Year of Projects – week 47/52

Year_of_projects_2018.jpg

A small post this week.  I cut my right hand grabbing the nylon retractable lead as my beautiful but nutty dog went for another dog!  So spinning and needle felting was out.  I still have the burn on my left hand that if it gets wet is a bit gross, so no wet felting could be done.

I did manage to do some weaving but I’ll be posting a photo of that when it’s finished.

Elda is finished and I’ve written a separate post on that, with notes on the pattern and yarn and some photos.

So the only new thing to talk about is Quick Sand.  I totally forgot I was going to change from the M2 size to L size and of course now it’s too late as I’ve knit an arm!  No way I’m frogging this linen yarn.  I’ll block it aggressively on the top of the body when its finished.  I can get it on despite it looking tiny in the photo!  I found some washi tape in my crafting drawer the other day and that worked quite well to protect my fingers from the linen yarn.  On the body I was doing Portuguese knitting on the purl sides and that is much quicker but my tension is much tighter when I do, so I probably should have gone up a needle size.  It’s pretty obvious I went up a needle size on the sleeves.  Ah well!  

I’m doing the 2nd arm at the moment and then will carry on with the body.

I did extra rows on the arm to make it a bit longer.  I’ve bound them off but not cut the yarn yet!  I’m going to see how it blocks and if they grow too long I will rip them back or may add more rows if they don’t grow.  The arm takes almost a whole skein so it was simple to just pin the remaining yarn.

I did a few rows of my Void shawl.  I just cannot see me ever making this to full pattern width.  Unless it’s a project that takes years.  It’s so wide now it takes well over an hour to do 1 row!!!!  If you’ve had a project you’ve lost your mojo with have you turned a shawl into a shawlette or scarf!  I could use the remaining yarn to make some warm soft mittens.  i already have a hat in a similar colour that’s also alpaca.  I kept thinking of this being a nice big shawl to wrap around me when watching TV…now I’m thinking scarf!   Made worse by this being a YOP item this year and me wanting to try not to have anything carried over to next YOP year list.  Given there’s only 5 weeks left…I need to make a decision…park it or bind off early?!?!  

Have you bound off something and then regretted it?  I have so many yummy things in my queue…hmm…we shall see.

Elda Cardigan – Finished!

Details

Pattern:   Elda Cardigan by Vera Sanon

Yarn:  Cochrane yarn in Bramble Picking colour from Ripples Crafts 

Cost: $7.20 (£5.71) for pattern and £65.90 (incl. postage, but excluding extra yarn gifted to me buy Helen, the yarn dyer.  So cost to me was £71.61, excluding labour for an indie dyed, yummy yarn, hand knitted cardigan.

Value = Priceless 😀

Link to Ravelry Project page.  (Quite a lot of notes made on my Ravelery Project page.)

 

Pattern summary

If I knit this pattern again, which I may well do at some point, I would find it much easier the 2nd time.  The reason being there was a lot of trial and error on some of the aspects of this pattern, like the picking up of the slipped stitch sections not having numbers given for each size.  There was just an example of a number of stitches but that wasn’t clear what size that example was for.  So it took 3 or 4 attempts at getting it right for me.  (This was made harder as the dark colour and woollen nature of the yarn making it tricky to pick up 3 of every 4 stitches.)  
 
This is only the 2nd cardigan I have finished.  I would have liked there to be some more details on the expected stitches per row for the different sizes.  You get the starting stitches number, but I like to check I’m on track so more details would have been welcome.
 
If I knit it again I will have plenty of spare yarn yardage than the pattern dictates, so that I can have long sleeves and the body be at least 2” longer.  It would also have been useful to know approximately how much yarn the slipped stitch band was going to use.  If I’d knit the arms first, weighed it and then done the border I’d have an answer for you, but I did the arms last.  Next time I’ll do the arms first then body and band.

Yarn summary

I am a regular user of Ripples Crafts Reliable Sock Yarn and have hats, gloves, scarf and mini shawls I have knit out of it!  Oh and 2 pairs of socks too!  I still mourn the loss of a hat I crocheted with a gorgeous yarn of Helen’s, last seen in Verona!  She regularly changes her colourways so it can’t be replaced, plus I made the hat pattern up as I was making it…anyhoo I digress. 
 
The Cochrane yarn was commissioned by Helen, where she sourced the fibre from UK farms, arranged for it to be spun and then dyed it. This was originally a limited edition for her 10th Anniversary as an Indie dyer and I bought 3 skeins from that original batch, with no pattern in mind.  As there’s a long time in its prep, it isn’t always available in her online shop.
 
The yarn is woollen spun 50% Bowmont and 50% Blue Faced Leicester.  (Bowmont is a cross-breed of Saxon Merino and Shetland.)
 
I can’t tell you how much I love this yarn.  It has a hint of toothiness like Shetland, but it’s much softer.  It has a lovely sheen to it from the BFL.  It was a pleasure to knit, didn’t split (it’s 2 ply but Sport weight) but best of all….this yarn gets an A+++ for its ability to withstand frogging.  I frogged the neckband twice or possibly 3 times, when I look at the notes I’ve scrawled on the pattern, I frogged an almost completed arm.  It feels lightweight but I think it will be warm.
 
When I knit my previous cardigan with malabrigo rios yarn there was some bobbling and wear happening to sections of the garment as I was knitting it, this did not happen at all with the Cochrane yarn.
 
With me looking short on the yardage needed to have long arm version, Helen said she would see if she had any left from a shawl she had knit with this yarn.  I met her in Inverness and her spare yarn was a slightly darker purple, but for the band it toned well enough.  This was sooo generous of her to gift me it.  Of course I tried to re-pay that generosity buy buying a gradient set and more sock yarn.
 
As I write this my Elda is out on the blocking mats and the house smells of yummy wet wool.

Photo Gallery

Hottest day of the year so far, so just some quick selfies.
 

Year of Projects- week 46/52

Knitting

Elda – I surely could have knit 2 jumpers in the time I have spent knitting and then ripping out parts of this Elda cardigan.  The night before going away, I picked up the arm stitches on the bigger sized needles and picked up the prescribed number of stitches under the arm; I figured my larger needles would be enough to make the sleeves a bit more comfortable.  

On the 6.5 hour journey to the Yorkshire Dales I almost finished the first sleeve.  When I tried it on in the cottage it felt too tight, I then noticed on the pattern that I hadn’t done the 1.5 inch stockinette section before I’d started the decreases!  So annoyed at myself, I frogged the arm.  To be sure I didn’t end up with a sleeve too tight, I picked up an additional 2 stitches under the arm and proceeded to knit the sleeve for the 3rd time!

I do wish this cardigan was longer, but as I’ve done the braid section down the front it’s impossible to add extra rows without have to rip out the braid/slipped stitch section.  Honestly, the weeks I’ve spent on this!!!  The yarn though is an absolute superstar, coping so well with the changes.  It’s woollen spun and has an almost homespun texture to it and I love the colour, plus this yarn wasn’t cheap…so fingers crossed, touch wood etc. I am going to be happy with it.  Certainly the larger sleeve is much more comfortable.  I need to stop buying yarn quantities for the size I think I am but for a size or two up, so I can make alterations without running out of yarn, especially when from an indie dyer.  I’m on the 2nd arm, no photo yet…one when it’s finished.

If I didn’t have a queue of projects to get done I would unpick the border, knit some additional rows at the bottom and re-knit the border.  Especially as I realised when doing the cuff I’ve only done half the rows of ribbed pattern, at the bottom, as the pattern stated!!  

Lessons learned so far on this are many…next sweater I make I am doing the arms before the body.  I don’t care if this makes it a bit awkward shaped to knit the body, I want to maximise my yarn use on everything and to me that means doing the arm length I’m happy with first.  Realistically, if I added more rows, that would add rows to the braid border etc. and I don’t know how much that would need, so I could end up with only 2 or 3 additional rows, which would be negligible.  

So how can you ever ensure you use all the yarn?  What are your tips or tricks for maximising yarn usage?

Quick Sand – Given the struggles I’ve had with Elda and my apparent blindspot for all the weight I’ve put on (another 5lbs when on holiday!!!) in unexpected places…like my upper arms, I am thinking I will knit the large size and not the M2 size on this cardigan.  I’ve no experience with wearing a linen knitted top, but have heard people say it often stretches lengthways and pulls in width ways?!  Does anyone have any experience knitting with a linen/cotton blend?  This is Drops Bomill-Linn.

Stash acquisitions

As we have been away all week, and I only took knitting with me, there’s no other crafts to report on.  

However, as we were in the Wensleydale area, it was essential/compulsory/common sense that I visit the Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Shop and buy some yummy things.  I picked up a gorgeous teal coloured yarn in Aran weight and then picked up a pale sea glass green that toned nicely with it.  My plan is to knit a hat and cowl set with the balls, perhaps try an Intarsia pattern, or maybe stripes.  Anyway, I love the colours and look forward to a relatively quick project as I went for the thicker yarn.  If I like it, I may buy a jumper amount when I’m down at Fibre East, as they have a stall there.  We shall see how I get on, but it has a gorgeous sheen and stunning rich colours.  The colours are pretty true on the photo.

