Archive for the ‘wool/yarn’ Category


got my busy on.

April 14, 2010

Oh now where do I start? well this post is all about the crafting. Oh and if you’ve not already seen it is VERY image heavy.


I finished a pair of mittens for a friend. He gave them two thumbs up. I also did a matching phone cosy cos nothing says I thought of you than a matching gift set. Knit in trekking xxl and knitted with two strands together for super manly toughness.
accidental stripes   mitts

I started this scarf on holiday and after the first ball it was not long enough. Part way through the 2nd ball and I can’t decide to make it super long or add some other twiddles to it with the rest of the yarn. The yarn is pure silk cord bought at Alexandra palace knit and stitch show. Its dyed with natural indigo and something or other and stains the needles. I gathered up the scarf because it sort of shows the drape a bit better. This is one knit I want to write the pattern for because its super easy and one I wont mind giving away.

pure silk scarf

I LURVE this project. Katie & Matt have a lovely little bairn called Noah who was a miracle to the world after the long and hard process for them to have kids. I had a bit of consultation on what Katie wanted and produced this so far. I still need to knit another 6 hexagons and sew them all together properly. Then back it all in fleece in the same as the bright blue in the picture. I think this is still going to take some time. This was mutilated from a berocco free pattern Arabesque.


Matt’s iphone cosy. Although I should send this on, its waiting for the blanket.

iphone cosy 

I started with this lovely merino lace weight on Wednesday night. So far I’m on the 2nd pattern formation of Laminaria from Knitty. I thought that the Laminaria would be far too complicated but now I’m sure its addictive and not half as difficult as it looks. Except for the 2 or 3 into 9 stitches. THEY are a pain. I’ve not got any decent photos of the shawl as yet.. I suppose I should but that will be on the weekend and by then I may have done most of it! hahahah, who am I kidding. It’s a lovely knit but I’m not THAT quick.

lace weight

Now to meet an old friend. I made this around November time and completely forgot to blog about it. It’s because its my all time favourite hat. PLUS its the first thing I’ve ever fully made from my very own handspun yarn. Now this does need to be written up because its one of the easiest knit patterns I’ve ever made. Although I’m worried someone else has already had the idea before. Cast on 70 stitches with a 3mm needle, K2 P2 for ribbing then YO K2tog, round and keep increasing the needle size until you’ve got enough size for the hat. Then with the largest needle decrease stitches on hat. Simples! which all leads me on to…

my favourite hat

spinning, cos I bought 4 of these lovely bags of alpaca. The finest, the softest and the hat up thar was spun from this. Sadly I don’t have a photo of any of the spun yarn but I’ve only spun one bag so far. I still have another 3 to go. I think I spoiled myself with this wonderful fiber, also bought at the Alexandra Palace knit and stitch show. Spinning this was a delight and made everything else feel tough and not as easy.

!00% pure alpaca

This is 100% pure merino that I bought from the YoYo to make flowers for the wedding. I held on to a good slug of this fiber to spin and I messed it right up. I think I plied it long after I spun it and plied it the wrong way. DOH. Still, its usable and it will probably wash out nice after being knitted but I’m not happy with it. It’s not drop dead gorgeous or floofy or… anyway lets just gloss over that and move on to nicer things.

Eh... Bad spinning

I picked out a few greens I had accumulated from the flower floof for felting and a batt set I bought from etsy and spun them in to….

mix of floof

This! a lovely light two ply but still has some solid weight to it. I’m no lace weight spinner. I just grabbed long hanks of each colour and randomly span each and plied the two together. I was aiming for a barber pole with occasional pooling.

mix and spun

So from bobbin to skein it goes…. My home-made skein winder is starting to get a bit shabby but it still works.


and here it is on the right, all ready for a wash and balling. The one on the left however is something entirely new which I will now cover.

plied and skeined.

This skein was the end result of a rather long process. It’s all natural and came I think from an alpaca but may be camel. I’m not entirely sure. I would like to know though because I’ve got this whole bunch of it… A whole fleece.

hand washed fleece.

