I’m Back and Needing to Pick your Brains! 

I feel as though I’ve really neglected this little space lately, I have good intentions of weekly posts but they just don’t happen. ☹️ I love the friendliness here and I always feel bad when I neglect you all. So here I am. 

Last time I spoke about my next knitting project which I plan to take on holiday in the summer. I know it’s ages away but I’m kind of excited now we have our tent 😀.  I had a request for some sets of seven coordinating skeins for ‘find your fade’ shawls so while I was experimenting I chose a set to keep for myself. What do you think? 


These are the other colourways I created. This one…

And then this one with skeins that are more shaded than variegated. 


Then another variegated set in earth tones 


And finally a rainbow set but I only have a photo of this dying atm! 


These sets were such fun to create! 

I hope you’re all enjoying some beautiful spring/autumn weather. We’ve had some gorgeous days here recently, just like a cool summer day! 


Thanks for all your encouragement for Abi in her new role at work. This is where I need to pick your brains! She’s hoping to hold a garden party in the summer and she was wondering if you had any ideas of things she could do? She’s needing ideas of things she can make with the residents (all with some form of dementia so they can’t be complicated ideas) and then she hopes to sell these at the garden party. She’s also looking for ideas of what else to have at the party, again things with minimal outlay. Any funds raised she then gets to use in the future to fund activities with the residents. 

Abi’s loving her new role by the way. She gets the best of both worlds, caring and using her creativity! Both of the owners have separately complimented her when they’ve been in and apparently they never complimen , so that’s been a huge encouragement to her. She’s done all sorts of crafts, baking, gardening, music etc. She’s also hoping to get volunteers in the local community to come in and do things with the residents such as playing instruments, the local school children to visit etc. Again, any ideas most welcome😀

I hope that all of you in England have a wonderful bank holiday weekend and I wish everyone else a beautiful weekend too. Happy crafting! 

Sharon xx

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Shawl Reveal and Wips

Hi again.  Life seems so busy these days and I feel as though I’ve neglected this little space recently.  I’ve spent the last few weeks with at least one coffee date a week trying to catch up with all my friends.  Also Abi has had a lot of 12 hour shifts lately which means that she only works three days in the week.  It’s meant a lot more time together and I’ve been making the most of it!

A couple of weeks ago on the way to an appointment we called in at Ashburham Place for a photoshoot of my Shawl.  Yes they’re both finished and I’ve worn one or other of them nearly every day since.  Although we live fairly near to Ashburnham Place I had never there before and we’re definitely hoping to go back for a longer visit.  This time we just admired the house from the front and used the beautiful gardens for the photos.

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It’s crocheted in 4ply yarn in 2 or 3 colours.  The purple one is made  using yarn that I’ve dyed myself and the Blue version is using the yarn I received in the Knitting Expat yarn swap.

The pattern is being tested at the moment and I’m to release it soon.

I have finally finished the socks I started for Abi in January!  She likes them scrunched down!  The previous two pairs were a mock fairisle pattern, these were just plain stripes in a self striping yarn and I’m not so keen on how much the jogs show in them.

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These were my appointment waiting time knitting but all appointments were on time so it was slow going at first,  but then…WARNING, don’t wish for more time to knit when waiting for appointments. I waited 3 hours at the hospital to see my Lupus consultant in London on Friday then another 2 hours waiting for blood tests and an xray!  I signed in fine and had the initial tests done by the nurse and then I waited and waited and waited.  They were warning that they were running very behind but after 3 hours I decided that I had been patient enough and went to ask how much longer I would be waiting.  I had got lost on the computer, somewhere between seeing the nurse and my appointment!!  Still, it gave me plenty of knitting/crochet/reading time and Abi had a lovely wander around London where she was asked for money, saw various sights, came across of a massive queue and realised that she was outside the immigration centre and took some beautiful photos!

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Other bits I’ve been working on are Josh’s blanket,

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slow progress there, I haven’t stuck to the 1 row a day rule I set myself.

I’ve also now started a bag with the yarn that Abi’s boyfriend gave me for Christmas having ripped out the shawl I had started (and finished)!

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And  I have some new socks started but this time they are crochet.

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I have just started on the rib and I love how the rib is working out.  I’m using Drops Delight.  I bought several balls of it recently but being a singles it’s not very forgiving of mistakes.  Frogging is not easy at all, in fact, I started the rib and made a mistake and ended up having to throw away what I had done as it was determined NOT to be undone!!

