Sunday, 31 January 2016

January FO's

So, please excuse the unexplained quiet over here - I've been busy juggling retail work, with dyeing work and knitting and general life! I haven't done as much knitting as I'd have liked this month - my inspiration has been all over the place and I've had trouble settling on projects. But I have finished a few things and I wanted to share them with you. I thought I'd do monthly round ups of my FO's - primarily to ensure I actually take photographs of them! So without further ado, here are January's...

Stranded Blog Knitting FOs Amy Edwards Green
Toe Up Vanilla Socks (improvised pattern). This is my first pair of socks using 72 stitches instead of 64, and 2mm (US 0) instead of 2.25mm (US 1) needles. The fit is much better - and I prefer the density of the fabric to the socks I had been making. I made these as a sample for my shop - out of Stranded Dyeworks Oasis Fingering in the 'Ocean Rainbow' colourway.
Stranded Blog Knitting FOs Amy Edwards Green Stranded Blog Knitting FOs Amy Edwards Green
I also knit a second Slable Hat by Woolly Wormhead - also out of Stranded Dyeworks yarn - the Paradise MCN fingering in 'Pumpkin Spice'. This is a birthday present for a friend - and is being modelled by mother, as since I've had all my hair chopped off - hats look very silly on me! This is something I'm pretty sad about, as I love love love hats.
Stranded Blog Knitting FOs Amy Edwards Green Stranded Blog Knitting FOs Amy Edwards Green
Finally, I finished my Color Affection shawl - which was on my list of 5 Shawls I wanted to knit this year. This is a pattern by Veera Välimäki that I knit out of Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles in 'Granny', 'Villain' and 'Truffle'. I love it - but I wish I'd done the yarn over modifications people have suggested on raverly, because the edges are so tight that the ends curl up... But it's still super squishy (technical term) and really wearable.

Not a bad start to the year in my opinion... I just need to work on my sweater goals... But hey, you can't do everything, right?!

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Stranded Podcast: Episode 2


0:00-3:46: Introduction, thankyous, I ramble a bit about the cold weather, show off my new haircut and talk about my hand knit cowl of an improvised pattern, which uses corespun yarn by Heather of Little Owl Crafts.

3:47-9:30: Works In Progress: I'm working on four projects this week...

- Color Affection Shawl by Veera Välimäki, knit out of 3 skeins of Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles in 'Truffle', 'Villian' and 'Granny'. I'm on the 3rd section - the short row section - it should hopefully be finished by next week!

- Slable Hat by Woolly Wormhead, knit out of a skein of my handdyed yarn - Stranded Dyeworks Paradise in the 'Pumpkin Spice' colourway. I mention the previous Slable Hat I made which you can see right here.

- Sock Blank Socks, an improvised vanilla toe up pattern on 2mm (US 0), knit out of a sock blank from Sew Knit Obsessed.

- Two Hexipuffs from the Beekeepers Quilt pattern by Tiny Owl Knits. The yarn is a sample from Wren & Ollie in 'Wheatgrass' and some leftovers of Stranded Dyeworks Oasis in 'Ocean Rainbow'.

9:31-10:35: Finished Objects: I have one finished object this week - my Ocean Rainbow vanilla socks are finished! Knit with Stranded Dyeworks Oasis in 'Ocean Rainbow'. These are an improvised toe up vanilla pattern on 2mm (US 0) needles.

10:36-13:05: Spinning: I've been working on one spinning project, my merino mixed bags from Nunoco in the 'Fen' colourway. I have 2x100g bags that I'm spinning together, separately out the colours to create a long gradient. I then talk a little bit about the fibre prep I like to spin.

13:06-14:19: Dyeing: I show off a new colourway I'm calling 'Funfair' which is on my Oasis base. I've also dyed Ocean Rainbow on both of my fingering weight bases but they're both still drying. (These are up in the shop now if you're interested!)

