Whoever took February…. please bring it back!

I feel that I have blinked and missed February completely. I’ve taken up a volunteer role at the local high school (helping in their allotment) and whilst I’ve been absolutely loving what I’ve been doing there, I’ve kind of neglected the blog. If I were a teacher writing a report then the phrase “Must Try Harder” springs to mind!

However, although the posting has been sparse, my knitting has not so let me show you just what I have been getting up to since we last spoke….

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Firstly, a couple of cushions made entirely from handspun scraps! I am rather loving the way they complement my quilt too! The cushions are 20 inches across so are fairly sizeable but have they made even a dent in my handspun scrap pile?  No, they have blinkin’ not. I shall be scouring Ravelry methinks for a scrapbusting pattern…..

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I’m also designing my very own cardigan! It’s a simple top down design with a cable pattern that will run either side of the button band and down each arm. I am super dooper pleased with how it’s turning out but am not so super dooper pleased with the yarn so much. I bought some Patons Aran Wool Blend a while back and it was an online purchase I regret as the yarn is a wool/acrylic blend and just feels soapy to the touch. But knit it up I will and this is a good way to use it up. It’s turning out really thick and warm due to the thickness of the wool but would I buy this yarn again?  That’s a most definite no.

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I’m also having a go at designing a very simple shawl with some handspun – one yarn is a South American and the other is a superfine Merino and Tencel blend. I kettle dyed both myself and then spun them up with no particular pattern in mind but found that they do complement each other really well so thought I’d partner them up for this project.

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I’m just making a scalene triangular shaped shawl using some short row shaping and simple textural stitches so that the yarn can be shown off to it’s best effect.  I think when it comes to handspun, simpler is better – let the yarn just show itself off.

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It’s tricky to show you exactly what I am doing in the photo as I am a doofus and have yet again used a circular needle cable that’s too short for this project so I’ll try and change it over to a larger one and also try to stop being such a doofus with respect to my knitting! 😉

I still haven’t managed to get my Faraway, So Close blocked yet either (bad, bad person) so I must also do that to show you. Sometimes I really need a virtual kick up the bum in these matters……

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Second Sock Syndrome

I like handknit socks – I’m just not very good at the actual knitting part of them. I start off very enthusiastic, knit a sock and that’s all I do – the second sock never gets knit up. I have one or two single socks that I have knit in project bags but my motivation to get them finished is sadly lacking and it’s something I really would like to conquer – the dreaded second sock syndrome.

So, armed with a couple of random balls of handspun, I’ve sat down this week and put all my energies into getting not one but TWO socks knitted and I’m very pleased to say that I’m almost there …..

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I’ve about three inches left to knit and they’ll be done and I’m actually rather impressed with myself that I have managed to get this far. I’ve used this pattern which I found really easy to understand and I’ll be using it again.  Don’t look too closely at my socks as they are a bit “rough and ready” as I’m certainly not a seasoned sock knitter but practice should make perfect.  These are destined to become “Welly Socks” to wear in my wellies when I’m out in my vegetable garden (BTW I have a gardening blog too should you be interested at http://www.backgardengrowing.wordpress.com) so these socks should keep my feet nice and warm.

I’m already planning my next pair to knit so I think I can safely say that socks will now be part of my knitting repertoire!

Off The Needles And Some Spinning …

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My Faraway, So Close is done and off the needles. It just needs blocking but it will have to wait until the snow we have at the moment clears and it gets a little warmer so that the shawl can have a chance to dry – I think in this weather it will take days! I ended up using just the pinker coloured skeins of handspun for the shawl and putting the blue skeins back into stash.

The arrival of the snow has also meant that I’ve been indoors more. Three skeins over the last few days is pretty good going for me!

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First up is a skein of South American fibre that I dyed myself and I’ve chain plied it to keep the colours together – it’s a fantastic rainbow coloured skein – very bright and zingy! I used two ounces to make this skein so yardage is probably between 100-150 yards but it’ll make a nice, small project at some point.

I used the other half of the four ounces of South American and plied it up with some superfine Merino and soybean and got this result – I really like this skein and love how the soybean gives a great shine to the yarn…

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I also chain plied up a couple of ounces of merino that I had dyed up a while ago that was lurking around in my fibre basket. Again, a small skein of around 100-150 yarns but I love the soft colours of this skein …

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And just for the hell of it, here’s a lovely yarny “group” shot!

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We’re promised more heavy snow this afternoon – looks like an afternoon of more spinning and a hunt for a new knitting project!

Decisions

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I’ve been quite indecisive of late as to what projects I want to knit.  I always seem to gravitate towards shawls – sometimes I mostly just do a simple stockinette so that the handspun yarn can do the work in showing off the garment as I tend to think simpler is best when it comes to knitting handspun.  I’ve been pootling around Ravelry looking for a pattern that grabs my eye and makes me think “that’s what I want to knit” but for the last few days looking at all the lovely patterns has made my decision making process worse in that there’s too much to choose from

Well, last night I decided I had to make a decision on a pattern – I want to knit something but I had to make up my mind as to what.  I think this is what I am going to start, using some of these four lovely skeins of my handspun yarns above – I just need to decide on either the pink or the blue colour or go for one skein of each (I know, I’m just making the decision making worse).  These are all merino skeins that I spun up last year and if I had to guestimate I would say they average around 200 yards or so per skein.  The pattern calls for worsted/aran weight yarn which mine isn’t – it’s more of a DK weight but I reckon if I make the larger size things should be OK.  Oh, that’s another thing I should point out – I never guage swatch as I am far too lazy too do any of that – I’ll just get straight onto the knitting if that’s OK.  😉

A Secret

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I am going to let you into a little secret.  This is not my first “actual” blog post –  I managed to delete the previous blog that I had started about three posts in.  That’s pretty clever going isn’t it?  Let’s hope that I’m more successful this time around.

As you can probably guess from the title of my blog, I spin and I knit stuff.  I also dye the yarn (or it’s sometimes fibre) that I knit up too.  However, it’s not all spinning and knitting though – sometimes I gravitate towards sewing, patchwork and quilting.  I am a bit of a craft whore (and that’s really not a bad thing in my book).

So, this will be my blog (if I don’t manage to delete it again).  I hope you will join me.  🙂