Not Monday

As you can tell, this isn’t Monday. There are 2 reasons for a lack of blog post yesterday, the big one being that I can’t get anything done when the husband is in the house – he causes too many distractions and last night he was waving SPECTRE in my face and I couldn’t refuse the call of Bond. James Bond.
The second reason is perhaps the most important one. I was in shock. Complete and utter shock.
As you may or may not know, I’m a little bit OCD when it comes to my stash. I have a beautifully colour coordinated spreadsheet which I’m rather proud of.


I’ve had this since 2012 and I love it. I update it every Monday (be it adding new yarn or removing a ball that I’ve knitted up) and keep track of the weekly totals.
This week the total is 65.5 miles, which while particularly scary is actually less than a few weeks ago when it was hitting 70 miles.
So why was I in shock? Well the above snapshot is actually just the yarn that lives in the living room, and it’s nearly 10 miles on its own. In 2017 I only knitted about 10 miles, so it could take me all year to knit up just what I can see!!!
But, all is not lost! I’ve been making excellent use of my Ravelry queue – I’ve been matching yarn to patterns for a few weeks now and have enough queued to keep me going for a while. There’s a mixture of cowls, socks, shawls and mitts in there, so plenty of variety.


I’m also desperately clinging to the Cold Sheep this year. I go through this routine every January where I decide I’m not buying yarn again until I’ve used up a good portion of what I already have. Then by about May I’ve caved and bought a whole load to make up for the lack of buying… but this year I’m determined to get the stash down to a decent level. I’ve already sold a lot of sock yarn I know I won’t use, and I’ll continue to clear out the unloveds as I go along.
There are 3 hurdles that may stop me in my tracks this year:
First up is Woollinn – this takes place in Dublin in May and, although I’m exhibiting there, the temptation to buy some fabulous yarn will be a bit too much, so I’m bringing moral support with me.
Next is Yarn Folk – this is the second year of this festival in Whitehead, and again I’m exhibiting at this one. It’s going to be bigger and better than last years, and while I was restrained last August, I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to repeat that performance!
Lastly, the annual Dublin trip in November – while my purchases have steadily decreased over the years from 50/60 skeins to 10 or less, I’ll still end up buying yarn I don’t know what to do with!
So, if I can behave myself during these 3 festivals, then I reckon I’ll be ok.
Does anyone else have the same issue as me, or am I along in my struggle?
How do you organise your stash?

Do you match yarn to patterns? I’d really love to know!



Planning Next Year’s Crafting

It’s that time of year again, when the calendars flip over and we all have the best intentions of using this shiny new time to be the best person we can be.

The Holiday Crafting is over and we declare “this is the year I will only create for myself”, or “I will only use my stash this year.”

So it falls to me, the resident planner, to tell you how I am planning to craft in the new year.

First of all I go and take a good hard look at my WIPs, and the items I have in my queue.

So I’ll do a WIP round up for you.

Currently in progress I have:

Apart from the Mini Mania which is my stash busting project for scraps and stuff, I should have these completed before the season’s change.

Then we get on the the queue, or what I like to call my list of potentials.

Now too keep my on track, as I’ve mentioned before I give myself due dates for when things should be finished. For example the hat I am knitting is for my father who loves to SCUBA dive, and needs to be gifted when I see him in the summer. So I have a completion due date of August 1st.

To keep these in my mind not only do I use my Ravelry queue, but I also use my paper planner. By using the awesome stickers I get from SymposiPress I track how long a project has been in progress, and get to reward myself with a sticker when it is done.

Cowl Planner Stickers

Aren’t these AWESOME?

So what are you doing next year? Do you have a system in place to track your progress, and do you have any big goals you are hoping to create?


If, like me, everything is running late this month then you’re not alone!

Notice how its Wednesday and blog day is Monday – yup, my week has started in a spectacular fashion.

The last few weeks have been a blur of craft fairs, Continental market shifts, work and dyeing –  it’s a lot to juggle and since I’m not at home very much the Christmas knitting has fallen by the wayside (sorry bro, you’ll get your socks in January 2018)

So I’ve decided that a no pressure knitting December is in order. I’ve located all the wips and am slowly working through them all in turn:

1.       Garter Hat  just needs a pompom

2.       Opal socks –  need to finish the 2nd one

3.       Other opal socks – need to start the 2nd one

4.       Hand dyed socks –  again, the 2nd needs started

5.       Beetle hoodie  need to rip back the arm shaping and make the body longer

There are a few long term projects in there too, mainly consisting of blankets in one form or another.

Once I’ve tackled at least some of these wips, I’m casting on a new thing! But this is where I need your help.

I need you to comment with your choice and these are the options:

 1.       Hundred Acre Wood shawl in some lovely Rosies Moments yarn

2.       Spiral cowl in Woolpaca.

4.        Gothic Lace Cowl in something I’ll find,lol

5.  or The Summer Shawl in some lovely lovely Secret Stash Merino Silk

So which gets your vote? I’m hoping to have a wee sneaky cast on on Christmas Day if you care to join me!  I’m trying to work down the “living room stash” at the minute so the yarn that lives in there is first on the hit list!

Round up

If you remember reading this post then you’ll remember that I was trying to get all the yarn dyed up for Loch Ness Knit Fest. Well you’ll be pleased to know that I did eventually manage to dye it all up, pack the car and made it to Inverness in 1 piece – I had a helper though:


Nessie was made by Anja from a kit by Toft

So in between customers, I naturally went shopping (for “research” purposes you understand. I didn’t want any yarn at all *snicker* course I wanted it!)

Over the course of 2.5 days I built up quite the stash of hand dyed yarn,. Now for anyone who knows me, knows that I’m the queen of yarn hoarding, I possibly have enough in my stash to last a nuclear winter without running short.

My stash is made up of two types of yarn – the commercial and the hand dyed. How many times have I used hand dyed to make a project? Three. And those were all sample knits.

The reason for this pathetic number is simple –  because its hand dyed its precious, special, possibly a colourway never to be repeated. Its automatically entered into the Shrine of Precious.  And yes, I’m in awe of those people who see a skein of precious that they like, cake that bad boy up and create fabulous things with it.

My plan is to start using those lovely skeins, they were made for crafting and by all the stash gods, I’m going to knit mine up!

Wanna see what I bought then? Course you do!!!

Up there we have Dye Ninja, The Fabulous Mr G, Wee County Yarns, Cookston Crafts  (my hubby bought this skein for me) and finally Lovebugs Yarns.

And because I’d already spent a small fortune on yarn, I went online and bought some more! (I’ve a problem!!)

Just a little of EweMomma and Unbelievawool to enhance the stash a bit further.

No more yarn for me!! (Well, after Dublin this weekend I mean) I’ve lots of projects lined up on ravelry which use my hoard of hand dyed so hopefully I’ll be sharing some of those with you soon.

Do you have a hand dyed problem? Whose your favourite indie dyer?

Under Pressure

When we craft we do so for a myriad of reasons, for a gift, to increase our skills, as a charitable donation. Whatever the reason, each project always comes with a little bit of pressure, whether it is a deadline or the desire to improve, or dare I say it, impress! I have written before about the ‘resident evil’ which was the mini Christmas stockings and the Easter ducks, and have vowed never, ever to repeat those stitching marathons. However, every now and then a project comes along which turns the screw so tight you think you might just crack!

It all started out quite innocently – a post in a WhatsApp group, ‘ would anyone like to knit a sample for the upcoming knitting festivals?’  Always keen to help out a pal, and to be honest, any excuse to have a go with some of Secret Stash’s lovely aran yarn, I said ‘Me please’.  I offered to knit the ‘five day a week cowl’ designed by our own Jaele, and this is where the wheels came off the bus.  Nikki had just completed this project so didn’t really need another one so in  a moment of madness I said, ‘i’ll do Flax’.  Now, let me be clear – there is absolutely nothing in the wide world wrong the Flax – its a great pattern, the issue was with my complete inability to read very clear instructions and follow them.  In recent months it feels like the world and its wife have knit Flax. From all around the table came cries of ‘just finished Flax,’ ‘I’m on my my twentieth Flax’ (possibly a slight exaggeration), ‘Flax is great and soooooooo easy’

So armed with Nikki’s beautiful yarn and my freshly printed copy of the pattern I set to work. The more I tried to concentrate the more of a muddle I got into. I had to knit the yoke four times and even managed to snarl up the plain stocking stitch body – and don’t get me started on the sleeves!

