The last post…

…on this trusty old blog. How sad.

But onto a newer, brighter, more spacious blog, linked to the new shop and website.

Come and see.


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This post contains some knitting content

It was lovely to get some spinning time in after Christmas. But this time I wanted to try something different.

I knew I wanted to have more control of colour order, but have never quite mastered Navajo plying. So the creation of fauxlags (fake rolags) seemed to be a good option to try. Using commercially combed top – Superwash BFL that I’d dyed a while back – and a pencil, I broke off small sections and wound them round a pencil, then arranged them in rough colour order (like a pack of felt pens – so much fun!)

And then spun them fairly unevenly to get a wonderful loft in the looser spun areas.

The result is a thick and thin single with long lengths of colour, I guess a bit like Noro but softer.

It’s knitting up beautifully into a Halyard shawl. The pattern is by Tetiana Otruta and I was inspired to knit one having seen Celia Hart‘s beautiful version at Made and Found in December.

My colour choices aren’t as sophisticated as Celia’s, but it is fun seeing the colours change.

I’m currently knitting two shawls – which is making me feel a bit antsy – really not a several-projects-on-the-go kind of a girl. Having said that, I do often find unfiinished WIPs lurking around, waiting to pounce and make me feel guilty.

This is the yarn I’m using for the Ysolda Follow Your Arrow mystery knitalong. There are five clues and 32 possible combinations, so I’m excited to see how it will turn out.

I used Oasis Grande camel/silk in Pear Galette and Sevastopol. Here’s a close-up of how it’s knitting up – I don’t think it gives too much away. Still got to finish Clue 1 – talk about slow knitter!

In contrast, these handwarmers in Skinny Voluptuous were a speedy knit, even for me.

Back in December, I was invited to Charlie‘s 50th birthday party at Purlescence.

Previously, Charlie had asked me to dye up some Skinny Voluptuous kits for this design. Along with some fripperies and bibelots stitch markers, these would form the party bags. Well, it was the BEST party bag I’d ever received! There were three colourway options – all Charlie’s ideas – and she knows me so well that she chose the greys and chartreuse option for me – I was thrilled to get one at all!

Charlie had designed the mitts so that they could be adapted by each knitter if they so chose. They’re top-down, so you could adjust the length to your requirements. I added some super simple stranded contrasts and a ribbing near the bottom.

Finally, I never got around to showing you my fantastic  bargain – a Shetland cardigan in the most perfect colours from a UK-based vintage clothing shop on Etsy. You might have spotted me wearing it at the PomPom party before Christmas – it’s been worn and worn ever since – a lucky find for £20.

And just a final, final note to say I’m aiming to get the Wooden Heart mitten kits into the shop tomorrow – if you’ve preordered, I’ll be in touch.

And it’s final payment day for the Winter Club tomorrow – expect a proper welcome email if you’ve joined. If you haven’t joined this time and are interested in doing so, drop me an email and I’ll get you onto the waiting list for the next round. The feedback has been amazing with several people saying it feels like much more than just a club, which is extremely pleasing.

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Wooden Heart Gloves

These cosy, folklore-inspired gloves are designed by Amy Pickard and appear in the current issue of Knit Now. (Issue 30)

Amy used Skein Queen Desire merino to create her lovely gloves inspired by Eastern European wooden boxes made using

cross-stitch fabrics.

The European folk theme is a key trend this year, and Amy’s done a fabulous job of interpreting it for knitwear, and just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Photos courtesy of Dan Walmsley, Practical Publishing

I’m in the process of putting together some yarn bundles for these gloves, using Onyx, Naked and Cherry Sour colourways in Desire. The bundles will retail at £21 and will go into the shop next week. Just get in touch via here if you would like to pre-order a bundle.

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January sale

And a Happy New Year to you all.

In celebration of the start of a brand new year, I’m offering 15% off all yarn – that includes all hand-dyed and Lotus Yarns Yak.

And, to add some icing on the cake, I’ll be adding NEW hand-dyed yarn to the shop during the week which will be INCLUDED in the sale.

Sale ends January 13th at 9am.

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Showcase 2013

As 2013 draws to a close, I thought I’d do a different type of round-up. You all know what I’ve been up to – it’s been a challenging year in many ways in terms of keeping up with everything, but one of the most rewarding aspects of what I do is to see what knitters create from the dyed-up yarn.

I only do one tiny bit of the process – it’s you who turns it into something beautiful and wearable and often you don’t take enough credit for your work, so I’d like celebrate just a few of your creations in this post.

I genuinely LOVE seeing what you’ve made at shows – it’s so inspiring, I find myself taking note of what the pattern is and make a mental note of when I might possibly be able to cast on. There were too, too many to choose from on Ravelry alone and I know there are many more beautiful creations out there, but I hope this blogpost gives you that feeling I get at shows when I see something so inspiring.

Here are just a few:

Audrey in Turquoise

Pattern: Audrey in Unst by Gudrun Johnston

Yarn: Voluptuous Skinny  in Cape Cod Light – 2 skeins

Knitter: Rachel (rallan) from Ireland


Martinique shawl

Pattern: Premonition by Boo Knits

Yarn: Finesse in Selfoss – 1 skein

Knitter: Rowena (billybrown) from France

Ro says “The colour is amazing and the whole time I was knitting people kept asking about the yarn, even random non-knitting passers-by!”

Darting Pebbles

Pattern: Moira by Anna Wilkinson – Pompom magazine

Yarn: Lustrous BFL in Darting Minnows – 3 skeins

Noble in Pebbles – 4 skeins

Knitter: Marianne (picperfic) from Cambridgeshire


Pattern: Lobelia by Meghan Fernandes in Pompom magazine

Yarn: Lustrous BFL Heavy Lace in Forget-me-not – 1 skein

Knitter: Suzanne (alabamawhirly) from Berkshire

Lightweight Leighton House Handwarmers

Pattern: Leighton House Handwarmers by Ella Austin

Yarn: Delectable in Duck Egg and Silver

Knitter: Claire (patterntastic) from Berkshire


Heaven Scent for Miriam

Pattern: Heaven Scent by Boo Knits

Yarn: Lustrous BFL Lace in Cacharel – 1 skein

Knitter: Su Bonfanti from Middlesex

Su says “I think semi-solid yarns work really well for lace. They give just a nice amount of light and shade, and they also give a lovely hand-made look. Completely solid yarn colours can produce a ‘too perfect’ look – and I want people to know that my scarves aren’t shop-bought!”

little pink dress

Pattern: Cassia by Georgie Hallam

Yarn: Oasis Grande in Tea Rose – 1 skein

Knitter: Anna (littletreehouse) from Cambridgeshire


Pont Neuf

Pattern: Pont Neuf by Emily Wessel

Yarn: Voluptuous in Rambling Rose – 1.5 skeins

Knitter: Maki (mikan) from Japan

Flutter of the Wings

Pattern: Flutter of the Wings by Lily Go

Yarn: Squash in Turkish Delight club yarn – 1.3 skeins

Knitter: Agnieszka (agita) from Kent

Cherry Vodka

Pattern: Vodka Lemonade by Thea Colman

Yarn: Voluptuous in Sour Cherry – 1.7 skeins

Knitter: Sarah (holmes2974) from Leeds

Soooo Tempted

Pattern: Temptress by Boo Knits

Yarn: Lustrous in Barnabas Collins club yarn – 1.5 skeins?

Knitter: Sophie (sophisticated) from Norway

Fox and the Grapes

Pattern: Fox and the Grapes by Lily Go

Yarn: Oasis Grande in Plumberry

Knitter: Joana (joanico) from the Netherlands

Tarnished Hero socks

Pattern: John Huston, the Tarnished Hero by Rachel Coopey

Yarn: Entwine in Mocha Cocoa – 1 skein

Knitter: Roobeedoo from Aberdeenshire

Roobeedoo is a prolific and fascinating blogger, and you can read about the socks here, but also just spent a lovely half hour browsing many of her other posts. Need more time…

And finally – an actual wedding dress!

THE dress

Pattern: 5. Fifty Shades: Ash by Allison Hendrix

Yarn: Oasis Grande in Silver, Charcoal and Aubergine – 8 skeins

Knitter: Melanie from Edinburgh

Mel is an amazingly skilled and prolific knitter, and she approached me earlier in the year (in the days of custom orders) to dye up some Oasis Grande for her wedding dress. I was thrilled! She even knitted a Dry Run Dress to ensure she was getting the styling and design adaptations just right. It took a couple of attempts to get the silver right – dyeing pale grey on a camel-coloured yarn base isn’t the easiest of tasks, but I finally got there and the end result, I think, is stunning. And how amazing to play a small part in someone’s Big Day.

Speaking of big days, there will be much shopping, wrapping, packing and general flurry over the next couple of days, so I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support, custom and friendship over the last year and wish you the merriest of Christmas’s and I’ll be back in 2014 with even more hand-dyed yarn.

image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to one and all.

SQ x

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November club – The Girl Who Fell From the Sky

Simon Mawer’s novel imagines the bravery and heroism required by the women who were recruited by the Special Operations Executive in Britain to infiltrate Nazi-occupied France during WWII through the eyes of Marian Sutro.

The slightly naive, but tenacious convent girl, Marian grew up in Switzerland and it’s her bilingual abilities that make her a suitable candidate for recruitment. Following intensive training in a remote area of Scotland and latterly at Beaulieu, in which she learns how to operate in covert espionage activities ranging from concealing one’s real identity to stealthy killing skills, she is then dropped by air into the darkened landscape of occupied s.w. France, somewhere between Toulouse and Limoges.

She has to make contact with her Resistance colleague, but ultimately her mission-within-a-mission is to make her way to Paris and find the physicist, Clement Pelletier, who also happens to be an ex-flame, and secure his transfer to Britain where he can continue his work on the development of the atom bomb.

Mawer captures the dangerous nature of the streets and boulevards of Paris at the time partly by drawing parallels with Alice in Wonderland, which helps convey the surreal atmosphere of the city and the unknowingness of whom to trust.

Indeed, Marian isn’t known as Marian for much of the novel, but changes from identity to identity as safety dictates and we know her alternately as Anne-Marie, Alice and Laurence Aimee. But for the majority of the novel, we know her by the nom de guerre of Alice.

Colourway inspiration

For the semi-solid colourway, I first dyed the yarn a gunmetal grey, then overdyed it with an airforce blue and the result is a soft grey-blue reminiscent of French shutters.

Noms de guerre

For the variegated colourway, I wanted to capture the moonlit darkness of the French countryside when Marian lands on French soil. I randomly dyed gunmetal grey, airforce blue, a touch of khaki, lake blue, mistletoe green and a little teal formed where the greens and the blues met. The courageous pilots would have seen so very little other than the faint flash of the Resistance torches below.


The yarn type is a new yarn spun in Britain from British Bluefaced Leicester. I’ve called it Blimey, partly because it’s so British, and partly because you touch it and that might be your exclamation of approval!

You get 385m per 110g and it’s possible to get a pair of man-sized socks out of one skein with some left over.

Inspiration for December: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

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What I did last weekend and keep your eye on the shop

As you may be able to detect from these photos, I’ve been dabbling a bit with Instagram lately.

It’s not often I go for the pale, faded out retro 70s style – too engrained in the “capture-the-colour-as-it-is-in-reality” mindset. But there’s something about the photo above which makes it look as if I was calmly preparing for two events with a fully composed disposition and in full control.

It fails to portray the frenzied dyeing, drying and winding kilos and kilos of yarn and the sheer panic of starting preparations the Sunday before.

“Why didn’t you start earlier, mum?” A good question, you might say.

“Because I was getting club and shop update parcels out the week before, and was so busy, I ran out of mailing bags and sellotape and Royal Mail failed to deliver my mail sacks for eight whole days.”

Bet you wish you hadn’t asked.

And back to the calm, soothing colours of the Wisp cashmere/silk. And breathe.

With the aid of a few 6am starts, I managed to get it all labelled, priced and packed, and on Friday afternoon, myself and the intrepid Wendy headed with a car-full of yarn through central London (oh yes, thank you Mrs Sat Nav for making us turn right across Regent Street – smile and glide, smile and glide, as Wendy said) to the Pompom magazine party venue at Christ Church, Spitalfields.

It was great to see the Pompom ladies, Lydia and Meghan and the other standholders including Ce of the Uncommon Thread, Dani of Lioness Arts, Linda of Kettle Yarn, Kim of ArtEqualsHappy (bought a little fairisle lavender bag) and the p/hop stand was there too.

There was a marvellous atmosphere of knitters and crocheters buzzing around, drinking lovely Christmassy drinks, listening to the amazing bands, chatting about craft and generally having a lovely time. And it was great to catch up with old friends and meet new people too.

Afterwards, I packed up the car and headed across London, driving for almost an hour and a half until I reached my hotel for the night around midnight.

The next morning, it was a hop, skip and a jump to the Made and Found venue. A beautiful house in Mill Hill.

Although I hadn’t met any of the other makers before, I was made to feel incredibly welcome and soon got the yarn out on display for visitors to fondle.

It was a huge privilege to be displaying along with some extremely talented makers, many of whom had featured in Country Living magazine.

This is Emma Mitchell’s curious museum of silverware. Her website is called silverpebble and just look at this gallery of her work.

This is Celia Hart – illustrator and printmaker-extraordinaire. We may have done a little swapping and the beautiful duck egg cushion on the far right has a new home in our bedroom.

This is the lovely Lilli Wicks – the youngest of us – and she creates contemporary knitwear pieces having studied textiles and machine knitting at university. Check out her DETACHABLE pompoms in her Etsy shop here.

This whole room of quilty loveliness belongs to the owner of the house, Tracy Dowling. I believe she takes commissions, so check out her blog here.

And here’s Linda Bloomfield with her stunning range of porcelain tableware. The cake stand featured in The Great British Bake-off. You can find her website here but be warned: you may be sucked into the gorgeousness of duck eggs, citrons, dove greys and shell pinks.

Here’s just some of the work of Karen Boatwright – I confess that a wee chaffinch may have come home to nest with me. And just look at those knitted dogs and foxes. You can find them online at Karen’s tintabernacle Etsy shop here.

And this is the work of Paper Cut artist, Claire Knight. You can see more of her work here and she also undertakes commissions.

And finally, there was the lovely, lovely Val Curwen aka Dottycookie who did a roaring trade in gorgeous handmade baskets, Christmas trees and garden ornaments made from hedgerow materials (I’ve no photo – what was I thinking?)

I think I made some marvellous friends – it really was great to meet them all.

And you’ll be pleased to know, there is some of the incredible amount of yarn I took along left.

Here’s the plan:

I’ll release the yarn gradually into the shop between tomorrow and Friday, so it’s worth checking back during the week.

The yarns available will be, in no particular order: Blush, Delectable, Grandiose, Lustrous BFL Lace, Oasis Grande, Opulent, Voluptuous Skinny and Wisp. (With apologies – due to illness not all of the yarns made it into the shop. The Blush, Grandiose, Lustrous BFL Lace and Voluptuous Skinny will be added another time.)

This will be the last shop update until the New Year.

SQ calendars are now back in stock after the first batch sold out – you can find them here.

I’ll be dyeing up club yarn for December next week, and plan to send it out at the very end of the month. If you’re reading along, the inspiration book is A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki.

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Upcoming markets


Click on image to see further detail

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Shop update preview for 27th November

Much Splendid, Tweedore, Voluptuous, Southwold yarn bundles, Opulent cashmere, Flockly and a little Blush and Blimey.

Some winter vintage pastels and some brights.

Don’t miss it – you’ll find it all here on Wednesday at 8pm GMT.

Oology – Splendid – supersoft merino/nylon – 4 ply sockweight – 4 skeins

Willow Warbler  – Splendid – supersoft merino/nylon – 4 ply sockweight – 3 skeins

Acorn – Splendid – supersoft merino/nylon – 4 ply sockweight – 1 skein

Maplewood – Splendid – supersoft merino/nylon – 4 ply sockweight – 1 skein

Cloudberry – Splendid – supersoft merino/nylon – 4 ply sockweight – 1 skein

Sweet Violets – Splendid – supersoft merino/nylon – 4 ply sockweight – 1 skein

Dragonfly Wings – Splendid – supersoft merino/nylon – 4 ply sockweight – 1 skein

Blackcurrant Licorice – Splendid – supersoft merino/nylon – 4 ply sockweight – 1 skein

Plum Betty – Blush – merino/cashmere – 4 ply – 2 skeins

Old Mauve – Tweedore – BFL/Donegal nep – 4 ply sockweight – 4 skeins

Faerie Queene – Tweedore – BFL/Donegal nep – 4 ply sockweight – 4 skeins

Willow Sage – Tweedore – BFL/Donegal nep – 4 ply sockweight – 4 skeins

River Pebbles – Tweedore – BFL/Donegal nep – 4 ply sockweight – 4 skeins

Silver Dove – Tweedore – BFL/Donegal nep – 4 ply sockweight – 4 skeins

Hollowgrey – Flockly – BFL/silk/cashmere – 4 ply – 4 skeins

Vintage Gold – Flockly – BFL/silk/cashmere – 4 ply – 4 skeins

Tardis – Blimey – 100% BFL – 4 ply sockweight – 2 skeins

Blueberry – Voluptuous – Exmoor Blue/organic merino – DK – 200g/512m per skein – 4 skeins

Barnacle – Voluptuous – Exmoor Blue/organic merino – DK – 200g/512m per skein – 6 skeins

Damson Pewter – Voluptuous – Exmoor Blue/organic merino – DK – 200g/512m per skein – 3 skeins

Aunt Betty’s Pond – Voluptuous – Exmoor Blue/organic merino – DK – 200g/512m per skein – 3 skeins

Emerald Forest – Voluptuous – Exmoor Blue/organic merino – DK – 200g/512m per skein – 3 skeins

Emerald Forest – Petite Voluptuous – Exmoor Blue/organic merino – DK – 65g/165m per skein – 3 skeins

Hollyhock – Voluptuous – Exmoor Blue/organic merino – DK – 200g/512m per skein – 3 skeins

Orchid – Petite Voluptuous – Exmoor Blue/organic merino – DK – 65g/165m per skein – 3 skeins

Vintage Gold – Voluptuous – Exmoor Blue/organic merino – DK – 200g/512m per skein – 3 skeins

Tamarillo Orange – Voluptuous – Exmoor Blue/organic merino – DK – 200g/512m per skein – 1 skein

Tamarillo Orange – Petite Voluptuous – Exmoor Blue/organic merino – DK – 65g/165m per skein – 6 skeins

Southwold in the Snow shawl – 10 yarn bundles of Voluptuous Skinny

Cherry – Skinny Voluptuous Petite – Exmoor Blue/organic merino – 4 ply – 100g/333m per skein – 1 skein

Snow White’s Lips – Opulent – 100% cashmere – 2 skeins

Eau de Nil – Opulent – 100% cashmere – 4 skeins

Bottle – Opulent – 100% cashmere – 6 skeins

Please check the photos of multiple skeins in the shop before purchase when available – occasionally, there can be small differences in how the dye takes to the yarn, even within the same dye batch.

And a few SQ calendars will be available if you’d like to enjoy pretty photos of yarn, knitting and other fibery bits throughout the year.

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Some Christmas knitting and Blimey – a new SQ yarn

Blimey! It’s a new SQ yarn. It’s 100% British Bluefaced Leicester spun in Britain and pretty much took a year to get hold of. Hence the name Blimey. I’m hoping that’s the exclamation you may utter when you handle it.

It comes in 110g skeins of 385m/420yds and knits up beautifully. The slight twist allows for a good stitch definition.

There are only a couple of skeins coming up in the shop update but more its way very soon.

This is a pair of large men’s socks (they need to be properly blocked) – my first attempt at toe-up following verbal instructions from andsewtoknit at Glasgow School of Yarn and making up the rest as I went.

Shhh, but they’re for Mr O. for Christmas in his favourite Irish green. The colourway is Irish Thistle and they’re the first pair of hand-knitted socks I’ve ever made for him.

I did two-at-a-time magic loop – far and away my preferred method of sock-making. Not convinced on the toe-up method – think I do prefer cuff down.

I added in a bit of semi-solid Crush just for an alternative for the heels and a couple of rows of ribbing on the cuffs, but was still left with 39g of yarn.

I don’t usually do much Christmas present knitting, but this year I thought it would be nice just for my immediate family.

Lily is rapidly turning into a Hipster Chick and loves a good beanie.

So I went with the Citadel hat pattern by Beata Jezek.

It’s a cosy creation with a slip stitch pattern on the outside, keeping it interesting and a mmmm, cashmere lining.

I used some Old Maiden Aunt BFL DK in the Selkie colourway (we did a little swapsie at Glasgow School of Yarn) and I love the way Lilith dyed it mostly grey with some blue showing through.

And for the cashmere lining, I used some of Beata’s Hedgehog Fibres 100% cashmere laceweight in Winter Thaw held double. The colours are subtle and delicious.

I do like using other dyers’ yarns from time to time and yes, I do have a little stash of my own!

I haven’t quite finished knitting the lining, but love the neat look it gives by the use of the provisional cast on.

Finally, the SQ calendars for 2014 are in.

I have very limited numbers (and they’re always very popular with the relations) so would appreciate if you would be so kind as to let me know if you’d like one this year by leaving a comment. If there is enough interest, I’ll order more.

They’re £10 each and contain photos of yarn, knitting and other Skein Queenery things.

In the meantime, I’m winding up much yarn for Wednesday’s shop update and getting ready to send out November club yarn by Friday prior to starting preparations for my two London shows on 6th and 7th December.

Crazy busy!

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