Year of Projects – week 42/52

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This really feels like the home straight now…week 42 of 52!  Yet I have been totally distracted from my YOP list by lampshade making and buying a loom.

I have updated my YOP list and have removed Crochet as a category.  I’m not saying I won’t ever pick it back up again, but the longer I have been knitting the harder it seems to go back to crochet.  I can’t get used to the hook and yarn in my hands and there are other crafts that I am currently more drawn to.  That being said, I shall be crocheting vicariously, by reading the blogs of my fellow YOPers, many of whom make amazing and beautiful crocheted items.

So crochet is out and weaving has filled its place. I was going to do a separate weaving blog post, but didn’t get around to it, so that’s included here instead.

Weaving

So my first ever woven item turned out ok.  There are a few mistakes but overall I am pretty pleased with it.  This photo is before I washed it.  

I seemed to get to grips with the process pretty quickly, but I need to learn the terms, learn some patterns, purchase some pick up sticks, so I can do patterns in the weaving.

The yarn was Hayfield Spirit DK Acrylic/Wool blend.  Not really ideal for a first weaving attempt from a stretchiness of the yarn point of view, but the colour changes in the yarn work well. 

My 2nd attempt was playing with some DMC Just Cotton yarn that is so splitty it was impossible to knit or crochet with.  I think I need a different sized weave thingy…heddle?…so that it makes a tighter weave, but it was ok to practice with.  Obviously I should have differently spaced the cream warp (vertical) lines to make it symmetrical.

 


Knitting

It was our Camera Club’s AGM on Monday evening, that dragged on for over 2 hours…so I got quite a few rows done on my socks.  Without measuring where I was up to I did more sock knitting watching Bridget Jones movie and of course by the time I measured they were 1/4 inch too long, so I made toe decreases every row and tried to make a left and a right sock by decreasing more on the pinky toe side.   There was much swearing done when I was trying to fix my Kitchener stitch on one sock, as it had a hard bump at the end.  After hours trying to sort it I went to bed and in the morning decided the feet are too short and so I unpicked the toes!

So these have a few accidental changes to the Hermione’s Everyday Sock pattern, including where the purl stitches on the main pattern! 

I finished the waist decreases and started on the hip increases on my Elda cardigan.  The marker shows my progress this week, even though I didn’t post a picture last week!?!  So far it fits well, but I need to stop putting weight on or it is not going to fit!  I just cannot stop thinking about biscuits (cookies) and chocolate, all day, every day…and obviously consuming them too!

I even did another few rows on Void shawl, but barely any difference since I last posted that…they are seriously long rows now.  On the trickier rows they take about 45 minutes to do 1 row!!!  I still can’t see me making this to the full pattern length….pretty sure as it gets wider I’ll eventually hit 2 hours to do 1 row!

Felting

Yep more lampshades!

#8 for the landing, outside the bathroom.  The dark blobs were supposed to be pebbles, but most of them were lost during trimming and folding edges…doh!!

Seascape lampshade

#9 is a larger (25cm instead of 20cm) lampshade for the living room.  Designed to go with the photograph it illuminates.

Stormy seascape lampshade

I have 4 kits left, think I miscounted last week.  Hall table, spare bedroom, study and one more landing light to do.

I have been saving all the trimmed edges from the lampshades to make something with.  I’ve been thinking about dusting off my sewing machine and experimenting putting embellishments on felt.

What I am listening to 

On BBC Radio 4 for over 70 years there’s been a radio show called Desert Island Discs.  The guests have to pick 8 record singles/tracks, they are given the Bible, the complete works of Shakespeare and they can pick 1 other book and a luxury item.   Hundreds of the episodes are available as podcasts and for licensing reasons the tracks on the podcast are cut short.  This means I can get 2 episodes in per dog walk.  This week has been so interesting.  Lauren Bacall, Tom Hanks, Bill Gates, Dustin Hoffman, Goldie Hawn, Alice Walker (author of The Colour Purple) are some of the American guests I’ve listened to.  Kenneth Williams, Dame Judy Dench, Russell Brand, Dawn French, Liam Gallagher, Claire Balding are some of the Brits I’ve listened too.  It gets you thinking about what 8 songs you’d want to take and what book and luxury item you’d want to take with you.  I’ve drafted a list of the songs, my book choice would either be Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer (which I’ve already read 5 times and still enjoy) or the complete works of Pam Ayres Poetry, that I could learn off by heart.  The luxury item…yarn perhaps?  Goldie Hawn chose lip gloss!  

