Archives for posts with tag: yarn

I bought some yarn in January, several balls/skeins in some lovely yarn bases.   At the time I had a project in mind for each of them, and I used 3 of the balls within the last month.  But I was a bit disorganised and didn’t write down just what I intended to use all the yarn for!

So today I looked at the remaining yarn.  It is rather luscious.  I have 6 balls, 2 each of 3 colours, of Rooster Almerino DK.  I used Rooster Almerino Aran to remake the Lace and Texture Cowl, it is a lovely yarn base, soft and fabulous to work with.  So  I will have had a good use for it…..but I can’t remember!

The 3 colours are lovely together, a touch autumnal:

DSC01247

The colours are Starfish (top), Sandcastle (bottom left) and Hazelnut (bottom right), I like the combination.  So whether I can remember the original purpose or not, I know I will enjoy hooking some magic with these 🙂

The other 2 skeins are Cascade 220.  These are in a colour called Shrimp and, for me, these are very pink!   I don’t use pink normally, so I would have something unusual in mind.

DSC01249

This is a worsted/aran weight, so will hook up quickly.

What do you think?  Are they luscious or yummy?  And what would you make with these yarns?

Happy crocheting xx

On the last day before we flew home, the plan was to visit a couple of museums and then do a little shopping before lunch.   The museums were excellent (Museum of Asian Art, an extensive collection of Asian artefacts and a great insight into the Hellenic influence,  and Casa Parlante, a living history museum).    The shopping aim was to try and find some oregano in a small terracotta jar.  We had bought one such jar 6 years ago but had broken it fairly recently.  There were lots of herbs and spices for sale in the usual tourist shops, but no little terracotta jars.  My memory told me we had bought it on a road somewhere near the old market and not a very touristy area.   So we were heading up to this location and were having no joy in finding terracotta jars when I suddenly spotted this sign:

Pompon

Pompon

The sun was bright making the window more like a mirror than a window, so I looked very closely and was amazed to find a it was a very lovely yarn shop!

Window

Window

Crocheted Autumn Leaves in the window

Crocheted Autumn Leaves in the window (or earrings!)

I was in there in an instant.   I think my enthusiastic entry surprised the owner Elli!    The shop is very new (only open about 3 months) and has little internet presence (yet).  There is a facebook page which I am certain will gain more followers.

I had a long chat with Elli, a lovely lady with excellent English who has set up a perfect shop:  fresh, new and very modern.  She has many English friends who are interested in knitting and crochet and she told me it is also a growing trend amongst the younger generation in Greece, very much like here.    I explained my search for a yarn shop and finding one in a lingerie shop which she said is the traditional way to buy yarn.      She has a small library of English magazines and books, which she wants to expand so that her English customers can have a good browse, but as we know knitting and crochet is international, especially charts and symbols.   And she plans to do workshops.

I promised that next time I am in Corfu I will have coffee with her for a much longer chat, in fact that’s a very good reason to book another holiday 🙂

I asked if she had any cotton yarn and she took me in the back of the shop where the cottons are (as they are out of season now) and amongst the selection I found a linen mix in a lovely pale blue:

Pale blue linen mix

Pale blue linen mix

When I purchased she handed me a perfect little crochet heart as a present:

Crochet heart

Crochet heart

Pompon is located at 7, Velissariou and is near M&S.  With M&S on your left, head north and take the second turning to the left – that is Velissariou – Pompon is a short way up on the right.  It’s a short walk from everywhere – the shopping area, the old town, the old port and the new port.

I know there are plenty of people who visit Corfu Town on cruises, every day we were on holiday we saw one or two very large cruise ships in port.  I even know of some that do specific craft cruises – so if you are in Corfu Town, whether on a cruise or staying on the island, even if just for a day, pop by to see Elli at Pompon and enjoy her thoroughly modern yarn shop, a new gem to be found in Corfu!

Happy knitting and crocheting xxx

PS we never found the oregano in terracotta jar, so if you know where I can find one please let me know.

 

 

I have researched yarn shops in Corfu before, and found a couple of blogs that suggested the place to find yarn in Corfu is a lingerie shop.  And I have tried to locate one in Corfu Town once a few years ago – to no avail.

