I’ve been getting some great inspiration for spinning from my parents’ garden this summer. Working with my hand carders, the latest roving I have produced came from these two plants. The first is lantana. It’s kind of like a candytuft, but on fire. The second is my old favourite, the dahlia. My Isle of Wight grandad, Georgie used to grow them for shows and was forever moaning that the earwigs were getting in them. My Mum grows them today as a reminder of him.
I’m going to spin up some yarn in this colourway and depending on how much I get out of it, will make either wristwarmers or a hat for my Mum.
Something in me says I should make an earwig motif to go on them. I think she might appreciate that.
I knit like my fingers were on fire this Sunday to make a last-minute ‘H’ for the Poetry Society’s Knitted Poem which is a project to celebrate their centenary. They were missing both Rs and Hs and put out a call last week for speedy knitters to make some before the sewing-up deadline on 26th September. The Poetry Society had a stand which I saw at I Knit, showing some of the finished letters. I had thought that the deadline had passed, so I was really pleased to get a chance to take part.
It was the first time that I’ve done intarsia and found that it wasn’t all that bad after all! Sometimes I just need a prod in the right direction to try something new. Using small amounts of yarn on cards helped a lot to eliminate tangling.
We were asked to mark the back with our favourite poem, but to be honest I couldn’t choose. I put two titles onto my label. Two which create somewhat of a paradox when read together: one which I occassionally address but have yet to resolve in myself.
You can see how everyone else is doing in the Ravelry Knit a Poem group. There are some lovely, inventively knitted letters there. Also stay tuned to find out what the final poem will be (it’s a secret until the sewing up is finished).
It has taken me ages to get the photos off my camera, but finally here is my trip to the I Knit Weekender last Saturday. Such fun!
I travelled up on the Saturday and worked on the Knitting Reference Library stand with Linda, Kate and Carolyn from Uni of Southampton Library (and from my knitting group). It was a whole lot of fun and I met loads of great people, old friends and new (including an American sock monkey on a swap!)
As I was on a stand, I didn’t have time to go and do any workshops or attend talks, but lots of people came to talk to us. I met Alice Starmore, Woolly Wormhead, the Knitting Noras (and Ashley!), Ysolda Teague, Joyce Meader, Jennie Atkinson, Neta Bruce and many more lovely people, including Betsan from Stitchlinks, and Susan and Gavin from KnitontheNet who I will be working with soon. Some people I knew online such as Curlyminx from twitter, others I see all the time at my knitting group. Of course not forgetting Gerard from IKnit too!
I even managed to get some (rather extensive) shopping in too:
I hadn’t bought any new yarn really since Unravel back in February, so I went all out and got some Malabrigo Lace, Zauberball sock yarn, Colinette Jitterbug, Fyberspates sock yarn in Cherry Tree and some Irish Linen yarn to try. I reckon that’ll keep me going for a while!
I also bought some lovely pink vintage metal needles and some Cascade 220 which is being knitted up as a Christmas present. It was a long, long day which started with my friend Katie giving me a lift to the end of the Picadilly Line at Heathrow and ended with an epic train journey of three and a half hours back due to delays. It was such fun though. Can’t wait til next time.
Here’s a really easy pattern for wrist warmers that is great for showing off your handspun yarn. I started off knitting a much more complicated open twisted rib stitch pattern, but soon realised something. It was almost impossible to see the pattern because the yarn I was using was the star of the show. I might as well have been knitting garter stitch. I started again with a simple two by two rib, which gives the stretch that the wrist-warmers need, and shows off the yarn to its best. This is a great first pattern for knitting in the round, and has a just a couple of easy features to knit. The thumb is simply a large buttonhole, and the only other detail in the pattern is the fluted cast-off edge, which is made by increases.
You will need:
Approximately 100 metres/ 110 yards of aran (worsted) weight yarn.
4.5mm dpns or circular needle.
Tip: Divide the yarn into two balls before you start as it is hard to estimate where to stop once you’re knitting. I find that using scales to get it right helps.
Gauge: 5 stitches and 7 rows per inch in rib pattern.
I wrote this pattern to fit my medium sized hands, but the pattern has lots of stretch, so gauge is not vital. Use larger or smaller needles if you need.
Kfb: Knit in the front and back of the same stitch (to increase)
Cast on 40 stitches using the longtail cast on method (for stretch).
Join without twisting and mark the start of the round with a stitch marker.
Work in pattern *K2, P2* until the work measures 3cm.
Next round: K2, P1, cast off 5 stitches, continue in pattern to end of round.
Next round: K2, cast on 5 stitches using the backward loop cast on method, continue in pattern to end of round.
Continue to work in pattern until they measure approximately 19cm (just under 7 inches) from the cast on edge.
Next round: *Kfb, Kfb, P2* to end of round.
Next 2 rounds: *K4, P2* to end of round.
Cast off in pattern and weave in ends.
Then knit the other one (unless you’ve been magic looping them of course!)
Thanks to Lily for modelling in the photos!
Please feel free to knit up the wrist warmers to keep or as gifts/charity fundraising, but please do not knit up for commercial purposes or reproduce the pattern without first seeking permission.
Copyright © Ingrid Murnane 2009. All rights reserved.
Whilst collecting blackberries to make jam a couple of weeks ago, I was struck with inspiration about what to make with the final 40g or so of brown Jacob’s sheep fibre that has been hanging around since Unravel in February. It was the perfect opportunity to try out my new hand carders, mixing this fibre in with some merino to make the briars with lengths of purple for the berries themselves.
Despite what I’d heard, hand carding turned out to be a lot of fun, if hard work. Only thing was, try as I might I couldn’t get the purple dark enough to still stand out from the browns of the briars. Partly because I didn’t have enough dark to blend in, partly because I wanted the colour to pop and it just blended in too much. That’s why I ended up going a lot lighter than anticipated. Not so much of a blackberry colour at all. See what I mean?
Now, I know what you’re thinking… what about the lush greens of the leaves too? Well I was trying to get away from green a little bit. Green is my favourite colour, my go-to colour and I already have another spinning project in which I’m using it currently (more on which later). Despite it not really looking like my original plan for blackberry yarn anymore I really liked what I had blended and went ahead and spun it.
I planned on the yarn being self striping and had worked out by weight to get both singles to have similar colour lengths for plying. It even almost worked! I ended up with some overlapping of a metre or so, but it looks great so I’m happy. I spun 110 yards of aran weight yarn and it is destined to be a pair of fingerless gloves. Whilst taking the photograph at the top of the post I noticed that it was exactly the same colour as the Canterbury Bells in the flowerbed, and thought about renaming it thus. It doesn’t sound right though. It remains the UnBlackberry.
ETA: I started knitting it up and found it wasn’t DK after all, it knits up to aran gauge.