I’ve also made several new bits for my shop

including stitch markers and basket bags.

basket bag animals, letters

I’ve also been working on a new design for something for my shop, I’ll hopefully be able to show you that soon  🙂

So here I am with several wips once again but that’s the way I like it, lots of variety :-).

I hope that you’re all having a lovely and creative week!!

Sharon xx

Lovely packages and a KAL

I have so much I want to talk to you all about but at the moment I seem to be struggling to find the time to post!  Today I have a few minutes spare so I wanted to hop on and tell you all about the most wonderful package I received in the post last month. (if you follow me on Instagram @inspirationalyarns you will already have seem a peep!)

I took part in the yarn swap organised by Mina from the knitting expat podcast (Interruption here to go and clean cat mess off of Josh’s football!!!  Cats are lovely all the time they do not use our garden as a toilet.)

Back again, that was totally disgusting. So, back to the yarn swap, it was such fun.  The rules were that you were paired with someone from another country and that you sent each other yarn local to you and some other local goodies.  I was paired with a lovely lady called Linda from  California. I was so excited packing up her goodies that I completely forgot to take photos but I sent her various local bits, chocs, fudge, notepad, fridge magnet and a few bits I had made, a project bag, herb sachet and yarn dyed in her favourite colours and I can’t remember what else! What I really wanted to share though was the amazing package Linda sent me!

I have to start with the yarn, she was so generous and sent me two super-soft merino 100g skeins.  The brown one is from a local dyer to Linda in California and the other was from Linda’s stash and came from Dubai when she lived there which I thought was really exciting as I now have yarn from two different countries.

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Then of course there are the other goodies!  The chocolate bars and See’s candies chocolates were again local and the See’s candies were just the best chocs I have ever tasted and the bars weren’t far off! Also some ‘original’ jelly beans which are made local to Linda. Then there was a very special notecard of handmade paper that Linda had bought from a local artist while she was abroad just two weeks before the area was hit by an earthquake which was rather special to receive and I just can’t bring myself to use it.  There was also another notebook, two pencils and some sticky flags which are already proving very useful and two lovely bags, one with I love knitting symbols and a Trader Joe’s bag which started in California and is just perfect for my grocery shopping. Lastly there was a lovely soft hand knitted washcloth and soap saver.  These are just brilliant.  I have crocheted some for the children but I haven’t yet made any for myself so I was thrilled to get these.  I have seen patterns for soap savers but never made one but they are fantastic, I love using it in the shower with my favourite bar of soap!  Linda was just so generous and the package was just overwhelming.

So, what am I planning to make with the yarn?  Well, I am hoping to design a crochet shawl pattern for them.  I have just ordered a silver grey to use with them so as soon as that arrives I shall get started.  I have a few ideas sketched out so I think my current design will go on the back burner as I would like to join in Mina’s yarn kal – knit along (or crochet along for me).

All you need to do to participate is to knit or crochet something with yarn from another country.  Oh yes, I also sent a package to Mina as a thank you and included some yarn and a project bag for a giveaway and on her podcast last week she said that these would be used as a prize for the yarn kal.  The yarn is the same colourway as the one I dyed special for Linda and is called ‘Linda’, so if you fancy joining in you have the opportunity to win some of my hand dyed yarn and a project bag.

I have my sister-in-law coming soon so I must dash but I hope you all have a lovely week and if you could spare a thought for my dear Uncle who had a severe stroke yesterday, less than two years after his brother (my Dad) died from a massive stroke.  He appears stable at the moment but is unable to move one side or talk.

Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx

 

Challenges, crochet spinnning knitting designing!

I have quite a bit of creativity to chat about this week.  Wips, to do’s and help me’s!!

Firstly Josh’s blanket (I am keeping this project in the fabric basket I got at Portsmouth in the summer).

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I ripped back the blanket in January and started again with a more mindless pattern so that it could be my ‘no brain power needed’ project but I’m still going so slowly with it!  I think a lot of the problem is Josh!!  Poor Josh, it’s not his fault directly but he is having a real job getting to sleep in the evenings so he is not going to bed so early.  By the time he is asleep (anywhere between 9 and 10)  I am ready to hit the hay myself!

Also, to be completely honest, I am just not enjoying it.  I just have so many ideas for other things and other wips I would rather be doing that I overlook it! I have been mulling it over and decided to challenge myself (appealing to my competitive spirit usually works 😉 ) so, I will aim to work on it either for 15 minutes or work 1 row a day five days a week.  Probably Monday to Friday but if I miss a day I will catch up at the weekend.

While I am challenging myself I may just add 10 minutes of spinning a day to the challenge.

