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!

 

 

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 😁

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 14/52

Chimney Fire cardigan is finished!

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

Nuno Felted Scarf

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

My Husband’s socks

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

Year of Projects – week 11/52

This week I wanted to tidy the sunroom and dining area, which meant dealing with the fibre hanging around, waiting to be drum carded.  I have borrowed the carder from my felting group, so need to return it at the end of the month.

The first half of the Samoyed dog hair has now been washed numerous times and drum carded and comes to 118g (4.16 oz).  The other half has been washed and has been drying most of the week, so I will card it next week.  There is still a whiff of dog about it, but once spun it will need washing again and hopefully that will work.  I started pulling guard hairs out, but lost the will, perhaps as I spin I will try to pull out any very thick ones.

Unwashed Samoyed

Washed and carded Samoyed

I also drum carded some brown alpaca, this is just a small amount from a much larger bag of alpaca fibre I picked up at a de-stash sale.  I am not enjoying processing raw alpaca fibre…it is just soooooo dusty and full of vegetable matter (vm) that I dread processing the rest.  I thought I would see what its like spun and then decide about the rest. I got in a mess with trying to create a rolag (see pic), so folded the other as a batt, and have separated them in a boot box with acid free paper ready for spinning.

Brown Alpaca

I also drum carded this black fibre, I picked up in a stash with my spinning wheel.  I am not 100% sure what it is, given the lack of grease, the amount of dust/vm and the softness, I think it is alpaca.  The staple length varies but is mostly pretty long with odd short fat curls, which could be from its head?  I am not an expert in fibres, but alpaca is my best guess.  This photo is only a small part, there’s actually 119g of it now carded….similar amount to the white Samoyed…so I could try a humbug inspired ply (does the US have humbug sweets/candy!?!?!) Or I could knit something with black and white stripes?!

Unknown black fibre

Onto more fun things I have done…

I finished my 3rd Hitchhiker scarf (albeit with some pattern variations shown on my Ravelry Project page).  I love this pattern because I have memorised it (not hard, its just 8 rows repeated); you easily can tell where you are, so you can squeeze in a row when you have a few minutes; and you can make the scarf any size you want, so ideal for homespun yarn you aren’t sure how much there is.  There is something pretty very cool about making something with yarn you have spun yourself.  This is the first garment I have made with my homespun yarn and now the evenings are getting colder I will have a chance to wear it!

Me wearing 3rd Hitchhiker

Plum and gold fibre to Hitchhiker

 

I have purchased some more of Martina Behm’s patterns, so will post details of those when I have done them.  They call for fingering weight so its something to aspire to achieving in my spinning.

I finished spinning and made 3 ply yarn from my early dyeing attempts of British 56s wool. I had spun 2 bobbins of singles a while ago, so did 3rd today and then plied.  What was left over on one bobbin I chain plied and feel I am getting better each time.

Home dyed British 56s

 

On Thursday I wet felted something for my sister’s 50th, but I won’t post the picture(s) yet, as its not her birthday until next week!

Other than that I have been knitting my cardigan….suspect I will be saying that for many weeks!  If only I had chosen a stockinette and not American moss stitch and cable pattern!!  Ah well!

 

Year of Projects – Week 8/52

Having signed up to join in on the Year of Projects 2018 on Ravelry, I had forgotten all the rules and was creating things but not doing the weekly Sunday blog posts and sharing the link on the Ravelry group page.  So on Thursday I remembered to share the link…but now realise some of those things were done this week and not the week before!  Also I’ve commented about other people’s blogs on the group page, which I don’t think I am supposed to do.  So basically a total muddle. Hopefully the group members will forgive my blunderings.  🤞

It is interesting to see all the different projects people are working on, and how I am not alone in having lots of different types of projects on the go at the same time.

If you are interested to see what the Year of Projects on Ravelry is about click here.

So this week I also made the project bag and notions pouch and spun some Samoyed dog hair (as shown on my previous post)!  Both should have been on my projects list as I was expecting the dog hair and had the material to make the project bag!!  Hopeless!

I also finished spinning the ethereal ether fibre from Gilliangladrag…I was going to post a poll on my HighlandHeffalump Facebook page, but see (below) what Facebook said about it!  The poll was going to ask if people thought I should over dye it with a brighter colour!!!  Seeing as Facebook thinks its a nude body I decided to definitely dye it with some deeper colours!

 

Suspect the position of my finger didn’t help matters! 🤣

I did dye a previous batch of this when it was spun, as I thought the colour definitions had been lost and I love the wee drink cosy I made from that batch, so tried to replicate that again.  Its a shame to dye what started off as such pretty colours, but this fibre is better suited to wet or needle felting I think…or a method of spinning that maintains the colours better.

I have kept aside a small amount unspun in case I ever make a unicorn, as the colours would be great for a pastel rainbow mane and tail…but what I have spun I used as more dyeing practice using hot pink, Ice and Opal mixed in different quantities, and carefully applied with a pipette to get lots of variation, only to discover it was all pooling together underneath the yarn, so has ended up with less tonal changes than planned…it is also spookily similar to our bedding colour!  I am such a purple addict!!!

