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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.



Monday, 6 March 2017

Project Bags

Hi Everyone
Last week, I talked about making a new project bag. I've been thinking about this 'make' for a while and finally, I'm finally into the development stage. I've done a fair bit of research on the subject and have decided to go for a drawstring version rather than a zip version. I wanted to make the bag from existing stash and this probably gave me more problems than anything else. I've lots of small pieces of beautiful fabric and wanted to use them. I think, I've got a good design which will require a little sewing before I can start the bag. The fabric pieces I've chosen are too small to use as they are - so, I've decided to sew them together to create a couple of larger pattern pieces.
I've taken inspiration from a great design I found on Pinterest from www.gluestickblog.com. There's a great tutorial available on the blog.

 

I'm planning on a lined bag with extra pockets and handles with the option to extend the size (upwards). I've divided the project into five smaller tasks which aim hoping will allow a relaxed approach to my sewing. I don't want to rush the job. I'm almost sure there will be modifications along the way but I want the bag to be as good as it can be - in terms of design and quality. I specifically want to use this bag for a sweater size knitting project and if this design works well, I'll make a few more. My first task is to prepare the pattern pieces. I haven't set a timescale as such but I want to create the individual pieces by the end of the week and have the construction process clear.
I'll keep you up to date with developments.

Thanks for calling in today.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Sewing Story

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing yet another project in my very long 'to do' list today. This time it's to do with sewing. I've had a long history of sewing but for the last few years, sewing has taken a 'back seat'. However, I've been inspired by reading  a number of popular sewing blogs such as  Sew Over It and Tilly and The Buttons. As a result, a few days ago, I found myself in a local craft shop and saw a selection of sewing patterns.Among the range of patterns, I found a lovely Merchant and Mills pattern.

 

When I got home, the only thought was to look at the Merchant and Mills online shop. How wonderful - words fail me. I love everything they sell. More gorgeous patterns and lots and lots of lovely fabric. However, something I need to do NOW - is check on the rather large bag of fabric stash I already have !! 
In addition, I've found a smaller project which will, hopefully, give me a little necessary practice and brush up my sewing skills. This smaller project is to make a project bag for a sizeable 'make' such as a dress or jumper. I have a number of small zip bags and a range of simple drawstring bags but I'm after something larger which is pretty and does the job of organising the projects.
I've been in the habit of working with a single project and then moving on to the next. However, I'd like to start organising my time more efficiently by managing several projects at once. I'm hoping some new project bags will help. 

 

I'm not sure how many bags I'm going to need ? but I think I like both drawstring and zip style bags - it's just a question of size and deciding on my 'making' schedule ! Hopefully, I have enough stash fabric to start the bag project, I'm hoping to get the first one going this weekend.

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend.

Thanking for calling in today

Box of Delights

Hi Everyone
Yesterday, the most delightful box arrived via the postman. The box shouldn't have been a great surprise - given that I'd ordered it ! But something about the square purple box that arrived made my heart beat a bit faster. This box was full of lovely individually wrapped mini packages. Lots of different colours and textures and generally a beautiful sight. This box is all about a NEW project which involves spinning. Each little package (20 in total) contains 15gms of wool roving. I thought I'd identified my favourite three packages (see top photo) couldn't find just one ! However, each time I look at the box, I have a new favourite. The little packages have their own descriptive names which is lovely too. I can't wait to get going with spinning them.

The Project is a sample-along with a great YouTube Channel called Tiny Fibre Studio. The channel is quite new and based here in the UK (everything about it is great) and exactly what I need just at this moment in my own spinning journey. I'm also quite new to spinning but try and spin everyday. I've made great progress but I'm ready to try and become a 'purposeful spinner'.This means that I want to be able to spin specific yarn in a specific way for a particular purpose ie a knitting or crochet project.The sample-along project will begin on 1st March 2017 (so I can start ASAP) with a worsted 2-ply as the theme. The sample-along itself will involve spinning the little sample of yarn, plying it and then knitting a small square which will include a mixture of stitches to help see how the yarn behaves. Worsted spinning is done from a combed preparation and my gorgeous little packages are perfect. Hopefully, members of the sample-along will have lots of different experiences which we will discuss and share findings. I'm really excited about this project and feel able to confidently join in !
Here is a quick look at the packages before deciding on which I'm going to choose :

 

If you are interested in getting involved have a look at  Tiny Fibre Studio on Ravelry for the details.
Just want to mention how Candy from Nunoco on Etsy responded to my request for the little packages of roving (Becks from Tiny Fibre Studio recommend the shop) I messaged her to check if she could provide a box and within an hour I'd placed my order. The order arrived within a few days. Thank you so much Candy. Go and check out her store for more goodies 
I'll keep you posted on my progress with this project over the next few weeks.
Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Work In Progress

Hi Everyone
Today, I'm sharing a knitting project which has been 'in progress' for only a few weeks. The pattern is called Linnea Tunic by Stella Ackroyd. This item is a long length tunic. I'm knitting with a beautiful yarn, Dovestone dk in the aire colour way which is 50% Bluefaced Leicester/25% Wensleydale Longwool/25% Dark Brown Masham. The resulting knitted material is soft and drapes well. I'm amazed how quickly it's knitting up ! I'm not usually a quick knitter and although it's very plain, mostly stocking stitch with a moss stitch boarder on the bottom and up each side, there's still quite a bit of knitting. There are also a couple of buttons on each side - I'm not sure which buttons I will go for ? At this point, I'm considering making some buttons with polymer clay but can't decide on a colour ? or a size/style ? I'll work on those decisions over the next few days.

 

I've got about 30 cms of knitting to go  including some arm/shoulder/ neck shaping - not very much at all. I'm very pleased with how it's going and looking forward to wearing this tunic.

Thanks for calling in today.