If this had been a project for myself it would have been confined to a corner, under something heavy.  But, it wasn’t for me, it was specifically to show off the yarn and entice people to buy, so I just had to stick with it.  Eventually after many many cups of tea, and occasionally something stronger the jumper was finished. It showed off the yarn to perfection and was lovely and squishy.  If you don’t look too closely under the arm seams it even passes as competent.

Despite the issues, i’m very proud of this wee piece and have vowed to try more new things in the future – even if they are not entirely straightforward.


There’s quite a hive of activity going on in my house at the minute, and that’s why this post is late!

I’ll set the scene shall I?

Well, its like this. My baby sister (she’ll kill me for calling her that) is now at Uni in Lincoln and, circumstances being as they were, Gibbs was coming to live with us.  But, because we were at work all day, we thought it would be nice to get him a wee brother/cousin (since Gibbs is my nephew and all…..its confusing) to keep him company while we’re out. So….enter Spenser to the family.


Meanwhile, I had applied for and been successful in getting a place at this years Loch Ness Knit Fest so I was trying to dye up yarn for that, but its really difficult to do anything when you’ve 2 Westies sitting on you!

Fast forward to yesterday when I realised just how close we are until we head to Inverness, and the small mountain of yarn sitting on my kitchen floor to be dyed! (don’t worry, its clean!)

Queue panic stations! Pots were thrown onto the cooker, big trays were filled and dye powder filled the air –  by the time I stopped last night I had barely made a dent.

This is the fruits of yesterdays labours – some old colourways and some new. All still need labelled and tidied.  There’s another batch of coourways in drying at the minute and the kettle is just coming to the boil for the next lot.


Of course, while all this madness is going on, two little dogs are demanding my attention, my pizza and most likely my biscuits when I get around to making myself tea!

So, if you want to see just what will be on offer from Secret Stash then check out our etsy shop here. It is continually being updated with all the lovely skeins so check back regularly.


Time for tea.

We’ve got the whole world in our hands

Saturday the 9th June was Worldwide Knitting in Public Day, and in thousands of locations globally crafters were taking up their projects and joining in.

Belfast Stitch and Bitch was no exception. This year our event was in the Dock, an honesty box cafe in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter. We are regulars there and it’s our second home after Starbucks. It was a special year as the group is celebrating its 10th anniversary and the celebratory pattern book was to be distributed and sold.

Nikki was our organiser and as the day got closer we were tempted with images of ballot prizes and promises of lemon drizzle buns. The event was due to start at 12.00, but a number of us were so excited we were beating the door down at 11.00.

After a frantic 20 minutes of moving tables, labelling prizes, setting up the book stand and launching up our brand new pop up we were ready for business.

It was a great day with over 20 crafters and their children ranging from 3 months to 16 years around the table. Crafts ranged from knitting, crochet and embroidery to spinning. The book was admired and purchased and us canny folk who had preordered even got a goodie bag and a badge.  We love a badge!

The buzz around the table was great and before too long, patterns, yarn, stories, Sharon’s magic dip and the lemon buns were being passed around. The unlikely hit of the afternoon was the raffle / ballot / tombola? Nikki had gathered a wide variety of prizes and we all had our eye on something special (number 16 – merino baby kit). With the odds at a one in five chance we were all keen to take part. After a slow start with only a few prizes won we all felt our chances had improved and a veritable frenzy resulted. Speaking personally my children will be living on beans all week due to my determination to win number 16 (which I eventually did). Helen won the coveted ball winder and Ruth got vouchers for no one but two yarn bundles.

Eventually the afternoon drew to a close and old friends and new drifted away and WWKIP day was over for another year. We left tired, but very happy and our minds turing to where our yarn adventures will take us next….

A big weekend

This Saturday is a big weekend for crafters everywhere – its World Wide Knitting in Public Day! While last years WWKIPD was all kinds of funs, this year we thought we’d do something different.

This years event is a double whammy! On one hand, its all about the knitting and crocheting and on the other, its all about Knit 10 Together –  yup, we’re combining WWKIPD and a book launch!

eurpoeThis Saturday we’ll all be heading to The Dock Café for lots of tea and crafting from 12 -5 so even if you can drop in for a few minutes we’d love to meet up with you.



