Progress On The Crochet House Project

A change of season is in the air. It’s wet here, and not especially warm. I keep looking at the fire and at the basket of logs beside it, and thinking ‘Soon, my friend. Soon.’ Meanwhile southern hemisphere bloggers are starting to note signs of imminent spring, so I guess it’s nearly our turn to shiver here in the north, not that we’ve had much of a summer this year. I’ve rambled at length about our village’s cherry-growing heritage before, but today the cherry trees in the orchards are just wet. Not beautifully red-leaved yet, though that must be coming soon. Just wet.

Cherry Tree Leaves

Cherry Tree Leaves

Now, the crochet house-furniture-big-secret project. It’s progressing, it really is, but every little element takes so much time. Want to see some progress? I’m happy to show you some of the pieces laid out, because I think that the final thing installed in its place will still have a ‘wow’ factor beyond anything I’m showing you here. So, photographed in artificial light (oops) against a complicated background of my grandmother’s rug (double oops) are most of the pieces made so far:-

Slowly, Slowly, Crochet Housey

Slowly, Slowly, Crochet Housey

The next big task is to fill all that blank area of earth in the garden with flowers and bushes and veg, and to attempt a lawn mower lying idle on the lawn. I’ve been adding more lily pads to the pond today (again, photographed in deeply unfavourable light), but I still need to add lots of weeds around the edge, and maybe a waterfall:-

knitted pond

There are so many other projects I need to be getting on with, (and I haven’t forgotten that I owe you the pattern for the crochet house bag), but this beast just eats time. It’s coming, though, and it’ll be worth the wait. Trust me.

At least some people are satisfied already: I left the room for a couple of minutes after taking these photos, and returned to find this:-

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Gotta love the Tyrannical Twinnage’s ability to work with what’s available: I’m just amazed that there weren’t dinosaurs wandering about on the lawn.

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Story Of My Life

So shall we get back to discussing knitting and crochet? That said, I do have lots more ‘musical’ (I use that word very loosely) tales to tell you about The Purlz, if you’d like to hear them?

Anyway, in other yarn-related news…

A while ago, the Knitting And Crochet Guild (KCG) ran a competition with lovely Yarn Stories yarn to design knitted/crocheted squares inspired by the KCG historical collection. These squares were for a blanket. This was my entry: a crazy messy knitted hybrid of stranded work and intarsia that placed severe pressure on my sanity. T’was knitted with lovely Yarn Stories DK. (Speedy disclaimer: no, I didn’t pay for the yarn. But nobody told me to say it was lovely. Or if they did, I wasn’t listening.)

fairisle jumper design

Here’s a hint for sane and healthy living: NEVER try to combine stranded/fairisle and intarsia. (You’re welcome.)

Anyway, they published the shortlist of finalists, and my entry wasn’t on it. OK, fair enough. But then I happened to see THIS on the Yarn Stories Facebook page:-

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Ha ha ha ha ha! Story of my life. Great idea, too flippin’ complicated/difficult. (In my meagre defence, I’ll say that I thought that the squares themselves were for a one-off blanket, rather than the patterns being made available. So old, so slow to understand…) But honestly, if I ever have a crown (unlikely), it’ll be as the queen of over-ambitious-and-slightly-impractical plans.

And this is the reason why I still don’t yet have a finished object to show you in relation to the big-secret-crochet-furniture-related-house-project. I’ve been beavering away, and the garden is progressing, but my goodness this beast eats time. How do you crochet a lawnmower, anyway? And do you have any idea how many hours I’ve put in to just crocheting a crazy-paving path to cross the lawn and circle the pond? It’s coming, though, and I promise you it’s going to be… unusual. And striking. And over-ambitious. I’m about 80% of the way there, and I’m seriously excited. More photos very soon. Thank you for being kind and patient souls. But I’m not the sort of blogger who turns out super-quick, knit-this-in-half-an-hour projects. Sorry.

