Monday, 21 July 2014

#LushPodKal


Some very naughty ladies have convinced me that it's a great idea to join in the #LushPodKal, so on top of my existing WIPs, the tour de fleece & work, I've decided to cast on another jumper.

Lush is a lovely jumper with a slightly more unusual construction designed by Tin Can Knits.  The yoke is knit sideways & the rest of the jumper knit from this, so it'll be a new style of top for me!

I've chosen some yarn from my stash - it's some very yummy creamy Fyberspates Scrumptious.  Slightly worried that it'll be too soft for a sweater, what if it pills??  It'll be interesting to see what everyone else is knitting with - what are you using?    

The plan was to use British wool for the project.  Fyberspates is a british company, though I'm not sure of the origin of the wool.  However, since I'm knitting from my stash it's the closest I can manage!




Hosted by Knit British, Knit Spin Cake, Caithness Craft Collective & Shiny Bees, the KAL discussion will be held among the different podcasters groups each week.  

Everyone is also tweeting their progress with the tag #LushPodKal, so it'll be lovely to be kept up to date with lushy news!


Also, the sunflowers in the photo were 30p!!  

How did you get on with the tour de fleece, and are you taking part in any KALs?

:)

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Tour De France & Fleece

It has all kicked off and I've spun more altogether than I've managed since christmas.

I missed the first two days of the tour de fleece, because I was down in Yorkshire watching the tour de france!  It was amazing, all the villages we passed through were lined with bunting, and the local gardens, shops & pubs were all sporting bicycle themed decorations.

To see these little pubs, with their beer & good food, I first had to walk.  This was, indeed, a walking weekend.  It was only a little one, as I actually joined my partners family, who were walking a two week long coast-to-coast shennanigan.  Two weeks! 

Once I returned home, I started the kind of tour I was really looking forward to, the fleecey part. 

New teapot filled, tour fleece bought, sorted and arranged for me to spin, my tour began.   This is what I'll be spinning this week, some cashmere/BFL/silk blend.  I'll spin the darker first & lightest last then ply it to make a lovely soft gradient.  

Perhaps I should mix them together slightly, spin a medium colour before finishing the dark, a light or two before adding in the last medium.   Hmm.  decisions.  




During the walk, we found some gorgeous little spots.  My favourite was this farm, where we were served cream tea.  After a long morning walking, it was very much appreciated.  

Also, there were some tiny doggies.  Tiny doggies!  If I lived here, you'd be hard pushed to stop a herd of tiny dogs appearing.  





Spinning like a fiend, these are the skeins I managed to finish during this first week of the tour.  

The first, 100g of grey gotland fleece.  It was lovely to spin, very easy to draft.  I didn't get as much yardage as I'd expect from 100g at this weight, does spinning gotland use up more fleece per metre?  I'll just have to buy some more to find out...

The second is a gradient blend from Fondant Fibre, merino & silk.  Her punis are always easy to spin, and can practically draft from the twist, pulling the puni away from the wheel.  easy.

The third, a 'peacock' blend of alpaca & shetland from Hilltop Cloud.  Again, these fleece braids are dreamy to spin, and lovely & soft washed up.  

All in all, not difficult spinning, but I'm proud of the meterage :D  All of my spinning is listed in my Ravelry stash - otherwise I forget what it's made of and how many metres I have!










FInally, someone we mustn't forget - grumpy cat.  He waits for me.  He tries to steal my food.  



Monday, 14 July 2014

Sewing the Things

There's currently a mini summer swap in the Tiny Owl Knits group over on ravelry, so I've been doing a little sewing to send in my parcel!  Obviously I can't show you yet, in case the picture goes a-wandering and ruins all of the surprise, but I did have a chat with this lovely lady who has recently taking up sewing herself.    Nikki has some short & sweet tips for other budding seamstresses, with blog & book recommendations :)

You know when you read something & it makes you content to simply read for a while?  This girlies blog is pretty chilled.



