…. and again!

I thought I would try a different yarn and a different colour for a bit of dyeing last Thursday.  I had a skein of 100g of Debbie Bliss Rialto DK from work, and some blue dye in two different shades.  This was the result……

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I really love the lighter blue, and I think this test skein will end up as another pair of Annie’s Runrig Muffatees. It will be interesting to see how it stripes in these side to side mitts.

Talking of mitts, I used the two colour Ranco I dyed in purple and red/pink to knit up a simple 52 st fingerless mitt.  I had hoped it would strip regularly but the result came out much better than I expected.  The two colours have sort of cancelled each other out so neither is too bright but the overall effect is a lovely colour……..

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We are having a little competition over on The Baarmygirls Podcast.  Last week at knit group we all made hats for Innocent Smoothie bottles for The Big Knit, a campaign they run each year to raise money for AgeUK.  We had all kinds of shapes and sizes.  You can see my dodgy pineapple below.  We won’t be sending them off unit the end of November so thought we would ask listeners to knit hats and send them to us and we would send them all off together.  Then we thought we’d set a challenge.  Whoever sends the most hats will get a prize, and also whoever sends the most unusual hat.  So if you want to join in have a listen to episode 8.5 for all the details (it’s only 5 mins long) and get knitting.  You don’t have to knit them all yourself, get a group together, get the kids involved, make it FUN!!!

Whoops, I did it again!

I’ve done some more dyeing this week.  I had a skein each of undyed Araucania Ranco and Araucania Tepa.  I wanted to see how the same purple I used before would turn out on the different yarns.  I also wanted to try a skein in more than one colour.

So I dyed the Tepa just in purple, and it came out paler than the BFL I used in the last post.  I used the same for half the skein of Ranco and then I put the other half in a colour called Tulip Red.  It came out more of a deep pink but I think it looks fab with the purple.  I had each end of the skein in each dye pot so where the colour wicked up, the two mixed together and the result is really good.

Top to bottom: 100% BFL, two colour Ranco, Tepa

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L-R: BFL, Ranco, Tepa

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Dyeing to knit it!

One day last week I went up to the dentist to change my appointment as I couldn’t get them on the phone.  When I got there they were closed, but instead of getting back in the car and coming straight home I thought I’d have a mooch in the old fashioned hardware shop two doors away.  I came back out with three totally random and unrelated items – some houseplant compost, which I do need to repot some “spider babies”  (baby spider plants but I can’t resist Dougal’s expression!), a small block of beeswax (???)  and some purple dye.  Before this moment I had no inclination to dye anything.

I just so happened to have one skein of undyed 100% BFL 4ply yarn that I bought at Yarndale 2013.  I got it from Laxtons and it has sat in my stash ever since.

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So on Friday morning I decided to have a go at dyeing it.  I’d always shied away from dyeing as I’d heard words like mordant, alum, scouring etc and didn’t have a clue.  However, it was remarkably easy – mix a few things in water, add salt, dunk it in, leave it for a bit and hey presto!  Purple yarn……

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I couldn’t believe how gorgeous it came out.  I can’t wait to use it but I want to show it to my knit group still in the skein as I think it looks fab like that.  I shall be having another go and seeing if I can play about with variegation and different colours.  But for now I think this yarn will be a lovely infinity scarf for the winter.

As for Yarndale 2014, you can hear about my adventures on the Baarmygirls podcast, where I interviewed some of the vendors and customers.

 

Finally, an FO! Refresher Socks

Nothing overly exciting, but I have actually finished something!

Knitting wise I have finished a pair of plain 60st socks.  I prefer a plain sock these days but knitted in a colourful yarn.  Its a little bit of colour to an otherwise conservative outfit.

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These were knitted from my own basic pattern, on 2.5mm needles using Fortissima Mexiko sock yarn which I got from Get Knitted earlier in the year when we went to Bath (and popped to Bristol on the way home).  They aren’t quite as bright as this, I’ve called them Refresher Socks because the colour reminds me of the childhood sweets.

Sewing wise, I almost had a disaster.  I made another pattern from the Stylish Dress Book and after my success at my “maternity” top, I also succeeded in the “hospital gown” look!

