Wicked WIP Wednesday

I often joke 'there's no rest for the wicked!' when things are busy but oh my gosh it's just been full on since the holidays ended!

When things are this crazy, it can be difficult not to be distracted from all the 'ooh shiny' of new projects or patterns. It's a huge occupational hazard to be keeping up with knitting sites and chat boards on Ravelry when there are all kinds of tempting goodies are on offer!

Case in point - Rachel's new shawl design that I blogged about last week. It's brilliant, and straight-forward, and I think I'm in love with the simplicity of it. Of course, I'm on the miles of garter stitch body at the moment but even the lace bit looks to be not very complicated either (and we all know how I feel about lace!).

Still, I've been managing to sneak in a row here and there while on buses, or at a morning coffee with the mums after the school run, or one last row before I fall into bed after working late, so the shawl is growing slowly but surely.

While I'm still at that point in a newly cast-on project where it's all I want to knit, I'm wondering if there isn't some truth to Rachel's theory that knitting handspun projects just progress faster. Like knitting stranded colourwork or stripes, there's that urgency and motivation to get to the next bit to see how it's going to turn out - and that's more or less how I'm feeling about discovering how this handspun is going to look when it's knitted up.

Only time will tell! What lovely distractions are keeping you from your own work, or knitting?

FO Friday: Spinning Edition

One of the things I took the time to do over the holidays was update my stash on Ravelry and make sure that any new yarn purchases were logged and that my projects were all up to date.

Apparently I started spinning this little braid of  SweetGeorgia Superwash BFL  fibre back in April 2014. Colourway is Spring Garden.

Apparently I started spinning this little braid of SweetGeorgia Superwash BFL fibre back in April 2014. Colourway is Spring Garden.

But you know how once you get started organising something you seem to keep going? Well, I did. And it meant that two days later I had completely logged and photographed my entire spinning stash. Needless to say I won't be adding any fibre to the stash this year - there's more than enough there to keep me going for quite a while! 

Letting the bobbins rest before finishing. I debated between plying them or leaving them as singles.

Letting the bobbins rest before finishing. I debated between plying them or leaving them as singles.

It was inspiring to see all the goodies in there and as I'd barely touched my wheel in 2014 I'm making it one of my goals for 2015 - to spin more. So I dusted off my trusty Sidekick and spun up the last 50g of superwash BFL that I started earlier in 2014 onto a second bobbin. It didn't take long, and it was lovely to peddle and have all the muscle memory come back with my spinning.

Happily, while I was waiting for the bobbins to rest before plying, Rachel came over wearing a brand new shawl that she's designed and knit in her own handspun and I decided it would be perfect for my newly spun yarn! We debated plying versus not - the Spring Garden colourway has lovely lengths of green and purple and white that I'd like to leave unmarled. Since I've never finished any of my handspun as singles before (and really, it was the only way I was going to get the needed yardage) that's the way I decided to go.

All paired up and ready to go!

All paired up and ready to go!

The two bobbins resulted in approximately 390 yards of fingering weight yarn (about 18-20 WPI). I plan on pairing them with some 100% linen from my stash for the lace border in a complementary mossy green. Can't wait to get started on this!

And with extra BKFF thanks to Rachel for sending over an advance copy of the pattern!

Unwind Brighton recap: #thanksdani

Thanks for your patience with the blog folks. Looks like the new app I downloaded works like a charm. (Actually, check that. It's now taken me well over two weeks to get this post edited. The technical challenges of trying to post from my iPad thwarted me so I basically was forced to wait until I had my new computer. Hopefully it will help me do more remotely!)

Ah... summer in Brighton! Photo credit: Jordan Thistlewood

Ah... summer in Brighton! Photo credit: Jordan Thistlewood

With August suddenly here (holy cow, how did that happen?!) I feel like I can finally write about the magical time that was Unwind Brighton last month.

The lovely Dani sneaking in some knitting time (and work!) during a pre-Unwind visit with Rach and I in the spring.

The lovely Dani sneaking in some knitting time (and work!) during a pre-Unwind visit with Rach and I in the spring.

I had the good fortune of visiting Brighton way back in late January/early February when Unwind was quickly becoming more than a twinkle in Dani's eye. Dani, for those of you who don't know, is the indie dyer behind Lioness Arts. She is also a lovely sponsor of the Great London Yarn Crawl and one of the kindest people you could ever hope to meet.

Dani walks Rachel and I through Brighton's charming streets.

Dani walks Rachel and I through Brighton's charming streets.

Dani had told me a little bit about what she was thinking of for Unwind but knowing how close Brighton is from the station right near our flat in London, I hopped on the train one afternoon to pop down and see Dani and hear all about her plans for the festival. This one-woman powerhouse (with a strong team of friends and supporters) had a VISION! and I was completely captivated by the vibe and energy of Brighton, not to mention it's unique architecture and winding lanes.

