Year of Projects – week 24/52

Spinning

As we are approaching the half way point of the year of projects, I reviewed my YOP list and ticked off some things.  I had been a bit vague about what I planned to spin during the year, so have updated my YOP page and will snapshot the progress when we get to week 26, like I did week 13. 

After much indecision about what wet felted item I would make with my corriedale wool in poppy colourway (that was a prize from the Tour de Fleece), I instead decided to use it to create a ‘fractal yarn’.  On the picture below you can see the original fibre, I then split it in half; one half (a) is split into the different shades and the other half (b) is split so it has each colour in each strip.  

On bobbin 1 I spun (a) so I started with all the burgundy then all red and then all greens (BRG).

On bobbin 2 I spun (b) so spinning each of the multicoloured strips, starting with the burgundy ends each time.

I then plied the 2 bobbins together and that creates a fractal yarn.  If you want 3 ply you would split the colours in 3 ways, e.g. bobbin 1 BRG, bobbin 2 BRG BRG BRG and bobbin 3 BRG BRG BRG BRG BRG BRG.  

I love the end result and look forward to dyeing some fibre myself to give it another go.  This handspun yarn will be used to make a ribbed hat for my husband.  He has green eyes, so it should suit him well.

I also finished spinning my Shetland wool, transferring what was on my spindle onto the larger amount on my spinning wheel.  I set it and then remembered I am going to be dyeing it so probably didn’t need to soak and snap it before dyeing.  Ah well!  Once I have dyed it I will post a photo!

My camel and silk handspun yarn is dry so that is all labelled and ready to make something with.  It is the softest yarn I have ever held.  Has anyone just kept hanks of wool to cuddle!?  It is soooo soft to touch I love the feel of it. 

Hopefully in this photo you will better see the colour differences between standard and chain plying…the colours on the chain ply are more evident (top and bottom hanks).  I haven’t chosen a pattern for it yet, something to go against my skin for sure!  

Knitting

I have cast on a new pair of socks, this time just a vanilla pattern, in the hope I will have them finished before Christmas! I decided to cast on 64 stitches with my 2.5mm sockwunder needle and so far it looks a much better sized sock.  I can’t believe how fast I can knit a vanilla sock with this needle, highly recommend for speed.  Next on the needles will be the fractal spun yarn hat.  My Lintilla has been temporarily parked, I thought I could try alternating between projects but the socks have a deadline so are getting all my focus.  

Felting and fibre craft

I have mentioned my fairies before, but thought I would post a picture of them all hanging, so you know where they live! Also I ordered a couple of empty baubles from World of Wool and popped some sparkly fibre in them and hung them on the real Christmas tree.  They are very hard to take a photo of and you’ll notice a reflection of Bones TV show lol!  I am already on Season 10!  

 

Finally, I was inspired by @Gilliangladrag Instagram to make a fibre christmas pudding.  I used milk protein top for the brandy sauce.  If you need a few moments of joy each day then I recommend following @Gilliangladrag and watching her daily stories.  She owns the Gilliangladrag Fluff-a-torium shop in Dorking, England.  Unfortunately, I live hundreds of miles away so haven’t been, but have bought her fibre blends and some other bits from her online shop.  

 

 

Year of Projects – week 23/52

Sock trouble

This week I unravelled/frogged the troublesome sock that was too big.  To be honest for the hassle the pattern repeats were I’m glad I don’t need to knit its buddy!  Plus with the yarn colours I prefer the sole anyway!  

I ordered a 2mm Addi Sockwonder needle and will try again (with an easy vanilla pattern) to make a new pair that will fit someone I know!  I think with a 2mm needle and casting on 72 stitches will be better than the 2.5mm needle.  I realised when I made my husband’s first socks I’d cast on 64 stitches on 2.5mm needles, so no wonder this was so much bigger!  This yarn seems slightly thinner fingering weight so I’m hoping CO72 with 2mm is going to be ok!  What do you use when you are knitting men’s socks?

Once I have some opinions from my fellow YOPers I will cast them on.

The troublesome sock – RIP

Knitting

My Lintilla scarf is progressing, I haven’t included a photo as I’m upstairs and its downstairs…imagine last week’s photo with extra ruffles lol!

