Monday, 30 March 2015

Yarn Haul

Stranded Yarn Haul Knitting Amy Edwards Green
 I'd been planning to film a yarn haul video to share all the pretty things I picked up in Bristol, but I chickened out. There was just too much effort involved in making a space that was 'video friendly' and I'm having a terrible hair day, haha. But I thought I'd blog some of the yarn I purchased - because I love a good snoop into peoples yarn buying habits.
Stranded Yarn Haul Knitting Amy Edwards Green
First up, from Wool in Bath - two balls of Cashmerino Aran by Debbie Bliss in 'Willow (shade 76)'. Usually I just buy sock yarn when I'm out on impulse yarn buying trips as there is always enough yardage in a skein of sock yarn for socks, or a shawl if you're so inclined, but I've been shopping for some commercially dyed aran yarn for a while. A blend of 55% Wool, 33% and 12 % Cashmere, it's a pretty squishy yarn (squishy is a technical term, right?) that I intend to use to knit another Spring Beret by Natalie Larson, as I really enjoyed the one I made for the Buckalooview Hat Swap and I want one for myself! Stranded Yarn Haul Knitting Amy Edwards Green Next, I picked up a skein of Roam Fushion by Wendy in in the 'Heath (shade 2021)' colourway, as I was lured in by the pretty colours and the handspun-esque effect. 75% Wool, 25% Nylon fibre-wise this is a pretty standard sock yarn, although in my humble opinion it looks a little loosely plied - so I'll be interested to see how well it wears.
Stranded Yarn Haul Knitting Amy Edwards Green
I also picked up 3 skeins of Artesano's Alpaca Silk 4ply which is 70% Alpaca, 30% Silk and is every bit as soft as you'd imagine! The store didn't have that many colours left but I chose 'Robin Egg' which is not really an Amy colour, but this will wind up being a gift for someone it'll suit much better (I find I'm a lot more likely to actually give the gift away if it's knit out of colours that I'm not overly fond of - I get very attached to my projects!)
Stranded Yarn Haul Knitting Amy Edwards Green
 I got overexcited in A Yarn Story. It's unusual for me to be in a shop with so many pretty hand dyed yarns and I spent ages trying to decide. I stuck to my rule of 'when in doubt, just by sock yarn' - it was such a nice change to get to touch the yarn before I bought it, as my hand dyed purchases are usually made online. I bought a skein of Skein 'Top Draw' in the 'Blackcurrant' colourway. It's 85% Superwash Merino and 15% Nylon - I've been trying to buy more semi solid sock yarns, so I can knit some of the lace and cabled socks from my ravelry queue.
Stranded Yarn Haul Knitting Amy Edwards Green Stranded Yarn Haul Knitting Amy Edwards Green
I also bought two skeins of 'Sock Yarn' by Hedgehog Fibres, in 'Coral' and 'Seaglass'. Not only were the colours beautiful, the yarn is so soft - 90% Merino, 10% Nylon and 100% squishable. These are going to sit in the stash for a while and be admired, before I make incredible socks out of them.

I also bought some more acrylic for another baby sweater, a bottle of 'Celebration' scented Soak and a copy of Knit, Swirl by Sandra McIver - primarily because it was 99p in a charity shop, although it does have some very pretty cardigans in it.

Have you made any pretty yarn based purchases recently? Because I clearly need to be enabled... ;)

