Answers to NothingbutKnits new year 2019 Q&A

I love these Q&As that people post and get me thinking and planning.  The latest Q&A from Nothing but Knit asks on her new year post…

https://nothingbutknit2.wordpress.com/2019/01/02/new-year-new-q-a/

  • What are your crafty plans for 2019? Are you going to try something new? If you could learn one new thing this year what would it be?
  • Do you have a special project planned for 2019? Are you going to make something special for yourself or someone else?
  • I’ve been wondering if you’ve ever donated something you’ve made to charity. Is it something you’d consider doing? Why or why not?

My answers…

My crafty plans are to finish my year of projects list, plus knit a sweater from North Ronaldsay yarn…something chunky with cables and/or with colourwork.  I would like to do more nuno felting and need to sort out selling items I have made and future makes. This year I need to learn crochet terminology properly and be able to follow a pattern. Also years ago I crocheted a hat I wear a LOT, no pattern just made it up and I want to try to write the pattern if I can learn the names of the stitches I used and before it wears out!

I haven’t planned anything extra special, but lots of good things are in my queue and on my Year of Projects (YOP) list.

On my YOP list is to make an octopus and jellyfish for a preemie. This is a charity that give your curly legged octopus or jellyfish (once they’ve met the strict checking for holes etc.) to premature babies in incubators to stop them pulling out all their tubes, instead their fingers hold the curls.  Pre-Christmas I had gift knitting and now have flu and you can’t make them unless you are cold and flu free.  But I have the instructions, the approved cotton yarn, a handled crochet hook, so once I am germ free it’s next on my project list.  Apparently it is difficult to get them so they pass as swimmers but any that fail are given to angel babies instead.  I’ve enough cotton to make one a month this year but I will see how I get on and how my local co-ordinator rates them.

Year of Projects – Week 27/52

 

Year_of_projects_2018.jpg

 

Christmas presents can now be revealed!

This is the scarf I wet felted for my dad.  From the softness and sheen on the wool fibre, I think it is Blue Faced Leicester fibre.  It was part of the stash I bought with my spinning wheel.  It is nice and soft so can easily be folded over and wrapped round his neck and keep him warm when playing golf or at the football.

The socks I made him used Susan B. Anderson’s How I Make My Socks pattern, after the disastrous previous attempt at another pattern which resulted in a giant sock.  The photo isn’t great as they were finished, wrapped and posted off pretty quickly.  The yarn was from Henny Penny Makes, an indie dyer who was at Loch Ness Knit Fest.  I really like the colour-way, called Squid Ink.  He says they are a perfect fit, which is a big relief.

My husband has had a bad case of man flu over Christmas, so this has meant I have been able to continue my Void shawl more than expected.  The marker shows my progress, but is deceiving as this is getting so much wider with each row.  I am on the 2nd of 6 balls so this will be very long when finished.

For Christmas I received a blending board and hackle…more on those next week!

On Boxing Day (day after Christmas Day) we always go to the pantomime, but he felt too ill to go and my MIL doesn’t like panto, so I went on my own.  I took my Lintilla with me to knit in the interval, but instead bought an ice-cream.  I still enjoyed the panto and joined in with all the booing the baddie and shouting “he’s behind you” etc.  Towards the end they invited some children on stage and asked them to name an animal so that we could all sing a version of ‘Old MacDonald had a farm’ and make the animal noises.  The first girl said ‘panda’!  It was hilarious as no-one in the theatre knows what noise a panda makes, so lots of strange noises made.  There was a wee 6 year old boy on the stage who, when asked who he’d come with, replied ‘my mum and dad, my granny and grandad and my spare granny’.  This got the biggest laugh of the night.  I love the panto, it is a thoroughly British Christmas tradition and I’m glad I still went.

As I have now fallen ill with the bug and needed some mindless knitting to do I have made quite a bit of progress on Lintilla.  I forgot to pop a marker in from last time, but there’s now quite a few ripples.  I am thinking that I won’t make this too big, but at the moment not sure how big to make it.  It’s sock wool so not cosy soft, perhaps when finished a good soak in fabric conditioner may soften it up a bit.  Any ideas?

 

I have done a blog post summarising 2018, this includes a selection of achievements and memorable things and it has a selection of photos of things I have created this year.

Answers to Headknits’ first Q&A

Alissa from Headknits blog has posted her first Q&A, so here are my answers to the questions she has asked…

  1. Do you set New Year’s Goals or Resolutions for yourself?
  2. Do you have any creative goals for the new year?
  3. Some people like to set a goal for a certain number of things to make for the year. For example: 18 in 18. Do you do this? If so, what is the number? How do you decide the number of things to make?
  4. Do you have blogging goals for the new year? If so, what are they?
  5. What is your favorite thing you’ve made in 2018? Post a pic!
Answers
 
  1. Every year I set Resolutions and every year I break them in the first few weeks and swear I won’t make any the following year! Hopeless!  So far I haven’t written any for 2019 but it is likely yoga, early nights, healthier eating and weight loss will all be there ‘again’.
  2. I am very tempted by the spin 15 minutes per day (#spin15aday), especially as I have a spindle that can go camping with us and I received a blending board and hackle for Christmas.  I think I would include any time I am making rolags, batts etc. in that.  Other than that I will stick with my year of projects (YOP) list and also knit a jumper with my North Ronaldsay wool.  I had a crazy thought about knitting a pair of socks per month…but think perhaps a pair per quarter is more realistic.
  3. I have 26 items on my YOP list to finish by the end of June 2019, plus other projects on the go!…not sure after that.
  4. I don’t have a blogging goal…but this has made me start thinking about making one.
  5. Ooohh this is hard.  My mind went to my Chimney Fire cardigan, as it’s my most significant knitting project ever…but then I love my wet felted knitting needle cases…no can’t choose between them.
Chimney_Fire_cardigan.jpg
 

2018 Summary

I started 2018 on sabbatical from work and finished the year having resigned, so I haven’t done any paid work all year.  But what I have done is work on my creativity and what a wide range of projects I have done!

