Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Work In Progress Tuesday and some holiday pictures

Despite the stonkingly hot weather I have got some knitting done.  Last week DD1, the two smalls (The Little Model and The Senator) and I dashed down to Cornwall to spend a few nights with my cousin and because DD1's car has great AC I was able to knit WITH WOOL all the way down.  I finished turning the heel of my Tough Love socks and began the interesting stitch pattern on the legs

Are we nearly there yet?

The stitch pattern is called Tuscany and the pattern I am following is from my favourite sock book Toe up Two at a Time .  I have only completed four repeats of the pattern so far but it's looking good, I also love the slipped stitches on the back of the heel, the way it makes the colours pop and how comfy I imagine it will make the socks to wear.

My warm evening and outdoor knitting project, Flo, is coming along nicely too

About two inches to go and I will deem it is right to divide for the armholes.

It's rather odd for a knitter to say this but I love how unevenly this yarn is knitting up and the general nubbliness of it.

Our trip was not, however, all knitting... 

There were lots of sand castles

LM absolutely nailing BIG hair BIG smile

Ice cream
The Senator, slightly loosing his dignity being covered in ice cream

And cooling off in the sea

Three of my favourite people in the world

Since I got home I have been working hard on 'Betty',  picking over the entire fleece, removing bracken, crushed leaves (more like tea leaves in size) and the last traces of dirt.  She is all ready to spin now, 

just fluff but plenty of promise

I cant wait to plunge my hands into this cloud of cream woolly loveliness but I shall have to, because... I am off on my travels again.  This time to that tiny Greek Island, where I escape to every year - probably the subject of my next blog.

Back in two weeks



Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Spinning again

A lovely new book arrived from Amazon today (that sounds like Amazon generously sends me presents from time to time, oh that it were true). I ordered  The Knitting Experience by Sally Melville for just one pattern.  I am intending to make this (The Einstein Coat) as my first big fleece-to-wardrobe piece

OK we do have a long way to go...  The fleece comes from a friend's pet sheep, Betty.  I don't know what breed Betty is but she is  a BIG girl and I think she likes to sleep under hedges amongst lots of dry leaves and bracken

quite a small part of Betty coat

This is what Betty coat looks like after several rinses in warm water (Eucalan in the last rinse).  The dead leaves etc are broken up into fine specs that look like tea leaves and each spec will have to be shaken or picked out.  

The weather last weekend was perfect  for fleece washing and drying.  It is impossible to avoid sloshing water everywhere, and its not clean water either.  Arms up to the elbows in the sloshy detritus and wet feet are a constant, so being able to do the whole process out doors, even using the spin drier on the lawn, was a blessing.  I hope the grass and the plants benefit from all that water because that's where it all went.  

Betty was not my only fleece donation this year, I was also given the coats from four small black welsh mountain lawn mowers.  The sheep's job is to mow the large expanse of lawn belonging to a lady I just happened to meet at a craft fair a few weeks ago.  Once rinsed and spun the fleece lay out on my lawn for 48 hours (taken in over night in case we had a heavy dew)

rinsing buckets in the background
Although before rinsing all the nasty dirt is removed and the fleece attached to it thrown away or sent to the allotment compost heap, once dry the picking begins.  Betty has an extraordinarily long 7 -8 inch staple.

The staple is the length of each individual fibre of fleece.  It is also the ancient name for a wool market which is more than a market, where the wool is also graded and taxed.

The lovely weather continues and I am sitting in my garden picking over a small amount of the fleece at a time and I have spun just a little using my drop spindle (also something I can do outside).  Plyed and knitted up it looks like this

I am hoping that I shall get the yarn a little smoother when I spin on my wheel, I need 1300 yards of bulky weight so will be plying three strands, something I have not done before - there are many challenges ahead.  And I think I shall wait for some long winter evenings.  It would be a shame to miss the sunshine we have right now.  

So back to Flo for now



Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Back on track

Although I am still sewing up blankets from the BIG Knit and have my eye on a couple of gorgeous stash projects I have just got one or two other plans for the needles

Look! I even swatched.  I am hoping this will be a super quick little project, its Flow by Nora Gaughan although you probably won't be surprised to know that I'm modifying it a little.  My 'Flo' will be straight and boxy, sitting on my hips but not flowing over them (too much frillyness in this style for my size).  I also discovered from my swatch <<smug face>> that the tension I get with the Rowan Savannah is about 12% larger than the pattern so, as it is a very simple shape, I am just making it in a size smaller (a little bit of denial there too).

Do you see my pretty stitch marker?  Lots of plain knitting until I reach the armholes, ideal for Wimbledon watching.

I scored the yarn in the Liberty sale, at half price I had to have it.  And a second bundle in a different colour.

This is destined to be a short sleeved cardigan that I have designed myself.  So far I have made it up in Daphne's size (she is The Little Model's favourite doll)

When I make it for me I shall make the body slightly longer.  Cast on at one front edge, all garter stitch, short row yoke , button hole, cast off.  Should be easy!

But I must get back to the blankets - I'm enjoying them really.  And it seems I am not the only one in my town busy with knitted squares