Friday, 27 March 2015

Fibre Friday #7

Stranded Knitting Fibre Friday Yarn Blog
I'm not entirely sure how it's Friday again - time sure is flying! I refuse to believe next weekend is Easter (although I have a big bag of Cadbury's Mini Eggs to celebrate with - because no one diets on Easter, right?!) Anyway. Knitting. This week I put a few hours of work into my Old Romance cardigan by Joji Locatelli. I'm still on the lace inserts for the sleeves, but I'm on the second one now, which didn't exist this time last week. I'm knitting it out of Madeline Tosh Sock in the 'Moorland' colourway with a couple of modifications from Ittybitty on ravelry. Hopefully by next week I'll have finished the inserts and be on to the swathes of stockinette...
Stranded Knitting Fibre Friday Yarn Blog
I frogged a handdyed vanilla sock I had on the needles because I didn't like how it was knitting up and the colours just weren't me, so I had an empty set of sock needles - which is criminal, so obviously I had to cast on for more socks. I only started them last night, they're going to be striped scrap yarn socks as my jar of leftover sock yarn is overflowing and I haven't made any scrappy socks in a while. I knit them two-at-a-time which is unusual for me (not as instant gratification-y!) but I like the stripes to be the same width on each sock so they look sort of matching. As you can see I've only done the toes so far, but they'll probably be toe up socks with a gusset heel as they fit me best.

I also put another couple of inches on the pink acrylic children's jumper that I mentioned last week but it's still plain stockinette in the round so didn't warrant a photograph.
Stranded Knitting Fibre Friday Yarn Blog Stranded Knitting Fibre Friday Yarn Blog
On to the bulk of this week's knitting - my Linus Shawl by Annett Cordes out of my handspun (from fibre by Just A Daydream in the 'Olive Bowl' colourway) is finished. 1000 yards of yarn in just over a fortnight - that is a lot of garter stitch! Modelled here by my ever obliging mother - thanks Mum - it still needs blocking, but the biggest bit of unused floorspace, aka: blocking space, in the house is currently being taken up by Mum's Hitchhiker shawl (also out of my handspun) - I'll try and get a picture of it for next week, it's super pretty. I want to take a break from shawls but I have two more I need to cast on before that can happen.
Stranded Knitting Fibre Friday Yarn Blog
On to spinning and I've barely touched my wheel this week, but I did wind my skien of Frankenyarn off the bobbin (using my lovely new skein winder) and I love how it looks. I didn't measure the yardage and it's probably never going to get used for anything, but it was a bit of extra plying practise and I like all the colours together - grey really ties things in well!
Stranded Knitting Fibre Friday Yarn Blog
Dyeing-wise, this is the yarn that I started knitting a sock out of a few weeks ago, reskeined and ready to be over dyed...
Stranded Knitting Fibre Friday Yarn Blog
...and here it is afterwards! Much more my colours - proof that yarn is pretty much always salvageable! Eventually it'll make it's way back into socks, but for now it's sitting on my desk looking pretty.
Stranded Knitting Fibre Friday Yarn Blog
I also dyed some silk scarves that I picked up at a ridiculously discounted price when I worked in a craft store a couple of years ago - it's my first time dyeing silk and it was really enjoyable. I think I might try dyeing some silk hankies for spinning soon...
Stranded Knitting Fibre Friday Yarn Blog
Finally I wanted to give my skein winder a quick mention - I'll probably do a little review on it when I've had a chance to use it a bit more, as I couldn't find many reviews on it before I purchased it and I'm not sure about you, but I like to know what I'm buying! It's an Ashford Kiwi Skein Winder and I'm pretty happy with it so far - it's a lot easier to wind skeins on than my umbrella swift, I can tell you!

That's pretty much it for this week, I hope you have a lovely weekend. I intend to spend mine relaxing before I start my new job on Monday, dyeing a bit more yarn and watching The Voice UK semi finals because I have a crush on Ricky from the Kaiser Chiefs! ;)

Friday, 20 March 2015

Fibre Friday #6

It's going to be a short post this week as I've been away and although I got a lot of knitting done, I only had a couple of projects with me (thank heavens, as I still had to sit on my suitcase to get it closed).
Stranded Knitting Fibre Friday
I finally got past the heel on my first Tic-Tac-Toe-Up sock designed by Wendy Johnson from her book Socks From The Toe Up. I'm knitting it on 2mm (US 0) needles out of some of my hand dyed yarn. I'm two pattern repeats into the leg and it's making slow progress - when I eventually finish the first sock, I'm going to have to cast the second one on straight away to stave off second sock syndrome! There's a reason my sock drawer is full of vanilla socks... haha.
Stranded Knitting Fibre Friday The project that's been worked on the most this week, is the Linus Shawl by Annett Cordes out of my handspun yarn from fibre by Just A Daydream - the 'Olive Bowl' colourway in case you're interested. I've knit between 600-700yards on this shawl in the ten days since I cast it on and I am in love with how it's knitting up. It's a garter stitch crescent shawl knit on the bias so it's got fabulous drape, but the rows are over 200 stitches wide now and I'm looking forward to finishing it.
Note: clearly I love green, it matches my jumper perfectly. Also, trying to grow out a full fringe is hell on earth! 
Stranded Knitting Fibre Friday
This very very pink project hasn't had any work put it on this week, but I mentioned it last week and I wanted to share a photo. This is an old pattern from my collection - Sirdar 1310 - it's a child's sweater pattern with a texture pattern at the top to add interest. I knit it a few years back for a lady in my knitting group who was expecting and now I'm knitting it again for my friend's little girl's first birthday. I'm knitting the 2-3yr size so it'll probably fit her very petite mother, but I like there to be growing room in gifts for children! Especially as she's unlikely to need a sweater on her birthday (in May)... I've modified it to knit in the round up to the armholes and I'm using Rico Baby So Soft in colour '014' which is 100% acrylic as Becky was adamant that anything hand knit needed to be easily washed and dried. I am a fibre snob, I buy the best yarn I can afford and don't work with acrylic all too often, but I think this is the best acrylic I've used so far - I'll keep you posted on that.
Stranded Knitting Fibre Friday Finally, something that's a little bit out of the box: I've been swatching for a sweater knit from dog hair(?!). The dog hair's being spun by Kim and I agreed to knit it up, before smelling it! I am not a dog person and it's definitely pretty pungent!
Stranded Knitting Fibre Friday
Also, I arrived home this afternoon to find my skein winder has arrived! I bought the Ashford Kiwi Skein Winder which I'm going to spend the rest of the evening putting together because I can't wait to try it out! No more tangled yarn nightmares here!

I hope you've all had a lovely week and have a yarn filled weekend!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Yarn Shop Adventures: A Yarn Story & Wool

Stranded Knitting Yarn Store England A Yarn Story
I can't go anywhere without visiting a yarn store. My favourite thing about travelling to new places is scoping out the local yarn shop and bribing whoever I'm visiting or travelling with, to go there. Obviously my Bristol trip is no different (despite the fact that I'm staying at a yarn shop, and am currently writing this post on a sofa in said yarn shop) and today we took a trip to Bath to visit two more lovely yarn shops.
Stranded Knitting Yarn Store England A Yarn Story

The Shed is a lot cooler than the website makes it look - and they have a lovely café too.
A Yarn Story is located in The Shed, which is a fabulous collection of little shops all in a kind of big barn (each store is about the size of a big booth at a fibre festival / craft show) near Batheaston.
AYS is run by Carmen, who is everything you want a yarn shop owner to be, and it specialises in indie dyed yarns.
Stranded Knitting Yarn Store England A Yarn Story Stranded Knitting Yarn Store England A Yarn Story
You won't find any acrylic or Rowan or Debbie Bliss here (not that there's anything wrong with any of those things, but they're pretty run of the mill and easy to lay hands on) but you will find Hedgehog FibresSkeinShibuiThe Uncommon ThreadKettle Yarn Co.Sweet Georgia and Malabrigo as well as ChiaGoo needles, Soak (including the fabulous Soak giftsets pictured above) and some great notions. If you're lucky enough to live near an LYS that stocks indie dyed yarn then maybe this doesn't like a big deal, but in my part of deepest darkest Sussex just finding a yarn store that stocks 100% wool fibre is an achievement, so it's such a delight to get to see all these yarns in person, rather than on a computer monitor.
Stranded Knitting Yarn Store England A Yarn Story
My bestest pal and fellow yarn connoisseur Kim purchased the above yarns - left Hedgehog Fibres Sock Yarn in '24 Carat' and right Malabrigo Sock in 'Archangel'. I might've slipped and fallen and bought some yarn too - it's amazing how often this happens to me! - but I'll share my yarn haul at a later date or this post will take me about seven years to write.
Stranded Knitting Yarn Store England Bath Wool
We then went to Wool, which was tucked away down a little backstreet in the centre of Bath. Unfortunately I don't have any interior photos of the shop, which I assure you is due to me always being slightly too anxious and shy to ask permission to take photographs in stores and bears no reflection on the store itself! Being a larger store, Wool had more choice of fibres - while I didn't see any acrylic, they stock more of the brands you'd be familiar with - Rico, Rowan, Debbie Bliss etc, as well as Fyberspates and Bluefaced. They have a large selection of needles and notions - lots of Knit Pro and a large collection of sample garments which is always lovely.