Speaking of time, life round here is about to change dramatically. The Tyrannical Twinnage begin school next Thursday (may I just pause there to weep a little?) and this means that I will actually have some time when I’m neither (i) twin-wrangling, nor (ii) at work. I’m over-reacting to this prospect by moping as though we’re sending our children off to school on the moon. (We’re so not.) I even took them out to lunch at a local restaurant yesterday as a soon-you’ll-not-be-with-me-every-second-that-I’m-not-at-work treat. It was an interesting novelty, having only a couple of four-year-olds as my lunch dates, but they behaved near-perfectly. Here, distorted by a water bottle, is one of them, wondering when on earth his meal is going to arrive.

child through a glass

I hadn’t intended to take them somewhere formal, but the venue I chose used to be a relaxed café, and by the time I realized that its tone had changed, a waitress had pretty much already ushered us to our table. Some of our companions were on the elderly side:-

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Where do they even find these things? I need one for my sitting room. Seriously.

Maybe I’ll be able to research the answer to this with all my new-found time.

Oh and by the way, do you like rock cakes? Our neighbours have just had a baby, so I couldn’t go round there empty-handed. I took home-made hummus last time, and this time I took rock cakes. Recipe here. T’was easy to mix up:-

rock cakes

…And bake.

rock cakes

Enjoy, if you decide to give ’em a go.

:-)

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Rebels Without A Clue

Ahem: this post will make absolutely no sense whatsoever unless you’ve read the previous post, Making Some Very Shouty Music. I’m not fishing for clicks; just trying to save you from complete and utter bewilderment, my fine fibrous friends.

…Because now, we are rockstars as well as knitters and crocheters. Thank you to all of you who signed up in the comments section of the previous post to come and join us for thrash metal band practise with The Purlz. At mere hours’ notice, a fair few of you abandoned your jobs/partners/children/pets/homes, and jetted in from all over the world. I notice that none of you abandoned your knitting/crochet though: you all brought that with you. We are kindred spirits.

knitting rockstar

Rockstar Knitter: Action Shot With Crochet Cushion Chair. :-)

Band practise was a blast. I think it’s fair to say that the walls of our garage are still reverberating from the noise. Heck, I think it’s fair to say the walls of the neighbours’ garages are still reverberating from the noise… and possibly the neighbours themselves, too.

Like a true re-incarnation of Slipknot, we growled, we roared, we jumped off tall objects whilst playing guitar (yes my ankle is healing nicely now, thank you for asking). We dabbled with mind-altering substances: some of us even drank red wine without decanting it first!! We tattooed balls of yarn on each others’ skin using a needle and some old ink:-

knitting tattoo

Do You Have Any Idea How Long It Took Us To Come Up With This Dreadful Pun?

Unfortunately, I’m a knitter not a sewist, so the only needle I had to hand was a fat darning needle, which made for quite a painful tattooing experience. I’m not sure that the Contented Crafter is still speaking to me after this, although I maintain that it’s her own fault for demanding two whole sleeves of granny square crochet tattoos.

Anyway, some time around 3am I realized we might be winning in our quest to mortify the local youth into good behaviour, because a group of teenagers in pyjamas turned up at our door begging us to keep the noise down, as they had to be up early for Double French the next day. Win! It looks as though we could be saving the youth of the entire village from rebellion! I’m quite certain that all of our neighbours are silently thanking us for our efforts: they’re just too shy to come out and say it. I’m slightly more ashamed to admit that it did take us a while to settle down… and that ‘settling down’ pretty much consisted of slumping drunkenly into a stupor on the floor:-

When Knitters Go Bad

When Knitters Go Bad

But my goodness we rocked, and our debut single, Stash, will be available in the local village shop for at least the next week.

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Making Some Very Shouty Music

Driving home from work the other night, I passed a kid who was wearing a Slipknot t-shirt. Now, I’m not totally clueless: I realize that Slipknot is a thrash metal band whose members shout and wear masks and jump around near big fires whilst playing bass. (That’s the bass guitar, not something from the strings section of the orchestra.) And I appreciate that I’m some way off their target demographic for fandom. Not a teenage boy. Not angry*.

But that evening, what I was wondering was, Why the name ‘Slipknot’? It sounds a little… knitting-related. Or crochet. At the end of a gig, do these chaps unplug their amps, extinguish the fires, and toddle home for a restful spot of fairisle?

I’m thinking probably not.

But why ‘Slipknot’? Back when they were disaffected kids trying to form an anarchic band, was their choice of moniker a rebellion against years of watching their mums crocheting away, muttering ‘Form a slipknot then chain 60…’? And will this be the fate of my own sons in 15 years’ time? After years of being surrounded by knitting, will they go off the rails and form a wild band called Cast-Off?

Or am I over-thinking this?

Of course, the best way to prevent youthful rebellion is to do all the terrible things yourself so that your kids (i) are mortified, and (ii) rebel against you by being well-behaved**. We’ve already seen this on a small scale with the twinnage. I always try to dress them in mismatched socks, the reasoning being that as identical twins, they’re already pretty matching-looking, so adding matching socks would be a match too far. I know, I know: so very wild, so very zany. And do you know what the little rebels have gone and done? They’ve started insisting that they’ll only wear neat, perfectly matched socks. They’re only four years old! I despair.

Back to the band story. The logical conclusion of all this is that what I need to do to prevent the twinnage growing up to form an edgy band with a name subverted from a knitting book is to form a knitting-related thrash metal band myself. The Stoic Spouse is learning guitar, so he can help. We’ll need more members too, if any of you are free for band practise tonight? May I suggest The Purlz as a name? Note that rebellious little mis-spelled ‘z’ on the end. As I said, so wild, so zany. We’ll sing – or rather, growl – about how hard it is to know how much yarn to leave for a long-tail cast-on, and how embittered and alienated we’ve felt since the sale ended at the yarn shop. We’ll need to take up smoking to perfect our gravelly voices. And we’ll get properly badass tattoos:-

knitting tattoos

Scary

We’ll have wild hair and stomping boots and crazy clothes (incorporating plenty of pockets for stowing stitch markers) and we will rock! And yes, both knitting and crochet will be permitted at our gigs.

knitting rock band

So we need some tunes, man. How about the following, shouted at maximum volume whilst head-banging?

        I frogged my SOCKS
        And my fairisle’s BAD
        But that’s not the THING that makes me MAD.
        Gotta whole lotta STITCHES
        That I need to show my BITCHES
        Cos my knitting is DISMAL but my yarn is RAD.

‘Rad’ means really really splendid. I looked it up in the urban dictionary. So old, so down wiv da kidz.

knitting rebel

And one day, the twinnage will witness all this, shake their heads in despair, tell each other, ‘Mum’s having a mid-life crisis again’, and go away to do something sensible, such as their maths homework.

I hope.

*Except concerning environmental degradation, political/religious extremism, and misogyny. But Slipknot aren’t primarily addressing those themes at present.
**Disclaimer: This is written with tongue firmly in cheek, not with my professional psychologist hat on. Please do not go and drop acid in front of your kids. Or subject them to you playing air guitar.

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We Have A Winner!

And…………………… STOP! Please put down your pens. (Just re-traumatising anyone who’s ever taken an exam, there.) The Burrow And Soar giveaway is now closed.

Thank you muchly to absolutely everyone who entered, you indie-yarn-lovers, you.

Burrow And Soar yarn

So, shall we have a look at the results? There were 233 entries – wa-hey! (173 people made the 185 comments on the blog post, and 60 people commented on Facebook. 173+60=233, number-fans.)

I reduced each and every one of you fine fibrous folks to a mere number, then consulted random.org to generate a winner. Here we have it:-

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Congratulations, number 98, you have WON! Oh wait, you don’t know who you are. Let me consult my list. Right, number 98 is KIMBERLY RAMPERSAD. Congratulations! You are one lucky fibre artist, because you’ve won a free skein of your choosing from the Burrow And Soar shop. I will pass your email to the shop owner (Fran) so that she can contact you directly. I’m confident you’re going to love this yarn.

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And to everyone else, I’m sorry you couldn’t all win. BUT don’t forget that every reader of this blog can benefit from a massive 15% discount from Fran’s shop by entering the code BURROW15. Not bad as a consolation prize.

More giveaway loveliness is in the pipeline, courtesy of Stylecraft…

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In The Yarn Garden

Evenin’.

I’ve been busy in the garden. Not the real garden, you understand, where overgrown shrubs fight vicious battles for legroom, and where convolvulus sneaks across the lawn when it thinks nobody’s looking, although if we’re talking about the real garden, I’m quite partial to this quiet corner:-

the garden

No, I’m talking about the garden of the crochet house-related project. It’s going to be detailed, with paths and a pond, and lots of flowers and general garden stuff, but you have to begin with the basics. Those three 100g balls of poo-coloured mud-coloured acrylic-alpaca I bought a couple of days ago?

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2½ of them are now bare earth, ready for flowers and veg. I’ve been busy. I crocheted in bed. I crocheted in the bath. I crocheted whilst cooking and whilst reading stories to the Tyrannical Twinnage. I worked 108 rows of 99 single crochet stitches: that’s 10962 stitches. So I now have a big ol’ square of neat rows of earth onto which to attach my deliberately-wibbly-wobbly lawn. Sorry, fingers: I’m sure you’ll overcome the pain eventually.

So, badly lit by artificial light, here’s the basis of the garden. I couldn’t take photos any earlier: the Tyrannical Twinnage were swarming. I know there are only two of them but I swear they can swarm.

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Speaking of the twinnage, I’ve had to face the fact that they really are going to be starting school in a mere couple of weeks’ time, so we’ve been out and about buying the various bits and pieces they need. Since when did school uniform become so casual?! In my day, we tied a neat striped tie before going to school, and wore skirts with immaculate pleats. So what’s with all these sweatshirts and tracksuit bottoms they wear now? Am I sounding old, just a tad? At least there’s no need for me to master the arcane art of… ironing. But seriously, how many shirts and pairs of trousers are you supposed to buy? When the twinnage come home from a day at nursery, really everything needs to go in the wash. Immediately. Preferably handled with tongs from a safe distance. Does that mean I need two times five of everything to withstand a week of school? All advice appreciated…

Anyway, we should talk about yarn. A few of you asked in the comments about the limited edition Stylecraft packs of the 10 shades we shortlisted for the colour competition.

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Well if you’re interested in buying, they’ll be available from mid-October. And watch this space for a giveaway…

Talking of giveaways, you have not much more than twelve more hours to enter the Burrow And Soar giveaway! The competition ends at midday GMT tomorrow (Thursday). SORRY FOLKS, THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED. RESULTS COMING SOON. Anyone not entered yet? I can promise you that this yarn is luscious. The results will be posted on this site. :-)

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Looking For Mud

It’s good to be out of quarantine at last.

The Tyrannical Twinnage and I have been bimbling around south Oxfordshire’s various towns running errands today. One of those errands involved yarn, so I can’t complain. More on that, later. We took the winding back roads through thatched, rose*-covered villages, and over ancient stone hump-backed bridges that bounced the twinnage in their carseats and made them giggle. Those bridges criss-crossed the Thames, the river narrow and enthusiastic in its early reaches, nothing like the fat sluggish beast that snakes through London later on. Years ago, some friends and I walked the entire 184-mile length of the Thames from damp field in Wiltshire to the Thames Barrier at Greenwich in London, so these bridges bring back memories; happy, sore-footed memories.

Now, it’s late summer. You’d know it was late summer just from the colours: everything is beginning to fade. The vibrant new greens of spring have long ago dulled, and the fields are dry dusty-yellow. Even the sky looks tired. Autumn can’t be far away. These muted colours might work well if it was hot and hazy, but frankly, it’s barely warm. We haven’t really had a proper summer. I ought to go and live somewhere where there are real seasons.