So this post is a summary of the things I achieved this year (and some memorable highlights).

Bullet keys

🧦 knitting (unless noted as crochet)   🌀 spinning   💦 wet felting   🗡 needle felting  👩🏻‍🔬 dyeing

🖼 drawing   📷 photography   💎 sea glass

🏕 camping trip   🏡 holiday cottage\B&B   🎫 concert   🎟  show

January

🧦 Alpaca lace scarf, poncho and red fingerless mittens

📷 3 credits at camera club 

💎 sea glass and Pooh bear pendant

February

🧦 arm knit throw and finger knit cushions (with mahoosive acrylic), Crazy sexy wool hat

🖼 sketch of Ylva

📷 Bolivia Audio Visual show

March

🧦 really warm hat, quick and bulky mittens, Allistar’s alpaca hat, purple fingerless mittens, big wool colour hat for Elaine, 2 x cable headbands, rasta fasta hat, swirly squishy hat,

📷 came 4th in Annual Mini Comp., 3 acceptances in Annual projected image and 2 acceptances in Annual Print comps and Flamingo on Salar de Uyuni included in Club’s submission in Highland Challenge.

🏡 Isle of Skye holiday cottage and day trip to Raasay

💎 sea glass pendants

April

🐈 Dice died aged 16 years and 5 days.

🧦 chunky basket (crochet), cat hats for Merri and friend, drinks cosy and cathedral hat

💦 dusty pink handbag

💎 sea glass wind chime

👨‍👧Dad visited

🎟 saw Hamilton musical

May

💎 sea glass pendants

🏕 Dunnet Bay

🌀 bought spinning wheel, carders, niddy-noddy and fibre stash and acid dyes

🧦 hitchhiker scarf

June

🏕 Sango Sands and Clachtoll Beach

🌀 landscape rolags to 2 ply, purple and red scraps

🧦 my 1st socks, ipad cover, business card holder and 2nd hitchhiker, dog poop bag holder

💦 rose and blue circular needle case and soap bars

July

🌀 Tour de Fleece spinning purple merino and gold bamboo, ethereal ether, some British 56s, perpetual purple

💦🗡 highland cow

🧦 fair isle hat, 3rd hitchhiker, started chimney fire cardigan, alpaca cowl for Allistar, coffee cup cosy

👩🏻‍🔬 British 56s wool

🏡 Met up with Elaine in Kinlochleven

August

🏕 Orkney camping

🎫 🏕 Belladrum 3 day concert

🌀 samoyed dog hair, ethereal ether, home dyed British 56s

💦 purple wool and silk scarf

🧦 still knitting cardigan

👩🏻‍🔬 cheviot bulky yarn

September

🎫 🏕 Jocktoberfest 2 day concert

🏡 Loch Sunart holiday cottage

💦 turquoise wool and silk scarf and tiny purse for sister, rose and blue double pointed needle roll case, attempt at nuno felting

🧦 glasses case, crochet dog poop bag holder and finished Chimney Fire cardigan

October

🌀 Brit Spin in team ‘more enthusiasm than skill’ Shetland

👫 visit by Annie and Michael

🧦 Allistar’s socks, cheviot 3 set (hat, cowl & mittens), 2 at a time fingerless mittens

💦 green and red wool and silk scarf for Annie

🎫 saw Turin Brakes in concert

November

💎 sea glass progress markers

💦 suri alpaca and silk scarf, stripe scarf for dad

🌀 finished camel and silk blend

🧦 started Lintilla and dad’s socks

🗡 autumn sparkle fairy

📷 came 2nd in annual Portfolio comp

December

🌀 poppy corriedale fractal, finished Shetland

🧦 finished Dad’s socks, poppy fractal hat for husband, started Void shawl

👩🏻‍🔬 dyed BFL fibre, merino/silk blend and Shetland

🗡 Christmas bauble, mouse pictures and Christmas pudding

(I don’t remember which month but I also sewed a project bag.)

Selection of 2018 completed objects






Year of Projects – week 26/52 Half way!

Year_of_projects_2018.jpg

 

This is a longer post than normal, as I am doing a snapshot for the half way point and have had quite a busy crafting week.

Knitting

Finished Object

I finished my husband’s latest hat.  Two by Two pattern by Anne Gagnon, available free on Ravelry.  As my husband has a large head I increased the needle size.  I hadn’t actual measured the length of the yarn I had spun, so I was getting a little nervous and started the decreases early, but it still fits.  I could probably have done a couple more rows but that’s the problem with bottom up hats.  Playing yarn chicken is stressful.  (Which reminds me to find a simple toe up sock design for the 2nd pair for myself.). The fractal handspun Corriedale has interesting subtle colour stripes.  He says it isn’t as warm as the alpaca hat I knit him, using Anne’s Ribs n’ Cables design, but he likes it…I think.

