Thursday, December 17, 2009


Scrap of bushes this time!
After pruning all round these last dry crisp days. I found the cuttings from that common garden work-horse shrub, Spirea, long and bendy forming the woody basis of a wreath quite easily. I didn't set out to do this but it just seems to transpire, especially since I'd ripped out the dead stems from crocosmia and these make great binders wrapped round the bent wood. (Wonder could I spin them?). The Bay tree had got way too big for it's boots - a harsh frost would burn it's top peeping over a sheltering conifer - so that got incorporated as did an ewe branch and several clippings from variagated Euonymus.
The result:

Of course, Oisin had to get in on the act!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Scraps hat

Last year's November was frozen feet month, this year's December was frozen head month so when I saw "Tahoe Hat" by Jill Smith-Mott in Winter 2009, and seeing all the little balls of my dyed hand spun all over the place, I thought I'd combine some of them to toast my head. The mag.'s hat is one of those dinner-plate shaped ones which I find a bit tricky to get a to fit snugly so I went for the dome shape instead.
scarp hat10
Oisin Investigates!

scarp hat6
As worn by a jar of wolly bits.

scarp hat9
I'm quite well disposed to this as it was roasting while out at night in the recent frost.

Alpa=Silk scarf

Taking some of the alpaca-silk blended and spinning a thin single then 2-ply it then cable-ply the 2-plyd strands together gave a soft medium weight yarn. It doesn't come over as a cabled yarn - i.e. with that twisted cable look and feel - it's too soft for that I suppose. But it gave it enough bulk to do Stormy Rectangle Scarf, a free pattern from Classic Elite Yarns , to make a scarf for my son. It looked like a simple pattern - just series of knit or purl stitched arranged in groups to make the basket-weave type pattern but for some reason, I defeated me several times. Don't know why that is - it just kept "wrong footing" me in some way so I have to write down every row I was on despite the nice little chart as well as worded instructions in the pattern.
It's a ltlle bit - scratchy os too harsh a word, but it's less silky than I thought it would be but it's tolerable and very soft and nice to stroke. It must be very warm.
Alpaca silk scarf6
Alpaca silk scarf8
Alpaca silk scarf4
Hope Mark likes it .

Knit ted complete

KnitTed has eyes - acquired at out KnitTea knitting group Wednesday last. Just couldn't stand the yarn in his red and white scarf - too synthethicy - I've become a yarn snob! - but he has a new hand spun one.
Has to be stored up high as red dog has designs on him.
knit Ted0001

Monday, December 7, 2009

Shibori sample

After reading an account of how to place threads during weaving so as to leave patterns on the cloth after dyeing, I thought I had a good use for all that cotton thread I bought in Lidyls over a year ago - just because it was a bargain.
The account is in an old "the Wheel" magazine (issue 18 2006) and it seemed attractive to make suptle patterns on fabric woven using the rigid heddle loom (Ashford Knitteers Loom). It also offered a chance to try using an additional stick to make additional sheds while having just one heddle.
Doubts crept in when I read that mercerized cotton had improved dye absorbency over non-mercerized - so before even planning to spin for an large project, it seemed like a good idea to try it on a small sample of woven handspun wool.
Here is the crumpled little sausage with the in-woven threads drawn tight to make a crumpled sausage and KoolAid lemonLime added. Well - there is no sign of the thread taking up any of the dye though the cloth has slurped up 2 sachets immediately.


