Monthly Archives: September 2013

Finished object report!

Is been a while since my last post, largely due to our Internet not working (it has been a looong process of numerous phone calls to a well known phone/broadband/TV company but that’s another story) so I have been very busy using that time to finish my Jacob cardi.

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I became a little bit obsessed and finished the sleeves in 2 days…I now have sore wrists! And I got really, really fed up with knitting in the round on dpns.
I don’t mind sewing in ends and try to do them as I go along, it provides a few moments to recap on progress and reflect on how things are going. However, as the sleeves are long, thin tubes, this wasn’t possible so it had to be done once completed and the sleeves turned inside out.

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How many ends?!???

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I think I could knit another sweater with that lot.
It is now all finished, with every last end sewn in. I am waiting for some buttons to arrive; I thought that some wooden ones might be nice but after looking I couldn’t find ones which were quite right. Then I wondered whether, as it is knit with Jacob wool, some Jacob horn buttons would work, I couldn’t find any of those, specifically, but I did find some sheep horn buttons from a small island in Orkney called Auskerry. As the weather hasn’t been too good for them there has been a bit of a delay in posting but I think they will be lovely and look just right.
I will post further pics of the finished object complete with buttons when they get here.
Anyway, enough for today, go well, until next time.

Calling all spinners!

You may remember a fairly recent post about the video link-up my spinning group shared with another group in the Falklands (international (well kind of) spin along). It was so successful that we decided to attempt another one but much more wide ranging…i.e. everywhere! We are hoping to host a spinning link-up with groups representing every continent over a whole day; because of the time differences we are unable to get everyone together at the same time but can manage this over a longer period. This will be facilitated via Skype and other Internet type connections…bare in mind we are all technologically useless challenged.
However, there are still some continents that we have been unable to establish connections with so if you live outside of Caithness and would like to get involved the details are below.
The last one was great fun and also hugely interesting. I learnt a lot about how other spinners live in the Falklands, not least that bananas cost about ¬£1 each!! In preparation for this one we had already spoken via telephone with a woman in the Antarctic who will be joining us on the day. She is part of an international research group living there in complete isolation apart from the Internet but knits in her spare time…I think that warm woollen garments are rather useful there.

Here is the info you need if you are interested:

‘We’re a small, informal group of spinners, from rural communities of N.Scotland, who meet at Castletown Heritage Centre, Caithness.
We’re looking for similar groups, N.America/Canada and Asia, to link up on Skype.
No fancy equipment needed, just a web cam, internet access and Skype.
The group will also need an English speaker, in case of any minor technical hitches, and to exchange emails with Ann.
Date Saturday 26th October 2013. Best time (to accommodate all participating countries) TBA.
Any interested spinning groups please email Ann annjohnson@zetnet.co.uk’

Or alternatively contact me via the blog.

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I keep my promises…sometimes….

I have knitting for you! And spinning!! I have made a good start on Paulie after deciding that this was the pattern for my birthday yarn.

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It is a nice, steady knit, with not too much thinking involved, just the odd stripe so I don’t fall asleep mid-row. As you may remember, the main colour is 4ply Jacob and for the chocolate stripes I am using up some 4ply shetland; both from Natural Yarn.
I decided that Jacob wool makes my favourite kind of yarn, for today. I love the springy, bouncy feel and while shetland wool is gorgeously soft it does tend to pile relatively quickly and Jacob is a little more ‘woolly’ but harder wearing. As with much of life, a compromise has to be made with yarn – softness versus resilience. There has been far too many occasions when I have fallen for the charms of silk blended merino and spent hours (and pennies) knitting it into a beautiful garment only for it to turn into a bobbly, overstretched dishrag after two wearings. Another reason to buy British wool…
I have spun up a skein of yarn from some hand dyed tops I bought at Woolfest, it’s gorgeous

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I love the colours, they are very Autumnal so perfect for this time of year. I haven’t really decided what to do with it yet, whether to gift it or put it into my Etsy shop. I know I’m probably not going to use it myself, not at the moment anyhow, I have far too many plans…
Top of my list is spinning enough Jacob to make some kind of sweater, possibly Darrowby, but a jumper with some kind of cabley affair is speaking to me at the moment.

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As you can see, our dining table is covered with fleece and so far I have the grand total of one skein spun

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There is a good article by Lisa Grossman, the designer of Darrowby, about the process of spinning to knit which I found inspiring and has given me the ‘blueprint’ for my process. I will keep you all updated…thank you for reading, go well.

What wool be wool be…

What is your personal philosophy? Are you religious? Or do you believe in the power of positive thinking (not that one is exclusive of the other)? Do you think that what goes around comes around?
Are you superstitious and believe that your fate is shaped by the number of magpies you spot?
Today is Friday the 13th and many think that they will face bad fortune today, others that they will be pursued by a psychopath wearing an ice hockey mask…
I tend not to be superstitious and don’t follow a specific religion, although I do hold my own set of beliefs that may be viewed as religion or superstition depending on your world view.
One of my tenets is that I am exactly where I am supposed to be and that I am going where I am supposed to go. I would like that be towards running my own yarn dyeing business (had you guessed?!?), either alongside my ‘normal’ job or not, health depending, but I have faith in something (I have no idea what that is) that if I don’t end up there it is because I am due somewhere else…better. I believe the universe has much better vision than little old me!
That said I received my first custom order this week and delivered it this evening, with much excitement.

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Do you like it, do you, do you?
I was very nervous about whether she would like it or not, it was almost as though I was waiting for judgement upon me and my future! Nevertheless, she did and I was very very pleased. I really hope she enjoys knitting with it.
Cheery bye for now, go well until next time.
PS, I promise some knitting next time

Warning: low fibre content

Well, where has the week gone? The weekend is peeking it’s welcome nose around the corner and I have no idea what I have been up to over the last few days except for watch rubbish TV (celebrity big brother…I know, I know, it’s my guilty pleasure), sleep, rest, and then sleep some more. My energy levels have been very low so I haven’t even been tweeting much. Consequently this will be a short post, especially as I have the attention span of a midge.
I did manage to go to my spinning group on Sunday, it is very important to me as I have little real face to face interaction with people and I find inspiration and encouragement from spending time with other yarny people. We had several newcomers, which was great, but this made it more draining for me and I left early. M.E. is a curious thing as post exertional malaise (to get a bit technical) takes about 48 hours, in my case, to arrive and I could hardly move on Tuesday.
I don’t mind this, really I don’t. Before becoming unwell I did expect to be able to maintain good health into old age but I now realise that this is not the case for many people, not just me, and many who face much more challenging conditions and illnesses.
I am immensely blessed to live where I do and be able to fill my time with woolly activities. Don’t think I am ‘Pollyanna – ish’ either, I moan a lot but laugh more.

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I can’t credit that photo, I nicked it from the Internet…sorry

Shameless self promotion…

I think my beloved Autumn has arrived; today we have rain, wind, wet dogs and leaks in our conservatory. Nevertheless, there are no daddy long legs tormenting me and I am happily blogging in one of my unsuitable hand knitted cardis, so all is well with the world (I’m not sure Mr Knittingkitten would agree, he currently on the roof of said conservatory trying to fix the leak…).
It has been relatively unfruitful on the knitting front, I have, most uncharacteristically, started knitting (deep breath) an acrylic baby blanket.

Silence..a dust ball blows across the floor…

Yes, you read correctly, let me write it again…an acrylic (that is to say, not wool, nope, not been anywhere near a sheep, let alone a British rare breed sheep, at all) baby blanket. The kind that your granny used to knit, the kind that put me off knitting for much of my adult life as I believed (wrongly) that acrylic baby items were all that you could hand knit.
I am not sure what has come over me.
At least it is white and not pale pink or blue. That is the only redeeming feature I can come up with.
Maybe I am having a mid-life crisis and that is all I wish to say on the matter. I will post photos once my camera has come out from it’s state of shock.

On the subject of cameras, for the photos I use here and for my Etsy shop I just use my camera phone, a 5 megapixel job and it is very easy to upload photos etc etc. I realised, after looking at my Etsy shop that they are not as good as I thought, especially compared to some of the gorgeous photos taken by other shop owners.
So I looked to my hubby, who has a proper camera and he took some beautiful pics of my yarn. All good, you think…however, it is a right performance to download them to the laptop, email them to my iPad, upload them and then see if they are suitable (not forgetting we live in a ‘rural’ location so have the Internet speed of a snail). In the grand scheme of things this really isn’t a ‘performance’, but I have been a little spoilt in the ease of my camera phone plus having M.E. kind of makes doing ‘stuff’ harder.
So I decided I need one of those superdooper ‘point and press’ wifi connectable 10 zillion megapixel cameras and found the perfect one on Amazon. Hence the need for some self promotion…I need to sell some yarn to raise funds. So I have dyed some yarn to add to my collection, inspired by the more Autumnal feel around me. Have a look:

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They are beautiful even though I say it myself. I only offer yarn for sale that I would buy myself, and I am was very discerning. Those are blue face Leicester lace weight, super soft and drapey. Here is some chunky weight Swaledale yarn, ideal for a toasty winter hat or wrist warmers

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And finally, I’ve re-photoed some gorgeous white face woodland yarn which is just scummy, I can’t get the photos to do it justice.

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That yarn takes the dye so well, the colours are bright and vibrant. All of these can be found at my Etsy shop, colouredinCaithness, happy shopping! Go well, until next time.

Decisions, decisions, decisions…

I have been needing a cardigan for a while. I have lots of cardigans, lots of very lovely hand knitted cardigans.

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Those are some of them…But I don’t seem to have the Right One. I’m not really sure what the Right One would look like but I know that it would not be a chunky or bulky knit, I need it to fit comfortably under a coat. Neither would it be ‘girly’ in any way shape or form, so that pretty much rules out lace; nor would it be scratchy but soft enough to wear next to skin yet hard wearing…are you starting to see my dilemma?
It was my birthday last month so with my birthday money (thanks everyone) I decided to invest in some yarn from my favourite yarn shop, Natural Yarn; a whole cardigan’s worth of 4ply Jacob wool.

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Isn’t it gorgeous? It’s very soft and bouncy yet still sheepy enough for you to know where it has come from. Plus, and very importantly, it is British grown and spun.
So, having finished a few bit and pieces and smuggly made a couple of Christmas presents, I decided to start trawling Ravelry for a suitable pattern.
Ha! Easier said than done, well the trawling was easy enough but actually making a decision was pretty much impossible. I considered funky grandpa, but thought it is not plain enough. Then I pondered about this, Darrowby, but dismissed it as being a bit too complicated for my M.E. fuddled brain, next I came across a shawl, sideways bias triangle. At last! I found something that made my fingers twitch for my knitting pins. One problem, did you spot it? Yup, not a cardigan…
I have some 4ply chocolate coloured Shetland, left over from Paperdolls which would make a great shawl…not nearly enough for this pattern but…I might just go and cast on anyway….