Friday, March 17, 2017

Knitty City - Wool Shopping in New York City

Wow, well I thought 'Woolyn' over on Brooklyn was amazing but nothing could have prepared me for the wonder that is 'Knitty City' in Manhattan! 

This wool shop is right near the Museum of Natural History and Central Park, and we'd intended to go there on our second day in New York - well, we went to the museum first but were so overwhelmed and tired by it all that I totally forgot about the wool shop -- yes this is how good the museum was.

So 'Knitty City' had slipped down the list til the next time we would be near Central Park but I was determined not to forget it a second time: we were very fortunate that we were staying in New York for twelve days so we had plenty of time to see what we had wanted to without TOO much rushing around all the time (we still managed to clock up over 11miles of walking some days though!)

 So this is Knitty City! The shop is bigger than Woolyn is and of the two I think I'd want to go back to Knitty City - the staff were SO helpful but at the same time were happy to leave you wander round (like I did!) without breathing down your neck.

Peter is intently listening in to the shop assistant teaching a lady about tension and how to figure out the right size needles for her project! I wish that big mound of yarn on the table was mine but that's mine in the bag on the chair next to P :) 

While Peter sat happily at the table I wandered round, trying to take it all in - and wishing that I'd won the lottery so that I could buy it all...sigh...

I think sock yarn is one of my favourites - especially in self-striping colours - I love using it for the crocodile stitch wrist warmers....

They just had SO much choice!

These were super soft and almost edible...

I fell in love with this one...but it was over $60 for 80g and I just couldn't afford it so I gave it a little cuddle and set it back on the shelf. I'm sure I heard Peter sigh with relief!

They had just about every colour that you could imagine but I am always drawn to the blues, sea greens and these lovely inky purples...

I hadn't known this but they were heavily involved in making the 'pussy hat's for the women's march!

...and look they even have Icelandic wool! I didn't buy any as I still haven't used the same ones that I bought in the wool shop in Reykjavik last year...I will get round to it!

They gave me this great big re-usable shopping bag for my purchases and a discount on what I'd bought - which I really appreciated!  :)

 So this is what I chose from Knitty City - like I said I could have easily bought just about the whole shop. I'll take better photos as I work my way through them...but these will all be hats and wrist warmers I think.

Bits and Pieces

 I bought two packs of blank greetings cards when we were in New York - and also these cute stickers - I'm a sucker for pretty stationery. The shops we went to were much could easily spend €€€€ in them...shortly I'll write up about my second wool-shopping experience but I wanted to post these photos first.

This is my order for Jaye, my lovely customer (& friend) in England - five matching hats (all made in Rowan's superfine merino dk) and then also two cotton shower mitts and a pair of crocodile stitch wrist warmers. :) 

I brought over some wool and my hooks to America but I didn't get much crochet done at all - just the flowers for Jaye's hat order and a tiny part of these wrist warmers (above) -- we were either on the go so much or else I was too tired to crochet! I had brought along my felt-tip pens and a colouring book that my sister had given me for Christmas, so that kept me occupied on the plane (when it wasn't bumpy!) and in the hotel in the evenings.

Right now I'm working my way through some of my more fine yarns - these two pairs are made in Schoppel's 'Zauberball 100' which is 100% merino wool and is a sock yarn.

I'm half way through a pair in shades of blues and purples too (sneak peek photo!)

 and then after that I've got a green yarn lined up, it's also Schoppel's 'Zauberball' but this one is 75% merino and 25% nylon.

 I quite often go through 'phases' of using similar yarns or making the same items over and over (e.g. how I was just making hats last month) - I think you get used to the feel of the same size hook -- it always kinds of disorientates me when I switch from using, say, a 3mm hook on a pair of wrist warmers, to then using a 6mm hook for a hat.

Barbara the artist has very kindly commissioned me to make the hats for her annual artists' retreat again - so I've ordered a great big 2kg of Studio Donegal's aran tweed wool from Springwools.

This is the colour she's selected for this year - it's rather unimaginatively called 'black/grey/beige' but it's gorgeous. I really love the depth of colour that they put in their aran wool through the little tweedy flecks.

The artists' retreat isn't til the middle of June so I have plenty of time yet - I've got to wind out the wool from the cone first. At the moment the order is for 7 hats for the male artists and 6 flower headbands for the female artists...I'm looking forward to doing the headbands, it'll be a nice change and I always like making crochet flowers :)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Wool Shopping!

Apologies for not keeping my blog updated in a while - it's already nearly half-way through March and this is my first post in a few weeks.

We're just back from our holiday in New York! Peter turned 60 in December and the trip to New York was his big birthday present!

We were there for twelve days and just got back on Wednesday: I'm experiencing jet lag for the first time and I don't like it, but it was worth it for the wonderful holiday that we both had.

I'm in the middle of sifting through the 2100+ photos that I took while we were here, but I thought I'd start off with 'wool shopping in New York'

One afternoon we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and went exploring in Brooklyn -- we went to a very expensive antique/flea market held in an old bank, then a wonderful graveyard (I love old graveyards) and then finally a wool shop!

Woolyn was one of the two wool shops that were on my 'list' for New York- isn't their window display gorgeous? It was for Valentine's day but I loved the rainbow colours :)

The interior was equally colourful...

You really need to click on the photos individually to see the colours properly...I was in heaven!

They mostly sold independently produced luxury yarns - many hand-dyed. I could easily have spend hundreds and hundreds there.

These are the yarns that I bought from there; the shop assistant kindly gave me a discount so all this 'only' came to $184 (if you say it quickly it's less painful!) - like I said, I could so easily have spent ten times this!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Even More Hats

 I'm still slowly working my way through the top shelf of my wool cupboard - this is where I keep all the yarn that I've bought with the intention of making hats.