You can find her blog here: http://hippynikki.com/
And twitter here: https://twitter.com/Hippy_Nikki




"A Newbie’s Guide to Getting into Sewing (by HippyNikki)
Thanks to the Great British Sewing Bee and my general desire to make all the things, I’ve really been bitten by the sewing bug lately. I’ve even posted a Sewing Manifesto on my blog, in which I state my intention to make rather than buy wherever possible.
I think that sewing your own wardrobe makes you so much more mindful of the finished garment. When you wear it you remember the process and you look after it a little better because you know how much work went into it. There’s also that little thrill of pleasure when you learn a new skill and that skill helps you create something you want to wear all the time.
As with all new things, it can sometimes be hard to know where to start. So here are my suggestions, as a newbie to the sewing world.
BLOGS
A quick google search brought me to the wide and wonderful world of online sewing blogs. A few of my favourites are: Tilly and the Buttons, Randomly Happy and Sewaholic
Blogs are a great place to start if you’re looking for inspiration. If you’re still not sure you want to try this new hobby, reading some blogs for a couple of weeks should help you figure out if you really are interested in it. It's also a great way to build yourself a sewing community.
BOOKS
I received Sew Your Own Wardrobe for my birthday, then I bought Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes. These books have the added advantage of having the patterns included, so you can start making straight away. I would recommend these kind of books over a sewing encyclopaedia because they are less intimidating and focus on getting you sewing, so you learn as you go.
CLASSES
If you don’t have a sewing machine, ask around – you’re bound to know someone who does. Offer to help them dig it out of their dusty attic if necessary! I was really lucky that my Nan had one so I made my first garment at her house.
If you can’t find a sewing machine anywhere, I’d highly recommend trying out some of the cool sewing cafes or classes around. A quick internet search should help you find something local. But if you’re in the London area, Sew Over It  in Clapham is a really cool place to go and learn in.
Have fun on your sewing adventure - I can't wait to see what you make! "

Thursday, 26 June 2014

New Pattern: Ardence


I'm writing to you from a picturesque little square on the island of Kos, 'wish you were here' and all the rest of it :)

Recently, this beautiful scarf materialised from some Malabrigo yarn, and it is time to share! 

You can find the pattern on Ravelry.  








Friday, 20 June 2014

So much yarn, so little time!




Everything is so big.  And we, well, we are so very little.  Sitting on the train in the morning the countryside passes by, as easily as countries could, as lifetimes could.  

It's not a morbid thought, though I can see why some would feel so.  It's awe inspiring, motivating & endlessly emotive.  I feel a mixture of deep doubt and anticipation of unknown joys when I think about how much we don't know, and how much we will never know.  How much has life changed this past decade, this past century?  Much too much, if our elders are to be believed.  

We are but a tiny part of this whole, there are so many possibilities; paths for us to find and follow.  No, we'll never finish what we wish to achieve, which makes me a little sad.  However the idea that no two lives will ever be close to being the same, yet the existence of coincidences which persist despite this myriad of divergence.  Your choices will shape who you are, who you will be and how those in contact with you are affected.

Smile!  You've no idea (maybe you do) how much influence a mere smile can have.  The domino effect of a small ray of joy!  In the same way, your enthusiasm (which I know you have) for things you love, the hobbies, people & topics you are educated in, is contagious.  It percolates to the quiet places of the mind, which lie in quiet contemplation despite the bustle of the day, and it takes root.

This isn't entirely out of the blue, I've had a contemplative week, I've been busy!
There have been galas and pub trips, spinning session and lunches.  There were friends from close at hand & some from further afield.  

& I just wanted to share my thinking, and my smiling, and hope you smile too.  (& the people you smile at, and that little root, and all that other gush I just ranted about).



There has been chess, and a little bit of over-spending on yarn and fleece.  This yarn is Shi Bui, and it is gorgeous.  The fluff is from easyknits, and it'll be part of my tour spinning.



As you can see from the first picture, the day you all probably saw coming has arrived, and I'll be selling my hand-dyed yarn in my etsy shop.  Discount code SUNSHINE for 10% off yarn & stitch markers this week.  



There was a lovely garden fair due to the Glasgow West End Festival, and I might have picked up this shiny little fox pin.



During wanders, I did wonder what 'Doughut Repair' was.  I'm really quite perturbed I didn't venture in to find out what this was, so I shall have to return.



