26 October 2008


On Friday I was playing around with a few knitting ideas which led to an idea for a chunky scarf - so I thought why not do it really chunky and make it a BIG knitting scarf. so I grabbed several balls of yarn and off I went.

It knits up beautifully and is surprisingly easy to do - tuck the left needle under the left arm and work the right one with the needle resting on the sofa at your side - it's (surprisingly) not a problem for the wrists because it's so big that you use your whole arm to wind the wool around the needle and not just your wrist.

It took just under two and a half hours - and it's a really long scarf. It's also really soft and warm and lovely to wear.

18 October 2008


My brain is scrambled and I'm all overexcited having just arrived home from a workshop at the Middle Essex Guild of Weavers Spinners and Dyers. It was run by Elizabeth Kendrick & Sarah Howard - it was so much fun.

The idea was to dye sock yarn in order to be able to knit two matching socks - being slow on the uptake I read the list of items and where it said 150gm of wool I took 150gm of roving instead of woollen sock yarn - ho hum!

The idea is to wind out a 40ft hank which is well tied, then to fill various jam jars with acid dyes, poke the yarn into the jars (which are sitting in a pan of simmering water) and then at the end of the dyeing process to re-stretch the hank as it was at the start, and divide it into two - both lots having the same dye repeats - obviously I didn't wind my roving into a hank, I just poked it into my jars, heated it, rinsed it and brought it home - I suspect that a similar repeat effect could be achieved this way as with the yarn, if one was careful enough (I wasn't).

Winding the yarn

Jars of dye ready to be filled with yarn

Yarn in jars dyeing

I'm quite excited about this method as the protection the jars offered from the bubbling water in the pan meant that the roving didn't felt at all (of course the fact that you can't prod and poke at it when it's tucked away in a jar might also help).

It occurred to me on the way home that this would be a good way to approach natural dyeing in order to get space dyed yarn/fibre with natural dyes. I am now plotting this as a project for the (hopefully near) future.

My dyed roving

15 October 2008


This is nought to do with fibre crafts but interesting anyway (or at least I think so).

On Sunday I was standing admiring the garden when I noticed the contents of a bucket of water moving - I looked closer and realised that there was a pair of toads in there. Of course I grabbed my camera and took a picture, only to realise that they were trying to get out, but because of the smooth sides of the bucket they were stuck. They'd obviously come in via a pile of compost next to the bucket not realising there wasn't a way out.

I called my hubby who topped up the bucket and added a pole (as a sort of toad ladder) and sure enough one climbed straight on to it - the other one was too tired and was beginning to sink so he gave it a helping hand.

they both sat and recovered for a while and have now moved on - hopefully to devour the slugs abiding in the shrubbery!

12 October 2008


I thought that the Middle Essex Guild members who set this up did a lovely job of setting up the stand at the knit & stitch show, and it looked great - a good advert for what we do. It was a shame that the area was a tad small this year - especially as the stand next door had a small display and no people manning it at all! however, we managed.

My goodness what a lot of interest we had on the day I was there - we had a lot of people from guilds around the country popping in to say hello, which is always fun. This year though we had an enormous resurgence of interest from people interested in taking up spinning or developing skills that hadn't been used for a while - in previous years I've never been aware of this much interest, so it's really exciting to find this happening now. In fact people were practically falling over one another at times trying to get close enough to ask questions and I'm pretty sure that it was like that on the Friday too.


Yes I know I probably shouldn't have, but when you see lovely Blue Faced Leicester tops at £8 for 500 grammes you just have to don't you? This was from Laughing Hens.

I also found a Finnish stand called Piiku selling fibre mainly aimed at felters. They had batts of fibre, spun yarn, fine pencil roving and sheets of machine needle felt all in undyed and multiple dyed colourways.

I bought 2 metres of the needle felt which is at a stage I think of as pre-felt (ie you can finish it or pull it apart still).

I also bought a big cheese of undyed pencil roving (see pic above with bfl tops) - I've had a small amount in the past which I made a lovely sample from, but have never found the same stuff again to make an actual 'thing' from - so now that I have it would have been completely potty not to take the opportunity.

And yes - me a yarn maker bought yarn! It was however something I can't make - fair-isle style, self striping, cotton, sock yarn along with a lovely pattern for a little tank top. I shall save this for my next holiday break - I think it would make a lovely relaxed holiday project. It came from Web of Wool who seem to specialize in that sort of thing. I was also nearly tempted by a lovely bamboo/soy yarn which was only a little more expensive, but it was only self striping not self patterning so (with a little difficulty) I resisted!


I have now recovered from the previous two days of manic enjoyment. I went to Alexandra Palace on Friday for a mammoth, crafty shopping spree and yesterday to help out on the association stand.

I bought lots of fun things and found all sorts of wonderful stands - my favourite purchase, at the moment, is the giant crochet hook that I bought from Rachel John Extreme Textiles.

I've named it The Stashbuster because you have to use a multitude of yarns to create a single strand to work with - However - boy is it quick - I'm on my way to making a cushion cover which by the time I've finished will take approx 2 hours or maybe a little more with the finishing.

For the first few rows it was a little awkward to use, but then I adjusted and I was away like the clappers and, seeing as a project can be completed in so little time, it's not a problem for the wrists either. I also bought some matching humungous knitting needles and a normal, sensible sized, double ended and rather pretty crochet hook by knitpicks (from Get Knitted) - it's the little one in the pic above.

This picture is showing some tunisian crochet (Left) and some garter stitch knitting (Right).

Some of the samples on the stand.

Finally in the tools department (loosely speaking) I bought some miniature, wooden knitting needles with hand painted blobs on the end - I don't particularly intend to knit with them - I wanted them, in the main, to be hair sticks. They came from a very friendly stand called Knitting 4 Fun, who also stocked an interesting array of fine fibres and posh yarn.

These are size 5.5 mm needles and they're about 6 inches in length

7 October 2008


Well now I have full photographic capabilities back I can show you the finished scarf made from the Goddess fibre that I bought way back when it was sort of summer.

I used the Morning Surf pattern that was in Spin-Off. I'm really pleased with it - there was a worried moment when I thought it wasn't going to be long enough but when washed and blocked it turned out just right - they do seem to stretch in the wash (better than felting I s'pose).


It came this morning, so I shall endeavor to upload lots of pics.

I can hardly wait 'til the end of the week for the Knitting and Stitch Show at Ally Pally - I'm going Friday and Saturday. Friday I shall shop 'til I drop and Saturday I'm on the Association of Guilds' stand demonstrating. Woohoo - only another three days!

I'm busily preparing rolags so that I'll have plenty to spin - I hope to have a bag of border collie rolags, a bag of persian cat and a bag of pink rayon/angora.

2 October 2008


Does anyone reading this know a bit about knitting looms? I've come across them on Ravelry and am intrigued. I've read a bit and would like to have a go - my main question is this: what are the best brands? also where would I find them? I've seen some on Amazon but don't know if they're the best starter looms - I'd like to make something useful like a hat or a scarf or possibly socks or gloves but don't really have enough information to choose. I've asked a few questions in the groups on Ravelry but I've not had a response so I thought I'd throw it open on the old blog in the hope that someone out there might offer some insight.


Well I've done it - 'I've joined my first swap! I know my forward partner - it's a round robin - and I've started 'stalking'!

I'm ridiculously excited - and also I'm chuffed to find out that she likes a lot of what I like - chocolate, cats, woolly stuff, things from Lush and The Body Shop (sounds like an excellent excuse to go shopping!). She's also a foody who clearly enjoys cooking and she likes a good read. (different tastes there though - I'm not sure that many girlies are quite as into sci-fi as I am.)

I've already got a few plans - the swap is a favourite colour swap and her favourite colour is one of my faves too - so no probs there. I know what I want to do for the hand made bit and I'm itching to get stuck in - thank goodness it's nearly the weekend.

It's a secret swap so there are a few things I'm not sure about - still I'm sure that it'll all become clear as I participate. There's nothing like doing something in order to learn about it.

I've got my camera back in use today - so can take pics - but still can't trasfer them - so annoying!