The above picture is after I spent a weekend washing and teasing all the fibers apart to make sure it all dried nicely. It’s fully dry here but not in a spinable state. I had hand carders but I’m not technically the best at hand carding. After long deliberation and haunting ebay and other places I placed an order with an independent UK business for this lovely drum carder from Ashford.


So once I got the drum carder there was much *squee* and oooh and ah. I followed the instructions and from the big ball of floof up there I carded these so far:

hand carded fiber

So far around 400g of carded wool ready for spinning or felting. It’s very soft but also some of the fibers are a bit short. It was a real tough sort through it all to try to keep it all a decent fiber length. After carding I did a bit of spinning. Just one bobbin then passed it back through the spinning wheel to Navajo ply. Just make a slip loop and keep spinning and adding slip loops. Much easier than it looks. So now I have some big choices to make. Do I spin the lot? because I’m going to have to card a whole lot more at some point. Also are these items sellable because I’ve not got what sort of animal it came from. Anyway I’m counting my blessings 1, because it was fun and 2, I have a new drum carder and 3, this fleece along with the bags below were all free with my spinning wheel.

how handeh.

I also took some silk and two colours of merino and created two lovely soft mixed batts. I’m saving these for another day too. Not sure what to do with them yet. I have a ton of this silk bought at AP again but I’m running out of these colours to blend it with. I will make some more because two small batts is not enough even to spin. It was just good to get some blending practice in on the drum carder.

3 on left = batt on right.

So on to the stash of wool I have yet to deal with. This is not the yarn, just the fleece, most of which came with the wheel. The first one is self explanatory. I’ve got two bags this size of corridale/shetland mix.

hand washed corriedale/shetland

This potato bag is hiding a lovely slightly darker fleece than the one I’ve started on above. It appears to be slightly smaller than the one I already dealt with. This is still raw and unwashed.

medium rose

Then this… A guaranteed lovely rose brown alpaca. The fleece in this bag is beautiful. Also not washed or dealt with at all yet but it will be. I need to get down the first fleece yet but this one will be something very soft and special one day.

beautiful brown

Then I have the bag of scraps so far. I cleared out two potato bags to fill one half way with rejected bits. It was a whole days work to wash and sort a fleece. I’d love to make this a business but after trying the first fleece I’ve proven it’s a hell of a lot of hard work. I don’t mind doing the work if I could make it profitable but there is where the problem lies, I’m not sure I can set a suitable price and create batts that are stunning enough to get top dollar. Its something I’ve been thinking long and hard about because having a wool business from home sounds like a dream come true. Still at least I have the right tools for the job now.


So I was chatting to friends on twitter about this and that, a friend in North Norfolk owns a farm and creates the very best pork pies. Now I don’t eat pork pies but if you do I’ve been informed they are well loved all over. I checked out brays_cottage web site when they mentioned the wedding pork pie and noticed they have sheeps. I asked if they used the fleeces and within a day they confirmed they don’t. Then offered me the fleeces to their sheep for free.

Now this is going to be a whole lot of work. At least 6 sheep and all coming at once during shearing season. I’ve said a tentative yes to this because I’ve seen a couple of photos and fallen in love with the sheep.

Meet Marcus
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He’s a stunningly beautiful Ram with the stunning horns to match. I love his silver black coat and keep him as my deskptop wallpaper at the moment.

Then there’s the females and the new lambs coming in this season. I have just got to get to the farm to see them all before they stop spring bouncing.

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I’d like to have a name for each sheep and their fleece so I can have a full lineage for my products from these darlings. I also want to highlight the localness of it all, showing the low mileage for my products. Although all this is still very much a pipe dream and I’m not even sure I could wash a full very dirty fleece properly. I’m setting myself some big challenges with a lot to learn and hoping that I can at least start a sideline to my day job, even if I’m not sure I want to put in the hours yet! Still any ideas gratefully accepted and suggestions are wanted! What do you think? am I turning in to a mad sheep/cat lady? Or do you know how I can turn a profit?