14:20-End: I respond to a viewer's request to talk a little bit out my experience with Art School, and studying creative subjects to a degree level. I didn't go about the university process in the usual way so I talk about it a little more in depth. The schools I mention are here:

Wimbledon School of Art - They no longer offer the foundation diploma - they turned the building I studied in, into flats... but you can find out more about the foundation diploma's that the University of the Arts London offer right here.

Camberwell College of Art - disclaimer: I didn't study here, but I have friends who did and loved it.

Kingston University, Illustration and Animation undergraduate degree. This was the school and course I studied at.


Thankyou so much for watching! All feedback is greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Introducing the Stranded Podcast...

One of last year's knitting resolutions was to start my own knitting podcast. I'm a year too late - but who's counting?! Please excuse the video quality of the very first episode - I'm going to attempt to record the next one using my DSLR...


0:00-2:14 - Introduction and a little bit about me.

2:15-9:57  - Works In Progress:

Improvised Slip-Stitch socks, on size 2.25mm (US 1) HiyaHiya Sharps, out of Wren & Ollie 'Ollie's Sock' in the 'Serendipity' colourway.

Toe-up vanilla sock, improvised pattern, on size 2mm (US 0) needles - ChiaoGoo Red Lace (even though I don't mention that!) - this is being knit out of my hand dyed yarn Stranded Dyeworks 'Oasis Fingering' in the 'Ocean Rainbow' colourway.

Insouciant by Julie Hoover, out of Habu Textiles in Tsumugi Silk.

Color Affection shawl by Veera Välimäki. This is knit out of Hedgehog Fibres 'Skinny Singles' in the colourways Truffle, Villain and Granny.

Hexipuff Seat Cushion from The Bee Keeper's Quilt pattern by Tiny Owl Knits out of assorted sock yarn leftovers.

9:58-14.40 Projects I'm Proud Of:

Stranded Knitting Blog Old Romance Cardigan Joji Locatelli

Old Romance cardigan by Joji Locatelli. Knit out of Madeline Tosh Sock in the 'Moorland' colourway, with modifications by ittybitty.

Stranded Blog Stranded Dyeworks Knitting Spinning Dyeing Crochet Fibre Friday Amy Edwards Green

Pomme de Pin cardigan by Amy Christoffers. Knit out of Madeline Tosh Pashmina in the 'Leopard' colourway (again, something I neglect to mention). I talked more about this project in this blog post.

Stranded Knitting Fibre Friday Yarn Blog

Linus Shawl by Annett Cordes, knit out of 2ply, fractally spun handspun from batts by Justadaydream in the 'Olive Bowl' colourway.

14:41-16:50 - Spinning:

No actual spinning to share, but I show off the Akerworks Bobbins I received for Christmas, for my Schacht Matchless spinning wheel.

16:51-End - Dyeing:

No actual dyeing to show (it was Christmas guys, I was lazy!) but I talk a little about my hand dyed yarn business Stranded Dyeworks.

You can find me on ravelry and instagram as amyflorence.


So it's the very first episode, a learning curve - I need to write more detailed show notes for when I record next - so I don't forget vital information like colourway names! But seeing as I started recording this about thirteen times, just finishing it and uploading it feels like an achievement!

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

5... Shawls that I want to cast on right now.

