Wednesday, June 8, 2016

life update

I never realize just how much I've been doing until I sit myself down to account for all of it. I've not been posting as often as I would like recently; moving house, working on the studio and big VIOLA plans have kept me even busier than usual these past few months. Of course, I must keep some news secret, and most of it is too boring and mundane to bother with...so cutting straight to the pertinent and interesting bits, here's what's been happening...


First off, almost all of my things have been packed and sorted and moved to Mooresburg. Awesome! Just a handful of carefully styled items remain for showing the old house, so they hardly even count. Through some miracle I have sorted through all of my yarn, fabric (I can't really even sew, but I have lots) and various collections of sticks, shells and sparkly things that I have retrieved from beaches forests and parks. That's the list of the most important things I own, and I've managed to pair down a lot. It feels good to have all my things in one place. Organized, just the essentials. I haven't been settled in once place since I moved to England in 2012, so this was no small job. Reclaiming years of scattered objects, ideas, projects and things has been an emotionally and physically exhausting job. 

Now that I'm here in Mooresburg, I would love nothing better than to unpack and settle into my new home. An obvious and (if only) simple next step. Everyone out there is familiar with the trials and frustrations of moving, and this move is nothing special, I am sure. Suffice to say...I am in the thick of it. Total chaos and mayhem, boxes everywhere and 1000 scattered packages of incense that have finally been amalgamated and no pans to cook dinner. Just the usual moving craziness!


Moving my business, however, has been slightly more stressful. Planning the new studio was a challenge, albeit a very rewarding one. Building the studio is proving the be very similar. I am clueless when it comes to building, but am learning fast. I now know one very important thing about building projects - everything takes much longer than you thought it would take and lots of things go wrong and break and don't work and are not possible no matter how hard you try. I've watched those home renovation shows and seen folks in hysterics over a toilet, or sobbing about countertops. I'm not at that state just yet, but am starting to understand the forces that have driven them to their madness.


My (would be) simple little studio is at that point where it seems like everything is going to deviate from my well laid plan, break, not fit properly and pretty much bite it's thumb at me. Without getting into the details that are quite tedious and boring, I will say that there have been a number of setbacks, minor disasters and annoying things going on in there recently. 

I know that I keep talking about the big plans I have for VIOLA, and those are still in place. They have just been bumped back a while by the series of events and life stuff that has got in the way. I want to be completely honest and direct with all of the lovely friends, customers, kickstarter backers and everyone else out there. Viola things have been quiet on the internet recently. Here in Mooresburg I have still been scheming and dreaming whilst batting the barrage of setbacks, complications and disasters that accompany a big move and a big building project.


It is frustrating for me, as I feel like I've been making patient humans out there wait far too long. I am not trying to dangle carrots in front of anyone, but at the same time want to be realistic about just how much I am going to be able to accomplish over the next few months. My first priority at the moment is to resolve the issues in the studio and start dyeing yarn again - as quickly as possible! My diary is telling me that I should be sending off the last kickstarter rewards now, but will not be able to do so until I sort out the studio. To those of you still waiting for your spring yarn club shipment, Leeleetea kits and leeleetea pattern, it is literally at the very top of my list. Thank you for being so patient! I can't give you a time estimate as of yet, but will be keeping everyone informed. Stay tuned!


Oh yes, and it has been a most beautiful spring here in Mooresburg (I'm not all doom and gloom) so I'm sprinkling in some photos from a recent early morning forest walk. Something about that low light that is the best!

Monday, May 9, 2016

exciting surprise shop update!

Let me tell you, it has not been easy to keep this little project a secret. The yarn has been dyed for months now, safely tucked away and awaiting this moment when it can be shared with the world at last. I honestly don't know how I resisted the urge to knit up the whole big bag-full of yarn...


 Rest assured, I am NOT going to keep it all for myself. it will all be listed in the etsy store this 

SUNDAY, MAY 15th @ 2pm EST!