 

 

Tide clock

For soooo long I have thought about buying a tide clock but they are either naff looking or nice ones are mega expensive. So I ordered a tide clock mechanism and went about making my own.

Materials

  1. Tide clock mechanism (tides are not on 24 hour cycles but instead 24 hours and 50 minutes).
  2. Pre-felt
  3. Various fibres, I used merino, Corriedale, silk and flax
  4. Protractor and compass
  5. Wet felting gear…olive oil soap, bubble wrap, towel, hot and cold water and some elbow grease!
  6. Cardboard to use as a template and then actually ended up being used as the backing
  7. Pencil and ruler and a circle template for the dots
  8. Needlefelting needle and foam block.
  9. Pack of pins to mark the hours prior to felting them.

As material moves around so much during the wet felting process, it wasn’t practical to put any words or numbers or dots on during that stage. Instead, I opted for needlefelting dots. I had thought about using a stencil to felt the word High and Low and then 1-5, but I thought it would make it too busy, so dots seemed enough.

It was a bit fiddly doing the calculations etc. As I opted for a square-ish clock I decided to put the dots also in a square pattern.

Far less fiddly to make than a lampshade and of course now I need to make another lampshade for our hallway where this tide clock now hangs. On the photo the shadow is hiding some of the dots in the darker water, but in real life they are easy to read.

So for anyone not used to reading a tide clock, at the top (12 o’clock position) it indicates high tide, at the 1pm position this is actually indicating 5 hours to low tide, so if I were to number it there’d be a ‘5’ there. It then follows on where it is 4, 3, 2 until at the 5 o’clock position, it’s showing 1 hour to low tide. Then 6 o’clock is low tide. Then it switches to 5 hours to high tide and so on!!! I am hopeless at explaining things but hopefully that makes sense.

and for anyone who saw my post yesterday with my lampshade, here’s a picture of it lit. His morning I ordered enough lampshade kits to do all our pendant light fittings and bedside lamps lol!

Wet felted lampshade

I showed a sneak peak of my lampshade on my previous YOP post and here it is finished!

The wave isn’t as good as I’d have liked but hey ho! It’s my first seascape, first big wave and first lampshade, so overall I am still pretty happy with it. It will be on my computer desk on our landing so I’ll see it every time I come upstairs. That light is basically never switched on, so it won’t matter if it is too dark to see through.

I am definitely going to make another lampshade so will be ordering some kits and will do some paler colours for ceiling lamps and other lamps we have around the house where we need to actually see through them. My aim is to replace every lampshade in the house, because they are all super naff ones that were just in the house when we moved in, which was I think 13 years ago!!!! It’s like I knew I’d get the bug for making them.

I am also in the process of making a tide clock! More on that when it’s finished, but here’s a sneak peak of stage 1!

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.

Needle felted Orange Winged Amazon Parrot

My husband has an orange Winged Amazon parrot, that we share custody with my mother in law. When she is in Australia 3 months a year we have the parrot here and when she’s home it lives with her.

For our 11th wedding anniversary (today) I gave him a picture of the parrot, I created by needle-felting.

In 2011 I had drawn him a picture of the parrot, using pencils and pastels. Turns out I used the exact same photo of her to do both! Ah well. The felted picture is more accurate a shape for her, as I ended up cutting around the photo and stabbing through the eye to get it in the right spot. She does have 2 feet but seems to always have one tucked away…like a flamingo!

Coin Purse

On my Year of Projects list is to ‘make a coin purse’.  This is because I had a grubby looking purse that I thought I could have a go at re-using the clasp.

