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 41/52

Felting

A tea cosy and more lampshades! 

First my tea cosy. This was made from some fibre that was so felted I thought it would have to be a handle for something, but after some separation by hand and then a few passes through the drum carder. In the end it has made a nice thick and sturdy felted tea cosy for my For Life teapot, that is too small for commercially made cosys..cosies…hmm not sure the plural. I forgot to add the sari silk waste during the felting process, so I just needle-felted some on once it was finished. It was just going to be a prototype, but it’ll do and I’ve sewn a wee hook and eye on it to keep it closed. 


  

  

Then onto lampshades.

#4 and 5 – A red pair for the hallway, using the same 20cm round shade kits I’ve been using already. I thought red for the hallway would work well, as the chilli red kitchen is off the hallway and the primary colour goes well with the blue of the tide clock.


  #6 and 7 – A purple pair for our master bedroom, this time with rounded square kits for a change.


 

There’s 5 lampshades left to make, but my shoulders seem only up to making 4 in one week. 

Knitting

I’ve made some progress on my Elda cardigan but visually not enough change to warrant another photo.  My socks aren’t quite finished, so I’ll put an FO picture next week.  

Acquisitions 

I have bought a loom! A weaving loom, just a small one. It is an Ashford Sampleit Rigid Heddle Loom. It hasn’t arrived yet, should arrive Monday. Like I possibly needed anything else on my list of projects! I’ve been thinking about it for a while and was going to give the details to my husband, to buy one for me for my birthday in June, but then I bought it myself with some savings. I’m excited to get started on it. I’ll probably do a separate post about how I get on with it, rather than including that in next week’s YOP update.

With all the lampshades I am finding that I am running out of some colours of merino wool in my stash, never thought I’d be saying that! So I have ordered some undyed merino fibre to dye and re-stock my stash with missing shades. I may, whilst I was on World of Wool’s website, have bought a few other bits and bobs…but that’s a story for another day.

 

Year of Projects – week 40/52

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Wet felting

I’m a little bit obsessed with lampshades, so that is making it hard to concentrate on the rest of my YOP list! 

There’s an earlier post about my 2nd lampshade, with the name of the stockist for the kits. However, here’s a picture of lampshades #2 and #3 made this week.

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Lampshade #2 sunroom

 

Lampshade #3 porch

In the bottom right corner you will notice my tide clock, which has similar colours.  I have a larger kit for our living room standard lamp (not sure what you call this in US, but a lamp on a long tall base about 4’-5’ tall).  2 walls in our living room are this teal colour, so I plan on making a similar one to lampshade #3 for it.

Our kitchen/diner has 3 walls in chilli red colour, but at the kitchen end it has built-in spotlights and at the dining room end we have a fancy glass and chrome light, so this room is going to be the odd one out when I’ve made them all.  Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself as I still have lots more to make.

At my monthly felting group I took along some fibres to blend on the drum carder for use in more lampshades.  Here’s a collage of the fibres and the finished batts.  They don’t look like they took hours to make but my arm is feeling it.  If I ever invest in my own drum carder it may have a motor lol!

My sister has asked me to make her a lampshade for her bedroom, so I’ll do that when I am visiting in July and we can pick some yummy wool batts from Fibre East festival whilst I’m there.  When you have made 7 batts in a day you start to really appreciate the skill of indie made ones and I will definitely be buying some from Spin City at Fibre East.  I added hold luggage to my flight this week, realising it was going to be unrealistic to have clothes and new stash acquisitions in carry-on. 

I have finished the felted jacket I mentioned.  A lady at the felting group tried it on so I could take some photos.  My selfie attempts were hopeless, plus it fits her better, as I am carrying about 10lb of extra weight I put on this winter, but obviously it also shrunk during the felting process!  

Knitting

So it hasn’t all been wet felting, I have managed to do some knitting projects as well in the evenings.

My Elda cardigan in the Ripplescrafts Cochrane yarn now has the sleeves separated.  The Estonian braid sections are picked up at the end, so this is a very simple pattern to follow so far and I love the yarn.  I should make some decent progress on this in the next few weeks.  I definitely want it finished by the time we go on holiday to Yorkshire in May.

As there’s alternate rows of purling, which gets tiresome after a while, I do keep going back to my socks.  

I have finished the gusset decreases on the 1st sock and am working on the 2nd to get it to the same stage, so I can knit the feet two-at-a-time and not be bothered about keeping track of row counts lol!

Every time I make a pair of socks the leg part gets longer, still not up to the pattern suggestion though.

Stash Acquisitions

So when you are making a purple cardigan, what do you think I ordered this week?  Yep, more purple yarn for a purple jumper (pullover)!  I couldn’t help myself!  I have been wanting to try some yarn from BaaRamEwe for ages and then on Instagram they kept tempting me with their last few remaining skeins of a yarn they’d made especially for Edinburgh Yarn Festival (which I didn’t go to).  The yarn is Dovestone DK Goathland. (50% Blue Faced Leicester, 25% Wensleydale and 25% Brown Masham).  The pattern is ‘Inside Story’ by Heidi Kirrmaier.  