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I have hardly touched my spindle this year and again it’s because I’m not enjoying it.  I just don’t enjoy the colour I am spinning.  Abi loves it though so there will be a use for it so maybe if I aim to spin it for a birthday gift for her (June) I may just have the incentive to get back on my spindle.

I am also thinking that my spindle could do with a case of its own.  Maybe with a separate pocket for the fibre?

Also on my hooks I have another crochet shawl that I am designing. This time I am using the yarn that Abi’s boyfriend gave me for Christmas.  It is a lovely soft cotton, I love working with cotton but the only downside is that it can be rather splitty and this one is very splitty, so much so that if I don’t keep on top of sewing the ends in I end up with tassels!

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Despite this though I am loving working with the yarn and enjoying how the design is working out.  I am using the gorgeous bag that Jane made that was in my Stitching Santa swap.

I have made some bits and dyed some custom yarn for a yarn swap I have entered that Mina of the Knitting Expat Podcast is hosting but I won’t show them yet as I have told my swap partner about my blog!  I love the yarn colourway that I design for the swap and shall show you all the bits once my partner has received them 🙂  Oh yes, and while I’m on the subject of dyeing…

I’ve been thinking that the lilies Abi gave me for my birthday would make a great natural dye, so I may be trying that one out next week!

I have also made a couple of project bags and done some more dyeing so there are a few more bits in the shop.

The socks I am knitting for Abi are also only coming along slowly, this time it’s the doctors fault!!! 😉  I am keeping them for knitting when I wait for appointments as they are so portable, (especially as I keep them in my Japanese knot bag which hangs perfectly on my arm as I knit).

Anyhow, the reason it is the doctor’s fault is that she has been on time lately!  I always have to wait ages at the doctors and suddenly she decides to be on time! – I mean, it’s wonderful that she’s on time but what about my knitting?  I shall just have to start arriving extra early.

I did decide to buy extra ‘Big Softie’ yarn with my birthday money, lots of!!

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Hopefully enough to make a lovely oversized sweater. I am thinking of doing my own design so it will be interesting to see how that goes!  I’m not too sure how easy it will be to frog as it’s a singles, I think there will have to be lots of planning and drawing first!

Now to my knitting dilemma.  I am wanting to knit a shawl.  I have some  yarn that I dyed that I would love to use.

And maybe this one to twin with it!

But I just can’t decide on a pattern.  I have a couple I have downloaded, the latest being Mina’s brioche shawl.  I love this design but I am really not sure if my knitting is up to two colour brioche.  So if any of you have tried it I would love to know how easy it is? I have watched Mina’s tutorial which is really clear and helpful and has given me a bit more confidence but I’m still wavering!

Also do you have any other knitted shawl patterns to recommend?  I will be using 4 ply, each hank being 400m and I would like to use one or two colours and also try something new, like the brioche or maybe some simple lace?

I’m not sure why I haven’t started a pattern yet as I’ve been wanting to do this since the end of last year.  I’m sure if I was looking at crocheting a shawl I would have started it by now, maybe it’s just my lack of confidence in knitting that is putting me off!

So with that lot on the go I think it’s time I sat myself down in the sun and got on with it, yes we actually have some sun today, enough for Abi and her cousin to try out sunbathing in the garden, I’m not too sure how long it will last!

I hope you all have a creative and lovely weekend.

Sharon xx

A Busy Year, News and an Offer!

Hi everyone.  I mentioned at the beginning of the year a couple of goals I had for this year. One of these was to create a pattern each month!

In January I designed a crochet shawl pattern which I am really pleased with.  Actually, I’m not the only one in love with it, so is Abi, she promptly claimed the first one, then loved the colours of the second too and claimed that too so I nabbed back the first although she would have happily kept both!!  Anyway, by the time I had tested the pattern, made alterations etc it was the middle of Feb and then I was so busy with other bits (I’ll tell you about that in a mo) that I have only made a start on my February pattern – another shawl but completely different.

So, what has been keeping me so busy?  I have decided after a lot of thought and prayer to open an Etsy shop, click here.  I don’t have a huge amount of self confidence so it has felt a really massive thing to do.

A name was really tough to come up with but in the end I decided to go with ‘Inspirational Yarns’ as most of the hand dyed yarns are inspired by our family, home etc.  I wonder if you can recognise any?

Here are the hand dyed yarns I have in the shop so far.  – more to list

I have four main bases, Superwash Blue Faced Leicester (British wool) and Nylon in a 4 ply.  Superwash Merino, cashmere and nylon in a 4 ply. Superwash Blue Faced Leicester, silk and cashmere, 4 ply and a Dk Superwash Blue Faced Leicester.

