Year of Projects – week 34/52

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Knitting

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

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

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

Spinning

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

Other crafts 

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

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

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

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

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

Year of Projects – week 32/52

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Knitting

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Spinning

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

Felting 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Side tracked!

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

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

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

 

 

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

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.

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.

Year of Projects – week 26/52 Half way!

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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