Home again … for now! ;)

Wow!! What an amazing 2 months it has been! If you haven’t been following my Facebook or Instagram posts, you might not know that I have been traveling across the UK and Europe for the last 2 months! It was my intention to be blogging regularly as I visited yarn shops and shows etc, but let’s just say I was overwhelmed by all the experiences I had while over there! I did manage a few posts, but after Woollinn (which I will have to add to), I was entirely too busy to post regularly.

I did do “mini” posts through Facebook and Instagram (search for MrHugzzz and you’ll see them – #youshouldbehere will work as well on Facebook) where I videoed walkthroughs in many of the shops I visited. There is a LOT more to add though and a lot of pictures to upload! I took over 7,000 pictures on the trip, and I truly think that I’ll end up keeping at least 75% of them! There are also at least 100 videos!

Unfortunately it will take a few weeks for me to organize these and edit them (the ones on my DSLR have to be edited before I can post them) as I’m back to the reality of “normal” life already! UGH!

The trip was a success beyond my wildest imaginations though, as I got to connect with a lot of family (that’s another story entirely), enlarge the Close Knit Community with new friendships and contacts, visited a LOT of yarn shops, and got inspired almost hourly! The future looks great and I am overflowing with ideas and plans that will hopefully benefit a lot of you in this great knitting world!

Here’s a little gallery of a few (a very small few) of the photos from the trip. I promise to have more up over the coming weeks as well as getting back to the regular blogging about everything great in this amazing world of knitting we’re all so vested in!

 

I’d also like to just send out a HUONGOLOUS HUGZZZ to everyone who shared on the journey with me and all the amazing comments and requests for the continued videos and posts! You have no idea how heart warming and inspiring that was! Even though it was a solo trip I never felt alone – it truly was as if you were all there with me!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Hugzzz 😎

WOOLLINN!!

#youshouldhavebeenthere If you didn’t make it to Woollinn this year, the above hashtag sums it up in one (okay, technically 5) word! I’m interrupting my regular postings to bring you this quick review of an absolutely stupendous event, especially for a first year! I would have to say the theme of the event this year was #colour!! It was everywhere, vibrant, and saturated. Here is a link to a walk through I did on Facebook. Unfortunately, because of the size of it, it didn’t upload in HD. 🙁

Woollinn Walkthrough

There was an great list of instructors teaching a variety of classes from the Friday – Sunday and you had the marketplace open Friday and Saturday! There was also a little shinding on the Saturday with dinner, dancing, and of course, karaoke. I couldn’t believe that @JulieknitsinParis was actually dancing while knitting! Check this out!

JulieKnitsinParis

Needless to say, there will be reviews upcoming, but I had a horrible time posting anything at all in Ireland, as the wi-fi just didn’t seem to want to work with my computer. So I’ll leave you with some pictures as a teaser for now, and after I get caught up with Scotland, I’ll come back to this! This is just a snipit of the fun that was had this weekend! I have loads more photos (on my DSLR) that I’ll get to when I get home and lots of stories to tell you! I’ve barely mentioned the instructors and the great job done by This is Knit in getting this put together! I definitely plan on coming back next year!! Huge hugzzz 😎

Countess Ablaze!

As you may know, I am currently spending 2 months traveling through the UK and Europe. There are a few reasons for the trip, but among the primary ones are to visit family members and friends that I have not met or seen in ages, and to explore the knitting culture firsthand on the “other side of the pond”! I recently got a chance to do the latter by visiting a yarn store in Manchester, England – Countess Ablaze!

I’ve been visiting my aunt Jem for the last week since arriving in the UK, and we went into the city to see this yarn store. I found it through Google which is a good thing as my aunt was unaware of its presence. Ironically, we had visited a haberdashery a few days prior that was less than 2 minutes away! Anyway, given the lack of yarn shops in Manchester (so unlike Vancouver, BC), I was thrilled to find this gem of a shop right in the downtown core! I quickly found out however, that it’s a yarn dyeing studio, not a typical yarn shop.

If you look closely you’ll see Countess and I standing in the window. Just a heads up, when you arrive you’ll have to ring the bell to get someone to let you in. That’s because there are 3 floors to this studio! The first is the main retail space. The second is a combined show room and partial workspace where shipments are sorted and other packages put together. The third floor is exclusively staff and where the dyeing takes place. Countess is often up there working her magic! I say magic because from when you first step into the studio you feel like you’ve walked into a rainbow! Or you’re walking over the Bifrost into the magical realm of Asgard! I have been in many a yarn shop and seen many displays but the sheer magnitude of colour in this one is astounding!

sock yarn wall

As a custom dyer, Countess has her own brand of sock yarn and fingering weight yarn. There is also a sign warning you that the names of the colourways may offend your sensibilities – how polite considering that is also says, “Oh well”! This character directly reflects that of Countess and she is brashly unapologetic. She has set out to do things differently, and she has succeeded beyond expectations!

