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Friday, 28 April 2017

Fibre Ropes

Hi Everyone
I have good and bad news today ! If you visited yesterday, you will know I was working on fibre jewellery and more specifically making fibre ropes. The good news is that I've developed a great preparation process for making good quality ropes, consistent in shape and strength. The bad news is - I didn't get the three stranded pieces completed and have changed my mind again re the fastening - such is the life of a Maker ! However, I've got a plan. 
I'm going to develop a series of thinner ropes for the stranded versions and will use the versions from yesterday as a layered necklace, wearing individual necklaces in various colour combinations - together. I think the layered approach will allow for more versatility re necklaces colours and will form more of a statement piece.
My breakthrough came with the preparation of the fibre ropes. Previously, I had simply rolled the ropes into shape from layers of fine merino wool. This approach is fine but doesn't always (easily) give a uniform rope. In my new approach, I used a blending board to construct rolags and then developed the ropes in the usual way from the rolags ie using soap and hot water to wet the wool and then rolling inside a sushi mat.

                    
My photo story shows the series of steps taken to develop the ropes. I need to experiment a little more with sizes. The rolag is developed on a 12x12ins. blending board and the final rolled rope is about 24ins. long. The final length has something to do with the amount of wool on the board as well as how tightly the rolags are wound. I'd like to be more informed about these factors to design the right size roped for my stranded necklaces. Also - at this stage, I'd like to stick with the metal clasps (see yesterday's example) for closing the necklace rather than using my initial press stud option. I will report further on my experiments next week.

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend.




Thursday, 27 April 2017

Fibre Jewels - next phase

Hi Everyone
Today, I'm developing my Fibre Jewels Project into a new Making Workshop. I've already made a couple of pieces, a necklace and a bracelet (read back here for details on the initial project). These pieces are complete with their fastenings and beads in place.
The next fibre jewel phase will develop new colour combinations as well as multiple rope designs. I'd like to try and create a three strand necklace and bracelet version. The fibre element will be quite straightforward, it's the fastening which presents more of a design challenge.
I've seen a press stud fastening idea which I think could work well - so, this is my first solution for the multiple strand pieces. Wish me luck.
Here's a quick reminder of the first Fibre Jewels results :

                    

I'll share the results of this next phase along with the initial finished pieces tomorrow. I haven't decided on colour combinations yet. I'm going to look in my wardrobe to try and develop something which will compliment a few outfits. I think a gradient colour combination may work for me.

Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Socks Update

Hi Everyone
Today, I'm celebrating finishing (the knit part) of my latest sock project. These socks are using the yarn from Edinburgh Yarn Festival (last month) read about it here.
The finished socks are for my lovely husband and will always remind me of Edinburgh and the great day we had (celebrating my birthday too). I've named them the Edinburgh Socks !


                       

I've yet to weave in the ends and block the socks. Hopefully, will do that later today - lots of ends to weave in !  They are lovely and soft and the yarn (Socks Yeah - CoopKnits) was a dream to knit with. I even made my way through the dreaded (to me) Kitchenor stitch closure without too much trauma ! The sock pattern is a very simple plain sock, I wanted the stripes to 'pop' and be the main feature of the design. I knitted both pairs at the same time but on seperate needles using Magic Loop. I did start knitting both socks on one needle but I find the stitch management a bit annoying. I like the idea of separating the sock construction parts and knitting each section and then moving onto the next. This approach eliminates the second sock syndrome and helps make identical socks.
So, my next sock project is already planned. I like to have a pair of sock 'on the go' at all times ! I'm going to make Om Shanti by Alice Yu. These socks are quite a short sock with a lovely texture pattern. They also have an interesting cuff - corrugated rib and a beautiful heel (more detail when an get there). These socks will be for me.
I'm going to dye some yarn for this job. I've not decided which colour I'm going for ? I will spend the day pondering that one. My favoured colour at the moment is a Moss Green/Blue blend, a light blue. I'll let you know how things turn out.

Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Spindrift Shawl

Hi Everyone
I'm excited to share the progress of my latest knit project. I'm knitting the Spindrift Shawl by Helen Stewart and enjoying every stitch. The pattern is very easy to follow and alongside every row, Helen gives the total number of stitches for each row. I love this detail. Having a stitch count throughout is reinforcing at each stage, where I am in the pattern as well as confirming I'm actually following the pattern (something I tend to find challenging with almost all patterns).
I'm also thrilled with how the yarn is knitting up. My photo isn't giving a true colour - there's much more of a green/teal look going on.

               

This dye job was an experiment, I wanted to create something which would compliment denim as well as a range of blue/green pieces of clothing in my wardrobe. I'm using the new dye's from my visit to Wingham Wools last week (read back yesterday for more on this). I think the colours work beautifully and each row of the shawl delivers little speckles of moss green, mustard and a dark teal colour - such a joy to enjoy the yarn. It's probably the first time I've felt like this about one of my dyed yarns, although, I did create a red combination a little while back which I knitted up into the Neck Candy scarf. The red, grey, mustard combination was quite pleasing at the time.

                                

Getting back to Spindrift, I'm just through 40% of the Spindrift knit and feel as if I've just started. The shawl has a lovely deep lace border which is something I'm very much looking forward to trying.

                 

I will share my shawl when finished - I'm not entirely sure where this will be ? but I'm thinking it will be quite soon.

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Fibre Shopping

Hi Everyone
It's a 'back to work' day today ! I always struggle to get into my work mode following a holiday. My usual tack is to have a slow start and a VERY short list of things to do. I'm working on that approach today. So, not much going on for me.
However, on reflection, I've had a lovely Easter break - very quiet and mostly lots of sitting around making things. We've also had some good family time and one very exciting shopping trip ! 
Last Friday, I visited Wingham Wools (you can find them online here). They live in a smallish village in Yorkshire and have the most amazing selection of fibre related things. Lots and lots of different fibres as well as spinning tools, fibre dyes, books and much more. It's a great place to explore, I could hardly contain myself. The problem was - what to buy ? It was quite difficult to stop seeing things to buy, in the end, I eventually came away with a great selection of things. Under the circumstances, I thought I was very restrained.

                         

I was mesmerised by the range of merino colours. Lots of single colours in a rainbow of shades in a large shed and another shed with more merino in some lovely blended combinations - with a few bargain bags. My particular favourite colours (at the moment) are navy and mustard so I was especially pleased with 200gms of merino. I also chose a bag of mixed blended merino (another 200gms). I wanted to look for some unusual fibres when I saw the range of sample bags and eventually chose Crab Top - how how is that possible ? and Banana Fibre as well as Camel. I'm not quite sure what I will do with these fibres ? - some kind of blending ?
My final purchase was a selection of dyes. These are a lovely range of colours, mustard, navy and green in beautiful natural shades. I've used the dyes already in a little project (will share the results tomorrow).
My job today is to find projects for each of my new fibres - I'm already there with the navy and mustard merino but not sure about the other stuff. I probably need to review my whole current fibre stash and make some plans.

