A little update

Poor neglected blog.

I can’t quite believe that it’s been 5 months since I last posted here but that time has been such a hectic roller coaster of stuff that perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised! I’m now officially in the fourth year of the PhD which means that I am in the process of trying to GET. IT. DONE. which as I’m sure you can imagine is pretty blooming stressful and time consuming! I’ve been doing a variety of jobs to get me through this year including teaching a third year undergraduate class on the Internet and Politics, working as a research assistant on an interesting policy project and doing a few freelance research jobs which have had me travelling up and down the country. Plus I was lucky enough to get a paper accepted to this year’s PSA conference in Manchester in April this year and also one to the APSA conference in Washington D.C. in August, which I was scurrying around trying to find enough funding for so that I could definitely go.

Add into that my best friend’s wedding for which I was delighted to be Maid of Honour, my lovely Dad’s 60th birthday and Mr Purly Queen’s Dad’s 80th birthday and I’ve had an unfortunate bout of rubbish health stuff and it has been a slightly mental few months!

Sad to say, there has not been an awful lot of time for knitting! This is something that needs to be rectified asap, not least because it is such a good stress-buster for me and might help to balance out the challenges of this year a bit! There have been a few knits going on. I made myself a really sweet silk and merino blend shrug for the wedding but as the wedding turned out to be on one of the hottest days of the year, I didn’t wear it once! I’m sure it will get some use though as the weather gets a bit cooler.

There’s also been a really joyous succession of new babies arriving and announcements that more are on the way this year! Here’s a little elephant cushion I made for my lovely friend Debbie (she of the reindeer hat on Everest fame!) who had a gorgeous little boy called Max earlier in the year.

 

 

 

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Hopefully there will be more knits to share with you soon…and plans for Christmas! (Sorry but you have to think about these things early when you’re a knitter!) Hope you’re all having a wonderful summer x

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A little bit of sparkle!

Here’s a selection of hand-knits from the shop for  those who love things that are a little bit sparkly, and let’s face it who doesn’t? Everything here has got a little touch of sequins or glitter to add a little touch of sparkle and shimmer.

Mmm, shiny!

Mmm, shiny!

From top left we have: Purple sequinned cowl 22.00, White sparkly gloves 20.00, Pink glitter hat 18.00, White sparkly hand warmers 7.00, Grey sequinned hat and mitts set 30.00, Purple sparkly beret 12.00, Navy blue sparkly hat 18.00 and sparkly mittens 17.00.

Sorry to sound like a stuck record but don’t forget, it’s Small Business Saturday tomorrow (7th December) and you’ll get free shipping to anywhere in the world if you use the code SMALLBIZSATURDAY when you make any purchase from the shop.

 

Gifts for under 20 of your finest British pounds

Here’s another selection of gifts to give you some inspiration! The first set are all 10 pounds and under (the pound sign isn’t working on my laptop, can you tell?!), perfect for stocking fillers, Secret Santa gifts and teachers’ presents.

All under 10 pounds!

All under 10 pounds!

The next selection are all 15 pounds and under. There’s a mixture of hats for girls, hand warmers and some hat and mitts sets for babies aged 0-6 months. Perfect for parents-to-be or those with a newborn!

Everything fifteen pounds and under

Everything fifteen pounds and under

Next up, we have a few selections of lovely knits for 20 pounds. First of all, a selection of knits for babies and kids.

Treats for kids 20 pounds and under

Treats for kids 20 pounds and under

 

Next, a cosy collection of hats to keep everyone warm!

Hats 20 pounds and under

Hats 20 pounds and under

And finally some lovely mittens, gloves and hand warmers to keep those fingers toasty!

Gloves, mittens and hand-warmers

Gloves, mittens and hand-warmers

 

All of these can be found in the shop and don’t forget, free shipping all day on Saturday 7th December with the code SMALLBIZSATURDAY. Check back here later for some more gift ideas.

Stay cozy!x

Ideas for Men…and a giveaway!

Here’s the first in a short series of curated collections from the shop to give you some ideas for Christmas gifts. I’ve started with men as I know Dads, Uncles, Grandads etc. can often be really difficult to buy for so here’s some inspiration for you!

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All available in the shop now!

Remember it’s Small Business Saturday this Saturday and I am offering free shipping all day 🙂

I’ve also decided to run a little giveaway. As you might have seen in one of my previous posts, I’m going to be selling made-to-order knits from the lovely Velvet Acorn’s patterns. Everyone who makes a purchase or places an order from me in December will be entered into a prize draw to win a hat hand-knitted by me from a Velvet Acorn of their choice. I’ll put all the names in a hat and make the draw on the 31st December so you’ve got plenty of time to enter.

