Wednesday, June 5, 2013

September mini skeins themes announced!

Mini skeins have been greatly popular with you guys, so I'll keep doing them!

September's geeky theme is Buffyverse. Vampires, demons, witches and watchers, and even a musical number! Get ready to saly some non-sparkly bad guys.

September's travel theme is geocaching. Geocaching is a world-wide, GPS-based treasure hunting game. So bring your hiking boots and prepare to look for a small box or container of trinkets... anywhere.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Shop Update 4/6/13 - A little bit of everything

It's been a busy week here at Yarn vs Zombies.
Club yarns have taken over my house, and custom orders for Tour de Fleece as well as my limited edition anniversary skeins are waiting in the wings.

But don't worry, I haven't forgotten about you!
This week's shop update has a little bit of everything. Gradients and self-striping, wildly variegated and subtly tonal. Cotton and wool. Geeky and classic.
I really hope you find something you love!

And don't forget. Tour de Fleece is coming. Whether you're a new spinner or have miles of experience, make sure you've got some fun fibres ready to play. There are still some Zombie Bites up for grabs in the shop, if you'd like to sample a variety and find a new spinning favourite.
Do you have Tour de Fleece plans? Let me know!

Friday, May 17, 2013

It's cold outside. Go knit a sweater. Or two.

Last year, I wasn't a garment knitter. I was all about the socks and mitts and hats. 2012 was also the year of shawls for me.

Then this year? Bam! I got hit by the garment hammer of Cast On All The Things!
I can kind of see what it is. When I started as a knitter, I could only afford single skeins of anything.  You can make a whole project out of one skein of exquisitely beautiful sock yarn. Your investment was much smaller.
Even if you screwed it up, you hadn't invested a lot of time or money.
Instant gratification.

But really, how many shawls can one girl need? Especially with the weather we're having.
I love shawls, don't get me wrong, but I might have reached shawl saturation. For now.

Side note: I still don't have enough socks.

So I was going to try it. A nice transitional pullover, knit out of cotton. I fell in love with the way Sazerac was modeled, and I had to have it. So I made one. And I love it. It's fabulous, and the cotton yarn is fingering weight, light enough to not be bent out of shape yet.

Then I made another cotton pullover, this time short-sleeved.
Then a Wollmeise cardigan. Then one with all-over lace. And a mystery sweater. And a lace cardigan.

Then I cast on a big, cushy pullover out of Tails DK, the squishy, cloud-like singles yarn I stock in my shop, in a colour I've been trying to create fora  while, a deep red with black overtones.

And then I cast on Sambuca, my latest obsession. It crept up on me. I bought the yarn in the backroom of Bendigo Woollen Mills, just to play with it. It's just a grey DK wool, non-superwash, how good could it be?
Pretty great, actually. I love everything about this wool. I'm going to add Noro to this project, because knitting with Noro pretty much guarantees I will love this pullover forever.
I'm even adding some shaping to it.

How will all of this turn out? Who knows? But I'm loving the journey.

Are you a garment knitter? Or do you prefer accessories? Or something else?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

World Traveller Club: April

By now, everyone in the World Traveller Club should have received their April shipment, and the may shipments are well on their way.

I had great fun picking the theme for the inaugural trip. After all, the first trip will set the tone for your entire voyage!

So for our first trip together, I wanted to take everyone to a region close by that is near and dear to my heart: The Australia Alps.
We're getting ready for our wintersport season, such as it is, so this area has been on my mind.

The Australian Alps consists of two biogeographic subregions: the Snowy Mountains including the Brindabella Ranges, located in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory; and the Victorian Alps, located in Victoria. The latter region is also known as the "High Country", particularly within a cultural or historical context.
While I mainly visit the alpine region in winter, there are many gorgeous things to do there in summer. It's dry and has a stark beauty all of its own. but that dryness comes with an ever-present danger: Bushfires.
In 2009, the bushfires were so devastating and widespread, they are now known as the Black Saturday fires.

Just this summer, fires raged around the mountains almost all the way to the peaks. The images from those fires were striking. I was planning the club colours during that time and I could smell the smoke. I wanted to do something that reflected what was reality in our area.

The variegated colourway for this month was inspired by photos of yellow and orange fires and billowing blue-grey smoke against a deep blue sky.

The tonal colour is inspired by the Pygmy Possum, a tiny marsupial native to only the Victorian Alps, and whose already small habitat was vastly decreased due to the fires.

And there you have it. Our April trip. May travellers will be going somewhere different, and then it's time for our April travellers to pack their bags and hop on a virtual plane to somewhere completely different.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Some time last year, I had this idea for a hat. I wanted something slouchy and slightly lacy. Something out of thin yarn I could wear for the in-between months of the year.
Something more cute than functional, but still useful.

