Friday, 27 February 2015

Fibre Friday #3

Stranded Fibre Friday Spinning Knitting Dyeing
This week I've started lots of new things (as well as done a little bit of finishing), but first I've been knitting on my toe up vanilla socks out of 'Pinkalicious Rainbow' by Yarnink. I'd started the first sock last week and was lamenting my lack of the Fish Lips Kiss heel (which has since been remedied - Thankyou to Aleks for gifting that to me). First time around I knit a short row heel, but that didn't fit right, so I ripped back and did the pattern for the Gusset Heel Basic Socks by Wendy D. Johnson from her book Socks From The Toe Up and it fit perfectly - I'd forgotten how good gusset heels fit. I've finished the first sock and knit around three inches on the second one while skyping my friends this week. Sidenote: Videocalling, how did we cope without it?
Stranded Fibre Friday Spinning Knitting Dyeing
Whilst skimming through Socks From The Toe Up I came across the Tic-Tac-Toe-Up socks, with a fun pattern of X's and O's (I sit and mutter "XO XO Gossip Gir"l as I'm knitting them, but that's just me...) which I've cast on in some yarn I hand dyed a while back, on size 2mm (US 0) needles. I've done another 1.5 pattern repeats since I took the above picture and I'm pleased with how it's knitting up so far - the lace is nice and stretchy so they should be a good fit despite the tiny needle size.
Stranded Fibre Friday Spinning Knitting Dyeing
Another new cast on this week is the Less Is More Shawl by Maanel, which is a free pattern on Ravelry. This is being knit on size 3.75mm (US 5) needles - the pattern calls for slightly smaller needles but I liked the drape of the fabric that this size gave. I'm using some of my hand dyed merino 2ply from last week's dyeing session - I love the coral colour, but I'm not a big fan of the base, there's not much twist so it wouldn't hold up well for a garment. I have around 800m of it, so I'm just going to knit until I either run out of yarn / get bored, any guesses as to which will come first?!
Stranded Fibre Friday Spinning Knitting Dyeing
Finally on to something I finished this week - my Ginkgo Crescent Shawl by Jade Keaney which is another free pattern on Rav and was perfect for a single skein of Madeline Tosh 'Tosh Merino Light' that I picked up from Purl Soho in NYC this time last year as it's a single (non plied) yarn that wouldn't hold up to long term wear. This was in the 'Candlewick' colourway - mustard yellow is my all time favourite colour and I'm so pleased that it works well with coral, which is a very close second!
Stranded Fibre Friday Spinning Knitting Dyeing Stranded Fibre Friday Spinning Knitting Dyeing
I wear all my shawls and shawlettes as scarves, I don't really wear outfits that need shawl-shawls, if that makes sense!
Stranded Fibre Friday Spinning Knitting Dyeing
On to spinning and I've got a lovely blend of BFL, Cashmere & Nylon from Lime Green Jelly on my wheel at the moment. I'm spinning it as fine as I can, with the intention of creating a 3ply sock yarn. But before I could get that on the wheel I  had to get this off...Stranded Fibre Friday Spinning Knitting Dyeing
Ever feel like your equipment is conspiring against you? That's how I felt winding my Just A Day Dream yarn off the bobbins, literally everything went wrong. One of the ends popped off a bobbin, causing a huge tangle. Then the yarn kept snagging on my Lazy Kate and snapping. Then the swift dropped as I was winding it onto it, messing up my yardage count. So in the end I wound what turned out to be over 1000yds of a 2ply from one swift, through my new shiny Schacht Yardage counter, onto another swift. This process took about 5hrs+ and the swift kept slipping, so it's created a hank I can't twist (hence the lack of shiny photos of pretty finished skeins) and that is going to be an utter nightmare to wind into a cake. But that'll be a story for next week I should expect! The moral of this story is Buy Good Equipment (which I have started doing with all recent purchases) and also Buy A Skein-winder so this Never Ever Happens Again.

