Thursday, March 31, 2016

More Wrist Warmers

I love this last pair especially! it's a new yarn to me - King Cole's ''Drifter'' dk -- it's a blend with just a touch of wool (6%) and the rest is cotton and acrylic. It feels gorgeous and I LOVE the colours! I'm making another pair of wrist warmers in another shade of this yarn and am wishing I'd bought some of the other shades...I think it's one that I will come back to in the future...

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Sea Glass and Sequins

 I had a message from a (hopefully) potential customer on Etsy looking for some 'tiny sea glass' the other day so this gave me the opportunity to sort out what I have in my tins that I haven't listed already: I can't really see the point in listing EVERYTHING or it would cost me a fortune in listing fees/renewals etc so I tend to keep a portion of 'the collection' listed and then if something sells or someone is looking for something specific I will list something new.

 I've just got one more wrist warmer to make in the King Cole Galaxy yarn - the twin of the black one with gold sequins and then a pair to make with the KC Riot and then I'm going to move on to something different :) It'll probably be more wrist warmers as I'm still trying to build up some stock - hopefully Lucy will want some bits and pieces for her shop in the village again for the summer...

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Yes, I am still busy making wristwarmers! It's good really that these are my ultimate favourite things to make - I'm still trying to rebuild my stock levels up...I finished the purple/black sequined ones today and have them listed already. Things are quiet in my Etsy shop at the moment but I think that's pretty normal for this time of year; really I'm grateful that this is still a hobby for me (that also allows me to donate so much to charity and sponsor two children!) rather than me trying to make a living from it....

Right now I'm making an emerald green pair (with silver sequins) and once I've got them finished I'm on to either black yarn with gold sequins or a self striping red/black.

Once I've got those ones done then I'll have got all my King Cole Riot/Country Tweed/Galaxy colours in stock and I can move on to making them in another yarn!

I've got a pretty good stock of KC Riot and Country Tweed yarns in my wool cupboard - there are a few more shades I'd like to have in stock but I'm banning myself from buying any more wools unless it's specifically for a customer, and even then I'm ONLY going to order what I need rather than what I want!

It's late now so I must go and get ready for bed, but when I was looking through my photos I found these to of myself and Oscar (my dahling little one) on the sofa....he's my heart cat and we love each other :) 

 he's been sleeping on my shoulder since he was a tiny kitten ....

...but he's a bit bigger now!

I had written a blog update earlier but it seems to have got swallowed up into the ether and I can't find where it has gone, so here we go again....I'm just about to get ready for bed but I am still trying to sort through my holiday photos; there are just SO many of them that I'm going to try and incorporate them in my general blog updates or maybe write a post on a theme (like the beautiful snow covered graveyard we visited in Reykjavik that was full of trees and peace and quiet).

Anyway...before I ever learned how to crochet, I used to knit instead! I took my knitting everywhere with me - I'd bring it on walks, down to the beach and when I'd go and see bands when I lived in Cork I'd bring my knitting :)

Peter and I have known each other for just over 25 years now and this jumper must be pretty much that old by now
This is him modelling it next to a statue outside our favourite coffee house/cafe in Reykjavik! He originally asked me to knit him a big baggy/slouchy jumper and I think I chose the colour :) I'm pretty sure that he must have given me the money for the yarn though as I was in college then and didn't have the spare money for wool!

I can remember still that I bought it from the Springwools in Cork city - I used to love that shop so much though I never had any money (being a poor starving student!). It's funny that all these years later I'm still a Springwools customer - since I moved back to Ireland and started with my crochet I discovered their website and order from them online. They are only based in Dublin now though sadly so I've only been able to go to their shop once in recent years.

It's holding up pretty well despite being so old! I love the colours in this yarn so much -- I was trying to remember what make it was (and the composition too) -- I'm pretty sure it was made by Tivoli but that's all I can remember.

And here we have Peter modelling his other vintage jumper (also in Iceland!) This one was entirely made with scraps/left overs and bits and pieces that I had bought from assorted charity shops when we were first living in England.

It must be at least 20 years old! I had started out making these jumpers as part of a charity appeal I'd seen on British television. They wanted lots and lots of handknitted jumpers for children in Africa - I can't remember even what country it was for but it touched my heart and I sent off for the simple pattern (it was just two 'T' shapes that you joined up to make a jumper) and decided that the ones that I was going to make would be the most unique ones that I could make.

I made them in every colour! I even saw not one but two of my jumpers on the television programme! I can still remember how happy that made me feel - I saw a child wearing one of my jumpers and another shot of one of my jumpers in the warehouse, ready to be shipped out to Africa. :) :)

Peter had liked all the multi-colour effect so I promised to make him one too - much bigger and with a proper pattern - and this was it!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Crochet, Cake and Hot Chocolate...

