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.
A case for my craft scissors
A picture of my dog Ylva
A loose casual waistcoat or top
A project bag using the plastic loop handles in my stash
Not strictly on my list, but I made a new seat for the chair I picked up on Gumtree (like Craig’s List). I cut various layers of thin laminated wood we had in the garage and covered it with the old thin padding and fabric which I took from our old sofa, which I also used for doing up my granddad and grandpa’s old chairs. Next year I will likely strip the paint off it, but I want to use it for spinning for a while, to see if its a keeper! I had been using a dining room chair which is a wee bit too high and causing hip pain.
I signed up to the World of Wool fibre club (like I don’t already have enough!?) and my first box arrived this week. It had a small amount of grey Herdwick wool, pineapple fibre tops and 150g custom blend of merino and sari silk which I decided to do a sample spin, chain ply and knit a small sample. I really like how it spins and knits up, when its done I probably will make a larger shawl from it, we shall see. My box also had a notepad and pen, which I’m going to use for tracking my felting projects, seeing as Ravelry doesn’t include felting. In Ravelry I have created a dummy handspun project, where I can assign fibre used for felting to it, so that my fibre stash leftovers are showing correct weights. (Hopefully that sentence makes sense to readers with Ravelry accounts.)
I mentioned last week I had made a scarf for my sister, I also made a wee purse too, but forgot to photograph it properly. Unfortunately it didn’t arrive in time for her birthday, which is very disappointing. None of the pictures are really showing the true colours. I started off with a silk hankie stretched as long as I could and then wool and silks were layered. It ended up thicker than planned and so I maybe used too much wool fibre or may have shrunk it too much trying to get the silk to stick, but this was my first go at nuno felting. I am still getting a lot of movement in the silks, so perhaps I need to leave them longer after wetting, before I start rolling.
On a previous post I had shown a wet felted bag with flap that I made, which has become home to my circular needles…so I decided to make a matching roll one for my double pointed needles. The top picture maybe looks weird as it was on my sofa seat but then rotated 90 degrees…it is a long rectangle.
I have added to my YOP list ‘to knit (or crochet) all the left over bits of yarn. I had thought about making one of those sock yarn blankets made up of wee diamonds of sock yarn. After searching YouTube for videos to make diamond shapes I messaged the Crazy Sock Lady and asked her, and she explained they are made from mitred squares and so finally I found some ‘how to’ videos and had a go! And another go and another one!! They are addictive when you have a bunch of scrap wool next to your chair! I also knit a cover for my phone and a wee dog poop bag holder.
Look how well my poop bag holder goes with the trim on my dog treat bag!!! Hehe!
And finally I started to knit one of the arms of my Chimney Fire cardigan (not that I have finished the body yet). To protect the body whilst I am knitting the sleeves with DPNs I used a circular tray, so its kind of like a Lazy Susan…every time I finish one DPN I spin the tray!
Arrggghhhh! On Saturday evening I realised I had missed some of the arm decreases and I’m a bit further on than the image below so don’t want to rip out rows, so I have made a note of what I did and a plan for remaining decreases to get me back on track, so as long as I do the same on the other arm I should be ok. At least there’ll be no struggles to get my chubby upper arms in the sleeves 😂
This week I wanted to tidy the sunroom and dining area, which meant dealing with the fibre hanging around, waiting to be drum carded. I have borrowed the carder from my felting group, so need to return it at the end of the month.
The first half of the Samoyed dog hair has now been washed numerous times and drum carded and comes to 118g (4.16 oz). The other half has been washed and has been drying most of the week, so I will card it next week. There is still a whiff of dog about it, but once spun it will need washing again and hopefully that will work. I started pulling guard hairs out, but lost the will, perhaps as I spin I will try to pull out any very thick ones.
I also drum carded some brown alpaca, this is just a small amount from a much larger bag of alpaca fibre I picked up at a de-stash sale. I am not enjoying processing raw alpaca fibre…it is just soooooo dusty and full of vegetable matter (vm) that I dread processing the rest. I thought I would see what its like spun and then decide about the rest. I got in a mess with trying to create a rolag (see pic), so folded the other as a batt, and have separated them in a boot box with acid free paper ready for spinning.
