Thursday, 31 July 2008

My amazing little bro.

Ok, my camera batteries are charging and I have a few cool treats to show you for tomrorow's update, but I thought I would write this for now, because its exciting.

Do you ever feel like you have experiences so you can help other people afterwards?

Today feels like the whole last two and a half years of my life were really just for this week. My little bro came to stay, I think for the first time ever, he is 14 months younger than me, and to be honest he is an incredible individual, I won't go into detail about why he came to stay, but, we have had an incredible week together. I had to chant alot and trust that I could still get my work done even though I knew it would be an emotionally intensive week, but he helped with work so much, and we talked and talked and talked, and funny thing was, I knew what to say to help. Not give him the answers, but help him figure them out for himself. And boy, he just gets things so quickly, I am so bloody proud of him. I feel so excited for him, I really do, it feels like he has opened up this mass of potential which has been hiding inside of him for a while. 

So I don't care one little bit that its a rainy thursday as usual, it can rain all it likes, I am going to have a wonderful day dyeing and I have a new plan for drying, too, and even if it doesn't work, I feel on top of the world, and that my relationship with my brother is amazing, not that it hasn't always been, but that it just got alot more special.

I love you little bro.


Wednesday, 30 July 2008

What does 'fyberspates' mean?

I get asked this so much, where did the name come from, and I am not always very good at explaining so I thought I would explain to you lot and then I can refer people to the blog for explanations!

Ok, well I started blogging because I made things, all the time, everyday or at least hankered after it. Every summer holidays when I was a child, I would read through my mums craft magazines and plan my projects, I would sew, make shoes, you name it I was always making things. I think the only brownie badge I got was one for craft. When I went to uni I did alot of drawing, flowers, bodies etc, because it didn't take up space, but soon bought a sewing machine and started sewing, and then I discovered knitting, and weaving, and dyeing. So my fyber hobbies were massive, and I would switch from one thing to the next during the day, and be in total heaven. So when I came to choose a name for my blog, Anth came up with the name fyberspates. The definition of 'spates' is as follows:

  1. A sudden flood, rush, or outpouring: "It issues a spate of words from the loudspeakers and the politicians" (Virginia Woolf).

  2. Chiefly British
    1. A flash flood.

    2. A freshet resulting from a downpour of rain or melting of snow.

    3. A sudden heavy fall of rain.

It really relates mainly to the first definition, a sudden rush, I would be eating dinner and then have this total urge to get some fibres, or my knitting, or something, so its like 'spates' of fyber activity.

Also of course the other main thing is it rhymes with cyberspace, which fits because I have an internet based company.

So there, lol, just thought I would explain ;-)


Tuesday, 29 July 2008


wow, we had so much fun, it was super duper!!!! did loads of knitting, some dyeing and lots of chatting, it was so great!!!! There are some pics on Amanda's blog........

Am back to so much work I am slightly bewildered, but its ok, I am ploughing through it!! Clubs are the point of this week, so all the clubs will be with you at some point this week.

My little brother (all 6ft 4) of him has come to stay for a few days, I was hoping to rope him into labelling a few things, but I just went down stairs, and he is reorganising my lounge!!!! It looks amazing, lol so I sort of let him get on with it!!!!!

So gotta get back to work.


Friday, 25 July 2008

Its all about the pumpkin......

You all sort of know I get obsessed with certain colours, well this week's shop update its all about pumpkin and very warm autumy colours, not sure why, I just couldn't stop......

Self striping in Autumn...


Self striping in pumkin.....

So if you are coming to the Natural dye studio open weekend, I will see you there.....

Short and sweet, because little bit busy, NEED TO EMPLY SOME HELP AND GET A LIFE!!! I  was dyeing till 9pm last night and I still have so much to do lol, but never been so happy in my life, bizarre but true.



Thursday, 24 July 2008

Shop update!!

There are some super duper yarns for tomorrows update..........and the sun is shining,




Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Fyberspates Loyalty card scheme update.....

So, things are good here, sock clubs are being dyed today, with some of the new yarns for the dream sock clubbers, and the self striping sock clubs too and all sorts, and if you are in the clubs you will be getting your fyberspates loyalty scheme card, along with your packages.

Now I am good with colour, but I am not good at sort of designing things, so I left that up to Carmen, and well, I thought you might want to see what they look like, or rather I am proud of them so I wanted to show you ;-)


Ignore my bad cutting, that is my loyalty card, lol!!! They are so cute. ;-) I absolutely know I will be a sticker maniac from now on, trying to find cool stickers to send you, see I can be cutsy some times lol!!

