August is just around the corner, and throughout the month Woolly Wormhead is the designer of the month at Ginger Twist Studio in Edinburgh. What better opportunity then than to introduce you to a skein of their own hand-dyed yarn?

 
 

This is a skein of beautifully lush green, much richer than it appears on your screen! This is Ginger's Hand-Dyed Masham Mayhem DK in colourway 'Part of Your World'. With 262yd/240m it's a generous skein of 50% British Masham, 20% British Bluefaced Leicester.

 
 

It's 2-ply texture will offer fantastic stitch detail and still be incredibly soft next to the skin. Perfect for cables and lace alike, I'd say, and there's a whole host of patterns on the Sports and DK pattern page you could choose from!

It's slightly lighter than last week's featured yarn, and would work well for something like Half Theory, with it's subtle twisted stitch detail, or really set off the cables in Encircle. Slipped Ridge would be another perfect match, or how about Coldharbour Twist? Dryad would look gorgeous in this yarn, as would Freccia, Limpetiole or Everglade. This skein is a lofty woolly wool, airy and warm, and would suit a warm practical Hat. So many to choose from!

As with previous weeks, leave a comment below to be in with a chance of winning this lovely skein of yarn. Leave me your Ravelry username, your choice of pattern and why, and don't forget to enter your email address in the relevant field so that I can get in touch with you. I'll leave this open until Tuesday 2nd August when I'll draw the winner using a random number generator.

Best of luck, and I've something else to share with you for my Designer of the Month stint at Ginger Twist Studio - a brand new design!

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I've been meaning to post for ages and let you know that I've been adding lots of new tutorials, and now that pile has grown somewhat!

The landing page is the best place to find them all, but I haven't yet figured out how to make it active by simply clicking on Tutorials in the header (something I loved in SS5 and is sorely missing in SS7). Fear not though, as I'm keeping the page up to date with links to all of the methods.

And there are new pages! I've since added Grafting, Garter Stitch, Short Rows, Slipped Stitches, Cables and probably a few more I've not mentioned before. As there are rather a lot, here's an overview below, and feel free to go and have a rummage through the pages.

German Short Rows
I've only recently started to explore this method, and didn't want to recommend it until I'd learnt how they grafted, how much they differed to the wrap and turn method, and the best situations to use them. Currently I have PDF tutorials for GSR in garter stitch, and for grafting GSR in garter stitch. Further more, I've short video clips for each, too!

(I really want to expand on the blurb for the IG videos... "Short knitting tutorial video clips - ideal for slow internet connections, limited bandwidth or those who like their info succinct. No music, no talking, no time wasting - just straight to the point." but figured that sounded a little off)

This is one of the videos, to give you an idea. You'll find the rest from the Short Rows page. And naturally grafting GSR is also on the Grafting page.

 
 

I do like this method, it has advantages and disadvantages just like any other method. It's not as invisible in garter stitch, it gives a more pronounced look, which is not necessarily a bad thing. And I don't think it will be as adaptable in 2 sided stitch patterns or blend as easily (the main reason I ran with w&t for Going Straight). It is easier to graft though, which is a huge bonus as grafting w&t can be fiddly. Like most knitting techniques, there isn't a right or wrong method. As long as you understand what your stitches are doing and are happy with the result, it's all good.

Slipped Stitches
I'm enjoying these right now. So simple in their concept yet so effective. And I really like them with garter stitch.

 
 

There's more to follow on this method, and the PDFs can be on the Slipped Stitches page. I'm working on a very special project that involves slipped stitches and grafting and sideways knitting, but I'll talk more about that another time!

Cables
We finally had the chance to shoot some short videos for Cabling Without a Needle, and the first has just gone live. The PDF tutorial was published years ago, but once we started with the IG videos I knew this was one I wanted to cover. The second tutorial is due in a few days.

 
 

There will be overlap between the pages, which is how it should be I think. I like the way I can expand on the methods and topics, rather than have things cramped or layered under pages - it's easy to navigate, and you can get straight to where you want to.

If anyone is concerned that they don't have an IG account but still want to watch the videos - you can! They will play on the page as you view them, within this website, and if you want to click through and read the discussion, clicking on the comment's bubble at the bottom of the frame will open a new window in your browser where you can read the discussion and view at a larger scale. You only need an IG account if you wish to comment or follow along directly.

On the RSI and trapped nerve front, I have more movement and less pain than I had a week ago! Regular exercises, lots of breaks, painkillers, ice packs and more has helped. I am still working (albeit slowly), I have to, and it's great to see improvement. I am a bit bored though, as I really want to dive into things but I'm holding back so as to not make anything worse. Patience was never my virtue, as we know...

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Well, the first giveaway was a hug success - thank you! And congratulations to Maria, whose yarn is now on it's way to her.

This week I want to introduce a yarn dyed by a friend of mine, Yarns From The Plain.

 
 

I've worked hard trying to get the colours right in this skein, but I don't have the right set up for photographing yarns, and you'll have to believe me when I say there's more green and teal in there than my photographs would have you believe! Photographing teals and greens is hard; Hats off to all indie dyers who go that extra mile when photographing these beauties.

 
 

Nic has always been an ardent supporter of all things Woolly Wormhead, from attending workshops when I used to teach at Fibre + Clay, to supporting our fundraiser to help pay our legal costs as the community fought eviction.