Years ago, I dyed up a little bit of cashmere and silk yarn for my lovely friend Caroline who has knit the yarn into the MOST PERFECT pattern. Caroline's designs are always beautiful, carefully thought out and delightful to knit. This one sure fits the bill and she has generously offered to debut her new pattern in a kit featuring the very same yarn!

This Sunday, I will be listing 4 different kit colour options in the etsy shop. Each kit includes 3 skeins of the brand new Viola Cashmere + Silk yarn and a PDF copy of Caroline's new pattern, Cashmere Love. There is enough yarn in the kits to knit the cowl and hat, and gives you options to change up main colours and contrast colours too!


To see each of the colour options knit up, click over to the ravelry pattern page. Four lovely test knitters have each put their spin on the pattern and knit up beautiful examples of each colour option. Thank you testers!


Wild Rose, Cosmic, Garden Ghost


Mustard Seed, Bronte, Pebble


Sea Storm, Dew Drop, Ghost


Dove, Mineral, Amaranth


The yarn and pattern are really a great pair; this delicate, soft and gleaming cashmere and silk blend knits up into a warm and almost weightless fabric. It feels like total luxury and is perfect for a very special accessory!

I can't pick a favourite colour choice, but I did knit my sample (which my wise mum has already claimed) out of the Sea Storm option. I love it! There will be 14 kits available in each colour option and each kit will be $116 USD

Friday, April 8, 2016

26 hours and counting...

With the update almost here, and I'm enjoying the last bit of time surrounded by these beautiful yarn mountains. So many yarn mountains!

As promised, I'm back with more previews of what's to come tomorrow. Without any more nattering, here I go...

Mustard Seed


There will be lots of Polwarth + Alpaca, which is a very good thing indeed if you ask me!

This is an Eclipse, but it's a colourway I'm playing around with at the moment. Could become a real something soon!


Garden Ghost


Sea Storm


Blot, which surprisingly emerged as this soft pastel. I love it!

A little bit of Mohair Lace is destined for the shop tomorrow as well. While I love every single skein of this yarn, there are (I think) a few stand out colours this time round...

Pink Clay


Asteroid


Golden Oak


Garden Ghost

And I've dyed up lots of sweater quantities in MCN Worsted! I love to look at the piles and think about the lovely garments they may be knit into some day. And I've managed to not keep a lot of great stuff too...

Blot


Sea Storm


Pink Clay


Golden Oak

Also keep an eye out for Merino Singles 4 ply,  Merino Lace and Merino Fingering. 

I'm off now to sort out a few little things in preparation for tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

I almost kept this...


Yay, hooray, update day is almost here! As I know I have said already, it's a big one, and I am not exaggerating! Being such a big update, I have been busily preparing for a long time now, and am very much looking forward to Saturday. Mainly because it means that the yarn mountains all around the house will go to new, loving homes. Because I can't fit even one more skein of yarn in this house! (I know, this is totally NOT a bad problem to have)


Without a doubt, the highlight of this update for me is the debut of Mooresburg DK! Until now, only Kickstarter backers have had their hands on this lovely yarn. So it is an exciting moment indeed, because Mooresburg DK is spun locally to me, from the fleeces of local sheep to boot! It's 100% Cotswold/Dorset cross fleece spun into a bouncy 2-fold yarn in a Double Knit weight. Rustic, soft and lustrous all at the same time. It's good stuff!

Mineral


 Sea Storm


 Soft

Each 100g skein is 238 meters (260 yards) and $25 USD. I cannot wait to cast on another sweater in this yarn, but haven't been able to settle on the perfect pattern. Think I'm getting close though!


I recently finished knitting this Humboldt Sweater by the brilliant and lovely Anna Maltz. It calls for 2 yarns held double throughout, and I jumped at the chance to use Mooresburg as the main yarn (I used Giant Peach with a natural grey Wensleydale yarn) 


Just about every Viola yarn is going to be represented in this update, so I am working hard to narrow my favourites down for this list...and here they are...

Golden Oak

Sock yarn was especially tough to choose, as I am really into mixing heel and toe and contrasting colours into socks...it's just an excuse to have 3 times the colours!

The highly coveted mauve-ish Eclipse that I have managed to recreate...just this one time.