Next update: hopefully the garden. We’ve done some of it but I need to take some photos. Probably over the weekend.


knitting update…

August 10, 2009

The Shawl… its going to be epic. Its going to take MONTHS if not YEARS to complete but it looks lovely and if I just keep plugging away I may just finish it one day.
Adamas shawl
This was an update of the shawl not long after I started it. I’ve lost the other pic somewhere on my macbook at home. Now its over 260 odd stitches and still just about half way through the repeats which also means I’ve only knit about 1/3 of the resulting shawl. Big numbers, small wool. Rod for my own back.

Socks (1)
These are the socks I’ve had an argument with. I’m sure you can see why. 3 colours, 6 balls of wool, two socks and the smallest knit picks needles. Which means trying to start a heel is not going to work until I part these socks and do them separately, or buy longer needles.

Socks (2)
are PINK and for my sister in-law. Another case of the photo being mysteriously missing. Ah well. They’re doing ok but because she’s 2 sizes smaller in the foot I’m scared to increase too much for the heels on these and they’ve sorta sat there in stasis until I can see her again. After only 6 rows of knitting. Meh. Lovely socks though but I do find it hard to make something without measurements at all. My fault next time I’m stealing the kids crayons and drawing around her foot.

baby blanket
started out like this:
baby blanket
and nobody believed that it would be square. Why is it pointy? is it going to be a hat?
It is meant to look like this:
cable cross baby blanket
and finally this when quilted:
baby blanket front
and from the back:
baby blanket back

So, yeah some knitting may fall by the wayside, wait years to be complete but some things are just perfect the way they are. They knit quick and have the inspiration and perpose to be almost completely perfect in a rustic kind of way. One of my friends commented on the front photo making some very salient points about practicality and how its classy enough to be for smart, or even blankie potential and she hit the nail on the head. Just what I intended, not flouncy for a boy, not too lacy but every bit as intricate and lovely as the baby boy that will be wrapped in it. Hoorah! Knitting triumph. Oh and its my own design so I’m tempted… just a little tempted to write it up and sell it. Still that is hard work and I’d have to have people asking for it first.



June 10, 2009

I love em… well the sleeping sort but the title refers to the knits in progress. *small ripple of applause in anticipation*

OK I need to add photos later I just found I’ve got NONE. oops. EDIT well I took some crappy photos but cant upload at work.


a simple set of two at a time on two circular needles toe up socks. except I’m using 3 colours the grumperina way. these are looking lovely but I’m scared I’m going to run out of yellow. I’m sure they will be fine. These have now been bagsied by my lovely sister in law. I’ve tried to give her lace and unless I can find just the right thing these socks will go well in the huge barn they live in. Cosy and comfy.

2, Baby Blanket

My work colleague and friend Lynsey is currently incubating a new life in herself and is doing well. I am amazed at how organized she is and how she’s got everyone to do something for her, including me which is where the baby blanket comes in. I asked what she would like and the answer came back: natural creams and browns and beige’s please. Oh and cables. Now I think baby blankies should be square. cables, on squares are fine except I’ve got 4 balls of wool and I’ve no idea if they are going to complete a square if I started knitting straight. Then I also HATE sewing knitting together. So, lets get complicated because where’s the fun if its too easy? I’ve started at the center and add two stitches each side of the square to form a triangle Then I inserted a cable right from the center so all 4 sides have a cable coming out from the middle. I’ve not seen anyone else do a blanket like this so hopefully I will be able to write it up as a pattern when I’ve completed it. Then I want to line the back with fleece and if I’m feeling ULTRA ambitious I’d love to pick out the entire cable pattern on the fleece like a quilt. hard work? yers… can I do it… maybe but it may take a fair bit of swearing. we’ll see if I can get the best part of it done before the sprog pops.

3, another bit of lace.

I’ve picked up the pattern for Adammas shawl another freebie! I’ve found out my oldest ball of lace and started knitting. I’ve almost ruined part of this ball but hopefully a good wash once knit up will save all the woes. The biggest challenge now is completing a whole shawl on 3.5mm needles. ACK! I loved doing the spiral shawl but by the end I was on size 6mm needles. EASY PEASY!

anyways these should keep me going for some time to come so hopefully pictures soon.



