Sunday, 6 December 2015

Obsessive Compulsive Knitting

I had planned to write last weekend but I was completely absorbed in my knitting.
Since I last wrote to you, which must be nearly a month ago now, I've been busily knitting on mKAL's. It's the first time I've ever managed to keep up with them.

I did try to knit along with the Advent  Calendar Scarf 2011 KAL. It's a lovely idea. Every day in December a pattern is released to knit, typically it's only about 40 rows, and there's a repeated pattern that separates each day. I tried to keep up, but it's a really busy time and I fell further and further behind! I failed. I tried again in 2012 and failed again. The scarves everyone made were gorgeous and there were so many proud folk wearing their scarves on Christmas day. Me? I think my 2013 effort is still languishing somewhere waiting to be frogged. So I decided that mKAL's just aren't for me.

Then Wooley Wormhead emailed me with notification of this year's mKAL hat-a-long. A hat is a teeny tiny project. I thought I had a fighting chance of keeping up. I did!!! I love the results, I did leave off the pom-pom though. I'm not a pom-pom kind of gal.
I love the fit of this hat, the split brim means it sits wonderfully low on my head even when I have my hair in a pony tail.

And because why would you knit one mKAL when you can knit two.......... Stephen West started his annual mKAL. I must confess that I didn't pay much attention to it at the start. I do like some of his older patterns, but his more recent designs have been a little 'out there' for my tastes. Then people started posting their progress pictures on Instagram. The pattern 'The Doodler' looked so lovely in myriad variations. I just had to cast on. I was a week behind but I didn't care! I picked my yarn and set off. I can tell you now that the pattern is completely released it's a wonderful mix of short rows and streaks of colour. Clue 2 included a massive cable. I must confess to being rather nervous that the 37 stitch cable would snap my wooden needles - it was tight!!

I love the results, I finished it last Tuesday, blocked it over night and proudly wore it to work on the Wednesday. I've had lots of lovely comments about it since.

All this mKAL knitting has meant that bugger all got done! I mean nothing!!!! My housework has been done only in such a manner as the house wouldn't be condemned as insanitary. Food was prepared after a fashion - there was a lot of re-heating going on!! 

Then a few days ago my mum rang me and booked a visit next weekend to exchange Christmas gifts!!! EEEEKKKK!!!! 

I hadn't even thought about Christmas! I mean, I have been picking up bits and bobs as I've seen them, but I haven't put serious effort into preparing. 
Shine on!!! This time in 3 weeks it'll all be over bar the fighting!!!

I need to get a wiggle on!!

In other news the weather has been wreaking havoc. The past 48 hours have been horrendous. Over in the UK the Met Office has decided it would be a cunning plan to name storms. Well, I wish they'd pack it in. We're only up to D in the alphabet and each one has been worse than the last. I'm sure the storms have gotten worse since they started naming them!! 
Any how, storm Desmond has ruined many thousand's of peoples' Christmas. In Cumbria the Met Office issued a Red Severe Weather warning for rain and an Amber Severe Weather Warning for wind yesterday and today. I've not seen anything like it for years. 

Friday night was the Awards Evening and Christmas dinner for the Archery club Ben and I are members of. It was held in a hotel about 30 miles north of me out in the country. As I left work on Friday night the wind was picking up and the police were asking people not to travel if they could avoid it. I really didn't want to miss the dinner and I didn't want to lose the money I'd paid for the meal, but at the end of the day it was cheaper to lose that money than replace the car! If it was summer time and I didn't have to drive all that way in the dark, I might have given the trip a go. As it stood, I didn't want to turn a corner on a twisty, narrow country road and find a tree or a flood in the dark. So I stayed at home.

Yesterday is my usual day to do the grocery shop. I looked out of my window and couldn't see Penrith for the rain coming down. I said to Matthew I'd better go in the landrover as the Met Office and the Highways Agency were both saying that travelling conditions had worsened overnight. Matthew very kindly said he'd take me shopping.

We left at about 11:30 and the water had already overwhelmed the land drains on the site. As we travelled into town, there was a significant flood on the road, but we were ok in the Landie. I wouldn't have liked to make the journey in my car! We were only in town for an hour, but what a difference in that hour! 
Sorry for the poor quality of the photos, but we where driving over the bridge, so we couldn't really slow down for a proper shot.

The River Eamont broke it's bank on the Penrith side and was lapping at the houses closest to it, the flood on the road got significantly worse, and the land drains on our site completely gave up making our access road into a new river. We've just collectively spent thousands of pounds replacing those drains and resurfacing the roads. Well, now all that new lovely road is in a culvert at the end of the site! It's carnage.

As the day progressed the weather worsened, reports on the net told of flooding in the local towns, Keswick flood defences failed, as did Cockermouth, Kendal and Carlisle. The damage is horrendous. Thousands of people have been evacuated and their homes ruined.

This is Appleby the river should be behind the white houses!

This is Keswick before the flood defences gave up completely. You can see the water just starting to overflow the walls

 Discretion is the better part of valour and I decided it wasn't worth venturing out last night for Ben's karate Christmas party either.

Our social lives have gone from hero to zero in 48 hours!! 

I am eternally grateful that we have been spared damage, and hopeful that the community can club together to fix what's broken. We've done it before, we'll do it again. Suffice to say tomorrow will be a difficult day at work I think!!!

This morning the dog still needed to be walked so I put on my walking boots and ventured out.

When the dog's gotta go, the dog's gotta go!

Water levels have dropped significantly but all this gravel should be surfacing the road further up the valley!
The water is up to Murphy's chest here. He was unimpressed. 

That lake isn't supposed to be there. That's the run off from the valley. 

Feeling the Love - 

I've already told you about my FO's and what I've been mainly working on these last few weeks, but let me fill in some blanks.

I'd originally promised to clear my WIP's and I have worked on Leftie some..... but not a whole lot! I've added a grand total of five more leaves it! I'm almost half way I think judging by the look of the ball I'm using to knit the leaves.

I also culled a project. While I was waiting for the boys to finish faffing so we could go on holiday back in May I cast on my Thankful shawl using some handspun. The handspun I picked was a cobweb laceweight I spun from LongDrawJames on etsy (I don't think he's dying at the moment). It was one of the first things I made and I didn't have the sense to record much vital information about it! I have no idea what the fibre content is, possibly polworth. All I know is that I got 1200 yards!! 

Originally I decided to knit about half the weight of the yarn into the body and then start the lace patterning. I must confess to giving up on that idea when my stitch count on the body got over 300! I decided to change to the lace work early. The more I worked on it, the more I didn't like what I  was looking at. I went down to 3.5mm needles because the yarn was so fine, but even so, I didn't like the fabric. So I ripped it out. Carefully!!! Ripping out handspun is no fun people!!!

