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Another frogged project

I was on holiday in Sherwood Forest last autumn and bought a couple of balls of cotton yarn.  I really liked this one – it’s a lovely soft cotton in a gradient which goes from a sage green through to a deep purple.  I wanted to knit something lovely, to remind me of my time in Sherwood, and this shawl was very nearly it… but unfortunately I have had to conclude that I’m not really a shawl person.  And even if I were, I would be a bigger-than-this shawl person.  It was more a sort of kerchief, and I’m definitely not a kerchief person!  So, sadly, it was frogged.

(And now it turns out that the yarn is no longer in production, and I can’t find any end-of-stock or de-stashed to buy, so I am stuck with my one 115m ball of yarn…)

Sherwood Shawl

Sherwood Shawl

Shawlissima!

Shawlissima!

This shawl is something that I am very proud of.  It’s probably the most complicated thing I’ve knitted so far (though in reality the pattern was fairly simple, I had to learn a number of new techniques), and it was a present for my mum, so it had to be nice!

The yarn was a bamboo/silk mix (Sublime Yarns) and was lovely – a little bit splitty, but so soft and smooth and with a lovely sheen.

I cast on on the 6th of December – which took several tries as I’d never done the circular cast on before.  And to be honest there were a few more froggings and castings-on before I finally properly got to grips with the left leaning increase. The pattern was easy to remember, but still fun to knit. Quite quick, as well – I took two and a bit weeks, though I don’t knit every day and if I do it’s usually only for an hour or so.

I used the picot bind-off instead of the sewn picot hem – I thought the hem might be too obvious with this yarn (though it would probably have taken half the time!).

This is the first time I’ve properly blocked something (that wasn’t a square or rectangle) – which gave me a good excuse to buy blocking mats and wires! Pinned it out dry and then spritzed it, which worked fine on the swatch.

Mum's Shawl 2 20131222

It was unpinned, folded and wrapped on the morning of Christmas Eve, and it was the last thing put in the car before we drove the four hours home for Christmas.  As a result I don’t have full measurements or a photo of it off the blocking mats. But it turned out beautifully, and it was totally worth the late nights!

It’s not big – it’s just a shoulder shawl, really, but it was intended to be something for the Italian evenings when Mum’s on holiday in the spring. I just hope she likes/wears it… (I’ll never know, probably, either way, so no point fretting about it, really!)

Mum's Shawl 3 20131222

Washcloth

A  nice simple washcloth, with an eyelet pattern.  This knitted up nice and quickly, and I quite liked knitting with cotton – I’ve never done it before.  The only downside is that it looks a little bit grubby – it’s a cream-grey gradient.

2013-11-16 Garter eyelet washcloth 1

From fluff to finished item

I’ve finally knitted a thing made of my own handspun!  The very first spinning I did, which has been sitting in a pretty mini-skein since February, has now become a (short) cowl.

lacy cowl 3 lacy cowl 2 lacy cowl 1

The pattern is the Lacy Art Yarn Scarf by Dixie Grilley, but since I didn’t have much yarn, I just knitted until I’d run out and then sewed it up (moebius style).  I like it a lot – it’s fairly dark, but has these bright flashes of red, and it looks nice with most other colours.

My first lace… nearly

I started the Knotted Openwork Stole by Cindy Greenslade a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve just frogged it.😦  I was using some of the yarn I was gifted by my mum, and I realised that I really only had enough to make a square, rather than the wide scarf I was envisaging.  Still, I like the pattern and I’ll do it again sometime.

Befuddley Shawl

                        Befuddley Shawl

(I called it my Befuddley Shawl on Rav – because I spent the first few rows feeling quite befuddled by the pattern, and by knitting with large (12mm) needles!)

I made a shrug!

No-Rogue shrug

No-Rogue shrug

I’ll be completely honest, I’m not sure that I like it (or that I’ll wear it) very much… Actually, it’s the yarn I don’t like.  I have an irrational hatred for self-striping yarn, though I realise that it has its place and can be lovely.  But I didn’t realise that Noro Mossa is self-striping, and I’m not crazy about the look of it.

No-Rogue shrug

No-Rogue shrug

BUT it fits, and it looks as it’s supposed to, and I did seaming (which took all of two minutes).  I would certainly knit this pattern again, though I don’t know how many shrugs I need in my life…!

(The pattern is Retro Rogue by Anik St Louis, and since I made it from Noro yarn I couldn’t resist the punny name…)

Creation and destruction

I mentioned last month that I’d spun the 20g of undyed BFL fibre – it came to somewhere in the region of 115m (I don’t have a proper measuring tool at the moment, so I think it’s somewhere in the ballpark, but I definitely need to get me a niddy-noddy!) and has been wound onto a toilet roll for storage until I know what I’m going to do with it.

Undyed BFL single

Undyed BFL single

The destruction
The resin Wildcraft spindle is an absolute joy to use – my other spindle seems very lumpy and heavy in comparison!  Unfortunately, I managed to step on it and crack the shaft (so not complete destruction, but still upsetting).  Luckily Karen from Wildcraft is absolutely fantastic, and reassured me, after I’d been self-pitying on Ravelry, that the warranty on the spindle even covers, in her words, “acts of muppetry”, so I’ve sent it back to her to be repaired or replaced.  (I am so impressed with her customer service, I can’t even tell you.)  So I had to unwind the lovely acidy-limey green merino I’d been spinning – which is also now on a toilet roll and which I really have no idea about the length of, because I didn’t even try to measure it – it’s only a tiny percentage of the total 50g of fibre.

Lime green merino single

Lime green merino single

So I am back to my first, unidentified wooden spindle, which weighs a lot more than the resin spindle did – nearly 50g I think.  I didn’t try the merino on it – it was quite difficult to get the hang of it even on the lighter spindle because it’s slippery and has a fairly short staple, so trying to get the same thickness of single on the heavier one would be, I think, beyond my capabilities.  I tried some alpaca/merino blend which I’d bought from someone on Ravelry, but I just could not get it to spin at all.  It was terrible.

So I thought I’d try some of the giant bag of undyed alpaca which I bought at Wonderwool a couple of years ago, and haven’t done anything with because…  well, for the first year, because I didn’t know how to spin and I didn’t want to use it to try to learn with, because it’s so lovely.  But I was starting to miss spinning, so I thought I’d give it a try, just in case.  And it seems fine, even though everything I’ve read has said that alpaca should be spun on a lightweight spindle.  I haven’t spun much of it yet, because I haven’t been spinning much at all over the past few weeks – I’ve been knitting (see below) instead – but I spent some time pulling sections of fibre from the absolutely enormous alpaca batts and removing any vegetable matter and lumps of compacted fibre, in preparation for a proper chunk of spinning.  I’m looking forward to it, but the fibre has been sitting in my living room for so long it feels slightly odd to actually be working with it!

Knitting

In a burst of pre-Easter enthusiasm, I knitted two little bunnies.  They are incredibly simple – just a knitted square sewn up (using nice big, simple stitches) so that two of the corners make the ears.  The hardest bit is sewing the faces.  I combed through all of the projects with photos on Ravelry and tried to copy the best bunny-faces that I found, but I wasn’t entirely successful.

Easter bunnies 1

Cream bunny 2

The cream bunny is okay, though I think it looks a bit befuddled.  The grey one, apart from the fact that I put the face in the wrong place and so it’s constantly looking up, has a faintly scary look.  Or maybe that’s just my imagination…

The grey one was the first one finished, and I think the needles I used were too small – the fabric was very thick and had the flexibility of leather.  In the end it sewed up better than I’d expected, but probably isn’t good enough for a gift.  (I sent the cream one to my mum – she mocked its lack of legs, but assures me it’s in pride of place in the living room.  Hm.)

I also decided to finally knit myself a pair of the “Alice” fingerless gloves which I’d made for my sister last year, using the lovely teal Debbie Bliss cashmerino yarn I bought last year.  They’ve turned out nicely, and were a very easy knit, which I knew they would be, of course.  My next pair of gloves will definitely have an actual thumb, though!Fingerless gloves

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