2014 Round up

So, I’ve been a very, very lazy/naughty blogger….What can I say: a new (full-time) job for me, a new school for Miss A which is not only located quite a bit further away but which also has a school day which is a full hour longer (and we won’t mention the daily homework).  It’s all good – just doesn’t leave much time for blogging.

That’s not to say that I haven’t been crafting.  I sat down the other day and totted up the totals.  I was totally gobsmacked to find that I had knit / crocheted over 20km (!!) of yarn last year and spun over 4kg of fibre.

Most of the 20km went into the three crochet blankets – yes, they are all finished, were delivered on time (try one week before Christmas – phew!) and the recipients all loved them:

I managed four pairs of socks (really hope I can increase my output this year)

2014 socks

And I managed to spin over 9,000 yards of handspun – not bad when you think that I’d never spun a thing at the beginning of the year!

2014 spinning

I even managed to spin some sock-weight yarn :-)


All in all, a pretty good year.  Now that the blankets are finished, I have decided that 2015 will be the year of ‘selfish’ knitting – not knitting only for myself, but only knitting the things I want to and which don’t have deadlines as such…I already have lots of plans / ideas – we’ll see how they pan out!

September spinning

September has been quite productive on the spinning front:

First up, I took this lovely braid of BFL in rich, autumnal shades from Felt Studio UK

Spun up into 217 yards of sport-weight 2-ply.  The colours are amazing……and of course, BFL gives such a soft, squishy yarn.
t matches up beautifully with the sparkly copper yarn I made during TdF – I’m thinking they will make a nice edging to a Multnomah shawl

I then took this luscious braid of Polwarth by LongDrawJames:

I broke the braid in half lengthways and got two skeins of DK weight – one has more turquoise, and one has more green.  Think this will make a nice pair of gloves


Last up, I finally broke into my stash of FatCatKnits fiber (she offers the best combination of different fibre bases and colours – I just can’t resist!).  This was 4oz of Polwarth/Silk in the Romeo colourway – I was trying to pick colours that are out of my comfort zone
I was aiming for fingering-weight yarn, as I quite fancied making some socks out of this.  However, I went with a 3-ply combo so only got 244 yards.  Still, it will be enough to combine with something else for a funky striped hat.  Note that I had enough left over on one of the bobbins to practice my chain-plying skills – I seem to have finally mastered this skill, which makes me feel good!  I might even try it on a full skein soon…..

The monster has been vanquished……

Yes, the first of the three commissioned blankets has (finally) been finished:


I am very pleased with the final result (as are the recipient’s parents – it’s now being kept hidden until Christmas) but I don’t think I will ever tackle something like this ever again.  Too many ends to weave in, far too much sewing up required – I really did question my sanity at times…..a valuable lesson learned!

Blanket #3 is now well underway – simple stripes, interspersed with a narrow grey stripe in between each colour.  This is for the older child, who chose this colour palette:IMG_6412
Will post a progress picture when there is more to show……I’m also making good progress on blanket #2.  Again, I need to be home when it’s actually daylight to take some good photos…..

For the love of gradients – part II

August’s club shipment from Sara’s Texture Crafts was claimed by Miss A as soon as she saw it.  You can understand why really – it is 100% girly, but with a nice bit of attitude:

As we were discussing what I could make with it once it had been spun (I’m trying to think ahead a bit more rather than just jumping in and then being flummoxed as to what to make with the resulting yardage), I had a vision of a little cardigan that went from the lightest pink to the darkest purple.  And so, my second gradient was born:fruit punch260 yards of sportweight gorgeousness – once again, I ‘extended’ the colours by plying with white shetland from Jamiesons.  Not quite enough yardage to make a full cardigan, so I popped into my new LYS (if you’re ever in East London, you absolutely have to check out Wild n’ Wooly) and got some pale pink Wimbledon Sport from Kettle Yarn Co.

Combine these two with the awesome Gidday pattern by Georgie Hallam and you get the makings of a funky, striped sleeveless cardigan:

I’m loving making this – the colourplay, the stripes – it’s going to be fabulous (even if I say so myself!)

For the love of gradients

I have always loved looking at and using gradient yarns – but the idea of spinning your own fills my heart with unbridled joy…

While there are dyers out there who sell ‘deliberate gradient’ rovings, it is not that hard to make a gradient from any braid – it just needs a little more preparation in the early stages to get the desired result.

Take this for example:

Variegated BFL in ‘Dragonfly’ from Woolgatherings.  I could have spun it as it was, but something went ‘click’ in my brain when I saw it and I decided to go for a gradient.  I split the braid into colour groups and then split each one into two.  I was initially going to make a 2-ply yarn, but when I saw it going onto the bobbin, I thought it might be fun to ‘extend’ the colours a little.  So I bought some Jamieson’s Spindrift in 3 different shades of grey and spun them with the two singles of BFL.  To say that I’m over the moon would be an understatement:gradient detail
Pretty awesome in the skein – but something truly magic happened when I wound it into a cake:
Excuse me while I just spend the rest of day staring at my pretty yarn and smiling :-)

Too cute for words….

As you will have already notice in my last TDF post I had already started knitting up one of my skeins before the Tour had even finished.  Well, it’s now done and, even if I say so myself, it’s just too cute for words:The Gidday pattern by Georgie Hallam is so well written, the cardigan almost knits itself – she also provides so much information on sizing, it’s fully customisable – I have plans for one of these for Miss A who, despite being almost seven-and-a-half, still has the chest measurement of a five year-old…….

Tour de Fleece – finale

Week 3 brought another Hilltop Cloud project – I had bought this braid of Blue Tit at the very beginning of my spinning adventures but didn’t feel confident enough to do it justice (picture comes from Hilltop Cloud):

It’s made up Merino, Shetland and Mohair – a lovely spin, even though I had to be careful not to wear dark clothes when I was working on it, as it shed all over the place!
photo 3
Hasn’t it come out beautifully?  224 yards of fingering weight – if I keep this up, I might be able to spin enough yardage to make some handspun socks (the spinner’s Holy Grail…)

On the Wednesday, I again substituted something that wasn’t in the starting line-up – this gorgeous, sparkly batt from Expertly Dyed by Science (who is sadly not making batts anymore while she concentrates on her thesis).  This had a little bit of everything in it: merino, bamboo, alpaca, suri, tussah silk, mohair locks, angelina – you name it, it was in there!

This was another ‘one day challenge’ – i.e. get it spun, plied and washed in one day.  I love how it came out:
photo 1
55 grams, 110 yards of sport-weight yarn – I’m thinking this will work really well as an ‘accent’ for a future project….

Final TDF project was this amazingly multi-coloured braid of merino from Fashion Touch Supplies
I wasn’t too sure how to ‘treat’ this one, so decided to see exactly how thin I could spin it.  I split it into lots of narrow strips and concentrated very hard on keeping it consistent:

I loved how what started out as really bright colours became wonderfully muted as I worked through the strips.  I then plied the single with some silver thread – which ‘poofed’ in a very funky way when I washed it:
100 grams, 400 yards of laceweight – very pretty, but goodness knows what I’m going to do with it. BTW, the plying was literally finished minutes before the riders crossed the finish line in Paris – talk about cutting it fine!

So here they all are – 768 grams, 5,248 yards of handspun goodness:
And yes, the BFL has already jumped on the needles – more in the next post