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Sad news about Colinette Yarns

I received a really sad email yesterday from Sam at Colinette yarns saying that they’d dyed their last hank and had closed their shop in Llanfair Caereinion. Colinette is the yarn company that hooked me into knitting back in 2001. I was on holiday in San Francisco and bought a copy of Interweave Knits magazine on impulse. I hadn’t knit since I was a child and couldn’t cast off or do the perl stitch but there was an amazing looking sweater on the cover of the mag that grabbed me. It was in Colinette’s famous Point 5.

At that point I didn’t even know that the company was based in Wales and dyed their yarn here. I loved reading how Colinette was an artist who had first turned her love of colour to yarn in the 1980s and had been coming up with new shades ever since. I loved her colours. I couldn’t find anything like them in Cardiff back in 2001, it sounds trite but those colours were life changing. You couldn’t buy anything knitted that was close to them back then.

When I got home from SF I ordered enough of Prism, I think…, in Fruit Coulis I think.., to make a sweater. At that time I was knitting really badly. I’ve since tried to unravel the sweater and I must have split the piles or something because it’s proven impossible to undo the work but I still loved the yarn. I’ve bought so much of it over the years back when it was impossible to find a lot of the American brands that I lusted over. While American friends were felting Lamb’s Pride Worsted I was horrifying them by felting Colinette’s Skye Aran. I made a fantastic pair of Theresa Vinson Stenersen’s Fuzzy Feet from Knitty in it that are worn out now.

I remember going to the Knitting and Stitching Show with Jeni from Fyberspates, the first year that she sold her own yarn on the Get Knitted Stall, and being blown over by the Colinette Stand. We went there at least twice over the weekend to buy bags of yarn. Of course I still have some of it unknit! When I was with Andy we made a few trips to the fantastic Colinette shop. It was a really amazing place. Although it closed its doors early this year you can go back in time and take a tour via the magic of YouTube.

There’s still plenty of yarn left in the online shop so if you’ve ever held off ordering from them this may be your final chance to do so.

Today I made what’s probably my last ever order from them – One skein of Jitterbug in one of my favourite shades – Alizarine. I don’t know if I’ll knit it up straight away – I have to tidy up my craft room first ha! – or if I’ll just gently place it with the other yarns of its brethren.

Colinette has held such affection in my heart as being the yarn company that swept me into the knitting world fifteen years ago and I will miss them so very much. I wish the best to Colinette and her team for the future.

Fabric Houses

I was in Bath this weekend for my friend Helen’s Hen do. It was a crafty affair with a jewellery making session at The Makery followed by a little shopping.

First in the patchwork shop I picked up a half meter piece of this great house fabric. It’s going to become either a bag, a cushion or both. I love the colours.

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And then a little jaunt to Wool where I found this beautiful alpaca silk.

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Second sock is still coming along. I’ve turned the heel now and can’t wait to finish it 🙂

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How much sewing could you do in 30 minutes?

The first post of 2013 and I’m looking ahead to taking part in Cake Pattern’s Tiramisu 30 Minutes Sewalong. It starts tomorrow 🙂

 

Sewingcake

 

I seem to start a lot of dress patterns and then become busy or distracted by something else but the sewalong is perfect as setting aside thirty minutes a day for it is so doable.  Everything’s done through Pinterest, there’s an enormous group of people all making it and what’s even better is that Steph, the creator is at hand to answer any questions that you might have.  So it’s going to be a very supportive environment in which to make the dress.

All I have to do now is locate the fabric I mean to use for the dress. It’s in my craft room somewhere… Oh, I’m also in the middle of preparations before I start to decorate my bedroom – it’ll be brilliant white and apple green. There’s a few layers of wallpaper to remove first but it’s coming along.

Making Monday – Lotus Tunic

I finally got around to cutting out my fabric for the Amy Butler lotus tunic on Saturday night. I’d meant to do it earlier in the day but I decided that my craft room needed a little reorganising. Ok, it was partly procrastination but it was necessary.

I also wanted to be able to watch streaming tv and DVDs on my iMac while I worked. This required a lot of fumbling around with the position of my router downstairs because my wifi doesn’t stretch to the craft room. I now have a weak signal in there but it’s not enough to watch iPlayer. So I’m probably going to have to extend the network which is annoying as it means buying more kit.

Anyway, after all that I didn’t sew a stitch until tonight. I’m currently working on the darts on the back panels. The pattern instructions are great but I still hate sewing darts.

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Darts pinned in place before sewing

Slightly Delayed Making Monday Post…

I finished knitting the case for my HTC One X and, although I now I have a hard plastic protective case, I’m still very attached to its knitted counterpart so it’ll be staying in there for the time being. 🙂

Knitted HTC One X Sock

I’ll post the pattern later in the week.

This weekend Doug and I went to the Southcoast Slam. It’s an annual pinball show and, as its name suggests, it’s located on the South Coast of England. Now, occasionally at shows I’ve seen a couple of the same types of machines sat next to each other but I’d never seen a wall of Black Knight 2000 before. It was an interesting spectacle to see six of them in a row.

