Sunday, October 20, 2013

Grown-up knitting...with a bit of fluff too

I have a very serious bit of grown-up knitting to show you today but before we get to that I really felt the urge to show you some fluffy fun. A few weeks ago, whilst having a particularly crappy week at work, I decided I needed to play with something pretty.

So, I delved into my little (that's a relative term) stash of spinning fibre and came up with a mixture of bits and pieces that when put together make at least a jumper's worth of fibre.
The blues, turquoises and purples came from the sales table at Guild last year, the purple plait is some merino that I hand-dyed with food colouring and the bright pink is a bag of mixed fibres picked up at last year's Wingham's Wool Day at Guild (more of that later).

I split it into smaller bits and laid it all out in the kitchen.
Next, I sorted it into little piles of fibre, each with a roughly equal amount of each fibre. I ended up with over 30 piles of fluff! Next step was to break out the drum carder, so generously gifted to me by my lovely friend Maria, and I had a very happy time making up some mixed batts ready for spinning.
This is the first batch. I still have well over 400g of fibre left to blend! So far, I've spun up one full bobbin, with another nearly full and I love how it's coming out.
Once I've got three bobbins full they will be plied together and I reckon it'll be roughly DK weight and should make a really pretty jumper or cardigan.

Yesterday was this year's Wingham's Wool Day at Guild where Wingham's Woolworks come all the way down from Yorkshire and fill the village hall with the most mind-blowing array of fibres in every shade of the rainbow. One of the best bits of the day, other than filling a huge bag with fibre to bring home (and choosing not to worry about having to live on soup for the next two weeks), is that we are allowed to spend the whole day with our wheels spinning up samples of all the fibres on display.

I had a wonderful day, spinning and chatting, and hopping up every half an hour or so to find something else to spin. I came home with a gorgeous happy bobbin full of spinning with lots of colour and lots of sparkle. I think I'm going to spin up a hand-dyed skein of fibre that I've been saving to ply with this and might even use it to knit myself a shawl. For now, I'm just going to look at it and stroke it :)

So, now it's time for that seriously grown-up knitting that I warned you about. Earlier this year I treated myself to a very special knitting book Colours of Shetland by my favourite designer Kate Davies. As well as being full of beautiful, inspiring patterns this book is also full of the story behind each design and it's link to the landscape, wildlife, people and history of Shetland.

The reason I bought the book was that I'd seen one pattern. I fell in love. I had such an overwhelming urge to knit this pattern that I deliberately overlooked the fact that it had a number of features that had formerly filled me with fear.

Namely Fairisle knitting, in Shetland wool, and it involved doing something very scary to my knitting with a pair of scissors.

That there is an action shot of me cutting my knitting open, slicing it up the middle to turn a jumper into a cardigan. It took me about a month after knitting it to actually bring myself to get the scissors out but Kate Davies's brilliant tutorial and a bit of hand-holding from Youtube helped me do the deed.

Although this looks nearly finished it really wasn't! I then had to pick up and knit the buttonbands and the neckband, knit icord onto every edge of the whole tunic, face the buttonbands with grosgrain ribbon, stitch on snap fasteners and then make buttons - not just sew on buttons mind you. No, I had to make them first.

Little handmade Wheel House buttons.
I wore it yesterday for the first time and so many people at Guild commented on it. I was getting seriously big-headed by the end of the day but honestly, without such a fabulous designer and a well-written pattern I couldn't have done it and if I hadn't loved it so much I wouldn't have even tried!

At last, I've strung this out long enough! here is my Scatness Tunic - crappy photos 2 and 3 courtesy of bored teenager who clearly had better things to be doing!

I steeked!!!

That is all.

Moogs xxx


Quinn said...

I had no idea you have become such a talented spinner! What a lovely cardi...every detail must give you so much satisfaction :)

trash said...

OMG! You steeked indeed! I bow low before you. That lovely handspun skein deserves much love too.

Rachel said...

Wow, seriously impressed with that cardigan, but those yarns are absolutely gorgeous!!! R x

Gina said...

I am in awe... of both your spinning and knitting skills.

Carol Q said...

Some seriously impressive skills going on there. I can imagine you were terrified to have to cut your knitting.

Leanne said...

So many wonderful things in this post. Beautiful wool and an amazing cardigan. Your talents are endless.

Anonymous said...

Woo-Hoo all the way around!!

Locket Pocket said...

Oh no Moogs, those spindles of yarn look so delicious! Please don't tempt me into the world of spinning as I really can't afford it! Your Scatness is truly fabulous! I just hope I can be brave enough to knit the Tam - much smaller and no steeking but still scary to me. But first I need to order that gorgeous J&S shetland wool - and then I may even have a go at making those fabulous buttons just because I love them! xx

Ali said...

You are doing the most amazingly, incredibly marvellous yarny things!

trash said...

If you get it wrong when cutting is that a mis-steek?

Thimbleanna said...

Oh WOW!!!! It's GORGEOUS!!!! Congratulations on your steeking prowess -- I haven't dared try it yet. I'm definitely going to look up that book on Amazon though. I'm thinking we should have a bloggers trip to Shetland -- wouldn't that be fun???

And your spinning! It looks so gorgeous! Pictures like yours make me want to start it up, but I just don't dare dip my toes into one. more. hobby LOL!!!

trash said...

If you put it down and then walk right past it when looking for it does that make it a missed steek?

Plum Cox said...

Crikey! I really only wanted to say how much I loved the yarn you were making - gorgeous colours (and a great result from a rubbish day at work!) but I read down further in the post and now have to congratulate you on your rather wonderful garment! Well done you!

Anonymous said...

Did you have to add extra stitches at the edges of the neck band when you were working the I-cord bind off?