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!  

 

 

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 36/52

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Where did this week go?  I finished my socks but that’s it!  Oh that’s a lie, I finished the surprise which I can’t show until next week.

So here’s my socks…my 3rd pair of Hermione’s Everyday socks in West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply yarn in the wood pigeon colour-way.  It is a blend of unspecified wool 40%, blue faced Leicester 35% and nylon 25%.  You’ll notice on the toe that I was ever so slightly off making a perfect pair, ah well that’ll be in a shoe or slipper.  The row count was the same but I obviously misjudged the  2nd cast on.

My last few finished objects have all been fingering weight, so I am definitely ready for a new yarn weight.  I didn’t get a chance to knit my swatch with the Cochrane yarn, so I will do that Sunday afternoon and next week you will see what pattern I have finally decided on.  It’s sport weight so it isn’t a big difference, but it feels nice and wooly/woolley/woolly (how do you spell that, seriously even the spell checker doesn’t know lol???).  Anyway it isn’t superwash and has no nylon in it so I am looking forward to the feel of a nice squishy yarn.  

Erm…talking of soft squishy yarn, I still have Void on my needles…no progress made on that this week and I think I’m going to park it for a while…I keep considering just casting it off, but I must resist the urge.  So I think parking it for a while will help and by next autumn I will have a lovely huge soft alpaca shawl to snuggle in.

 

This week I discovered Kristy Glass Knits YouTube channel and through that I have found some more ideas of things I would like to make and some really interesting interviews with designers, yarn store owners, indie dyers etc.  Plus a really interesting and helpful chat with a group of friends about diversity that I found so helpful in understanding some of the terminology that people have been mentioning.  

One of Kristy’s interviews is with Carolyn Bloom.  Not someone I had heard of before, but she has designed some gorgeous crochet and knitted brioche items.  She has also done some gorgeous photos of yarn with fresh flowers and other gorgeous photos.  I don’t normally share blog posts I have watched but this lady had so many things that have inspired me I thought I’d share.  She has knit blankets that are inspired by quilt patterns, really yummy brioche scarves, an interesting spotted crochet blanket I prefer to Northeasterly and I am considering doing instead, also as its crochet it would be a nice change from knitting.  

Link to YouTube interview  

I am going to try doing some brioche with some of my homespun purple and pink yarn!  Brioche is on this year’s YOP list, so a small project with some homespun seems a good idea for a first attempt.

 

No wet felting, dyeing or spinning this week!!!  No real spring cleaning either!  Seriously, what have I done this week!  I watched the Oscars on Monday…did aliens abduct me the rest of the week?  Off topic but…although I wasn’t that struck on the movie “The Favourite”, I love Olivia Coleman and have seen her acceptance speech 3 times and cried each time!  

I posted out sets of stitch markers to 4 fellow bloggers and by Saturday I had confirmation that a set had arrived safely to Arizona.  Hopefully the others did/will.

Two other people are interested in them, so I will make up some more.  (Please check your junk email folder if you think you didn’t receive my replies 🙂)

 

Finally, last year I joined in with the Tour de Fleece competition in the team ‘More Enthusiasm than Skill’ and won a Handy Andy!!!!  It was being hand turned by a men’s shed group near our team captain, so it was a bit of a wait for it to be done.  It arrived on Saturday so I need to work out (via YouTube) what on earth I do with it!  I know, I’ve had months to do research on it but hey ho!  I learn best by doing.  I’ll let you know next week what you do with it!!  Hopefully I am going to meet some of the ladies from my TdF team in June, when I am visiting my sister, and there’s a fibre festival on nearby they usually attend.

Year of Projects – week 34/52

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Knitting

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

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

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

Spinning

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

Other crafts 

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

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

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

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

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

Year of Projects – week 32/52

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Knitting

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Spinning

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

Felting 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Side tracked!

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

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

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

 

 

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

My first pair of socks

Having knitted numerous hats, scarves and mittens I kept saying “I’m going to knit a pair of socks as soon as I have…

Excuses, excuses…anyhoo I finally had what I needed and made a start and I was surprised that it wasn’t as difficult as I had thought it would be!  
 
I had picked the Hermione’s Everyday Sock by Erica Lueder from Ravelry because it is the most used sock pattern on there (>23,000 projects), plus it was free.
 
Despite it being my first ever sock, I did make some amendments to the pattern, doing a 2×2 rib instead of single and I was sooo impatient to reach the heel I only did 5 pattern repeats on the leg.  My feet are pretty small, UK size 3 (US size 5), so I was worried sticking to the pattern they’d be too big, but I am a tight knitter, so they worked out fine.
 
I used Ripplescrafts Reliable sock yarn, in one of Helen’s Assynt Storms colourways which was pink, white and purple.  I have 2 skeins of this colour in my stash and only used about 50g, so plenty left to make a shawl or something else with the rest.  I have had this for a while and notice Helen’s reliable sock yarn is now in the 4 ply section of her store, so she must have changed the base.  I have hats, scarves and mittens knitted from the sock yarn and they are warm, compact enough to pop in your pocket and are wearing very well.  
 
Lots of people talk about 2nd sock syndrome…where they knit one and don’t get around to knitting its buddy!  So, after resting my index finger for a few days I started on my 2nd sock.
 
What I learned…
  • My circular needles aren’t the best for magic loop socks (their cord is too thick and the bamboo is too long)
  • My 5 double pointed needles (DPNs) were perfect for this pattern…but boy are they sharp!  
  • I need to order a finger protector for my left index finger as it was so sore
  • Having small feet is finally a blessing…far less foot to knit 😂
  • Things aren’t as difficult as you imagine
I was so impatient to try them out I wore them the next day despite it being a hot day, but they went very well with my summer top! 
 
My Ravelry Project Page
 
 
Hermione’s everyday sock