I also bought 250g of Wensleydale top to dye and spin myself and bought a bag of undyed locks to use in felting or for scarf fringes.  My dad was behind me in the shop probably thinking “how much?”.  The yarn was £8 per 100g/4oz skeins and I think that’s not a bad price for a rare breed wool of this quality.  

The bag of locks £3.50 and the tops was £12.50 for 250g.  You’d think with us staying in Raydale, right next to Wensleydale, that we’d see some of these beautiful Wensleydale Longwool sheep, with their super long ringlets…but we haven’t seen any.  We have seen zillions of Swaledale sheep, including lambs only minutes old still being licked clean by their mums. 

On our drive home we did a detour to visit the New Lanark Wool & Textiles.  This is such a beautiful old place, deep in a narrow valley with a river flowing through it are the various mills, waterwheels, shops and houses.  Quite a steep drop down from the car park and of course then a hike back up the hill after.  Now I already have a jumper quantity of their Aran yarn, plus 2 balls of DK weight yarn…so what did I buy?  Two more balls of their Aran weight yarn!  All proceeds from the sales of their wool and textiles is reinvested in the development of the historic Mill village…so it’s like giving to charity, not yarn shopping!  😉  The colour flecks in the yarns are so gorgeous.  This is a traditional wooly wool, a little scratchy, but I’m making a hat and gloves and they should be fine and the jumper I plan to knit has a wide cowl neck so should be fine, so long as I choose a generous (I mean realistic) pattern size.

Our holiday

It was a quiet and relaxing week.  My dad came to stay at the cottage Sunday lunchtime to breakfast on Thursday, so that was lovely.  The weather could definitely have been better, as we had a lot of rain mid-week.  We went to see the tallest single drop waterfall in England, and some other waterfalls and saw plenty of wildlife including brown hares, dozens of partridges, Canadian geese, Oystercatchers (despite us being inland) and many more birds.  I only get to see my dad once a year, so it was nice to see him.

I did manage to burn my left index finger on the wood-burner!  Doh!  I swear I burn myself on something once a year.  At least this time it doesn’t affect my knitting. 

 

Year of Projects – week 45/52

Year_of_projects_2018.jpg

Knitting

Elda – I finished the slipped stitch section and I am happy with the colour variance of the spare yarn that Helen from Ripples Crafts so kindly gave me for free.  The Estonian Braid lines are in the original colour and the slipped stitch the new.  Seeing what is left off the new colour I know I made the right decision, as there wouldn’t have been enough for the braid as well.

I’ve started the arm again, this time with a larger needle size and not picking up extra stitches and so far I am happier with the fit on my arm and the gauge.  I am hoping to do the sleeve knitting in the car to Yorkshire, as it’s a 6+ hour teip each way.  I may get car sick but I’ll give it a go.

 

Quick Sand – I had a plan to do the Quick Sand cardigan, by Heidi Kirrmaier in home dyed BFL/Silk yarn, but I think I need a lot more practice in dyeing batches the same colour first.  So I ordered some Drops Bomull-Lin (linen/cotton) yarn to make it.  The original pattern is for linen yarn. 

The Drops yarn I bought has been used by many other knitters to make this pattern and they all seem to have gone down a needle size to get gauge and a nicer fabric, so I have as well.  I’m knitting the M2 size even though my measurements are nearer the M1 size, so I’m hoping that it will fit.  The way the pattern is written I can switch to the L size when I finish the yoke, if it’s looking too small.  The cardigan is supposed to have up to 3” of positive ease…I think I’ll be nearer it having no ease, which I’d be fine with.  The yarn was reasonably priced, after washing the swatch it feels nicer, but to knit with it has really cracked my right index finger after 1 day of using it.  I started to try Portuguese knitting on the purl sides, you wrap the yarn around the back of your neck and do most of the stitch movement with your left thumb.  This is not the right project to practice this on though, the yarn could decapitate me, it’s so rough and harsh under tension.

Quick_Sand_WIP_1.jpg

You can’t really tell on the photo, but the yarn has both cracked and blistered my skin!  I’d like it to be finished by summer, as that’s obviously linen wearing season, but I may need a finger cosy when knitting it…is there such a thing????

Sore_finger.jpg

Dyeing

I had the urge to try some more dyeing and thought I’d have a go at making a gradient set.  Using Landscape Acid Dyes in Opal colour.  I first divided one skein of BFL high twist sock yarn into different smaller skeins.  I basically wrapped 1 skein around my niddynoddy, the same amount of wraps, then cut and tied them.  I ended up with 6 evenly sized mini skeins and a slightly larger one.

I have these handy garden ties, that are like reusable zip ties and ideal for mini skein dipping!  Anyone else’s mind leap to skinny dipping?  Nope, ok just me.  Anyway, I’m happy with the results except I did get a tiny bit of Marine blue cross contamination on some of my 5 gradient minis from the 2 speckle practice ones I was playing with.  

I’m not sure what I will make with them yet.  Maybe socks!  We shall see.  I carried these around the house trying to find somewhere that the colours would come out right but no joy.  Anyway you get the idea, but they are more vibrant and richer turquoise colours.

 No felting, tiny bit of spinning and weaving, but no visual changes since last photos of those. 

 

 

 

 

 

Silk Painting

In 2011 I did a class on silk painting a banner.  The theme for the banner could be anything we wished.  I decided to try to represent the four seasons.

Silk_banner.png

So we have at the top the bright green leaves of Spring, leading down to the fields of rapeseed and summer crops, then the falling leaves of autumn, which land on a bed of snow.

The idea came from 2 silk paintings I had done in 1995.  The intension being that I would end up with 3 pieces of silk painting on a theme.  It may be hard to see, as it needs ironing, but there’s the same type of house in the banner as on the cushion cover.

Then there’s the leaves I showed in my last year of projects (YOP) update.  You’ll notice when I did the banner, I copied the shape of the leaves.  So there was supposed to be a cohesive theme, a set of 3…albeit they were made 16 years apart!!

Silk_leaves.jpg

The thing is, I’m a bit rubbish at doing the sewing bits!!  So they still aren’t a set of 3 and I could kick myself for having thrown out a load of cushion filler from our old sofa that would have been ideal for stuffing…but then that had sat in a cupboard for a few years unused and I was doing a ruthless clear out.

So my cushion with the cottage view has sat unstuffed for 24 years, my picture of the autumn leaves sat waiting to be made into a cushion for the same length of time and my banner has hung from a coat-hanger (instead of making a proper hanger for it) for the last 8 years.

This is unusual for me, as I would normally be a completer/finisher.  So why is it that silk paintings don’t get those finishing touches for years?  I guess as lovely as silk painting is, to both make and view, it isn’t necessarily a craft for me.  Or perhaps it is…but sewing is the problem!

Anyway, I am going to add to next year’s YOP list that these 3 items will be finished and a proper set on display.

Do you have a particular craft that you struggle to do the finishing touches?  What’s your longest work in progress (WIP)?

Year of Projects – week 44/52

Year_of_projects_2018.jpg

Felting

I didn’t have as long at the felting group this time because I had to nip into Inverness first, so I took along some fibre for a project that wasn’t on my YOP list, but has been waiting almost 25 years for me to do it!

In June 1995 my mum and I went on a silk painting course at Westhope College.  I think it was for my 23rd birthday present.  Anyhoo, one of the things I made was this painting of autumn leaves.

Silk_leaves.jpg

This has sat in a drawer and moved house with me 6 times and been waiting for me to do something with it!  So, I made a felt backing for it to make a cushion.  I will iron on some interface behind the silk to firm it a little and then, when the felt is dry and ironed I will sew it into a cushion.  This is just the back of the cushion, so its hints of leaf shapes, rather than accurate leaves…I mean who is even going to see the back?

Knitting

Well I have been back and forth with Elda and my goodness this yarn is coping amazingly well at being ripped out.  The sleeve was too tight so I ripped it out, then I got half way through the braid/slipped stitch edging and it was puckering so I ripped it out to start it again but picking up more stitches.  I have some extra yarn (about half a skein) from Helen at Ripplescrafts, she was so generous to give it to me for free.  The colour isn’t exactly the same tone, but I think if I use it on the braid section then it will be part of the design feature of it and not matter so much.  Then I will split the remaining original colour yarn and do the sleeves as long as possible with that yarn until it runs out.  No photo, as with all the ripping out I have actually less progress than last week!

Spinning and Weaving

Not much change since last week, so no pictures.   

I bought from Helen a small gradient pack to weave a scarf.  Helen had made one with one of the blue packs and that can be seen on her Instagram.  I managed to resist the purple pack and went for grey, Peat and Rocks.  I also bought a skein on sock yarn from her in lovely blue shades.  Check out me, breaking away from my pink and purple obsession!!

Dyeing

I did do some dyeing this week, testing what the unmixed colours look like and then made some random purples mixing the blue and red toned dye mixes.

