Year of Projects – week 38/52

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

WIP nuno felted blouse

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

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

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

Top with elastic removed, cuff trim removed and cut up the front
I used tissue paper to create a pattern, by stuffing and folding over!
Initial template I cut a couple of inches around paper.
New template cut with longer arms and slight change to arms
Front view of it almost finished. Collar and one sleeve need more work
Back view. Intentionally did darker shoulder area.

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

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

Year of Projects – week 34/52

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Knitting

I have finished Lintilla and wore it on a walk on Friday where I didn’t even need my coat it was so mild out!!! In mid-February!!!!   I also wore it all day Saturday.  It doesn’t unwrap itself which is great, even when I was walking and it was blowing a hoolie (Scottish for strong winds).

Some progress made on my Void shawl, but only a little.  On the photo below I have included a black and white image so you can better see the pattern on Void.  Also the marker shows progress since my last photo.  It is hard to photograph as its a dark purple alpaca yarn.  I still have just over 3 balls of yarn left….this thing gets so much wider each pattern repeat; I am not sure I will do it full sized.  I was considering making some wrist warmers and then just making Void as big as the yarn that is left over…we will see.

I did a little more sock knitting and although I still have some concerns with it looking small I am sticking with the same pattern and needle size.  I basically haven’t stuck to the grocery girls sock bash KAL at all…I am just going to try to do one pair of socks a month and they may well all use the same pattern!  I am on the heel flap of the first sock.  I should have split this ball in 2 so I could knit 2 at a time, I can’t use the centre pull for the other pair as I have seen too many yarn barfs on others’ blogs so I am too scared.  So I will have to hope 2nd sock syndrome doesn’t strike.  I think it is going to be tricky getting a perfect pair…but we shall see.  As this is my 3rd pair using the Hermiones Everyday sock pattern, it is well on its way to being mindless knitting.  I rarely need to look at the pattern.  I have made some slight amendments that hopefully I will remember on the 2nd sock.

Spinning

I spun the merino, silk and mohair blend into a 3 ply (chain ply).  It is much harder to keep a consistent width of yarn when woolen spinning from rolags.  Before setting it, a quick check against my gauge showed the yarn as fingering weight in some places and worsted in others!  Hey ho!  It is still wet after setting it, so I don’t have a photo.  Once it is dry I will measure it and take some photos for next week.

Other crafts 

No felting or dyeing this week.  I have spent some crafting time reading the Yarn-i-tec-ture book by Jillian Moreno.  It is about spinning the yarn you want.  I also have some editions of the Ply magazine to read and a blog post I found about tips on spinning sock yarn.

The only other crafting I did was to make some more sea glass stitch/progress markers.  Some are already in my project bags, but these are extra ones I may sell at some point.

So it feels not as productive a week as normal, but I am learning from the book and articles, so it isn’t time wasted.  I just wish I could read and knit at the same time, and apparently some people can spin and read at the same time!!!  With this month’s Audible credit I have bought the Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection read by Stephen Fry.  It is about 70 hours long!  This should help me be more productive around the house and garden than I have been watching box sets on Amazon Prime!

My weight has been creeping up and up over the last couple of years and I’m at my heaviest at the moment.  So yesterday and today I climbed the hills behind our house. There aren’t any sheep in the lower fields at the moment, so Ylva and I walked up 5 steep fields yesterday, and today with my husband we did another couple of steep fields beyond…only to find when we got to the ‘top’ that in fact there were even more steep fields beyond!  One day we will keep going and take a picnic.  My heart rate was in cardio for a far longer time than walking the dog anywhere else, so whilst the sheep aren’t about I will keep climbing.  Here’s a photo taken at the top of the 3rd field yesterday…when I didn’t need my coat!  The water is the Cromarty Firth.

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P.S.  I found my non-slip gel, so slippers from last week are now in use 😁

Year of Projects – week 32/52

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Knitting

Well my 2nd pair of Hermione’s Everyday Socks are finished!  I am honestly thinking why bother doing other patterns, when this fits my small feet so well (using 2mm needle).  It is more interesting than just vanilla knitting (sockinette/K3P1 on alternate rows).  The pattern was free on Ravelry.  I love this yarn, in electric light it has warm colours and in daylight cool colours!  

I can’t stick to the official Grocery Girls Sock bash KAL rules, as it says 1 x 6” leg pair or 2 shorties a month, and I just want to make 12 pairs of socks this year and don’t want socks that long.  But this month’s theme is cables, so I may still have a go at some cable socks….or may just have another pair like these!  Shall we have a sweepstake on how many pairs end up being this pattern lol!?

Void has soooo many stitches now (about 274 …kept losing count) and I am just finishing the 2nd ball of Rowan Lima yarn and there are 4 more balls of yarn to go (you stop at 404 stitches wide) and my head explodes with thinking how the heck this is supposed to be knit on one circular needle, my current needle is 100cm long and I think I’ll need to order a longer interchangeable cable to accommodate the stitches.  The other issue is how long it takes to knit each row and its just going to keep getting longer….but then I really want it finished as its sooo soft and warm alpaca yarn that feels lovely and I want to wear it whilst its still cold.  Progress since last time is shown by the marker.  I also included a photo of the yarn close up, very unusual construction…but think of all that warm air it will trap…this is going to be so cosy to wear.

 

There’s been some people talking about yarn and needle elitism on Instagram, with many of the most popular YouTubers and Instagram account holders only buying very expensive, indie dyed yarns only for it to sit in a stash that may never get knit with.  My yarn stash is relatively small and very mixed and this Rowan Lima yarn I bought for £3 for all 6 skeins at a local de-stash sale.  I think Ripplescrafts yarn lasts really well and is my most used yarn, but I believe in trying to support Highland small businesses.  