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After a bit of a rethink, I decided shorter was the way to go and chopped a few inches off the bottom.  I think this has changed the whole look.  The material doesn’t help with the hospital gown comparison but at least I now don’t have to put a slit up the back and stick my bare bum out!!

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Yarnbombing for charity

On Sunday 14h September I fulfilled my ambition of doing a bit of Yarnbombing!!

My boss, and owner of Stash Fine Yarns – Helen Probert, sadly lost her fight with cancer in February.  I had had my eye on a sculpture in Chester for a few years with the intention of yarnbombing it, but so many other projects caught my eye that I never got round to it.  So when Helen died I revisited the idea and asked if the Stash knit group would help by knitting squares which we could sew together.  They all agreed and we got down to the knitting.

As I wanted to raise some money for charity I thought I ought to get permission rather than do it under cover of darkness so I contacted a very nice man at he council who agreed we could do it.  So last Sunday 8 of us dressed up in our hoodies and decorated the elephant sculpture opposite the town hall.  I contacted the local newspaper and they ran a story on their website.

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Janya decorated - Version 2

Janya decorated - Version 2

We put notices on the sides to say who we were and what we were doing it for and I set up a JustGiving page and a Text to Donate number.

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The nice man at the council said we could leave it in place for two weeks.  Sadly someone else had other ideas.  I’d heard that everything was fine when someone had passed on Thursday afternoon, but when I went into town on Saturday morning it was in a very sorry state.  The whole thing had been pulled and stretched, the ties were all broken, the notices were nowhere to be found and it was all sticky with a big hole in the top of the main piece.  And it was just all hanging off.  I was so shocked I didn’t think to take a photo!!  I made an attempt at rearranging it but it looked dreadful so I had to remove it and throw it away.  All that remained was the trunk tube.  I find this very disappointing.  It was obvious from the notices that this was for charity and I find it very disrespectful of whoever vandalised our efforts.  I can only think that it happened Friday night when the pubs kicked out.

(By the way, the JustGiving page and text number are still active – just saying!  ♥♥)

Grab a cuppa – you could be here a while……

Eeek, I’ve been away so long that WordPress has changed! Where is everything??

So where to start?  Let’s go back a couple of months……..

At Christmas I bought Colin & myself tickets to the British Open golf which was just up the road in Hoylake this year.  Finally the day came round at the end of July, it felt so long between booking and going. I got tickets for the final day but we also got some tickets for one of the practice days so I could take some photos, as cameras weren’t allowed on the actual Championship days – not that everyone abided by the rules!!  We got to see all the big names, notably Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and Miguel Ángel Jiménez – who smoked a cigar almost constantly! – and loads more.  On the final day we got a seat in the front row of the stand on the 3rd green, so got to see all the top players come through really close up.

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A couple of weeks later I had another birthday, with lots of fab presents from lots of lovely people.  I wanted a sewing box but not a little twee one, something big and sturdy, so I decided I would like a toolbox from B&Q!!  This one that Colin bought me is brilliant, there are all kinds of compartments and plenty of room for all the sewing paraphernalia I seem to have already accumulated.

My mum and step-dad gave me some money so I got a matching set of two briefcase type ones to put knitting needles and bits in.

All this organising is down to the fact that I decided the house needed to be decluttered.  I think things had reached critical mass and there was so much “stuff” that just didn’t need to be here.  So there has been a bit of a blitz!  It is by no means finished but I think we are over 50% now.  Old cooking and gardening magazines were thrown out, books were culled, bookshelves replaced, shoes stored in under-the-bed bags.  We went through our wardrobes and gave clothes to the charity shops, Colin tidied and re-arranged the small bedroom/office and we got some nice new pictures.  There are still some jobs to do in the tidy rooms, such as sort out drawer contents but my next task is the back bedroom.  As we were going along in the other rooms, items that we weren’t sure whether to keep or not went into the spare back bedroom which got fuller and fuller and already had loads of my yarn and other miscellaneous junk in it.  So it is now a huge task.  I AM going to do a yarn de-stash, and will probably get rid of all my straight needles too as I never use straights, so there may be some on eBay soon.  Some other items too.  Anyone want an original Wii?  Hardly used?

This weekend I finally get to fulfil my ambition of doing some yarn-bombing!!  I have had a project in mind for a few years but never got round to it.  When the knitting group lost our friend Helen, my boss and owner of Stash Fine Yarns, I thought perhaps we could do something as a tribute to her so I revived the idea.  Rather than doing it anonymously, I wanted to try to raise some money for charity, so I got permission from the council to decorate an elephant sculpture in Chester.  We have all made squares in knit group and they are all assembled and ready to go.  The local newspaper has interviewed me over the phone about it and will feature it on their website and in the next edition.  This is what it looks like at the moment!

So getting onto knitting – hmmmm not a lot of that going on.  I’m still suffering with my hands, I still have carpal tunnel in my left hand and have now got two trigger fingers in my right hand, so it’s all a bit difficult and slightly sore.  I’m getting a bit done though, I’ve made one Runrig and one sock!  And there are a lot of projects in the new Interweave Knits ad Knitscene that I would like to make.  However I did succumb to some new yarn.  As I couldn’t go to the Pop-Up Wool Show due to work, I contacted one of the vendors and asked them to put a skein of yarn aside for me and my lovely friend Hayley collected it.

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This is a skein of WooSheeps 100% BFL superwash sock yarn, 600m to 150g.  The colour is Imperial Purple and it is gorgeous.  I also have another Zauberball, this time of the Crazy type from Lottie, one of my workmates.  Colour 2095, it is a slightly pinky red, red, and wine mix.

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And finally, oh my word, how do I describe the next one?  You really have to feel this yarn to believe it.  It is the softest yarn I have ever felt!  I just want to cuddle and pet it.  It is Mirasol Llama Una, 100% baby llama, 100m to 50g.  Get some – that’s all I’m saying.

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And look how well it matches some fabric I bought.photo-8

I have a few pennies put aside for Yarndale too of course.  This is at the Skipton Auction Mart on 27th and 28th of September. I will be there on Sunday, with my Baarmygirls podcast co-host Janey Laney!!  I am attempting to make a Baarmygirls Podcast T-shirt so if you see us, come and say hello.

Talking of making, I have also been doing a bit of sewing.  My mum recently got a new chair and I offered to make her a cushion for it.  It turned out rather well so I made 4 for myself and threw out the old manky cushions we had in the living room.

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I also discovered, completely randomly, some Japanese sewing books (translated into English thank goodness).  I bought one, The Stylish Dress Book 1 and was so enamoured by it that I bought two more, Basic Black and Feminine Wardrobe.

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You get 26 patterns in each book with all the pattern sheets in a folder at the back.  These can be confusing as there are only four sheets so all the patterns are printed in different colours on top of each other, so you have to search around for all the correct pieces.  When you’ve done that you then have to add seam allowances as they are not on the patterns.  But if you get through that bit you are on your way.  I made the cover project from Stylish Dress Book first

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I didn’t quite insert the sleeves correctly and it looks a bit “maternity” but I still like it.  There are so many things I’d like to make from these books, here are some of them…

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but I’m going to start with pattern F from Stylish Dress Book, which fellow blogger Eskimimi has made such a fabulous job of.  I’ll use the fabric above and then knit a small cowl to match from the baby llama.

Well hope to see some of you at Yarndale, we’ll be recording on the day so be prepared to be interviewed!!!

FO: Sheepy Delphine

I have made another Delphine skirt from Tilly’s book Love at First Stitch.  I originally came across this fabric when I bought a little project bag at Yarndale which was made from it.  Then I spotted it in Hobbycraft and thought I might make some bags for my knitty friends but never got around to it.  After I made the blue Delphine, I realised I had enough of this fabric to make another one, so last week I did.

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I think my efforts at an invisible zip are improving too.  I’m quite pleased with this second effort.

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It took me all weekend to find shoes to just about match.  I am convinced my feet are shrinking, I ended up with a pair of size 1s!!! Only cost me a fiver though.