Monday, March 30, 2015

New Dress!

I'm not all about the fibre and the spinning.  I have a new obsession to go along with knitting and spinning and dyeing, now.  Just what I needed, right?????

Anyway, I've been avidly watching any programme to do with sewing - Great British Sewing Bee, I'm looking at all three series of you - and I took the plunge and decided to have a bash at actually making a garment, rather than just sighing and thinking 'I wish I could do that!'.

Tilly Walnes from the first series of the Bee has a great website - Tilly and the Buttons - with patterns specifically designed for the new sewer and so I bought a few, got some fabric and had a go.

My First Coco!  But not my last.....

I've made a couple of her Miette skirts, which I love and chose Coco for my first dress.  It was easy!  Tilly has taken the time to put together a pattern that makes sense to even a total newbie like me and I ended up with this lovely, totally wearable dress.  I love it and will be making many, many more.  I couldn't get my hands on some heavy jersey fabric, since the shop I went to doesn't stock it until Autumn/Winter time.  I chose a heavy fabric with a bit of lateral stretch and hoped for the best.  And it totally worked.

My westie sneaked into the picture this morning.  As soon as he hears the sewing machine start, he is straight up the stairs and underneath my sewing table keeping the foot not on the treadle warm.  He's a loony.  Don't know if he likes the machine or if he's trying to protect me from it!

Happy Monday - and Happy Knitting, Spinning, Dyeing, Felting..........and SEWING!!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cold Sheeping and other Adventures

This is the year.  The year I look back in December 2015 at my baskets and shelves and the nooks and crannies where I've squirrelled and stashed away yarn and fibre and fleece and I see that I've made an appreciable dent in it all.

There are bags and bags and bags of dyed and washed fleece sitting patiently waiting on top of the bookcases in our dining room.  Blues and greens and oranges and purples and, and, and........the list goes on.

the bags and bags just waiting to tumble down on us.....

and this isn't all of it.......not by a long shot

I've started to use my drum carder as it was actually meant to be used.  Who would have thought it?  You follow instructions and get a better result??!  It'll never catch on in my house.

I like unexpected colour combinations.  I carded a chartreuse green bundle of fleece with a handful of lilac/grey/green fleece.  The lilac stuff was much softer than the chartreuse and shorter-stapled, too.  There are delicious little knots of purpley grey just waiting to become interesting knubbles in the yarn when the batts are spun.  I don't know just yet if these batts are destined for Etsy or for me.  We'll see.

Better labelling is in my future this year, too.  I could have sold mountains of dyed fibre in the shop had I just taken the time to label the bag with what it actually contained!!  Some fleeces are easy to identify, others - not so much!

this fleece, for example - well..... it's definitely wool.......

So, this month at least, I'm going batty :o)

I treated myself to some soft merino blue top and laid it out to see what I had in the stash that would go with it.  I had a vague idea of wanting something Springlike.  Anyway, this is the resulting pile of fibre before carding.  We have - blue merino top, hand dyed faux silk in a kind of greyish green colurway, bright green merino top and some hand dyed turquoise and teal faux silk.

Batt in waiting......
finished Spring batt.  This one made it into the shop on Etsy
 and since I'm feeling good and random this sunny Thursday (yes, that's right, the sun is shining on Scotland!  I know!  I'm surprised, too!) here's a bonus chicken pic of my girls in the back garden last summer.

the girls say 'Happy Spinning and Knitting, guys!'

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Surprise Yarn Balls

This is something I've been mulling over for a while.  The idea of a surprise yarn ball......

The idea is that I take a ball of my handspun yarn and wrap it around several little trinkets that fall out as surprises as you knit something with the yarn.  I've made a prototype for my friend Ali's birthday.  I was thinking she would enjoy simply knitting and felting the yarn and then making flower brooches from the felt and brooch backs and embellishing them with the beads and ribbon.

I know I'd like to receive a surprise yarn ball like this.  We'll see if Ali agrees and then, if the feedback is positive, I'll need to get busy making more for the shop on Etsy.

The hand spun and hand dyed Romney yarn and all the goodies hidden inside the yarn ball - pretty beads, handmade stitch markers, ribbon, thread and brooch backs

Ta-daa!  The finished ball.

What do you think?  Would other knitters like this as much as I would - or am I deluding myself?

If you have a second to spare, let me know in the comments below if you like the idea of a surprise yarn ball and would buy it for yourself or for a knitter friend.

I was thinking of including vintage buttons in the next one for some added fun.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015


I hate being cold.  The best thing we ever did in our house is install a wood burning stove.  I could kiss that thing.  Scotland is a cold place.  And when it's not actually freezing cold, it's usually busy being miserable, grey or dreich.

One things for certain, though.  It makes it a lot easier to justify knitting blankets.  I have piles.  Not in the medical sense; in the sense of having multiple layers of knitted blankets available to me.

Christmas Stonington Shawl in Plotulopi - unspun Icelandic yarn.  If you need a good blanket or shawl pattern, take a look through Elizabeth Zimmermann projects on Ravelry for inspiration.

Log cabin mash-up blanket.  It's gotten a bit bigger since this photo was taken.

Elizabeth Zimmermann's Pi shawl made with doubled Plotulopi to be a bit thicker and bigger 
There are more blankets in my house - I'll need to take some pictures of the cosiness.  Especially since it's a snowy day here in Scotland and I'm freezing!!!!!  There's nothing like a wood burner and a layer of wool over your lap to keep the chill out.

Happy Knitting and Spinning!