Then of course I had the dilema of what to make with the yarn now! I certainly didn't want to re-skein it and put it back into stash. The whole idea of casting the thing on was to use up my oldest handspun.  
I searched Ravelry for a shawl in cobweb weight that took my fancy and I came up with Happily Ever After by Meilindis. It's a delightful half pi shawl based on Elizabeth Zimmerman's formula. I love how the various patterns flow into each other and the leaf edging is gorgeous. The projects online are stunning and I knew it had to be mine. I bought the pattern (a measly £3.55 - all that work for so little money, Meilindis has sold herself short!!) and immediately I  started to read through....



There are nupps!!!!!!!!! I hate nupps!!!!!!!!!!

I've tried a few times to get along with nupps, but they just want to break my needles!! They are evil!!!

But I'm determined not to be disheartened. I will once again try the nupp. And if they defeat me, I will replace the little swines with beads!! This shawl will be mine!!!

One day!

I've also worked on the yellow and blue socks I told you about last time. I'm really taken with how they're knitting up. I really need to get a wiggle on and get them finished before Christmas but things just keep distracting me!!

I also had a plea from one of the girls at work, her grandson needed a hat. A pom-pom hat to be specific! Do you remember my comment at the beginning of this post? I'm REALLY not a pom-pom kinda gal! Not only do I not wear pom-poms, I don't make them either! In my opinion they're an abject waste of yarn! But how could I say no?!

I found a nice pattern on Rav Cute Mock Cable Hat. It comes in 4 sizes and is well written. It took me all of half a day to knit the smallest size and one whole evening of grumbling and trimming to make the pom-pom

I do have concerns that the weight of that pom-pom might give the little boy neck ache! But we'll see. If push comes to shove I can make another, smaller one! In my defence Teddy's mum did say she wanted a big pom-pom. 

Now that the KAL's are finished I was quite content to work on my WIP's. I thought I'd crack out the granny square blanket that's been ongoing for a good year now if not longer. I'm making lots of little squares from 3 different colours of aran weight and my plan is to edge them all with a fourth colour and crochet them together using that colour too. I'm working my way through the second of the three 500g balls - I think I'm well over half way through it. I love that I can wip up a square in 5 minutes flat! I'm trying to resist the urge to start edging them. 

My original plan was to make all the squares, throw them all in a big bin liner to mix them up and then just take one at a time, edge it and sew it together with the next one. I want the colours to be as random as I can make them. I know that if I'm not careful I'll try to make a pretty pattern and then I'll be there all day trying to decide which colour to use next!!

So there I was merrily crocheting away and then...... BAM!!!!!!....... I wound up casting on another shawl! 
Don't judge me!! It's a mission of mercy. A friend of mine needs a new shawl. Who am I to leave a person in need? It had to be done!!

So I cast on Descent Into Madness by Josh Ryks. His patterns are gorgeous, I've been eyeing them up for a while, so I have to confess it didn't take much time to decide to cast on. I've named the project Madness Healed on my Ravelry board and I really hope I can get it off to the recipient sooner rather than later.I started last night and I'm thoroughly enjoying the knit. The shawl starts with garter stitch colourwork and then progresses into a slipped stitch pattern. It's edged with an icord which gives the shawl great lines and form. While knitting The Doodler I learned to hide my ends in the icord so that's my plan for this project too. At the moment there aren't many ends, but I'm carrying the yarn I'm not using up inside the icord too. If there's a way to avoid weaving in ends I'm all for it!! Huzzah!

On the Horizon - 

As Christmas approaches we go into silly season at work. The pharmacy will be closed for 4 days in a row and many of my customers are convinced that disaster will strike and therefore they must order in every medication they possibly can - just in case! This means that over the next few weeks my workload will double, my start time will get earlier and my lunch breaks will dissapear. Consequently my knitting time will become more scarse and much more precious. 
I really do need to finish those socks, but if push comes to shove the loveley lady in question is OK with an IOU! I'd really rather not have to wrap them still on the needles, but hey ho!

I want to make good progress with Madness healed.

So my priorities are now the socks and the shawl. Then after that, I'll finish that bloody Leftie!! If it kills me!! 


I've had a cunning plan.

A week or so ago I had an email from Susan Pandorf - you know, the clever lady behind the awesome Even Star and the epic In Dreams shawls. She as released another pattern! It's called Hymn Muil and it's gorgeous!!! It's a triangular shawl worked side to side with no beads but plenty of lace!

So here's my plan - why don't we cast it on together!? It was New Year's Day 2013 when I started Evenstar, so why not cast on Emyn Muil this New Year's Day 2016?
Go on!!!......... You know you want to!
Head over to the Evenstar KAL group on Ravelry and say hello, join in, cast on.
Once again this a no pressure KAL there's no time scale, the group only serves to cheer you on, cheer you up and cheer your results at the end.
Wish me luck

Have a lovely few weeks,
I hope to have another post up before Christmas, but don't hold your breath!

Ellen x 

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Bet You Weren't Expecting This!

To be fair, neither was I.

I'd always planned to blog today, I think I've decided that fortnightly works for me, but I wasn't sure I'd actually put fingers to keyboard!

I've pottered about over the last 2 weeks, being kind to my back and not really being very active. This is bad for the weight loss and good for my back to heal. So today I plan to get back in the pool. I had planned to go earlier in the week, but I really wasn't confident that I could haul my arse back out of the water once I got in! 

I'd been really nervous about getting on the scales. Three weeks of inactivity was going to take it's toll and I was not looking forward to finding out how much damage had been done.  As it turns out I've put on just 2 pounds. I'm happy with that. It could have been so much worse! Now I just have to get back into the swing of things and get those 2lb shifted.

This weekend has been a real worry. Ben has been felled by a particularly nasty virus.  He told me he was sick on Friday morning. Being the good mother I am, I said "That's nice, what do you want for breakfast?" He said he'd have coco pops. I told him to get his uniform on - after all, if you can eat breakfast, you can go to school! Turns out he was actually ill and not wanting to skive off school on a Friday! I got a phone call in work at about 11am asking me to take him home, he wasn't well.  Oops! 

He was nodding off in the car, I dropped him at his Nana's and he slept all day. He slept all Saturday too. This morning I tempted him out of bed with some lentil soup. So hopefully he's on the mend, his throat is still sore, but he's looking better.

Autumn is here with a vengence. The rain has been biblical today and the trees are looking more naked today than they did yesterday. The wind and rain has beaten the leaves from their branches. 
While I walked the dog for a walk yesterday I found this - 

Itsn't it pretty? I have been looking for edible 'shrooms to no avail.