Thus, Tramontane was born. You can get it on Ravelry here! And until the end of May, you can get it for free with coupon code "first-free".
Tramontane combines an asymmetrical brim with playful lace and smooth crown decreases. You can make it more or less slouchy, depending on your needs and wants.
I love this hat and wear it all the time! In summer, I scoot it back for more of a face-framing accessory, while in spring and autumn, I pull it forward for a loose-fitting beanie-beret cross.

What's your favourite hat of the moment?

Shop Update 8/5/13

I only just realised none of my shop update blog posts have made it through this month.
Today's shop update is live.
There are some exciting self-striping sock yarns to feed your addiction, as well as some lovely tonals and highly variegated yarns.

But the most exciting news of them all? Minis are back! Many of you have asked when mini skeins are making a comeback, and they're finally here! You can choose to subscribe on a monthly basis by theme, or get a longer subscription at a discount.
There's no greater way to keep on hexipuffing, set up your own stripes, or try out some bases with teeny projects.
How do you use your minis?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Sock Endurance Monday: Monkeys

on the needles 
fresh off the needles
Monkey by Cookie A is the rock star of sock patterns. Most internet-savvy sock knitters (and about 99% of Sock Knitters, note the caps, on Ravelry) seem to have made this pattern.

My Monkeys were my second-ever pair of socks. I knit them out of a yarn I bought by name, Robot Overlord out of Lorna's Laces.
That was in August of 2011.
a year and a half later
They were my favourite pair even as others came along. The yarn is strong and sturdy and holds up to anything you throw at it.
By now, the socks are felted over, and they fit me like a glove. The sole is thinning out, and I fear they are not long for this world.
I could darn them, but I think I'll let them pass on in dignity.

Plus, I've just finished another pair of Monkeys! This is the only pattern I've repeated so far.
old and new
This time, the Monkeys were made out of Another Crafty Girl's Strong Sock in the dyed-for-me-first Pokemon colourway Chimchar. I'm sure these will be just as well loved as my first pair was.

Have you knit Monkeys yet?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


I’ve started a new project to help me practice my photography. 
I’m sure a lot of you have heard about Project 365. Well, I’m putting my own twist on it and calling it Socks 365. 
But it’s no fun to play alone, is it? 
So I’m challenging all of you to play along, too!
Take a picture of your socks (on you, or get creative!) every day and share them in the Ravelry group, or on Twitter (#socks365), on your blog, on the project365 website…
And who knows? There may even be prizes for those who play along… ^_^
You can follow my project on the Project365 website, on Google+ or on Twitter.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sock Endurance Monday: For the love of Calico

freshly finished
It was my birthday yesterday, so today for Sock Endurance MOnday, I'm talking about my favourite socks, made in a colourway inspired by the feline love of my life.

 It may seem a little self-serving to talk about socks knit in my yarn, but honestly, I treat them just as I treat all my other socks. There's no special treatment, there's no fudging.
I do adore these socks very much (that's why I kept a skein in the first place), and I wear these all the time.

These socks go in open shoes a lot, because I love the stripes. They also go in boots occasionally, and in closed sneakers. I wear them on long walks and bike rides, and in the house.

I knit these Houdini socks for the construction, and I have no idea why I haven't done them again. I knit them in September of 2012 out of half a skein of my own Run Away base, a merino/nylon light fingering yarn.

current state of the heel
as they are today
They are hard-wearing socks, and very smooth. I wasn't expecting to love them as much as I do, but they're a great balance between hardy socks and pampering socks. I wear them very often, and they're one of my go-to pairs of happy socks.

I mostly hand-wash them, but they've gone in the washing machine several times, too. Haven't put them in the dryer yet, but I would if it came up (I don't use my dryer for anything very often).

How would I rate them?
  • Wear & tear: excellent
  • Colour fastness: great
  • Felting: none
  • Pilling: none
  • Fuzzing: little
  • Washing: good
  • as worn in shoes
  • Comfort: excellent
Do I still love them? Moreso than I thought as I was knitting them.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Adventures in craft shopping, Tokyo style, Part 1: Fabric Town

No crafter's visit to Tokyo can be complete without a day of shopping for fabric or notions or wool, or all of the above.
I didn't make it to Fabric Town in Tokyo's inner north last time, but this time, I wasn't going to miss it.

Fabric town, or more accurately, Fabric Street in Fabric Town is just a skip away from Nippori station, which is conveniently located along the famous Yamanote JR line.
Down Momiji bridge and along a short street, there are pretty sign's pointing the way.

Fabric street does exactly what it says on the tin. Want new curtains? The curtain fabric shop is for you. Need sequined dance fabric? Suit cloth? Fine lace collars? There's a shop for that.

Fabric prices (and quality) run the whole range. If you can't find it here, it might not exist at all.