Happy shopping!x

 

Winter is coming

Brr, getting chilly isn’t it? And brownie points if you got the Game of Thrones reference, I have just started reading the books several years after everyone else and enjoying them greatly!

So a few bits of news in the Purly Queen world, I have a new shop! I’ve finally got my Etsy shop up and running with lovely new branding designed by a lovely lady called Mia from Seattle and full of cosy knits I have been knitting all year to make sure that the shop is full in time for Christmas. The shop is here so do stop by and have a look if you haven’t already done so. I have a welcome discount code running at the moment which gives you 5% off all purchases which is valid till the 1st December so use it while you can! 

Saturday 7th December is Small Business Saturday, a really nice initiative to encourage people to support small businesses like mine. By then, I’ll have the few things left on the needles all knitted up and ready to go in the shop so there should nearly a hundred knitted things for you to buy so hopefully there will be something for everyone! Leading up to that Saturday I’ll be running a series of blog posts highlighting gifts for every type of person so I hope that will help you with some gift inspiration. I’ll also be offering free shipping on that day 🙂

Finally, I’ve been in touch with a lovely knitwear designer from the US called Heidi May who designs really gorgeous patterns under the name The Velvet Acorn, which you can see here. All of her patterns are inspired by nature and lucky for me, she has agreed that I can sell some of these knits from her patterns. I’m starting the process of making up some samples so that you can then order them in the size and colours you want, but in the meantime if you fall in love with any of the patterns and would like some made in time for Christmas, give me a shout asap! Here’s one that I love, isn’t it cute?

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In non-knitting news, the funding for my PhD is coming to end at the end of this year and so have to find ways of funding my fourth year myself. As I type, water is also pouring down my walls and a plumber is about to knock a hole in the ceiling to find out what’s causing it. Cross your fingers we don’t need a whole new boiler system/new bathroom…that would need me to sell an almighty lot of knitting!

Stay warm everyone x

P.S. If you haven’t already, do visit my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Purly-Queen/224148720981170

P.P.S Forgot to mention, I’ll be giving 5% of all my profits between now and the end of the year to the DEC fund to help the people in the Philippines affected by the typhoon, as they are still desperately in need of help.

The Purly Queen reaches new heights!

You might remember last year my friend Debbie commissioned me to make her a super-warm reindeer bobble hat to take on her travels, I posted about it here. Well, she’s back from her amazing adventure and sent me an amazing picture of her hubby Jack and her at Everest base camp, wearing the reindeer hat!

Debbie and Jack in Everest

 

I’m so glad they had such an amazing time and how cool to see one of my knits in such a far-flung place…I’m going up in the world! (Sorry, terrible pun…I can’t help myself).

Behind the scenes: making baby bunting

I thought some of you, especially the non-knitters might like to see the process of designing and making the baby bunting so here’s a little behind the scenes look at the work that goes into it.

First of all, there was lots of sketching and making bunting flag samples to try and work out the pattern. You might think it would be simple to knit a triangle but it’s takes some time to make sure that it’s the right size and shape (early workings included one so big you could have wrapped a baby in it and one so skinny it looked like a carrot!) Then once I’d worked out the flag pattern I wanted, I had to chart out all of the letters of the alphabet and again, knit a couple of samples to check that the letters were in the right proportion to the flag, were visible and looked nice.

After deciding on two different colour palettes, one bright and a softer, more natural colourway, I then had to play around with a few different yarns to see which would be the best for good stitch definition, colour and hardiness as I wanted the bunting to be something that could stay in children’s rooms as they grow up and not just for babies. Once I’d picked the yarn, I knitted up a few sample names and then it’s on to the finishing.

First you have to give the knitting a gentle little bath:
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Then you have to block the knitted pieces. What this means is painstakingly pinning out the knitting to the required shape so that when it dries, the stitches will lie nice and evenly and generally the knit will look much nicer. It takes a little while with solid pieces like triangles but takes HOURS when it’s something like the lace shawl I made earlier in the year. (Which reminds me, I never did write a follow-up piece on that, will add to my to-do list!). Here’s what blocking looks like:

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Some people have a fancy blocking board but I use a doubled up beach towel as I find the lines helpful in getting things straight. A bed is also very handy for blocking but that doesn’t go down so well with Mr Purly Queen so I stick to the kitchen table now 🙂

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Then once everything is dry, it’s a case of weaving in all of the ends, sewing the flags together (in the right order!) and adding some ends so that the bunting can be hung up on a cot or wall. And then you have the finished item, personalized bunting…ta da!