I would love to tell you how I carefully designed it and measured a template to make it but I didn’t, I just winged it and by some miracle it ended up being the perfect size to fit the clasp.  Albeit a struggle to get the fabric to stay in whilst I closed the metal with pincers and trying not to mark the metal.  In the end I had to do away with protecting the metal and so it is scratched but the fabric has stayed in!  

I have never tried felting on a balloon before, so thought I would try it and it reminded me of newspaper and flour paste makes as a kid.  I was wetting bits of wool in soapy water first and then laying them on.  I added a tiny bit of sari silk waste to the outside just to add some interest, although the colour blend of the wool was lovely to start with.

The wool is a Corriedale cross so should be sturdy, from Fleece 4 Ewe.  I bought the carded batt, in sea blend colour-way, at a local fair for £4 and thought I’d do a seascape picture…I only used 15g of the 45g so still have plenty for a picture at some point.

When I was dismantling the old purse I found a waterproof layer between the cotton lining and commercial felt outside, so I thought I’d reuse that as my lining, once it was trimmed a bit and hand sewn to the new shape.

So here are the photos I took, I forgot to photograph it before fitting the clasp so you could see the shape!  Doh!!  Also it isn’t even fully dry yet so will lighten a touch.  I love it, despite the scratches and it isn’t pink or purple!!!  Is turquoise my new favourite colour?

 

 

Year of Projects – week 33/52

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I saw on another blog they were doing ‘Finish it February’…with the aim to complete as many Work in Progress (WIPs) as possible.  I liked that idea and so I have tried to finish some projects off.  (Including clearing out junk.)

Knitting

The pattern for Lintilla advises to start the rippled edge when you have 25% of your yarn left…but I couldn’t be bothered walking a few yards to the kitchen to get scales and try to do some sums and estimate how much my needles weigh etc etc….so, when I’d done as many repeats as Martina’s pattern example I figured that will do and any spare yarn can go on my Northeasterly blanket or some contrasting heels and toes on future socks.  So on Thursday I started the final edge ripple pattern.  This photo was taken before bed on Saturday night and I still have quite a lot more ripples left and then the tip to go.  I must admit I am pretty sure there are a lot of mistakes on the end edge ripples, I kept mixing up which stitches I was doing, but it’ll be fine once its on and it should be bigger when blocked.

I also made some progress on Void and my new longer cable arrived which makes my needles 150cm long, so should be ok to finish it.  No photo as the progress isn’t obvious and I need to switch the needle over to be able to stretch it out. 

I cast on a new pair of socks, this time with West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 Ply, in wood pigeon colourway.  I haven’t used this yarn before and did I bother to knit a swatch to check gauge?  Of course not!  When I finished one cuff I showed my husband, and he  thinks its way too small…I agree it looks much smaller than my ones I have made using the Ripplescrafts sock yarn.  So they are on hold at the moment whilst I concentrate on finishing the shawls.  

 

Spinning

Lots of spinning related activity this week.  

I plied the brown North Ronaldsay yarn and set it.  Mostly traditional 3 ply but a small amount of chain plying done on a bobbin that had a fair bit left.  I really should perhaps weigh my bobbins before plying, to get them more evenly loaded.  I think I may keep this yarn for having a go at weaving with, or perhaps crochet some circles to put under plant  pots around the house.  I like the rustic look, but not sure in a garment…this shade of brown is definitely not my colour for clothes.  It is 138m long and worsted weight.

 

You may have seen, in my previous post, the scarf I wet felted with half of the Bluefaced Leicester fibre I had home dyed.  After some thought I decided to spin the other half into 2 ply yarn.  I did short forward drafting, so it was really smooth and shiny before I soaked and snapped it to set the ply!  Now it has fluffed up, or I think bloomed is maybe the technical term!?!  I am hoping once it is measure I will have enough length to do a hat, if not then I will make some wrist warmers instead…so they can be worn with the scarf I made.

It isn’t measured yet and is very uneven 2 ply, but hey ho who cares when the colours are so pretty!  

I made up some rolags, using the Sugar Plum merino/silk blend fibre from World of Wool and some homedyed Mohair.  The intention being to take them along to the Highland Guild meeting to spin them.  On Thursday when drafting this post I was thinking I can’t be bothered to carry my spinning wheel to the meeting and maybe I would take Void and knit instead. In the end I went without any gear briefly and chatted to a couple of ladies and then headed home to clear out junk from the garage loft.

Felting

My slippers are 95-100% finished!  That makes no sense, you are probably thinking.  The thing is, they are finished except me painting on some dots or squiggles with the non-slip stuff I bought at Loch Ness Knit Fest.  The only problem is, I have no idea where I put the bottle of stuff!!  Doh!!!  So I will have another hunt for the bottle at some point and if I don’t find it then I will just wear the slippers and try not do any crazy dancing in them on the wood laminate floors lol!

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The urge to felt another scarf hit me, so I used the rest of the Winter’s Kiss fibre and some dark green bamboo fibre, I got from World of Wool’s fibre club box.  This is definitely a Christmas/Winter scarf, it has such a lovely sparkle to it, which hopefully you can tell from the bottom right photo.  I also scattered various silk waste in pale and dark greens.  This will go with the others, as potential sale or gift items.  Colours and sparkle are stronger in real life.  

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 Project – week 30/52

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Well we have finally had some snow fall, all symptoms of my flu have finally passed and I am feeling good.  I have re-signed up for Audible 3 month free trial and on dog walks I’m listening to Michelle Obama’s book “Becoming”, which means we have been doing longer walks to keep listening.  

Fibre work

This week I had fun playing around with my blending board and hackle (that I got for Christmas).

I have done some test sheets of the Icelandic wool with sari silk, this is the fibre I bought to make a waistcoat, but if I don’t like the finish/feel then I will use the rest to make some slippers and use the tests as place mats.

Here’s a pic before it is felted.  (I’ve made 3 and they are in a box with tissue between.)  They don’t look much yet! Finished pics next week.

Below, is a close up of the subtle blues, greens and sparkles I combined using the hackle and then wet felted into a neck warmer.  The sparkles aren’t showing on the photo (Note to self: I really must find a location for photographs that gets the colours and textures right at the same time!).

Anyhoo, those YouTube peeps make everything look so easy.  So I struggled a little pulling the fibre off the hackle in one continuous length, perhaps I over loaded it, but finally found a rhythm.  Like everything it will take practice.

I decided to trim the corners of my neck warmer template and then lay the fibres out in a fan shape at the ends to get the ripples (although again these aren’t clear in the photo).  This was inspired by the BEAUTIFUL felted scarves and wraps that @Woolysquirrel produces and shares on Instagram and sells on Etsy.

 

On Friday I had another go with the hackle and seem to do much better at getting decent sized strips off, but towards the end it was harder and too thin to braid, so I just rolled those into nests instead.  But definitely an improvement.  It is quite magical how you can make a long strip out of short tufts.

Spinning

I finished spinning my rolags and did a chain ply as it was all on one bobbin.  I like the final yarn,  is green taking over from my pink and purple addiction?  I am amazed how much thinner my yarn is than spinning using short forward draw, I thought it would end up chunky but my 3 ply is DK weight.  I need to find an easier way to measure the length of yarn, I tape a measure to the kitchen worktop and measure 100cm and then wind into a ball and repeat.  This ended up 80+ metres and took ages to measure and wind!  The good news is that this is the first yarn I have spun that has the same ‘weight’ in all methods of measurement.  For non-spinners this won’t mean much, but against my yarn thickness measure it showed as DK, the wraps per inch were DK and the Grist puts it in DK…so if all that makes no sense then trust me, it is an achievement I am proud of.  Normally the measurements are all over the place due to lack of consistency in my drafting and spinning.

 

My next spinning challenge is to spin some sock yarn. I bought the online copies of last year’s Ply Magazines.  I couldn’t resist as the winter edition has a lot about spinning sock yarn, so I have been trying to read (and understand) the articles.  There’s mention of totally new plying methods, so I will do some practice trials.  

Knitting

I haven’t done much knitting, mostly I have worked on is my Lintilla, as its soooo easy plus I’ve memorised the pattern…not sure I will ever memorise the rows on Void!

