Category Archives: Knitting

Blast from the past.

I’ve started working on cleaning out the basement after all of these years and made a pleasant discovery today of some sweaters that I’d thought that I’d given away to charity. They were tucked into a blue rubbermaid container and I’d forgotten they’d been put there.

I tend not to give my younger self credit for the knitting skills I had back then but the reality is these are probably just as good as anything I’d knit today and I was probably more fearless back then as there were knits I wouldn’t be bothered with attempting now.

assorted fair isle sweaters from early eighties
Assorted sweaters from the early 80′s.

Karen

Spinning Fun.

Well I finished spinning up the last of the Shetland fleece I got from Jamieson & Smith. I had Jonathan take a picture of me wearing it just for some fun. I have no clue what to make with it. I thought it was a lot of yarn but at 767 yards it’s not enough for a large sweater so it might get turned into a toddler sweater but I’m not sure. I’m not sure I want to waste it on a small person who may or may not wear it.
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Myself wearing my Shetland homespun yarn, around 767 yards of it at 354 grams, it was warm.

I have also been working on my Hillswick Lumber. This is a wonderful cardigan by Ann Feitelson from her book The Art of Fair Isle Knitting. Progress is slow at one row every 20-25 minutes so it’s going to take a few months to finish. The progress so far:
Hillswick lumber section 1
Hillswick Lumber, body section.

Aside from the spinning and knitting I haven’t really gotten anything else done around here. Spring is coming though so once it gets a bit warmer I can envision doing some spring cleaning. I have a couple of wool fleeces reserved so hope to place the order this weekend for them. Once they arrive I’ll be washing them up; apparently raw fleece attracts moths more readily so I’m paranoid about that so you might see some more fleece cleaning photos in the near future.

Karen

Aunt Grace Baby Quilt and more…

I have a few more things to post since the last time I wrote. I finished dyeing up the bulky yarn that I’d planned to turn into a hat for John and then I knit the hat.

shetland bulky overdyed sapphire blue and jet black
Shetland homespun yarn dyed with Jaquard’s Sapphire Blue and over-dyed with Jaquard’s Jet Black dye.

hat side view 1
Shetland bulky homespun knitted into a hat, the pattern is called Jason’s Tweed Hat by Melissa Thomson of Sweet Fiber Designs.

Next up is another baby quilt that I finished for the daughter of a good friend. She is expecting her first child come spring so I was invited to the baby shower and this is what I came up with. The fabrics that I used where from a charm pack of Aunt Grace 30′s reproduction fabrics. I chose to pair the fabric with plain white and then picked out some green homespun to match for the backing. Usually I dye my own backing but somehow with these prints I didn’t think funky tie-dye would work so I settled for the more muted green and I’m glad I did. Kind of scary that I’ve had this sitting in the closet since 2006, it just seems like yesterday I bought the charm pack. The quilt was made from a quilt tutorial put out by the Missouri Star Quilt Company. Go over to the right of the web page and click on Tutorials to find a listing. Zipper Quilt

aunt grace baby quilt in playpen

Aunt Grace baby quilt

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Aunt Grace “Scrapbag 2006″ – Marcus Brothers textiles.

One of the girls in my Ravelry forum groups posted a cute little scarf and I immediatley thought of my mother-in-law who likes this type of scarf where you can put one end through the other, I think it’s called a keyhole scarf. Anyhow this one was a quick knit that I did while watching the Olympics. I just used a simple acylic for the yarn as she is allergic to wool.

Miss Marple scarf
Miss Marple Scarf by SusanneS-vV, done in Red Heart Supersaver.

This looks like the bulky yarn that I spun for John’s hat and it is wool from the same fleece but this time the yarn I spun is finer more of an Aran weight yarn. I’ve spun up two of these so there is about 360 yards. I was going to spin two hanks and then dye them together but I’m not sure what project I’m going to use the yarn for. I was thinking of an Aran sweater for one of the grandkids so I guess I’ll research the yardage needed and go from there but meanwhile here are two hanks of Shetland White.

2 skeins aran weight shetland
Shetland White homespun, Aran weight approximately 360 yards.

Finally I thought I’d share some fiber that I have sitting out ready to be spun into something (at some point). Some pretty eye candy, I always like seeing fiber on blogs so here is some of mine.

