Or in this case, fibre fumes. I may or may not have to confess to adding to my already significant stash of fibre for spinning but I shall get to that later.
On the needles:
As I will be knitting the colour work yoke in the round I knitted the swatch in the round too. Bearing in mind that I only learnt how to knit Fair Isle patterns about a year and a half ago and haven’t really done any since then I thought it turned out quite well. My gauge is completely off with only 19sts per 10cm not the 23sts suggested in the pattern so I am going to have to go down 2 needle sizes. I should perhaps go down more but I think that my gauge will tighten up the more I get used to knitting it again. Fingers crossed.
As for the rest of the jumper I have finished the body up to where the yoke begins and I am now on to the sleeves. My original plan had been to shorten the sleeves to 3/4 length and I had cast on an adjusted number of stitches to reflect this but I was right to be concerned about how skinny the sleeves were. Even casting on an extra 10 sts for the cuff there is no way these will fit as 3/4 length so I am going to have to knit them full length as the enlarged cuff fits comfortably actually on my wrist and I have just taken on some more contract knitting so I haven’t really got time to rip both sleeves out, work out new sizes and start again.
At some point today I will also be casting on my next Christmas knitting project, a sock head hat by Kelly McClure (a free pattern on Ravelry).
I mentioned in a previous post that I was planning on teaching myself how to knit using the magic loop technique with a view to one day being able to knit 2 at a time, toe up socks. In theory I now have all the skills thanks to a few YouTube videos.
VeryPink Knits has some fabulous videos showing how to use magic loop and how to work two at a time socks.
The Knit Girllls have a really useful tutorial on after thought heels.
And finally here is one on Judy’s Magic Cast on for starting off toe up socks.
I say in theory as I tried using the magic loop technique to knit my sweater sleeves 2 at a time and it went a bit wrong. It was a yarn tangle that I didn’t seem to have enough arms to sort out. A better idea may have been waiting until Crafty Baby was asleep and in bed for the evening before trying it, I live and learn. More practice needed but I am not ready to give up yet.
I went to Woolyknit in Diggle yesterday and I got a little bit carried away adding to my fibre stash. I had a list of what I was allowed to buy and well basically I ignored it. Ever a sucker for a bargain bin I spent a good 20 minutes rummaging in the bins full of fibre odd and ends. I think it is really meant for people to use for felting but I pulled out the bits that looked like they would still draw well and spin up ok. I came away with 4 bags full for less than £10!
The plan is to spin up at least part of it as gifts for knitting friends but more than half of it will be going directly in to my existing and not insignificant fibre stash in the cupboard for when I finally get time to sit and do some spinning for me.
This year I suggested to one of my friends that instead of buying each other birthday and Christmas gifts we should perhaps do a skills swap and she loved the idea so this week we finally arranged to meet up (even though she only lives 3.5 miles away!) and had a lovely morning sewing Christmas projects. We started with some small felt stockings and I think the next project is going to be some tree decorations. As I don’t consider myself a good host unless I have force fed my guests I baked a cake for her visit. It was the yoghurt pot cake from Nigella Lawson’s Nigellissima book (I’ve looked on the BBC site but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be one of the featured recipes from the TV series but I would recommend picking it up from your local library for this recipe alone). It is possibly one of the most simple cakes in the world but absolutely delicious. I had forgotten to make it the night before but managed to have it made and cooling on the wire rack between getting up at 8.15am and my friend arriving at 9.45am.
The runner beans have gone mad! The freezer is full, we have been doing guerrilla bean drops on people’s door steps under cover of darkness, we have included them in every meal we have cooked for the last 2 weeks yet still the beans keep on coming. The solution? Valentine Warner’s Runner Bean Chutney from What to Eat Now More Please. I’m sat looking at the jars in the kitchen as I type this and wondering if I really do need to wait a whole month before I try some.
In other allotment news my OH has been hard at work digging up tree stumps and replacing edging around the raised beds this week, I played the baby card so got to sit at home with my knitting but I did help out by working on the plan for next years crops which will hopefully include a section for some natural dye plants for me.