WIP Wednesday (August 6, 2014)

Oops! Being busy with other work is not conducive to keeping the blog updated, will have to try and remedy that!

I have had a fair bit of startitis recently, so there are a few new projects to mention.

On the Needles
Both Sombra and the secret project for GSoY are still on the needles and haven’t really progressed at all. Well the GSoY one is now officially over the halfway point so that is something. I’ve also loaned out the nice straight needles I was knitting Sombra on to my Mum, so will have to wait for them to restart the back.

There is a new pair of socks too, this time a pair of my own design, Orchardton. With textured stitches, cables and a wee bit of lace, I should hopefully get the second sock finished soon. I need to write up the pattern from my rather unintelligible notes for testing and release in the not-so-distant future.

However, this not the only own-design thing on the needles. There are another two to mention (told you I had startitis). Buttons will be a pair of colourwork fingerless mittens, using my favourite Jamieson & Smith Jumperweight (what else?). The first mitt is done, the charts are in draft, and like the aforementioned socks, testing and release will be happening soon.

The other new design in progress is the first in a two-parter. I am currently nearly 400 yards into a circular shawl (picture above) using Ginger’s Hand-dyed by Edinburgh’s own Gingertwist Studio. I’m using the ‘Gorblimey’ and ‘Girl on Fire’ shades, along with some undyed. I’m addicted to knitting this at the moment, but am going to run out of my undyed yarn very soon and will have to wait for the next delivery before I can continue with it. However, all is not lost as I am planning a half-circle version (using Lotus Mimi, a mink yarn!) so I’m sure I can cope.

On the Wheel
Still on the silk at the moment, I haven’t actually spun for at least a week and need to get restarted… When I find the time!

WIP Wednesday (July 23, 2014)

In the interests of sharing, I’ve decided to add in a new post category (probably running fortnightly, although it may become weekly – depending on how much knitting I actually get done). So welcome to WIP Wednesday! Of which there are quite a few lurking around the house.

On the Needles
Three active projects here – there are three others, all either hibernating (more on those later in a separate post) or still in the planning stages (I’ll talk about that one when it is finally started).

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First up another pair of socks – I mentioned these ones briefly in the Busy, Busy, Busy! Post last week. 2014 really is the year of the sock! This is the second pair this year for the BF. Again I am using my favourite (since I don’t need to think about what I’m doing) sock recipe (this recipe will also be covered in a forthcoming blog post) and Old Maiden Aunt Merino Superwash 4 Ply. This isn’t a normal OMA colourway, this is one of the skeins I dyed at the workshop back in March 2013. It is a deep blue with flashes of turquoise, very peacock-esque! I named the colourway ‘Wine Dark Sea’ – blame my love of Homer.* The BF however took one look at the freshly dyed skeins and declared it to be a ‘sock yarn blue’. Which resulted in the skeins immediately being set aside for socks for him. The first is done (and fits!), and the second has been cast on.

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Next up is Sombra, the lace weight jumper from the Summer 2014 issue of PomPom Quarterly. Knitted flat, this is quite slow going, but the front is finished and I have just the back to finish and the seaming and sleeves to go. I’m knitting this in Sublime Yarns Extra Fine Merino Lace (Oyster colourway) and Habu Yarns Silk Stainless Steel (Brown) and Merino (Green). Quite a neutral palette for me, but I’m loving the effect so far. Due to the fact that I get yarn tangled extremely easily (and taking on board advice from other users of the Habu Yarns) I’m knitting this on straight needles. The cable of a circular needles plus three strands of yarn was simply asking for trouble where I am concerned. As long as I am careful when adding in, or removing the different yarns I’m okay, if I’m not, then I spend a not inconsiderable amount of time unknotting things.

The final active knitting project is another super-secret thing, again for Glasgow School of Yarn in October and again knitted in Jamieson and Smith 2 Ply Jumper Weight (I have an addiction).

On the Hook
Nothing at the moment, though I am very tempted by Pax and really should just give it a go and not think about it too much.

On the Wheel

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Some incredibly beautiful silk from Hilltop Cloud. This was one of first Wool-Free Luxury Club offerings, and I have 200g of it. It is delightful to spin. I’m still on the first brick, I’ll get that both spun up as singles. At the moment I’m not sure whether to opt for a 2 Ply or Navajo-ply for 3 Ply. Either way it is going to be lovely.

* In Ancient Greek there is no word for blue, so the descriptions of the sea equate it with other colours, dark wine shades being a favourite.

Classes in August!

Interested in learning new knitting skills? I have a few classes on at Ginger Twist Studio in August.

All the details can be found here (including booking information) on the GTS website.

 

On August 7th, 2014 is Steeking, An Intro to Crocheted Steeks

If the thought of taking a pair of scissors to your knitting fills you with dread? This one-off sessions will seek to calm your fears. During the class you will be shown one of the main methods used for steeking, the crocheted steek – no previous crochet experience is needed. Over the course of the class you will have the opportunity to prepare, cut and finish different types of steeks.

On August 28th, 2014 is Fair Isle, Voar Wristwarmers

Has Fair Isle been just out of your grasp? Well if you are already comfortable knitting on double pointed needles or magic loop, this 1-off knitting class is suitable for you. Learn to work with 2 colours at the same time with these funky Spring wristwarmers. Voar is the Shetland name for Spring.

You will need:

50grams of Navia Trio in 2 contrasting shades, or suitable worsted weight yarn

4.0mm double pointed needles or large circular for magic loop

1 stitch marker

And finally on August 28th, 2014 is Learn to Spin on a Drop Spindle

Ever wanted to spin your own yarn? This session will introduce the basics of spinning and plying (both 2 Ply and 3 Ply) and will get you started on the drop spindle.

Materials required:

Drop Spindle

Fibre

Beginner Spinning Kits will be available to purchase from the shop, and will include everything you need to get started.

From ? To June 2014 – A Spinning Round Up

I haven’t just been knitting, I’ve had the drum carder out and the wheel too.

First up, two skeins which have been all spun for a while but not taken off the bobbins and skeined up.

The first was a braid from Hilltop Cloud, a blend of Teeswater and Silk, I spun this fibre before but not as a silk blend. I cannot actually remember much about the spinning process, but I do remember that I Navajo-plied this one. No idea on yardage yet as it still needs to be soaked, but it is looking pretty good so far. It is actually a brighter green in real life, but the camera wasn’t cooperating.

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Next up, one of my first blends from the drum carder the BF got me for my birthday last year (which gives you a good idea of how long these ones have been on bobbins, the Teeswater/Silk was from the Tour de Fleece 2013). This was a Merino/Tussah Silk/Angora/Firestar blend, plied with a strand of Habu Stainless Steel. It is incredibly soft and breakable, and I’m planning on weaving this one rather than knitting or crocheting it. Again no idea of yardage (plus in need of soaking) but I’m hoping there will be sufficient to make a woven cowl, as the Angora content should make it nice and cosy.

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And finally, a more recent one – I finished spinning this last week (or was it the week before… I need better notes). This was another of my carding efforts – a dark Gray Merino from Penelope Craft over in Amsterdam, a Gray-Pink Merino from Floop (from The Yarn Cake, Glasgow), some Tussah Silk and some alpaca from Ginger Twist Studio here in Edinburgh. Three skeins of slightly thick-thin 2ply Aran weight which I’ll stripe up with some Manos de Uruguay Wool Clasica in a dark fuchsia/purple colour.

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2013 – A (Somewhat Delayed) Recap

I had plans for a big fancy post with lots of discussion… that has not really panned out. Instead this is very much just a summary, but it is still nice to write it down.

All things considered 2013 was not a bad year crafting wise.

I knitted / crocheted / wove 35 projects – which included garments for once, instead of only focusing on accessories.

