Santa Delegates to Friends, because friends know what we want.

Christmas just flew by, with a whole two weeks of no crafting at all!  I now have categorical proof that crafting doesn’t affect my hands if nothing else, but I’ll get onto that.

As always I was spoilt rotten by my lovely friends and family, with bottles of soak, namaste project bags, a namaste buddy box and a Knook beginner kit being amongst the things from family.  My Sister in Lieu managed to out do herself this year by presenting me with this:

secret chest

Whats in the box?

It’s a 1950’s cardboard desktop filing cabinet. After a moments confusion – and delight as I do have a love of all things from that period, I opened a draw to discover a cornucopia of vintage threads..

vintage threads

all the colours of the rainbow

I’ve had great fun having a good old rummage through these drawers  – including finding two fabulous boxes of (what I suspect is faux) French sewing silks, protected by their own little flap inside the before, revealing 9 little reels, each *guaranteed* to hold 90 meters!

The Cat’s Whiskers!

details of threads

details of what’s in the box

of course my friends were not to be outdone, in the post from M, I got the cutest little crochet hook (of the lovely lantern moon).  Despite an overwhelming desire to put it in my handbag along with some stellina to claim I’m crocheting replacement fairy wings for those injured while spreading fairy dust, I have so far resisted.  But only because I  don’t own any stellina –  I wonder if sparkly embroidery thread would do as a stand in?

Fairy repair kit?

The ever lovely V sent the most beautiful ‘Happy New Year’ card which is still sitting on top of my piano.  A gorgeous laser cut skyline makes me think of travelling (something I am *definitely* going to do more of this year)

new year card

I even got a new project case which didn’t set out to be yarn related – it contained handwash and hand cream and nail files. Who am I kidding? that’s the perfect present for a crafter!  The tin is of a vintage ‘lunchbox’ type style and is just so kitsch it’s perfect!

Not the box I’m going to keep resting WiPs in!

S and J, darling friends that they are, managed to sneek in under the radar and posted me a beautiful Bonnie Bishop Shawl pin.  I’ve been coveting these for a long time, and this is (an extensively tested) great weight for winter shawls as it’s solid construction and reassuring weight combine to hold those DK weight or heavier shawls in place without being overpowering or dragging.  That they are just plain gorgeous,

Bonnie Bishop Stick pin in “Fall Stripe”

However, I think A managed to outstrip everyone this year (my own darling MrFortnite included) with her gift, not only were my feet toasty warm with the John Arbon Alpaca socks (I see more in my future I tell you, and MrFortnite loved his too!) but she presented me with this…

any ideas what it is yet?

It’s tiny – just under 12″ inches high and the base is a little over 4″ wide.  Know what it is yet?  I’ll give you a clue…

See, it IS bigger on the inside

A tells me it’s a vintage Swiss Swift.  Not something to be said after several pints let me tell you.  It opens HUGE – only fractionally smaller than my sunflower swift, it’s light, it’s portable and it’s adorable.  There have been several visitors to the house who have been bemused by my cries of “and how CUTE is this?!” (only to then have to explain what ‘this’ is!)


It always happens in threes…

Well, ok, that’s not strictly true – in the last 8 days I’ve had 5 people tell me their are expecting a least one baby in the February – March period.  I am expecting another 1 to come out of the woodwork in the next few days so I have six (2 sets of 3).

Those of you who know me know that I am possibly the least maternal person in the world.  I’m a fabulous Auntie, and I love kids, on the condition I get to give them back again.  I have no desire to have my own, though I am of the rare breed that is perfectly happy to sit and let an expectant mother talk about the impending massive change in her life all she likes.

Of the five soon to be new mother there are only two who I would actually make anything for, and of those two I will see one of them on the 20th December and then won’t see again until June next year.  So I decided to make a baby blanket for them, but my hands aren’t upto my own pattern, and I wanted to try something a bit new.

I picked up some lovely 100% cotton by Vinni’s Colours in an autumnal mix, but when I started the blanket the short colour runs weren’t happy with the stitch pattern I was using. I put it time out, and a quick ravelry search let me find a much better match – but it needed more yarn!  I placed my order for a blending but contrasting colour and started again on a Chameleon colour change blanket and am much happier with the result.  Photos to follow!