Feeling the love - 

A good while back a bought an antique carbouy from one of the girls at work. It has to be a good 40 years old, if not more. It was used to store distilled water in the pharmacy. I knew I had to have it as soon as she brought it in. I had no idea what I wanted to do with it, but I wanted to keep this piece of pharmacy history. 
Now, my house is tiny. I mean really small! So buying 'stuff' that serves no purpose than to take up space and generally create clutter is not a good plan. This glass jar isn't small either! It's 18 inches tall and 34 inches in diameter. It's a wonderful tear-drop shape and is hand blown so there are imperfections in the glass. Syl had kept it in her loft for years and had tried to make a terrarium out of it so it was a tad mucky inside. I brought it home and Matthew just raised his eyebrows and sighed. Then I dropped the bombshell on him that I wanted him to turn a wooden stand for it! He sighed again. He had a look at his turned pieces on our side board and suggested I use a bowl he'd already made. I wasn't keen, because they're all quite deep and I wanted the tear-drop shape to be seen and celebrated rather than hidden in it's stand. Then I turned it upside down, so that the neck of the carbouy was inside the bowl. We had a collective light bulb moment! It looked just like a giant light bulb!!!! So, I bought some LED Christmas tree lights and hey presto!!

Isn't it fab? Matthew says he'll drill a hole in the bottom of the bowl so that the wire can come out there rather than sticking up out of the side as it is now, but I'm really rather taken with it!

On the crafting front, I've been a good girl and a bad girl!  Remember last time I told you I wanted to clear my ridiculous WIP list?

Let's start by what was missing from the WIP photo last week.

had been working on a jumper. A while ago I dyed up some yarn to make Hana Hou.  I got almost the whole garment done when I ran out of yarn. Unfortunately, I couldn't get any more of the base to dye up another skein. So I thought I'd knit the next size down. I have lost weight after all and the cardigan is a chunky, loose knit. I set about knitting Hana Hou again. The snag is that when I dyed the yarn, I split it into 2 saucepans. They conducted heat differently and the yarn came out 2 slightly different shades - one was more blue than the other. Because of this I knit with 3 balls of yarn. Usually when you're using hand dyed yarn, alternating 2 skeins is sufficient to stop colour pooling and obvious ball changes. I swatched with 2 balls and found the fabric to be too stripy for my liking. So I tried 3 balls. It worked a treat, the fabric was lovely. The snag is that alternating 3 skeins is a faff. Progress was slow and arduous. It got to the point that I really didn't enjoy the knit. I frogged. I have a different yarn for Hana Hou, so one day I'll cast it back on.
I wandered Ravelry to find a sweater with the yardage I had.  I found Carrie. I loved the chunky cowl neck and the simple diamond patterning on the body to break the monotony of so much stocking stitch. I cast it on at the beginning of October and was working on it steadily. I alternated 2 skeins and was desperate to finish. The bonus of being laid up for so long meant I rattled through and got it finished within a month!

I'm really happy with the end result.

I've worked on some of the massive WIP heap too! Jean's hat is finished. It was a challenging knit. Not difficult per se, but challenging. Sumner consists of tucks in the fabric. You work stocking stitch then a few rounds of purl. Next you pick up all of the stitches from the last stocking stitch round and knit these stitches together with the live stitches. The snag is that you pick up a hundred and odd stitches using a circular needle inside the hat. To start with I used a 2.5mm circular needle. 

This proved tricky. trying to pick up the stitches with the same size needle was tight. It took me an hour to work just one round! Time for a re-think. I was knitting the body on DPN's so the last round of stocking stitch I knit onto the circular, then I worked the first row of purls stitches by picking up a stitch off the circular and working back onto the DPN's while leaving the circular behind.

This meant that the stitches were ready on the circular needle waiting to be knitted together with the live stitches. This still took an hour to do. OK, so another re-think later and I decided to use a much smaller circular needle to pick up those pesky stitches - I used a 2mm circular instead and things progressed much more quickly. Don't get me wrong, it was still fiddly, but I got quicker with each repeat.

I also had two pairs of socks on the needles. I wasn't overly feeling the love for either of them to be fair. The brown ones with the travelling purl stitch had more mistakes than enough. In the end I frogged them both. I cast on something new. Yes, yes!! I know I said I was clearing the WIP's but in my defense it was a net decrease of ONE project! I cast on iSanquar by Nathan Taylor. I've been watching his videos on YouTube and thoroughly enjoyed them. Nathan's thing is double knitting, his patterns are awesome. One day I will give it a whirl, but in the mean time, I had 2 balls of sock yarn and an itch for colourwork. I had ripped out Jean's colourwork hat because it drove me mad, but I had this itch and it just wouldn't go away. 

I had to modify the pattern significantly because Nathan wrote it for the smaller iPhone 5. I'd just upgraded mine to the 6s plus so it's wider and much longer. I charted my pattern and set off. Using the brown as the base colour and the Opal self patterning yarn for the colourwork. 
Use self patterning sock yarn for colourwork!!!!!

Can you see the purple?
You can't!!! Honestly!! The purple as exactly the same colour value as the brown so it blends in a treat!!! Which...... funnily enough, wasn't the look I was going for!!! GGGRRRR  
Having said that I persevered. After all, it's just for me and it was my first real attempt at patterned colourwork. 
As a little aside - Sanquhar is a town just into Scotland which is famous for having the oldest working post office in the world, but also for their two-coloured patterned gloves. Traditionally the gloves are black and white or navy and cream, but other colours have been used too. The patterns are all named e.g the Midge and the Fly, The Duke, Shepherd's Paid and Rose. The gloves are typically knit on very small needles usually less than 2mm in diameter.

My phone sock was worked on a 2mm circular Knit Pro symphonie wooden needle. It turns out that my tension is far too tight and I managed to snap the thing! Thankfully I had a metal Addi 2mm needle to use instead. I was very good, weaving in my floats on the back. I kept sizing up the work and trying it on my phone. I quickly realised that the colourwork was once again really tight and things were going to be very snug. I knew that I couldn't increase the number of stitches because that would have made the sock too big and the patterns look out of place, so I prayed that a good hard block would cure my sizing issues. And what do you know!? A bar of Lindt chocolate is just the right size to block an iPhone sock on!

You really can't see the details of the patterns thanks to that pesky Opal yarn, but at the top, below the ribbing are my initials! Honestly!!!

Still, for a first attempt I'm happy with it. I do think I'll be knitting another mind you. I'll use two solid colours this time and I might go up a needle size to try and make the tension a little less dense.  I'll also try really hard to relax, hopefully that should loosen things up a tad too.

