My North Ronaldsay Arrow Shawl

Goodmorning, I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend. Yesterday I took myself off in my car to Haxby which is a village north of York city in search of real bread so very little knitting took place. I did, however, finally decide which Hap I was going to knit for the Knit British Hapalong that’s hap-pening (gotta love a pun eh?) on Ravelry right now. Anyway, I shall post properly about that next week. This week I want to post about my Arrow shawl because I never posted about it as a FO and whenever I wear it I get lots of lovely comments about it.

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I knit the arrow out of two skeins of North Ronalsay 2ply that I got from Baaramewe years ago. Knitting this was an absolute joy because the yarn was so beautiful to knit with and the different options to decide how your shawl will turn out. I loved how it took the whole idea of knitting something personally unique one step further without having to actually do maths yourself. Totally brilliant! Ysolda has been one of my favourite designers since I joined Ravelry and this has to be my favourite of all her patterns so far.

My final choices for the clues were 1B, 2A, 3B, 3A, 3A, 3A, 4B, 5A. This enabled me to use up all of the two skeins that I bought and gave me a lovely big shawl to keep my neck and shoulders warm. I actually needed to spin some North Ronalsay roving to complete the last 6 rows because I ran out and the yarn was out of stock.

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North Ronaldsay yarn has a lovely rustic look to it as you would expect from a primative Breed of sheep that live on the coast of North Ronaldsay eating seaweed for most of the year. There are fine black hairs that run through the yarn that almost look like guard hair but they aren’t stiff or scratchy or noticeable on the skin at all. It’s lovely and soft and light and snuggly with lovely stitch definition. Seriously, if you get the chance to buy some of this, don’t pass it up.

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Despite being worn almost continuosly since I knit it, it still looks good as new, no pilling or other signs of wear. I know it’s a shawl and not a garment but it really has been worn and worn. I will definitely be buying more North Ronaldsay yarn in the future, maybe for a Hap shawl in all the various natural shades. Mmm, Hap shawls…

My bad

Oh dear, I’m sorry, I’ve neglected you so badly and really I’ve no excuses except the usual about time and lost mojo but I’m back now and feeling much better.

So well, I have been knitting but not nearly as prolific as before. I’ve spun a little too and I went to Edinburgh Yarn Festival but that’s a post on it’s own, I did post about EYF a little because it was a huge event and I couldn’t cover it all but a lot in that it’s not exactly a short paragraph on the Richmond Knitters blog. (Does that make sense?)

Anyhoo, I’m currently knitting a scarf for my uncle. It’s from some handspun yarn and unfortunately it hasn’t been a straightforward knit. The first issue was a shortage of yarn. I realised that the scarf was going to be very short around 2/3 of the way through the ball and then kept knitting some more because well, denial. Eventually I gave in and ripped it all back. It was one of my earlier yarns so it was quite dense so I decided to run it through the Hansen to relax the ply twist somewhat and hopefully eek out a liitle more length as a bonus. I re-soaked, thwacked and dried it again and did a bit of stash diving to find another handspun yarn that I could combine so as to add more length. I then tried striping the yarns but changed my mind about the pattern I was using. I’m now using a 1×1 rib, slipping the first stitch à la Jarrod Flood’s classic Noro scarf.  Stitch count was an issue too, as it needs to be wide enough but only just as I’m worried about having enough yarn. So after much knitting and re-knitting I’ve ended up with this.

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I’m happier with it now, the fabric is lovely and elastic and sproingy. The colours are lovely; purple is my uncle’s favourite colour.

Has this put me off knitting with handspun? Not likely! I still get more joy out of knitting yarn I spun than anything else, even if I have to knit and re-knit again and again.

Hopefully, I’ll have this finished soon so I can cast on for a second sock, though there may be running out of yarn issues on that too. Anyway, I hope you’re all well.

toodle pip Melanie x

 

Crafty update

It’s Good Friday and I am loving the Spring weather and the new foliage on the trees so much as peopple who follow me on instagram will know.  I have Good Friday and Easter Monday off work but they are sandwiching 2 very long days at work so I am cramming as much crafting as I can into today. I have a loaf of bread proving in the kitchen and while it does it’s thang woolly crafts beckon.

I currently have  3 projects on the needles, a pair of handspun socks for my sister Teresa, a pair of socks for my son Elliott and my Follow Your Arrow shawl which has been stalled due to lack of yarn.


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I’ve done both clue 3’s with 3 repeats of 3a and I’m planning to do both clue 4’s so I have clue 4a and then 5a to do. The yarn is a 2ply, fingering weight, woollen spun yarn grown and spun on the island of North Ronaldsay where the beach dwelling  sheep feed on seaweed for most of the year. It is a very special yarn and has a wonderful rustic quality that I adore. I wanted this shawl to be huge, because I’m loving the yarn and the pattern, hence running out. As I couldn’t get any more yarn in the light grey colourway I decided to purchase 200g of the roving in the light grey and spin a replica-ish 2ply yarn to finish my shawl.

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It smells so wonderfully sheepy and feels so divine I will have to get more and make an entire jumper.

The idea of spinning a replica yarn is making me a bit nervous so whilst the roving was in transit I decided to spin the second braid of a Thylacine BFL top to practice. I had finished the first yarn towards the end of last year and I’m currently spinning the 2nd of the 3 singles. The finished yarns will become socks for me.

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I’m hoping to have this yarn finished by the end of next weekend so I can start spinning my North Ronaldsay yarn. Better crack on then! (Appalling egg pun totally intended) 😉

Channelling Sharondoubleknit

The other day my son requested we get a bath mat but being on a tight budget, as in necessities first, I didn’t want to buy one as I think there are heaps of things we need before bathmats. However, I recalled how the very wonderful Sharondoubleknit had made her bathmats so I went stash diving. I came up with some of my very first attempts at spinning and dyeing and thought that they would be appropriate for my first handknit for the house and the colours match the colourscheme in the bathroom. My sons we skeptical, “won’t it get soggy?” “How will you wash it?” Were among the comments made. I reassured them with facts about wool’s amazing properties or at least I tried to.

I was reminded how much I love knitting with handspun yarn. Considering that this yarn was very thick and thin, under spun in parts, overspun in other parts and equally as underplied and overplied it knitted up really well. I think that it was helped by the fact that the yarn was held double and knit on much smaller needles than you would normally, in order to obtain a nice dense fabric. I know a lot of new spinners out there don’t think that their newbie handspun offerings are worth knitting up but I honestly believe you can’t learn about making yarn until you start knitting with the yarn you make.

So how does the new mat fare? Well, deliciously warm underfoot and squidgy and it doesn’t feel cold and damp when it gets wet at all. I think my sons are quite impressed with it, I’ve even had a request for a 2″ x 3″ from Elliott. Not sure about that but I think I might consider getting some more Herdwick and maybe Swaledale fibre for spinning and knitting mitred squares to sew together in a rug, we’ll see.

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Transformations

So the ugly ducking turned into beautiful swan and everyone, lived happily ever after.

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Incredibly, this beautiful shawlette is the fugly ancient bra handspun. Now a gorgeous shawlette made from the hitchhiker pattern. Rav link.

Needless to say. I’m very happy with it as a beautiful garment, a reminder of fun, crafty times with friends and a measure of how much my spinning has progressed.

Talking of transformation and progression, the end of 2012 was very trying with a major life change, brought on by me but 2013 is emerging as a year of positivity, possibility and progression. Sadly, my Etsy store has closed for the forseeable future but my fibre will be popping up for sale elsewhere so stay tuned!

ttfn x

 

 

Finished projects and new ones too

I finished my stripe study shawl this morning. I feel a bit ambivalent about this shawl and I don’t know why really. It is in my favourite colours and from yarn out of my stash, it was an easy mindless knit but not boring. It looks good and will be perfect for throwing around my shoulders when there is a bit of a breeze but still… meh!

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Maybe, it’s because I had high expectations and just hasn’t lived up to the hype. Maybe, I just need to wear it to appreciate it more, who knows. So next on the needles is Terra by Jared Flood. Yes, another shawl, not one for the coming summer season but what the heck. I’m very excited to cast this one on, I was supposed to cast on ages ago then I had a bit of deliberation about which yarn I was going to knit it in and now I’m going with my original choice of Shelter in Homemade Jam colour-way.

I also finished spinning the Hilltop cloud yarn. Nearly 700 yards between 2 and a bit skeins of squooshy yumminess.

 

I haven’t allocated it to a pattern because that method doesn’t seem to work for me being so fickle and apt to change my mind as I am.

Next on the wheel are two of my own blends. Spun out spinners on Ravelry are having a shawl themed spin-a-long/knit-a-long and I couldn’t resist.  So Friday being my day off I dove into my stash and found some merino fibre.  I blended it on my hackles and pulled through the diz. I have 3 colour-ways peppermint creme, meringue and creme caramel.

I wish you could feel how utterly light and fluffy they are. I may never spin from commercial tops that haven’t had the hackle treatment again. Anyway, I’m thinking I might make a dream Stripes shawl for the KAL part with the peppermint creme and meringue but you know me 😉

FO Friday

Yay! I have a FO to flaunt this Friday.

My Tartan socks are finally off the needles, they only took three months to complete, though I have completed a couple of other projects in between times. I’m very happy with them, they’re so snug and they are the kind of socks I imagine would be perfect for long walks in the Scottish countryside. Here they are…

They are my usual David’s toe up sock cookbook and all the details are on my Rav page. I chose to make 2 sets of increases, six increase stitches evenly around at 6 1/2 inches above the heel flap (where my calf becomes wider) and another six at even intervals at 10 inches to allow for my shapely calves. I thought it would be interesting to experiment a bit with calf increases and where to place them. Not sure how I feel yet, I kind of like it but then…

I’m hoping to spend this weekend knitting on the Noro scarf and a bit of crafty shopping, no yarn or fibre though. Maybe start some fibre prep and spinning my Corriedale ready for Owls.

But first, I shall put my feet up with a well earned Hendrick’s gin & tonic with a slice of cucumber.

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Cheers

Mx

In the nick of time

Yesterday I cast off Ian’s birthday scarf, washed it and laid it out to dry.  Today is his birthday. Phew! All that frantic, knitting like a crazy lady paid off.

I’m happy to report that he is every bit as pleased with it as I am (I confess I found myself coveting it on many occasions whilst knitting it). I also thoroughly enjoyed knitting it which is surprising because I usually find 1×1 rib a bit laborious. I think maybe the stripes and the tweediness did it.

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I’m really tempted to cast on for a Noro scarf for myself. I have the yarn in my stash but I shall restrain myself for a little while until I’ve finished my other two current projects.

This morning I finished another WIP. The handspun fingerless mitts. I lovelovelove these. The yarn is utterly delicious and I spun it, all by myself! It’s the 2ply and N-ply Bond yarn from the 3 tops dyed by The Thylacine. Looking back at the post about the finished yarn it appears that I neglected to mention the colour-ways of the three Bond tops so I shall remedy that right away. Two of them were Terra Australis and the third bluer one was Lyrebird. Bond is such a gorgeous fibre I can’t recommend it enough. Knitting from my handspun yarn makes me so happy.

They didn’t photograph as well as the scarf but IRL they are really lovely. I added a few increases and decreases because I didn’t quite get gauge but mostly I followed the pattern. All I need now is some colder weather so I can wear them. The primary skein of Bond is probably going to be a cowl, I think this one.

Currently on the needles are the socks and the belated birthday gift for Fiona. On the wheel is still the second Skein singles, my thumb is all better so I can spin to my hearts content again (apart from the going to work thing to make money to pay the bills and maintain my  love affair with the fibre crafts).

As for the previous post, I agree, a simple cowl is exactly what that yarn needs to be. Thanks Jen and Anna for the advice.

ttfn x

all WIP and no FO

Well hello there, how’s your week been?

Since we last spoke I’ve become polygamous again. I’m not normally comfortable with polygamous knitting, it tends to overwhelm me with all the WIPs bearing down on me but for many reasons I seem to have not two but three projects on the needles and it’s actually ok.

So you may recall I was knitting a pair of socks and I got this far on the second sock…

Then last weekend whilst browsing Ravelry for potential patterns for a handspun birthday gift for my sister I recalled a pattern for handspun fingerless gloves that I had queued previously. I started wondering whether the mini skeins of Bond 2ply and N-ply combined would be enough to make a pair of mitts. Then before I knew it I’d cast on for one because  a pair of mitts takes a day and a half to knit up tops. Happily one mitt used just less than half the mini skeins in weight.

I love knitting with handspun sooo much it’s silly.

So anyway despite the fact that it takes less than a day to knit a mitt up I didn’t cast on for the second mitt because erm… *shrugs*

Instead I cast on for Ian’s birthday scarf in a bid to have it knit for the 2nd April which is his birthday. I am all impulsiveness at the moment which is so uncharacteristic but I’m quite enjoying it. I’m about half way through this scarf now and it’s ticking a number of happy boxes for me. It’s a pleasurable yet mindless knit, it is using up some stash from way back when, there are stripes and Ian loves it (he chose the yarn and the pattern).

I have decided on a pattern for Fiona’s birthday but only because I saw one of my fellow Richmond knitter’s wearing hers and I knew that it would be perfect instantly. I won’t blog about it though until it’s with it’s owner.

Sorry for the belatedness Fi but it had to be right.

Rare Beauty

My favourite online spinning store Spun Out has reopened, since the owner moved from Perth to Melbourne.  So to celebrate I felt I aught to make a purchase or two. This was purely a selfless show of support of course, not at all because I am a greedy addict when it comes to beautiful fibre.

Amongst my purchases were three Skein merino/silk tops in the Wasabi colour-way. I love these colours so much.

I am a huge fan of Skein yarns as you know but sadly Kristen has stopped dyeing fibre so these tops are indeed a rare thing. They are 50% merino and 50% silk and so fine and slippery that I struggled to spin it on a wheel. This is probably my fault as I am a fast treadler, I am therefore spindling and enjoying every moment. I haven’t decided whether to 2ply or 3 ply yet but I definitely know I want to make a shawl with the yarn when it’s done.

Knitting is also very enjoyable at the moment, I’m up to mid-calf on the first sock.

ttfn x