Friday, 30 November 2007

Carpets, tiles and curtains, oh my!

This has to rank as my worst dyeing disaster ever and it was nothing to do with yarn or my own dyeing. No, it was my carpet.

When we moved in we had lots of boxes and people tramping in and out. So, having rashly purchased a cream carpet (!), I dutifully put lots of dust sheets down until we could reveal it in all its glory. Very sensible, except when one of your dust sheets leaks dye all over the aforementioned cream carpet - aaarrgggh!

"This dust sheet is over 20 years old and practically falling to bits. How could it still have loose dye in it?" I howled to no one in particular as I surveyed the damage.

Distraught, I called the carpet company and the insurers who were very helpful (no doubt they had a good laugh sharing that one round the office). Fingers crossed we'll have a new one soon, but how totally embarrassing! I didn't dare explain what I do for a living...

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Beaded bag goes live!

My beaded bag pattern and feature was published in Simply Knitting last week. I only found out when someone rang to order the yarn which was a bit embarrassing! Five colourways are now on the website with lots of lovely choices of beads too. The plastic canvas is due in shortly so drop me an email if you would like some putting to one side.

The sock pattern for the next issue is due on Monday so I'd best get back to my knitting or I'll be up to the wee small hours finishing them off....

No yarn yet...

My lovely new handspun yarn hasn't arrived yet so I'm fed up and feeling sorry for myself today (sniff). I was really looking forward to sharing it with everyone at Harrogate. All the feedback so far has been great. At least we still have a couple of days to go so maybe it will still arrive in time.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Pumpkin's last post

Time to say goodbye to this year's pumpkin. As is traditional in the Tomkies household, our pumpkin goes out (literally) with a bang, as Will and Pete insist on blowing it up with a rocket (don't try this one at home kids - no, really!).

One year we spent ages tracking down a good rocket and eventually found one in Selfridges. The guy was most intrigued that Will and Pete wanted one to blow up the pumpkin and another to "launch" a freebie McDonald's Thunderbird (Scott Tracey in case you were interested), into oblivion.

This clearly made an impression as the following year, we went to buy more and the same guy told us a story about these weird customers he'd served last year and (well, you can guess the rest). I'm not sure this is how I want to go down in Selfridges' firework department history but hey ho.

New yarn ordered!

Phew! Part one of the feature on using double-pointed needles has now been posted to Simply Knitting, and it's already time to work on part two. I loved knitting the tube socks to go with part one. I always assumed they'd be really uncomfy and "bunchy" at the front but they weren't at all. The featured ones are my own hand-dyed but I think they might be my next dye kit project as they're a good starter for sock virgins but still really cool results. I shall try kool aiding and procioning (is that a word?) some and see where it takes me - another pair of socks for a chrimbo pressie if nothing else : )

Testing some more of the alpaca/nylon sock yarn today. Can't resist it, it's so soft and squishy. Pics to come once it's done.

Oh, and I just ordered the new handspun laceweight silk/goat down yarn and I'm so excited! I'm getting a couple more handknitted stoles too, so people can see how delicious they are knitted up. I think testing the patterns may have to go to Julia (sssh - I haven't told her yet), as she is an expert on very fine knitting. More patience than me!

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Beads, beads, and more beads....

Christmas is coming and the goose (well, the quorn "chicken" in our case) is getting fat, so it must be time for some girly bling!

I've just finished a feature on knitting with beads for Simply Knitting and there's a beaded bag pattern to go with it. I can't show you the whole thing but here is a little mini-pic to give you a taster. Check out the next issue (out Nov 8th) for the pattern (and a much better quality pic!)

Next up I'm working on plans for a beaded i-pod holder. I rashly volunteered to do a workshop on beaded knitting at the Knitting & Stitching Show in Harrogate and I've got butterflies already! Pete says this is just an excuse for me to get an hour off the stand each day, so I offered him a swap but he politely declined. This does, however, give me the perfect excuse for a trip to the bead suppliers to buy lots of goodies for the workshop packs......

Epic drive - great weekend in Lewes

Last week was the usual pre-show mad panic (hence the lack of posts). We were off to Lewes (near Brighton), to join the East Sussex Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers at their biennial exhibition on Thursday and by Wednesday I still hadn't done a stock-check, printed catalogues etc etc. Of course, this wasn't helped by the fact that I wanted to dye up some more of the lovely Bluefaced Leicester roving to take with us (I like a challenge!).

Well, two long days and late nights later saw us setting off on the 4 1/2 hour drive to Lewes with a very full car and some, hot off the radiator, hand-dyed roving. Not as much as I would have liked, but enough to fill a nice big basket with colourful bags of fibres. Thankfully my efforts were rewarded as I sold all of it, mostly in the first day! Yippee! It's back to the sink now, to get some more dyed for the website and Harrogate in November.....

We had a fab time at the exhibition, meeting up with some familiar faces and getting to know lots of new ones. It was our fastest ever unloading and set up, largely due to the sterling efforts of the Guild members who kindly ferried our boxes and bags from the car to the Town Hall. You may be able to see from the photo that the Town Hall is an impressive building. Lewes is equally impressive with lots of windy streets, fascinating shops and gorgeous old buildings. I would have liked to spend more time there.

The East Sussex Guild is one of the largest in the UK (about 150-200 members), and the work they had on show was superb. Will and Pete's mum and dad joined us on the Saturday and Will took the lovely photo above for me. Here is another one.....

And last, but definitely not least, here is Will, celebrating his photographic prowess!

Thanks Pam and all the other Guild members for such a lovely time and for the warm welcome!
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