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Fantastic day :)

Day 2 of the market today - it was fantastic. Over the two days, I sold piles and piles of yarn. More yarn than anything else! This makes me so happy - it means I can keep spinning secure in the knowledge that other people love my yarn too, and I won't die on my own at the age of 30 when my huge pile of yarn falls on me and smothers me. Which is nice.

Anyway, I was strong and didn't buy anything while I was there, although I very much wanted to bring home something from every single stall.

We've also finally done our tree tonight, and Charl is working hard shifting wardrobes upstairs - she's eventually going to swap the front rooms over - her drums will be in the little room, so they'll be further away from The Crazies At Number 5. And I'll have the whole of the front room for crafty goodness. Bwahahahahahaaaaa! Um...and the bookcases and the exercise stuff.

I'm spinning some really lush fibre at the minute - a sock batt from Vampy. It's apparently just merino and nylon (for strength) - but I swear, angels have farted in this fibre. It's just stunning. I'm about 2/3 of the way through the second of three bobbins. If it comes out at  closer to DK, it'll become some Fargyles, but if it's skinnier I think I'll go with Pembrokeshire Pathways and do the Fargyles either in my shiny new Wollmeise or in my Xmas sock yarn.

All these plans are very much conditional on my finishing Dad's scarf by the time I get on the plane to Ireland.

p.s. I just noticed that Ravelry's feeling Christmassy...

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Yarn, yarn, glorious yarn


The Manchester Craft Mafia Christmas Market is getting very close! It's my main craft fair this year - I did have plans for about 6, but the smelly 9-5 got in the way a bit.

I'm very much focussed on gifty things at the minute, and so far I've got:
  • Purses
  • Bags
  • Scarves
  • Hats
  • Knit kits
  • Mug warmers
As well as the good old handspun!

Tonight I think I might try and do a proper stock list. Maybe.

Anyway, consider yourselves (and all your friends) officially invited. No, that's not the word...you are instructed to attend. I offer you my personal guarantee that you will find gifts for those awkward people whose names still haven't been scratched out on your Chrimbo pressie list.

As far as my own Chrimbo knitting, I've finished Mum's mitts. My first go at Fetching - went pretty well, except it was a hand painted skein and I knit from opposite ends, which ended up in some very strange pooling issues. 

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and I'm 1/8 of the way through my dad's scarf. I put "time is an illusion. lunchtime doubly so." into a binary translator, and for each 1 I do 2 rows of maroon, and for each 0 it's 2 rows of black. The yarn is VERY skinny, and I'm knitting it up on 4mm needles. I must love him.

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Last week I had what is I guess my fastest-selling yarn ever. It's called Bubbles and it's a really simple commercial merino plied with thread, but I think the colour combo was a stroke of genius on my part and it totally makes it.

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Oh and um...I may have given in to peer pressure and bought some Wollmeise. It is fit though, and I got it from Yarnissima so it came as part of a sock kit, with the most well-written pattern I've ever seen and PILES of goodies. I absolutely recommend it when they're back in stock.

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Lo-fi in December

Right, guys - important announcement time...


Lo-fi DIY goes all sparkly!

Yes your favourite monthly craft night is back. Making things happen!

Enjoy an extra special Christmas instalment of your favourite crafting club on Tuesday 2nd December, 6-8pm at Manchester Craft & Design Centre
As well as tons of fabulous ideas for the perfect handmade gifts and loads of itsy bitsy crafting oddments to help you get your Christmas crafting projects underway, we’ve also got tons of crafting inspiration courtesy of our two guest demonstrators.

Knit the light fantastic
Forget tinsel and shop-bought baubles because this year you’re going to knit your own sparkly and splendid tree decorations with the help of super-knitter Kate Heppell. If you’d like to have a go, just bring along a pair of 4mm knitting needles (try the charity shop), some double-knit wool, a darning needle and any sparkly oddments you might have.

Make Your First Crochet Bouquet
Lo-Fiers are lucky enough to have the extraordinary talents of Roger the Crochet King at their disposal this month - demonstrating how to make the perfect crochet bell flower. Ideal for popping on your favourite coat as a brooch, if you were wondering what to get your best friend for Christmas you can stop wondering right now! 3.5mm crochet hooks and double Knitting wool/cotton is needed.

If you have something you’re already in the middle of bring it along and show and tell. If you’re completely new to crafting or don’t have anything to bring along, don’t worry we’ve got plenty of ideas and materials to help get you started. And as usual, £3.50 will get you a tasty snack and a drink of your choice – an absolute snip!

To let us know you’re coming, or for a little help with a first crafting project and ideas on bits to bring, email nico@opheliabutton.co.uk
– who knows, you might even like to offer us a demonstration of something special that you know how to make!

