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.

 

Year of Projects – week 39/52

I have two finished felted objects I completed this week, and they have separate blog posts with further details.  Felting is so quick to get a finished object, in comparison with knitting and crochet.

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  • I added to my YOP list the felted lampshade, as that was a course I hadn’t expected.  I loved it and have since ordered kits to make lampshades for every pendant light and lamp in the house!!  Oh and I ordered quite a bit of pre-felt, both merino that I am used to, but also some British Shetland wool pre-felt that was slightly cheaper.  
  • The felted tide clock was on my draft YOP list for next year, so I have moved it to this year’s list instead.  It will be ideal for me deciding when to take our dog to the beach (and obviously collect more sea glass after high tide, before others get to it lol).

I also did a post about the Andean plying tool (Handy Andy).  I forgot to mention on that post that the Andean’s used one hand to wrap around yarn in the same way, and that is called an Andean Bracelet.  This  wooden tool is a hand substitute.

Other than that I finished my fair isle hat.  The first time I made a fair isle hat I had to give it to a 2 year old it was so small!  Too tight with my floats!  This is my 2nd fair isle hat and it is pretty loose fitting on my head, my gauge ended up being off, despite doing a swatch.  Oh actually I think the swatch was just stockinette, not fair isle in the round.  Perhaps just an over loose knitting stitch and super loose floats.  Ylva and I went for a walk up the fields behind the house on the 1st day of Spring and managed to spot the first 4 lambs of the year.  Once the sheep and lambs come down from the higher fields, into these lush green ones we won’t be able to walk up them. 

I was debating about a pompom for this hat but have decided to go without.  It goes quite well with this particular coat (I can’t possibly say how many purple or pink coats I have.  It’s like asking a knitter how big her stash is lol!).  I am going to try to make some fingerless gloves to go with it.

As this week marks the end of the 3rd quarter of our Year of Projects, it is time to snapshot where I am up to on my list.  Some new things have been added and one deleted (as I have decided to keep my purple handspun for a larger project than a hat and scarf set).  I have also tidied up the order of items in each section, so the outstanding items are shown at the bottom.  As the days warm up I will be starting to do some dyeing practice, which is my least completed section of my YOP list.

Feel free to skip to the bottom where I talk about some new cast ons.

Wet felting

Needle felting

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 ✅ wk 33
  9. North Ronaldsay humbug (added to list and started wk 31) ✅ wk 33
  • Master chain ply ✅ wk 12 (Himalayan blend chain ply nice and smooth at joints)
  • Create a fractal spun yarn ✅ wk 24
  • Create my own wool and silk blended spin ✅ wk 29
  • Spin first batch of Samoyed dog hair ❇️ wk 6
  • Spin some tweed yarn ❇️ wk 29 attempt with silk flecks
  • Create an official (not accidental) art yarn

Dyeing

  • Dye some of the natural fibre tops and/or homespun yarn from my stash
  1. British 56s ✅ wk 4 and 11
  2. Over dye ethereal ether merino ✅ wk 6
  3. Blue Faced Leicester ✅ wk 26
  4. Samoyed Dog hair
  5. Bamboo
  6. Merino/silk blend
  7. Merino/suri alpaca blend
  8. Corriedale fibre
  9. Portland
  • Dye undyed commercial spun skeins
  1. Cheviot chunky wool ✅ wk 6
  2. Merino silk blend ✅ wk 25
  3. BFL/silk blend
  4. Merino bamboo blend

Knitting

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

 
On Thursday I finally cast on my Elda cardigan, but not much to show yet, I’m still on the raglan increase section.  The wool is a blend of Bowmont (a Saxon Merino/Shetland cross) and Bluefaced Leicester (BFLj, so it has a slight Shetland woolliness about it, but softer and has a nice subtle sheen.  I am enjoying it so far.  The Estonian Braid sections are done at the very end, so at the moment its a very simple pattern. 
 
On Saturday, the camera club had a trip up to Wick (almost the top of Scotland) to attend the Highland Challenge.  An annual photography competition between the camera clubs in the Highlands (and Shetland Isles).  The mainland Clubs take it in turns to host it and this year it was Wick’s turn.  Wick is a couple of hours north of us on a single carriageway, mostly coastal road.  Despite knowing I get coach (bus) travel sick I cast on a 4th pair of Hermione’s Everyday Socks to continue to knit on the coach there and back!!! 
 
I made a mistake, when knitting on so little sleep and on a bus, so these are now a subtle variation on HES.  On the plus side Dingwall Club won the challenge.
 
 
I wish the Shetland Isles would host the challenge one year, but at a different time of year…I’m thinking specifically to coincide with Shetland Wool Week lol!
 
Google map of where Wick is 😀
 
I have to keep busy to keep my mind from taking me back into depression, so please don’t compare your own outputs to mine.  Everyone has their own things going on, including juggling responsibilities and some battling their own demons.  

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.
 
 

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!

 

 

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 35/52

With it feeling like Spring I have been doing some Spring Cleaning this week and doing jobs around the house (like cleaning carpets and windows) during times when I would normally do some knitting or spinning.  

Spinning and Knitting

I did do a bit more rolag spinning practice, with rolags I’d made with random bits of leftover fluff.  I thought with the yarn I would do a test version of the Northeasterly blanket, to try out a new increase I saw on someone’s blog.  The pattern says to use M1L and M1R for increases, but they are too fiddly, so I’d gone with Kfb. However, this gives an uneven look, so instead of kfb you do knit front of stitch, leave it on the needle and then slip instead of knitting the back.  This gives a far more symetrical pattern on either side of the centre line.  I don’t think you can tell on this photo, as its dark scraps I used, handy for storing my stitch markers though.  (Fellow YOPers and regular readers…Read under sea glass section below for information about how you can own a set of these markers.  First come first served basis.)

I’m wondering whether to frog my current progress on my real blanket…but then I’m impatient to finish Void and my socks, so I’ll pop the first strip on stitch holders and start a new column and then decide at some future date what to do with the strip I’m unhappy with.  

I am also getting impatient to start knitting a jumper (sweater) or cardigan.  

(I have 2 wonderful project bags from Tatty Designs on Etsy.  One is ideal for shawls and has Void in it, one is for socks and so when she finally made some in Winnie the Pooh fabric I couldn’t resist buying one in the larger size (ideal for jumper projects!).  I love it!)

So I am going to knit a swatch next week in my Cochrane yarn from Ripplescrafts.  I haven’t used this particular yarn before (although I am VERY familiar with her sock yarns).  I have the colourway called Bramble Picking…so of course it is purple…I am so predictable.  The yarn is a blend of Bowmont and Blue Faced Leicester breeds and I think I have decided which cardigan to make, assuming I get gauge on my swatch!  I have a shortlist on Ravelry by creating a Bundle…what a handy function!  The gauge swatch may sway a decision, but at the moment I am thinking the Elda cardigan.  

In the meantime, my wood pigeon coloured socks are progressing.  I got to the end of the gusset decreases on sock one and decided to start sock 2, so that when I knit the foot I can knit them 2 at a time and won’t have to bother counting rows!  This did mean finding the end of the yarn inside the ball and winding it into a cake, so that the order of the colours was correct.  No issue with knots  thank goodness, which had put me off before.

Dyeing

As the weather is improving I have been making plans to start dyeing practice again.  I have some yarn to dye for the Quick Sand cardigan pattern, plus multiple sock yarns to practice with.  So many things I want to knit, its frustrating I am not a quicker knitter.  

Felting 

I made a coin purse this week, which was on my YOP list and I am really pleased with it.  It only used 15g of corriedale wool and some bits of an old purse.  (Now in the US I am aware they call handbags ‘purses’, so not sure what they call things specifically to hold loose change.)  There’s a separate post about it if you’d like to find out more.

It was my felting group on Saturday and instead of taking my wet felting gear I took my needle felting stuff.  No picture yet, as its a surprise for someone and isn’t finished yet!

Sea glass

Earlier this week, I also did a separate post about some more sea glass and shell stitch markers I made, asking for some advice.  

Subsequently, I did another post aimed at my fellow YOPers and other regular readers/commenters of my blog.  It offers you the chance of having a set or two of the sea glass markers for just covering the costs of post and packing fees.  See the comments on that post first, as some have already been chosen and will be heading to Alaska and Arizona this week!  I picked up postage costs leaflet and some small padded envelopes today.  I just need to look up if PayPal take a % for converting currencies.

Drafted ideas for 2019-2020!!!  

There are so many yummy things I keep spotting, so I have already started to draft next year’s list!!!  If you fancy a nosey to see if something you made has inspired me to try to make my own next year.

 

 

Coin Purse

On my Year of Projects list is to ‘make a coin purse’.  This is because I had a grubby looking purse that I thought I could have a go at re-using the clasp.

I would love to tell you how I carefully designed it and measured a template to make it but I didn’t, I just winged it and by some miracle it ended up being the perfect size to fit the clasp.  Albeit a struggle to get the fabric to stay in whilst I closed the metal with pincers and trying not to mark the metal.  In the end I had to do away with protecting the metal and so it is scratched but the fabric has stayed in!  

I have never tried felting on a balloon before, so thought I would try it and it reminded me of newspaper and flour paste makes as a kid.  I was wetting bits of wool in soapy water first and then laying them on.  I added a tiny bit of sari silk waste to the outside just to add some interest, although the colour blend of the wool was lovely to start with.

The wool is a Corriedale cross so should be sturdy, from Fleece 4 Ewe.  I bought the carded batt, in sea blend colour-way, at a local fair for £4 and thought I’d do a seascape picture…I only used 15g of the 45g so still have plenty for a picture at some point.

When I was dismantling the old purse I found a waterproof layer between the cotton lining and commercial felt outside, so I thought I’d reuse that as my lining, once it was trimmed a bit and hand sewn to the new shape.

So here are the photos I took, I forgot to photograph it before fitting the clasp so you could see the shape!  Doh!!  Also it isn’t even fully dry yet so will lighten a touch.  I love it, despite the scratches and it isn’t pink or purple!!!  Is turquoise my new favourite colour?

 

 

Year of Projects – week 34/52

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Knitting

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

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

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

Spinning

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

Other crafts 

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

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

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

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

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

Year of Projects – week 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

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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 28/52

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I think this is the first year ever (well since I was old enough to write) that I haven’t written a list of new year’s resolutions!  On the 3rd I packed away all our Christmas decorations, a bit early but the tree was drooping and dropping needles and I was ready for a tidy house.   

It is interesting to be just over half way through the ‘Year of Projects’ and at the same time thinking about 2019 ambitions and plans.    I obviously want to finish my list by the end of June, but also have been thinking of some other ideas for this year.  As I haven’t really felt well enough to be knitting or doing other crafts I have been doing some catching up on other crafters blogs and vlogs, looking at Ravelry pattern searches and getting some inspiration for the year ahead.

I have decided to join in the Grocery Girls 2019 Sock Bash KAL, which in January has the theme of ‘local to me’, so I am going to use some of the locally dyed yarn I bought at Loch Ness Knit Fest.  I still need to pick one of the skeins and a pattern but they’ll be short socks for my small feet.  Under their KAL rules if you knit shorties then you need to knit 2 pair to qualify, I don’t wear long socks so better I make short socks I will wear.  I can’t see me knitting 24 pairs of socks this year though, so suspect I will only lightly participate in the KAL.

In 2017 I knit a short sleeve chunky jumper that I wore on a walk on January 1st 2018 and haven’t worn since.  I re-blocked it but realise I just don’t like how it sits on me.  It’s too short, neck is too tight, it is still pretty stiff and scratchy wool and so at some point I am going to frog it.  I will probably make a hat, cowl and mittens set with the yarn.

I have updated my YOP list to include the sock KAL, but still thinking and planning what else I may add to it, without endangering completion of everything already on it!

I had a go at making some rolags on my blending board on Boxing Day (before I was ill) and I seemed to wind them around the wooden poles so tightly it was very difficult to slide one of the poles out.  It looks so easy on the clips on YouTube.  I haven’t spun them yet.

On Saturday afternoon I found some clamps in the garage and had my first go with my hackle using some black suri alpaca, merino silk blend and mohair!  You may think me nuts using expensive fibres for first attempts, but when it is spun I will knit it into a keepsake as my first attempt.  It isn’t like I am short on fibre, I have 3 boxes like the one bottom left + tubs + cardboard boxes + bags!!  I have more fibre than yarn at the moment, but given I wet felt, needle felt and spin it, that makes sense.

On Thursday, I made a start on the Northeasterly blanket by Melissa Alexander-Loomis aka Skeinanigans.  The short rows are quite appealing, but I don’t have many sock yarn scraps at the moment, so will treat this as a very long term on-going project.  

 

I know I have said it before, but I am so glad I joined this YOP group, it keeps me motivated, the other makers inspire me and I love seeing their weekly posts.  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 27/52

 

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Christmas presents can now be revealed!

This is the scarf I wet felted for my dad.  From the softness and sheen on the wool fibre, I think it is Blue Faced Leicester fibre.  It was part of the stash I bought with my spinning wheel.  It is nice and soft so can easily be folded over and wrapped round his neck and keep him warm when playing golf or at the football.

The socks I made him used Susan B. Anderson’s How I Make My Socks pattern, after the disastrous previous attempt at another pattern which resulted in a giant sock.  The photo isn’t great as they were finished, wrapped and posted off pretty quickly.  The yarn was from Henny Penny Makes, an indie dyer who was at Loch Ness Knit Fest.  I really like the colour-way, called Squid Ink.  He says they are a perfect fit, which is a big relief.

My husband has had a bad case of man flu over Christmas, so this has meant I have been able to continue my Void shawl more than expected.  The marker shows my progress, but is deceiving as this is getting so much wider with each row.  I am on the 2nd of 6 balls so this will be very long when finished.

For Christmas I received a blending board and hackle…more on those next week!

On Boxing Day (day after Christmas Day) we always go to the pantomime, but he felt too ill to go and my MIL doesn’t like panto, so I went on my own.  I took my Lintilla with me to knit in the interval, but instead bought an ice-cream.  I still enjoyed the panto and joined in with all the booing the baddie and shouting “he’s behind you” etc.  Towards the end they invited some children on stage and asked them to name an animal so that we could all sing a version of ‘Old MacDonald had a farm’ and make the animal noises.  The first girl said ‘panda’!  It was hilarious as no-one in the theatre knows what noise a panda makes, so lots of strange noises made.  There was a wee 6 year old boy on the stage who, when asked who he’d come with, replied ‘my mum and dad, my granny and grandad and my spare granny’.  This got the biggest laugh of the night.  I love the panto, it is a thoroughly British Christmas tradition and I’m glad I still went.

As I have now fallen ill with the bug and needed some mindless knitting to do I have made quite a bit of progress on Lintilla.  I forgot to pop a marker in from last time, but there’s now quite a few ripples.  I am thinking that I won’t make this too big, but at the moment not sure how big to make it.  It’s sock wool so not cosy soft, perhaps when finished a good soak in fabric conditioner may soften it up a bit.  Any ideas?

 

I have done a blog post summarising 2018, this includes a selection of achievements and memorable things and it has a selection of photos of things I have created this year.

Year of Projects – week 26/52 Half way!

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 21/52

On Tuesday I finished the 1st sock of the pair that were going to be for my dad, but it will be too big for him, so they are now for my husband, but he asked if I could add some elastic to the cuff!  So some appeals for ideas on a sock knitting group on Ravelry, I have been given some ideas on how to knit a new cuff and cut off the old (they are a top down pattern).  So after a couple of days thinking about it I decided to have a break from the socks and knit something else.  Then spent the rest of the week trying to pick a pattern and yarn combo to work on.  I did do some more spinning of the camel silk blend and chain plied some…not my best chain ply as some look core spun.  Oh and I have been doing my backdoor Shetland spinning before bed (that may sound odd if you haven’t read previous posts).

I have gone back on antidepressants and hopefully they’ll start to kick in, in a few weeks.  In the meantime, I am going to try to get some structure back to my days.  My decluttering has continued and this week I dropped off a massive suitcase full of clothes I haven’t worn for years.  Plus some other bags of random things I no longer need.  But my creative juices have not been flowing this week.  

Next week I will have some photos and new creations.

 

Year of Projects – Week 20/52

This week, I have spent a lot of time thinking…too much time, which means I haven’t been as productive as usual.

My Christmas gift socks are coming along but I am still on the 1st sock; I am sure if I’d chosen a vanilla pattern I would be half way through 2nd sock by now.  My head is just too full to memorise the 10 row pattern repeat.  For sure my next pair will be a vanilla pair of ankle socks for my small feet lol!

