Welcome to 2015!

A belated happy new year to all my readers, I hope 2015 is going well for you so far! It’s been quiet around here for a little while due to life getting in the way of blogging. George and I bought our first home at the end of November and we moved in early December so it’s been a bit of a whirlwind since then, with Christmas on top. It’s also been getting harder and harder to blog because my poor laptop was getting slower and slower, which is fair enough considering it is the better part of a decade old. Now we’re settled in the new house, I have my own desk in our new study. My laptop used to live on the end of the dining table, so this is very exciting for me! Even better is that I commissioned George to build me a shiny new desktop PC, as I don’t really have any need for a laptop any more and would much rather have a powerful and easy to maintain tower with a big monitor. And that’s what I’ve got – I just need a new desk chair (currently using George’s old one) and my corner of the study will be more or less complete.

So – I’m back! And with lots of blogs planned. Firstly I finished my Kaffe KAL cushion and have some photos to share along with my tips for how I finished it. There are also lots of projects I’ve finished over the winter (and some from much longer ago than that!) which I want to write up for the blog, so keep an eye out for those. Finally, Rowan have launched their Spring Summer 2015 collection and it’s gorgeous! I have lots to say on the new collection, but for now here is just a glimpse of what’s in store…

Magazine 57 CoverCotton Lustre CoverSummerlite 4ply CoverTetra Cotton Cover

Bird In Borrowed Feathers Craft Market

Nottingham is a very crafty city and last weekend hosted Bird In Borrowed Feathers,  a craft market that ran from Friday through to Sunday with loads of great stalls and a variety of workshops that visitors could attend. I arranged to meet some friends for lunch beforehand and then go for a wander around the market. By sheer luck, I won £25 on the lottery the night before so that was my spending money for the day!

On arrival at the market I paid the princely sum of £1 which covered entry for the entire weekend – a bargain if you would be going on more than one day for workshops. Rather than giving visitors a ticket or a stamp, entry was marked with a handmade badge that you could choose from the variety of prints available. Such a lovely idea! This was mine, which I pinned to my handbag:

Entry Badge

As a co-organiser of Cake Eaters Anonymous and a devotee of all things delicious and baked, I loved these biscuit brooches:

Biscuit Brooches

This stall was selling tote bags that you could have personalised with anything you wanted from their collection of transfers. This one made me think of Eleanor of Knit Nottingham, who is known for her love of a good beard!

Real Men Have Great Beards - Tote Bag

These geometric necklaces appealed to my geek side:

Geometric Necklaces

This stall had a gorgeous collection of prints, most based on quotes from nursery rhymes:

Nursery Rhyme Prints

These badges and fridge magnets were hilarious! There were too many funny ones to photograph them all, but Steph, Natalie and I spent a good while at their stall rifling through and giggling.

Hilarious Badges

I loved the clever use of yarn in these necklaces and bracelets. I was very tempted by the lovely pendants, such a cute and innovative idea for jewellery!

Yarn Pendants Yarn Loop Jewellery

As a child of the 80s, I am genetically incapable of resisting anything Labyrinth-themed. I almost bought this brooch on the spot for Liana of Swirls Bakery as she is also well known for her Labyrinth love. There were various other quotes about books and from works of fiction in this collection.

Labyrinth Brooch

My crappy phone camera doesn’t do these justice at all. Made with copper foil pressed between glass, they look stunning and had a wonderful weight to them as well. We’re currently in the process of buying a house and if we had the purchase all wrapped up, I would have bought at least one of these for our new home! Until it’s built and we’ve actually completed on it, I’m restraining myself from buying any new homewares. I’ll definitely be back to this seller if I can, though!

Glass & Copper Foil Hanging Ingots

A great collection of funky brooch prints:

Funky Brooches

The lovely Amy of Amy Blackwell Art & Design and Audrey & Illya had a stall, but clearly the heat got to my brain as I completely forget to take a photo of her or her stall. We were clearly chatting too much, sorry Amy!

After two circuits of the market I was really struggling to choose between all the gorgeous things without busting  my budget or making any premature homeware purchases. In the end I decided on this lovely necklace of a little bird in a cage and vintage flowers hair grip from Oh Daisy.

Birdcage Necklace Vintage Flowers Hairgrip

Oh Daisy Tags

It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon with friends, appreciating beautiful things and supporting local craft businesses. Have you enjoyed any good craft markets recently?

Recent Blog Outage

Just a quick note to say that we’ve had significant problems with the website over the last week. Intermittent outages which seemed to have been fixed then became a permanent outage which I only just noticed! It’s now been resolved by my hosting company who will be monitoring for any further issues in the near future.

Sorry if you’ve tried to reach us during the last week. We’re definitely back now!

Yarn Basket

Why crafty friends are the best friends

A few weeks ago I was closing one of the windows in my bedroom when my favourite silver ring that I was wearing at the time got caught on the window latch. This pulled on the ring quite hard and bent it right out of shape. I was really upset as it was a 30th birthday present from my best friend and I wear it every day. Now it just so happens that another friend, Steph, has fairly recently trained as a silversmith, so I asked if she would be able to reshape my ring. Fortunately for me, she said yes.

Just a week later, here’s my lovely ring. As good as new again!

Silver Ring

As a thank you, I baked Steph some of my favourite white chocolate, cranberry and cinnamon cookies.

CookiesCookies

This is not the first time that Steph has saved me from a pickle, she also re-hemmed one of my favourite dresses when the hem started to drop after only a couple of months. What a superstar! You can follow her crafting pursuits (which are many and varied!) on her Netty Not blog and Facebook Page.

Stash Management For Geeks

I came to the conclusion a few weeks ago that my stash was starting to get a little bit out of hand, when I realised that I couldn’t really remember much of what was in there. This is a problem for me because if I can’t remember what’s in there, I have little chance of being able to plan projects with it, so I’m never going to actually work through any of it. I’m sure you have probably noticed by now that I am as much a geek as I am a knitter, so there was only one possible solution to this problem: A Spreadsheet

Yes, dear readers, I went straight to Google Drive* and drew up a brand new yarn stash spreadsheet. What information could possibly be needed in such a document? Let me tell you…

  • Brand
  • Colour/Shade
  • Weight
  • Number of balls
  • Metreage per ball
  • Total metreage (calculated automatically from the number of balls and metreage per ball, obviously)
  • Project(s) assigned to the yarn

Now I have my entire stash at my fingertips wherever I am! If I stumble across a pattern in a shop or online that I like the look of, I don’t have to go and rummage through my stash to find out if I have something that might be suitable.

The spreadsheet is sorted with yarns that are already assigned to future projects at the top, followed by yarns for which I haven’t yet chosen a project underneath. Those yarns are also sorted by metreage, highest first, allowing me to see of which yarns I have the most available for new projects.

Lastly, there is a motivating element of shame in this spreadsheet, thanks to the inclusion of a grand total metreage. I now know that I have over 8 km (5 mi) of yarn in my stash. That amount would stretch from Trent Bridge to Radcliffe-On-Trent, and that’s not as the crow flies! So, yes, I definitely need to tip my knitting:acquisition ratio a little further the other way in 2014.

 

*Naturally the spreadsheet must be available on my mobile devices when I’m on the go, as well as on my laptop at home.

 

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