Wednesday, 30 April 2008

I am alive I think.........

So, I have updated the shop with some of the laceweights, ploughing through orders, and have some help today, which is brilliant!! It makes so much difference.

So really to busy to write tonnes and tonnes, but here is the new scrumptious lace yarn, its the same blend as the scrumptious, and its soft and gorgeous with a delicate shine.....




There will be an update on friday, fingers crossed, lol!!


Monday, 28 April 2008

Wonderwool 2008

Well, it was fantastic, just amazing, I had so much fun, its just great to see people who I consider to be great freinds, there is so much playing and banter and cheekyness between stand holders it makes it a pleasure to work so hard. In terms of sales, it was pretty damned good on Saturday, even though it went between crazy and quiet, I didn't get to put the finishing touches on my stand before people came in and started buying, which is always a good sign. Yesterday was quieter, which meant I accidently got time to browse and buy a namaste knitting bag, I'll take a pic later, from knitting4fun.

I really could do with taking it easy today, my bones ache, and my muscles are so sore, but I have too much work to do, I really need to think about getting some help soon, Elly is coming for a week or hopefully longer in June and so she has offered to work.........I really cannot wait.

I will update the shop later on seeing as there is some lace left, I did rather alot, lol, and its the new scrumptious lace, and its plump, shiny and soft, with lots of deep delicious purples, so I'll get it on in a few hours. I then have to unpack the van, do an entire stocktake of everything for my taxes, tidy my decimated house, and then get ready for the rediculous chaos that ensues in the next few weeks, so I need to get organised asap, dyeing has to start tomorrow for 3 wholesale orders, lets keep our fingers crossed for the sunshine huh. I am also going to squeeze in some running everyday from now on, my stress levels kind of make my bloodpressure high and I know thats why I am getting migraines, running kind of makes me feel completely chilled, so it will be a nice way to start the day.

Onwards and upwards....

Friday, 25 April 2008

Evil Ravelry and Wonderwool Yipppppeeee!

So this is Why Ravelry is Evil. I thought oh my goodness look how dreadful my roots are, I need to dye my hair, so I slapped a load of bleach on, grabbed my fish fingers and chips, and sat with my laptop, emialing eating and reading ravelry seeing as it was 10pm and I still had tonnes of work to do. So I got dragged in. About 11.30, I though, hmm, should really check my hair, and then realised the time. I am lucky, just lucky that I have Iron hair, its kind of transluscent now, yeah, odd look to be sure, but at least its not falling out yet, despite doubling the recommended time. The moral of the story? Ravelry will make your hair fall out if you read it too much!!!!

So OBVIOULSLY, the yarn is dry, labelled, packed in the van and I'm read to go, gulp, um, NO. I can't actually get to the bottom of the stairs, there is still 5 kilo's drying on the rack outside, I need to clear the van out before I pack it. CRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So if you see a woman with translucent hair having a breakdown at Wonderwool, it will be ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Wednesday, 23 April 2008


ok guys, as you can imagine I don't really have time for a lovely post today, got too much to do, but just to let you know a couple of shop/club things...

All sock clubs will be posted out tomorrow,

The white yarn section of the website has been updated to include some of the sock yarns I dye, just incase you fancied having a go yourselves, I'll add some lace weights later too, and the approprate pics for each yarn.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Madness complete madness

Its 5.13pm and it feels a little bit like lunchtime, especially seeing as all I managed to do was pack orders, and they just keep coming today, lol, goodness knows where from, but its super :-) So all I have to do is work down the rest of my list tonight, all 2 pages of it, gulp. Its gonna be a long

Man I am so excited about wonderwool, I am just itching for it to be Friday, when I will fill my van with sandwiches and treats, put my radio onto full blast and and make my way up there. Obviously I am no where near ready yet, little does Carmella know, she has 20 kilo's of labeling to do after tea.......

Friday, 18 April 2008


Wow, jet lag is weird! I felt like I was drunk last night and a bit now, I couldn't even type, and then I woke up at 11.30 this afternoon, bizarre!!! Its freezing, there is no sunshine, papaya Juice for breakfast, or Mountains in the background when I look out the window. So I have been packing orders all morning, loads considering I was away, which is always nice to come home to :-). But also I need to dye lots of wool for Laughing hens, because there was a womand weekly pattern with my yarn in it, and it all sold out :-) how cool is that?

