Year of Projects – week 43/52

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Knitting

This week has been mostly Elda cardigan knitting, as I really want to try to finish it before we go on holiday.  I am concerned I am going to be playing yarn chicken when it comes to doing the Estonian braid section, as my yardage was enough for 3/4 sleeve version and I am doing full length sleeves!  I just can’t see me wearing a shorter sleeve.

The indie dyer, Helen from Ripplescrafts, is doing a pop up shop in Inverness next week and she is bringing along her own leftover yarn from her own project, so we can see if its a good colour match.  I may only be 200 yards short (if the pattern is correct).  I had to go down a needle size to get gauge, does anyone know if that means I’m using more or less yarn?  My brain won’t compute it.

I suppose I should have done the Estonian braid section first and then could just knit the sleeves to whatever is left…I’m part way through the first sleeve…I did start a brand new skein when I started the sleeve so I know how much I’ve used so far.  Does that help though.  I did think of a contrasting colour for the braid, but arrrggghhh perhaps it will be fine and I will have enough!?!

I have thought about not quite finishing the sleeves, doing the Estonian Braid and then if I need Helen’s leftover yarn it would be for both sleeve ends…so may have slightly different tones on the cuffs!  

Oh my I am rambling!  Anyhoo…advice welcome.

 

Felting

No felting this week!!!!  I still need to dye some sand coloured wool for the other landing lampshade and the others I am going to whiz up some blended batts on the drum carder at felting group next Saturday (After the mad dash into Inverness to pick up Helen’s spare yarn and no doubt another skein of her yummy sock yarn.)

Spinning

Tiny bit of spinning this week, the colour is absolutely gorgeous.  The colour on the fibre photo is more accurate to how it looks.  After weeks of not doing any spinning it took a while to get back in the rhythm.  The fibre is Falklands Merino and will be knit into a mini shawl/scarf.  This is my first time using John Arbon fibre, he is vending at Fibre East in July which I am going to.

Weaving

I bought a 2nd heddle reed in the same size as my current one to try double weaving.  It took me hours to warp it and to work out where to put my pick up sticks, then realised my sticks are a bit short, so I’ve ordered some slightly larger ones.  These sticks, once in the right place enable you to weave the top and the bottom layers, so you end up with fabric twice the width than with one heddle.  In my weaving book it says its easier to do than describe, and that’s from an expert.  Perhaps next week I will have something a bit more to show you, so that you know what I mean, but on the photo below you can see the open side showing the top and bottom layers, on the left side its closed.

Other news

Since giving up work it seems my brain has retired, that or I’ve eaten too many hot cross buns and I am having sugar overload.  Talking of sugar…I bought a 2nd hand copy of the Sugar Addict’s Total Recovery Program by Kathleen DesMaisons.  I am a total sugar addict and already have liver problems from it, so I am determined to beat the addiction.  I only started reading it on Friday night and on Saturday I ate a bag of chocolate buttons and 2 hot cross buns and we have pain au chocolate to have on Easter Sunday for breakfast!!  So this isn’t going to be easy.  

 

I am still enjoying listening to the Desert Island Discs podcasts…one of the guests asked for a blow up s*x doll to use as a raft!!!!  I burst out laughing walking down the street listening to it and Kirsty the presenter was all erms and errs, first time she has been lost for words.  Some episodes I’ve been walking along crying or smiling or laughing.  

 

Today is my dog, Ylva, 11th Birthday.  We took her to Glen Affric on Good Friday, where it was unusually warm for April. She has some yummy things for her birthday meals and a new squeaky snake that she had a good go at yesterday when she spotted it in my shopping bag.  

Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin in Glen Affric was unusually low on water so we were able to walk out to one of the ‘islands’, where this photo was taken…she’s not very good at posing for photos and he was trying to get her to face me, but she wanted the treat in his hand!  This is part of a set of lochs in a hydro scheme so may have just had a release of water.  

Yesterday I did some vegetable garden planning for this year and discovered both water butts were empty!  Usually they are full at the start of the year.  The lambs on the farm behind us are finally being born, so every day we’ve spotted new lambs…but the streams that come down the hill don’t have much water in them and the farmer says he’s concerned about his sheep getting dehydrated as its so warm and there’s so little water.  They don’t usually get sheared until June because its usually so much cooler here.  Last year we had a very warm May which was unusual…now its an unusually warm April!   I know there are far more important global impacts here to power, wildlife, crops etc., but my selfish gene does make me wonder how short knitwear wearing season is going to become if things don’t change.  🤔

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.

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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”

Decisions decisions!

Yesterday I went to Dornoch Fibre Fest and bought sooooo much yummy yarn!

