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.

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  • 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

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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.

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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!