Working Wednesday #5

This is my weekly post as I work through the yarn in my “collection” (not stash – thank you Sue) . It’s been a busy week, so there hasn’t been as much knitting and crochet as usual. There have been only two projects this week. The first I can’t show you because it is a surprise gift that has not arrived at its destination yet, and the second is a turtle… currently very much a work in progress:

Just one flipper to go

 

Both of this week’s projects used yarn that I already owned, so the collection is very slowly getting smaller. The turtle is worked in Cambrian Mountains Wool and is beautifully soft – I plan to fill it with 100% wool stuffing so that it will be made entirely from natural fibres.

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

 

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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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Working Wednesday #3

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: because I was away over the weekend, this is still not quite completed. However, all the knitting is done and I just need to sew in the sleeves and sew the side and sleeve seams. I’ve got rather a lot of the wool left over, but I’m not sure what I’ll do with it.
  • The 4-ply Skeleton hat is finished and is blocking. There’s a tiny bit of sewing required once it’s dry and then I hope to finalise the pattern and get it published.
  • Fingerless mittens completed, but they are very thick and warm, so I’ve started work on a second thinner pair.
  • Stripe socks: I needed a small and simple project to do whilst I was away over the weekend, so I’ve made a start on a pair of basic socks using some more of my collection of lovely yarn from The Knitting Goddess.
  • I have contacted the designer of a crochet pattern that I started work on last year to try to get an explanation of how to finish it – the instructions are somewhat lacking, to say the least!

I haven’t done any work on the complex honeycomb cable socks this week because of going away and the need to concentrate when I’m doing them.

I hadn’t realised until I took the photographs that my recent colour choices have been somewhat ‘samey’. It wasn’t planned, but perhaps any new projects should involve something a bit different!

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

 

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Three knits

For the rest of the year in terms of knitting and crochet I’m focusing on completing projects, using up yarn that I already have in my stash… much of which was bought with specific projects in mind. So, in order to keep track of what I’ve achieved, I plan to share regular pictures of my progress (possibly in the form of WIP Wednesdays, but I may not be that organised/productive). Today, I give you one skeleton hat pattern test, the first of the honeycomb cables socks nearly finished, and the back of the golden spikes jumper completed.

Strangely it’s all knitting, but I do need to make some bird roosts, as I’ve sold out of one design in my etsy shop and so some crochet is in the offing. I have a couple of train journeys in the next few days so I’m hoping to make progress on the second sock.

Colours of my life

I know that I intended to minimise my yarn purchases that year, but in recent months I have used up so much of my stash and completed a UFO that had been sitting around for ages, that I have succumbed. I know, I know, I’m weak! Anyway, you are not interested in my guilt, you are interested in the lovely yarn that I bought…

Following my visit to the Colinette shop before its closure earlier this year, I have been thinking a lot about textured yarn. Normally I’m not keen on fancy yarns (or fashion yarns as they are sometimes called) – I generally like to work with good old wool with a nice even ply. However, Colinette’s range combines beautiful colours and interesting textures and I started thinking that I would like to work with that combination, and having had the opportunity to handle their yarns, I decided to give it a go. Now I acknowledge that I might hate working with some of this, but nevertheless I have bought myself an Arizona Dream kit, from which to make a throw (afghan). I selected the colourway ‘Lone Star’, but there are several patterns that I could follow (all included with the kit). I haven’t even decided yet whether to knit or crochet it.

For the time being I’m just gazing on the glorious colours and stroking the yarn…

There’s cotton, mohair, viscose, wool and a fascinating bouclé yarn that’s probably going to be a nightmare to work with. You never know, maybe this will be the start of a love affair with textured yarn!

Yarn magnet

OK, so I’m failing completely to reduce the amount of yarn in my possession, but this is not entirely my fault. So many people know of my ability to make good use of yarn, that I am the first person they think to give it to when they have some spare. I often get given it by Katy the Night Owl (who can’t work with sheep’s wool), and I bumped into a friend whilst shopping the other day and she mentioned that she has some for me.

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There were lots of balls of these colours

And then the other day Kate came round with a whole bag of balls of wool that she can’t use (another person sensitive to sheep’s wool), but she knew I would be able to do something with. In fact she had really come round to drop off her old Kindle to Mr Snail because his has given up the ghost and we had agreed to swap her Kindle for a cheese-making lesson (that’s happening next week). However, she thought I’d like the yarn, so everybody ended up happy… and my stash has grown just a bit more.

Oh, and then there was the yarn that I won in a give-away on Louise Scollay’s Knit British web site, which arrived through the post yesterday morning. It’s a hat kit, but I may use the yarn for some other project… haven’t quite decided yet!

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My winnings!

The trouble is that this distracts me… the yarn Kate brought was unusual and I just had to work some up to see how it looked… and so, unintended, I embarked on another project. The nice thing is that, because I am so prolific with my knitting and crochet, my yarn collection is dynamic. I have focused over the past year on using yarn that I have owned for a long time and so my stash does not stagnate. Apart from yarn that I am given and my subscription to the Knitting Goddess’ Discworld sock yarn club, my plan is that the only yarn I will seek out this year will be for specific commissions or to enable me to make progress on the great sofa cover project. Please feel free to remind me of this if (when) I lapse!!

Dream a little dream

You may remember that I had two projects using 100% wool lined up for Wovember – some fingerless mitts and a hat and neck-warmer set. Well, it turns out that I really should plan ahead and make sure that I have everything necessary for projects at the outset. Admittedly, the hat/neck-warmer issue was simply a case of not knowing how much yarn I would require and discovering that I only had enough for the latter. Still, it is complete and Hannah has spun me some more yarn so I can make the hat… so that’s on hold until said yarn arrives. In the mean time, here’s a glimpse:

Detail of neck warmer

Detail of neck warmer

As for the mitts, believe it or not, the problem was not having the right needles! I always assume that I will have exactly what I need in this respect, as I have so many, but this project requires such fine needles, that I simply didn’t have any. I love knitting on wooden needles, but the most slender ones are very fragile and they warp, so I bit the bullet and ordered some KnitPro Karbonz: so many people have raved about these, that I decided it was time to give them a go. They are expensive, but I hope they will be long-lived.

I've got plenty of yarn... the wool from Karen is the top three cakes on the right

I’ve got plenty of yarn… the wool from Karen is the top three cakes on the right

So, while I’m waiting for more wool and more needles, what to do? As the rain poured down on Sunday afternoon, I decided to spend some time browsing Ravelry for inspiration about what I might do with some of the yarn in my stash. I could simply have knitted some more socks (I’ve got quite a bit of sock yarn squirrelled away), but there are three cakes of yarn that have been calling to me recently and I wanted to see if I could find a suitable project. The story behind this particular yarn goes back to a post written a long time ago by Karen (of Sweet Baby Veg). Karen was having a tough time and wrote about some horrible mail she had received. I felt so much sympathy that I decided to try to counter this by sending her something lovely in the post. So, I made a bag for her and sent it off. In return, she sent me some yarn. However, apart from using a tiny bit of it to make a square for the masterpiece, it’s been sitting in my stash ever since until inspiration struck.

My quest on Sunday was to find something to make that would allow me to use this yarn but wasn’t a hat, scarf, socks, mitts or shawl. In total, I have about 300g of this wool, but I also have lots of other wool… so what about a multi-coloured garment? The texture of the wool suggested outer-wear to me… which would certainly mean adding more yarn from my stash. And finally I came across the perfect pattern: the circular Dreamcatcher Top. This is going to be perfect to snuggle in to when I’m editing and it shouldn’t fall off my shoulders, as shawls have the tendency to do. So, yesterday evening I made a start:

The dream begins

The dream begins

I’m not sure that I would have gone out and bought the colour-combination that I’m using, but that random element of just incorporating what I have (I need 100g each of 10 colours) seems to be working. And, anyway, this is turning out to be a huge stash-buster, which can’t be a bad thing!

-oOo-

Just for information, the wool is from various producers: New Lanark, Sirdar, Emu, The Natural Fibre Company, Tavistock Tastes and Textures (this is the wool from Karen) and Jamieson’s of Shetland

Will knit for wool

I wrote a post a few weeks ago about wanting to do more bartering, so I was delighted the other day to receive a message from a friend who is about to move house and is sorting out ‘stuff‘. He wanted to know if I would be interested in an exchange… he’d got some merino wool tops suitable for felting, did I want them and what would I offer in exchange? After a bit of discussion, we settled on a pair of hand-knitted socks. I sent him a photograph of my stash of sock wool:

My current sock yarn stash

My current sock yarn stash (smaller than it used to be!)

and he selected the colours he liked.

I still haven’t received his foot measurements yet, but that’s not a problem for the time being… I can do as far as just beyond the heel for both feet before I need to know. So at present on my needles are Eddie’s socks… I hope he likes them:

Work in progress on Eddie's sock (displayed with my happy snail yarn bowl)

Work in progress on Eddie’s sock (displayed with my happy snail yarn bowl)

Having a woolly week

This week, 14-21 October 2013 is UK wool week… I’ve only just found out, but I feel that I got it off to a good start with my felt slipper-making yesterday.

I love sock knitting... especially with self-patterning yarn

I love sock knitting… especially with self-patterning yarn

As usual, I have a pair of socks on my needles, but (a guilty pleasure) it’s not British wool. In fact it’s a yarn made by Opal in the bizarrely named ‘Smokey eyes and coloured lips’ range (shade 6640, if you are interested). I do feel, however, that I should celebrate wool week by knitting something in a British wool, and so I have decided to cast on some yarn from my stash. Specifically, I’m going to start a chunky shawl/poncho in undyed Rowan Purelife Suffolk yarn… it’s a lovely steel grey. In fact, I’m not a great fan of knitting weighty yarns on fat needles (hence my love of sock knitting and amigurumi), but I really want a nice warm ‘personal blanket’ to keep me toasty over the winter and reduce the need for heating, so I’m biting the bullet and going to make a start. I might also get round to perfecting crochet amigurumi bacteria, so I can sell anyone who wants one a ‘germ of an idea‘!

Chunky British Suffolk yarn for a really warm shawl

Chunky British Suffolk yarn for a really warm shawl

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