Judah, Willow, and I got in a real groove painting today. They finished their winter painting for the front door and they inspired me to finish my snowman on the patio door. We had tons of messy fun with the liquid tempra paints and all in all, I’m pretty happy with how our paintings turned out. I’m still deciding what I need to paint on the other half of the door but I’m fairly certain that the kids will be full of suggestions.
Whew! It is kind of a crazy day out there! Gust of wind up to 100km/h and blowing snow … the perfect kind of day for curling up in a cozy chair and knitting something soft and woolly.
Right now I’m working on a pair of thrummed mittens from Knit. Write. Repeat. I chose some nice island wool from Belfast Mini Mills as the main portion of the mitten and fluffy merino in white for the thrums. They’re going to be so soft and warm!
Sorry for the short post today but I have to keep it concise. We’ve lost power twice while I’ve been trying to write this post. Hope you are all staying cozy!
I’ve got fresh handspun woollies to share with you today! A little later than I had intended to share it, seeing as it is Sunday and all, but glad to be able to share none-the-less
This is a handspun version of Celes by Jared Flood that I made for my friend D’s sister. It made from some very special fiber – a blend of merino and D’s sister’s dog’s fur. Most of the fiber was hand carded with my trusty Ashford cards but I did send some to be processed into roving as I have not been able to do any amount of carding since I hurt my hand this summer.
I am so pleased with the finished product. The blend of merino and dog fur yields such a dreamy soft and fluffy finished stole. The only mod that I made to this pattern was instead of knitting the center panel in two pieces and grafting together, I chose to knit it in one continuous strip. If you have been wanting to knit this pattern and haven’t yet, I highly recommend it. Not only is it a very fun knit but the resulting stole is absolutely beautiful. I’m looking forward to eventually knitting one for me in some fabulous BFL!
Happy knitting all!
I’ve had this sweet tam finished for a while but between getting prepped and vending at craft fairs, filling custom spinning orders, and holiday knitting, I just haven’t gotten around to sharing finished pictures.
The pattern is Scatness Tam by Kate Davies which is one of the lovely patterns in her book “Colors Of Shetland”. With the gorgeous patterns and beautiful photograpy, the book is a veritable feast for the eyes. If you haven’t check it you yet, you really must!
This tam was a perfect project as I already had all the yarn that I needed in my stash. I used bit and bobs of left over Belfast Mini Mills Specialty Sock, and while the colors aren’t exactly the same as the hat pictured in the pattern, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. I’ve gotten many compliments on it when I wear it out and about!
What projects are you working on this week? Finish anything warm and cozy? Do tell!
I’ve been spinning now for several years and this summer I decided that I was finally up to the challenge of spinning silk. I picked up a few different colors of mawata (silk hankies) and decided to give it a go.
I’ve spun silk in blend loads of times but never by itself and boy-oh-boy was I ever NOT prepared for what silk had in store for me. Silk is unlike anything I have ever worked with before. Normally I’m a cool-as-a-cucumber spinner and fiber doesn’t faze me much. I occasionally come across a fiber that might make me work a little harder to make a consistent yarn but even then it is no big shake … until I met silk. I have never met a fiber which has frustrated and infuriated me so!
Like so many other spinners, I did my research before starting and when spin time came, I felt I had a nice handful of tips and tricks to work with and that I was prepared. Not so! I made such a mess of my first and second mawata that I ended up tossing them on the campfire. ON THE FREAKING CAMPFIRE! The third, I had a bit more success with but that was very minimal. So I decided to put mawata on the back burner for a while and to focus on other things.
Then one night I had a dream about spinning mawata. In the dream I did it easily and effortlessly but I didn’t follow the advice that I had read about. When I woke, I thought, “What do I have to lose?” and tried to copy how it was spun in my dream … and it WORKED! It was still a bit of a struggle but it worked!
- Peel off the thinnest layer possible from the mawata. If you have any rough spots on your nails or hands beware! The silk will catch.
- I set my wheel on my biggest whorl with a very minimal amount of intake so as to give myself plenty of time to draft.
- Treadle slower than your usual pace. This will also allow for more drafting time.
- I like to start from the inside of one of the corners and I tease out a small amount of fiber. Attach fiber to fiber. Silk is far too slippery to attach otherwise.
- If you are a worsted spinner, you will want to keep your hands quite a bit farther apart than you are used to otherwise it will be a real struggle to draft out the fiber.
- I like to hold the fibers in a big messy bunch quite loosely in my drafting hand. This also makes the fiber easier to draft.
- Spin thin … like, really thin. I’m sure that you will amaze yourself at just how finely you can spin.
- Neps happen, especially with mawata. Normally, I pick every single little bump out of my spinning as I go. With mawata when I try to remove a nep I almost always make a bigger mess of the strand and/or break it. It is much easier to ignore the nep and move on . It will add character to your yarn!
- Optional, but highly recommended, is listening t o soothing music and/or having a nice glass of wine to relax. Relaxing makes a huge difference in my ability to spin silk.
If you’re already spinning silk or spin it in a different way, you rock! For anyone that has tried and is frustrated, I hope that this helps you get started. There is nothing quite a luxurious and incredible as silk and it is something that every spinner (in my opinion) should be lucky enough to work with from time to time.
Happy spinning all!
Whew! This was a quick knit! As I posted on Wednesday, I cast on for a Tea Jenny cowl in the morning and I was finished knitting and hat it blocking by bedtime on Wednesday night.
My mods for the cowl are as follows:
With 4.0mm needles and a provisional cast on, I cast on the same number of stitches the pattern calls for in the body of the hat and worked the ribbing chart as directed. When I was ready to start the tea pots, I switched to 4.5mm needles for the duration. I switched back to 4.0mm needles and worked the ribbing, reversing the colors so that the top and bottom edges mirrored each other. To finish it all off, I worked an i-cord edging on both the top and bottom edge for a nice, neat finish.
Since I was only using five colors instead of the seven the pattern calls for, I had to mod a little bit more to make things work out colorwise but I’m really happy with the end result. There is something truly satisfying about being able to knit stranded colorwork and Fair Isle projects in your own handspun!
What are you working on this week? Anything you are super-duper proud of? Do share!
It is Wednesday again! Where is the time going? It seems like the days are quite literally flying by, but not to worry, I have a work-in-progress to share
Yesterday I posted a picture of my new yarn bowl and my most recently finished handspun, a wool sampler in five wonderful natural shades of Finnish wool. Lollyknits commented on yesterday’s post suggesting Tea Jenny by Kate Davies would be a great match for this yarn and I couldn’t agree more.
Since I do have a lot of hats but still want to knit this pattern, I’ve chosen to make it as a super cozy cowl instead. I’ve cast on the same number of stitches as the body of the hat with 4.0mm needles and worked the brim chart. With only five colors, instead of the seven the pattern calls for, I’ve had to play around a wee bit with the colors but I think that it is working well. The body of the cowl is worked on 4.5mm needles.
Even though I only started on this project this morning, I am ALMOST finished. I only have the i-cord trims left to knit and then a-blocking we will go!
What are you working on today? Making cozy things for the cooler weather? Do share!