I was until just now feeling a bit miserable, probably still jetlag, but really coming back from such an amazing place, where life is so so different to here. I was actually missing it, the crazyness of Arequipa, the hot sun, people hanging out of the buses, everyone knitting because they had to, and really cheap delicious food, I think I am slightly in love with that place. Then I turned the radio right up, and danced to Estelle and Kanye's song, around the kitchen for 5 mintues, and then I felt alot better :-).

So I am going to carry on working, my goodness there is so much work to catch up on, just looked at stock, was slightly worried I would't have enough for wonderwool, but really there is a tonne of yarn here, really a tonne!!

Anyone coming to the spinning workshhop tomorrow at Getknitted?


Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Nearly home.....

Am in the UK, boy am I so happy to be home, I have a bit of jet lag, the journey took 22 hours, so I am just about ready to sleep and then get the train home tomorrow. But I am going to stuff my face with stodgy food first, I'm just craving it.

Despite just about being at the end of the biggest trip ever, so far, I am just at the moment researching flights to Oslo and the US/Canada, for May and June, I never realised  my business would take me so far around the world!!!! Although today I never want to see a plane again, I am sure I will have itchy feet by Monday, lol, traveling gets a bit addictive, Fyberspates will be expanding extensively over the next year, which is my dream really, but I want to make sure it is a sustainable growth that means I can manage everything effectively, thankfully I now have plenty of measures in place to make sure its a smooth process. I will tell more when the time is right.

Now, I just noticed that I have a pattern published on Knit on the Net!!!! How cool is that? I had completely forgotten about it.

I will do Maku Pichu in the next day or so, honest, but it takes about 1.5 hours to sort out the pics, spelling etc, and I am just about to drop off, oh and also, I will post some peruvian recipe's, I purchased 3 cooking books, but I need to test my favourites out first, but I will do the Pisco sours first (deliciously alcoholic and tasty), Tracy, you will love these!!!!!. I just need to go to the EVIL and see if they sell Pisco, I don't think I'll find it in the health food shop, lol.


Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Coming home,.

So this evening I am flying home, its about 24 hours of traveling, gulp, at least I have my knitting.

I can't wait to show you my hand spun, hand knitted socks I bought from the lady who sells her gorgeous creations by the corner of the river everyday, she is always knitting or sewing, and like lots of other street vendors, who are constantly knitting or spinning in between sales, I have plenty of pics, lol.


Sunday, 13 April 2008


Yippee, finally got a Internet connection and half an hour!!

So far I have been to three cities in Peru; Lima, Arequipa, and Cuzco. All pretty amazing places and far away from the UK in many ways. It is a complete culture shock for me, there seems to be such a difference between people who have money and people who do not seem to have much at all. I needed to come here and see for myself where some of my yarn was produced, and I am so glad I have, because I absolutely know the people are looked after and are really happy, making my yarns. It has also completely widened my eyes to what can be done and what I can make for Fyberspates.

So lets go through the processes of how alpaca yarn is made!!!

Firstly I would like to say that health and safety in Peru, doesn't really exist, people hang out of buses, and do the scariest things, but what made me very comforted, was that the standard at all the factories I went to were extremely high.

So it starts on the animals, here in Peru, people in the Highlands have herds of Alpaca's, its a bit like in the UK, where they sell all the fleeces after the sheering to people who collect from all the small herders for the yarn and top producers. Fleece arrives at the factories in HUGE bails like this:

226 This guy must be pretty strong, that sack weights quite allot!!

Then it gets opened and checked that is hasn't been stuffed with crap, because the farmers get paid by weight. Then is has to be sorted into colour and finess. There are lots of natural alpaca colours, but the skill is the finess, the women are very highly trained to distinguish how fine the alpaca is and to sort it out. There were no men doing it, mainly because, and I heard this lots of times, the men were rarely able to develop the skills to the high level that women were, lol, which made me laugh.

Women often take the children to work with them, and the children just play, (and they get good wages for their work).


To go off topic slightly, and just comment on mums and children here, (i'll put this thought process into context first), after my degree, I studied economic problems in families, and its psychological impact on children, I learned very strongly that economic stress in families (IN THE UK) leads to stressed parenting and often leads to children experiencing problems. This was at post graduate level for two years, so I am sort of programmed to think about these things when I am faced with lots of mothers and children especially who clearly are experiencing severe economic problems, and that is everywhere you go here, everywhere. One thing I have noticed about mums and children in Peru, is that no matter who it is, mothers and children are so close and loving, I have not heard one mother shout at a child once, and believe it or not no obviously naughty children, its really very strange, but it has really really blown my mind.  People here just have a completely mind set about everything.