Cast On

I started knitting a shawl this week with my Rowan Lima yarn.  It is unusual yarn, as it isn’t plied, its like one long crochet chain, but in worsted weight!  It’s 84% baby alpaca, 8% merino and 8% nylon.  It is purple!  I am so predictable.  I bought the yarn at a de-stash sale 6 balls for only £3 total!!!!  It couldn’t have worked out better though, as it is a perfect match for a really warm hat I knit with some purple alpaca yarn I bought in Cusco, Peru!  The pattern I have chosen is Void by Melanie Berg.  

This pattern has brand new stitches I have never done before (LT2, RT2, kfbf and bundle).  I mis-read how to do an LT2 (left twisted) stitch and got my knitting in a knot and frogged it 5 times!!!!  Eventually I viewed some YouTube clips and finally realised where I was going wrong.  With the lack of memory and soft drape that alpaca has I am not sure this is really the right pattern for it, but I am going to stick with it and see how I get on and can always re-make the pattern with a different yarn choice in the future.  

Oops!!!  On Saturday afternoon I realised I made a mistake a couple of rows back but with the complicated stitches I tried tinking it back but failed, so I have now popped a marker in the spot I need to create a new stitch.  With my rubbish memory I will no doubt forget where the mistake is, like I did with the cardigan I knit.  Also it’ll be hidden by my hair when worn, if I grow my hair longer lol!  I will get it back on track later today.

Lintilla is still parked at the moment, but as Void requires a bit lot of concentration I may pick up Lintilla when I need an easier project.

Advent

My husband bought me a yarn advent calendar, which arrived late, so I had a binge on opening the little parcels.  They are art yarn singles and until they are all open I am not sure what I will do with them.  Here’s a snapshot of the colours so far. Suggestions are welcome, as I haven’t made anything with art yarn before.  I did think about making some mini mittens as an advent for next year, but uncertain how much yarn I will have.  I have found a cute pattern called Smittens, so may try that and see how it goes.

 

Dyeing

This week I dyed 100g of Blue Faced Leicester fibre and wanted to try some different colour combinations in heather colours.  I used my landscape dyes from Kraftkolour in Fern (green), Ice (turquoise) and Raspberry (deep pink) and a touch of Ashford hot pink dye.  I pre-soaked the fibre in some citric acid, gently squeezed out excess water and then applied the colours in stripes both neat and mixed in pairs (landscape dyes only).  I then rolled in cling film and steamed for a bit.  Some pink escaped into the water so I later soaked up the colour with 25g of mohair.  Once the dye bath was exhausted I put the BFL fibre back in but this time without the cling film and directly in the water…just to be certain the hot pink had enough citric acid contact to ensure it set.  The landscape dyes already have setting agent in it, unlike the Ashford.

Of course I love the results…what’s not to love about something with shades of purple in. #purpleaddict 

Not sure whether I will use it for wet felting or spinning.

 

Christmas

I would like to wish all my fellow YOPers and anyone else who follows or stumbles across my blog a Very Merry Christmas.  My MIL and parrot arrived today and most food shopping was done.  Tomorrow they pick up the turkey, trimmings etc. and then we just need to get another Christmas pudding (yep we’ve already eaten one!) and some Christmas cake (which usually lasts to Easter!)  We played cards this evening and probably will most evenings, so I am not expecting much progress to report next week….but now follows my half way update.  

Other than The Grinch I still haven’t watched any Christmas Movies yet!!!  I watched the 4 seasons on The Killing this week, definitely not Christmassy!  Will put Elf on when I do some ironing later today.

 

Half Way Point in the 8th Year of Projects

So already we are at the half way point of the Year of Projects!  Although it’s the 8th year it has been running, this is my first year.  At 13 weeks I took a snapshot, so here’s my 26th week snapshot. 

There are 50 items on my list and I have completed 24 and made a start on some others, so I am pretty pleased with my progress.

Wet felting

Needle felting

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

Spinning

  • Spin all the commercial fibre currently in my stash (for spinning not felting) on Ravelry @ date of posting! 
  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 (dye it first)
  • Master chain ply ✅ wk 12 (Himalayan blend chain ply nice and smooth at joints)
  • Create a fractal spun yarn ✅ wk 24
  • Spin some tweed yarn
  • Create my own wool and silk blended spin
  • Create an official (not accidental) art yarn
  • Spin first batch of Samoyed dog hair ❇️ wk 6

Dyeing

  • Dye some of the natural fibre tops and/or homespun yarn from my stash
  1. Samoyed Dog hair
  2. Bamboo
  3. Merino/silk blend
  4. Merino/suri alpaca blend
  5. Corriedale fibre
  6. Blue Faced Leicester ✅ wk 26
  7. British 56s ✅ wk 4 and 11
  8. Portland

Also, over dye ethereal ether ✅ wk 6

  • Dye undyed commercial spun skeins
  1. Cheviot chunky wool ✅ wk 6
  2. BFL/silk blend
  3. Merino silk blend ✅ wk 25
  4. Merino bamboo blend

Knitting

  • Finish my Chimney Fire cardigan ✅ wk 14
  • Make my husband a pair of socks ✅ wk 18
  • Make my dad something for Christmas ✅ wk 25
  • Make something with purple and gold homespun yarn ✅ (Hitchhiker wk 11)
  • Make up a matching accessory set from my perpetual purple paradise homespun yarn
  • Make the shawl with my Rowan Lima yarn ❇️ (Started Void wk 26)
  • Make a 2nd pair of socks for myself
  • Learn brioche stitch ❇️ (YouTube watching wk 13)
  • Learn fair isle knitting and knit one of the small fair isle items in my queue ✅ wk 3
  • Knit (or crochet) all the scraps of left over sock and sport weight wool. ❇️ wk 12
  • Knit something Two at a Time ✅ wk 18

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

 

Year of Projects – week 25/52

Knitting

The vanilla socks are finished and I’ll post a photo after Christmas, just in case the recipient reads my blog!

