Wednesday, 28 March 2012


Recently, I've found myself only blogging when I have a finished object to show and tell. Today, however, I'm blogging to share the sheer joy of something that took my fancy the other night.

I was sent a small pile of hexipuffs and a Fyberspates BFL sock blank from Shetland via the p/hop group on Ravelry. The hexipuffs went into my pile of the same and I decided to rewind the sock blank into a hank and soak it to remove some of the crimp (it's perfectly possible to knit straight from the blank, but the crimp messes with my tension a bit).

I set up the lovely new swift that I got for Christmas (thanks Mum, Dad and Sis) and ripped out the blank and wound it on (yes, that is a toy tricycle supporting the swift!). Hmm, I thought, there doesn't actually seem to be much crimp (not allowing for the tension the yarn was under on the swift).

Ha! Then I released the tension and took it off and it made me laugh out loud.

The hank pulled in to less than a quarter of its previous diameter and went all crinkly. There was serious crimp in the yarn.

It had a bath and is now drying in the bathroom - I would have put it under tension to straighten it out totally but I couldn't find the hook I normally use to add weight.

I'm planning to knit more hexipuffs from this skein.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Gift Knitting (Part 4)

Whereas some of my spinning-to-knitting projects in the past have been from ALMOST first principles, this one could not have started at an earlier point in the process without owning livestock.

A few years ago when I was first learning to spin, a friend of my in-laws sent me a raw fleece from one of her alpacas. It was a beautiful caramel colour and wonderfully soft. I consulted You Tube, decided not to try to wash the fleece but spin it dirty instead, purchased a pair of hand carders and set to work.

I still don't really think I'm carding properly or efficiently, but I managed to produce some rollags from which I could spin and produced a reasonably respectable single (if a little thick and thin in places).

This was N-plied to form a 3 ply which was approximately DK weight and given a good wash. And here the yarn sat for a couple of years until December last year.

We were going down to my in-laws for Christmas and for the first time since I received the fleece, the friend who had sent me it would be there, so I decided to knit her a Christmas gift from her own Alpaca.

A little swatching told me that the Basic Cable Hat by Christine Quirion would be a good match for the yarn so I crossed my fingers that I would have the yardage needed and started knitting.

I knitted the hat on 5mm DPNs and gave it a good wash post-knitting in soak. I sqeezed in on the yardage front with less than a metre left over. The wonderful caramel colour of the original fleece had been a bit obscured during the prep and spinning process by the dirt and oil on the fibre, but it really came out again after a good wash.

Sadly, the remainder of the fleece that I had stored unprocessed was discovered by some mice who found that it made a wonderfully soft and warm winter home. It's now becoming lovely rich compost in my compost bin!

Monday, 5 March 2012

A monster from the deep...

... or at least that's what it looked like when the Resident Radiologist fished it out from beneath his boot last week.

Can you guess what it is? Yep - it's one of my Chrysanthemum mittens.
It must have dropped out of my bag one day when I was getting my daughter out of her car seat. Subsequently, it languished in the gutter for a few days in some truely horrible weather, right up until the RR stood on it and it went squelch.

I have to admit, I had a serious think about whether it was worth trying to resurrect it. I even considered knitting it again, but I don't have enough yarn left and don't want to buy more. Eventually, I rinsed off the worst of the mud and soaked it in a large basin of water overnight. In the morning it went through a wool wash in the machine with delicates detergent.

It will never be the same again, but it's wearable and warm and the pattern is still detectable. It's also considerably greyer than it was, slightly hairier, and a centimeter smaller, but with wear it's stretching out a bit.