The Skein Chronicles: Part 3- From Skein to Eternity


It’s amazing what one skein can accomplish. Imagine how many skeins went into nearly 8,400 knitted and crocheted poppies! The commitment of the crafting community proved itself to be absolutely prodigious.

The marvel of it all got me to thinking about a Mindfulness seminar I attended where the topic of community came up. I know what you are thinking, and you’re right. Mindfulness is often seen as something quite solitary done by some bearded hippy dressed in hemp, sitting cross-legged on the edge of his serenity pond in his garden and chanting Om to his Koi.

Knitting, crocheting and crafting in general are seen as very solitary past times done by Nanas and spinster aunties who congregate a few times a year at some craft fayre in the village. But now we hear about knitting raves, crochet pub crawls, groovy dye & knit-ins (don’t even get me started on the psychedelics… and by psychedelics, I mean yarn) and Sit & Spins (where you bring your spinning wheel and play a bit of Prosecco Pong and let your mind spin a bit.

Being a part of a crafting community has so many benefits. Here are the top five:

  1. The power of knowledge– there will be someone in the group with random knowledge (bare tings, innit galdem!) who can assist you in your crafting quest.
  2. Not what you know, it’s who you know- Usually, the conversation goes a bit like this: “You are a great spinner, I see. Who taught you, can they teach me and how can I come by a Sleeping Beauty spinning wheel?
  3. Inspiration! I know someone who started on scarves. She fell in with a merry bunch of wayward crocheters who kept showing up with different projects every time they met. She got tired of showing up still working on the same scarf pattern. So she took the plunge and now she is the Sunflower Blanket Master!
  4. Opportunities and resources– Sharing is caring and often, one knitting circle turns into a virtual Diagon Alley of needles available to trade, gift or buy. In addition, custom patterns and interesting skeins often float over the table and into your trembling hands. It’s a truly magical place.
  5. Fun. Well, there was that time with the aforementioned Prosecco Pong and a nefarious interlude involving a stitch counting guide and a customs agent… but that is another story.

The measurement of happiness is one of those questions that most people will debate. The old question to a question springs to mind: How long is a piece of string? Or, shall we say, yarn? To which our question-to-a-question’s-question would be: What yarn weight are you talking about? I know a group who might know. It all comes down to amazing gratitude and a community spirit. Come around to ours. As Our Fearless Leader Sara would say, “I’ll school you!”


Note from the blogger: Sorry I posted so late. I got all wrapped up. I’m all untangled now.



The Skein Chronicles: Part 2- One Skein Beyond


There comes a time in every knitter’s and crocheter’s life when they have to be honest with themselves and the world. We have to admit that nothing gets done because all we want to do is knit. Heck, sometimes all we want to do is sit there and look at skein after skein and just think about knitting. And when we are not thinking about knitting or crocheting, we are looking at patterns and trying to learn new little stitches on YouTube. We flit between 10 projects because they are all so nice, we cannot decide on one. We look to finishing off that blanket that only needed the edging to be done but then pick up a Hogwarts Hat project because it’s so cool!

“We don’t have a problem. We have a passion. And we do not care who knows it,” said pretty much every knitter and crocheter in one way or another (and in several different languages).



Today, after having listened to all my friends talking about the Nottingham Yarn Expo 2017 and about all the fantastic skeins they bought, I decided to meditate on my knitting hobby. I decided it was time to assess the projects I have on the go and try to talk myself out of being ridiculously envious of my friends for being able to go to the yarn expo. I could not go. There was nothing that I could have done about that. I did not plan it well.

That will never happen to me again. Today’s blog is short because I have gone a skein too far. The number of single skeins I have means I really need to find some clever single skein patterns. As always, I turn to Ravelry for guidance, but I had some great ideas from my ladies at the Knitting Kninjas circle.

  • Crochet a Mood Blanket
  • Hats
  • Shrugs
  • amigurumi
  • socks
  • washcloths
  • shawls
  • cushion covers
  • bags

Post some of your favourite one-skein pattern ideas!

The Skein Chronicles: Part 1- One Night Skein

ugly yarn 8

I had too many beers. Had my beer goggles on or something. At first, I thought, “Oh! Hello!!!!”Then it all got a bit out of hand. Everyone looked at me like I had gone a bit mad. Kicking myself now. And so, so careless! Right at that time, it seemed a good idea. Easily done in that light. Never again…

ugly yarn 2

No doubt, everyone has yarn in their stash that seemed a good idea at the time. I have one burning a hole in my Yarniverse right now. It’s a monstrosity. I was told it was bought at the Knitters Yarn Con aka Yarndale. Of course, when I heard this, all I could think was “Let’s see it! I bet it’s an artisan’s skein!” Everyone around the table looked at me in sheer bemusement. For whatever reason, they thought it was the ugliest thing they had ever seen. I do not want to post a picture of it for three reasons:

  1. 1. If the “artisan” sees it, he or she would be hurt. I’m a lover and not a fighter. The last thing I want to do is offend someone.
  2. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I think I see some funky potential in it. I remember seeing it and thinking, “This would make a cool trim for a poncho one can wear at Glastonbury with some very fashionable wellies!
  3. I kind of lost it in my Yarniverse. (That’s my story and I am sticking to it!)

ugly yarn 4

There are so many reasons we end up with “ugly” skeins of yarn.

I spoke to some people who all admitted (under the cover of darkness) that they owned some balls of yarn that were of an unconventional aesthetic quality. There are so many reasons for these acquisitions.  I was so fascinated, I wrote them down!

Here they are in no certain order:

  • I inherited it from my dead Auntie Beatrix (not her real name). Don’t have the heart to throw it out.
  • When I bought it, it was a really pretty blue. I have no idea what colour that is now. I call it “Kebab”.
  • It used to be pretty but I have frogged it so many times, it’s gone a bit “bit-y”.
  • It was so very expensive. So I thought, “Yes!” But look at it. It’s only a 50g ball, it goes with nothing, it is scratchy and hideous. Maybe it can be a dishcloth?”
  • It seemed a good idea at the time. I thought it would match the cream Arran.
  • I washed it by mistake. Maybe it can be used for hair for a doll or something. So I am keeping it.
  • I have no idea how this got in my stash. Do you want it?
  • Someone gave it to me. I didn’t want to say no.
  • I dyed it myself. It was the first one I ever did and I used beetroot. But it came out like this.
  • I spun it myself. It’s a bit wonky but I thought it looked a little artsy.
  • It was on sale.

ugly yarn 7

I will say so many of these balls, skeins, hanks and cakes make it into the charity shop, yarn bombs or newbie’s knitting bags. Be honest. How many do you have? We’d be interested to know.


Secret to Knitting, the Yarniverse & Everything



I spent Sunday sitting across from my friend at her dining room table as her husband multi-tasked. He prepared Sunday dinner, played with their wee boy and topped up our wine glasses like some kind of Autumnal Lord of the Dance. It was the Sunday after the clocks went back and the daylight felt almost surreal. Also, despite the weather being quite chilly outside, the late afternoon sun cascaded in through the window and warmed us up quite a bit. The table was strewn with mad skeins of yarn and WIPs. Nearly a week later, I reflect on that day almost in poignant nostalgia as one does over old Polaroid pictures of decades past. I did not want those hours to end. This kind of emotion only happens to me at this time of year.

The Autumn equinox is celebrated by the spiritual as a celebration to honour the change in seasons. From September onwards, the beginning of the season poses a massive challenge to our human survival. The days get shorter, the nights grow colder and we start to reflect, harvest and prepare for the harder, leaner times of winter. It is a time where we develop the urge to stay warm and be comforted by soft, woolly things. As the days grow shorter, so many of us find we begin to tune into our inner voices, slow down a bit and even look for things that we can ponder over.

I usually ponder over a bunch of good poetry, some lovely Tibetan singing bowl ambient music and a good strong cup of coffee. Resident Designer Jen gets into her podcasts! Although she did turn me on to a lovely bit of poetry that incorporates knitting and state of mind. The subject matter also resonates with the feeling of this time of year. She said “I just… love the idea of one loop, one stitch, one row, one skein – progression, hope, healing, coming back to ourselves; renewal and regrowth.” It is not difficult to see why this time of year has inspired so many poets to write about it.


Rico Creative Bonbon Super Chunky at Yankee Yarns!


Resident Designer Jen listening to podcasts & getting into the brioche

For those of us in crafty circles, the season inspires us to create and experiment with browns, muted greens, oranges, gold and reds. We look at different, chunkier textures in patterns and stitches. We even start to hoard more supplies and collect new items for the colder months.
The experiment for this season is Brioche. Not the bread (which is actually a good idea at this time of year with a nice warm cup of cocoa). Knitting brioche is a stitch that involves yarn overs that are knitted together with a slipped stitch from a previous row giving it a “tucked in” look that is cosy and warm. Brioche creates a uniquely beautiful fabric —thick, reversible and stylish—perfect for winter woollies. Coupled with Rico’s super chunky bonbon yarn, this makes for a truly gorgeous beanie.

Yankee Yarns newest will be offering a workshop to teach you how to knit the Bonbon Brioche Beanie. We convinced Resident Designer Jen to step away from her Green Man Dishcloths and give us a sneak peek at the beanie knitted up using the super lush Rico Creative Bonbon Super Chunky. This yarn is a win because it knits up or crochets up super quick. This means you can get all the hats, scarves and boot toppers made up for the season!


Here are the Yankee Yarns series of Saturday workshops on different brioche techniques:

· Knitting brioche on 2 needles: 18th November

· Brioche in the round: 25th November

· Two colour brioche: 9th December

If you fancy reading some poetry on brioche, click here. If you fancy baking some brioche, click here and bring us some. We’ll put the kettle on!