Sunday, 17 March 2019

Still here!!

Yes, I'm still here - I just haven't posted in a long while....  again...

I have been very busy on the crafting front though - in fact my hooks and needles feel like they've been on fire for weeks on end now!! And I've been very naughty and bought loads of wool already this year ready to make up samples.
I've been working on a couple of designs recently - a cowl and a scarf. The double loop cowl is crocheted in aran merino and has been made and frogged twice now! I just can't get the effect that's in my head, so I'm going to give up on that idea I think and maybe revisit it in the summer. We all want to wear a nice thick cowl in summer right??!

The other design is a crochet scarf but it's not ready for testing, never mind revealing to the world yet! This is mainly due to deciding to do 2 versions of the same repeating pattern, firstly on the horizontal and then on the diagonal as well. It gave quite a different look but working on the diagonal threw up all sorts of issues that I hadn't quite anticipated, so there was quite a lot of frogging going on as well! I think I need to consult a crocheting friend before I proceed any further but I've put too much time and effort into it to abandon it, so watch this space...

At the same time, I was also knitting another Tail of Two Dragons Scarf, this time using King Cole Riot DK. This yarn moves gently from one shade to another giving a self striping effect - it's also slightly brushed (it's about 20% wool I think) so feels lovely and soft and squishy. However...  I wasn't very far into it before I came across a knot. And before you know it there's another one. And then another one!! I was not happy believe you me.

It's bad enough with any ball of yarn but when it's self striping you never know how many colours got skipped when it was rejoined - depending what you're making it can really show up, as you'll see in one of the following photos.
I was so annoyed I emailed the Customer Service Team at King Cole about it and attached a photo of said knots. As you can see from the copy of my email below, I didn't ask for anything, just wanted to make them aware of it - for all I know it happens a lot but no one ever tells them.

"Dear Sirs,
I have just purchased 2 balls of Riot DK online to make a specific pattern but I am very disappointed to find that there was not one, not two but THREE joins in the yarn within a 150 cm stretch!! I'm used to coming across a knot on occasion but 3 knots in such a short space is surely unacceptable??
As this yarn moves gently from one shade to another throughout the ball, this will leave some big jumps between colours if I continue to use this section of the ball - I am inclined to scrap it and start again! Luckily I had only just started the project and the knots were near the start of the ball, so there is only an hour of work lost but that is still a frustrating hour of re-working.I'm not impressed at all and am surprised that a ball which I would consider to be "seconds" was sent out for sale at all by the factory.
Normally I would not complain but felt this was so poor I should bring it to your attention.


This is their reply -

Hi Tina,

Thank you for getting in touch and we truly apologise for the quality of Riot DK you have received.
Unfortunately, despite rarely occurring, knots are created at our spinners because yarn needs to be tied when it comes to the end of its spindle.
Please be assured that we try our best to keep the occurrence of knots in balls to the absolute minimum, but unfortunately it is not something we can avoid without surplus yarn and waste.
However, we are very sorry that your balls had 3 joins in such close proximity, which is far from usual.
We would advise you to return to the shop where you originally purchased the yarn and they should either refund or exchange the Riot DK for you for free, even if you have begun working with it. We can then reimburse them for the cost and investigate the issue further.
Thank you again for taking the time to send your email, we’re grateful for bringing it to our attention, and do let us know if you require any further assistance.

Kind Regards,

I'm so glad to hear they are trying to avoid waste. Their waste. What about MY waste?? At my expense?? Had there been a big jump between colours - and with the second ball I used there was! - I would have to wind off potentially quite a lot of wool to keep the sequence correct. Wool which might not then be used.
(And as I had told them I purchased it online, I didn't want to wait days while I sent it back, waited for a response, waited for replacement yarn...)

When I posted pics and comments on IG, some people said they hadn't had any issues with the yarn and really liked it. Several people were not impressed any more than I was that King Cole thought it was perfectly OK that the wastage would sit in my purse and not theirs. Needless to say, in future I might have to think twice about buying their yarn again.
(Edit: by the time I got round to posting this, someone said they were using the same colour and hers was full of knots too...)

Everyone on IG liked the stripes on my scarf though and it did turn out well in the end. I had enough left over to make a matching hat - although due to the occurrence of yet another knot and a BIG change in the colour sequence, it doesn't actually match when you compare the stripe sequence...