Thanks for calling in today.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Polymer Jewels

Hi Everyone
Just a quick post to share a few jewellery items from my 'playtime' yesterday. These simple pieces have been in the design stage for quite some time ! I'm not sure why I've taken so long to finish these items ? However, the prototypes are here and I'm wearing them all today. I need to know if there's any issues with the practical 'wearing' part of the design. I'm hoping all will be well as I've a few pieces which are similar 'in construction'. It's the only way to check out a design ie wear them !

                  
                

If each piece works well for me today, I'll add a few more colour ways and bead shapes. I'm aiming to make this range available in my shop. 
I've already got a few bracelets in a similar design which I wear almost everyday - hence my name for the Collection. I'm hopeful that these pieces will be a major part of my jewellery work for a few months. I'd like to add a few rings too. The range will also get some sterling silver wire in the final production pieces.

Thanks for calling in today.
Hope you have a great weekend.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Knitting Project

Hi Everyone
I've another knitting project in the planning stage to share today. Not that I need another knitting project at the moment ! I have a long list of project waiting for my needles. However, this one will take a while to prep. I'm hoping by the time my current list has been completed, I will be ready.

This time, I'm spinning a new wool and pairing it with some ready made stuff. The wool for spinning is my first delivery of the Time Travellers Club from Hilltop Cloud. I recently joined this monthly club to give me additional inspiration in my spinning journey.

                 
The Time Travellers Club wool is 85% Merino/15% Sari Silk and has lots of beautiful shades of green with vibrant coloured silk threads from the Sari Silk. My photo does not do justice to the colours. I'll try for a better image next time. I'm excited to see how the wool will spin up. I will be going for a light DK weight yarn spin. I'm pairing my own spin with a 75% exra fine Merino/20% Silk/5% Cashmere yarn in shade 0525 which is a carrot-like colour.

I'd like to make a cardigan with my yarn. My pattern is a Andi Satterlund pattern (free pattern on Ravelry). The pattern is a cropped cardigan with 3/4 sleeves.


                      

I think, I will use the contrast carrot shade for the bottom rib, the front bands, neckline and sleeve rib with my green coloured hand spun yarn for the main body of the cardigan. I want to reinforce the button bands with ribbon and find some pretty buttons. That's the plan.

Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Hand Dye Experiment

Hi Everyone
I'm following up my story from yesterday re the hand dye experiment. Read back for details. 
I'm rather pleased with the results - I went for the Chartreuse Green colour and it's very pretty. I was unsure about how the grey coloured wool would take the dye but no problems there and the variegated finish is just right.

                     

I need to find my leftover Dovestone (read back to yesterday for details) and I'm read to go with the shawl.
Wish me luck.

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Shawl Yarn Update

Hi Everyone
Today, I have a little progress towards the new shawl (Sweet Marie Shawl) to share. Read back last week for more on this project. I've hand spun the initial natural dyed/neutral wool in blue/green/gold and have around 100m of yarn to work with. The shawl needs more, so I've got another 20m in neutral and a further 65m in mixed neutral/grey hand spun. My plan with the mixed neutral/grey is to dye it.

                        

My dilema is ....... what colour ? At the moment the colours are a little subdued for me. I don't have rules about colour but this combination seems to lack something ? I'm considering a Chartreuse green or a Tangerine orange ? for the neutral/grey yarn. 
In addition, I will still need a little more yarn to complete the shawl and have an idea to add some of a left over green yarn (Dovestone dk) from a previous project. I have some arm warmers in this yarn and am thinking the shawl will offer a good combination to wear alongside the arm warmers. Check out the arm warmer story here.

                        

Will let you know how things turn out.
Thanks for calling in today.





New Toy

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing my latest toy today - a Blending Board. 

                        

The Blending Board was created From Scratch here in our own workshop. Thank you to my lovely husband. The Blending Board was my Easter gift, I don't really do chocolate so this was a lovely alternative to a chocolate egg. 
As you can see from the photo, I've tested out the technique for producing rolags with the Board. It works beautifully and I've lots more ideas for new blended yarns.
Later today, I'm hoping to find the time to spin the rolags. I'll post my results to share.

Thanks for calling in today.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Plans for a shawl

Hi Everyone
I started sharing my acquisitions from St Abbs Yarn Festival (8/4/17) at the begining of the week and was slightly distracted by Wednesday ! However, I'm back on track today with a lovely idea for a shawl. I'd seen this shawl knitted up at Edinburgh last month and intended to acquire the yarn there. I ,somehow, didn't buy it ? The Edinburgh Yarn Festival proved to be quite a challenge re keeping a clear head. The shawl pattern is called Settler Shawl and designed by Libby Johnson. It's a paid for pattern on Ravelry.
Anyway, before heading off to St Abbs, the shawl idea was firmly on my list and the first thing I bought. I knew Lyndsey from Blue Moon would be there but I wasn't sure there would be any of the threesome yarn left ? Big smile from me when I saw the yarn.

                  

As mentioned, the yarn is from Blue Moon  details of the shop here - I love these colours and am excited to start the shawl project. I need to clear my needles of the socks I'm knitting and then I'll cast on. I think the shawl will be a great Summer thing, great to wear with denim. The shawl pattern is simple but gives a hint of being lace. I'm very wary of lace knitting, it's not usually my thing. I think it's to do with having to concentrate and keep my eye on the pattern. I tend to drift off and before a I know it, I've gone wrong !!  This time, I'm going to do it - no matter how long it takes I WILL make this shawl. I'm sure Im going to enjoy knitting the shawl. The colours of the yarn are so lovely.

As usual will keep you informed of my progress.
Thanks for calling in today. Have a lovely Easter Holiday.


Thursday, 13 April 2017

Sock Talk

Hi Everyone
I've a little update on my latest sock project today. This is my second pair using Magic Loop rather than my usual double pointed needles and my first Magic Loop version of a 'cuff down' pattern. My first Magic Loop techniques was a 'toe up' version.
I'm not sure what I think about using Magic Loop ? - as with all things, there are advantages and disadvantages. I'm finding the management of the needles OK generally but I'm not very happy with the laddering effect which is caused by the Magic Loop. I'm hoping blocking will help even out the line of stretched stitches caused by using the long circular needle. There are many You Tube videos on the Magic Loop if you are keen to know more about this technique. I'm also familiar with a number of discussions re this 'laddering' effect. I need to do more research. You can just make it out in the photo - it looks a little like a crease in the centre of the sock (top sock).