To justify my new acquisitions I have been putting patterns against each yarn in my Ravelry queue. Some kind of weird psychology that helps me feel these were an investment not impulse buys!

I want to do my first brioche shawl (ignoring the fact Void shawl still isn’t finished). The thing is I am not sure whether with brioche you need a light and a dark skein, or whether it’s effective with 2 deep saturated colours.

Here’s my 3 options, is your preference top, middle or bottom?

It’s to go with my Chimney Fire cardigan.

The 2 deep colours are Merino, Silk & Yak blend. The 2 speckles are merino, nylon with one having some alpaca too.

I don’t have the patience to knit a shawl that needs all 4 skeins.

More on the fibre fest later this week.

Year of Projects – week 36/52

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Where did this week go?  I finished my socks but that’s it!  Oh that’s a lie, I finished the surprise which I can’t show until next week.

So here’s my socks…my 3rd pair of Hermione’s Everyday socks in West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply yarn in the wood pigeon colour-way.  It is a blend of unspecified wool 40%, blue faced Leicester 35% and nylon 25%.  You’ll notice on the toe that I was ever so slightly off making a perfect pair, ah well that’ll be in a shoe or slipper.  The row count was the same but I obviously misjudged the  2nd cast on.

My last few finished objects have all been fingering weight, so I am definitely ready for a new yarn weight.  I didn’t get a chance to knit my swatch with the Cochrane yarn, so I will do that Sunday afternoon and next week you will see what pattern I have finally decided on.  It’s sport weight so it isn’t a big difference, but it feels nice and wooly/woolley/woolly (how do you spell that, seriously even the spell checker doesn’t know lol???).  Anyway it isn’t superwash and has no nylon in it so I am looking forward to the feel of a nice squishy yarn.  

Erm…talking of soft squishy yarn, I still have Void on my needles…no progress made on that this week and I think I’m going to park it for a while…I keep considering just casting it off, but I must resist the urge.  So I think parking it for a while will help and by next autumn I will have a lovely huge soft alpaca shawl to snuggle in.

 

This week I discovered Kristy Glass Knits YouTube channel and through that I have found some more ideas of things I would like to make and some really interesting interviews with designers, yarn store owners, indie dyers etc.  Plus a really interesting and helpful chat with a group of friends about diversity that I found so helpful in understanding some of the terminology that people have been mentioning.  

One of Kristy’s interviews is with Carolyn Bloom.  Not someone I had heard of before, but she has designed some gorgeous crochet and knitted brioche items.  She has also done some gorgeous photos of yarn with fresh flowers and other gorgeous photos.  I don’t normally share blog posts I have watched but this lady had so many things that have inspired me I thought I’d share.  She has knit blankets that are inspired by quilt patterns, really yummy brioche scarves, an interesting spotted crochet blanket I prefer to Northeasterly and I am considering doing instead, also as its crochet it would be a nice change from knitting.  

Link to YouTube interview  

I am going to try doing some brioche with some of my homespun purple and pink yarn!  Brioche is on this year’s YOP list, so a small project with some homespun seems a good idea for a first attempt.

 

No wet felting, dyeing or spinning this week!!!  No real spring cleaning either!  Seriously, what have I done this week!  I watched the Oscars on Monday…did aliens abduct me the rest of the week?  Off topic but…although I wasn’t that struck on the movie “The Favourite”, I love Olivia Coleman and have seen her acceptance speech 3 times and cried each time!  

I posted out sets of stitch markers to 4 fellow bloggers and by Saturday I had confirmation that a set had arrived safely to Arizona.  Hopefully the others did/will.

Two other people are interested in them, so I will make up some more.  (Please check your junk email folder if you think you didn’t receive my replies 🙂)

 

Finally, last year I joined in with the Tour de Fleece competition in the team ‘More Enthusiasm than Skill’ and won a Handy Andy!!!!  It was being hand turned by a men’s shed group near our team captain, so it was a bit of a wait for it to be done.  It arrived on Saturday so I need to work out (via YouTube) what on earth I do with it!  I know, I’ve had months to do research on it but hey ho!  I learn best by doing.  I’ll let you know next week what you do with it!!  Hopefully I am going to meet some of the ladies from my TdF team in June, when I am visiting my sister, and there’s a fibre festival on nearby they usually attend.

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.


 

2018 Summary

I started 2018 on sabbatical from work and finished the year having resigned, so I haven’t done any paid work all year.  But what I have done is work on my creativity and what a wide range of projects I have done!

So this post is a summary of the things I achieved this year (and some memorable highlights).

Bullet keys

🧦 knitting (unless noted as crochet)   🌀 spinning   💦 wet felting   🗡 needle felting  👩🏻‍🔬 dyeing

🖼 drawing   📷 photography   💎 sea glass

🏕 camping trip   🏡 holiday cottage\B&B   🎫 concert   🎟  show

January

🧦 Alpaca lace scarf, poncho and red fingerless mittens

📷 3 credits at camera club 

💎 sea glass and Pooh bear pendant

February

🧦 arm knit throw and finger knit cushions (with mahoosive acrylic), Crazy sexy wool hat

🖼 sketch of Ylva

📷 Bolivia Audio Visual show

March

🧦 really warm hat, quick and bulky mittens, Allistar’s alpaca hat, purple fingerless mittens, big wool colour hat for Elaine, 2 x cable headbands, rasta fasta hat, swirly squishy hat,

📷 came 4th in Annual Mini Comp., 3 acceptances in Annual projected image and 2 acceptances in Annual Print comps and Flamingo on Salar de Uyuni included in Club’s submission in Highland Challenge.

🏡 Isle of Skye holiday cottage and day trip to Raasay

💎 sea glass pendants

April

🐈 Dice died aged 16 years and 5 days.

🧦 chunky basket (crochet), cat hats for Merri and friend, drinks cosy and cathedral hat

💦 dusty pink handbag

💎 sea glass wind chime

👨‍👧Dad visited

🎟 saw Hamilton musical

May

💎 sea glass pendants

🏕 Dunnet Bay

🌀 bought spinning wheel, carders, niddy-noddy and fibre stash and acid dyes

🧦 hitchhiker scarf

June

🏕 Sango Sands and Clachtoll Beach

🌀 landscape rolags to 2 ply, purple and red scraps

🧦 my 1st socks, ipad cover, business card holder and 2nd hitchhiker, dog poop bag holder

💦 rose and blue circular needle case and soap bars

July

🌀 Tour de Fleece spinning purple merino and gold bamboo, ethereal ether, some British 56s, perpetual purple

💦🗡 highland cow

🧦 fair isle hat, 3rd hitchhiker, started chimney fire cardigan, alpaca cowl for Allistar, coffee cup cosy

👩🏻‍🔬 British 56s wool

🏡 Met up with Elaine in Kinlochleven

August

🏕 Orkney camping

🎫 🏕 Belladrum 3 day concert

🌀 samoyed dog hair, ethereal ether, home dyed British 56s

💦 purple wool and silk scarf

🧦 still knitting cardigan

👩🏻‍🔬 cheviot bulky yarn

September

🎫 🏕 Jocktoberfest 2 day concert

🏡 Loch Sunart holiday cottage

💦 turquoise wool and silk scarf and tiny purse for sister, rose and blue double pointed needle roll case, attempt at nuno felting

🧦 glasses case, crochet dog poop bag holder and finished Chimney Fire cardigan

October

🌀 Brit Spin in team ‘more enthusiasm than skill’ Shetland

👫 visit by Annie and Michael

🧦 Allistar’s socks, cheviot 3 set (hat, cowl & mittens), 2 at a time fingerless mittens

💦 green and red wool and silk scarf for Annie

🎫 saw Turin Brakes in concert

November

💎 sea glass progress markers

💦 suri alpaca and silk scarf, stripe scarf for dad

🌀 finished camel and silk blend

🧦 started Lintilla and dad’s socks

🗡 autumn sparkle fairy

📷 came 2nd in annual Portfolio comp

December

🌀 poppy corriedale fractal, finished Shetland

🧦 finished Dad’s socks, poppy fractal hat for husband, started Void shawl

👩🏻‍🔬 dyed BFL fibre, merino/silk blend and Shetland

🗡 Christmas bauble, mouse pictures and Christmas pudding

(I don’t remember which month but I also sewed a project bag.)

Selection of 2018 completed objects






Year of Projects – week 26/52 Half way!

Year_of_projects_2018.jpg

 

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

 

Year of Projects – week 25/52

Knitting

The vanilla socks are finished and I’ll post a photo after Christmas, just in case the recipient reads my blog!

I started on the hat for my husband, using the corriedale fractal wool I spun (as shown in last week’s update).  I am using a pretty simple ribbed pattern, as I think the yarn colours would blur an intricate design; plus cables work best with 3 ply, not 2 ply.  It seems a long while since I have knit something with a worsted weight yarn and larger needles. So this photo is just one day’s progress, so should be finished early this week and I can do some selfish knitting.

The stressful situation I have been dealing with for a long time is finally over…so to treat myself I have bought some interchangeable needles. I prefer wood or bamboo needles, so opted for KnitPro Interchangeable needles in sizes 3.5mm to 8mm.  And they perfectly fit in the opening flap pocket of my circular needle case I made!  Perfect!! 

Colour is wrong on this photo…but you see the perfect fit

Felting

This week at my felting group I did some needle felting instead of wet felting for a change.  I used a ball of wet felted samoyed dog hair I made months ago (these parts were too rough to spin).  I then needle felted a picture similar to one I had noticed on Pinterest.  I just need to sew a loop on top and hang it on the tree. It is very lightweight. 

 

I also made some replacement pictures for a couple of Christmas frames I had.  These are clearly mice who have been tucking into too much Christmas cheese!!!  Especially the one on the left (she’s hanging a stocking on a toadstool…in case it isn’t clear.

 

Dyeing

Well you couldn’t make up my numptiness!  I thought I would dye a skein of merino silk blend yarn.  The idea being to test the different coloured landscape dyes I have and see how they turn out.  So I carefully mixed the colours, put in little pots, kept the pots of dye in the same order…..then when I finished I packed it all away having not written notes about what colours I used where!!!!  Doh!!!

The same day I also dyed my Shetland homespun yarn that I finished the week before.  I used hot pink, raspbery and opal blue colours and Oh my goodness I love this purpleness! And this will be another hat for me!  You can’t have enough purple hats!   

 Oh and for regulars to my blog, I have now finished watching all 12 seasons of Bones.  It was easy to have on in the background without needing to watch the actual screen, so I could still be productive.  Now to start watching Christmas movies!

 

Year of Projects – week 24/52

Spinning

As we are approaching the half way point of the year of projects, I reviewed my YOP list and ticked off some things.  I had been a bit vague about what I planned to spin during the year, so have updated my YOP page and will snapshot the progress when we get to week 26, like I did week 13. 

After much indecision about what wet felted item I would make with my corriedale wool in poppy colourway (that was a prize from the Tour de Fleece), I instead decided to use it to create a ‘fractal yarn’.  On the picture below you can see the original fibre, I then split it in half; one half (a) is split into the different shades and the other half (b) is split so it has each colour in each strip.  

On bobbin 1 I spun (a) so I started with all the burgundy then all red and then all greens (BRG).

On bobbin 2 I spun (b) so spinning each of the multicoloured strips, starting with the burgundy ends each time.

I then plied the 2 bobbins together and that creates a fractal yarn.  If you want 3 ply you would split the colours in 3 ways, e.g. bobbin 1 BRG, bobbin 2 BRG BRG BRG and bobbin 3 BRG BRG BRG BRG BRG BRG.  

I love the end result and look forward to dyeing some fibre myself to give it another go.  This handspun yarn will be used to make a ribbed hat for my husband.  He has green eyes, so it should suit him well.

I also finished spinning my Shetland wool, transferring what was on my spindle onto the larger amount on my spinning wheel.  I set it and then remembered I am going to be dyeing it so probably didn’t need to soak and snap it before dyeing.  Ah well!  Once I have dyed it I will post a photo!

My camel and silk handspun yarn is dry so that is all labelled and ready to make something with.  It is the softest yarn I have ever held.  Has anyone just kept hanks of wool to cuddle!?  It is soooo soft to touch I love the feel of it. 

Hopefully in this photo you will better see the colour differences between standard and chain plying…the colours on the chain ply are more evident (top and bottom hanks).  I haven’t chosen a pattern for it yet, something to go against my skin for sure!  

Knitting

I have cast on a new pair of socks, this time just a vanilla pattern, in the hope I will have them finished before Christmas! I decided to cast on 64 stitches with my 2.5mm sockwunder needle and so far it looks a much better sized sock.  I can’t believe how fast I can knit a vanilla sock with this needle, highly recommend for speed.  Next on the needles will be the fractal spun yarn hat.  My Lintilla has been temporarily parked, I thought I could try alternating between projects but the socks have a deadline so are getting all my focus.  

Felting and fibre craft

I have mentioned my fairies before, but thought I would post a picture of them all hanging, so you know where they live! Also I ordered a couple of empty baubles from World of Wool and popped some sparkly fibre in them and hung them on the real Christmas tree.  They are very hard to take a photo of and you’ll notice a reflection of Bones TV show lol!  I am already on Season 10!  

 

Finally, I was inspired by @Gilliangladrag Instagram to make a fibre christmas pudding.  I used milk protein top for the brandy sauce.  If you need a few moments of joy each day then I recommend following @Gilliangladrag and watching her daily stories.  She owns the Gilliangladrag Fluff-a-torium shop in Dorking, England.  Unfortunately, I live hundreds of miles away so haven’t been, but have bought her fibre blends and some other bits from her online shop.  

 

 

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 19/52

This week I have been on a mission to get lots of crafting done, to take my mind off my continuing chest infection and a very stressful situation I have been trying to deal with.

I fancied using some thick yarn for some quick projects.  I had in my stash 200g of Cheviot super bulky yarn that I had dyed myself a few months ago and called ‘Dusty Rose’.  I couldn’t decide whether to make mittens or a hat, it turned out I had enough for mittens, a hat…and a small cowl!!!  (Follow links to my Ravelry project pages for pattern details.)

I can’t seem to get the colour true in the photos of the mittens, but they are all the same colour.  I really love the colours and effects I achieved when I dyed it.  I love the hat and will definitely try making another with some homespun yarn in a lighter weight yarn.  The cowl isn’t as wide as the pattern as I was short on yarn, but I have worn it on 3 dog walks so far and it seems perfect.  The bulky mittens are so quick and I did the same alterations as the last ones I made with Rowan Big Wool.  Alterations are detailed on my Ravelry project page.  The yarn only cost me £5 so to have had dyeing practice and made 3 accessories from it is brilliant value.  I worried the cheviot wool would be a bit scratchy as a cowl, but it is actually fine and it is lovely and warm on the chilly days we have been having.  Most days haven’t got above 5° Celsius here and there’s snow on Ben Wyvis, the mountain behind where we live.  I think this yarn would felt well, so did think about knitting some huge slipper shapes and then felting them…but I think I will try wet felting fibre slippers first.

Cheviot wool set

I have also cast on a pair of socks that will likely be a Christmas gift for someone, so no pictures possible.  

I am a monogamous knitter, and always finish an item before starting another, but the socks I am doing have a 10 row pattern repeat that is too complicated to memorise, so I have been wondering whether I should start an easy shawl pattern for when I need some mindless knitting to do?!?!?!  

I have noticed on other YOPers blog posts that they sometimes use progress markers that have the little lobster claw clasps.  I have lots of these clasps for making sea glass jewellery and so I thought I would have a go at making some markers out of sea glass I have collected from a local beach and are too small for anything else.

Progress markers

I mentioned last week that I had bought a drop spindle at Loch Ness Knit Fest and so thought I would do some spinning on that!  I was keeping it by the back door and doing a bit each evening before bed whilst I was waiting for our dog to do her bedtime wee!  I had another go on Friday and then thought I better research how on earth I am supposed to ply with a spindle. After some YouTube research I wound it from the spindle onto my ball winder and then tied the start and end of the single together, attached to my drop spindle and then spun it anti-clockwise and I found I was getting a much better balanced yarn than I do when plying on my spinning wheel.  Perhaps because it was all off the same single and was only a small amount, not sure but seemed to ply pretty quick.  I then popped it on my niddy noddy and set it…its only a small amount so I will knit a small mitred square with it probably.  As you will see on the right of the photo I ended up with a few snapped bits I found hard to join, but I will use the fibre elsewhere and no fibre gets binned, as even to make felted soap you can use random scraps.  This is a merino sari silk custom blend from my World of Wool fibre club box, called Himalayas.

Spindle attempt

Soooo having unloaded my spindle, I thought I’d have another go and try a thicker weight yarn. I used another custom blend from WoW fibre club, this is a mix of merino, silk and angelina called autumn sparkle.  I think I will be using some of this fibre to make an autumn fairy to go with my other fairies, also I have had a thought about using some in a lantern to imitate a flame…but this needs more thought.  With my sample spin, I started a mitred square but didn’t have enough, so I finished it with some test spin of a gorgeously soft baby camel and silk blend.

Autumn sparkle
Mitred square

 

If you’d like to see what the other people are up to in our Year of Projects group have a look.  They certainly provide me with inspiration each week and I love this little community.

Year of Projects – weeks 15&16/52

After a lovely week away at a holiday cottage on the West Coast of Scotland, this week has been so stressful and depressing.  I need to keep up with my projects to keep me sane and keep me from slipping back into depression.  

I have put up lots of unused craft supplies on Facebook Marketplace and already have sold some things.  This was prompted by me having too many warning signs I was teetering on the edge of being a full blown hoarder.  For anyone interested here’s a link to that post.  I think its important as a community we show that life has ups and downs and that’s ok and normal.  Electronic lives can seem like everyone is living perfect lives.

A quick update on my nuno felted scarf that I was unhappy with; I re did it adding more fibre around the edges and the roses.  I am so much happier with it.  It is so light to wear but warm!  

Nuno felted scarf update

Last week I finished Allistar’s first sock and I am doing the heel of the 2nd at the moment.  Already I spot they aren’t ‘Pairfect’…as per the yarn name.  My long tail cast ons were different tail lengths and despite re-doing the cast on 3 times it wasn’t perfect, so this has had a knock on affect at the top of the foot!  Typical as thats the bit people will see when he sits down.  The yarn was really splitting though so a 4th attempt wasn’t possible.

Allistar’s first sock

I wanted to see what the sari silk looked like felted, so made a weird shaped scissors case!  I love the silks and wish I had loaded more on! 

Scissors case

I joined the Brit Spin marathon on Ravelry, in team ‘More enthusiasm than skill’.  Our team each received 100g of Shetland fibre from our sponsors Curtis Fibres.  It is now the morning of the 4th and final day of the challenge and I have only managed to spin a third of the Shetland so far, partly because I am trying to spin very fine so that I end up with a 3 ply fingering weight yarn, but mostly because I am frantically dashing from one priority to the next, not sleeping well and really feeling the physical signs of some stress I am under at the moment.  My fitbit says my heart rate was in fat burn for 15 hours on Friday despite me not actually exercising! When I did some spinning at 6.30am, having been awake for hours, you can see my heart rate drop.  It drops again when I did some spinning about 2.30pm…the final drop is when my husband tried it on!   I wish I was better equipped to manage stress, but at least I know the spinning makes a physical positive difference.

Stress affecting my heart rate

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Year of Projects – Week 8/52

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

So fellow YOPers please forgive my faulty start 🙄

My first attempts at dyeing – Part 2

A quick update on yesterday’s blog post.

I have knitted up the small amount of dyed ethereal ether into this wee drinks cosy!  This was an early spinning attempt so its unofficial thick’n’thin!  But I LOVE the colours!  I need to try to repeat this in a larger batch and make something bigger.

Drink cosy 

Also I have spun the dyed fibre; I made a 2 ply (right of pic) trying to get different colours in each single, and with what was left on one bobbin I had some practice at Navajo (chain) plying (left).  This gave me a nice break from spinning the purple and gold tops.  I did have a slight disaster where I had z spun my singles and then started z plying them!!!  I wish I’d had a free hand to take a photo of what that looked like when I pulled it off the bobbin!!  Anyhoo, I managed to rescue it.  

 

 

I have decided I am definitely going to spin up the rest of the ethereal ether and dye it, I just don’t like the original colours when spun, but LOVE the colour range when dyed. Fingers crossed it will work. 

My first attempts at dyeing

On Thursday I thought I would give dyeing a go!  I had the very disappointing ethereal ether yarn I had spun that I thought I could brighten up, plus I have bought 100g of White 56’s English wool top to practice.  This is a blend of (56?) different breeds of English sheep, so relatively cheap wool.

I picked two colours, and as it happens two different makes.  Ashford wool dye in Hot Pink and KraftKolour Landscape dye in Opal. No idea how they’d blend or work together.  I didn’t measure or weigh anything, just ploughed straight in and gave it a go.

And turned this…

To this…

I loved the colours so much I then pulled off some of the wool tops and popped those in the pot too, with random knots.

The results…

Once I have spun this I will post the finished yarn, but so far I am pretty happy with it…for a first attempt.

What I have learned

  • Don’t just get a pair of rubber gloves out…put them on before taking off any lids!  Yep, I have a pink thumb and forefinger!!
  • Dyeing is fun, but a bit smelly as I used some white vinegar
  • Worst case, the ethereal ether could still be spun and then I can just dye it all with the pink and blue…unless I think of something to wet felt with it.
  • Patience is a virtue that I don’t possess, I couldn’t stop checking on the fibre…once it is dry I will see if it has felted with all my checking on it and re-knotting.  I need a movie or something on to distract me next time.

Year of Projects 2018

Whilst reading MrsMcD918’s blog posts I came across the Year of Projects.  I then went onto Ravelry to read a little bit more about it and joined one of the Ravelry groups.  The ‘year’ technically started at the beginning of July but I am only a few weeks late.

So, what is on my list for the year?

Wet felting

  • A case for my craft scissors
  • A picture of my dog Ylva
  • A loose casual waistcoat or top 
  • A project bag using the plastic loop handles in my stash
  • A coin purse
  • Make a fancy scarf or wrap using nuno 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 on Ravelry @ date of posting!
  • Spin 200g of alpaca fibre currently in my stash
  • Master chain ply
  • Create a fractal spun yarn
  • Spin some tweed yarn
  • Create my own wool and silk blended spin
  • Create an official (not accidental) art yarn 

Dyeing

  • Dye some of the natural fibre tops in my stash
  • Dye some my own spun yarn and the undyed bought skein I have

Knitting

  • Finish my Chimney Fire cardigan*
  • Make my husband a pair of socks
  • Make my dad something for Christmas
  • Make up a matching accessory set from my perpetual purple paradise homespun yarn
  • Make the shawl with my Rowan Lima yarn
  • Make a 2nd pair of socks for myself
  • Learn brioche stitch
  • Learn fair isle knitting and knit one of the small fair isle items in my queue

Crochet

Oh my is that too many things?!  But that barely makes a dint in my stash, so is it enough!?!  We shall see as the year goes on.
 
*I drafted this earlier in the week…and after a few days of knitting my Chimney Fire cardigan I am only on row 9 of the upper body and I am already stuck and have reached out to a lady on Ravelry who created one that inspired me to buy the pattern, to see if she’d be willing to help me…if not I will have to contact the designer…at this rate I will be struggling to finish by Christmas, never mind the rest of my list! 

My husband’s birthday present

I think my husband was hoping for a pair of socks for his birthday, but with his big feet, me doing the Tour de Fleece and having started knitting my first cardigan I have had to bump those down the queue to be a Christmas present.  I have the yarn ready in my stash.

So instead I made him a cowl with the remaining wool from the hat I knitted him last year.  I didn’t follow a pattern as such, just used a 4×4 rib and on the side and back I moved the ribbing over 2 stitches so it created a wavy line, then on the front I kept the ribbing in line, so it is not as wide under his chin.  Technically he can reverse it and have the narrrow side at the back.  He can decide what works best when Autumn arrives.  The yarn is from Wool and the Gang and is called Feeling Good Yarn.  It is Aran weight but extremely light (Baby Alpaca 70% / Merino 7% and Nylon 23%).  It is very fluffy, soft and hopefully warm.  For the hat I made him in winter I did follow a pattern.

Tour de fleece 2018

I love Ravelry so much, not only does it have thousands of patterns, many of which are free, a database for your stash and projects, but it also has forums and groups.  Whilst reading through the forums I found out about Tour de Fleece and joined The Corner of Knit and Tea blog’s team #CKT2018.  There are lots of other teams on Ravelry as well (and lots of other themed groups too).

The idea is during the days of the Tour de France cycling race you spin!  Not for the hours on end that they are on their bikes for, just for as long as you want to.  When the cyclists have their rest days you do as well, and when they are having their tougher days cycling in the mountains you challenge yourself with your spinning. The level of challenge is up to you…I did consider teaching my husband to spin as a challenge!  

It is such a nice idea, a great way to connect with other spinners and see what amazing yarn they are producing and you can ask questions and advice.  I have found myself getting yarn envy as some of the yarns I am seeing are so beautiful and its interesting to see the different plying methods and the results you get.  

Also spending time each day doing some spinning really does show your steady improvement 😁

I had some merino fibre from Gilliangladrag in the Ethereal Ether blend. I loved the look of it online and originally bought it for making some needle felted fairies, but I thought maybe it would be good for spinning.  So I pre-drafted the whole 100g…this was a mistake!

I loved how the singles looked on the bobbin but when I have plied it the colours have lost their definition and almost created a greyish pink colour.  I kept washing my hands thinking I was making the yarn dirty, but I think its just the colour combos when spun…or at least when spun by me!

I stopped after plying my first bobbin, so do still have lots of fibre left and I will most likely use it in wet felting instead.  If I hadn’t pre-drafted it all I could have split the colours vertically and when made into a 3 ply they’d have kept their colour definition.  Hey ho! (I haven’t set this yarn yet, so this isn’t a case of colours bleeding.)

Ethereal ether spun merino

Again, you’ll notice my spinning and plying are still uneven thickness.

Next I decided to use a gorgeous purple and gold blend of merino and bamboo from Kiki’s Craft Corner.  The colours are really lovely and I can’t wait to see how much length I end up with so that I can search Ravelry for a pattern.  Apologies for the terrible photo of the original blend. Merino and bamboo

My consistency has improved massively and I have managed to get a 3 ply that is about sport weight!  I used short forward drafting again but something has just clicked and I am finally able to draft small amounts so when plied it isn’t so thick.  It still is a little fluffy, I am knitting a cardigan with malabrigo yarn at the moment and I am wondering if they coat the yarn in something to stop it being fluffy (or having a halo).  I love that my singles and 3 ply are still looking similar…unlike the ethereal blend.

What I have learned

  • Don’t pre-draft all your fibre before you know what it is going to look like when its 2 or 3 ply!
  • Ravelry is a great resource and a way to make friends from around the world
  • Being part of a Team keeps you motivated
  • Small amounts of spinning each day is easier on my arms and hands than a long session
  • I really missed spinning on the first TDF rest day!
 

 

Spinning progress

I thought I should make a note of my spinning progress so far, especially as I am now spinning a little everyday.

In a previous spinning post I had talked about my problems with drafting fibre and disastrous results…or should I call it art yarn!

My next post was about creating rolags and spinning from those which I definitely found easier, I made some useable 2 ply yarn in the landscape colours and went on to knit an ipad cover with the yarn.  Don’t look too closely or you’ll notice some cables aren’t the same length!  Oh and Judy’s Magic Cast On was a disaster as its on the inside of the bag!!!  oops!

Knitted_iPad_cover.jpg 

I had other attempts at spinning from rolags, I had spun a selection of peach and red toned fibre scraps and I really liked it on the bobbin…but when I set it, I massively overheated it and ended up felting the yarn and the colours ran and it ended up orange.  Regardless of the quality I am determined to make something out of everything I spin, so thanks to Ravelry’s pattern search I found this wee business card holder pattern.  The cabling doesn’t really stand out I think because it felted so much, plus it was 2 ply.

Business_card_holder.jpg

I also spun some purple and pink scraps, again making a 2 ply yarn.  This time I made a dog poop bag holder!  I crocheted it, without a pattern and it is sooo soft, it feels lovely.  Again the yarn slightly felted when setting it, but not as much.

Dog_poop_bag_holder.jpg

Then I took on a bigger challenge, rather than using a bag of scraps and creating rolags, I wanted to give pre-drafting a go.  So with 200g of Perpetual Purple Paradise from Gilliangladrag online shop I pre-drafted and then spun all 200g.  What I have ended up with is 3 ply yarn, some of which is Aran weight and some is Worsted weight.  (Not intentionally different weights, just shows the improvement in my drafting.). 

I am thinking I will make a hat, cowl and mitten set…depending on how I get on they may be wrist warmers and not mittens.  I gave chain plying a couple of goes, but again I would call that art yarn based on the inconsistency, the lumps, the coil spinning in parts.  Not sure if it is usable yet…it may end up being used to make a bobble instead.

Purple merino spinning

You’ll notice it says Pre-TDF and then Tour de fleece day 1 on the image above.  I will explain more about that on my next post.

What I have learned so far

  • As a beginner its much easier spinning from pre-drafted tops
  • Rolags make a very fluffy soft yarn
  • Accidentally boiling yarn makes it felt and run! (and it loses the merino wool feel)
  • It was much easier for me to rest my right arm on a small cushion and draft at exactly the same pace as my leg pressed on the treadle.  This stops you spinning faster than you can draft
  • Practice and preparation definitely improves the final results
  • Measuring yarn on the niddy noddy is not a good judge of final length (as its under tension and shrinks slightly during setting)
  • Chain plying is tricky and I need more practise at it!
Side thoughtwriting a blog that may be read by Americans and Brits is a challenge re: spelling!  Do I just stick to UK English and assume Americans will understand we spell things differently?  In the UK practice is a noun and practise the verb…in the US practice is both noun and verb!  Then there’s fibre and fiber!  Never mind all the words we put a u in that American’s have done away with!  Hmm perhaps I’ll just randomly mix them up and confuse everyone 😉
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From fibre to 2 ply yarn

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

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

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

 

 

Candy striped spinning practice

I tried carding and spinning some local sheep wool I had collected and washed…I appear to have made some nylon rope from it!!! They are Scottish Blackface sheep and their wool is scratchy, thick and spins into nylon style rope! Yuck!!

So to practice my tension, my foot rhythm on the spinning wheel I used some Natura Just Cotton I had lying around (that I hated knitting or crocheting with as it kept splitting all the time) and I’ve made some candy striped yarn.

I’m not sure with cotton whether you need to set it with steam or just hope it holds together when knitting it…time for another quick look on Google.

A brand new adventure in fibre

Yesterday I bought an Ashford spinning wheel from a lovely lady, who also sold me lots of goodies to go with it. I had bought a niddy-noddy (yep that really is it’s name) the day before from Bunloit Woolery at Dingwall Wool and Textile fair, but all my other equipment came from this lady’s mother’s things.

There was already some single ply yarn on one of the bobbins, so I moved half of it to another and then today did some spinning to make 2 ply. It was a good way of practicing rhythm and holding the yarns plus with the different tones I could see the spinning in action.

Thanks to YouTube and Knittingthestash blog I knew roughly what to do and have now steamed my spun yarn and it’s drying in the gorgeous weather we are having in the Highlands (for a change).

Tomorrow I am going to have a go at spinning some of my wool fibre! But I don’t want to do too much on one day…in case I’m sore muscled tomorrow.

Niddy-noddy

Niddy-noddyAshford spinning wheelFirst 2 ply attempt