Kylo Ren knitting chart

After seeing the Force Awakens hat pattern (free pattern, folks) I was a little sad to see no Kylo Ren in there, so set about attempting a chart myself.

If there's any interest I don't mind drawing the pattern out properly.

What in the cotton-pickin' world...?

The start of an interesting journey and part of my Project Apocalypse

Handspun handknit Ardelise - finished!

Wool is best Shetland combed top from Curtis Wools, spun during Spinzilla week. Split vertically and pre-drafted, spun quickly, fairly long, but trying to keep fibres aligned. Yarn is still very light and bouncy.
I fell in love with the Ardelise pattern as soon as I saw it, and it hasn't disappointed! Super design, easy to knit and seamless. When I reached the waist I switched to the sleeves, so that I could then knit the body until the yarn ran out. (I spun around 1200 yards as per the pattern and that was pretty much spot on.)

My Ravelry project is here

Project Apocalypse - retting nettles

I've now stripped the leaves from the nettles I collected on Saturday. It looks a very sparse collection now. As a first experiment, that's probably fine.

I'm 'dew retting' in order to avoid finding a large receptacle and doing hard smelly work changing water. This takes much longer (6 weeks) but all I need to do is to turn these and water them on days that it doesn't rain.
 I've since read that green stems may be better than brown ones, so I've collected some more from my garden and stripped those too. (Hey, they're a weed and need clearing up anyway. I may as well get something from them.) These ones are greener, but twister too, I'm not sure whether that's a problem.

Project Apocalypse - day zero

Why is yours truly out in the rain picking stinging nettles?

So here's the idea. Genesis 1:1 of Project Apocalypse:
"Why spend all that time spinning and knitting when you can buy a pair of socks from the supermarket for three quid?"
"Because dick'ead, after the apocalypse, I'll be the one wearing warm and smart clothes."

I guess I'm not the only one to have had this conversation (maybe not those exact words). But is this a boast more easily made than accomplished? Exactly how well would we fare when our homes and possessions are gone and it's just us and what we find around us?

Let's find out!

This is the concept. You have what you stand up in and what's around you. You can use fibres that you can find, gather, grow, harvest, brush or shear yourself. You can make tools from whatever's around you.

No-one's going to enforce these rules, but you get the spirit of the thing, right? If you want to boil up dye using a pan you already have on your kitchen stove rather than building a fire and scavenging a receptacle, do it.

Let's assume that you can find things like nails, hammer, scissors etc but let's not assume that you can find a spindle, 8-shaft loom or have a spinning wheel stashed in your nuclear bunker.

There's a line somewhere, draw your own line. But extra kudos for making and improvising.

Be open about what you do, write it down  and post pictures.

My own plans?
  • I'd love to grow cotton myself. A challenge because I'm not green-fingered.
  • After hearing the story of the Wild Swans and learning that stinging nettles (which grow as weeds here) have usable fibres, I'm curious!
  • I've seen sheep shedding naturally and I've collected wool from a field. That worked really well.
  • I'd love to dye some different colours using gathered ingredients and make a Fair Isle-style project.

Anyone else joining me? What would you like to try?

Post on Instagram and Twitter using #projectapocalypse, and join this Ravelry group for discussion and ideas.

(I'd like this to be ongoing - no time limits (unless the apocalypse comes and we have to start this for real!))

With thanks to Rebecca and the Wayside Project for putting ideas into my head, Jenn for telling me things about stinging nettles that I didn't know and Chris, who asked why I didn't just buy a pair of socks and isn't a dick'ead.

Spinning dog fur into yarn - alsatian

The owner of these very cute creatures sent some brushed fur, light and dark.
The light has spun remarkably well, there are longer fibres in there than the black. It's a little 'stringy' at this stage
But after a good soak in Eucalan it's made quite a nice yarn with a mohair-like halo.

KnitPro's new limited edition interchangeable circular needle set

Knitpro have issued limited-edition sets before, but like the Symfonie Rose interchangeable set, the latest set is a new needle that's (so far) not available separately or in any other needle type.

The needle is laminated birch, colour coded by size, as per the Dreamz range. They also have metal tips and the size engraved on the metal connector.

The cables (4 of) are colour-coded too. Accessories come in a silk pouch.

The set has a Paris theme and is called Royalé

The Royale interchangeable set will make a great gift but will only be available while stocks last, so don't hesitate!

knitting in the round with double-point needles without laddering

I prefer using dpns to magic-loop and recently I've avoided laddering reasonably successfully by keeping the yarn tight at the needle junctions.

But with these cardy sleeves I'm trying something different; at the end of each needle I'm knitting a stitch from the next needle, so the gaps between the needles are moving around by one stitch each round, never in the same place for more than one round. It means using a stitch marker to make sure that the decreases are always in the right place, but that's a small price to pay.

Looking good so far.

Yarn is handspun and dyed shetland top, spun during Spinzilla 2015. Cardy is my Ardelise.