Talking of purple, I had a go at felting a lightweight scarf using merino, silk and some locks…of course its purple!  The next one I make I will only have the locks on one side, as they are a bit scratchy on my neck.

No new knitting or crocheting is allowed until my Chimney Fire cardigan is finished! It must be finished by the time it gets to winter.  Although saying that we are off to the Orkney Isles for a week camping in a tent and I won’t want to take that, so maybe I can let myself do another shawl with some homespun that week.

To help keep track of my YOP list I have created a separate page with the list, so I can tick things off when completed and add links to the separate posts.

So fellow YOPers please forgive my faulty start 🙄

Chimney Fire disaster

So I decided to knit a cardigan…never knitted one before so did I pick a nice easy pattern? Hmm well easy is a matter of opinion. My pattern is Chimney Fire by Melissa Goodale.

Having got stuck I reached out to a couple of people who’d made it before and reached out to the designer, but with no replies and me getting frustrated by me not knitting it I had to resort to unravelling it.

Thank goodness for whoever’s blog I read that talked about safety line, I had put a thread through both ends of the collar so only had to unravel the upper body.

Okay so it was only 10 rows unravelled in the end, but I am still pretty disappointed and feel a failure. Plus this is the 2nd time I have had to unravel a section on this pattern.

If it goes wrong again the pattern may well be used to light a fire!

Wish me luck!

My first Fair Isle knitting

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

I made some mistakes along the way…

A weird hole, not sure what happened here

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

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

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

What I learned…

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

From fibre to 2 ply yarn

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

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

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

 

 

Hitchhiker scarf

I found this pattern when searching Ravelry for something to make with a ball of light fingering weight Reliable Sock Yarn I had in my stash. My yarn was from Ripples Crafts Hand Dyed Yarn, Helen is an independent local(ish) dyer and can be found along the North Coast 500 route so at some point I will pop in. Helen also sells online with worldwide shipping and attends various yarn festivals in the UK and Ireland. I have made quite a few hats and fingerless gloves with Helen’s sock yarns and they are warm, fit in your pocket and are lasting really well…although I did lose one in Italy 😢

I started the scarf in April and finished it at 1am last night…I was determined to finish it in May…it was still May somewhere!

The hitchhiker pattern can be bought online through Ravelry and cost €4.30 when I bought it. This pattern is linked to nearly 30,000 projects on Ravelry!!! I’m sure some people make a few different versions, but still…this must have made its designer a good income…oh to come up with a popular and unique pattern!

I used an alteration to the pattern for the final edge (that has teeth rather than the pattern’s straight edge). For those with a Ravelry account this was found on Amanda2127’s Reflective Hitchhiker. The only problem was I started to panic over how much yarn that would use and so I’ve ended up with a fair bit of yarn left, not enough to make anything useful I imagine, I should perhaps have weighed it rather than guessing.

If I make another I will do the Hitchhiker with eyelets adaptation that lots of others on Ravelry have done, with eyelets on each 8th row. I may also go up a needle size as this seemed to take forever to make.

My sister is buying me some blocking boards for my birthday next week, so it will be blocked then…but for now here’s how it looks unblocked.

Trying to spin before I can draft

Those YouTube videos of people spinning make it look so easy …

I need to spend some time practicing drafting the fibre before I start spinning it…my seriously slow drafting is ending up with seriously twisted yarn!!!

Fortunately I have lots of scrap fibre to practice with.

Here are my first attempts…

I did manage to straighten the first attempt and let it spin back on itself to make a 2 ply….but the only thing consistent about it is it’s inconsistency 😂

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Knitting bug continues

I have finally realised that I cannot possibly wear all the hats myself, and so I have now started to make gifts for friends and my husband.  I need to move on to making socks or another jumper to challenge myself a bit more.  Hats are so easy and often quick, so they are hard to resist.   A proper tracker can be seen on my Ravelry projects list along with the pattern and yarn details.

I have caught the knitting bug!

Made so far

Whilst taking a year off from work, I decided to learn how to knit!  And now I can’t stop knitting things.  YouTube, Pinterest and Ravelry are my new best friends, with so many ideas for making things with the yarns that I have accumulated over the last few years.

Buying yarn is quite addictive!  I have logged all my yarns in Ravelry and realise I need to resist buying any more yarn until I have made at least some impact on my stash…that said, there’s a Knit Fest coming to my town in the next couple of months eek!  Can I resist buying more?

One of my favourite suppliers is Ripples Crafts, they sell sock yarn that crochets into really warm hats that don’t take up too much room in your pocket and the colours are amazing.  I lost the first hat I crocheted with their yarn, and was pretty devastated for sentimental reasons, but also the batches of colours are small, so finding the same coloured thread would be impossible.  If I can ever stop knitting items, I will get around to learning how to crochet proper stitches and patterns!  But I’ve enjoyed giving it a go.

My missing hat
My first crocheted hat…last seen in Verona, Italy!