Nice Things

Last night’s sale was, uh, brisk. I think it even beat the January Blowout sale for speed. Practically everything was licked up in the first ten minutes, and the plate was clean by 6:45. Mind you, it was a smaller update than usual. Updates will be a little smaller than usual for the next few weeks, as we start preparing stock for Wonderwool. Since this is our first show, its hard for me to estimate how much to take, but I figure, the more we take, the better. I would hate to sell out on the first day, and have no yarn left for the Sunday visitors. I have ordered lots of yarn though (including a new handspun laceweight yarn) so I think we’ll be alright.

Onto other matters. There’s been much discussion on Ravelry as to ways to wear shawls. Some like to drape the shawl about them, others like to have it slung casually over their shoulders. Me, I like to have mine fastened at the front. I don’t find a shawl pin works for this purpose, so I have been tying the shawl ends into a little knot. But this really isn’t the best way to treat a handknitted cashmere shawl, so for a long time I’ve been on the lookout for a shawl ring.

 

If you’ve never seen one, a shawl (or more usually scarf) ring is a decorative ring that you pull the ends of your shawl through. They were very popular in the 1980′s, when scarves were fashionable, but are more difficult to find now. All the ones I found were too fancy and ornate – I wanted something pretty, but not so decorative that it would compete with the shawl.

Then I had an idea. I went onto Etsy, and searched through the jewelry makers, until I found one whose style I liked. I sent her a message telling her what I wanted, and asking if one of her ring designs could be made in a larger size. It could, and she would. Last week, the ring arrived (beautifully packaged) and I tried it out. It’s absolutely perfect. It’s quite dainty and lightweight, so won’t drag itself down off the shawl ends. It’s just large enough to pull the ends of my thickest shawl (made with 4ply yarn) through it. The shawl sits nicely on my shoulders, no slipping or pulling. And I think the simplicity of the heart design looks just right against the lace of the shawl. What do you think?

 

Finally, I’ll leave you with a close up of my beautiful bouquet. The lilies have all opened, and are filling the house with their scent.

Edited to add: stamens duly removed – I had no idea lilies were poisonous to cats, but thanks for the heads up, everyone.

To My Lovelies

My sweet, lovely friends, I’ve treasured every one of your comments, emails, and cards over the last couple of days. This has, without question, been the worst week of my life, and at times of grief, the kindness and compassion of friends is a powerful solace. At times I feel like I’m plunging into a black, black hole of misery, but each loving comment, and sympathetic gesture is like a hand pulling me a little way out.

There could never have been a good time to lose such a beloved pet as Snickers – he was my little baby, and I loved him wholeheartedly. But following as it does the last few difficult months, coming just as I was beginning to get well again, was a blow almost too much to bear. As always, Tony has been wonderful, and sharing our grief has lessened it a little bit, as well as drawing us even closer together. Friends and family have been supportive too, but it’s been your support that has really helped me keep going. Every comment, every email has been appreciated so much, and I’m deeply touched by the cards and gifts we’ve received, including this incredible bouquet of flowers from David.

David, you have the kindest heart, and I’m deeply grateful for your generosity. Even in the midst of loss, I’m reminded over and over how lucky I am to have gained so many lovely friends in the course of running Posh Yarn. I treasure you all, I really do. A thousand thank you, a thousand kisses blown around the world, for the love and support of this week.

I have worked a little today; we already had the yarn ready for this week’s update, so I just had to photograph it. I hope you’ll like the selection; some of pretty soft colourways are especially calling out to me this week.

Sophia 2ply in Eternity

Eva 2ply in Blush

Eva 2ply in Poetic

Eva 4ply in Muse

Eva 4ply in Willow

Lei in Helter Skelter

Laura in Freshen

Laura in Lavender

Laura in Victoria Plum

Important information for non-UK shoppers: the clocks go forward one hour this weekend in Britain, so the 6pm sale will be an hour later than you normally expect it. It will be at 6pm GMT+1 (also known as British Summer Time, or BST).

Until Sunday, my sweethearts, take care of yourselves. I will leave you with a close up of my beautiful flowers….

My Heart Is Broken

My beautiful boy, Snickers, was killed this morning. He ran out into an oncoming car, and was killed instantly. I’ve always been terrified of something happening to Snickers, because he was so incredibly special, I knew how devastated I would feel.

I’ve had lots of cats in my life, but Snickers was more than a cat. He was so intelligent, so saucy, everyone who met him adored him. If you met him outside he would flop onto your feet, or sometimes, he would jump up into your arms, without any warning. He had an incredible trust of humans, and loved to be with people.