I used another hat pattern by Irina of My Knitland (find her on Ravelry) as she works the most amazing cables but I really must make one in a plain colour to actually show off the cables, rather than hide them with stripes!

I've also been busy on the baby blanket front. I decided in January to make some bright rainbow blankets and bought a few colours of Women's Institute DK. It's really thick though and is almost like aran - but so far I have come across one single knot 😂😂😂.
I started with my Tooty Stripey Blanket (see the tab at the top of the screen) and it worked up really well -

And now I'm making another Daisy Chain Blanket by Kerrie of Harlow Monroe Handmade. I wasn't sure about it at first with these colours but the more rows I work, the more I like it. There are a few more rows to do yet but I really must start thinking about what sort of border to give it - it's so vibrant I think it just needs white with a tiny pop of colour really. But before I can do the border, I'll need to tackle those ends...

I've also been desperate to have a go at the Marguerite Blanket CAL by Mobius Girl! (I'll try and add a link later, sorry. ..)

I made one motif just to try out the pattern and it was so simple, yet clever, I knew I had to make it!! But I couldn't quite decide on a colour palette. Initially, I wanted to use exactly the same colours as the original, then I thought maybe bring in silver grey and burgundy instead of the dark grey. Then I thought palest aqua and pink with bright pops of raspberry and turquoise, maybe with vanilla and stone. Or maybe with white! And tomorrow I'll think of another combo probably! And then another! It would be really nice to include some self striping yarn too - as long as it isn't King Cole!!
This is the sample I made in grey and gold to try the pattern but the grey is rather thick, so it worked up too large to use... here it is having some Fluffy testing!

I very nearly made a visit to the wool shop, intending to drag out all their Stylecraft and have a play around and see what I could put together. But then I gave myself a firm talking to about wastage and decided to get out all my Stylecraft leftovers instead (from my Tooty Harmony Blanket) and make a start with those. I know there won't actually be enough to make the whole blanket but at least there will be enough to have a play around with layouts and get a general idea of what I as actually need to buy, rather than a random pick and mix!
Here are some of the motifs I've made so far.

Like I say, these are just a starting point really before I buy more yarn to make a full blanket. Although I must confess,  I did buy a ball of magenta yesterday as it looked so good I knew I wanted more of it!

But one thing's for sure - I'll be making it with my new crochet hook from Pedro's Plaques - isn't he just gorgeous?!!! I'very called him Pedro (what else?!) and we'll be going on lots of yarny adventures together!! The first of which (apart from the Marguerite Blanket) will be to make him a friend we saw in a magazine. He made me buy the book to get the pattern and then picked out a ball of wool from my stash to make him (there's just ONE 50g ball though,  so I hope it's enough!)! One thing at a time Pedro!!

'Til next time,     T   xXx

PS it's taken me at least 10 days to get this written, so apologies if you've seen all of this on IG already!

Monday, 21 January 2019

Groundhog Day and Ta - Dah!!

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you might have seen over the weekend that I was "tagged" to share what I was doing this time last year. So I scrolled back (and back...) until I got to roughly the same day last January - and I was truly surprised to see that I was doing exactly the same thing!!! I was looking back to the previous January (2017) and sharing what I had posted then. Coincidence or what??!!

This time last year I said I'd had a rubbish day, so had decided to look back at a better day and shared this picture of the Bargello Allium Cushion Panel I designed and made - well, still making actually but it's nearly done -
Tina's Allsorts, Bargello Alliums

This year, I'd also had a rubbish day and had planned on sharing exactly the same pic before I was asked to share something!! And it also just happens that I've been sharing some of my bargello pics again recently, having been inspired by a lady on IG called @brightbag who has been writing a pat*tern for a crocheted version of bargello which I'm itching to try! (Her pattern is out for testing now!)
It did sort of feel like I was stuck in a time warp with the same thing happening over and over!!