Also in the shop I have some project bags in two styles – both my own design

Japanese knot bags with a circular base

and ‘basket bags’.  I have designed these with an extra wide base and a top that folds down over the outside to create a basket.  Just one size at the moment but more to come when I get time to make them!

Oh yes, look out for the little embroidered mouse somewhere on your bag!

I have my new shawl pattern in there too (and on Ravelry), my ‘Pebbles Asymmetrical Crochet Shawl’ pattern.  here are a few pics

It is a long asymmetrical shawl with a diagonal stripe, which can be worn over the shoulders with the longer side wrapped around and tucked through or more like a conventional scarf.

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and here is the other colourway

I have also made some scripture wall hangings (I’m happy to do custom orders for these).

And that’s it for now.  I have just created a new site for the shop as I don’t really want my blog space to change too much, so although I will sometimes show you what I am making for the shop and let you know when I update most shop news will be on the new blog/site which you can find here.

Oh yes, I nearly forgot, I am now on Instagram too @inspirationalyarns. I am using that both for the shop and general day to day snapshots of life. Please let me know in the comments if you have IG so that I can follow you (that is, if you would like me to follow you of course!!)

Before I go I have a special offer for you all.  A discount code for 15% off of everything in the  shop until 15th March. ‘opening15’ There will be a little surprise gift included in the package for the first three people to order from my shop!

Wips on a Go-Slow!

I feel as though I am pedaling hard and getting nowhere at the moment!  Maybe I was just so busy with making gifts before Christmas that this quieter pace feels strange!

I have made a couple of bits though.  Firstly these two wash cloths.

I thought that the wash cloths in the kids stockings would be a bit boring but when they came to use them there were instant requests for more!!  The bumpy Pattern makes them a delight to use, they are soft but the bumps massage your face!

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I used the Wash cloth sampler set pattern.  It is a paid pattern from Crochet Spot but if you join for premium pattern membership at $10 a month you can download as many as you want.  They prefer you to stay with them for at least 3 months.  I did 6 months and downloaded all the patterns I was interested in during that time.

I have started another pair of socks, this time for Abi.  Again the yarn is self patterning so I have gone with a plain sock.  I am finding it really enjoyable doing a few rows here and there.

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I attempted a bit of continental style knitting on the rib but got in a bit of a muddle and decided that that would have to be done with scrap yarn!!

I am really struggling with motivation for Josh’s blanket but I really need to get on with it.  I have scrapped the wave pattern I had designed and I am doing a simple shallow ripple.  I need this to be a ‘no brain’ project for those moments when I am too tired to work on anything else.  I think the lack of motivation stems from too many other interesting things to do!!

I have also made this little mouse out of felt to have as my avatar picture.

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He was nice and easy to make being simple shapes.  He now sits on the little table by my chair in the lounge.

Oh yes, my pattern for the month!  I have been working on a crochet shawl which has taken quite a bit of time.

 

I have made one and I am just testing the pattern with another.  Abi has already claimed the first one, the browns but is now thinking maybe she prefers the second!!

 

I have also been experimenting with dyeing yarn and will post about that soon.  I have dyed with fabric quite a bit but not much with yarn.  I just love the effects that you can achieve!  Here’s a little teaser for you!

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The list doesn’t look so sparse now that I have put it together, perhaps I have achieved a bit more than I thought after all!

How are you finding January?  Are you fired with new ideas or just taking it slowly after the Christmas rush?

Blanket making tomorrow so that should be fun, except the friend I do it with is ill. I’m really hoping she’s better for tomorrow. I’m in charge of the creative side and she organises the games afterwards and I really don’t fancy having to do that bit!!

I hope you all have a lovely and creative weekend!

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x

 

 

Ravelry Pattern Giveaway

After my Thank You All post looking back over my first year of Blogging, I have used the random number generator random.org to take two names from the comments to gift a Ravelry Pattern to.

The numbers were 13….. Lorraine

and number 4 ….. Ericka Eckles!!

Isn’t that just so funny?  After writing in my post thanking you all for your support over the past year and also Ericka for the stocking which she sent me to thank me for the comments on her blog, Ericka has now won the thank you gift from me!

Congratulations Ladies, just send me an email at shar.izzard@gmail.com with a link to the pattern you would like up to the value of £5 and the email address you would like it to be sent to and I shall get that organised.

Thank you all again for your support over the past year.

Sharon xx