So, obvioulsy I am off to the Natural dye studio weekend on sat and sunday, so I am well excited about that, and trying like mad to get ready for it.


Tuesday, 22 July 2008

New yarns

So firstly, I am guessing that people wern't that enamoured with the moth, reflected in the lack of comments, lol, Elly mentioned it was like the moth from Silence of the lambs, yeah, thanks for that babes :-p

So, new yarns then, I normally stock bamboo merino sock, and merino tencel sock yarns, but for me, yarns are as much about texture, hence my obsession with scrumptious and really its opposite, the dream sock, so I got to thinking about having my other sock yarns in the same as my dream sock, and well, I got em, and they not only take the dye like a dream, but also have a smooth shine to them, and are very highly textured. They are 2ply, but the high twist gives them the strengh and so you are left with something a little different to knit with, want so see a couple of samples?.......

Ok here they are, the bamboo is on the left and the merino tencel is on the right....


Here is a closeup of the bamboo, its gorgeous (will be called bamboo dream):


And here is the tumbling shiny tencel (will be called tencel dream)


Yum yum yum!!!

Carmen and I are having a super time, I am so relaxed working with her here, and she is working on some wonderful research into Gender, and we have coffees imbetween work, and exchange ideas, we chat inbetween everything, just like we always used to at work (for hours and hours), its just so lovely to chat to someone who is so so similar to me, imagine me, but organised......thats Carmen, lol!!! Its like we never have any gaps imbetween seeing eachother.


Monday, 21 July 2008

Art in Action

So, we had the most wonderful time at Art in Action. Its an art show, where artists are selected to come from all over the world, and people have to demonstrate their art. Its absolutely inspiring, I have been going nearly every year since I was about 2 years old.

What I love about it, is the variery of arts, there is a textiles tent (my favourite), wood working, glass, ceramics, asian arts, print making, you name it, its there. Although it was alot smaler this year than I remember it, and I was uninspired with the textiles tent because it was embroidery based, with only a little weaving and felting. I felt it could have been alot more variety there, but anyway, what won it for me, was the jewery, (quite unusually) and the ceramics and glass.

Amongst things, the best stand of this show for me was the jewlery stand by a designer called Lucy Sylvester (take a look at the website) The reason I loved it was that it was inspired by bugs, creatures, and natural things, but it wasn't cutsy, and even Carmen and I loved the spider pin, and I hate anyway, I had to go back three times, because I fell inlove with the jewlery, and you all know I am a little eccentric and although I don't really wear jewlery, I had to have something....

and this just completley blew my mind.....


I want to collect jewlery from here forever and ever and ever, did I mention I loved it? hehehe

Also, some wonderful ceramics, which I loved was this artist....



I can't remember her name, but I will find it, alot of her work used imprints of flowers and leaves in the clay, gorgeous completely gorgeous.....

So, it was an inspiring day out, and I recommend it to all, I really do. So for now, I am off out into the wilderness to dye the NEW sock yarns, yep, my new high twist bamboo merino, and merino tencel, not like anything you have seen before, they are stunning, alot like the dream tomorrow.....

Hope you had a lovely weekend.


Saturday, 19 July 2008

Nice start to the weekend - The canteen on Clifton Street!

So, I took Carmen for dinner in the Canteen on Clifton Street, and it still is my fav restaurant in Cardiff, the food is so damned tasty. For me, the point of going out for dinner is eating food you wouldn't normally cook at home, and I always get such yummy food there its fab, and last nights dinner was no exception, plus they have some of the recipies on the website, which is even better....

I had Beetroot carpaccio with pear and walnut, lemon thyme and goat cheese dressing for starters, and well, I know I was with wonderful company, but you know you get those moments of being in heaven? I had one of those, and I haven't had one of those for ages with food, I am always on a quest for more tasty things, and this was amazing, and then came the next course:

Lasagne of butternut squash, mushrooms and herbs with courgettes in pine nut cream and spinach puree, again, warming, filling and so damed tasty, I was struggling to eat it slowly so the experience would last for ages..... and then for pudd....

Baked nectarines with ricotta, mascarpone and biscotti, they were bloody gorgeous!!