But if you spot the green sea glass marker (where there’s a large pool of purple) you will see in 2 weeks it hasn’t progressed much…perhaps I will switch back to Void as the thicker yarn feels like more progress is made lol!  Do you tell yourself these things?

I had a change of pattern plan on my January socks as I was going to try my first toe up sock, but then decided to do my first knit 2 at a time of a pattern I have already done, but then remembered how quick my sockwunder needle is in comparison to magic loop and so….I have not yet cast on a pair of socks!

Organising

I have, however, been playing with my fibre (and yarn) stash, updating Ravelry stash details (unused 140 fibres and 56 yarns!) and thinking of future designs and uses of my fibre.  I also realised you have to manually move your used stash to the Used Up folder, so I have done that.  My storage boxes have been re-organised and I now have:

  1. ‘To be dyed’ box (fibre, yarn and silk scarves)
  2.  ‘New commercial yarn’ box (excluding scraps)
  3. ‘Rainbow colours fibre’ box
  4. ‘Earth tones fibre’ box
  5. ‘Mixed fibres’ box (locks, silk scraps, nepps, cotton fibre, flax)
  6. ‘Special blends’ box (wooly blended roving and batts)
  7. ‘Bag of silk’ (dyed silk fibre and sari silk scraps)
  8. ‘Bag of alpaca fibre’
  9. ‘Bag of scrap yarns’ 
  10. ‘Bag of handspun yarns’
  11. ‘Bag of the yarn from frogged jumper last week’
  12. Oh and some overflow small cardboard boxes of the World of Wool Fibre Club custom blends and other 100g blends I have purchased elsewhere.
  13. Oh and I just remembered I have some shoe boxes with dog hair and alpaca that I drum carded!
Maybe it doesn’t sound very organised but everything is easily accessible as the bags hang from the wardrobe (closet) rail and boxes sit on the wardrobe floor.  So rather than buy another big storage box, I need to get more blending and then felting or spinning done to stop the need for these overflow boxes!  I have at least 200g of fibre that comes each month and I need to be exceeding that in usage each month, or cancel my subscription….but I LOVE when a new box arrives!  I get more excited than a kid opening Christmas presents.

Other 

After reading a fellow YOPers blog last week I did some research into the discussions regarding white supremacy and diversity in our knitting and crafting community and I am working my way through the ‘Me and White Supremacy’ workbook that is available for free download.  I almost thought I didn’t need to do the workbook because I have a diverse group of friends, but now I realise I did need to do it.

It is challenging my thoughts and opening my eyes and I will keep working through the remaining days of the workbook.  I still remember an episode of Oprah from nearly 30 years ago about racism and them talking about things like ‘nude’ coloured pantyhose or tights as we’d call them in the UK and ‘flesh’ coloured things all being for white skin tones.  Even the other day I noticed in my Ravelry stash some ‘flesh’ coloured wool fibre…that’s what it was called when I bought it last year.  But that’s white person flesh colour!  Subtleties like this are covered in the workbook and it really makes you realise that racism isn’t always blatant.  I am thankful to this community for discussing the issues and raising awareness and notice Ravelry now have a discussion thread and I noticed on Instagram I am now seeing recommendations of blogs from people of colour.  I am not following anyone out of tokenism, but on the same basis as I have already operated…if they post beautiful images that inspire me then I follow them.

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!

 

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 22/52

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Year of Projects – week 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.

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 – 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 🙄

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.

My first attempts at dyeing – Part 2

A quick update on yesterday’s blog post.

I have knitted up the small amount of dyed ethereal ether into this wee drinks cosy!  This was an early spinning attempt so its unofficial thick’n’thin!  But I LOVE the colours!  I need to try to repeat this in a larger batch and make something bigger.

Drink cosy 

Also I have spun the dyed fibre; I made a 2 ply (right of pic) trying to get different colours in each single, and with what was left on one bobbin I had some practice at Navajo (chain) plying (left).  This gave me a nice break from spinning the purple and gold tops.  I did have a slight disaster where I had z spun my singles and then started z plying them!!!  I wish I’d had a free hand to take a photo of what that looked like when I pulled it off the bobbin!!  Anyhoo, I managed to rescue it.  

 

 

I have decided I am definitely going to spin up the rest of the ethereal ether and dye it, I just don’t like the original colours when spun, but LOVE the colour range when dyed. Fingers crossed it will work. 

Spinning progress

I thought I should make a note of my spinning progress so far, especially as I am now spinning a little everyday.

In a previous spinning post I had talked about my problems with drafting fibre and disastrous results…or should I call it art yarn!

My next post was about creating rolags and spinning from those which I definitely found easier, I made some useable 2 ply yarn in the landscape colours and went on to knit an ipad cover with the yarn.  Don’t look too closely or you’ll notice some cables aren’t the same length!  Oh and Judy’s Magic Cast On was a disaster as its on the inside of the bag!!!  oops!

Knitted_iPad_cover.jpg 

I had other attempts at spinning from rolags, I had spun a selection of peach and red toned fibre scraps and I really liked it on the bobbin…but when I set it, I massively overheated it and ended up felting the yarn and the colours ran and it ended up orange.  Regardless of the quality I am determined to make something out of everything I spin, so thanks to Ravelry’s pattern search I found this wee business card holder pattern.  The cabling doesn’t really stand out I think because it felted so much, plus it was 2 ply.

Business_card_holder.jpg

I also spun some purple and pink scraps, again making a 2 ply yarn.  This time I made a dog poop bag holder!  I crocheted it, without a pattern and it is sooo soft, it feels lovely.  Again the yarn slightly felted when setting it, but not as much.

Dog_poop_bag_holder.jpg

Then I took on a bigger challenge, rather than using a bag of scraps and creating rolags, I wanted to give pre-drafting a go.  So with 200g of Perpetual Purple Paradise from Gilliangladrag online shop I pre-drafted and then spun all 200g.  What I have ended up with is 3 ply yarn, some of which is Aran weight and some is Worsted weight.  (Not intentionally different weights, just shows the improvement in my drafting.). 

I am thinking I will make a hat, cowl and mitten set…depending on how I get on they may be wrist warmers and not mittens.  I gave chain plying a couple of goes, but again I would call that art yarn based on the inconsistency, the lumps, the coil spinning in parts.  Not sure if it is usable yet…it may end up being used to make a bobble instead.

Purple merino spinning

You’ll notice it says Pre-TDF and then Tour de fleece day 1 on the image above.  I will explain more about that on my next post.

What I have learned so far

  • As a beginner its much easier spinning from pre-drafted tops
  • Rolags make a very fluffy soft yarn
  • Accidentally boiling yarn makes it felt and run! (and it loses the merino wool feel)
  • It was much easier for me to rest my right arm on a small cushion and draft at exactly the same pace as my leg pressed on the treadle.  This stops you spinning faster than you can draft
  • Practice and preparation definitely improves the final results
  • Measuring yarn on the niddy noddy is not a good judge of final length (as its under tension and shrinks slightly during setting)
  • Chain plying is tricky and I need more practise at it!
Side thoughtwriting a blog that may be read by Americans and Brits is a challenge re: spelling!  Do I just stick to UK English and assume Americans will understand we spell things differently?  In the UK practice is a noun and practise the verb…in the US practice is both noun and verb!  Then there’s fibre and fiber!  Never mind all the words we put a u in that American’s have done away with!  Hmm perhaps I’ll just randomly mix them up and confuse everyone 😉
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My latest wet felting creation

Years ago I thought about joining the Highland Felting Group which meet in the town that I live in, on the last Saturday of each month.  Finally, all these years later I plucked up the courage to go along and what a warm friendly welcome I received.  There were other new members too, so I wasn’t the only newbie.

I didn’t really know what I was going to make, but I had dug out some seriously bright pink merino and some (UK) air force blue shaded merino to counteract the brightness of the pink.  I also had some scraps of dyed blue and pink silk.

By the time I got there I had set my mind on making a bag (or purse for US readers) with a flap, with most of the pink hidden on the inside!  

The photographs do not do the pink justice…it is BRIGHT!