But on the plus side - over 1000 yards of a 2ply from 200g - I consider that to be a success! Just don't count the knots in the skein...
Stranded Fibre Friday Spinning Knitting Dyeing
This saga was the first time I used my Schacht yardage counter and it was the only bit of equipment that did what it was supposed to do. It's my very first Schacht product (it's not a widely accessible brand here in the UK) I ordered it online from Webs and I look forward to see how it holds up to future use. Good equipment is a good investment.
Stranded Fibre Friday Spinning Knitting Dyeing
Finally, I dyed this rainbow braid of BFL - which is a little bit patchy, but is going to be so much fun to spin up. I'm thinking of plying it with something neutral - maybe a grey or some undyed fibre, to tone it down just a little.

Phew. That's been a long post to write. That's what happens when there's no one around to talk knitting with! I'm hopefully going to a knitting group on Wednesday night, so I shall report back on how that goes, next week.

I hope you've had a wonderful week, happy Friday everyone!

Friday, 20 February 2015

Fibre Friday #2

It's been a strangely productive week, although I don't feel like I've done much knitting - but I've done a fair bit of everything else - so it all balances out! It's interesting how much you can get done when you live in a place where everything is a car ride away (and you don't drive or have a car) and you don't know anyone!
Stranded Socks Fibre Friday Knitting Socks
Knitting-wise I have finished my Autumn Rainbow socks in yarn by Fab Funky Fibres (who currently don't have any self striping in their shop right now - which is probably a good thing for my bank account, albeit a bit sad for the stash). They're snug fitting - one is a tiny bit small, but they spent some time being washed and blocked and I'm sure they'll be fine. My mum said they look like commercial socks, which I think is a compliment?! But I think that's just because the gauge is so tiny.
Knitting Spinning Dyeing Stranded Fibre Friday
Continuing on the socks theme, after finishing the Autumn Rainbows I wanted my to cast on more colourful socks - so I dug out a skein of Pinkalicious Rainbow by YarnInk that my parents bought me for my last birthday. I'm knitting vanilla toe up socks on 2.25mm (US 1) needles. I was going to try the Fish Lips Kiss heel, but because of the whole VATMOSS nonsense, the pattern is unavailable for purchase in the EU, so a short row heel it is!
Knitting Spinning Dyeing Stranded Fibre Friday
I went through my WIPs bin this week and decided to frog a sock I'd been knitting with my hand dyed yarn because it was just too small and the cuff was too short, but apparently it really really didn't want to be ripped out as it's now a tangled mess, but I'll still have enough for a pair so I'll probably just throw this mess out.
Knitting Spinning Dyeing Stranded Fibre Friday
I finally finished spinning all of the Just A Daydream batts in the 'Olive Bowl' colourway so now I'm on a never ending plying mission! Must glue some of my bobbins this week - the ends are popping off when they start to get full which is hindering the process slightly...
Knitting Spinning Dyeing Stranded Fibre Friday
I wound off the last thing on the wheel - a 70/30 BFL, Tussah Silk blend from Yummy Yarns. I got 398yds from a 100g braid. It's not the softest fibre in the world, so may make it's way into a hat at some point. Also, I bought a big pack of plain white wristbands - the kind you get at festivals - to write my yardage and fibre content and dyer information on - hopefully this will make it easier to use my handspun in projects!
Knitting Spinning Dyeing Stranded Fibre Friday
I've also been doing some dyeing for the first time in months, this week. I have to dye when my Dad's at work (he's banned me from dyeing in the kitchen because he's convinced I'll ruin it. Any guesses as to how much I miss living on my own?!) - but I got a good two days of dyeing in - and I remembered how much I love it, so watch this space for more dyeing exploits.
Knitting Spinning Dyeing Stranded Fibre Friday
This is a merino silk blend that I'm super happy with, maybe this'll go on the wheel after I finish plying the Just A Daydream. Hmmm...

I hope you've had a productive knitting week! Have a lovely weekend.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Fibre Friday #1

Welcome to a new weekly feature - Fibre Friday. It's no secret that I'm a fibre addict - knitting, spinning, dyeing - a bit of crochet and weaving here and there - I love it. This series allows me to keep track of what I've been working on and share it with anyone who might be interested! Now I've moved to the seaside, most of my knitting friends are back in London, so it's hard to find people to talk about my knitting with, without their eyes glazing over!
Knitting Spinning Fibre Friday Stranded
So this week I've been knitting on three things - a toe up vanilla sock out of Fab Funky Fibres  'Autumn Rainbow' - I accidentally started knitting these with 2mm (US 0) needles instead of my usual 2.25mm and had a bit of a will-they-fit?! panic, as this yarn is way too nice to give away to someone else. But I did my first 60% afterthought heel and it's shaping up to be one of the best fitting socks I've knit in a long time.
Knitting Spinning Fibre Friday Stranded
I have also finally swatched and cast on for the Old Romance cardigan by Joji Locatelli, this is my first time knitting one of her patterns and it's been at the top of my ravelry queue for ages. I'm knitting it out of Madeline Tosh 'Tosh Sock' in the Moorland colourway. I've only knit several repeats of the first lace insert so far, but it makes a change from stockinette in the round! I'm doing a little knitalong with @TheNuttyKnitter on instagram too - which mainly involves me guilt knitting to try and keep up with her! Knitting Spinning Fibre Friday StrandedSpinning wise, I've been spinning merino batts from Just A Daydream in the 'Olive Bowl' colourway - pictured is my second bobbin, it's going to be a 2ply which will hopefully end up a heavy fingering weight and probably be knit into a shawl.
Knitting Spinning Fibre Friday Stranded
While I've predominantly been working on the 'Olive Bowl' batts (I've spun about 125g this week), I wanted to clear leftover singles from some of my bobbins so I plied them together to create a frankenskein of leftovers - which is good plying practice if nothing else!
Knitting Spinning Fibre Friday StrandedMy last knitting project of the week - and an FO - this is the Spring Beret by Natalie Larson, which I knit out of Semilla Grosso by Danish yarn company BC Garn in the 'Robin Egg' colourway. This is my very first beret - I normally knit slouchy beanie hats - but this is for my partner in the Mystery Hat Swap run by Liesl of Buckaloo ViewKnitting Spinning Fibre Friday Stranded Knitting Spinning Fibre Friday Stranded
A super quick knit and I'm really pleased with how it turned out - I think I'll be knitting more berets in the future - my mum has already put an order in for one, which is unusual as she is a self confessed Hater Of Hats.
Knitting Spinning Fibre Friday Stranded
All in all, a pretty productive week I think - my knitting mojo has definitely returned! I want to cast on ALLTHETHINGS. If you're interested in seeing what's on my needles or on my wheel, you can find me on instagram as @amyflorence. I hope you've had a lovely week and that Friday 13th has been kind to you.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Checking in

Stranded Blog East Sussex
So long London, I have made it to Sussex. I still have about twenty boxes to unpack and I have no idea where I might've put my hair straighteners, but I feel like I've made a good start so far. It's been a productive few days (productive by my standards that is - you must understand that I set the benchmark for productivity at Getting Out Of Bed and anything above that is a winner most days!) and I'm starting to get my room looking how I like it and I've even got a little bit of my knitting mojo back. Stranded Blog East SussexStranded Blog East SussexStranded Blog East Sussex This post was going to be a lot longer but it started to verge on the maudlin so I reined it in. New starts and do-overs aren't easy. I feel like I've given up a lot of things to get to where I am now, but at least I have the sound of the sea and the pebbles underfoot and on clear evenings like the one in the photos above, the Sussex coast is alright really.