Tuesday, 29 April 2014

We have moved!

Squeaky Elliot has moved and become Midwinter Yarns.

With the emphasis still very much on natural fibres, Midwinter Yarns aims to promote Scandinavian yarns and knitting traditions. As such, we have handpicked a selection of  beautiful wool, alpaca and linen yarns that have hitherto not been available in the UK market and we hope that you will enjoy discovering them. We also stock a commercially dyed version of Squeaky Elliot's Lovely Linen in lots of great colours, and will continue to stock both Gower Wool and Elfyn's Lace.

We hope you will come and join us at www.midwinteryarns.com  !

Saturday, 29 March 2014

New beginnings

So spring decided to spring this morning, with all the mad and wonderful shapes that Mother Nature creates


And with spring come fresh ideas: Squeaky Elliot Yarns will soon be moving to a whole new website where they will be joined by a hand picked selection of beautiful,  Scandinavian yarns. 
We are working hard on the website itself and excitedly awaiting yarn deliveries, but in the meantime, please enjoy 10% off everything in the Etsy store in our Moving Sale!  Just enter MOVE14 in the coupon window at checkout and don't forget to check back here for further announcements :)

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Any given Thursday

Cup of tea, a little knitting. Unwinding after a day of work and a rainy drive home.

Monday, 3 March 2014

493 sts

Nr 3 on my 12 UFOs in 2014 Knitalong:

Colour Affection aka Ode to my trip to Finland

Yarn: Thin Pirkkalanka purchased in Helsinki 2012
Needles: 4mm


It turned out huuuuuge! Well over two meters long!
Lovely, mindless knit, just lots and lots of garter stitch with a little interest added in watching the short rows take effect.
I really like this yarn - it's sort of rustic but actually softer than I thought it would be, and knits up really light and bouncy. The colours are bright and lovely too, and there are many more in the range. As is often the case with scandinavian yarns, it's not easily available from abroad although....watch this space...changes may be afoot at squeaky elliot!

Also want to take the opportunity to wish everyone a belated hapus Dydd Gŵyl Dewi - Happy St David's day!


Caerphilly was full of daffodils galore on Saturday, and Morrisons had sold out of pork and leek sausages by 11am, but I do think that Google said it best of all:


Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Bunker Mitts

I have always had a fascination with industrial clothing. I hounded my local army surplus at university and I am still digging through the rails of Emmaus in search of one of those blue factory jackets that will actually fit me. Lately, the obsession is fire fighter's clothing: I think I like the chunkiness of it, coupled with the worn look that comes with regularily being exposed to fire and water. Bunker gear is really expensive to buy, so it's not kept as new and pristine as other uniforms are and I love that.
I had noticed that the big jackets come with extendable cuffs with thumbholes in them and I was already planning on knitting my own version when my mother sent me the most amazing yarn in the post. The yarn was so amazing I couldn't leave the post office carpark because I was squishing it so much!

The yarn is by Skein, a company whose colours I have always admired but not had the funds to buy for myself, in the Midlands colourway. It's on the Himalaya DK base, and I just can't believe that it is discontinued!!
I think I have mentioned before how, as a yarn dyer myself, it is sometimes hard to find indie yarns that don't use the same bases as I use myself. We don't have many suppliers of undyed yarn here in the UK , so most dyers end up using the same bases. The Himalaya, however, is a completely different texture, and just that is a joy in itself. It is also the most gorgeous, silky blend of Merino and Cashmere, and happened to be the exact colour I had envisaged for my bunker mitts.
So instead of working on finishing nr 3 on my 12 UFOs knit-along like a good girl, I dropped everything and spent the weekend knitting up these very long, plain fingerless gloves, trying to use as much of the yarn as possible. My mother is a little disappointed at how plain they are, but I wanted to let the yarn do the talking, and also, I don't think fire fighters have much lace or cabling in their gear...



Monday, 10 February 2014

Feeling Swedish

As the wind and rain are still relentlessly battering the UK, we battened down the hatches this weekend and retreated to the sofa with our cats, many pots of tea and Netflix.

I am currently in the process of trying out different Scandinavian yarns, amongst them Raggsocksgarn. Raggsockor (raggedy socks) are traditional, thick Swedish socks, knitted in aran-weight yarn typically plied in two different colours, adding to the raggedy, rustic effect.
As the yarn is so thick, the socks are really quick to knit up - I made both our pairs in the space of a week - and wonderfully warm to wear of course.

For the ultimate in Swedish chic, wear with clogs, although sadly I don't currently have any !

And continuing the Swedish theme, it was high time for Semlor! These sweet wheat buns filled with marzipan and whipped cream are eaten in the time leading up to Lent, while you can still enjoy all that is sweet and fattening in life.

