven back to School, G had finished! So, no triumphant photo of him across the finishing line yet - although I'm sure the School has one. T came in 8 minutes later (which means that G was over a mile ahead of T at the finish!) and, oh yes, the final bit to the School is, of course, a hill!

Here's T powering up the final hill.

G completed the 7.25 mile course in 49 minutes 38 seconds and T came in at 57 minutes. We are, needless to say, ridiculously proud.

This morning T was at school at 8.30 to go for an overnight Ten Tors training weekend on Bodmin Moor, spending tonight under canvas, carrying all his kit. I tell you something - he'll sleep well tonight, and tomorrow and probably for the rest of next week.


In knitting news, Tracey has finished four samples for an Easter weekend photo shoot - about which, more later - I have finished the tea cosy which matches the hot water bottle cover - it just needs sewing up and the patterns will be written up next week. Next hot water bottle/tea cosy combo is designed in my head - just need to get them on paper and samples knitted up. Tomorrow I'm hoping for a quiet knitterly day. I'm exhausted and I only watched them run.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Dream - Tuesday night

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

My late father-in-law always said that other people's dreams are boring. However, this one is knitted related so I thought I would share it with you.

I dreamt that FB and I were one some sort of 18-30's type holiday (so there goes the first bit of reality as neither of us has been within that age bracket for some time). It's sunset and we're sitting round the pool at tables with parasols drinking lovely drinkies - you get the happy picture.

We are also competing in a knitting quiz (second piece of reality just dropped off there too). The questions was, "how many self patterning acrylic yarns can you name"?

And I said, "Samba".

And then the men (third piece of reality slipping away here), just the men started jeering at me, saying, "Samba isn't acrylic, it's pure cotton" in a sneering kind of way.

And then I woke up, slightly sweating, knowing that - of course - Samba is pure cotton.

Sometimes I think that, maybe, I need to get a life.

Friday, 19 March 2010

COW 4ply & Bamboo Cotton

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

Had a pretty manic day in the shop yesterday plus the GOOD NEWS is that Cornish Organic 4ply is back in stock - yay! FB has been dyeing like fury (kitchen full of drying wool) and then had all the labelling to do once the new computer was playing ball. So - all colours (apart from Sennen) are now in stock, all pending orders have been despatched and he now has to dye some more!

I also managed to input the new King Cole Bamboo Cotton yarn. This is flying out of the shop already so is proving that it's going to be a real winner. It's 50% bamboo, 50% cotton and is a really lovely yarn for lighter, summer knits. Tracey is knitting with it at the moment and says it's a joy to knit with. I've managed to input some patterns but the rest will be on tomorrow (Saturday). If you go to the Bamboo Cotton page (link above) the patterns, as always, are down the left. It's a standard DK though so you can use the yarn convertor to another pattern if you want.

Eldest son - G - is off to Manchester today for the National Cross Country Finals tomorrow - he's representing Cornwall and we are very, very proud. Go G!

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Special Offer!

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

Spot the Special Offer on the front page of the web site.

We have a dozen Debbie Bliss magazines (Spring/Summer 2009) to give away before this summer's magazine comes in to us. So - the first 12 orders of £20.00 or more (ex P&P) will receive this Debbie Bliss magazine FREE! With 35 patterns inside that's a very good deal (!) and, with Debbie Bliss, there's always a garment you just have to knit!

Place your order soon to avoid disappointment.

Tomorrow I'm inputting King Cole's Bamboo Cotton so there's even more to tempt you.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Site Updates

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

It's been as quiet as the grave in here today, which is unusual but - every cloud has a silver lining - has given me time to update the site. (As you can tell, FB has now got his new computer up and running)

Firstly, I updated Stylecraft Life DK and 4ply. 4 new colours in each - very summery and zingy - in fact, one is actually called Zing.

From left to right the new colours are: clover, melon, zing and aqua - sure to brighten up any summer wardrobe and there's a new pattern in each colour. Examples here:

This one is DK in Clover,

and this one is 4ply in Zing.

I also added two new, really popular colours, in Tivoli Blizzard. These two came but the equally popular brown and lime green combo and blue/brown combi didn't come as they were out of stock. I think the success of this yarn (partly due to its incredible softness and, obviously, colours) has taken Tivoli by surprise! Popular purple looks like this:

and ravishing red is here:

Finally, I uploaded a new yarn for us, Splash from King Cole. We're stocking more and more of King Cole's yarns and they're really popular and you get the added bonus that nearly every pattern has two designs on it so you get 2 for the price of 1. Splash is a self patterning DK acrylic in a fantastic range of colours. For some reason the patterns didn't come but they are on their way and, in any event, you could use any DK pattern as it's a standard weight. Here's a photo of all the colours to whet your appetite:

The only problem is which one to knit first!