 It goes without saying that Iceland at the end of February is very very cold! For me, it was a real novelty to see proper snow and I just loved wrapping up warm and walking around the city just taking it all in :)
 This is the snow that snowploughs have scraped up off the road and they just leave it in a big mountain!
 Of course, all this walking about in the cold means that you have to stop every so often to warm up and refuel! We found so many quirky coffee shops/cafes in Reykjavik city - they have a lot of personality and GREAT hot chocolate, cakes etc.

 C is for cookie was one that was really highly rated on Trip Advisor so we had to give it a go :) One thing we found about all the coffee shops we frequented is that they don't rush you -- you can buy a drink and a slice of cake or whatever, and sit there and just take your time.

I'm guessing that this is different in the peak tourist season (through July/August) but it was really great for us as we were able to use the free wifi that a lot of the coffee shops offered, to also rest our tired feet and to warm up before heading out sight-seeing again.
Peter was a bit disappointed with the cheesecake here as it was SO highly rated on Trip Advisor; I think he'd psyched himself up too much for it so it was bound to be a disappointment! My hot chocolate was gorgeous though ;)

 I REALLY loved these arty cross-stitch signs for the loos in the coffee shop :) - and then there were all these rats trying to get inside ;) :)

 This was our favourite coffee shop of them all I think -
It was really spacious, with seating upstairs and downstairs - it would get quite busy at times but we were always able to find a table. Peter was delighted that they served draught beer as well as hot and cold beverages ;)  -- and they served the best carrot cake we'd had all holiday!

 As always, I brought my crochet with me pretty much wherever we went, especially on the days where we just had a wander round the city. One of our tour guides had said that everyone of us should go inside the Harpa building (concert hall) by the sea and I'm so glad that we did - the architecture was amazing (and I'm not usually a huge big fan of modern architecture) and we could warm up and have a rest too.

 The scale and light in Harpa just made me speechless - I was so glad that we heeded Siggi's advice and went in to explore it, instead of just viewing it from the outside.

On our last day in the city we stumbled across this treasure while wandering down some of the back streets - it's a record shop and a vegan/vegetarian cafe!! 

We liked it so much that we had our lunch here - a lovely vegan lasagna - and I had a great hot chocolate too! We wished we'd found them earlier on in our holiday - I hadn't found them on Trip Advisor (they only had under 10 reviews so they didn't show up on my searches) - it looks like they only opened late last year so I guess they are still trying to get established and 'found' on sites like TA or Lonely Planet.

I have to say that this was probably our best holiday ever foodwise as well as everything else -- as we are both vegetarians it sometimes has been difficult to trace veggie/vegan restaurants and often there's been a language barrier when we've been abroad....but this was by far our best holiday as vegetarians :)

Wool Shopping in Iceland - PART THREE

Before we'd gone to Reykjavik on holiday we'd bought ourselves a copy of the 'Lonely Planet' guide to Iceland - and one of the things they mentioned for anyone spending a weekend in Reykjavik was to check out the local 'fleamarket' which is open every Saturday and Sunday morning.

We thought we'd give it a go as we were having a lazy day around the city :)

It was a bit of a mish-mash of different things - people at one end selling potatoes, shark meat and other foods (there were lots of free samples but we didn't try them!) and then at the other end you had book sellers, jewellery makers, second-hand toys etc and this wool/handknit stand!

I'd recommend to anyone going to Iceland who was wanting to buy a Lopi hand-knit jumper to go here first (there was more than one seller selling them in the market) - they were a fraction of the cost of the ones being sold in the flash high-street shops.

I still love the one that I'd bought from a shop in the high-street but if you just wanted a very traditional one, in regular colours then the market would be a better option.

I was over the moon to see that this lady was selling 'cakes' of wool from her stand as well as the jumpers, scarves, hats etc. I bought these three 'cakes' -- I'm not sure what I'll do with them just yet but I'm sure I'll find a use.

It's a fine, single ply spun yarn, made from pure wool.

I haven't started using any of my wools from Iceland yet as I have been trying to restock my Etsy shop and it's quicker and easier to work with stuff I've already used (no working out if I need to alter the pattern or think about which size hook to use etc)

I've also made two pairs of wrist warmers in the King Cole 'Galaxy' in black yarn - one with silver holographic sequins and the other with sequins in all different colours --- they are for someone locally. Working with black yarn just about drives me cross eyed (especially in the evening) but I love how they turned out; I haven't taken a photo of them just yet though!