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Just flew in from the Windy City…

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that this blog has been exceptionally quiet for a few months even by my standards and that the shop has been on holiday for a bit. This has all been because I’ve been working furiously on the PhD and getting a paper ready to present at the American Political Science Association annual meeting in Chicago. Paper has been presented, managed not to fall over or do anything else embarrassing (pretty much my main aim for the presentation…I set my expectations low!), had a little holiday afterwards and now I’m back at home and just trying to get my head in gear for planning the rest of the year!

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The weather was gloriously hot and sunny in Chicago and so coming back to rainy, Autumnal Manchester has been a bit of a shock to the system. Still it’s always nice to come back home and I always like September with its associations with new stationery and making lists! And the dog was very pleased to see us so have been enjoying lots of furry snuggling 🙂

I have been working on some new products over the summer and the first of them is now ready to go. I really love bunting and wanted to try and translate it into knitting and voila… personalized knitted baby bunting!

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I’m really pleased on how this has turned out and hope that you will all like it too! It’s available in the shop now in two colour palettes either brights or neutrals and costs £25 + p&p for up to 6 letters (Longer names can be made too obviously!). Each item is made from scratch so if there are any colours you do/don’t want, you can specify this when you order. Also, if you want to give this gift in advance before the baby has a name, I can arrange for this to be sent in the form of a voucher to the parents so they can order the bunting themselves.

You can find the bunting here: http://folksy.com/items/4453178-Personalized-hand-knitted-baby-bunting I’d love to hear what you think!

Warning: Contains serious cuteness!

Hope you all had a great weekend! I thought we all might need a little lift as we head back to work after the bank holiday and so here are some pics of some seriously cutie babies modelling their PQ knits to bring a smile to your faces. One of my favourite things is seeing knits on the people they were made for, so getting pics this week of not one but two happy bubbas has been amazing!

First up is cutie baby Clara, who is actually a cousin of Mr Purly Queen:

Pretty in pink!

Pretty in pink!

And another one, which I thought I’d posted before but hadn’t. That blanket was a real labour of love but I think it came out pretty well and so glad that Clara seems to be enjoying it!

Snug as a bug!

Snug as a bug!

Next up we have baby Sophie, gorgeous daughter of my friends Clare and Nick. Clare and I went on holiday to Chicago a few years ago (Actually 9 years ago, 9!! Where did that go?!) and had an amazing time, including a visit to the legendary Burritos as Big as your Head 🙂 It really is called that! Fingers crossed I can pay a return visit this year when I go to the APSA conference.

Anyway, here is Sophie modelling her Purly Queen cardie…

Smiley Sophie!

Smiley Sophie!

And one of her eating it: Purly Queen knits are clearly very tasty!

Nom nom!

Nom nom!

Anyone else got pics of PQ knits they’d like to share?x

Slow

As I write this, the snow is coming down thick and fast again and you can feel everything take on a slower pace. In fact it’s been a slow few days around here, with both of us a bit tired and sniffly and feeling the need to just nest and rest and recuperate. This weekend was perfect, where the most arduous chore was taking the dog to the park and marveling at how different the park looks without the thick coating of snow it had just a few days before.

Do you think Pepper might want to go and play in the snow?

Do you think Pepper might want to go and play in the snow?

A bit of gentle de-cluttering in the house meant a trip to the nearest charity shops, the only kind of shops other than wool and book shops that I could happily lose a few hours in. (In fact, so enduring is my love for the chazza shops that I remember being told as a small child that I could have some money to spend in a shop of my choice as a gift and I asked to go to the charity shop…bless my weird little self!) Happily, the shops are next to one of my other favourite places, the library, so I grabbed some new books to take home with me.

Then there was reading under cosy blankets with lots of cups of tea, a bit of baking, a bit of knitting, but all at a wonderful, leisurely pace.

There was pie...

There was pie…

Seeing friends and doing stuff is obviously lovely too but that feeling of being able to do exactly what you want, with no rush and no demands on your time is just delicious. I’m trying to keep that feeling in mind as all too often I end up working at weekends and really need to keep them a bit more sacred so there can be more weekends like this.

I loved seeing that my friend Jess thinks the same about staying in. I’ve known Jess since I moved secondary schools when I was about 14 and I believe our first ‘friend date’ was to see Flintstones the Movie…Jess, is that right?! Anyway, Jess has a lovely blog here called Once upon a Home, all about the ups and downs of renovating a home and definitely worth a read.

As for today, today is slow too. The falling snow means that I can’t take any decent photos of new knits for the shop and I’ve just realised that all the blog posts I thought I had scheduled for last week haven’t actually posted. But you know what, it’ll all get done eventually so for now, I’m going to make a lovely cup of tea, stare out of the window at the snow (and the little field mouse that is currently munching on the bird feeder!) and snaffle up the last bit of that pie before Mr PQ gets his mitts on it. Hope you all have some slow time in your day too x