Remember the hair-dyed handspun?

The 4mm needles have knitted these up extremely quickly. In fact I thought I was going to finish that second one in a single sitting. But not quite. Not even with the extra hour that the move from BST to GMT gave me.

I love the colours, and I love the way they've worked out. There's a vague spiral to the colour changes, in the opposite direction to the spiral of the rib pattern. I also like the look of skein-dyed wool.

Ta-daaaaaaaaa! I don't think I've ever taken something from cast-on to cast-off in a week.

And they're warm too! I've finished them just in time for the weather to turn milder.....

[edit] Pattern was linked in an earlier post, but for those who have asked:

More outdoor knitting

Dilemma: too nice to sit indoors, but dying to get on with some knitting.

It's well and truly autumn now, but Sunday seemed a pleasant enough day to sit outside. I was itching to begin knitting some wrist-warmers from my hair-dyed handspun and so I hastily printed off the pattern, grabbed that skein of wool and some new 4mm Symfonie DPNs and headed for one of my favourite spots close to my house, right in the middle of the still-young National Forest.

I started knitting straight from the skein, too impatient to wind a ball. here it is before I start casting on.

Well, the sun stayed out for a while, long enough for me to cast on and get a few rounds done. The pattern I've chosen is Cosy Knitted Hand Warmers.

A couple of days and a few rounds later.... (you can see that I've now bothered to wind a ball from the other end of the skein). I'm lovin' the spiral rib pattern and also the way that my colours are distributing themselves. I love 4mm needles - these are knitting up soooo quickly!

Can I spin the hair from my pet?

"Can I spin the hair from my pet?" is a frequently-asked question. Usually, pet hair is short, which makes it more difficult to spin, though in the past I have successfully blended very short dog hair with some longer sheep wool as a 'carrier'.

A friend brought over some amazing fur from her Alaskan malamutes. She had taken the softest fluff from the dogs' bellies and painstakingly removed the guard hairs. What was left looked like the softest, finest wool. Yes, short, but long enough to spin on its own (1-1.5 inches) and slightly crimpy. It's self-coloured white to dark grey. It looked as if it had come straight off a carder, and I suppose it had, the pet brush being very much like a small carder. (I bet that dog was in heaven having its belly brushed like that!)

After a little experimentation with different thicknesses and spinning methods, we had some extremely nice samples. The resulting yarn is quite fluffy, but in a soft fluffy way rather than hairy or scratchy. I'm sure that blending with wool would reduce this, but I quite like it and am curious about how a knitted garment would look. I've seen suggestions that the native Americans spun it, and I assume it's incredibly warm.

Can you guess what I've used to dye this skein?

Have a guess before reading on.

When I reached a certain age, like a lot of women, I began visiting Boots the chemist every few weeks for that bottle of chemical magic that covers my grey hairs.

Another thing that happens when you reach a certain age is that you have your hair cut shorter each time. I have no idea why - it's just what you do, isn't it? Therefore, nowadays I only get through about half the bottle.

Last night while looking at the left-over dye, I remembered the two skeins of plain wool I have, and a light bulb came on.

With no real idea about dyeing wool, especially with hair dye, I just squirted it on, trying not to get it too even and left it for the half-hour that you're supposed to leave it on your hair.

I give you the result! Mmmmmm ribena.

In the past I've always dyed the wool before spinning, and it'll be interesting to compare the two techniques when this is knitted up.

I'm also very pleased with my new camera. £30 from ebay plus £10 for a new memory card (They didn't say they weren't including it. Grrrr.) Enlarge the photo above to see the detail. My photos might be even better once I've got around to cleaning the previous owner's fingerprint off the lens!! You'll also see that my yarn isn't as even as I'd like. Hmmm. Maybe there's a lot to be said for crappy old cameras which hide a multitude of sins with their fuzziness.

What to make with this? I'm thinking about Toasty or Toast - or something similar with a bit of a pattern to it. What do you think? Maybe it would be in keeping to make a hat! lol.

New project!

No, not yet another cast-on, but a spinning wheel. Or rather a box of bits. Hurray. Short of hardware. Hmm.

Screws etc aren't going to be a problem, but missing crank might be. Have made enquiries about the 'clunking wheel kit' which I think might do the trick.

It was hardly used before it was dismantled and stored, it should look as good as new when polished and assembled!

Clematis Spinnning Wheel

My Tiffany-inspired clematis Ashford Traditional is finally together with all parts buffed to a nice wax shine, and I'm absolutely delighted.

Patience isn't one of my strong points when I'm working on something that I'm so excited about. I'm managing to get a really nice wax shine on Ashford's silver beech. Unfortunately the secret isn't anything more spectacular than elbow-grease and time, so it's taken me quite a while to get to this point. But I think well worth the wait.

The only thing I'm a little disappointed with is that there's quite a variation in the natural colour of the wood. I've never applied an artificial colour, because the wood darkens naturally with time, but I wonder in this case whether it might have been a good idea, as some of the parts don't seem to match at the moment. Does it matter? I'm confident that with time and sunlight, the lighter wood will darken and it'll be less noticable.