I also drum carded this black fibre, I picked up in a stash with my spinning wheel. I am not 100% sure what it is, given the lack of grease, the amount of dust/vm and the softness, I think it is alpaca. The staple length varies but is mostly pretty long with odd short fat curls, which could be from its head? I am not an expert in fibres, but alpaca is my best guess. This photo is only a small part, there’s actually 119g of it now carded….similar amount to the white Samoyed…so I could try a humbug inspired ply (does the US have humbug sweets/candy!?!?!) Or I could knit something with black and white stripes?!
Onto more fun things I have done…
I finished my 3rd Hitchhiker scarf (albeit with some pattern variations shown on my Ravelry Project page). I love this pattern because I have memorised it (not hard, its just 8 rows repeated); you easily can tell where you are, so you can squeeze in a row when you have a few minutes; and you can make the scarf any size you want, so ideal for homespun yarn you aren’t sure how much there is. There is something pretty very cool about making something with yarn you have spun yourself. This is the first garment I have made with my homespun yarn and now the evenings are getting colder I will have a chance to wear it!
I have purchased some more of Martina Behm’s patterns, so will post details of those when I have done them. They call for fingering weight so its something to aspire to achieving in my spinning.
I finished spinning and made 3 ply yarn from my early dyeing attempts of British 56s wool. I had spun 2 bobbins of singles a while ago, so did 3rd today and then plied. What was left over on one bobbin I chain plied and feel I am getting better each time.
On Thursday I wet felted something for my sister’s 50th, but I won’t post the picture(s) yet, as its not her birthday until next week!
Other than that I have been knitting my cardigan….suspect I will be saying that for many weeks! If only I had chosen a stockinette and not American moss stitch and cable pattern!! Ah well!
Not much done…in fact nothing on my YOP list, but I have expanded my stash, which was definitely not on my ‘to do list’ oops!
But whilst in Orkney for a week, you HAVE to buy some wool from the rare North Ronaldsay sheep, which eat the seaweed on the coast of North Ronaldsay and Isle of Auskerry, which are the only 2 places they live. So when I say ‘some wool’, what I mean is…
Enough undyed wool to knit a jumper (6 balls in Seal Grey and 1 in Slate Grey)
Enough dyed wool to add some interest to the jumper or for accessories
Enough fibre (in 3 different natural colours) to spin goodness knows how much more yarn
some silk hankies and silk in colours that will go on the scarf I am going to make for my sister’s 50th birthday (hand dyed on Orkney)
And while I’m at it I may as well buy 200g of sari silk because it was too beautiful and reasonably priced not to..despite having nothing to do with Orkney!!!
Anyway, I did manage to knit a bit of my 3rd hitchhiker scarf, using home spun yarn and did some spinning of one of my first dyeing efforts.
If you are interested in seeing some pictures of Orkney, please check out my Week in Orkney post.
The Orkney Isles are located off the North Coast of Scotland. Some of its Isles can clearly be seen from the North Coast, like at John O’Groats, where cyclists set off to (or arrive from) Lands End (on the South Coast of England). For more than 10 years we have looked across and said ‘we must go there one day’…Orkney I mean…never have we thought we must cycle to Lands End 😉
With our reduced income we are exploring more of Scotland with our dog and our tent. So, finally, we booked ourselves on a week long trip to Orkney.
We based ourselves at The Orkney Caravan Park in Kirkwall. A great location as we can easily walk into the town centre, its close to 3 supermarkets and its a lovely campground with lots of ‘extras’, like a campers kitchen with everything but an oven (so microwave, toaster, kettle, fridge, freezer etc.). Its shower cubicles have sinks and toilets within, plus spare sink and toilet cubicles. It is next to the leisure centre and you even get 2 free passes if you want to go swimming or play racket sports.
Kirkwall is the capital of the Orkney Isles and is on the Mainland. There are various ferry ports across the Mainland giving you access to some of the other Isles:
from Kirkwall you can sail to the isles of Stronsay, Eday, Sanday, Westray and Papa Westray
from Stromness you can sail to the isles of Graemsay and Hoy
from Tingwall you can sail to the isles of Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre
from Houton you can sail to the isles of Flotta, Hoy, South Walls (there’s also a causeway from Hoy to South Walls)
there is also a causeway you can drive across to Land Holm, Burray and South Ronaldsay
So The Mainland seemed ideal to base ourselves for the week. The most northerly isles are not feasible to do in a day, but we hoped to add to our list of Scottish Islands visited.
