Category Archives: Knitting

British Wool Advent Calendar

For a few months now, I’ve been working towards selling my own hand dyed yarn. Finally, I’ve begun to do this! My first major product that I’m selling is my British Wool Advent Calendar which you can buy here at Etsy for £36.

British Yarn Advent Calendar


From the 1st to the 25th December there is a parcel to open every day. There are 10 that each contain 10g of hand dyed British 4ply yarn, one for Christmas Day that contains 50g of hand dyed British 4ply yarn, and 14 craft related treats and gifts.

Please take a look, and if you have any questions or comments don’t hesitate to contact me.

Tour de Sock 2015 – (Or 2 months of crazy sock knitting)

You may recall if you are a regular reader that last year I took part in a competition called Sock Madness. This year I decided not to do that. However I couldn’t go a whole year without entering some sort of mad knitting competition so I entered Tour de Sock instead. It runs along side the Tour de France, hence its name. There are 6 stages, each lasting 10 days, and the idea is to finish your pair of socks within that time. The quicker you finish, the more points you get. There is also a team option (which I decided to go for) in which 7 of you try and get as many points as possible for the team. The first 5 to finish each stage get their points counted. You get bonus points for using sponsor yarn or doing little extra tasks.

The first stage began on 1st June at 2.30pm. The pattern is Virrat and is fairly simple but a little tedious. I chose to knit it using some John Arbon Alpaca Sock in the Rose colour. I finished it  on 3rd June at 8.30pm and finished 63rd out of 330 entrants which I’m pretty pleased with, although I think I could have finished sooner if work hadn’t gotten in the way. Total knitting time was about 22 hours. During the 54 hours between pattern release and completion I knit for 22 hours, worked for 16 hours, travelled for 3 hours, prepared/ate food/did general stuff required to live for 2 hours, and slept for about 11 hours. I think I used my time pretty efficiently.


The next stage, which began on 11th June at 6.30pm, was a little more conveniently timed for me. I only had 8 hours of work spread over the two following days, plus 4 hours of travel. The pattern is Far into the Forest and I used some yarn I bought from Lidl a long time ago. I completed in on 14th June at 2am. It took a lot more work than the first stage but the result was fabulous. I finished 20th out of 196 that finished the pattern on time. Unfortunately these socks don’t fit.

Far into the Forest

The third stage began on 21st June at 2.30pm with the pattern Touring Bubbles. The pattern was inspired by the fact that the riders get a glass of champagne on the morning of the final race. I had some champagne so I had some fun with the photos. For this I used some West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in the Pennyroyal colour. I finished this stage at 12.15am on the 23rd June so it didn’t take me very long. I would have finished quicker but I had work on the 22nd. I came 52nd out of 284 finishers.

Touring Bubbles

The fourth stage started on 1st July at 2.30am. The pattern is From a Distance. I used some yarn  I dyed myself. Unfortunately I had work on the day of the pattern release and then every day until 5th July which is when I finally finished at 7.30pm. I didn’t have to use beads on the whole sock but gained a bonus point for doing so. I finished 63rd out of 188 finishers which surprised me considering how long I took. The photo is awful. I couldn’t get the socks to lay flat and I can’t put them on because the cast on is two tight. The second of two pairs that don’t fit, but only a small modification required.

From a Distance

The penultimate stage began with the pattern Ophidia on 11th July at 11.30am. I was at work so couldn’t start knitting until about 5pm. I was then also at work for the following days. I finished it at 7.25am on 14th July finishing 40th of 152. For this stage I used some more yarn I dyed.


The final stage was perfectly timed for me. It was released at 11pm on 21st July, right in the middle of my week off. I spent the day relaxing with a friend (picking our own fruit then turning it into some rather delicious jam) as she is a doctor and was working nights. Then when the pattern, Nordic Stripes, was released I began knitting. And I didn’t stop knitting until 7.30pm the next day, gaining me 12th position out of an unknown amount of finishers (the competition doesn’t end until the 31st). This was also my favourite pattern and I’m quite tempted to knit it again sometime. I used all sorts of random bits of yarn I had (and still have plenty of!).

Nordic Stripes

My team is set to come 4th of all the teams in Tour de Sock, which is a perfectly respectable result for a group of working people and mums with a lot of other things going on in their lives.


Day 5 of the blogging from A to Z challenge. E is for Ease.

In many knitting patterns, especially for garments, there is a word that a lot of people don’t seem to understand, and that word is ease. So today I thought I’d take the time to do a quick guide about what it means.

Garments either have positive, negative, or no ease. Positive ease means the garment is a little (or sometimes more in the case of a slouchy jumper) bigger than your measurements, negative means it’s smaller than your measurements so will stretch to fit you, and no ease means it’s exactly the same so should fit like a glove.

Here’s a handy diagram to try and describe this a bit better. It shows your measurements (black) compared to the garment’s measurements (green).


The problem a lot of people have is that various terminology for ease is used in patterns. For example the pattern could say that the garment has built in ease. This means you don’t have to worry about it, just pick the size that most closely matches your measurements because the designer has taken ease into account and done all the calculating. If you pick the size closest to yours, the finished garment will come out with the ease that the designer intended, so either a little bigger or a little smaller than you. Sometimes however, the pattern mentions how the garment should fit, ie. knit with positive ease. In this case you will have to knit the size or two bigger than your measurements to end up with a finished garment with the intended ease.

I hope this clears up some confusion on the subject. Please do comment if you have any questions.