Buying yarn for a pattern An already purchased doesn’t count…hehe!

 

 

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!

 

 

Decisions decisions!

Yesterday I went to Dornoch Fibre Fest and bought sooooo much yummy yarn!

To justify my new acquisitions I have been putting patterns against each yarn in my Ravelry queue. Some kind of weird psychology that helps me feel these were an investment not impulse buys!

I want to do my first brioche shawl (ignoring the fact Void shawl still isn’t finished). The thing is I am not sure whether with brioche you need a light and a dark skein, or whether it’s effective with 2 deep saturated colours.

Here’s my 3 options, is your preference top, middle or bottom?

It’s to go with my Chimney Fire cardigan.

The 2 deep colours are Merino, Silk & Yak blend. The 2 speckles are merino, nylon with one having some alpaca too.

I don’t have the patience to knit a shawl that needs all 4 skeins.

More on the fibre fest later this week.

Year of Projects – Week 37/52

Knitting

After spending many (many) hours searching patterns on Ravelry I finalised my choice on a pattern for my Cochrane yarn.  It is a challenge because its such a new yarn, spun specially for Ripplescrafts, so there are hardly any projects that have used it, mostly just shawls.  In the end I did finish a couple of swatches and picked ….drumroll…Elda cardigan…the same pattern that I’d originally picked months ago!  I found with a slightly larger needle I was able to get gauge.

The pattern has Estonian Braid so that will be a new skill for me to learn, I think I will be practicing that on some cheaper wool first.  Nothing to show yet, but hopefully some progress next week.

Needle felting

I did a separate post earlier this week about the picture of my husband’s parrot that I created and gave to him for our 11th Wedding Anniversary (on Thursday).

Wet felting

I also did another separate post about converting a beach silk blouse to a nuno wool felted jacket!!!!

Spinning

I did some practicing with my hackle, blending fibre for spinning but didn’t get a chance to spin it yet.  

Wait, “What about the Handy Andy?l I here you ask…well, I have watched some YouTube instructional videos but didn’t manage to find time to do any spinning this week.  I will do a separate post about it, once I’ve had a go.  But it is going to be ideal for taking away with my spindle when we are camping.  After spinning on my spindle, I will then be able to wrap the yarn around the handy andy in the correct method and then magically you are able to pull both ends of the yarn at the same time and ply spin it on the spindle…therefore creating 2 ply.  The secret is in wrapping it correctly.  It comes from the Andes, where the spinners would use their own hand to create an Andean bracelet, instead of using your hand you use this wooden tool.  

 

So this is a short post, but would ask you have a quick look (pretty please) at the other 2 posts (if you didn’t see them earlier this week), even if its just for a quick look at the pictures.  I’m pretty proud of both projects.  😀

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 35/52

With it feeling like Spring I have been doing some Spring Cleaning this week and doing jobs around the house (like cleaning carpets and windows) during times when I would normally do some knitting or spinning.  

Spinning and Knitting

I did do a bit more rolag spinning practice, with rolags I’d made with random bits of leftover fluff.  I thought with the yarn I would do a test version of the Northeasterly blanket, to try out a new increase I saw on someone’s blog.  The pattern says to use M1L and M1R for increases, but they are too fiddly, so I’d gone with Kfb. However, this gives an uneven look, so instead of kfb you do knit front of stitch, leave it on the needle and then slip instead of knitting the back.  This gives a far more symetrical pattern on either side of the centre line.  I don’t think you can tell on this photo, as its dark scraps I used, handy for storing my stitch markers though.  (Fellow YOPers and regular readers…Read under sea glass section below for information about how you can own a set of these markers.  First come first served basis.)

I’m wondering whether to frog my current progress on my real blanket…but then I’m impatient to finish Void and my socks, so I’ll pop the first strip on stitch holders and start a new column and then decide at some future date what to do with the strip I’m unhappy with.  

I am also getting impatient to start knitting a jumper (sweater) or cardigan.  

(I have 2 wonderful project bags from Tatty Designs on Etsy.  One is ideal for shawls and has Void in it, one is for socks and so when she finally made some in Winnie the Pooh fabric I couldn’t resist buying one in the larger size (ideal for jumper projects!).  I love it!)

So I am going to knit a swatch next week in my Cochrane yarn from Ripplescrafts.  I haven’t used this particular yarn before (although I am VERY familiar with her sock yarns).  I have the colourway called Bramble Picking…so of course it is purple…I am so predictable.  The yarn is a blend of Bowmont and Blue Faced Leicester breeds and I think I have decided which cardigan to make, assuming I get gauge on my swatch!  I have a shortlist on Ravelry by creating a Bundle…what a handy function!  The gauge swatch may sway a decision, but at the moment I am thinking the Elda cardigan.  

