Author: Shinybees

Award-Winning Podcaster | Online Business Owner | Community Builder

Episode 93 – Alpaca Love

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Intro

These hot temperatures are having some side effects, I need to open my windows for survival. That means the choice between some potential atmospheric background noise or an unconscious host. I’ve soldiered on in the belief that I’m pretty pivotal to this podcast and chosen the former. As summer approaches we are beginning to think about summer knitting, which I have discussed before, quelle surprise in the approach to last summer and summer knitting yarns.

Today is the first instalment of my fibre focus on Alpaca. More Alpaca love was requested by a listener in my survey last year and as always your wish is my command. I will touch on it today as an introduction but there will be much more info to come in the coming weeks.

News

Oh I’ve a few things to share with you today. Firstly, and probably most importantly, the New Media Europe awards are back. Remember those from last year??

Yeah you do, you bunch of winners you!

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Episode 92: Midwinter Yarns – An Interview with Estelle Faust

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Intro

I am delighted to welcome Estelle this week. I always enjoy the Midwinter Yarns stalls and particularly their banter so I was thrilled when she agreed to be interviewed on the show…twice. For those who are not familiar with them they are into traditional, robust yarn but with a modern style – very Scandi.

Fair warning, there is a small amount of cake/pastry chat today.

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Episode 91: Is that it?

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Intro

I’ve had lots of happy messages this week, which is nice. First off, LJ is alive, arse and all, and managed to run the whole ruddy thing. Amongst my other lovely messages was one that particularly made me smile. It was from Lisa and made me realise that we need to relax and enjoy life. Let’s not take ourselves, or others, too seriously. Live like Westy. If you’re not sure what I mean, do as Lisa did and watch the below video. You will laugh, feel better and return to your knitting and correct your mistakes. Or watch Westy videos all night. Either way, you’re winning.

News

Yarn Shop Day. I’ll be at Countess Ablaze on the 30th April. Join me; step away from the Tunnocks though. You have been warned.

Yarn Show at Atholl Palace Hotel on the 7th May, Pitlochry. Open from 10am – 5pm.

Highland Wool Fest on the 21st May, Dingwall. Bit of a trek from my new location, but I have been before and it is well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Loch Ness Knitfest 29th Sept-2nd Oct, Eden Court, Inverness. This is the first year of this event, held in a beautiful area and well worth the trip. There will be workshops, lectures, market place and a Loch Ness cruise. What’s not to love?

Enablers Corner

This week you are being enabled to some rather lovely stationery by Martine Ellis of iMake. Her new ME Box is a monthly subscription for £15 and contains lots of good cards that are genuine keepers, a rarity these days, as well as postcards, prints etc and a treat for yourself. They are all printed in Guernsey with everything done locally, and I’m always a big fan of that, as you know. If you are not sold yet do watch the unopening video, and get a better idea of possible contents.

Review – Totally British 4 Ply

Joy, The Knitting Goddess, a veteran dyer and creator of the BritSock yarn that I loved, sent me some of her Totally British 4 Ply. It is a 85% UK Wensleydale and 15% UK Shetland mix. 100% grown, processed, spun and dyed in the UK. 400m per 100g and costs £18.50 for a 100g skein. She sent me the red colourway, obvs.

BRITSOCK c) The Knitting Goddess

BRITSOCK c) The Knitting Goddess

It isn’t a clear red, the grey of the Shetland contrasting the Wensleydale peeks through, which gives it a bit more depth and interesting tones. There is a lovely sheen coming from the Wensleydale that makes it look like silk in the lighter parts. It is quite rustic and robust but a bit stringy with some give. I expected some flatness but it is surprisingly bouncy. This glorious grey colour way is my favourite though. Such a lovely sheen.

The Knitting Goddess Totally British 4ply in 'Gunmetal'.

The Knitting Goddess Totally British 4ply in ‘Gunmetal’.

In the hand it does have a bit of a tickle, but not a scratch. It is not a scratch. Knitted – it is coming up nicely. It has decent definition, pretty and neat looking and easy to work with.

I haven’t seen this blend anywhere else. It is accessible for a blend yarn, not intimidating at all. Socks, mitts and hats would be great in this yarn but shawls would be a risk due to the tickle. It would depend on the sensitivity of your skin. Word of warning – don’t subscribe to the newsletter unless you have money to spend, you will be sorely tempted, every week. Pop over to the Ravelry group if you have had a chance to knit with this yarn and let me know what you think.

Is this it?

I feel this weeks title needs some explanation. I have become somewhat overwhelmed. I have began to forget, actually forget, which fabulous skeins I own. I have a neon highlighter colour from Countess Ablaze that it is unthinkable that I could possibly forget. Much like having too much cake or sushi I am saturated with stash. I am not buying anymore, I am releasing skeins. I think this is it my friends…less is more.

Wrap Up

That’s all from me this week. As always, thank you for listening. Feedback is always appreciated, and you can email me or message me via Ravelry or social media. If you enjoyed listening today, please consider leaving an iTunes review, to help others find the podcast too. Happy crafting!

Episode 90: Curious Handmade- An interview with Helen Stewart

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Intro

So first things first, my mental and yet fabulous (obviously) assistant LJ is running the London marathon this weekend. She has broken her arse as a result of yarn fumes, sort of, so listen in for the full comedy breakdown of the incident. If you should take pity on the poor maniac then you can sponsor her here. As promised here is a little snap of her and what she will look like on the day in case you happen to be around and want to cheer her on in her sorry state! Good luck LJ!

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I feel sorry for her already…

Interview

The lovely Helen had a very crafty upbringing in Queensland, complete with Macrame and all. How could she not grow up to be a creative soul? At the age of 25 she upped sticks after catching the travel bug and ended up here in the UK. She began knitting again as she was living in London (and it’s cold innit?) The growth of her hobby began as her friend asked her for a contribution to her pattern book, though it was after the publication of her Afternoon Tea Shawl pattern in Knitty magazine that she began to feel more recognition and believe that this may be something she would like to focus on. After having her second child she wasn’t loving corporate work the same way and wanted something flexible to fit around the children and having them gave her the push she needed to start her own business, something she never dreamt she would do. One of the least likely elements of her business is her podcast, given that she is quite shy. Her husband says it works for her as it creates a community and allows her to talk with people without actually having to meet them. Helen feels it is an excellent springboard into friendships and makes things easier when you do meet face to face. Clearly it is a good thing she took that leap – Helen’s career high is winning the UK Podcast Awards ‘Best Hobby Podcast’ last year.

Afternoon Tea Shawl c) Helen Stewart

Afternoon Tea Shawl c) Helen Stewart

There is no fixed pattern to Helen’s day, other than the drop off, work for 6 manic hours and then pick up – familiar to all us working mums. Given that her business is so varied, with many elements, her days are never the same, though having a podcast to do gives her some structure each week. Posh coffees also have a pivotal role. Another varies aspect of Helen’s life is her creative process. It will often begin with a colourful yarn she finds that sparks her interest and then she will look for a theme, however vague, that she can use to try and tie different pieces together. She likes a good swatch and some designs are quick and easy but some take an entire shawl’s worth of swatching. It can be a time consuming process but, thankfully, one that she greatly enjoys.

With the words ‘no journey is a smooth one’ ringing in her ears Helen gives a cautionary tale of what happens when you don’t allow yourself the time you need. Early in her career she submitted an idea to a magazine with a very tight deadline. It didn’t work as she was inexperienced and ambitious but had a trip planned and due to unforeseen circumstances got held up on the other side of the world. She submitted work that she wasn’t happy with and ended up with it not being published. The message Helen hopes we all get from this is to be patient, respect yourself and your process and give yourself the time you need. An excellent learning experience for all of us, thank you for sharing Helen.

Pebble Beach Shawl c) Helen Stewart

Pebble Beach Shawl c) Helen Stewart

If Helen could go back and talk to her pre-yarny self she would stress the importance of unpicking and fixing your mistakes immediately. It won’t magically disappear by itself and it’s easier to only unpick one row. You also need to get straight back on it, don’t throw it to one side in a hissy fit like I do, basically. One big message from this interview is to be patient. That is the main bit of advice Helen would give someone looking to enter this business world as it takes years to become a success. Since we’re an impatient bunch (sorry, Helen) I asked what’s next for Curious Handmade and was thrilled to hear that there is a new shawl collection in the pipeline that may even become a club. You can find Helen at www.curioushandmade.com and all the wonderful links from there. The podcast is available at Stitcher and Itunes.

Wrap Up

That’s all from me this week. As always, thank you for listening. Feedback is always appreciated, and you can email me or message me via Ravelry or social media. If you enjoyed listening today, please consider leaving an iTunes review, to help others find the podcast too. Happy crafting!

Episode 89: Paula Abdul Would Be Proud

Image Details: Los Angeles by Wilson Loo Kok Lee, via Flickr.

Image Details: Los Angeles by Wilson Loo Kok Lee, via Flickr.

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Intro

This wee’s episode is a little later than planned but here nonetheless. Paula Abdul discussed the concept of two steps forward and two back. If you’ve not heard ‘Opposites Attract’ for a while, I bring it to you for your listening delight.

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Episode 88: The Wool Kitchen – An Interview with Helen Reed

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Intro

A short intro this week as the old croaky voice is threatening a return. This week I am thrilled to bring you the other half of my Best in Show EYF winning double act – Helen from The Wool Kitchen. She is from the wrong side of the Pennines but a good Northener nonetheless and is responsible for my breaking of the ‘no 4 ply purchasing’ self inflicted rule for EYF. Her love of colour gets me every time…

Interview

Helen follows the classic pattern of a knitter – her mum taught her all she knows! She was a knitter, mainly of scarves, until her first pregnancy, when she started to knit clothes for the impending arrival. It was during this time that she realised she could read patterns and immediately have the 3D image of what it could be. Her love of bright colours and her interest in how a piece of string can be manipulated into different patterns and paired with other colours is what fuelled her desire to dye. She is a self confessed geek.

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