Reap &Sew: The Battle Of Making Up

Like a Sherman tank trekking over the crest to its destination, the time for the upcoming yarn bomb is drawing near. Little bits of cleverly created pieces are making their way into Yankee Yarns ( the Yarn Bomb HQ). Our Yarn Bomb General and her lieutenants have been out to survey the area. Tape measures and mental calculations have been all over the Mansfield Market area. Hookers (crocheters… not the rugby players etc) and Knitters from all over the Mansfield area have rallied providing the most wonderful pieces.

Now is the time to piece them all together and make them up. Now this is the point of the project where so many knitters and crocheters falter. How many times have I heard the same lamentation: “Love working on my project but absolutely HATE sewing them all up!” The dread of making up the pieces even called for the idea of getting some experts in. The Girl Guides! Yes! Like little paratroopers, they will be deployed to help us out in the battle of Making up! I love the idea of that.

At last night’s knitting circle, we discussed the upcoming “Making Up Meeting” at Veolia on June 3rd from 10am to 4pm. Hopefully we will have enough people turn up to help put together all the fantastic pieces as well as have a bit of a giggle and copious amounts of tea and coffee. Who knows… there might be cake…

Hoping to see you there!




Craft market in Mansfield Town

Free crochet lessons for all!!!

What a lovely day it was, I even enjoyed the rain. Met interesting people and new recruits for the Monday night stitch n’ bitch!!

To Err Is Human. To Knit Is Divine.

Mistakes in knitting! We’ve all done it. Heck! Sometimes the pattern itself has a mistake on it! And when we are relatively new to the craft/art/addiction, we do not always realise it until we are far too late! But this does not mean that you are rubbish or will never get good like that one auntie that everyone has who can talk, watch tell AND knit an Aran jumper full of cables from memory.

Life’s little accidents often are a wonderful catalyst to invention. If you google “Art Created By Mistake” you will find a plethora of hits you can peruse that will show you numerous inventions and art that came from a blunder. Everyone from Tim Burton to Franz Kafka is in the elite club of art from mistake. The creation of cornflakes (something too adult to mention) to the creation of potato chips (angry chef) are examples of things taking an entirely new turn.

vamipre knitsThe whole reason I am bringing this up is because I knitted up a beautiful pattern found in Vampire Knits by Genevieve Miller. It’s called The Shapeshifter Shrug which is an extraordinary Mobius shawl. After much intense concentration and pains in frogging, I finally cracked it. It was going beautifully until I needed to graft it together. The project is worked in two lengths and joined in the center back. This is great because you can adjust the length depending on how you want it to fit.vampire knits sh

However, if I knit this pattern again I will knit it up all as one piece. I hate grafting together. The piece was to wild and I just struggled managing it whilst doing the Kitchener Stitch. I think it took longer to attempt this than actually gwp-1463563099597.jpegetting into the groove of the pattern itself! Because I made a fair few mistakes, I decided to experiment and it went a bit wrong. It ended up making it much longer than I had initially intended.But I find this makes it even more of a versatile shawl/scarf/shrug.

I’ve had compliments on it. I was told it was a very “Steam-punk” design. It will look great with my brocade gold and brown corset! So there you go… art out of error.

Secrets Of The Yarniverse…

My Yarniverse– The Mysteries of the Knitter’s Stash

Originally POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 4, 2015

By A. E. Wallace

Riot swirling within and without— Glimpses of shining sparkles dotting Galaxy upon Galaxy— balls of wonder rolled up in anticipated creation. My Yarniverse exists by my hand and silently rests until inspiration beckons. This is my design.

All knitters have a stash. We come by them in various ways. I have some balls left over from projects. Others were bought in a sale and put away for that time I might need it for something. There are beautiful wound up balls of colour (and knitting tools) I have been lucky enough to inherit from retired knitters and those who have gone to that Great Knitting Circle in the sky. However, I do have in my possession skeins bought at full price and tucked away from judgement. Those are the decadent wools acquired in secret. They are my prized and often enigmatic collections that are filled with as much infamy as surreptitious sessions of absinthe or blurry dreams of opium dens. These are my luxury wools that might as well raise eyebrows as if I were hiding away occasions of debauchery.

I was speaking to a fellow knitter one day as we cooed over a basket of 50g  skeins of Manos Silk Blend 6460 Scorpio. She reminded me of some wayward alchemist as she hypothesised how she might use the luxury yarn. She did not have a pattern and wondered how many she should buy (just in case). We visualised what this soft skein would look good as on herself, myself, daughters.. She whipped out her smart phone and googled patterns. We flicked through shawls, handbags, scarves and wrist-warmers until she decided she would buy five so she could make a shrug (at some point) and have enough (just in case) for something else. The whole exercise lasted 30 minutes before she scooped up SIX skeins.  She then toddled off to buy the aran she meant to buy in the first place for the cable jumper she was knitting for her husband. Her little whispered words before she left me to my musing was “He’ll never know.”

No. No one can ever know the wonders of The Yarniverse.

Inherited from Auntie Jessie Wallace in Dumfries, Scotland. From her stash. The arran wool is at least 50 years old! She gave it to me with a sigh,
Inherited from Auntie Jessie Wallace in Dumfries, Scotland. From her stash. The arran wool is at least 50 years old! She gave it to me with a sigh, “I doubt I’ll get to using these now.”
Sequins, like stars, tucked within the chaotic galaxy... I have one in red, too. What will I use it for? I have no clue...
Sequins, like stars, tucked within the chaotic galaxy… I have one in red, too. What will I use it for? I have no clue…
My Yarniverse
My Yarniverse
My Knitting Knook... away from He That Might Judge Me.
My Knitting Knook… away from He That Might Judge Me.


Hey, Daddy-O. Don’t Be Square…


I am still chuckling about the story of a very particular lady who is a bit of a square when it comes to knitting. She cannot get over the fact that anyone under the age of 40 could know anything about knitting/crochet/yarn/life.  Apparently, she came into the shop one afternoon and directed all her conversation to the owner’s mother (who was only visiting). The customer was determined to “out-expert” the young knitting-shop-owner-scalawag. She issued her orders and the shop’s owner scurried around to provide the customer with what she required. She paid, gathered her items and blew out of the shop like hurricane leaving the shop owner standing there slightly nonplussed.

A few days later, the Hurricane was back. With the same agitation as she had when she first visited the shop, she stated that she was sold a pair of “square” 4.5 mm needles instead of round ones… (Please insert awkward silence and seething stare here…) In a flurry, the shop owner apologised and offered her a conventional pair of needles. However,  the customer angrily replied that no, actually… she required an additional pair of these strange square needles in size 5 mm and to make sure they were the square ones because “that will be all I will be using from now on!”… (Please insert awkward silence and seething stare here…)

And now you are sitting there and wondering, “What? Square needles?” or “Why angrily?”

Right… let’s address the whole “square needles” thing first. They are a product advertised to be a knitter’s favourite needle because the design makes it more comfortable to hold and offers “hours of pleasurable knitting with no hand fatigue.” They are recommended for anyone who has arthritis or carpal tunnel. The ergonomic design is cuboid-shaped and gradually tapers into the needle points. In rosewood textured laminated wood, they are a delight to the eye, as well. They are light-weight, durable and flexible.

Engineering specs aside, what I really love about these needles is that it seems easier to do colour work with them. It is easier to manipulate the yarn on the needle because it sits on a firm edge of the needle and gives you a better grasp when you weave the different strands behind the work to carry the colours along. In addition, I use a Cubics double pointed needle (DPN) to mark my place on the chart pattern as I work because it won’t roll away! The DPN works fantastically as a cabling needle, as well. Unlike the smooth metal needles, the Cubics has a polished, porous surface and this helps add drag to your yarn but not as much drag as bamboo, plastic or cheap wooden needles. When you work with them, they feel secure and not slippery. It makes it less fiddly and easier to start your foundation row when knitting in the round!


Doing some investigating, I found out these kinds of needles have been around since around 2006 but now they have been honed better and only starting to gain more attention. The needle points have been perfected to make sure they are the same as standard needles. Still, you may need to practice with them a bit and make a swatch or two just to ensure your gauge is correct.

wp-1462184970904.jpegI will be trying the circulars next.

Are these the end-all-be-all in knitting accouterments? For me they are… and for our Hurricane Customer, seemingly! But as always, our choice of needles are as personal as the kind of underpants we prefer to wear. All I can say is come into the knitting shop and have a go. As for our Hurricane Customer— why was she so tempestuous? Ah, who is to say? There is nothing as funny as folk.


***Apologies so late. It’s a Bank Holiday!