There's a quiet strength to Dani and thoughtfulness to who she is. She's a do-er. With little to no fanfare Dani's one of those people who just sets out to do something and gets it done. And not just done, but DONE WELL. It was easy to see how wonderful her plans were and a no-brainer to get involved as a vendor, making the introduction for Felicia to come over from SweetGeorgia and teach also. 

Arriving in Brighton with the most of the fixin's for a booth of SweetGeorgia yarn-y goodness! (Lucky for us, the yarn was sent ahead, and Jacqueline from Soak was along to help us with everything else!)

Arriving in Brighton with the most of the fixin's for a booth of SweetGeorgia yarn-y goodness! (Lucky for us, the yarn was sent ahead, and Jacqueline from Soak was along to help us with everything else!)

On the Friday before the show, with everything packed up including my guys, we headed down to Brighton on the train. The guys were going to have a boys weekend of rides on the pier and exploring down on the beach while mummy worked.

Spending some time with my boys down at the beach before work got underway on the weekend.

Spending some time with my boys down at the beach before work got underway on the weekend.

Since this wasn't my typical show visit (in that I wasn't there for the day, wasn't taking classes, and had next to no time to look around or shop), I can't tell you what the Unwind experience was from a typical visitor's experience - although SO many people told me how ace they thought the event was, how much fun they were having, how great it was to meet so many knitters, designers, dyers, and so on, have a chat and in general just how awesome everything was! - but what I can tell you is that from a vendor perspective, it was pretty magical.

I know I only have one other show as a vendor to compare it to, but even for that I was going down each day, not staying over, and as a first show I think I wasn't really sure what to expect. 

Putting faces to names: Felicia from SweetGeorgia and Aimee from L'Oisive Thé et Tricot finally meet after knowing each other for years online!

Putting faces to names: Felicia from SweetGeorgia and Aimee from L'Oisive Thé et Tricot finally meet after knowing each other for years online!

Knowing how hectic a show can be, Dani and her organisers had thoughtfully arranged a dinner for the vendors to attend on the Friday night (many with their families!) before we could get access to the venue to start setting up. It was a wonderful way to put names and faces to people, and meet some of the kniteratti who would be teaching but not necessarily have a booth at the event.

Our colourful Unwind Brighton booth ready for visitors!

Our colourful Unwind Brighton booth ready for visitors!

The load-in and booth set-up were pretty uneventful - my guys helped get things loaded in, Felicia and Dan and baby Russell helped put together fixtures and Jacqueline from Soak (who's booth was next door) helped unpack yarn. It wasn't long before the booth was set up and ready to go!

The very lovely Jacqueline Sava in the Soak booth.

The very lovely Jacqueline Sava in the Soak booth.

Once the show began on Saturday, the rest of the weekend is a bit of a blur of knitters and yarn-lovers and fibre enthusiasts. Everyone had such nice things to say, from how well-curated the exhibitors were, to how much they had learned in the workshops, or how exciting it was for them to meet designers and dyers and put faces to names that they had only seen online. And knitters came from not just all over the UK but also Scandinavia, North America and other parts of Europe too.

Clockwise from top right: happy knitters in the SweetGeorgia booth, Catherine gets some delicious yarn for a new project, a very chuffed knitter with a sweater's worth of Tough Love Sock.

Clockwise from top right: happy knitters in the SweetGeorgia booth, Catherine gets some delicious yarn for a new project, a very chuffed knitter with a sweater's worth of Tough Love Sock.

This wonderful knitter had bought some SweetGeorgia fibre at Unravel, spun it and then plied it with another bit of handspun before knitting it up in her own design.

This wonderful knitter had bought some SweetGeorgia fibre at Unravel, spun it and then plied it with another bit of handspun before knitting it up in her own design.

Chatting with knitters is my favourite part of any of these events, whether as an exhibitor or when I'm just visiting. It's always wonderful to hear what people are working on, or planning with their latest stash acquisitions. At Unwind I also had the happy pleasure of knitters and spinners coming up and telling me how much they had enjoyed knitting or spinning with their purchases from Unravel earlier in the year.

Half of the Seaside Shindig - there was another room in the basement of the bar filled with knitters too!

Half of the Seaside Shindig - there was another room in the basement of the bar filled with knitters too!

On Saturday night the fun gals from Pom Pom Quarterly hosted the Seaside Shindig. A lovely get together for everyone to hang out and knit, and with goodie bags and a fun pub quiz! I was happily part of the winning team - a competitive dream team that consisted of an editor, a designer, an indie dyer and a couple of sponsors. There was good-natured grumbling from other teams after we won, but as one of our team members commented on her blog, "when we saw our prizes we got over it!".

New stash: my pretty selection of the Seaside Shindig prizes - a skein of linen yarn from Sweden called Kalinka. I was happy to win as the weekend was so hectic I didn't get a chance to browse or shop properly with any of the amazing vendors!

New stash: my pretty selection of the Seaside Shindig prizes - a skein of linen yarn from Sweden called Kalinka. I was happy to win as the weekend was so hectic I didn't get a chance to browse or shop properly with any of the amazing vendors!

Sunday was another happy day meeting knitters but it seemed like it was over way too soon before we were packing everything up and getting ready to make the trek back to London. 