                   

Lots of people use a circular needle for socks and I'm wondering if I need to go for another pattern - specifically written for Magic Loop. My usual sock pattern is the same one I've used forever ! Once I've measured the foot, I hardly need to look at the pattern. It's a plain, very simple sock which I tend to vary with the odd cable or colourwork. 
To avoid the problem of  '2nd sock syndrome' - I'm knitting two socks at once. I've had them on the same needle but not found the needle management very efficient (for me). I'm now using two needles and knitting each section of each sock, one after another and this is working out well for me. I'm almost there with the socks above, another couple of evenings and I'll be finished. This is the sock yarn I bought at Edinburgh (read back a few weeks for more on Edinburgh). I will have enough yarn to make another pair in a slightly different colour pattern. I'm not sure what I will come up with re the colour pattern ? I'll give it some thought later today. I'm also going to try and find another pattern specifically for Magic Loop knitting.

Will share my progress in a few days.


Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Blending Experiments

Hi Everyone
I've a little news about my spinning story from yesterday - take a look yesterday for the detail. 
I've taken the dyed wool and prepared the three separate colours into something I could blend. My plan was to keep the individual colours but add some neutral fibres for the blending process.  I've tried to create a gradient blend using the neutral wool and will aim to spin from dark to light. I'm hoping the rolags I've produced will help me order the dark to light shades for the spin.

                           

So far, I've manage to spin the mustard/gold rolags and will go to the green next. I need to check I've enough yardage in the spin before I can be sure to have enough yarn for my shawl (see yesterday for details). I'm not sure exactly what my plan will be if I'm short of yarn ?  I could keep with neutral yarn or I could develop another batch of contrast colour. I can't make more of the original natural dye wool and anything I try and match will not work as a direct match. The natural dyes have a specific tone and I love the depth of the shades so my choice will be tricky ? 
I'm going to spend the day thinking about my options and hopefully complete the spin of the remaining two colours.

Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Spinning for a Shawl

Hi Everyone
I have another acquisition to share from St Abbs Yarn Festival today (read back yesterday for more on St Abbs). This time it's some natural dyed wool.

             

I bought the wool from the Cornhill Crafts stall. This stall is run by Eve Studd,the same lady I had a great experience with re the Shibori Dye Event a few weeks ago (look back for more on this). Eve had a few large baskets of dyed wool in lots of lovely colours. It was quite a challenge to choose but in the end I went for my usual navy with a green and my favourite of the moment -a deep mustard. The colours are lovely, 

I'm finding it almost difficult to spin up because I like the material the way it is ! However, I need to 'get a grip' with myself and have decided to develop a lightweight DK using a blended spin. I'm going to blend the coloured fibres with some natural Blue Faced Leicester wool and keep the individual colour ways. So far, I've carded the wool so it's ready for blending. I'm not sure exactly how the yarn will look yet or how much of a blend I will create ? I think, I will try for a section of very light colour shade followed by deeper shades throughout each colour way. I'm happy to let the wool tell me what to do.

Having pondered for a few days, I've eventually found a shawl pattern which I think will be good for the finished yarn.

                        

This is a free pattern from Wool And The Gang. It's an easy knit on quite large needles with a crochet border. I plan to use the different colours to give a striped effect across the shawl. The shawl will have three distinct sections using navy, green and mustard. That's the plan. Things could change ? I'll keep you informed as, I go.

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Lazy Start

Hi Everyone
I've had a very late start to my day today ! It's, in theory, a partial holiday for me this week. The kids have a school Easter break and I usually take the same break. However, this week, I'm going 'part time' - this means I'm planning specific jobs and will have some time off too. I'm going to keep blogging but may post a little later in the day.
I've had an exciting weekend. On Saturday, I went to a yarn festival with a friend - St Abbs Yarn Festival. This is about an hours drive away so we had lots of time for chatting. I had such a lovely day which included bringing back lots of lovely yarn stuff. I thought, I would share my acquisitions over this week, as I did when I returned from the Edinburgh Yarn Festival a few weeks ago. I'm going to feature each purchase with the intended use. Hopefully this will  help me to focus on what I've bought as well as give me a project schedule for the 'making' part.

So, my first thing to share is a couple of skeins of yarn. I love this yarn. It's an amazing colour, hand dyed Natural Indigo. I am always attracted to blue but this shade of blue is especially lovely. Each skein has an individual tone and lots of depth. The yarn came from a fabulous local artist at the festival. All her stuff is amazing you can check her out here

                       

I'm pairing this yarn with my own spun and dyed yarn to make a poncho. The Indigo yarn is 4ply Blue Faced Leicester/Masham - British Wool. So soft and compliments my own yarn which is also Blue Faced Leiscester.I've talked about this project a few times - if you want more background on my yarn check out the details here

The poncho is a very simple knit - a stocking stitch (lots of it) 'scarf' with an i cord edge on the neck and bottom of the garment. The neck part is stitched on each side to form the poncho. The diagram in my photo story gives a better idea of the finished garment.

                      

My version will have several distinct colour blocks using my own hand spun/dyed yarn and the lovely Indigo yarn. I see the i cord element in the Indigo too and particularly like the way in which the colours work with denim. Can't wait to finish. However, there's a way to go, I'm probably about a third of the way through the knitting. It's just stocking stitch over and over so I need to have smallish sessions. I have a project marker going on and feel it's going well. I had decided about including the Indigo yarn early in the project so have been waiting to purchase so hopefully, I can move on quickly and make good progress this week. The week will be relaxed so I'm keeping my knitting on hand for any quiet moment. I'll keep you informed about my progress.

Thanks for calling in today.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Fibre Jewellery - update

Hi Everyone
I've a little more news re my progress with the Fibre Jewellery Project today. The basic fibre ropes which form both the necklace and the bracelet are probably my preferred design. I like the idea of using coloured and textured fibres to create the whole design, keeping the form simple. However, I've developed some beads to embellish the ropes, giving the original design more options.
I've made a simple peyote stitch collar for the bracelet, using seed beads. I quite like the look but still prefer the simple rope. I can slip the bead collar over the clasp, so I have the option of easily taking away the collar if it suits.

            
I've also added a silver chain to the necklace. The chain I've chosen is very simple and quite delicate, I tried a number of different chains and this one seems to suit. I'm going to add a clasp to the chain (although the necklace comfortably fits over my head) I like the idea of changing the focal beads I've developed and need some way of slipping the beads on and off the fibre rope without undoing the jump rings which attach the chain to the barrel ends. I feel I'd like the flexibility of changing the look by changing the bead. Here's a quick look at the beads so far :

                            

These beads have been developed from polymer clay and have a large hole to slip over the fibre rope. The plain coloured beads will get a layer of paint to highlight a surface pattern design, followed by a polish. At the moment, I'm favouring the bead on the far right, although, I think the plain beads will compliment the rope necklace best. 