My mum recently went on holiday to Turkey, and brought me back these adorable teacups.  (That's the Shi Bui again, isn't it nice?)



I don't usually buy games on my mobile phone, but this week I treated myself to a couple of new ones.  The first is 'Two Dots', which involves joining dots, but is very pretty.  The second is an amazingly beautiful game based on the Penrose stairs, or the never ending staircase - Monument Valley.   




After a lot of help from my amazingly helpful twitter followers, I fixed my sewing machine & made this incredibly cute top.  



There were picnics with my mum.



Picnics with friends.  In matching handknitted jumpers, no less.  I've blogged about this sweater here before, and recently noticed Suvi Simolas lovely new release as well.  



& Picnics with yarn.



There was also some confusing of cats.  




I'm off on holiday tomorrow!  To Kos, a lovely crystal clear beach filled island in Greece. 
Can't wait :D

What've you been thinking about?  Any holidays planned?  How is your pre-tour fibre stash mounting up?








Sunday, 15 June 2014

Shawls, Cinnamon Tea & Andean Plying


No doubt you often have the same spinning problem as I do - too much single left on that bobbin.  What do you do with it?  Practice your chain ply?  use it as stuffing?  ply all the little scrappy bits together like a giant patchwork yarn?

Or, just saying, you could keep happily two plying your yarn together without breaking bits off, rolling half of it (and we both know it isn't half) onto another bobbin.

I've been using the andean bracelet method for a wee while now, and it's really helpful when dealing with the end of bobbin singles.  Thought it was time to share this great technique.


Now, this is so much easier in video form than words, which is why I've uploaded the video.  However, if you reeeeally want words, they're under the video.

Once you're done 2-plying, and are left with that one bobbin of singles, that's when you start the andean plying.  




Tuck the end of your single into a bracelet or hairband around your wrist.  Hold your bracelet hand up, palm facing you.   
Using your other hand, wrap your single around your middle finger, left to right.  
Then down, round the right side of your hand, round the back of your hand, to the front again up past the left side of your palm (under the thumb), and around the middle finger again, this time right to left.  
Take the single back down the left side of the palm, across the back of the hand, up the right side of the palm and around the middle finger, left to right - continue like this.  

Told you it was easier in video... 



Also, isn't this the cutest little fox pin?  I found it at a garden party on Wilton Street on Saturday.  A lovely lady from Rose Madder was showing a lovely display.  









Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Gearing up for Tour De Fleece


Running in tandem with the Tour De France, the Tour De Fleece is a great excuse to challenge yourself (or just to spin more).  

These gorgeous punis arrived from Deb at Fondant Fibre this morning.  Punis are a woolen preparation of fleece, similar to the rolag but originating in India (or so I'm led to believe).  Fibre is blended together on hand carders, then rolled off onto a thin stick to ensure the fleece stays nice and organised - making for some very smooth spinning!

Kicking off on Saturday the 5th of July to tie in with the beginning of the cycle race, there's a 'Getting Started' guide in the TDF group on Ravelry here.  

The main aims are:

  • To spin!  Every day the tour rides.  That's the 5th of July through27th of July.  There are rest days just like the race itself, these are on 15th and 21st.  
  • On challenge days in the race, challenge yourself!  This year it's July 19th.  Why not try to spin more than you've ever spun before?  Chunkier, thinner, new type of spinning material, core spinning?
  • On Sunday 27th of July, wear yellow to join in with the winners :D  

There are lots of teams you can join, both official and unofficial.  There's a FondantFibre Team here on Ravelry.  





More photos of that lovely fluff from fondant fibre.  You can find the shop here, and our chat about how Fondant Fibre began here.  

Oh, and here's an arbitrary photo of the cat who mocks me.  He is currently guarding my fridge.  From me.  Look at him standing there all authoritarian.  



Will you be taking part in the tour de fleece?  What are you spinning?  Is there any fleece you recommend I try out?


Also, I'll be starting a new section on Yarn/Fleece reviews soon - so if you'd like to review a yarn or fleece, or you create yarn or fleece you'd like reviewed, get in touch via email.






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