A huge shout-out to Dani and her team of volunteers and co-organisers. I'm hopeful that they are still enjoying their post-Unwind summer and look forward to hearing about any plans for next year. I'm in!

Unravel recovery and recap

This is my second attempt at this post so I can't promise that it will be as good as what I'd written before. Chalk it up to working on an iPad while on holiday and getting used to a new blogging app. Sigh - sorry folks. 

  Rachel - aka the lovely Porpoise - helped me man the booth all weekend. And see, the blanket did get finished in the end!

 Rachel - aka the lovely Porpoise - helped me man the booth all weekend. And see, the blanket did get finished in the end!

But ah yes, Unravel. Two-plus weeks is a long time to recover from a show although in my defense that first week Mr. H was still on half-term break so we spent time hanging out with friends and working on a crafty school project (more on that another day). Then I was busy getting ready for the super fun open day at Purlescence (DEFINITELY more to talk about on another day), prepping for my parent's visit (hello five pages typed cheat sheets with Harrison's schedule and extra-curricular activities), and packing for my trip to Japan (my travel project is all Noro, of course).

  My only non-booth photo - this gorgeous Icelandic lopi sweater where the colourwork motif reminded me of little Canadian flags all the way across.

 My only non-booth photo - this gorgeous Icelandic lopi sweater where the colourwork motif reminded me of little Canadian flags all the way across.

Unravel was a crazy and wonderful as I was expecting my first show to be. In fact, it was so insane, I barely got a chance to make a loop on the Sunday to check out other vendors' wares, and the only photos I managed to snap were of happy SweetGeorgia customers excitedly clutching their new yarns!

  Gilly was excited to find some SweetGeorgia in her favourite shade of tourquoise...

 Gilly was excited to find some SweetGeorgia in her favourite shade of tourquoise...

Lucky for me, there were plenty of folks who blogged or video-ed about the event, or reported on it via podcast, so I'm able to share a few of my favourites: 

  It was a busy weekend for Rachel, who also managed to finish her Georgia cardigan knit in the SweetGeorgia Merino Silk Fine. Isn't Mist a glorious colourway?

 It was a busy weekend for Rachel, who also managed to finish her Georgia cardigan knit in the SweetGeorgia Merino Silk Fine. Isn't Mist a glorious colourway?

Proving she's super-human once again - Rachel had a blog recap of the event up and ready to go almost immediately following Unravel. Even though we spent practically the whole weekend together, it was neat to see the show from Rachel's perspective as my co-conspirator in the SweetGeorgia booth.

Gilly of the awesome electric blue hair above returned to her blogging ways with a photo essay recap of Unravel which showed off many of the wonderful stalls on offer. Note to self: avoid wearing trousers in a colour that clash horribly with the SweetGeorgia banner in our booth.

 Plutonimum Muffins' Corrie Berry visited Unravel with pal from Loop's knit night and her post captures some of my favourite vendors that I've seen at various yarn shows in the UK so I feel like I was almost along for the ride! She's got great photos too.

A short, yet sweet (okay in her words, cheesy) video of her trip to Unravel was captured by Kerry Wallis. There a couple of shots of the Great Hall that show just how packed the event was, and the crocheted colours squares blanket even made the final cut!

Finally new friend, blogger, podcaster and general all-round social media guru Kate had so much fun podcasting about this year's event that she did it twice! You can find Part 1 and Part 2 (which mentions SweetGeorgia) on her website, A Playful Day.

I hope you enjoy these bloggers' recaps as much as I did. Won't you let them know by leaving a comment for them? Thanks!

Two more sleeps

Hard to believe that in another day and a half I'll be moving in to Farnham Maltings and setting up the SweetGeorgia booth for Unravel!

It's nervewracking to be sure but luckily I'm so busy with last-minute stuff that I don't have much time to be nervous! Yesterday I did a quick run to IKEA for some extra things for the booth and today I'm waiting for a few things to come back from the printers. In the meantime I've been making packing lists and pulling everything into one place. And I've also been seaming!

My blanket layout options. I've tweaked the colours here so they show up a little better in the image.

My blanket layout options. I've tweaked the colours here so they show up a little better in the image.

The squares have been finished and borders done for a few days now. I didn't have a lot of time to play around with the layout, but I came up with two options that I really liked.

I was originally planning on only tying the corners of the squares together from the back of the blanket (a la Beekeeper's Quilt with the crazy hexipuffs). That way, as Felicia adds new colours to her range or discontinues others, I could easily pull apart the blanket to rearrange things at will.

Lara, my uber crochet expert, and I were chatting on the weekend and she taught me her favourite simple seaming technique. No kidding - we were on FaceTime so she was able to demonstrate it for me, and I was able to practice at my end then show her right back. Loving using technology for an in-the-moment how-to lesson!

The nicest thing about the seam is that it's very quick to pull out if necessary later on, and it's almost invisible. The blanket is almost complete and I'll be sure to get some pics this weekend in the booth for a full reveal to you all!