Meeting myself coming back

I’m so far behind with myself it’s not funny anymore, so heres a bit of a catch up post.

first up, after another visit to my GP to get stronger drugs, my consultant appointment was suddenly and unexpectedly moved up by a month – so I now only have to wait 3 weeks before the mystery pain in my hands and wrists starts a proper treatment (and maybe a name!)  In the meantime however it was gradually getting worse and worse, resulting in about 15 minutes of crafting a week!  The new drugs however are very impressive so maybe I’ll be getting some more crafting in the next few weeks.

Back in April I had some friends come stay with me, the lovely V and his partner G.  I have long admired V’s beautiful knitting, his colourwork leaves me awestruck and his cabled sweaters bring me out in a sweat just thinking about the hours involved. Under the unwritten knitter’s code, V naturally turned up carrying yarn, and what yarn.  Some of my readers will have heard about La droguerie in France – the luxury yarn store that sells off the cone and has it’s own ranges of alpaca.  This yarn has definitely bumped up my next visit to France!  So thanks to V and G’s generosity I now have yarn in my stash that I am overwhelmed with options – want a peek?

left to right: plumette, alpaga and holst garn.

plumettePlumette, the softest lightest beautiful mohair.  This colourway (gris tourterelle) is the softest grey around a core of palest lilac.  I have plans for these nearly 500yards, once I get over my fear of them – possibly involving my estonian lace pattern book.

The Alpaga is a colourway called Avec lamen du Nord and is a 4ply alpaga in the most beautiful mix of soft browns and teals – I’m told an approximation of the translation of the colourway is ‘with the north sea’, and it captures perfectly the colours of the sea on an overcast stormy day.  I love this so much that it’s going to take me a while to come up with the perfect pattern.  This one might be crocheted.

finally is this gorgeous Holst garn, a 2 strand yarn, one strand bright navy blue and the other black resulting in a sort of tweed effect.  This one is 100% wool and is very soft.  I’m closest to working this one up – I’m designing as I type!

Aren’t I a lucky, lucky girl?

oh, and if you want to catch up with V’s yarn adventures you can here.

D.I.Y. Yarn Club

Back in November of 2011 I was starting to ponder Christmas presents for myself (my birthday is the 23rd and I invariably get lots of people asking me what I want) and I was looking at all the beautiful different yarn clubs available.  Ones for sock yarns, ones for lace, ones for sock patterns, ones for shawls, ones with a theme, ones for a particular type of fibre, ones for indie dyers… it was all so overwhelming.

I also felt a bit like I was cheating on my existing stash – and I had a couple of unanswerable questions about the yarn clubs (what if I didn’t like the colour, or the pattern, or needed more, or if I fell behind?).

What I ended up deciding to do was my own ‘free’ yarn club.  I would bundle up my existing yarn with the pattern I wanted to make from that yarn, with maybe a surprise and then a ‘sketchy’ note on the outside such as ‘quick’ or ‘laceweight’ or ‘rustic’.  Then each time I finished a project I could ‘adjective’ dive and pick out a surprise lucky dip type package.  Of course life isn’t quite that smooth, so I didn’t get chance to wrap up everything before December, but I did get to give a number of yarn/pattern pairings to a dear friend. I say a number because I genuinely can’t remember how many.  His instructions were to add a *small* surprise if he wished (he is forever buying me little treats) and to hand them back at some point in 2012 to be decided by him.

We meet up for dinner every month(ish), and this month I got an extra bag!  My beautiful forest green Wollmeise was returned to me, along with my signed copy of Franklin Habit’s Giovannina Stole (both of which I had completely forgotten I had handed over in the first place)

Forest Green Wollmeise

do-it-yourself stole kit

along with 2 bars of Lindt chocolate (nom) and a wonderful collection of 1940-1980s patterns (knit and crochet) which he had found in his mothers loft (who used to own a haberdashery).

collection of pattern fronts

anybody else feel old?

(sorry about the blurry quality – I will take some better ones I promise!).  I’ve had a ball reading the Woman’s Weekly from Sept 1980, and some of the yarn pictures are genuinely terrifying – the Paton’s green boarded one you can see on the right has the entire family dressed in the exact same green cabled/lace jumper (though ‘his’ buttons the other way) – no wonder the dog needs two people to hold onto him!

The yarn is sitting staring at me, and I have managed to photocopy my own ‘abuse’ copy of the pattern.  Now I just have to get up the courage to start!