Archive for the 'knitting' Category

Frog or Finish

jacob skein

October has been my finishing month. I finished spinning the Jacob yarn (see above), and decided to make a Lacy Baktus scarf -really pleased with it, and have already worn it quite a lot, although the yarn is slightly itchy.
handspun lacy baktus

There have been quite a few unfinished projects languishing in my yarn basket over the past few months. A couple of weeks ago I decided to have a clear out – mainly to make room for new fibre I bought at the IKnit day in September and the Knitting and Stitching show earlier this month (see below).

Iknit day and Knitting & stitching day fibre

I decided to be fairly ruthless, and commit to finish a few before starting another project, or get rid of any project that I don’t really like anymore. I ended up frogging a couple of things – the flared lace smoke ring, which according to my Ravelry page I started in December 2007 ( I decided I would never wear it) and the Green Liesl cardigan (really don’t like the colour at all – the yarn had gone to a charity shop). I also decided to frog the crochet alpaca lace scarf as the yarn didn’t really fit the pattern. I am now using the yarn to make the Luna Lace scarf from the Shear Spirit book. The pattern doesn’t look like much on the needles, but I’m sure it will look really nice after blocking.

alpaca lace scarf

I’ve managed to finish a pair of socks I started last December,
blue admiral

and my bog jacket – pictured here before blocking.

bog jacket

I decided to add garter stitch front  bands and a belt instead of the applied I-cord. I quite like it, but wish I had used larger needles for a lighter, less dense fabric.


September Spinning

trio of spindles
I can’t believe summer is already over . We’ve had some lovely trips in our campervan in England and France over the summer. I took knitting and spinning projects with me, but didn’t really spend much time on them. I have however acquired quite a few new spindles over the past few months (see above).

As is always the way, as soon as autumn draws in, I have the urge to knit and crochet more. My one finished project since my last post is my feather and fan comfort shawl
The yarn is a 2 ply yarn spindle spun from some Corridale top my sister bought me last Christmas. I’m really pleased with the colour transition.

During one of our summer camping trips I managed to pick up a bag of washed Jacob fleece. It’s the first time I’ve ever bought unprocessed fibre and it’s been sitting in my fibre basket for the last few months waiting for me to get around to buying some carders.

I decided to go for mini carders from Forest Fibres (great service by the way). At first I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, but after consulting some of my spinning books along with some very helpful videos on youtube, I managed to produce some fairly decent rolags. Here’s one from my second batch.
jacob rolag

I actually find carding quite satisfying, and I really enjoy spinning from rolags.

I’ve got a couple of ideas for new crochet designs. These will be for handspun yarn – I need to spin the yarn first before working on the patterns, so they might not be ready for some time!

Wheel Spinning

 my wheel

I am now the proud owner of my very own spinning wheel! I’ve been thinking about buying one for a few years, but had been reluctant to go ahead for a couple of reasons. I wasn’t sure I would use it enough to justify the cost, or the space it would take up – we don’t have a particulaly small house, but my husband does sometimes comment on how much space my knitting and crocheting stuff takes up ( to be fair to him though, this is probably more down to my untidiness than anything else!)

We don’t live near a spinning wheel outlet, but I had planned to visit P&M woolcraft on the way to visit my parents at Easter to try a few wheels. Unfortunately, I couldn’t wait that long, so I went ahead and  bought the wheel I always thought I would buy – an Ashford Joy double treadle, mainly because I liked the way the wheel looks, and also the compact size.

 I know these are not the best reasons to choose a wheel, but I am alsolutely delighted with it. I find it easy and comfortable to use. It doesn’t get in the way when not in use (it fits neatly under my computer desk when folded), but when I want to use it, it only takes a couple of minutes to get it out and set it up to start spinning.

When I bought my wheel (from Wingham Wool Work – great service), it came with a £25 fibre voucher, which I used to buy a variety of fibre to practise on.

I’m really enjoying wheel spinning. I’ve already completed my first wheel spun project – a storm cloud shawlette using a two ply camel /silk blend spun from fibre bought with my voucher.

The camel/silk was  easy to spin once I got the hang of it. The finshed yarn was lovely and soft, and although not very consistent, about 14 wpi.

handspun camelsilk

Here is the finished shawl – a nice, quick and easy pattern. I would definitely make it again.

camel silk shawlette

I’ve also spun up the rest of the green hand dyed fibre I used for my crocheted cowl. I’ve got about 400 yards about 16 – 18 wpi. I’m using this to make an Ishbel shawl.

Ishbel - progress

February update – knitting and spinning

February is here, and I’ve realised that I haven’t updated my blog for over a month – this is my first post of 2009.

I’ve been busy practising my spinning. Here’s one of my current spinning projects.

 alpaca silk on IST spindle

It’s an alpaca silk blend from World of Wool on a 2 inch olivewood whorl spindle from IST crafts. The fibre is beautifully soft and the spindle is lovely.It spins really well and the whorl has a lovely olive oil smell.

I finished my first handspun handknitted socks last week.

handspun sock2

These were my first toe up socks. I used the universal toe up pattern from I really enjoyed knitting them, once I got the hang of the short rows.

I’ve also started two new non handspun knitting projects. The first is the Bog Jacket from Knitting Around. It’s basically endless garter stitch, but has an interesting construction. A nice mindless pattern so far. I’m using Texere Troon Tweed yarn reclaimed from another project.

bog jacket progress

I’ve also started a Japanese Feather and Fan Shawl with the Knitwitches Heavy Laceweight Cashmere I bought from last years Knitting and Stitching Show.
cashmere shawl progress

This pattern requires a bit more attention, but I think it will be beautiful when it’s finished.

Spindle Spinning

handspun shawl sample 2

I recently had the sudden urge to try to learn to spin again. I bought a spindle and some fibre (about 200g of Bluefaced Leicester) a few years ago, but I couldn’t quite get the hand of it, so they have been languishing in my yarn storage box.

This time though, something seems to have clicked. I’m hoping to be able to spin yarn to make shawls, scarves socks in sock weight and heavy lace weight. My first attempt was too thick – when plied it came out approx DK weight. I’ve been practising for about one hour every evening over the past week, and last night I finally managed to create a 3 ply sock weight yarn.

This is a sample showing my most recent attempts.
handspun sock sample
The first (bottom) yarn is two ply, and came out too fine for socks (it also wasn’t well balanced hence the visible twist). The second (top) yarn was navajo plied. It’s actually for the same roving (some of the Bluefaced Leicester that I hadnpainted with the help of my daughters), but the colours look quite different due to the plying techniques.

I’ve also been experimenting crocheting with singles. The  photo at the start of this post shows a sample crocheted with a (rather uneven) single which was slightly underspun and then dryed with a weight after washing)

I’m really enjoying experimenting with my spindle spun, but I’ve got  a couple of christmas presents to finish  so I’ll have to resist spending too much time with my spindle until they are done!

Yarn, yarn… and more yarn!

knitting and stitching show yarn 2008

Had a great day at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace yesterday. There were lots of yarn stall this year ( the number seems to be increasing every year). It’s great being able to see and feel yarn, that isn’t available locally. I was very pleased with my purchases – should keep bme busy for the next few months at least. This year I came away with some heavy laceweight cashmere from KnitWitches, 2 balls of kauni yarn, some Jamieson and Smith jumper weight and best of all, some beautiful malabrigo sock yarn from Socktopus. I also bought some very nice buttons and a shawl pin from a the One World Button Supply Company.

I’ve now started two of my planned cardigans. The first one is Liesl from
liesl progress

This is a really nice, simple pattern, but I’m not really too happy with my yarn choice (Wendy aran with wool). I really wish I had chosen a nicer yarn, but at least this will be easy care (i.e. won’t felt if it accidently finds itself in the machine!)

The second cardigan is the Rayne Wrap Cardigan from Cosmicpluto knits.
wrap cardigan progress

I’m using the New Lanark aran yarn for this one. I love working with this yarn, and will definitely buy more for future projects.

I’ve been searching Ravelry to decide what to make with the Alexandra Palace yarns. The Kauni will become a shawl – either another Eva’s shawl or Revontuli huivi I haven’t decided which yet. I think the Jamieson and Smith will also be a shawl, probably knitted. I’m looking for a nice garter stitch based pattern (thinking of this one).

It’s that time of year…

Autumn is well and truly here. The days are getting shorter and the weather has suddenly turned much colder. At around this time of year, my enthusiam for all things yarn realated increases dramatically.

 I’ve been busy knitting and crocheting away of the past few weeks. I’ve finally finished the olive cardigan.

olive cardy

I’m pleased with it, but it’s really a spring/ summer cardigan so It probably won’t see much wear until next year.

 I also finished the charcoal wallaby. This is lovely, warm and cosy, and will definitely get a lot of wear over the next few months.

charcoal wallaby

I have three or four more cardigans planned, two will be machine washable, and I wll be using a wool acrylic blend for those (wendy aran with wool – comes in a big 400g ball and is very reasonably priced) and I have ordered some lovely wool and wool/silk blends from New Lanark Yarn Shop for the other two. More details in my next post!