Now here comes the confession - 

I may have cast on a lot of things I shouldn't! 

I was feeling the Nathan love and cast on Wuppertal. I used that pesky Opal yarn held double to make a DK-ish weight. Nathan says he knit his in 4 hours on a coach trip, mine took a little longer than that, but I'm happy with the results. It's going in the Christmas gift drawer. I made the ribbing a deeper than the pattern called for and I'm glad I did as it would have been rather neat otherwise.

Again, that self patterning yarn means you can't make out the details of the pattern, but there's a rather nice cabled section on the hat. It made the knitting fly with a short 4 round repeat, before I knew it, I was done!

That's not all........ I may have cast on Woolly Wormhead's mystery hat too. I cracked out the first clue in an evening. I'm using left over yarn from my Carrie jumper and I'm loving the texture of the garter stitch. I decided that I wasn't going to alternate the 2 shades this time, mainly because I've no idea how the hat is constructed, so I don't know how easy alternating skeins is going to be. Instead I've decided that I'll alternate for a few rows before I need to join new yarn.

Spoiler alert!!!!

Well, to be fair, it could be anything so hopefully it's not too much of a spoiler!! I won't be posting more photos though, until all the clues are released.

Not content with casting on 2 new projects and not touching any of my languishing WIP's I cast on another!!!!! (hangs head in shame)

How could I resist though!? Mel is hosting a KAL in her 6 Bits Storybooks group on Ravelry. It has to be the most laid back KAL in history. Knit something from her Unearth magazine... or not! Yes, you read correctly. The KAL runs from the 2nd November to the 2nd January; start to knit one of the patterns from the magazine with no pressure to finish. Post your progress in the group and you could win goodies. If you finish, great! If not, great!! If you just cheer folk on using Instagram, great!! You are entered for a prize even if you don't knit a stitch and cheer for everyone else! How cool is that?

I cast on the Unearth Mitts. I used some Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply in a rather sweet dusty lilac colour. To my mind it's rather pink, but the ball band assures me the colour is lilac. The mitts have a really interesting construction being knit flat, seamed and then the cuff is worked in the round. I had them cast off within 3 days, and those were working days mind you - there was less than 10 hours work in them. I love them. They're gorgeous, so sweet. Despite how they look in the photo, they are the same length! Promise.

Last weekend I went to walk the dog, recently I've been yomping the dog - the poor thing has to really run to keep up - his little, short legs mean that my brisk walk is a flat run for him! Last weekend though, my back was still feeling a tad fragile, so I decided that I'd knit and walk.

Disaster!!!!! I had no socks on the needles! After all, I'd frogged the only 2 pairs I was working on. I knew I didn't want to knit commercial yarn so I dug out a bright skein from my happy skein pile. It's from A Stash Addict who isn't dying at the moment. 

It's a lovely BFL/nylon blend in the Tripping Peacock colourway.

It's lime green and a teal/blue colour. I was a bit concerned as I caked the yarn. I untwisted the skein and put it on my swift. I'm careful about undoing knots on the ties rather than cutting them off because I have been known to cut more than the tie (you aren't alone Mel!) When I removed the ties, I noticed a pale section on the yarn where the tie had been a bit too tight during they dying process.

I did worry that it would show up on the socks, but I needn't have done, they're working up well and I love the fact that the colours aren't pooling. I don't mind pooling, don't get me wrong, but I love how these colours are working together.

My caston-itis is assuaged. I have returned to the WIP's.

I have mostly knit on Leftie as I promised I would last time. I really should have counted my leaves so I know how much progress I've made. Doh!!

Ah well, I currently have 23, so now I can see just what progress I make when I next write. 

I've also picked up the Sun Rays shawl. I've done 2 rows and made no visual progress to speak of so there's no point really showing you a photo. Good lord it takes some knitting! Even the rest rows take ages to get around. I have a measly 960 stitches. The last round had a gut wobbling 2200!! What madness is this!?

There has been no love for any other projects. Oh...wait a minute, that's a lie.... I added ONE whole mitred square to my blanket. 

So that's all I have.

I promise to work on my WIP's and my waistline!

See you all next time

Ellen x 

Sunday, 25 October 2015


Well hello there good readers!

It's been far too long since I last wrote to you all. I wouldn't like to say that I'd given up on blogging, it's just that when I had something to say, I didn't have the time to tell you about it, and when I did have the time I didn't have the motivation.

However, I was chatting with Elly from the FO&Dye Podcast yesterday and she mentioned my blog. I immediately felt guilty for ignoring it for so long. 

So here I am. This edition is entitled 'Accountability' for more than one reason. Firstly my WIP list is getting silly and I need to get it under control. Second is slightly more important. As I write I'm lying in bed. It's 13:30 on a Sunday afternoon. I'm still in my jammies but I have been up and about, showered, fed assorted people and retired back to my bed. I'm not usually a person who would vegetate in bed for any length of time and I have a valid reason. Let me fill you in - 

Last Monday I got up and ready for work. As I pottered around getting my jobs done and chivvying the child up my back went. I couldn't believe it! The pain was like a girdle of fire around my midriff, it radiated down the backs of my legs and around the front of my thighs.
"Oh Dear" said Ellen (not really, the expletives were many and varied and utterly unpublishable!)
I hobbled to the car and drove to work. I thought I'd be ok, that I'd be able to walk it off - Nope, not a chance. By 9:10 I knew I was in trouble. I rang around and organised a locum to come up from Manchester to cover for me. By 11:45 I was flat on my back and I'd taken some codeine for the pain. Well, that was my week ruined! I continued with the codeine which doesn't agree with me and as the week progressed I could move more easily and I was back at work on Friday.

Now, I can't work and take pain killers so by the end of Friday I was in pure agony again. I went home, took more opiates and went to bed (with a glass of wine for anaesthetic purposes - don't judge!) I woke up on Saturday morning and felt OK. I got out of bed without needing to cry so I classed that as a win. I went to go my grocery shop and was very, very careful all the way around the supermarket. I got to the checkout, loaded the trolley onto the belt and was packing at the other end..... then BANG!!! My back went again while I was putting a shopping bag back into the trolley! I was completely incapacitated, I couldn't lift my arms enough to put groceries into the bags and certainly I couldn't put the bags into the trolley. The lovely ladies at Sainsbury's helped me greatly they packed my bags and my trolley and helped me out to my car loaded the boot. I have no idea how I got home. The pain was 100% worse than it was on Monday. Yesterday was horrendous. I took the codeine and it didn't touch the pain. This morning I gave in and took some Tramadol I'd been prescribed when my neck went a year or so ago. I didn't take many then because they REALLY don't agree with me. This morning, however, I knew I had to bite the bullet and take them. Now, the pain is tolerable and I can move. I'm having to change positions regularly else I set solid but I'm functioning.

