Thursday, 30 April 2015

Love Your Blog - Gratitude

The final prompt in the Love Your Blog challenge from A Playful Day is Gratitude.

Ah, this I can do with a positive spin - I am grateful for SO many things!!

My absolutely AMAZING husband who I love so damn much, who has been my rock since I was 18 and STILL puts up with my crap!!

Our fabulous children who both delight and frustrate me on a daily basis with their bottomless enthusiasm and stubbornness independence.

My dad and sister, who whilst I am only just reconnecting with  (had a fabulous night out in Stoke for my granddad's 79th birthday a couple of weeks a go and LOVED catching up!) are a huge constant in my life - always believing in me and supporting me.

Best friends who are there for me regardless of what or why for - who I can spend the afternoon just knitting, chatting and browsing our iPhones with (occasionally with the odd gin thrown in!)  Who gets the knitting/spinning/yarn/weaving thing as much as I do...and is always there to enable/be enabled!

I'm grateful for anyone that takes the time to read the blog, the likes on IG and Rav and the tremendous wealth of knowledge, inspiration and support at the end of my fingertips from the knitting community.

And yarn....I am SO grateful for yarn hehe!!  It's my drug of choice, my therapy...and damn gorgeous to boot!!

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Sunny Days

The sunshine has been winning me over this week and I love grabbing half an hour or so out on the patio with my knitting.  Sadly it's not uninterrupted so I don't seem to be getting a huge amount done, especially with the 429 stitch rows (which will shortly increase to 667 stitches!) That said I only have 3 and a half stripes and the red lace edging to go...

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Love Your Blog - Ugly

I have been putting off even attempting to write this weeks Love Your Blog challenge from A Playful Day as the theme "Ugly" was one that had me totally stumped.  Or rather, it didn't. In reality, the one thing I instantly thought of was....myself.  And that in itself stopped me in my tracks.

I have struggled with body image for as long as I can remember despite growing up with a family who were/are amazingly supportive.  My inner demons have always deemed that I am not quite good enough, too different, too curvy...a whole lot of "not quite" and "too much".

It took me a long time to learn to love myself and it's a journey I often take huge, huge steps backwards in...obviously!  The realisation that just because I do not fit a societal norm - whether that be a clothes size, how I parent, my interests - does not make me ugly.  I am surrounded by people that see me as beautiful.  Sadly, the person who has been harshest to me for all these years is myself.  And quite frankly, I should stop!

Learning to be kind to myself is reflected in my blog.  On the whole I try not to blog about negative themes.  Whilst life is very much not all roses and cupcakes, I try not to dwell on the unhappier topics, much preferring to blog about things that make me smile.  Often something as simple as a new skein of yarn can be the small amount of beautiful needed to turn an otherwise ugly day around!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Love Your Blog - Beginnings

The second week of the Love Your Blog challenge from A Playful Day is upon us (or rather almost gone - how is it Thursday already!) and the focus this week is Beginnings. 

I originally started blogging exactly 5 years ago this week!  Back then I had completely different hopes for what direction my blog would take.  It was entitled "Then there was me" and it was very much a sounding board for my feelings - I was about to turn 30 and was having a brief life wobble and used blogging as a life journal (and dieting journal it seems, reading back!).  I was trying to claw my way out of depression and it was around the time my life began to veer away from communities that had thus far defined me (despite the fact I still babywear, cloth nappy etc even now) My knitting still featured and although I was very much in my early stages as a knitter it was the start of me finding my feet in something that really has become my lifeline.

A year after I started blogging and 4 years ago yesterday, we moved house to where we live now and my life changed immeasurably.   With the help of fabulous friends I kicked my crippling agoraphobia and was SO much happier :)  I blogged much less, as I had so much less time between running the shop, starting a babywearing consultancy business, play dates, canal walks, cake club.  I got pregnant again (oops!) and decided to start blogging again, changing the blog name to "Then there were six".  I had aspirations to refocus on our home education and have one of those amazingly inspirational blogs...

And then our lives pretty much fell apart.  From DH being made redundant to the death of my mum, it was a complete catalogue of disasters.  I turned to blogging once again in an attempt to improve my mental health and in the realisation that I'm really not going to blog about unschooling for a huge variety of reasons (not least that the kids don't want to be blogged about!) changed the blog title and domain over to "Coffee and Yarn Cakes" and here we are! 

Whilst I may still neglect blogging from time to time, I do love my ickle corner of t'interweb.  Coffee and Yarn Cakes is my little haven.  It's quite ironic that 5 years on, a week a way from my 35th birthday, I feel like I am once again beginning a journey to a new happier me.  Older, wiser, with much more yarn!  Beginnings may be scary but they can be incredibly good for the soul.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

More Project Planning (and Yarn Stashing!)

I seem to have completely forgotten to blog about some of the gorgeous new yarns I've received recently!  I was incredibly lucky that after finally getting the husbeast to realise I *really* would love to receive yarn and knitting related items as gifts,  I received two gorgeous skeins of Wollmeise for Mother's Day last month. 

Both Pure Skeins in Wasabi and Fuchsia.  They go so beautifully together!  However, they aren't destined to stay together - the Fuchsia is for my Starlight Shawl instead of the skein of True Love I'd originally planned.  I'm MUCH happier with the colour choice now and am resisting casting on until I finish my current WIP's.

The Wasabi currently has no allocated project but does look fabulous with my other WM greens - the colour saturation and depth is one of the reasons I adore Wollmeise!

I'm still not sure about the green Versuchskaninchen skein at the back as it's more blue toned than I would generally choose (and variegated!) but we'll have to see!

Unfortunately seeing all my greens together started my mind whirling at the possibility of breaking out of my comfort zone and knitting myself a garment!  Something I have always discounted as I'm still not anywhere near the weight I'd like to be and my boob size means a heck of a lot of yardage!  I'm always a bit fussy when it comes to style - I only wear 50's swing dresses or floor length skirts, always with cardigans, only like fine knits so would have to go for a sock or lace knit yarn and it would have to have a low cut neckline!

Then Avalanche jumped out at me as I was browsing Ravely!

Whilst I generally wear black I really adore green sweaters so decided to go for a green toned Wollemeise Lace Garn.  This humongous 330g skein arrived this week and it lovely - a really wearable colour (I didn't think I could pull off a Fruhling or Wasabi sweater!) and there should be more than enough for my size.   I think I'd go for a longer length at the front and possibly 3/4 length sleeves and just need a REALLY long time to make it now!!

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Happiness is...Rainbows!

Inspired by the Deramores Blog Competition I couldn't resist my own take on the Rainbow Colours trend blogged by Heather at The Patchwork Heart.

I don't think there's many people that can resist a rainbow!!  My house is definitely full of rainbow accents - whether it be wooden toys, stained glass hangers or the kids Molo rainbow clothes.  My knitting is by no way immune to the Rainbow Revolution.  There is just something immeasurably cheerful about rainbow knits and they have the added bonus of working well with whatever colour you're wearing too!

To date I've made several rainbow shawls (with yet another on the needles)  The first was a LightWaves by Susan Ashcroft.  I fell in love with this pattern with it's cheerful rainbow accent and stunning yet simple wave pattern.  Using Kauni EQ the colour changes take care of themselves and the whole mood of the knit can be changed dependant on the main colour you use.  I went for a grey which is a colour I think combines beautifully with Rainbows.

The second of my rainbow shawls uses the same Kauni EQ yarn but has a completely different look.  Koi Gardens Shawlette by CrystalRose is an entralac shawl and I love the colour transitions of the Kauni EQ with the entrelac technique!

Last, but by no means least of my Rainbow Shawls, is my current WIP - Pop Spots by Juju Vail.  This was a project I had in the planning for ages!  After adding it to my Ravelry queue, I finally decided to dye my own yarn to make a rainbow shawl combined with a white/undyed main colour for a really spring like feel.

I'm making the large size which means three rows of "spots" in each colour and am currently halfway through the blue spots.  The lace edging will be completed after the purple spots in the same red as the initial spots. It's such a cheerful knit and I can't wait to wear it! Better still, I will have LOADS of yarn left over to make more rainbow shawls!!

Of course, rainbow aren't necessarily limited to the classic colour combinations - or my knits to shawls.  I've even managed a (rare for me!) crochet rainbow project with these gorgeous summery Stripy Mitts by Sandra Paul.
In contrast these Easy Handspun Mitts by Vera Brosgol have a distinctly autumnal feel and really show how you can incorporate rainbows into your spinning as well as your knitting/crochet.   There's such endless possibilities that I don't think I'll ever bore of making rainbows!!

This post is my submission to the Deramores Craft Blog Competition 2015. Deramores is the UK’s number one online retailer of knitting and crochet supplies. Visit for more details.

Love Your Blog - Community and Interaction

After reading about the April Love Your Blog challenge from A Playful Day on several of blogs lately, I decided I'd give it a go.  The first weeks subject of Community and Interaction is one that resonates with me greatly!

A Playful Day

Over the last few years I have very much retracted from all of my other communities - babywearing, cloth nappies, attachment parenting.  Initially it was due to reclusiveness being my coping mechanism for depression but eventually I just felt I no longer belonged as I once had.  My personal identity was very entwined with those communities, having two businesses related to them as well as the majority of both my online and real life friends being from various forums and groups.  Once I'd sold my shop and stopped the babywearing consulting, the one community I had left was my knitting one!

Knitting is very much my therapy and that isn't restricted to just the actual act of passing yarn over needles.  It ALL makes me...content!!  From browsing yarn and patterns online,  reading and seeing other's WIP's and FO's, posting about my own - I honestly love it all!!  I'm not a prolific poster on any social media platform anymore - I generally just post on Instagram - yet avidly read knitting and craft related blogs and Ravelry posts. 

I sadly don't have the luxury of knowing many knitters in real life (although do have the bonus of my best friend being a knitter) so the online community has been a life line without which I would not be where I am now! I may be socially awkward - even online - but the wealth of knowledge, information and encouragement (enabling) is amazing.   Even when I'm not openly interacting with other's I still feel like a small, albeit very shy part, of an absolutely fantastic community.

So, whilst my blogging is sporadic at best nowadays, I do absolutely love having a space where I can ramble on about my favourite things and post with more depth and content than I do on IG.  Even if it's just me reading, I enjoy having somewhere I can record my knitting journey and look back in later years at it's progression!!