March 4, 2009

Last Wednesday Dad came over for dinner in the evening and Scotty and I went out for food with him. It was delicious Italian and very rich but I suffered all night because of that and a small helping of vino. Since then I’ve been working my socks off. I earned toil and had Friday afternoon off work. This was most exciting because AM also had the afternoon working from home. So instead we went to my house and watched Sweeney Todd again. Knitted quite a bit and I’ve nearly finished another pair of socks that I’ve completely forgotten to take any photos of or tell you about. These are strangely made with courtelle. I’m experimenting with different yarns to see which ones last the longest and wear well. I can even wear through wool nylon mix socks after 3 to 6 months wear. Plus the more socks I knit, the more home made socks go in to rotation so they all don’t get warn down quite so much.

So, that’s Dad and knitting covered. I won a competition to win YARN. Which are just about the best competitions out there in the whole wide world. I put a caption to a picture. They said I won and some lovely Irish Kilcarra yarn. I am wearing it as a skein scarf right now to keep me warm. It arrived at work this morning and made me squee with joy. I just wish I had washing details, I want to know if it felts or not before I use it. Ravelry is not saying and neither are any of the supplier web sites.

Finally I’d like to mention work. I struggle with this subject because sometimes there are business requirements that mean I need to keep my lips zipped. In this case I should be fine. So far this week the backup tape drive failed for the office, followed by the air conditioning failing in the server room followed by the phone system failing due to over heating battery supplies to the phone system which was in turn caused by the aircon outage. I’ve got a new PC for someone every day this week and normal work load too. Then the office manager is not well, I wish her the best and hope she can come back soon because between me her and our part time building maintenance we’re all that is keeping the office building together. R the maintenance guy is great and helpful and we work well together except because he has other out of hours jobs to do about the building he can only be in until 12 during the day. So this week I’ve been helping out, trying to smooth over the bumps and provide a service so that nobody notices the cracks and failures. So far so good. The only slight niggle is I’m sure because nobody notices the swan paddling underneath to keep things afloat, everyone just looks over and thinks I’m just sitting here. I’m sure that is not the case but still because I don’t know what the other half of the office are doing I’m sure as hell they don’t know the half of what goes on here either. Time will tell. I just hate having to report every movement back so that the right managers know I just fished them out of another what could have been a catastrophe, or not… we’ll never know.

I was going to try and apply for another job. I’m very sorry to say I was lax and lazy and never got the application finished in time for the deadline. Maybe I didn’t do it for a reason. I think I still like this job too much to let go.

Oh and Scotty and I went out for a celebratory dinner on Saturday night and ate so much bento and sushi we nearly exploded. We went to see my photos up at castle mall and we were very happy with the results so decided to enjoy a saturday night out for once. Well worth doing except we both spend Sunday with what felt like a half migrane half beating. Thank goodness for Wall-E on blue ray, big blankets and a comfortable sofa.


knitterly natter.

January 29, 2009

I hear you say “its about time” and I warn you its picture heavy

well I’m so lax with this I’ve got no idea where to start. Firstly I thought I’d better at least mention I bought myself these new books: fitted knits and gathering of lace for Christmas. The 2nd of my books is being used in #3. My challenge if I do choose to accept it is to follow more book patterns this year because I have a great and stunning library of items now. So on with the current projects.

1, do I felt it or do I not?
chunky hat

Its a hat, straight from carded fiber, I drafted the fiber as I went along but added almost no spin so it may just fall apart at any given moment. Also its just a tad too small for my huge bonce. I want to felt it but meh… we’ll see.

2, new socks with new hand spun yarn. I bought some yarn from bockstark knits
socks! made from this gorgeous yarn:

I love it, its pretty and as I started this on Sunday its going very quickly indeed. I’m already up to the heel turns on both socks. They are turning out very beautiful indeed.

3, progress on a pattern I am following for once:

From a gathering of lace. It is also beautiful but I had to double up some lace weight in cinnamon to get a texture and weight I was happy with. This meant the 800 yards ball is now only 400 yards. Its alpaca which I just happened to have some slightly heavier alpaca in a natural grey. I will be transferring over to the new colour in stages and hopefully it will blend well.

4, FO FO FO FO FO! *sung to a tune*

OH  MY  GOD.. its beautiful, and I packaged it nicely and I cant wait for Eve to get it.

I do want to publish more pictures but she’s not got it yet. Click the above image to see the pictures of the item I made from ball to complete and packaged. Please, its worth it. I love it and I hope Eve does too.

5, and finally a photo of my dad in his Christmas scarf. Taken at lunch time today. We went out for tapas which was lovely.

He’s probably going to hate me for putting it up but I still think he’s super handsome.

AAAAAAAnd, all that means I’m quite a bit happier and off to knitting night tonight and picking up a friend on the way. woo! good things.


poo damn blast and other similar words of smite

January 28, 2008

yet again. I made something for myself and ruined it. Well not completely ruined just shrunk my cable heart cascade socks. They say on the ball band, machine washable at 30. I forgot to change the machine setting, now I have socks still. They are still very beautiful but now they will not fit me. I’m a UK size 6/7 now they will fit a UK 4/5. They look stunning felted, they are thick and toasty and like bed socks now. Just they dont fit me. Boo! Wail! le grand annoyance.

So I suppose they are up for dibbs*… I’m wondering if it should be friend, family, or random commenter. Just to prove I never fully got around to writing out the whole pattern Cable heart cascade chart. Go knock yourselves out, I’m sure you can all make ones even nicer than I did.

lets have one last look at those socks before they turned in to felted bed socks for small people…

Now you can see why I’m not promising myself any knitting for my own wedding. It would be disastrous.

*shout loud and proud. do you want them? tell me why..


sneaky stash

January 2, 2008

one thing I neglected to mention was the visit to the yarn store with my Christmas money. I spent £85 on yarn. It was like heaven. I bought:

Araucania Ranco Solid in green. Its a very full green and the same as my red, big and smooshy.

Norfolk Yarn started stocking colinette jitterbug. I’ve seen it all over the web but never actually felt it. I fell in love from first sight and bought two hanks of the stuff. One in a wonderful deep navy blue with light shading and another green, this one more muddy and on the yellower and mossier side. Both are fondled regularly.

Finally my big spend was 4 hanks of pure silk. I’ve not got the details with me now but at £13.40 per skein of 50g it was a HUGE spend on some very luxurious yarn. I’m saving this for myself. I think I may save them all for myself but first I have to take photos of it all and get it in my ravelry stash. I’m tempted to keep it off ravelry until I get it ready to knit. Denying that my stash has now grown so big it does not fit in the two boxes under my bed.

I did order some other yarn from a sale online from prior to Christmas but as yet I am still waiting. Even though it arrived in the UK on 13th December I’m sadly bereft of the yarn and hoping that one day it will reach me.

Now on to new year.

On short notice my brother called and we all headed over to his house for the evening. I’d driven to Cambridge on Monday morning for work and came back around lunch time. I completed work around 4pm, then got myself together, packed the wii and the wellies and the camera and went to his. All my family were there and we had a wonderful evening of playing with the bowling and other games. Everyone took part which kind of made the evening.

Mum and Dad left shortly after midnight and Scotty and I disappeared in to the back garden to play with his new torch and the camera. Light fun was not as successful as we hoped but it was fun.

We camped on the dining room floor which was ok until I realised my wonderful and lovely posh air bed had a slow release hole. By 4am ish I was sleeping on the hard floor, by 5am I was on the sofa drifting back off in to dream land. My sister and her kids stayed over too so once the twins were up at 8am the entire house rose and we all had breakfast together and let the kids play some more on the wii. I loved it, although tired it was great.

New years day was spent on the sofa knitting again, trying not to sleep so I could get a good nights sleep for work. The cable heart cascade socks are coming on great and I am so very very happy with the inspired idea of breaking the flowing pattern and twisting it around the back of the leg.

The only issue is I will have great trouble in producing this pattern for others to use, I want to do it but because of the pattern transfer I had to move to double pointed needles whilst the pattern traveled behind the leg.

Over all a very happy Christmas and new year has been had. I have sooo many things I need to achieve this year I think listing them would probably make me want to scream. What with the wedding, making felted flowers, knitting and pattern writing which I’ve not even started on yet… EEP Although being ready to start it all is a nice feeling.

Hope you all have as much to look forward to this year as I do.


woO! merry christmas

December 25, 2007

I’ve been sooo lazy but also soooo busy. I’ve knitted like its been a life long need that could not get out of my system. I’ve taken photos of my achievements and some are now wrapped and ready to be gifted having been washed and blocked.

Friday I still felt a little rough but went to the works Christmas party. It was reasonable fun, nice to see everyone happy.

Today our friends M&S (better that way round than the other) popped over, we had lunch, lounged around and did the age old playing of a board game. My 90’s addition of Trivial Pursuit questions are very odd and lead to a long game in which we all shrugged lots.

Just before I show off the knits, I just want to say WOOHOOO ITS CHRISTMAS!! YAY! BOING BOING!

can you tell I’m still 10 inside?

The scarf is from VLT

I lurve it, the posh yarn I used was to die for, it made the knit quick and enjoyable. The pattern is a rose leaf center pattern from Victorian Lace Today book, with a moss stitch border. I knitted until there was almost no yarn left at all. A perfect gift knit.

the newest socks are my own design

This photo does not do these justice. The yarn is thick and smooshy and an rich blood red. Only 52 stitches in the round for the sock, so even though the cables slow me down the rows are shorter than normal. I found an online stitch pattern maker in java. Warning this broke my fire fox on my mac, but works fine in safari. I planned out the cascading cabled hearts and copied off as a jpg. I will make this available at some point soon.

the scarf is “my so called scarf”

This alpaca merino mix is super fat and looks great as an almost camouflage grey scale mind bender. I’m loving these results too. These items are all on Ravelry and of course in my Flickr knitting set.

All the photos for the socks to give to my sister tomorrow are in storage ready to come out.

I wish all of you the best of Christmases, and lots of love.


oh so busy

December 16, 2007

we’ve done most of the Christmas shopping. I’ve made two dvd’s for my grans for Christmas. All family photos, nothing too flashy just a big slide show.

I’ve completely disassembled and reassembled my old laptop ready for selling on.

Quite a few screws and they all went back in the right places. Spot the reason why it kept over heating.

Also completely formatted and re-loaded with the original copy of xp. I’m mighty proud of myself for that. It just shows I’ve not lost my old touch from when I used to do hardware support.

normal washing and cooking and stuff have also occurred

Knitting. The socks are finished and waiting for ends to be sewn in and a wash and block. I’ve also been knitting on a beautiful posh yarn VLT scarf.

it is so so yummy. A cashmere silk mix that looks slightly cottony but is the softest smooshyest most lovely thing in the whole wide world.

A 7 row pattern repeat.

Oh and Erasmus says mooooaaaooaw



December 10, 2007

My sister just popped over on Saturday with her kids and husband. It was lovely, Ewan and Bethan played on the wii and Louise tried the socks on. I made her shut her eyes because hopefully they will be her Christmas socks. There is just the ribbing to complete so there will be no further update on the socks until Christmas because they are now designated as a present and therefore will not be seen before giving.

Also made some more felt on Saturday, still trying to get it right and getting annoyed with the fibers limitations. I need some other fibers and some strengthening ideas. Its all a matter of time, energy and parts. I’ve got none of those right now.

Sunday was Mum and Dad’s wedding anniversary party. They have had a lot done to their new house and it looks great. It was lovely to see everyone and it will be even better over there when we can all go and sit in their new conservatory. Its there now but with no heating or flooring. The twins were there but poor little Tommy was a brave soldier but mighty ill. He had chicken pox and the slightest thing said to him meant he broke down completely. A sad sight for such a happy little chap. He pulled it together most of the time. Izzy was wonderful around him and understanding at his illness.

I started knitting a new lacy scarf. I’m not quite sure who it is for. It all depends closer to the finish time. The pattern is from VLT (Victorian lace today), the yarn is posh yarn. Eva 4ply. I only have one skein so its only one bramble leaf lace repeat with a small border. the width is around 20cm and I’ll knit until I run out. I must admit the yarn is so super soft and squishy and beautiful to work with. Half cashmere, half silk, it is to DIE for. Please get yourself over to posh yarn and go and buy some NOW. Its an order, mainly so I don’t have to buy any more, I want more, believe me. I just cant afford it.