And as it's STILL raining outside, the great big storm sale is extended for another 3 days until Wednesday the 13th of February - just enter STORMY14 at checkout for 20% off everything in the shop, including the gorgeous new Gower Wool :)

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Stormy weather sale!

Well, since the forecast for Wales continues to look like this:

and that sort of weather isn't good for anything but staying indoors with a nice mug of tea and a knitting, we're having a stormy weather sale til the end of the week. A full 20% off everything in the shop, so get it while you can and enter STORMY14 in the coupon code window at check-out.

Stay warm! and dry!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

New Embroidery Yarn set

New in the shop today: the Under the Sea collection.

A set of 8 hanks of embroidery wool suitable for crewel work and all kinds of free form embroidery, hand dyed in gently shifting colours on a blue theme - from deep indigo to vibrant turquoise.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Norwegian Grey

First finished object of the year! And this time it's not going anywhere near a washing machine...
I started this sweater when I first learnt to spin two years ago - this Norwegian fibre from the very reasonably priced Adelaide Walker was some of the very first I ever bought.  It originally came as braids of white, grey and brown fibres but
I decided I was bored of knitting stripes, so I borrowed a drum carder and spent many very very very boring hours carding the best part of a kilo of fibre together to make this blend. I am never carding anything ever again.

The yarn is made up of three plies, knit on 6mm needles. Sweater is a basic top down construction, the woven braids on the cuffs and the tag on the back are woven by my friend Jan, which makes this a really extra hand made garment, I think.


Sunday, 19 January 2014

Better late than never?

Finally, FINALLY, here it is: the 2014 batch of lovely Gower Wool!

100% Welsh Wool, of course, made up of 85% Bluefaced Leicester and 15% Black Welsh fibres.

This year's batch is a little finer than any that I have had before - 330 m (360 yds) per generous 125gr hank. Undyed it is a beautiful pewter shade which, when over dyed, gives gorgeous mottled colours.

The colours above are available in the shop now, and many more to come as fast as I can get them in the pan!

I do hope you will enjoy this lovely yarn!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

New Year roundup

a little late, but still, a very Happy New Year to you all!
It was a lovely long break over the holidays, all of it sadly long forgotten within an hour of getting back to work, but nonetheless.

Santa brought an early present on the day before Christmas Eve - my mother and I had gone to buy all the Christmas food and after tea and mince pies at Glanmor's took the obligatory tour around the many charity shops in Caerphilly and spotted this beautiful, completely solid pine chest of drawers with four great big deep drawers. I really wasn't looking for more furniture but I kept hovering around it, trying to figure out where we could squeeze it in in our house and in what is possibly one of the most extravagant moves ever, I now have a sizeable item of furniture dedicated only to.....storing my shawls!

           Also works for storing the occasional cat

There were many lovely christmas presents - some yarn, a Saroyan scarf knitted by my mother, an ice cream maker, some more Trollbeads from Mark and something that I had asked Santa for: a set of KnitPro Symfonie interchangeable needles. A few of the members of my knitting group have them and I'd always sort of scoffed a little and thought if I had a set, I would just swiftly lose all the components and didn't quite see the point of them.....until I found myself regularly borrowing bits from Jan's set.
Of course, with my mother's sewing and embroidery skills in the family, I wasn't about to have to keep them in their original plastic packaging, but in this lovely, personalised case instead :)


And I must admit, for my original reticence , interchangeable needles are great! In a bid to escape all the garish, hard core, depressing commercialism of Christmas in the UK (not easy since Mark works in retail) , we tried to barricade ourselves indoors with knitting and Julie Andrews movies as much as possible, and it was really liberating to be able to just think of a project idea and cast it on straight away without worrying about not having the right size needles at hand.

I started on a scrap blanket with all my sock yarn ends. I'd tried to crochet granny squares with them before, but the odd thing about variegated sock yarns is that on their own or in pairs, they look fantastic but loads of them together just comes out all blurry and horrible. Plus, even crocheted, sock yarn is a bit pointless as a blanket, so I really liked this idea - Sediment Scraps Blanket - of holding several strands together to knit. Firstly, it's really quick to knit, the colours all blend together better, and even with just 3 strands of 4ply, it makes a really nice, thick, useable blanket.

I also finally received the extra hank of Finnish wool that I had asked a friend to send me from Helsinki. I bought a green and a deep teal when I was up there last year, but then decided that I needed a third colour so that I could make a Colour Affection shawl, another one of those cult patterns on Ravelry with tens of thousands of projects, and incidentally designed by a Finnish designer which I thought would be appropriate for the yarn and as a memory of that great trip.


So there we are, that's some of what I did in my Christmas break (along with eating untold amounts of food). What did you do in yours?