I started on the hat for my husband, using the corriedale fractal wool I spun (as shown in last week’s update).  I am using a pretty simple ribbed pattern, as I think the yarn colours would blur an intricate design; plus cables work best with 3 ply, not 2 ply.  It seems a long while since I have knit something with a worsted weight yarn and larger needles. So this photo is just one day’s progress, so should be finished early this week and I can do some selfish knitting.

The stressful situation I have been dealing with for a long time is finally over…so to treat myself I have bought some interchangeable needles. I prefer wood or bamboo needles, so opted for KnitPro Interchangeable needles in sizes 3.5mm to 8mm.  And they perfectly fit in the opening flap pocket of my circular needle case I made!  Perfect!! 

Colour is wrong on this photo…but you see the perfect fit

Felting

This week at my felting group I did some needle felting instead of wet felting for a change.  I used a ball of wet felted samoyed dog hair I made months ago (these parts were too rough to spin).  I then needle felted a picture similar to one I had noticed on Pinterest.  I just need to sew a loop on top and hang it on the tree. It is very lightweight. 

 

I also made some replacement pictures for a couple of Christmas frames I had.  These are clearly mice who have been tucking into too much Christmas cheese!!!  Especially the one on the left (she’s hanging a stocking on a toadstool…in case it isn’t clear.

 

Dyeing

Well you couldn’t make up my numptiness!  I thought I would dye a skein of merino silk blend yarn.  The idea being to test the different coloured landscape dyes I have and see how they turn out.  So I carefully mixed the colours, put in little pots, kept the pots of dye in the same order…..then when I finished I packed it all away having not written notes about what colours I used where!!!!  Doh!!!

The same day I also dyed my Shetland homespun yarn that I finished the week before.  I used hot pink, raspbery and opal blue colours and Oh my goodness I love this purpleness! And this will be another hat for me!  You can’t have enough purple hats!   

 Oh and for regulars to my blog, I have now finished watching all 12 seasons of Bones.  It was easy to have on in the background without needing to watch the actual screen, so I could still be productive.  Now to start watching Christmas movies!

 

Answers to NothingButKnits Holiday questions

One of the blogs I follow has put up some holiday questions to answer.  So here’s my answers to the latest questions on NothingButKnits  blog.

Questions

  • Have you made holiday decorations for your home? What have you made? Do you have a tradition of making something every year?
  • Did you craft for holidays when you were a child? Do you have a memory of something you made?
  • Do you gift items that you make? Do you surprise the recipient or do they request something? How do you judge their worthiness? Have you ever regretted gifting someone?
  • Have you seen a crafty project you’d like to make but haven’t?
My answers

A few years ago I made 4 decorations for my tree, to represent my sister, BIL, niece and nephew…they are a felt gingerbread couple and 2 owls using kits from Hobbycraft.  I have tree decorations that represent most of the important people in my life.  This year I filled some glass baubles with sparkly fibre and they are on the tree and I made a fibre Christmas Pudding.  Both can be seen on this previous post.

I remember making paper chains as a kid (I think!), my memory is hopeless!

I have gifted a hat and cowl set to my husband and made him a pair of socks, another hat and currently making a 3rd one for him.  I am not confident enough with sizing to make him total surprises yet.  I have made a couple of surprises this year for a family member, but I am not certain things I have made and given to other people are used/worn, except by my husband.  The new hat for my husband, is using my homespun fractal yarn.  After that  my Ravelry queue is full of items to make for myself.  Knitting is such a slow way of making things, so if people aren’t knit worthy they may be wet felting worthy instead.  I don’t regret any gifting I have done, but they may not get any more.

My Pinterest is full of crafty projects I’d like to make, but I have felting group in a couple of hours and still haven’t decided what to make yet!

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.

 

 

 

Hoarding update

Since writing my post about Hoarding I have done a huge amount of ruthless clearing out, be it selling stuff on Facebook, donating items to the local Red Cross shop, taking things to the tip and filling our recycling wheelie bin.

Amazingly someone bought all the foam from our old sofa!  Also the oil pastels, some acrylic yarn, a chair, a collection of rubber stamps and pending collection a massager and basket making supplies have been sold!

I’ve given away some poly/cotton thread reels and upholstery fabric.

I donated a huge suitcase, that was filled with bags of office clothes, summer clothes, clothes too small for me, coats, shoes, handbags.  Plus some office equipment and drawing pads and coloured pencils and all sorts of random home office items.

I’ve thrown out broken picture frames and lots and lots of ‘memorabilia’.  I had every handwritten letter I have ever received, many of which were from penpals I don’t even remember!  Every Valentine’s card I’d ever received!  Every school report!  My first pair of ballet point shoes!  Old watercolour paintings I’d done that were really poor.  Old calendars I’d kept to paint the pictures on them.  So much stuff!

I have kept letters from my dad, my friends Elaine and Annie and my one and only letter from my childhood bestfriend Stephen. Everything else went in the recycling bin.  Only my ballet shoes did I keep thinking about retrieving from the bin, but when the bin men came this week I watched them and other random junk disappear for good.

This week I have some kitchen gadgets and games to sell.

Here’s some of the envelopes from my friend Elaine from 1991/92 when I was an au pair in Michigan…you can see why I kept these!

 

 

 

Goodness knows what the postman (or rather mail man) thought!!!!  

My crafting cupboard has everything at easy reach and without having to take anything out to get to something else, that’s a huge difference to the mountain of stuff that was previously balancing in there.  There’s still more to go through but I’m getting there.  

Emotionally I feel okay about the clear out, but it’s hard to tell really because I have a much more stressful thing going on at the moment that is perhaps overshadowing any feelings about the clearout.  I don’t think I am going to regret anything I have got rid of and hopefully I haven’t just contributed to other crafters’ hoards lol!

Year of Projects- week 21/52

On Tuesday I finished the 1st sock of the pair that were going to be for my dad, but it will be too big for him, so they are now for my husband, but he asked if I could add some elastic to the cuff!  So some appeals for ideas on a sock knitting group on Ravelry, I have been given some ideas on how to knit a new cuff and cut off the old (they are a top down pattern).  So after a couple of days thinking about it I decided to have a break from the socks and knit something else.  Then spent the rest of the week trying to pick a pattern and yarn combo to work on.  I did do some more spinning of the camel silk blend and chain plied some…not my best chain ply as some look core spun.  Oh and I have been doing my backdoor Shetland spinning before bed (that may sound odd if you haven’t read previous posts).

I have gone back on antidepressants and hopefully they’ll start to kick in, in a few weeks.  In the meantime, I am going to try to get some structure back to my days.  My decluttering has continued and this week I dropped off a massive suitcase full of clothes I haven’t worn for years.  Plus some other bags of random things I no longer need.  But my creative juices have not been flowing this week.  

Next week I will have some photos and new creations.

 

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

 

 

 

 

Hoarding!

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

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

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

Loch Sunart Holiday

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

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

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

Enough waffle, onto some pictures.

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

Scenes of Loch Sunart

 

Castle Tioram on Loch Moidart

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

Ardnamurchan Lighthouse

Various walk views

 

Scenes of Autumn

 

Answers to NothingButKnit’s latest Q&A

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

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

My answers are as follows:

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

Year of Projects – week 14/52

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

Year of Projects – week 13/52

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

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

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

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

Wet felting

Needle felting

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

Spinning

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

Dyeing

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

Also, over dye ethereal ether ✅ wk 6

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

Knitting

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

Crochet

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

Sewing

Year of Projects – week 12/52

Not strictly on my list, but I made a new seat for the chair I picked up on Gumtree (like Craig’s List).  I cut various layers of thin laminated wood we had in the garage and covered it with the old thin padding and fabric which I took from our old sofa, which I also used for doing up my granddad and grandpa’s old chairs.  Next year I will likely strip the paint off it, but I want to use it for spinning for a while, to see if its a keeper!  I had been using a dining room chair which is a wee bit too high and causing hip pain.

Spinning chair

I signed up to the World of Wool fibre club (like I don’t already have enough!?) and my first box arrived this week.  It had a small amount of grey Herdwick wool, pineapple fibre tops and 150g custom blend of merino and sari silk which I decided to do a sample spin, chain ply and knit a small sample.  I really like how it spins and knits up, when its done I probably will make a larger shawl from it, we shall see.  My box also had a notepad and pen, which I’m going to use for tracking my felting projects, seeing as Ravelry doesn’t include felting.  In Ravelry I have created a dummy handspun project, where I can assign fibre used for felting to it, so that my fibre stash leftovers are showing correct weights. (Hopefully that sentence makes sense to readers with Ravelry accounts.) 

Himalayas (custom blend from World of Wool)

I mentioned last week I had made a scarf for my sister, I also made a wee purse too, but forgot to photograph it properly.  Unfortunately it didn’t arrive in time for her birthday, which is very disappointing. None of the pictures are really showing the true colours. I started off with a silk hankie stretched as long as I could and then wool and silks were layered.  It ended up thicker than planned and so I maybe used too much wool fibre or may have shrunk it too much trying to get the silk to stick, but this was my first go at nuno felting.  I am still getting a lot of movement in the silks, so perhaps I need to leave them longer after wetting, before I start rolling.

Nuno felted scarf

On a previous post I had shown a wet felted bag with flap that I made, which has become home to my circular needles…so I decided to make a matching roll one for my double pointed needles.  The top picture maybe looks weird as it was on my sofa seat but then rotated 90 degrees…it is a long rectangle.

DPN case (with circular needle case)

I have added to my YOP list ‘to knit (or crochet) all the left over bits of yarn.  I had thought about making one of those sock yarn blankets made up of wee diamonds of sock yarn.  After searching YouTube for videos to make diamond shapes I messaged the Crazy Sock Lady and asked her, and she explained they are made from mitred squares and so finally I found some ‘how to’ videos and had a go! And another go and another one!! They are addictive when you have a bunch of scrap wool next to your chair!  I also knit a cover for my phone and a wee dog poop bag holder.

Look how well my poop bag holder goes with the trim on my dog treat bag!!!  Hehe!

 

Heather DK yarn leftovers

And finally I started to knit one of the arms of my Chimney Fire cardigan (not that I have finished the body yet).  To protect the body whilst I am knitting the sleeves with DPNs I used a circular tray, so its kind of like a Lazy Susan…every time I finish one DPN I spin the tray! 

Arrggghhhh! On Saturday evening I realised I had missed some of the arm decreases and I’m a bit further on than the image below so don’t want to rip out rows, so I have made a note of what I did and a plan for remaining decreases to get me back on track, so as long as I do the same on the other arm I should be ok.  At least there’ll be no struggles to get my chubby upper arms in the sleeves 😂

Chimney Fire Lazy Susan

 

Chimney Fire progress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year of Projects – week 11/52

This week I wanted to tidy the sunroom and dining area, which meant dealing with the fibre hanging around, waiting to be drum carded.  I have borrowed the carder from my felting group, so need to return it at the end of the month.

