Year of Projects – weeks 15&16/52

Year of Projects – weeks 15&16/52

After a lovely week away at a holiday cottage on the West Coast of Scotland, this week has been so stressful and depressing.  I need to keep up with my projects to keep me sane and keep me from slipping back into depression.  

I have put up lots of unused craft supplies on Facebook Marketplace and already have sold some things.  This was prompted by me having too many warning signs I was teetering on the edge of being a full blown hoarder.  For anyone interested here’s a link to that post.  I think its important as a community we show that life has ups and downs and that’s ok and normal.  Electronic lives can seem like everyone is living perfect lives.

A quick update on my nuno felted scarf that I was unhappy with; I re did it adding more fibre around the edges and the roses.  I am so much happier with it.  It is so light to wear but warm!  

Nuno felted scarf update

Last week I finished Allistar’s first sock and I am doing the heel of the 2nd at the moment.  Already I spot they aren’t ‘Pairfect’…as per the yarn name.  My long tail cast ons were different tail lengths and despite re-doing the cast on 3 times it wasn’t perfect, so this has had a knock on affect at the top of the foot!  Typical as thats the bit people will see when he sits down.  The yarn was really splitting though so a 4th attempt wasn’t possible.

Allistar’s first sock

I wanted to see what the sari silk looked like felted, so made a weird shaped scissors case!  I love the silks and wish I had loaded more on! 

Scissors case

I joined the Brit Spin marathon on Ravelry, in team ‘More enthusiasm than skill’.  Our team each received 100g of Shetland fibre from our sponsors Curtis Fibres.  It is now the morning of the 4th and final day of the challenge and I have only managed to spin a third of the Shetland so far, partly because I am trying to spin very fine so that I end up with a 3 ply fingering weight yarn, but mostly because I am frantically dashing from one priority to the next, not sleeping well and really feeling the physical signs of some stress I am under at the moment.  My fitbit says my heart rate was in fat burn for 15 hours on Friday despite me not actually exercising! When I did some spinning at 6.30am, having been awake for hours, you can see my heart rate drop.  It drops again when I did some spinning about 2.30pm…the final drop is when my husband tried it on!   I wish I was better equipped to manage stress, but at least I know the spinning makes a physical positive difference.

Stress affecting my heart rate

 

 

 

 

Hoarding!

I have been recording the series ‘Hoarders – Buried Alive’ and watching an episode each morning over breakfast.  I started off watching it because it made me feel like in comparison I am tidy and organised and not a hoarder. Despite the size and eclectic nature of my crafting stash…everything has a place in a drawer or cupboard or bookcase…so its not piles everywhere.

However, what I have realised is there’s a common theme with many of the people who hoard…

  • They have always been collectors of things.  ✅ that’s me, started with egg cups when I was about 8, then Winnie-the-Pooh, then Minions and now yarn and fibre.  Can I part with any of my Pooh Bear or Minion stuff…nope!
  • They keep things with the intention to fix them up or the thought they may come in handy.  ✅ that’s me too…I dismantled our old sofa and kept all the sponge and pillows and fabric and zips…to be fair I did use a lot in doing up my grandparents old chairs and footstool but why have I kept the rest?  Although if I’d thrown it away I wouldn’t have been able to do a matching seat for my spinning chair!  But why all the foam???
  • They are creative and like to make things and think one day they’ll make something with it.  ✅ no surprises here, but on mentioning basket weaving stuff in my stash, I know I won’t make anything really…and what about all the paints I have…acrylic, watercolour and oils, pastels is what I am most drawn to so why am I keeping all the other types, plus the different pallets, brushes, canvases/paper.  But what would I make with all the foam?
  • They have lost a family member, whether that be through estrangement, death or divorce.  ✅ my mum cut me out of her life nearly 3 years ago…uh oh that’s 4 ticks so far.
  • They are unemployed, often due to ill health. ✅ I have resigned and left the company I was working for due to work related stress/breakdown and the loss of trust in the company.
  • Their parent(s) were prone to hoarding. ✅. My dad’s collection of glass coffee jars filled with rusty nails and screws from my childhood springs to mind.  My mum is crafty too, so has her own craft stash. 
  • Oh and did I mention they also often have previous mental health issues!  ✅ I have battled with depression, stress and anxiety in the distant and recent past.
 
