2017 First Quarter Knitting

Here’s a reminder of my 2017 knitting/fibre goals.

  • Complete 12 or more knitting/crochet projects
  • Complete 2 or more spinning projects
  • Keep accurate spinning records
  • Knit something from handspun
  • Brioche stitch
  • Watch more Craftsy classes

The year started very well, with finished projects flying off the needles throughout January.

The silk mittens were completed and put into immediate use underneath the fingerless mitts I made last year. For cycling in winter, two layers of gloves are perfect. The silk mittens are quite rustic, as the gauge varies significantly depending on how thin I drafted the silk. If I were to make them again, I’d make the hand section smaller, as they feel a little loose. Having used the Knitters Handy Book of Patterns to make them, I was quite chuffed to get a comment from Ann Budd herself on my project page.

Next, I finally finished my god-daughter’s Christmas present, only a week or two late. It’s a cardigan/jacket knit in one piece, mostly plain stockinette, but with a sideways cabled border round the edge.  This gave me some good practice at grafting in pattern. I’ve since received several pictures of her wearing it, so it has obviously proved popular. The yarn is a cotton-wool mix that should be fairly hard-wearing.

This next project was a first attempt at illusion knitting. The pattern appeared as one of the puzzle weeks that we take part in. Sadly, I was completely stumped by the puzzle, which you can find here, until the solution was revealed, but I decided to knit the mystery pattern anyway. I used some cheap acrylic black and white yarns that haven’t even made it onto Ravelry yet, despite being bought several years ago.

Oh the irony, when I discovered that I had knit the woolmark in a yarn that is against everything that trademark stands for.

As far as spinning goes, I’ve done a bit: turning a gorgeous braid of Merino, Shetland, Alpaca and Silk into some singles. Plying is next on the agenda. The yarn looks as if it is dark red, but it has lovely flecks of green in. I think it will end up looking heathered. I have spent today keeping my Ravelry stash up to date, but can’t really add much to the spinning records until the plying is done, when I can have a go at calculating wpi, grist etc. Perhaps one day this will be a hat.

My intention of learning brioche stitch is making progress, having cast on  a swatch and nailed the basics. It really is a lot easier than I was expecting (and much easier using two colours than it would be using one). I started to look at increases and decreases, then got bored because the swatch really will never be anything other than a swatch as I’m using up scraps of yarn. One of my online friends suggests making an object instead. She may be right. Anyway, it’s a step in the right direction.

I have looked at a few Craftsy classes. The other day I watched several hours on a day I was very tired indeed. It was Stephen West on Shawlscapes. Deliciously eccentric and I learned some interesting ideas for how to change the shape of shawls.

There may have been yarn buying going on.  Most for specific projects. T came to choose some yarn for a scarf and picked Stylecraft DK. Very cheap tastes! The Woosheeps gradient pack was, however, pure indulgence in a colourway called Gothling. I wonder what it will be.

As far as keeping up with my 2017 goals, I think I’ve made good progress with all of them. It would be nice to finish March with another finished item, but then I’ve cast on another new one today rather than pressing on.

WIP update

Sock knitting progress has been mixed. I signed up for Sock Madness, but was defeated by the round 1 pattern, which consisted of half of every row being twisted stitches. It was an interesting fabric, but it met an end shortly after I realised I had misinterpreted the pattern and done all the gussets wrong. In the mean time, I’ve been gradually continuing with the Scrappies,  using up rainbow coloured scraps from my scrap box.  Using some of the Knitting Goddess yarn I got from the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show, I have started a shawl in some simple lace.

During February, I took part in an Instagram game, following yarn-related prompts each day. This got me to evaluate some of my WIPS and so I can admit that the Color Affection that I started with some gorgeous cashmere laceweight has gone to the frog pond. The colours did not have enough contrast for Color Affection so I need to find another use for them.

I’ll leave you with this morning’s work: destined to be legwarmers for a small person. Incredible how fast DK yarn knits up when you are used to fingering weight.

