january sampler

I’m not sure where February has gone.  How can it be almost over already?

Our house has been very quiet for the last few days and yesterday was filled with worry.  Penny had some surgery – nothing life-threatening or serious – but nasty and uncomfortable nonetheless.  I picked her up from the vet, drugged and unsteady, and was told that she’d needed 13 teeth removed, as well as three benign lumps under her tail.  We inherited her bad teeth when we rescued her, and now the dental work is complete I am armed and ready with brushes and chicken-flavoured toothpaste for when her wee mouth recovers.

And so as she lay slumped in bed yesterday, crying whenever I stopped stroking her head, I realised that knitting anything was going to be difficult.  So I switched to embroidery, which seemed easier to pick up and put down for when she woke up and realised I wasn’t there.  My little January sampler from the Dropcloth monthly sampler club got finished off, and I made a start on February.  Seems only right since the month is almost over, and soon the March design will be arriving…

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spinning with purpose

I hope everyone had a nice weekend.  I spent Saturday at the monthly meeting of my local spinning guild and oh my, it was productive.  The meeting didn’t feel like quite enough, and for the rest of the day and then the next it felt like I was chained to my wheel and couldn’t escape.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShetland, from Into the Whirled, for a Aranami by Olga Buraya-Kefelian.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlmost 300g spun so far, massam from World of Wool, for an Empire by Gudrun Johnson.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABFL from A Verb for Keeping Warm, a colour for the yoke of a Puffin Sweater by Kate Davis.

Now my wheel needs a wee rest, so I’m going back to the stitching…

my favourite wip

There are lots of things I love on my list, but the one that is now closest to being finished is definitely my favourite.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m sad to be finishing work on my Ursula, but excited at the same time.  The buttons are ready, and hopefully I’ll be wearing it at the weekend.

This space has been very knitting-heavy recently, but I have plans to start on a new embroidery project this week, and its a quick one…

sorry gudrun x

Remember my lovely Levenwick?  I pounced on the pattern seconds after I saw this design for the first time, and ordered my Shelter to knit it a few minutes later.  On Thursday night though, we said goodbye.

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I love the design, the yarn, and the making of it, but we never became close friends and I think I wore it only a handful of times.  Some of the problems were fixable – it was too big and the buttons were in the wrong place.  But its main issue I think was the colour – I bought the colour of yarn I loved at the time (and still do), with no thought whatsoever about whether it would suit me, and I don’t think it does.

Then, almost immediately after the ripping session I became the victim of a very strange mascara-allergy incident, which made my head try to explode and kept me awake all night.  (Please – no sympathy – this is not a serious problem and has taught me that mascara that I’m allergic to does not belong inside my eyes.)  So Friday was spent in bed, trying to hold my face together and get even just a little sleep….  It never happened, so I ignored all the warnings from my inner-knitter (16 wips, Saz, remember?!) and um, cast on something new.

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All done in one sitting (but really kind of lying down), a Honey Crisp by Gudrun Johnston.  Ravelled here.  Lovely and satisfying to knit, and I’ve hardly taken it off since I finished it.  And it is definitely my colour.

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my black hole of needles

Do you ever sit down to start a new piece of knitting, know for sure that you have needles in every size but can never find what you need?  I’ve had this problem for a while, then in the corner of my eye I noticed a metal needle tip peeking out of my knitting basket.  This is where my needle-troubles are brewing.  I decided to be really, truly honest and count my works-in-progress.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere were 17 things on that list.  Only one of them I decided to rip, but and then I accidentally cast-on something else and so added another.  For me, this is too much.  I made a little pact with my mum that I would finish two things on the list before starting each new thing, but it only seemed to last as long as she was in my house.

This list does include though three long-term projects, one that is waiting on more laceweight yarn being spun, and two that actually belong to my mum, but I said I would finish off for her.  This is what is eating my needles!

I came up with great plan!  Instead of trying to work through them, or be truly ruthless and rip another two or three, I reached for the unfinished quilt in the cupboard and started working on that…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf this gets finished, it’ll clear more space in my unfinished things pile than the rest of them combined!

I’m not going to say too much about this quilt for now, as its a gift for someone who may read here.  It was lovely to be back at my sewing machine for oh, 30 minutes?  Now I have to work through the hand quilting, which I suspect may take a little longer…

from my family’s new crafter

Remember this?  My dad turned up at the weekend, cradling his hand-crafted masterpiece in a box.

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He turned his 9+ metres of cord into a little bowl!  It is very beautiful, and now cradling my eggs in the kitchen, since it reminds me a little of a bird nest.  Thank you Dad!!  Please feel free to leave suggestions of what his next project should be…he’s pretty attached to his little french knitter and wants to leave the two-needle knitting to my mum.  I suspect this is because he prefers her to knit his socks, rather than doing it himself…

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Other news – I don’t think it’s obvious from the photo, but these are shop-bought eggs.  Our two remaining chickens Bowie and Mrs Weasley officially retired from egg production a few months ago and seem to be content merely pecking about our garden with nothing to show for it.  They’re elderly though, so we forgave them.  So for a while I’ve been on the hunt for more chickens to rehome and had almost given up after the charity that usually rescues them decided to stop its work in Scotland.  But this week I got a tip-off about a rescue happening in March, and there are now 4 new chicken ladies coming our way!  There’s a few weeks to go, so plenty of time to build a new enclosure and get things cosy for the newcomers.  Seeing caged chickens experience the outdoors for the first time is a wonderful and entertaining thing – I might try and film it…

There are still hens looking for homes – so if anyone is interested in the details leave me a wee comment and I’ll get in touch.  You’d need to willing/able to collect them from Central Scotland at the end of March…

ETA – I’ve just realised that the blue yarn my Dad used in his bowl is Quince and Co Chickadee in the colourway ‘Bird’s Egg.’  Haha, how appropriate!

from the needles of the sockologist

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I hope you all had a good weekend!  I had a trip to Glasgow to meet up with some very dear old friends, it was lovely.  And my parents came to visit, both of them bringing me handcrafted gifts.  Above is my mum’s contribution – surely these must be the most amazing socks ever?!  I’ve knit well over 100 pairs of socks myself, but none of them come anywhere close to these in pure awesomeness.  Thank you mum, I love them!!

A wee edit:  My mum has now seen this blogpost and she wanted me to tell you all that every stitch was a pleasure…