Wet felted bag
Rose and blue bag

 

Inside view of rose and blue wet felted bag
Open view of rose and blue bag

I have in my mind that I will use it to keep sock ‘work in progress’ projects, but its still drying at the moment.  It also needs to be pressed.  When its open I can hang it over the side of the sofa and I can use the flap pocket too!  

The ladies in the group were very kind in their comments about it, so I am glad I put my ‘big brave girl’ pants on and went along! 

Next month I thought I would make a scissors sleeve and perhaps some smaller bags or a purse (US wallet) we shall see.

From fibre to 2 ply yarn

I had a brainwave…good spinning practice would be making up a bunch of rolags, splitting them evenly by colours and this would then make a 2 ply with the same colours plying at the same time…sounds great doesn’t it?

What I failed to realise was how much my spinning would improve when doing the 2nd batch and just how much longer that meant my 2nd spool was over my 1st.  So the result is it started off plying well and then suddenly the colours went out of sync and my 1st spool ran out too quickly which then meant I needed to transfer some of my 2nd spool to another so I could continue plying.

The improvements in my 2nd spool I put down to the non-slip disks I put on the 3 legs of my spinning wheel, resting my right arm on a cushion on my leg and timing my drafting with my pressing the treadle (pulling and pressing at exactly the same time/pace)…oh and not having my arms too far away from the spinning wheel, a handspread away works best for me…well so far anyway.

 

 

Fairies, wizards and more

Flower fairies

A long, long time ago…a friend of mine showed me how to make fairies from silk flowers and leaf garlands that you can buy in garden centres or craft supply stores.  You carefully peel off all the petals and leaves and keep all the parts except the stems.

Other things you will need are:-

  • Pipe-cleaners
  • Glue (I used a cold glue gun)
  • Small wooden beads (I prefer unvarnished as it is easier to draw their faces)
  • Some fine thread (to hang them)
  • Scissors and a pencil

You take the pipe-cleaner and starting at the skirt you glue the petals or leaves onto the pipe-cleaner.  As you work your way up you will want to switch from the skirt to the body (although my chubby red one is just a puff ball so that is an option too).  Finally you want to glue the wooden bead to the top of the pipe-cleaner.  (Tip: I suggest you first thread the bead without glue, cut the excess pipe-cleaner, then remove the bead, glue and replace bead.)  On the head you can attach some smaller petals, acorn caps, or perhaps you will find some interesting plastic pieces when you disassemble the flowers…like the crown on the pale red fairy above.  With a pencil you can draw a face on the bead when finished.

I have only included photos of some fairies that I have made, you can make wedding themed ones with white or ivory coloured flowers, I have Christmas themed ones made from silk poinsettia and ivy leaves.  The possibilities are endless!

Quite often you will find that stores sell damaged flower/leaf garlands at discounted prices, so these can be perfect.

Needle-felted fairies, wizards, pixie and more

As if I didn’t already have enough fairies hanging around…I decided to make some out of the wool tops that I have.  These are often referred to as Waldorf fairies, certainly if you search for Waldorf fairies on Google or Pinterest you will see hundreds of similar fairies, in all sorts of designs that can inspire you.

These don’t use any glue, they are made with pipe-cleaners, wool tops and felting needles and that’s it (oh and some fine thread to hang them). There are lots of YouTube clips about making these and you can buy books, but I though the book I bought was mostly just pictures of different fairies, the basic way to make them is very easy and so save your pennies and check out YouTube for instructions and have a look at my Pinterest for inspiration.

WARNING:  Felting needles are extremely sharp so not really a craft for young children…unlike the flower fairies above, which with a cool glue gun is very child friendly.  Despite wearing leather protectors on a my thumb and forefinger I still managed to stab myself a few times when I made my first needle-felted fairies

Fairies

Wizards and witch

Pixie

 

Red head pixie
Not a very ladylike pose…but what else would you expect from a Pixie!

Ladybird (or ladybug) Fairy

When I ordered some felting tops from Heidifeathers there was a lovely card in the box, which showed this ladybird fairy…well a similar one and I thought I’d give it a go, so here is my effort.  Again not a fairy ladylike pose, but to balance her she does need to have her legs apart…perhaps she’s got some Pixie in her DNA!