More on Lo-Fi and MCM on the Manchester Craft Mafia site - manchestercraftmafia.com
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Developments...


I have exciting news, my minions! You can now get your hands on Green Eyed Monsters handspun from Purlesque in Liverpool!

Claire of SewSewCrafty (who is pretty darn amazing herself, actually - seriously - go and check  out her Alfies) told me about the shop, and picked me up a flier. So I got in touch, and went over today with a suitcase full of pretties, and as we speak, my yarn is on the shelves. Big grin!

The shop itself is fantastic - if you're ever over in Liverpool, it's absolutely worth checking it out. Actually, it's worth travelling to get to. She not only stocks some amazing yarns, tools and books, but there's kitschy aprons, little felt mice, piles of buttons, amazing fabric...an absolute feast for the eyes.

I was pleasantly surprised by Liverpool itself actually. I like all the little sidestreets - Manchester doesn't seem to have that. Well, we do, but there's nothing on them.

Anyway, toodle pip, I am off to make some more string from fluff!

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Post-Ladyfest introductions...


Well, Ladyfest was pretty much fantastic. Met some really nice people and had an all-round top-notch time!

The craft room was really quiet on the Saturday, so spent most of the day spinning and getting other people spinning. There were some notable successes. And some less successful. It seems as though spinning is as much nack as skill - some picked it up straight away, others tried for ages but just didn't get anywhere.

On the Sunday I got to sit and watch people make cotton bloomers! Which was pretty impressive.

Music-wise, I seem to remember that GeekGirl, Das Wanderlust and - of course - the Slits were rather good. Probably others too!

Being in the craft room all day, I didn't get to do any of the workshops and such, which is a shame. A few od them did sound pretty good.

And now, I have some introductions to make.

Sarah

100% Bluefaced Leicester wool - super-squidgy aran - 50g skeins

Christmas Colourway

Deborah

       

80% wool, 20% alpaca - rich and warm practical DK weight - 50g skeins

Red & Oilslick and Green & Purple Colourways

Emma




80% Merino wool, 20% Tencel - shiny and strong laceweight - 25g skeins

Pink & Lilac Colourway (pink much pinker than in the photo)

Elements



100% wool - squidgy aran yarns in mottled shades - 50g skeins

Fire colourway (Massam wool)
Air colourway (Wensleydale wool)

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Ladyfest - it's on!


Right, Ladyfest has started! I've just popped home to get changed out of my icky work clothes and then I'm heading back.

Here's what's on crafty-wise...

A craft event including workshops, an exhibition and sale will be taking place on Saturday the 8th and Sunday 9th November as part of Ladyfest Manchester.
Workshops include hand spinning yarn, basketry, embroidery, felting, dressmaking, knitting and crochet. The exhibition has some exciting contemporary craft including handmade toys, knitted pumps and includes beautiful collages and paintings by artist Lisa Marsh. There will be a range of crafty items for sale, including hand spun yarns, knitted bags and colourful sewing machine covers.
This is an informal event and everyone is welcome. There will be a knit circle all day Saturday and Sunday, 12pm-5pm.

Details:
Kate Heppell from greeneyedmonsters.co.uk and Craft Mafia will be doing a workshop on hand spinning yarn (8th 2pm-3pm).  Kate will be selling and displaying her hand spun yarns. (8th and 9th).
Sculptor Louise Woodcock will be demonstrating simple basketry techniques  with unconventional materials to make weird and wonderful shapes (8th 3pm-4pm). Louise will be displaying her work. (8th and 9th).
There will also be embroidery with Liz Kenny (8th 12pm-1pm), felting by Alison Cooper (9th 1pm-2pm) plus crochet, knitting (8th and 9th 12pm-5pm) and a dressmaking workshop (9th 2pm-3pm). There will be some equipment and materials to borrow but would be helpful to bring some along if possible.
Selina from Candypop (Afflecks) will be selling colourful hand made items such as bags and sewing machine covers, as well as displaying her hand embroidered Ladyfest fliers from around the globe. (9th)
Candy (Knit and Destroy) will be displaying her wonderful knitted pumps and selling knitted bags and scarves. (8th and 9th)There will also be handmade toys on display from Harriot (8th and 9th) and Claire Walls (Craft Mafia) will be selling and displaying her crafty wares. (8th and 9th)

As part of LADYFEST MANCHESTER
Festival WeekendTickets from £5 - www.wegottickets.com
Zion Arts Centre, 335 Stretford Road, Hulme, Manchester, M15 5ZA. 0161 2261912
http://www.zionarts.com/about/contact-us/how-to-get-here/
www.ladyfestmanchester.com
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Eureka moment