So while I'm on the bed I thought I'd be productive and write to you. I'd like to think I can get back into the habit of writing to you with some degree of regularity. 

Back to accountability. I'm now over 40! I'm overweight! I'm over it!

I have been a yo-yo dieter for donkey's years now. I lost a significant amount of weight 7 years ago and then had surgery. I've managed to put all that weight (and a bit more for good measure) back on. I decided earlier in the year to shift the lard, but despite writing on the blog that I was going to get myself sorted, my head really wasn't in the right place. I woke up on the 1st of September and decided that I was doing it.

No messing

And I set about putting my life in order. I changed my eating habits and decided to get fit. I'm not following any particular diet or eating plan. At the end of the day the way to lose weight is to eat less and move more. So that's what I'm doing. I don't eat fatty food anyway, nor to I eat lots of sweet food. What I do do though is graze. I'm a bugger for snacking. I'll snack all day then eat a meal and not bat an eye lid. I also drink alcohol. I'm not an especially heavy drinker, but I am a regular one. 
I've cut out snacks and booze.
I'm not eating processed food at all.
I'm moving more too. To be honest just moving at all would be classed as an increase in my activity levels!!

I invested in an activity tracker. Specifically I got a Polar Loop. I picked this one because you can swim with it. My preferred exercise has always been swimming. I'm good at it and I enjoy it. I've made a conscious effort to move more on a day to day basis. Starting with the smallest of baby steps - parking at the far end of the car park. Parking out of town and walking into the town centre when I'm shopping. Little things which all add up to an increase in my general activity levels. I've also dug out
 my exercise DVD's. I have a couple of Devina Mccall's DVD's. I like her, she has a similar sense of humour to me and by the end of the workout she's a hot, sweaty mess who's gasping for air as much as I am. That makes me feel better about myself! I set my alarm for silly o'clock in the morning and I get up and workout every day. I never thought I'd say it, but it really sets me up for the day! 

The net effect of these changes is that I've lost 16 pounds in 8 weeks. I'm reasonably OK with that. I'd love it to be more, but I'm realistic that 2lb a weeks is acceptable and repeatable.  I'm worried though - I've effectively been laid up for a week now, with little to no activity at all. And I've cheated with what I've eaten too. I'll be honest - I'm a bugger for comfort eating. And I've been feeling really rather sorry for myself. Earlier in the week I was ok, I ate properly, but this weekend I've eaten badly. I ate pizza (it was sssooooo good!!) and I drank beer (also ssssoooo good!) I may have eaten chocolate...... and a doughnut..... and I made greek food last night and I didn't skimp on the olive oil!!!!! 
I'm dreading stepping on those scales tomorrow.

Still wondering where all this accountability comes in? I don't blame you really - I have been waffling! 

Here it is - I am going to get back on track tomorrow. 
I am going to blog and tell you all how I'm getting on with my weight loss
I would love it if you guys could keep me honest - chivvy me up when I need it.

I'm going to try to sort my crafting out too.

I had wanted to reduce my WIP list significantly.

Here is most of it. Starting top left - 
1) Jean's hat. This is the third attempt at this hat. I think it's nearly a year ago I promised her this hat. I started knitting Ilkley Moor by Ann Kingstone. It's a gorgeous hat from the Born & Bred collection. It calls for Titus from Baa Ram Ewe - a rather fabulous fingering weight alpaca/wool blend. The Ilkley Moor hat is heavily patterned with traveling twisted stitches and despite the fact that it's designed to be knitted in Titus, I wasn't happy. I chose the Eccup colour which is a dark teal. As I worked the hat, you just couldn't see the stitches. Titus has a gorgeous halo from the alpaca content and that, coupled with the dark saturated colour, meant those travelling stitches faded into the background. I wasn't feeling it.
So I ripped it out and decided on another hat. This time I went for Bedale by Rachel Coopey. A really rather lovely colourwork beanie. However..... it seems that stranded colourwork and I don't get on. I use both my hands to work the colours so I pick with my left hand and throw with my right. This means  I can get quite a wiggle on and make good progress. Snag is though, my tension is hugely different between each hand so the fabric just doesn't sit right. I don't know, maybe it would block out, but I doubt it. It didn't help that I kept making mistakes, so I spent almost as much time tinking back as I did knitting. In the end I decided that I was knitting far too much venom into this hat. It wouldn't do to give my MIL a hat that I'd knitted so much frustration into. Bad ju-ju I'm sure.
So I ripped it out and decided again!..... Third time's a charm yes? This time I'm knitting Sumner by Woolly Wormhead. It's a beautifully simple hat with an interesting construction. It comes from her Classic Woolly Toppers collection which is a great book. She starts the book with all the techniques you'll need to make the hats which follow. Sumner has a folded brim and rather lovely tucks worked into the body of the hat. I'm still on the brim, but I'm enjoying the knit so far.

2) Twilight - Yup, my second Leftie is still in it's bag. I can't remember when I last picked it up and worked on it! It's been on the needles since December last year and that's really too long! Once I'm done with Jean's hat, that's what's next on my hit list. It's not like I don't like working on it... it's just that new projects just keep cropping up that I want to work on more.

3) May Morning - This has been on the needles since May. It does feel the love on occasions, but it's 100% silk and sometimes my hands are too rough to work the yarn..... That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

4) Elly's Shiny - All you can see of this project is a cake of purple yarn and my wonderful Octopus bag it lives in. Elly is renewing her vows next year and I'm making a shawl for her to wear on the big day. I've still got plenty of time to knit this and I only work on it when my mind is fresh and clear. I don't want there to be any mistakes. I want it to be perfect. Elly doesn't want to see it until it's finished, so I won't be talking much about it until it's done and in her hands. Suffice to say it's laceweight, beaded and purple. Gorgeous!!! I'm enjoying working on it lots!

5) Thankful for Handspun - This is my Thankful shawl I cast on while I was waiting for the boys to stop faffing about so we could go on holiday back in May. I do the odd row here and there. It's laceweight so I made the body of the shawl much bigger than my pattern prescribed. I plan to work many more repeats of the lacework too. I'm just going to keep on going with it until I run out of yarn, or I get bored with it... whichever happens first.

6) Sun Rays shawl - This is now a project of epic proportions. I think I'm nearly halfway. I'm on the second to last chart and I'm up to about 1000 stitches around. If I remember correctly, I think the stitch count gets up to nearly 2500 towards the end. For this reason, work has effectively stopped. One round takes ages and it's not exactly portable any more. I do love this shawl, and I do want to finish it, but I lack motivation!