Trundling along merrily last night knitting the hot water bottle cover and went to check the length and, yes, I'd gone way, way too far. Tonight's job is to tink back 11 rows (with cable) - what an idiot - too busy watching telly and not concentrating. Sample swatch looks like this:

That's space dyed Peruk not yet available but will be soon - as soon as FB get the pics done. It's strange how it looks really bright in the skein but much more muted when knitted - pretty though, I'm sure you'll agree. You can get this colourway in both Cornish Organic Wool DK and Wool Britannia, should you not be able to wait for the Peruk. AND the really good news is that the Cornish Organic 4ply has been delivered to us and my kitchen is festooned with drying skeins - red, green, navy and rose were the colours of choice this morning. FB is currently labelling it all up and then it'll be here on the site, and on the COW site as well.

Tonight we have a parents' evening for T - oh dear.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Random Monday

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

Not to be outdone by the boys winning the rugby 7's tournament on Friday, the girls went on to win the ISA netball on Saturday! Obviously, I don't have girls but still - congratulations to the girls from Bolitho! That's the second time in 3 years they've won it. I don't want to labour the point but for a school of less than 300 pupils (from Reception to VIth form) in the very, very far west of the country, that's an extraordinary result - must be something in the Cornish water.

My Mothering Sunday didn't quite turn out as planned. Did manage some knitting in bed once FB & T had gone to rugby but then spent most of the day cooking and washing up - not sure what happened there. Did manage to watch some of the Grand Prix in the afternoon (not very thrilling) and caught the end of Pride and Prejudice - aaagh, and also plucked and roasted a brace of pheasants brought home by my boys some time this winter. They were delicious and I had pheasant sandwiches today - how decadent is that? Didn't manage any more knitting but plan to put that right tonight - hot water bottle cover is nearly done.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Computers Part II

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

Yesterday the office at home was festooned with boxes and bits of computers and wires and the language was, frankly, indescribable and unrepeatable. New computers - just plug them in and off you go - he de ha ha ha - is all I can say.

Turns out the printer isn't compatible with Windows 7, the old emails are stored in separate files from the new ones, the old documents are stored in a strange (expensive) metal box and Word was hidden from view until you'd used it once when it then popped up onto the main screen. Ooh, FB had fun.

As at today, we are almost done. The house is now wireless so the boys' computers are now online (this may turn out to be a bad idea, who knows) and they are banned from ours completely and for ever. The printer is working (full marks to FB) and the emails are restored to a format which is vaguely recognisable. If anyone has emailed Cornish Organic in the past few days and hasn't had a reply, we apologise and will be replying on Monday morning.

When the situation got really bad yesterday I had to retire to the sitting room and knit some hot water bottle cover. It's 2/3rds done and I really like it. There are photos but FB has to format them and that involves uploading photoshop - I'll leave the rest to your imagination ....................

In other news - the boys got back from rugby tour at 11.45pm last night and - amazingly - they won the tournament! So - well done! - to the The Bolitho Rugby 7's squad - for such a small school it's a fantastic result.

This morning, T - having played 6 or 7 games or rugby yesterday - went on a 15 mile walk from Porthleven back to Penzance for Ten Tors training. Tomorrow morning he's off to 8.30am to play rugby at St Austell - oh, to be 15 again!

In knitting news - this is, after all, supposed to be a wool shop blog - we've had a delivery from Debbie Bliss. I know - no deliveries for weeks and then they all come at once (which means the invoices all fall due at the same time as well, of course). We've got the new Eco Baby in so we'll get it on the site asap, even though only 6 colours came of the 9 I ordered - v irritating. Updated stock levels in Baby Cashmerino, Rialto 4ply and lots of books. (Books shown down the left hand side of this page.)

Tomorrow is, of course, Mothering Sunday so I hope all mothers have a quiet, relaxed, spoilt day doing whatever you want - and knitting. I plan to knit in bed (no chance of breakfast in bed as FB & T have to be at the rugby club at 8.30) and then knit a bit more and cook dinner for everyone and the M-in-L. As FB does most of the cooking, this seems only fair and I may even treat everyone to one of my famous bread and butter puddings (served with Cornish clotted cream, of course). Happy Mothers' Day!

