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.

 

 

Sets of Sea Glass Stitch/Progress Markers

This post is for my regular blog readers/commenters, including my fellow YOP members.

I have pulled together sets of 5 stitch markers made from sea glass and shells I have found on dog walks on Rosemarkie Beach. I have put a couple of maps from Google to show where it is. You can see that there’s a narrow gap between the 2 spits/peninsulas and I think that is why this is such a great beach for finding sea glass.

After some persuasion from my regular blog readers I have decided to offer some of the sets of markers for a nominal amount to cover my expenses, rather than for profit. As soon as you start talking about profit then I start to worry about the expectation that I’m professional and there is liability, and that isn’t something I am comfortable with at the moment! I make these for pleasure.

However, I have made a lot and would be happy to send them to those who are regular readers/commenters and members of my YOP group who would like a set on the basis that they are a gift and you are just contributing to postage and packaging, bearing in mind you are dotted around the world.

So it will be on a first come first served on the sets below. Please indicate in the comments which set(s) you would like and you can email me at Highlandheffalump@gmail.com for cost of postage and I can send you my PayPal details (different email).

Set 1. 4 Green sea glass + 1 shell on brass coloured clasps
Set 2. 4 green + 1 white sea glass on gold coloured clasps
Set 3. 4 white sea glass + 1 shell on antique brass coloured clasps

Set 4. 4 green + 1 white sea glass on antique brass coloured clasps
Set 5. 4 white sea glass + 1 shell on silver coloured clasps
Set 6. 4 green + 1 white sea glass on silver coloured clasps
Set 7. 4 green + 1 white sea glass on brass coloured clasps
Set 8. 4 white + 1 green sea glass on brass coloured clasps
Set 9. 4 green + 1 white sea glass on chrome coloured clasps
Set 10. 4 green + 1 white sea glass on chrome coloured clasps

I appreciate I haven’t taken photos of them next to a tape measure or coin for reference. So I have done a group shot, which shows a €0.01 cent coin, a US$0.10 dime coin and a £0.05 pence coin.

These would be posted as gifts but I cannot guarantee what your country may do regarding taxes. If you do have a set then I would be happy to hear your feedback. I’ve been using them on my small sock needles as markers and as stitch progress markers. I have not found that they pull the stitches but I haven’t knit anything on 2 ply/lace, so I would avoid using them on those.

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

Year_of_projects_2018.jpg

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.

Ylva_in_field.jpg

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

How craft making and Scotland rescued me

Life before…

My life was consumed with working hard and very long hours to earn money for a few weeks a year of international travel.  We went to many fabulous and breathtaking places around the world including Hawaii, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, Australia, various US states and parts of Italy.  I also travelled to Peru and Bolivia for 31 days as a mix of holiday and unpaid leave (Follow links to see photo highlights).  And so I thought my blog was turning into a travel blog…

The breakdown…

At the end of 2016 I started to burnout and lose control of my mind, I wasn’t coping at work despite (or perhaps because I was) working almost every waking hour and not making enough progress to satisfy my own high standards. By early 2017 I was a jibbering wreck, unable to stop crying all the time and was eventually signed off with anxiety and depression.  When my sick pay ran out I couldn’t face returning to work, stressed at the thought and afraid that my resilience was too weak and I would return to old habits of working every hour and so I requested a 12 month sabbatical (unpaid leave).  So I am due to return in September, unless I resign.

My new life…

Whilst off work I have started doing more craft type things, I have wet felted a hat and a handbag learned how to knit, made some sea glass jewellery, bought a spinning wheel and I’m now learning how to spin.  We bought a tent last autumn and instead of international travel we have been exploring the North of Scotland and some of its many Isles either with the tent or renting small cottages.
I have been blown away by the scenery that we have seen…and with my calmer mindset I can actually be present and fully enjoy being in the moment and after walking 20k steps enjoy an evening sitting in our tent with my husband and dog and knitting another hitchhiker scarf! Scotland has white sandy beaches and turquoise water, okay you need to wear layers, not a bikini…but then you often get a beach to yourselves!
As for my future…we shall see!
October 2017  

Isle of Eriskay, Western Isles, Scotland

 March 2018

Coral beach, Isle of Skye 

 

June 2018

Sango_Sands_beach_Durness.jpg
Sango Sands beach, Durness

Balnakeil beach, Durness, North Scotland

 

Sea glass creations

I love to collect sea glass from Rosemarkie Beach on the Black Isle, Highlands of Scotland. I have been collecting it for years, with no clue what I’d do with it.  I used to come home and just split the colours into different pots and shove them in a drawer!

And so I thought I would finally get around to doing something with them, a way of going cold turkey on the knitting addiction for a few days.

With the smaller pieces I have made some jewellery.

With larger pieces I have made a wind-chime which hangs from some driftwood found on Findhorn Beach, Morayshire.  It is surprisingly difficult to photograph, but perhaps because it is such a dull day.  (Basically it looks better in real life.)  I drilled holes using my Dremel.  (I put a small block of wood in a bowl, put some water in enough to cover the wood and the sea glass on top.  This helps prevent glass dust getting in the air and keeps it cooler, and reduces the risk of shattering pieces.)  Then I just threaded them on some fishing line with knots to stop them all sliding down.

DSCF0361

The rest I have put in a glass dish with a candle in.  So hopefully that will look pretty when it goes dark and I can light it.

DSCF0358