Well, not quite. More an eventual culmination of a range of ideas starting to make sense over the course of half an hour ago. Anyway - here it is - the yarn should be in lines, rather than an endless stream of one-of-a-kinds. This is making sense to me for a number of reasons.
  • The big one - when I buy yarn, I like to be able to choose how much of it I want. I might want 100 yards, I might want 400.
  • If I'm producing lines, the individual skeins can be smaller. If I spin up 150g as OOAK, I feel like I should sell it as one big lot. If it's part of a line I have no problem breaking that down into 3 50g skeins.
  • It'll be much easier to sell wholesale.
  • I don't have to worry about losing the opportunity to be creative - I can always play around with colours.
  • I have found that I can generally be pretty consistent, with both colour and weight, so that's not a problem.
  • I can become a proper yarnie on Ravelry and add them to the yarn database.

So, these are the three prototype lines...
  • Emma - Merino/tencel laceweight, two colours striping, as used for Grace. Strong, shiny and silky to the touch.
  • Sarah - Medium chunky BFL, one main colour with a splash of a contrasting colour. I've just dyed and spun some of this in a red/green christmassy colourway. Super-squidgy and fluffy.
  • Deborah - DK weight wool/alpaca blend. I've spun up quite a bit of this on Molly - it's one of my favourite fibre blends so far, and it takes colour really well, with mingled deep rich tones. Fuzzy, squidgy and very warm
The proper camera's still in a sulk, so yet again it's shoddy camera-phone pictures. I'm starting to get really annoyed now - I've not been able to do a proper website/Etsy update in ages and ages.

Here's Grace all blocked.



And the newest member of the fast-breeding wheel family...



I believe it to be a kromski mazurka, but there's no maker's mark anywhere that I can see, and the MOA assembly seems slightly different. Works like a dream though. Only one ratio, but I've been able to spin some really fine laceweight and some semi-chunky on it already.

This does mean that wheel #2 will be going on holiday for a bit.

And some announcements from an earlier (now locked) post:

I'm going to be doing Ladyfest Manchester - spinning demonstration/workshop on the Saturday, selling on the Sunday. I'll be taking all 3 wheels (if #2 new mistress allows!) as well as plenty of fibre and my drop spindle. I may also try and knock together some improvised spindles. So if you're in Manchester on 7th-9th November, come along! Not just for me - there's all sorts of much more impressive stuff going on.

Manchester Craft Mafia Christmas Markets are also looming - I'm desperately excited actually. We'll be at the Whitworth Art Gallery 13th-14th December. I'm going to have my yarn, things made from said yarn, bags, purses and...possibly other things too.

A few of us are setting up a Manchester spinners' group - first meeting is pencilled in for one saturday in the very near future at Friends Meeting House in the city centre. If you're interested, comment over on Rav or here.

And for non-spinners...Fancy clubbing together to form a Manchester WI? Again, go over to le Rav, or comment here.
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Preparations

Just a little reminder - Sunday is Crafternoon at Fuel in Withington, and I shall be there in all my glory. Well, the level of glory does depend on how much sleep I get tonight...

I'll be taking a small selection of stuff, but if you're going to be there tomorrow and there's anything in particular you want to see - let me know!

Tonight I am printing patterns and handspun yarn guides so...yay!
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New house - it's cool. In more ways than one.

Well, we have the internets at home now, but it's crazy-slow so I've not had the patience to do a proper update of the website yet. Oh, and I can't find the cable for the camera so that doesn't help. Ah, well.

The new house is shaping up nicely. Charl's done some amazing work putting things away and emptying boxes. There are still a couple of boxes which I need to tackle. Which I will. Eventually.

My craft room is looking pretty good. I've got a really cool antique sewing machine from my mum's house - though I'm a bit too scared to plug it in - I'm just using it as a table/cabinet for my machines. I've also put up some pin-up girl fairy lights which Charl got as a birthday pressie a couple of years ago, and I'm going to hang some Audrey Hepburn prints when I get up the guts to do some hammering . I've also had a mammoth sort-out of all my fabric and notions, and I've put aside a big pile for destashing (let me know if you'd be interested in anything). Piccies really soon, I promise. It's really really exciting.

This weekend I went to Wales to pick up my new wheel - another eBay bargain! Charl very kindly drove and Katie came along for the ride. We went to Rhyl first to pick up the wheel, and then to Prestatyn to get some chips and sit on the beach. The seagulls were hilarious - Charl got piccies. Then on to Abakhan in Mostyn. Katie and I loved it but all the crafty junk made Charl angry! I picked up some amazing fabric with old men on, and some tapestry-ish stuff to reupholster the rocking chair with. And loads of ribbon and a ball of James C Brett Magi-knit for another pair of self-patterning hard-wearing socks. It's pretty much the same stuff as in town, but a bit more spread out!
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