Working Wednesday #4

This is my weekly post as I work through the yarn in my “collection” (not stash – thank you Sue) . This is the current state of play with the projects I’ve worked on this week:

  • Golden spikes jumper: completed. But the unseasonably warm weather means it’s too warm to wear it yet! I’m a little unsure about the rather tight sleeves, but until it has been worn for a while, I won’t know whether I need to make some adjustments (i.e. knit new, wider sleeves).
  • The 4-ply Skeleton hat: completed. Pattern needs to be typed up.
  • Honeycomb cables socks: completed (and on my feet). An interesting project, but not one I will be repeating.
  • A snailvaark is underway. This is a gift that I have been intending to make for a few weeks. I’ve done the knitting for the shell, but it needs grafting. The body is not yet started.
  • I’ve been asked to make a turtle, but apart from finding a suitable pattern, I haven’t actually started on it yet.

Next week: a different colour?

So that’s my progress this week. Have you completed any projects? Are you working on anything interesting?

 

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If you want to get a head…

For ages now I have been struggling to photograph and display the hats that I make, and as I gradually add to my etsy shop, I know that this is going to become a real issue. Over at Nice Piece of Work, Jill has a glamorous assistant to display her hats, in the shape of Carol,  who doesn’t mind modelling any sort of head gear (you can see her in this post), and I really wanted an equivalent.

Over the months I’ve been on the look out, and finally I came across Harriet, who arrived ready to get to work on Wednesday:

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Hello, Harriet

As you can see, she has a tendency to get a bit chilly, so she was delighted to be offered the hat-modelling job and got stuck right in:

It’s a delight to work with a model who doesn’t mind how much you fiddle around and adjust the hat/location/lighting/angle etc.

The reason it has taken so long for me to find a suitable candidate was that I didn’t want to buy new and, up until this week, every potential second hand head (now, there’s a phrase I never thought I’d use) has been too expensive (antique French porcelain, anyone?), or too battered, or made of polystyrene (I wanted something heavier and more robust) or too ghoulish (search for mannequin heads and you’ll see what I mean). Harriet, however, is pleasant to look at, is not new, is stable and has a long enough neck to display scarves if I want her to.

And why Harriet? Well, she likes to be known as Hattie!

More oddments, bigger oddments

Well, it turns out that I’m much more of a squirrel than even I realised. Once I started investigating my collection of yarn scraps after the popularity of my Scraptastic hat, I found that not only did I have two more bags of little bits of yarn, but any number of small balls left over from past projects just waiting to be used. So, I made a whole pile of reversible scraptastic hats:

Lots more hats... various sizes

Lots more hats… various sizes

Then I thought it would be good to try something different and make a stripy hat to use up some of the bigger oddments. So I threw caution to the wind, eschewed the use of a pattern and came up with this:

A very silly hat

A very silly hat

I haven’t made a pompom for about 40 years, but I discovered that I haven’t lost the knack. I don’t think I’ll be making many hats like this as this one took ages, but hopefully someone will find it appealing.

Now I have to make a jellyfish (I’m testing out a pattern for Jenny over at Simply Hooked), two knockers (yes really… follow the link if you don’t know about knitting breasts) and then I want to experiment with a hat with ear flaps… there’s never a dull moment chez snail and everything (except the knockers) is being made out of yarn oddments.

Scraptastic

The hats for my stall at the International Permaculture Convergence are coming along nicely… they are made of all sorts of ethical yarn: some organic, some frogged from old garments, some from Freecycle, some recycled, some new British wool… you get the picture:

A whole heap of hats in a whole heap of yarns

A whole heap of hats in a whole heap of yarns

However, it struck me that I should make a hat representing the permaculture principles. And so I did:

It’s made entirely from scraps of yarn left over from other projects, apart from the brim which is yarn from a frogged cardigan; and it’s reversible.

In case you are wondering, the twelve principles, as outlined by David Holmgren, are used to help design resilient human systems or objects that are sustainable and kind to the earth. They are as follows, with my hat as an example;

  • Observe and interact: I observed that I had been collecting yarn scraps for the past few years and decided to make creative use of those long enough to tie together. In addition, observation of the hat as I made it allowed me to create the shape without following a pattern.
  • Catch and store energy: Wearing a hat is a good way to stop heat (energy) loss and with its tufts, this hat provides good insulation by trapping a nice layer of insulating air. In addition, the energy embodied in this scrap yarn is being captured because it’s being used rather than discarded.
  • Obtain a yield: A hat where none existed before, plus the satisfaction of creating something from (almost) nothing.
  • Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: As with anything made without a pattern, this hat ‘evolved’ as I made it – I increased the number of stitches until it seemed to be the right size and decreased to get a nice snug brim. Whatever yarn you are working with, you have to respond to its characteristics.
  • Use and value renewable resources and services: As long as there are people using yarn, there will be left-over scraps; this provides a way to convert them into a useful and unique object.
  • Produce no waste: It’s all too easy to throw away left-over yarn, but this demonstrates that it can be put to good use. There were lots of scraps that were too small to tie together for this project, but those will be used in the future for stuffing. No Yarn was wasted in this hat, because the ends that in other projects get trimmed off have been retained as a feature of the hat.
  • Design from patterns to details: The overall plan (pattern) was to create a hat with yarn scraps. The details came as I tied the pieces together – varying the colours and lengths to create a unique pattern. The plan also involved making the hat reversible, so different details appear according to the side that is exposed to the world.
  • Integrate rather than segregate: It’s a whole mish-mash… integrating colours, textures, fibres.
  • Use small and slow solutions: I’ve been collecting the scraps for several years, so I won’t be able to make another with this gauge of yarn for some time yet, although I’m planning a chunky version because I probably have enough thick scraps to do that. Despite using ‘waste’ yarn, it took a longer time to make than a ‘normal’ hat because so many pieces of yarn had to be tied together.
  • Use and value diversity: I have rarely seen a more diverse hat!
  • Use edges and value the marginal: The end of each piece of yarn is an important feature of the hat – providing decoration and insulation. I think it may also be pretty ‘edgy’ as far as fashion goes!!
  • Creatively use and respond to change: The changes in colour and texture were used to create the ‘look’ of this hat… there will never be another one like it.

So, there you have it, a quick lesson in permaculture and a rather mad hat… It will be for sale at the IPC in September unless I get a better offer before then!

NEWSFLASH: IT HAS BEEN SOLD! SORTING OUT MORE SCRAPS FOR MORE HATS NOW.

What remains

This week, whilst the rain falls from the sky and the wind howls I have been using up some left-overs – in the kitchen and on my hook.

Much more delicious than sour milk

Much more delicious than sour milk

Since I don’t drink milk, Mr Snail has been bringing the stuff back and forth in a cool bag for the weekends. Last Sunday, however, there was a small amount left that was aging and not worth transporting back, so he left it with me. I put a few drops of lactase enzyme in it so that it wouldn’t upset my digestion and kept it in the fridge. Then yesterday, when I ran out of bread, rather than making myself a loaf, I made a cheese scone (I can eat hard cheese in moderation, as it has little lactose in it).  Scones are always lighter when made with sour milk, so it’s a great way to use it up. Mr Snail is not a big fan of cheese scones but I love them, so it’s ideal to cook them when he’s away. When he’s home, I use sour milk to make waffles, which also benefit from it as an ingredient.

Mr Snail's new hat

Mr Snail’s new hat

And then I moved on to left-over yarn. For Mr Snail’s laptop case, I bought three balls of yarn but only used two of them. Since he liked the self-patterning effect so much, I decided to make him a hat with the left-over ball. He’s not here to model it and this post will be the first time he’s seen it. I’m rather pleased with the way it turned out. I didn’t work from a pattern – just made it up as I went along. It is worked entirely in half-trebles (UK terminology). I’ve also been using up some left-over cotton yarn for another project, but that’s a gift for one of you out there, so I won’t share the picture until after it’s been received.

So, have you made anything interesting with left-overs this week?

 

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