2016 Knitting Project round-up

Here are my knitting/crochet/spinning aims from the beginning of 2016:

  • Continue with the aim of one finished object per month
    Considering I had almost three months off knitting, I’m fairly pleased with managing to complete 11 projects.  3 of the completed items were started in 2015, the others are all from 2016.
  • Knit a usable item from my handspun
    Still not quite managed this, but I’m including my mittens from unspun mawata in this category.
  • Watch more of the Craftsy classes I have bought (so tempting when they are on sale to buy them all)
    I have watched a few more of them, but still could do better. At least I haven’t bought many this year!
  • Learn a new skill (perhaps Brioche stitch)
    Still not learned Brioche.
    I did spend a week learning inkle weaving, so I’m ticking this category
    I also learnt to knit backwards
  • Spin more
    Had a go at spindle-spinning silk tops
    I’m pretty bad at keeping records of spinning. I have done some more spinning.

Here’s the gallery of finished items: 6 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of mittens, a shawl, a blanket and a toy.

Note that Ravelry links will only work if you are a Rav member (sign up: it’s free)

  1. Mittens from Knitworthy 2, project finished on New Year’s Day
  2. Sweet Coriolis socks. Using yarn from a Knitting Goddess club from years ago – one sock is mostly yellow with some grey, the other is mostly grey with some yellow. I don’t have a picture of the finished pair, but they fit very well.
  3. A non-matching pair of socks, using two patterns that I only wanted to knit once.
  4. Tour de Sock 2016 round 1
  5. Tour de Sock 2016 round 2
  6. Tour de Sock 2016 round 3: backwards knitting!
  7. My Ravellenic Games project: A Follow Your Arrow 2 shawl. Really chuffed to get this done within the time limit
  8. Crochet blanket for my beautiful niece
  9. Tour de Sock 2016 round 6: finished some time after the deadline
  10. Squad Mitts – a surprise present for a good friend
  11. Denise: a toy for de niece, from Edwards Crochet Imaginarium

Aims for 2017:

  • Complete 12 or more knitting/crochet projects
  • Complete 2 or more spinning projects
  • Keep accurate spinning records
  • Knit something from handspun
  • Brioche stitch
  • Watch more Craftsy classes

Yarndale 2015

I went off to Yarndale for the Saturday, this time with a friend from my local knitting group. They’ve really got the hang of the logistics now. We didn’t have to queue much at all, except when it got really busy at lunchtime.

Once again, my little corner of the internet came to life. I saw and touched a lot of things I’ve been wondering at buying online. There were examples of various patterns I’ve been reading about (even a Fox Paws attached to a stand). All in all it was a delight.

The one down side to the day was that there weren’t any classes or workshops that I wanted to take. They were all either beginner level or just not making anything I wanted to learn. I spent a little more time than previously just sitting and knitting in the Knit n Natter zone, as a break from the midday chaos of the stands.

It was charming to meet a fellow sniper (and, it turns out, blog-reader) in real life, along with her Mum. Hi Alendra!

There seemed to be a greater proportion of stalls selling completed items this year, but still loads selling yarn and fibre. I bought a few things: only one batch of yarn, but quite a bit of fibre (hover over images for details).

There were a couple of other things that I’ve handed to DH for my Christmas present, so  I’ll try to forget them.

I was being quite strict with my budget, so didn’t buy the gorgeous gradient yarns that I found on the Woo Sheeps stand.  Maybe in the new year.

Tour de Fleece latest

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The Suffolk skein is washed and hanging out to dry. Tomorrow I’ll try and figure out how thick it is. Somewhere between DK and worsted I think.
I’ve moved onto some Black Welsh Mountain. The fibre feels a lot harsher than the Suffolk. I’m spinning it quite thin, doing a lot of checking against the sample to try and keep it even. Harder than with a thicker yarn.

Tour de Fleece Day 10?

I am up to date with my commitment to spin at least 10 minutes for each day that the riders ride, although a couple of times it has carried over into the next day for a double stint when work and family commitments required.

The soft creamy fluff developed first into this:

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Then I had a crack at plying it and it became this:
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The top bobbin is a normal 2 ply. The bottom one is the leftover, Andean plied.
Apologies for rubbish night time shots.
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Did I mention I finished the socks as well?

I’m discovering, with the help of my team mates in team Awesome Already, that the trick to completing projects is actually sitting down and working on them. Who knew?

Tour de Fleece Day 3

Day 3: more creamy white wool spun. If you want pictures, look at the day 2 post and imagine a bit more.
The yarn I washed yesterday has come out really very nicely indeed. Despite making a complete guess of how much ply twist to put in, it’s very nearly balanced. It is a very interesting yarn in terms of thickness, being somewhat variable.

Very much enjoying the bicycling on TV. Hurrah for Chris Froome! I read his autobiography last month: fascinating story.

Tour de Fleece Day 2

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More spinning on the lovely creamy wool, which is from a Suffolk sheep.
Plus  I nidded and nodded some yarn which is a blend of Jacob and BFL, Navajo-plied a few weeks ago. I had varying success making rolags in order to practice my long draw. I could do with a few more lessons.

Spinster

skeins

The Jacob Humbug spinning project was finished in April. I’ve got about 125g of a 2ply yarn, of somewhat variable thickness. The singles rested for quite a while before plying, so it was quite tricky to figure out how much to ply. The tricks I learned last year at Wingham Wool work rather rely on the singles being still quite full of energy. Anyway, I went ahead and tried to overply it. One skein is completely balanced and one is very slightly… underplied.

I’ve found some useful nails outside the kitchen, under the overhanging roof, for hanging skeins to dry.  I have no idea what the nails are actually meant for, but they do the trick. They are sheltered enough that, even if it rains, the skeins still dry.

The two skeins are awaiting inspiration for their final destiny. They might be a little too tough to be worn next to the skin. Possibly a cushion cover or tea-cosy?

Next, in the spinning odyssey, I had a birthday and my generous friends and relations added a little more to my spinning wheel fund. I had a look at my bank account and discovered that I had enough to put in an order with Gill at Sanday Spinners. Here’s what happened next (mouse-over for captions):

I began to spin, using some bright red BFL that I bought from Grace and Jacob while they still had a bricks and mortar shop in York.

I managed to spin a variety of thicknesses, just by changing the tension and speed.

samples

I’m not yet at the point of being able to keep spinning the same thickness for more than a few yards, but getting better each time I try.

I spun up a little onto two bobbins, plied it, washed it and set it to dry. Then I knitted it!

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The two bobbins I had spun weren’t evenly loaded, so I had some left over on one of them, but only a few yards. I thought I might as well have a shot at Navajo plying, having seen a few videos of people doing it. Now that’s fun (I didn’t have much control over it)!

navajo

The next spinning project is to keep doing  a few more samples, aiming for consistency over several yards.

If you remember, I have elected to have spinning as my personal project for a leadership course I’m doing with work this year. The next residential is in a few weeks time so I ought to have made some  more progress to show them.

Spinning around

The spinning has made progress today. I now have two full bobbins of singles of the Jacob humbug fleece, so they are ready to ply. However, I only have three bobbins so, before I could ply, I needed to clear the third bobbin. On the third bobbin I was halfway through spinning a selection of rolags using long-draw so today I finished the spinning. It was some time since I last tried long-draw and there was a bit of a learning curve to get back into it. Anyway, I ended up with this:

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Remember how I only have three bobbins and two of them are full of Jacob? At the spinning course last year I learned Andean plying, where you wind the singles round your hand and fingers, then ply from both ends. Easier with a ball-winder.

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Then I plied.

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I nodded and nidded, then washed the skein. It’s not balanced, so will need another run through the wheel to add some more twist. Still, all good practice.
There is another WIP on the needles: a millamia baby blanket for a baby that is due really quite soon now. I’ve not seen my friend since she became pregnant, so the imminence has rather passed me by. Still, what baby needs a wool blanket in high summer? It will be done by autumn.
This week I’ve been rereading one of the Yarn Harlot’s books, following this post which made me both laugh and shed a tear. (I made DH read it too, but he only laughed: I don’t think he gets as emotional about knitting as I do). In fact it has been a week for thinking of excellence in writing, with the news of Terry Pratchett’s death. Pterry and the Yarn Harlot are two of the writers that I read in awe at their facility with language. Stephen Fry is up there too in the list of my favourite writers.