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The Great Pumpkin Patch dyed by Vickie from Vickie’s Raspberry Hollow, This is a Coopworth/BFL wool fiber.

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Northern Lights dyed by Karen Burren Stained Glass Art. This is a merino/silk blend.

That’s all for now. I’m not sure what I have planned next but I’m sure it’ll be more spinning and maybe some more quilting as well. Now that I’ve done the two baby quilts I realize just how much fabric I have so I need to get some more sewing done.

Karen

Projects galore…

I’ve done a lot of work since Christmas but I haven’t blogged it. I’d thought I’d only done a few things but went back to check the photos and surprised even myself so here goes…

First up is a headband that I knit using Kate Davies pattern WWWW #1. This is a free pattern that can be found on Ravelry so if you aren’t a member I can highly recommend joining as it’s one of the best databases out there with tons of patterns, yarns, forums, etc.

The thing that is special about this headband is that it’s the second finished project that I’ve knit using yarn that I’ve handspun myself. The headband is a bit tall in these photos but that’s my own fault because I thought I was off gauge so tossed in extra rows, I should have left the pattern alone. This is the first time I’ve knit a lining into anything and picked up a provisional cast-on. The white lining was alpaca for softness.
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WWWW #1 with lining showing

The next project I worked on was a cowl I started while on vacation in Florida. We went down at the beginning of January and I took the headband pictured above to work on along with a spindle. I also took a lot of books but ended up knitting and watching reno shows inbetween walking the beaches. Well I finished off the headband and then had to go out and find something else to knit so I picked up a ball of Berroco lace and started in on this cowl. It’s a nice drapey cowl and while it took a lot of effort to finish it I really like how it drapes and folds in on itself. The cowl will go to Dan’s girlfriend so I hope she likes it. The cowl is called Willow Cowl by Amelia Lyon and is another free Ravelry pattern.
Willow cowl head shot

willow cowl

I belong to the Bliss Spinning Wheel forum on Ravelry and the girls decided that this year will be one for the beginning spinners (there are a lot of us) so each month of 2014 will feature a different type of fibre or method of spinning. For the month of January the featured fibre was BFL – Blue-faced Leicester. I have some superwash BFL so decided to try my hand at dyeing again only this time using the Jaquard acid dyes I bought for Christmas. Unfortunately I’m not sure where the photos of the dyepot are, maybe I forgot to take them, oh well the pot was half blue and half yellow but mostly green by the time it was done.
sky blue sun yellow superwash bfl
Fingering weight yarn in BFL superwash.

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sky blue and yellow sun braid bfl superwash

Well before we left for Florida my chiropractor of eight years informed me that he and his girlfriend were expecting a baby in February so while I’m congratulating him I’m thinking that doesn’t leave me much time to get a baby gift ready. I see my chiropractor each week so he’s like family to me so I had to make something. Well we got back home and a week later I’m getting ready for my appointment when the office phoned to cancel as he was in the delivery room – three weeks early awk! Anyhow after thinking about it and going to my stash I settled on a very simple quilt with lots of colour and this is what I came up with – hand-dyed backing of course.
Finished bright colours baby quilt

Front and back view bright colours baby quilt
Backing dyed with Procion MX dyes in Lemon Yellow and Turquoise.

Finally, another handspun project for February’s challenge for the spinning group. This time the lesson was to try and create a big and lofty type of yarn, which usually means spinning woollen. I carded up some of the Shetland fleece that I had washed a couple of months ago into four big batts and then spun it up woollen. I didn’t fuss about what happened so the resulting yarn is quite rough but I wanted that look. I’m hoping to knit it into a hat for my husband John, something simple and guy-like that he’ll want to wear. I’ve decided to keep it natural for now and I can always dye it later if need be.
carded shetland fleece

Shetland bulky 104 yards

shetland bulky

Well that’s all for now. I have another baby quilt to finish by February 22 and I haven’t started but I have an idea for it so that’s half the battle. I also have the hat to knit and then I should be free of projects for the next little while. I bought a new pressure canner while down south on vacation, saved myself about $200 so I was pleased and I’ve been reading up on pressure canning soups and meats so we’ll see how that turns out.

