Monday, 28 October 2013

Self Striping Sock Wool

Keeping the skein smaller really helped with the tangling and winding and gnashing of teeth. (see my previous post) This blue and yellow was much easier to manage. I've knitted a small bit of it up just to see how it looks and I love it. 

I have been dyeing again today, trying to recreate the colours in this picture of foxgloves that I took at Chatsworth back in August.
I made up a green using easidyes and put that in the big pot. I put half of the skein in the green dye and rested the other half on the metal rack above the dye mix. I then sprinkled magenta dye crystals on top of it, put the lid on and simmered for 15 minutes. When it's dry I'll put a picture on, the natural part of the skein ended up pink in places and some of the green ended up blue, I've no idea why. However, I like it and can't wait for it to dry so I can knit it. There was quite a lot of colour in the big pot when I removed the skein of yarn so I put another one in, its a lovely blue with shades of green, love that too.
That is the big problem with all of the dyeing, I want to knit it all and not sell it on Etsy. And it is selling, I sold two skeins this week.
I've just ordered another 5 skeins of undyed sock wool, merino this time, so more dyeing at the end of the week. Fab!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Dyeing Self Striping Sock Yarn

I love knitting socks, they are a quick satisfying project. However the best thing about knitting socks is sock yarn. Self patterning, semi solid colours and self striping. I have dyed wool for socks but I really wanted to have a go at self striping.

The blue and red was the first attempt and it's knitting up beautifully. I had no idea how wide each stripe would be, the large skein I wound I did on my sisters deck between two chairs. It wasn't easy, as as soon as I started her three cats and a dog turned up to help! I dyed it, washed it, dried it and tried to get it back into a small skein or ball to knit. Nightmare! It was twisted and tangled, I had it spread out between my kitchen, living room and conservatory, it took ages. The stripes are about 9 to 10 yards each and knit up to about 10 rounds.

Thinking that the red and blue stripes are a little wide, the next attempt was for a slightly smaller skein. About half of the red and blue, 4-5 yards. Easier to make the smaller skein. These two pots have been steamed, the dye is all absorbed and now it is drying. Can't wait to knit this one up. I have tried to keep it from tangling this time, and as it's smaller it should be O.K. Such fun!

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Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Sewing and Dyeing

I'm playing with dye, encouraged after my day at Toft I bought dyes and yarn and I have been playing. The skein on the right was the first one I did. I 'painted' it in magenta and blue on cling film and then I put it in the microwave. It was a bit hit and miss as I wasn't sure how long to cook it for, when I took it out quite a lot of dye came out of it as I rinsed it, this could have been as there was too much dye or because I didn't cook it long enough. I'm not sure whether to wash it again or over dye with another colour. The skein on the left was dyed with the left overs of the first skein. I love this one, how the colour changes are so subtle, there is a true lavender colour and mixes.

Having done that I got bored waiting for the yarn to dry so I made this knitting bag from a pattern from Emma Garry. The fabric was from the Fent shop in Skipton, the outer is John Lewis and the lining is Liberty. The Fent Shop is fantastic for fabric and notions, all brands, pieces, bolts etc. 12" zips only 50p! I always visit when I go to Skipton, sadly they don't have an online shop so you have to visit. What's not to love about a visit to Skipton I say!

I had a good day creating yesterday, and now I'm off to Derbyshire for the Wensley Yarn Workers Exhibition in Cromford. I'm doing socks! 

I think I may have found my blogging mojo!

Monday, 30 September 2013

Follow the Bunting!

Yarndale, what can I say? It was brilliant, so many people selling gorgeous things. Bunting everywhere, a lovely sunny day, a double decker bus decorated with bunting on the outside and sheep on the inside. Smiles and happy faces. That was my experience. Some however were turned back as there was no parking left and some left waiting for ages for the loo or a coffee.

I'm sure that problems encountered this year will be rectified for next year because it was too good not to do again.

Ducks by the canal, the walk to the venue was delightful with bunting and yarn bombing all the way.

Trees with Pom poms and bunting.