7) Mitred Square Sock yarn Blanket - This is an ongoing project I'm happy to spend years working on. I've been taking it to knit night recently and adding a few squares each week. I love how it's turning out and I'm content to keep chipping away at it until I decide it's big enough.

8+9) Socks - Two socks to be specific. Both of which I have no mojo to work on at all. The brown pair are a simple sock with a travelling purl stitch. I thought it would be a good plan to have a little bit of texture. Sadly I keep forgetting that purl stitch and so my lovely spirals I had envisioned, are a bit wobbly in places! The purple socks I cast on in a fit of pique a little while back. After a vile day at work I decided to cheer myself up by casting on some new socks with new needles from Dave and Elly on the FO&Dye podcast. It worked, I thoroughly enjoyed working on them. Here's the crunch though. I want to frog both of them. Because I want to try something else.......
I've been watching the Sockmatician Podcast. Nathan is a really talented man. He sings, acts and teaches and is utterly obsessed with Double Knitting. He has designed some truly stunning pieces. I'm up to episode 5 now and I'm desperate to cast on. I want to make his phone cover called iSanquhar. So I think I'll frog the socks and make the yarn into this double knitting project instead.

Don't be fooled into thinking that's all for my WIP's ladies and gentlemen!! Oh no!!!! I forgot to bring my granny square crochet blanket to photo and I haven't included the 3 spinning projects I have on the go.

The granny square blanket is another project I'm more than happy to keep chipping away at. I pick up my hook and crack out a couple of squares when the mood takes me. It might very well be years before I finish it, but I'm OK with that.

On the spinning front I have fluff on both of my turkish spindles. I have Nunoco samples on one, and some pale lilac fluff I can't remember anything about on another. My wheel has Nunoco top on at the moment I think it might be Cobweb, but don't hold me to that. I plan to make a 2ply out of it. It's been on the wheel since Tour de Fleece back in July and I need to get it finished so that I can finish the project I put on hold when TdF started. I started spinning a gorgeous braid of Merino/Tencel from FeltStudioUK. I bought it years ago from Woolfest and was too scared to spin the gorgeous colours. I decided to bite the bullet back in June and it's spinning up really thin. I knew I wanted to make something special with this yarn, so I didn't want to lose lots of yardage by chain plying it back on itself. I didn't want to get barberpoling so I didn't want to 2 ply it. In the end I found some rather gorgeous fibre at Woolfest this year from John Arbon. It's a gorgeous blend of Alpaca, Merino and Silk in shades of light grey. I'm hoping that the grey's will make the colours of the Merino/Tencel blend pop.

So - accountability with my WIP's

I want to clear off a WIP before I start a new project. Ideally I should clear off a couple before I start a new project, but some of those WIP's are big, complex knits......... and I may be wanting to join a few KALS in the near future!!! Mel has launched a new magazine called 6 bits Storybooks. There is a delightful mix of photography, knitting and words. She is having a KAL soon and there's a couple of projects I want to cast on.  Then there's Woolly Wormhead's mystery KAL. I have some worsted weight yarn I need to use up and this pattern will be perfect I think.

This has been an epic, wordy blog post and I'm sorry about that! I hope to have something slightly more visually stimulating for you next time! 

But it was good to catch up with you all!!

I promise to write again soon. I think I'll aim for at least monthly, hopefully fortnightly.

Thank you for sticking with me right to the bottom of the page!

Ellen x 

Monday, 1 June 2015

Greek Salad In Greece

I know it's been ages and I'm sorry.  I said a good while ago I'd post when I had something interesting to say. Well, there's been a few weeks I've sat down to talk to you guys, but I never get around to pushing the 'publish' button.  Then when I do think about publishing, I feel that it's been too long and I should start again.

And so the cycle continues!

So..... Today I plan to sit here with my brew, my blanket around my shoulders (it's chuffing freezing around these parts!!) and I'm going to tell you what I've been up to in the last week or so. Then I'm going to press publish. 

Those of you who follow me on Instagram may rapidly become bored because there will mostly be lots of photos of my jollydays!

In my defense, it's been a good 6 years since our last foreign holiday. This one was only made possible by the generosity of friends and family. To those people, I am eternally grateful. I feel rested and ready to face the world again.

Let me start at the beginning. 

A long time ago Matthew's parents had a yacht in Greece. Zipcode was a fabulous little craft which was moored in a town called Nidri on a little island in the Ionian called Lefkas. Now, most of you won't have heard of this place as a tourist spot and there's a very good reason for that. A rather rich man called Aristotle Onassis bought an island off the coast of Lefkas called Skorpios. Aristotle really rather valued his privacy especially when he got involved with a rather famous woman!
He encouraged the islanders not to chase the tourist Drachma by giving the island money.

Because of all of this, Lefkas is still a very 'Greek' island. Yes, there are hotels and tourists do visit, but there are strict rules governing the development of the island and it's still beautiful and relatively un-marred by it's visitors.

When we were young and fancy free, Matthew and I would holiday in Nidri for a couple of weeks during the summer. We'd buy a package holiday which gave us our own apartment and we'd sail with Matthew's parents on their boat. It's been 12 years now since we've been. Sailing (in my opinion anyway) doesn't go well with small children who have no sense of danger!!

In those 12 years much has happened. Matthew's parents sold their yacht and many of their friends who sailed the Ionian built villas in the area. One such couple are Barry and Trish. They're great folk. They sold up in the UK and moved to Meganissi, another island off the coast of Lefkas. Barry is a building contractor and a very tallented one at that. He built his villa and a little holiday house next door. Ever since then they've been saying we should come out and stay. It was such a generous offer, but life just didn't work out in such a way as we could go.

Well a few months ago while visiting Matthew's parents here in Cumbria, Barry and Trish said we were coming and that was that. I decided that by hook or by crook we would do it!

And so it came that on the 23rd of this month I was crossing things of my lists as I packed cases.... Oh! And I realised that we only had one suitcase! So on the Saturday before we flew out, I was in Penrith buying a new suitcase!!!


When we used to go on holiday, we always used to go to my Mum and Dad's, they'd give us a lift to the airport and pick us back up. So habits are hard to break, and we decided to do the same this time.

Saturday morning I packed all our things and then settled down to chill. I thought we were nearly ready to set off when Matthew declared he had to go to a friend's  to pick up some wood. Ooookkaaayyyy!!!! I thought. The only way to deal with this was to cake up some yarn I'd had my eye on and start a new project. Here is my reasoning for this - I'd made myself a promise that I wouldn't cast on any new projects until my WIP list was in single digits. BUT!!! I'd packed all the little projects to take on holiday! 