Yikes I’m thinking…I have all the ingredients to become a fully fledged hoarder! 
 
My yarn and fibre and associated equipment isn’t a hoard, I use it weekly, its where I have at last found my passion and for every skein of yarn I own is assigned to a pattern in my queue or has a pattern marked favourite that eventually I will by and use the yarn.  Hmmm….think I saw an episode where a lady said something similar.
 
Today when the panic set in I started clearing out my landing cupboard!  I threw away tablets, inhalers, ointments, cough syrups etc etc etc.  Some with best before dates of 2002!!!  Next stop is the garage.  When I first went off sick I did donate masses and masses of stuff, but another round is needed.
 
What do you think?  Does the gene that makes you creative pre-dispose you to hoarding?  Is your stash just craft supplies?  When does a stash become a hoard?  Will I be on a future episode of ‘Hoarders – Buried Alive’?????  Or is there hope for me having realised the warning signs are there?!?

Loch Sunart Holiday

Loch Sunart Holiday

We booked a week in a holiday cottage on the south shore of Loch Sunart.  This is an area of the west coast of Scotland we haven’t really explored before.  Years ago we drove through part of this area to catch the ferry to the Isle of Mull, but it warranted a longer stay, especially as it has one of the highest populations of otters!

Our cottage was called Camus na h-Airdhe, one of a few cottages owned by the Laudale Estate.  The cottage looks out on Loch Sunart and from our french door windows we saw a small pod of dolphins, an otter, a pine marten, lots of heron, a raven and lots of smaller birds…oh and some amazing rainbows.  We also saw some deer and lots of seals.

It rained most, if not all, days!  Unfortunately the west coast of Scotland does seem to get the tail ends of the hurricanes and storms that travel across from the Caribbean and Florida areas, thanks to the North Atlantic jet stream.  Even our supposedly waterproof Gore-Tex over-trousers and jackets couldn’t hold back the rain on one of the days, but we didn’t allow it to spoil our holiday and it made lighting the wood burning stove in the evenings even nicer.

Enough waffle, onto some pictures.

Our cottage is shown in the first picture, albeit a bit dark as the sun was going down.

Scenes of Loch Sunart

 

Castle Tioram on Loch Moidart

A family picture at the Lighthouse which is on the most Westerly Point of Mainland UK!  I think we’d always thought Cornwall, on the southwest coast of England, would have the most westerly point, but nope it is in Scotland and here we are wrapped up and trying not to blow away!  (We now just have the most easterly point to do and we will have done them all.) The beach was one we stopped off at on the drive back and I couldn’t resist posting a photo of Ylva’s sandy nose!

Ardnamurchan Lighthouse

Various walk views

 

Scenes of Autumn

 

Answers to NothingButKnit’s latest Q&A

Karen at NothingButKnit blog has put out a new Q&A to her readers, and has asked these questions:

  • What is the first actual craft you remember doing as a child? (Not coloring or finger painting. Something more special that you didn’t do regularly.)
  • What is the craziest craft you’ve tried?
  • What craft would you like to try but you know you’d be bad at it?
  • If you had to give up your crafting how would you spend your crafting time?
  • What craft isn’t your thing? Have you tried it or do you just know you wouldn’t like it?

