I’m in desperate need of some time alone with my needles :-(
It’s probably no surprise that my life over the last week has looked mostly like this
With very little of this.
Luckily, that’s all about to change, as tomorrow I’m off to Bangor in Wales for a few days and it will be fibre fun all the way. I’m actually going over to spend a few days learning about Saori weaving at Rosie Green’s studio SAORImor, so be prepared to be bored to death on my return. In addition to the weaving I’m planning on filling some of my free time with some much needed knitting time and listening to some audio books :-)
In the meantime, I wanted to say a very big thank you to everyone for their kind thoughts, best wishes, cards, flowers, wine, chocolates and other assorted goodies. I now need to go on a diet and begin a strenuous exercise regime to shed the pounds.
I’ve one more week of trading left in my little shop, before I finally close the door and my family and I begin the process of dismantling, packing up and removing what’s left before I say goodbye to Knit.
So far I’ve been fine and as I’ve told everyone that’s asked “that making the decision was the hard part”. I’m no fool though (well?) and I know I’m going to feel a sadness when I close the door for the last time and will probably need a period of readjustment.
It is said, that as one door closes (literally), another one opens.
Since I announced the closure of the shop, so many of you have asked if I’ll keep the Facebook Page and blog up and running. As I’d always assumed it was just a shop thing, I wasn’t confident that the interest was there without the shop, but it seems I was wrong :-)
I can’t keep calling myself Knit, Knitmidleton or KnitinMidleton, not least because I actually live in Lismore and who knows maybe someone else will eventually open a knitting shop in Midleton and then it really wouldn’t seem right.
Some of you will already associate the name LeftFootDaisy with me as it’s been my profile name on Ravelry, Pinterest and loads of other things for many years now.
Cue boring, hopefully succinct, explanation –
My favourite flower is the daisy, big floppy ones, small dainty ones, I don’t have a preference. I even considered changing my name when I was younger, but I’m not even sure I’m a Lora, let alone a Daisy. I was meant to be called George (yes for a girl and no not Georgina, I’m a child of the early 70’s) and I think it would be a good fit now, probably not in school though, the bullies would have had a field day
My love of daisy’s extends to a tattoo on, you guessed it, my left foot. There’s just the one and if I ever get round to it I’ll have more, but I love it so much that I stupidly thought I’d use it for my on-line presence many years ago and it’s kind of stuck.
My husband even proposed with a giant billboard at the side of the road which read ‘Will you marry me LeftFootDaisy’ 💕
So I’d like to re-introduce myself as LeftFootDaisy aka Lora and just so you know it’s me I’ve decided to go the whole hog ;-) and it’s LeftFootDaisy – Confessions of a Fibre Strumpet
I’m going to keep popping up links to patterns, news stories and ‘naughty’ knitted thingys on the new Facebook page (come and join me) and I’ll post here about all my fibrey and not so fibrey goings on, where I’ll also continue to make up words, use awful grammar and write as I speak 😁 As I won’t have my own shop I’ll be able to talk more about where I’ll be shopping, what I’ll be buying and the things I love or loathe.
I hope all of you and more will join me, better still, interact with me, I’ll miss that the most :-(
A few weeks back when I was sorting out the discontinued shades of Sirdar Supersoft Aran for the now de-funked Green Bin, I noticed how lovely some of the colours looked together. As Supersoft Aran is 100% acrylic, I knew I’d be able to work with it whilst suffering from my hayfever induced wool allergy, but didn’t know what to make with the 5 shades.
I’m definitely not short of them for my sofa and whilst some of them could probably do with a bit of a refurb, I’ve already bought some fun, funky material that will brighten up my dark sofa.
A chilly Sunday lead me to conclude that we don’t have enough blankets in my house. Being old enough to remember what it was like to have sheets, blankets and a bedspread on your bed and if it was cold, an extra blanket or two, I find it quite amazing that you never see ‘proper’ blankets any more. There’s no shortage of duvets in my house, but when you’re trying to convince yourself that it’s only forty winks on the sofa, a duvet can seem like too much of a commitment (or is it just me that thinks that?).
So a blanket it is.
As much as I love the blankets you see on Pinterest and Instagram, with all the lovely little granny squares, I’m just not up for sewing in all those ends.
I started with 2 balls of each colour and knowing I wouldn’t have enough to complete three repeats of each of the five shade, I opted to only repeat the first three shades a third time. As it turns out, I needed an extra ball of the mustard colour to complete the last side of the round.
I love it, but I want it a bit bigger and there’s no more green. Luckily, I’d put by a couple of balls of the dark grey, which I think will work really well to frame the rest of the colours and finish of my blanket.
Now all I have to decide, is how many rounds of the grey to do, all suggestions would be much appreciated.
I was hoping to be able to hang the blanket up on the washing line, so you’d see it better, but it was awful in Lismore yesterday evening. Instead I promise to photograph the finished blanket when the ends are sewn in and it’s washed.
Nearly forgot, I’ve been using a 5mm crochet hook.
Hopefully you’ve all had a little time to come to terms with the news in the last post :-( Thank you for all your kind thoughts and words. So lets get down to it – I want to let you all know how and when we’re going to be closing. In order to try and clear as much of the stock as possible, I’m going to open up on Monday and will be open for most of the coming 3 weeks, although I will be closed next Saturday the 11th. As you might expect, there are lots and lots of bargains to be had, so I’d advise taking some time to plan what you’re after, make a list and be sure to bring a bag or two.
♥ Discount time ♥
That’s the yarn and the patterns. Needles, hooks and notions. Books need to go too. Please remember to dig out any gift vouchers you’ve been given, so you can use them before we close. All of the fixtures and fittings will need to be sold on too, so if you know someone who needs slat wall hooks, a till, vintage cinema seats or fancies my yarn units be sure to let me know.
I’ve been trying to write this post for many hours, days in fact and I’m still struggling with finding the right words , so maybe I should just come straight out and say it, then explain?
We’re closing down.
I know there are a good few of you that will read what I’ve written, then re-read it, possibly even more than once. I also know some of you might think I’m having a laugh, or playing some kind of practical joke, but I’m afraid it’s true L
I think I’ve known it’s been coming for a long time now, but like most of us do when faced with a tough decision, have been avoiding making it. Now it seems that the universe has stepped in and taken over, the elements have all lined up and the conclusion has pretty much, been made for me.
It’s been almost 10 years since my husband and I moved to Ireland and I opened my little shop in Dungarvan (I know some of you will probably be surprised to hear that I’ve been at this for that long).
Since then I’ve moved premises more times then I, or my ever suffering husband care to remember, but I’ve always felt the shop was ‘home’ when we eventually came to Midleton.
I can’t say ‘I always wanted to own a yarn shop’ because I’m not that kind of person, I’m not really aspirational, my life hasn’t worked out that way. I’m what most people like to refer to as a bit of a ‘hippie’ I guess and I just amble through life trying to do what feels right at the time. My love of all things crafty combined with the terror of moving to a new country and knowing I’d need to find ways of meeting people, resulted in the shop. Which several years later became the Knit you know and I hope, have loved?
Throughout the 9 odd years I’ve been extremely lucky to have met some truly wonderful people and am blessed to be able to call many of them friends, lifelong friends too (I hope). It’s easy to take for granted how the people you meet can brighten your day and adjusting to life without the smiles and chat with my regulars is something that I know will take time.
How we’re closing and when we’re closing are some of the more practical things I shall need to tell you about. I shall pop a separate post up about this over the next little while; I just have to finish typing it up.
In the meantime I hope you will all understand that I don’t really want to talk about the why’s and where for’s because in all honesty closing the shop is not as a result of just one thing.
You name it and it’s probably a factor – family, health, wealth and happiness there are changes happening in every aspect of mine and my family’s lives and this is just something that needs to happen.
The Facebook page as you know it will eventually be going, but I shall still be on Instagram and blogging about my fibery exploits among other things. Hopefully a few more of you will come and join me here by following the blog and then we can keep in touch?
Most importantly I want to say a very big ♥ heartfelt ♥ thanks for all your support over the years.
You might have noticed by now, that my knitting needles haven’t been getting much use of late?
Don’t worry, I’m not ready to put them away just yet, it’s purely an enforced pause due to the dreaded hayfever season. Sadly, along with thousands of other people I suffer horrendously at this time of year. To add insult to injury, I become sensitive to everything including dust, wool, my dogs and even the Vaseline you can dab on the outside of your nostrils to catch the offending pollen particles :-(
My poor puppy, ♥Errol♥ is having to make do with sitting on the sofa with me rather than on or next to me and the knitting, which is mostly pure wool, as it tends to be my favourite, is staying in my project bags most of the time.
However, a life without fibre, is in my opinion just not right and happily, I still seem to be able to play in other ways, with just the odd sneeze here and there :-)
I’m rather ashamed to admit to owning quite a lot of fibery equipment that, in most cases, has never really been used. Some of them were ‘complete bargains’, gifts, specially made (sorry husband), or bought with the best intentions, but a lack of time to learn how to use them.
Weaving, is something I love and have been fortunate to attend a couple of tapestry weaving classes now and I always get far too carried away when I do basic weaving with the children I teach. Since Christmas we’ve made wall hangings and Gods Eyes and I’ve bought Hula Hoops to try and use them for a group project at some stage.
So it probably will be of no great surprise for you to hear that I own a few looms? One of them is a little bit intimidating (a floor loom, disassembled and stored) and falls into the ‘absolute bargain’ category. I also own a peg loom (thank you husband), several tapestry frames (husband again) and a Ashford Rigid Heddle Loom that I’ve been dying to play with if only I could find the time.
Cue hayfever and cut to the loom →
Along with the ‘complete bargain’ loom, there were several boxes of weaving yarn, warp thread, tools and equipment, which all just added to the ‘deal to good to pass up on’ feel of the transaction many years ago. The yarn is mostly the heavy weight, rough rug weaving type of thing that makes your neck itch just looking at it. I love the colours though and find the more than slightly rustic look of the yarn, quite appealing, I just don’t see myself wearing it.
At this point, I could lie and say “I’d checked the thickness of my yarn by wrapping it round a ruler to see how many strands it took to make a inch (WPI’s) and then selected the appropriate reed – that’s the plastic bit that determines the set (lay man term – spaces) at which your warp (up and down) threads run through your finished fabric. I didn’t though, I took the picture after. Instead I winged it and used the 7.5dpi (I think I barely understand what this means myself, certainly not enough to explain it yet) reed that came with the loom, which is basically the one for medium thickness yarns
Having warped my loom, which took much longer than it should have, I was able at last to get on with some weaving. I completely forgot to take photos of the process which was more experimental than anything, but happily it ended up being usable.
I didn’t make my warp long enough for my table runner to stretch the full length of my kitchen table, because it’s purposefully over long and rustic. If you’re wondering, my ever suffering hubby made it for me, it’s based on my dads work bench which I loved and reminds me of him every day ♥
The weaving was an experiment after all, even the pattern ended up being a happy accident, one which just evolved and then I repeated.
I think it’s rather lovely, even if I do say so myself.
Look at those tassels too (don’t look too closely at my edges please).
I found I’d enjoyed myself so much I couldn’t resist warping up the loom again. This time I’m using sock yarn and I’m hoping to make a scarf.
More confessions of a fibre strumpet I’m afraid ;-)
I do love the word strumpet by the way, what word(s) do you like the most?
A couple of weeks ago now, I spent a beautiful Saturday afternoon enjoying myself in the sun with some of the lovely ladies from the Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Guild playing with indigo dye in Bunmahon on the beautiful Copper Coast.
Most of us will no doubt, have something in our wardrobe dyed using indigo (probably in it’s synthetic form) as it’s the dye of choice for most denim fabric as it’s extremely resistant to fading. My husbands 12 year old favourite pair of jeans are still very blue, they’re just falling apart, proof if ever it were needed.
Indigo for those of you that are interested, is an ancient plant dye, with evidence of it’s use going back to the 3rd millennium BC and it’s still being used all over the world today. Dyeing with natural indigo can be quite labour intensive and although using synthetic indigo still requires a lot of steps, it’s much easier and quicker to get going and we only had the day after all.
The synthetic indigo powder came from George Weil and we followed the instructions given by Vivien Prideaux in her book – A Handbook of Indigo Dyeing. Once mixed and ready the dye bath requires constant, steady heating for an hour or so before you can add your fibre or cloth, which provided the ideal opportunity to indulge in a little lunch of salad, home made hummus and rolls, followed by Irish strawberries and ice cream :-)
Each of us had made up mini skeins of different yarns (about 20g each), so we could have fun observing how different fibres reacted to the dye.
My yarns were all commercially manufactured yarns, which can sometimes mean they’ve been bleached and may not take the dye, but I was under pressure and it was touch and go whether I’d actually make it on the day. Happily, all of the ones I’d picked took some of the dye and the result is a range of beautiful, blue hues.
From left to right the fibres are Ramsdale pure wool, merino, merino/cashmere/synthetic blend and lastly a bamboo/cotton blend (2 of them as I’ll probably use it as a warp thread).
I love the way the different yarns have reacted to the indigo. The Ramsdale, which is probably my favourite, was a mid grey to begin with, whilst the other three yarns were off white/cream before dyeing. All of my samples have had a couple of rinses, but I’m not sure if the bamboo/cotton blend would actually remain blue if I was to rinse it again.
I’m thinking of weaving a little wall hanging, or maybe even knitting it in linen stitch so it resembles weaving. For now I’m just enjoying steeling glances at the jar of mini blue hanks sitting on my desk. It’ll be interesting to see how the other guild members use their samples, perhaps they might let me take a photo or two and if so I’ll be sure to post them here.
As is so often the case when you’re enjoying yourself, the day drew to a close all too quickly and we were soon off and on our way home. With the sun still high in the sky, I couldn’t resist the temptation to pull in near a little pebbled cove, where I found a bum size rock to sit on and took my shoes off to let the heat from the warmed stones radiate through my feet.
I even found some lovely driftwood branches, bleached white from the sea and sun, which I intend to use in a wind chime project sometime soon.
If you want to know more about indigo dyeing, the history, how to and where to purchase it, these are the websites I’ve found useful. I’d also recommend Vivien’s book that I’ve mentioned above.