Both stores are well worth a visit if you're visiting the Bath area - if I had to pick a favourite I'd probably choose A Yarn Story even though it was smaller, because I have an addiction to indie yarns!

As soon as I get my driving license (I know, I know, I'm 24 and don't have a license - but I spent those 24 years in London and you don't need a car in London - and you certainly can't afford one!) I'm going to road trip round as many of the UK's yarn shops as I can. Watch this space for that ;)

Friday, 13 March 2015

Fibre Friday #5

Fibre Friday Stranded Spinning Knitting
This week feels a little light on fibre related content, which is ridiculous as I have not one but two FO's, so I guess it's all swings and roundabouts. First up - I finished my handspun, hand dyed socks. They're a little big, but I'm ridiculously proud of them. The pattern is Sport Weight Toe Up Socks With Gusset Heel by Wendy Johnson, which is a free pattern and I'd recommend it wholeheartedly - I love a gusset heel. This is the first project I've knit with my handspun in 2015 - so I have another 9 to go until I hit my Knitting Resolution because I'm all about arbitrary goals!
Fibre Friday Stranded Spinning Knitting
 My second finished object of the week is another pair of socks - the Basketweave Rib Socks by Sarah Ronchetti which is another free pattern on ravelry. I started them back in August and knit the first one in a couple of weeks, but stalled on the second one, which I knit the majority of this week. I'm really pleased with how they ended up and I'm glad they're off the needles. I enjoyed the pattern, but it's not one you can knit without thinking (Autopilot knitting as the Knitmore's call it) as I instinctively want to knit 2x2 rib.
Fibre Friday Stranded Spinning Knitting Fibre Friday Stranded Spinning Knitting
After finishing two pairs of socks, I needed to cast on something new (primarily so I had knitting for the 4.5hr train journey I did this week!) and I finally found a pattern I liked for my 'Olive Bowl' handspun - it's the Linus Shawl by Annett Cordes which is another free pattern on ravelry. I do knit paid for patterns I promise! Just not this week apparently... I am really happy with how it's knitting up so far - I wanted something plain that would showcase the striping of the colours and this pattern works so well for that. I've gone down a needle size to 3.25mm (US 3) because my yarn is really fine and I intend to knit until I run out of yarn, and seeing as I have 1000yds that's going to keep me entertained for a while...

I also cast on for a child's sweater and knit a little more on my Less Is More shawl - which looks exactly the same as it did last week!
Fibre Friday Stranded Spinning Knitting Spinning wise I plied my crazy rainbow of handdyed BFL and I'm actually pretty happy with it - although the colours are a little too bright for me! I got 275 yards - I need to work out the WPI count so I can decide what it's going to become, but it'll be a gift probably, because the colours are just too full on for me!Fibre Friday Stranded Spinning Knitting
That's pretty much it for this week! I'm in Bristol visiting my friend Kim who is the owner of a fabulous little yarn shop called Alterknit Universe, so I'm helping* out for a while.

*if by helping you mean sitting on the shop sofa knitting...

I hope you've had a lovely week and have a wonderful weekend.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Fibre Friday #4

Stranded Fibre Friday Knitting Spinning Dyeing This week, all my knitting follows the same colour scheme, which was a happy accident (hello coral addiction!) and I shall start with the most exciting project first. This week I cast on for my first pair of socks out of my handspun. It's a superwash merino / nylon blend that I dyed and spun last year. It's a 3ply and a little thick and thin in places, but it's about a sport weight overall. I'm using a free pattern by Wendy D. Johnson - her Sport Weight Toe-Up Socks with Gusset Heel and I've added in a 3x1 rib on the top of the foot and up the leg, just to cinch it a little - as I hate socks that sag around my ankles! Since taking these photographs I've knit the heels and about an inch of the leg, so I'm hoping to finish them over the weekend. Socks on 2.75mm needles knit up fast!Stranded Fibre Friday Knitting Spinning Dyeing Stranded Fibre Friday Knitting Spinning Dyeing Because you always need a stockinette sock on the needles I cast on another toe up sock out of some hand dyed yarn that I'm not really in love with (I used a technique I don't usually use, and remembered why I don't use it!), but it's fun to watch the colours pool as I knit. Stranded Fibre Friday Knitting Spinning Dyeing I put another seven inches on my Less Is More Shawl (which is more orange/coral than it looks in this photo) - the rows are getting longer so progress is slowing down, but I'm on the second skein of yarn now so it's over halfway done.
Stranded Fibre Friday Knitting Spinning Dyeing Finally for knitting, I finished my socks out 'Pinkalicious Rainbow' by Yarnink. The pattern is Gusset Heel Basic Socks by Wendy D. Johnson from Socks From The Toe Up. If you haven't knit toe up socks with a gusset before, I recommend them, they fit me so well.
Stranded Fibre Friday Knitting Spinning Dyeing Stranded Fibre Friday Knitting Spinning Dyeing Spinning wise, I spent about 3hrs winding last week's Yarn Nightmare. I'll restrain myself from ranting about my wonky equipment again - but because of the swift dropping, the hank was unskeinable and wouldn't go back on the swift to be wound. In the end I draped it over the newel post on the staircase and stood over it, hand winding all 1000yards into a ball before rewinding it into the above cake, on the ballwinder. It's huge, it's a brick of yarn that's currently sitting on my desk like a paperweight, while I decide what to do with it. (Spun from 200g of Just A Daydream batts in the 'Olive Bowl' colourway).
Stranded Fibre Friday Knitting Spinning Dyeing I finished spinning the first of three bobbins of BFL/Cashmere/Nylon by Lime Green Jelly (I met Jo, the lovely dyer and creative brain behind LGJ at knit night this week, which was fabulous). This will hopefully wind up as my second pair of handspun socks at some point in the distant future!
Stranded Fibre Friday Knitting Spinning Dyeing Stranded Fibre Friday Knitting Spinning Dyeing In order to not get bored spinning sock yarn (not with the fibre, which is fabulous, but spinning super fine takes a long time and sometimes I crave instant gratification!) I started spinning the crazy rainbow BFL I dyed last week, which I'm spinning thicker - and it's so much fun to watch the colours change. Even if they are super bright, which is a little out of my comfort zone!
Stranded Fibre Friday Knitting Spinning Dyeing
I did a little bit of dyeing this week - some yarn that I'm going to knit up into a gift for friend (that I'll share photos of when I cast it on) and these two 50g braids of merino, which unlike the crazy BFL, are definitely in my comfort zone. These will probably by plied together and depending on the yardage may turn into mittens or maybe a hat.

In other news, I got a bus to a town that I'd never visited, to go to a local knitting group this week - which was lovely. I've been missing my Tuesday night knitting group and I love meeting knitters. Plus it's nice to get out of the house and do something, which I haven't done a whole lot of since I moved here. So that was fun and I'll definitely be going back.

Next week, I'll probably be a little light on the spinning and dyeing content because I'm heading to Bristol to visit my best friend in her yarn shop - Alterknit Universe. But I have 5hrs of train rides to fill with knitting, so I'm sure it'll balance out!

Happy Friday everyone!