Rosie’s Moments Yarn

Back in September at Bristol Wool Fair, I bought some yarn from Rosie’s Moments. It’s British, reasonably priced and she uses wonderful colours.

At the beginning of this year she started making limited (around 20) monthly mystery boxes. I managed to resist in January and February, but by the March box I realised I had to try one. I nearly missed out as she sold out before I had chance to buy one, but luckily for me and a few others she made up a few extra. This time I jumped on the chance and I am so glad I did!

Around pancake day there was a giveaway on the Rosie’s Moments Facebook page. All I had to do was tell everyone what my favourite pancake topping is. So I did (apricot fromage frais if anyone is interested). A few days later it turned out that I was the winner! Yay!

The spring box and the prize arrived together. The box was fantastic. In it was yarn, chocolate, some yummy lemon soap, a notebook, a stitch holder, some stitch markers, some buttons and a little electronic tea light. And of course attached to the yarn was a little bag of lavender as always. (Turns out I’m not so allergic to lavender any more, which is quite good really with the amount I now have!) Edit: There was also a coaster which I forgot as it was on the table when I was taking pictures!

Rosie's Moments Spring Mystery Box

The yarn is 4ply, 20% alpaca, 60% merino and 20% nylon so is very soft. The colours are very spring like, (the colourway is called ‘Cute Lambs and Spring Flowers’) and remind me of the crocuses and daffodils that are the first sign of spring.

Rosie's Moments Cute Lambs and Spring Flowers

The prize was more than I imagined. I was expecting a skein of yarn and no more. How wrong I was! Instead, she sent me yarn, a project bag, some lip balm, some KnitPro DPNs, a notebook and a bath bar.

Rosie's Moments Giveaway

The yarn is called Forest Floor and is 4ply, 75% merino, 20% nylon and 5% stellina sparkle. It’s really pretty and I’m thinking of pairing it with the dark green I bought from her at Bristol Wool Fair.

Rosie's Moments Forest Floorrosiesmomentsfern

So, if you want some yarn that’s bright and colourful, and want to buy it from a wonderful person, check out Rosie’s Moments. She also attends various events, and will be at the Bristol Wool Fair again this year.

In a final note, have you noticed that my photos are somewhat improved in quality (apart from the dark green yarn, that was taken a while ago)? My dad gave me his Canon EOS 50D after buying an upgraded model for himself, and although I am nowhere near knowing how to use it to its full potential I think it’s already improved my photos. It did take an awful lot of experimentation and manual reading to get them though!

Business – Can I run a wool shop?

A lot has happened since my last post, the details of which I won’t go into. I’m back though, and in April you can expect a post nearly every day as I’ll be taking part in the A to Z blog challenge. Then in May I’ll be taking part again in the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, so there’s a lot to look forward to!

I’m currently in the middle of making a big decision. A wool shop nearby is for sale, along with all its stock. It’s basically an entire established business for sale. We were driving past it when I noticed it for sale, and being curious I looked it up. It’s only £15,000 and has a turnover of £51,000 apparently. I don’t know any other details yet and I’m debating whether it’s worth asking. The idea of running my own wool shop is wonderful, if somewhat scary. I’ve also thought up so many ways I could improve on what’s there and increase the customer numbers. I have the people skills, I certainly have the interest and knowledge of the stock.

On the other hand, can I commit to it? I wouldn’t be able to afford staff at first so would have to be there all the time, and I imagine the amount of paperwork and stress involved would be huge. I also don’t have £15,000, which is another slight problem. The question is, are there more positives than negatives, and would the business continue to be profitable straight away?

An Update

I haven’t forgotten this blog, I’ve just had very little time. However now I have lots of things I want to write about so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to keep up with this a bit more!

I only have one main finished project, and that’s the cardigan from NaKnitMo. I love it, it’s warm and cosy and I’ve basically been using it as a coat. The pattern is Velvet Morning and I used Wendy Traditional Aran (which I believe is British). Sorry about the bad picture quality.

Velvet Morning Cardigan

I didn’t knit much in December, just started a pair of thick socks from the leftovers of my cardigan. I’ve almost finished them now, and once I have it’s time to get back into proper knitting again.

In December, Nick from UdellGames and I got engaged. I’m planning to knit a shawl for me, and shawls for my bridesmaids. The pattern I picked for my shawl is Sheherazadeshetla and I’m using Jamieson & Smith’s Shetland Supreme 1ply, which has 1600m per 100g. It’s really thin, but the small bit I’ve knitted so far is coming out really well. It was important to me to use British wool, and I wanted a natural but pure white, and this was the closest I could find.

Finally, as a birthday present for me, and an engagement present for the both of us, Nick and I bought a Kenwood Chef Titanium. So far we’ve made ice cream, short crust pastry, soda bread and some bread using ground almonds instead of flour, and have been impressed by it all. We only got it on Tuesday. Now that I’m used to it, I plan on making up some of my own recipes, so look out for them in the future.

In 2015 I have some big plans. Not only am I knitting my wedding shawl and bridesmaids’ shawls, I’m also going to try and knit a pair of socks per month (I managed 11 1/2 pairs of socks last year!), plus I want to knit at least one cardigan, a scarf/shawl or two for me and probably various other small things. I’m also going to finish sewing my big fancy project bag, and learn how to sew clothes properly. That should give me plenty of material to post at least once a week for the foreseeable future. Oh, and we also plan on getting a dog, as soon as we can find one that’s suitable.

In December my working hours got doubled. This has made me value my free time a bit more though so I’m actually managing to get more done than before.

So, that’s the plan, let’s see if I can actually stick to it this time!