This lovely blue is another Katia yarn (I mentioned it in my last post) - I've used it before to make a plain hat but wasn't so happy with it this time. There wasn't anything wrong with the hat itself, just that it was looking very plain: so I made a toning flower from blue merino wool and am much happier!

I also made this pompom hat - and am so happy with how it turned out! I bought a pompom maker when we were last over in England but hadn't really used it til now.

 The wool for this one is the Tivoli yarn that a friend of my sisters gave me - I wasn't sure if it would be too chunky for hats but I really like it. I am confident that I will be making more pompom hats!!

...and feast your eyes on these! This is the Rowan Superfine Merino dk that I'd ordered (from Laughing Hens in the UK) for my latest order from Jaye - they will be five flower hats eventually.

So far I'm on the 4th hat and then will make the flowers afterwards - so stay tuned for an update with photos next time!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Yet More Hats

 I'm still working my way through my basket of 'hat' yarns that I'd pulled out of my cupboard a while ago. This cream one is the one I mentioned in my last post: made in a Katia yarn, it's a blend of wool, acrylic and alpaca. Someone on facebook is interested in it so I've 'reserved' it in my Etsy shop for her to check out...if she doesn't buy it then hopefully someone else will!

 This turquoise one is what I made after ripping out the popcorn/puff stitch mix up hat! It's made from Studio Donegal tweed wool - I bought 2 of the 2kg cones of the wool in this shade last year so I still have quite a bit to work my way through...
 These two hats (above and below) are both in Studio Donegal's tweed wool too: last year I used this slate grey for the mens' hats and had bought too much of it - I really like how this pair of hats turned out and like using the contrasting colour for the flowers on them both.
And this is one of the pair of hats I'd made with the King Cole Moorland aran - it's quite a simple looking hat really but I like the subtle colour combination.

Right now I'm using another Katia yarn, a lovely soft blue that has lots of different shades, hopefully I'll get that one finished tonight. I'm going to keep on making hats for a while lovely customer (and friend!) Jaye in the UK has asked me to make five hats for her! 

I've had to order the wool in - so watch this space! I know I've been trying not to order wool but it's different if it's something that's for a customer rather than me just randomly buying yarns...and I was very good and only bought what I needed rather than taking a peek at what else they were selling. It probably sounds a bit daft but I'm so happy that I was able to resist the temptation and just order what I needed.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

More Hats

I've been true to my word and have been making more hats since I last wrote here - this red one is to replace the one I'd made in January for a lady in Northern Ireland; it'll probably be the last one I make in this colour as Wendy discontinued it ages ago. I did do a stock-up on the yarn when I found out, but now I only have the green shade left; it's a shame as it would be one of my favourites for making hats.

I finished this grey/white/black hat last night and am really happy with how it turned out - it's made from a yarn made by Katia. It isn't a brand I use that often but whenever I have used their yarns I've been quite pleased with them.

Right now I'm working on a hat in the cream yarn (see my last post and the photo of the group of yarns) - it's a different one from Katia and is turning out nice so far. It's 20% alpaca, which makes it super soft and warm too.

I've made two hats in the King Cole 'Moorland aran' (also see the photo) as I had two balls of that in my 'stock' - I've donated one of them as a raffle prize for a local fundraiser and the other one will go in my Etsy shop. I can't decide whether to put a flower on the side of it or not so I haven't taken any photos just yet.

I had started to make a puff stitch hat in the turquoise Studio Donegal tweed  but I hit a bit of a problem with it....when I wrote the pattern I never wrote down exactly how I made the 'puff stitch' so I tried again this time, but I think I made 'popcorn stitch' this time instead of was coming up too bulky and heavy so I had to rip it all out :(

It's a lesson to myself though, to WRITE THINGS DOWN!!!

I've just looked back through my posts on here and this is when I started working on that pattern click here so maybe with these photos I might be able to work out just what I least I know now that popcorn stitch isn't a good substitute.

It's really frustrating to have got about 1/3 of the way through the hat, not sure if it was going to work out or not, and then to have to rip it all the way back to the beginning again. Sigh.

I'm going to carry on making hats for a while, once I've worked through the ones in my basket I'll see what I want to move on to next!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Last Post of the Month

January has been a pretty quiet month in my Etsy shop - I've decided that this year I am going to make a proper effort to keep a note of what money I'm spending and how much I'm actually making through all this. So far it's not great! - not enough to live on  - it'll be interesting to see how it pans out over the course of a whole year, and to take into account my sales from the local craft fairs etc as well.

This is my little 'accounts' book -  it was part of my birthday present from a friend and I thought that I will put it to good use, even if I don't always like what it says!!

I've finished my scrubbie-athon and have been making cotton shower mitts instead...

They're something that I used to make for a while and then stopped - they aren't the BEST sellers but the other day when I was sorting through everything I found these cottons and thought they'd be perfect for shower mitts rather than yet more scrubbies. 

I still have one more to make but it's on the back burner for the moment as I have a customer on Facebook who wants to order a few things.

This is a cotton shower puff I've made for her

and a pair of plain wrist warmers in my favourite shade of yarn. She also wants another pair of wrist warmers (which I had already made and listed in my Etsy shop) and some of the cotton scrubbies (also already made) and then a slouchy hat too.

I've got these three made in a couple of days (working with chunky yarn is so much quicker than what I usually use) - I've sent her photos of these three hats but I need to get some more hats listed in my Etsy shop (and just as general 'stock') so I had a look through my wools and will be working my way through these over the next few days...

The only ones I've made slouchy hats from previously are the two studio Donegal wools (the big cake of turquoise and the one with the label on it) - so the other three will be a bit of a mystery. We'll see how they turn out; hopefully there will be photos!