Tuesday, 31 January 2012

What a difference a ply makes

Ouch, that's such a nasty pun, I wouln't blame you if you're wincing right now.

I've been dyeing this particular dye shade for quite a few years now.  I first used the shades in the autumn when the blackberries were out and I picked dyes that I thought I could see in the foliage and berries, purples, lilacs and greens.  It's evolved differently every time I've done it, but here it is in two different plys.  The first is a chunky yarn,  (7pi) with thick and thin singles plied together.  I posted (I think) a scarf knitted up in this very yarn.

Today I've just finished plying up the same dye lot as a 4ply, (14wpi) and I'm hoping that this yarn will inspire a local button maker tomorrow.  I'll post some more information when I've had a deep and meaningful chat with her - and not before!

The lighting obviously different but I think that pulling those fibres into a thinner single makes the colours more muted, gentler somehow.  I like them both, but definately very different animals.

The dye lot is called Kizzie and is available on Etsy if you like it.  Thats all for now, just a quick one but I'll be back soon.


Wednesday, 25 January 2012

My article in The Knitter !!

I'm so pleased to be able to share at last that my article Spinning Yarn on A Wheel - A Spinning Masterclass has been published in the current issue of The Knitter!

The article takes you step by step through the parts of the wheel, choosing fibres and then spinning through from drafting to plying.

This is a first for me and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the process, I suppose because I love spinning so much, the opportunity to  write about it was just wonderful!  I think I will be unbearable to live with over the coming weeks.  I bought three copies in WHSmiths today (taking the cellophane off the magazine to have a nosey before I bought it). I thought the shop assistant was going to take me outside and have me shot!  I bought a copy for my myself, my mum and my nan, the circulation of The Knitter could rise considerably just with sales for my family alone.

Anyway, onto other things, a little while ago I posted A Waste Dye Dilemma post.  Wasting dye is something that does bother me, so I did a little experiment and dyed these fibres.

Sometimes, you can be left with dye in the pot, preferably there should be non, it should all have been soaked up by the fibres, but you know, we're not all perfect and there may be dye left.  The dye remaining from this dye lot, dyed these fibres this colour

And those fibres then spun up like this

I'm really pleased with it, it has a beautiful sheen, which I think shows up well on the photo, and I've started knitting it for my Baker's quilt, which is coming on a treat.  I'm really enjoying it and can knit while looking up sometimes (at the telly).  I believe that makes me practically professional.  Or something.

Speak soon

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Baker's Quilt

OK, so maybe I should have tried having a go at the Beekeepers Quilt before I started posting all my grandiose ideas about how I was going to use up all my leftover yarn blah blah blah.

I started and lo and behold I couldn't finish.  I am a relatively new knitter, for me the spinning is the thing and I'm afraid that often knitting takes a second place to it.  So, a little bit despondantly I took the pattern, yarn and needles along to the Knit-Wise Knit'n'natter that I attend on a Tuesday night and had a word with Super Knitter Myra who took one look at the pattern, pronounced it a leeetttle bit too adventurous for my capability and in her head immediatley invented an easier version.  By the look of the Beekeepers Quilt forum on Ravelry, I'm not on my own in struggling with it, so maybe there will be others who would appreciate this simpler version.  We're calling it the Baker's Quilt, little square squidgy loaves of yarn.  (or other less twee descriptions)

Whereas the Beekeepers Quilt uses hexagons, this version uses squares.  I used yarn spun to 4ply and 4mm DPNs, but if you use larger needles, you get a larger square, depends what you want.

Here's how you do it:
Cast on 10 stitches.

M1 on each stitch, so that you end up with 20 stitches

There are my lovely 20 stitches on my DPNs.  The more observant of you will see that my knitting is not the neatest and not the best.  Please don't cry, because there is more.

The pattern goes as follows

K1, Yfwd, Sl1, Yback, and repeat

Knit in this manner until you have a square.  It should look something like this, although yours could
be so much neater.

At this point, you will need to separate your stitches onto two other DPNs, first stitch on one needle, second on the other, third on the first need etc, until you have 10 stitches on each needle. You should then be able to open the pouch so that it looks like this:

So, now it's time to fill the pouch with a little wadding, so that there will be a comfortable bounce in your finished blanket.

