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.

 

Wet felted lampshade #2

I bought a lot of lampshade kits for the pendant lights and some lamps around the house.  So this morning I made my 2nd lampshade ever.

Rather than a specific scene I just wanted some blended colours, so I used my hackle to blend various green shades and a touch of cream.

To decorate I put a touch of white flax/silk, some orange angelina fibre (doesn’t show up on photos) and some of the Winter’s Kiss blend by World of Wool.

The result is a subtle blend that I am really pleased with.

The pre-felt I used this time was British Shetland wool, rather than Merino.  It is a bit cheaper, less air miles and seems to do as good a job as the merino.  The kits are from Dannells Ltd, who make them in Britain too.  Previously in the sunroom, we had an IKEA paper lantern that was at least 15 years old.  In case anyone is interested, the string of lights are from Cable & Cotton, and are a string of LED lights and you can order pre-set colour packs or pick your own shades for the baubles.  

So that’s 2 down, 11 lampshades to go!!  

 

 

Tide clock

For soooo long I have thought about buying a tide clock but they are either naff looking or nice ones are mega expensive. So I ordered a tide clock mechanism and went about making my own.

Materials

  1. Tide clock mechanism (tides are not on 24 hour cycles but instead 24 hours and 50 minutes).
  2. Pre-felt
  3. Various fibres, I used merino, Corriedale, silk and flax
  4. Protractor and compass
  5. Wet felting gear…olive oil soap, bubble wrap, towel, hot and cold water and some elbow grease!
  6. Cardboard to use as a template and then actually ended up being used as the backing
  7. Pencil and ruler and a circle template for the dots
  8. Needlefelting needle and foam block.
  9. Pack of pins to mark the hours prior to felting them.

As material moves around so much during the wet felting process, it wasn’t practical to put any words or numbers or dots on during that stage. Instead, I opted for needlefelting dots. I had thought about using a stencil to felt the word High and Low and then 1-5, but I thought it would make it too busy, so dots seemed enough.

It was a bit fiddly doing the calculations etc. As I opted for a square-ish clock I decided to put the dots also in a square pattern.

Far less fiddly to make than a lampshade and of course now I need to make another lampshade for our hallway where this tide clock now hangs. On the photo the shadow is hiding some of the dots in the darker water, but in real life they are easy to read.

So for anyone not used to reading a tide clock, at the top (12 o’clock position) it indicates high tide, at the 1pm position this is actually indicating 5 hours to low tide, so if I were to number it there’d be a ‘5’ there. It then follows on where it is 4, 3, 2 until at the 5 o’clock position, it’s showing 1 hour to low tide. Then 6 o’clock is low tide. Then it switches to 5 hours to high tide and so on!!! I am hopeless at explaining things but hopefully that makes sense.

and for anyone who saw my post yesterday with my lampshade, here’s a picture of it lit. His morning I ordered enough lampshade kits to do all our pendant light fittings and bedside lamps lol!

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!

 

 

WIP nuno felted blouse

I should probably wait until it is finished, to post this, but here’s a sneak peak of my almost finished nuno felted silk jacket.

This started off as a silk top with elastic under the bust, basically for popping on over a swim suit or string strap top. It was a very well travelled top, having been from Hawaii to the Maldives, Turkey to Australia. Therefore I didn’t take a photo of it before cutting out the elastic and slitting it up the front, thinking there must be a photo on the computer of me wearing it! Just checked every foreign holiday folder and not a single one of me wearing !

Anyway from the progress shots you can perhaps imagine what it looked like originally. I forgot to take photos when I’d laid out the fibre (hopeless blogger).

Top with elastic removed, cuff trim removed and cut up the front

I used tissue paper to create a pattern, by stuffing and folding over!

Initial template I cut a couple of inches around paper.

New template cut with longer arms and slight change to arms

Front view of it almost finished. Collar and one sleeve need more work

Back view. Intentionally did darker shoulder area.

It does fit, which is a relief, given this took 2 days and isn’t finished yet.

Fibres were predominantly from the World of Wool Fibre Club, including their Humpty Dumpty (Merino/Bamboo) blend (50g/2oz) and Alpacapink (Alpaca/Merino/Mohair blend) (100g/4oz). I also used some lilac and purple merino to give some darker underlay areas around the collar and cuffs. These areas need a little more fibre adding, you’ll notice on the front image the wool is uneven on the inside and I’m missing the darker stripe on one cuff at the back. But my shoulders need a break from wet felting and so do my hands. So I’ll finish it next week and show a photo of me wearing it.

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

Year_of_projects_2018.jpg

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 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 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 – weeks 9 & 10/52

Not much done…in fact nothing on my YOP list, but I have expanded my stash, which was definitely not on my ‘to do list’ oops!

But whilst in Orkney for a week, you HAVE to buy some wool from the rare North Ronaldsay sheep, which eat the seaweed on the coast of North Ronaldsay and Isle of Auskerry, which are the only 2 places they live.  So when I say ‘some wool’, what I mean is…

  • Enough undyed wool to knit a jumper (6 balls in Seal Grey and 1 in Slate Grey)
  • Enough dyed wool to add some interest to the jumper or for accessories
  • Enough fibre (in 3 different natural colours) to spin goodness knows how much more yarn
Oh and…
  • some silk hankies and silk in colours that will go on the scarf I am going to make for my sister’s 50th birthday (hand dyed on Orkney)
  • And while I’m at it I may as well buy 200g of sari silk because it was too beautiful and reasonably priced not to..despite having nothing to do with Orkney!!!
Hopeless!!
 
Anyway, I did manage to knit a bit of my 3rd hitchhiker scarf, using home spun yarn and did some spinning of one of my first dyeing efforts.
 
If you are interested in seeing some pictures of Orkney, please check out my Week in Orkney post.
 
3rd Hitchhiker scarf (with eyelets on 8th rows)

British 56s spun from first dyeing and drum carding practice
 
North Ronaldsay Aran Yarn

 

 

North Ronaldsay dyed yarn

 

North Ronaldsay fibre

 

Sari Silk

 

Silks