Saturday, 30 November 2013

Stashdown #11

Unfortunately I went to a yarn shop this month, as I was in London and there was a trip to Loop in the schedule. And I had to buy an extra ball of dk as I didn't have the right colour in stash for one project.

Yarn in
420 yards in the form of 1 skein of Mad tosh fingering in vishnu.

362 yards of quince and co chickadee.
123 yards of Wendy bliss merino. I needed another colour.
Total in: 905

I had a review of my stash and got rid of some long-term residents with the aim of offsetting half of the incoming yarn. I didn't quite manage this, but the total out was 372.

I also did knitting! I knitted up
803 yards WoTA in assorted colours making my intarsia bag. I used up nearly all of the five brown skeins, one bright blue skein plus part skeins in assorted colours as follows: pink, purple, lilac, purple heather, light blue, medium blue, yellow, pumpkin, light green, dark green. I have got a lot of the colours left, but hopefully I'll be able to use them up in various smaller projects. I foresee stripes in my future!
78 yards of James C Brett monsoon making a pair of fingerless mitts:

21 yards of Wendy bliss merino making flying keys for a class project.
30 yards of Wendy bliss merino making a little hat and scarf for a wine gift
187 yards of assorted stash yarns: WoTA, Rowan all seasons cotton, Rowan handknit cotton, Wendy merino dk, making a tea cosy

End month position:
+905 new yarn purchases
-372 discarded yarn from stash
-1119 knitted up
End month: -588

Final YTD: -754

I say final because it's very unlikely I'll do any knitting to speak of in December, but I will be doing my annual stash catalogue. I might take that opportunity to clear out even more old yarn, so I am down again for the new year. It would be really nice to knit down some more in 2014, but I don't want that to inhibit my knitting, as it really has this year, so I might try a more relaxed approach to stash down next year.

I can also count success, because I said I wanted to do better on my stashdown than in 2012 and I have, by 40 yards!!

Friday, 29 November 2013

Tea from a Yorkshire landscape

Regular readers will know, although I've been transplanted to the Trent Valley, I'm actually from Yorkshire. Where I grew up, there were dry stone walls, green hills, and lots and lots of sheep. Which perhaps lies behind my fondness for yarn. 

Hill farming is what can be managed in that geography, although lower down in the glacial valleys, there are hay meadows and pasture with cows. This is the country of the Bronte sisters and The Secret Garden.

This week, I have made a tea cosy that recalls that landscape:

I once had the book with the pattern for this tea cosy in it, but unfortunately I gave it away last year, so I had to reverse engineer this pattern using other people's FO photos from Ravelry and my tea cosy knitting experience.
All the materials came out of stash. I made the sheep using duplicate stitch and not the intarsia of the original pattern, as I'm sick of intarsia now. 

There is a knitted lining on the inside which not only adds to its efficiency in keeping tea warm, it also hides the unsightly backs of the duplicate-stitched sheep.

I now have six tea cosies at home. I usually start with the intention of giving them away, but when I finish them, I like them so much, I can't bear to part with them. 

So for now, my Yorkshire landscape tea cosy is in my kitchen!

Monday, 25 November 2013

A bag full of flowers

Today I can report I have FINISHED my major project from the last three months.

I am very happy with the end result:

Here's a close up, so you can see the very many French knots I added for texture on the lovely purple flowers:

And one of the lining, that I sewed. It hides the back of all the intarsia and embroidery nicely!

And the reverse, so you can see the flowers extend to the back:

I am very pleased. I think I will be taking this one out of the house.

No more intarsia for at least another year, though!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Felt not bad

7 steps to felting chez moi:

1. Stress unduly about the fact that I, like most British people, own a front-loader washing machine, so once I start the cycle, I can't check progress until it finishes. Most felting instructions on web are for top-loaders and exhort you to check how the felting is going.

2. Examine washing machine instruction book to see if I can switch the spin off (in the end, I didn't switch it off, I just switched it down to the lowest speed).

3. Felt swatch several times at different temperatures and measure. Gnash teeth over inconclusive results.

4. Stick completed piece in machine. Take deep breath. Turn machine on.

5. Drink coffee and contemplate the hours and hours of intarsia knitting now in machine possibly being trashed.

6. Open machine and take out FO.

7. Marvel at final result, which not only looks OK, it is approximately the desired measurements as well.

Here is is while blocking:

This weekend, I shall sew the lining and add the handles. Updates coming soon. I hope.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Flower progress

I seem to be a much reduced blogger. Contemplating whether I am going to stop posting here altogether in 2014. I am approaching five years of blog presence and I'm maybe running out of things to say...

I've been working mostly on my intarsia bag this month and I'm pleased to report the actual knitting is finished, the ends are (mostly) woven in and I experimented by felting my swatch, so I'm just about ready to start the actual felting. I was a bit concerned as I only have a front-loading washing machine, and I'm not sure whether I can switch the spin off either, but the felted swatch looks OK so I will press ahead.

If all goes according to plan, I'll be blocking the bag over the weekend, embroidering on it next week, and adding the lining and handles the following weekend, so I am on track to get this one done in time. I really don't want to miss the deadline and fail yet another OWL!

Here's a pic of the completed knitting, before I started on the finishing (with apologies for the poor quality photo. I took it on my phone)

It gives you the general idea, and perhaps some indication of how much intarsia was involved! I shan't be doing any more for quite a while. The FO is enormous at present, but hopefully felting will reduce it down considerably.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Stashdown #10: October

In October, I didn't buy any yarn, and I finished a pair of socks: 320 yards worked up.

I've been mainly working on my colourwork bag this month, which is still in progress, so I can't count any yarn down yet. But it is definitely going down! I started with 15 balls of KP WoTA and I now have less. Although, I will have lots of partial balls left. Such is the way with intarsia.

Brought forward from last month +154
Yarn in 0
Yarn out 320 yards
Net for month -320
YTD total: -166