Archive | Knitting

Ravelry – I’m in!

A new feature on the sidebar is a link to Ravelry! Ravelry is a fairly new – and definitely new to me – site where you can upload all your knitting projects, stash, etc, and find yarn and patterns and stuff like that. So if you’ve got some yarn and you don’t know what to do with it, you can search for what other people have made with it. Entry is by invitation only at the moment so if you fancy it, add your name to the waiting list! My invite came this week so I’ve been starting to explore it and add my stuff. I am looking forward to delving deeper into it because I’ve got a few yarns which I’d like ideas on what to make. I’m not very good at working out how to change yarns from what a pattern says to what I have in my stash! If you’re a member of Ravelry already, you can see my project pages here.

A bit of knitting

I haven’t been doing much blogging recently but I have been using my hands.  I bought this gorgeous Uruguayan yarn from Rio de la Plata via the online coop of which I am a member. 

red Rio de la Plata yarn

It is a bit darker than this but that may be my laptop monitor.  I decided to use some of it to make a sweater and have been getting on with it like a house on fire.  It is from the book Fitted Knits by Stephanie Japel and has a long ribbed section at the bottom to make it fit more snugly.  This is where I was a couple of days ago:

red sweater being knitted

I have now finished the ribbing and tried it on and decided to keep it sleeveless, so I have only got to finish the neckline and armholes.  I think it will be a bit hot as a jumper with sleeves and the yarn is quite bulky so I’m afraid sleeves will make me look too much like a Michelin Man! 

I have been experiencing a veritable boom in my knitting activity this past year.  This I attribute to two things – the gorgeous, yummy yarns available via this coop, and the wonderful podcasts which I have uploaded on to my Ipod Shuffle.  I have been working my way though the archives of Brenda Dayne’s Cast On – the music is just the thing to get a rhythm going!  I have got as far as No. 10 so far.   And Craft Cast with Alison Lee is another.  I found a couple of interviews with past contestants on Project Runway the other day, which are next on my current Ipod itinerary to listen to.  Alison has a great variety of interviewees – I have listened to an author, someone who prints her own books (and artwork) on a letterpress printer (that one was so inspiring I listened to it twice), a jewellery maker, etc etc.

I have also been working through the new book by Leslie Morgan, Claire Benn and Jane Dunnewold, called Finding your own Visual Language.  They have lots of exercises to do – I’ve only taken a few photos of those so far, so when I’ve done a few more I’ll write a post about what I’ve done.  And the house has been surrounded by scaffolding for the last couple of weeks and we have had builders patching up various holes and crevices where the roof has been leaking over the last few years, so hopefully my studio won’t have to be half covered with plastic next winter!  So far we have had a skylight replaced with a Velux window, the west wall painted with waterproofing, various bricks pointed, the bath stones on our coping (I think that is the word) taken up and repaired or slates put underneath and a myriad other things which I’ve forgotten about.    Nearly finished now, though!  Hurray!

Avon Valley Country Park

A few weeks ago I went with the kids on a church outing to Avon Valley Country Park. They had great fun down these scary slides:

red scary slide

while I sat in the cafe and chatted and drank tea.

There are a lot of animals there, including Jacob and Soay sheep and angora goats. After a hairy boat ride where DS1 and DS2 rowed me around (an adult was required otherwise I would have foregone the pleasure), I went and regained my calm by having a walk around to look at the animals. The kids meanwhile hared off to the go-karts…

Jacob sheep:

black/brown and white Jacob sheep

Soay sheep (had to crop this photo because they wouldn’t come any closer!):

soay sheep

Angora goats – this little one was very obliging…

angora goat standing under tree trunk

There was a tiny little kid there as well:

angora kid

Felted bag finished!!

Yes, it’s finished!  It knit up really quickly once I got going.  I nearly ran out of dyed wool though – it was good that I dyed the two extra skeins last week because I needed them.  This is all that was left of the dyed wool (apart from the Kool Aid dyed stuff and about 8 oz of undyed which I’ve earmarked for indigo or henna or something that doesn’t need a mordant).    I bought 2lbs of it altogether so the bag is pretty heavy!

a few odd scraps of mainly brown pencil rovings

The brown roving is the one I dyed with St Johns Wort (and copper mordant).  The thinner wool is what the skeins were tied up with!

Here is the finished bag before felting:

knitted bag prior to felting.

I decided to make the handles as in the French Market bag in Knitty rather than a shoulder strap which was what the pattern I used called for.  I was glad I did because I think it looks better that way.

Here is the finished bag!  I ended up washing it at 60 and then at 90 (thanks, Helen!) on a short cycle each time, then I spun it contrary to the pattern instructions because I didn’t want to wait DAYS for it to dry out and I finished it off for 5 minutes or so in the dryer to fluff it up a bit. 

felted bag in greens, browns and pinks

I like the way the colours have changed with the felting.  The browns look much more greenish and the reds stand out nicely.

Other side of bag

This is the other side of the bag.  And underneath:

green base of bag

And a close up!

close up of felted bag

At present it is sitting on the floor stuffed with towels to give it a nice rounded shape!

felted bag being shaped

Knitting and onion skins

Here is the onion skin-dyed yarn drying on the line.  Yummy colour, isn’t it?

yellowy gold yarn dyed with onion skins

Here it is dried and ready to use:

onion skin dyed yarn

The colour is actually closer to the top picture.

And here is some more yarn being brought to a simmer – this has a mishmash of St Johns wort, the remains of the onion skin dyebath and a couple of nettle teabags which I chucked in for good measure!  Talk about unscientific… The yarn has been mordanted with copper.

the next dyebath

It actually turned out a mid brown colour and is drying upstairs as I type.  Photo later.

Here is the half knitted to-be-felted bag.  I have still got about 30 rows to do and the yarn is disappearing at an alarming rate!

knitted bag in greens and pinks

You will notice I have tweaked the blog colour a bit and made a few changes and additions to the sidebar.  If you find it isn’t behaving itself for you, do let me know.

Fabric values

The house smells of onions at the moment because I’m busy boiling onion skins so I can overdye one of the skeins I did last time.  Meanwhile, I have been busy knitting my bag!  So far I have done the base and about 10 rows of the main bit – about 50 more rows to go!  But it knits up very quickly as I’m doing it on 10mm needles.  I am going to felt it in the washing machine afterwards – just hope I can get that bit right because the instructions say a top loading machine which you can keep stopping and checking.   My machine is a front loader which you have to programme and it throws a wobbly if you try and stop it in the middle.  So next week if I’m mopping up water and complaining about broken washing machines, you’ll know this is the culprit!

No photos of the half completed bag yet, but here, as promised are some of my fabric stash sorted by value (my photography seems to lag behind my blog posts at the moment…. 

lots of cotton fabric in baskets

The darkest two:


The medium two (actually looking at that photo I must move a few more around!:


And the lightest two:


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