Farm to Scarf

One of the things my MIL and I bond over is yarn work.  We both enjoy knitting and crocheting.  She also spins and while she was visiting we arranged to visit an old friend of hers who is in the business of fiber arts.  I tell you, there is a whole world beyond just yarn.    It’s completely fascinating!

Peg has a gorgeous farm where she raises llamas, sheep, and angora bunnies.  She also grows veg and flowers for the farmers markets.  Plus she has a shop called Friends In Fiber on Etsy where she and her business partner sell yarn they dye and spin.  Where she has the time to breath, I don’t know.  So it was very lovely she and her husband took the afternoon to show us round.

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There were two llamas but this llama was hilarious.  It kept marching back and forth, looking imperiously down it’s nose at us.

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I learned so much about the different fibers that can be spun.  Yak and camel are incredibly soft and when you blend it with silk, stand back.  And, of course, they can be spun with your everyday wool.

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I wanted to do something special for my MIL and I had bought a Jane Austin Knits magazine which have some gorgeous patterns inspired by Jane Austin books.  She picked out the pattern called Mary’s Scarf which was a lace pattern.

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To make it more special I asked Peg what yarn she spun would work for the pattern.  It was a lot of fun for all three of us to go through the yarn and various colours.  And, here’s the best part, Peg took the skein and make put it in a ball for me.  You know, the neat and tidy square that doesn’t roll away at the most inconvenient moment!

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The huge shocker for me was I was able to knit the scarf in less than a week.  Not sure how I pulled that off but I did, in time for my MIL to fly home it with her.

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I loved this yarn with the colours of a deep ocean.  I am completely hooked with fibers art and I got positively giddy when I found Peg gives spinning lessons!  My Christmas list is starting to get interesting.  🙂

 

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Jumper of Love

Those of you who read my blog know I have a huge amount of love for my husband.  I couldn’t have found a better guy.  And trust me, before I met him, I was looking!  But I was lucky to finally find him.  Several years ago I finished an Aran jumper for my mum and he asked if I would knit him one.  Of course I would!  I was thrilled he liked my knitting enough to want one.  What I didn’t realise was how freaking long it would take to complete this.

One of the problems I was having was with my hands.  It would be very painful if I did more than a few rows at a time.  Being a slow knitter this  was taking several years.  What I learned after I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia was one of the symptoms is very painful hands.  I knew I had arthritis and just thought it was that.  But the meds I started this year, while not perfect, do make it easier for me to knit longer and faster.  There has to be some perks right?  So it took me several years to do just under 2/3s of this project and this summer to do the rest.

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The Aran jumper had moss stitch, basket cable, banded cable, and the six knot cable (pictured above).  So I had a legal pad to keep track of all the rows and various patterns.  I always stress about this and like most of my complicated projects there are a few errors here and there but I’ve gotten to the point where I consider them my signature if you happen to notice them.  I’m not pointing them out!

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I spent most of today sewing the seams and weaving in all the ends.  I can’t wait for my husband to get home and try this on.  Fingers crossed it fits!  And he’ll be doing this in front of the air conditioner as it is very toasty today.  🙂

Yarn Crafts for Gifts

Now that the holidays have settled down and we’re not crazy busy I wanted to take a moment to share some gifts I made for the kids.  I had fun doing these projects and of course I was down to the wire.  Some day I hope to be much faster with yarn crafts but I’m not holding out much hope on that front!

I first started with my son’s project.  Like most kids his age, he is very into Minecraft.  Do you know some schools have classes on this game?  But it really does stretch the imagination.

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I found the pattern on Ravelry and I was really looking for a knitting pattern because it’s been about 10 years since I’ve crocheted and I forgot how to do it.  And I had never done anything in the round.  Thank goodness for YouTube!  I was able to relearn how to crochet and I enjoy it so I’ll be looking for more projects to try.  I also want to try my hand at granny squares.

Both kids are big fans Dr Who so I had to find something with that theme.  I found a great pattern for socks on Ravelry with the TARDIS.  I’ve never knitted socks.  Back to YouTube I go!

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I did it on the magic loop rather than double pointed needles.  The pattern was pretty good though I had to adjust how the toe was done so it decreased on the sides rather than on the top and bottom.  I was thrilled the lettering was legible.  After Christmas I found a used book that shows me how to knit two socks at a time so I’m looking forward to trying this again.

Though I’m trying to get the Aran jumper I’ve been working on for a few years for my husband.  That is taking forever!  So I need to finish that before I start anymore big projects.  Before we grow old. 🙂

You Spin Me Right Round….

For those of you who follow my blog know that I enjoy knitting albeit slowly. My mother in law is a fellow knitter but can take it one step further by spinning her yarn. They used to have sheep when they lived stateside so she learned how to spin.

It’s something I have been curious about but viewed it as something intimidating. The kids and I had a lesson from her and the technique isn’t difficult but it will take practice to get it down.

It’s a bit like rubbing your stomach and patting your head at the same time. And you have to get the treadle timing right or you will reverse the wheel!

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My MIL knows how to do all the steps including carding but she also gets what you call roving. The wool has been prepped for spinning.

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As it is spun it will collect on the large bobbin.

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Because it is impractical to spin everything all at once and there are times where the end you are spinning will get sucked through and onto the bobbin a hook is used to thread it back out.

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The technique itself is easy but it’s difficult to get the feel for it where the yarn is spun evenly. When I was doing it parts of it were chunky and parts got quite thin. Once you get the wheel spinning the left hand pinches the wool at the top and the right hand pulls the wool out.

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Release the left hand and the wool will spin down to the right hand.

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This a continuous movement while treadling. Once you fill the bobbin another needs to be filled. Then you spin both together for a double knit. Otherwise the yarn will curl up on itself.

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I have to say I really enjoyed this. It’s hard not to think of all the possibility with dying the wool!

A Way To Keep The Tea Cosy

We’ll be seeing my in-laws this summer and I wanted to knit something for my MIL. We enjoyed looking at patterns and getting yarn in the past together and I wanted to do a quick project. Because they have a B & B she uses tea cosies so I looked for a pattern. I wanted to do a sheep theme as she has a few sheep themed items. I couldn’t find a good one! Well I found one that was a pasture scene on Ravelry which was pretty but all that was posted was a picture. No pattern. So I went in a different direction as I’m not quite at a place where I could come up with my own pattern.

I found this pattern for Chamomile Flower cosy. I found some gorgeous burgundy wool as I really don’t like beige or colours close to beige. Think that comes from living in a flat that was all beige. Blah.

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The components are very easy to knit. I did have a thought that the main bit of the tea cosy would make a great hat as well but that’s for another day!

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The flowers were a little tricky putting together in a way that the petals look natural. I felt like I had butter fingers trying to get them go into circles. After they are shaped add the yellow pieces.

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The pattern calls for six leaves but because of the way I placed the flowers I knitted seven leaves so it looked balanced.

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I hope she likes this but I will be keeping my eye out for a decent sheep pattern. 😊

The Flutter of Leaves in a Purple Hue

Today will be a cosy PJ day with the kids.  Our son had a sleepover with a friend last night so it was a bit loud until they crashed.  So today will be a day of playing Dr Who games with no place to go.  Though tonight my husband and I will have a quick date night as it is the anniversary of us meeting six years ago.  On our first date he brought me Marmite.  I was hooked. I thought this guy is going to understand me.  I was so right!

When I think of my family I sometimes feel as though I have to pinch myself.  It’s unreal how lucky I got.  We have two amazing kids that are healthy and bright.  And they are developing the twisted sense of humour we so much enjoy.  It’s funny when they suddenly understand us because we’ll be saying something and out of the blue there will be a snicker.  Welcome to our world.  🙂  And I have a husband that makes me laugh every day no matter how crazy the world is.  And the world is often off it’s rocker.

And because we have games waiting this will be a quick post.  🙂

Over the years I’ve made gifts for various family members and this year it was my sister’s turn.  I’ve mentioned in a previous post on the wrist gauntlets that I bought the book 60 Quick Knits that uses cascade 220.  I found a gorgeous scarf in the book that has raised leaves as the pattern.  I found a soft purple that would be perfect for her.  She looks great in these tones.  It wasn’t a difficult pattern but it took me awhile because of the length and plus I was doing other projects as well.  I sometimes wonder if all this multi-tasking is efficient!

Once it was done I needed to block it.  Something I haven’t done before but I chose a simple method of steam as it was a basic scarf not a complicated shape.  I had to do this in two steps as the scarf was longer than the ironing board.  To do it, use pins to shape the scarf.

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Next use a very hot steamy iron and bring it close to the yarn without touching.  It’s a little tricky as steam likes to rise but get the yarn nice and damp.  Leave it to dry and it will be shaped and blocked.

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I really liked the delicate leaf pattern with a bit of a lace effect.

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I’m pleased to say my sister really liked the scarf.  🙂  Now it’s time to figure out Dr Who Yatzee and Dr Who role playing game.  Get your geek on!

It Should All Be So Soft

Sometimes I’m envious of babies.  They get to wear the softest things.  All the soft blankets, clothes, toys.  Well I don’t need the toys but still.  I like soft fabrics and yarn!  Our kids are obviously out of the baby stage and so are most of our friend’s kids as well.  But good friends of ours just had a gorgeous little girl and as I’ve been back into knitting this year I thought I’d knit up a few things.  So off I went to Ravelry and did a search for something practical but pretty.

I came across a pattern they were referencing as a drop design.  A little hat and blanket.  I thought this would be perfect.  Off I went to choose colours.  I don’t like to do the typical colours of pink for girls and blue for boys.  It’s so overdone.  I picked a lemon yellow for the hat and a coral orange for the blanket.

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The hat only took me about 4 hours to make, I couldn’t believe it!  I wasn’t used to finishing a project so quickly.  I see why people knit baby stuff all the time.  You can just bang them out!  🙂

The pattern for the blanket said it needed 450g of yarn.  I found that to be way too much.  I only needed to buy 300g worth and had some left over.  I did wander from the pattern in that I decided not to crochet round the edge and I knitted the whole blanket at once.  The pattern calls for knitting 12 rectangles then sewing them together.

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The blanket took me a few months what with traveling and all.  The tricky bit at the end was getting all the dog hair off of it.  With two dogs that like to cuddle it’s impossible to keep it off whatever project I’m working on.

We got to meet their baby girl yesterday and she was the sweetest thing.  She is now two months old and such a peaceful little baby.  We are very happy for them. 🙂

Throw Down the Gauntlet….

I must have blinked and missed this week!  It has flown by and I’ve hadn’t had much of a chance to check out blogs let alone write one.  Just one of those weeks that is crazy busy.  I had to wear several hats at once so to speak.

Today is a gorgeous day and will be like this all weekend so gardening is on the list.  Actually it’s at the top of the list.  Winter is coming!  Not only to we have to put the garden to bed I need to prep for the coming cold.  I picked out a few knitting patterns to help me out.  I did the cowl this summer and it has proved to be a great choice.  It keeps my neck nice and toasty.   There has been a big trend towards wrist warmers or gauntlets lately.  I usually avoid most trends as they go out of style but this seemed really practical.  Our house is usually kept around 55F/13C because oil isn’t cheap!  I start to look like a oompa loompa with all the layers I put on.  I found the pattern in a book called “60 Quick Knits” that calls for the type of yarn Cascade 220.  The pattern is called Leaf-Lace Gauntlets.  Again it was a chart pattern so I had to pay attention but overall I was able to complete them in a couple of weeks.

There was a lot of lace work in this pattern and the chart was based on working the work side rather than the right side so it took awhile to make sense to me.

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Once I had both pieces knitted then it was quite easy to sew the seams leaving a hole for the thumbs.

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The yarn is soft so it will be very cozy as the weather cools.  I may have to make some more.  🙂

Just the thing to keep my neck warm…

Genetics are a funny thing.  My Grammy would get a cold almost instantly if her neck got cold.  I was unable to escape that fate.  Even on a lovely spring day hiking along a coast if the wind is too much on my neck I get sick.  Last year in Dorset I was hot as can be in my turtleneck traipsing about so I thought this was nuts.  I needed a solution.  Poking around the Ravelry site I found it.  Cowls!  I can wear light shirts but keep my neck protected and hopefully look somewhat fashionable.  It had to be better than the turtleneck!

The pattern I decided on was this cowl.  Then I had to figure out how to follow it as it is charted.  But I loved the pattern so I gave it a go.  It took me a couple of weeks, which for me, is super fast.  🙂  I did it in the round and the only note I would mention is cast on 131 stitches, not 130, as you slip a stitch over to join the two ends of the round at the beginning.  Unfortunately I figured that out after doing a row or two.

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I’m pleased to say this does the trick.  It kept my neck toasty and protected but I wasn’t baking.  🙂

Tea Cosy for Mum

My mum loves a good cuppa so I wanted to make a fun tea cosy for her.  I found this Rosebud Tea Cosy on Ravelry and thought she would love it.  Instead of a verigated pink and green yarn I choose a lovely brown that made it look like a woven basket.  According to the pattern this will fit a 6 cup teapot.

You will need 4 and 6mm needles for this project.  It also calls for bulky wool and DK wool.  Now as each manufacture is different (thanks very much!) check her post for more details on the gauges.  I am particularly horrible at doing gauges.  I just tuck in and start knitting.  Touch wood I’ve been lucky so far.  🙂

For the basket I got 50gs of the brown, 100g for the pink and 50g for the green.  I did have yarn left over.  So I need to find another project!

To knit the basket 2 pieces need to be knitted using 6mm needles. Do the following according to her directions:

Cast on 25 stitches

Knit a garter stitch until it is 13cm or so in length

Next Row (K2,K2 tog) to last stitch, K1 which leaves you 19 stitches then knit 7 rows

Next Row (K1, K2 tog) to last stitch, K1 which leaves you 13 stitches then knit 5 rows

Next Row (K1, K2 tog) to last stitch, K1 which leaves you 9 stitches.  Thread the yarn through, pull tight and fasten off.

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The next bit is to knit the rosebuds.  Her directions said to knit 15, which I did, but I only ended up using 14 once I put them on the cosy as I wanted it look balanced.  Normally an odd number does make it look balanced but I couldn’t get it to do that without it looking a bit lopsided so I went with an even number.

I also had to play around with the pattern as I believe there was a typo.  Here is how it played out:

Use 4mm needles and the rose yarn.  The pattern said to use st st throughout K2 rows.  Wasn’t sure if she meant 12 so I tried that and it was too long so I went with 6 rows.  A little long but looked better.  She may have meant 2 rows.  Once you have the rows it is time to decrease.  Decrease at the beginning of the row and every knit row for 10 rows.   She suggested Sl1K1PO to decrease and that worked really well.  Then cast off.  You want to leave a long piece of yarn at the end for finishing later.

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I really deviated on the leaves which is the final component to knit.  Her directions had you knitting 21 stitches but somehow doubling back and then knitting one leaf at a time.  For the life of me I couldn’t figure that out.  I was flummoxed!  So I did each leaf separately and knitted 30 leaves.

I cast on 7 stitches using the 4mm needles and knit one row.  Then for the next 5 rows I st st.

To make the leaves an even triangle I decreased at each row until you are left with 2 stitches and then P tog and cast off.

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It was now time to put it all together.

First the basket had to be sewed together.  It is a good idea to use a teapot to figure out the openings on each side. Per her instructions I sewed an inch on the bottom on each side.  Then I sewed the top seams together leaving an opening to match the spout and the handle.

Once that is done it is time to work on the roses.  I pretty much followed her directions at this point as it worked well for me.  Place the rose piece flat on the surface with the long length towards you.  On the straight edge roll it a couple of times towards the angled side.  Then stitch halfway up and back down again to hold it into place.

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Next do a gathering stitch and pull in a bit.

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Continue to roll the rest of the way.  Sew round the bottom to secure the rose.

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Once all the roses are done I connect the leaves in groups of threes.  I attached them at the corners and used a gathering stitch to pull them in a bit so it would curve round the roses.  Place round the rose then sew halfway up the leaves attaching them to the rose.

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Now it is time to attach the flowers to the basket.  Per her tip I placed the basket over a teapot and it does help figure out the placement of the roses.

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I followed the directions of taking 3 roses with leaves and placing them near the top and adding a filler rose without leaves in the centre of that.  Then I placed the rest of them round the cosy.  To attach I used a crochet hook to pull the pink threads through the basket.  I had tied off the green threads and trimmed otherwise you would have a ton of yarn to deal with on the inside of the cosy!  I then weaved the yarn into the surrounding roses to pull the bouquet together so it wouldn’t be floppy.

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Pull the yarn through to the underside of the cosy.

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Next I needed to tie off all that yarn.  So I separated the pairs and tied the yarn off with different pairs then trimmed the yarn.

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And it was done!

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It wasn’t an overly difficult project just time consuming as I have so much going on.  I will be looking at her other cosies to try out as this came out pretty well.  🙂  And mum liked it!