I thought I’d do a floral rainbow montage because I haven’t done one in ages (maybe a year?) And I decided to make one just using photos of local wild flowers. This was a challenge because other than bright yellows and lots of whites, late summer wild flowers are as washed-out as the rest of the landscape. I had to cheat on the reds and use an under-ripe blackberry. Here’s the result:-

flower rainbow collage

But the yarn. Yes yes, this is (yet another) instalment of the big-secret-house-crochety-thingy project. Having finished the house section (it has sides and a back, too, but I haven’t shown you those yet), I’ve gone back to finish work on the garden. I crocheted the lawn and knitted the pond, but I was wondering how to begin the surrounding flowerbeds (which will later be filled with flowers and veg). In the end, I decided to use the easy, cheaty approach, ie to crochet a whole big square of earth, onto which I can sew the lawn, pond, etc. But that meant I needed lots of mud-coloured yarn. Hence the trip to a yarn shop today.

You wouldn’t believe how many vaguely brownish aran-weight yarns there are available. I held them each up to the light and frowned, hoping that none of the sales assistants would come and offer help because I really didn’t want to have to reply, “I’m looking for something that resembles mud.” Just when the twinnage grew weary of playing with the toy-box at the back of the shop, I picked some mud-brown acrylic-alpaca (‘Aztec’ by James C Brett). It’s surprisingly soft. Progress so far, thus:-

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I hope that the orderly rows of the flowerbed contrast nicely with the supposed-to-look-random muddle of the grass.

Meanwhile, don’t forget that there are still just a few final days in which to enter the Burrow and Soar yarn giveaway! Details here.

* Blimmin’ roses. :-(

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254 Roses.

Well if I can ever persuade our wibbly-wobbly internet connection to upload the photo, I’ll show you the 254 red roses (yes, I counted them, which was an awful lot quicker than embroidering them was) that I made on the front of the big-house-crochet-secret-project. I’m sorry, I assume you’re sick of me being coy about what this project is, but I really do want the finished, installed thing to be a surprise, even if you’ve seen elements of it along the way.

Ah, here we are. The little hamsters in the wifi box have run their wheels fast enough to show you this picture at last. (Can you tell that I’m not technologically savvy?)

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I know, the fourth window box isn’t finished, and I photographed it by yucksome artificial light because it was late, but I was so keen to show you that the front of the house is nearly done. Now I need to work more on the garden.

I feel as though I’ve been working on this project forever (‘Yeah, tell me about it’, says everyone who’s been reading this blog a-while.) I need to get it done, partly so that I can concentrate on the Cladonia shawl, and partly so that I can begin working on a new project with some yarn that’s just arrived. Have a gander at this:-

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Mmmmmm….. Now, this yarn is a limited edition multipack of all the shades we shortlisted for the Stylecraft colour competition. How wonderful is that?! I’m just checking on its availability so that I can pass the information on to you, but this colourful pack landed on my doorstep a few days ago and I’m about to get started on creating something knitty with it. I’m thinking a fairisle bag…

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Meanwhile, this weather! I know, it’s Britain and it’s August, so it’s only reasonable to spend one’s time sitting doggedly outside in rain-sodden flip-flops, trying to convince oneself that one’s wine isn’t being significantly diluted by the deluge from the clouds above. But really, do I have to play dodge-the-flood on my drive home from work in August? And then after chucking it down with rain for two days solid, the weather is suddenly all sweetness and light and sunshine, like a far-too-hard-work lover who’s all joy and kindness one minute, and then an emotional bundle of hard work the next, and then back to loveliness the moment you’ve finally resolved to dump them. (Yes, I once had a boyfriend like that. He is most definitely an ex.) Anyway today it was at least tolerably dull rather than actively soggy, so we ventured out for a Toddler Twinnage bike-ride amongst the fields. In the gloom.

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…which brings me to a couple of final matters. It’s a time of change round these ‘ere parts. The Toddler Twinnage have been so-called on this blog for nigh-on two years, but they’re no longer toddlers. In fact, they’re so far beyond toddlerdom that they’re due to finish nursery and begin school in a few weeks’ time. So whilst I’ve hung on to their wonderfully alliterative moniker for far too long, I guess it’s time to age their online personas a little. Figuring out a new name has been difficult. And whilst I adore every hair on their heads (that’s the only time you’ll hear me being sentimental on here), I’ve decided that they can now best be described as… the Tyrannical Twinnage. Henceforth shall they be known.

As the Tyrannical Twinnage prepare for school, life around here will change in many ways. I’m thoroughly enjoying writing my occasional column for Simply Knitting magazine, but it’s time to start looking round for even more crochet/knitting writing challenges to add to this. And whilst this blog will continue unchanged, I’ve decided to supplement it with an occasional vlog broadcast on YouTube. Because I really don’t feel like there’s quite enough crazy out there on the internet, so I need to add a little more Twisted Yarn bonkersness to the web. I discussed this plan with the Stoic Spouse, and to my surprise he announced (with a fervour that was quite daunting) that he will be my director and producer. He followed this up with a lecture on what is wrong with most YouTubers, so he is clearly taking this Very Very Seriously. You have been warned.

DON’T FORGET, THERE’S STILL TIME TO ENTER THE BURROW-AND-SOAR YARN GIVEAWAY! DETAILS HERE.

‘Til next time, my fine fibrous friends.

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In Which I Fail To Murder The Roses

I was hoping to have some more dramatic progress on the big-crochet-house-thingy-secret project to show you by today but, well, chicken pox round two. So we’re back to quarantine and crazy sleep-deprivation. Poor Twin 2 has got it bad, but he’s a stoical little chap, having endured far worse in his short life. Much time has been spent cuddled up on the sofa reading him stories whilst I knit a Cladonia shawl. Because after two nights of a couple of hours of sleep, I’m a bit zombie-like and not up to figuring out how to crochet a lawn-mower for the garden of the big-etc-etc project. I will show you some progress later in this post, though.

But the pre-lace section of Cladonia is a perfect easy knit for zombies. For the commenter last time (Madeline) who asked about it as she’s lining it up as her next project, here is progress so far, shown with able assistance from my non-poxy twin:-

Cladonia shawl in progress

My gauge is w-a-y titchier than it should be, so I’m going to add in extra rows/increases to compensate, and adjust the lace section to match. Will this work? I dunno: I’m too sleep-deprived to apply my brain to this – or indeed any other – matter. I’m still madly in love with this yarn though, and please don’t forget that you’ve still got time to secure a discount or win a skein of your choice from the dyer who created it. It’s beautiful stuff.

Anyway…. roses. It’s summer, so there are roses. They’re scrambling slowly over the front of the crochet-house-etc project thingy:-

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I’ve still got quite a few more areas to embroider, though. And we definitely need some window-boxes, too:-

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And real ones are bursting out around the garden…

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…despite the fact that I <whispers> don’t like roses. At all. I live in a cottage-cum-brewery in an English village so roses are virtually mandatory – our garden was stuffed with the blighters when we moved in – but I’m sorry, I just don’t like them or their space-hogging, prickly, skin-tearing stems. And I don’t like their diva-like need for constant attention to stave off blackspot or migraines or whatever it is they’re supposed to suffer from.

Not surprisingly, the roses started getting straggly and blackspotty within about forty seconds of us moving in here. So in a fit of murderous pique, I took the secateurs and hacked the rose bushes back to the point of near-oblivion. No, gentle reader, I’m not talking about a spot of polka-dot-gloved idle pruning on a pleasantly sunny afternoon, I’M TALKING ABOUT TOTAL ROSE ARMAGGEDON. There, I thought, too lazy to dig out the stumps or roots, that’ll learn ’em. No more roses. Now I can plant some nice flowers instead.

But do you know what happened? Do you know what the blighters did? Within mere months of this butchery, they’d only gone and grown back in newly luscious exuberant health, producing bursts of blooms and leaves without a hint of blackspot.

The bastards.

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Roses: they’re like those trick birthday candles that you can’t extinguish.

Oh dear, I think I need a sit-down. Where’s my knitting?

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[Disclaimer: this blog post is the product of a sleep-deprived and possibly delirious mind. I really did try to butcher the roses, though.]

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Yarn Giveaway!

THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU FOR YOUR ENTRIES. RESULTS WILL BE ANNOUNCED IN A BLOG POST SHORTLY.

Who’d like to win some beautiful hand-dyed yarn, regardless of where in the world you’re knitting/hooking? And for those not quite lucky enough to win, who’d like a stonking great discount off said yarn?

Do I perchance hear a ‘yes’ at the back, there?

OK, well first let me tell you a little about the yarn in question, because I realize that you’re too discerning to grab at any ol’ shifty string.

Deep in the Leicestershire countryside, a woman named Fran McCarthy works at her independent yarn dyeing business. Maybe you’ve come across her before, or maybe you’ve yet to encounter the loveliness of her Etsy shop, Burrow And Soar. She produces a number of different things, but her speciality is sock yarn in 100g skeins: plenty of merino with a twist of nylon because, as I pointed out for non-knitters in my last post, feet are bastards.

Look!

Burrow and Soar on Etsy

And the yarn? She generally sources British breeds worked in British mills, focusing on the Southdown sheep where possible.

Fran originally contacted me weeks ago to talk about her work, and I’m very glad that she did. (Do you know the feeling when you just have a really good instinct about someone?) Of course there are loads of indie dyers out there doing great work, but some people just have an exceptionally visionary eye for colour combinations, and Fran is lucky enough to be one of those people.

I posted the other day about the yarn that Fran sent me after we’d corresponded a’while. No, I didn’t pay for it (DISCLAIMER!!) but no, my fickle head hasn’t been turned by a mere freebie to the extent that I’ll call gorgeous on something that isn’t properly wonderful. Look at this yarn:-

Burrow And Soar yarn

To be honest, I was nearly sold as soon as I saw the name of the colourway on the left: ‘English Landscape With Yarn’. Yes it’s sock yarn, but I’m knitting a shawl (Cladonia) to show off its beauty. Look, here’s a (badly, badly, badly-lit) photo I took whilst calculating WPI (wraps per inch): isn’t there something very English and Constablesque about these colours together?

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And this isn’t surprising, because Fran uses the colours of her (outdoor) surroundings to inspire most of her work. She focuses especially on the colours of her garden, which presumably explains all those luscious blues and purples and pinks in the screen-shot above.

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Fran’s attention to detail extends to the naming of her work. Most of the names of her colourways are inspired by history or by plays on words. (I couldn’t help smiling at the jumble of purples she’s called Gratuitous Violets.)

And just in case you’re not in the market for yarn, she also sells lovely knitted things (her fairisle is divine), as well as hand-dyed tote bags like this one below. Meet my new project bag:-

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But enough of that: there’s a giveaway and a discount to be discussed.

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Fran is offering one super-lucky reader the chance to win their choice of skein of her yarn. This competition is open worldwide. If you’re extra-terrestrial (on the space-station, say) then she regrets that postage costs make your participation prohibitive. Apologies. But if your primary residence is somewhere on planet Earth, then you’re in.  To enter, simply comment below, leaving some way of contacting you (email, Ravelry username, Twitter handle, or link to your own blog, etc). And for an additional entry, leave a comment under this post on the ‘Yarn’s Facebook page. Liking and sharing is much appreciated, thank you kindly, because we want lots of people to see this pretty yarn. This contest will close at midday GMT on Thursday 20th August. The winner will be drawn at random. I will pass the winner’s contact details to Fran so that they can choose their skein, and I will also announce the winner here.

But wait! There’s more!

You, and any yarn-lovers you happen to know, can also gain a massive 15% off throughout the Burrow And Soar store simply by entering BURROW15 at the checkout. Not bad, huh?

Trust me, you want this yarn. Go have a browse, my friends.

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