Shop update preview for 6th June

I’m afraid it’s only a small update due to ongoing illness, of which I’ll know more by the end of the week. But as I said on Ravelry, I’m just running at reduced hours, still able to post out and absolute priority will ALWAYS be the club, even if I have to drop everything else and spend the whole month working on the club. And I think it’s only fair to keep you updated as I find out more.

But, there’s still Opulent and Voluptuous ready for tomorrow.

2 skeins of each of the colourways above – Opulent 100% cashmere – perfect for Loch by Tin Can Knits

3 skeins of each of the colourways below – Voluptuous – 80% Exmoor Blue/20% organic merino – perfect for Lush by Tin Can Knits

Also, just to say, I’m up-to-date on all custom orders – just have to wind them up – they’ll be ready in a few days. But I really shouldn’t take on any more for the time being.

Many thanks for all your patience, good wishes and support. Hopefully I’ll be back to full energy very soon.

SQ x

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April club – Les Miserables

Les Misérables

Set in 19th century post-Revolutionary France, after the fall of the First Empire, Les Misérables is an epic melodramatic musical film, based on the novel by Victor Hugo, which examines the strength of the human spirit even when faced with the worst possible circumstances.

It explores such intense themes as destitution, revolution, judgement of character, suffering, broken dreams, redemption, separation of family – which perhaps goes some way to explaining its enduring success on stage, running for almost 30 years.

The main thread of the story focuses on Jean Valjean, otherwise known as Prisoner 24601, who is fundamentally a good man, but has been imprisoned for 17 years for stealing a loaf of bread for his starving sister and her family. He breaks parole and is pursued by duty-bound Inspector Javert for ten years.

Having become mayor of Montreuil, Valjean swears to help an ex-employee of his factory, Fantine who has become a “lovely lady” of the night in order to support her young daughter, Cosette who is in the “care” of the con-artist innkeeper and his wife. The Thénardiers use Cosette as not much more than a slave, only interested in the money they’re sent for her keep and value their daughter, Eponine, over Cosette, often calling her Colette in error.

Subsequent scenes focus on Cosette and Eponine as young women, both in love with the earnest revolutionary, Marius, who only has eyes for Cosette.

In order to love this film, I think you have to let yourself get caught up in the emotion of it, suspend your disbelief that they’re singing every line and enter into this intense world of human emotion. I appreciate it doesn’t appeal to everyone, but one thing is for certain, you’re going to have those lyrics going round your head for many weeks after seeing it. Personally, I think Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter, as the innkeeper and his wife, steal the show. And I challenge you to get the Master of the ‘Ouse lyrics out of your head after listening to it just once!


Colourway inspiration

Firstly, on the yarn choice, I opted for the luxurious Oasis Grande camel/silk. Although the cast of characters were poor in monetary terms, they were rich in spirit and so deserved the best.

I have to admit to struggling with the semi-solid choice. The main options, I felt, were blue and red – the colours of the French flag. But I was in a quandary, as club members had already received red AND blue Oasis Grande in previous installments. So I came up with idea of mixing the colours together to produce a rich, muted aubergine purple to represent the aristocracy.


Aristocracy

And for the variegated colourway, I wanted to reproduce the gorgeous muted shades of the film sets. Of course, they vary from skein to skein, but the main colours are:

red for the French flag, the flag of the rebels, the blood of angry men, and the red lipstick of the lovely ladies

blue for the French flag and the soldiers’ uniforms

teal for Fantine’s dress

olive for Valjean’s overcoat

deep yellow for a dress in the lovely ladies scene and a yellow feather in the innkeeper scene

with muted shades of brown and aubergine purple to tie the colours together.


Revolution

Inspiration for May: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. Most of these club parcels have now arrived. I’m running a little late getting the club colourways posted on the blog due to ongoing illness. Hoping I’ll be better soon as the fatigue I’m experiencing is forcing me to work reduced SQ hours and I’m desperate to rev it up again, but also have tickets to see Les Mis in London at the end of the month!


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Handmade in the UK – Tin Can Knits

 

How exciting! Emily Wessel of Tin Can Knits has released her latest book Handmade in the UK::: a journey in lace.

Emily, originally from Vancouver, says the book “an aesthetic response to the beauty and pleasure I have experienced in my new home here in Edinburgh, Scotland”. With inspiration taken from Scotland and the rest of the UK, the book contains 10 unique lace designs including a cardigan, sweater, top, shawl, scarves, socks, hats and gloves and the most gorgeous blanket and uses yarns produced by UK artisans.