Just strolling along the street is a nice experience. You could duck into the many small, ground -level stores, or lose yourself in the mother of them all, TOMATO.  They give you a convenient guide to their various building, but just dive in and have at it.

Want to shop but don't have the space for Fabric, or don't sew at all? Never fear, get some notions! From embroidery thread that looks like a gorgeous, hand-dyed yarn skein to walls of buttons, from lace-edged zips to cast-iron sweater clips, from grosgrain ribbon in all the colours and patterns to sew-on patches, they've got the notion for you.

And tools. All the tools you need and some you never even knew existed!
I got myself some wonderful Clover needles for hand sewing. Their points and eyes are things of beauty.

I also got buttons, lacey zips, embroidery floss, a sweater clip and several kinds of grosgrain ribbon.

I didn't buy any fabric here, but I do have some. Stay tuned for part 2 of this post!

Monday, April 8, 2013


It's been a great day for food as we've been exploring the temple and old town of Asakusa. I had some sweet potato with chestnut, a strawberry in sticky gum syrup on ice, a chocolate-covered banana and mochi  in crushed peanuts. Omnomnomnomnom.

Sock Endurance Monday: Who doesn't love stripes?

pretty yarn cake
freshly finished
Can you believe that it's taken me this long to actually knit up self-striping indie yarn? But it's true! This skein of Desert Vista Dyeworks in the wonderfully named Summertime came to me through destash.
I knit plain afterthought heel socks in September 2013, which was apparently my month of socks.

They're one of my heavy rotation socks, and I always wear them in shoes where you can see them, so open MJs or sneakers. I also wear them around the house a lot.

afterthought heel coming soon!
They're a great light-weight sock and so bright and happy!
The fit isn't ideal, as the afterthought heel fits me a bit funkily (my first afterthought heel sock), but otherwise, these socks are great.

state of the heel, see the funny ear?
The blue stripe bled a bit on first wash, somewhat toning down the brightness of the rest of the stripes, but otherwise, they've stayed wonderfully vibrant and I love them a lot. I always handwash them in Soak.

current state
How would I rate them?
  • Wear & tear: excellent
  • Colour fastness: great
  • Felting: none
  • Pilling: little
  • Fuzzing: little
  • Washing: good
  • as worn in shoes
  • Comfort: good
Do I still love them: Absolutely!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Sock Endurance Monday: Treat them kindly

freshly finished
This week, I'm going to look at a favourite pair of mine, and how they stood up.
unusual construction!
My Bi-partisanship socks were definitely a case of wild yarn infatuation. The yarn is Woollen St Mills Princess Sophia in the Ron Weasley colourway. Soooo pretty.
I adore the sock pattern, too. It's perfect for wildly variegated yarns.

I knit these socks in September of 2012, and I wear them often and for medium stretches of walking (several hours)

I tend to wear these socks in open shoes so I can admire their prettiness. They feel a little delicate to me. I handwash them in Soak. They're 100% Merino, so they're wonderfully soft, but they're not going to last forever.
how they are today
It doesn't bother me when my socks don't wear like iron. Like a flower in full bloom, it's to be enjoyed before it fades. And besides, if my socks all didn't wear out in a timely fashion, I'd have to stop knitting them. And I really enjoy knitting socks... you know, in case you hadn't noticed.

heel fuzzing and thinning
There is a definite fuzzy halo going on with these socks, and the colours have faded a bit. Overall, they are becoming more soft and more delicate, and they're still a favourite, so they're in constant roation. I'd be surprised if they live longer than a year.

How would I rate them?
  • Wear & tear: okay
  • Colour fastness: good
  • Felting: none
  • Pilling: little
  • Fuzzing: a fair bit
  • Washing: delicate
  • Comfort: excellent
as worn in shoes
Do I still love them? Yes, very much.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Rainy day hats

There's nothing like a change in weather to make you want to cast on a hat. Or maybe that's just me?
I test-knit the latest design by the inimitable Mel of SingleHandedKnits fame, Drizzle the hat, and it came out great, if I do say so myself.
It's a simple, straight foward hat with a flattering rolled brim and just enough lace to keep you occupied but not frustrated.
I knitted mine out of my beloved Tails DK base in a new colourway, Looks Like Rain.
The colour is inspired by dark, rain-bearing clouds and grey skies. Have you ever really looked at thse clouds? They're not a flat grey, there are heaps of colours swirling in there!
Looks Like Rain appears just grey on first glance, but when you look closer, you'll see pops of yellows and reds and pinks and blues throughout. It's still a tonal yarn, so lace and patterning will stand out cleanly.
I think it would make a very flattering garment colour, personally.

And guess what? There will be pre-orders of this very colourway, together with a coupon code for Mel's awesome Drizzle hat, going up in the shop very soon!

Do you have a favourite hat type? Do you have a hat on the needles right now?