Friday, 17 October 2014


I am sitting here while my girls are sitting on the front doorstep eating hula hoops.  Other school mums are probably walking past pitying them, but they think this is the best thing that has ever happened to them.  They rarely eat such treats and to be sitting on the front step watching the world go by, well it's as close to sitting in a Parisian cafe as they're likely to get at the moment!

So I'm pondering life.  I'm wondering what direction things will take over the next 12 months.  I want to expand my "business" and have some exciting collaborations coming up as well as several cool events.  I don't want to overstretch myself but yarn shows are clearly more successful for me than craft shows.  I loved Duck Pond Market in Highgate and will be there again in December, but if you don't knit/crochet/weave then you don't randomly pick up a skein of yarn....  I plan to have some more ready made gifts available (brooches, hair accessories and hats mainly) as well as kits with patterns and a skein of yarn already packaged together.  But my bigger plans involve specific yarn shows - I'll be at Waltham Abbey Wool Show in January and will be travelling up to Scotland in March to take a stall at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival  These are both guaranteed to be successful and will really help me build my current small client base!  I would like to go to Woolfest, Fibre East and at least one other show.  Just need to keep things calm and not too hectic as from January I am also going to be increasing my NHS commitments to 5 days in two weeks.  I hope to have two days a month to concentrate on yarn related work with no childcare commitments!

If I can successfully combine work, childcare, caring for my disabled 11 year old when he's home from his residential school and keep up Shamu Makes I'll be very pleased.  I love the creative process whether it's dyeing or kntting or designing and it helps keep me grounded when the going gets tough.

Watch this space and keep me on track!

Monday, 13 October 2014

Weekend WIPs

Oops. It's been a while since I updated here.

Lots to tell you about this week. I am working on a set of single skein designs for warm winter accessories many of them glamorous and special!  I've finished a moebius cowl in double knit Selkie yarn with a beaded picot edging. It's silky, warm. Glamorous and practical!  What else could you want?

I'll add photos as soon as it's dry enough to get a good picture!

My current project is for some glamorous gauntlets - fingerless mittens with a beaded ruffle and picot edging. They are glamorous but practical and will make the most luxurious special Christmas gift. I have knitted them up with a skein of double knit Selkie twinkle yarn.  I will be selling the pattern along with beads and ribbon to embellish them as kits - available at Duck Pond Market in November and December and will list them in Etsy in kit format too. The pattern will be available on Ravelry too

As winter draws near I have started knitting up toddler Pixie Hoods for my sling wearing friends - the first has been delivered to its new home and I'm about to knit an autumnal red, brown and gold hood. It's going to look fabulous!

What are you knitting?

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Weekend WIPs

It's been another busy week - I have a stall at Duck Pond Market in Highgate next Sunday and am getting yarn labelled and display ideas finalised plus knitting up a few samples so that you can see my yarn knitted up.  I'm very excited and will have my handy helper (aka my daughter) helping me set up and sell!  If you are popping in to see me then make sure you check out my Facebook page on Saturday where I'll be sharing a code word to get a little treat from my stall!

I have finished my gorgeous Frangipani shawl but need to block it.  Hopefully I'll get it blocked this week so I can wear it on Sunday!

My current design, a moebius cowl, is still on the needles but progressing well.  I seem to spend too much time on social media and networking to get it finished so planning to plough through it this evening!

My long term project, a beautiful Garter Squish, is progressing slowly but surely.  Very pleased to be working on this on cooler nights but this weekend has been warm and muggy in London, so I've put it to one side.

I had a meeting with the lovely Catchloops this week - watch this space for some fabulous collaborations.

What have you been up to this week?

Monday, 22 September 2014

Weekend WIPs

It's been a busy week and weekend.  I took delivery of 9kg of yarn on Monday so spent a lot of the week dyeing and drying!

This lot

has been in part dyed and dried!

Just have to get it all labelled and photos taken for the Etsy shop!

This weekend has mostly been about singing - my daughter was singing with The IVY League Chorus for their last rehearsal before the annual LABBS convention in October and then on Sunday I spent the whole day with Capital Connection while we had a coaching session with the incredible Cindy Hansen.  

So there hasn't been a lot of time for knitting.

My Frangipani is nearly finished - pictures after blocking next week!  I've been adding beads in the lower half so am beading the cast off too.  It looks really pretty.

Not made much progress on anything else but I am hoping that I'll be updating next week with a new design all of my own!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Weekend WIPs

As I work on Wednesdays I think my wip posts are definitely weekend posts!

Currently on my needles are:

Frangipani in green and purple hues of Shamu Makes yarn. About 6 rows left. Hopefully I'll finish that tomorrow and will have a picture some time next week

Curious Collective design and knit along shawl  - using a Shamu makes BFL sock yarn in "woodland Sprite" with a chocolate brown alpaca as contrast. I've chosen to be in the Enchanted Forest tribe. The pattern is lovely and I'm adoring how the colours are working together in the variegated part. Just a few rows until I'm on the lace.

Garter squish - the perfect autumn/ winter stash buster blanket!  I'm using up all sorts of oddments and it's stunning. The I cord edging is really easy and effective and I'll be incorporating it into a design of my own very soon!

I have a couple of projects to block this week - pictures later

What have you got on your needles?

Monday, 8 September 2014

A lovely little knitalong

It hasn't all been quiet on the crafting front here at Shamu HQ.  Whilst I haven't been dyeing or selling for a while I have made time to create things for the family and friends.  Lately I've been addicted to shawl knitting - I love how you can turn a single skein of special sock yarn into a stunning and special shawl with a few lace repeats and some patience.  There are so many lovely shawl patterns out there that I can't begin to name my favourites but recently I have become a major fan of Helen Stewart's designs and am embarking on my fourth shawl from her as part of her "Curious Collective Design and Knitalong" that is being hosted on her blog/podcast/Ravelry.  Her website is Curious Handmade and as well as knitting her shawls I have been catching up with her podcast.  The DKAL pattern was released today and is absolutely lovely - see here.  I'm knitting it in a variegated BFL sock in "Woodland Sprite" and a chocolate brown alpaca blend sock yarn, both dyed by me.  I can't wait to see how this progresses and am looking forward to seeing other people's shawls developing.

Why not join me in the knit along?  There's plenty of time to join, and if you ask nicely I'm sure I can find a skein or two of yarn for you!


Sunday, 7 September 2014

Needs must!

A couple of days ago, my Ravelry pattern feed showed me a stunning lace weight waterfall shaped open cardigan that I just had to purchase. Soubrette looks simple with an unusual construction but stunning once completed.  I have a stash of single skeins of lace weight yarn but this needs 2 skeins. How to solve this dilemma?  There was only one thing to do - out came the dyes and pots!  I haven't been able to turn my hand to dyeing for the last 8 months so I was a little worried I'd have lost my touch. It seems I was wrong!

I've chosen a merino/bamboo blend for my cardigan and wanted something that reflected the changing autumnal leaves as summer fades to autumn. I think I've captured that with several passes through yellow, grey, brown and red dye baths!

The pattern is discounted by 40% for the next couple of days so pop over to Ravelry and grab it now!

Shamu xxx