Thursday, 26 November 2015

Winter Woollies 2015

So this week it will be all about Winter Woollies, in photos.

It was really very chilly, but a wonderful day and went much better than we had even hoped. 

The A Little Bit Sheepish stall. And our neighbours- Hooligan yarn, I picked up a ball of yarn made from "Dylan" the sheep. 

The winter lambs were showing off their cuteness.

The alpacas were rivalling the lambs cuteness. The babies come for the day! (with their mums of course).

Stalls inside the tent, plus a wheel and peg loom display.

Inside the building, more stalls.

Some of my knitting group friends had a stall too, selling all kinds of knitted goodies.

More spinning demos and a sheep to sweater poster display showing the stages of processing fleece.

The cattle were in the barn too, say hi to "Wonky" the longhorn.

Almost done with the post show clear up, the shop is back up on-line, soon be time to start planning for next year!

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Ever closer

Big events are creeping up, this is both exciting and nerve racking at once. 

Sunday sees the first Winter Woollies wool fair. Because I thought I would solve the issue of no wool fairs around here by organising one!
This week has seen me cleaning and tidying the venue, painting the walls, sorting out posters and signs, layouts, toilets, tables and dyeing stock for my own stall (yeah, I have  a stall at the event as well a running it, me, mad, why do you ask?!)

The weather has turned cold and grey, there was talk of snow. I'm sure it will be fine.

Obviously the festive gifting season is approaching too. Some of my crafting for that is in hand. However, I am certain I will think of a few more bits I just have to make, and there are some socks that still look a lot like a skein of yarn (it is now navy blue yarn though, so an improvement over a week ago).

On the needles:
Obviously, with socks that need making, I cast on for something entirely different. In my defence the sock yarn was still drying. More of a problem is that this now occupies the needles I need for the socks.
Thought I would use up some sock leftovers and have a go at an unusual construction. This is the first of a pair of Hexagon mitts by Sybil R. A little fiddly, but fun to try something different. She has a pattern for pieces of eight mitts too that I want to try.

Off the needles:
I was already to take a photo of the stripy socks that I shared last week now in their finished state. then I realised their intended recipient might happen to pass by the blog, so thought it best not to put a picture up. They are done though, ends woven in and everything. All ready for wrapping.

Playing with colours:
Since the dye pots have been out to get ready for the show I have had a chance to play with colours. Last week it was a green gradient custom dye, which I handpainted. It came out like this.

Having rediscovered how much fun it is to hand paint yarn I am planning to try my hand at some self striping as well.

With the last of the yarn dyed I filled the pot with some raw alpaca from a fleece I was gifted. Threw some dye in a have been cooking it this morning. The colours have all blended, but I will not be able to see how it looks until I rinse it tomorrow (too hot at the minute, don't want to make felt!) 

I realise that looks purple in the photo, it is, in fact, bright green, blue and turquoise.
The raw fleece always makes the pot filthy, so I only do this right at the end of the session when the pot will be scrubbed out anyway. It makes for interesting, and unpredictable colours. As a bonus it washes the alpaca in the process.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Wool fair in T minus 11 days

Things sometimes sneak up on you don't they?!

On the needles: 
In an attempt not to be ambushed by the festive season the gift knitting has begun. The first sock (of four, for two people, the four legged family members don't wear socks) is at the toe point.
These are made with Regia 6 ply. With stripes to keep the knitting interesting. I sort of used the (Oh so few) Chocolate Squares by Outi Nousianen pattern. But changed the stitch counts, and the heel placement, and freestyled the foot to suit they way I had done the heel. So they are along the same lines as the pattern, just not exactly the same.

Toe should be done tonight and the second one cast on. These work up quickly because of the thicker yarn.

Off the needles:
Nothing so far this week, must knit faster.

Designer business:
This week I have discovered that it is really very hard to take photos of your own head! All I needed to complete my latest pattern was the photos, and getting them has dragged out for a couple of weeks. Today they were finally done and the pattern can now be found on Ravelry.

The Rooftops of St Petersburg is a swirling beanie or beret (the pattern can be used to make both). Worked flat and grafted to create the top, stitches are picked up and worked in the round to make the ribbing.

Shop talk:
The dye pots have come out again this week. I have a few items I need to restock and want to have a play with some techniques and colours.

Today I have been doing a little hand painting. It is ages since I dyed this way and had forgotten what fun it is. Fortunately my steamer still works!

The show must go on:
And it will, eep! I decided my local area needed a wool fair, so now I am organising one, you can check it out at It is at the end of November, so sneaking up fast with things still to be done. It is both exciting and a little scary at the same time.
Everything is booked and arranged, I am currently making a billion (slight exaggeration here) pompoms to decorate the venue. 

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Let the festive knitting begin

For the last month or two posts saying things like "only 12 weeks to Christmas" have been popping up on my Facebook feed. I have been telling them to go away (only perhaps not so politely). After all, 12 weeks is almost 1/4 of the year, which is a lot of time.

Except the numbers have been getting smaller, and when you are planning to make most of the gifts you will be giving you do need to make use of some of those weeks. So at last my gift making has taken the leap from planning to on the needles/on order.

I usually get my gifts done in time, and then about a week before the big day decide I simply MUST make this extra thing, so no matter how well I plan I always end up frantic knitting towards the end of December. Let's see if that happens this year shall we?

On the needles:
So there is still designer work on the go, which I can't share. But also some gift knitting, which I can. I am making a fox scarf out of some stash acrylic. See off the needles for more details as it is the second one, just a little smaller as I am worried I will run out of yarn.