Now it's time to cast off, go through the two stitches together and knit them and then cast off as you normally would.

You should end up with a little filled pouch of wonder like this one (if you're lucky),

My casting off tension is a little bit too tight but people in the know tell me that if I use a larger needle, my problems would be over.  Tiny Owl Knits says that one of the best things about knitting this way is that you can knit on the go, and it's absolutely true, its so easy and portable.

I've been able to knit up eleven in quite a short period of time and, surprisingly have got to the point where I can knit and almost follow the plot of Borgen (Danish subtitled political drama).  Almost.

It's on its way!  And for a novice knitter, I'm quite pleased. 

I've taken the information I've written here directly from the Knit-Wise blog (which I also write) as it's Myra's pattern and so deserves to be on there, so that is why it's repeated if you're wondering.

In other spinning news, this yarn has been knitted up into a scarf, I don't know if this picture does it justice but it'll give you an idea.

Ginny knitted this up with some little bobbles at the bottom and a cute hand embroidered edge, which I'm afraid on these photos doesn't really show up.  I have, and am wearing this scarf.  I really must stop knitting up the wool I intend to sell, but I can't help it - it's too tempting!

speak soon


Saturday, 7 January 2012

Beekeepers Quilt for Leftover yarns

My favourite type of spinning is to a 4 ply, I find it easier to keep consistent, although when I have a lot to do I can start to lose the will to live half way through.  You know how it is, spinning a chunky yarn gives almost instant gratification.

So, when I have little bits and bobs of leftover fibres I almost always spin it to 4 ply, so I've decided to have a go at the wonderful Beekeepers Quilt by Tiny Owl Knits

I think that this would really suit all the little handspun 4ply leftovers that we have and make something very beautiful.  As I've said before on here, I really struggle with wanting to knit anything that's more difficult than knitting and purling and I think that's all that's used here.  AND it uses DPNs which I can't use either, so quite a big learning curve but because the hexagonals are quite small it should be do-able.  I'll be taking the pattern along the the Tuesday night Knit'n'natter to get started.

These are the yarns that I thought would go together quite well

I'll add more after I've finished these two.  If you fancy having a go yourself, here's a link to the Tiny Owl Knits Beekeepers Quilt


I had hoped to be posting some new dyed fibres but unfortunately I've been laid low with a stinker of a cold and am posting here with sudocrem on my top lip a la Adolf Hitler.  I'll hopefully be back up and dyeing on Monday

See you for now.

Monday, 2 January 2012

New Year - new stuff

I'm not one for New Years resolutions and yet the 1st January seems an excellent place to start with new stuff.

So, we have new Niddy noddies going onto etsy and although this is a tragic photo I though I would upload it anyway.  The light is atrocious at the moment for photographs so I'll not use this for etsy but I'd like to show it on here just as a sneaky peak.

Niddy noddy with a curvy midriff

The first set of niddy noddies all sold out over the holidays and so Jim has made us a batch more, mostly in the same style but these two were a little bit different.  I like that we've got a bit of versatility and I think they look great.  I will try and photograph them again tomorrow to put on etsy, I'll see how the light goes. 

Talking of photographs and setting new goals - I would like to be able to take some better pictures than I am doing now.  This is not really a difficult thing to do as my photography skill are somewhat lacking.  But, we have a great camera, a Nikon somethingorother so it's only my ability that is holding things back.

I came across this site - blipfoto while I was reading Helen Cowans blog.  I've read her blog for a few years now and her photography is just brilliant.  She keeps some of her fantastic pics on blipfoto.

The idea is that you take a photo a day and load it up to an online journal.  There are forums and tutorials to help you improve and by the end of the year you will have a record of what you've taken and also (hopefully) see how much more excellent you have become.  I've started today, which granted is the 2nd so I'm already behind (no change there) but I've started so I intend to finish. (not really very good at finishing either).
Our very fat dog, Brodie

I will try to keep posting my efforts, I think even if my photos never get to be brilliant, at the end of the year I will have a lovely record of our life.

Here's a link if you'd like a look

See you soon