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Saturday, 31 August 2013

Always keeping my eyes peeled..............

I never know where woolly stuff will turn up!  A good local animal charity shop turned up this little lot the other day, including hard to find 5'' dpns in size 15 - ideal for Sanquhar glove knitting :)

At the Great Dorset Steam Fair yesterday, I found 4 balls of white vintage wool in 1oz balls, and 4 in a bricky red colour, also a couple of pairs of circulars and a set of 4 long dpns. Happy bargains :)

'Green' knitting

I was asked to put a few words together for a friend, with a view to her giving out some hints and tips on 'eco' knitting at a green fair her knitting group is attending. This is what I've put together, there are a lot more things I could say (can talk and talk on knitting for hours on end............), but these give some good starting points and food for thought.

'While knitting won't change the world per se, it can make it a much nicer place to be for lots of reasons. Knitting can be an expensive hobby, or it can make a great contribution to your and others' eco-awareness; here are a few tips of mine, gleaned from over 45 years of knitting experience. Use them as a starting point and go off on a wonderful wool-filled journey that will bring you untold hours of pleasure and satisfaction.

- avoid new man-made fibres and yarns where you can. Acrylic, for example, is made of oil derivatives

- buy British wool, or at least British spun wool wherever you can - support the local economy. This is getting much easier courtesy of the internet and a growing awareness of and interest in native breeds of sheep. Think   wool miles and British farmers.

- visit shows, farms, etc to meet sheep and find out about them, talk to as many people as you can, watch shearing, ask questions.

- knitting wool appears in many, many places, often unexpected - keep your eyes open! Scour charity shops, jumble sales, boot sales etc, also for needles and other knitting accessories.

- the internet is a great resource - free patterns, blogs, advice, online tutorials, all sorts. Try e-bay, Youtube, and

-look out for worn woollen jumpers to unravel; carefully unpick them and wind the wool into skeins, wash gently, hang to dry then wind into balls and re-knit.--

- join a knitting group; if there isn't one near you, start one - great social thing as well as valuable knitting time!

-let people know you knit and regular supplies of wool, patterns, etc will come your way when they know you can use them

-use your library; borrow knitting books to see which are the best ones for you to invest in, before laying out hefty sums for books you may only look at a few times. Scour all the above suggestions for second-hand books too, and vintage patterns.

- buy balls of cotton and part-balls from the above sources too and knit dishcloths - they make lovely and thoughtful 'green' presents too.

-it's possible to buy naturally dyed wool too - rowan do a range of very beautiful colours (but not all are made in the UK, read the labels), and try e-bay etc for  odds and ends of bargains

- try natural dyeing for yourself to create truly unique garments - again, use the internet and your library

- if you really get ito it and want to take it further, I would highly recommend joining your local Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers - details of local groups are on the main website. A wealth of experience, friendly advice and help, excellent talks, exhibitions, outings - all sort of fibre related goings on

- never turn down any offers of wool, needles, patterns etc. Even if you can't use it yourself, you can share and give it away, or swap it.  Build up a good stash.

- and last  but not least, knitting is good for you. It's meditative, relaxing and productive. Take your knitting with you and you will get people coming up and talking to you, often reminiscing, but usually with a good story or two to tell.  In the hustle ad bustle of today's world, even a few minutes of knitting can really ground you and steady your mind.

I hope these few tips have inspired you and encouraged to take up knitting or move on if you already do. Now - go and knit something and enjoy the process as well as the finished article :)

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Shiny knitting

Sea glass drop, wired, hung on a stainless steel wire knitted form, with hemp thong

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Tea cosies

Just finished these two for the County Show

This one is the black sheep cosy and the one below is the peerie Fair Isle and thistle cosy for the mini teapot

