27 October 2015

There's Always Something to Learn

I am still knitting away in the evenings and am pleased at how my cardigan is turning out, I am now well past the armholes and have settled into a nice rhythm, the pattern is interesting enough to keep my attention but also has some easy bits when I don't need to think too much!
I am knitting with two skeins of yarn, alternating every two rows as recommended, this is a hand dyed yarn and I don't really want to have an obvious stripe halfway down where I changed skeins! The yarn itself comes like this...
You have to undo the skein and wind it into balls yourself. Years ago when my Grandmother taught me to knit (must be close to forty years ago now) one of my jobs was to sit with my arms out holding the skein of yarn while she wound it into a ball. I used to complain that my arms were tired and think of every excuse I could to get out of sitting for what seemed like hours when I would rather be outside. I really hated that part of the process! I don't have any willing helpers around here, I don't think Jasper would be much good at winding yarn, although he does like to retrieve the balls when they roll off!
So, I bought myself a second hand swift, it holds the yarn while you wind the balls, so far so good...
I have now knitted the couple of balls I had wound and needed some more, however I am a bit slack at winding and while knitting my balls would roll about and get in a right snorl as my Grandmother would say (Snorl is a lovely Scots word meaning a knot or tangle). Whilst browsing Ravelry I noticed that lots of knitters had lovely neatly wound balls of yarn that looked nothing like mine.
Hmmm some investigation was required, it turns out you can buy something called a yarn winder that does the job for you in a fraction of the time and much neater! Who knew? (probably everyone except me) You can get an expensive electric model or the much simpler hand powered one. I decided to buy the larger hand operated version, so I could wind big chunky hanks as well as finer yarn.

Wow! You turn the handle et voila! perfect little cakes of yarn in no time at all. I think they look like Chelsea Buns...
There is always something new to learn!

17 October 2015

When One Door Closes...

The arthritis in my wrists and hands has been playing up lately, making hand quilting impossible; so I have decided to hibernate the 'Welsh Quilt' for now.
While I may not be able to hand quilt, I can knit! In fact knitting with wooden needles is really good exercise for your hands, especially if you suffer from arthritis. I decided to start simple as it's a while since I knitted anything. This is a very clever pattern for a cardigan which is knitted in one piece from the top down.
You can find the pattern on Ravelry HERE
I am knitting with a gorgeous mix of merino wool, silk and cashmere; this is 'Pashmina' by Madelinetosh in a gorgeous plum colour 'Purple Basil'
I am really enjoying sitting in front of the fire in the evenings and knitting away...
I have also spent quite a bit of time looking at patterns on Ravelry and doing a little stash enhancement - wouldn't want to run out of things to knit would I?
This is a gorgeous native British yarn from Blacker Yarns all of their yarns are from regional and rare British sheep and spun at their mill in Cornwall. This is from Gotland sheep and is a wonderful natural mottled silver colour
In the accompanying leaflet they say that if you give them the batch number of your yarn, they can tell you where the fleece was raised - really? I had to try, apparently I am the first person who has ever asked! I had a lovely email from them telling me:
"The fibre in your batch is from the 2013 clip of Sue’s very own Gotland flock, based near St. Austell in Cornwall. It was spun on our mill near Launceston – like all our yarns."

My yarn came from these sheep!
I am really looking forward to knitting with it and I am already looking out for other rare breed yarns.

01 October 2015

The Angel has Wings

St Michael now has lovely peacock wings ...

and a beautiful cobalt blue cloak...

I am really enjoying stitching this piece, silk shading is very therapeutic once you get the hang of it, a bit like hand quilting :)
here is the original inspiration, I chose to make my colours a little richer.