Anyway back to the process, sorry for the thought interjection:

Vicuna is expensive for a reason, firstly it is endangered, because they used to be killed  for their fleece, obviously not any more, but, their fleece is the most expensive in the world, its finer than cashmere, and gorgeous, totally gorgeous. This is a Vicuna, I actually managed to get close enough to take this, I feel very privileged, because they are notoriously timid animals:


In addition to it being rare, there is not an automated process to clean the fleece unlike wool and alpaca so it is sorted by hand, yep, with tweezers, 800gms per sorter per week!!!


Anyway, Alpaca, cleaning alpaca takes quite a while too, its not sorted by hand, but unlike wool which is washed and carded really quick, alpaca takes longer, because the fleece is different, can't remember exactly why, but anyway here it is getting scoured:


It gets washed and washed and washed, big forks gently move it around in the water, it gets rinsed and gets washed again, and again until the water is clear:


So once its clean it gets dried, and sort of spread out to get it ready for carding:


Then the carding process starts, it was hard to photograph it but its gets spread out more and the fibers get aligned and it starts resembling a top:

It goes from this (can you still see the noils in the fibre?)....


To this.......


and then to this scrummy stuff:


This is ready to spin into yarn, I'll go over that one another time :-)

Now for Peruvian food again!!!!! Its good really good, no matter who you are in Peru, you eat well, whether its a boiled vegetable soup on the street corner, or hot corn and Andean cheese, the food is very healthy. Whilst visiting a monument, our tour guide suggested we try, (you have to be careful about eating things here so when given recommendation I jumped at the chance to try it) Its corn cake, cooked in the leaves of the corn, it was gorgeous, and hot and sweet:


Next raw fish was on the menu, marinated with lime, and I wasn't about to refuse:


It was delicious, also there is a wonderful snack, which is kind of roasted corn, I guess its like salted peanuts, but its salted corn:


Potatoes are very popular, as is Alpaca, guinea pig, yukka tuber, and a tonne of tropical fruit, corn, quinoa, and amaranth.

I already have two cookbooks, and I can't wait to try some of the recipes, keep your pets locked up people!!!! YES OF COURSE THAT WAS A JOKE, my sister in law may call me 'Cruella devil' for asking her to comb her rabbit for me, but I am not that bad, mwahahahahahahaha.

Next post will be the Maku pichu one, its was amazing!!!

Friday, 11 April 2008

Just a quick one ......

Right, am a bit behind schedule with blogging.

Still having a mind blowing time, been to see the factories, the alpaca being sorted, the vicuna being sorted by hand with tweezers, the washing sorting, combing and carding, and spinning have pics of it all for a later post when I have lots of time to go through the process!!!

But yesterday we drove to the mountains to catch a glimpse of the vicuña and the Alpaca, I have lots of pics of both, but only the Alpaca for now. We found this herd and I just kind of wandered in and the alpaca's seemed completely unphased, and I got some great photo's. This trip really was stupendous.





We flew to Cusco this morning and we are going to Macu pichu tomorrow, but I will try and blog in between, because I have so much to write about.


Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Day 2 in Peru and there are lots of photo's for you guys.

Ok, So I am here in actual Peru, after the flight, we got in to Lima at 4pm in the afternoon, I thought, oh I'll take a little nap, and then have some dinner, and promptly woke up at 5am the next morning. Peru is has so much Spanish influence, it actually makes me feel very at home because although I speak pigeon Spanish, I understand allot, and find it really comforting, after listening to Carmella, Carmencita's, and Sole and Bea chatting, it obviously went in somehow!! In fact my passport has a gorgeous purple tweed cover, which I bought from Ness in Scotland, and the lady at the security made a joke about my passport being cold, in Spanish obviously, and I laughed because I understood, that was really really weird.