Thanks for calling in today.
Have a great weekend.




Thursday, 6 April 2017

Fibre Necklace News

Hi Everyone
As promised yesterday, I have a fibre necklace (almost) to share today. I used the same technique as described in yesterday's post (read back for details) but lengthened the fibre rope. This time, the rope is slightly thinner but uses similar barrel end findings. My plan is to add a chain to provide additional length.  In addition, I want to add some more decoration to the rope and have decided to create a polymer bead collar.

                           

Today, my task is to add my chain and develop the polymer bead/collar. I'm thinking about a single colour, taken from the range of fibre colours - not sure which as the moment ? I will develop some kind of surface pattern on the bead to compliment the barrel ends and the chain, aiming to bring the design together.

The necklace sits beautifully in a slight arc shape and am already planning a couple more samples in other colours. I quite like the idea of making a layered series of strands in a neutral colour and dying to give an 'ombré' effect - possibly in navy ? I'll keep thinking about this one.

Thanks for calling in today.


Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Fibre Bracelets

Hi Everyone
Having declared I was moving away from fibres for a few days, I'm straight back to making stuff with wool ! It's a hard habit to 'kick' ! In my defence, this Fibre Jewel Project was scheduled and has been in the Project Workbook for some time - it's a coincidence ! (that's my story and I'm sticking to it).
The project is a fibre 'rope' finished with metal findings.

I've made the fibre rope using a regular wet felted technique. I layered coloured wool fibres, wet them with soapy hot water and rolled them in a sushi mat until round and firm. After rolling to the desired width, I pinned the rope in my preferred shape with blocking pins onto a sponge board to dry. 
The bracelet needed to be trimmed to size after drying and I spent some time dry felting the ends in preparation for glueing into my barrel end findings. The whole process is very quick and I do like the look of the final item.

                

My plan is to wear my bracelet today, to check how it works as a practical piece of jewellery. I do want to add some kind of beads to the bracelet and am thinking about a peyote stitch collar which picks out some of the different colours in the felted fibres. I'm hoping the collar will sit somewhere in the centre of bracelet, maybe it could move along the length ? There are lots of possibilities with this bracelet, I'll keep thinking about my options throughout the day. 
I also have another fibre rope 'under construction' , this one will be a necklace. Hopefully, I will have something to share tomorrow.

Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Making Beads

Hi Everyone
Looking back over my blog posts of the last few months - there seems to be a huge bias towards fibre related stories. Generally, I think, this is giving an impression that's all I do ! However, much of my time is spent designing and making jewellery of some kind as well as creating and developing  projects for workshops and tutorials. So, today I thought I'd include a few images of some especially lovely bracelets which were made from a recent workshop. 

                      

                       

All these bracelets are fabulous examples from my popular Doughnut Bracelet Workshop. Each set of beads looks lovely and the colour choices are amazing. I've taught this workshop many times but I'm not sure I've seen a complete set of bracelets quite as 'polished' (no pun intended). Well done to everyone involved.
I've got another jewellery project in the design stage today. This time it's combining fibre and beads. I will share the results tomorrow, don't forget to check out the blog tomorrow.

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Knitting News

Hi Everyone
I've a little news update re the wrist warmer project (started last week). Friday's post detailed the 'purposeful spinning' idea which is all about spinning for a specific project and I'm reporting on the results. Read Friday's post for more on this.
Over the weekend, I knitted a few wrist warmers and learned about the techniques involved in colourwork. In addition to the actual colourwork techniques, I was also a little unsure about how my hand spun yarn would cope with colourwork. However, I'm happy to report - it coped very well !

 I have concluded, I would have achieved a more distinct contrast pattern with single block colours. One of my colour choices was a mustard/grey/blue blend. I do love the way the coloured blend works with the blue and natural colours but I think a single yellow or dark blue would have given a higher contrast in the stitch pattern. However, the general consistency of the hand spun yarn is very pleasing and the finished wrist warmer is pretty. A positive and very enjoyable knit. I really enjoyed the colourwork technique. Here is a quick look at one of the wrist warmers prior to blocking - I've simply pinned out. I will block both wrist warmers when I'm finished the pair.

                      

One issue which concerned me from the begining was how tight my knitting gauge tends to be. I was right to be concerned. My first completed wrist warmer is a whole size too small. I'm now in the process of knitting a third to give me a pair of warmers which match in size. In addition to my tight knitting tendency, I almost always have issues following patterns - I start with good intentions, then go 'off piste' and resolve any issues as I go. This time, I was determined to stick with the pattern and so it was - it's very easy but I did manage to keep with the stitch count and the colours throughout (as stated). My gauge has slackened considerably and I think, I'm there - in terms of my technique. I also can report very few occasions where my yarn got tangled - major achievevment !
The idea behind this project was twofold - I wanted practice on 'purposeful spinning' and practice re colourwork technique. I think, I can be very pleased with myself.

Thanks for calling in today.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Purposeful Spinning

Hi Everyone
My little story today is about a new knit project as well as something I'm thinking of as purposeful spinning. I have some plans for colourwork knitting and am tackling this very small project in preparation, ie. developing my skills, for a larger sweater. I also wanted to think about spinning (specifically) for the project. Initially, I hadn't thought about a specific range of colours for the job but somehow the yellow and blues in my stash seemed to 'leap' out. Look back yesterday for more images of the blending process. 
I've spun the mixed fibres and also a neutral cream and a complimentary blue - hand dyed for the job. I didn't spend too much time thinking about which blue to use but I like the light denim colour which has emerged. I used food colouring and it's not always reliable in terms of the outcome.

             I'm also trying hard to keep good records of my spinning. It's very easy to just spin, ending up with small amounts of yarn waiting for projects which will never happen because I can't reproduce enough of a particular yarn to knit anything substantial. The record card in the photo story is just for the yellow/blue mix - I have other cards for each of the yarns I'm using. In theory, I can now spin each individual yarn again and again. I have all the key details and samples of the spin (to compare) as per a recipe. The pattern calls for 2 ply jumper weight and I've tried to create something similar. I may need to swatch a few times to get the gauge sorted ? 

                          


The pattern is a pair of very simple wrist warmer items. The pattern is called solveig wristlets by Outi Kater. I'm hoping, I have chosen the right yarns to make pretty wrist warmers. I'm not sure how long I can make the wrist warmers ? I had some ideas about turning them into more of a 'gauntlet'. However,  I'm not sure if there's enough yarn ? I have 25gm of each of the colours (as stated in the pattern) - I could develop more of the neutral and the blue (possibly a slightly different shade of blue ?) but the mixed yellow/blue is unique - no more of that !