Row of Black Knight 2000 at the Southcoast Slam 2012

 

I was hoping to knit some more rows of She’s Electric during the traveling back and forth to the show but I realised that I’d misread the instructions yet again and so I ripped out the colour work for probably the fourth time. Now that I look at it I can’t believe I misread it, it seems so obvious! Basically I hadn’t released that although the first and last three stitches are always knit in the main colour, that doesn’t mean that the rest of the stitches are always knit in the corresponding colour. The yarns alternate over the different rows. That’s why my colourwork looked so weird and messy. It wasn’t actually colourwork! I still hope to finish it soon, I worry about getting so tired of revisiting it that it’ll end up percolating in a bag somewhere in my craftroom. I’ll have to try and make a special effort to ensure that doesn’t happen. But I can’t guarantee it….

Plus I’m starting a new sewing project this week. I worked the Easter bank holidays so I have some time off and I’ve decided to spend it making a dress. This dress in fact.

New Look 6723

I’ll be making it in view D in the polka dot and cherries print I bought in the Flo-Jo Boutique

I met for lunch with the lovely Amy today and she brought me some wild garlic. I was so excited to have some to try because I’ve yet to spot some “in the wild”. But I hope to be able to spot it next year. The flowers are edible too.

"Wild? I was livid!"

Brownie points if you can correctly name where the reference in quotes comes from.

I used some of the wild garlic tonight in a pasta sauce – dead easy, heated some regular garlic puree in olive oil with chopped wild garlic leaves, added a tin of chopped tomatoes with salt, pepper and a bit of oregano and then simmered to reduce it. Although the leaves smell strongly of garlic, the actual flavour is more delicate than the garlic bulbs I’m used to. I still have lots left and think I’ll use some in a risotto tomorrow although I’m also tempted to make pesto from it too. Thanks, Amy 🙂

Sewing the Week Away…

Yesterday, I made blueberry muffins

I’ve been neglecting the blog, again, there’s a surprise!

I’ve had four days off this week which has been great. I needed them so much. Plus I’ve been focusing on sewing and have made one and a half dresses so far. It’s not quite the target of four dresses that I’d set myself but then that was a little ambitious. My main reason for spending most of my time sewing is to make my dress for the Sew Weekly UK Meet Up this Saturday.

As I wrote in my last post, I’ve been fretting and stressing about this dress which defeats the whole object of the project! Tuesday night I cut out the Burda pattern I’m using and then yesterday I cut out the fabric. I sewed the lovely, full skirt first. I find sewing the skirt is a great way to start off a project because it’s usually fairly simple and gives you the boost of knowing that you’ve already completed half your project! Things went a bit slow after that because I realised that I’d forgotten to make dinner. I ended up sewing bodice darts until 1.30am.

Things have been a bit slow again today, not surprising really after a late night, but I’ve sewn the front bodice and have one final dart in the back bodice. Now, to finish the rest!

Crafting a room, fraternal socks and “warning – contains health issues”

This has been a busy week again. I’ll write a proper post about it later this week, but in short, I had a fantastic time on Wednesday! It was wonderful  to meet Heather and Dianne and to see Amy, Brenda and Tonia again. And then in the evening there were so many knitters packed into Dempsey’s! It was just fantastic!

Doug and I have been busy turning what was my crap room into my craft room.

Yarn Stash!

I’ve wanted one of those IKEA Expedit Units for years 🙂 Still have a bit more work to do in the room though before I can start making things in there again.

I also managed to buy some yarn from King Becky.

King Becky's Halloween Yarn Candy

I’ve wanted to buy some of her yarn candy for ages now. I love the way she’s photographed some of her skeins as though they were lollipops. This yarn is called Ombre and it’s a two tone yarn. It’s half Black Cat and half Spellbound. I can’t wait to knit this! But I also can’t quite decide what to make from it. I’m veering towards gloves at the moment.  Since the black shade is caled Black Cat I’m hoping to get a picture of it with Emma soon. 🙂

Meanwhile two fraternal socks from Fyberspates sock yarn.  I can’t remember when I started knitting the first one but it lay in a bag on its own for many years before I decided to cast on for what would be its sibling rather than its mate. I knit the second sock from the outside of the ball rather than from the centre as I normally do and I think that may be why the shading is so different.

Purple Fyberspates socks

I realised too late that the first sock had a ribbed cuff rather than the rolled cuff I prefer now. So the second sock is now too long to start the cuff. My options are to try and fix some of the stitches by turning them into purls with a crochet hook or frog down and begin the cuff again. Think I’ll try the crochet hook method first. In the meantime, while I was tidying the craft room I found another Fyberspates sock in progress so that’s now on the needles instead.

Now, I’ve had some health issues recently and I’m going to write about them here but there’s a warning just before.

If you’re of a nervous disposition, easily squicked out or don’t want to read swear words then I recommend that you stop reading RIGHT NOW. Go and look at Jeni’s or King Becky’s yarns or something.

Ok. Sure you want to stick around for this? I wasn’t sure about posting this tonight but I had to write about it as part of trying to process it.

