The calm before the storm

Posted by Caroline in doubleweave, Family, felting, Spinning, Stashbash, Weaving on August 9th, 2018

I have been busy but I’ve nearly caught up now except for the dusting. We went on holiday where I decided I’d rather sail a dinghy than a yacht because although I like the speed I also like my holidays with a good shower, headroom and no marine toilet. We came back from holiday to an incredible amount of tile dust and a shell of a bathroom (no toilet, marine or otherwise). I ran off to a knitting retreat leaving someone else in charge of the bathroom fitters, all meals and gardening. Everything has settled down again and now we are waiting for A level results after which there will be another flurry of activity as we get everything together for the teen to move into self catered halls. So far all I have bought is towels which is better than nothing I suppose.

Over the last couple of months there has been little knitting because it has been far too hot. This summer is being compared with the summer of 1976 which I remember very well. So far we’ve not had a hosepipe ban or a plague of ladybirds but it has been consistently very hot and very dry. The British summer is usually lukewarm with frequent rain so this is not at all what we are used to. On the plus side the grass has stopped growing, I think it may have stopped living but we’ll see what happens the next time that it rains. I have managed to keep spinning. This is just shy of a kilo of yarn for the weft of a doubleweave blanket. It could be the warp but I think it’s the weft, I need to sit down with a calculator and crunch some numbers to work out just how big a blanket I can make with 2kg of yarn. I’m aiming for “big enough” and if it isn’t then I’ll be looking round for some other yarn to add in as stripes.

This is the test piece for the doubleweave blanket. You can see the vertical colour changes as the bottom layer swaps with the top layer. You can see that one stripe started with red on the top and then switched to white on the top. No-one needs to be polite about this photo, this is the header and is unpicked/cut off at the end. It looks as if I’m nearly ready to go but I’m not because the friction brake is slipping. I’m assuming that dust is a lubricant and all I need to do is to wipe down the brake with some sort of a solvent so that it grips instead of slips. This is husband territory, he would have vanished into the garage, come back with a smelly cloth and sorted it for me. This time I am on my own. I should really disassemble the brake but seeing as the beam has the warp on it I’d rather not do that if I can get away with it. First I have to locate the appropriate smelly liquid and then see if I can clean it enough to get by, possibly with the aid of a toothbrush.

One of the touristy things on sale everywhere in Greece was olive oil soap. I didn’t bring any home because I know where I can buy it locally in great big blocks as it is sold for feltmakers. It did get me thinking about soap and how little I knew about it other than having covered saponification in chemistry. I now know more about it than I did before and know what a particular oil will add to a recipe in terms of lather, hardness, cleansing or conditioning. The bars on the right I’m using now as they were cold pour oven process, a heated phase at the end speeds the reaction so you don’t have to wait six weeks for the soap to cure. The ingredients for those came off the shelf at the local supermarket, you could eat it right up until the addition of the caustic soda. The bars on the left are at week two of curing, these are intended as shampoo bars but obviously I’m a way off testing that. They are coconut oil, olive oil, shea butter and caster oil, it’s the caster oil that is the big thing in shampoo bars. It was an interesting diversion and as I still have a chunk of shea butter in the bottom of the fridge I will be making some more soap/lotion/hand cream. It has all the fun of cooking without the calories.

I used some of my new soap to make some felt, not a lot because I did the bulk of the felting in the washing machine. I needed a new cover for the wormery, the top layer that keeps it moist and dark. There is a plastic lid that goes over the whole thing but this is in effect a duvet to keep the worms happy while they get on with the important job of making compost. What I did was make a swiss roll of wool and bubble wrap, tie it up and run it through the washer. If I’d made a better job of tying the swiss roll together or had a single piece of bubble wrap rather than two I might have got away with it. One of the pieces of bubble wrap escaped, the wool folded back on itself resulting in one end that is very thick with the whole piece being a bit short. It’s fit for purpose, has cleared some wool from the floor and I quite like it even though now I wish I’d attempted to do something with the two colours rather than slap them together. I have some fleece that is not good for much so I will be doing this again but not until I’ve found a bigger sheet of bubblewrap. The worms seem to be happy on a cardboard and caffeine diet, the bulk of what they have is tea bags, coffee grounds, toilet roll middles and the odd eggshell and ripped up cardboard box. The bottom tray of the wormery is now full of black compost and the ghosts of tea bags, there is a small amount of plastic in the bag that does not compost. I am not yet annoyed enough to switch to leaf tea but I might be after I’ve picked hundreds of them out of the compost.