I'm hoping to cast on later today, so should have something to show next week.

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Blending Fibres

Hi Everyone
I've another fibre project to talk about today. This time I've chosen fibres from my stash to develop a few different coloured yarns for some colour work practice. I've a few ideas for some detailed colour work sweaters and cardigans so want to dip into the techniques with a smaller project. The little project will start with wrist warmers which, I think, may turn into more of a gauntlet item. I have a pair of gauntlet/wrist warmers which I find very useful for linking with one of my knitted poncho's  and like the idea of another pair. The gauntlets under the poncho  looks like I'm wearing a fabulous jumper and gives warmth on a cool day.
I do have a pattern inspired by a project from my local knit group. I'll share the details once I get going. The original pattern uses red, natural, light blue colours and I'm aiming to replace my blended colours for the red, I'll keep the natural shade and use dark blue for light blue. 
So far, I've got the blended yarn and the natural. I need to spin some more natural for dying dark blue - hopefully today. I especially love the blended rolags (top right).

             

My little photo story shows the progress of the yarn production from 3 different fibres, a British wool blend and a couple of coloured blended Tops. The images progress clockwise and I'm at the stage where my 2 ply needs a soak before it's ready to use.
I enjoyed making the yarn last night and will try and manage this little project alongside my other current knitting plans. The poncho from yesterday (read back for details) is a simple but very long stocking stitch knit and I need something to give my mind a challenge. Fingers crossed, I can cope !

I'll share the detail of the new knit tomorrow - hopefully I will have cast on.

Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

On my needles

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing a new project on my needles today. I started the knit at the end of last week and it's growing quite quickly. The pattern is called Simple Poncho and is a very simple knit.
I'm using some of my own spun and dyed yarn for this project. The original wool for my knit first appeared on the blog here and I had hoped it would be destined for a tunic knit. However, there was nowhere near enough yarn for that job and it was a little too lightweight. I would describe the yarn as light fingering.
The yarn has been sitting in my stash waiting for the right knit to come along and that's where I am now. The pattern for the Simple Ponch seems to be the right pattern. There is not enough yarn to complete the whole poncho so my plan is to spin more. The poncho is a very simple knit, as the name suggests. A long piece of stocking stitch - approximately 100 stitches wide (needles size 5mm), is knitted across the body and joined at either side of the neck. The poncho is finished with an i-cord edge at the neck and the bottom of the garment. 
The new yarn (to complete the knit) is to be a natural dyed Indigo yarn, dyed by a friend of mine. I will get the wool next week and start to spin as soon as possible. My idea is to use the Indigo blue to compliment the remaining part of the poncho stocking stitch and the i-cord edges.

                      

I may also develop more of the varieagated yarn in my photo story to give me more options for the stocking stitch. As the yarn is quite fine, the knitted material is draping beautifully and looks very pretty with all the colours giving a soft green/purple/blue mix. I think,by creating a substantial Indigo section, the poncho will wear well with denim. Previous spins with natural dyed Indigo have produced a particular, soft, Matt yarn which will be perfect.
I will give regular updates on my progress with this project so look out for news.

Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Yarn Necklace Workshop

Hi Everyone
We have very exciting Making Workshop today. This is the third and final workshop in a series of three sessions working towards making a yarn necklace 'from scratch'. Our first session was all about spinning and plying raw wool using a drop spindle. The second session concentrated on dying the prepared yarn with food colouring. Our third session will 'play' with the prepared yarn, designing a necklace. We will add beads and/or embroidery threads and possibly more yarn. We also have the opportunity to add extra fibres using dry felting techniques to embellish the ncklaces

                                 
                     

I've developed a range of sample necklaces which use a variety of the embellishments previously mentioned. My yarn has a boucle effect ie an over spun look. The resulting necklaces are using the boucle effect particularly and I didn't want to distract from the structure and colours of the yarn. I have used some small seed beads and limited amounts of embroidery thread but I like the simple look of the yarn. I will add to the design and develop some more detail to the necklaces but Im keen to retain the mainly wool necklace.
I'm looking forward to seeing what people come up with in the workshop. I'll take some photos to share.

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Shibori

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing the results of a great experience over the weekend. A lovely friend arranged a couple of places on a Shibori dying session (for us) on Saturday. We have been talking about Shibori for quite some time and this session somehow appeared on our radar. For those of you that are not familiar with Shibori , Shibori is a Japanese manual resist dyeing technique, which produces patterns on fabric.
 Although, I had a reasonable idea about how to achieve the Shibori patterns, from watching YouTube videos, I had a great time learning and experimenting with the techniques. What a fabulous experience, I loved it. The process was demystified to a certain extent, however, as with all these things - there is much to learn. Ultimately, my plan is to organise a my own dye shed in my very small garden. We do have the actual shed but it needs a complete re design in terms of making it work as somewhere to dye material.
Our tutor (on Saturday) introduced many different techniques for making varied patterns using a natural Indigo bath. My favourite colour happens to be blue so I was very excited to see what I could achieve. I'd already decided that I would take along a piece of white cotton fabric which will eventually become part of a dress. During our session, we were presented with a range of everyday items which helped form patterns on the fabric. Things like wooden flat shapes, pegs, stones, string, cotton, rubber bands and more. The idea is to use these various items to tie and fold around the material to be dyed. The resist that is created by the tying process prevents the dye from seeping into the fabric and the patterns are created after dipping into the Indigo bath. It's quite magical.
Here is a quick look at the Shibori dyed fabric :

                  

                    

I have a pattern in mind for my dress and am wondering if I now need to dye the remaining fabric (currently white) blue ? I think, I do !
Will keep you informed of my progress and the plans for the 'dye shed'.

Thanks for calling in today.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Finished Object

Hi Everyone
I'm so happy to be sharing my latest finished object ie the knitting item I've had on my needles for a very short time. It's been such a pleasure to knit this pattern. I shared my early progress here where I give the background to the Belsyde shawl pattern. I can't quite believe how quick this has knit up. I think, I'm quite a slow knitter but this shawl was so VERY quick to appear. I followed the stitch pattern (mostly) but used a range of colour blocks along the whole length. Look back to my previous link for images of the original colour scheme.

            

The colours (left side) look slightly odd in my photo story because of poor lighting - the right hand images are more of a true colour. As you can see, I'm in the process of blocking and it's looking lovely already. I'm hoping it will be ready to wear soon. I'll get some better photos when it's dry and draping around my shoulders.
The yarn is Dovestone DK in three colours -  BrassBand,Viking and Aire. I love the combination and the stitch patterns look subtle and interesting. This yarn features heavily in almost all my recent knitted garments. I have lots left so can see another item appearing, I just need to find the right pattern. My stash has more colours too, I'm thinking about some colour work. There are a number of options in my head already.

