Aran Brew is two! Blog Giveaway.

It's been a long cold winter and spring has been slow coming in this year. On Thursday evening when I found myself with some spare time I decided to dye some yarn and fleece. I wanted to cheer myself up with some spring colours. I wanted to capture the colour of a daffodil bud just before the flower bursts out. I ended up with this.

I'm really happy with how it turned out. It's such a lovely fresh spring green colour. The yarn is from Cushendale woolen mills and it's a lovely sock yarn spun from Irish fleece in a traditional woolen style. I visited the mill in Graignamanagh when I went walking by the river with my Mum and aunt recently. It's a lovely village in the first place and the mill makes it even better to visit. Unfortunately I forgot my camera so I can't show you photos of the place or even the glorious sunshine and views we had when we walked by the river side.

I just looked back at my post history there and have discovered that next week Aran Brew is two years old. It doesn't seem like it, maybe that's because I've had so much fun writing this blog and documenting my adventures in brewing, knitting and all the other crafts I try. I love seeing comments and hearing that people like reading what I write. There is another reason to celebrate this week, the blog has made the (not so) short lists for the Irish blog awards. Congratulations to the other fibre related blogs on the list, Dublin knit collective, She knit up that ball, Clasheen and Etsy Ireland. Also congratulations to Live at the witch trials, The Beer Nut and 9 Bean Row. Well done everyone. I'm going to the blog awards in Galway so expect a report on that.   

Anyway back to the yarn. Do you like it? Would you like to have it? Yes? Excellent! I'm having my first ever blog giveaway of this skein of yarn in celebration of the blog being two and the blog awards. All you have to do is leave a comment telling me why you love spring and what you'll do with the yarn. I'll announce who has won next week.

While I had the dyeing stuff out I decided I might as well dye some of my alpaca fleece. I grabbed a load of fleece from the bags in the shed. I figured I'd wash the fleece and then dye it all in one go to save myself some time. It worked really well and I'll be doing this from now on. The dyes came from Kemtex in the UK as part of their starter kit. I just dunked the fleece in the pot in laundry bags and sprinkled some dye on. It didn't look like it was going to turn out ok as the water was pretty murky and grey looking. I presume the alpaca wasn't completely clean. I took the fleece out and rinsed it and hung it to dry not expecting much. But when it dried I was really surprised, it turned out to be this lovely soft blue colour reminding me of a blue sky on a day with a few clouds.

I also dyed some silk hankies and have just started to spin them on my Zebisis drop spindle. I love silk, it's amazingly shiny fantastic stuff.  I've got lots going on at the moment so expect some new posts about what I'm knitting, the opening of the crochet coral reef, bottling my alt beer, some brewing plans and some fun beer tasting.

15 Responses to "Aran Brew is two! Blog Giveaway." (Leave A Comment)

Deirdre says
March 13, 2010 at 12:22 PM

I have to say I love the photographs, all the blues and greens.

What I love about spring is the promise it holds, the buds coming up the glimpse of green among the brown (though the side effect is sometimes wondering if some of what was healthy last year has survived the winter, particularly this winter). It's the sun, the lifting of the winter blues for me that makes spring so great (though the seeing of the things left neglected over the winter is somewhat dispiriting)

Kittiwake Design says
March 13, 2010 at 1:40 PM

oooooh! i LOVE that green colour! its my favourite- half my wardrobe is jade green and its all over the house too! if i won, i would crochet a collection of green flowers to wear in a cluster on my spring jacket!
what i love about spring is that first time you sit outside after a long cold winter and just soak up the sunshine, after spending a few hours digging in the garden.

congrats to making the blogging shortlist, thats absolutely brilliant news! and best of luck in galway :)

chicwithstix says
March 13, 2010 at 2:40 PM

Congratulations on your nomination. Spring is all about moving forward and the beginning of new life. I love how the days are getting longer and brighter.

The yarn is a lovely shade of green and it could grow into a pair of cabled socks...

eimearee says
March 13, 2010 at 3:22 PM

Ooh, I see what you mean about the blue sky & fluffy white clouds. mmm alpaca. Any plans for what it will grow up to be?

Congrats on the blog award nomination!

Kitten With a Whiplash says
March 13, 2010 at 8:17 PM

Happy Anniversary! You started your blog 10 days after I started mine. I understand if USA is not eligible for your giveaway, but nothing is going to stop me from saying how lovely your yarn is.

You've really captured that "new life" essence perfectly with the fresh green color. I'm putting together some yarns for cheerful fair isle sweater, this would be a wonderful accent.

Here in San Francsico I love the return of happy sounds to the city. Everyone has been shut in away from the winter, now when I'm out walking I see classes of young kids on field trips, parks full of folks playing frisbee with their dogs, all the happy pastimes that start up again in spring.

EVA SB says
March 13, 2010 at 10:51 PM

Spring here is the time for almond blossoms. I love taking trips into the countryside to see the new blooms and the green meadows shaded by the blossoming trees - not too muddy but not so dry the grass has turned yellow.
In Spring it is also still cool in the morning and the evening so I can enjoy the warmth for a few weeks before the Summer heat tries to melt me.

I would use the yarn for a lacy shawl, something light and pretty to shade my shoulders from the evening chill.

WorstedKnitt says
March 14, 2010 at 1:16 AM


I sure love that yarn. If I were to have it, I would knit a little shawlette with it!

As for spring, I love how it smells. Now here in the city it's not so "smellable", but I remember the springs of my teenage years in rural Finland, where you can smell the forest changing, the earth melting again, and you can hear the snow melting and forming little brooks. Sounds really nostalgic, but that's what spring is, in essence, to me!

sheknitupthat says
March 14, 2010 at 12:23 PM

Here is my entry :D

I love spring because of a very sheepy reason - all the LAMBS are BOUNCING and LEAPING about, and JUMPING and generally frolicking. And you can see them in the fields, doing all this BOUNCITYFROLICKING whie you are in the train, knitting.

If I won this (beauuuutiful skein) I would work it into a long rectangular shawl, filled with every leaf and flower motif I could find in my stitch dictionaries, as a grassy coloured homage to spring :D

ikkinlala says
March 14, 2010 at 2:44 PM

Congratulations on the blog anniversary and the award nomination!

I love spring because the days get longer - I don't mind the cold of winter as much as the dark. I would use the yarn for a fun pair of socks - perhaps cables, or maybe a leaf lace pattern.

Sinéad says
March 15, 2010 at 2:15 AM

Gosh. I've read the previous comments and I feel all intimidated now ;)
Firstly happy bloggy birthday! and congrats again for the nomination. Well deserved imo.
Having squished this yarn in person before it was dyed, I can attest to its gorgeousness.

Why I love Spring? Winter is over. No more murky dark mornings & evenings, feeling like a vampire coz you never see daylight.
I love the first flowers that come up, especially snowdrops, announcing that Winter is on its way out and the promise of Spring and sunshine is to come. I love the birds getting all romantic and preparing their nests for their family to be. I love the way people seem to come out of hibernation and re-emerge into the daylight, and how everyone seems to be in better humour.

HazWool says
March 16, 2010 at 4:07 AM

Congratulations, two years blogging that's very impressive, I've only just reached two months!

Being Welsh, Spring starts for me with daffodils and leeks on March 1st, St. David's day, (the Welsh St. Patrick's but with less alcohol) especailly as it's my dad's birthday. At school we always had an eisteddfod for St. David's day, a school wide poetry, crafts and cooking competition, although sadly no knitting. I think this helped my love of crafting, and I was the best Welsh Cake maker in the school for four years running (so modest!) :)

If I won your beautiful yarn I would make a light and lacy shawl, to brighten up the spring evening and remind me of home.

Cheryl says
March 19, 2010 at 11:37 PM

Congrats on your 2nd anniversary.
There are many parts of Spring that I
like. One of my favourite things that I like to do is close my eyes and take in the smell of the grass and hear the birds chirping beautifully.
What would I do with the yarn - I would make a pair of Brigid cable socks.
Thank you

UnderMeOxter says
March 20, 2010 at 11:40 AM

I hope I'm not to late to enter this. I meant to ages ago but couldn't think of anything original that the others hadn't said already.

Then I realised what I love about Spring is exactly what I love about being presented with a new skein of yarn: it is unleashing hidden potential.

All Winter the Earth, and her inhabitants, have been resting and resusitating; storing up energy preparing for rebirth. In the same way, by dyeing this yarn you have imbued with a new energy and spirit; its potential has been changed.

With Spring the Earth, and her inhabitants, begin to emerge and embrace the energy and all the stored potential becomes released. In the same way I would hold (and embrace) this beautiful skein and let it tell me how to unlock its hidden potential. Does it want to be Kai-mei socks by Cookie A? or would it rather be Laminaria?

Oooh the joyous potential that single skein possesses...

Bionic Laura says
March 20, 2010 at 2:35 PM

Loving all the comments guys! I'll leave it open for a bit longer in case anyone else wants to enter.

Tina - omme i London says
March 23, 2010 at 7:16 AM

Green is such a difficult colour to get right - and you have done just that: got it right and what a wonderful spring colour it is.

My favourite season of the year is the wee bit in between each season. :) The bit where you get a preview of what is to come. Spring has to be the season that has the most spectacular preview. It starts with a warmer wind, which brings the buds to bursting point and give you the tiniest wee hint of the colours underneath. Everything that seemed hard and grey during the winter suddenly becomes much more manageable when the sun starts making an appearance and tease out the colours of the trees and flowers. That's why I love spring.
As for the yarn, I'm probably too late for that yet, but if I were lucky enough to receive it, I would have to turn it into something lacy and light to match a nice spring coat If I was quick enough I would make sure to wear it to Paris, where I hope to be spending Easter. :)