Guest post - Lorna Reid : My Lockdown Marathon

 Just before the first lockdown I had taught myself to make the crocheted Mitred Granny Square.  I thought it looked really nice and I enjoyed making them.  When we went officially into Lockdown, I came up with the bright idea of making one of these squares for each day of Lockdown.  I would them make them into baby car seat blankets and give them to charity.  Little did I realise what I had let myself in for!

I challenged the family to guess how many I would have to make, and then said I would stop when the shops opened, however I then added a caveat, when a specific shop opened!  (Of course, it was one with a large craft section!)  Unfortunately, for me, it opened more than a week later than the other shops!  I ended up making a total of 121 squares.  I used approximately 968g or if you prefer, that's over 2lbs of yarn.  I have 10 ends on each square to darn in, that's a total of 1210 ends!!


PS  I'm still trying to make them into car seat blankets and second Granddaughter won with 88 days being closest!

Split-personality jumper update

 This is looking very good. Making a 4-ply yarn has given a very round and even yarn with a good thickness. Previous post about the spinning experiments here.

The software produced a pattern for a raglan jumper knit in pieces. This is the back, starting at the waist. It seems a little small but it'll probably block out to the right size, the lace / rib pattern is extremely stretchy.




Knitwear Designer for the BBC Micro, project part 2

This is a split-personality project. Part 1, in which I produced the pattern using a BBC micro is on my newstuffforoldstuff blog.

I'm continuing here because this is now a spin/knit project.

My goal was to reproduce the pink jumper I pictured in part 1. 

I went for Devonia from John Arbon, which wasn't as pink as I really wanted.  Below are swatches, first on its own, and then with a ply of white mohair to give it a silky sheen and lighten the colour. 

 I rejected that idea because it looks too speckled.  Another difference between the swatches is that the top one is 3-ply and the bottom one 4.  The extra work in spinning four plies is worth it for a thicker and rounder yarn. The fabric is very different. The 3-ply feels limp in comparison. The 4-ply feels chunkier and firmer, more like the jumper that I'm reproducing.

As an experiment (and I didn't hold out much hope) I wanted to try making the fourth ply from something in a definite pink. This 'cyclamen' tussah silk from Katie really is a hot pink. Too strong, I suspected. 

But no! The result is perfect. (One ply of the pink silk, three plies of Devonia.) The pink silk really does blend very well. The result is much more homogenous than with the white ply, and a little more pink than the Devonia by itself. 
I've never swatched quite so much! But I'm glad I did. I love the result we have here. 
So now it's spin, spin spin until I have my jumper's-worth of yarn. 



Finished handspun Earth Mama legwarmers

 This project started life when an inventive and generous person returned a drum carder using packing that she'd made from bags filled with the most beautiful Shetland fleece. Of course I treated this as a gift, and a very welcome one.


Those amazing and long locks are really from a Shetland sheep raised in the very north of Scotland. The prettiest of the flock, she is nicknamed Mrs White Fleece. They are strong and didn't break when snapped between the fingers (this type of fleece has a 'rise' or natural weakness which causes the fleece to moult or at least be capable of being 'rooed' or plucked by hand.)

I like to be intentional and spin for a project. In this case I spun the fleece first. I drumcarded, crudely split and pulled the batts into nests and spun from the end of the 'roving'.




This yielded around 500 yards of yarn. More than enough for socks but not enough for a cardy. By searching patterns for the right yardage and yarn weight, I chose this project - Earth Mama legwarmers by Nat Raedwulf, which as an added bonus is a free pattern.

They didn't take too long to knit because I was keen to wear them. I broke two cable needles along the way. Bad technique rather than bad cable needles.


In this picture they have yet to be blocked, which will even out the stitches a little, and have to have buttons added on the turned-over cuff. (The pattern includes a buttonhole.)

Ever since casting off I have been wearing them. (So they're still not blocked.)  They are incredibly warm and snuggly. They stay up well and I like the way the lower ribbing opens out over your foot.

Finished Fulton Shrug

The pattern is mad and I love it - Fulton Shrug from the great book Unexpected Cables.

Yarn is not handspun but Norfolk Horn sourced and millspun by my friend Jenn at fibreworkshop.co.uk and then dyed for me by Freyalyn.  More details about all of that in the previous post.

It has taken a long time. The cables added to the time but kept it more interesting than plain knitting. I got into a rhythm of knitting one or two repeats most days (a cable cross round every 8 rounds).


WIP: Fulton Shrug in Norfolk Horn yarn

 My current project isn't handspun <gasp> but it is very special yarn.


The yarn comes from the lovely Jenn at https://fibreworkshop.co.uk who sourced the Norfolk Horn fleeces and had them processed and mill spun. I bought this undyed, but Jenn does also dye her yarn using natural dyes, either home-grown or with a local connection.


I considered dying the skeins myself but I wanted a professional job for this project, and sent them to the also lovely Freyalyn who did this amazing job and achieved exactly what I wanted; a teal colour with a little variegation. 


The pattern is Fulton Shrug from Unexpected Cables. It probably won't be the only pattern I knit from that brilliant book.

Amazing Alaska hat pattern with handspun yarn

When I first saw it I knew I had to make one. The pattern is Alaska by Camille Descoteaux
This pattern looks fabulous in a colour-changing yarn paired with a dark solid colour for the silhouette trees. More comments about the pattern after the knitting pictures.

Usually I spin especially for a particular project, but this time I had the perfect yarn. It’s a Freyalyn long gradient I bought at a show and then spun during Spinzilla 2017.

The dark colour was also spun during Spinzilla, possibly not the same year. I think it’s real Shetland from Adam Curtis.

There follows a bunch of pictures of the fibre, the spinning, the finished yarn and 'in progress' shots of  the knitting.

Above is the fibre as I bought it. Below is me preparing it in advance of Spinzilla 2017. I like making 'fauxlags', it's a very fast way to spin. You open up the fibre into a flat sheet and then roll the fibre around a dowel or large needle to form a rolag or puni shape.
I spin these longdraw. Pinch off about an inch while treadling madly and using a high-speed ratio. Pull back about a metre at a time as it gains twist. I spun this pretty fine because I wanted to chain-ply aka navajo-ply

 The navajo plying produces a neat, round yarn. It also concentrates colour and preserves colour changes like these.

 So that's the finished yarn in a photo from 2017.

I began knitting a month ago.




I've not made a pompom for about 45 years.



I found the pattern a delight to knit. The only thing that annoyed me a little is the long floats as you near the end of the colourwork, but I became quite slick at crossing the yarns every 4 stitches to anchor the floats.

Ravelry project here.