Way off schedule with this week’s post but finally found time to recap my Welsh adventures from last weekend and the surprising amount of crafting I’ve managed to squeeze in this week.
Last weekend we had a Crafty Family camping trip to Criccieth in Wales, we stayed at the same site that we went to last year and yes we did book the tepee again as it works perfectly for us having a toddler and associated mountain of toddler junk to find room for. The downside this time was that being pregnant the squat and waddle posture that you need to adopt to get through the door opening was an “interesting” experience! Before anyone gets excited and thinks we were glamping, we were not. Over the course of the weekend we shared the tepee with a baby toad, a slug and a mouse (I did freak out slightly about the mouse but I was fine with the other wild life). Oh and it took over 40 minutes to cook pasta on the camping stove on the first night so needless to say the second night we made sure we ate out.
On the way to Wales in the car I found time for a spot of car knitting, in between trying to entertain a toddler who hates car travel, which on a 4 hour trip can be quite difficult work. On the first night though I did manage to do some spinning on my spindle in front of the log burner. I only had about 30 minutes before it got too dark to do it without wearing a head torch (which I drew the line at) but it was really good fun. I was spinning some undyed BFL that I’d bought from Wooly Knit and plan to ply with some hand dyed merino (more about this in a minute).
During the weekend I also decided to make a version of a Turkish spindle with found/ foraged materials so that I could use it to spin the shed fleece I found as we worked across the fields from the campsite towards the beach. After a few failed attempts with using long grasses to bind the spindle together I thankfully found a bit of bailer band/ twine in a field so I used this to fasten it all together and it worked much better.
OK so its not exactly pretty, nor is it particularly well balanced BUT it worked and it was a bit of fun to keep me entertained. I’ve spun all the shed fleece I found on our walk but it still needs to be plied and most definitely washed as my hand were very dirty and sticky by the end of it. I’ll post more pictures when it is finished.
This is one of the views on the walk when I found the fleece.
Crafty toddler and I seemed a bit obsessed with sheep, she spent most of the trip shouting baa and doing the sign language sign for sheep but this was one field of sheep she missed as she was sleeping in her carrier.
We spent a fabulous amount of time at the beach too, one was very flat and sandy and the other was a stony/ rocky beach.
Oh and if anyone wants any inspiration for dying up some variegated yarn I recommend the colours in these pebbles. Just beautiful.
On to the crafting.
Like I said, I managed to fit a bit of sock knitting in on the car journey and then a bit more whilst I was waiting at the hospital for baby related check ups. Surprisingly I was the only person knitting in the waiting room, in fact I was the only person who seemed to have taken anything to do, nobody else so mush as had a book or magazine, very odd! It did mean however that I got another pair of socks finished, this is a picture from them in progress as I plan on writing up the pattern and adding it to the blog in a few weeks. I used 2.5mm needles and some of the Regia Design Line Kaffe Fassett colourway.
As soon as I grafted the toe on the second one of these I tried to cast on another pair of socks (Christmas knitting for my brother) in some Drops Delight. After breaking the yarn twice during the cast on I gave it up as a bad job and realised that if it was that weak on the cast on there was no way it was going to stand up to being worn as a sock. It also reinforced my dislike of single ply yarns. I’m thinking about using the yarn for a cowl instead on much bigger needles which hopefully wont put so much stress on it during the cast on process.
As my gift knitting was thwarted I cast on some more socks for me using stash yarn that I had been given by my Mum last Christmas. Again using my standard vanilla sock pattern, some 2.5mm needles, the magic loop technique and some Regia Mix it Color yarn in the coway 09377. Here is the first one.
The second sock is yet to be cast on as I was uber tired yesterday so had a craft free evening – we are also trying to do some sleep training with Crafty Toddler which isn’t leaving me much free time on an evening.
Whilst we were having work done on the house my OH had time off work and decided he would use big chunks of it to go out on bike rides with Crafty Toddler. This left me with a lot of spare time during the day and a need to keep myself busy so I wouldn’t stress out at being separated from my baby so I took the opportunity to process some of the merino fleece my MIL had given me 2 years ago. This had the added benefit of allowing me to tick off another item of my crafting resolutions list.
Here I am combing it using some pet brushes. The process was relatively easy to do after I’d watched a couple of videos on YouTube and I whizzed through the batch of fleece that I had dyed last year, the undyed fleece however is still sitting in the craft room.
And here is the first colour spun up.
I seem to be getting about a laceweight single but with a significant amount of nups/ neps, I thought this was due to my poor fibre prep but having since read more about European merinos I have discovered that nups/ neps are quite a common thing so I’m not going to fret too much. As I only dyed small batches for each of my colour experiments I decided I would ply them together with some undyed BFL and them knit them in to a bigger item with a colour graduation in it, possibly a shawl rather than a garment but this depends on the final yardage.
Oh and finally I fell down again with the fibre stash down! Last year in Wales I bought some crab fibre from a craft shop but when we went back to the same shop this year they had stopped selling spinning supplies. As I had already budgeted for buying some fibre on my holidays and given myself a mental excuse that this didn’t count against my stash down I decided to treat myself to some when I got home and did a bit of internet shopping. Here is what I ended up getting.
The blue/ grey braid is a blend of Norwegian wool tops and bamboo and came in the colourway “swim with dolphins” clearly a seaside theme to go with my holiday so I had to buy it. Free with my order I got a mini sample of some superwash Wensleydale in the plumage colourway which spookily was the braid I nearly bought instead of the grey one! it also came with a herbal tea bag and a very cute dragonfly stitch marker. For £8 plus £2.80 postage considered this to be a total bargain. I now really need to crack on with some more spinning though otherwise I have no chance of redeeming myself as far as the stash down goes!