© Tin Can Knits

What the team at Tin Can Knits are known for, as well as creating beautiful designs, is the vast array of sizes that their patterns come in, with many of their garments ranging from 0-6 months up to Ladies 4XL.

I can only imagine the maths flying about over the Atlantic between Emily and Alexa when it comes to grading, and bow down to their mathematical prowess!

But it makes the designs so flexible for all ages.

© Tin Can Knits

I’m delighted to have been a very small part of this project by providing yarn support for two of the designs.

The first is the Lush cardigan pictured above.

Emily says “the design was inspired by the voluptuous abundance of English gardens and the large-scale floral motifs of classic English textiles” as evident in the detailed lace yoke.

“The design is size from baby to ladies 60” bust;
While the sweater is intended to be slim fitting, finished measurements are given, so you can choose your desired ease!
Ladies sizes have optional waist shaping (so you can leave it out if you prefer), and if you prefer a looser fit, simply choose a size with more ease.”

There was an early release of this pattern, so many Lushes are underway already.

If you’d like to knit your version in Skein Queen Voluptuous – Exmoor Blue/organic merino, spun in Devon, dyed in Berkshire – I’m taking custom orders here on Ravelry over the summer.

The original colourway was a warm reddish-orange, but here are a selection of some of the colourway requests I’ve had so far:

Passion 

Plumberry

Azure

Deep Dark Forest

Blackcurrant

Catherine in the Skein Queenery group on Ravelry finished hers super-quick and looks resplendent in the Azure colourway.

It’s a tricky yarn base to work with, so it’s not always possible to exactly replicate previous colourways. But offers the ability to gain great depth of colour on a woolly, rustic base as most colourways are double or triple dyed.

In the meantime, I will be bringing a small supply of Voluptuous to the Purlescence Open Day this Saturday.

The second design using SQ yarn is Loch.

© Tin Can Knits

Loch uses one skein of Opulent – 100% cashmere – for the lacy hat inspired by windswept waters.

© Tin Can Knits

And one skein for the matching gloves.

Perfect for a lochside stroll.

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Drumroll… and the winner is…

Michelle and the team completed their Moonwalk successfully on Saturday night setting off at 11.10pm, walking through London all night and finishing at 6.14am.

It wasn’t easy, by all accounts, with the last three miles being the most arduous, but they did it, with the team raising £1700 in total for breast cancer charities.

Of that total, those who participated in the SQ prize draw managed to raise around £150 which I think is fantastic. Thank you so, so, SO much for taking the time to donate.

And with no more further ado, Michelle picked the winner this afternoon as….

Congratulations, Shobha!! Just get in touch to choose your three Lotus Yarn cashmere colours and I’ll get the whole prize off in the post to you.

And here’s the whole team who walked in memory of Karen Gilmour – Jules, Michelle, John and Karen. I’m not sure I could have done it but think they did amazingly well and all the training paid off. Reckon they deserve a few Saturdays of just lounging around now.

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Shop update preview 10th May

Mountain Moss shawl by Beth Kling uses one skein of Oasis Grande in Lichen – Pom Pom Quarterly – issue 5 – Camp Pom Pom

© Future Publishing

Tendril socks by Jacqui Harding use one skein of Blush in Alberto Frog and his Amazing Animal Band – The Knitter magazine issue 58

Selkie Song shawl by Patricia Martin uses one 200g skein of Voluptuous Skinny – Patricia Martin Designs. An option might be to make a version with one 100g skein for main part, and with a contrast colour 100g skein for the lace.

With no fewer than three gorgeous designs released over the last few days using Skein Queen yarn, there’s no shortage of inspiring choice for patterns to knit with the yarn in this week’s shop update.

Thanks for bearing with me with the change of time, but I hope you’ll think it’s worth it.

From Friday evening at 9.15pm, you’ll be able to find the following skeins in the Skein Queen shopping emporium.

A choice of Oasis Grande to add to what’s already available in the shop:

Old Roses – Oasis Grande – camel/silk 4 ply – 1 skein

Raspberry – Oasis Grande – camel/silk 4 ply – 2 skeins

Poppy – Oasis Grande – camel/silk 4 ply – 2 skeins

Bastille – Oasis Grande – camel/silk 4 ply – 1 skein

Lichen – Oasis Grande – camel/silk 4 ply – 3 skeins

Devonshire Green – Blush – merino/cashmere 4 ply – 3 skeins

Alberto Frog and his Amazing Animal Band – Blush – merino/cashmere 4 ply – 3 skeins

Cape Cod – Blush – merino/cashmere 4 ply – 2 skeins

Summer Sky – Blush – merino/cashmere 4 ply – 2 skeins

Blackbird’s Beak – Blush – merino/cashmere 4 ply – 3 skeins

Holly Berries – Blush – merino/cashmere 4 ply – 3 skeins

Blackcurrant – Blush – merino/cashmere 4 ply – 3 skeins

Wisteria – Voluptuous Skinny Petite – Exmoor Blue/organic merino 4 ply – 2 skeins

Dusky Blue – Voluptuous Skinny Petite – Exmoor Blue/organic merino 4 ply – 5 skeins

Summer Sky – Voluptuous Skinny Petite – Exmoor Blue/organic merino 4 ply – 1 skein

Cape Cod – Voluptuous Skinny Petite – Exmoor Blue/organic merino 4 ply – 1 skein

Rosemary – Voluptuous Skinny Petite – Exmoor Blue/organic merino 4 ply – 1 skein

Granite – Voluptuous Skinny Petite – Exmoor Blue/organic merino 4 ply – 5 skeins

Silver – Voluptuous Skinny Petite – Exmoor Blue/organic merino 4 ply – 1 skein

Florentine – Voluptuous Skinny Petite – Exmoor Blue/organic merino 4 ply – 1 skein

Marigold – Voluptuous Skinny Petite – Exmoor Blue/organic merino 4 ply – 1 skein

Scarlet – Voluptuous Skinny Petite – Exmoor Blue/organic merino 4 ply – 1 skein

Snow White’s Apple – Entwine – high twist merino/nylon – sockweight – 2 skeins

Cocktail Lounge – Entwine – high twist merino/nylon – sockweight – 1 skein

Girl on Fire – Entwine – high twist merino/nylon – sockweight – 1 skein

Smoked Salmon – Entwine – high twist merino/nylon – sockweight – 1 skein

West Wittering – Entwine – high twist merino/nylon – sockweight – 2 skeins

Spring Green – Entwine – high twist merino/nylon – sockweight – 1 skein

Hummingbird – Entwine – high twist merino/nylon – sockweight – 2 skeins

Primavera – Crush -  merino/nylon – sockweight – 3 skeins

Passionflower – Enchant – baby alpaca/silk/cashmere 4 ply – 1 skein

Petals – Enchant – baby alpaca/silk/cashmere 4 ply – 1 skein

Laurel – Enchant – baby alpaca/silk/cashmere 4 ply – 3 skeins

Silversmith – Opulent – 100% cashmere sportweight – 4 skeins

Raspberry – Opulent – 100% cashmere sportweight – 2 skeins

Capri – Opulent – 100% cashmere sportweight – 2 skeins

Cape Cod – Opulent – 100% cashmere sportweight – 2 skeins

Prague – Sumptuous – 100% cashmere laceweight – 1 skein

Echo Beach – Wisp – cashmere/silk laceweight – 3 skeins

Blue Damson – Wisp – cashmere/silk laceweight – 2 skeins

Blenheim – Wisp – cashmere/silk laceweight – 2 skeins

Dragon’s Blood – Lustrous BFL Heavy Lace – BFL/silk – 1 skein

Duck Egg – Lustrous BFL Heavy Lace – BFL/silk – 1 skein

If you do venture to buy something to come home with you, please note that parcels will be posted out on Monday.

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Shop update moved to Friday

I’m afraid there’s so much lovely yarn to skein up, I’m not going to be ready for tomorrow evening after all, so I’ve taken the decision, that in order to do it justice, it would be best to move the update to Friday at 9.15pm.

Usually it takes a few days to dye up the yarn for an update, but I seem to have got a bit carried away on Sunday and I have oodles still to be wound up.

So apologies for any inconvenience and hope to show you a wee preview tomorrow.

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Purlescence Open Day

I’m heading to the glamorous Purlescence with a trunk-full (at the very least) of yarn on Saturday 18th May.

Worth putting in your diary if you’re in the Wantage, Oxfordshire area, as I’ve heard that Sarah’s homemade cake is legendary!

I hear YarnaddictAnni is teaching a class there on that day too, so it’s shaping up to be a great day all round.

 

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Moonwalk competition – uniting against breast cancer

The Prize

You could win over £80 worth of Lotus Yarns 100% cashmere, hand-dyed 100% silk, hand-dyed Voluptuous Skinny 50g and a pattern safe by Fripperies and Bibelots.

You get to choose 3 skeins of Lotus Yarns cashmere in any colours of your choice from the 26 colours currently available. You can choose three different colours, or three the same for a larger project.

The pattern safe (decorative magnetic strips to help you keep your place while reading a pattern) is by Sarah at Fripperies and Bibelots and portrays the Queen’s Guard soldiers which reminded me that the Moonwalk route passes by Buckingham Palace.

The Reason

My good friends, Michelle and John Stevens, are hard in training for this year’s London Moonwalk in three weeks. On Saturday, they walked 20 miles, so well on their way to target of 26 miles on the day.

They decided to enter after their dear friend, Karen Gilmour, lost her life to breast cancer three years ago.

About a year ago, Michelle asked if I’d be interested in joining them. In the end, I chickened out, mostly due to lack of time, but also I very much doubted that I would have the commitment that training involved.

So, this is me and hopefully you, now doing our little bit to help them raise more and make all their hard work worthwhile.

Personally, I’ve had several friends and family members affected by this disease, and according to statistics, unfortunately you probably have too. So this is a very small way to unite against breast cancer, raise awareness and funds to help in the fight against it.

The Cause

The Moonwalk – or Walk the Walk as it’s properly known – started 16 years ago.

Mostly women, but some hardy men, power walk the length of a marathon course through the night, in their bras if they want to.

The aim is to raise as much money as possible for projects and campaigns linked to breast cancer.

To Enter

All you have to do is to click on Michelle’s Walk the Walk fundraising page here and donate a minimum of £2. Mark your entry with SQMoonwalk code so that we know that you’ve entered the competition and your full name and email address if possible and we will draw the winner at random on Monday 13th May and will announce it on here.

If you’re a UK taxpayer, please GiftAid your donation, so that the charity receives more of your donation. I can’t find any information on the website about donations from overseas, but I see they accept debit and credit cards, so I’m assuming it’s okay. I’m perfectly willing to post the prize anywhere worldwide.

Competition closes at midnight of May 10th 2013.

Please, please help and share on Twitter and Facebook.

With grateful thanks and good luck.

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Shop preview for 19th April

Inspired by the coast and flowers, along with some regular colourways, you’ll find these skeins available in the Skein Queen shop from 8pm BST tomorrow (Friday) evening.

Forget-me-not - Lustrous BFL Heavy Lace – BFL/silk – heavy laceweight – 2 skeins

Sweet Periwinkle - Lustrous BFL Heavy Lace – BFL/silk – heavy laceweight – 2 skeins

Seven Seas – Lustrous BFL Heavy Lace – BFL/silk – heavy laceweight – 3 skeins (all dyed in same batch, but one skein paler)

Double Denim – Lustrous BFL Heavy Lace – BFL/silk – heavy laceweight – 2 skeins

 

Prague – Lustrous BFL Heavy Lace – BFL/silk – heavy laceweight – 3 skeins (one with extra deep turquoise)

Nutkin - Lustrous BFL Heavy Lace – BFL/silk – heavy laceweight – 3 skeins

Apple – Lustrous BFL Heavy Lace – BFL/silk – heavy laceweight – 2 skeins

 

Rose-tinted Spectacles – Lustrous BFL Heavy Lace – BFL/silk – heavy laceweight – 3 skeins

Foxglove – Bamboozle Lace – merino/bamboo – laceweight – 1 skein

Passionflower – Oasis Grande – camel/silk – 4 ply weight – 3 skeins

Monarchy - Oasis Grande – camel/silk – 4 ply weight – 5 skeins (dyed in 3 batches)

 

Dragon’s Blood – Oasis Grande – camel/silk – 4 ply weight – 2 skeins

 

Fox - Oasis Grande – camel/silk – 4 ply weight – 3 skeins

Dauphine – Oasis Grande – camel/silk – 4 ply weight – 2 skeins

Coralflower - Oasis Grande – camel/silk – 4 ply weight – 1 skein

Seagreen – Oasis Grande – camel/silk – 4 ply weight – 2 skeins

Laverbread - Oasis Grande – camel/silk – 4 ply weight – 3 skeins (dyed in the same batch, but one skein slightly lighter)