Back around New Year everyone was posting their "best nine" for 2018. That is, the 9 posts in their feed that got the most likes. There was also "my year in colour", which would look for the dominant  colours per pic, again based on likes. I got the following two results -

Tina's Allsorts, My Year in Colour

Tina's Allsorts, 2018bestnine

They were ok but I would have preferred to have some more bright colours - clearly I just didn't use enough of them! Consequently, I dashed out and bought a rainbow of yarn and have been busy working on a really bright baby blanket which I've just finished. I decided to make a rainbow version of my #tootystripeyblanket but to make it a little different, I alternated the rainbow colours with white. I had to make some adjustments to the pat*tern as I went along - I swapped a few rows around, left one or two bits out, and completely left out the extended post stitches as I didn't think they'd work with the white rows.
I'm really pleased with how it turned out and have set up a project page on Ravelry should you want to know what yarn and quantities I used etc. Want to see it??? Thought so!!

Tina's Allsorts, Tooty Rainbow Blanket

Tina's Allsorts, Tooty Rainbow Blanket

Tina's Allsorts, Tooty Rainbow Blanket

Tina's Allsorts, Tooty Rainbow Blanket

I have about 60g of all the colours left, so will be making another rainbow themed blanket soon - I just need to decide on the pat*tern.

However, I have at least 3 new pat*terns that I need to finish writing up as well. Actually, make that 4 - I've just remembered one that I started nearly 8 years ago!!! Really must get that one finished...

Right now though, I'm nearly half way through another #popcorndreamsscarf (Popcorn Dreams Scarf) using a gorgeous hand dyed yarn I bought last summer that made me think of wild flowers in the heat of July - but using it in the cold of winter now makes me think of hot rice pudding with a big spoonful of raspberry jammed stirred through it!!!!!

(OOPS!!!!! I've just noticed - that's the wrong hastag on that photo!! This is definitely Popcorn Dreams, not a Tail of Two Dragons! Although I have just made another one of those too but haven't taken any pics of it yet.)

On that note, I think I might just go and look through the cupboard and see if we've actually got any rice pudding!!

Keep warm! Til' next time,    T  xXx

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Merry Christmas

A rather belated Merry Christmas to you all!

I thought I would share a couple of photos I took this morning in the Cathedral when I arrived for work before we opened to the public.

Tina's Allsorts, Winchester cathedral

Tina's Allsorts, Winchester Cathedral

Sunday, 9 December 2018


I've been suffering recently with frozen shoulder and crochet seems to aggravate it, so I've found myself doing a bit more knitting. But impatient me wants it finished NOW, so I've gone for hats as they're pretty quick to make .

I came across a lady via instagram who designs the most amazing hats. She's Irina of @myknitland and sells her patterns through Ravelry. (Sorry, my tablet just won't copy and paste links anymore...)

One of them is free - Foliage - and I made it last Christmas but it came out too big. My fault for changing the needle size. I finally got round to unpicking it and making it again in a lovely burgundy yarn.

Tina's Allsorts

I should have taken the time to "relax " the yarn before using it again though ,as when I washed my remade hat it turned out to have a bit of give, so is still too big!!

Never mind. It's a lovely pattern and I would recommend it - along with her others.

Next I made a complicated design called Flame. I used Drops Puna, a pure alpaca yarn and it turned out just right!
Just look at the top of the hat in the second picture - so clever. All I need is a freezing cold day as this one is going to be really warm!

I decided I might have time to make a hat for a friend for Christmas, so chose another design called Crystal. This one turned out to be even more complicated and is quite a challenge!
I'm using the same grey yarn again , even though it looks a different colour in the photo,  and you can see my cute stitch markers too. They're made by Cheryl of Chapelview Crafts and they're simply amazing.  Hand made little gingerbread men, all with different colour scarves. I also bought a pair of gingerbread men earrings!
But anyway , the hat. I'm determined to finish it and the pattern is going to look fab when it's done. Hope my friend likes it...

Tina's Allsorts, The Texan  Muffler

And here's the scarf I've just finished and posted off to the USA. My customer wanted tassels on it and they turned out really well. This pat*tern used to be called "Parterre" but has been re-branded the Texan Muffler. A much better name I think.
Available to buy on Ravelry - just follow the link on my shop page or in the side bar.

That's all for today . I thought a quick hello was preferable to not popping in for another month! Hope your Christmas shopping is going better than mine - ie barely started and as I was told yesterday, there's only 15 days to Christmas! 
Take care,     T    xXx