With the North Sea to the East and the Atlantic Ocean to the West the crossing was a wee bit choppier than we experienced visiting the Inner and Outer Hebrides Isles. Our steward at the campground said the West side usually has the best weather, so if we encounter rain head West.
Anyway, that’s more words than I usually write, so I’ll get to the pictures!
Capital of Orkney, population 10,000. Lots of 17th and 18th Century houses.
St. Magnus Cathedral
The most northerly cathedral in Britain. Romanesque architecture, built in 1137 and additions made over the next 300 years. It was built for the bishops of Orkney when the Isles were ruled by Norse Earls.
The Bishop’s Palace built in the 12th Century and the Earl’s Palace built in 1607.
Notice the side street called ‘Khyber Pass’!
Ring of Brodgar
A neolithic henge erected between 2500 BC and 2000 BC! A UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Standing Stones of Stenness
A neolithic henge, erected ~3100 BC…wiki says this could be the oldest henge in the UK!
Scara Brae and Skaill House
Scara Brae is a village (well 8 houses) which pre-dates the pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge, occupied 3180 BC to 2500 BC. A UNESCO World Heritage Site. Skaill House was built in 1620.
East coast facing west!
Mull Head Nature Reserve and The Gloup (sea arch)
The 2nd picture on the left is Auskerry Island, where the wool I have bought comes from. They are the only other place to have the North Ronaldsay sea weed eating sheep. There’s just one family on the island. Gloup derives from Old Norse ‘gluppa’, meaning chasm, it is a collapsed sea cave.
There are some very interesting information boards here, which explain how this used to be part of a lake (below the equator!) millions of years ago and some of the cliffs were sanddunes on the edge of the lake! That’s my husband and our dog on the top left picture.
Brough of Birsay
This is an uninhabited tidal island. The 3rd image is of a settlement, originally Christian (6th Century), then a Pictish settlement (7th-8th Century) and finally Norsemen (i.e. Vikings 9th Century). The beach is full of beautiful shells, as shown in the bottom picture.
A miniature Isle which is home to the Italian Chapel. The chapel was built during World War II by Italian prisoners of war, who were there to construct the Churchill Barriers.
Glimpse Holm and the Churchill Barriers
Tomb of the Eagles
No photos inside the tomb, but we did crawl in. 16,000 human bones and 725 bird bones were found here. The tomb dates back to 3500-2000 BC.
Isle of Shapinsay
Balfour is the only village on the Isle of Shapinsay. Balfour Castle, its gatehouse and douche, privately owned unfortunately…well not for the owners but for visitors to the Island. RSPB Mill Dam site had lots of birds to spot from the bird hide above the loch. The Smithy tea room had the best Orkney Fudge Cheesecake and ginger bread…so good we bought more cake to go! We went on the ferry as foot passengers and it worked out a great half day trip.
So to sum up our Orkney holiday…we really enjoyed the Mainland, so much so we only ended up doing one ferry trip to another isle, but we did explore all the ones joined by causeways. We were blessed with the weather really, it rained some nights but days were mostly beautiful sunshine. We visited lots of bird hides and spotted some new birds we haven’t seen before. We ate loads of cakes! Goodness knows what the scales will say when we are home! Lots of places were dog friendly and the cafes that weren’t had picnic tables outside if you could cope with the wind! Allistar did lose a bit of lettuce off his plate outside the Orkney Brewery.
I wouldn’t say that history is really my thing…but I am interested in the Vikings and the Norse history of these Isles. I think we will likely come back and stay on one of the more northern isles, but we think we will rent a cottage and not camp next time. We slept fine, but as I write this, on our last evening, it is blowing a hoolie and we are in a sheltered spot in the town!
Having signed up to join in on the Year of Projects 2018 on Ravelry, I had forgotten all the rules and was creating things but not doing the weekly Sunday blog posts and sharing the link on the Ravelry group page. So on Thursday I remembered to share the link…but now realise some of those things were done this week and not the week before! Also I’ve commented about other people’s blogs on the group page, which I don’t think I am supposed to do. So basically a total muddle. Hopefully the group members will forgive my blunderings. 🤞
It is interesting to see all the different projects people are working on, and how I am not alone in having lots of different types of projects on the go at the same time.
If you are interested to see what the Year of Projects on Ravelry is about click here.
So this week I also made the project bag and notions pouch and spun some Samoyed dog hair (as shown on my previous post)! Both should have been on my projects list as I was expecting the dog hair and had the material to make the project bag!! Hopeless!
I also finished spinning the ethereal ether fibre from Gilliangladrag…I was going to post a poll on my HighlandHeffalump Facebook page, but see (below) what Facebook said about it! The poll was going to ask if people thought I should over dye it with a brighter colour!!! Seeing as Facebook thinks its a nude body I decided to definitely dye it with some deeper colours!
Suspect the position of my finger didn’t help matters! 🤣
I did dye a previous batch of this when it was spun, as I thought the colour definitions had been lost and I love the wee drink cosy I made from that batch, so tried to replicate that again. Its a shame to dye what started off as such pretty colours, but this fibre is better suited to wet or needle felting I think…or a method of spinning that maintains the colours better.
I have kept aside a small amount unspun in case I ever make a unicorn, as the colours would be great for a pastel rainbow mane and tail…but what I have spun I used as more dyeing practice using hot pink, Ice and Opal mixed in different quantities, and carefully applied with a pipette to get lots of variation, only to discover it was all pooling together underneath the yarn, so has ended up with less tonal changes than planned…it is also spookily similar to our bedding colour! I am such a purple addict!!!
Talking of purple, I had a go at felting a lightweight scarf using merino, silk and some locks…of course its purple! The next one I make I will only have the locks on one side, as they are a bit scratchy on my neck.
No new knitting or crocheting is allowed until my Chimney Fire cardigan is finished! It must be finished by the time it gets to winter. Although saying that we are off to the Orkney Isles for a week camping in a tent and I won’t want to take that, so maybe I can let myself do another shawl with some homespun that week.
To help keep track of my YOP list I have created a separate page with the list, so I can tick things off when completed and add links to the separate posts.
I haven’t posted on my blog recently so I thought I’d do a catch up post on what I have been up to.
I had a go at dyeing 200g of White Cheviot Super Chunky Weight wool. I started using Azalea and Tasman colours from the Landscape dyes and then added Pilbara and then put some Ashford Hot Pink mixed with Ice (blue). This wool was a real sponge soaking up the colours, so I just kept chucking more of the colours in! I love the finished hank, except the Tasman colour has made a few green bits. I don’t have much imagination for colourway naming, so this is logged in Ravelery as “Dusty Rose”.
Today I made a knitting project bag and notions pouch.
Wet and needle felting
At my felting group I made my first picture, of a Highland Cow! He has a hunchback and some other issues, but for a first attempt at a proper picture I am quite happy.
My neighbour’s parents have a Samoyed dog and kindly collected some dog hair brushings for me to spin. I have only done a test spin and chain ply with one handful and I’m excited to spin the 2 bags full that I have. My first attempt was unwashed when spun and I am going to try a small washed batch to see how that compares. The raw fur was lovely to spin with, very soft on my fingers, but my dog, Ylva, kept coming over for a sniff!
My Chimney Fire cardigan is progressing, despite a number of struggles with the pattern. I have a baking tray with various sections of the pattern stuck on with magnets and have a list of row numbers so I don’t lose track of which body row number goes with which cable pattern. I did the same for the collar section too, where there were 3 different row numbers to keep track of on each knitted row!!
Tour de Fleece
Finally, I mentioned previously that I had taken part in this year’s Tour de Fleece, as part of The Corner of Knit and Tea team. I was randomly selected to receive a fiber gift and all the way from Kansas, USA came this lovely Corriedale wool in Poppy colourway. I am thinking I may use it to wet felt a poppy handbag or poppy picture, rather than spinning it. It also came with a couple of tea bags too. 😁i