In the meantime, my wood pigeon coloured socks are progressing.  I got to the end of the gusset decreases on sock one and decided to start sock 2, so that when I knit the foot I can knit them 2 at a time and won’t have to bother counting rows!  This did mean finding the end of the yarn inside the ball and winding it into a cake, so that the order of the colours was correct.  No issue with knots  thank goodness, which had put me off before.

Dyeing

As the weather is improving I have been making plans to start dyeing practice again.  I have some yarn to dye for the Quick Sand cardigan pattern, plus multiple sock yarns to practice with.  So many things I want to knit, its frustrating I am not a quicker knitter.  

Felting 

I made a coin purse this week, which was on my YOP list and I am really pleased with it.  It only used 15g of corriedale wool and some bits of an old purse.  (Now in the US I am aware they call handbags ‘purses’, so not sure what they call things specifically to hold loose change.)  There’s a separate post about it if you’d like to find out more.

It was my felting group on Saturday and instead of taking my wet felting gear I took my needle felting stuff.  No picture yet, as its a surprise for someone and isn’t finished yet!

Sea glass

Earlier this week, I also did a separate post about some more sea glass and shell stitch markers I made, asking for some advice.  

Subsequently, I did another post aimed at my fellow YOPers and other regular readers/commenters of my blog.  It offers you the chance of having a set or two of the sea glass markers for just covering the costs of post and packing fees.  See the comments on that post first, as some have already been chosen and will be heading to Alaska and Arizona this week!  I picked up postage costs leaflet and some small padded envelopes today.  I just need to look up if PayPal take a % for converting currencies.

Drafted ideas for 2019-2020!!!  

There are so many yummy things I keep spotting, so I have already started to draft next year’s list!!!  If you fancy a nosey to see if something you made has inspired me to try to make my own next year.

 

 

Q&A – Sea Glass and Shell Stitch/Progress Markers

On Sunday my husband and I went for another walk on Rosemarkie Beach and after a few days of high winds and rough tides there was lots of sea glass washed up.

So I have been busy making more stitch / progress markers for knitters to use.

I have some queries though that I wanted to canvass some opinions on what you would want if you were buying stitch markers.

  1. How many stitch markers would you want per batch?
  2. Would you want the batch to all have the same coloured glass or variety?
  3. Would you want the batch to have all the same coloured lobster clasps?
  4. What sort of price would you expect to pay for stitch markers?
  5. Do you prefer the glass or shell ones?
  6. Would you want a mix of glass and shell or just one sort per batch?
  7. Do you have any other tips, suggestions or advice?

Any help would be hugely appreciated and if you are able to share this post with your own readers I’d be hugely grateful so that I can gather as many opinions as possible.

Here’s some photos of ones (to potentially sell) made so far.

3 white and 3 green on gold coloured clasps
3 green on gold coloured clasps
3 shades of green and 3 white on chrome coloured clasps
5 shades of sea glass on chrome coloured clasps
5 shells on varied coloured clasps
5 white on silver coloured clasps
6 green on chrome coloured clasps

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 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 Projects – week 31/52


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Felting

Well I felted the Icelandic fibre test sheets and decided to join them first, to see if there’s a noticeable join.  Also I was testing whether I like the feel of the fabric, as it was bought to make a waistcoat.  The results are in…I don’t notice the join but this fibre is definitely not what I was after for a waistcoat.  It has a bit of a hairy look and it seems like it ate the sari silk I placed on it!!! 

 

So instead I used a good amount of the fibre to make some slipper booties.  This collage shows 1) the template I made, 2) post initial felting and cut, 3) slipper on the polystyrene foot where most of the felting was done and 4) them ready for drying.  I would say, this is a sneak peak of them so far, as they are still wet, need defuzzing, need the soles sewing on and non-slip gel squiggles adding and I will add some needlefelted decorations on top.  I partially lined them with some merino wool and put some detail on the outer side of each cuff, so I know which is left and right!  I will post a new photo when finished.  

This week I also made a scarf with the autumnal colours I had blended on my hackle last week, plus some more I did on Sunday.  I was keen to try to make a more rippled edge and decided to also make some points too.  I don’t have a coat it goes with so I may sell it at some point.  It is nice and soft and when folded over it has some nice detail.  The colours look much better in real life, considering one of my hobbies is photography I am a bit rubbish/lazy at taking pictures of my creations.

Knitting 

I did a few pattern repeats on Void before deciding I had procrastinated long enough about my January socks.  

So I divided my yarn into 2 cakes for making 2 at a time socks.  I did the legs, heel flap and turned the heels and then got in such a muddle trying to do the gussets using the one circular needle…so I moved one sock to the sockwunder needle and now I am doing one pattern repeat on one, then switching to the other, so on 2 separate circular needles!!  I think when I have finished the gusset I will be able to move them back to the same long circular needles again…but not sure.  Definitely sockwunder needle is quickest, no need to stop to move the cables, just round and round you go.  Considering I started them on Tuesday I have made great progress and definitely should finish before the end of the month.