However, this time I was determined to find it.  All I knew was that it was ‘around the corner from M&S’.  Yes, there is an M&S in Corfu Town!

I know where Corfu’s M&S is so my plan was to walk all the way around the block where M&S is located.   My husband is very supportive of my yarn searches and was happy to let me wander the streets a while looking for the lingerie/yarn shop.  I spotted a lingerie shop with the sign ‘Triumph’ outside (Triumph is a well-known UK bra manufacturer), but when I peered in the window I could see no yarn.  So I walked some more and then after prompting from Supportive Husband I went back to look a little more – right at the back I could see what I thought were buttons.  So in I went and YES there was yarn hiding at the back, along with quite a lot of haberdashery and some fabric.   There wasn’t much yarn, and it was mainly acrylic, but I found this:

Corfu yarn

Corfu yarn

2 large balls of aran weight wool/acrylic mix from Italy in very short variegations of blue (suitable best for crochet I think) and a 4 ply angora/acrylic mix from Turkey in longer variegations.

The purchasing process was interesting.  I had to take the yarn to the haberdashery counter for the yarn to be bagged and the prices to be written on a small piece of paper, then take the paper to the front of the shop to pay.

I bounced out very happy.

Unfortunately I have no photo of the yarn shop as it was on a busy road (and more congested due to roadworks) but this is the name on the bag:

Corfu Town yarn shop

Corfu Town yarn shop

And it is located at 14, Stamatiou Desila, very close to the open air market (recommended for a visit to see the most glorious display of fresh fish for sale).

We hired a car for a few days and took our usual route through town to get from the port to the seafront at Garitsa Bay, a route we have travelled many times which goes through the open air market and, yes, right alongside the lingerie/yarn shop – over the years I must have passed this shop so many times yet not realised it was a yarn shop!

On foot it is easy to find, it is just around the corner from M&S, walk south on Theotoki Georgiou with M&S on your right and take the very first right turn – the shop is a very short distance along on the left.

I have no idea what I will make with this yarn, but I chose blues because, as well as being one of my favourite colours, it reminds me of the blues of the skies and sea around Corfu.

I was very satisfied – I had found yarn in Corfu fairly early in the holiday (but was it the only one?!).

So my next adventure was to revisit a lovely crochet and lace shop in Kassiopi – more about that tomorrow.

Happy knitting and crocheting xxx

It’s a while since I blogged, but I have a good excuse – I’ve been on holiday.  Shortly after returning from Yarndale I was packing cases ready for a holiday in Corfu.

We love Corfu and have visited many times, normally in May or September.   This year we had a few logistical problems getting a date for holidays, mainly because there was something happening virtually every weekend throughout May and September.  However, it is still possible to fly directly to Corfu in October.

As we knew many holiday businesses will start to shut during October, we decided to do something a little different and book a hotel in Corfu Town rather than book a villa in the North East, hoping there would be plenty of activity in Corfu Town.

So that is what we did, choosing our hotel carefully so that we had a good view and a short walk to the old town.

This was the view straight out of our room:

The old fort

The old fort

The weather was good for October, mainly sunny and very warm.   Evenings were still warm and no jacket or jumper was required.  Our view to the left in the evening:

Spianada, Liston and Palace of St Michael & St George in evening light

Spianada, Liston and Palace of St Michael & St George in evening light

However, we did have a little rain, a few grey clouds and one magnificent thunderstorm. This is the view to our right on the evening the thunderstorm started to build (shortly after this shot the clouds thickened, the breeze turned to wind and the calm sea gained white topped waves…):

Garitsa Bay in the evening

Garitsa Bay in the evening

The hotel was the Cavalieri, in an old Venetian building of character and a rooftop restaurant (with those views!).  It was just what we wanted – not a large characterless box, no spa or gym, no pool but a tremendous location, lovely character, restaurant with a view and good service.

I am sure you will be wondering if I did anything yarny on holiday….well I did, but I’m saving up my Corfu yarny adventures for more blog posts – just watch this space!

Happy knitting and crocheting xxxxx

I think it is fair to say that the 4 lovely crocheters who came to my mandala workshop this afternoon had already fallen under the spell of magical mandalas.   I hope they went away having learned more about the maths and the ways to make them easier and neater.   And I know they went away having already made mandalas to their own designs.