I wasn’t surprised to see books and accessories in the studio, but again, not all the usual suspects. She has a great collection of books and needles that aren’t everywhere else. It just adds to the charm and character of the studio. I continued my journey to the second floor and was pleasantly surprised at the great combination of functionality and practicality of the space. Bright and colourful, it just envelops you in warmth. There is a fabulous courtyard which unfortunately is restricted to the store owners along the street, but the windows along the wall allow a tremendous amount of sunlight to flood the displays. Perfect for lighting the brilliant colour and the table where many a knitter has sat and worked happily, whether in the studio to get some help/instruction on a project, or as a participant in the knitting group meetings held on Saturdays! I plan to attend the one on June 23rd so I hope to see you there. Here’s a little peek into more of the colours and yarns in the store.

If this has whetted your appetite to visit the studio, I am glad and urge you to do so! If you’re unable to visit I recommend you check out COUNTESS ABLAZE and join her group the Antisocials! They’re quite friendly (despite the name, lol) and you’ll get some great insight into the Countess as well as firsthand news about upcoming specials!

Hugzzz 😎

Back with Angel 2.0!

Hi everybody! I’m not quite sure what to say to explain my lengthy absence, just that life happens and I’ll try to not let it happen again.  🙁

On the bright side however, there’s lot to tell and update you with! That means that there will be a few more posts than what will be my norm in the next few weeks. Likely about 3 – 4, then we’ll settle back down to the 2 or so a week after that. So jumping right in back into the swing, I have a new pattern release!

Actually, the pattern isn’t new, it’s just updated, but the yarn is and there are a few detail changes. The pattern I’m talking about is Angel! It hasn’t yet been uploaded here (coming in a few days), but you can get it now on Ravelry. Here’s the link to the Ravelry download …

Angel 2.0

What’s new in Angel 2.0? Well, the first and most important thing is the yarn! As the original yarn is discontinued, I was fortunate to meet Tom and Cindy Garland of Stunning String Studio (click the name to go to their website). They have an amazing yarn called Twinkle that comes in over 170 colours! This yarn literally sparkles, due to the silver glitter found throughout the fiber. Twinkle is 75% Superwash Merino, 20% Nylon and 5% Silver Stellina (for a soft, shimmery sparkle). It is an amazingly soft, medium twist, 2 ply with enough loft to be warm and light feeling at the same time.

Above are just a few of the colours you can order Twinkle in. As it is made to order as well, you can order a custom colour. Just let Tom and Cindy know what you want in the notes and they’ll have it to you in 2-3 weeks!

As for Angel 2.0, it uses 2 strands of Twinkle held throughout so you have an almost limitless number of options when it comes to colours! There are size customizing options as well to account for varying heights. As this is a shrug, the size is calculated by your height.

You might be looking at all those cables and thinking OMG! Don’t worry. This is an intermediate level knitting piece, but because of the series of strategically placed transitions, you’ll be a pro in knitting the braids long before you get to the feature 16 strand Angel Braid!

I’d recommend learning to cable without a cable needle but it is not necessary. Reading charts is as these braids are simply too large to write out and would actually be more difficult. I’m sure that between the colour options of Twinkle and the braids in the pattern, you’ll thoroughly enjoy knitting Angel 2.0 and even more so, wearing it out on the town!

Hugzzz 😎

Olympic challenge update …

Hello knitters! How goes your knitting challenge for the Olympics this year? Are you on pace to reach the medal podium? Bronze? Silver? Gold?!!

Well, even though I started 2 days late, I was quite confident that I would get my challenge done before the closing ceremonies this coming Sunday. Now, I’m not so sure …

As they said in Smokey and The Bandit … “We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there … We gotta do what they say can’t be done!”

To reiterate, my challenge was to design, knit, and write the pattern for a sweater. I’ve mostly designed it (I’ve changed my mind about the Guernsey cable detail), knit the front and back (again, up to the ridge before the start of the detail), and patterned out up to where I’ve finished so far. Here’s what I have right now …

sweater

I’m quite pleased with it so far and I’m LOVING the yarn – SuperSexy by the Buffalo Wool Co.! It’s a Bison down/silk combination that is warm, and delightful to work with. Even though it has a firm texture that “feels” like a sweater, it is quite soft to the skin and has great stitch retention.

So what happened to put me behind so much? Well, in a nutshell, summer showed up here in Vancouver, BC. We’ve had a crazy few seasons going back to winter last year. We actually didn’t have much of a winter at all … more like an extended fall. It was very mild even though the local mountains got lots of snow. Then spring arrived early and with it a month and a half of “summer heat”. So much so that all the produce has been a full month ahead of schedule this year.

Then summer came according to the calendar and the long days/nights, but the weather was very sporadic alternating between spring/summer/and fall throughout the weeks. This was primarily why I was so confident that I would finish this in the 15 days I had. Then, like I said, in the last 2 weeks, summer has been here in all it’s glory!! I love it, but it has cut into my knitting time. I’ve been hiking, blading, swimming, riding my bike, and working on my tan! 😉

So much so in fact, I haven’t seen much of the games. I’ve caught a few volleyball matches (Go Canada) and seen Usain win the 100m for the third time (Go Jamaica), but I have missed a lot … and with that a lot of knitting time as well!

bolt

Still, I am confident I will at least get this knit. That will mean I will have finished the design and knitting portion of the challenge. If I do that, I’ll give myself a silver medal … but being the competitor I am I’m still going for the GOLD!!

How is your project coming along?

Hugzzz 😎