I'd been itching to cast on some hand spun for ages. I had 2 gorgeous skeins winking at me every time I passed them! The first has been spun for ages. Cornfield - a merino from Long Draw James if I remember correctly. I spun it into a half decent laceweight. I decided while I was waiting for the boys to come back that another holiday project would be ok. My Thankful shawl is an excellent holiday project. It has a simple stockinette body and a lace edging that's not taxing and easy to read. Originally I wrote the pattern for fingering weight yarn, but the beauty of these body and edging shawls is that you can keep knitting on the body until you've got about a third of your yarn left and then start the lace. 

I'm going to make the lace edging on this shawl deeper than I'd originally designed. I'm going to knit the body until I've got 50% of my yarn left or a multiple of 29 stitches whichever happens first.  This should give me a nice deep lace edging which will go well with the delicate laceweight yarn.

Once the boys got back we set off for the Wirral. We joined my parents for a rather good roast lamb dinner, and then popped out to visit friends. My good friend Steph rather kindly borrowed my boy for the bank holiday weekend at the start of May. She was off down to Lego Land for Star Wars day. While they were there her son and mine took part in a competition to see who could build an X-wing fighter out of Lego the fastest. Ben and Peter won!! I think they were the fastest on that day but not the fastest over all. That aside, they won a goodybag of all things Lego. We went to Steph's to pick it up before we left for Greece. We had a good chat and giggle while the boys played.

Sunday morning dawned grey and damp. I was happy to be leaving the cold miserable British weather for a week.

Dad's garden looks green and lush in the damp

We arrived at Manchester Airport in good time. It's a great airport with lots of opportunities for a little retail therapy. I'd already decided to treat myself to a new pair of sunglasses. The Oakley pair I had are a good 8 years old now and the finish is peeling off around the lenses. I found myself a rather lovely pair of Maui Jim's. 

We had a burger each in Franky & Benny's. I found a piece of bone in mine! Geepers, I thought, good job I didn't break a tooth! That would have ruined the holiday!

Checking out the view while waiting for our turn

Our flight was delight about an hour but it wasn't a bad wait and before we knew it we were in the air. Since we last had a foreign holiday, Ben has decided he doesn't like to fly. He's been getting quite anxious about it. Being the good (?) phamacist I am, I decided to kill 2 birds with 1 stone. He's not a great traveller and often gets travel sick on coaches, so I gave him a sedating antihistamine! Put him to sleep a treat on the plane and he wasn't nauseous on the coach transfer either! (Win!)  

On Thomson Airlines now there's no inflight meal as such. You can order hot snacks from the trolley and that's about it. Matthew and I decided to have a ham and cheese toastie. It was rather good. However I found another piece of bone in mine! Someone out there wants me to break a tooth I'm sure.

The coach transfer from the airport was good. Just 45 minutes (and a rather hairy drop off at another hotel) and we were in our hotel. The hotel Bel Air is on the outskirts of Nidri town. This is a good thing and a bad thing. Good - we're away from the hustle and bustle of the restaurants and bars. Bad - we were right next to a storm drain. Lefkas is an island with huge (ish) mountains which run right down the middle of the islands and when it rains, it really rains! All that water comes running off the mountains heading for the sea. I remember 12 years ago the streets were knee deep in water after one such deluge. Thankfully because of these drains, the water clears quickly. HOWEVER, this isn't the rainy season and the storm drains are nearly dry. Not dry enough however, they're colonised by frogs and mozzies!!!

Lovely view of the pool from our balcony

So on our first night I didn't sleep at all well. If wasn't woken by the frog chorus Paul Macartney would have been happy with, I was plagued by the high pitched whine of mozzies eating me alive despite the copious amounts of repellant I'd plastered myself and the others in.  The frogs gave up just in time for the traffic to start. The bin lorry arrived at 6am and I gave sleep up as a bad job and sat up knitting!

We had a lazy morning waiting to head off to the ferry. It was a 15 minute walk which wasn't too bad despite the fact we were dragging our suitcases along behind us. (Note to self - pack lighter!!)

My pathalogical dread of being late meant we were a good 3/4 of an hour early for the ferry. We stopped in the taverna opposite for a cold drink and Matthew took Ben off to show him all the old haunts. I sat and knit - well, why wouldn't you? I had to stay there and mind the bags after all.

The ferry - not quite time to set off yet

On the ferry, waiting to set sail

Nidri. Pretty isn't it?

Checking out a new view

Land ho! Vathi is in sight

The ferry takes a mere 30 minutes or so to get over to Meganissi. Barry was there to meet us and took us up to our villa.



Don't get me wrong, I've seen photos of the villa on Facebook! I knew it was beautiful, but I had no idea just how gorgeous it would be! 
Brace yourselves for lots of photos - 

This is where I sat of a morning, catching the first rays of sunshine, knitting and drinking tea

The view isn't half bad

That evening we all went out for dinner in Vathi at a taverna called Stavros'. Matthew's parents and brother know the family really well, as do Barry and Trish. We had a wonderful meal and were made to feel like family. Ben wasn't sure what to make of the hugs and hair mussing that went on! He's not overly demonstrative at the moment, and he looked startled to have strange Greek men bear hug him! 

Tuesday marked the real start to the holiday. Barry and Trish have an infinity pool in their villa and they'd said we could use it whenever we liked. So, while the boys were still in bed I decided to go have a good swim. 

Forgive the hazy quality of the photo - I took it through my phone case. Not a bad view from the pool

See? I really did swim!

And that I did! Snag is, infinity pools aren't really designed to be properly swam in! They're for pottering and playing in. Theconsequence of me going full chat for the thick end of an hour was I flooded out their bar! Bugger!!!! Swimming in the pool was out!

I went with Trish into Vathi for coffee and to get some shopping in. Dear me I wasn't ready for Greek coffee! I was on a buzz for hours. When I got home, Ben whooped my arse at Top Trumps and there was significantly more knitting!

It's wine o'clock and time for more knitting - the Arrowhead socks are well on the way to completion

We decided to have dinner in Abalaki bay. I had gorgeous meatballs and pasta. Crikey me the portion sizes are huge! I did, however, make an impressive dent in the plateful.

Wednesday was supposed to be wet. Thunderstorm wet.  We were going to go round to a bay to swim, but we decided discretion was the better part of valour and stayed home. As it was the day was cloudy and there was a couple of brief showers but I was braver than that..... I sat in the sun and waited..... in the end the sun shone.