 

My Desert Island Discs 2019

Not a knitting post, but read and join in if you are interested.

Heffalump ramblings

For weeks I have been listening to the Desert Island Disc podcast library. I have listened to dozens of episodes so far and there are many more in my queue. This BBC Radio 4 show has been going for over 77 years!

The concept I don?t believe has changed during that time. You are going to be stranded on a desert island and…

  • You pick 8 discs (that?s single songs, not albums…although some people have chosen poetry readings, a radio episode of their favourite show and Dame Judy Dench requested the BBC Radio 4 shipping forecast as one of her discs!)
  • You are given a copy of the Bible, the complete works of Shakespeare and you may pick one other book.
  • You are also allowed to pick a luxury. You aren?t allowed to pick a raft or boat! Ray Mears, survival expert, says you can use shells as knives, so…

View original post 1,513 more words

Puckering…unpick or hope it blocks out?

It looks like I didn’t pick up enough stitches at the front bottom sections….do I need to rip it out and start again and pick up more stitches next time?  Or do I continue and hope it blocks out when finished?  Or do I try blocking it now, see if it blocks out and if it doesn’t rip it out?

I’m not sure just how much correction you can get from blocking as this is only my 2nd garment.  It looks ok when I manually pull it.

I think I am going to have to accept this isn’t going to be ready to wear on my holiday in 10 days time 😢

Puckering.jpg

Pulled.jpg

 

 

 

 

Year of Projects – week 43/52

Year_of_projects_2018.jpg

Knitting

This week has been mostly Elda cardigan knitting, as I really want to try to finish it before we go on holiday.  I am concerned I am going to be playing yarn chicken when it comes to doing the Estonian braid section, as my yardage was enough for 3/4 sleeve version and I am doing full length sleeves!  I just can’t see me wearing a shorter sleeve.

The indie dyer, Helen from Ripplescrafts, is doing a pop up shop in Inverness next week and she is bringing along her own leftover yarn from her own project, so we can see if its a good colour match.  I may only be 200 yards short (if the pattern is correct).  I had to go down a needle size to get gauge, does anyone know if that means I’m using more or less yarn?  My brain won’t compute it.

I suppose I should have done the Estonian braid section first and then could just knit the sleeves to whatever is left…I’m part way through the first sleeve…I did start a brand new skein when I started the sleeve so I know how much I’ve used so far.  Does that help though.  I did think of a contrasting colour for the braid, but arrrggghhh perhaps it will be fine and I will have enough!?!

I have thought about not quite finishing the sleeves, doing the Estonian Braid and then if I need Helen’s leftover yarn it would be for both sleeve ends…so may have slightly different tones on the cuffs!  

Oh my I am rambling!  Anyhoo…advice welcome.

 

Felting

No felting this week!!!!  I still need to dye some sand coloured wool for the other landing lampshade and the others I am going to whiz up some blended batts on the drum carder at felting group next Saturday (After the mad dash into Inverness to pick up Helen’s spare yarn and no doubt another skein of her yummy sock yarn.)

Spinning

Tiny bit of spinning this week, the colour is absolutely gorgeous.  The colour on the fibre photo is more accurate to how it looks.  After weeks of not doing any spinning it took a while to get back in the rhythm.  The fibre is Falklands Merino and will be knit into a mini shawl/scarf.  This is my first time using John Arbon fibre, he is vending at Fibre East in July which I am going to.

Weaving

I bought a 2nd heddle reed in the same size as my current one to try double weaving.  It took me hours to warp it and to work out where to put my pick up sticks, then realised my sticks are a bit short, so I’ve ordered some slightly larger ones.  These sticks, once in the right place enable you to weave the top and the bottom layers, so you end up with fabric twice the width than with one heddle.  In my weaving book it says its easier to do than describe, and that’s from an expert.  Perhaps next week I will have something a bit more to show you, so that you know what I mean, but on the photo below you can see the open side showing the top and bottom layers, on the left side its closed.

Other news

Since giving up work it seems my brain has retired, that or I’ve eaten too many hot cross buns and I am having sugar overload.  Talking of sugar…I bought a 2nd hand copy of the Sugar Addict’s Total Recovery Program by Kathleen DesMaisons.  I am a total sugar addict and already have liver problems from it, so I am determined to beat the addiction.  I only started reading it on Friday night and on Saturday I ate a bag of chocolate buttons and 2 hot cross buns and we have pain au chocolate to have on Easter Sunday for breakfast!!  So this isn’t going to be easy.  

 

I am still enjoying listening to the Desert Island Discs podcasts…one of the guests asked for a blow up s*x doll to use as a raft!!!!  I burst out laughing walking down the street listening to it and Kirsty the presenter was all erms and errs, first time she has been lost for words.  Some episodes I’ve been walking along crying or smiling or laughing.  

 

Today is my dog, Ylva, 11th Birthday.  We took her to Glen Affric on Good Friday, where it was unusually warm for April. She has some yummy things for her birthday meals and a new squeaky snake that she had a good go at yesterday when she spotted it in my shopping bag.  

Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin in Glen Affric was unusually low on water so we were able to walk out to one of the ‘islands’, where this photo was taken…she’s not very good at posing for photos and he was trying to get her to face me, but she wanted the treat in his hand!  This is part of a set of lochs in a hydro scheme so may have just had a release of water.  

Yesterday I did some vegetable garden planning for this year and discovered both water butts were empty!  Usually they are full at the start of the year.  The lambs on the farm behind us are finally being born, so every day we’ve spotted new lambs…but the streams that come down the hill don’t have much water in them and the farmer says he’s concerned about his sheep getting dehydrated as its so warm and there’s so little water.  They don’t usually get sheared until June because its usually so much cooler here.  Last year we had a very warm May which was unusual…now its an unusually warm April!   I know there are far more important global impacts here to power, wildlife, crops etc., but my selfish gene does make me wonder how short knitwear wearing season is going to become if things don’t change.  🤔

Year of Projects – week 42/52

Year_of_projects_2018.jpg

This really feels like the home straight now…week 42 of 52!  Yet I have been totally distracted from my YOP list by lampshade making and buying a loom.

I have updated my YOP list and have removed Crochet as a category.  I’m not saying I won’t ever pick it back up again, but the longer I have been knitting the harder it seems to go back to crochet.  I can’t get used to the hook and yarn in my hands and there are other crafts that I am currently more drawn to.  That being said, I shall be crocheting vicariously, by reading the blogs of my fellow YOPers, many of whom make amazing and beautiful crocheted items.

So crochet is out and weaving has filled its place. I was going to do a separate weaving blog post, but didn’t get around to it, so that’s included here instead.

Weaving

So my first ever woven item turned out ok.  There are a few mistakes but overall I am pretty pleased with it.  This photo is before I washed it.  

I seemed to get to grips with the process pretty quickly, but I need to learn the terms, learn some patterns, purchase some pick up sticks, so I can do patterns in the weaving.

The yarn was Hayfield Spirit DK Acrylic/Wool blend.  Not really ideal for a first weaving attempt from a stretchiness of the yarn point of view, but the colour changes in the yarn work well. 

My 2nd attempt was playing with some DMC Just Cotton yarn that is so splitty it was impossible to knit or crochet with.  I think I need a different sized weave thingy…heddle?…so that it makes a tighter weave, but it was ok to practice with.  Obviously I should have differently spaced the cream warp (vertical) lines to make it symmetrical.

 


Knitting

It was our Camera Club’s AGM on Monday evening, that dragged on for over 2 hours…so I got quite a few rows done on my socks.  Without measuring where I was up to I did more sock knitting watching Bridget Jones movie and of course by the time I measured they were 1/4 inch too long, so I made toe decreases every row and tried to make a left and a right sock by decreasing more on the pinky toe side.   There was much swearing done when I was trying to fix my Kitchener stitch on one sock, as it had a hard bump at the end.  After hours trying to sort it I went to bed and in the morning decided the feet are too short and so I unpicked the toes!

So these have a few accidental changes to the Hermione’s Everyday Sock pattern, including where the purl stitches on the main pattern! 

I finished the waist decreases and started on the hip increases on my Elda cardigan.  The marker shows my progress this week, even though I didn’t post a picture last week!?!  So far it fits well, but I need to stop putting weight on or it is not going to fit!  I just cannot stop thinking about biscuits (cookies) and chocolate, all day, every day…and obviously consuming them too!

I even did another few rows on Void shawl, but barely any difference since I last posted that…they are seriously long rows now.  On the trickier rows they take about 45 minutes to do 1 row!!!  I still can’t see me making this to the full pattern length….pretty sure as it gets wider I’ll eventually hit 2 hours to do 1 row!

Felting

Yep more lampshades!

#8 for the landing, outside the bathroom.  The dark blobs were supposed to be pebbles, but most of them were lost during trimming and folding edges…doh!!

Seascape lampshade

#9 is a larger (25cm instead of 20cm) lampshade for the living room.  Designed to go with the photograph it illuminates.