River Cottage wool

I was aware that River Cottage produced some wool from their own sheep a few years back, but had never seen or ben able to buy it. Two balls popped up on e-bay the other day, so I went for them.  The label reads River Cottage organic  wool, 50g natural fleece colour, handwash knit as DK. Soil Association organic logo on. It was spun at the Natural Fibre Co in Cornwall. The price label read £3.50 each ball, and I paid £4, reckon that was a good bargain. Only two balls, but will make a rather nice hat. Only downpoint is that there is no indication of breed of sheep given, which would have been nice.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Knitted sample

Show requirements mean I have had to knit my spun wool into a 10cm sample. I'm very pleased with how it knits up, and how the colours present themselves. Looking forward to actually making something with it when the show is over.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Baa-hemian Rhapsody

Baa-hemian  Rhapsody

This is all real wool!
It's not a fantasy,
Caught in a woolslide, it's a lovely reality!
Open your stash,
Don't think of the cash, just see..............
I'm just a knitter, I need no sympathy
Because it's cast on now, in the round
Towards new socks I am bound,
Any way the wool rolls, doesn't really matter to me, to me............

Mama, cast on again,
Put the needles underarm,
Where they can't do any harm;
Mama, socks have just begun
But now I find I just can't put it down!
Mama  ooooooo
Didn't mean to make you sigh
If they're not knit and done this time tomorrow
Carry on, carry on, as knitting really matters................

Too late, I've reached the heel,
Swapped my tens for number nines,
Needles clicking all the time,
Goodbye everybody, I've got to knit!
Gotta leave you all behind and face the toe.......
Mama oooooooo ( any way the wool rolls)
I don't want to frog!
I sometimes wish I'd never cast on at all.............

I see a little ladder of a dropped stitch
Pick it up, pick it up
Can I do it nice and neatly?
Loosening and tightening, very very frightening me!
Zimmerman and Fassett,
Liz Lovick, Katie Davis
And co.... magnifico..................

He's just a poor stitch, laddered down the sock leg
Spare him his gauge from this monstrosity!
Easy now, pick him up, can I pick him up,
Feather and fan, I will not let you go - let you go
Print o' the wave, I will not let you go - let you go
Old shale and more, I will not let you go - let you go
Will not let you go - let you go (never)
Never let you go - let you go
Never let you go - oooooo
No no no no no no no!
Oh mama mia, mama mia, got you now,
My pattern has special place for you
For you
For you!

So you think you confuse me with Kitchener stitch
So you think I can't take you to my Stitch'n'Bitch?
Oh baby, I can finish you baby,
Just got to cast off, just got to cast off now right here!

Ooh yeah, ooh yeah,
Knitting really matters,
Anyone can see,
Knitting really matters, to me

Any way the wool rolls...........................

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Delft progress

Got a good way into it today, thoroughly enjoying the knitting :)


This is the latest to be cast on. I started the Judy furlong's Delft cardigan in Knitter magazine, but wasn't entirely happy with the pattern. I was unsure about the style of the shaping at the front and the shorter sleeves. I got as far as the first few rows of the pattern, and decided against it and laid it aside. The wool, however, is just too beautiful not to use in something similar because of the exquisite colours, especially when the three shades of blue are combined with the light cream. It's from New Lanark Mills, and smells wonderfully woolly!  So, I've cast on in the round again, and am adapting the pattern to a sleeveless pullover, and am much happier in my mind that it will work out well. I'm enjoying knitting it, and don't want to put it down, and that's the sign of a happy knitter to me!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Knitted sheepie

Another knitted destined for the County Show. I enjoyed knitting this, but was a lot of wee fiddly bits,  22 pieces in all, all shaped by increasing, decreasing and darts; not a particularly well written patter I felt, but I got through it with patience and a bit of knitter's licence! It was purchased as a kit from e-bay , described as 'new and unused', but the pattern had rows marked off on it, and several yards of the black wool had been knitted up, taken back and wound around the rest of the bal.. No matter, it was all there, mainly intact, and not very expensive.I omitted the plastic goggly eyes and nose in favour of softer textile ones, as it's a toy. Am pleased with the overall result, it's definitely got sheepy character :)

Granny bunting

I've made this for the County Show next month: