Year of Projects – week 39/52

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wet felting

Needle felting

Spinning

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

Dyeing

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

Knitting

Crochet

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

Sewing

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

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

Year of Projects – week 38/52

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

Dornoch Fibre Fest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Lanark Wool

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

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

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

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

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

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

My first Fair Isle knitting

Some free acrylic yarn, a free pattern from Ravelry and watching some YouTube clips and I was ready to start my first Fair Isle knit!

I made some mistakes along the way…

A weird hole, not sure what happened here

I didn’t carry my pink yarn when I was doing the all purple rows, I just carried it up to the next mixed row.

You can see on the bottom rows of pink that the chevrons are much tighter, that is before I switched to holding it in my left hand.  Once I switched to continental for my pink I was flying and it knitted up pretty quickly.

I am usually a tight knitter but I was consciously trying to knit loose…but when I got to the end of my purple 50g ball I started to knit ‘normally’ and so there’s a tighter row half way up the hat.  This hat is too small for me anyway, perhaps I’ll give it away to someone with a small headed child!

What I learned…

  • Using continental knitting for my accent yarn and English for my main colour works well for me
  • I need to concentrate on keeping plain rows the same tension
  • Its easier than I had thought!