Tag: Spinning

That sums up our little ginger kitties we got at the very start of the plague, and as such, they are called Lockdown and Outbreak. Mischief and Mayhem would also have suited. Or given their current bout of hunting, Ronnie and Reggie…

But that aside, I have a grand plan of dying fleece to spin then knit each of our kitties. I started this adventure with the queen of the house, now dearly departed, Crumble. So following from there, and given the various shades of orange and brown I have dyed my fleece in the quest of the perfect Missy wool, the ginger kittens where an ideal choice.

And so, without further ado:

Cute, aren’t they? I used the Cat in a Bag pattern by Anna Hrachovec and made two sets, so myself and Engel can take them to work. Lockdown is in the green bag, and Outbreak the pink, which was their original cat collar colours. I won’t lie, that really bright pop of colour on my work desk cheers me up no end!

Outbreak though doesn’t look quite so amused!

Now to decide which kitty to knit next – Dashie or Ziggy? And which one of the cute cozy cat patterns to knit them in!

It’s been a busy week here, but not a bad kind of busy though, which is good! We’re all in good spirits as well, only a few more sleeps till it’s Inklings fourth birthday! Crazy how time has flown…

Till next week, stay safe!

Wool Count

Starting total – 897

Wool used – 74 (10 this week)
Wool bought – 3
Wool given to me – 21
Wool gifted to others – 1
Wool handspun – 8

Total – 854

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Have you ever had an idea, inspiration, slowly brewing and building in the back of your mind until you have to create it, unleash it, and let it free?

That’s exactly what happened to me during a family discussion on WhatsApp initiated by my niece regarding her school art project. To pretend to receive a commission, noting what it was and from whom, and then to create it. She wanted to do a sea shell crown but couldn’t think why it would be commissioned.

Eventually it was decided that a theatre was having a production of The Little Mermaid and that’s why they wanted a sea shell crown. Myself and Rabbie where keen for her to scrap the shell idea as another girl in her class had declared that as her project, and felt she could do something similar, with a Scottish twist, perhaps with Selkies…

For those who don’t know, Selkies are a mythical Scottish creature that is a seal who can remove her seal skin to take on the form of a human. As you can imagine there are many tales surrounding that premise, and it was the seal cloak that myself and Rabbie felt would make a great project for my neice.

She stuck with the sea shell crown, but this idea about Selkies and seals and the crashing cold waves along the Scottish coast stuck in my head. And then it began to grow. And change. And form into an idea that just had to be created.

And so, I present the Selkie Shawl:

The centre is meitered squares in varying shades of brown, to represent the different rocks and shale and pebbles of the Scottish coast. Surrounding this is the crashing waves, leading out to slowly calmer sea, and trimmed in a border called Old Shale, that looks like cockle shells and originates from the Scottish isles.

It’s huge, when I blocked it I found that it just kept growing and growing. I stopped at the width you can see in the photo above, but could easily have squeaked out another foot. However, all the wool in this is made from fleece I dyed with natural dyes (coffee and beetroot for the warmer browns and oranges, purple kale from my sister’s garden for the grey blue) and I didn’t trust my own spinning skills to withstand that much pressure!

And so there it is, an idea born from a conversation that evolved and grew into something else entirely. It took six months from conversation to completion, with only four months of actually working on it. First, I had to spin the wool, which I am very slow at, then I let it just do as it wished on the needles. As it grew I had to spin more wool. And more wool. Whilst doing this, I was also working on numerous other projects as I wanted to work in this only when the desire to do so came about.

The shawl has been finished for a few weeks, but I didn’t want to share it until I could get some photos of it where the land met water. Ideally I wanted to go up to Scotland, and with my family, go to one of the less tame Scottish coasts…but lockdown hasn’t allowed that, and so, a local reservoir had to suffice!

That’s all for this week, until next, stay safe.

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So last week, I very briefly mentioned that I had spun some dog hair. Allow me to go into a little bit more detail now. So, my work colleague who has now left has the most gorgeous collie, Holly:

And we had previously had a few conversations about my spinning and trying some interesting fibres, like reindeer, and how I wanted to try more types. She commented that her dog Holly had hair with a lot of the qualities I was speaking about – a good long staple, a fine crimp… And so:

This is 13 meters of pure, unblended, collie fur. I was given a ‘small’ quantity and was very pleased with the softness, staple and crimp. It spun beautifully, those due to the softness of it, I had to go quite slow compared to most sheep fleece. So, goal achieved, what do I do with it?

