Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Spinning

I finally got round to washing and taking pictures of my hand-spun. Here they are drying - so lovely:


Here is what I have been spinning:

First up is some Babylonglegs BFL in Mirasol - the most gorgeous colourway - oranges, browns and yellows:

(Picture taken from the Babylonglegs Folksy Site)

I was going to ply it with a pale cream undyed BFL but it was lying next to some dark brown Ronaldsay - and they just talked to each other. So I plied them together and got this yummy yarn:
Top Skein: Next up is some blue/green roving I bought from Natalie at The Yarn Yard. This was rolled into a ball and was aptly names gobstoppers and there is one shown on her blog. I plied this back onto itself and it is so soft and squish and was a dream to spin.

Botton Skein: I emptied the bobbins of all the yarn I had been using as training yarn and got a skein of mixed colours that looks a little like ice-cream. It's a bit slubby but I couldn't throw it out.


Top: The top skein is a small skein made from plain dyed merino bought from shunlikes.

Middle: I still had some of the Mirasol left and plied it with some pale grey Ronaldsay.

Bottom: I hadn't split the gobstopper exactly in half so had some left over so for fun I plied it with some of the remaining Mirasol from Babylonglegs. I really like this combination.



I was really surprised with some of these combinations and am very proud of my bundle of skeins. Do you like them?



Saturday, November 14, 2009

Stuffed and Sent

Thought I'd show you pictures of the stocking I made for my swap. I based it on the Mason Dixon Christmas Stocking.

Here it is just before I sent it - all stuffed and ready to go.

Close up of the name (and yes that is how you spell her name) and I chose to do the corrugated rib as I love the effect.

Do you like the snowflake? You can see my tension is much tighter here and the stocking pulls in. Maybe next time I will go up a needle size for the fair-isle.


I put the year on the back - I like that idea. The foot just kept going though - and that toe is super-pointy!!!


Monday, November 9, 2009

Christmas Stocking Swap

I've been having a really bad, stressful time recently - won't bore you with the details here. But in the middle of all the doom and gloom something lovely arrived.

My Christmas Stocking *grin*

My lovely knitter made me this stocking:


It came full of goodies too:


There was a book, two balls of sock yarn, some Christmas pencils (which my son will love) and some fun Chinese-looking straws. The stocking is *huge* - does that mean I'll get more presents at Christmas?

Thank you so much - it really cheered me up!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Abandoned

Oh dear knitting blog - how I have abandoned you....

I will be back with project updates and ideas and lists and yarn and fibre and spun yarn.....

Not sure when though...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Log cabin Blanket


So - I started on it. I decided not to use the Rowan Tweed as I think I sold most of it. But I did realise I have a substantial stash of Cascade 220 bought for a Dr. Who scarf which I know I will never make and for Harry Potter hats/scarves.I cast on and followed the instructions and made my first square.

I love the pattern, love the colours, love the yarn... but hate the picking up. I am just rubbish at it and can't seem to get it neat. The perfectionist is telling me to rip it all back and start again but I think I will leave it and hopefully by the end of the squares I will see an improvement in my tension and my techniques.My problem seems to be using the correct part of the stitch to use when picking up - and no amount of googling is helping me to find the correct bit to use. Feeling frustrated.
In the meantime these are the colours I have to hand - but I have a few more on the way from a few kind Ravellers who are letting me buy up their Cascade 220 stashes - hee.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Log Cabin Blankets

For a long time I have drooled over the knitted log cabin blankets that I see in the Mason Dixon books and on their blog. I have a load of Rowan tweed that is yelling to be used for some big project and I think a blanket may well be the thing. So - today I was catching up on their blog and find the details for making Clif's Squares Blanket and thought this should be the one for me. Each square is worked individually and then you fit them all together at the end like a patchwork blanket. I am very excited by this and want to collect all my bits together and use this as my holiday project as it looks easily portable - and not socks. (Which I have to admit to being very, very slow at.)

The pattern looks easy enough for me to do. Knit a garter square, add on two rows of a contrasting colour, add a border block. Turn. Pick up stitches and do another contrasting colour ridge and then a border block. Repeat the turn twice more and you get a yummy square.



Photo from http://www.masondixonknitting.com

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Drop Spindling on Youtube

I often find myself looking for the same thing over and over again. One of these things is the drop spindling tutorials on YouTube. So I thought I would link them into my blog for ease of use.

So here we go - a list of tutorials you may find useful if you are new to drop spindling or want to improve your techniques.

Megan LaCore has a number of videos showing the techniques:


I love watching her tutorials - she is very clear and shows what you need to do - the only thing that bugs me is she always has background music playing! I found her blog as well which is full of lots of craft information.