Off the needles:
Hooray! I have something to share today, in fact two somethings.
Last week this pattern for a fox scarf was on Facebook. I shared it, since it is cute, and it received positive comments from my sister. Giving me the idea it would be a suitable present for my nieces. 
I made a fox in socks a couple of years back and the remaining yarn has been lurking in my stash, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to use it up. A hunt on Ravelry turned up the pattern, plus a second similar one. The second one has lots of awesome projects for inspiration- different faces and alternative animals.
I liked the more foxy multicoloured face so went with that. And since I have two nieces and no one wants exactly the same gift I opted to make a badger as the second scarf.

I used the general structure from the pattern, but changed the stitch counts, faces and ears and used DK held double.

They still need eyes, I am going to order some sew in wiggle eyes, because wiggle eyes make everything better.

In a spin:
I challenged myself to spin thick this week. I really struggle with it and tend to go really fine with my singles. Generally this is a good thing, but sometimes you want a thicker yarn without spinning miles and miles and having to make a six ply yarn. 
I thought it would be a good chance to use up some random fibre stash as well. This is a mix of linen (the white bits) and merino (the red and black).

It almost qualifies as art yarn! (art yarn is not my thing).
It was SO. MUCH. FASTER! Honestly, the whole thing was done in about an hour.

Next on the go is some alpaca. Purchased as raw straight off the animal and put through the drum carder with more enthusiasm than skill (it was new, I was excited). There is the odd short cut and under-carded bit, but it is not too bad. Same drill on the spinning, aiming for a thick yarn. It is a little more thick and thin than the linen/merino blend but still ok overall- plying solves many issues.

I might ply the two together and make a cowl since it is going to be a bit of a random yarn.

OK, back to the fox knitting, I have sock yarn on the way for the next gift.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Between the other things

A short one this week, I have been busy with organising a mini wool festival for the end of November, even for a small show there is a lot to do! (There will be lots of pictures to follow the show though).

On the needles: This kind of covers designer business and off the needles too, since all my projects are design work at the minute I can't do a big reveal. What I can do is show you some lovely yarn.

The yellow is one of mine (BFL/nylon sock yarn in Assemble), the blues are a skein I picked up from Rosie's Moments when I was at Bakewell wool gathering, it is two 50g skeins designed to work together.

One of my projects this week has involved intarsia, I got in a bit of a tangle and now have many ends to sew in, but I am pleased with how it came out, I haven't done much with the technique before.

Spinning around: I have been bribing myself to get some of my chores done with the promise of spinning. Which means I have finally got this bobbin finished.
It started on a drop spindle as a show demo, but I needed the spindle so ran the singles off onto my wheel. There was probably about 60g left to spin at that point; it is done now. I think I will probably ply it with some navy blue.

It is a mixture of blue and grey on merino and silk.

Next onto the wheel should probably be the navy blue, but will actually be this.

It is a blend of merino and linen that I chose on a bit of a whim. I am going to try and spin ti a little thicker. I tend to fail at spinning thick so it will be an interesting one to try.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

A long week

This week has been a big one, some good, some not so good. Lots of driving but not a lot of knitting, so photos are a little thin on the ground today. There are a few though.

On the needles:
The chunky yarn from last week is on the needles today. In fact, it is almost off the needles,;but I lost badly at a game of yarn chicken and am about 2 feet short of making it to the end of the bind off. I will rip back and rework over a slightly smaller circumference to give me some spare yarn.

Almost on the needles is some freshly purchased yarn. I picked up some lovely sock yarn at Bakewell wool gathering and am excited to get started with it.

Off the needles:
Some off the other chunky yarn is now in cowl format. These are new patterns, so unfortunately no pictures yet, perhaps for next week.

Designer business:
The partner pattern to the "How shall I warm thee?" mittens is now out. "Let me count the ways" is a cosy colourwork hat that uses the same motif to make a matching set.

Both patterns are available on Ravelry, with a discount price of £5 for the set, no code needed, just add both to your basket and Ravelry will take care of the rest.

Shop talk:
One of the busiest parts of the week has been the annual trip to the Bakewell wool gathering.

It was lovely to meet customers in person and to chat with fellow stall holders. Bakewell is always a superb show and we look forward to going again next year.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Finally finished

That sums up my projects this weeks, finished, at long last!

On the needles:
Brace yourselves for this- not a lot!

Ok, so the long term hibernators are still technically on the needles, but I am out of active projects. There is yarn lower down this post so I don't imagine it will be long until I am casting on!

Off the needles:
Woohoo! This is where the finally finished bit comes in (but I imagine you had guessed that).

The fluffy thrummed mittens of awkwardness are done. At last. I think at over three years they are probably my slowest project yet.

But now they are done. I need some freezing weather for these as they are super thick and fluffy. Pleased to have tried the thrumming technique.
Pattern is Thrummed mittens, stuffed mittens or fluffies by Joan Janes

In a bit of a finishing frenzy I also got to the end of my Touch the sky. I was going to go until the yarnover rays met the front band, but I decided it was long enough. Ends are woven in and everything.

Ok, so it is not blocked, but I am calling it done and may get it blocked this week.
Pattern is Touch the sky by Elena Nodel.

The second garter mitt was also finished.

My garter grafting still needs a little work (you can see the join), but it is useable. For some reason the second mitten feels a little smaller than the first. Wearable as a pair though, just a slightly more snug fit.
Pattern isGarter mitts by Ysola Teague 

Designer business:
The How shall I warm thee? mittens are up on Ravelry, I have really enjoyed trying my hand at colourwork so there will be more to come.

The hat that goes with these will be released at the weekend too.

I have had a pile of chunky yarn waiting to be turned into cowls, some of this will be on the needles later today.

And this is just clamouring for attention from my stash. I have a project in mind for it so it will get its turn soon.

Other bits:
I know you all need an alpaca photo to keep you smiling, so this is Banksy during his afternoon nap/chew time.