Spinning

Mostly though this week I have been concentrating on spinning and have now finished spinning and plying the 200g of camel and silk fibre.  Today I soaked and snapped all the yarn and boy does it smell like there’s a camel in my utility room!  I quite like the smell, but its very different from sheep wool smell.  For the final batch I filled a bobbin completely and then chain plied the whole bobbin in one sitting and I am really pleased with the result.  It not only shows the colours better, but the plying is just so much neater and more consistent than the 3 bobbins to 1 plying I did with an earlier batch.  As it is still wet there’s no photo, so I’ll post next week.

Needle-felting

I tried to needle-felt a small landscape, from a postcard image but it is so bad I am too embarrassed to put a photo up.  Laziness on my part not spending time doing it properly.  I did however make an Autumn Sparkle fairy to hang with my other fairies

Wet felting

I have ordered 400g of black Icelandic sheep fibre (top) to make the waistcoat on my year of projects list.  I have never used that breed of wool before, but the World of Wool website says it is very fine and is excellent for wet felting and nuno felting.  I will be using some of the sari silk to decorate the waistcoat (I think in US you’d call it a vest?)  Anyhoo that will be a job for my December felting group day in a couple of weeks!  I may have ordered a few other bits and bobs as well…oops! 

If you’d like to see what the other people are up to in our Year of Projects group have a look (if you have a Ravelry account).

Year of Projects- week 22/52

Having taken a break from the problem sock situation this week, I started to knit “Lintilla” pattern from Martina Behm (designer of the hitchhiker shawl which I’ve done 3 versions of).  This is my first pattern with wrap and turn stitches and in the variegated yarn from Ripples Crafts I really like it.  This is sock wool with some nylon in, so this isn’t going to be a cosy fluffy scarf/shawl, but it is ideal for practicing new stitches and should last well and stand up to lots of wear.

At felting group this week I made a present, which will need to be posted on here after Christmas.  I am really pleased with it, no idea what the fibre was, as it was out of my stash I bought with my spinning wheel.  

I had some time left over so used some black suri alpaca fibre and sari silk to make a thin scarf.  It is very thin in places but its lovely and soft and has lovely drape to it.  It is hard to photograph to do it justice.  It was an experiment really, but a nice result.

I have been working my way through episodes of Bones on Amazon Prime, whilst doing a lot of spinning.  This is the baby camel and silk blend I have mentioned before.  The smaller (bottom) skein was Navajo plied (chain ply) and you can see (hopefully) that you get separate sections of colour rather than just the barber pole type effect you get when you ply 3 bobbins (which is how I plied the larger top skein).  I’m only just over half way through spinning it all, so I am hoping to get a decent sized item out of it when its finished….what that item will be I am not sure yet.  The colours are subtle and again not photographing well.  The weight is DK-ish, i.e. worsted and sport weight in places!

I thought I’d post a wee photo of my Shetland spinning on my spindle, so I can check progress.

Making things definitely lifts my spirits, so it has been a better week.  Oh and I have managed to sell some kitchen gadgets and a game.  My Christmas presents arrived this week…I will wait until Christmas to use them, but they are fibre related so I am looking forward to trying them out after Christmas. More on them and their outputs in the new year!  

There’s another felting group in mid-December, so I need to have a think about what I’d like to make then, perhaps do some needle felting for a change.

 

 

 

Year of Projects – Week 20/52

This week, I have spent a lot of time thinking…too much time, which means I haven’t been as productive as usual.

My Christmas gift socks are coming along but I am still on the 1st sock; I am sure if I’d chosen a vanilla pattern I would be half way through 2nd sock by now.  My head is just too full to memorise the 10 row pattern repeat.  For sure my next pair will be a vanilla pair of ankle socks for my small feet lol!

I have been thinking about starting a 2nd knitting project at the same time as the socks, but I have spent days searching Ravelry looking at patterns and now I can’t decide which patterns I like most, so nothing cast on yet.

I have 13 patterns for the North Ronaldsay wool I bought!!! I can’t even seem to get a shortlist of 3!  How do you pick your patterns?  Should I go for another seamless top down pattern?  Decisions decisions!  As it is Aran weight I thought I should do cables..but as I have additional skeins in different colours I thought maybe could try Fair Isle…totally undecided.  By the time I have chosen I will have finished the socks lol

On the spinning front: on my spindle I am spinning some undyed Shetland fibre, I probably get about 15 foot spun when Ylva is sniffing the night air and doing her before bed wee!   On my wheel is the absolutely gorgeous baby camel and silk blend, honestly it is sooooooooooooo soft.  I bought it from Coastal Colours at the Highland Wool and Textile fair.  When I bought it I thought it was expensive at £26, but it’s 200g of beautifully dyed combed top of 50% baby camel and 50% tussah silk.  Not sure what I will make with it when its all spun, perhaps a fancy shawl…not that I ever go anywhere fancy.  Anyway in the meantime I love spinning it.

I missed another open day at the Highland Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, just need to find my big brave girl pants and go along.  I am such an introvert it is hard joining new things.

I mentioned in a previous post about an idea for a lantern…well here’s my 5 minute effort.  A bit of brown felt, some of the autumn sparkle blended fibre and a few stabs with the pale blue felting needle.  Simple.

Not related to YOP, but for anyone who read my post on hoarding

I have done a huge amount of ruthless chucking out, selling and donating things this week.  Stuff that I was keeping for sentimental reasons that I realised didn’t have that happy a memory linked with them, so this is the most I have ever got rid of.  Old letters from people I don’t even remember.  I have kept letters I received from 3 friends and the rest have gone, old slides I’d already scanned in have gone, loads of photographs, cards, my ballet point shoes, just loads of random sentimental stuff.  Also various random other crafting stuff, I had watercolour paints tubes that rattled…I bought them 27 years ago I realised!!!! 

My criteria:

a) Does it invoke a really happy memory?

b)  Am I 100% sure I will use?

If the answer was No…it has gone.  Now everything is accessible in my crafting wardrobe!  

 

Year of Projects- week 19/52

This week I have been on a mission to get lots of crafting done, to take my mind off my continuing chest infection and a very stressful situation I have been trying to deal with.

I fancied using some thick yarn for some quick projects.  I had in my stash 200g of Cheviot super bulky yarn that I had dyed myself a few months ago and called ‘Dusty Rose’.  I couldn’t decide whether to make mittens or a hat, it turned out I had enough for mittens, a hat…and a small cowl!!!  (Follow links to my Ravelry project pages for pattern details.)

I can’t seem to get the colour true in the photos of the mittens, but they are all the same colour.  I really love the colours and effects I achieved when I dyed it.  I love the hat and will definitely try making another with some homespun yarn in a lighter weight yarn.  The cowl isn’t as wide as the pattern as I was short on yarn, but I have worn it on 3 dog walks so far and it seems perfect.  The bulky mittens are so quick and I did the same alterations as the last ones I made with Rowan Big Wool.  Alterations are detailed on my Ravelry project page.  The yarn only cost me £5 so to have had dyeing practice and made 3 accessories from it is brilliant value.  I worried the cheviot wool would be a bit scratchy as a cowl, but it is actually fine and it is lovely and warm on the chilly days we have been having.  Most days haven’t got above 5° Celsius here and there’s snow on Ben Wyvis, the mountain behind where we live.  I think this yarn would felt well, so did think about knitting some huge slipper shapes and then felting them…but I think I will try wet felting fibre slippers first.

Cheviot wool set

I have also cast on a pair of socks that will likely be a Christmas gift for someone, so no pictures possible.  

I am a monogamous knitter, and always finish an item before starting another, but the socks I am doing have a 10 row pattern repeat that is too complicated to memorise, so I have been wondering whether I should start an easy shawl pattern for when I need some mindless knitting to do?!?!?!  

I have noticed on other YOPers blog posts that they sometimes use progress markers that have the little lobster claw clasps.  I have lots of these clasps for making sea glass jewellery and so I thought I would have a go at making some markers out of sea glass I have collected from a local beach and are too small for anything else.

Progress markers

I mentioned last week that I had bought a drop spindle at Loch Ness Knit Fest and so thought I would do some spinning on that!  I was keeping it by the back door and doing a bit each evening before bed whilst I was waiting for our dog to do her bedtime wee!  I had another go on Friday and then thought I better research how on earth I am supposed to ply with a spindle. After some YouTube research I wound it from the spindle onto my ball winder and then tied the start and end of the single together, attached to my drop spindle and then spun it anti-clockwise and I found I was getting a much better balanced yarn than I do when plying on my spinning wheel.  Perhaps because it was all off the same single and was only a small amount, not sure but seemed to ply pretty quick.  I then popped it on my niddy noddy and set it…its only a small amount so I will knit a small mitred square with it probably.  As you will see on the right of the photo I ended up with a few snapped bits I found hard to join, but I will use the fibre elsewhere and no fibre gets binned, as even to make felted soap you can use random scraps.  This is a merino sari silk custom blend from my World of Wool fibre club box, called Himalayas.

Spindle attempt

Soooo having unloaded my spindle, I thought I’d have another go and try a thicker weight yarn. I used another custom blend from WoW fibre club, this is a mix of merino, silk and angelina called autumn sparkle.  I think I will be using some of this fibre to make an autumn fairy to go with my other fairies, also I have had a thought about using some in a lantern to imitate a flame…but this needs more thought.  With my sample spin, I started a mitred square but didn’t have enough, so I finished it with some test spin of a gorgeously soft baby camel and silk blend.

Autumn sparkle
Mitred square

 

If you’d like to see what the other people are up to in our Year of Projects group have a look.  They certainly provide me with inspiration each week and I love this little community.

Year of Projects – week 18/52

We had such a lovely few days with our friends from Michigan, I played tour guide and we did Loch Ness, a castle, 2 distilleries, a visit to Dornoch for the best hot chocolate in the world and a visit to Inverness for some craft ales and shopping.

I have had a terrible chest infection so didn’t make it to my monthly felting group, so only have some knitting to show.

The two at a time knitting I started at Loch Ness Knit Fest turned into a pair of fingerless gloves with no pattern followed…but that’s the plus side of knitting them together, you don’t have to write down your increases or remember what you did for more than a minute…as you are doing the same thing on the 2nd item straight away.  I see the appeal, however the thick cable on my circular needles made it slower than I’d have liked.

I also finished my husband’s 2nd sock.  He is a man of few words, so its hard to tell if he likes them.  For those who read last week about the issue with the heel, I got some advice and then realised where I’d gone wrong so ripped it back to the start of the heel and re-did it correctly.  So they are pretty pairfect…as per the yarn name.

That’s it.  Not much and it seems weird to have missed my felting group, but I would hate to pass this bug on to one of the ladies and my cough is very annoying.

Hopefully I will feel better soon, as I would like to make an autumnal fairy…although it snowed a little on Friday night/Saturday morning…so it is feeling more like winter!!

 

Year of Projects – week 17/52

This is a brief post, as we have visitors from Michigan that arrived today.  26 years ago I was an au pair looking after their 3 children and this is their 1st visit to see me 😁. Beyond excited!

I don’t understand what has gone wrong, but my pairfect pair socks have different heel stitches?!?!  No idea which is wrong.  I am proceeding anyway, this yarn is too splitty to unravel.  

Heel mistake!

Merino and silk scarf

I made the above scarf with merino and silk, check out me using colours that aren’t purple or pink!!  Yep that’s right its a gift for someone else.

At Loch Ness Knit Fest yesterday, I tried my hardest to not by more purple yarn…honestly I really did try!  But look at these 2 beauties…impossible to resist.  I also bought a yarn bowl, spindle, shawl pin, and some other skeins.

 

 

That’s it.  It has been one of the most stressful weeks of my life I think and of course now I have some bug just in time for my guests.  Hopefully things will improve now.

Year of Projects – weeks 15&16/52

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

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

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

Nuno felted scarf update

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

Allistar’s first sock

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

Scissors case

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

Stress affecting my heart rate

 

 

 

 

Year of Projects – week 14/52

Chimney Fire cardigan is finished!

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

Nuno Felted Scarf

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

My Husband’s socks

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

Chimney Fire

Details

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

Yarn:  Malabrigo Rios in Teal Feather x 5.5 skeins   

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

Value = Priceless 😀

Photo Gallery

 
Chimney Fire cardigan

What I learnt

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