An Afternoon with Shamu Makes: Art Dyer

I had great craic yesterday with Karen of Shamu Makes. She was dying up lots of yarn, some for a very special charity, more of which later.
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Karen’s yarns are all one-off art yarns. She will kettle dye about 4 skeins at a time, each a different base. In one pot yesterday, she had a regular sock, a sparkle sock, an alpaca aran, and a tweedy dk.

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Karen dyes according to “what the pot tells me” which she hopes doesn’t make her sound barmy, but it’s a very fluid, unscripted process. She can’t repeat colour ways, because what goes into the pot and how she treats the yarn can vary in so many ways; depending on her mood, the light, how the yarn picks up the dye, whether the yarn goes into the pot first or last, how long it’s in there, whether Karen feels like it needs more colour and how that gets overlayed – dying again or syringed or speckled.

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Yarns that come out of the same pot are called “sisters”; and they can be very similar, but no two are ever identical and colour ways cannot be repeated. Karen may dye several skeins of the same base together to order, but along the lines of “something in pink and green”, not “25% cerise and 59% pistachio with a marled effect”.

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Check out the gorgeous two-tone effect in the foremost skein! These four are all sisters.
Karen was dying in pink and purple for a very special cause. Another member of one of Karen’s online crafting communities has tragically lost her baby after 23 weeks of pregnancy. Karen is organising a fundraiser for SANDS, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, by holding a raffle with her yarn and some other lovely bits as the prize. More details at http://www.justgiving.com/shamumakes.

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After a chat where karen and I decided we were both going to the Edinburgh yarn fest in March (Karen as a stall holder and me as a helper/designer/co-conspirator), we hung out some more yarn. Isn’t the pinky-purple-turquoisey-orangey one gorgeous? Believe me, those are colours I would never put together myself in a month of Sundays, but Karen seems to have the eye!

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I left with one forlorn look towards the slow-cooker, where a navy and spring green confection was still bubbling away.
If you like the sound of Shamu Makes yarns, then you can get in touch with Karen through her facebook page or etsy shop.

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Unwind 2014 In Pictures

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Selfie on the train to Brighton, wearing my Undone Capelet
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The New Elegance Yarn from Blacker Yarns (80% Falkland Island Corriedale-style wool and 20% British alpaca). I heart. I may have swatched!
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Skein Queen Stand (Sorry, I seem to have had the shakes, this was Day 2… ahem.)
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The Eden Cottage Stand
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Easy Knits (suuuuuch deep colours)
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Old Maiden Aunt (Came away empty handed, but unwillingly. I wanted it ALLL)
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Pom Pom! Sombra was there! (WEIRD seeing a sample I made not on me) ((Saw another at the Knit Now bun fight!))
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Early morning volleyball game, chaps?
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The Pier herself
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Some of my Loot after Day 1, including a horde of buttons from Textile Garden. The reddish ones in the shadows are a PERFECT match for the Skein Queen DK
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My lovely, lovely Harrow Knitters, who came down on the Sunday.
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Little bit crazy-lookin’ there, Elanor! Next to Aimee from L’Oisive The. She has Koigu! Unicorn Tails! (I’m wearing my Biennial Sweater)

Farnham Maltings Unravel 2013

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

  1. Buttons
    www.TextileGarden.com have such gorgeous buttons. I had to restrain myself from spending a fortune. I got some pearl buttons that stand out on a shank. These buttons are great, I use them all the time as they’re elegant and feminine. They’re also the perfect size for a 4-ply YO buttonhole. You might be seeing these again this summer ;) ! I couldn’t resist these lovely red oval s either – I think they’ll be great on a grey assymmetric layering piece. And who could leave these sweet little hearts? No idea what I’ll do with them, but they won’t go to waste!
  2. Spring edition of Pompom magazine. I’m working on a proposal (or two) for Pompom magazine, so I wanted to meet the editors and see if they had any hints for me J! The spring edition has a very clever raglan cardi with lace raglan increases. Lobelia by Meghan Fernandes. I might make Roseroot by Anna Wilkinson
  3. Chiaogoo Lace Interchangeables from Tall Yarns ‘n Tales. I’ve been wanting some of these FOREVER. Well, about 6 months. I’ve not been happy with my existing supply of 3mm needles, and I seem to be working more and more frequently with 4-ply and other weights down at that end of the needle spectrum. I cracked them open at lunchtime and oh, they’re so smooth. Me likey, bigtime. I am saving up for the set now. Fortuitously, the 3mm ones are the only size NOT in the set, so I won’t be doubling up. Anyone want to make an offer on my extensive collection of knitpros? J
  4. Project Time! I have an idea for a beaded wrap/shawl and I wanted it in RED. I mean RED. And d’you know what? I couldn’t find a deep, luscious, full-on red anywhere – plenty of dark reds, tomatoey reds, and faded reds – but nothing matched the colour in my head until I found some Deeply Wicked Cherry Red from EasyKnits. I really wanted some 4-ply twinkle in “Night Sky” too, but it had already sold out. And the beads? Those I got from Moon Beads. I picked out some sheeny-jet black ones in size 5. They’re gonna really give the wrap some heft.
  5. My last purchase of the day was a set of blocking wires from Jillybean Yarns. I actually sourced them earlier in the day, but left it to the last minute to pick them up – there’s a yardstick in there! Nice flexible but strong stainless steel wires, T-pins and yes, a Yardstick! It’s huge. My daughter was completely wowed by my new enormous ruler. “What size of paper are you going to use that on, Mummy?”

This was me at my most abstemious. I could have spent a fortune so easily.

The best thing about Unravel though, is bumping into people you already know from the knitting community, including a good many I heretofore only knew online. In my previous post, I mentioned how complimentary people had been about my capelet, and I gotta tell ya, I’m still on a high from that, knitting peeps rock.

 

Mwah!

X Elanor

Loop-di-loop!

Excited to have an excuse to go fondle some yarn! I need to source some DK-weight silk (or bamboo) blend yarn in high-contrast colours from an indie yarnie or spinner based in the UK or Ireland. This is for a design that needs to be finished by July 1st, so LET ME KNOW if you have such a beast!

I’m going to take the two little skeinlings with me, oh joy! Does the buggy come too or no? Eternal question for mums on the tube! Tired babies versus hoiking the wheels… no, it comes, otherwise i’ll be carrying the pair of lumps up all those stairs at Angel!

I’m especially eager to see these yarns:

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ImageOld Maiden Aunt – Alpaca Silk Sport/fine DK

I really, really hope loop have swatched with these, cos otherwise I may be spending <gulp> £38 squids!