Spot the difference? Yes! You got it! There are threatening black clouds in the sky! Ptchar I say, I'm sunbathing anyway

At the end of a hard day's knitting and sunbathing we went up to Barry and Trish's for tea. Trish made the most gorgeous beef casserole EVER!! There was a whole bottle of red wine and a glass of brandy in it! Holy Sauces Batman! It was a bit good!

Oh, and I managed to finish the Arrowhead Socks. Soon I'll even write up the pattern! 

On Thursday we skimmed stones. Simple things are the best. I cooked my own chicken souvlaki. Not bad! Even though I say it myself.

New socks on the needles - Pansy by British Bea Knits. Great yarn. Quick sharp colour changes. Somehwere out there the boys are swimming

Chicken souvlaki - home made this time.

Friday I decided to swim across Abalaki Bay. It didn't take nearly as long as I thought. Half way across the water was really deep and rather cold. I got cramp in my foot. It took some doing to swim through it.
A change is as good as a rest - the Pansy socks are very nearly done by Friday so I decided to cast on another project. May Morning by Denise Bell. I'm using silk lace weight by Ripples crafts and beads from Hobbycraft. The pattern is really pretty and easy to remember

Saturday I started thinking about going home. A week passed so quickly. Every second was great. Ben and Matthew went for a walk while I packed up the house. They walked around to the next bay, skimmed more stones and had a great time. Me? I packed the cases, cleaned up and then took a quiet 5 minutes to finish up the Pansy socks.

Waiting for that ferry at Spartahori. Sigh, it's time to leave

These ferry guys know no fear. They just charge up to the landing and then put the engines in reverse. The trucks set off before the ferry actually stops moving! Scary Mary

We took the last ferry back to Nidri and went back to our hotel. Ben and Matthew had a quick swim in the pool (a tad cold judging by the colour of them) while I went to the nearest supermarket and bought all kinds of mozzi killer. In the end we splashed out and bought some air conditioning. 
On Saturday night instead of being kept awake by the cacophony of frogs, traffic and mozzies, I was woken by the wind tunnel effect of the air con unit I was sleeping under.
Sunday was time to go home. The coach to the airport didn't leave until 4.30 so we had time to spend at the hotel, we swam in the pool (still cold, but a good size) and  soaked up the last few rays of sunshine.

We landed back in Manchester to 11 degrees and a biting wind. For some reason the airoplane didn't stop at a gate, we stopped right at the end of the skyway and had to use a set of steps to get off the plane. 

Dusk falls. So do the temperatures!

We walked across the tarmac to the arrivals area. My Mum and Dad met us with the car and we set off home. Sideways rain and wind followed us home. We got home just gone midnight, sent Ben straight to bed and got the house straight. By jove it was cold in the house. We were met by 3 of the 4 cats. This was rather suprising, seeing as how they usually sulk and ignore us for a few days. The cold must have driven them home.

Today I woke stupidly early. I thought I'd get up and start working through the mountain of washing. I set the machine off and put the kettle on. I looked out of the window and saw the sun shining. Great stuff I thought, I can get some washing dry outside..... but no..... what was actually happening outside was rain. Granted the sun was shining through the rain, but it was raining none the less. There would be no drying outside today. The weather got steadily worse as the day went on. We've had sideways rain and hail! The met office has issued a severe weather warning for the next couple of days. 

For pity's sake! It's June!! The weather is atrocious. 

This holiday has been great. I've had a wonderful time with family and friends.

On the Horizon - 

Well, the holiday is in the past, but I'm clinging onto the memories. Tomorrow I'm back at work. Wish me luck I'm going in!

On the crafting front, I've really got to focus on In Dreams now. I'm so close to the finish, I think I've got less than 20 rows to go. Snag is they're getting more and more heavily beaded.

My cunning plan for June is to finish up some WIP's. To be honest, that was my cunning plan in May too! But I've chipped away at 3 long term projects last month. Granted I've also finished 2 projects started in May too. Oh, and I've started another 2 large shawl projects. So, I suppose my WIP list is as big as it was back in April! But my intentions are good! Honestly!

So, it's late, I promised to press publish and I'm really tired. So I will publish this tonight. But I'll edit it tomorrow to add in some links. But just in case I don't get back to adding those links - here is the Facebook page for Shamballa. If you're interested in independent travel to Greece. Check out the page. The villa is nothing short of stunning!

Have fun crafting guys. Hope to get back to you soon

Ellen x 

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain

Yours truely
Violently........... When I think about colour. 

My pallet consists of shades of purple and black. If I'm feeling adventurous I add in a little blue or maybe grey.

However my comfort zone is being challenged by gorgeous and talented folk. The interwebs are groaning with delicious offerings from indie dyers. 

Call it Clown Barf

Call it Unicorn Farts

I call it inspirational rainbows. 

There are rainbow gradients in fibre and yarn.
The possibilities are endless

I've been lusting over fibre goodness in all manner of colours recently.

This beauty is from Spunwareoverarainbow on Etsy. It's 21 micron merino and it's begging to be spun up into something truely delightful!

Mandy dyes the most gorgeous fibre and yarn. If you ask her nicely, she even spins up the fibre and sells the handspun too! Based in Canada, there might be import duty for us Brits, but her prices are really good.

Closer to home and close to my heart - Nunoco are up to rainbow tricks too!

This is Candy and Lora's Harmony Rainbow Pack. A pack weighs 150g and contains a selection of inspiring colour co-ordinating blends, merino tops, firestar, silk and noil. Is it not a thing of beauty!?

Don't spin? Don't panic!!!

HandDyedByKate in Wales will make you rainbows to knit or crochet with!

This ball longs to become super stripey socks!

What if you don't like in your face bright rainbows?

What about this from Countess Ablaze?

This is Nerds Prefer Their Rainbows Darker. A custom blend of fibre that spins up into the most stunningly subtle yarn.

What if you'd rather have yarn that's more commercial, more reproducible? Well check out Deramores online shop. The choice of rainbow yarn is myriad. Here are a couple of my favourites - 

This is Araucania Botony. It's laceweight and crying out to be an airy shawl.

This is King Cole Zig Zag 4ply in the Rhapsody colour way.


So you're now armed with yarn. What are you going to do with it!?

From teeny tiny rainbow baby hats by Jessica M Anderson

To stunning rainbow ripple baby blankets by Celeste Young

To Martina Behm's stunning Endless rainbow shawl

You can find umpteen ways to brighten up your day with Rainbows.

Me? I'm off to sing a rainbow while I knit one up!

I hope you've been inspired to make rainbows part of your life too

This post is my submission to the Deramores Craft Blog Competition 2015. Deramores is the UK’s number one online retailer of knitting and crochet supplies.