He was six years old this month, and I hoped we’d have him for many years to come. I haven’t seen our other cat, Jaffa, his brother, yet today. He will be looking for him, and will do so for a few days. They’ve always been devoted, and when Snickers went missing a few years ago, it took a couple of weeks before Jaffa stopped running everywhere calling him. We were lucky that time, even though he was missing for a month, we eventually found him. I couldn’t stop crying then, just as I can’t now, but that was out of joy and relief, whereas this is just deep pain and grief.

We’ve buried his poor little body outside the front room window, with a rosemary bush over him. It seemed appropriate, since there is no way we will ever forget him. I wish with all my heart that I could have had one last cuddle with him, I wish I’d let him snuggle up in bed with me last night, as he loved to do.

Our lives won’t be the same without our little Snicky boy. He meant all the world to us, and this heartache will never quite go away. But I hope that in time, I’ll be able to remember him with smiles instead of with tears. I love you, Snicky boy.

Steal An Extra Hour

There are very few of us who have as much time as we would like to spend knitting. Most of us have to juggle the demands of each day – house, family, work, friends – and have little time (or energy) left over for me-time.  That’s why you need to learn how to steal time. Borrowing time is no good – if you take half an hour to knit when you should be ironing, that just means that you’ll have to pay that half hour back, when you could be knitting. But if you steal an hour, and you’re a good time thief, you will still get everything done, and have extra time to spend on knitting.

Here are some examples of where I’ve managed to steal time, to have more time with the needles:

  • Audio books. Yes, I’ve plugged them before, but really, the value of a good audio book can’t be overrated. I used to spend a lot of time each day reading. Now I spend very little, maybe half an hour before bed, but I still enjoy books, just in audio form.
  • Housework takes up so much time, and if you’re like me, you resent every minute of it. Unlike Quentin Crisp, I can’t turn a blind eye to mess, so I’ve invested in a cleaner instead. (NB. For this to work, you have to be very strict with yourself, and not clean up before your cleaner arrives, because you’re worrying what she’ll think of you otherwise.)
  • Laundry is another time sucker, and is an unavoidable task. But our local laundromat does a service wash (where you drop off bags of laundry, they wash, dry, and fold them, and you pick them up) for a pretty reasonable cost. This one feels a bit decadent, and I haven’t quite persuaded myself into it yet, but it’s worth thinking about, especially if you work fulltime.
  • Do you spend a lot of time on the phone? I hate using the phone, but I do spend quite a lot of time talking to my mother on the phone each week. Speakerphone enables me to talk and knit at the same time. I do a lot of my knitting this way!
  • If you’re like me and you read lots of blogs, you might want to  consider using a blog reader, such as Bloglines. This only downloads the updated posts of each blog, so it doesn’t take so long to download. You won’t save lots of time, but hey, every little helps!   
  • If you find you can’t knit and watch tv at the same time, have a think about how much time you waste watching tv (by that, I mean, watching it just because it’s on, and not because it’s a show you want to see). Consider giving up tv altogether, and just watching your favourite shows/movies on DVD. We did this years ago, and haven’t looked back.
  • If you live in an area where you can do your grocery shopping online, give it a go. I do my weekly shopping this way, and it’s fantastic (and totally stress free!). The website remembers what I’ve bought each week, so I can do a week’s shopping in less than ten minutes. You find you spend less too, as you don’t get distracted by impulse buys.
  • Most banks offer an internet banking service now, and I find it invaluable. If you set up your bills to be paid by direct debit, and your wages go directly into the bank, all you have to do is check your balance now and then, and everything else is done for you. Just think of how much time you’ve spent standing in bank queues over the years!

 My apologies if some of these suggestions seem obvious – they’re just ways that I’ve been able to streamline my schedule, and may help someone. If you have found ways to steal time to spend on knitting, do tell!

PS. If only I spent all this extra time knitting, instead of spending it on Ravelry, gossiping and ogling everyone’s projects…..

Cough Cough

Last night’s sale was crazy – you knitters are getting too good at this! There’s just a few crumbs left after the feeding frenzy. I was hoping to snag a skein of Sophia 2ply Delphinium for myself (I used to be very self controlled about adding to my stash, but my Ravelry friends are having a bad influence on me) but as always, the lace weight sold out really quickly. Ah well, there’s always next week.

One quick shout out – Sue who bought the Sophia 4ply in Henna, you didn’t enter your full email address, so I can’t contact you. Can you get in touch with me?

I’ve had a rotten weekend with tonsillitis, and I don’t feel any better today, alas. It’s slipped down to my chest as well, so I have huge painful tonsils and a racking cough. Hot tea, painkillers, and cough sweets are holding me together today so that I can pack up all the sale yarn. I hope your holiday Monday is more fun than that!