Yummy yarn

Yummy yarn

There was plenty of yarn to choose from (22 shades of Stylecraft Cotton Classique DK), copious notes and patterns (I do like to write notes!) and a whole host of mandalas that I have made (some to my own design, some not) which I hope provided the right inspiration.

Mandala inspiration

Mandala inspiration

The four mandalas they made were all different, not just in colour but also in the techniques they chose to practice – definition, petals and maths were all being practiced.

I hope they don’t mind me sharing their designs with you:

014 013 012 011

Between them, they used almost all 22 shades of yarn!

It was a happy crochet afternoon, and I’m looking forward to the next one!

Happy crocheting xxx

 

 

Do you remember this post when I promised to share more of my mandala designs when they had progressed further?

Here is the Buxton Mandala which I have just published.

Buxton Mandala

Buxton Mandala

This is the ‘prototype’ I made in Buxton.  It is made in Drops Muskat which is a mercerised cotton dk with a lovely sheen.  I didn’t have many colours of this yarn with me at the time so I used only 5 colours.

When I reworked the design I used Stylecraft Classique Cotton DK of which I had a much wider range of colours.  I loved the original design so much that the only thing I changed as I reworked it was the colours and I added one more colour.

Buxton number 2

Buxton number 2

There is quite a difference in the yarns – Stylecraft being softer with less of a sheen and giving less stitch definition.  This photo shows the difference a little more clearly:

2 Buxtons

2 Buxtons

Which do I like?  Well both – I love the colours of the Stylcecraft version and I love the sharp stitch definition of the Drops version.

Which do you like?

The pattern it is on special sale on Ravelry until midnight GMT Sunday 10th May 2015 – 50% off the original price if you use coupon code BUXTON at checkout (with apologies to EU purchasers where the coupon code will not work as EU sales are currently diverted to LoveKnitting – something that will be remedied in future).

Happy crocheting xxx

I have a few more little joys to share with you from my Buxton holiday!

First the visit from Nic who is YarnsfromthePlain, she brought a sweet shop full of yarn to Buxton.  Yes, I know I mentioned this before – but I didn’t show you which sweets I bought!     So here they are:

Plumley

Plumley

They are both the same yarn base called Plumley – a single spun yarn, 100% Blue Faced Leicester Roving DK, approx 200m per 100g skein.

Have I ever told you I love single spun yarn?   It is so smooth to work with. So I was overjoyed to see Nic had started dyeing some.   I will be back for more!

The second Buxton ‘extra’ is my mandala obsession – I did some crochet ‘doodling’ and designed 2 new ones!    Here’s a sneaky peek:

Buxton mandalas

Buxton mandalas

I will share more when the designs are more advanced, or closer to publishing. My mandala obsession is only just beginning!

Happy crocheting xx

.

…..and I haven’t written a full blog in almost 2 weeks!   So first I must apologise to my readers for being so quiet.

As well as being busy preparing for Christmas, I have also been thinking hard about my designs and how I sell them from next year.  This is all due to a change in legislation relating to EU VAT.  Aimed at making large tax-avoiding companies  pay VAT, it has hit also a huge number of small businesses who sell digital downloads, whether crochet patterns, music or a multitude of other digital downloads or PDFs.  The legislation has been in the wind for 6 years but hasn’t been widely marketed because the legislators did not realise just how many micro businesses there are that operate in the digital world.  And yes, that includes me!   I will not bore you with the details, but from 1st January 2015 I will be limiting my pattern sales to a few websites – definitely Ravelry and also Loveknitting.

Meanwhile the good things that have happened in the last few weeks:

I published my last crochet scarf design of 2014 on 1st December, the culmination of a year of scarf designs.  I called this one The Starflower Scarf for obvious reasons:

Starflower Crochet Scarf

Starflower Crochet Scarf

I used lots of oddments of gorgeous silk yarns from Willow Knits.

Also, I compiled all 12 designs from my monthly challenge into one ebook – My Year of Scarves.

My Year of Scarves

My Year of Scarves

I can’t express just how good it felt when I pushed the button to publish this.  I never expected I would last the whole year on this personal challenge but I did!

Remember the beaded crochet pouch that featured at the Buxton Knitaway? Well that has been published also.