Surf


 Mooresburg

I just finished up a pair of socks in the Mooresburg colorway and loved it so much I'd be happy to cast on a second pair this minute!




Which leads me straight on into the sock kits that will be also be available. To save you some of the trauma of choosing 3 whole skeins of yarn , I've put together 4 different options for kits! Each kit contains 1 100g skein and 2 25g skeins of sock yarn! When you purchase the kit, I will also send a download code for Emily's Favourite Socks. Everything you need!


from left to right: Surf (MC) with Titus and Eclipse, Graffiti (MC) with Amaranth and Soft

Mustard Seed (MC) with Bronte and Eclipse, Golden Oak with Bronte and Blot.

I'll be sharing more previews as Saturday draws nearer. Still to come is Mohair Lace, MCN Worsted, Polwarth and Alpaca, Merino Lace, Merino Fingering and Merino Singles 4 ply. How exciting!



Tuesday, March 29, 2016

the big move approaches


 If you followed along with the Kickstarter campaign this winter, you already know that my current (soon to be former) dye studio is not so much of a studio, but a dark corner of a basement. Not ideal. I've made it work for a long time, developing a work routine that involves dodging paint cans, laundry hampers and stored Christmas decorations. Perhaps not what you would expect out of a work space, but I'm used to it. I'd like to think that I am pretty good at adjusting to strange situations and environments, sometimes I even think that I work better in them. So you can imagine the peculiar feeling I have about moving into a proper work space. One that I have designed to suit my needs...with light, storage space, work surfaces and drying areas that are not obscured by the Halloween mobile made of old turkey bones (I actually love this mobile) I know I'm going to get used to the new space. More than that, I'm sure that I will LOVE the new space...so long as I bring that mobile with me...


As the moving date draws near, I am scrambling to finish up lots of little jobs, clear out all the corners and generally get sorted. Starting fresh in a new space is just around the corner...
 Top priority is to move as little yarn as possible! I'll be dyeing up almost all of the yarn I have in stock for this update, which means big quantities in lots of bases. Sweaters for all (who want them, that is) I've been dyeing non stop for the past couple of weeks in preparation and yarn mountains are already forming on many surfaces about the house. These have become a common feature, but won't be around either once I'm into the new space.


 I'm hoping that this big update will tide everyone over for a wee while, as I will be taking a short break from dyeing once I make the move to Mooresburg - another reason for my frenzied prep. Not long, just a month or so.

 I will announce the date and time of this momentous and extra-large shop update very soon, along with some previews and my favourites (as always!) I haven't been able to share many pics just yet, but that hasn't stopped me from my usual project day dreaming and imaginary shopping. So stay tuned for more details...

For now, I am very excited to tell you that I will be offering a few items that are new to the etsy store...


...including NEW COLOURWAYS in sock kits, Mooresburg DK (woo hoo) and Viola meets Mooresburg totes for a start!  


In the mean while, the Sock KAL over in the Ravelry group is about to finish up. Just three days left to complete your Viola socks, which is lots of time! I have loved seeing the socks popping up over the course of this KAL, and am seriously excited about all of the sock kits that were knit over the course of the KAL as well. Thanks to everyone who has participated and shared their socks! I will be announcing the winner (chosen by random draw) in the Ravelry group on April 1st, so check in then!
Because I am obsessed, I decided to knit just one more pair for the KAL, so here's a peek at the first sock...


I'm using Mooresburg for the main colour, with, giant peach, dew drop and mustard seed contrasts!

 I've been knitting a lot of secret things recently, but here's one more that I can share....


It's a Garland pullover from Pom Pom magazine, issue 7. I have wanted to knit this thing from the moment the issue landed in my mailbox, and finally have cast it on! Inspired by Lydia and Sophie of the Pom Pom crew, who have both recently knit the pattern as well. I'm up to the armholes now, because I can't seem to put it down! Using Viola Mohair Lace...in an Eclipse colourway that I could not part with. So much fun!

Righto, off to finish up the foot on my second sock. Happy knitting!