Sunday, January 20, 2013
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Elizabeth from Bluestockings arrived this week with a great idea for a stash busting project. St Margaret's Church, Oxford have put out a call for 200 of these little sheep for their knitted nativity. The nativity is going to go on a journey throughout Advent, stopping at a different house each night before arriving at the church on Christmas Eve, and they want to give a knitted sheep from the nativity to every child in the congregation. I think this is a really sweet idea, plus I have a lot of half balls of cream and white wool to user up!
Saturday, November 03, 2012
Pattern: Warriston by Kate Davies
Yarn: Studio Donegal Soft Donegal in Shade 5230 Orange; 5 skeins*
Needles: 5.5mm circular throughout
Mods: knit body to 16" and sleeves to 17" to get the right length and knit a funnel neck instead of cowl neck.
I had a bit of a Hermione Granger in Prisoner of Azkaban moment looking at this photo ("is that what my hair really looks like from the back?"**) but at least I'm pleased with how the sweater looks.
I ended up knitting both the body and sleeves a bit longer than specified in the pattern in order to get the right fit and this led to me running perilously short of yarn by the time I got to the neck. By the time I'd done the two sets of decreases in the reverse stocking stitch section of the cowl it was clear that I wasn't going to have enough yarn to be able to knit the neck as written. Of course I could have ordered more yarn but I was really impatient to wear the sweater and besides, for some reason, even though I'd tried on the sample and looked at the pictures I'd kind of remembered the neck as a funnel rather than a cowl. So I knit a funnel as follows: once I got to the end of the raglan shaping I worked two more repeats of the raglan decreases to get down to 80 sts. Then I knit 4 vertical repeats of the Warriston stitch pattern and topped it off with the i-cord bind-off.
I'm really happy with the result. The funnel neck fits really nicely inside the collar of my coat (no need for a swarf with this sweater), it's still cosy but there's not too much fabric round my neck.
The Donegal Soft is lovely too - as the name suggests it's a much softer yarn some other Irish tweeds and the colour is fantastic. I bought it at Kate's stand at Woolfest on a ridiculously cold and wet Cumbrian day and the bright orange yarn just seemed to promise that I would be warm again at some point in the future.
* NB I ran a bit short hence the neck alterations
** I tried to find the clip but You Tube suddenly turned into a very scary place
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
It's been a busy summer. I've been to Germany, I've been to the Olympics, I've walked 50 miles with a pack on my back. I've knitted a few things, and I've been spinning. My new found love for drop spindling lasted after I got back from Woolfest. I got a little sidetracked with knitting cushions for Woolsack and a ballet cardigan for my niece but here and there I put in some time on the drop spindle and I'm now spinning up my third braid of fibre. This is a beautiful braid of hand-dyed Blue Faced Leicester from Blackbird Fibres which Felix gave me earlier this year. It's perfect seasonal spinning with warm reds, oranges, and purples. The plan is to spin 4 super skinny plies which should add up to a thin 4 ply or sock yarn. In fact since I have 160g of fibre there may be enough to make enough 4 ply for gloves and then make a heavier weight yarn for a matching hat.
Friday, June 29, 2012
Monday, June 25, 2012
Although these look like a medieval instrument of torture they are in fact used to turn this:
which can be spun into this:
[world's tiniest skein of yarn]
Unfortunately before I can start playing with my combs I have to wash and dry at least one of my fleeces. When I emailed my husband to let him know that I would be coming home from Woolfest with not one but two fleeces he said that was fine, his only stipulations were that I should wash them on a fine day and when he wasn't around. Since the sun was out today and he was at work it seemed like an ideal day for prepping the Gotland fleece.
First I spread it out on the lawn to pick out the mucky bits:
I'd usually refer to this as skirting but since it was impossible to see where the skirts of the fleece were it's not really appropriate in this case.
It's a lovely fleece I think, mostly silver coloured locks with a few light brown and grey patches, and pretty clean. There were only a few locks that I had to discard.
I put the fleece through four or five changes of hot water with a little bit of liquid detergent in the first bucket with long soaks in between then spread it out to dry.
The rest of this half of the fleece should be dry by tomorrow and then I can start combing!
Whilst the fleece was soaking I was getting on with spinning and plying the Freyalyn's Fibres bfl from Woolfest. I wound the fibre from each spindle into a double ply Nostepinne ball and then plied it.
After plying I had just under 100 metres of a lovely 4 ply yarn and lots of fibre still to spin up. I should definitely have a decent amount of yarn for socks or mittens afterwards.
These are so beautiful. I love the combination of colourwork and lace at the cuff and the butterfly motif, not to mention the fact that they are toasty warm.
Of course eventually they will wear out but when they do I can knit my own pair of Estonian mittens from this amazing book.
All the text is in Estonian but since the book doesn't actually contain any patterns, just photos and charts, that's not a problem.
I love the fact that Estonian mitten patterns just consist of the chart, it's assumed that everyone already knows how to knit a mitten.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
I blame Felix for taking me to visit Cecelia Hewett (Woolclip member and handspinner extraordinaire) earlier in the week. The peer pressure of Felix, Mel and Cecelia all spinning away whilst I plodded on with my Woolsack cushion was just too much to bear and I immediately mentally added drop spindle and fibre to my Woolfest shopping list, just so that I wouldn't have to wait until I got back home before I could start spinning again.
I haven't really got on very well with drop spindling in the past as I've always worried about not being able to produce a decent quantity of a consistent lightweight yarn. However, now that I've been spinning on a wheel for a few years I'm more confident in my ability to draft the yarn consistently and to be able to judge the right amount of twist needed and, hopefully, reproduce it. My aim now is to spin up the whole of this fibre using the spindle, wind it into at least two little eggs using a Nostepinne (I very much hope that Felix will have been able to pick one up for me today) and create a 4 ply yarn that will be suitable for socks or mittens. If this is a success then I'll be spinning up more fibre in this way as the drop spindle is definitely more portable and more sociable (i.e. quieter) than the wheel for spinning out and about and in the evenings.