Title says it all.
I woke up at 5.50am, because I was dreaming anxiously about labeling yarn before I go to Peru. I have so many things to finish before I go, that its making me twitchy, so I thought I would get up, make some tea and go through all my flagged emails and get all the little things sorted this morning before I go to Bath for the conclusion of our knitting research meeting. The results have been analysed and now we are meeting to see if there is evidence to apply for lots of money to research it properly, so I suppose really its quite a big day today, especially seeing as I don't know what the results were, gulp.
So just to give you a taster, I have to get in the post on Monday 3 orders that are huge to the UK, Scotland and Canada, gulp, but this is a small proportion of a scrummy order for K1 yarns in Scotland, I am desperate to go and see the new shop.......
Update is still going in the shop, all the pastels are up, its the nice chocolaty colours next, the the scrumptious dk solids which you can see above and to be honest to dye for. Order from the shop have to be purchased by wed morning, or they won't get sent till I get back...... have a lovely weekend, back tomorrow with knitting results and ethics things, and hopefully a full shop, lol.
I will continue to update over the weekend so keep an eye out, there is lots of scrumptious dk, and a kilo in each colour so there is enough to make a garment, and a tone of lace silk and fairy wool and I mean a tonne, lol!
So my cherubs, I will slowly update the shop from this afternoon, you know what I am like I never do things quickly, lol!
I have a new yarn to replace the Bluefaced Leicester cobweb, its the same yardage but its super super super soft merino, not from Australia, lol, it is very gorgeous and I am going to call it 'fairy wool', I translated into welsh, its unspellable, and Hannah would have to keep sending me emails about my spelling, because I guarantee I would get it wrong, so we'll keep the English for now, lol!
There is all sorts, oh and I will put some of the blends of fibres up on the white yarns and fibres page so that if you fancy dyeing your own of my yummy blends you can, and probably some more of the white yarns too.
Now onto weekend ethics reading, I got the wool record today, and I am fighting to save it for later with a cuppa and a piece of cake, I will read it and summarise and pop some of the articles on the blog on Sunday for you to read, but here's a few headlines of whats going on in the wool world at the moment:
Investors quit China over rising costs.
Mulesing - Some retailers lift ban
Swedish retailers consider Boycott of Australian wool
Pollution victims in china seek civil compensation.
That might sound boring, but they are very very interesting articles, anyway I will summarise them for Sunday reading for you, or if they are good, i will just cut and paste some of them. I may add in some back ground to give you some context too.
Lets start with fun stuff. OK, so guess what I made yesterday ready for the shop update?
Some very very yummy self striping yarns, oh yes, they were labour intensive as hell, but alot of fun. They are in big 500gm hanks, pretty much enough to make a jumper, and they are gorgeous. I will post some photo's later in the afternoon once they are dry and ready to go, I am very excited about these, they are just scrummy, I have wanted to make some for donkey's years. There is also lots of lovely lace and scrumptious coming tomorrow.
Right Ethics, there is a hidden storm brewing about this, which is kind of exciting, but in no way made to make people feel uncomfortable, its about walking forward together and helping eachother make great business decisions.
I am not of the opinion that anyone has the right to say whats right and wrong about yarn, there are just sometimes better ways of doing things.
What I would like to start with Amanda is to make a central resourse on the net, with all the links to fibre sourcing, and processing so that people can have a think about things, nothing more than that at the moment, I am not in the habit of pissing people off, after all we are making the place a happier world supplying people with yarn, and happy people are nicer to eachother.
I had better start with the ethical thing. I'm glad people are starting to take notice of ethical things with yarn, on the new shop layout seeing as I can have unlimited pages, I will put detailed info of each of my yarns, and I mean properly detailed, not a vague hint, and Amanda and I are going to come up with a kind of ethical rating score that people can put on labels to make it easier to think about, but that will take lots of work and planning, and possibly an entire website, I am very proud to be involved in a thinking shift. Thats why I get up everyday and chant.
Secondly, seeing as most of April will be spent gathering information in Peru about where our yarns are made and sourced (when I say ours, I mean mine and Amanda's, we share alot of the same yarns) I will not be able to operate the shop to the fullest capacity, so therefore, this Friday's update is going to be the largest I have ever done, its got to cover the month of April so its going to be super duper, if there is any particular yarns/fibres you would like to see, or colours, please leave a comment or email me. Orders will be shipped up until Wednesday, and probably not after that until April the 20th. I will start uploading Friday's update from the morning.
Blogs are great for portraying a perfect life, and sometimes I read through the lovely blogs and think, OH how lovely and how cute, it sounds idyllic. And then I laugh, and think about all the bits people chop out to make it sound nice, don't get me wrong, I love reading them, but as I was about to embark on a tale of cutsiness, I thought I would write a reality one, I had a really great weekend, it was relaxing, and I got lots done and spent it with my two favourite people, but there was no cutsy crap, so here is a comedy/real itinerary of my weekend:
The end, oh did I mention I am giving up alcohol? No I am actually, I drink to much, and I am concerned about my wrinkles now I am 30.
Onto serious stuff. Carmella and I have come up with an action plan for the business. She is employed in a minimal capacity, where she kind of helps out in emergency, but I need to streamline the business, and focus on what I am good at doing and thats designng and dyeing. I love doing my VAT Returns every 3 months, because I get an idea of how well the business is doing, its growing steadily, and that is good and exciting, and there is room to expand but I need to do it without kiling myself. So carmella will be trained in posting out orders, and helping me out with all of those things which take me away from dyeing etc, and seeing as I have 2 big business trips this year, where in effect I will be away for 5 weeks, I need to keep sales up, and customers happy. Believe it or not, but next week on wednesday I go to Germany for 3 days on business, then the day after I go to Peru for 10 days!!!! Gees, that came so quickly. Then I have a 4 weeks at home and then I am off to the US on another trip, but I can't tell you about that one yet, its kind of big ;-). So to cope with the expansion, I suppose really I am getting my first real employee, lol, its very exciting, so if you get emails signed by Carmella, say hello!
Probably my bestest freind in the whole yarn hand dyeing world is Amanda from the Natural dye studio. I love her because she says things how they are, and stands up for what she believes in, and her yarns and kits are superb, and she is REALLY ENVRONMENTALLY FREINDLY. When we do shows we always eat great food and get drunk together and always put the world to rights.
Go and read the last two of these posts, and you will know why I love her so much.
Oh god, I have eaten too much chocolate, our house is full of the damned stuff, huge packages of cakes and chocs from Spain, and presents of more, I am having a slight sugfar high, lol.
Anyway, I did a super dyeing workshop at getknitted yesterday, it was just so much fun, it really was, the lovely ladies dyed some really super colours, and we laughed alot, which meant we were all inspired and had a perfect day :-) I also accidently purchased some knitpicks needels for peru, I figured I might be able to get them through customs seeing as its at least 30 hours of flying, I could knit tonnes in that time.
Shop has finished being updates, there are some of the new fibre blends on there, and some cute sock yarns. Right off to knit and watch the Grand prix. Happy easter everyone.
So every time I get the sock club out to post, I obviously have to print pages and patterns and things, and well, you know what? my printer behaves all Month, and the on the sock club packing day it self destructs, it always runs out of ink for 1, but I am prepared for that Little trick now, but as usual its had a paper jam, and now its kind of screaming, no really, my printer actually screams. I used to have a super little HP one which cost £30, it never ever broke down, now I have the nice flashy one, it breaks down all the time. I hate it, I will never ever buy a brother printer ever again, oh, and not to mention the cartridges cost £45, and I have to replace them at least once a month.
So lets see if I can find a hammer shall we?
PS, delicious easter update tomorrow! ;-)
Seeing as I love cooking and you all seem like my random authentic collected recipes from across the globe, I'm gonna do a recipe of the week!! Yippee!! It kind of gives me something to write about when I need some inspiration.
I'll start with a nice easy one which is yummy and makes the best breakfast in the world, its Spanish tomatoes on toast, Carmella, Carmencita and Sole all tell me that its something they normally eat on Sundays, because its good for a hangover.
So to make Spanish toast you need...
Tasty tomatoes, nice bread for toasting, brown works well for this, good tasty olive oil, garlic and salt, they are all important.
OK to start lets talk about the garlic, you can either use raw garlic, or make garlic olive oil which gives a softer taste of garlic, just chop up a couple of garlic cloves and chuck them in a bottle of olive oil, leave at least a day, and you have ready made garlic olive oil, I normally use it in everything, because I love garlic and olive oil, lol.
Tomatoes, again this is your preference, Sole always makes it with sliced tomatoes, and Carmella does it with grated toms, yep, grated. Just grate them and you get a kind of bubbly tomato pulp, which I prefer. Tracy, you'll need loads, trust me!! But normally you'll need about 1 big tom per piece of toast.
Right, toast your bread till golden brown. Then drizzle it with plenty of olive oil, if you are using raw garlic cut the garlic clove in half and rub it across the surface of the toast (make sure your other half has a slice too, lol) a few rubs will make a delicate taste, an entire half will be pungent. Top with sliced or pulpy tomatoes, and then take a pinch of salt (this is very important to the taste) and sprinkle it over the top lightly. Its super on its own, but I often add a slice of manchego cheese on the top if I have some, yummmmmmmmy. Eat with a nice cup of strong coffee for breakfast, although it makes an excellent tapas with a nice glass of red wine. I'll take a photo of it when I make some later :-)
I've been dyeing all the club yarns today, and they are amazing, inspired by march, and nothing says 'March' to me more than Daffodils. Thats all the clues you are gonna get ;-)
Oh and incase you are not on raverly if you are a blog reader you can have a 10% discount at Wonderwool just let me know you read my blog and I'll give you a discount :-)
Its little words and hard graft today.
What a weekend! I love Buddhist courses, because what you expect from them is never what you get! The meeting in Milan was amazing, there were 5000 youth, (well mostly under 40, lol) gathered for the meeting, to listen to lectures on cultivating peace throughout the world, respecting human life and always rejecting anything in which any human being is not treated with the upmost respect. Oh and anyone knew that Roberto Bagio was a Buddhist?, I certainly didn't, chloe who was sat next to me kept saying, OMG its roberto bagio can you see him on the stage? I kind of said no, I sort of knew who he was, but you know, I'm not a football expert or anything and I wouldn't know what he looked like from the next guy, but anyway, he gave a really good speech about world peace, after the whole stadium had chanted 'Euventos' for about 3 mintues of course, we were in milan afterall and 3000 of the youth were Italian, lol!
Anyway, the whole thing was absolutely inspiring, and really reinforced my desire to make sure everything I do, especially my business is in-line with those ideas. But the main thing for me that was my benefit, was really moving me out of my comfort zone, mainly because for some reason I was put on a different flight to everyone from Cardiff, and put in a different hotel, I had to really challenge my feeling scared to talk to people I don't know, but suffice to say I gritted my teeth and went for it, and as a result, I made alot of new friend's with some wonderful people, and had the most wonderful dialogues. It was really very good for me :-)
I met up with Carmen, this is an old pic of her, but I love it so much....
I also met up with 'Cheeky monkey' (Marco) who is obsessed with English culture, and always teaches me to cook amazing Italian food, I will share his bolognaise recipes soon, I promise.
It was fab for it to be such an important event on my Birthday, I really wanted to hit 30 with something very special, and I decided it was kind of a platform for my new life, it was really quite spooky the people I met, it was like meeting so many different versions of me over the past 10 years, it really culminated in me realising how many changes I have made, and how excited I am about the future. I needed to embrace getting older, and not look back with longing.
I got home and there is a tonne of wool around here, its a bloody tip lol, its off to lots of destinations today all over the world, but I am feeling very psychologically refreshed, so I had better get packing........
So I'm guessing the rain is pouring down where you are same as here, pouring its little heart out, which means that this weeks update is kind of odd one. What was meant to be the update is actually out in the midst of the British weather, soaking wet and fluffing up in the lovely cold fresh wind.
So seeing as I have been working on the new webshop this week, and trying new phototechniques, and ways of displaying yarn, and working out what the new fyberspates is going to look like, I decided to gather stock of lots of yarns that are in stock just kind of not in the shop for some reason or another, and some of them, well they are in stock, they just look a little different!!!
So I started with the sock page this week, thats the main update, and I think next week I will probably change each page as I make the yarns and photo's look just a little bit yummier. The site will be a totally different one when it comes, but I think getting into good practices is a good plan to ease us in.
So here are a few tasters...
Low Tide in superwash merino
Mallard, which looks just a tiny bit different, lol!
purple and blues....
and there are loads more pretty yarns. Go take a look here
Right, I'm off to Gatwick now for my trip to Milano, and boy am I excited. I hope you all have a lovely weekend.....
Oohhh, I am feeling quite a bit better today, I am still a bit under the weather, but I am feeling very excited and thats the main thing. Carmella was so sweet last night, she bought me Prawn sandwiches from Marks and spencers, because she knows they are my favourite, and then made me soup with oven chips, lol, it was so sweet, and maybe it was because they were made with love, they didn't make me feel nausious.
I also fished out a few books to have a read through yesterday afternoon, because they just seem to make me well, inspired! So my favourite, is the twisted sisters sock work book, I love this because it talks about socks and dyeing and spinning your own sock yarn, and there are just tonnes and tonnes of pictures, which I just love! It never fails to give me that flutter in my chest of the potential that yarn and fibre hold.
And my brain is thinking thoughts of beans on toast and big mugs of tea, think thats a good sign huh?
So yesterday afternoon after getting the big dye pot on for some wholesale, I thought I would indulge myself in painting some rovings, but these are not just any rovings, these are seriously luxurious, I have some baby alpaca silk blends, but the one I am so inlove with is the 60% baby alpaca, 30% silk, 10% cashmere rovings, it like heaven, its soft, and smooth and takes the dye really really well. They are not dry enough to photograph yet, but I will and I have decided to call this blend 'nef' because its just totally heavenly, and is the welsh word for heaven. I will put all the blends on in white that I have in the shop, incase you would like to dye your own tomorrow.
So there will be some 'nef' in the update tomorrow, along with the new scrumptious solids, and some hand dyed scrumptious which has been a while in the making!
I am also looking forward to the weekend because I am going to Milan on a buddhist course, I cannot wait, it means I will be spending my 30th birthday doing something really memorable, with a few very special freinds, I will be seeing marco, my lovely italian freind, and Carmen from Madrid, and am going with 5 other very very special freinds from cardiff. I couldn't wish for more. :-)
....but not stay in bed sick, I've abandoned the detox seeing as I don't feel like eating anyway, and my head and shoulders are killing me, and I have to do to the doctors, but I can't really tell you why, not if you are eating your breakfast anyway. Anyway I have tonnes of work to do, but I feel just like sleeping, but first time ever I just realised I can't be sick if I'm self employed. If I don't work, I don't get paid, then I can't pay my mortgage, and I will piss my customers off who are waiting for wholesale orders. So I need to develop a plan of action for the future if I get sick. I'm not miserable though, little bit stressed, but not miserable.
Right off to go to a meeting and then back for some dyeing, packing, labeling and knitting to finish off for mag.......
Soup, soups and more soups, loads of pureed veges with stock in big mugs, yep thats just the best way to detox. Weirdly though I'm still not really feeling very hungry still, but never mind, I am going to work on some yarn solids today which means leaving the pot for the time being, so I can slowly work on my new shop, yep, a totally brand new state of the art shop, which will be easier to navigate, have loads more information pages and so on, finally something I can edit myself completely, and it will even accept credit cards, yipeeeeeee!
I need to finish some knitting too for a mag, gees, must get that done today as well......lol.
Wow, what an amazing weekend I had!!! So many treats, including going to see Joseph with mum, that was so much fun, then on Sunday we were cooking from 8am for afternoon tea for a pre-birthday party, where a few of my old friends came to see me. It was just super, we had scones and cream and jam, venesse whirls, fairy cakes, salmon and cucumber sandwiches, proferoles, merangues and cream, (I made them all with the instruction of mum of course), it was just like being 7 again, we laughed so much, and listened to the CD soundtrack of Joseph over and over and over again, I feel a little bit sorry for my dad because he will be listening to that for about 3 months.
Anyway, my belly is suffering somewhat, I have eaten lots of rich food in the past few weeks and drank too many gin and tonics, and I think I need to detox, so from tomorrow I am going to go on a detox diet, not today you understand, because I have to finish the cakes off!! I am going to hit 30 looking, well....... detoxed probably! I have to pop to Evil tonight and get some vege's and fruit to prepare for a few days of soups, soups and more soups, no bread :-(, no cakes :-( no coffee, no tea, grrrrrrr, but I need it, my stomach feels sore all the time, and I am not feeling hungry, so I need to give it some serious vitamins and an easy time, lol. I will now become totally obsessed by what I can't eat, so don't be surprised if my posts are food orientated, AHEM, not much change there then huh?
The Shop is was update last night, lots of things have already gone, lol. Anyway I just wrote a nice long post and the Internet went down and I lost it so instead I will just put a few photo's to tempt you....
Chuff chuff in September
Lace bfl, with 1200m per skein!!!!
So today I have a huge package arriving, I am sat here with my coffee, very very excited, arriving is the solid scrumptious dk, I have been waiting for it for quite a long time, and along with it is a tonne of white scrumptious, which ran out ages ago, and therefore it has been quiet on the scrumptious dk front, but it has arrived just in time for spring, which is perfect timing. I want to make my frilly tank top in the cherry red, it will go with my hair perfectly, and it would be super to wear for wonderwool!! Yippee, I'll pop photo's of the yarn here tomorrow probably. Funny thing is I rarely have time to knit my designs twice, so I have a super knitter who tests knits everything for me, so I think the frilly tank needs testing in cherry don't you?
So remember I said I was cooking dinner for my guitar teacher in the tagine? I think I shall take some photo's so you can see, seeing as you lot seem to like cooking!! To be honest if I if I could write better and I didn't love wool so much I would probably be a restaurant critic or something , because ask anyone in my life I am totally obsessed with food, everyone in my life knows that the most important beginning, middle and end to my day is a good breakfast, tasty lunch and delicious tea/dinner, I never eat anything that is mediocre, but in the same vein, the simplest food can be the best, its just about quality and timing.
Ohohohohoh, I know what else I was going to share with you, is the recipe for Spanish crocketa's, I'll make some next week and write it down for you, they are not exactly good for your health, but for your soul with a glass of wine, my god you will be in heaven. lol, Tracy, I know your boy's would love these!!
OK so shall we have some nice eye candy for Fridays update?
I have some limited edition lace, its blue-faced Leicester, and its 1200m per skein, but unlike the cobwebs its 2 ply, but exactly the same otherwise, and actually very soft and dyes gorgeously.
There well be quite different colours in this seeing as I love the stuff.
Also I have dyed some cashmere roving's, the new roving blends won't be here in time for dyeing and drying by Friday, so I decided to do some special ones instead, and of course along with the batts, yum, yum yum,
Also some more mohair lace, I am just addicted at the moment to it, especially seeing as I have finally worked out a brilliant method to get a superb strong colour for it, and probably because I had 15 kilo's of it to dye for wholesale this week, also might have made me explore it a little bit more than usual. lol, along with it is lots of deep coloured chuff chuff, I am dyeing lot's because there are patterns for it coming out soon for just 1 hank.
This is the same yarn above in its dyed form and them rewound, I am not sure what I prefer.....any thoughts
Right, I'm off to go and do some nice little errands, and then back to pop the tagine in the oven to slow cook and do some more gorgeous dyeing for the update.
I hope you are enjoying the gorgeous weather folks. :-)
OK, so a couple of you asked for the recipe, and this is especially for Tracy who has hollow legs to fill and for Lis who had a pack of welsh cakes in her wholesale box and ate them all and loved them, lol.
This recipe is from 'A book of Welsh Bake-stone cookery' by Bobby Freeman.
So here we go, you normally cook them on a bake stone, I think you can substitute one of those for a very heavy bottomed frying pan, something that is happy to sit on heat for a while. It also says that the other method is a in a dutch oven, not too sure what that is, but it says that you can cook them under a medium grill instead as this is OK too. I prefer my griddle though.
It says that they need to be eaten while they are warm and fresh!
So the ingredients:
8oz/225gms Self raising flour and 1/2 a teaspoon of baking powder.
4oz/125gms of butter, don't even think about using margarine its evil, and they won't taste the same.
3oz/75gms of currants, (I used sultanas though because they are softer)
1 large egg and a little milk
A good pinch of mixed spice or just nutmeg.
Rub the butter into the spiced flour and the sugar and raisins, bind with beaten egg and a little milk if needed to make a stiffish paste - similar to shortcrust but a little softer.
Roll out on a floured board to about 1/4 inch thick and cut into 2 1/2 inch rounds and bake on a greased moderately hot bake-stone (don't make it too hot or they burn), 3 - 5 minutes each site until mottled with golden brown, sprinkle with sugar.
Eat your heart out, they are sooooo good, I like them still a little bit soft inside, they are just melt in the mouth and they went down a storm here.
Right so next up, you may have noticed there hasn't been an update for a few weeks, mainly because I had wholesale orders which I had to get done, and I can sometimes do both at the same time, but I would rather concentrate on one thing at a time, rather than get stressed, and not only that it means you get wonderful treats when the update does arrive, lol. So I will post some little tasters of this weeks update, its going to be a good one, I have a few limited edition laces weights, and silk is firmly back is stock, so there will be lots of things like that, and fibres and......some super duper carded batts, I am so excited about these, but anyway, I had to show you this, I think its the most wonderful lace mohair I have ever dyed......
Its he September colourway, I feel like I want to make a little sloppy V neck with it or something.
I also know that I don't normally have a chance to put half of my products in the shop, but this week I managed to do some extra treats, these are mixed yarns shawl kits, I want to keep one for myself.
OK, so I didn't get a chance to blog on Friday so I have to do it all at once now....
Lets start with the tagine, I am going to cook Moroccan Lamb in my new tagine, using the recipe that Tracy suggested, I am going to test it out on my guitar teacher on wed eve, he teaches me guitar in return for tasty food, which is a good deal don't you think? That does mean I might have to drag myself to evil Waitrose, *sigh* well never mind, life is so hard.
This is for Cairi because she wanted to know what the tagine was.....
So here is the tagine:
Then seeing as it was st Davids day on Saturday I made welsh cakes on my griddle, they were melt in the mouth and just the scrummiest ever, if you would like the recipe, leave a comment and I'll post it up here, they are megga easy.......
Hmm, then Saturday night was a night of Spanish wonderfulness, Carmella's dad taught me to cook vege paella, and it was so much fun, we all got drunk and ate tonnes and it was really super duper.
Then yesterday we spent the day painting the kitchen, I went in the end for a creamy white colour, its looking amazing, it goes with the existing tiles and work tops so no major changes needed, and its nearly finished so I will take a pic later, I am off later this afternoon in search of handles for the cupboards, but I am chuffed to bits with it, the house is starting to look really gorgeous and rather quaint, lol, not what most people would expect of me, but I am in Carmella's words, very 'mouse' .
Did anyone see the 'tropic of capricorn' last night on BBC2? Did you see the Vicunas? I was megga excited because I actually have some vicuna fleece, only a couple of ounces, but I am saving it for when I get my new spinning wheel...........
Oh and I decided, I read yet another article on 'green' yarn in a mag the other day, and I wasn't particularly impressed, especially as some of it was stretching the boundaries just a little bit too much so instead I was thinking about writing an article/extended post, perhaps once a month on yarn and ecology, would anyone be interested in reading it if I did, it would take quite alot of prep and research so I need to know people want to read it, but at least I'll just say it how I see it.