Cape Cod – Oasis Grande – camel/silk – 4 ply weight – 3 skeins

Cape Cod - Oasis Lace  – camel/silk – laceweight – 2 skeins

South Beach - Squash – 100% merino – sockweight – 2 skeins

Ebb and Flow – Squash – 100% merino – sockweight – 2 skeins

Down to the Shore – Squash – 100% merino – sockweight – 2 skeins

Indian Summer - Squash – 100% merino – sockweight – 2 skeins

Cloudgazing – Squash – 100% merino – sockweight – 2 skeins

Lavinia – Elixir – superfine alpaca/silk/merino – DK – 4 skeins

Duck Egg – Elixir – superfine alpaca/silk/merino – DK – 3 skeins

Quick Silver - Elixir – superfine alpaca/silk/merino – DK – 3 skeins

Grey Oyster - Enchant – baby alpaca/silk/cashmere – 4 ply – 1 skein

Pale Shell – Enchant – baby alpaca/silk/cashmere – 4 ply – 2 skeins

Cinnabar - Voluptuous – Exmoor Blue/organic merino  – DK – 3 skeins

 

Cape Cod – Voluptuous Skinny – Exmoor Blue/organic merino  – 4 ply – 1 x 200g skein, 2 x 100g skeins

Floating Lilies - Voluptuous Skinny – Exmoor Blue/organic merino  – 4 ply – 1 x 100g skein

Blue Iris – Voluptuous Skinny – Exmoor Blue/organic merino  – 4 ply – 1 x 100g skein

 

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March club – The Hypnotist

Crime fiction isn’t a genre I would normally choose. The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler (a pseudonym for a literary couple) is not a book I would usually have picked up. But being an avid fan of Danish and Swedish television series such as The Killing and The Bridge, I read the blurb and was immediately hooked by the premise – Detective Inspector Joona Linna is faced with a badly injured comatose boy whose family have been murdered, the killer seemingly still on the run and his sister possibly in danger. His only option is to persuade a once-respected hypnotist, who vowed to never practice again, to hypnotise the boy who is the only witness to try to save his sister. But what they hear the boy say is not what they expected at all. And a whole series of chilling events unravel.

There may be minor flaws in the writing and yes, it is a little formulaic in terms of Scandinavian crime drama – a tenacious detective with not much of a home life, a couple on the verge of divorce brought together by a missing child – but these minor distractions didn’t stop it being a page-turner that kept you guessing throughout. It was gruesome in parts, to be expected, and some of the events were thoroughly unnerving – can you tell I’m having trouble reviewing this book without giving anything away? Might make more sense to move straight onto the colourway inspiration and simply say that I loved the book and look out for other work by Lars Kepler in coming months.

Colourway inspiration

There were numerous sources of potential colour in this book – somewhat surprisingly – from Joona Linna’s pale grey eyes to strings of Christmas lights hung everywhere; and from moss and blueberries to the pale green summer house.

But what I got slightly obsessed with was the description of the facade of the police headquarters which resembled “dark copper, burnished but underwater”. Then later, the copper roofs of Södermalm and Lydia’s henna-dyed hair “glowing like threads of copper” are also described. Something metallic on a silk yarn base – that could work well. So I set about creating a copper colour for the semi-solid option. There were variations between the different dye batches – some more brownish than others – so it will be a surprise in itself as to which skeins you receive.


Burnished Copper

The variegated option was a bit more of a challenge. It had to tone with the copper. So I started to think about the colours of oxidised copper and how they also resemble the colours of freezing, turquoise lakes. Then I started to think about the ending of the novel – the lake scene, up in the remote, sparsely populated municipality of Dorotea – home of the Sami people. So I took the dark brown of the stark pine trees, added some copper tones and introduced a bright turquoise-teal and randomly dyed the colours together. In some of the skeins, where the turquoise has blended with the dark brown, there are tones of pine green.

The resulting colourway also nods to Erik Maria Bark’s hypnosis descent – whereby he takes himself and patients downwards through “bright, oxygen-rich water” to “dark, bottomless undercurrents constantly swirling”.

 

Dorotea

As for the yarn base, it had to be something with silk and a big yardage to reflect the length of the novel! So I opted for a new yarn base – Lustrous BFL Heavy Lace – 55% BFL 45% silk – 600m per skein = 600 pages of the book. It’s pretty much a fingering weight, so don’t be scared to try it if you’ve never tried lace knitting before.

Depending on the yardage you received, here are a few pattern suggestions: you could make a sweet little Lobelia cardigan – pattern by Meghan Fernandes or if you got both colourways, what about a Pop Spots shawl by Juju Vail or for the kids, a Leonie by Dani Sunshine, or a Winter Thaw shawl by Beata Jezek.

If you’re looking for a contrast colour, or missed out on the club, there will be plenty of Lustrous BFL Heavy Lace in Friday’s shop update.


Inspiration for April: Les Misérables (film)

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