Year of Projects- week 46/52


Elda – I surely could have knit 2 jumpers in the time I have spent knitting and then ripping out parts of this Elda cardigan.  The night before going away, I picked up the arm stitches on the bigger sized needles and picked up the prescribed number of stitches under the arm; I figured my larger needles would be enough to make the sleeves a bit more comfortable.  

On the 6.5 hour journey to the Yorkshire Dales I almost finished the first sleeve.  When I tried it on in the cottage it felt too tight, I then noticed on the pattern that I hadn’t done the 1.5 inch stockinette section before I’d started the decreases!  So annoyed at myself, I frogged the arm.  To be sure I didn’t end up with a sleeve too tight, I picked up an additional 2 stitches under the arm and proceeded to knit the sleeve for the 3rd time!

I do wish this cardigan was longer, but as I’ve done the braid section down the front it’s impossible to add extra rows without have to rip out the braid/slipped stitch section.  Honestly, the weeks I’ve spent on this!!!  The yarn though is an absolute superstar, coping so well with the changes.  It’s woollen spun and has an almost homespun texture to it and I love the colour, plus this yarn wasn’t cheap…so fingers crossed, touch wood etc. I am going to be happy with it.  Certainly the larger sleeve is much more comfortable.  I need to stop buying yarn quantities for the size I think I am but for a size or two up, so I can make alterations without running out of yarn, especially when from an indie dyer.  I’m on the 2nd arm, no photo yet…one when it’s finished.

If I didn’t have a queue of projects to get done I would unpick the border, knit some additional rows at the bottom and re-knit the border.  Especially as I realised when doing the cuff I’ve only done half the rows of ribbed pattern, at the bottom, as the pattern stated!!  

Lessons learned so far on this are many…next sweater I make I am doing the arms before the body.  I don’t care if this makes it a bit awkward shaped to knit the body, I want to maximise my yarn use on everything and to me that means doing the arm length I’m happy with first.  Realistically, if I added more rows, that would add rows to the braid border etc. and I don’t know how much that would need, so I could end up with only 2 or 3 additional rows, which would be negligible.  

So how can you ever ensure you use all the yarn?  What are your tips or tricks for maximising yarn usage?

Quick Sand – Given the struggles I’ve had with Elda and my apparent blindspot for all the weight I’ve put on (another 5lbs when on holiday!!!) in unexpected places…like my upper arms, I am thinking I will knit the large size and not the M2 size on this cardigan.  I’ve no experience with wearing a linen knitted top, but have heard people say it often stretches lengthways and pulls in width ways?!  Does anyone have any experience knitting with a linen/cotton blend?  This is Drops Bomill-Linn.

Stash acquisitions

As we have been away all week, and I only took knitting with me, there’s no other crafts to report on.  

However, as we were in the Wensleydale area, it was essential/compulsory/common sense that I visit the Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Shop and buy some yummy things.  I picked up a gorgeous teal coloured yarn in Aran weight and then picked up a pale sea glass green that toned nicely with it.  My plan is to knit a hat and cowl set with the balls, perhaps try an Intarsia pattern, or maybe stripes.  Anyway, I love the colours and look forward to a relatively quick project as I went for the thicker yarn.  If I like it, I may buy a jumper amount when I’m down at Fibre East, as they have a stall there.  We shall see how I get on, but it has a gorgeous sheen and stunning rich colours.  The colours are pretty true on the photo.

I also bought 250g of Wensleydale top to dye and spin myself and bought a bag of undyed locks to use in felting or for scarf fringes.  My dad was behind me in the shop probably thinking “how much?”.  The yarn was £8 per 100g/4oz skeins and I think that’s not a bad price for a rare breed wool of this quality.  

The bag of locks £3.50 and the tops was £12.50 for 250g.  You’d think with us staying in Raydale, right next to Wensleydale, that we’d see some of these beautiful Wensleydale Longwool sheep, with their super long ringlets…but we haven’t seen any.  We have seen zillions of Swaledale sheep, including lambs only minutes old still being licked clean by their mums. 

On our drive home we did a detour to visit the New Lanark Wool & Textiles.  This is such a beautiful old place, deep in a narrow valley with a river flowing through it are the various mills, waterwheels, shops and houses.  Quite a steep drop down from the car park and of course then a hike back up the hill after.  Now I already have a jumper quantity of their Aran yarn, plus 2 balls of DK weight yarn…so what did I buy?  Two more balls of their Aran weight yarn!  All proceeds from the sales of their wool and textiles is reinvested in the development of the historic Mill village…so it’s like giving to charity, not yarn shopping!  😉  The colour flecks in the yarns are so gorgeous.  This is a traditional wooly wool, a little scratchy, but I’m making a hat and gloves and they should be fine and the jumper I plan to knit has a wide cowl neck so should be fine, so long as I choose a generous (I mean realistic) pattern size.

Our holiday

It was a quiet and relaxing week.  My dad came to stay at the cottage Sunday lunchtime to breakfast on Thursday, so that was lovely.  The weather could definitely have been better, as we had a lot of rain mid-week.  We went to see the tallest single drop waterfall in England, and some other waterfalls and saw plenty of wildlife including brown hares, dozens of partridges, Canadian geese, Oystercatchers (despite us being inland) and many more birds.  I only get to see my dad once a year, so it was nice to see him.

I did manage to burn my left index finger on the wood-burner!  Doh!  I swear I burn myself on something once a year.  At least this time it doesn’t affect my knitting. 


Dornoch Fibre Fest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Lanark Wool

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


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

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

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

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

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