Stormy seascape lampshade

I have 4 kits left, think I miscounted last week.  Hall table, spare bedroom, study and one more landing light to do.

I have been saving all the trimmed edges from the lampshades to make something with.  I’ve been thinking about dusting off my sewing machine and experimenting putting embellishments on felt.

What I am listening to 

On BBC Radio 4 for over 70 years there’s been a radio show called Desert Island Discs.  The guests have to pick 8 record singles/tracks, they are given the Bible, the complete works of Shakespeare and they can pick 1 other book and a luxury item.   Hundreds of the episodes are available as podcasts and for licensing reasons the tracks on the podcast are cut short.  This means I can get 2 episodes in per dog walk.  This week has been so interesting.  Lauren Bacall, Tom Hanks, Bill Gates, Dustin Hoffman, Goldie Hawn, Alice Walker (author of The Colour Purple) are some of the American guests I’ve listened to.  Kenneth Williams, Dame Judy Dench, Russell Brand, Dawn French, Liam Gallagher, Claire Balding are some of the Brits I’ve listened too.  It gets you thinking about what 8 songs you’d want to take and what book and luxury item you’d want to take with you.  I’ve drafted a list of the songs, my book choice would either be Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer (which I’ve already read 5 times and still enjoy) or the complete works of Pam Ayres Poetry, that I could learn off by heart.  The luxury item…yarn perhaps?  Goldie Hawn chose lip gloss!  

 

 

Year of Projects – week 41/52

Felting

A tea cosy and more lampshades! 

First my tea cosy. This was made from some fibre that was so felted I thought it would have to be a handle for something, but after some separation by hand and then a few passes through the drum carder. In the end it has made a nice thick and sturdy felted tea cosy for my For Life teapot, that is too small for commercially made cosys..cosies…hmm not sure the plural. I forgot to add the sari silk waste during the felting process, so I just needle-felted some on once it was finished. It was just going to be a prototype, but it’ll do and I’ve sewn a wee hook and eye on it to keep it closed. 


  

  

Then onto lampshades.

#4 and 5 – A red pair for the hallway, using the same 20cm round shade kits I’ve been using already. I thought red for the hallway would work well, as the chilli red kitchen is off the hallway and the primary colour goes well with the blue of the tide clock.


  #6 and 7 – A purple pair for our master bedroom, this time with rounded square kits for a change.


 

There’s 5 lampshades left to make, but my shoulders seem only up to making 4 in one week. 

Knitting

I’ve made some progress on my Elda cardigan but visually not enough change to warrant another photo.  My socks aren’t quite finished, so I’ll put an FO picture next week.  

Acquisitions 

I have bought a loom! A weaving loom, just a small one. It is an Ashford Sampleit Rigid Heddle Loom. It hasn’t arrived yet, should arrive Monday. Like I possibly needed anything else on my list of projects! I’ve been thinking about it for a while and was going to give the details to my husband, to buy one for me for my birthday in June, but then I bought it myself with some savings. I’m excited to get started on it. I’ll probably do a separate post about how I get on with it, rather than including that in next week’s YOP update.

With all the lampshades I am finding that I am running out of some colours of merino wool in my stash, never thought I’d be saying that! So I have ordered some undyed merino fibre to dye and re-stock my stash with missing shades. I may, whilst I was on World of Wool’s website, have bought a few other bits and bobs…but that’s a story for another day.

 

Year of Projects – week 40/52

Year_of_projects_2018.jpg

Wet felting

I’m a little bit obsessed with lampshades, so that is making it hard to concentrate on the rest of my YOP list! 

There’s an earlier post about my 2nd lampshade, with the name of the stockist for the kits. However, here’s a picture of lampshades #2 and #3 made this week.

Lampshade_2.jpg
Lampshade #2 sunroom

 

Lampshade #3 porch

In the bottom right corner you will notice my tide clock, which has similar colours.  I have a larger kit for our living room standard lamp (not sure what you call this in US, but a lamp on a long tall base about 4’-5’ tall).  2 walls in our living room are this teal colour, so I plan on making a similar one to lampshade #3 for it.

Our kitchen/diner has 3 walls in chilli red colour, but at the kitchen end it has built-in spotlights and at the dining room end we have a fancy glass and chrome light, so this room is going to be the odd one out when I’ve made them all.  Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself as I still have lots more to make.

At my monthly felting group I took along some fibres to blend on the drum carder for use in more lampshades.  Here’s a collage of the fibres and the finished batts.  They don’t look like they took hours to make but my arm is feeling it.  If I ever invest in my own drum carder it may have a motor lol!

My sister has asked me to make her a lampshade for her bedroom, so I’ll do that when I am visiting in July and we can pick some yummy wool batts from Fibre East festival whilst I’m there.  When you have made 7 batts in a day you start to really appreciate the skill of indie made ones and I will definitely be buying some from Spin City at Fibre East.  I added hold luggage to my flight this week, realising it was going to be unrealistic to have clothes and new stash acquisitions in carry-on. 

I have finished the felted jacket I mentioned.  A lady at the felting group tried it on so I could take some photos.  My selfie attempts were hopeless, plus it fits her better, as I am carrying about 10lb of extra weight I put on this winter, but obviously it also shrunk during the felting process!  

Knitting

So it hasn’t all been wet felting, I have managed to do some knitting projects as well in the evenings.

My Elda cardigan in the Ripplescrafts Cochrane yarn now has the sleeves separated.  The Estonian braid sections are picked up at the end, so this is a very simple pattern to follow so far and I love the yarn.  I should make some decent progress on this in the next few weeks.  I definitely want it finished by the time we go on holiday to Yorkshire in May.

As there’s alternate rows of purling, which gets tiresome after a while, I do keep going back to my socks.  

I have finished the gusset decreases on the 1st sock and am working on the 2nd to get it to the same stage, so I can knit the feet two-at-a-time and not be bothered about keeping track of row counts lol!

Every time I make a pair of socks the leg part gets longer, still not up to the pattern suggestion though.

Stash Acquisitions

So when you are making a purple cardigan, what do you think I ordered this week?  Yep, more purple yarn for a purple jumper (pullover)!  I couldn’t help myself!  I have been wanting to try some yarn from BaaRamEwe for ages and then on Instagram they kept tempting me with their last few remaining skeins of a yarn they’d made especially for Edinburgh Yarn Festival (which I didn’t go to).  The yarn is Dovestone DK Goathland. (50% Blue Faced Leicester, 25% Wensleydale and 25% Brown Masham).  The pattern is ‘Inside Story’ by Heidi Kirrmaier.  

Buying yarn for a pattern An already purchased doesn’t count…hehe!

 

 

Wet felted lampshade #2

I bought a lot of lampshade kits for the pendant lights and some lamps around the house.  So this morning I made my 2nd lampshade ever.

Rather than a specific scene I just wanted some blended colours, so I used my hackle to blend various green shades and a touch of cream.

To decorate I put a touch of white flax/silk, some orange angelina fibre (doesn’t show up on photos) and some of the Winter’s Kiss blend by World of Wool.

The result is a subtle blend that I am really pleased with.

The pre-felt I used this time was British Shetland wool, rather than Merino.  It is a bit cheaper, less air miles and seems to do as good a job as the merino.  The kits are from Dannells Ltd, who make them in Britain too.  Previously in the sunroom, we had an IKEA paper lantern that was at least 15 years old.  In case anyone is interested, the string of lights are from Cable & Cotton, and are a string of LED lights and you can order pre-set colour packs or pick your own shades for the baubles.  

So that’s 2 down, 11 lampshades to go!!  

 

 

Year of Projects – week 39/52

I have two finished felted objects I completed this week, and they have separate blog posts with further details.  Felting is so quick to get a finished object, in comparison with knitting and crochet.

img_2217d4cc37d3-6fd6-4534-98d1-48d782f35cae-1

  • I added to my YOP list the felted lampshade, as that was a course I hadn’t expected.  I loved it and have since ordered kits to make lampshades for every pendant light and lamp in the house!!  Oh and I ordered quite a bit of pre-felt, both merino that I am used to, but also some British Shetland wool pre-felt that was slightly cheaper.  
  • The felted tide clock was on my draft YOP list for next year, so I have moved it to this year’s list instead.  It will be ideal for me deciding when to take our dog to the beach (and obviously collect more sea glass after high tide, before others get to it lol).

I also did a post about the Andean plying tool (Handy Andy).  I forgot to mention on that post that the Andean’s used one hand to wrap around yarn in the same way, and that is called an Andean Bracelet.  This  wooden tool is a hand substitute.

Other than that I finished my fair isle hat.  The first time I made a fair isle hat I had to give it to a 2 year old it was so small!  Too tight with my floats!  This is my 2nd fair isle hat and it is pretty loose fitting on my head, my gauge ended up being off, despite doing a swatch.  Oh actually I think the swatch was just stockinette, not fair isle in the round.  Perhaps just an over loose knitting stitch and super loose floats.  Ylva and I went for a walk up the fields behind the house on the 1st day of Spring and managed to spot the first 4 lambs of the year.  Once the sheep and lambs come down from the higher fields, into these lush green ones we won’t be able to walk up them. 