Karen

Almost Christmas

Well Christmas is almost upon us and I really haven’t gotten much done to show for it. I found out that I have the beginning stages of Rheumatoid Arthritis so have been mired in the Internet for the last three weeks trying to figure out what happens with this disease. I did start some knitting today but I have to admit that as far as getting homemade gifts ready for Christmas this year was so-so.

I did make some more oven towels.
christmas towels
The tutorial for these towels is over at the right-hand side of this blog.

I also spun up a little hank of the wool I had dyed (shown in previous posts).
black boysenberry tangerine starfire
Shetland black, dyed shetland boysenberry and tangerine.

I also managed to do a low-water immersion shirt for my son.
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Jaquard Jet Black, ProChem Intense Blue. The grey/brown was the jet black separating in the water.

I also bought some stuff from KnitPicks.
enchanted lake sock yarn
Enchanted Lake sock yarn.

enchanted lake closeup
Close-up of the sock yarn because it’s so pretty.

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Jaquard acid dyes to experiment with my wool after Christmas.

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Some baby alpaca yarn on sale.

Not much else going on right now. I need to clean the dining room and put up the tree (I hate doing this but the grandkids will be here) so I can’t see blogging again before Christmas so I’m wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year :)

Karen

Girly-girl Hat and Cowl

I seem to be having great fun washing fleece and spinning up yarn and then making projects from the results. In fact looking back at my last few posts I realize that I’m a bit behind on posting pictures of finished projects. So before I get to the topic of this post here are a few photos of projects that I’ve finished.

Here is a cowl that I knit up using the polwarth and gold angelina fibre that I blogged about a few posts back. The gold sparkle is nice and subtle but unfortunately you can’t see it in the photo.

Elizabeth's cowl
Elizabeth’s Cowl, by Wendy D Johnson from the book “Wendy Knits Lace”. This is a wonderful book full of good patterns and useful tips. I had taken it out from the library and ended up buying it.

Another project that took a good month to complete and has actually give me shoulder problems from working too many hours on it was Feather and Fan Short Scarf by Kelly Faller. My problem was the scarf wasn’t short I knit it 60″ long.

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feather and fan stole

head scarf
A couple of ways to wear it. Not handspun but Paton’s Lace Sequin yarn knit on 5mm needles.

I’ve also been playing around making more yarn but I’ll save that for another post when I finish knitting up the yarn.

Now back to the Girly-girl hat and cowl other known as the 5-Hour Hat and Gaiter by Rachel Kluesner…it started like this.

washed and unwashed shetland fleece
Some shetland fleece, unwashed in front and some washed in the background for comparison.

bulky_yarn_made_with_shetland_fleece_medium2[1]
Woolen yarn spun with the washed fibre.

yarn cooking in pot - Wilton's sky blue
Dyeing the fibre with Wilton’s Sky Blue – turns out it’s really bright!

Exhausted water
Photo showing the exhausted water.

Wilton's Sky Blue on bulky shetland
This is the finished dyed yarn. Both skeins where dyed at the same time but in the one skein I got some barber poling effect. This was a single that was wound into a center-pull ball and spun two-ply on itself. The one end (that corresponded to the middle of the ball) dyed solid while most of it dyed one ply light blue and the other ply darker blue. The only reason I can come up with for this effect is that when I grabbed fibre to card on my drum carder I must have grabbed fibre from two different washed lots. One lot must have been cleaner than the other. Someone said the cleaner fibre probably dyed darker but my hair stylist always told me not to wash my hair before a dye job so the colour would take better so I’m not sure whether the dirty fibre dyed darker than the cleaner fibre. Another experiment for another time.

Bulky yarn on ball winder
Winding on into a ball.

cropped hat and gaiter

blue hat and gaiter
5-Hour Hat and Gaiter by Rachel Kluesner otherwise affectionly known as the Girly-girl Hat and Cowl by yours truly. Knit using Shetland wool and pink bobble novelty yarn on 6.5mm and 9mm cable needles.

Karen

Ball-Winder Addition

As I was winding some of the bulky yarn I’ve spun it suddenly occurred to me to share this tip on how to extend your ball-winder through use of a toilet paper roll. I actually did think up this all on my own but have since discovered that others use this idea as well. It’s the old thing, if you’ve thought of the idea then sure enough someone else has as well.