The first half of the Samoyed dog hair has now been washed numerous times and drum carded and comes to 118g (4.16 oz).  The other half has been washed and has been drying most of the week, so I will card it next week.  There is still a whiff of dog about it, but once spun it will need washing again and hopefully that will work.  I started pulling guard hairs out, but lost the will, perhaps as I spin I will try to pull out any very thick ones.

Unwashed Samoyed
Washed and carded Samoyed

I also drum carded some brown alpaca, this is just a small amount from a much larger bag of alpaca fibre I picked up at a de-stash sale.  I am not enjoying processing raw alpaca fibre…it is just soooooo dusty and full of vegetable matter (vm) that I dread processing the rest.  I thought I would see what its like spun and then decide about the rest. I got in a mess with trying to create a rolag (see pic), so folded the other as a batt, and have separated them in a boot box with acid free paper ready for spinning.

Brown Alpaca

I also drum carded this black fibre, I picked up in a stash with my spinning wheel.  I am not 100% sure what it is, given the lack of grease, the amount of dust/vm and the softness, I think it is alpaca.  The staple length varies but is mostly pretty long with odd short fat curls, which could be from its head?  I am not an expert in fibres, but alpaca is my best guess.  This photo is only a small part, there’s actually 119g of it now carded….similar amount to the white Samoyed…so I could try a humbug inspired ply (does the US have humbug sweets/candy!?!?!) Or I could knit something with black and white stripes?!

Unknown black fibre

Onto more fun things I have done…

I finished my 3rd Hitchhiker scarf (albeit with some pattern variations shown on my Ravelry Project page).  I love this pattern because I have memorised it (not hard, its just 8 rows repeated); you easily can tell where you are, so you can squeeze in a row when you have a few minutes; and you can make the scarf any size you want, so ideal for homespun yarn you aren’t sure how much there is.  There is something pretty very cool about making something with yarn you have spun yourself.  This is the first garment I have made with my homespun yarn and now the evenings are getting colder I will have a chance to wear it!

Me wearing 3rd Hitchhiker
Plum and gold fibre to Hitchhiker

 

I have purchased some more of Martina Behm’s patterns, so will post details of those when I have done them.  They call for fingering weight so its something to aspire to achieving in my spinning.

I finished spinning and made 3 ply yarn from my early dyeing attempts of British 56s wool. I had spun 2 bobbins of singles a while ago, so did 3rd today and then plied.  What was left over on one bobbin I chain plied and feel I am getting better each time.

Home dyed British 56s

 

On Thursday I wet felted something for my sister’s 50th, but I won’t post the picture(s) yet, as its not her birthday until next week!

Other than that I have been knitting my cardigan….suspect I will be saying that for many weeks!  If only I had chosen a stockinette and not American moss stitch and cable pattern!!  Ah well!

 

Year of Projects – weeks 9 & 10/52

Not much done…in fact nothing on my YOP list, but I have expanded my stash, which was definitely not on my ‘to do list’ oops!

But whilst in Orkney for a week, you HAVE to buy some wool from the rare North Ronaldsay sheep, which eat the seaweed on the coast of North Ronaldsay and Isle of Auskerry, which are the only 2 places they live.  So when I say ‘some wool’, what I mean is…

  • Enough undyed wool to knit a jumper (6 balls in Seal Grey and 1 in Slate Grey)
  • Enough dyed wool to add some interest to the jumper or for accessories
  • Enough fibre (in 3 different natural colours) to spin goodness knows how much more yarn
Oh and…
  • some silk hankies and silk in colours that will go on the scarf I am going to make for my sister’s 50th birthday (hand dyed on Orkney)
  • And while I’m at it I may as well buy 200g of sari silk because it was too beautiful and reasonably priced not to..despite having nothing to do with Orkney!!!
Hopeless!!
 
Anyway, I did manage to knit a bit of my 3rd hitchhiker scarf, using home spun yarn and did some spinning of one of my first dyeing efforts.
 
If you are interested in seeing some pictures of Orkney, please check out my Week in Orkney post.
 
3rd Hitchhiker scarf (with eyelets on 8th rows)

British 56s spun from first dyeing and drum carding practice
 
North Ronaldsay Aran Yarn

 

 

North Ronaldsay dyed yarn

 

North Ronaldsay fibre

 

Sari Silk

 

Silks

 

 

A week in Orkney

The Orkney Isles are located off the North Coast of Scotland.  Some of its Isles can clearly be seen from the North Coast, like at John O’Groats, where cyclists set off to (or arrive from) Lands End (on the South Coast of England).  For more than 10 years we have looked across and said ‘we must go there one day’…Orkney I mean…never have we thought we must cycle to Lands End 😉

With our reduced income we are exploring more of Scotland with our dog and our tent.  So, finally, we booked ourselves on a week long trip to Orkney.  

We based ourselves at The Orkney Caravan Park in Kirkwall.  A great location as we can easily walk into the town centre, its close to 3 supermarkets and its a lovely campground with lots of ‘extras’, like a campers kitchen with everything but an oven (so microwave, toaster, kettle, fridge, freezer etc.).  Its shower cubicles have sinks and toilets within, plus spare sink and toilet cubicles.  It is next to the leisure centre and you even get 2 free passes if you want to go swimming or play racket sports.

Kirkwall is the capital of the Orkney Isles and is on the Mainland.  There are various ferry ports across the Mainland giving you access to some of the other Isles:

  • from Kirkwall you can sail to the isles of Stronsay, Eday, Sanday, Westray and Papa Westray
  • from Stromness you can sail to the isles of Graemsay and Hoy
  • from Tingwall you can sail to the isles of Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre
  • from Houton you can sail to the isles of Flotta, Hoy, South Walls (there’s also a causeway from Hoy to South Walls)
  • there is also a causeway you can drive across to Land Holm, Burray and South Ronaldsay
So The Mainland seemed ideal to base ourselves for the week.  The most northerly isles are not feasible to do in a day, but we hoped to add to our list of Scottish Islands visited.
 
With the North Sea to the East and the Atlantic Ocean to the West the crossing was a wee bit choppier than we experienced visiting the Inner and Outer Hebrides Isles.  Our steward at the campground said the West side usually has the best weather, so if we encounter rain head West. 
 
Anyway, that’s more words than I usually write, so I’ll get to the pictures!  
 

The Mainland

Kirkwall 

Capital of Orkney, population 10,000.  Lots of 17th and 18th Century houses.
Kirkwall

 

 

 

 

 

St. Magnus Cathedral

The most northerly cathedral in Britain.  Romanesque architecture, built in 1137 and additions made over the next 300 years. It was built for the bishops of Orkney when the Isles were ruled by Norse Earls.

St. Magnus Cathedral

 The Bishop’s Palace built in the 12th Century and the Earl’s Palace built in 1607.

Peedie sea and the Bishop’s and Earl’s Palaces

Stromness

Notice the side street called ‘Khyber Pass’!
Stromness

 

Ring of Brodgar

A neolithic henge erected between 2500 BC and 2000 BC! A UNESCO World Heritage Site.
   
Ring of Brodgar


The Standing Stones of Stenness

A neolithic henge, erected ~3100 BC…wiki says this could be the oldest henge in the UK!  
 
The Standing Stones of Stenness
 
 
 

Scara Brae and Skaill House

Scara Brae is a village (well 8 houses) which pre-dates the pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge, occupied 3180 BC to 2500 BC. A UNESCO World Heritage Site. Skaill House was built in 1620.
Skara Brae and Skaill House

East coast 

East coast facing west!

Mull Head Nature Reserve and The Gloup (sea arch)

The 2nd picture on the left is Auskerry Island, where the wool I have bought comes from.  They are the only other place to have the North Ronaldsay sea weed eating sheep.  There’s just one family on the island.  Gloup derives from Old Norse ‘gluppa’, meaning chasm, it is a collapsed sea cave.
Mull Head Nature Reserve and The Group

Yesnaby

There are some very interesting information boards here, which explain how this used to be part of a lake (below the equator!) millions of years ago and some of the cliffs were sanddunes on the edge of the lake!  That’s my husband and our dog on the top left picture.

Yesnaby

Brough of Birsay

This is an uninhabited tidal island.  The 3rd image is of a settlement, originally Christian (6th Century), then a Pictish settlement (7th-8th Century) and finally Norsemen (i.e. Vikings 9th Century).  The beach is full of beautiful shells, as shown in the bottom picture.
Brough of Birsay

Land Holm

A miniature Isle which is home to the Italian Chapel.  The chapel was built during World War II by Italian prisoners of war, who were there to construct the Churchill Barriers.
 
The Italian Chapel
 

Glimpse Holm and the Churchill Barriers

Glimpse Holm and shipwrecks at the Churchill Barriers

 

South Ronaldsay

Tomb of the Eagles

No photos inside the tomb, but we did crawl in.  16,000 human bones and 725 bird bones were found here.  The tomb dates back to 3500-2000 BC.
 
Tomb of the Eagles
  

Isle of Shapinsay

Balfour is the only village on the Isle of Shapinsay.  Balfour Castle, its gatehouse and douche, privately owned unfortunately…well not for the owners but for visitors to the Island.  RSPB Mill Dam site had lots of birds to spot from the bird hide above the loch.  The Smithy tea room had the best Orkney Fudge Cheesecake and ginger bread…so good we bought more cake to go!  We went on the ferry as foot passengers and it worked out a great half day trip.
Isle of Shapinsay

So to sum up our Orkney holiday…we really enjoyed the Mainland, so much so we only ended up doing one ferry trip to another isle, but we did explore all the ones joined by causeways.  We were blessed with the weather really, it rained some nights but days were mostly beautiful sunshine.  We visited lots of bird hides and spotted some new birds we haven’t seen before.  We ate loads of cakes!  Goodness knows what the scales will say when we are home!  Lots of places were dog friendly and the cafes that weren’t had picnic tables outside if you could cope with the wind!  Allistar did lose a bit of lettuce off his plate outside the Orkney Brewery.
 
I wouldn’t say that history is really my thing…but I am interested in the Vikings and the Norse history of these Isles.  I think we will likely come back and stay on one of the more northern isles, but we think we will rent a cottage and not camp next time.  We slept fine, but as I write this, on our last evening, it is blowing a hoolie and we are in a sheltered spot in the town!  

Year of Projects – Week 8/52

Having signed up to join in on the Year of Projects 2018 on Ravelry, I had forgotten all the rules and was creating things but not doing the weekly Sunday blog posts and sharing the link on the Ravelry group page.  So on Thursday I remembered to share the link…but now realise some of those things were done this week and not the week before!  Also I’ve commented about other people’s blogs on the group page, which I don’t think I am supposed to do.  So basically a total muddle. Hopefully the group members will forgive my blunderings.  🤞

It is interesting to see all the different projects people are working on, and how I am not alone in having lots of different types of projects on the go at the same time.

If you are interested to see what the Year of Projects on Ravelry is about click here.

So this week I also made the project bag and notions pouch and spun some Samoyed dog hair (as shown on my previous post)!  Both should have been on my projects list as I was expecting the dog hair and had the material to make the project bag!!  Hopeless!

I also finished spinning the ethereal ether fibre from Gilliangladrag…I was going to post a poll on my HighlandHeffalump Facebook page, but see (below) what Facebook said about it!  The poll was going to ask if people thought I should over dye it with a brighter colour!!!  Seeing as Facebook thinks its a nude body I decided to definitely dye it with some deeper colours!

 

Suspect the position of my finger didn’t help matters! 🤣

I did dye a previous batch of this when it was spun, as I thought the colour definitions had been lost and I love the wee drink cosy I made from that batch, so tried to replicate that again.  Its a shame to dye what started off as such pretty colours, but this fibre is better suited to wet or needle felting I think…or a method of spinning that maintains the colours better.

I have kept aside a small amount unspun in case I ever make a unicorn, as the colours would be great for a pastel rainbow mane and tail…but what I have spun I used as more dyeing practice using hot pink, Ice and Opal mixed in different quantities, and carefully applied with a pipette to get lots of variation, only to discover it was all pooling together underneath the yarn, so has ended up with less tonal changes than planned…it is also spookily similar to our bedding colour!  I am such a purple addict!!!

Talking of purple, I had a go at felting a lightweight scarf using merino, silk and some locks…of course its purple!  The next one I make I will only have the locks on one side, as they are a bit scratchy on my neck.

No new knitting or crocheting is allowed until my Chimney Fire cardigan is finished! It must be finished by the time it gets to winter.  Although saying that we are off to the Orkney Isles for a week camping in a tent and I won’t want to take that, so maybe I can let myself do another shawl with some homespun that week.

To help keep track of my YOP list I have created a separate page with the list, so I can tick things off when completed and add links to the separate posts.

So fellow YOPers please forgive my faulty start 🙄

Catch up on projects

I haven’t posted on my blog recently so I thought I’d do a catch up post on what I have been up to.

Dyeing

I had a go at dyeing 200g of White Cheviot Super Chunky Weight wool.  I started using Azalea and Tasman colours from the Landscape dyes and then added Pilbara and then put some Ashford Hot Pink mixed with Ice (blue).  This wool was a real sponge soaking up the colours, so I just kept chucking more of the colours in!  I love the finished hank, except the Tasman colour has made a few green bits.  I don’t have much imagination for colourway naming, so this is logged in Ravelery as “Dusty Rose”.

Sewing

Today I made a knitting project bag and notions pouch.

Wet and needle felting

At my felting group I made my first picture, of a Highland Cow!  He has a hunchback and some other issues, but for a first attempt at a proper picture I am quite happy.
 

Spinning

My neighbour’s parents have a Samoyed dog and kindly collected some dog hair brushings for me to spin.  I have only done a test spin and chain ply with one handful and I’m excited to spin the 2 bags full that I have.  My first attempt was unwashed when spun and I am going to try a small washed batch to see how that compares.  The raw fur was lovely to spin with, very soft on my fingers, but my dog, Ylva, kept coming over for a sniff!
 

Knitting

My Chimney Fire cardigan is progressing, despite a number of struggles with the pattern.  I have a baking tray with various sections of the pattern stuck on with magnets and have a list of row numbers so I don’t lose track of which body row number goes with which cable pattern.  I did the same for the collar section too, where there were 3 different row numbers to keep track of on each knitted row!! 
 
 

Tour de Fleece

Finally, I mentioned previously that I had taken part in this year’s Tour de Fleece, as part of The Corner of Knit and Tea team.  I was randomly selected to receive a fiber gift and all the way from Kansas, USA came this lovely Corriedale wool in Poppy colourway.  I am thinking I may use it to wet felt a poppy handbag or poppy picture, rather than spinning it. It also came with a couple of tea bags too. 😁i
 
 
 

Dyeing practice and my first go with a drum carder

It has been so hot here in the Highlands of Scotland…not America hot but hotter than any other summer I ever remember, especially for the Highlands.  

So what did I choose to practice on the hottest day of the year??? Dyeing fibre! Yep a steaming hot pan of fibre and dye on a summers day! 

Despite the heat I really enjoyed the process of playing around with some of the dyes.  I already had a hot pink but combined with the Opal coloured landscape dye made a lovely purple.  This time rather than adding knots I made a crochet chain of fibre and plopped the dyes on randomly…when the dye was almost exhausted in the pan I undid the chain so the white parts could pick up the last traces of the turquoise.

I loved the finished fibre and wondered what it would look like spun.

 

Meanwhile, I went to my monthly Highland Felters meeting today and discovered they have a drum carder that you can borrow.  So when I had finished my initial construction of a Highland Coo picture (more on that when it is finished) I came home and wanted to play with the drum carder.  What fibre was literally hanging around?  Yep, I took it down from the drying pole and fed it into the drum carder.

The results are these 2 lovely batts (plus some scraps stuck on one of the drums).  I will post an update when its spun, but so far I LOVE the colours.  I am going to a 3 day music festival on Thursday but for sure I will be playing around with the drum carder at the start of the week.