SQ Blog

Finished project and buttonmania September 21 2015

One bonus of being laid up for the week with a bad back is that (after the initial not being able to sit up phase) there was plenty of knitting time. 

Vitsippa hat was a fun knit. From the diagonal stem pattern at the bottom to the flower stems at the top, the constant change in design kept it super-interesting. 

I used the new Skein Queen Ullvärme Swedish wool in Gin and Chocolate Mocha.

Vitsippa hat is by Joji Locatelli - a prolific knitwear designer from Argentina and I'll certainly be seeking out more of her designs.

The pattern appears in Spring 2015 Pompom magazine. If you're looking for a copy, I'll have more in the shop by mid-week.

Another new addition to the shop - Buttons!! Aren't they gorgeous?

High quality European-made buttons from a supplier who is extremely passionate about buttons and gets them made to her own specification.

Made in a variety of shell, coconut, resin and bamboo, these buttons make a perfect finishing touch for a treasured knitting project.


Introducing a new Swedish wool - Ullvärme September 09 2015

Ullvärme, or "warm wool" is spun by a Swedish company who can't bear to see this beautiful natural material go to waste as a by-product. They therefore collect wool from their local farms on the island of Öland and some on the neighbouring mainland and turn it into yarn. This wool can contain a blend of Dorsets, Suffolks, Dalasau and some Friesian milk ewes.

It's certainly a traditional wool rather than luxury yarn, with a softer handle than Gotland or Shetland, but more rustic than soft, silky yarns. It blooms and softens after being washed. So perfect for hard-wearing projects and excellent for colourwork.

Recommended needle size would be 3.25mm-3.75mm.

Gauge: 26 sts and 33 rows on 3.25mm needles on a 10cm square.

I couldn't resist casting on a Vitsippa hat by Joji Locatelli from the Spring 2015 Pompom Quarterly magazine, but choosing a great colour combination was haarrrrd! Too much choice! In the end, I opted for neutral tones with maximum contrast with Gin and Chocolate Mocha.

These beauties will be released from the shop at 8pm BST tonight (9th September).


The art of naming a new yarn base April 04 2014

I'm often asked "So, how do you get the names for your yarn bases?"

It's not as easy as you might think.

When I first started Skein Queen, I wanted to use names that encapsulated the luxurious nature of the yarn. So some of the originals were Opulent, Lavish, Delectable, Mellow, Wisp, Sumptuous, Blush, Elegance, Decadent, Plushness, Glister, Splendid, Desire and Divine. For various reasons, some have been discontinued but many have become SQ staples and I hope are thought of with some level of fondness by their owners.

As other yarns have been added to the range, I've had to get a bit more creative with names:

A camel/silk was called Oasis as it conjured up images in my mind of the old Silk Road trading route.

Yarns which contained silver and gold stellina were called Five-For-Silver and Six-For-Gold after the nursery rhyme about magpies.

100% silk was called Kimono.

A merino/seacell was called Shore.

A merino/bamboo was called Bali.

A squishy merino was called Squash and its nylon partner, called Crush.

Their high twist versions were called Entwist and Entwine.

An aran weight organic merino was called Grandiose, to convey its weightiness.

And Voluptuous was introduced to the range - the first of the weighty 200g skeins - I wanted it to sound heavy and enticing at the same time.

Tweedore was a challenge - 85% BFL with 15% Donegal nep. If I remember correctly, I looked up the names of mills in Ireland. No joy there. Nothing rang true. Then I searched on towns in Donegal and came up with Gweedore. I quite liked that. I liked the tenuous connection with my Orr surname. Then substituted the Gwee- for Tweed- and there we have a new yarn base name.

Other additions have been Luminosity (to convey the shine on a silk), Blimey (100% British yarn), Selkino (merino/silk singles), Lustrous, Noble, Luscious, Exquisite, Encore, Elixir, Enchant, Entice (a lot of "e's"), Cushy, Indulgence, Blissful, Bamboozle, Alpassion and Duchess.

And the most recent has been Oosie - which is a very special yarn which needed a special name. This one actually took me six months to think of. I knew John Arbon was spinning me a Scottish/English yarn and it was a considerable challenge to think what on earth I was going to call it. Some failed considerations were Unity, Hadrian, September and MacBeth. In the end, I opted for Oosie which comes from the Scottish word for wool "oo".

Once you've established the charactistics of the yarn you want to encapsulate (woolly or silky or soft or tweedy), the first port of call is always the thesaurus.

The perfect name might present itself, but there are a LOT of wool companies and yarn dyers out there, so the next stop is check on Ravelry in the Yarn section to see if the name has already been taken. And guess what? Nowadays, it most probably has.

Then you have to establish if the name has been used for a one-off handspun yarn that is unlikely to ever make an appearance again, or is a well-established known yarn base. If it's the latter, as a courtesy to other traders, I don't use it. That's my own personal choice.

As you can see, even from the names used within just the SQ range, we're reaching saturation point for finding new yarn names.

But there are other options: one dyer uses female names, another uses local place names, yet another uses animal names.

I plan to continue to get creative - so watch out for what will be coming next!

In the meantime, have a very happy, indulgent Easter and I'll be back in the workshop adding colour to white yarn in a week's time.


Exciting new British yarn March 19 2014

Custom spun by John Arbon for Skein Queen, Oosie is a bouncy, woolly, non-superwash yarn. Perfect for cardigans, scarves, gloves, hats, sweaters.
Oosie is derived from the old Scots word for wool "oo" and means fluff.

When I spoke to John at Yarndale last September, I said I'd love a second John Arbon yarn to add to the SQ range and that I'd ideally like a Scottish/English blend, what with the referendum coming up in September and being a Scot living in England, it seemed to resonate with my idea of an exciting British wool.

So this is what he came up with:

100% Scottish Down Cross - or Highland Suffolk which is a Suffolk bred in the Highlands and blended with a Scottish bred Cheviot.

  • 100% Scottish Down Cross
  • DK weight.
  • 200g.
  • Approx. 500m/547yards.

Spun by John Arbon in Devon. Dyed by Skein Queen in Berkshire.

Gauge: 21sts and 28 rows to 10cm on 4mm metal needles.

On sale in the online shop from tonight at 8pm GMT, including mini skeins if you want to try it out first.

 

And the lovely thing is that I'll be knitting a garment for a WWI film in Oosie - just got to dye some up in a manly colour first!