Wow! Just wow!
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Saturday, 7 September 2013

Dyeing Yarn at Toft Alpaca

It was really sweet how the mummy alpacas surrounded the babies to keep them safe as we entered their field, they were so close we could hear them humming to each other.

I spent a lovely day learning how to dye yarn, it was a great workshop, Debbie Tomkies was full of information, she showed us several ways of dyeing yarn to achieve different effects. We also made a range of colours using different quantities of dye to see how easy it was to make the colour we wanted.

This was my main effort, hopefully when I've knitted it up into socks it will be striped in the three colours. I'll post pictures of the socks when they are knitted. 

Harriet at Toft Alpaca was the perfect hostess, the lunch was lovely and the piece of carrot cake as huge. I would really recommend workshops at Toft.

I didn't come home empty handed. Not only did I have my dyed yarn, I also bought 500gms of grey alpaca fluff for spinning, its so soft.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Day Three - Yellow

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Friday, 2 August 2013

Day Two - Two August Challenges!

This is today's picture for the August Break Challenge, yes I know the title should have been circles, but the fluff I used for this yarn was called bubbles so I'm going with that, bubbles, a bit like circles, maybe.

The second challenge is that of the Wensley Yarn Workers August Challenge, this is my offering, the idea is to use the photo as a stimulus for creating something yarn associated. I couldn't resist the fluff to make this art yarn to go with it. It was fun to spin as it was full of slubs and bits and sparkles and silk and, and.. it was gorgeous. I actually preferred the fluff than the spun yarn.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

August Break Day One - Breakfast

An odd picture I hear you say. Well this is the first picture in the 'August Break' Challenge. Breakfast was the title of today's  photo. Very apt as The traindriver and I had our wedding anniversary yesterday, we had a meal and stayed the night with breakfast at the Knife and Cleaver in Houghton Conquest. It was lovely. We chose this place as it is where we spent our wedding night four years ago.

Tomorrow's photo challenge is 'Circles'.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Sock Kits

My have I been busy today. Nine, yes nine sock kits. I have sewn the zippy pouches, printed off the pattern, made row markers, put needles together with washi tape and assembled them. Next week they will go into my Etsy shop (there is a link here on the blog) but this weekend they are coming with me to Derbyshire for the Wensley Yarn Workers Open Day. I will be knitting socks to inspire others to pick up pointy sticks and join in.

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Tuesday, 23 July 2013

More Adventures in Spinning

As a new spinner I decided to take part in the Ravelry Tour de Fleece, with my challenge to create yarn I could knit. I joined the Woolmakers Bliss team and tried to spin every day that the cyclists cycled. the only exception was last Friday as it was my son's wedding day so I was busy.

This picture shows from left to right the progress I have made. I love the red on the right. I just had to start knitting with the pink. I'm having fun.

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Sunday, 23 June 2013

It's Been A While

For one reason and another I have not been blogging as often as I should have done. The main reason is work and being too tired. However, I found myself with a free weekend this weekend and got busy with the sewing machine. My friend Kate at our knitting lock in asked for a cosy for her interchangeable needles. I managed to find this lovely piece of Liberty print lawn and the first one was born.

I was on a bit of a roll then and thought that mine was getting a little tired and I made it out of fabric I didn't really like in case it didn't work. So the red one just happened.

Then, thinking that maybe I should think about putting one in my Etsy shop, The yellow one happened too. Item details:- These babies take 13 sets of needles, 9 of the slots are for the smaller ones and the rest for the larger ones. There are three large pockets for the cables. small scissors, needle gauge and a tape measure, and then three small pockets for the round stoppers that go on the ends of the cables, for row markers, safety pins etc. Have you noticed there is also a slot for the key for doing and undoing the needles from the cables, there on the left hand side of the picture. Clever eh!
A good weekends work I think. I have also been asked for crochet needle cosies, I'll work on that next weekend.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Bluebell Bliss

Introducing my new toy. I'm thrilled to bits with it. It does exactly what it says on the tin and the more I spin the better it gets.