What I do is to take a toilet paper roll, cut it in half and then retape the roll around my Knitpicks ball winder. It’s possible there are better winders out there and you don’t need to do this but for $20 I’m happy with the knitpicks winder.

My winder is slightly wider at the bottom than the top so as I go along with the tape I start at the bottom and work my way up to the top putting the tape in pieces around the roll. Keep the roll tight and snug to the plastic core as you do this. If you tape too loosely the roll will spin off as you wind the yarn on. At the top I then put some pieces of tape length-wise going around the circumference. I do this because I’ve found that the yarn can catch on the roll where the groove spirals up. If you use the modified toilet paper roll enough that little ends starts to come unstuck and your fine yarn can catch on it as you wind. Next, cut two slits in the roll opposite each other; you use these to hold your yarn end as you start winding.

Adding the roll to the winder does two things. One, it extends the length of the winder so you can make larger ‘neater’ yarn cakes, this is handy for thicker yarn. Two, I find the grooves on the Knitpicks winder don’t hold my yarn that well so I’m always fiddling to try and make the end catch.

Ball winder with toilet roll
Ball winder with toilet roll addition.

Bulky yarn on ball winder
Bulky yarn wound on ball winder.

cake of yarn compared to ball winder
Size of yarn cake compared to the regular ball winder height.

Hope this post is helpful to you.
Karen

Holden Shawlette

I’ve finally finished my Holden Shawlette – pattern created by Mindy Wilkes(free download on Ravelry). I knit quite a bit of this while on holiday in Italy and Sicily so the shawl is multinational you could say. We spent hours on the bus travelling from one spot to another and although the countryside was great to look at it all turns into a bit of the same after a while so out came the knitting.

The yarn was spun on my spindle and made from rolags made on my blending board. The fibre was from Jamieson and Smith’s combed Shetland top. Here is a progression of photos of the process.Blue & white J&S rollags.jpeg

blue skies yarn from shetland white and colbalt

start of holden shawlette

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Holden shawlette

This shawl was the first finished project that I’ve made from handspun so I’m proud of the fact that I made it from fibre to finished shawl. The picot bind-off edging was a first for me as well. It takes about three times the normal length of time to bind-off but it makes for a very pretty edge, it won’t be the last time that I use this technique.

The next project I’m working on is a lacy scarf for a Christmas present. I hope to finish this quickly as I want to make a matching tam and fingerless mitts to go with it.

Karen

Yarn, lots and lots of it.

I haven’t done any knitting the last couple of days but I have been playing around with yarn and roving. The first photo shows some rolags that I made using the piece of carding cloth I have that’s waiting to be made into a blending board.

Blue & white J&S rollags.jpeg
Rollags made from blue and white shetland wool top from Jamieson & Smith.

blue skies yarn from shetland white and colbalt
Fingering weight yarn spun on my Ashford spindle.

Next I brought up an old box of yarn from the basement looking for another project that I’d started but not finished many years ago.

white buffalo sweater
White Buffalo Yarn sweater.

After looking at this project I realized there were some leftover balls of yarn in the same box so I thought that I would try and find some room in my large tote for them. My tote has all my acrylic leftovers in it along with a few whole balls of yarn as well. Mostly it was a mess so I thought that if I wound all the balls into layer cakes I’d make more room for the new/old balls.

unwound stash yarn
Messy yarn.

stash yarn cakes
Bin partially filled with layer cakes. Filled it to the top by the time I’d finished winding the above yarn.

After winding all the yarn in the bin, I discovered that I didn’t have any extra room than before I’d started so all I can say is that I wasted an afternoon but I do have a tidy tote bin full of layer cakes. I just have to find somewhere else to stash the other balls.

Karen

Better Late Than Never

Well I’ve finally finished Jonathan’s sweater – about 16 years to late but it’s done. I believe I started this sweater when he was about 10 years old, he’s now 26 years old. I ran a Ravelry UFO KAL in March for my group Surmount the Stash (stash busting) and decided to finish this sweater for my project.

Jonathan's sweater
“Kids Like Fair Isle Too” from Beehive Nordic Knits. Baycrest Shetland chunky yarn.

When I first started to knit Fair Isle all those years ago the book I learned from was from Beehive and called Nordic Knits. Now after all these years, children, work, quilting and back to knitting I’ve come full circle.

Karen