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Deliveries and Computers

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

Well the home computer has now died and has been sent to the computer graveyard in India or China or Africa or wherever they end up these days where poor unfortunate children (and adults) scratch a living from the detritus of the affluent West's waste - that's the end of my political/ethical rant for the day, promise.

So, FB has been computerless for nearly a week and the new one has now arrived and his blood pressure is now at an all time high trying to re-load all the programmes we used to have and make the damned thing work. Funny how the computer shops (and adverts) all swear that all you have to do is plug them in and follow the instructions - ha, ha, ha!! So - as a result, still no photographs but, by jove, when the computer's up and running you'll all know about it as I have a raft of new stuff to show you so you'll be all photo'd out.

In the meantime, more deliveries. More Stylecraft and, specifically, Kon Tiki - 50% cotton, 50% acrylic and really, really popular and, tragically, now in its last season I've heard so grab some now before it's all gone. We'll try and keep the stock levels of this lovely yarn up so you can get some in before it disappears. I can never understand why really popular yarns go but I do know that some are popular in some geographical areas and some just aren't. For example, Sirdar Escape has been phenomenally popular, apparently, but we just can't shift it here. Sirdar's Juniper was really popular here but didn't sell elsewhere apparently so was discontinued. C'est la vie.

We also had a delivery from King Cole so updated stocks of Inspire, Mirage, Dreams and Aero. Incidentally, there's a really lovely jacket pattern in this week's People's Friend magazine knitted in Dreams. Tracey says it's really "me" and I may, sometime, knit it! Check it out.

Today (3pm) we had a delivery from James Brett so we're now really topped up in Marble Chunky, Marble DK, and the really popular blues in Rustic. Marble Chunky is one of the most popular yarns we sell and one that many visiting customers say they've never seen before. If you haven't knitted with it yet then you really should try it - everyone (and I mean everyone) loves it and we have several customers who have knitted practically every colour.

Tonight FB and I are childless as the boys are away on rugby tour! FB came down to the shop with a Thermos of chilled G&T, which I am currently consuming and then we're off to our local favourite restaurant for early tapas. The Alverne is owned by friends of ours and is always excellent (even just for a morning coffee) and is always full of locals (which is always a really good sign). Two meals out in one week is pushing it for us but, when the boys are away, we must play - and no school run tomorrow morning so we can have a mini lie-in. Bliss.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Hot Water Bottle Cover Swatching

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

Took the boys out to supper on Saturday night straight from work. Went to The Turk's Head in Chapel Street (couldn't get their site up but you get photos on that link). This is reputedly the oldest pub in Penzance, dating back to 1233 and there are supposed to be smuggling tunnels from the pub to the harbour (T wanted to go in them). We all had steak and chips and I was good and had the small steak but all three boys went for the large steaks and all 3 struggled to finish (but did). It was a really nice evening and we have a plan to compare the pubs of Penzance over the coming months - not sure what this'll do for the waistline but it should be fun.

Yesterday, as promised, I sat and swatched and knitted yesterday with no guilt whatsoever. Because the computer with a million viruses is still at the computer doctor I have no pictures.

So - imagine if you will - multi-coloured Peruk - pink, green, blue shading in and out at random with a big fat cable up the middle. There you go - who needs pictures?

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Knitting and Migraines

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

Spent last night with a hideous migraine. Anyone reading this who also suffers will have sympathy, anyone who is related to anyone with migraines will have sympathy, the rest of you can just imagine and sympathise.

Before I degenerated to my bed I thought I'd just sit quietly and finish the second of the tiny, fiddly baby booties. Picked up the stitches for the back and the straps and knitted away, cast off, job done.

Then I realised I'd picked up the stitches with the booty inside out and, therefore, had 2 right feet.

Moral of this story: don't ever think "I'll just sit quietly and finish that ......... when a migraine is on its way" - it won't work, trust me.

Home computer has picked up a million viruses despite having 3 different anti-virus software systems on it. It's off to the computer doctor on Monday. This means we have no computer at home. This is good news as it means I can swatch that Cornish Organic Hot Water Bottle Cover tomorrow with no guilt at all (so long as I ignore all the cleaning I'm supposed to be doing but the migraine can relieve that guilt) - oh, happy day!