The service from Louet was excellent. Ordered on Monday, delivered on Friday and spinning on Saturday. Took me a little while to get going..

This is my first bobbin, plyed, 2 shades of shetland fluff, now yarn for knitting.

This is the second bobbin. Not yet plyed in dark blue. I'm much happier with this one. I think I'll Navaho ply this. I've also spun some cream shetland. But it isn't as good as this one. All in all I'm really pleased. Happy dance!

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Monday, 3 June 2013

Learning to Take Photographs

This is one of my favourite photos that I took on the photography course that we went to on Saturday. The theme for all of the pictures was curves and lines. I hope you can see the line of the wall behind the flowers, maybe a little blurred but it is there.  

Lovely lines and curves on this one, a different photo altogether, the first one I used macro and a low f stop to get close to the flowers and the background blurred but on the one of the estuary at low tide I used a bigger f stop. Tricks taught by Rachel and Phil from Photography Made Simple. This is the second course we have done with them, both have been just fab.

I tried hard to balance this one and get the view central to the doorway, curves at the top.

No curves or lines on this one except the bubbles of water, just me playing with the shutter speed and motion. I definitely want to take more photos of fountains or waterfalls. It was a great day.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

When in Shetland....

You have to knit with Shetland wool using fairisle patterns, which I did. I am really pleased with the way this has turned out. It really wasn't too difficult and the decreasing for the crown is genius. I bought 6 balls of wool and have enough left to knit a couple more of these. The details are in my Ravelry projects here. The Jamieson and Smith shop is a must visit if ever you go to Shetland.

You have to go to Sumburgh Head to see the puffins. These comical little cuties at this time of the year are just everywhere. Especially when the sun shines, we did visit when it was blowing a gale and raining and only saw one. The next visit in the sunshine brought them all out. They are really tame and love having their photos taken. I'm always surprised by how small they are.

You have to take in the gorgeous views and countryside that is the Shetland Islands. In the sunshine there is no prettier place, the sea really is this colour and the beaches are white. This picture is also at Sumburgh where the airport is. To get to this point where the photo was taken you have to drive across the runway! 
We had a lovely holiday and can't wait to go back.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Shetland 2, Knitting

This is the Jamieson & Smith shop in Lerwick. So many weights but I eventually went for some jumper weight, the go to yarn for fair isle knitting.

These were the colours I chose for the Yuglet hat. This pattern isn't in Ravelry's database so I thought I'd put a picture of it when I add it to my projects.

See how much I knitted whilst enjoying the view.

Today we went to Sumburgh Head to see puffins. I also met a lovely lady in a yarn shop at Hoswick who has a Little Peggy spinning wheel to sell. Hopefully we can do a deal. I'm calling back on Friday to see her and try it out. I'm very excited.

I haven't worked out how to add links when using my IPad so ill pop them all on when I get back.

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Monday, 20 May 2013

Shetland 1

A little dark, but you get the idea. This where I'm going to be for the next few days. With my feet up looking out onto this lovely view. Already there have been arctic terns and oyster catchers out there. I've also heard skylarks.

The journey was long and frustrating. We had to turn back to Edinburgh yesterday as the weather at Sumburgh airport was too bad to land the plane. A night in a hotel in Edinburgh and another early start today with a long wait for the weather to soften so we could take off. Eventually we found ourselves here after making friends with fellow travellers who gave us lots of tips about places to see and eat. One lovely man, Gareth even led us to our lodge and showed us where to go.

This is a lovely place, just look at this, fellow knitters..

Fair isle cushions on the sofas and Hazel, who runs the place is a knitter as is her mum, they sell what they make and sell wool from a neighbour who spins and dyes. I'm in heaven.

This is what greeted me as I walked into the lodge we are staying in. Oh wow!

Monday, 13 May 2013

On My Needles

Judi2 is working hard at modelling the aran jumper I have just started. I was going to dye this yarn until I saw this pattern that my sister found. It had to be aran colour for the aran jumper. It's blue faced leicester which I bought in 'Skeins' in Glossop the other week. Its very soft and knitting up beautifully, my sister is also knitting it but in brown bfl. Although this should be a quick knit I'm going to have to abandon it for a couple of weeks soon as I'm off to Shetland, I'll need some socks to knit because this will just be too big to pack.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Sunny Bank Holiday

The sun shone on my cherry blossom.

And on the kerria over the pond.

Window boxes done with white petunias and violas.

Plying my yarn on Kate's spinning wheel. A short post this week.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Wensley Yarn Workers Challenge

On the first Sunday of every month I go up to Derbyshire to stay with my sister and together we go for a creative day with the Wensley Yarn Workers. We meet in the Wensley Reading Room which is a delightful little village hall, often with a log fire blazing. We spend the morning learning something new and the afternoon knitting, spinning, weaving or just creating. It's a really lovely day. Lunch is made by Kate and her husband and consists of home made soup and bread or jacket potatoes and there are always home made cakes or biscuits. It really is one of the best ways I know to spend a Sunday. Each month Kate posts a photo on the forum on Ravelry as inspiration for the next meet. We can interpret it in any way we choose or not. This is mine for this month. This month's photo is of a lake (I think its in Scotland so it's a Loch) I used a number of fabrics I had in my stash and made this string block cushion. 

For those of you who requested a photo of me in the dress I made the other week, here it is. I was going to save it for the summer which meant no tights, but I found these teal ones in my drawer and thought they would go really well with the dress and this cardi I made a while ago. I'm chuffed to bits with the dress and can see I'll be making more. The pattern would be great shortened as a top to wear with jeans or made to bum length to wear with leggings. I need to go back up to Skipton to buy more pieces of cotton lawn. Damn!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Little Summer Dress

I picked up this fabric in Skipton at the Fent Shop She had a rail of pieces of cotton lawn for £8.00 per metre, so I bought two and made this. It was the simplest pattern ever, rolled edges, no zip, just the addition of elastic in a casing to give it shape. 

The only mods I made to the pattern was to move the placing of the casing of elastic as on the pattern it would have been across the middle of my boobs, not a good look. I also added a couple of patch pockets to add a bit more interest.

Now all I need is a summer to wear it. It looks much better on than on the hanger but I wasn't going to model it, it's too cold. 
I suppose all it needs now is a little knitted cardigan to go over it, oh go on then!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Skipton Beer Fest

Just got back from a lovely few days in Skipton. It was the traindrivers birthday so we went to the Beer Festival, my first and I really enjoyed it, I tried  Mary Jane, Golden Pippin, Wild Swan and Manifesto Stout, all good except the stout which wasn't like Guiness at all. I also tried a Perry called Two Trees which I didn't like.  I kept the glass, its a rite of passage or something.
Skipton is a pretty, busy town with lots of nice shops and eateries. We stayed at the Woolly Sheep, well we had to didn't we and it was comfortable and central. This was important as we went by train so needed to be in walking distance of everything. I was able to visit Purl and Jane while he was in the pub and bought some BFL 4 ply for dyeing.

We didn't spend the whole time in the pubs of Skipton, we visited Ilkley and had tea and cake in Betty's, it was so quaint with the waitresses wearing broderie anglais blouses and black aprons. The cake was delicious. We needed a walk afterwards and found ourselves down by the River Wharfe where the crocus' and daffs were struggling to make an appearance.
We also went to Settle, this place has to have my all time favourite station, it's quirky, olde worldy and pretty with lots of tubs of daffs, pansies and violas. It has amazing views across the moors from the platform. Had we stayed on the train and not got off in Settle we would have gone over the Ribblesdale Viaduct.
I was able to get a bit of my Folded jumper knitted on the train, this is my attempt at stash busting. I proudly told my sister who keeps on about the size of my stash that I was using some of it, only to be reminded that I bought yarn in Yorkshire, not only the BFL but also this:

How could I resist? It's just crying out to be socks, I couldn't leave it on the shelf in the shop. 
We had a really lovely few days away, can't believe it's back to school tomorrow, heads down for the long stretch to the summer holidays.