I was debating about a pompom for this hat but have decided to go without.  It goes quite well with this particular coat (I can’t possibly say how many purple or pink coats I have.  It’s like asking a knitter how big her stash is lol!).  I am going to try to make some fingerless gloves to go with it.

As this week marks the end of the 3rd quarter of our Year of Projects, it is time to snapshot where I am up to on my list.  Some new things have been added and one deleted (as I have decided to keep my purple handspun for a larger project than a hat and scarf set).  I have also tidied up the order of items in each section, so the outstanding items are shown at the bottom.  As the days warm up I will be starting to do some dyeing practice, which is my least completed section of my YOP list.

Feel free to skip to the bottom where I talk about some new cast ons.

Wet felting

Needle felting

Spinning

  • Spin all the commercial fibre currently in my stash (for spinning not felting) on Ravelry @ date of posting! ✅
  1. Perpetual purple merino ✅ wk 3
  2. Plum merino and gold bamboo ✅ wk 3
  3. Ethereal ether ✅ wk 8
  4. British 56s ✅ wk 12
  5. Shetland ✅ wk 24
  6. Camel & silk ✅ wk 24
  7. Corriedale poppy ✅ wk 24
  8. Blue Faced Leicester ✅ wk 33
  9. North Ronaldsay humbug (added to list and started wk 31) ✅ wk 33
  • Master chain ply ✅ wk 12 (Himalayan blend chain ply nice and smooth at joints)
  • Create a fractal spun yarn ✅ wk 24
  • Create my own wool and silk blended spin ✅ wk 29
  • Spin first batch of Samoyed dog hair ❇️ wk 6
  • Spin some tweed yarn ❇️ wk 29 attempt with silk flecks
  • Create an official (not accidental) art yarn

Dyeing

  • Dye some of the natural fibre tops and/or homespun yarn from my stash
  1. British 56s ✅ wk 4 and 11
  2. Over dye ethereal ether merino ✅ wk 6
  3. Blue Faced Leicester ✅ wk 26
  4. Samoyed Dog hair
  5. Bamboo
  6. Merino/silk blend
  7. Merino/suri alpaca blend
  8. Corriedale fibre
  9. Portland
  • Dye undyed commercial spun skeins
  1. Cheviot chunky wool ✅ wk 6
  2. Merino silk blend ✅ wk 25
  3. BFL/silk blend
  4. Merino bamboo blend

Knitting

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

 
On Thursday I finally cast on my Elda cardigan, but not much to show yet, I’m still on the raglan increase section.  The wool is a blend of Bowmont (a Saxon Merino/Shetland cross) and Bluefaced Leicester (BFLj, so it has a slight Shetland woolliness about it, but softer and has a nice subtle sheen.  I am enjoying it so far.  The Estonian Braid sections are done at the very end, so at the moment its a very simple pattern. 
 
On Saturday, the camera club had a trip up to Wick (almost the top of Scotland) to attend the Highland Challenge.  An annual photography competition between the camera clubs in the Highlands (and Shetland Isles).  The mainland Clubs take it in turns to host it and this year it was Wick’s turn.  Wick is a couple of hours north of us on a single carriageway, mostly coastal road.  Despite knowing I get coach (bus) travel sick I cast on a 4th pair of Hermione’s Everyday Socks to continue to knit on the coach there and back!!! 
 
I made a mistake, when knitting on so little sleep and on a bus, so these are now a subtle variation on HES.  On the plus side Dingwall Club won the challenge.
 
 
I wish the Shetland Isles would host the challenge one year, but at a different time of year…I’m thinking specifically to coincide with Shetland Wool Week lol!
 
Google map of where Wick is 😀
 
I have to keep busy to keep my mind from taking me back into depression, so please don’t compare your own outputs to mine.  Everyone has their own things going on, including juggling responsibilities and some battling their own demons.  

If you would like to see what the other YOP members are up to check out our Ravelry group for the links to their posts.
 
 

Tide clock

For soooo long I have thought about buying a tide clock but they are either naff looking or nice ones are mega expensive. So I ordered a tide clock mechanism and went about making my own.

Materials

  1. Tide clock mechanism (tides are not on 24 hour cycles but instead 24 hours and 50 minutes).
  2. Pre-felt
  3. Various fibres, I used merino, Corriedale, silk and flax
  4. Protractor and compass
  5. Wet felting gear…olive oil soap, bubble wrap, towel, hot and cold water and some elbow grease!
  6. Cardboard to use as a template and then actually ended up being used as the backing
  7. Pencil and ruler and a circle template for the dots
  8. Needlefelting needle and foam block.
  9. Pack of pins to mark the hours prior to felting them.

As material moves around so much during the wet felting process, it wasn’t practical to put any words or numbers or dots on during that stage. Instead, I opted for needlefelting dots. I had thought about using a stencil to felt the word High and Low and then 1-5, but I thought it would make it too busy, so dots seemed enough.

It was a bit fiddly doing the calculations etc. As I opted for a square-ish clock I decided to put the dots also in a square pattern.

Far less fiddly to make than a lampshade and of course now I need to make another lampshade for our hallway where this tide clock now hangs. On the photo the shadow is hiding some of the dots in the darker water, but in real life they are easy to read.

So for anyone not used to reading a tide clock, at the top (12 o’clock position) it indicates high tide, at the 1pm position this is actually indicating 5 hours to low tide, so if I were to number it there’d be a ‘5’ there. It then follows on where it is 4, 3, 2 until at the 5 o’clock position, it’s showing 1 hour to low tide. Then 6 o’clock is low tide. Then it switches to 5 hours to high tide and so on!!! I am hopeless at explaining things but hopefully that makes sense.

and for anyone who saw my post yesterday with my lampshade, here’s a picture of it lit. His morning I ordered enough lampshade kits to do all our pendant light fittings and bedside lamps lol!

Wet felted lampshade

I showed a sneak peak of my lampshade on my previous YOP post and here it is finished!

The wave isn’t as good as I’d have liked but hey ho! It’s my first seascape, first big wave and first lampshade, so overall I am still pretty happy with it. It will be on my computer desk on our landing so I’ll see it every time I come upstairs. That light is basically never switched on, so it won’t matter if it is too dark to see through.

I am definitely going to make another lampshade so will be ordering some kits and will do some paler colours for ceiling lamps and other lamps we have around the house where we need to actually see through them. My aim is to replace every lampshade in the house, because they are all super naff ones that were just in the house when we moved in, which was I think 13 years ago!!!! It’s like I knew I’d get the bug for making them.

I am also in the process of making a tide clock! More on that when it’s finished, but here’s a sneak peak of stage 1!

Andean plying tool aka Handy Andy

As previously mentioned, I won an Andean Plying tool from BritSpin last year. The tool has been handmade by a Mens Shed group in England.

Steps:-

Prep some fibre. (This is some merino and sari silk hackle blending practice.)

Spin a single on either a spinning wheel or spindle.

Wrap the single around the Handy Andy (in the specific way, YouTube videos are better than any written instructions).

Remove the top peg on the tool, so it now looks like just a loop of yarn and put the tool somewhere nearby (I popped it between my knees upside down! No smutty comments please lol.

Take both ends of the single and attach to leading line on the spinning wheel or spindle and spin in opposite direction to create 2 ply.

It will be a good tool for taking on holiday with my spindle. It is pretty lightweight and less bulky than taking a yarn cake winder, which is an alternative way of winding a single into a loop that you can spin both ends of.

It’s Mundane Monday today where I mostly do housework and chores, so this is just a quick practice.

If you’d like me to write more information on how to wrap the single then let me know in the comments.

Year of Projects – week 38/52

Year_of_projects_2018.jpg

I did a separate post this week regarding the Fair Isle course I did and purchases made at Dornoch Fibre fest.

We were making headbands, but I have sewn a long edge of mine and will felt the inside ends to use as a DPN project holder for the needles.  

This week we have had torrential rain every single day, so lots of knitting done.  I fancied a couple of chunky wool projects this week, so I made a Swirly Smooshy chunky beanie hat with a skein of Rowan Big Wool Colour.  When I posted this on Instagram someone mentioned it looking like smarties which it totally does!  (Chunky wool projects to make room in my stash for new yarn I bought lol.)

I learned how to do herringbone stitch and made a head warmer/neck warmer without a pattern.  I just cast on 18 stitches and worked the skein of yarn leaving just enough to sew it in the round.  I can honestly say I can’t imagine doing another project in herringbone stitch, its such an effort and as I was losing the will (and the tension) the little ‘V’s have started looking lopsided.  See on the right side how even they are and then on the left they get more and more uneven.  However, ooh this is by far the softest squishiest yarn I have ever used.  Softer than my cashmere gloves.  Its 70% baby alpaca and 30% merino.  Soft soft soft.