OK so now for my Hotel. I am sat listening to the river flowing down from the mountain and looking out over the balcony, it is absolutely beautiful  here in Arequipa, there will be allot more photo's of the actual town later on in the week, but for now here is my view:


How gorgeous is that?
And if I turn around this is the other view:
Now, Orysia, this is just for you, just below the umbrella is something rather gorgeous and fluffy:

I haven't had the courage to get too close yet, he is probably quite tame, but I am not sure he is stroke-able, he seems a bit timid, but very gorgeous.

So yesterday after landing we came to the Hotel and then had some lunch, and it seems like there are a few themes to Peruvian food. Fish, corn, beans, rice, chilli's, roasted/barbecued meats, lots of different types of potatoes and of course Chilean wine and delicious beer.

So yesterday I had squid and potatoes, and I have no idea what the sauce was, but it was gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous:


Then we went onto meet all the yarn guy's and just get to see what the initial place was like, they have a visitors center set up, which is absolutely gorgeous, and I got a personal tour, which was fantastic, lol, the Alpaca is sorted by hand, only by women I was told because they are able to differentiate the difference in the texture of a fleece, and men don't have that ability, lol. It takes about 5 minutes to sort a fleece, but the sorters can distinguish between very slight differences in the micron of the Alpaca, they start learning from their mothers when they are small children, so they are very very skilled, at the visitors center they have everything on a small scale to show you, so here was a lovely lady I was chatting to who was sorting the alpaca:

Oh, I forgot, they also have all types of alpacas there too:

They were gorgeous!

What I also loved is they had women who came from the mountains, stayed at the visitors center for a few months at a time and worked in the center and gave demonstrations, they were so lovely, they often work with their children with them as you will see, in the pics, also the weavings you can see them doing here, are all hand spun and hand dyed, the colours and designs were amazing:



I asked the lady to show me her spinning, and they don't spin the way I was taught, it was really different, so I need to work that out a bit more, but the spinning was very very even:


And this photo is because the little girl was too gorgeous for words:


These pics are for Amanda, they show the raw dyes they use and the colours from each:



So thats all for now folks, today I am going to the factory, and I am too excited for words, I already have a million ideas for new yarns and designs and colours and there is allot more to come, but I have to say I am falling in love too much with Alpaca, its wonderful.

Just one last thing, Auntie Marylin, could you email me, because I wanted to write to you, but I don't have your email with me.

Bye for now folks.


Sunday, 6 April 2008

First leg of the Journey.

OK, I have so much to tell already that I just don't know where to start.

Germany was a thousand times more wonderful than I expected. The show was great to see what was coming from the large companies,  I saw the new Rowan yarns, there is some self striping ones in there which were OK, the colours were nice, and I think people will like them. They are doing a range with British breeds, now I think this is good, but the yarn quality wasn't what I was expecting, because they wools were rough, I think they would only be suitable for coats or outer garments.

What I did think was good marketing was OPAL are doing a range of harry potter sock yarns, which come as a package with DVD'S, I thought this was fabulous, at least someone in the big companies is switched on, lol, and the marketing was so much fun at the show for these, I was very very impressed!

Secondly, I met the worlds fastest knitter!! She was fabulous, and so lovely, and her husband gave me a speed knitting test, I am ashamed to say that I only managed about 99 stitches in 3 minutes. AHEM, anyway, after that she taught me how to knit continental, so I need a project with tonnes of stocking stitch now to practice! Here we are :-)


Whilst I was knitting, learning and chatting, I saw Carla and Tilly, lovely to see them.

For me though the highlight was meeting Kari and Perr from Du Store Alpakka they started the Mirasol Project and what was lovely was they think like me, they care so much about everything they do, they find proper sources for everything they sell, they have a story for all of their projects, these will be translated into English soon, I absolutely  know that all you lot will love to read them, I was absolutely inspired by them, especially because their main concern is making a positive impact on the world and not making money. I must have done allot of chanting to have the great good fortune to meet these guys, you will hear allot about them in the future.