Rinsing in the sink - no change
A peek inside the now dry cloth - yes! there is some sign of a pattern!
Another peek ...
Carefully take out the threads - a simple little patter there all right.
What a difference a steam iron makes!
This seems worth doing all right - but will require spin, spin, spin, weave, weave... and fairly boring stuff until the color comes into it.
Will I have the patience? Time will tell I suppose

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Eyeless KnitTed

Wove some material using handspun - the golden dyed Galway fleece for warp and the brown alpaca from Waterford for weft.
For some reason I thought it would be impossible to cut it into a shape and sew it on a sewing machine. This proved to be dead wrong as it was pretty easy to handle when I cut out a rough teddy shape and sewed it up. It didn't catch on the machines moving "feet". stuffed this teddo with some of the waste fleece left form carding many moons ago. I thought I had a lot, but boy! - it takes more stuffing than I thought to fil out a smallish bear!
It turned into a knitting job 'though - using bits of handspun, to dress him. He, aka KnitTed, is almost done but still has no eyes. Hoping to get good ones form Roseanne Wednesday next - then he can see.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Brooks Bouquet Scarf

A very generous lady on the Rigid Heddel Group by the name of Patty Anne has great videos on weaving on youtube and her own website. One of these shows Brooks Bouquet and I just had to try it after seeing it so clearly explained.
I had some oatmeal colored Blueface Leicester roving (from Wingham Wool works I think) and had top-whorled it into a yarn, a 2-py of about 14 wpi. I also had some already spun and dyed with avocado stones in store for a while so what, the heck, I though, I'll use these for a scarf on my knitters loom.
It was lovely to do until I began to get some tightening of the 2 outer warps each side, making the edge uneven and the center sag.
"Uinseach!" I thought (I often abuse myself in Irish), "you've been tightening the first bouquet on either side and it's used up the warp too fast!". So, I had to hang weights off the sagging center ones to even things out. This worked pretty well so at least I learned something out if it (amadán).
The weights were actually dowel rods with a hook at the top which I put CD's on to make spindles but the CD's were gone (smashed - a weakness of the CD spindle) and they were lying there unloved. They now have a new role 'though I hope not to have to use them in this capacity too often.

Brooks Bouquet woven scart 2
I really like this scarf. It's very soft and light and long enough to loop 2 ends through (a fashion beloved by the cast of Eastenders las year - and OH found same in Germany while there this month).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A little Tote

The Buddleia flower heads and leaves gave various shades of yellow. A fairly strong yarn, so I decided to use it to warp the Ashford Spinners Loom. Used more of the same for the weft plus some soft yarn in blue and some brown Alpaca.
woven tote0001
woven tote0005

A small thing, but mine own :).


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Not so Slouchy, slouchy hat

A ball of 2-ply, light mauve (ish) hand-spun and another ball of off-white (dyed with afterwash from avocado pip dyebath). What to do with these strong, spingy yarns. Tempted by a slouchy beret in Simply Knit magazine so gave it a bash. A couple of rippings later, discovered I need to double the number of stitches (the pattern used a much thicker Debbie Bliss tweed chunky. Wnats more, if I didn't want to cut off the circulation to the scalp, I needed to decrease the last part at a much slower rate. However, I like it's suptle shades and it might suit unsuspecting daughter.
beret knitting0007
beret knitting0025

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Center-pull balls for plying

The Autumn leaves shawl/scarf is slowly progressing with added edging - quite a long process.
Meanwhile, Buddleia dyed yarn has to be plied for use in a weaving project - a very simple one - straight weaving on a Knitters Loom - with stripes of color - but still needed the pencil and paper to work it out. I know where Jacquard was coming from now!
Anyway, needed to ply together 2 lace-weight balls of yarn to make them stronger and thicker for the weave. Fortunately, they are center-pull balls, so can sit on the Lazy Kate of the spinning wheel and I can pull/draft lengths together and ply them (Rem: 9:1 over 18" - 6 out and 2 in)without any shenanigans like winding onto spindles! Phew!

Monday, September 28, 2009

leaves on the line

Well it's on the line. One good thing about lace knitting is the speed it dries at - and the weather obliged today. The leaves only became really apparent when the shawl was steam-ironed - which flattened and evened out the center of each leaf. Now I've got to add a crochet edge as it's too lightweight as it is. The plan is to add 2 rows of double crochet all around - with an added chain stitch between DC's on the second round and three DC's into each corner.
Another photo hopefully when that gets done - fleece and batts, ya still have to wait!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Buddleia dye

That great blog gave instruction on how to dye protein fibre with Buddleia trimmings.
I love the results - soft yellows and citrus yellows. Making batts and spinning - but MUST FINISH AUTUMN LEAVES SHAWL BEFORE I GET TO WORK ON IT.
"Catherine, leave the fleece alone - again!"

Anyway - the important thing is the recipe as follows:
Done end September 2009 when the tree was pruned and flower heads brown.

1 1/2 Liters Buddleia flower heads
3 L chopped stems and leaves
Heads covered with 5 L water
Leaves/stems covered with 8 L water
Brought to boil and simmered 10 mins, heat turned off then left overnight.

Next AM, reheat, and stirred.
White kitchen paper dipped into the plant water -
the heads gave a liquid like tea, the leaves gave light greenish color.
Noted oil floating on top of the leaf mixture.
Heating for 30 mins + appeared to deepen the colors.
Had ready 400 grams of Greyface 09 fleece - a soft but troubled fleece from a Suffolk X type meat sheep, previously mordanted with alum and Cream of Tartar.

Divided the fleece in 4, 100 gms into each pot and simmered for 40 mins then removed and rinsed,
There was still dye present in each pot so another 2 lots of 100 grams simmered after the first.
The 2 batts above show the first dying in the flower head and leaf pots respct. - the paler batts will be prepared later as will pics of the spun yarn.

Friday, September 11, 2009

An autumn yarn

Hanks of Greyface's fleece spun low-twist single for lace knitting.
Landscape dyes of red, brown, yellow-green mix, grey and a little orange Kool_Aid

Not a good picture - best I can do for now.
Hope to make and Autumn Leaves shawl from this soon.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Rock Flower shawl done

Eruca sativa - this one has a pinkish hue, they are usually whiter but if you look hard at them as I did, you see darker purples in the creamy flower and dark and light geern in the leaves and stems. Tasts good too.

The yarn is fingering weight. Because of it's ability to bloom and stretch, I used 4.5 mm needles to knit the shawl.
It's basically a generic triangle with loops up the middle and by the 3=stitch garter stitich edge.

I like the center part with the swipes of color (like the rocket flower) reminds me of fireworks or a kite. Definitely a summer celebration thing.

The top (where it all started) is inadorned and should sit below the nape of the nexk when worn.

The tip and sides benefit from one iteration from the Luna shawl with scalloped edge (thanks Roseanne aka ZaraRose).

The majority was very easy to knit, with just 4 YO's each RS row. I placed a thread through the stitches before attempting the 12 rows at the end. It took me some calculation to get the right number of stitched to begin the lacey, scalloped edge. I finally realised it consisted of 23 sts to cover the middle and 2 edge sections and the pattern in between was in multiples of 10 so I contrived to have 323 sts on the needle when commencing the pattern. MANY PM's were used. Some fragging - indeed the whole first row attempt - but the thread in place saved me (thanks Lindy). The soft cast off was vital too.
Needless to say, it's a pretty warm, though light shawl - good for over a light dress on a chilly evening - we get planty of these.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Rocket Flower Yarn

Tried my hand at low-twist thinninsh single using Greyface 09 fleece.
In some ways, the fleece from hell, not surprising as it came from a crankey little Suffolk cross ewe (who is also a great mother it has to be said). She looks like hell, at first glance her fleece looks like hell - but on further inspection it is fine and soft and I earmarked it for a low-twist single for lace knitting.
Took a while to get the spinning right but it paid off in the end with 1000+ m of 16 wri, 4.4 TPI yarn which dyed nicely with Koolaid.

Hank drying after stove-top drying

The lemon-lime part

Dry, ready to ball-wind

On the ball winder

Shale swatch

Why Rocket Flower? Well, the rocket bolted earlier this year and produced lovely purple/mauve,cream flowers on light green stems.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

February Sky Waistcoat

February Sky handspun turned into a waistcoat.
Another makey-up pattern - this time with plenty of holes.

Looks better oin the door than on me :).
Wanted a tighter rib but it relaxed too much when I steam ironed it. However Lindy told me how to fix that - but not that I can, not sure I want to - tuypical!
Wooden buttons - from a tree branch Paul sawed up - as per Stephanies suggestion - quite like these. Put nail polish on them - don't know how they might wash though.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Makeyup mitts - with scarf

Makey-up fingerless mitts mainly on straight single-pointed needles and use DPN's for last bit (the thumbs)
Draw around hand – pencil on paper.
Mark out area to be covered by glove, including widening from wrist to base of thumb, length of base of thumb..
Measure in inches :
Width of wrist = WW
Length of wrist = LW
Width above wrist = WA
Top of wrist to thumb hole = WTH
Base of thumb hole = TH
Top of thumb hole to tip of glove = THT
If you want and end rib across the fingers, measure it’s depth = RD

My measurements;
WW= 3”
LW = 2”
WA = 4”
WTH = 2”
E = 1”
THT = 5”
Make tension swatch:
Measure stitches/inch (SI) and rows per inch (RI)
My yarn (grey Alpaca):
Spun 5.5:1 over 2” i.e. low twist single
Diam approx 11 WPI - prewash
Swatch (stocking stitch) : 8 stitches and 9 rows per inch on 3 ¼ mm straight needles

Cast on 2 X WW X SI stitches
Slip first stitch throughout the work to leave loose edge stitches for sewing together later.
Work in 1 X 1 Rib for LW X RI rows
Another coloured yarn can be added mid-wrist (as in my specific pattern below)
Change to stocking stitch adding required number of stitches across first row (for a less
Sudden/sharp change of width at base of thumb, add stitches more gradually over following rows).
Number of stitches to add = (WA – WW) X SI
Continue in stocking stitch for WTA X RI rows
Cast off SI stitches at beginning and end of next (right side) row.
Purl next row as usual and continue in stocking stitch for (THT – RD) X RI rows
(If no end rib or other pattern, continue in Stocking Stitch for THT X RI rows and then cast off)
Continue in 1 X 1 rib for RD X RI rows then cast off
I changed to another coloured yarn for last 4 rows of stocking stitch section, just below end rib – but it could (and perhaps should ) be added anywhere in this section)
Pick up and knit the 16 cast off sts from thumb hole plus 2 on each side to make a continuous circle for the thumb tube. I used a crochet hool to pick uo 8 sts and transferred them to one double pointed 4 mm needle, then 6 sts and transferred to 2nd dpn, then 6 sts and transferred to 3rd dpn. I placed a marker in the stitch just under the first st on the first needle.
Knit 10 rows of 1X1 rib on the dpns and cast off.
My specific pattern instructions:
CO 48 sts using thumb method (and number of strands of yarn required to make chosen thickness of yarn
Slip all first stitches throughout
18 rows of 1X1 rib – add red –grey yarn at row 11, all red rows 12 and 13 , red-grey row 14.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 (red added alternate stitch) = right side, keep cross-overs to back /wrong side), 14 (red), 15(red), 16, 17, 18

Next row – stocking stitch and* K3, Make 1 * repeat to end – (64 sts.)
Then cont to complete 18 rows of ss, ending on ws
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 , 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, instead of doing line 18 as before, as I ended on ws and this glove is long enough, on 18 (rs), I CO 8 sts and on next line (19), CO 8 then purl to end. (48)
Cont SS for 8 rows in grey
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
Next row – knit alternating red and grey
Next row - purl in red
Next row, - knit in red
Next row - Purl alternating red and grey
K 1 row
P 1 row Done to here.
Next approx. 10 rows – 1X1 rib 1, 2, 3, 4,
Cast off
Bind/sew side seams aligning each side of thumbhole, top and bottom ribs.
Pick up and knit 16 cast-off stitches plus 4 sts on size 3/14 or 4 mm DPNs
10 rows of 1X1 rib (approx)
Cast off.
Weave in the ends.