As for this mysterious book launch, its taken on a life of its own (my fault really, lol)  You can get yourself a copy on the day for the princely sum of £10  Here’s a sneaky peek at the cover . If you’ve preordered your copy then yours will be ready and w18879881_10154737594523727_618194383318686984_oaiting for you 🙂

As well as all this, we’ve put together quite an excellent raffle/tombola type thing – pay your money and pull out  a raffle ticket. If your ticket corresponds to a number on a prize then you win. Simples.

So what have we? Well…. we have yarny and non yarny prizes from the following kind folks:

Parlour Yarns, Dye Candy, Mina Loves Designs, Secret Stash, Mourne Archery Centre, NI Big Sock  and Ewe Momma Knits to name but a few.

I’ll be showcasing the prizes every day this week on facebook so go check out the Event Page!

Knitting together for 10

The buzz in Belfast city centre was not all about the marathon today.  It also marked the 10th anniversary of Belfast Stitch and Bitch.  We returned to our usual haunt of the Victoria Square Starbucks and were spoiled by the staff with sandwiches, cake and lots and lots of tea.

Never a group to do things by half, a plan was launched several months ago to mark the anniversary in style with the creation of our very first pattern book. Patterns from a range of knitters and crocheters, Nikki, Sharon, Anja, Nicky, Suin and Jaele are included and there is something for everyone. So if a bunneh is your thing or your more of a gauntlet kind of gal get on to Nikki to order your book and goodie bag (

The book costs a very competitive £10 and the book with goodie bag is only £15. They will be available for collection on our holy day 10th June (worldwide knitting in public day) or they can be posted for a small fee.

But Belfast SNB is much more than high days and holidays – the last ten years have been filled with fibre, fellowship and fun.  This powerful group of (mainly) women have supported each other through births, deaths and marriages, as well as divorce, unspeakable bosses, unreasonable landlords and much much more. Members know that on a Wednesday there will be a listening ear and a sympathetic shoulder as well as a willing audience to share the more lighthearted events of week. Sometimes it’s just enough to pitch up and craft quietly knowing that there are good friends around you. My mother once noted (not entirely ironically) that I had knit my way out of two nervous breakdowns!

So if you are looking for a haven from the hustle and bustle of the world and a forum to share your most outrageous stories (nothing is off the table at SNB), come along and join us for the next 10 years.


Something is coming.

Excitement is in the air.

The anticipation is building.


Facebook group members are being bombarded with silly pictures of excited things, a bit like the above really, but this is  because we are celebrating our 10th birthday. Yes, 10 years ago this month a few friends met up to knit, and it snowballed from there.

10 years is pretty huge, I mean, who would have thought that we’d still be going strong!We’ve had plenty of people through our doors, some came for a night and some came and stayed forever. Its not a group of knitters anymore, it’s a family meet up every week.

And this family is a little bit crazy.

Back in January….or February, we were having one of our excited “what if” chatting sessions and talking about our birthday.  “What if we did something special”, “what if we designed a pattern for our birthday”, “what if we ALL designed a pattern” and this is where it snowballed.

Quick as a flash, we had a core group of designers (new and old hands) and a bunch of testers working furiously on the designs. Whatsapp was red hot with a dedicated chat just for this crazy idea, Jaele was being bombarded with emails with patterns in them that she had to format, meetings were held and the deadline was looming.

Because, ladies and gentlemen, we decided that the best way to celebrate our special birthday was to publish our very own pattern book.  Yes, you read that right, a book!!

We’ve put together a collection of patterns that we hope will appeal to a range of crafters –  we’ve got crocheted and knitted patterns, with colourwork, beads and the cutest toys.

I have to say that, even though I may have contributed to it, I’m EXTREMELY proud of what our little crafting community has managed to put together, not just for us but for the whole of the Belfast Stitch and Bitch community. You may not have been able to join us on a Wednesday or a weekend knitting session, but your presence in the Facebook and Ravelry groups means a lot.



I hope I’ve managed to whet your appetite!

We’ll be hosting a Preliminary Viewing of the book and its contents:

Date: 1 May 2017

Time: 11-3

Where: Starbucks Victoria Square

Come and join us for a spot of crafting time and see what we’ve put together! At the viewing we’ll be taking pre-orders so you’ll be guaranteed a copy. You’ll also have the option of paying a little bit more for a goodie bag if you wish.

More information will be coming out on Facebook over the next few days….have to keep you all keen!  (But if you can’t make the preview and want to get a your hands on a copy, just email me: and I’ll add you to the list)

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