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Pattern is Hermione’s Everyday Sock.  As I have small feet (UK3/US5) I have gone down a needle size and should be fine.  The yarn is from Ripplescrafts, 4 ply Reliable Sock Yarn base (75% merino 25% nylon) in the “It is Bluebell Time of Year” colourway.  I absolutely LOVE this colourway and of course it was a limited batch.  This happens a lot with Helen’s yarns, I fall in love with the colour only to not be able to get any more!  Now I have switched from being a monogamous knitter to having multiple projects on the go, I felt I deserved a new project bag from TattyDesigns on Etsy.  So I bought this cute bag for holding sock projects. The photo shows my progress on the socks by Friday afternoon.  I was at the ballet on Friday night and wet felting group all day Saturday, so just a bit of further progress made Saturday night.

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I have a sweater quantity of a thicker special blend she had done for her 10th anniversary.  Lintilla is being knit with the same sock yarn and I have crocheted a number of hats, 2 pairs of fingerless mittens and my first pair of socks with Helen’s yarns in various colourways.  Anyway, her yarn is reasonably priced for an Indie dyed yarn and she is great with colour.  

One of the hats I crocheted years ago and it is still going strong and not pilling, so I hope the socks will last well.  Since casting them on I haven’t touched my other knitting, I love this yarn colour sooooooo much!  I nearly made long socks and then thought what a waste, I’d rather try to get 2 short pairs out of it, even if 2nd pair needs contrasting yarn for heel and toe.  

Spinning

I did some rolag making practice with various scraps of colours.  I will use these as art yarn practice at some point.

When I started spinning it was really fat yarn I was producing, in my practicing to draft thin amounts for fine yarn I thought I would go back to making a thicker yarn…seems thicker yarn will now take a bit of practice!  I made a bunch of rolags out of one of the bags of North Ronaldsay sheep wool in natural white and brown (humbug) and have started to spin it.  Not sure what I will use it for when its finished, but it is good for practice and won’t go to waste.  Perhaps some woolie socks for inside my walking boots or when I am watching TV!  I’ve started on my 2nd bobbin so should have it all spun next week.

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.

Year of Projects – week 29/52

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Knitting

Frogging

Oh my goodness, what a pickle I got in trying to frog the jumper I mentioned last week.  I had done such a good job at weaving in the ends, I couldn’t find them!  Plus I forgot which direction I had knit it, so started trying to unravel it in the wrong direction!  So the scissors had to come out, a couple of times.

 

I ripped out and re-started my Northeasterly blanket to change down a needle size.  I also wasn’t enjoying the method of increasing stitches, so I started doing fbf, then switched to doing a couple of different methods as I was getting a weird line on one side. I even tried going back to the original increase but there’s no way I will have motivation to knit a whole blanket with fiddly stitches so frequent.  The thing is it is quite addictive and I unpicked what fingering weight mitred squares I had made to do a few more tries with other increases and used some homespun yarn too.  Any tips for avoiding that ridge on the left side of the middle?  I am out of scraps now so it will be parked for a bit.

 

WIPs 

I did a few rows of Lintilla and a few on Void.  I now understand the appeal of having different projects on the go.  Lintilla is long easy rows of knitting with occasional ripples to work on, Void requires concentration on every row, Northeasterly is good when you don’t have enough time for long rows of a shawl…and oh my does Void get long…or should that be wide?! 

Ready to Cast On

I found a toe up pattern to try for my January socks in the KAL and have chosen a nice local sock yarn, so I will cast on those on Sunday…so hopefully a photo next week.

Spinning

I had some fun playing with my blending board this week making some more rolags and spinning them on my wheel.  (The white balance of the photos on the bobbin is off.  We have so few hours of daylight at the moment, it is a challenge to get accurate pictures.)  I used some sugar plum merino and mulberry silk blend, with some home dyed mohair and some sari silk waste.  The idea being to practice making a tweed type yarn (on my YOP list).  I think officially tweed is supposed to have wool flecks, not silk, but I am counting this as a first attempt at tweed.  

I made some other rolags on my blending board using the Himilayan custom blend from World of Wool (white merino with sari silk) mixed with some dyed merino wool in greens and deep purples. My husband likes the rolags before they are spun and thinks I need to find some way of doing a picture just using the rolags!  I may have a think about it…perhaps a box frame??  Anyhoo, I put my big brave girl pants on and went to the Highland Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers and someone showed me how to do long draw drafting, rather than short forward drafting I have been doing.  This method gives you a woolen yarn (softer and warmer) rather than worsted yarn (smooth, hard wearing).

The Guild was very hot and noisy with 40+ women chatting and spinning and I found I can’t do both at the same time!  I am pretty happy with my first day doing a new method.  I left at 3pm because I was getting sore shoulders, so didn’t manage to finish all the rolags, so it isn’t plied yet.  I will finish them this week, ply them and maybe knit them into my northeasterly!  Depends on my final length and thickness of the yarn.

