What to do when the temperature rises…

… knit with aran weight alpaca of course!

Given that we are enjoying some lovely hot weather in the UK at the moment most sensible people would be thinking about casting on some nice cool cotton for a light weight t-shirt/ vest or turning to lace shawls but not me. This past week I have been knitting entirely with an alpaca/ silk blend in an aran weight and very unusually for me it has predominantly been undyed yarn. I am a massive fan of highly variegated or as I would say jazzy yarns so working with something so simple has been a bit of a challenge for me. One of the reasons it has been such a challenge is that it really shows up any imperfections or errors. Normally when I am knitting (and especially if I am knitting for myself) I tend towards the “oh I’ll just fudge it, it will be fine” if I make a mistake but I couldn’t do that with these projects, the yarn wouldn’t let me. Previously the thought of ripping back knitting has left me in a bit of a cold sweat but now I seem to be able to do it as comfortably as I can for crochet projects.

So what am I making?

I’ve picked a few patterns from the Ruth and Belinda website. I’m working on the;
– gilda gloves
– frilly ‘o’ wrap
– fanfare wrap
– vortex shrug

The first three are super easy patterns that you can do without really thinking, the shrug is a bit more challenging and has introduced me to “nupps” or in this case p5tog for which I found this tutorial really useful. As this pattern requires me to concentrate on counting stitches I think I should perhaps save it for when crafty baby is asleep. I’ll post more pictures when they are all finished but in the mean time here is a sneaky peak at the vortex in progress.

vortex shrug

The spinning I mentioned in my last blog has been put on the back burner a bit. When I got back from Wales I whizzed through another 100g of the fibre (a commercially prepared variegated merino) in no time at all, all on my little drop spindle. I thought I would start plying some of the yarn I had created rather than leaving it as singles, this is where I made my first mistake. This was quickly followed by many more. To say the plying didn’t go well is an understatement. Picture if you will a tangle of yarn twisting back on itself at every available opportunity, me waving my arms about trying to keep control of everything and untangle twists at the same time as keeping tension and holding on to a spindle with a mind of its own. I think I got about 5m of 2ply before the rage got the better of me and I threw it in to a corner. I’m not ready to face a second attempt just yet but if anyone has any tips on easy ways to ply I am all ears.

As a family we have been making the most of the sunshine and spending as much time as we can (when my OH isn’t at work) at the allotment. Its beginning to look really good – by which I mean green.


We have also had our first crop of strawberries which has been lovely but did have my OH asking for me to bake him some meringues to go with them. I think they turned out quite well and thankfully they didn’t stick to the paper, although I think this was a total fluke rather than any kind of skill on my part.


Next time I am putting food colouring in them to make them look extra pretty.

On top of all this I have recently discovered the joy of podcasts. I’d never really understood what they were all about before, my OH listens to hours of them on his ipod (mostly about cycling I think) but I hadn’t really paid much attention to them but this week I started listening to one as I had run out of programmes to watch on iplayer and didn’t fancy listening to the radio. I seem to be hooked and have gone in search of more knitting and spinning related ones, twitter has been very helpful in my quest and I’ve been pointed in the direction of some really good ones. This blog is already quite an epic so I won’t start listing them all here just yet, I’ll wait for another blog post and add some recommendations then.

One of the podcasts did get me planning some more knitting though. She mentioned the idea of a KAL using an existing pattern from your craft library, you know, the ones we have on our shelves for years but never get around to knitting and often forget we even have when we go searching for hours on ravelry for something new to knit. I thought this was a brilliant idea, the suggested start date is the end of August so this gives me plenty of time to pick a pattern although I already have one in mind out of my Rowan Nordic Tweed book.

On that note I am going in search of my pattern book, I may be some time and I may well be distracted by other pretty patterns before I reach the one I have in mind.


About themanyknitsofnadine

Interested in all things crafty, I knit, spin, sew, crochet, quilt, grow my own and bake (although the baking these days is all allergy friendly) and I try and blog about all these things. I also host a bi-weekly podcast on incorporating slow living into all my crafty adventures
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