I knit three shawls last year - this year I really want to make more! Here are some that have been on my list for a while now...
Stranded Blog Inspiration Shawls Knitting
Exploration Station by Stephen West. I knit a Daybreak shawl a couple of summers back - I think it might have been my first ever shawl project... Anyway, a lot of Stephen's designs are a little too out-there for my tastes, but I really like this shawl. I think the colour palette pictured here really helps too - I love corals.
Stranded Blog Inspiration Shawls Knitting
Color Affection by Veera Välimäki. I've actually already cast on my Color Affection (oh my it feels wrong spelling colour the US way!) - using some Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles that I scored in an update just before Christmas. I've just started the short row section and I'm loving it! Such a fun, addictive knit.
Stranded Blog Inspiration Shawls Knitting
Tailwind by Clara Falk. I first saw this shawl on the Knitting Expat podcast with Mina and I love the simplicity of it! I want to knit this as a shop sample with some of my Stranded Dyeworks yarn - maybe greys with a pop of neon... Stranded Blog Inspiration Shawls Knitting
Duane Park Triangle by Kirsten Kapur. The combination of garter, stripes and lace in this pattern is utterly perfect! It's just enough lace to add a dainty, feminine edge.
Stranded Blog Inspiration Shawls Knitting
Volga by Jenny F. This last one is more of a cowl than a shawl - but it was too nice to leave off. I love the drape-y fabric, this is so 'me' - there's nothing I like more than jazzing up a plain top with a big cowl or shawl. I love the slipped stitch 'seam' detail down the centre and the lattice lace sections add a fabulous texture to it.

Okay - let's see how many of these I can manage this year! One can never have too many shawls, right?! ;)

Sunday, 3 January 2016

2015 - or How Knitting Saved My Life.

At the beginning of 2015 I couldn't go to the supermarket without having a panic attack. I slept for about 18 hours a day and I left the flat two days a week to go to work. I stopped going to university, I didn't cook anything. I stayed in bed, ate packet after packet of biscuits and wished I was dead. I'd been doing this for about five months before it became evident that I was going to fail my degree, not be able to afford to live in my over priced South London flat anymore and if nothing worse, eat myself to death. So in February, I moved to Sussex, to live in the spare room of my parents' new house, while I tried to put myself back together.

When I left London I weighed 210bs - I was an 18/20 UK dress size. This is a photo of my Docklight sweater that didn't make it onto the blog.

Leaving London was the hardest thing I have ever done. It's the only place I've ever lived. I had a job I enjoyed, with a company I was proud to work for. I had the kind of friends I have never had before. I had my independence and I lived in a flat with the best flatmate a girl could wish for. But I was miserable, I was more depressed than I'd ever been and I was so scared of everything that I rarely went outside. Eating was the only thing that temporarily made me feel alright. So I didn't have a choice, there wasn't a decision to be made, I had to leave.

The Spring Beret I knit for Aleks in the Buckaloo View Mystery Hat Swap.

When I arrived in Sussex, I didn't know anybody, I'd completely lost my knitting mojo and I thought my life was over. I would stare at the walls for hours on end and sleep just for some space away from my thoughts. And then I knit a hat for a swap that my friend Nina said I should join. I knit the Spring Beret by Natalie Larson in a day and it turned out that actually knitting was all it took to kickstart my mojo.

Some of my Stranded Dyeworks yarn in the Paradise MCN base.

I got a retail job to pay for driving lessons. I started and then finished therapy. I met with my doctor and started taking new meds that actually work. I joined a knitting group. I lost 28lbs. I passed my driving theory test in November and I opened up an online shop to sell my hand dyed yarns. I started this blog. And I knit. A lot.

A handful of projects from 2015.

Looking back on the things I made last year, validates the time I spent, predominantly alone, getting well.

Yesterday I booked flights to go to Nashville, Tennessee in July, to attend the SSK retreat run by The Knit Girllls. That's a 15hr flight with two stopovers. I have never been on a plane on my own before, I have never been on holiday on my own before. In July, it's just me and a suitcase full of knitting, heading across the Atlantic on the biggest adventure I have ever had. And to think, this time last year I couldn't walk five minutes down the street to the supermarket on my own.

I'm sorry for posting this photo for a third time - but I wanted a recent photograph of me to contrast with the first photo. 

I'm looking forward to everything that 2016 has in store for me and I intend to spend as much of it as possible, needles in hand. I'm not sure if knitting saved my life, but it definitely helped.

Sidenote: If you're struggling with Depression or Anxiety or any mental illness, it is the worst thing in the world. A year ago I wanted nothing more than my life to be over. It does get better. It's not always perfect. But it does get better.