Saturday, 5 December 2020
Thursday, 22 October 2020
As you can see, the colours look much more planned and logical now. There are a three more bands above this now (I meant to do this post a week ago) and it all looks much better.
Tuesday, 6 October 2020
Just a few comments on the latest thing on the needles. The other day a long awaited book arrived: Knitting from Fair Isle, by Mati Ventrillon. Lovely thing. And I've been meaning to do something about my stash of pretty random Jamieson & Smith 2ply jumperweight yarns. These have been collected for a while, picked up from sales baskets or left over from previous projects, and I really wanted to do something about lowering the pile. (If you look in the picture below, you can see they are in a lovely wood cabinet. I can remember this from my grandparents' home in Devon when I was growing up, then in was in Mum's house for years until she gave it to me. I filled it with yarn - obviously.
Saturday, 26 September 2020
The world has drawn in on itself with the virus sweeping through us. Or you'd think.
But so many things have opened up as we've all gone online and looked outwards, away from our immediate friends, family, and usual visits. We haven't seen much of my mother this summer, as she's split her time between her home and her 'gentleman friend' who is about five miles away in a very nice house with a tiny swimming pool. Which of course we haven't been able to use. Mark's parents have kept themselves to themselves, so we've been over there occasionally, without going in of course. I've been working from home or on furlough since April - and to be honest, have loved not having to actually spend time with people.
Shetland Wool Week isn't happening as usual this year. Of course not. (Like all of Scotland, and especially the islands, people are torn between wanting visitors to keep their economies going, and not wanting visitors for fear of overloading limited medical facilities. But it's gone online this year, and some excellent events are happening in the next week. I signed up as a supporter earlier this year, and then forgot to use the discount at the various businesses until it had expired.
Lambtown Wool Festival is one I'll never get to in person, what with it being on the other side of the US, but this year it's gone virtual and I've booked myself on three workshops! Possibly not the most sensible idea, as I'll be finishing very late on Sunday evening and getting up early for work on Monday morning.
Yarndale is live this weekend. Wonderwool Wales was the first big wool festival (here in the UK) to be cancelled this year, so they took it online and made an excellent success out of it. Every wool show since has built on that, putting more events on, allowing vendors a little live slot... I shan't be taking part as I didn't book for Yarndale, but I'll be watching to see what happens. It will be very strange not being there; I'll miss it.
Not much dyeing happened here over the summer. I was at home on furlough for four months from April, but my oven broke down at the same time and I didn't really want strangers in the house to replace it. (Our hot water also conked out at the same time, but our shower heats its own water so that wasn't so vital). We had three rings on the hob working, and I have a remoska for baking, but I dye in the oven so that wasn't happening. We have a new cooker now, but of course it's a fraction smaller so my dyepans don't fit!
I've never done quite as much natural dyeing as I'd like, though I have read wide around it and always have the basics in. This is a rather lovely website I've found recently: Maiwa's Natural Dyes.
I've knitted more than a few tiny bunny sweaters over the summer, but no socks. And apart from a plain gansey in June and July, no large projects have been on my needles. I've cracked my rigid heddle (literally and figuratively; just before lockdown Goblin knocked it down and broke off a part, which I managed to replace but then promptly lost, but it works without and I've been churning out lots of strips of fabric from handspun yarn.) None of which I've photographed yet.
It's still dark outside (Mark's just left for work), although it's cold and clear and not raining outside. But it's only going to get darker from this point onwards. The current Week in Politics blog post gives us something to think about - short but to the point.
It's just before 6am, and still pitch black outside, Venus is glowing brilliantly but nearly washed out behind the overly-bright streetlamps that were put in in 2012. Yoga's another thing I've been doing this summer, so I'll set myself up and do an hour while the sky gradually lightens. It's a very different feel, doing my practice in a dark room as the dawn barely begins, to the brilliant sun I had only a few month ago. Goblin and Sirius often participate.
Sunday, 31 May 2020
So - there's a gansey kal going on this summer, over at the Guernseys, Ganseys and Knit-frocks group on Ravelry. I have more than a few things already on the go*, but I joined in.
I discovered the Manx gansey a few years ago - there's one example in the Isle of Man museum, and when I contacted the museum for more information, they very kindly send me a scan of a pattern for the gansey. I've subsequently (with permission) uploaded that to Ravelry, as the book is long since out of print.
The pattern itself is slightly more elaborate than the photograph here, from the museum. This image shows a very plain gansey, mostly knitted in navy gansey-tytpe yarn, which looks to be naturally-dyed with indigo given the variation in colour. The sleeves are grey, which along with the repairs and hard-wear to the gansey itself, make me thing they are replacement sleeves when the original ones were worn and fraying.
There is ribbing from the upper waist upwards on the body leading straight into the neck, and for the top few inches on the sleeves. The cuffs, welt and collar are all in double rib, finished with a few rounds of stocking stitch.
I can't find an example of the pattern knitted up. There is some difference between the gansey photograph above and the pattern - there is no welt to the body, just straight into stocking stitch. The ribbing starts much higher on the body and there there are a few horizontal ribs between the stocking stitch and the double rib on the body and sleeves. I have found myself wondering if there was one another gansey in the museum once, which would explain the differences.
For the gansey kal I thought I'd knit this pattern exactly as written, insofar as it makes sense. The pattern gives a tension but no needle size or yarn. But 7sts to the inch/28sts to 10cm is a good gansey-type gauge, and would give a sweater of about 38". I'm planning to do a slightly looser gauge, which will be easier on my hands, a bit quicker, and give a bigger finished sweater.
This is my stash of gansey yarn (part of the general reorganisation shortly after I was put on furlough from work):
This is what the two smaller cones of the Frangipani Herring Girl Pink turned into:
I don't do pink. I got these four cones of pink Frangipani cheap a while ago, as they've been stored in daylight at some point, and faded. So on Thursday I wound it into four skeins of about 180g each and spent the afternoon layering up navy and teal-green to give me this sea colour. It would probably have been easier to dye the white up, but I did buy the pink to dye anyway, and I thought the pink would add a nice warmth under the blue-green, which indeed it has done.
It's after nine on Sunday night. I shall put the colourwork shawl in Millarochy Tweed aside for the time being (but not for long, there's a lot to do for it and it has to be finished soon) and play with needle sizes tonight.
*Things on the go: Mark's peacoat, which only needs sleeves and lining and buttons attached, but it's hot and he won't need it for months; aforementioned colourwork shawl for a Kate Davies Design challenge; weaving that needs to be finished and off the rigid heddle loom so I can put something else on it that i've been asked to do, but there's 300g of spinning to be done for that other thing too.