Crochet pouch

Crochet pouch

So I am ready for a relaxing Christmas season, but if course it will always feature some making.   I have a design I need to finish but it requires concentration, which may not be readily available during the holiday season! So I have decided to make a straightforward lap blanket, something that will flow quickly and easily off the hook, and doesn’t need too much concentration.   This is designed (in my head) and will be started soon…..do you fancy joining me in a seasonal CAL?    Some easy quick crochet, perfectly suitable for the holidaytime, great as a stash buster…….if you are up for it, then I will publish the pattern in parts on this blog over the festive season, starting on Christmas Eve.  The pattern will be written as the design comes out of my head, so you will be crocheting along with me.  It should be fun 🙂

With all good wishes for the Christmas season xxx

Having been to Yarndale only a few days ago it was rather indulgent to visit a yarn shop but, when invited to join my yarny friends for a quick trip out to Black Sheep Wools, I could not resist, after all I am a self-confessed yarn addict! And I had visited Ovelha Negra in Oporto very recently – Ovelha Negra means black sheep – so I thought I should try an English one.

It was a fun time, we got lost going there and again coming back (the coming back was probably my fault – sorry Julie!). So when we arrived we were ready for a coffee, and in my case a lovely homemade scone with jam and cream, in the café. Once refreshed it was time to shop.

I didn’t need any more yarn but I can never resist. I had decided to make some slippers using a pattern in the new magazine #crochet which needed 2 balls of Rico Creative Cotton Aran, so I selected the 2 balls. I then found myself in the ‘yarn dive’ area which is full of bargains. I could not resist some Louisa Harding Sari Ribbon on sale at £4.99 per skein – this will be great from some Christmas seasonal makes but is also great for wrapping. Although Ruth did say I looked like a cheer leader holding up this sparkly yarn in both hands!

All those sparkles brighten up my day!

All those sparkles brighten up my day!

Black Sheep is an extensive yarn shop and includes other crafts. There is a good selection of fabrics and, with seasonal makes on my mind, I bought some:

Christmas fabric

Christmas fabric

One thing I didn’t buy at Yarndale was some more of the KnitPro Karbonz knitting needles. I bought a pair on my trip to Blackpool and they have become my favourite needles. I am using them at the moment for the Sunny Sail shawl (using yarn purchased at Yarndale) but I need to transfer to circulars soon. When Julie spotted they had sets for sale I really could not resist at all – so a set of 7 interchangeable needles was also purchased.

This set will help keep me organised

This set will help keep me organised

I enjoyed the trip out and I am sure to visit Black Sheep again, especially as their prices are very good. And the café does lovely cakes and food. Why is it that yarn and cake go so well together?

Happy knitting and crochet xxx

Here is the official Yarndale stash photo:

Yarndale stash

Yarndale stash

I had a fabulous day out at Yarndale but I had only recently returned from a holiday in Northern Portugal and my mind was still there.

The holiday was a short river cruise on the Douro followed by a short stay in a Pousada.

Prior to going I asked around on Ravelry to see if anyone could give me ideas of yarn shops to visit during my free time (a few hours on the first day) in Oporto. So I was fore-armed. Unfortunately things don’t always go to plan and my idea of having 3 hours free to wander Oporto on the day we arrived dissolved when we were whisked off for a coach tour of Oporto and a port wine tasting (and I love white port – so I wasn’t too disappointed!). However, the tour included 20 minutes of free time in an area very close to one of my ‘tips’. So I wasted no time in searching out ‘A Vida Portuguesa’. It is a lovely old shop with lots of beautiful items all made in Portugal. Unfortunately my enquiries drew a blank – I was advised they had no yarn.

As the time was ticking away rapidly, I felt quite low, my only possible chance of finding yarn in Portugal had diminished substantially…. or so I thought…. I unexpectedly I found a fabric shop/haberdashery on a street corner so took my chances and jumped in. After an interesting discussion consisting mainly of gesticulation, I was told to go around the corner and across the road (I have no idea how I worked this out as my Portuguese is extremely limited!). By now I had only 2 minutes free time left but I ran across the tramlines and into the shop……which turned out to be a fabric/haberdashery/yarn shop. It took only a quick peruse of the shelves to see there was no Portuguese wool – it was all acrylic. Nevertheless I asked and someone who could speak enough English let me know they didn’t have any local Portuguese yarn.