I do ooh and aaah at the beautiful colourways that lots of indie yarn producers post and I see phases of ‘must have’ yarns that you find everyone suddenly using and I’ll admit I was feeling jealous and if I was still working I would probably have bought but have no time to knit with.  But as I have no income and I am spinning yarn myself and have a lot of undyed yarn to practice dyeing myself, I am on a yarn buying freeze!  I haven’t bought any finished yarn since October.  (Only yarn for dyeing.).  

Regardless of how expensive or cheap a yarn is, if the finished object is practical and beautiful then what does it matter?  I am interested to hear your thoughts.

Spinning

I continued to spin the brown North Ronaldsay wool, making more rolags and spinning them long draw (you allow some twist between your two hands whilst moving your hands apart and don’t smooth out the fibres, this makes a warm woollen spun yarn).  I am definitely improving in this method, although I seem to get a sore left shoulder and right knee, as I am not used to this method or position yet!  It is all spun and ready for plying into 3 ply, so I will show the finished yarn next week. 

Felting 

Just to explain, my slipper booties aren’t finished yet so no pic…more on why later.  But after some comments last week I thought I should explain these were felted from Icelandic fibre tops and lined with merino wool tops, so no knitting involved.  

You can make slippers by knitting them first and then felting them, but to me that seems a much longer process than just felting the fibre.  Another option, if you’ve accidentally felted a wool jumper in the washer or tumble dryer then you can use that felted fabric to sew some slippers or gloves!  I have seen YouTubers buying old wool jumpers/sweaters from charity shops/thrift stores and making pairs of mittens, slippers and scarf from one old jumper after they’ve felted it on a hot wash!  Great if you are on a budget.

I did use half of my homedyed bluefaced leicester fibre to make a nuno felted scarf.  Nuno felting is where you felt wool and silk together.  On a blank white silk voil scarf I lay out the fibres in roughly vertical stripes one side and horizontal stripes the other and then put additional coloured locks, tussah silk and silk scraps.  Then felted slowly to allow the wool fibres to go through the silk and felt together.  The result is a very lightweight but warm scarf that can be worn on either side up. 

I know what your thinking…these colours match my new socks lol!  

 

The idea with felting is you lay the fibres in horizontal and then vertical layers, so that when they are wet the barbs on the fibre open up and start to lock together, then I use olive oil soap and friction from bubble wrap and tools made for felting.  I can spend hours on Pinterest looking at the amazing felt creations people make.  

There are so many amazing Russian and Belarusian feltmakers, I’ve watched a lot of YouTube videos of felting and even if I don’t understand what they are saying I can see how they are doing things.  Here’s a link to my Pinterest wet felting folder with some ideas I’ve pinned, includes some of my own creations.

Side tracked!

On my slippers…I have tacked the sole to the bottom, but need to properly sew them on, when I work out the right yarn to do that.  I planned to finish them on Saturday, but we drove down to the Cairngorms National Park (about an hour south) and went for a walk around a frozen Loch Morlich in the snow. Nothing to do with YOP but thought I’d share some pics anyway 😀  

It was only -5°C/23°F so nowhere near the low temperatures the USA has been getting.  

Top picture is our dog Ylva on the lochside beach, the photo bottom left there are some people in the distance doing cross country skiing around the loch.  We passed more people on skis than walking, so it is obviously increasing in popularity.  There is hill skiing nearby too.

 

 

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

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.

 

 

 

My husband’s birthday present

I think my husband was hoping for a pair of socks for his birthday, but with his big feet, me doing the Tour de Fleece and having started knitting my first cardigan I have had to bump those down the queue to be a Christmas present.  I have the yarn ready in my stash.

So instead I made him a cowl with the remaining wool from the hat I knitted him last year.  I didn’t follow a pattern as such, just used a 4×4 rib and on the side and back I moved the ribbing over 2 stitches so it created a wavy line, then on the front I kept the ribbing in line, so it is not as wide under his chin.  Technically he can reverse it and have the narrrow side at the back.  He can decide what works best when Autumn arrives.  The yarn is from Wool and the Gang and is called Feeling Good Yarn.  It is Aran weight but extremely light (Baby Alpaca 70% / Merino 7% and Nylon 23%).  It is very fluffy, soft and hopefully warm.  For the hat I made him in winter I did follow a pattern.

Bolivia – a country that exceeded my expectations

La Paz, Potosí and Chuquisaca
Potosí and Chuquisaca area – vicuña and rock formations
Potosí and Chuquisaca area – salt lake and volcanic features
Potosí and Chuquisaca area – Laguna Colorada, flamingos and rocks
Potosí and Chuquisaca area – flamingo, salt lakes and railway track that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid rode!
Uyuni Salt Flats
Uyuni Salt Flats early morning
Uyuni Salt Flats and salt hotel
Uyuni Salt Flats and train graveyard
5,000 perfectly preserved dinosaur footprints in the Cal Orck’o cliff

 

Quad bike trip to ‘crater’ viewpoint

Gadventures 11 day  Bolivia Discovery tour

 

 

I love Peru! I’ll let pictures tell a thousand words…

Ballestas islands boat trip from Paracas

Huacachina Pisco Winery and Oasis

Nazca Desert Cemetery

Arequipa

Animals on the road from Arequipa to Chivay

Volcanoes and Chivay

Colca Canyon 

Small town near Colca Canyon

Cusco

Ollantaytambo, Maras Salt Mines, Moray site and my favourite alpaca 

Machu Picchu 

Tambopata Rainforest / Amazon Jungle 

Lake Titicaca and the floating islands of Uros

Taquile Islands / Isla Amantani

 21 day – Gadventures Inca Heartland Trip