No felting this week but I did prep some squares of black Icelandic wool fibre with some sari silk on my blending board.  The idea being to test joining the squares together so they form one long rectangle.  We will see how that works out and I will post some pictures when it is done.

2019 Project List

Although I am following the Year of Projects year, which runs from July, I thought it would be useful for me to jot down a list of things I’d like to achieve this calendar year.

2019 project list

 

 

Year of Projects – Week 27/52

 

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Christmas presents can now be revealed!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

2018 Summary

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

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

Bullet keys

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

🖼 drawing   📷 photography   💎 sea glass

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

January

🧦 Alpaca lace scarf, poncho and red fingerless mittens

📷 3 credits at camera club 

💎 sea glass and Pooh bear pendant

February

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

🖼 sketch of Ylva

📷 Bolivia Audio Visual show

March

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

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

🏡 Isle of Skye holiday cottage and day trip to Raasay

💎 sea glass pendants

April

🐈 Dice died aged 16 years and 5 days.

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

💦 dusty pink handbag

💎 sea glass wind chime

👨‍👧Dad visited

🎟 saw Hamilton musical

May

💎 sea glass pendants

🏕 Dunnet Bay

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

🧦 hitchhiker scarf

June

🏕 Sango Sands and Clachtoll Beach

🌀 landscape rolags to 2 ply, purple and red scraps

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

💦 rose and blue circular needle case and soap bars

July

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

💦🗡 highland cow

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

👩🏻‍🔬 British 56s wool

🏡 Met up with Elaine in Kinlochleven

August

🏕 Orkney camping

🎫 🏕 Belladrum 3 day concert

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

💦 purple wool and silk scarf

🧦 still knitting cardigan

👩🏻‍🔬 cheviot bulky yarn

September

🎫 🏕 Jocktoberfest 2 day concert

🏡 Loch Sunart holiday cottage

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

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

October

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

👫 visit by Annie and Michael

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

💦 green and red wool and silk scarf for Annie

🎫 saw Turin Brakes in concert

November

💎 sea glass progress markers

💦 suri alpaca and silk scarf, stripe scarf for dad

🌀 finished camel and silk blend

🧦 started Lintilla and dad’s socks

🗡 autumn sparkle fairy

📷 came 2nd in annual Portfolio comp

December

🌀 poppy corriedale fractal, finished Shetland

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

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

🗡 Christmas bauble, mouse pictures and Christmas pudding

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

Selection of 2018 completed objects






Year of Projects – week 26/52 Half way!

Year_of_projects_2018.jpg

 

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

Knitting

Finished Object

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

Cast On

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

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

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

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

Advent

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

 

Dyeing

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

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

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

 

Christmas

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

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

 

Half Way Point in the 8th Year of Projects

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

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

Wet felting

Needle felting

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

Spinning

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

Dyeing

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

Also, over dye ethereal ether ✅ wk 6

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

Knitting

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

Crochet

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

Sewing

 

Year of Projects – week 25/52

Knitting

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

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

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

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

Felting

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

 

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

 

Dyeing

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

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

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

 

Answers to NothingButKnits Holiday questions

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

Questions

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

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

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

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

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

Year of Projects – week 24/52

Spinning

As we are approaching the half way point of the year of projects, I reviewed my YOP list and ticked off some things.  I had been a bit vague about what I planned to spin during the year, so have updated my YOP page and will snapshot the progress when we get to week 26, like I did week 13. 

After much indecision about what wet felted item I would make with my corriedale wool in poppy colourway (that was a prize from the Tour de Fleece), I instead decided to use it to create a ‘fractal yarn’.  On the picture below you can see the original fibre, I then split it in half; one half (a) is split into the different shades and the other half (b) is split so it has each colour in each strip.  

On bobbin 1 I spun (a) so I started with all the burgundy then all red and then all greens (BRG).

On bobbin 2 I spun (b) so spinning each of the multicoloured strips, starting with the burgundy ends each time.

I then plied the 2 bobbins together and that creates a fractal yarn.  If you want 3 ply you would split the colours in 3 ways, e.g. bobbin 1 BRG, bobbin 2 BRG BRG BRG and bobbin 3 BRG BRG BRG BRG BRG BRG.  

I love the end result and look forward to dyeing some fibre myself to give it another go.  This handspun yarn will be used to make a ribbed hat for my husband.  He has green eyes, so it should suit him well.

I also finished spinning my Shetland wool, transferring what was on my spindle onto the larger amount on my spinning wheel.  I set it and then remembered I am going to be dyeing it so probably didn’t need to soak and snap it before dyeing.  Ah well!  Once I have dyed it I will post a photo!

My camel and silk handspun yarn is dry so that is all labelled and ready to make something with.  It is the softest yarn I have ever held.  Has anyone just kept hanks of wool to cuddle!?  It is soooo soft to touch I love the feel of it. 

Hopefully in this photo you will better see the colour differences between standard and chain plying…the colours on the chain ply are more evident (top and bottom hanks).  I haven’t chosen a pattern for it yet, something to go against my skin for sure!  

