Archive for March, 2012


End Of The Month

31 March 2012

As I write this in Australia, it’s now 31st March.  And, as threatened, I’ve posted here every day this month. 

I find it’s quite a good discipline and gives me a kick start to keep my blog going for another year.

I promised a gift for one of you who commented and I’ve had LOADS of comments over the last few weeks.  I’ll sort through them all, number them and ask David to pick a number over the next few days.  If you’d like to be in the draw and haven’t left a comment since 1st March, you have until midnight Sydney time.  I’ll announce the winner early next week.

Normal service will now be resumed.




Easter Swap

30 March 2012

I’ve just taken part in a swap organised on Ravelry – it’s only the second I’ve done as I’ve been scared off by horror stories I’ve heard in the past, but this one seems to be working brilliantly. 

For those of you non-knitters who have no idea what I’m talking about, the idea is that the swap organiser lays down the rules and each person taking part has to send out a surprise package.  Person A sends to Person B who sends to Person C etc.  So the only thing we know is the name of the person we’re sending to – we have no idea who is sending to us.

In this case, we had to include a skein of yarn from a hand-dyed yarn company and it had to be there before Easter.  Most of the people involved in this are in the UK and my parcel hasn’t arrived there yet but I got mine this week and it’s wonderful.



That’s a skein of EasyKnit merino 4ply which has fantastic colours. The “mitten blocker” below is a key ring believe it or not (from The Yarn Cafe) , and the skein of Opal yarn is tiny. It came with a pattern to knit a little cabled mitten to go on the key ring!  I’ve never seen that before – thought it was really cute.  And some wonderful china buttons from Injabulo.  AND an Amy Butler  bag for carrying knitting (or anything else) around.

It was lovely to get a beautifully wrapped little package in the post for no special reason and I’m really thrilled which what was chosen for me.


Big Plug No. 5

29 March 2012

I’m enjoying this!  For the last couple of weeks I’ve been telling you about small businesses (mainly in the UK but not all) who are friends of mine on Ravelry.  I’ve had some lovely comments and emails from readers here who’ve discovered new ways of spending their money (but they seem quite grateful for the introductions).  And the businesses themselves are getting lots of hits on their websites, enquiries and a few extra sales.  

So here are two more:

Rebel Yarns:  This is stunning.  I was immediately drawn to the laceweight baby alpaca in the most gorgeous colours.  You HAVE to look at this.

And if you’re looking for some of the most beautiful patterns I’ve seen in quite a while, you also MUST go over to Asa Tricosa.  Her patterns are listed down the right hand side.

Please tell them I sent you – and, no, I’m not working on commission but am getting quite a kick out of seeing happy buyers and sellers.    


It Just Goes On and On

28 March 2012

There’s a long thread in Ravelry about the bizarre business practices of KAL and All Craft Media,  entitled “This isn’t going to end well”.  Someone has suggested it be renamed “This isn’t going to end…”

And apparently it isn’t.

Their previous clubs having been so successful (!), Knit Magazine aka All Craft Media, previously KAL Media started a lace club.  Some lovely yarn offered and so far received (albeit generally late), with patterns.

The 4th and final shipment was due with the subscribers in “the middle of March” and it was a skein of Wollmeise lace – a very sought-after commodity.  But on Friday 16th March the company announced that there was no Wollmeise.  Apparently Wollmeise had inexplicably returned ACM’s payment, ACM doesn’t know why and is looking into it.

Perhaps I could save them the trouble.

On 1st November, Knit Magazine posted on its Facebook page that it had ordered the Wollmeise Lace. Apparently Wollmeise generally ask for prepayment.  In December or January, Wollmeise emailed Knit to confirm the order as they had not heard from the magazine.  Receiving no response, they understandably sold the yarn. Their only contact with this publisher has therefore been when the original order was discussed.  Fast forward to the beginning of March and Wollmeise received a payment from a company they’d never heard of (well, they do keep changing their name) with nothing to say what the money was for.  So they, again understandably, returned the money.  Of course they now know what it was for, having read about it on Ravelry. Not sure how ACM was going to get the yarn from Germany and out to the subscribers by the middle of March, incidentally.