A few months ago I developed what appeared to be some eczema on one of my breasts which just wouldn’t clear up. It became a wound that wouldn’t heal. Because of where it was located I was referred to the local hospital. I was told that this was a routine measure.

And then I found out that I had to have a mammogram because of my age – ie I’m an oldster at being over 35. I started to panic a bit about that. I hadn’t felt any lumps or anything but I was nervous that some would be found. And I’d also heard about how you got squeezed which sounded awful. They basically flatten you out so that they can take a good image of the tissue. They FLATTEN you! The radiographer was lovely, really she was and understood how awkward it was. But my god, when she asked me if I’d heard of the “squish”!  Yeah, I didn’t look forward to that. A mammogram is a pretty painful procedure.

Today, a week after the mammogram, and I have my appointment with the consultant who looks at the area and tells me that although it resembles a type of cancer – at which point my head explodes because I had no idea that was such a thing – he doesn’t think it is that particular condition. They’ll have to take a skin biopsy. Ok, it’s not great but I was expecting that since they have to rule everything out. I’m told I’ll need a scan too. I go for the scan and the doctor there finds a dark area that she’s concerned about. I see it on the monitor and she says that it’s probably just inflamed tissue but she needs to take a biopsy too to rule things out. A deep needle biopsy. Suddenly I wish I’d had breakfast before I left the house earlier. As she explains what they need to do and that the biopsy needle device makes a bang like a stapler I  start becoming concerned that I may faint. That, since I’ve had to budge over so that she can sit on the bed to do the scan, I will faint and fall off the bed. “Do you understand what I’m saying or have you gone somewhere?” she asks. I’ve taken every word in but dear god if I could have gone somewhere, anywhere, I would have.

They give me two doses of local anaesthetic and that’s the most painful part of the procedure, really. Everything else is in my head. I try and distance myself, try and become detached, try not to think of the fucking big needle I’ve just seen. The needle that’s going where no needle should. I focus instead on bits of the room, looking at the ceiling. “It’s going to make a bang now” “Safety switch off” and the first stapling sound which once the needle is in me is a lot quieter and less scary than when they demonstrated the noise to me. The nurse is lovely, the doctor is very nice too but I focus more on the nurse. I had mentioned to her that my surname is Iranian, that it’s all I have of my father and that I’ll probably never be able to visit the country in my lifetime. On either the second or third biopsy she says “I bet you wish you were in Iran now.”! I don’t think she realises what she’s actually said! Bless her, she’s trying to be nice. I point out that that what happens to people over there is probably a lot worse than these biopsies.

I go back to the waiting area and rescue the stitches of my sock that have fallen off one of the needles. I try and focus on knitting but my mind is racing, my head’s everywhere. I go from thoughts of how it’ll be fine and that I’m a strong person, to wanting to cry. It seems silly since it’ll probably be ok. I hate sitting in that waiting room. Really, really hate it. Earlier I heard a woman talking to her friend about how she’d found two more lumps in the same breast where she’d previously had a tumour removed. She’d decided that this time she would have a mastectomy. That does not add to my comfort levels. I wait and eventually I’m called for the skin biopsy. In the cubical it feels like an age before the nurse and consultant arrive although I’m sure it wasn’t that long. I’m freaking out in my head thinking of that darkened tissue. The anaesthetic injection seems more painful this time but this biopsy is a lot easier and is over very quickly.

I get my results on Thursday. I’m still veering between things being fine and worrying. I wrestled over whether to tell my mother about the procedures. I didn’t want her worrying about them but it would also have felt quite wrong to withhold the information. She won’t see this post because she dislikes using computers. I  was told some women go to the clinic end up having biopsies and don’t tell their husbands. I really can’t understand how they wouldn’t be able to notice though.

I can’t think how to end this blog now. I don’t want to leave you all on a downer but I can’t be super positive about it either. I still feel very up and down about things and will do so until I get my results on Thursday.

Craft room reorganising continued…

Day 4 and the room still looks a mess although slowly, pockets of space are appearing. At the beginning it was almost impossible to get into the room so it's progress albeit slow progress. I've been removing everything that doesn't belong in the room which includes a few hundred books. They're currently in stacks on the landing outside. I need to get some shelves up so that they go in other areas of the house. I also need to get rid of some of them too. I have been taking photos but I don't want to put any up until the room is done.

My self imposed deadline for the room is tomorrow and I'm not entirely sure whether I'll make it or not. I'm going to work through as much of today as I can, so we'll see! But I am cursing myself for being such a book lover!

The rest of the house is chaotic too since I've had to find places to temporarily put things while I sort out the craft room. It will be worth it in the end but it's not easy. Ah well, nothing worth doing is ever easy.

Oh, and on a plus point I'm now off until next Wednesday 🙂 Yes, it does give me more time to finish the room should I need it – but the main aim is to have time so that I can actually make something in the finished space. At the moment I'm thinking of sewing a top or possible a dress. Have found my gorgeous Liberty prints and want to make something fantastic and wearable. All suggestions gratefully received – comments are now enabled again since the spammers seem to have tired and gone elsewhere 🙂