Stash: EasyKnits Sock Club 2 – Ember

My second (and last) stash aquisition for January arrived the other day – the first instalment of the Sock Club from EasyKnits.co.uk.

What a beauty? Again, he has a rich array of colours and tones – from hot pinks to sizzling yellow with some brooding browns and roaring reds thrown in. It’s perfect for the pattern he has included with the skein: Ember – twisted-stitch patterns forming a flickering flame and hour-glass motifs on a reversed stocking-stitch background.

I kinda can’t get over the value for money I’m getting. A custom-dyed skein of Blue-faced Leicester in an exclusive colourway; a pattern especially written for the skein and a little gift – this time a little container of hand-cream from Lush – and all for only GB17stg (dagnammit! can’t remember where the pound-sign is on this keyboard!) That translates into €20 or so, including shipping.

For once I’m not just teasing you all, however. I got an email from EasyKnits.co.uk that sign-up is open for Sock Club 3.

If you like what you see, sign-up here to book your place. Sign-up stays open for a month. Only then do you have to confirm that you still want to take part when EasyKnits send you a PayPal payment request.

I’ve signed up. Won’t you join me? I know you want to…

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Giving Whorls a Whirl

I first learned how to spin

I was taught how to spin by Chicwithstix

Chicwithstix gave a spinning lesson as part of the Irish Knitters Retreat I went on back in October 2008. I gave it a go but it didn’t “click” with me so I didn’t keep at it. Hence, I can’t say I was taught or learned.

As SusyMcQ chided me, at the time – and quite correctly, too – I expected to be naturally great at it and was frustrated by being proven wrong. It’s not like me to admit defeat to a new technique but I think that because spinning involved learning a new skill set based on physical dexterity, and not an intellectual challenge; it was easier for me to put it to one side. Dexterity is not my strong suit.

Then early this year Kneehigh announced (on the Dublin Knit Collective Group on Ravelry) that there would be a spinning group meeting on monthly basis in the Powerscourt Towncentre. The attraction of meeting up with other crafters was the real motivator for me to look at my drop-spindle with new eyes. I knew I was more likely to learn how to spin if I was regulary spinning with other spinners .

Last week, I heard Matthew Syed being interviewed on the radio about his new book “Bounce – How Champions Are Made”. His book “demolishes the idea that talent is the key to success. The path to the top, Syed argues, is a combination of opportunity — being in the right place at the right time — and hard work.” As the Interviewer quipped: the joke about how to get to Carnegie Hall is true – “Practice, practice, practice”

Syed also spoke about how it’s better to praise children for their hard work in acheiving something; rather than for their being talented. If children who are used to being praised for effort don’t succeed, they are motivated to keep trying until they succeed; whereas children praised for talent won’t try again if they fail as their failure serves to “prove” that have insufficient talent. It’s an interesting, and new, way of thinking. And it’s just the kind of motivating logic I needed to hear about my spinning. If I’m to master this new skill I have to keep trying.

My New High-fibre Diet

To that end, I’ve been accumulating spinning accoutrements. Mainly roving and fibre – which I don’t count as contributing to stash since it’s yardage is (yet) unknown. (A technicallity, I know!) I’ve also acquired two drop-spindles: one small one in TIK the day I met Averil; and Clarabel’s student spindle from the same spinning lesson at the knitting retreat. She was about to throw out all her roving samples from her Knitting Retreat goody-bag so I rescued them. This give me loads of odds’n’ends to practice on before I start to tackle these beauties:

From top to bottom, we have:

  • Ivy Brambles Merino Roving – “Volcano”; bought online from The Yarn and Fiber Company purely because of the name of the colourway!
  • Sereknity Blue-faced Leicester Roving – colourway “Kismet”; bought online from The Yarn and Fiber Company purely because I’d heard Blue-faced Leicester is a good starter-fibre
  • Louet Northern Lights Wool Top from This Is Knit; Chicwithstix was with me at the time and thinks that the fibre is Corriedale
  • Ashford Merino bought from The Yarn Room, Co. Wicklow
  • LHogan Blue-faced Leicester – “Georgia”; bought from TIK after the April Spin-In
  • LHogan Corriedale – “Gabrielle”; bought from TIK after Annie Modesitt’s Knitting Class

Look fondly on them – hopefully they will be still things of beauty – and recognisable as yarn – the next time you see them.

Stash: April Spin-in

I was a whirling dervish of covetous craving in TIK at the April Spin-in and these whooshed into my life:

Blue-faced Leicester fibre "Georgia" dyed by Laura Hogan

Malabrigo Sock in "Solis" colourway

2 skeins of Manos Lace


When Clarabel clapped eyes on these she was quite literally speach-less and breath-taken. It was love at first sight. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen her – or anyone else, for that matter – react to a skein of yarn in the same way.