Look What Susan Did
I wanted to share this photo.  The person who created this wonderful blanket could not crochet at all a couple of months ago.  she has been coming to me for one to one crochet lessons and has created this wonderful knee rug. 

Knee rug in creative crochet by a student.

I just re-felted a bag I made a while ago.  It was knitted then felted in the washing machine but was rather big and the handle a bit ‘bouncy’.  Anyway  I rather nervously put it in the washing machine for another ten minutes and – bingo – it is perfect and i have now used it several times this week!  The perfect size for an A4 file which was the original intention.

Now 1 am off to Gorgie City Farm Edinburgh as I am delivering a spinning workshop to Gorgie Spinners tomorrow with lots of yummy new alpaca for them to spin, in four different colours.  Can’t wait to get my hands on it too…

Meanwhile look out for the really exicting news on Monday…

Woolfish retreat
I am off to another knitting retreat at Woolfish this month.  Louise’s house is wonderful and St Abbs is lovely…
Before we all made napkin rings to use when we shared meals.  Mine now lives in my lunch box along with the cloth napkin I use when eating lunch in my car.  Every time I use it, it reminds me of the lovely time I had and the friends I made…mine is the turquoise one third from the right. 
Napkin rings at Woolfish retreat

I’ve lost the pattern!

I have lost the pattern for the Sanquhar gloves.  As you may know, I am not very good at using patterns and this one drove me mad.  I tend to mis-read them and do better making up my own.

So I struggled on with this one and even got a chart for the Midge and Fly pattern.  It was different however, and one of those patterns that creates an optical illusion that shifts before your eyes, so not much help.

Oh dear oh dear.  I bought a new copy but cannot remember what row I was on.  each row is numbered with no other description.  And given I am using 1.5mm needles and hand spun Cashmere and Yak (therefore slightly fluffy) yarn counting the rows is also a challenge. 

so the Sanquhar gloves may well end up in the bin if that pattern does not turn up.

If you want to see what they look like, see the previous entry about them in December 2012.  Then add two more rows…

are you bored with knitting?

do you ever get bored with knitting?
before I learned to spin I had stopped knitting altogether due to boredom but spinning changed everything.  even so called boring knitting is exciting when you see how your own yarn knits up.

Hand dyed yarns do the same, and now, many years later I find I am back to using commerial yarns again because there are so many more nice ones out there.

so now I have knitting or crochet with me all the time again.  the projects seem to breed in the night.  I start with one project but then it gets too big to take with me when  I go out, so I start something new.  then that gets too complicated to do whilst chatting so I start something for the knitting group.

but at the moment I am finishing projects.  In the last  month or so I have finished
twirly crocheted skirt for a 2 year old
doggy bootees
party cape for a 4 year old
Amalfi crocheted waistcoat

now I am working on the Romi shawl and loving it.  this shawl has a really good pattern and chart and there have been no mistakes in it.   it comes from a booklet called 7 small shawls to knit, which I bought on Ravelry and was worth every penny of its $12/£7.50.  I am using hand dyed lace yarn and it is fun to see the colours coming out.  they look different in the central panel to the way they look in the surrounding pattern which is fun.
spent most of yesterday working on it and only stopped when I started making mistakes.

Fiddle Faddle Sanquhar Glove

I love to fiddle with knitting.  Quite often I will knit three or four samples before deciding how to start the knitting and on what sized needles, using what stitch pattern etc.  A very laudable habit except that I am less good at finishing knitting.  Now Gloves are heaven, because they are all fiddle with no straight knitting in between.  And patterned gloves are even more so.

I got sanquhar glove patterns because my Guild of Weavers Spinners & Dyers is having a Sanquhar knitting challenge.  the usual thing is that mine is not finished in time because of all the other demands on my time, but we shall see.  That is a very good idea seeing as the village of Sanquhar is in our area, and we even have members who live there.  Sanquhar is about 20 miles from where I live, and it doesn’t realise how famous it is via the Sanquhar knitting if appearances are anything to go by.

The patterns are written by the Scottish Womens Rural Institute (AKA The Rural) and are therefore very very good.  they have no errors, they explain why you are doing things and are typed in double spacing.  Listen up all you knitting designers – tell us why we should knit 2 together then it is easier to fudge if the pattern does not work.  And please do not print your books on black – I want to photocopy one pattern FOR MY OWN USE not to cheat you out of money, but so that I can fit my knitting into my handbag and scribble all over the pattern whilst I knit.  Come to think of it, those books of knitting patterns so piss me off.  Why not make individual patterns anymore?  it is all about money, but some of us just don’t bother rather than pay £8.99/$15 when we only want one pattern in the book.  Or we buy one between three of us so I doubt if you really make more money out of us.  And I would happily pay a decent price – say £2-3/$3-5 for one pattern if only I could get one.

So a resounding thumbs up to The Rural.  And here is my work in progress Sanquhar Glove.

spinning silk

Ah the joys of picking silk out of your eyelashes…
We were spinning silk at The Guild yesterday and what fun we had.  What was especially nice is that some of the people who did the silk spinnig course had not spun silk before. 

Funny how you often seem to wear exactly the wrong thing for spinning.  A bit like when you go out for an Italian meal and seem to always end up with a white shirt on. 
well I was wearing a black tee shirt and forgot my spinning apron.  Actually it was in a bit of a state – covered in oil, gunk and assorted extras so I was too embarassed to take it, Guild logo and all!

Concentrating hard whilst spinning silk.

How much knitting how little time…

The blanket is finally all in one piece and there is only the edging to pick up.  I sewed it together with mattress stitch and am now picking up and knitting the border as instructed.  I am just not used to following someone else’s instructions for doing stuff like this but have decided to do so because it is good practise.

I need to get it finished so that I can finish all the other unfinished projects in my stash, and so that I can knit all the yarn I have spun plus the yarn I have bought, and the yarn I have dyed; and spin all the fibre I have bought…

crocheted reverse treble motifs.  A summer top?

My knitting group are knitting things for the Christmas stall we are having.  I meanwhile have a summer top to finish after this blanket…and I really want to finish my shawl.  Am I really going to knit Chrismas presents AND do stuff for a fundraising stall???  Well I did do two squash flower book marks, only I can’t find one of them. 

I spent half of the knitting group tonight eating crisps and cucumber as a kind of belated dinner and choosing library books – very handy this meeting in the library. I am so impressed with our young knitters – we have quite a few and tonight there were four in attendance, all knitting busily whilst I was eating, choosing books and definitely doing more nattering than knitting!

silk cocoons

today I have been dyeing silk cocoons yummy!.  I have also been sewing some of the mystery blanket together.  not long now, but I seem to be one square short!

taking photographs for the forthcoming spinning book

My spinning book is back for editing!  this is very exciting because there is not a huge amount to change, other than adding more photographs.
so Hubby has had chance to try out his new camera big time today, taking pix of spindles, spinning wheels and of course yours truly.

And best of all I now have his old camera which is much easier to use than mine.

the book will look something like this…

Still hoping for a publication date of November 2011 so watch this space…