My answers are as follows:

  • My mum and I would collect stones from the beach and paint them and varnish them.  I remember one was a ladybird/ladybug.  We also did ‘paintings’ using pasta, dried beans and glue.  I also loved my fuzzy felt kits.  My sister always wanted to be playing with other kids, but I was content just doing crafts with my mum.
  • I made a basket with the help of my host mother when I was an au pair in Michigan.  I have had basket making supplies in the wardrobe, to make another, for the last 24 years!! 
  • Hmmmm I am trying to think of a craft I haven’t tried…I haven’t tried macrame yet but I don’t think I’d necessarily be bad…I find with practice I can do everything well enough for my standards.
  • Give up crafting!!  Goodness what a thought, I re-started crafting after a breakdown from work related stress so I may end up spending my time reverting to a crying couch potato!  Perhaps I’d go back to doing more gardening and photography, I’d have to have some creative outlet even if its planning to ‘paint’ my garden with flowers.
  • I like watercolour painting, but I struggle to get passionate about it like I am with fibre related crafts.  I am still using watercolour paint tubes I bought 26 years ago…I think that says it all!  There’s some watercolour attempts in this previous post

Year of Projects – week 14/52

Year of Projects – week 14/52

Chimney Fire cardigan is finished!

Please follow the link to see the post about it and the finished photos. 
 

Nuno Felted Scarf

Ermmm this needs more work, perhaps I will spin some silk thread to sew the seams and put other details and attach some whisps that haven’t joined the silk.  When I made my sister a scarf I used too much fibre, this time not enough and its felted too quickly to itself rather than the silk (despite using cold water).  Perhaps when its dry I can make some decisions.
 
Nuno felting scarf

My Husband’s socks

I bought an Addi Sockwonder 2.5mm 25cm circular needle and what a speed I was able to knit up to where I need to divide for the heel.  Way faster than magic loop or double pointed needles, you just go round and round.  The yarn is Schachenmayr Regia Pairfect…we shall see if it makes a perfect pair!!!
Allistar’s socks started
 No update from me next week as I will be away this week and will just be working on the socks in the evenings.

Chimney Fire

Chimney Fire

Details

Pattern:   Chimney Fire by Melissa J. Goodale  from Stick Chick Knits

Yarn:  Malabrigo Rios in Teal Feather x 5.5 skeins   

Cost: $8.40 (£6.59) for pattern and £62.94 for 6 skeins, so about £56 on the cardigan, so total cost excluding labour is around £63 for 100% merino wool hand knitted cardigan.

Value = Priceless 😀

Photo Gallery

 
Chimney Fire cardigan

What I learnt

  • There must be thousands of easier cardigans to have started with…but I love it more because it wasn’t easy.
  • A circular tray on my knee worked well in protecting the already knitted parts, especially when doing the arms which involved a lot of turning the whole project.
  • I now can really read my stitches and became expert at correcting mistakes, going down a few rows in a cable to correct the twist and correcting the odd rogue American Moss Stitch (AMS) that went wrong (turned to rib look).
  • If you spend 2 months knitting something it is easy to forget some early mistakes and frustrations!  
  • Safety lines are so important for your sanity, I had 2 occasions to go back to some of mine.
  • Don’t unpick a cable until you are 100% its wrong!!!  I unpicked the back of the neck not realising it was intentionally different, as the cables were starting to go the other way round!!
  • The pattern doesn’t use as many stitch markers as I used and my extra ones definitely helped me know when to switch off doing the AMS and doing the front panel cable sections.
  • For cables with an R you put stitches on the holder in the Rear!  R = R
  • This wool grows a lot during blocking!!!!  I did one more 16 row repeat than needed as I was worried it would be too short!  I don’t think it needed the extra repeat as its grown a few inches.  The sleeves I thought maybe too short are now folded at the cuff after it grew during blocking.  I decided to take the pins out when it was still damp and lifted and re-laid it a few times with less stretch in the stitches to improve length issue.
  • Despite being in the same dye batch each skein did vary in shade, which is why the bottom and bottom of the arms are a darker shade.
  • I thought about adding pockets but worried they’d be a disaster and ruin it, so I am not 100% confident yet.
  • I am the world’s most impatient blocker…I used a hair dryer to speed up the drying!!! Probably a thousand reasons not to but I lack patience, so what’s a girl to do!
  • Spending some planning time early on is worth it, such as
  1. Print the pattern pages on single side of paper, not double sided (as you need different parts of the pattern at the same time)
  2. As there are 3 different pattern repeats in the upper body it is worth listing these in 3 columns (upper body row, arm cable row and front cable row) and don’t throw it away as you need to remember where the arms were up to! (See below image.)
  3. A baking tray, magnets and a cook book holder worked well for sticking the various pattern sections, list of row numbers and for me I needed reminders of which moves to do on the ‘make one left and right’ (M1L and M1R) and initially needed reminder about the left and right cables but now I’ve got it.
Overall I am thrilled it is finished, its the biggest project I have ever done and it took hundreds of hours to complete but I love it!
 
Row_guide.jpg

Year of Projects – week 13/52

Year of Projects – week 13/52

A very different week for me this time.  No long list of items, I have finished both arms of my Chimney Fire cardigan, so now it is just the body to finish.  No photos this week as hopefully I’ll have a finished cardigan to show next week.

I spent a greater proportion of my days this week knitting and I think I over did it.  I had a sore right hand but didn’t want to risk switching to continental knitting because my tension/gauge is much tighter then.  My lower back and hips are sore and my shoulders full of knots.  So this week I am not going to over do it. 

My crochet hook with handle and cotton yarn suitable for making the Octopus for a Preemie arrived this week, so I am ready for when they are number 1 in my queue (currently #3).

As this is 1/4 of the way through the YOP I thought I’d snapshot where I am up to on my list.  Not quite a quarter finished, but I feel happy with my progress so far.

Wet felting

Needle felting

  • A 3D animal…probably my dog Ylva
  • Make up some more bug related fairies…to go with my ladybird one

Spinning

  • Spin all the commercial fibre currently in my stash (for spinning not felting) on Ravelry @ date of posting! ❇️
  • Spin 200g of alpaca fibre currently in my stash
  • Master chain ply ✅ wk 12 (Himalayan blend chain ply nice and smooth at joints)
  • Create a fractal spun yarn
  • Spin some tweed yarn
  • Create my own wool and silk blended spin
  • Create an official (not accidental) art yarn
  • Spin first batch of Samoyed dog hair ❇️ wk 6

Dyeing

  • Dye some of the natural fibre tops and/or homespun yarn from my stash
  1. Samoyed Dog hair
  2. Bamboo
  3. Merino/silk blend
  4. Merino/suri alpaca blend
  5. Corriedale fibre
  6. Blue Faced Leicester
  7. British 56s ✅ wk 4 and 11
  8. Portland

Also, over dye ethereal ether ✅ wk 6

  • Dye undyed commercial spun skeins
  1. Cheviot chunky wool ✅ wk 6
  2. BFL/silk blend
  3. Merino silk blend
  4. Merino bamboo blend

Knitting

  • Finish my Chimney Fire cardigan ❇️
  • Make my husband a pair of socks
  • Make my dad something for Christmas
  • Make something with purple and gold homespun yarn ✅ (Hitchhiker wk 11)
  • Make up a matching accessory set from my perpetual purple paradise homespun yarn
  • Make the shawl with my Rowan Lima yarn
  • Make a 2nd pair of socks for myself
  • Learn brioche stitch ❇️ (YouTube watching wk 13)
  • Learn fair isle knitting and knit one of the small fair isle items in my queue ✅ wk 3
  • Knit (or crochet) all the scraps of left over sock and sport weight wool. ❇️ wk 12

Crochet

  • Make an octopus for a preemie (cotton and hook arrived wk 13)
  • Make a jellyfish for a preemie
  • Get to grips with UK -v- US terms!

Sewing