I launched 5 patterns > Flightless, Laitis, Hildasay Mittens, RiverscapeSānu

I managed to spin. (Quite a bit through the Tour de Fleece to be honest, not a vast amount after.)

FOs: A Round-Up, February-May 2013

To be honest with the move and everything, there hasn’t been a vast amount of knitting. Not really a surprise. The fact that I kept packing things also complicated matters. It does tend to put a spanner in the works when you think to yourself, ‘oh I’ll do that now’ only to find that everything you need to do said thing is not only packed but distributed across twenty seemingly identical boxes. At that point it is easier just to give up and go pack something else. You’d be amazed how many times this happened, and not just with knitting stuff.

 

So the FOs.

 

Two more ‘Flightless’ – this pattern is now available for sale! Details here, and available on Ravelry and Craftsy.

 

I also have another pattern up for sale, the Laitis Cowl. Again available via Ravelry and Craftsy, more details here.

 

I also managed a couple of slightly different FOs. A couple of woven scarves. I won’t go into too many details now, but needless to say, I seem to have acquired a loom.

Spin: HilltopCloud Handblended Club Yarn January 2013

This was one of my Christmas gifts, a 3-month subscription to the HilltopCloud Handblended Fibre club – 200g of handblended yarn delivered to your door.

This was the first month’s fibre – a scrumptious blend of Merino, Bluefaced Leicester and Cotton.

DSCN8285I opted to spin this at my usual weight, aiming for a heavy fingering / light sportweight 2 ply. And I suceeded. 514m of fresh green yarny goodness. It was this fibre which got me thinking about the fibre:yield ratio blogged about previously (see here for the original post, and the related page on yields from the Fibre & Spinning section). Now I jsut need to decide what to knit with it.

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Spin: HilltopCloud Whitefaced Woodland

This was the December 2012 Best of British club yarn. 150g of Whitefaced Woodland. A breed I’d never heard of before, and apparently it is on the Conservation list of British Breeds.

It is an interesting fibre, it doesn’t felt, which has obvious benefits when knitting up hardwearing items such as mittens. It also had an extremely spongy texture. When it came to spinning it up, I decided to let the fibre decide how it wanted to be spun. I didn’t want to loose the bounce and springy feel to it, so I tried to keep that.

What I ended up with was 180 yds (165m) of a lovely springy Aran weight.

DSCN8283_medium2I’m currently planning out what to knit with it.

Fibre: Cheviot

CheviotCheviot Ewe and Lamb (From here)

History

The earliest reference to sheep from the Cheviot Hills dates to 1372 which refers to ‘a small, but very hard race’.[i] During later centuries it appears that both Merino and Lincoln bloodlines were added to the original Cheviot stock, records state that there were 3000 Merinos brought to England in 1480, a similar number were introduced in 1560.[ii] In the eighteenth century, further improvements were made to the breed  which increased both the meat and fleece production.[iii]

The breed has subsequently introduced to the United States (1838) and Australia (1938) – although it appears the breed is in decline in Australia.[iv]

The Fibre

  • Staple length can vary from 4-5 inches, some Australian examples see staple lengths reach 6 inches.
  • Diameter of the fiber tends to fall between approximately 27-33 microns, though 24 are know.
  • The fibre should spin up well, and works well in blends.

My Cheviot Spinning

Cheviot was my first spinning experience, and I used a drop spindle to create about 40m of super-bulky/art yarn. This is certainly a breed I would spin again.


[ii] The Cheviot Sheep Society – History; D.Robson & C. Ekarius (2011). The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook, p.54.

[iv] Oklahoma State University, Breeds of Livestock (Sheep: Cheviot); Rare Breeds Trust of Australia – Cheviot 

Useful Links

The Cheviot Sheep Society 

Oklahoma State University Breeds of Livestock, Sheep, Cheviot

Cheviot Sheepbreeders’ Association Australia 

Rare Breeds Trust of Australia – Cheviot