She's just as passionate about British yarns too, and this one is no exception! A blend of Exmoor Blueface and British Alpaca, this DK is a squishy, woolly yarn that will make the perfect winter Hat.

Yarns From The Plain is one of the yarn sponsors for the new collection I'm quietly beavering away on, and Nic dyed up two new colourways for me to try! The one that is used in the book is still secret for now, and you can see from this label that this colourway is named 'La Liberta' meaning 'Freedom'. Very thoughtful and appropriate, wouldn't you say? (the other colourway translates to 'Beautiful Boy'!)

 
 

This lovely yarn would work for so many Woolly Wormhead Hat patterns! It's a solid DK, with a good twist but not too much, and a fibre content that'll make for a hard wearing Hat. It's variegated but tonal rather than contrasty, and would well with lots of textures and stitch patterns. The skein offers 250m/273yd to 100g.

My first thoughts, would this be my Hat, are Helical, Forest Imp or Scala. Heck, the DK pattern page is a long one and there are so many that this skein would work with (bear in mind that there are sports weight patterns listed too, that might not be suitable, hence my suggestions)! It'd make a fantastic Darkke or Woodland Slouch

Same as last week, leave a comment on this blog post to be in with a chance of winning this lovely skein! Don't forget to include your email address in the appropriate field so I can get in touch with you. In your comment tell me which Hat pattern you would choose and why, and your Ravelry name is also helpful so I can gift you the pattern of your choice.

I'll leave this open until Monday 25th July 2016. Best of luck!

eta/ and this giveaway is now closed! Thank you for all your comments and congratulations to Diane :)

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It feels like I've spent months in pain, and well, I guess I have. Recovering from Edinburgh Yarn Festival took it's time, but something lingered and continued to nag, and this week my doctor has confirmed my hunch.

Not only do I have a trapped nerve in my neck, I also have multiple RSIs in my right arm. There isn't one prominent RSI concern, and there's no sign of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (that's the good news), it's more a combination of factors causing a painful mess that's not playing nice with the trapped nerve. There's some tennis elbow, some biceps tendonitis in the upper arm and supraspinatus tendonitis in the shoulder. Ouch.

Electrifying spasms are quite common, and incredibly painful, caused by the simplest of movements. And I got a telling off from my doctor for not looking after myself as well as I should as a self employed sort (I didn't dare say that I've been kinder to myself this year than those gone by, but hey) and so this blog post is as much a reminder to myself as it is to everyone that I have no choice again but to take things easy.

Fortunately, although the coming winter is set to be a busy one, I've done the bulk of the work already. And what I can't do in the coming weeks will just have to wait. Tom has been helping where he can but as is always the way, there's an awful lot that really only I can do. I've all the photo editing to finish for the new kiddy collection, for instance. And the layout work. One or other of these is fine but both is a big job, and so they'll take priority over everything else.

Regular breaks and exercise is the way to go. And being strict with my schedule.

Today sees the start of a 11 day solitude break, which I'm very much in need off! I'll still be posting here, Instagram and Ravelry, but otherwise I've turned off the phones, locked all the doors and told everyone to pretend I'm not here. Being able to wake and sleep quietly and at my own pace should help me to refocus, which in turn should help me productive both with work and rest.

Before I head off for a break and some stretches, I'll leave you with some eye candy...

 
 

Marcin, husband to Justyna of LetesKnits, has started hand dyeing yarn and it's lovely stuff! They very generously sent some in the post this week for me to play with, and I can't wait for my arm to improve so I can start designing with it! You can find Martin's Lab here - enjoy!

 

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My love of hand dyed is no secret, and in the run up to the coming woolly hat season I thought it might be fun to feature an indie yarn once a week, and offer a skein as a giveaway!

The first featured skein is from ChiaroScuro, an Italian hand dyer from near Turin whom I met on the Rimini discussion panel last year. Elbert's colours are strong and distinct, and is the yarn inspiration behind the Elbert's Cap pattern that was published in Notions at the end of last year.

This skein is pretty special, as you can see! That black amongst those strong colours provides a challenge, and I have a Hat pattern or two that might fit the bill.

The colourway is 'Mabini Nights', and the yarn is 100% Extrafine Superwash Merino. There's a generous 415yd/380m to the skein, and it feels like a high quality 4ply yarn - good twist, but not super-twist. A very enjoyable yarn to knit with, and with those striking colours, it'll make a rather special project!

So I thought, as well as give away a skein of yarn over the coming 6 weeks or so, why not give away a Woolly Wormhead pattern to go with it? With each skein, I'll list a selection of suitable Hat patterns, and when you leave your comment simply say which pattern you'd prefer, and why.

For this skein, something like Dancette or Symetrie would play wonderfully with these colours - either of these would be my first choice. Gallone would mix up the stripes with it's sideways brim. Even Arbacia or Anca's Beret would allow the natural patterning between the colours to take centre stage.

To be in with a chance of winning this skein and a single WW Hat pattern of choice, leave a comment below telling me your Ravelry username, why you've chosen that design, and then fill in your email address in the relevant field so that I can get in touch with you. I'll select the winner with a random number generator on Sunday 17th July, before I start preparing next week's giveaway.

Best of luck!

ETA/ this giveaway is now closed - thank you to everyone who took part and left a comment!

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