My first yarn hunt had drawn a blank but I was happily surprised at having found not one but two crafty shops in a small area of Oporto.

Two days later we visited Lamego – a small town famous for the sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies and its long staircase down to the town (685 steps and yes I walked down but I didn’t count them! Thank heavens they didn’t ask me to walk up!!!).

Lamego

Lamego

After the long descent (which reminded me of my last fire drill from the 24th floor of the building I used to work in!), we wandered through the main parts of Lamego and then took a side street and lo and behold I found Casa Das Las on Rua Olaria – yes a yarn shop!!!! After the usual gesticulations (I was getting used to this!) I found some yarn in hanks that was 50% Portuguese wool. I was surprised to find it was sold by weight and priced by the kilo. I chose 2 colours and found they weighed about 240g for a total cost of €9.37.

Lemago yarn

Lemago yarn

Suddenly I felt I had achieved my goal of finding Portuguese yarn.

Two days later we were back in Oporto, but again the timetable had changed and I found we had 1.5 hours free time. Filipa, the hotel/ship manager, had given me a map to find Ovelha Negra, a modern yarn shop in Oporto of which I had read some excellent reviews. I found it easily and found someone who spoke perfect English. She seemed surprised that someone from the UK wanted to visit a Portuguese yarn shop! She helped me find some Rosarios 4 yarn (a Portuguese brand) and I left feeling happy. The shop is very modern and much like many yarn shops we have in the UK

Ovelha Negra

Ovelha Negra

Apologies for the quality of this photo – it was taken on my phone and I made a complete hash of it!

Here is the yarn I bought:

Rosarios 4

Rosarios 4


I was now on a high and decided I would like to revisit A Vida Portuguesa as it was a lovely shop, old and characterful, and full of local Portuguese goods. I ascended the beautiful old wooden staircase and just at the top I found some lovely yarn! Just a few skeins in a basket but this was clearly handcrafted and gorgeous! So my second yarn purchase of the day – and only 8 euros!

Restosaria Beiroa

Restosaria Beiroa

The next day we visited Braga – a larger town. Again we had some free time ….did I tell you about the fantabulous pastries in Portugal? Well I went in search of one of the pastry shops, which are everywhere, and lo and behold almost next door to the first pastry shop I found was a wool shop, no signage but plenty of wool (on Rua de S Marcos). Again the language barrier was overcome with gesticulation and a clear love of La (wool) and I was shown a section of hanks of 100% wool. I chose a hank and this was weighed and priced as before.

Pure Portuguese wool

Pure Portuguese wool

You can imagine how happy I was by now – 4 yarn purchases in a few days!!!!

Our last trip was to Guimaraes, a UNESCO world heritage site with a beautifully preserved medieval centre. It has lots of characterful buildings, restaurants and shops….and very strangely I found 2 yarn shops, much the same as the ones in Lamego and Braga. I was extremely restrained and decided not to buy any more yarn, maybe the size of my suitcase helped in this decision!

But I thoroughly enjoyed finding yet more yarn shops and I also spotted some small handcrafted crochet shops, primarily baby clothes but definitely hand made.

Finally, I fell in love with Guimaraes embroidery – which I found everywhere. Traditionally in black, red, blue or cream on cream linen. The best shop I found was a co-operative and I was tempted to purchase a lovely embroidered pouch bag – I love how the drawstring is crocheted!

017

And this was small and flat, so fitted easily in the suitcase!

So Northern Portugal has been very rewarding for a yarn addict. It is clear that there are more plentiful yarn shops than in the UK (much more plentiful). I just hope it stays that way.

And I must thank my husband, he was very patient as I searched out all the yarnie goodness in Northern Portugal and I love him to bits!

Happy knitting and crocheting xxxx

PS I didn’t mention it but the prices of everything are excellent, I can’t recall ever buying a bottle of beer (Super Bock) for only 70p!!! Visit Northern Portugal now, before it gets too commercial.

PPS I have been working with some of the Rosarios 4 yarn and there is a cowl pattern almost ready to publish…. a fabulous reminder of my yarn adventure in Northern Portugal!

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