Abby Franquemont also has a number of videos:


Some of Abby's are purely just to watch her spin which is useful once you have the basics. She has a lot of other videos about wheel spinning - but I'll save those until I have the wheel I am borrowing. (Did I tell you all I'm borrowing a spinning wheel? So excited!)

Some videos of Navajo plying:

Will add more links to this later - but have to take the kids out.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sock Pattern - Plain and Simple

Sock Pattern

2.5mm needles and sock yarn

Cast on 64 sts, join and PM

12 rows of 1x1 rib
40 rows of plain knit

Divide for heel:
Remove stitch marker and knit across 32 sts
Turn
Sl1, purl to end
Sl1, knit to end
Repeat until 32 rows have been worked
Work one more row

Turn heel:
Knit 18 sts, ssk, k1, turn
Sl1, p5, p2tog, p1, turn
Sl1, k6, ssk, k1, turn
Repeat last two until all heel stitches have been worked - 18sts

Instep:
Divide amongst 3 needles
Knit across 18 heel stitches
Pick up and knit 18sts down edge of heel flap, pm1, k32 sts across foot, pm2, pick up and knit 18sts - 86 sts
Row 1: Knit to within 2 sts of 1st marker, k2tog, knit to 2nd marker, ssk
Row 2: Knit
Repeat 10 more times 64sts

Foot:
Knit for 46 rows
- ending at 1st marker

Toe:
Row 1: K1, ssk, knit to within 3sts of 2nd marker, k2tog, knit 2, ssk, knit to within 3sts of 1st marker, k2tog, k1
Row 2: Knit
Repeat until 28 sts remain

Place 14sts on two needles and graft

A bad knitting week

It's not been the best of knitting weeks. I'm seem to have hit a bit of a rut.

I have lots of projects I am really wanting to get my needles into but just can't seem to clarify my thoughts and wool.

First up was the lovely dress I was making for Orla. It's a Zoe Mellor pattern called Daisy Dress. It's a lovely, simple dress made in cotton with a big flower on - perfect for Orla. I chose and bought some lilac and pink wool with blue for the flower. Being me I resisted making it on straight needles and cast it on with circulars, adapting the pattern accordingly. All was going well until I had a session knitting in the dark at my God-daughter's dance show. I wasn't really concentrating on the knitting - just letting the stitches happen. When I picked it up the next day I noticed I had managed to knit the row counter *into* the dress. The only options were to cut into the loop on the row counter or to frog back. So I put it into my bag and hoped the knitting fairies would sort it out. I'll continue this story in a while.

In the meantime... remember the jumper for Martin? (Mentioned on my February Update.) Well much as I love it - I do need to have the pattern with me at all times - and that is hard work for me and I found I wasn't picking it up at all. Knitting the Daisy Dress for Orla prompted me to re-think the jumper - plain stocking stitch on circular needles is ideal for me at the moment - pretty much brain-free. I frogged the Cheesy Puffs. So - I reached for my Elizabeth Zimmermann Knitter's Almanac knowing she had a simple pattern in there and cast on the Hurry Up Last Minute Sweater. Unfortunately I didn't really think it through. I swatched and cast on using huge needles. After a few rows I realised it was too loose - the needles were simply too big - so my yarn is simply not chunky enough for this pattern.

At knitting group this week - Louise frogged back the Daisy Dress (bless her) and saved the stray stitch marker. So - I was just picking it up to knit again - and it was laid out flat on two circulars and it made me appreciate the full size of it. It was *huge*. Big enough to fit me, never mind Orla (she's a petite 3-year old!) So - it had to be frogged along with the Martin jumper - not a good day. So now both are sitting off the needles - waiting for the chance to start again!

In the meantime I cast on and started knitting Martin Storey's Hardwick Slipover. I have completely changed the colours and the yarn and am really pleased with it... until I noticed that I have a twist on my circular needles and am going to have to frog it all back again....

Is someone trying to tell me something??

I do have something wonderful to blog about though - but will need to take photos first...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Koolaid Dyeing

I bought a load of Kool Aid sachets yonks ago and never got round to using it. Well today was sunny with a light breeze and I was kid-free for a bit.. So I went for it.

It was fun actually and didn't take anywhere as long as´╝ęthought.

I used two tutorials:
Kiki's Kool-Aid Class by Catherine J Hall
Dyed in the wool from the Knitty site




I took four different types of yarn and used different colours on them. There was no planning in it at all - I just wanted to do it and see what happened. If I do it again I will take more time and consider the colours I actually want.

Using Kool Aid is fun - all the yummy fruit smells. It does alarm me that these are marketed as drinks for kids and have the chemical composition to dye wool (and my hands.)

So - back to the yarn.

Pictured from left to right: 



Yarn One:
Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK - 50grams
Colours used: 1 x Pink Lemonade + 1 x Black Cherry
I mixed the colours together on this one and put the yarn (pre-soaked) in with the dye and enough water to cover and then zapped it in the microwave. (2 mins + rest + 2 mins) Once it had cooled I rinsed with cool water (amazingly it ran clear straight away) and hung it out on the line to dry.

Yarn Two:
Bought from the Natural Dye Studio - Alpaca/Merino 4ply/Sock yarn - 100grams
Colours used: 2 x Cherry, 2 x Tropical Punch, 2 x Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade
I pre-soaked the yarn and then mixed the dyes with a little water and spooned it on to sections of the yarn. Once I had the dyes on I put it in a bowl and gave it a microwave blast before rinsing and hanging out to dry.

Yarn Three:
Bought from Woolfish - Sock yarn (60% merino, 15% bamboo, 15% nylon, 10% silk) - 100grams
Colours used: 1 x Lemon Lime + 1 x Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade, 2 x Strawberry
I pre-soaked the yarn and then mixed the dyes with a little water and spooned it on to sections of the yarn. Once I had the dyes on I put it in a bowl and gave it a microwave blast before rinsing and hanging out to dry.

Yarn Four:
Fyberspates Squishy Yarn - 50% BFL and 50% Alpaca - 100grams
Colours used: 3 x Grape, 3 x Orange
Ruaridh and Orla helped with this one and chose purple and orange for the colours. I skeined the yarn but it was much shorter than the others so I just opted for half in each colour.  


Once it had been microwaved and cooled I rinsed it. Lots and lots of dye came out of it and the colours look really murky. Not as happy with this one as with the others.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lace Knitting

I've been starting, planning, testing and doing a lot of lace knitting recently. I thought I'd share some of it with you. All works in progress at the moment.

First up is a shawl I am making with a huge load of alpaca tweed I have. I cast on 5 stitches and used simple yarn over increases. Every 4th row I am doing yarn over/k2 together to make the holes. When I feel like it I make one of those into an increase row. I love the look of it but as yet have no idea what it will look like when it is finished or who it is for. I am guessing it will finish up as a simple triangular shawl. The yarn is lovely to work with and I am using an addi lace circular to knit with and I am loving the combination.


































































Next up is some Rowan Kidsilk Spray I bought in a sale. I was attracted to the colour and didn't really think it through. I love the idea of mohair knitting - but it really is incredibly hard to knit with. I am trying a simple scarf with lots of yarn overs to open it up. Here it is about 8 rows in and it is so slow to knit - I think I need to find some pointier and more slippery needles. Sorry about the poor photo I was having problems getting it to focus:





















As I liked the pattern I was doing with the Kidsilk I decided to cast it on again with another yarn. So this is the same yarn but on bigger needles and with a really different yarn - this is 100% silk from Louisa Harding - an absolute dream to knit with. I can see this being finished long before the blue. Again apologies for the lack of photo-focus!



First Socks


First Socks
Originally uploaded by Pollianicus
Finally I have finished a pair of socks...

Pattern: Plain pattern from Jitterbug label
Yarn: Lorna's Lace Sassy Stripes
Time taken: Forever

They are gorgeous.... but too small - after all that work!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Woolfestival - St Abbs

At the weekend my friend Louise hosted a Woolfestival in St.Abbs. As I am sure you are all aware she runs the wonderful Woolfish shop based at St. Abbs Head. A real Aladdin's cave. The festival is held in the local village hall, formerly the school and is wonderful.

This time there were stalls from Woolfish, Yarn Yard, The Border Tart and the gorgeous Cairndinnis Alpacas. I didn't get chance to go out and spend time with the alpaca like I did last time - they are so sweet.

I came away with a smal stash of lovely yarn. This is some hand-spun from The Border Tart:


I bought three skeins of Caber from The Yarn Yard in the most gorgeous metal-toned colours:



I also got some gorgeous hand-dyed yarn with a matching plain small skein to make contrasting heel and toes on socks:



So two days before the festival I contacted Natalie from The Yarn Yard and asked if she wanted a hand on the stall. I turned up at just before 10 and sat down, I think four hours later, having never stopped talking and selling on her lovely stall. It was an absolute dream. In the afternoon it was a little quieter and we had the chance to get to know each other a little (we have never met before) and Natalie taught me how to spin on a drop spindle.

Well - I loved it - and here are some pictures of it all. Please bear in mind this is the first time I have ever spun and I am thrilled with the results - even if it does look a little uneven.

This is the first yarn I made - it is hand spun on a drop spindle from a mixture of merino silk and shetland roving and plied together using Andean plying:





This is what I have on my spindle at the moment - this is the merino silk roving which is wonderfully smooth. 80% merino wool and 20% silk.



I absolutely love working with this fibre and have another 100g in one of the other colourways to also spin. This is available from the Yarn Yard in five colours and is gorgeous - I may have to get some of the other colourways too..

Wunderknauel



A Wunderknauel is a ball of yarn full of gifts.

How does that work you may well ask - well you get some gifts together and a skein of wool and you wrap the presents up in the wool. The idea is that the intended then knits from the ball and gradually reveals the secrets hidden within. Such a fabulous idea don't you think.

I was involved in a swap with Ravelry and I was the luckiest person to receive mine first. So while others are still fretting about sending theirs, never mind receiving I had the luxury of my gift arriving super-early.

Here is what it looked like when it arrived...





Intreaguing huh?

The yarn is hand-dyed silk and a great shade of purple. Included were four suggested patterns - all lovely scarves and shawls. I decided to try one but it really did not suit the yarn so frogged back and settled on the gorgeous Cobweb Shawl. It really is a nice knit. As I am not a purl-lover I am making all the purl rows garter stitch - I'm still loving it though.





Now as you will have also seen from the picture above there is some weird stuff going on. I started to knit thinking I would be able to leave all the presents wrapped in the wool but as I progressed it was becoming harder and harder to do that - the yarn was getting caught on some of the objects inside. So I decided to unravel it. But - I was already knitting and didn't want to frog back - so I started to just go for it. Of course I got in a complete mess and at the moment have three mini sections of yarn that all need winding back into one ball before I can continue. Such a numpty. Oh well - you live and learn.

It does mean, however that I have released the presents. Here they are:






Lots of lovely things - tea, coffee and jewellery. No wonder the yarn kept getting snagged - all that lovely bling!

And finally.... here is a little sneak preview of the one I am sending - a small hint - it's a very Posh parcel....

Saturday, February 28, 2009

BSJ - number 3

Did I mention I have finished Finlay's Baby Surprise jacket? Forgive the poor quality photos - taken on my mobile - not the best camera.

I used Noro Cash Iroha - an absolute dream to work with.

The buttons are fair-trade ones that Morag chose from a wool shop in Livingston.

The hat is a woolly wormhead creation which I love. A little like the umbilical cord hat. Pity it's too small for Finlay though.







A much better quality photo from Morag of them in use:

Friday, February 27, 2009

February '09 Update

I have a lot of projects on the go at the moment so thought I'd give you a but of a run-down.

First of all I rounded up all the socks I have on needles to shame myself into finishing a pair...


Yarn: Lorna's Lace - Sassy Stripe
Pattern: Simple sock from the label on Colinette's Jitterbug
Progress - 1 complete and 25% of sock 2


Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug - Berry Coulis
Pattern: Simple sock from the label on Colinette's Jitterbug
Progress - 1 complete and just cast on sock 2
Notes - no ribbing at top of sock - plain knitting so curls (love that!) First sock is too small so either need to frog back or gift


Yarn: Can't remember - I suspect it has bamboo in
Pattern: Simple sock from the label on Colinette's Jitterbug
Progress - 1 complete and need to start no. 2


Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug (?)
Pattern: Simple sock from the label on Colinette's Jitterbug
Progress - 80% through no.1
Notes: Simple curl top and 1 x 1 rib on heel flap


Next up is a jumper I have cast on for Martin. I am using New Lanark's chunky wool which I had to phone up to order as it is not on their site. It is gorgeous yarn - in a mushroom colour with flecks of colour through it. The pattern is called Cheesy Puffs on account of the bumps that are created. I really like the pattern - nice and simple but the texture looks good. The photo doesn't do it justice - but it is a lovely knit. I want to check my measurements before I go any further though.



Also on my needles is my first lace project. Aptly named A Beginner's Triangle it is still causing me problems. But I guess it will get easier - there are just a few odd stitches that I need to master. I haven't got very far with it yet.





I finally finished knitting the squirrel mittens but still need to block them. They were a good exercise in mitten knitting and I learned that I knit really, really tight - these are adult size (apparently) but fit my five year old son!



The practice on the squirrel mittens was useful when I started the Posh Winter Cottage Mittens. I love the pattern on these and the yarn is gorgeous to work with. I went up a size or two on the needles to help with my tight knitting but have still not got it right. This is where I got up to before frogging them back completely as they were still too small. Maybe I need to make man-size mittens to get the right size!!



I do have other things on the needles - a secret present for XXX, a jumper for me, a scarf for Orla and a jumper for Orla - all are either secret or stagnating - must sort them out....