 

I bought a fair isle hat kit at Dornoch, so made a start on that and ooh its addictive.  My tension/gauge is quite a lot looser than my normal knitting so I think it will be a loose slouchy hat on me.  Its great for practicing holding the yarns in each hand.  I am holding main colour in right and throwing/English style knitting and the contrast colours in my left and picking/Continental style knitting.  Here’s how it looked Saturday before it got too dark.  I have my own sea glass stitch markers where each chart repeat starts.

On Saturday I attended a lampshade making course.  Now it isn’t dry yet, so obviously not able to line it and attach it to the frame, so there’ll be a separate post with more details and it ironed, trimmed and mounted on the lining/frame, but here’s a sneak peak.  Its supposed to look like choppy sea and a wave, but its looking darker as its still wet and hard to see the detail at the moment…in fact why am I including it!!!

I’ve printed the pattern for Elda, but still not cast it on yet, as I’m hooked on my fair isle hat.  Also haven’t finished my pink felted jacket yet.  I have bought a silk blouse on Ebay that’s 2 sizes larger than me and I plan to make another jacket, one that hopefully when felted/shrunk will be able to button close.

 

This week I started watching the ‘Knitting Vicariously’ podcast by Dunderknit on YouTube, she swears a bit and if that isn’t your thing it probably isn’t for you, but I like how she comes across.  

On dog walks I have been listening to the ‘Ologies’ podcast and as someone who didn’t enjoy science at school I am amazed how interesting and entertaining I am finding them.  She’s been recording episodes since 2017 every 2 weeks and is still recording them…there are a lot of ologies out there.  I started at the beginning with Volcanology and have listened to 7 episodes so far.  She interviews different ologists and inserts layman explanations which are super helpful.  She also swears so not really young child friendly, which is a shame as they are so educational but entertaining.  Anyway, thought I’d share it with you, as I got this recommendation from another blogger. 

If you are wondering what my husband’s hobbies are…watching sport is top of the list.  As I am writing this here he is watching football on his iPad whilst watching rugby on the TV!

 

 

Dornoch Fibre Fest

This year was the 10th Dornoch Fibre Fest, but my first time attending.

What a wonderful wee festival. Firstly I’ll share a bit about this beautiful wee town.

Dornoch is a beautiful town about 45 minutes north from me.  The town centre is set back away from the sea front, with its beautiful long sandy beaches a short walk from the town centre.  It has the Royal Dornoch Golf Club with 2 x 18 hole courses plus practice holes and even has a teeny tiny airport, which I have only ever seen model airplanes use.  

Here’s a photo of me on one of the beaches at Dornoch last March.

It’s population is only about 1,300 so it is small, but in the summer it is busy with tourists and has a campground and caravan park, numerous B&Bs, some nice old hotels and a charming sandstone oldie worldie feel about the place.  (Random fact – Madonna married Guy Ritchie at Skelbo Castle nearby!)  I did manage to squeeze in a visit to Cocoa Mountain that sells the best hot chocolate.  I had the vegan version with oat milk, but you can have soya milk instead.  The vegan ones are dark chocolate.  The regular cow’s milk version has white and milk chocolate.  They drizzle melted chocolate all around the edge of the mug and drizzling down the side…and oh my its messy but sooo good.  

Back to the fibre fest, which was split across 2 locations; a church hall and the social club.  

Apparently the Saturday was extremely busy with people queueing to get in and out of the church hall.  I was booked on a Fair Isle course on the Sunday morning so I was lucky to be there on the much quieter day, where I really got time to look at things and pick yarns with patterns in mind. 

Our fair isle skills course was taught my a genuine Shetland Islander,  Janette Budge Instagram link.
Ravelry link.
 
Her mother taught her to knit and it was interesting hearing her talk of the days when everyone was knitting and it just wasn’t right to sit idle in the evenings.  And about how when knitting fair isle jumpers for the fishermen they would need to catch all the floats in the arms as the fisherman took little care of their jumpers, but they still lasted well.  Also she explained that there are still people in Shetland that make jumpers for mountain climbers and about famous climbers of Everest wearing Shetland wool jumpers, ideal for their warmth but very lightweight.  She said nowadays she hand-knits the yokes but mostly the plane bodies are machine knit.  She was also telling us about the yoke bag course she teaches and had a lovely example and explained it was a great way of testing a yoke pattern before starting on a whole jumper.   I’ve taken this image from the Shetland Wool Week website of her course.  One year I will go along but the Shetland Isles is a flight away or overnight ferry and accommodation is expensive during wool week due to demand. 

The course at Dornoch was a bargain, only £25 for 3 hours and included 3 colours of Shetland wool.  (Loch Ness Knit Fest courses were £45 and you brought your own wool.)

We were making headbands, but mine is too small for my head (my fault as I should have gone up a needle size when she suggested).  Anyway, I will sew one side and pop some felt in the ends and it’ll be ideal as a DPN project holder, ideal as I have my northeasterly blanket strip that can go in it.  So here it is before its sewn.

I was using some of her enormous length double knitting needles and she lent me her ‘knitting belt’.  This is a belt with a leather pod on it with holes in and stuffed with horsehair.  You put the other end of your right working needle in it.  It worked well and stopped me stabbing myself in the arm.  Overall I will stick to very long circular needles and magic loop, over enormous DPNs.

After the course it was time for some shopping and I had 3 projects in mind…a brioche hat, a brioche shawl and a chunky jumper.

From the Bunloit Woolery stand I bought 6 skeins of the blue for Such a Winter’s Day“; jumper.  I had planned on getting one of the yummy oatmeal type colours, but then thought about dog hair and grubby cuffs on a pale pink jumper I have, so went for this lovely blue.  The pattern called for Worsted Weight, but others have used the same Aran weight yarn for it, so I should be ok.

The bottom 2 yarns are to try Brioche Knots  hat.  They were so helpful and patient with me trying to work out what would work.  (My lovely hand-carved niddy noddy is carved by them.)

New Lanark Wool

From Cookston Crafts  I wanted to get some yarn to make some socks and a brioche shawl, both to go with my Chimney Fire teal cardigan.  After my previous post, an Instagram and Facebook survey it is unanimous that my brioche shawl will be made with the middle ‘Emerald’ ‘60% merino, 20% silk and 20% yak and ‘Crathie’ 60% merino, 20% nylon and 20% alpaca.  So it should have that hint of luxury, warmth and durability.  I haven’t fully decided on a pattern, but I am thinking about Tributary which I managed to get when it was free when launched.  The top skein I’ll make some hermione’s everyday socks I suspect.

Teal_yarns_from_Cookston_Crafts.jpg

Skybluepink I bought 3 x 100g blends of 67% Bluefaced Leicester and 33% Shetland. Ok so I couldn’t resist the purple!

Kiki’s Craft Corner I bought some Polwarth to try spinning and a couple of bags of Shetland to try to spin some yarn to dye for more colour-work projects,

Last but not least, from Travelling Yarns I thought I should buy a hat kit to make use of my new Fair Isle skills lol.  So I bought the Copper River Hat pattern kit which came with these lovely colours.

The problem is where is all this new stash going to be kept?  I was thinking about buying another big plastic box and then thought a good alternative would be to this week knit up some quick bulky yarn patterns to make some room hahaha!

How I will find time to garden, do laundry, walk the dog or do housework with all these new projects added to my already large Ravelry queue!  All I can think is “Thank goodness I am not going to Edinburgh Yarn Festival”

Decisions decisions!

Yesterday I went to Dornoch Fibre Fest and bought sooooo much yummy yarn!

To justify my new acquisitions I have been putting patterns against each yarn in my Ravelry queue. Some kind of weird psychology that helps me feel these were an investment not impulse buys!

I want to do my first brioche shawl (ignoring the fact Void shawl still isn’t finished). The thing is I am not sure whether with brioche you need a light and a dark skein, or whether it’s effective with 2 deep saturated colours.

Here’s my 3 options, is your preference top, middle or bottom?

It’s to go with my Chimney Fire cardigan.

The 2 deep colours are Merino, Silk & Yak blend. The 2 speckles are merino, nylon with one having some alpaca too.

I don’t have the patience to knit a shawl that needs all 4 skeins.

More on the fibre fest later this week.

Year of Projects – Week 37/52

Knitting

After spending many (many) hours searching patterns on Ravelry I finalised my choice on a pattern for my Cochrane yarn.  It is a challenge because its such a new yarn, spun specially for Ripplescrafts, so there are hardly any projects that have used it, mostly just shawls.  In the end I did finish a couple of swatches and picked ….drumroll…Elda cardigan…the same pattern that I’d originally picked months ago!  I found with a slightly larger needle I was able to get gauge.

The pattern has Estonian Braid so that will be a new skill for me to learn, I think I will be practicing that on some cheaper wool first.  Nothing to show yet, but hopefully some progress next week.

Needle felting

I did a separate post earlier this week about the picture of my husband’s parrot that I created and gave to him for our 11th Wedding Anniversary (on Thursday).

Wet felting

I also did another separate post about converting a beach silk blouse to a nuno wool felted jacket!!!!

Spinning

I did some practicing with my hackle, blending fibre for spinning but didn’t get a chance to spin it yet.  

Wait, “What about the Handy Andy?l I here you ask…well, I have watched some YouTube instructional videos but didn’t manage to find time to do any spinning this week.  I will do a separate post about it, once I’ve had a go.  But it is going to be ideal for taking away with my spindle when we are camping.  After spinning on my spindle, I will then be able to wrap the yarn around the handy andy in the correct method and then magically you are able to pull both ends of the yarn at the same time and ply spin it on the spindle…therefore creating 2 ply.  The secret is in wrapping it correctly.  It comes from the Andes, where the spinners would use their own hand to create an Andean bracelet, instead of using your hand you use this wooden tool.  

 

So this is a short post, but would ask you have a quick look (pretty please) at the other 2 posts (if you didn’t see them earlier this week), even if its just for a quick look at the pictures.  I’m pretty proud of both projects.  😀

WIP nuno felted blouse

I should probably wait until it is finished, to post this, but here’s a sneak peak of my almost finished nuno felted silk jacket.

This started off as a silk top with elastic under the bust, basically for popping on over a swim suit or string strap top. It was a very well travelled top, having been from Hawaii to the Maldives, Turkey to Australia. Therefore I didn’t take a photo of it before cutting out the elastic and slitting it up the front, thinking there must be a photo on the computer of me wearing it! Just checked every foreign holiday folder and not a single one of me wearing !

Anyway from the progress shots you can perhaps imagine what it looked like originally. I forgot to take photos when I’d laid out the fibre (hopeless blogger).

Top with elastic removed, cuff trim removed and cut up the front

I used tissue paper to create a pattern, by stuffing and folding over!

Initial template I cut a couple of inches around paper.

New template cut with longer arms and slight change to arms

Front view of it almost finished. Collar and one sleeve need more work

Back view. Intentionally did darker shoulder area.

It does fit, which is a relief, given this took 2 days and isn’t finished yet.

Fibres were predominantly from the World of Wool Fibre Club, including their Humpty Dumpty (Merino/Bamboo) blend (50g/2oz) and Alpacapink (Alpaca/Merino/Mohair blend) (100g/4oz). I also used some lilac and purple merino to give some darker underlay areas around the collar and cuffs. These areas need a little more fibre adding, you’ll notice on the front image the wool is uneven on the inside and I’m missing the darker stripe on one cuff at the back. But my shoulders need a break from wet felting and so do my hands. So I’ll finish it next week and show a photo of me wearing it.

Needle felted Orange Winged Amazon Parrot

My husband has an orange Winged Amazon parrot, that we share custody with my mother in law. When she is in Australia 3 months a year we have the parrot here and when she’s home it lives with her.

For our 11th wedding anniversary (today) I gave him a picture of the parrot, I created by needle-felting.

In 2011 I had drawn him a picture of the parrot, using pencils and pastels. Turns out I used the exact same photo of her to do both! Ah well. The felted picture is more accurate a shape for her, as I ended up cutting around the photo and stabbing through the eye to get it in the right spot. She does have 2 feet but seems to always have one tucked away…like a flamingo!

Year of Projects – week 36/52

Year_of_projects_2018.jpg

Where did this week go?  I finished my socks but that’s it!  Oh that’s a lie, I finished the surprise which I can’t show until next week.

So here’s my socks…my 3rd pair of Hermione’s Everyday socks in West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply yarn in the wood pigeon colour-way.  It is a blend of unspecified wool 40%, blue faced Leicester 35% and nylon 25%.  You’ll notice on the toe that I was ever so slightly off making a perfect pair, ah well that’ll be in a shoe or slipper.  The row count was the same but I obviously misjudged the  2nd cast on.

My last few finished objects have all been fingering weight, so I am definitely ready for a new yarn weight.  I didn’t get a chance to knit my swatch with the Cochrane yarn, so I will do that Sunday afternoon and next week you will see what pattern I have finally decided on.  It’s sport weight so it isn’t a big difference, but it feels nice and wooly/woolley/woolly (how do you spell that, seriously even the spell checker doesn’t know lol???).  Anyway it isn’t superwash and has no nylon in it so I am looking forward to the feel of a nice squishy yarn.  

Erm…talking of soft squishy yarn, I still have Void on my needles…no progress made on that this week and I think I’m going to park it for a while…I keep considering just casting it off, but I must resist the urge.  So I think parking it for a while will help and by next autumn I will have a lovely huge soft alpaca shawl to snuggle in.

 

This week I discovered Kristy Glass Knits YouTube channel and through that I have found some more ideas of things I would like to make and some really interesting interviews with designers, yarn store owners, indie dyers etc.  Plus a really interesting and helpful chat with a group of friends about diversity that I found so helpful in understanding some of the terminology that people have been mentioning.  

One of Kristy’s interviews is with Carolyn Bloom.  Not someone I had heard of before, but she has designed some gorgeous crochet and knitted brioche items.  She has also done some gorgeous photos of yarn with fresh flowers and other gorgeous photos.  I don’t normally share blog posts I have watched but this lady had so many things that have inspired me I thought I’d share.  She has knit blankets that are inspired by quilt patterns, really yummy brioche scarves, an interesting spotted crochet blanket I prefer to Northeasterly and I am considering doing instead, also as its crochet it would be a nice change from knitting.  

Link to YouTube interview  

I am going to try doing some brioche with some of my homespun purple and pink yarn!  Brioche is on this year’s YOP list, so a small project with some homespun seems a good idea for a first attempt.

 

No wet felting, dyeing or spinning this week!!!  No real spring cleaning either!  Seriously, what have I done this week!  I watched the Oscars on Monday…did aliens abduct me the rest of the week?  Off topic but…although I wasn’t that struck on the movie “The Favourite”, I love Olivia Coleman and have seen her acceptance speech 3 times and cried each time!  

I posted out sets of stitch markers to 4 fellow bloggers and by Saturday I had confirmation that a set had arrived safely to Arizona.  Hopefully the others did/will.

Two other people are interested in them, so I will make up some more.  (Please check your junk email folder if you think you didn’t receive my replies 🙂)

 

Finally, last year I joined in with the Tour de Fleece competition in the team ‘More Enthusiasm than Skill’ and won a Handy Andy!!!!  It was being hand turned by a men’s shed group near our team captain, so it was a bit of a wait for it to be done.  It arrived on Saturday so I need to work out (via YouTube) what on earth I do with it!  I know, I’ve had months to do research on it but hey ho!  I learn best by doing.  I’ll let you know next week what you do with it!!  Hopefully I am going to meet some of the ladies from my TdF team in June, when I am visiting my sister, and there’s a fibre festival on nearby they usually attend.

‘Highlandheffalump’ name saga continued

So I have been doing some research and it looks like copyright of a book/character can only be copyrighted for the life of the creator + 70 years. It was A. A. Milne who appears to have originally used the word to describe an elephant and he died 31st January 1956. So that is 63 years ago, which I think means Disney should only be allowed to copyright the name until January 2026.

However as they made the Heffalump movie more recently I couldn’t use any of the images of Disney’s Heffalump or images from its movie. Which is fine.

I am thinking if they can only copyright the name for 7 more years then perhaps they will be reasonable and allow me to keep Highlandheffalump as my name. I wouldn’t be creating any artwork or creations that would be covered by Disney (or anyone else’s) copyright.

So I am going to think positive, send out to the universe that I want to keep the name Highlandheffalump when I sell any goods…and patiently await an answer from them, which it says takes 6-8 weeks.

I don’t have enough stock items to sell anything for the foreseeable future anyway, so I am not in a rush…albeit I don’t want to wait 6 years and 11 months!

Positive thoughts peeps, as I just can’t imagine picking a new name. I started using this so long ago and it feels part of me.

Name crisis! Help!

So I created the name Highlandheffalump back in early 2011 or late 2010 when I created my original blog on blogspot (since moved to WordPress).  Since then I am Highlandheffalump just about everywhere…Instagram Highland_heffalump, Facebook is highlandheffalumppage, this website is highlandheffalump.com, Ravelry etc etc 

The thing is, if I am going to ever sell goods under this name I risk the wrath of Disn*y lawyers.  I see on the UK trademark site that they registered the word ‘heffalumps’ in 2012 and at the moment my icon is a wee picture of my heffalump cuddly toy peaking over my homemade bridal bouquet made of plastic heather and thistles.  (I got married at the Icehotel in Sweden thus the need for fake flowers!).  Anyway…that leaves me with a sticky situation.

So do I:

  1. Carry on as just a hobbyist under this name and not sell my stuff…but then that will produce a lot of clutter if it doesn’t go anywhere except gifts.
  2. Sell my stuff under highlandheffalump and hope the mega corporation wouldn’t be interested in a tiny wee business run for pin money rather than world domination
  3. Contact Disn*y and ask if they would have an issue?
  4. Think of a new name to trade under! If so any ideas are welcome (so long as they are offered free with no expectation of payment)…can you tell I have being sued on my mind!?!
 
The other issue is I don’t want to pigeon hole myself with a name that is too specific to a particular craft.  I paint, do pastels, spin, dye,  knit, crochet, wet felt, needle felt, make sea glass jewellery and knitting markers and who knows what other crafts I may do in the future.
 
Oh and another issue, there is already a successful artist called “Liz Armstrong” so that’s out.
 

Year of Projects – week 35/52

With it feeling like Spring I have been doing some Spring Cleaning this week and doing jobs around the house (like cleaning carpets and windows) during times when I would normally do some knitting or spinning.  

Spinning and Knitting

I did do a bit more rolag spinning practice, with rolags I’d made with random bits of leftover fluff.  I thought with the yarn I would do a test version of the Northeasterly blanket, to try out a new increase I saw on someone’s blog.  The pattern says to use M1L and M1R for increases, but they are too fiddly, so I’d gone with Kfb. However, this gives an uneven look, so instead of kfb you do knit front of stitch, leave it on the needle and then slip instead of knitting the back.  This gives a far more symetrical pattern on either side of the centre line.  I don’t think you can tell on this photo, as its dark scraps I used, handy for storing my stitch markers though.  (Fellow YOPers and regular readers…Read under sea glass section below for information about how you can own a set of these markers.  First come first served basis.)

I’m wondering whether to frog my current progress on my real blanket…but then I’m impatient to finish Void and my socks, so I’ll pop the first strip on stitch holders and start a new column and then decide at some future date what to do with the strip I’m unhappy with.  

I am also getting impatient to start knitting a jumper (sweater) or cardigan.  

(I have 2 wonderful project bags from Tatty Designs on Etsy.  One is ideal for shawls and has Void in it, one is for socks and so when she finally made some in Winnie the Pooh fabric I couldn’t resist buying one in the larger size (ideal for jumper projects!).  I love it!)

So I am going to knit a swatch next week in my Cochrane yarn from Ripplescrafts.  I haven’t used this particular yarn before (although I am VERY familiar with her sock yarns).  I have the colourway called Bramble Picking…so of course it is purple…I am so predictable.  The yarn is a blend of Bowmont and Blue Faced Leicester breeds and I think I have decided which cardigan to make, assuming I get gauge on my swatch!  I have a shortlist on Ravelry by creating a Bundle…what a handy function!  The gauge swatch may sway a decision, but at the moment I am thinking the Elda cardigan.  

In the meantime, my wood pigeon coloured socks are progressing.  I got to the end of the gusset decreases on sock one and decided to start sock 2, so that when I knit the foot I can knit them 2 at a time and won’t have to bother counting rows!  This did mean finding the end of the yarn inside the ball and winding it into a cake, so that the order of the colours was correct.  No issue with knots  thank goodness, which had put me off before.

Dyeing

As the weather is improving I have been making plans to start dyeing practice again.  I have some yarn to dye for the Quick Sand cardigan pattern, plus multiple sock yarns to practice with.  So many things I want to knit, its frustrating I am not a quicker knitter.  

Felting 

I made a coin purse this week, which was on my YOP list and I am really pleased with it.  It only used 15g of corriedale wool and some bits of an old purse.  (Now in the US I am aware they call handbags ‘purses’, so not sure what they call things specifically to hold loose change.)  There’s a separate post about it if you’d like to find out more.

It was my felting group on Saturday and instead of taking my wet felting gear I took my needle felting stuff.  No picture yet, as its a surprise for someone and isn’t finished yet!

Sea glass

Earlier this week, I also did a separate post about some more sea glass and shell stitch markers I made, asking for some advice.  

Subsequently, I did another post aimed at my fellow YOPers and other regular readers/commenters of my blog.  It offers you the chance of having a set or two of the sea glass markers for just covering the costs of post and packing fees.  See the comments on that post first, as some have already been chosen and will be heading to Alaska and Arizona this week!  I picked up postage costs leaflet and some small padded envelopes today.  I just need to look up if PayPal take a % for converting currencies.

Drafted ideas for 2019-2020!!!  

There are so many yummy things I keep spotting, so I have already started to draft next year’s list!!!  If you fancy a nosey to see if something you made has inspired me to try to make my own next year.

 

 

Sets of Sea Glass Stitch/Progress Markers

This post is for my regular blog readers/commenters, including my fellow YOP members.

I have pulled together sets of 5 stitch markers made from sea glass and shells I have found on dog walks on Rosemarkie Beach. I have put a couple of maps from Google to show where it is. You can see that there’s a narrow gap between the 2 spits/peninsulas and I think that is why this is such a great beach for finding sea glass.

After some persuasion from my regular blog readers I have decided to offer some of the sets of markers for a nominal amount to cover my expenses, rather than for profit. As soon as you start talking about profit then I start to worry about the expectation that I’m professional and there is liability, and that isn’t something I am comfortable with at the moment! I make these for pleasure.

However, I have made a lot and would be happy to send them to those who are regular readers/commenters and members of my YOP group who would like a set on the basis that they are a gift and you are just contributing to postage and packaging, bearing in mind you are dotted around the world.

So it will be on a first come first served on the sets below. Please indicate in the comments which set(s) you would like and you can email me at Highlandheffalump@gmail.com for cost of postage and I can send you my PayPal details (different email).

Set 1. 4 Green sea glass + 1 shell on brass coloured clasps
Set 2. 4 green + 1 white sea glass on gold coloured clasps
Set 3. 4 white sea glass + 1 shell on antique brass coloured clasps

Set 4. 4 green + 1 white sea glass on antique brass coloured clasps
Set 5. 4 white sea glass + 1 shell on silver coloured clasps
Set 6. 4 green + 1 white sea glass on silver coloured clasps
Set 7. 4 green + 1 white sea glass on brass coloured clasps
Set 8. 4 white + 1 green sea glass on brass coloured clasps
Set 9. 4 green + 1 white sea glass on chrome coloured clasps
Set 10. 4 green + 1 white sea glass on chrome coloured clasps

I appreciate I haven’t taken photos of them next to a tape measure or coin for reference. So I have done a group shot, which shows a €0.01 cent coin, a US$0.10 dime coin and a £0.05 pence coin.

These would be posted as gifts but I cannot guarantee what your country may do regarding taxes. If you do have a set then I would be happy to hear your feedback. I’ve been using them on my small sock needles as markers and as stitch progress markers. I have not found that they pull the stitches but I haven’t knit anything on 2 ply/lace, so I would avoid using them on those.

Coin Purse

On my Year of Projects list is to ‘make a coin purse’.  This is because I had a grubby looking purse that I thought I could have a go at re-using the clasp.

I would love to tell you how I carefully designed it and measured a template to make it but I didn’t, I just winged it and by some miracle it ended up being the perfect size to fit the clasp.  Albeit a struggle to get the fabric to stay in whilst I closed the metal with pincers and trying not to mark the metal.  In the end I had to do away with protecting the metal and so it is scratched but the fabric has stayed in!  

I have never tried felting on a balloon before, so thought I would try it and it reminded me of newspaper and flour paste makes as a kid.  I was wetting bits of wool in soapy water first and then laying them on.  I added a tiny bit of sari silk waste to the outside just to add some interest, although the colour blend of the wool was lovely to start with.

The wool is a Corriedale cross so should be sturdy, from Fleece 4 Ewe.  I bought the carded batt, in sea blend colour-way, at a local fair for £4 and thought I’d do a seascape picture…I only used 15g of the 45g so still have plenty for a picture at some point.

When I was dismantling the old purse I found a waterproof layer between the cotton lining and commercial felt outside, so I thought I’d reuse that as my lining, once it was trimmed a bit and hand sewn to the new shape.

So here are the photos I took, I forgot to photograph it before fitting the clasp so you could see the shape!  Doh!!  Also it isn’t even fully dry yet so will lighten a touch.  I love it, despite the scratches and it isn’t pink or purple!!!  Is turquoise my new favourite colour?

 

 

Q&A – Sea Glass and Shell Stitch/Progress Markers

On Sunday my husband and I went for another walk on Rosemarkie Beach and after a few days of high winds and rough tides there was lots of sea glass washed up.

So I have been busy making more stitch / progress markers for knitters to use.

I have some queries though that I wanted to canvass some opinions on what you would want if you were buying stitch markers.

  1. How many stitch markers would you want per batch?
  2. Would you want the batch to all have the same coloured glass or variety?
  3. Would you want the batch to have all the same coloured lobster clasps?
  4. What sort of price would you expect to pay for stitch markers?
  5. Do you prefer the glass or shell ones?
  6. Would you want a mix of glass and shell or just one sort per batch?
  7. Do you have any other tips, suggestions or advice?

Any help would be hugely appreciated and if you are able to share this post with your own readers I’d be hugely grateful so that I can gather as many opinions as possible.

Here’s some photos of ones (to potentially sell) made so far.

3 white and 3 green on gold coloured clasps
3 green on gold coloured clasps
3 shades of green and 3 white on chrome coloured clasps
5 shades of sea glass on chrome coloured clasps
5 shells on varied coloured clasps
5 white on silver coloured clasps
6 green on chrome coloured clasps