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend.


Thursday, 23 March 2017

Yarn Necklace News

Hi Everyone
I've another 'almost finished' project to share today. This time it's my yarn necklaces. This project has been at the centre of the Making Workshop series for the past couple of sessions and last month I shared the initial yarn development for my sample - see top left of photo story. The design of the necklaces have been a bit of a challenge. For quite some time, I've struggled to find something I was happy with. However, the initial results are surprisingly good and I think I'd rather like to wear them.

                  

The collection of images give a taste of the way in which the project has developed. There's lots of detail on the photo story showing how some of the yarn has been used to create the yarn necklaces. The final items are still under development with a range of beads - hopefully they will be completed later today. I think the necklaces could look very good with the right outfit, they seem to act a little like a very small scarf in terms of keeping warm. 
The colours of the hand painted fibres are particularly well displayed in the simple stranded designs. This yarn has been 'over spun' and has a boucle appearance which has informed how I used the yarn for the necklaces. In total, there are four necklaces. I simply kept going until all the yarn had been used. I'm hoping to find outfits which the necklace can seen at their best and will share the images when I get there. 
The Yarn Necklace Making Workshop will take place next week so I'm hoping to have more lovely samples to share. So, more to come on this one. As I develop specific images for each necklace, I will share their specific development.

Thanks for calling in today.


Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Socks on my needles

Hi Everyone
I'm announcing a new knitting project today. I've casted on a new pair of socks last night. I have a pair of socks 'on the go', most of the time, so nothing new there. However, this time it's a 'toe up' approach using  Judy Beckers cast on technique. I've tried this a few times and given up. I've also had a bit of a practice last week. My issue has been the untidy result of the initial few rows. I've tried and failed so many times, each attempt has been followed by resorting back to my my usual cuff down approach. The cuff down is easy (for me) I don't need a pattern until a quick reference for the heel and the whole knit runs smoothly, that is UNTIL the toe part needs to be sewn up with the Kitchenor thing ! I hate the Knitchenor thing check it out here . I'm not quite sure why this technique causes me so much trouble ? I need to face my fear and just work on it. With practice, I know I could get it right. In my head, I thought the 'toe up' approach would solve all my problems !!! I seem to have replaced one problem with another.

          
As you can see from the photo story, I've started and made the toe part. It's not perfect and I'm already thinking about starting again ? I think, I'll give it a few more rows before I make the final decision.
I've joined in the Socmatician Ravelry Group 'sock-along' as a way of focussing my mind on this one. In theory, I've got to the end of the month to finish - which may happen ? I'm using my new stash from Edinburgh, the Sock Yeah ! Coop knits yarn. I've started with the blue (called Benitoit) and will add a few sections of different colours (see back a few days for the different colours). I want to use the same colour yarns for both socks but will not make them exactly the same - I quite like the odd sock look. Each sock will get a number of coloured 'stripes/blocks', depending on how I feel at the time.
My ultimate aim with sock knitting is to knit two socks as once. I wanted to be able to knit both 'toe up' and 'cuff down' easily and get rid of my mental block problems with various techniques ! I know it's about practice. The two socks 'at a time' will have to wait for a while, I need to crack one technique on one sock for now.

Thanks for calling in today.


Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Spin-along - the results.

Hi Everyone
It's my final episode of the spin-along project today. Read back for more blog episodes here and here re the sample-along. I've finally completed my knitted sample of the hand spun wool and blocked the piece I'm very pleased with the results. The yarn works well in my sample, the various stitches are distinct and the texture and colours are beautiful. I decided to crochet a simple slip stitch around the sample and this boarder gives the sample good stability. The yarn knitted and croched well, no splitting of the yarn and generally a smooth knit.



                 

This project is part of the Tiny Fibre Studio spin-along on Ravelry check out the details here .There's a group of people involved in the project and the idea is to share results and learn. I've certainly been surprised at how well my spinning has knitted up into various different stitches. I'm particularly pleased with how the cables look and feel I've learned from the process. I've written up some basic notes about my spin and will work on developing a more detailed record for future reference. My aim is to develop a process of recording and sampling as I develop my spinning skills.
I didn't manage to calculate how much yarn I made from the weight of fibres - I've got some left so will try and resurrect this. My sample was spun from two small 10gm rolls of fibres which have been plyed together. I definitely need a set process for developing my yarn with a tested series of tasks. The final knitted swatch sample is much bigger than my usual swatch and it's good to see a range of stitches included. I guess any sample needs to reflect the specific item being knitted and the knitting pattern will dictate this.
I've certainly changed my mind set about preparing for a hand spun knitted project. Previous attempts have been unprepared and usually, I have just spun some fibre and hoped it would eventually fit a knitted project. The biggest issue for me, in the past, has been how much yarn I need to spin and what weight of fibres I need. I'm hoping I've found a way of planning future projects and am on my way to being a purposeful spinner. I'm looking forward to learning about everyone's experiences from the Ravelry group.

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Edinburgh 2017 - final word.

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing my last little purchase story from Edinburgh Yarn Festival today. Last week, each day highlighted a purchase and the intended use (read back for more on this). My final purchase is a couple of skeins of Blacker Tamar - Lustre Blend DK in Tiddy Brook and Penpol. The colours are lovely - possibly my favourite colours. I've chosen to knit a beautiful design by Kate Davies from her Yokes book with this yarn. The specific pattern I've chosen is called Buchanan. This is a short sleeved jumper with a lovely patterned yolk and a simple coloured rib pattern around the bottom, neck and sleeves.

                      

I'm using a different colour scheme to that in the photo and need to add at least one other colour to the Tamar skeins, possibly mustard and or off white ? I'm hoping to spin these extra colours, using the Tamar as my sample. 

So, thats it for my latest purchases and their associated plans. I have quite a stack of projects waiting for a series of start dates. I've not
 timescale for these projects but I do want to keep them in my spinning and knitting priority list. 

I've created some individual project labels and am storing each project in a simple cotton project sack. I'm not sure which project will be the first to start ? I'll  choose after my current project has been completed. I'm very excited about using all the products from my Edinburgh purchases. Each knit or spin will remind me of the great time we had at the festival. Can't wait for next years dates to appear !

Thanks for calling in today.


Friday, 17 March 2017

All About Buttons

Hi Everyone
My Edinburgh story today is all about 'buttons'. Buttons featured at the top of my planned purchase list before I left for Edinburgh Yarn Festival (read back on Monday for background on the Festival). I wanted a range of buttons for cardigans. I wasn't sure about how many to buy (of same design) but in the end decided eight would be a generous number.  The buttons I found are quite small and may not be suitable for all the cardigans I have planned ? but I do like small buttons and would prefer to have more smaller than fewer larger buttons on my garments. We will see how things work out ? 