I have been thinking about starting a 2nd knitting project at the same time as the socks, but I have spent days searching Ravelry looking at patterns and now I can’t decide which patterns I like most, so nothing cast on yet.

I have 13 patterns for the North Ronaldsay wool I bought!!! I can’t even seem to get a shortlist of 3!  How do you pick your patterns?  Should I go for another seamless top down pattern?  Decisions decisions!  As it is Aran weight I thought I should do cables..but as I have additional skeins in different colours I thought maybe could try Fair Isle…totally undecided.  By the time I have chosen I will have finished the socks lol

On the spinning front: on my spindle I am spinning some undyed Shetland fibre, I probably get about 15 foot spun when Ylva is sniffing the night air and doing her before bed wee!   On my wheel is the absolutely gorgeous baby camel and silk blend, honestly it is sooooooooooooo soft.  I bought it from Coastal Colours at the Highland Wool and Textile fair.  When I bought it I thought it was expensive at £26, but it’s 200g of beautifully dyed combed top of 50% baby camel and 50% tussah silk.  Not sure what I will make with it when its all spun, perhaps a fancy shawl…not that I ever go anywhere fancy.  Anyway in the meantime I love spinning it.

I missed another open day at the Highland Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, just need to find my big brave girl pants and go along.  I am such an introvert it is hard joining new things.

I mentioned in a previous post about an idea for a lantern…well here’s my 5 minute effort.  A bit of brown felt, some of the autumn sparkle blended fibre and a few stabs with the pale blue felting needle.  Simple.

Not related to YOP, but for anyone who read my post on hoarding

I have done a huge amount of ruthless chucking out, selling and donating things this week.  Stuff that I was keeping for sentimental reasons that I realised didn’t have that happy a memory linked with them, so this is the most I have ever got rid of.  Old letters from people I don’t even remember.  I have kept letters I received from 3 friends and the rest have gone, old slides I’d already scanned in have gone, loads of photographs, cards, my ballet point shoes, just loads of random sentimental stuff.  Also various random other crafting stuff, I had watercolour paints tubes that rattled…I bought them 27 years ago I realised!!!! 

My criteria:

a) Does it invoke a really happy memory?

b)  Am I 100% sure I will use?

If the answer was No…it has gone.  Now everything is accessible in my crafting wardrobe!  

 

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 – 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 🙄

Catch up on projects

I haven’t posted on my blog recently so I thought I’d do a catch up post on what I have been up to.

Dyeing

I had a go at dyeing 200g of White Cheviot Super Chunky Weight wool.  I started using Azalea and Tasman colours from the Landscape dyes and then added Pilbara and then put some Ashford Hot Pink mixed with Ice (blue).  This wool was a real sponge soaking up the colours, so I just kept chucking more of the colours in!  I love the finished hank, except the Tasman colour has made a few green bits.  I don’t have much imagination for colourway naming, so this is logged in Ravelery as “Dusty Rose”.

Sewing

Today I made a knitting project bag and notions pouch.

Wet and needle felting

At my felting group I made my first picture, of a Highland Cow!  He has a hunchback and some other issues, but for a first attempt at a proper picture I am quite happy.
 

Spinning

My neighbour’s parents have a Samoyed dog and kindly collected some dog hair brushings for me to spin.  I have only done a test spin and chain ply with one handful and I’m excited to spin the 2 bags full that I have.  My first attempt was unwashed when spun and I am going to try a small washed batch to see how that compares.  The raw fur was lovely to spin with, very soft on my fingers, but my dog, Ylva, kept coming over for a sniff!
 

Knitting

My Chimney Fire cardigan is progressing, despite a number of struggles with the pattern.  I have a baking tray with various sections of the pattern stuck on with magnets and have a list of row numbers so I don’t lose track of which body row number goes with which cable pattern.  I did the same for the collar section too, where there were 3 different row numbers to keep track of on each knitted row!! 
 
 

Tour de Fleece

Finally, I mentioned previously that I had taken part in this year’s Tour de Fleece, as part of The Corner of Knit and Tea team.  I was randomly selected to receive a fiber gift and all the way from Kansas, USA came this lovely Corriedale wool in Poppy colourway.  I am thinking I may use it to wet felt a poppy handbag or poppy picture, rather than spinning it. It also came with a couple of tea bags too. 😁i
 
 
 

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. 

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!