In June I sold 300g fibre, knitted one pair of blue/bright striped socks (90g), three pairs orange/brown socks (270g) making a total used of 660g. I did buy fibre and yarn in July, both are going into the blanket and half of the fibre is already dyed and spun. I knitted a pair of socks (90g), threw away 240g of fibre (I know, shock horror but it wouldn’t have felted and I didn’t like it) and bought 500g of yarn and 600g of fibre. It was a net gain for the month of 800g and a reduction to date of 5.8kg.



I should be packing

Posted by Caroline in Spinning, Weaving on July 6th, 2018

We are a household that has always packed for holidays on the morning that we leave. I don’t know why we do it that way, we just do. That means that it is not yet time to pack, it is time to make the lists of all the things that need to be packed and the last minute jobs that need to be done (empty the fridge, clean out the coffee machine). As I still feel responsible for the resident adult in training I have a list for him too. I’ve not yet hit peak stress levels but I’m well on the way.

That explains why I’m spinning, it is a nice quiet relaxing activity if it is going well, and it is. I have a pen and paper next to me on the table to jot down all the things that I still need to do before I lock the door behind us (empty tea pot and kitchen bin). I changed my mind about this project three bobbins in, I was going to ply these two braids (left) together and have 240g of yarn but the current plan is to ply them with something else that I haven’t dyed yet and use the resulting 500g of yarn as a contrast with four other braids that I had sitting around. It is working up to be a Grand Plan, nothing new there because I’m all about starting simple and then enhancing to ridiculous proportions. I’m not at all convinced at the moment about the two yarns working together and I might yet ditch the pink/grey combo altogether and dye something that works better with the brown/purple. I’ll work that out later. The sensible answer would be to sample and then I’d find out what the combination looked like before I worked my way through a kilo of fibre. I have the fibre, the dye and the time so the worse case scenario is that I end up spinning an extra 500g and end up with two projects rather than one, either way is a win.

The problem with this change of direction is that I’d filled three bobbins by the time I realised that it was going to be a while before I plied them. If I’d planned this properly I would have started with the fibre that I was going to be able to ply straight away rather than the one that I have to dye for. This is a new wheel and it only has four bobbins, additional ones are £26 for plastic, £35 for wood and seeing as the last time I bought a bobbin they were £12 I was finding that a bit hard to swallow. The solution involved five minutes with a pair of scissors and items that I already had. Ta da! I now have storage bobbins. The centre is a weaving bobbin (12 for £10 if you don’t already have them), the ends are board left from bookbinding and I used the bobbin winder to wind off from the spinning wheel bobbin. I could have made bigger end discs, they are the size of a mug seeing as that is what I drew around but larger circular objects are available. If you were buying weaving bobbins just for this purpose I’d go with the 6″ ones (10 for £14) but seeing as the 4″ ones are the ones that fit my boat shuttle that’s what I have. When I’m done I can remove the board ends and turn them back to their original purpose.

The Tailor sock hasn’t grown as much as I’d hoped, mostly because it has been too hot to be knitting. It is a long sock, seventy five pattern rounds until the heel and I’m on round 49 now. It shoots along after the heel because the colourwork knocks off and there is only one cable pattern rather than two. I will probably send it home for a fitting once I’ve turned the heel because it’s a lot of work for it not to fit.

While we are on holiday the main bathroom will vanish into a skip. The sink is cracked, hung so it doesn’t drain completely and has two different taps. The bath is chipped, has a tap that works when it feels like it and no-one but the dog has used it in the last twelve years. There’s nothing wrong with the toilet but it’s coming out anyway. We will return to a building site and then the new bathroom (power shower, no bath) will go in the following week. That would be the week where I have two days away and will be leaving the other resident adult in charge. When I booked my knitting retreat that was the only thing in the calendar, the holiday and bathroom project came along later. I’m sure it will all be fine….

 



Me vs sock scraps yet again

Posted by Caroline in Dyeing, hats, Knitting, Spinning on May 24th, 2018

I’m still on a mission to reduce the bag of sock yarn leftovers. They are tumbling out of the top of the bag so it’s either use some up or get a bigger bag. I’ve gone down the route of “bigger bag” once  already so that has not proved to be much of a long term solution. I would normally knit half a dozen pairs of striped socks but the only feet that need socks are my son’s and he says that he has enough now. After further discussion it seems that was because he had too many to fit in the drawer, I came up with storage solutions and now I have the green light to knit more.

This should have been a hat with earflaps but I was done with it before I reached that stage. It is all leftover sock yarn so even without earflaps it is a winner. This is a free pattern, Ch’ullu and I rather liked it but not enough to make another. My dislike is down to setting off with a circular needle that was just slightly too short so it was an effort to move the stitches along. It did stretch the floats out nicely so I stuck with it. When I changed to dpns after the decreases you could see the transition very clearly – lovely smooth colourwork vs puckering. A quick pass with a steam iron made it all look the same so I could have changed needles without making it obvious in the knitting. Learning through doing it wrong – I make these mistakes so you don’t have to.

For the record, 100g of yarn does not an Ulina make. This weighs 163g which explains why I ran out of the main colour just before reaching the sleeves. After that it all went downhill because I was knitting at night and I thought that the solid yarn was brown which would have picked out the brown in the first yarn. It was a shock the next morning to find that it was a deep burgundy which went with nothing at all. I should have ripped it out but I’d already done the messing about at the beginning of the sleeves and it was easier not to bother. It doesn’t have buttons yet, I made buttonholes on both sides so I can be indecisive right until the last minute. The body yarn in this is the one from my last post, the scary orange vanished with a bit of red dye.

This is my third project out of the sock scrap bag. Much as I would love to know how much it weighs that won’t be happening until it is finished because it is set out in the order that I want to put it on the loom and I’m not messing that up just to weigh it. It should end up at two metres long, if it is a thing of wonder and beauty then I’ll make three or four more and make it into a blanket. If it remains as unappealing as it looks now then I’ll cut it in half, sew it together side by side and make a lap blanket. Either way it gets me back into weaving and uses up sock scraps. I’m not going to say “how can it possibly go wrong?” because it’s years since I warped a loom and I’m rediscovering all those beginner errors that I thought I’d left behind me.

I’m still ahead on yarn usage because I haven’t bought any. I’ve knitted the hat without earflaps (71g) and the baby jacket (163g), two more Tychus (180g) and most of a pair of socks that will fall into next month. I also sold 560g of fibre so the total used since last time is 974g for a total to date of 5.94kg

 



Tackling the sock scraps bag

Posted by Caroline in Dyeing, Knitting, Spinning on April 12th, 2018

I finished spinning the yak silk blend and decided to leave it in its original (natural) colour. I’m still pondering the next decision which is what it is going to be. I suspect that it is wanting to be a simple cowl but it could also be a woven scarf and it obviously can’t be both so it gets to sit for a little longer while I make my mind up. The rest of the spinning recently has all been in colour, there was 70g of purple superwash and nylon which I also had in blue so I spun both of those intending to use them with the bag of sock yarn leftovers. I also had a length of red/brown/gold which was rather more red/brown/orange than I had intended it to be. The colour has not improved at all with keeping so I turned it into yarn and fixed the colour issue with dye. I like the yarn on the right more than the yarn on the left and as it is now has less contrast it will work better with the bag of sock yarn leftovers.

I have had two false starts, three if you count the mitten that is sitting waiting for the second hand. Again, the theme is using up sock yarn leftovers. I thought about making mini mittens for an advent calendar but this is as far as I got with the first one before deciding that it was more trouble than it was worth. You can just see the “1″ emerging in the pattern. It was too fiddly and needed a pattern so failed the requirements for travel knitting. I tried a bigger mitten, one that was actually hand sized and that worked better because it didn’t need a pattern but despite being round and round knitting it didn’t really grab me. The third false start was a baby jacket, a lovely slab of striped garter that could be stuck in my handbag and dragged out while I waited for the gigging musician to finish his thing. This would have worked except that I’ve knitted it many times before and so didn’t read the pattern. I was carrying it around for weeks before I picked the pattern up and saw that I’d missed some essential shaping not long after the start. I would like to say that this is how we learn except that this is a repeat offence and I didn’t learn from my previous lessons so I’m not hopeful that I won’t do this again.

I am hoping that this project makes it to the finish line and turns into a child sized earflap hat. The lighter purple is the yarn that I spun this month, the darker is a single 50g ball of Fabel sock yarn and I’m going to use those in stripes together with whatever I pull out of the scrap bag. I’m struggling a bit at the moment because the circular needle I’m using is only just small enough for the number of stitches I have. On the plus side this is pulling out the work so I have no worries about the floats being tight but it is an effort moving the stitches around the needle. I’ve started so I’ll carry on with this needle until I reach the first decrease round but if I knit another I either need to make a bigger size or find a shorter needle.

In March I bought neither yarn nor fibre. I knitted another five hats (450g) and a pair of socks (90g) so that makes 540g in the month and 4.97kg to date. The socks were another scrap bag creation, one of the yarns was self striping and I was amused beyond belief to find that the toes ended up matching without any thought on my part. The stripes in the body of the sock are yarn changes, they would never be an exact match because one of the yarns was a colour changing one and another was from a dyed sock blank. They are an obvious pair and that’s good enough for me. Today his feet left the house in a pair (and I use the term very loosely) that had one green foot and one red. I hope he has another pair the same.



Back to socks

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, socks, Spinning, sweaters on February 19th, 2018

All of my knitting has reached the stage where it needs a bit of effort so I have cast it aside and started something new. These are socks from the scrap bag, once I started pulling out small balls of yarn I ended up with enough for three pairs of socks so that’s probably what I’ll be making. Most of the balls are big enough for me to not worry about running out of yarn before the toe but just so I eliminate all possibility of that I’m knitting both socks at the same time. I’m sticking with ten round stripes because it makes counting the length of the sock really easy. There are four stripes in the cuff and eight in the foot except that this time I’m going to reduce the foot length just a bit. I’m adding a bit of length to the heel flap for a high arch and having that extra ease in the gusset means that the foot is stretched less and that means that there is effectively more length in the foot. I’ll see how well they fit before launching the next pair.

I’ve been spinning as part of my clearing up programme. The three batts were similar in colour so I used one in each ply. The resulting yarn will go into the next batch of hats with the left over yarn from the blue cardigan. (The skein at the top is a different colour because I found a bobbin full of single left from another project and I tidied that away too.) The coned blue is not left over yet, I only have the front bands and neckband to knit on the cardigan but the whole thing is sitting in the airing cupboard. I knew that it will grow on washing but I wanted to be sure that it would grow enough before I spent the time finishing it. The plan is to dry the cardigan, rejoice that it fits, knit the bands and then start hats with the leftovers. I haven’t seen the buttons I’d planned for it but I’m pretty sure that they exist and my tidy up means that I know a lot of places where they aren’t.

I have bought 100g of fibre this month. I’m claiming the “ooh, shiny” exemption as well as it not being something that I already have. This is a yak silk blend and I think I’m going to dye the yarn gold (which sounds much prettier than orange). The silk will take the colour and the brown yak may change colour slightly. I may not have knitted many hats this month but I’ve taken a few bags of leftovers to the post office and a new life in someone else’s stash so I’m confident that there is more going out than coming in.

 



Not a moth in sight

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, Spinning, sweaters on January 26th, 2018

I’ve not had any major crises in the last couple of weeks, I can’t work out whether that is because things are genuinely going better or whether I’m just more able to cope with ordinary everyday setbacks without making them into insurmountable obstacles. Please cross your fingers and hope that I can sit and wonder about this for another couple of weeks rather than finding out by suddenly having to cope with something.

I don’t have any socks on the needles right now (I know, I know but I’m not myself at the moment)  so the little baby jacket has become travel knitting. The two balls of wool means that it doesn’t fit in my handbag very well but on the plus side it doesn’t usually need the pattern and it’s not as if I have anything else to choose from. I’ve folded it over so that it looks more obviously what it is, I cast on at the cuff and I have the back on hold while I work one front. I did briefly consider working the back at the same time from the other end of the balls but that’s one of those ideas that seems good at the time but really isn’t. I’m not sure whether the turn back on the cuff is worth it either, I usually give the designer the benefit of the doubt the first time through but I’m looking at it now and only seeing the extra work.

I’ve made a start on something else that is not suitable as travel knitting. This is the bottom of a cardigan for me, there is going to be a bit more of the texture bit until I think I’ve done enough and then a switch to plain stockinette until the yoke. I wanted something plain firstly because dark fabric doesn’t show cables well but mostly because I’ll be knitting this in the evening and I don’t want to be struggling to see what I’m doing. I’ve seen the buttons recently and hopefully I’ll find them again before I get to the part where I need them. This is sitting on top of the cone, it looks massive, that is what a kilo of aran yarn looks like.

I’ve spent hours this week sorting through and tidying up wool, both fibre and yarn. I photographed some of it and entered it on Ravelry and once I start sorting through the yarn bins I’ll itemise the rest of it. I’ve gathered all the sock yarn into one place and needless to say it doesn’t fit into its designated bag. I don’t know why this should be a surprise to me because it’s what usually happens when I try to get it into some sort of order. I moved it into a bigger bag and it doesn’t fit into that either. During my excavation of the spare bedroom I found some spare parts for the sofa bed and the blue leather that I made Riversong’s journal from but I failed to find the needle tipped oil pen that I need for the spinning wheel or the other oil pen that I was using before that one. The orifice hooks have also vanished so I suspect that somewhere there is a bag with all the missing bits in. That will have to wait for another day because I’m done with tidying up for now, I made the major investment decision of buying another oil pen for the cost of a coffee and a cake.

It appears that losing weight has fixed my knee problem as I sat and spun a bobbin with no ill effects. This is really good news, especially considering the weight of fibre that’s boxed up waiting for me to get to it. I have yet to try the treadles on the loom but hopefully that should be good now too.



Now with a slightly bigger blanket

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, socks, Spinning on November 8th, 2016

The painting stopped last week but that was fair enough because everything else stopped too. It’s been a long time since I had proper bone-aching ‘flu and I hope it will be a long time until I have it again. Time has passed, as it does, and I’m better again.

The blue Portland needed brain work, the choosing of appropriate needles, the knitting and measuring of a tension square and then the matching of pattern to yarn. There are no prizes for guessing that I was not capable of that last week and I didn’t progress further than looking at the yarn. There’s always a new week just around the corner and perhaps it will get done then.

I had days where I did nothing but sleep but then I started to get my act together and I was grateful to find that I had a big lump of brainless knitting to get on with. This was supposed to be rectangular and it is, just not quite as rectangular as I’d imagined. This is my own fault because I didn’t do anything so dangerously radical as plan it, sketch it out or even think very hard, I just started knitting. It’s bigger than it was last time but the bag of scraps doesn’t seem to be any smaller. It is possible that it isn’t any smaller because every bag I open has sock yarn scraps in it and I keep throwing them in the project bag. I hope that at some point I will finish clearing out the remains of other projects and I might then start to gain on the bag. My corners aren’t all they could be but that’s what you get from knitting at night when you can’t see exactly where they are.

I’ll have to knit quickly because the next additions to the scrap bag will probably be from these socks. I found the pinkish yarn a while ago, started knitting and then weighed the ball to find that it was 70g rather than 100g. I know that I can get a pair of socks from 70g but I’m not entirely sure that I can do that and match the pattern as well. It was far easier to pick out a ball of yarn from the scrap bag and add a stripe or two When I’ve knitted the second sock as far as the first I’ll see how many pattern repeats are left in the ball and work out how many more stripes I need to add to be able to have toes. I did try to see how many repeats were in the ball but the ball of yarn was more than a match for me and it won hands down. I sorted out the tangled mess and I’m waiting for the rematch when there will be less of it to fight with.

I have no idea what this will be, it’s superwash bfl and nylon and I have it in purple, blue and olive. Originally it was going to be socks but once I saw the yarn I thought that it was too pretty to be stuck in shoes. Gloves or mittens would be the wrong colour for my coat which leaves me with gift knitting. Something will come to me, hopefully before I’ve finished spinning the rest of it.

 



Cut your losses

Posted by Caroline in Dyeing, Knitting, Spinning, sweaters, Wensleysweater 1 on April 4th, 2016

Let’s just forget all about March and move right on with April. Although I’ve not been entirely idle I had a spell where I didn’t seem to do much of anything. I’m through that now and as I’ve cleaned, polished, scrubbed or dusted everything in the house it’s time to dust off the blog and look through the camera card.

I spun all of the greens and blues from the fibre oddments in my last post. I overdyed it all with navy and ended up with a pleasing pile of yarn. It all went wrong after that when I found the brown yarn that in my mind I had picked out as the perfect weft yarn. I remembered it as being considerably thicker than it actually was so that idea went west. I probably have something in the stash that would work but I didn’t feel like making the herculean effort to look for it so I packed the hypothetical warp away until I come up with a better idea.

While that was on hold I made some socks, there was another black and red striped pair but they were on feet and out of the door before I thought about getting the camera out. The middle pair is yarn from a much-hyped International Yarn Dyer, I was seriously underwhelmed by both the yarn base and the dyeing and I won’t be buying more even if it became cheaper than Opal. I was so unimpressed that I made sure the leftovers wouldn’t hang around in the stash by knitting them into another pair of socks with plain black stripes. The child had them on feet and out of the house before I had the chance to photograph them

I addressed the issues on the Wensleysweater. I’m not sure exactly what the issues were but it must have had some to be still on the needles eighteen months after I started it. I like the yarn and that’s good because I will at some point be using it again. It took a while to rip out all those lovely cables but it was the right thing to do and I feel better for it.

At some point since my last post I decided to tidy up all the knitting seeing as I wasn’t actually knitting. At the time it seemed like a good idea to stuff all three baby sweaters in a single bag together with the patterns, needles and spare yarn. Sorting it out weeks down the line was not fun because two of the patterns were originally in Norwegian and my translations were on odd bits of paper. The first challenge was attempting to decipher my scribble enough to work out which papers went together (note to self – page numbers are a wonderful invention) and which papers went with which project (second note – titles are good too). I kept putting it off as being too much to tackle until I ran out of things to knit and had to find something in the bag of many projects. To my surprise I found that all three sweaters were almost done; one needed two rows on the body, one needed three rows on one sleeve and one needed scissors. I cut out the X’s that I’d carefully sewed in, I’d only done half of one sleeve and I couldn’t face another sleeve and a half. I’ve put the button tin in a new place and when I hunt it down I’ll add the three buttons that this needs. This is a free pattern but it’s in Norwegian. I went my own way when it came to the neckline because it was easier to make it up than translate it. I wouldn’t knit it again because there were more ends than I cared for. I should have thought about that when I saw the stripes but I managed to overlook it until making up time.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned on the blog that back when it was cold and grim I adapted my soft and lovely handspun gloves for use with a smartphone. It took all of five minutes, a needle and a length of conductive thread. If I was knitting them now I’d hold the thread with the yarn and knit the two together, the thread is soft and supple and I don’t think that it would affect the fabric. As this was a retrofit I just did a bit of stitching on my index finger and thumb in what seemed to be the right places. It works perfectly and I’m really pleased with it. It just happens that the thread was a close match to the yarn, I got lucky there as it meant that I didn’t need to be particularly neat with the stitching.

There is more but I’m staying with this month’s motto of “finished is better than perfect”. Hopefully I’ll catch up with the rest next time.

 

 

 

 



Send more day light

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, socks, Spinning, sweaters on November 5th, 2015

Time got away from me there, I’ve been spending more time than usual on parenting duty as it’s the time of year for viewing sixth forms. So far we’re up to three visits, with one school kicked out sight unseen and one more visit to go. In the time that slipped away since my last post I spun, plied, soaked, dried and knitted up the superwash and nylon fibre that I was spinning last time. It made a pair of socks with a little bit left over. They were a good match for the pumpkins, I went for a minimalist effort this year which I liked but have no record of. For the second pair of socks I picked out a ball of Opal which I thought would match the leftovers from the first pair. In my defence I would say that I made the selection under artificial light because in daylight you can see that they have very little in common.

I gritted my teeth and plodded through the shoulders of the baby jacket, I didn’t enjoy it and there was a considerable amount of ripping back to correct wrong side mistakes. I didn’t like knitting the sleeve either, it’s my own fault because I should have more sense than to be knitting black in November. You can see that the sleeve increases start off in a black section of pattern and that was my problem. The increases should be every five rounds but I couldn’t work out how many rounds I’d knitted because I couldn’t see where I’d made the previous increase. Once I’d got far enough along so that the increases fell in the light yarn it was altogether more of a pleasant knit. I’ve started the second sleeve while the pattern is still fresh in my mind and I know that I just have to stick with it through the difficult part. I’ve found what I want to knit next so I have plenty of motivation to get me through the first few inches.

I have been tidying up, I have 400g of this wool and I decided that it has hung around for long enough and it is time for it to move along. It’s going to be hats unless I think of something else before I finish spinning it, I’m only on the second braid so there’s plenty of time yet. There might even be enough time for a better photo, daylight permitting.

 

 

 



Pumpkin season

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, socks, Spinning, sweaters on October 16th, 2015

It’s turned cooler, not quite fire o’clock but running that way. This is my summer stick collection, I need to store them securely where they cannot be retrieved and cashed in again and the fireplace seemed as good a place as anyway. Pebble has never been a stick carrying dog, he comes from a long line of dogs bred for beauty and manual labour is beneath him. He also doesn’t really have the equipment for it – tiny teeth and next to no jaw. Over the summer when he was out for walks with WFB junior he started bringing in sticks, some no more than twigs and a few so long that I had to break them up to fit them in the fireplace. Some days he brought in three, other days he couldn’t find any that were worthy of his attention. The deal is that I get the stick and he gets the dog treat. At some point his hard work will pay off and he can laze on the rug warmed by his burning twigs.

The wool I thought I was going to spin turned out to be not at all what I was wanting right now. I kept looking at it and in the end I put away the rather boring lilac and blue and pulled out some colourful superwash merino and bright nylon instead. That was obviously the right project because it spun itself. This looks very like sock yarn, there’s just over 400 yards of chain plied yarn here with the colour repeats in the two smaller skeins being intentionally shorter than those in the big skein. That’s because this is not sock yarn and I’m planning on the small skeins becoming sleeves. This is probably going to be a little sweater rather than socks providing that there is enough of it, I can see it paired with a deep chocolate brown in something stranded that probably is going to look very like the black and grey one that I am still knitting.

That stopped being fun immediately after I took this photograph. You can see that I’ve cast off at the front neck so I now have to knit in rows rather than rounds which means purling in pattern. I’m telling myself that it’s only for a couple of inches and I have in the past knitted entire cardigans with patterned purl rows. The difference is that now I know that there’s an alternative to purl side rows and also my knit side rows are much more efficient because I can carry one colour of yarn in each hand. I have two hands that knit but I still only have one that’s smart enough to purl. I’m planning to weigh the body when it’s done and work out exactly how much yarn I used so I can see whether there is enough of  the handspun to make another of the same shape but with less pattern.

I enjoyed spinning the merino and nylon so much that I did it all over again, except that this is normal nylon rather than trilobal nylon so it’s not sparkly. I think I picked this braid of fibre because of the orange, it’s a very seasonal colour for the next week or two and in addition I had the idea that I could use it to stretch the kingfisher yarn just that little bit further in case there wasn’t enough for a sweater. That was the original plan anyway but as soon as the yarn was dry I cast on for a pair of socks. I regret nothing.