Thursday, 4 March 2010


Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

So, yes, as I was saying - we had a huge delivery in from Stylecraft on Tuesday and everything on the site is now updated and complete. When I say "huge", I mean 9 sacks and it feels like it's taken us 2 days to sort it all. We have to check the quantites in the bags equal the quantities on the delivery note/invoice (they didn't). We then have to check that if we still have one or two balls of a certain colour it's the same dye batch or not (some was, some wasn't). We then have to check the pre-orders and the on-online orders and put them to one side and then, finally, we double check the quantities going into stock and then update the entire on-line stock levels. Regreattably we also had to change some prices as our wonderful government (you can make the "wonderful" there sound really sarcastic if you so please) decided to reduce VAT last year (which most shops ignored) and then put it back up this year (which we have to take into account). Sometimes I thank the Lord I'm not Tesco - imagine putting all your prices up by 2.5% at midnight on New Year's Eve - hmmm, could think of better things to be doing at that particular moment. Finally, of course, we have to go back to the supplier and put all the mistakes right. Fortunately, Stylecraft are really good at that bit - some others (who shall remain nameless) aren't.

So - we had loads of "Life" - 4ply, DK, Aran and Chunky. "Life" is a really good, standard yarn - 25% wool and at a really good price - £2.53 for 100g and we sell loads of it.

We also had more 400g balls of Aran, which are selling really well at the moment - obviously lots of people challenging themselves with complicated cables.

We also had more Pure Luxury Merino, which is a lovely Merino yarn and is, I think, what I'm going to knit G's school sweater in. Also, stock of Brushstrokes, and Signature, which I'm hankering to knit something with when I have a spare few hours.

So, what are you knitting, Julia, I hear you cry - now that you've finished the long overdue Gansey.

Well, in the shop in my few spare minutes I'm knitting socks for my Dad's birthday out of Zig Zag. Fortunately he's not on the net so I'm not ruining any surprise by saying that. Also his birthday is at the end of May so, for once, I've given myself plenty of time - almost to the heel of the first sock.

At home I'm running up very quick, small, fiddly baby shoes from the new Debbie Bliss Eco Cotton so they're done by the time the yarn is in stock (the rep gave me a ball - nice chap). For such small things they're taking an amazing amount of knitting - is it me?

Then I'm going to resist the urge to hit the stash and knit a stash busting jacket and I'm going to be good and design a hot water bottle cover in Cornish Organic's Peruk. FB has space dyed a batch for me (currently drying in from of the Aga - cats delighted at such a beautiful play thing) so the design is in my head, needs to be charted out, swatched and then started. If I'm lucky that'll be a happy Sunday afternoon. You may ask why I'm doing that in March just as the weather is starting to improve and it's because, like Dad's Socks, I'm giving myself time. We may well offer the design to a magazine and they work months ahead so I'm thinking late summer/autumn already - see - getting organised and thinking ahead!

The "getting organised" me for 2010 is still on track and it's already month three!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010


Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

Manic day today - huge order in from Stylecraft (9 sacks) - check out the stock levels and order now to avoid disappointment! Some new colours as well so watch this space!

Monday, 1 March 2010

Ta Da!

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

Ta Da!! -

and the back:

I didn't take part in an Olympic knitting challenge this year but I could have done. Finished last night just before the ice hockey final. (I know nothing about ice hockey but it was really exciting!). 7 years on the needles (give or take), a 5 (nearly 6) year break in the middle and it's finally done and I'm wearing it today. In answer to yesterday's comment - Cornish Organic isn't as itchy as pure wool 5ply - think I'll wear a polo neck under it next time!

We fiddled and diddled in the shop yesterday working out new display boards and putting things on the walls (tricky to do with customers coming and going). You forget how it was before so here to remind you - before:

and after:

and, with the blind down:

The observant amongst you will spot the Cornish flag made out of balls of wool (Cornish Organic, obviously) in the window. It's St Piran's day this week (patron saint of Cornwall) so there's a parade on Friday with all the school children and all the shops in Causewayhead have black and white (St Piran's colours) and black and gold (Cornish colours) in their windows. All the wool in our window is Cornish, obviously.

Speaking of Cornish and Cornwall, G ran for Cornwall on Saturday! It was a lovely day but the course was really muddy. He came 18th out of about 55, which was fantastic, in a race which included competitors from Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Avon, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. He was also the 1st boy in Cornwall (by quite a margin - the next Cornwall runner came in 41st). We were/are very proud and, as he doesn't go to any of the Cornish Athletics clubs, I think the Cornwall coaches wondered where he'd popped up from! Here he is, mid run, in his black and gold strip:

This is the "before" photo - G on the right!: