Taking some time to reflect

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March was a landmark month for me and my family, it has been a year since I left my full time job in education, to run my own business and commit to spending more time with my family.  There are so many reasons why I chose do to this, babies, car accident, the feeling of not going anywhere, ever, in my job, but I couldn't do any of it without the support of my husband, who just trusted that  feeling I had about painting yarn was going to last long enough for this to be a new way of life for us.

 

The colour of March

The colour of March

 

It has been the most exciting, liberating, challenging and sometimes utterly, utterly exhausting experiences, like today.............my tank is truly empty! but theres not a day gone by, truly, where I even consider that I made the wrong decision because even at my worst, I'm at home with my family. which is what I realised about my last job, theres just no room for women in my area of work to have a young family. no body cares if you have literally not slept because you have a 5 month old baby and a two year old. no one cares that every 8pm meeting that means I get home at 9pm and its another night where I haven't seen my children and don't see them again until they wake up......and thats if they wake up before I leave. it was just getting more than a grind and the life I had wasn't the life I wanted. I would advise anyone who wanted to leave, to leave, id help them work on exit strategies, make it feel real and possible. but I think I was the one who wanted to leave the most. and one day, I just did. never looked back, couldn't wait to be rid of the old me and just life my life with freedom, creative freedom, as the job I thought I would be in for ever........made my art dull.......I stoped being excited and optimistic and I guess my creative practice reflected that. When I had my daughters, I felt it come back and I just ran with it.

 

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I guess that why I really love being a parent. I don't really get a chance to get stuck in a predictable routine, which means theres never two days the same and they find new things to be excited about all the time, some of you may notice that a lot of my yarn reflects the stuff my girls are into, Trolls and Ponies! ha! seriously, I watched Trolls twice today, even I look forward to seeing it!

 

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This month is my Birthday month and also Easter holidays, which for the first time in my life I can appreciate it, as my big girl is home, and running a business and a family means that I have got to be realistic about what we can all achieve, as its tricky enough when she is in pre- school, so I decided to shut the shop so that I can have some time to focus on getting my outstanding orders out of the door, spend time with my family and try and get a bit of rest, which is proving elusive with the girls both being ill....... typical.....always the holidays! but theres also a lot of egg hunts and birthday parties going on this month, we had both today which was fab! so just being available to do these things is priceless! even if I do feel like a zombie.

 

April Colour way

April Colour way

so whats been happening this month in my yarn mind? chocolate and Easter eggs! I have been getting very carried away with this months colours which just look edible to me, and I have been knitting socks, a new shawl and trying a few new techniques in my surprise clubs which always keeps thing exciting for me. 

I have been working hard this last month to move into a new way of working which involves having limited spaces for surprise clubs (this month its Trolls!! which I am drying ready to be wound!) and having a big ready to ship update and those minis create havoc in my order system so that has allowed me to create some really exciting new colour combos and I can't wait to share them with you! its just been refreshing to put the breaks on , re-evaluate and say focused on whats really important, colour and family! family and colour! and it feels like progress. 

 

Candied Egg treat boxes

Candied Egg treat boxes

There have been a lot of changes to how I run my little shop so if you would like to know whats happening, or when my Scrappy sock kits, minis and surprise clubs will go up then you can subscribe to my mailing list, il be using IG to let you know when things are happening but this month you will see a lot of knitting, my girls and also some of the amazing things you guys have been making with my yarn.  

 

I have had. quite a lot of you tell me not to spend my break dying yarn, which is hard but I am definetly slowing down, as when you have small people its kinda hard to not to give into whats happening around you, like last night, 3am my littlest stopped crying and finally went to sleep, albeit with me ending up in the cot with her, needles to say, not the best sleep and cots really don't do anything for my back! yikes! so today I'm feeling a bit like Im not really with it, you know ? (if you have children, I know you know!). so todays job is to dye up yarn, wind for orders Im getting out on Saturday (my post office isn't open all this week) iv already tied up 80 skeins for tomorrows dye so wish me luck for sleep, iv got an early start to make some more headway on those orders. I won't be opening my dyed to order section for a little while until Im definitely making some good progress and I'm up to date, I just need some space to get my head down and get the squish out of the door, things just suddenly got very busy and I need to prioritise those of you who already have orders with me before I open my dyed to order listings again.

But.......this month I will be releasing the pre- order for my Advent minis which will ship around October, so I want to be prepared so Il let you know more about this soon as I know some of you would like an idea about price etc.

Also....... are you going to Wonder Wool Wales this year?

have a fabulous Easter weekend, I hope its filled with chocolate and not colds............. 

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its about time for a change

for quite sometime I have been considering a change in the direction of my little corner of squish here in the country, balancing my life wit yarn and family is a huge job and recently, I have seen my order numbers climb in ways i never expected and suddenly find the yarn is slowly taking over my life, and not all in a good way. I'm answering messages and all sorts every hour of the day and every day i a yarn day which means I'm squeezing out my family for the love of wool.

if you have been with me on instagram, you will be aware that I am changing the way things work for all of us, that me and my family and you as a customer. I really need more structure in my life so that I can keep my priorities in order which is to spend quality time with my family and to continue to love and be obsessed with yarn.

Many of you may not know, but I reached the decision to run my own business and be with my husband and my girls not long after I had a pretty bad car accident, 6 months after having my first baby whilst I was on my way home from work. I broke most of my bones including my back and was very very lucky to even wake up in my car let alone know that I will be able to see my husband and my daughter again.

So......... I always have to remember why I'm here and why I'm doing this, which is why I have needed to change how it all works so that things behind the scenes are more efficient and you have more choice about how you order your yarn and when it will arrive.

I have changed my site to show you what is available, each section gives you an overview of the clubs etc, but essentially, I will be doing all mini skeins, treat boxes, scrappy sock kits etc through a Ready to Ship Update. Clubs will be limited and instead of running through the month they will be released on the 1st and won't go back up once the limited numbers have sold. these will ship within two weeks which is tons better for you and for me!

My Dyed to order has been increased to 8 weeks and has all of my colour ways available to buy.

I will be selling exclusively through my Etsy Shop from now on so that is the only place you can find me.

mostly, I really want to stay here and make yarn, I hope we can all ride the wave of change and within a few months I expect to see a big shift in both my Homelife and business.

 

these guys are why I do it and I need to make sure its sustainable...........

if your still here, thank you so much.......it means the world to me! I truly cannot express to you have valuable every message, comment, purchase and contact I have had with you. xxx

What is it really like?

I often look at those instagram accounts and wonder- what is their life really like? You know, when all the beautiful pictures are take away and the craziness of life is exposed. What's it really like? Well, for me.............it's not as serine as the pictures of the knitting I post, although this actually does happen, when the girls are in bed and I between going up to feed the little one and sitting down, I actually do knit! And it's my therapy.

 

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Every one has got different ideas of what working for yourself looks like, for me, it was all about being close to my little family. My full time job took me out of the house at 7.30 and back when my girls were in bed, and i missed it all. We were lucky to be able to have one of us stay at home full time, so it felt worth it. Being my own boss was something I always joked about, I guess I never thought I'd ever be brave enough to ever do it, but 3 years ago, just as my first baby turned 6 months and I had been back at work 3 weeks, I had a car accident not far from home. I spent days in a coma and broke most things including my back , my shoulder, all my ribs on my left and my pelivs in three places. Yay! Needles to say, I was away from my family for a long time, and when I did return home i was in a wheelchair and as soon as I could walk again I had to go back to work. After my second baby, it didn't feel right. I didn't want to miss what I almost didn't have, which was my husband and my girls. so, I dyed more yarn...and then lots more..... I knitted every second I had and joked that my ideal job would be knitting for a living!! Ha! People in work would look at me like the crazy yarn lady who spent her lunch break knitting or winding minis or crocheting. I didn't care. I left my full time job and here i am. I just jumped off the edge and I have never looked back. Both me and my husband ( who really is essential, he organises me and our life) work on my yarn full time and around the girls. Which sometimes means working late into the evening if it means we create a few hours the next day to do things together, or we time a park visit into the post run so that spend our time together.

 

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But, it's not always Rainbow Sherbets and unicorns here, dying yarn is an amazing job, I never get tiered of dying the same colour way, or getting excited of trying a new technique or colour, but, I do this alongside having my two girls who are with us all the time. It does mean that however many hours sleep if had ( last night....2) I don't have to get up, drive 45 mins to work, and have to be on show and perform. I love hiding being all the squishy yarn posts because my last job put me front row and centre every day, which was exhausting. Probably why I like living in the countryside.......it's calm and quiet......no one is knocking my door when I'm eating my lunch or needing a tutorial...... It's just dying yarn, knitting, small people, and more yarn.

It's a way of life, IV always made stuff and this honestly is the best job that I never even knew I had applied for,. I have never liked working for anyone, like really not liked it, so this has been a huge learning curve. I'm everything, yarn dyer, photographer, admin, packer, poster.......mum, wife and all the other stuff, which often involves cleaning, washing, shopping and the rest of life's needs. When no one is getting any sleep because someone is teething, or has a cold, and another one, sometimes I would like to hide under a pile of yarn. To sleep.......... And knit, but it's worth it. I'm with my family.

Being your own boss has meant having a work schedule, dying days, winding days, packing days, email hours..... remembering that there needs to be some boundaries, for me, in the last few days it's been turning of email notifications, so that I can dedicate time to sit down and read emails rather than have my phone beep at me all the time, or checking IG a certain time when I can sit down and catch up without someone needing me, it's all part of trying to keep the reason we did this in the first place right at the heart of all our decisions. Even if it means that some weeks I feel like I'm playing the catch up game, because the week before was lost to life stuff!

So whenever you see one of those accounts that just make you wonder, I'm pretty sure they are just coping with the craziness life is throwing at them, and trying to focus on the motivating, positive things, with the hope of meeting someone like you! We all start somewhere, the learning is endless and sometimes the grass really is greener!

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Knitting needle bangles

Make your own. 

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So........... If you have found yourself here....... You too must have at least one pair of plastic needles, either given to you, car bootied or hoarded, sitting around waiting to be somethig spectacular! 

this may be the project for you. I promise that it is the easiest piece of jewellery you will ever make and it will change the way you look at knitting needles forever!

 

all you need is the following -  

 

✔️ plastic needles - you probably already have them in your stash, go get them! 

✔️sacucepan and baking tray  

✔️tape - this is so that you can stop the plastic moving. 

✔️tongs - i have aesbestos fingers but togs are a essential for fishing the needles out of the boiling water. 

✔️ water - to boil needles  

✔️ stove top

✔️ oven gloves/tea towel - the plastic is super hot and this just helps when forming the plastic. 

✔️ rolling pin - or something that is similar to the shape of your wrist.

 

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to make these bangles you will be using boiling water to heat the plastic to make it maleable. Not melt. Really bendy! So grab yourself a turkey tray, id recommend it as you can immerse the whole needle all at the same time rather than waiting for your needle to soften like some spaghettie!

Its worth mentioning briefly a bit about plastic forming and plastic memory, as this will stop you feeling like its all gone horribly wrong and realising its normal. Plastic memory is the ability for a material to return to its original state upon re-heating. This is important as what you will be doing is changing the form of the plastic using heat. if you bend the plastic and re-emerse it in boiling water it will return back to its origional state, thus, no bangle!

Put your needle into boiling water and turn up the heat to keep it boiling. you can test it as often as you like to see how bendy it it, dont worry it wont turn into melted plastic.

get your tape, tongs and gloves/teatowel ready, fish out the needle and bead it around your rolling pin/former and try and get it into a round shape. 

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Every needle is made from different plastic and some will be more supple than others, my green one was soooo supple i could even bend the tip of the needle, this blue one was a lot stiffer.  

 

Hold your needle in its new shape either long enough for it to cool, or hold it and dunknit in cold water. You will notice it will stop wanting to move back to its origional shape and will stay put. You can now use the saucepan as your needle will fit nicely in the bottom.

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You may be able to bend the bangle all in one go, or it may take a few baths, more tape to hold the new shape in place for you to get the shape you want. See there in the picture above, i put tape in the areas which i want to keep the same. Even when re-heated, the tape is enough to hold that shape and then you can just concerntrate on shaping the rest. 

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Here is the bangle in the finished shape, the end of this needle did not want to move but I quite like it! Once i got the final shape, i cooled it in cold water, removed the tape, dried it off and put it on! Its that easy! 

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What are you waiting for? Go get the needles! Just remeber the following - 

✔️your bracelet does not need to be perfetly round to be awesome, oval, knotted, works for me!

✔️lots is surely better, plus you probably have a decent stash of these already!  

✔️wear them straight away, instant jewellery. Homemade at that!  

✔️every time you see plastic colourful needles, dont think 'do i need another pair!?' Think ' i dont have that size, colour, style needle bracelet yet, i must have it!'  

 ✔️please tag me in your attempts or finished bangles, Id love to see if made any, or indeed, how many you made!

✔️dont be stingy - i know ypu have knitting friends who will want one, buy all the needles!, make all the bangles!

✔️have fun, oh and try not to burn yourself in the excitement. 

 

kate

x

 

Sock Blanks

Liquorice Allsorts

Liquorice Allsorts

Like many of you reading this post, like me, you probably have a less than healthy approach to buying, collecting, staring at and eventually using all the yarn you can get your hands on. This is primarily the reason why I started dying yarn in the first place, I just wanted more....... I wanted to look at it and squish it more than I actually knitted with it, this was mostly because I only had tiny balls or 50gram skeins that I didnt want to 'waste'.

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Needles to say, my bottomless pit of enthusiasm for yarn, and all the things you can do with it, have lead me to make yarn my full time job......... Which is amazing! But I also feel like iv entered a competetive knitting competition, with myself. If I stop knitting im not sure when il pick it up again so iv got to knit as often as I can. Im trying to get good at socks, using a super easy, make it up as you go along pattern. You see, for me to do something really well I have got to be immersed in it, do it all the time so that it becomes as familiar to me as driving a car.

You remeber that time when you were changing gear and pushing the peddles and thinking 'how do people make this look easy?!'  well, I guess making things is just like driving a car, you do it so much It becomes like a motor memory. If you can knit and watch tv you know what im talking about.

 

socks are my new 'thing', I generally use tiny scraps which make sock making quite fun, but the more I knit and think less about construction because im getting the hang of it, I have started thinking about how to fill them with colour. Each sock has been like a sample test and each time I knit Iv been thinking about the colour. 

Lemon and lime

Lemon and lime

How can I make it more fun to knit? So , iv been trying some yarns with stripes of colour and today I have finally got around to trying a sock blank. 

 

Srappy sock blank

Srappy sock blank

I cant believe its taken me so long to try this, my knitting machine that I bought years ago, well, I have three..........I almost had 15 before my other half asked me if I plan to hire a van and teach machine knitting? I genuinely was going to get them, just for myself. I didnt really get why someone thought that was excessive. Im a bit of a hoarder secretly!   But I have one good one which has been on standby just in case, and today was the day!

 

I love how the sock yarn knits up, really soft and flexible and instead of just trying to dye the blanks, we thought knitting my yarnsinto  blanks could be a great way of showing you how each colour way knits up, and you can knit from both ends. 

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I am very aware that this little excursion may very well take me down the rabbit hole, I just have to remind myself that I dont need more than one knitting machine and not everything needs to be made into a sock blank............ Although I am thinking that making some scrappy sock blanks would be pretty exciting! I would have fun making those!!

 

Stripy sock yarn

I have been going a little bit sock mad lately......... I just cant stop making them, in all different colours and lenghts, but theres one thing Iv been wanted to really try............... 

Pink Ribbon Candy and Rasberry Ruffle

Pink Ribbon Candy and Rasberry Ruffle

........ Yarns that create some sort of pattern, that combines strong streaks of colour along woth lots of sprinkles so that all of the stitches are different.

Pink Ribbon Candy

Pink Ribbon Candy

Iv fallen in love with this pink one and I loved seeing how the colours blended into eachother as they are knitted up in the round. 

im going to be casting on this vibrant Lemon and Lime later this evening to see how it knits up, its a variation on one the firat cooie ways I sold on Etsy, and since everything around us here in the English country side is all lushious and green, it felt like a good time to be playing with these fresh, juicy colours.......... Which are currently reminding me of ice cold cocktails...... But that might have something to donwith the insane lack of sleep due to two poorly girls! 

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But at least I am surrounded by bright, squishy yarn! Because the weather outside is as miserable as the mood inside today. I will be adding this new colour to my stripy blue sock later, id like to see how this knits up

Lemon and lime

Lemon and lime

In other yarny news, I was sooooo chuffed to recieve a copy of Simply Knitting in the post and find that my yarn had been featured!! Squeeeel!! Its so exciting to see it in a magazine! 

Simply knitting

Simply knitting

the feauture is for my chunky and Dk singles,, which are both gloriously springy, im currently knitting a cowl with it so I will post some progress pictures so that you can see how it knits up.

 

well, im off to add a row to those socks, see you again soon x

Surprise Skein club

Do you want to recieve a surprise in the post every month?!  

Club orders are open during the first shop update every month. 

Club orders are open during the first shop update every month. 

I have a range of repeatable shop colours which are available in my shop all year long, but I wanted to introduce something special to the shop, so each month my club listings will go live in my shop and will close once they have sold out. 

 

all of the club orders will go out the first week of every month. Each skein will will different and full of speckles. They are available in both Sock yarn and DK weight. 

 

if your not a single skein collector, the mini club will be the right one for you, open every month for a surprise bundle in the post. 

 

 

Scrappy Socks

My first pair of knitted socks!  

My first pair of knitted socks!  

If you follow me on Instagram you will probably know that knitting socks is one of those things I never thought I would do, but after seeing so many socks on the needles I decided to take the plunge............ I bought myself some 2.5mm circular needles and got knitting.

these really are the ultimate in portable knitting projects and I was able to take them everywhere with me. I cast on 60 stitches and worked from the cuff down, the heal is worked on a short row so it was really easy to turn, which for me, was ideal!

 

if you want to try your own stash busting socks I would highly reccomened it, im already on my second pair! 

#scrappysquarealong

  Im so excited to be hosting a #scrappysquarealong on IG, like many of you I knit alone......... either in the wee hours of the morning or when Im carrying a baby on my chest. I started this group so that I could feel part of a bigger knitting community as I know we are all out there, knitting away, busting those stashes and making memory blankets, so if you would like to join, head over to IG and use the #scrappsquarealong hashtag so that we can all see what you have been making. its going to be a great way to keep me, and hopefully you, motivated to keep adding those squares.              

 

Im so excited to be hosting a #scrappysquarealong on IG, like many of you I knit alone......... either in the wee hours of the morning or when Im carrying a baby on my chest. I started this group so that I could feel part of a bigger knitting community as I know we are all out there, knitting away, busting those stashes and making memory blankets, so if you would like to join, head over to IG and use the #scrappsquarealong hashtag so that we can all see what you have been making. its going to be a great way to keep me, and hopefully you, motivated to keep adding those squares.