But for now, I must iron my clothes, go to borders to get some reading material for the plane and calm myself because I am feeling totally excited, oh, and silly me, I forgot to tell you about my knitting, so before I go.....guess what arrived the day I left for Germany? Um, the scrumptious lace. I had to dye it and take it with me, so I dyed up two hanks and it dried perfectly on the lampshade in my room in the Hilton in Koln, lol! I had a dream about a simple shawl pattern and so I cast on, OH, got my wooden knitpics through customs no probs by the way! Here is progress so far (scrumptious lace will be at Wonderwool by the way.....

oh and off course lets not forget my food commentary. German food is sort of, um strange. They do make the best cakes I have ever tasted, I ate cake about 6 times in two days because they were not too sweet, and always packed with lots of fruit and the pastry was crisp and short and the cake was soft and delicious, I was seriously impressed with the cakes, obviously the sausages were superb, but really I should have asked what is good to eat in Germany, I was disappointed with the meals I had, the tastes were confusing, and if I had been a vege I would have been in serious trouble. I will get advice next time so I could have given a proper analysis of what is good.

OK, well next blog will be from Peru.....

Adios Amigo's


Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Last post before I leave the country for exotic lands.

So, its 2pm in the afternoon, I just have to do one trip to the post office and we are all done, I am feeling a little disturbed, normally I would be pounding on the doors of the post office at 5.30, crying "you don't understand, you have to take the Wool' but not today, those 16 hour days have paid off. My head hurts and my body aches, but I am not feeling stressed, gees, there is no balance in my life, LOL. I am however unbelievably excited, I will be blogging the whole way through, I expect allot of it will be comedy blogging but you-lot seem to enjoy that anyway, and there will be allot of photo's I promise as my traveling parter is taking their laptop.

I was walking into town this morning (lost 1/2 a stone by the way in the last 3 days was struggling to get in my skinny jeans, and so ditched the van, and seems like bread and butter, oven chip butties, croissants, and an hours brisk walking a day is the secret to being 9.5 stone. I am quite relieved, seeing as I am going to be wearing last Summers clothes, and I can't afford to buy any new ones)

Back to the point of my thought trail on the way to town, - I was remembering 3 years ago, when I used to walk to work in the university, and I walked I would plan my new life, the one I knew would come eventually, with the ability to do something I love, to have my own house and to see the big wide world, and be succesful and very happy,and I used to get so excited. This morning as I was walking, I was thinking, wow, its all here, I have what I always wanted, a little more sleep wouldn't go amiss, but you know, its amazing.

So now I need to set my determinations for the next year, 5 years,  10 years, and the next 50 years, Gulp!!!!

Ok the schedule is; Germany first for Handelbeit (I cant spell it) then onto Peru, so I will let you know what new yarns are in store via Europe for you in the next year or so, its great to go and get new ideas. I also want to exhibit one day at Handelbeit, but its big, huge business, so I need to go and check it out and do some research first. There, I am meeting a few yarn producing friends from various countries, so that will be lovely to see them, and then Land of the Alpaca's here I come, I will actually bring home some yarns for blog prizes, and which will be prizes for answers to questions about my trip ;-)

I can't find my wool news anywhere, but I will try and find it and add on one or two of those articles later on.

I am so looking forward to blogging about my trip :-)

Happy knitting guys.

xx xx 

Tuesday, 1 April 2008


Ok, Carmella and I labelled approximately 35 kilo's of yarn, from about 4pm till 1 in the morning, I can honestly say I never thought I would do it, now I just have to get the boxes in the post and pack up my shop orders from the weekend and yesterday, have a meeting with the lovely business wales Guy, go and pick up my glasses, oh dye a kilo of something I forgot to dye, which can dry and go tomorrow. I need to do these all today because tomorrow I am going to think, um, I am going to Peru, not just paris or Milan, but BLOODY PERU, the day after and I am in complete denial, really, complete denial.

I am sitting this morning with coffee and croisants for half an hour because yesterday was so frantic I onyl ate bread and butter, really thats not like me at all, obviously it was evil taste the difference malty crusty loaf, slavered with yummy butter but you know, it was still basic, lol!

So maybe you can tell I am slightly neurotic today, completely neurotic, and I havent forgotten about the articles I was going to post about in the wool record, I will still do that, just later on.

I am knitting, in every spare second with each cup of tea, I have designed a couple of jumpers to go into the first Fyberspates publication/pattern booklet (in conjunction with K1's Katherine, who is a super designer), which will be exclusively for the scrumptious range, so I am extremely excited, I think I might have forgotten to tell you about that, lol,  but anyway have to get the garments knitted whilst I am away ready for autumn season, its not even hard to knit when the yarn is so amazing, I am so proud of it. Have you seen the new soids in the shop? The yarns are top dyed, which makes them so blimin soft, its criminal. We have started with 4 colours, and will expand that range: