I’ve gone on about the classes on Craftsy before (like the Brioche one that I still haven’t made much progress on), but did you know that they have some free mini classes? I watched a new one this week and I wanted to share it, because I found it very useful.
I don’t mind doing grafting, but I find that I always want to look up in my reference books how to graft a particular fabric before I attempt it. It’s ok, because life is an open book test, but it had sort of annoyed me that I couldn’t really understand *why* I was doing what I was doing.
While I was knitting on Monday afternoon, I watched Anne Hanson’s Ins & Outs of Grafting. The basic stockinette grafting was very familiar to me, but what helped me was her treatment of other fabrics. I really felt like I understood what was happening and how to approach grafting any fabric with mixed knits and purls.
In all, it’s a little over an hour’s worth of videos and it might just be what you need to get grafting to stick in your head instead of needing the reassurance of a reference book each time you go to graft.
In family news, there’s not too much going on. School continues and the kids are back in swimming lessons. There have been no new collections in pockets in the laundry. That’s likely due to two reasons: 1) it’s winter (so there is less fun stuff to pick up and also there is no access to the pants pockets due to snowpants) and 2) most of Sam’s pants don’t have pockets. It’s a self-protection thing.
Here’s a little something that I snapped Monday night. Usually it’s Sam who arranges all kinds of things in his bed, but the other night when I went to tuck in Zoé she’d turned herself around in the bed and set up a separate little area for all her little Beanie Boos to cuddle beside her. I couldn’t resist taking a picture:
They’re just so darn cute when they’re asleep
Well hello there! That last week and a half just flew by in a haze of various people being sick and not enough sleep. I’m still here, knitting & spinning when I can.
I’ve started spinning a new little bag of North Ronaldsay from Spirit Trail Fiberworks. I knew right away that I was going to enjoy this one.
It’s a little like Shetland and I’m able to spin it quite fine. This will most likely be a 2 ply laceweight yarn. Even though I’ve only got 2 oz to spin, it’ll take some time to get through it at my current pace.
I am knitting, but it all seems to be things for later. This glowing thing on the couch is going to be a shawl:
This is the start of a hat I’ve had charted out for months:
And this is what I’m contemplating doing during the Olympics:
It’s a lovely kit from Deb at Sheeps Ahoy with all the yarn I need to make the Scatness Tam. And I already had Colours of Shetland by Kate Davies, which is the source of the pattern. Given that Kate’s Sheep Heid is my go-to hat this winter (and last winter), it couldn’t hurt to make another of her hats.
And then I happened to notice how some of the colours matched the handspun shawl I was wearing around the house to keep off the chill:
No wonder I want this hat!
This week I dug into a lovely bag that my friend Shaela brought me back from England. In the bag was 110g in total of 3 different natural colours of Herdwick top from Crookabeck Farm.
My Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook tells me that kemp is expected in Herdwicks, and that sometimes it can be separated out. It also suggested uses like rugs and baskets.
I had a look at the tops and realized that there was way more kemp in the mix than I was willing to pick out, so I just rolled with it. This is what I looked like after spinning just the first colour:
Here are the hairy bobbins:
I wound up each bobbin so that I could do a 2 ply:
The result is that I have, from light to dark, 57, 38, and 47 yards of yarn.
I was thinking, as I was plying this yarn up, that it might work for cute felted stuffed animals. I tested out the yarn by wearing a skein on each wrist for well over an hour, so mittens are a possibility. The skein I put around my neck lasted less than a minute before I ripped it off in discomfort, though. Anyone got any good ideas for this yarn?
I finally finished up the Boreal skein of BFL from Twisted Fiber Art. Here it is all relaxed showing its rainbow-like progression:
And here’s the skein:
I got about 530 yards of chain-plied soft yarn out of this, which is wonderful. Now I’m not sure what it wants to be, which is usually how I feel about my handspun.
In family news, we celebrated New Year’s Eve at home this year. My mother suggested that we all dress up for dinner. Before the sentence was finished, my daughter had run upstairs to change and beautify. Somehow this always-happy-in-jeans-and-a-shirt mom has ended up with a girl who loves to dress up and accessorize. She had the perfect sparkly outfit for the occasion. I lent her a silver shawl for fear of her being cold in a sleeveless dress.
Check out those shiny wedges. When I told her I liked her wedges, she responded with, “How did you know that’s what they’re called?” Apparently if I don’t own something I’m not expected to know what it is
I forgot to check the mail yesterday. You know how it is during the holidays. It’s hard to remember what day of the week it is and then you have to figure out whether or not it’s a holiday and if Canada Post will be delivering the mail. Today I checked and the lovely prize I’d won from Mary Jane Mucklestone‘s Facebook page had arrived.
Woo hoo! Inside were wonderful things. First, a hand-knit-by-Mary-Jane Muckle Toque:
It’s super warm and comfy and features the largest pompom I’ve worn in years. This is a fabulous hat.