Knitting

I have cast on a new pair of socks, this time just a vanilla pattern, in the hope I will have them finished before Christmas! I decided to cast on 64 stitches with my 2.5mm sockwunder needle and so far it looks a much better sized sock.  I can’t believe how fast I can knit a vanilla sock with this needle, highly recommend for speed.  Next on the needles will be the fractal spun yarn hat.  My Lintilla has been temporarily parked, I thought I could try alternating between projects but the socks have a deadline so are getting all my focus.  

Felting and fibre craft

I have mentioned my fairies before, but thought I would post a picture of them all hanging, so you know where they live! Also I ordered a couple of empty baubles from World of Wool and popped some sparkly fibre in them and hung them on the real Christmas tree.  They are very hard to take a photo of and you’ll notice a reflection of Bones TV show lol!  I am already on Season 10!  

 

Finally, I was inspired by @Gilliangladrag Instagram to make a fibre christmas pudding.  I used milk protein top for the brandy sauce.  If you need a few moments of joy each day then I recommend following @Gilliangladrag and watching her daily stories.  She owns the Gilliangladrag Fluff-a-torium shop in Dorking, England.  Unfortunately, I live hundreds of miles away so haven’t been, but have bought her fibre blends and some other bits from her online shop.  

 

 

Year of Projects- week 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 20/52

This week, I have spent a lot of time thinking…too much time, which means I haven’t been as productive as usual.

My Christmas gift socks are coming along but I am still on the 1st sock; I am sure if I’d chosen a vanilla pattern I would be half way through 2nd sock by now.  My head is just too full to memorise the 10 row pattern repeat.  For sure my next pair will be a vanilla pair of ankle socks for my small feet lol!

I have been thinking about starting a 2nd knitting project at the same time as the socks, but I have spent days searching Ravelry looking at patterns and now I can’t decide which patterns I like most, so nothing cast on yet.

I have 13 patterns for the North Ronaldsay wool I bought!!! I can’t even seem to get a shortlist of 3!  How do you pick your patterns?  Should I go for another seamless top down pattern?  Decisions decisions!  As it is Aran weight I thought I should do cables..but as I have additional skeins in different colours I thought maybe could try Fair Isle…totally undecided.  By the time I have chosen I will have finished the socks lol

On the spinning front: on my spindle I am spinning some undyed Shetland fibre, I probably get about 15 foot spun when Ylva is sniffing the night air and doing her before bed wee!   On my wheel is the absolutely gorgeous baby camel and silk blend, honestly it is sooooooooooooo soft.  I bought it from Coastal Colours at the Highland Wool and Textile fair.  When I bought it I thought it was expensive at £26, but it’s 200g of beautifully dyed combed top of 50% baby camel and 50% tussah silk.  Not sure what I will make with it when its all spun, perhaps a fancy shawl…not that I ever go anywhere fancy.  Anyway in the meantime I love spinning it.

I missed another open day at the Highland Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, just need to find my big brave girl pants and go along.  I am such an introvert it is hard joining new things.

I mentioned in a previous post about an idea for a lantern…well here’s my 5 minute effort.  A bit of brown felt, some of the autumn sparkle blended fibre and a few stabs with the pale blue felting needle.  Simple.

Not related to YOP, but for anyone who read my post on hoarding

I have done a huge amount of ruthless chucking out, selling and donating things this week.  Stuff that I was keeping for sentimental reasons that I realised didn’t have that happy a memory linked with them, so this is the most I have ever got rid of.  Old letters from people I don’t even remember.  I have kept letters I received from 3 friends and the rest have gone, old slides I’d already scanned in have gone, loads of photographs, cards, my ballet point shoes, just loads of random sentimental stuff.  Also various random other crafting stuff, I had watercolour paints tubes that rattled…I bought them 27 years ago I realised!!!! 

My criteria:

a) Does it invoke a really happy memory?

b)  Am I 100% sure I will use?

If the answer was No…it has gone.  Now everything is accessible in my crafting wardrobe!  

 

Year of Projects- week 19/52

This week I have been on a mission to get lots of crafting done, to take my mind off my continuing chest infection and a very stressful situation I have been trying to deal with.

I fancied using some thick yarn for some quick projects.  I had in my stash 200g of Cheviot super bulky yarn that I had dyed myself a few months ago and called ‘Dusty Rose’.  I couldn’t decide whether to make mittens or a hat, it turned out I had enough for mittens, a hat…and a small cowl!!!  (Follow links to my Ravelry project pages for pattern details.)

I can’t seem to get the colour true in the photos of the mittens, but they are all the same colour.  I really love the colours and effects I achieved when I dyed it.  I love the hat and will definitely try making another with some homespun yarn in a lighter weight yarn.  The cowl isn’t as wide as the pattern as I was short on yarn, but I have worn it on 3 dog walks so far and it seems perfect.  The bulky mittens are so quick and I did the same alterations as the last ones I made with Rowan Big Wool.  Alterations are detailed on my Ravelry project page.  The yarn only cost me £5 so to have had dyeing practice and made 3 accessories from it is brilliant value.  I worried the cheviot wool would be a bit scratchy as a cowl, but it is actually fine and it is lovely and warm on the chilly days we have been having.  Most days haven’t got above 5° Celsius here and there’s snow on Ben Wyvis, the mountain behind where we live.  I think this yarn would felt well, so did think about knitting some huge slipper shapes and then felting them…but I think I will try wet felting fibre slippers first.

Cheviot wool set

I have also cast on a pair of socks that will likely be a Christmas gift for someone, so no pictures possible.  

I am a monogamous knitter, and always finish an item before starting another, but the socks I am doing have a 10 row pattern repeat that is too complicated to memorise, so I have been wondering whether I should start an easy shawl pattern for when I need some mindless knitting to do?!?!?!  

I have noticed on other YOPers blog posts that they sometimes use progress markers that have the little lobster claw clasps.  I have lots of these clasps for making sea glass jewellery and so I thought I would have a go at making some markers out of sea glass I have collected from a local beach and are too small for anything else.

Progress markers

I mentioned last week that I had bought a drop spindle at Loch Ness Knit Fest and so thought I would do some spinning on that!  I was keeping it by the back door and doing a bit each evening before bed whilst I was waiting for our dog to do her bedtime wee!  I had another go on Friday and then thought I better research how on earth I am supposed to ply with a spindle. After some YouTube research I wound it from the spindle onto my ball winder and then tied the start and end of the single together, attached to my drop spindle and then spun it anti-clockwise and I found I was getting a much better balanced yarn than I do when plying on my spinning wheel.  Perhaps because it was all off the same single and was only a small amount, not sure but seemed to ply pretty quick.  I then popped it on my niddy noddy and set it…its only a small amount so I will knit a small mitred square with it probably.  As you will see on the right of the photo I ended up with a few snapped bits I found hard to join, but I will use the fibre elsewhere and no fibre gets binned, as even to make felted soap you can use random scraps.  This is a merino sari silk custom blend from my World of Wool fibre club box, called Himalayas.

Spindle attempt

Soooo having unloaded my spindle, I thought I’d have another go and try a thicker weight yarn. I used another custom blend from WoW fibre club, this is a mix of merino, silk and angelina called autumn sparkle.  I think I will be using some of this fibre to make an autumn fairy to go with my other fairies, also I have had a thought about using some in a lantern to imitate a flame…but this needs more thought.  With my sample spin, I started a mitred square but didn’t have enough, so I finished it with some test spin of a gorgeously soft baby camel and silk blend.

Autumn sparkle

Mitred square

 

If you’d like to see what the other people are up to in our Year of Projects group have a look.  They certainly provide me with inspiration each week and I love this little community.

Year of Projects – week 17/52

This is a brief post, as we have visitors from Michigan that arrived today.  26 years ago I was an au pair looking after their 3 children and this is their 1st visit to see me 😁. Beyond excited!

I don’t understand what has gone wrong, but my pairfect pair socks have different heel stitches?!?!  No idea which is wrong.  I am proceeding anyway, this yarn is too splitty to unravel.  

Heel mistake!

Merino and silk scarf

I made the above scarf with merino and silk, check out me using colours that aren’t purple or pink!!  Yep that’s right its a gift for someone else.

At Loch Ness Knit Fest yesterday, I tried my hardest to not by more purple yarn…honestly I really did try!  But look at these 2 beauties…impossible to resist.  I also bought a yarn bowl, spindle, shawl pin, and some other skeins.

 

 

That’s it.  It has been one of the most stressful weeks of my life I think and of course now I have some bug just in time for my guests.  Hopefully things will improve now.

Year of Projects – weeks 15&16/52

After a lovely week away at a holiday cottage on the West Coast of Scotland, this week has been so stressful and depressing.  I need to keep up with my projects to keep me sane and keep me from slipping back into depression.  

I have put up lots of unused craft supplies on Facebook Marketplace and already have sold some things.  This was prompted by me having too many warning signs I was teetering on the edge of being a full blown hoarder.  For anyone interested here’s a link to that post.  I think its important as a community we show that life has ups and downs and that’s ok and normal.  Electronic lives can seem like everyone is living perfect lives.

A quick update on my nuno felted scarf that I was unhappy with; I re did it adding more fibre around the edges and the roses.  I am so much happier with it.  It is so light to wear but warm!  

Nuno felted scarf update

Last week I finished Allistar’s first sock and I am doing the heel of the 2nd at the moment.  Already I spot they aren’t ‘Pairfect’…as per the yarn name.  My long tail cast ons were different tail lengths and despite re-doing the cast on 3 times it wasn’t perfect, so this has had a knock on affect at the top of the foot!  Typical as thats the bit people will see when he sits down.  The yarn was really splitting though so a 4th attempt wasn’t possible.

Allistar’s first sock

I wanted to see what the sari silk looked like felted, so made a weird shaped scissors case!  I love the silks and wish I had loaded more on! 

Scissors case

I joined the Brit Spin marathon on Ravelry, in team ‘More enthusiasm than skill’.  Our team each received 100g of Shetland fibre from our sponsors Curtis Fibres.  It is now the morning of the 4th and final day of the challenge and I have only managed to spin a third of the Shetland so far, partly because I am trying to spin very fine so that I end up with a 3 ply fingering weight yarn, but mostly because I am frantically dashing from one priority to the next, not sleeping well and really feeling the physical signs of some stress I am under at the moment.  My fitbit says my heart rate was in fat burn for 15 hours on Friday despite me not actually exercising! When I did some spinning at 6.30am, having been awake for hours, you can see my heart rate drop.  It drops again when I did some spinning about 2.30pm…the final drop is when my husband tried it on!   I wish I was better equipped to manage stress, but at least I know the spinning makes a physical positive difference.

Stress affecting my heart rate

 

 

 

 

Year of Projects – week 14/52

Chimney Fire cardigan is finished!

Please follow the link to see the post about it and the finished photos. 
 

Nuno Felted Scarf

Ermmm this needs more work, perhaps I will spin some silk thread to sew the seams and put other details and attach some whisps that haven’t joined the silk.  When I made my sister a scarf I used too much fibre, this time not enough and its felted too quickly to itself rather than the silk (despite using cold water).  Perhaps when its dry I can make some decisions.
 
Nuno felting scarf

My Husband’s socks

I bought an Addi Sockwonder 2.5mm 25cm circular needle and what a speed I was able to knit up to where I need to divide for the heel.  Way faster than magic loop or double pointed needles, you just go round and round.  The yarn is Schachenmayr Regia Pairfect…we shall see if it makes a perfect pair!!!
Allistar’s socks started
 No update from me next week as I will be away this week and will just be working on the socks in the evenings.

Chimney Fire

Details

Pattern:   Chimney Fire by Melissa J. Goodale  from Stick Chick Knits

Yarn:  Malabrigo Rios in Teal Feather x 5.5 skeins   

Cost: $8.40 (£6.59) for pattern and £62.94 for 6 skeins, so about £56 on the cardigan, so total cost excluding labour is around £63 for 100% merino wool hand knitted cardigan.

Value = Priceless 😀

Photo Gallery

 
Chimney Fire cardigan

What I learnt

  • There must be thousands of easier cardigans to have started with…but I love it more because it wasn’t easy.
  • A circular tray on my knee worked well in protecting the already knitted parts, especially when doing the arms which involved a lot of turning the whole project.
  • I now can really read my stitches and became expert at correcting mistakes, going down a few rows in a cable to correct the twist and correcting the odd rogue American Moss Stitch (AMS) that went wrong (turned to rib look).
  • If you spend 2 months knitting something it is easy to forget some early mistakes and frustrations!  
  • Safety lines are so important for your sanity, I had 2 occasions to go back to some of mine.
  • Don’t unpick a cable until you are 100% its wrong!!!  I unpicked the back of the neck not realising it was intentionally different, as the cables were starting to go the other way round!!
  • The pattern doesn’t use as many stitch markers as I used and my extra ones definitely helped me know when to switch off doing the AMS and doing the front panel cable sections.
  • For cables with an R you put stitches on the holder in the Rear!  R = R
  • This wool grows a lot during blocking!!!!  I did one more 16 row repeat than needed as I was worried it would be too short!  I don’t think it needed the extra repeat as its grown a few inches.  The sleeves I thought maybe too short are now folded at the cuff after it grew during blocking.  I decided to take the pins out when it was still damp and lifted and re-laid it a few times with less stretch in the stitches to improve length issue.
  • Despite being in the same dye batch each skein did vary in shade, which is why the bottom and bottom of the arms are a darker shade.
  • I thought about adding pockets but worried they’d be a disaster and ruin it, so I am not 100% confident yet.
  • I am the world’s most impatient blocker…I used a hair dryer to speed up the drying!!! Probably a thousand reasons not to but I lack patience, so what’s a girl to do!
  • Spending some planning time early on is worth it, such as
  1. Print the pattern pages on single side of paper, not double sided (as you need different parts of the pattern at the same time)
  2. As there are 3 different pattern repeats in the upper body it is worth listing these in 3 columns (upper body row, arm cable row and front cable row) and don’t throw it away as you need to remember where the arms were up to! (See below image.)
  3. A baking tray, magnets and a cook book holder worked well for sticking the various pattern sections, list of row numbers and for me I needed reminders of which moves to do on the ‘make one left and right’ (M1L and M1R) and initially needed reminder about the left and right cables but now I’ve got it.
Overall I am thrilled it is finished, its the biggest project I have ever done and it took hundreds of hours to complete but I love it!
 
Row_guide.jpg

Year of Projects – week 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