I found a great button/pin booth at Edinburgh called Textile Garden. They have a great website too - with all my buttons on there as well as lots more. If I need more larger buttons, I know where to go. I love the buttons and can see them on my finished cardigans already, just need to spin or buy the yarn and then knit, of course !

            
Each button has a lovely colour finish and I see them being used as a feature of each finished garment. I loved spending ages looking at all the buttons at the Booth. My initial approach was to look for colours and these ones just jumped out at me.

That's almost it for my Edinburgh purchases, however, I've managed to save one last purchase for next week. So, until Monday .........
Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Spinning Story

Hi Everyone
My Edinburgh story today is all about spinning (read back this week for more on Edinburgh). I'm sharing another item from my Festival 'haul'. This lovely plait of fibres found itself jumping into my shopping bag. I'd decided to look for some unusual spinning material (unusual to me) before setting out on Saturday. I love this colour combination. The fibres are 60% Merino and 40% Flax - the colour way is called Scarab. I visited the porpoisefur booth several times before finally deciding. All the dyed, plaited fibres they were selling could have been chosen  - they were all beautiful.

I'm curious to see how the yarn spins and then, how it knits up. My plait weighs 56gms, so it's quite a small quantity and I've been pondering what to do with the resulting yarn ? I've been thinking about this for a few days now and waiting for the 'yarn to be' to tell me what to do. I'm almost decided to add some other Merino mix yarn in a contrasting colour for a cardigan - probably a denim blue colour. I'm thinking, I can use the Scarab for contrast blocks in the cardigan. I would like to knit a top down pattern - with the Scarab forming the yoke part and possibly an element of the arms. I think 3/4 arm length would be good. At this stage, I'm still deciding on the pattern - I've seen many but can't quite make the decision. 

 

I want to find the right pattern before spinning so I can spin to the specification of the yarn. I think, I'm probably going for a light dk weight.

I will keep looking for the pattern but can't  wait to spin the Scarab. Will keep you posted on my progress.

Thanks for calling in today.


Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Sock Talk

Hi Everyone
I have another Edinburgh Yarn Festival story today. This time, I'm talking about socks. I bought three 50gm skeins of sock yarn, super wash Merino with Nylon (go back to Monday and Tuesday to see other purchases)I've gone for blue/green colours (as usual). 
 
The colours work beautifully together and I'm  going for a 'striped look' for the finished socks. The choice of colours in the Coop Knits booth was overwhelming at first, I could not decide ! - it took me ages. Looking at the little pile of yarn, I'm very pleased with my choice. The colours are Peridot,Benitoit and Topaz.
I'm going for a new sock pattern design (new to me). I do have a 'made to measure' pattern developed over a few years which I know works well every time. It's very simple and once I get going, I don't need the pattern for most of the knit. However, I'm moving out of my comfort zone with a new pattern and a completely new approach. I usually go 'top down' and knit each sock, individually. This time, I will go 'toe up' and am trying to knit two at a time. Wow ! I'm getting anxious already - as I write.
My pattern is Sockmatician's Toe-Ups.

 
 At this point, I want to mention that I bumped into The Sockmatician (Nathan Taylor) at Edinburgh - while wandering around the market place. I feel as if I know Nathan because I watch his You Tube episodes regularly. Obviously, he didn't know me. However, that didn't stop me, what a lovely man he is. Very chatty and warm just like his 'You Tube self'. We had a brief but lovely chat and I will always link the sock yarn with our little chat. Check out his You Tube channel with a coffee break.
I have some practice sessions planned re the sock pattern. My anxiety is just about the start point - Judy Beckers Magic Cast On is resommened - so I will practice that first. The other big challenge will be knitting two socks at once. I've tried this before so I know (vaguely) what I'm up for. Last time, I dismissed the technique, quite quickly. This time I will make it happen, no question - I will just keep practicing until I get there !

 I'll keep you posted about my progress on this project. My plan is to spend a little time each day for the next week - as a training period. Hopefully next week, I should be ready to start my socks. I'm looking forward to 'cracking' this one.

Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Another Edinburgh Tale

Hi Everyone
Here is my second story from Edinburgh Yarn Festival (from my visit on Saturday).

                        

This is my outstanding (read back yesterday for the other purchases) double purchase and possibly the best ? I went for two different colours of fibre which I'm aiming to use in one garment - a cropped cardigan with 3/4 sleeves. I did have a specific pattern in mind but have seen a few more yesterday and am undecided. I'm definitely going for a cardigan and it will have some kind of small scale lacework or cable pattern. I've plenty of time to think about this one, as I spin my fibre ! The fibre will hopefully turn into lots of light weight dk yarn.
It was quite difficult to decide which colour fibre to go for (on the day) - I was thinking of a deep pink (Knit by Numbers 62) - a single colour Merino.
However, when it came down to it, I went for my usual range of blue and green. My next purchase will definitely be the Knit by Numbers 62 !! I've promised myself this will be after my next two spins have been completed.
I love the colours of my fibre - I'm thinking I will partially combine spinning the two fibres as well as plying a portion but also want to keep elements which are seperate. I'm hoping I can give my final knitted garment a random use of the combined spun yarns. I won't be specifically looking for colour symmetry in the finished cardigan. I've high hopes for this project and am keen to getting. This will remind me of my lovely time at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2017.

Thanks for calling in today.


Monday, 13 March 2017

Tales from Edinburgh

Hi Everyone
The only subject I can talk about today is - Edinburgh. More specifically, my visit to Edinburgh Yarn Festival on Saturday. I had a lovely time and will get into the detail over the next few days. I'm not sure if I can make it last all week (will definitely try !) but there's enough material for a few days ! Today, I'm giving a general overview of the visit.
Edinburgh is around a two hour drive from my home in Morpeth, Northumberland. The journey is a very pretty one and when we left on Saturday the weather was lovely - a bright and almost sunny day. As we approached Edinburgh the clouds gathered but it felt warmish in the sun. The hills and rural views throughout the journey are very special - so the journey was a pleasure. I also managed to make good progress on my current knit project which helps pass the time as a passenger - didn't feel like two hours at all !
I had planned a little 'wish list ' for potential purchases as well as booths I wanted to visit - so felt my day was prepared. I had a map of the venue and my check list of places to visit. I could have spent lots of time at every single booth but did make a 'bee line' for my chosen highlights. I eventually purchased five different packages of stash and felt happy but quite restrained ! A few skeins of yarn, some buttons and a couple of bags of fibres found their way into my bag. Each purchase was considered and I didn't buy anything until I'd been around everything once. I also bumped into a couple of people I know as well as some You Tubers that I watch (almost feel like I know them too !) the whole atmosphere was lovely.
I had also joined the Blacker Yarns Podcast 'knit along' which had been organised online prior to the Festival. The Podcast Lounge was a specific room organised for sitting around, knitting, eating and chatting as well as talking all things 'podcast'. The room was buzzing with excitement and full of people. The Blacker Yarns booth was also in the podcast lounge itself.  The knit along project was to knit and then wear an item using Blacker Yarns on the day and get a discount on any purchases. I joined this activity several weeks ago and wore my knitted item ( a scarf )and purchased a couple of skeins of beautiful yarn. You can check out the details of the Podcast Lounge - http://www.edinyarnfest.com/blacker-yarns-podcast-lounge-2017/ if you're interested.