ACM promised to source an alternative and as they’d received a full refund of the payment to Wollmeise, something special was expected by the subscribers. They then announced that the replacement comes from a “hand-dyer in Hertfordshire”.  Unfortunately the only hand-dyer anyone seems to know of in Herts. is none other than Hipknits (owned by Kerrie Allman and now run by her father).  They assured the members that’s not the source but wouldn’t give the name of the new yarn.  However, they said they will add a skein of Sparkleduck (a lovely yarn) to the final instalment. Nobody is holding their breath.

After a few days of pestering, ACM finally informed the sock club members that the yarn was from Colourmart, a 47% merino, 30% viscose, 15% polyamide and 8% cashmere yarn. (Wollmeise lace is 100% merino).  Colourmart is a perfectly reputable company (which gives outstanding customer service from what I’ve heard) although I don’t know anyone who has tried their “mixed yarns”.  Incidentally, their yarn is generally oiled as it comes from yarn made for machine-knitting.  No idea how that’s going to take the dye.

And onto the dyeing.  The “professional” dyer isn’t in fact in Herts, but in Essex.  We’re told that she doesn’t normally sell the yarn she dyes (not sure what ACM’s definition of “professional” is then?)  She may or may not do a good job but this ISN’T a suitable substitute for Wollmeise.  A trip to the Trading Standards Office in the UK is called for here, I think.

In the meantime, the members of this club have received by email the pattern for this instalment, which by all accounts is lovely BUT is written for a cobweb lace, not for Wollmeise (or the substitute Colourmart yarn). 

No, this isn’t going to end at all.


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Big Plug No. 4

27 March 2012

Another couple of my Ravelry “friends” who sell items of interest to us. I’m so glad to hear that some I’ve mentioned are actually receiving orders from my mentions, which is wonderful.  I like to see all these small suppliers thriving because it gives us buyers so much choice.

If you’re a spinner, I think you’ll find Katie’s beautifully dyed roving at HillTopCloud to be a winner.  There’s also some hand-spun yarn there.

And should you find that your spare room is absolutely over-run with yarn and you’re not sure what to do with it, pop over to MLemmonsDesigns. Melissa has some beautiful sock patterns plus others. 

Now get shopping (or, at the very least, bookmarking). 


Must Be Something About My Face

26 March 2012

I’ve travelled a lot – in the UK, Australia and lots of countries in between.  And there’s one thing I can always be sure of.

As soon as I step foot in an unfamiliar country, city or suburb someone will ask me for directions.

Today I was in a part of Sydney I hardly know and within 2 minutes of getting off the bus, I was asked to help a couple.  And ten minutes later, I was approached again, this time by a woman.

The place was hardly sparsely populated – in fact it was really busy at lunch time in an area with loads of businesses.  So I’ve no idea why I was selected.

Maybe I just look as though I’m the font of all wisdom?


And A Third Big Plug

25 March 2012

More lovely UK dyers/knitting goody sellers that I’ve come across – and they’ll all DEFINITELY ship to Australia (and if they’ll ship to Australia, I presume they’ll also ship to the USA).

If you’re looking for really beautiful hand-dyed Blue Faced Leicester, Larissa has some great colours over at her Etsy shop, Travel Knitter.

And for hand-dyed pure silk, try another Etsy shop, Willowknits, owned by Anne.  I LOVED the colours.

How about some wonderful wooden, hand-crafted swifts and spindles?  I have had so many recommendations for Claire’s company, Sunflower Swifts.  I realise posting a swift to Australia may be a bit expensive (though I’m sure if you don’t mind waiting a while, sea-mail may be an option) but she also has some lovely spindles and nostepinnes. 

Why haven’t I got more money?  Why haven’t I got more storage space?