And you know what? all 3 courses come for 13.50, I mean, for gods sake, I have eaten in some of the most amazing restaurants all over the  world, which can be anything from £50 quid a head, to £150, and still I would pretty much still always choose dinner here over most of them, (unless anyone fancied taking me/and paying to the Grovesner in Chester again, that really cuts the mustard too...... lol), but anyway, if you live in Cardiff, for goodness sake go and try it, its just super duper, now I need to go back and try the other things on the menu obviously!!! (the menu changes every three weeks, which means if I roughly go once a week, then I can try eveything,yippee!!).

So I am taking Carmen home to mom and pops, and then tomorrow we are going to Art in Action, the traditional family trip into a wonderfully exciting world of art, I'll be buzzing on monday with inspiration I betchya!!!

Still got treats to update in the shop, but it keeps raining, lol!

Friday, 18 July 2008

Shop update has started lol!!

So, shop update has started, got huge amounts to go on, so I'll be doing it in batches all day, as well as finishing dyeing my rather large order for Getknitted, lol, and the best part of the day is tonight when one of the most cherished people in my life, is coming, Carmen, from Madrid, (you know, the wonderful person who knits with no patterns and is a genius?) I have a few treats planned for her, and I am so excited, we have a whole week together, so I am sure/hope she'll be knitting some lovely things.....

oh and I have some new yarns, yes, very exclusive gorgeous yarns winging their way to me, at this very moment which I may be using for the sock clubs, because they are completely gorgeous, they will be i next weeks update, but for now, a few pictures to make you smile with brightness:

Silk lace in foxglove....


Scrumptious dk in foxglove....


Thursday, 17 July 2008

Non repeating sock yarn - The perfect answer to second sock syndrome!!!!

So when I started my sock trials, I did lots of hanks that were not repeatable, not in the sense that I couldn't do them again, but in the sense that the colour patterns won't repeat, so you might get a pair of socks which are rather different, but at least it solves the second sock syndrome huh?

So I didn't think it would be that popular, but it seems like it is, so I will make sure there is plenty of it for the update tomorrow.......I have just put a few treats in the shop to start because a few of my things are in simply knitting and I want to make sure I start stocking the shop up now, eeek.

So, here are a few pics (go to new arrivals to see all).....



and a it of scrumptious lace ....


Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Fyberspates Loyalty card scheme

Ok, so if EVIL can do it, so can I.

I have been thinking about how to implement a way for my regular customers to be rewarded for ages, and so I think I have worked out a plan!! I LOVE plans!

Ok, so this is how it will work!

1. You will get a loyalty card, (one that fits in your wallet, so you can bring them to shows) and what I will do is with each order send you a little sticker to stick on your card.

2. You get a little sticker for every £10 pounds you spend.

3. Once you have ten stickers you can have £10 off of your purchase.

As easy as that......

Now who wants to join?

I need to get some cards printed, but it will start from fridays update........I will send you a card out with your order ;-)

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Getting ready for autumn

Ahh, its that gorgeous time of the year, when I start to get ready for autumn, this time last year I was counting down the days for giving up work, and working my ass off to manage everything, and here I am, nearly a year later actually having managed my first full year, and still have my little roof over my head, feels good :-)

So I am starting to stock up treats for Autumn, sourcing some really unusual spinning things for you, and gorgeous pins and accessories. As the distributor for Du store Alpakka, I won't be selling the yarn, because its not what my site is about, that's for other gorgeous shops to be selling, (full list up soon) but I will be stocking all the buttons and pins, which are totally gorgeous. Mind blowingly gorgeous infact. So I am getting all the orders in now for all the treats to make the shop gorgeous. I am thinking about changing the website, but its some serious work so I may change it for the Autumn, but I need to mess about a bit more first.

So, orders are packed, and now I shall venture into my workshop for some colour fun, and a million wholesale orders, lol,


Monday, 14 July 2008

Shop update

ahh, my little shawl was in Simply knitting, knitted in the stripy sock yarn (non repeating) so I have added the pattern to the shop, and I will update the shop with more self striping sock wed morning.

Friday, 11 July 2008


Sorry folks, bad lighting and wet wool means update will be in the morning.

Shop has been updated!!! Go shop people go!

But I made a little start.....

Scrumptious lace in foxglove:


Lace silk in silver and gold:

Lace silk in 'Black forest Gateau':



Shop update yipeee!

Ok, I will start updating the shop later on this afternoon, I have been playing, so there are a few dark and woody colours which are new, I'm very very pleased with the results, but anyway, I will post here when I start updating, but for now, I have a talk to go and do for the knitting and crochet guild, if I remember rightly, they do well nice food........

Oh and had a haircut, so I will update my photo later, its yummy and short, phew!!

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Baked apples with Blackberries and chantily cream

Yeah, well seeing as I am not eating bread, it sort of makes you less lazy, well not less lazy, but you can't snack on things, no toast, no pizza, no sandwiches, so you are sort of left with having to cook, which is actually the best ever for me anyway!

So there were punnets of blackberries in Evil for 25p reduced. So I bought 12 punnets, well you can never really have enough berries can you? and it makes a good start to my detox, so I made some baked apples, and really on a scale of 1 - 10, these came out about 100, they were gorgeous!!!!

So you need a few apples, (1 per person)
about a big handful of blackberries per apple,
a dash of sweetwine,
some icing sugar and
Chantily cream to serve (also from Evil)

Core apples,  stuff a few black berries in the core space for good measure, pop in baking tray, and put rest of berries around apples,  dust  a good amount of  icing sugar on top of everything, and the get some sweet wine ( I used vina santo) and dash it on, and bake in preheated oven 180, for about 40 minutes.

Serve with a tablespoon of chantily cream, I'm telling you, its fruity heaven.

......and where is the pic? there isn't one, because I ate the whole lot!!!!


Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Shop update - needed I think!

The shop is a little empty, so I will have a big update this weekend probably sunday, but I will let you know in the week,  mainly because its raining, as usual, (if it stops raining it could be friday) and I have alot of wholesale to do, but, there will be Scrumptious lace, Scrumptious dk, and yep, Self striping sock all the way, and a new hat pattern for the scrumptios dk, to keep your hair dry in this lovely rainy weather!!

The pattern book I am doing in conjunction with K1 for the scrumptious is coming along nicely, just having a few garment patterns checked and knitted before the photoshoot, I am so excited about this, I really am, the booklet will be due out end of august ready in time for Allypally, where I accidently have a huge stand, well its not accidently, but it is massive, its for fyberspates and Du Store as well, so its pretty exciting.

I need a stay sane plan.
I also decided seeing as all I do is work work work and get too excited all the time, then I need to implement an hour or so into my day which is dedicated to me, not knitting, not designing, not on the computer, not dyeing, just me time. I was thinking today, that before I even think about having children I need to get to the stage where I can employ at least two people, there is no way this business could be run and developed if I wasn't single and devoted, (*added later* a man probably would be helpful too to the children thing) but you know, it can get a little imbalanced at times in favor of work. So I decided I am going to put a few little strategies into place, one, I am going on a diet, NO not a calorie restricted diet, a wheat free one for a little while, I am just over 10 stone, the last time I was 10 stone was when I got married, thats not good for me, I can't afford  to buy new clothes (not ethical ones anyway), (I have lots of nice ones in my wordrobe though), so damned if I can't fit into my old ones, I'll be dyeing naked, thats not a good look is it?

This means I have to eat lots of fruit and vegetables, stir fries, meat, tofu, all good things, and drink lots and lots of water. I am going to chant at least 1/2 an hour a day, I need it to keep me from getting completely overwhelmed, and I need to do some excercise, so I start sleeping properly. So I am going to run at least half an hour a day. I started running last week, and will resume that today, I started my wheat free diet yesterday, and my tummy feels so much better today than it has for ages, and I am just going to chant for half an hour now, so I can be the most productive business woman ever today, lol.

So after my chanting and nettle tea, rain macs on, and paint brushes raised gulp!!!!!


Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Jen does Pitti - Bridget Jones Style.

So you know me, well, I think most of you do by now, I never do anything by halves, and when things go wrong, they sort of really go wrong. So imagine being in the world of the gorgeous people, and it all going a  little bit Pete Tong......

We arrive off the plane, get the train to florence, its a scorching hot day, I have my nice little black dress and stylish flipflops, hair done nice, you know, I want to look good amongst all the stylish Italians.

Firstly we have a meeting in one of the hotels, which was really great. I wanted to chat to a particular spinner, and they had some really nice yarns, so I thought, what a nice start to the trip!! Then we walked to the proper exhibition center, with all the cases and bags,  and  it was just a little bit too warm, by the time we got there, I was sweating and my feet were sliding about in my flipflops. Then the most awful thing happened. They broke. My flipping flip flops snapped. There was nothing I could do apart from take them off and walk bear foot. Now normally I wouldn't have been so bothered about this, but seriously, everyone was staring at me, I stood out like a sore thumb with my white hair, and ALL the girls had such gorgeous footwear on, I was cringing with my dusty dirty bear feet. What was worse was that we had the most important meeting of the trip booked late in the afternoon. So we stopped in the center to get something to eat and a cup of coffee, I tried to sneak and borrow a stapler to staple my sandles together, but people were just looking at me as if I was crazy, and it didn't work anyway. Then someone knocked over my coffee, and so ofcourse, not wanting my feet didn't get covered in coffee, I moved backwards and leant against the wall which was actually a jen sized airvent, which provided me with dusty grey stripes up the back of my black dress. At which point I couldn't stop laughing, it was either that or cry my eyes out.

The final nail in the coffin, came when I walked down the steps in the center of the exhibition to our meeting, and fell down the stairs, and so many people were watching because I was the weird girl with white hair and no shoes. I am not prone to feeling embarassed, but man I was dyeing. Anyway thankfully the meeting was delayed so I had time to go and buy new flipflops and put a paper bag on my head.

The rest of the trip however was wonderful, lots of inspiration, gorgeous designs, yarns and colours, as a result, I am hoping I will have some new yarns soon to add to the collection, and lots of new designs too. We also had so much fun with Kari and Per, it was lovely lovely lovely. I wish I had taken Elly, you would have loved it babes!

Ok, so here a few peices of knit wear that caught my eye, there is alot more, but here a few:



Seems like its chunky yarns and cables all the way this autumn.....


Wednesday, 2 July 2008

A pre Italy meme

I am trying to relax before my trip to florence, the house is kind of tidy, well it looks it to me anyway, the lodgers are not going to cut my yarn up when I am away because they are sick of the sight of it, all orders have been shipped, just  need to tie a few loose ends then I can go and enjoy my yarny trip, I am really really excited, I will try and take photo's if thats allowed, sometimes its not, but I want you to be able to see what its like. I have some meetings with some amazing people, Kari and Per included, well, that never seems like proper meetings, just wonderful time with lovely freinds, lol. Anyway the lovely Dee tagged me to do a meme, so I thought it was the perfect day to do it!


Indianna Jones with Elly, it was completely stupid, but fab.


The kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and suprisingly, considering I normally struggle with reading this one has me gripped, and its one of those books where you can hear the sounds and smell the smells, I love those.


Um, I love a big family game of monopoly, and well there is a version of chess I love, but I can't tell you about it on my blog, its too rude, lol!

Hmm, it has to be Spin off, its so cheesy, but it makes me so excited, it reminds me of the 70's craft magazines of my mums I used to read in the summer holidays for inspiration.


Lavendar, Paella, Chorizo, roast potatoes, lemon, thyme.


Tea pouring from a tea pot. My mum singing early in the morning in her opera voice, it makes me laugh, the voice of the horse/man thing in harry potter, the one that was the teacher, damn I can't remember, someone help me out here. .....


Feeling like you are not in control and you don't have a plan to fix it, I'm always ok if I have a plan, lol.


Is it sunny enough to dye wool?

Chinese for King prawn fried rice, chips and sweet and sour sauce.


Oh blimey, there are way too many!

Exit all the men in my life.....

Pay off my mortgage go and build myself a self sufficient house that didn't need electric or gas, then invest it in alternative technology research, and give some to charity's, oh and give some to mom and pops and little bro.


Well, now deisel is £1.34 a litre about 54 miles an hour......


I was going to make a sarci comment about the ex husband, but thats a cheap shot and I don't really mean it, but really its two furry muchkins which are alive, lol.

Storms are THE BEST


A little chocolate brown mini. Which I ruined because I had too many boys in the back and wacked it around a corner and broke the suspension. oooops.

In the morning, it has to be fresh coffee, during the day, I love tea, elder flower cordial, and red wine, gin and tonic, champers, tequila sunrise, vodka.....hmm, better stop now.....


Buy a campervan and go travelling around europe and have a wail of a time.

Depends what mood I am in, if its a bad one, I scoul at stems.


Damn, I am always dyeing my hair different colours.

Shrivenham, near swindon/oxford and Cardiff.

Rugby, I support the team with the nicest not really, I support Wales of course, AHEM.


She is a very sweet and lovely person, and I love her business sense.

Eek, a box full of old clothes, and often a kitty.




Both I think, hmm, actually not too sure.

Sunny side up, you have to have runny yolk to stick your toast in.


In my craft room in the loft, with all my books and crafty things around me, with some knitting of course......


My mums Blackcurrent pie with cream.


It has to have big chunks of things in it, I quite like phishfood cause of the chocolate fish, or anything with biscuit, I don't see the point of plain icecream.


Amanda and Elly
I would also like to tag....