handspun chickadee

I had a lovely afternoon last week with my buddy Kate and her dog-buddy Bruce.  (He is absolutely my favourite boy-dog in the world, so sweet and gentle and soft inside…)

Kate took some lovely photos of my Chickadee, and I’ve hardly taken it off since.  I love this sweater because of the fit, the warmth and just because its cute.  But most of all I love it because of the all memories I see when I look at the stitches.

This sweater (and the materials to make it, in many forms) have been in my mind for a long time.  The brown corridale I spun for the main body was picked up at Woolfest in 2009, a trip I took with my friend and awesome prolific-crafter Mel.  Spinning the fibre and then knitting the body made me think of the hilarious trip to took back to our B&B, just after Mel had been andean plying yarn on her spindle and had to drive back in the dark with the singles round her wrist and me holding the spindle, waving an iphone around on the hillside trying to figure out where we were.  It makes me think of the sheep that got loose during the festival which ran down the rows of stalls, and for some reason, Michael Jackson, because I was looking at the fibre when I heard someone behind me say that he’d died.  (I’m not a great fan, just remember the moment!)

The pale blue shetland used in the yoke makes me think of Gudrun, Jess and Casey, because it was on a trip to Shetland to photograph the designs for Gudrun’s book that they visited Jamieson and Smith and Ysolda brought this fibre back for me as a birthday present.  They gave it to me on my 29th birthday when I was staying with crafty friends in Stirling, and Jess took a funny picture of me burying my face in it.

The Quince & Co Chickadee I ended up using for the background colour of the yoke makes me think of my Mr, and how when I came home from my knitting group on the evening of my 30th birthday I found a pile of 30 parcels – every one of them was a ball or skein of yarn that he had chosen himself.  He even drove to New Lanark to buy yarn and bought the cherry aran because he knows I like ‘all the same colour’ and to him it seemed the most solid of their colourways.  (The Chickadee was in the enormous pile.)

And the dark blue used for the birds makes me think of LadyBug.  It was in the days after she passed away last year that I dyed it up in my kitchen.  I was sad, and couldn’t concentrate an anything, and dying up a bit of fibre for a Chickadee I might get round to knitting some day seemed like a good idea.

It feels good to be so involved in almost every aspect of a project.  I think this is the most personally creative thing I’ve ever made.  I need to make more things like this, I love it x


My little dye kit came out again this weekend, and this –

Became this –

The fibre is a cashmere and finn blend which was passed to me by a knitting but non-spinning friend who’d received it as a gift.  I handpainted the undyed fibre with splashes of a blues, jade and grey, and the overdyed the thing with a grey/jade mixture.  And the best thing is that I have not ruined it and ended up with a felted rope like last time…

I have a project in mind for this, I plan to spin it up as fine as I can, navajo ply it and turn it into a shawl.  The pattern I’ll use needs good yardage, so I dyed up a little mini braid at the same time as backup.  It’s very cute.

And to change the subject completely….

Yesterday we said goodbye to our beautiful old girl LadyBug.  She was 17 years old, and we know that her last 4 years since we took her in from the Dog’s Trust were happy ones.  Knowing this doesn’t seem to help though, and I feel as if there is a big hairy black/grey hole in our family.  Rescuing elderly dogs seems was becoming a habit so this isn’t the first time we’ve had to go through this, and being a crazy dog lady I’m sure it won’t be the last.  Right now I am sticking to tea, chocolate, knitting stocking stitch in the round and hugging Penny.



dyeing with lilith

I’ve had another wave of family and friends visiting, and this week I met my lovely friend Kate and her husband Jason in West Kilbride and visited Lilith of Old Maiden Aunt for a dyeing workshop in her studio.

We started off with mini-skeins of lots of different bases, forcing ourselves to take notes so we could recreate our favourite colours on full skeins later.

My favourite was the pale blue third from the left in the mini-skein photo, so I got a full skein of that going.  It starts with a pale blue grey before being adding a little jade to brighten in up.  I also went for a couple skeins of sock yarn in the green and orange – being part of a Ravelry group that’s knitting every pair of Cookie’s socks from Knit.Sock.Love is seriously denting by already limited sock yarn stash…

Kate dyed sweater quantities of some of the beautiful colours ever, she had exact colours in mind so did a bit of experimenting to get what she imagined.  I wish I’d sneaked a couple of skeins into her dyepot!

Lilith’s about to move into a bigger studio down the road, but her current space is lovely and packed with gorgeous yarn –

We drove home super-happy, and now my laundry room smells like wet wool…mmmmm!