There are 3 skeins of Quince & Co. Chickadee in Egret, Kumlien’s Gull, and Carrie’s Yellow to make the very cute Peerie Weerie Booties by Carrie Bostick Hoge. I’ve used Quince’s Lark a few times, I’ve got some Finch in the stash and now I have some Chickadee. I love Quince’s yarn and colours and I’m expecting to enjoy working with this:
And finally there is a signed copy of Fair Isle Style:
It’s got a great range of projects, both small and large. I admit to being tempted by many of them. None of this was on my already-full list of things to knit, but some of them are perfect for baby gifts. The booties look great and I’m sure they’d be a relatively quick knit. And then there’s a lovely little stuffed bird by Lucinda Guy. This book makes me want to go and dig in the pile of partially-used balls of yarn that I’ve got upstairs.
If you’re looking for more Fair Isle knitting inspiration, Mary Jane also has a Craftsy course that I’m currently in the middle of: The Fair Isle Vest: Steeked and Stranded.
Happy knitting in 2014!
Although there has been a lot going on this past week, I did manage to finish spinning up the singles on my Twisted Fiber Art BFL in Boreal:
I’m hoping that I got some good yardage on this because it seemed to take ages to spin. I’m going to chain ply it into a beautiful gradient yarn. The colour changes were very slow and subtle when spinning the singles and I can’t wait to see the yarn.
Ron’s hat turned out to be what he wanted – a nice snug hat made out of squishy merino.
And when I was tidying up the house, I came across this card that Zoé wrote to Santa:
Oh, those evil “roomers”.
Happy New Year to you all!
The holidays are upon us. Apparently that means that I lose track of what day of the week it is. I have been doing a bit of spinning, but only enough to almost be finished the green section of the lovely BFL I’m spinning. The bobbin is about half full, I think.
In knitting, I ended up casting on for a last minute Christmas gift for my husband. His current black ribbed hat has just about had it, and so I’ve cast on in some lovely superwash merino for another. It’s not very exciting or very easy to see when I’m knitting, but the yarn is very pleasant stuff. I’m planning on making it quite deep for a generous brim to fold up and keep his ears warm. It’s not a secret because a) he requested it and b) I’ve tried it on him as it is to make sure the fit is good.
In household news, Sam has lost his first tooth:
It’s been wiggly for a while, but it finally popped out at school which meant that he got to bring it home in a cute little tooth-shaped container. He had a visit to the dentist the next day & saved it to bring and show it off!
Merry Christmas to you all! I’ll see you on the other side of the holidays. I’m hoping to find time to take stock of the whole year before it’s over, but if that doesn’t work, then perhaps I’ll cover that at the start of January.
It has been a very productive weekend. I did manage a bit of spinning. This is the beginning of a lovely bit of BFL from Twisted Fiber Art. It is going to be a gradient yarn, so I’m spinning it skinny for an eventual chain ply.
What else got done? Gingerbread cookies:
And they were packaged up into boxes decorated by the kids for their teachers.
Today I spent about three hours shoveling the snow, but we still managed to have some fun with Sculpey. Zoé found a video on YouTube for making minions, so here they are:
One has apparently already gone AWOL in the snow in the back yard. I don’t know why.
I managed to get some wonderful pictures on Thursday, thanks to my friend Louise. So here’s Bulky Bliss, a ribbed scarf or cowl with a reversible cable. I made it in a super bulky yarn, so it’s a super quick knit.
First, the scarf:
This sucker is 95″ long and took 4 skeins of Cascade Yarns Lana Grande (6010 – Ecru).
Next up is the cowl. I made the medium size (~44″ around) with a little under 2 skeins of Lana Grande, this time in Hot Rod Pink (6033).
The pattern is now up on Ravelry for $4.
So those are the official shots. Of course there were some interesting moments during the rather chilly photo shoot. There was a friendly snow-kicking incident:
And this happened when I asked Louise to look natural:
I’ve been doing lots of knitting, but most of it won’t be seen for a while. Something that you will see very soon (January!) is a pattern that I’ve done for the Wooly Wonka Small Shawl Heroines Club 2014. Of course you’ll only get the pattern & yarn right away if you’re a member, so now is a great time to sign up (or get someone to buy you a membership as a gift). I’m so proud of this shawlette that it’s almost painful not to be able to share it with you now.
But wait! There is knitting that I can share. Earlier this year I did some swatching for a reversible cabled idea. I played around with some of the cables coming and going. Then I got busy. I kept thinking about this idea and it seemed clear to me that it needed to be in super thick yarn.
This isn’t a “proper” picture, so please bear with me:
I made this scarf with 4 skeins of Lana Grande from Cascade Yarns. It’s only 87 yds (80m) per 100g, so it’s a super bulky yarn. The beauty of that is that it knits up swiftly. This scarf has also got an even quicker cowl-relation (1, 2, or 3 skeins of Lana Grande, depending on how big you want it). The pattern’s just back from the tech editor and almost ready to go. I dare say it’ll be out in plenty of time to still make a scarf or cowl for gift-giving, since the knitting is so quick. On a day like today (-20C/-4F), I want to wrap this scarf around my neck so that it covers my face right up to my eyes!
And now that I’m done with large knitting, my fingers are recovering from the switch back from giganto-needles to US/2.75mm needles while I play with some fingering yarn.