At some point last year I decided to try and use more real wool yarns when knitting (unless it was for a baby – they only get acrylic) but my budget doesn’t always allow for 100% wool enhancements to my stash so I often compromise with a wool acrylic blend, and after Crafty Toddler’s experiments with the washing machine earlier in the week I am very glad this is the case. Boil wash meets hand knitted Fair Isle yoke sweater and a shop bought wool/ alpaca/ acrylic cardigan. Yes, I did a very sharp in take of breath when I realised she had turned the dial up too. After a massive panic on my part I decided to brave opening the washer and prepared myself for the worst. The cardigan is ruined, it is now small enough to fit Crafty Toddler and quite a thick felt. Luckily the Fair Isle sweater faired better, its 63% acrylic/ 37% wool blend saved it. Thankfully no shrinkage but the ribbed section at the bottom has lost its elasticity and something leaked blue dye which over dyed the white section so the contrast in the Fair Isle section is not as noticeable as it was, its more of a subtle variation now but still wearable.
On a happier note I went to visit my family last weekend and ate my body weight in homemade cake and biscuits. I also got to visit my brother’s small flock of sheep.
Crafty Toddler was very impressed with the sheep, she was also impressed with the sheep poo and insisted on trying to pick up each and every bit she found! The flock is a mix of Wensleydale, Swaledale, Texel and Suffolk/ Texel crosses and they had all (except the new lambs) been sheared the week before so they were looking very skinny. It did mean that I had 20 odd fleeces to inspect with my Dad though. The aren’t coated so the fleeces were a bit of the dirty side but contained surprisingly little veg matter. The nicest fleece from a spinning perspective seemed to be the Suffolk/ Texel cross which when I teased it out drafted like BFL and felt really soft as it was a first shearing. I called dibs on this one but I suspect I may be at the bottom of the list as I wasn’t offering to pay for it.
On the car journey over to my parent’s house I finally managed to do some knitting. I finished (including working Kitchener stitch whilst sat in the back of car entertaining Crafty Toddler) a pair of socks for my MIL that I had promised my OH I would make for Christmas. This earned me massive amounts of brownie points and definitely secured me permission to buy myself a spinning wheel for my birthday next month. The socks were knitted using Drops Fable Print on 2.5mm needles (magic looping) in a UK size 5/6 (ladies medium). It was my standard vanilla sock pattern casting on 60sts and using the Fish Lips Kiss heel.
As I was on a bit of a roll with the knitting I cast on another version of the sockhead hat when I’d finished the socks, using 3mm needles on a 16″ cable and some of my handspun yarn. The yarn is the left overs from my hitchhiker scarf so I should have a nice matching hat by the end of it. say matching but it is knitting up slightly differently, more of a striped effect in stocking stitch in the round. As I am not a teenager I have reduced the ribbed section and won’t knit it with anywhere near as much slouch.
I had planned on writing a review of this quarter’s Spin Off magazine and with this in mind I sat down to read it with a cup of tea and a croissant.
Crafty Toddler however had other ideas, mainly that she wanted to read the magazine instead and when she wasn’t allowed went on a plant destruction protest so I still haven’t managed to have a proper look at it.
In terms of my stash down plans for this year I seem to be doing really well as far as yarn is concerned having only bought 400g but used well over 3 times that much. I’m not doing so well with the fibre! I think so far this year I have spun about 450g and after 2 trips to Wooly Knit (my LYS) have bought exactly 450g. This includes the dyed merino top I mentioned in the last blog post and 150g of BFL and 100g of natural grey Norwegian top that I bought this week. I’m hoping that I can balance my purchases out over the rest of the year so I don’t fall down too badly on my stash down goals. More evidence that I need the spinning wheel though so I can speed up my spinning!
Next week’s blog post all being well (and assuming I can set it up to auto post as my OH will be off next week and we are having some work done on the house) will be another exercise in pattern writing. I finally got round to typing up the pattern for the semi-circular crochet shawl I made a few weeks ago and got my OH to take some pictures to go with it at the weekend. I hope it makes sense and please remember when looking at the photos I am 25 weeks pregnant, my bottom is allowed to be that big!