Knit a teeny tiny Holly of course! I very loosely followed the free pattern Small Sausage Dog by Amanda Berry – it was the smallest I could find and given I only had 13 meters…well, a bit of tweaking and voila, a collie! The white detailing is some white Jacobs fleece I have spun previously, and the brown eyes is some suffolk-texel fleece that I had dyed with fresh coffee grounds.

I have to say, I am super impressed with how this whole project has come out from start to finish. It’s not often that an experiment done completely on a whim with no planning actually works out!

I’m going to give the wool count here, and then finish off with some sad news, as I feel it’s more respectful that way.

Wool Count

Starting total – 897

Wool used – 21 (5 this week)
Wool bought – 0
Wool given to me – 0
Wool gifted to others – 1
Wool handspun – 7 (3 this week)

Total – 882 (a net total of 2 down)

On a much sadder note, my eldest and very beloved cat Crumble crossed the rainbow bridge yesterday morning. She has always been a fighter and had a habit of defeating the odds. Going from an incredibly awful start, she was deemed too emotionally damaged to be rehomed, and so we took her in as our first and only foster fail. In October she was badly injured after going missing for two weeks, the vets didn’t expect her to survive but she did. And out of sheer stubbornness she got an extra four and a bit months of love and cuddles.

May she enjoy herself across the rainbow bridge, eating all the boiled eggs she wants and continuing to be Queen.

RIP Crumble.

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It’s been an interesting week, half term and being in furlough for half a week meant I got up to a lot of mischief with the kids. Well, as much as you can given the current time of plague.

There’s been baking, bike rides, dancing, colouring and painting, building dens and other activities. Between this, I managed a little spinning (need more for my big project, it’s eating the handspun!) and a bit of penguin knitting. Yes, they are still marching.

I do however have one new knit to show, a little good bye and good luck gift for a colleague whom I’ve worked with on and off for eight years…

This is Cat in a Life Preserver by Anna Hrachovec, in this case, the black cat is for the fact that she gave me the loveable kitty Dashie, the life preserver as it’s joked that when it rains we need them for our work, and a little four leaf clover for good luck.

I left that in her desk and in exchange, she left me a bag of her collies hair, which I had mentioned I wanted to try and spin. And I have. But more on that next week!

Wool Count

Starting total – 897

Wool used – 16 (2 this week)
Wool bought – 0
Wool given to me – 0
Wool gifted to others – 1
Wool handspun – 4

Total – 884

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Hello all, I hope you have had a fairly nice run up to the end of the year, regardless of what you cekebrate. Christmas here was surprisingly pleasant. I received some bad news at the very start of the morning, but other than that, it went smoothly.

Felix and Inkling are both at that age where they get swept up in Christmas and everything has that magic to it than only exists when you are small and young. And it was infectious. It was exactly what myself and Engel needed.

Because of all the changing rules and regulations, we kept it pretty simple, and have one set of friends over, and they too definitely needed the same dose of Christmas magic from the kids as we did!

It was one of their birthdays just a few days prior, so I knitted him up a little gift, which in my tired and exhausted brain from a last final push at work to complete a hell of a lot of work in a tiny time frame, may have drove my work colleagues mad…

Shark mittens!!! (Free pattern Puppet Mittens by Debbi Parker, there’s a bunch of animals so well worth a look) and because my brain was running on fumes, I did a tiny shark finger puppet.

Baby shark, doo doo de doo…baby shark doo doo de doo…and I have a mummy and daddy shark too so was giggling inanely to myself at my desk in work playing with them and breaking into song when people looked over at me…

I would like to point out that it wasn’t just me who was losing the plot completely, a lot of us where! They just didn’t see the brilliance of the shark mittens and song combined…

In other news, I had a chance to get my spinning wheel out and did a little bit of spinnjng. It had been too long since I managed to indulge myself with it! So one new ball of wool! But I also used a ball in my current project.

I’ll go into more detail in that at a later date, for now, I have festive chaos to return to!

Keep safe everyone!

Wool Count

Starting total – 704

Wool used – 156 (2 this week)
Wool bought – 28
Wool given to me – 318
Wool gifted to others – 8
Wool handspun – 17

Total – 898 

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After the jealousy Crumble, Queen of the kitties in this house, showed towards the knitted Siamese flamingo float kitties, it was decided she needed her own knitted version.

But it wasn’t going to be as simple as just digging out some wool and following the pattern, oh no, Crumble needed, after also showing jealousy at the special Missy colourway that I dyed and hand spun, she needed her own tiny Crumble in her own Crumble colourway hand spun.

I only filled one bobbin with single ply, took it off on the ballwinder then made a 2 ply from that to create just one skein – that’s all I would need for one tiny knitted Crumble, right?

Engel commented that he couldn’t wait for his tiny Crumble for his desk at work. So, two tiny Crumbles.

Then Rabbis commented that the Crumble wool was just the perfect match of her friends mums cat who is going through a really hard time and maybe I could…?

And so, two Crumbles and a look a like where knitted in hands-on Crumble inspired wool and put into little boxes also knit from hand spun.

The Queen herself seemed somewhat surprised at the sudden appearance of so many tiny versions of herself, but they all received her sniff of approval. (For those asking, she is doing much better after her little fright and there’s been no long lasting restriction of movement to her back leg. She is still on double dinners though, and loving it).

Oh, and never let it be said that I don’t block! In this instance, Duplo blocks where just what was needed!

I have already begun spinning some wool (Suffolk texel dyed in beetroot and some more dyed with fresh coffee) to start getting ready for the next invasion of tiny kitties – Lockdown and Outbreak inspired ones!

In other knitting news, I finished a rather large challenge yesterday but need to get some good photos first – so you can see that next week!

In non knitting news, we did a Halloween trail today! My enthusiasm to life has increased drastically knowing that I can still have my Halloween – it’ll be different, like everything has been in 2020 – but it’s not cancelled!!!

Till next week, stay safe.

Wool Count

Starting total – 704

Wool used – 136 (3 this week)
Wool bought – 28 (There was a ‘yarncident’ and I ‘accidentally’ bought an adorable hand dyed mini skeins set to make myself something cute! 10 mini skeins in total)
Wool given to me – 303 (gained two, as well as half an old project and two bottles of cider as a thank you for repairing a person’s favourite hat…with some embellishment of course!)
Wool gifted to others – 8
Wool handspun – 16 (Up 1 with the Crumble wool)

Total – 901 (no change…)

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I survived! And no one was sacrificed to Great Cthulhu! The birthday party (slimmed down to just Felix’s best friend as they are in the same bubble) went well – better than expected to be fair!

The only down side to the whole weekend was I was too busy playing games and dancing and wrangling children to do much knitting, so much so I have nothing to show this week. And if I had finished, it would have been a somewhat boring pair of cabled sweater vests for Inkling to wear to school… However, I have a few cute cat themed KAL’s with a friend of mine, and i’ve joined a knitting challenge on Instagram so I’m sure there will be cute stuff aplenty soon!

But in the meantime, I have a special spinning project I can at least reveal! It’s taken five dying experiments to get the colours of the fleece just right, but finally, finally I can present:

Missy? Yes. Missy. The Missy of The Grand adventures of Little Miss daisy. My sister and I decided that such a beautiful loyal and loving member of the family deserved her own wool. So with her being tan and black and her signature pink collar, I got to work.

Natural black Hebridean, fresh coffee dyed Suffolk-Texel and acid dyed pink Suffolk-Texel. I present ‘Missy in the Meadow’.

I had tried used coffee grounds, beetroot and purple kale to get the colours but fresh coffee and the acid dye where the best matches.

But I needed something else, and so, a contrast colour was decided upon.

Depending on the light, her tan colouring can change quite spectacularly, and in the moonlight, it fades to a much fuller brown, and so the used coffee grounds Suffolk-Texel was spun with more natural black Hebridean to give ‘Moonlit Missy’.

There’s approximately 317m of Missy in the Meadows and 196.5m of Moonlit Missy making its way to Rabbie. I look forward to seeing what she makes with it, and will be sure to feature it here!

Last photo – promise – of the two colours together!

Stay safe everyone!

(No woolcount this week as no changes.)

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Jack the Jackalope, close relation to Jacob the deer! So close, I used the same pattern and more of the same first lot of handspun!

Like Jacob, I am really proud of this guy – and they’re looking great on the wall together! I have the urge to knit more heads now though!

In other news, I’ve been doing school knits, not much spinning, lots of work and a bit too much Animal Crossing. It’s just so addictive!

Short post this week as I’m ripping the house apart in preparation for Felix’s 7th birthday – due to Covid she isn’t having her usual class party, so we’re having a class mate of two round for a Switch party and one is staying for a sleepover. The house isn’t ready for this level of chaos!!!

Till next week, stay safe guys!

Wool Count

Starting total – 704

Wool used – 107 (5 this week)
Wool bought – 18
Wool given to me – 301
Wool gifted to others – 7
Wool handspun – 15 (4 have been used! 5 gifted)

Total – 918

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I’ll be starting this post by recounting a tale that goes back to the start of the third week of July when lockdown was beginning to be lifted. My little family unit of terrors met up with some good friends at Ash End House Children’s Farm. The sun was shining, the kids got to run around and see animals, I may have hugged a few sheep and it was a fantastic day that ended with ice cream. And two whole angora fleece. But that’s a different story.

Whilst we were wandering around the big field where the various animals were out chilling, we started to collect feathers for our good friend. Then random odds and ends of wool fleece that was stuck to fences etc. Then a good few handfuls of reindeer fur – the poor mite was mid moult and scratching at everything to help him shed, so I ‘helped’ and nabbed good few handfuls of incredibly soft but short hairs.

The challenge: can you spin reindeer? The answer is, if blended with the random wool scraps collected on that trip…

Yes. Yes you can. It may look like rough string, but that’s incredibly soft and squishy…and of course if I’ve made wool, I had to knit it!

Combined with some handspun Jacobs, there was just enough for two rather stocky sheep! One for me, and one for our good friends to mark the great day out.

And following from there, in my quest to reduce my wool stash, I was determined to finish every last bit of gold from the golden peaches and made these guys:

They’re plotting about what to do with that Jason fellow and his so called Argonauts…

All the sheep are made following the free pattern FellowSheep by Anna Hrachovec (also known as the wonderful creator of MochiMochi Land!)

Lastly, speaking of my wool stash, I used five this week, haven’t had a chance to spin any more and was pleased that it was going down a good bit for the first time in ages…then Engel brought home five balls of ‘plant fiber’ wools. Two hemp, two recycled cotton and one jute. The jute will be cat toys, the cotton probably wash clothes and the hemp is a very nice green similar to the one Felix wears as her school uniform…

Best get knitting I guess! Except…we got a Switch. And I got Animal crossing. My knitting time has taken a nose dive…

Wool Count

Starting total – 704

Wool used – 102 (5 this week)
Wool bought – 18
Wool given to me – 301 (Up 5)
Wool gifted to others – 7
Wool handspun – 15 (4 have been used! 5 gifted)

Total – 923

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As Great Grandma’s (Engels side) 90th birthday was celebrated this week I decided it was a good time to show a special project I made for her.

In Chinese culture, peaches are eaten by the gods to bring immortality, so peaches, particularly golden peaches, are a symbol of longevity. So I knit quite a lot of peaches for the whole family. There is one giant peach for Great Grandma, and then the rest are in pairs. Five pairs of big peaches for the children, and thirteen pairs of little peaches for the adults. That’s thirty seven peaches.

I also knit five red bags for the children’s peaches to go in, as red is a lucky colour and based on my own children enjoying putting things in and out of bags, I figured the others would too!

The peaches are based on the free pattern georgia by peachcake knits and the bags are another free pattern Openwork Drawstring Pouch by Mary Schaefbauer. For those curious, that super shiny gold is Rico Design Creative Lamé – it’s not the nicest to knit with, but it gives a fantastic sparkle!

In spinning news, I spun five skeins – more to be revealed later though when I finish the contrast skeins. As they’re a gift I won’t be adding them to the final total as they’re not destined for my stash.

In non knitting news, it was my birthday this week and I got lots of nice presents, I’ve also started a new Cthulhu scenario and been having fun with that. It’s also the end of my second week at work and I am exhausted – it’s all very different from before! I’ll get used to the ‘New Normal’ but it’s a steep learning curve…

Till next week, keep safe!

Wool Count

Starting total – 704

Wool used – 97 (0 this week)
Wool bought – 18
Wool given to me – 296
Wool gifted to others – 7 (4 balls to work colleague)
Wool handspun – 15 (4 have been used! 5 gifted)

Total – 923

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