Hello! Seeing as it’s been almost a month since I wrote about the progress of my various wooly projects, I thought that it was about time I shared an update of what I’ve been working on.
If I’m being honest, it’s been a rather up-and-down few weeks. A couple of really rewarding freelance projects have been successfully completed, but this was followed by a misbehaving shoulder which put the brakes on my knitting for a good two weeks. As I’m sure you can imagine, not being able to knit was incredibly frustrating for me. Not only is it my main hobby and way of relaxing, knitting is also something which I’m aiming to forge a career in in the not too distant future. Even though I knew putting down my needles was something I needed to do, I felt at an utter loss.
However, after a few days of feeling miserable, I managed to shake myself into action by making a list of all of the constructive things I could do which wouldn’t involve any input from my right arm. I finally dyed the beautiful skein of Poll Dorset and BFL I picked up at the opening of my lovely LYS Northern Yarn back in September. My family and I had been diligently saving avocado pits and onion skins for the last few months so it was a great relief for everyone when the large plastic bag was removed from the space it had been greedily occupying in the freezer and the contents used for their intended purpose.
I had a go at dyeing with the avocado pits first but only managed a muddy grey-brown colour which wasn’t quite the shade I was aiming for. All was not lost though, because after an overnight soak in an onion skin dye bath I achieved a colour which had the richness, warmth and intensity I had been hoping for. This gorgeous, spicy brown shade makes me think of cinnamon and gingerbread, and I can’t wait to turn it into a textured hat which I can wear all winter long.
Thankfully, after a few days off and a trip to the physio, my shoulder is on the mend and I can return to what I do best. So, let me share what I’ve been up to!
What’s off my needles…
Pattern: Moss stitch sweater (my own)
Yarn: Cascade 220 by Cascade Yarns in River Rock
This big bundle of mossy delight is finally finished! This feels a bit like old news to me now as it wasn’t too long after my last post that I cast off the final stitch and sent the sweater on its merry way across the Atlantic ocean. When I last talked about this project, I had hit a bit of a brick wall with it. The miles and miles of moss stitch were beginning to take their toll and as I was only a third of the way through the first sleeve, it felt like I had a long way to go. However, thanks to my 5 hour bus journey from Aarhus to Copenhagen, coupled with a long wait for a delayed flight, I managed to cast off the first sleeve before I even left Denmark. I also found myself with a lot more train knitting time than I had bargained for when a tree brought down the power lines when we were just an hour out of Edinburgh. This meant that we were stationary for over 4 hours which was fine by me, until the power went out, plunging us into darkness. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to knit by the light of a glow stick, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this about the sweater before, but the design is very much based on the Superbowl Sweater by Wool and the Gang (pictured below). I knit myself a bright orange one this time last year and after seeing me wear it, a lovely lady I met whilst on an artist’s residency in Iceland commissioned me to make her one. So the fit and measurements are similar but my version was made at a far smaller gauge and I added a few extra details like the split hem and 2×2 ribbing. I just want to make it clear that while I didn’t at any point refer to the Superbowl Sweater written pattern, there is a reason for the striking resemblance it bears to that design.
The sweater arrived at it’s new home a couple of weeks ago and I was thrilled to receive this happy shot from my lovely friend Michelle. Obviously I’m biased, but I think it looks great, and I hope that it’s versatile and warm enough to become a wardrobe staple. Hooray!
Pattern: My Own
Yarn: Shiny Happy Cotton by Wool and the Gang in Nude Pink, Pink Lemonade, Space Black, Naked Blue, Spearmint and Jog Grey
Ta-Dah! Months ago my parents asked me to make a new cover to go over their footstool and here it is! During my time at Wool and the Gang I somehow managed to amass a ludicrous amount of odd balls of Shiny Happy Cotton so this project was a great stash buster. When I first looked at the selection of colours I had at my disposal, I wasn’t sure how they would play together but in the end I’m really happy with how the cover turned out. Up until recently, I had always thought to myself that ‘pink and green should never be seen’. I’m not really sure where this came from, but after seeing how the stripes of nude pink and minty green look next to each other, I don’t think I’ll be paying much attention to this rhyme anymore!
I think I’ve already talked a bit about the technical details for this project, but I’ll give a little recap for anyone who’s interested. I used a 5mm crochet hook and began by crocheting a square in single crochet. Once I had reached my required measurement, I crocheted around all four sides of the square (I worked 3 additional stitches into each of the corner points) and then worked single crochet in the round until the sides of the cover were long enough to tuck into the wooden base of the footstool. Very simple really, it just took a long time because there were a lot of stitches in one round, and towards the end, the size and the weight of the piece meant that it became pretty slow and cumbersome to work on.
Now the only thing left to do is sew in all the ends, but I’m struggling to muster up any enthusiasm for that particular task seeing as there are approximately one million ends to deal with… it can wait!
What’s on my needles…
Pattern: Vanilla sock
Yarn: Signature 4ply by West Yorkshire Spinners in Candy Cane (main colour) and Cayenne Pepper (cuffs, heels and toes)
I really don’t know what’s come over me this year. My birthday is at the end of November and I’m usually the kind of person who believes that on no account should the word Christmas be so much as whispered until after this point. This year however, I have been feeling prematurely festive and I think it’s all down to this Christmas colourway by West Yorkshire Spinners. Every time I pick up this candy cane sock I feel my heart fill with irrational festive joy and I want to sing carols, sip hot chocolate and watch Elf. At first I tried to resist it but I quickly realised that I was fighting a losing battle and now I am resigned to my festive fate!
I have never done a true after-though heel before so I’m looking forward to trying my hand at the technique once I have two completed tubes. At the rate these are knitting up, I don’t think I’ll have long to wait! It’s been a long time since I’ve knitted with self-striping yarn and boy, had I forgotten how addictive it is! The little voice in my head crying ‘just one more stripe, just one more stripe’ has kept me up past my bedtime on several occasions. Like a lot of the things I’m knitting at the moment, I wish these socks were for me!
The Queen of Purls
Before I sign off, I thought I would briefly share where my wooly wanderings took me a few days ago.
Whenever I find myself in a new city with some some time to spare, there is nothing I love more than tracking down yarn shops to explore. I was in Glasgow earlier this week and I was delighted when I found myself with enough free time to pay a visit to Queen of Purls. I first heard about Zoe and her lovely shop whilst listening to the Knit British podcast, and experience has taught me that anything endorsed by the podcast’s host Louise Scollay is definitely worth checking out.
I was certainly not disappointed as I stepped inside and found myself surrounded by a delightful rainbow of yarn and fibre which covered most of the four walls. There was West Yorkshire Spinners, Jamieson’s, Istex, and Opal, as well as an eye-catching range of hand-dyed Queen of Purl yarns. It’s a true wool-lover’s heaven! I quickly spotted a small display of Tuku fingering wool, a worsted spun Finnish yarn I recognised from a sock pattern in WOODS (a new publication by a company called Making Stories). Recently I have been interested in exploring nylon-free sock yarn possibilities and so I could’t resist picking up a couple of skeins in the Ujo colourway, a delicate shade of greyish-pink. As you may have noticed, any pretences of being on a yarn diet have evaporated entirely… a pompom maker set may have snuck into my hand too…oops!
As delightful as the wooly offerings were, the best thing by far about my visit was getting to chat to the lovely owner, Zoe. We talked about past sweater projects, yarn-buying habits, and she even took the time to pull up a few pattern suggestions on Ravelry when our conversation turned to shawl knitting. Needles to say, if you ever find yourself in Glasgow, be sure to pass by Queen of Purls. I’m sure even just a minute spent surrounded by Zoe’s gorgeous yarns and infectious laughter couldn’t fail to brighten anyones’ day.