I will go into more detail over the next few days re my purchases and what I plan to do with them but here is a quick look at some of my purchases :
                      
There's another larger purchase which would not fit into my photo - will reveal this one tomorrow !

Generally, I saw some lovely things  and could have bought so much more (funds permitting) but I am very pleased with my stuff. I have specific plans for each item which pleases me too. Often, I come home from a show and have a bag of stuff which is lovely but doesn't have a plan attached and therefore often gets left unused - for years !

For food, we had taken a 'pack lunch' and found a little corner of the main hall to eat it - there were a few others 'picnicking', which was great too !Little chats and a coffee stand next to our spot made lunch a lovely treat too. The atmosphere was great with everyone seeming to be having a good time.

When our visit was over, it was back to the car (parked quite close to the venue) and back into the hills, heading for home. I've been talking and thinking about the day every since - it was such a lovely treat. I'm inspired by many of the things I saw and will look forward to using my purchases over the next few months. I'm already looking forward to next year. Big 'thank you' to my lovely husband for driving and enjoying my day too ! (even though he had/has a severe head cold)

Thanks for calling in today. Back with more detail tomorrow.

Friday, 10 March 2017

On my needles

Hi Everyone
I've a new project on my needles - I started a few days ago and have made significant progress. After the initial section, which is beautifully written and clear to follow, I stumbled and struggled to understand what I needed to do ! It seemed to take me forever to work out the pattern. I'm not brilliant at following patterns - for some reason, I find it difficult to work out the most simple instructions ?
However, I've managed to work out what I'm doing and now, its a most enjoyable knit !

 

The pattern is something I found in the latest version of Wool Tribe 2017 magazine - produced to support the Edinburgh Yarn Festival (which starts today). I'm going tomorrow - too excited about this already !!! 
Back to the pattern, it's a shawl called Belsyde by Renee Callahan. I'm making the shawl in various colours. I'm using dovstone dk in Aire (blue/grey) and Brass Band (mustard) which you can see in my photo. I'm also using a third colour which I will reveal next time - hopefully I will have introduced the new colour by next week. The pattern has a subtle zig zag running throughout the length of the shawl as well as a couple of interesting boarders. The top boarder uses a modern lacework pattern and one side has an angular type scallop pattern, both in contrasting colours - not decided on which colours to use for these elements yet ? My journey to Edinburgh will take a couple of hours so I'm hoping I can make lots of progress 'en route'. I'll share the detail about Edinburgh next week.
I've made a couple of other items in the same Aire dk and love the finished knits. You may remember my poncho and tunic knits - look back for more details and photos. I'm looking forward to wearing my new shawl and am already planning on how I will wear it as well as planning new knits to compliment. I really do need to move on from dovestone Aire !!

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Sample-along Update (2)

Hi Everyone
I've another update for the 'sample-along' - read back  HERE for more on this. I'd spun,plyed and washed the wool a few days ago. Then, I sat down to think about what I could do with for my knitted sample. I started to use a shared pattern idea for the sample from a generous member of The Tiny Fibre Studio 'sample- along' Ravelry group check it out . However, it wasn't working for me ! I find following a pattern chart a bit challenging. Not sure why ? - I seem to repeatably loose my place and make a mistake, then find myself starting again and again etc. !!!  So, I just thought about what I wanted to see from my own sample in terms of reference for future knits. I chose stitches that I use most of the time and made a sample from rows rather than columns. It's working great for me.

                      

I also wanted to finish the edges with a series of crochet stitches. I use crochet stitches to finish edges with many of my knitting projects and wanted to see how my yarn would behave as a crochet section. I not quite finished the crochet edges and will try and develop something I can share, later today. I want to block the sample too - I'm hoping the different stitches will be showcased post blocking.
I'm quite pleased with my sample so far. I'm also amazed at how even the spinning seems to be. I was a bit disappointed with my plying technique and thought the yarn would be rather weak but it seems not to be the case. Perhaps, I usually 'over ply' my yarn ? More work to go but it's very  pleasing to knit something (at last) from my own yarn, even if it's only a sample.

Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Finished Item (almost)

Hi Everyone
I'm almost there - just the buttons to stitch onto my latest knitting project. I've enjoyed knitting the Linnea Tunic, it's a sweater size item but such a simple knit that it seems to 'fly off' the needles. 
Yesterday, I made a range of buttons for the tunic, I still can't quite decide which to go for :

          

I instinctively go for the striped version but am also drawn to the top right buttons which look like pearl buttons. I'm not sure how I will decide ? I spent most of the evening looking at them (placed them next to me and glanced every now and then) - every time  I looked, I changed my mind. Looking at the photo I'm changing my mind again ! The only buttons I've rejected are the white ones, it's difficult to see but they have a square surface pattern which is very pretty but not for this project.
Here's a quick reminder of the tunic pattern :

            

At some point, I need to go for a set of buttons - the actual pattern calls for four buttons but Ive just made a single button hole on each side so only need two. Will let you know what decision I make.

Thanks for calling in today.

Sample-along Update

Hi Everyone
I'm providing an update of the spinning 'sample-along' from last week (read back here for details). I've chosen my little sample fibres and am making up a record sheet of my spin. This involves recording little samples of the job as the developed final yarn appears as well as a knitted sample of a range of specific stitches including cable, stocking stitch, rib, lace, moss stitch, garter. The sample card will include all the information I need to replicate the spin in the future. With the help of the Ravelry group linked to this little project I've got a pattern idea for a knitted sample. Check out the group if you are interested here.
So far, I've finished the spin section and washed the yarn. It's been drying overnight and I'm ready to knit the sample. 

        

I used a 'short forward' drafting technique (not my favourite !) and it was quite a struggle to keep disciplined throughout the spin. I tend to spin with a 'long draw' and feel very relaxed with this technique - using the short forward drafting made me very aware of the need to prepare my fibres more. Im keen to see how the drafting technique will effect my knitting sample. 
I'll keep you informed of progress - my next update will be the completed knitted sample.

Thanks for calling in today.