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…

handspun hourglass

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis one took a while!  It started off as my Tour de Fleece project back in early summer, when I was looking for something to do with a big bump of pink shetland fibre from Jamieson and Smith.  My buddy Mel reminded me that our spinners guild has a drum carder for hire, so I jumped at the chance to play with a new toy…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI made many little piles of evenly divided fibre, carding the original pink shetland with bits of coloured merino, silk, and a purple merino/silk blend.  I ended up with a daunting pile of 15 batts for spinning, but they were little and I got through them pretty quickly.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI loved the finished result – 5 skeins of a DKish weight true 3ply yarn.  Rustic and wooly, but soft at the same time, with lovely subtle colour variation.

On the day the Olympics started, I cast on for a Hourglass Throw by Anne Hanson, from Wool People Vol.1.  I worked away slowly, enjoying every stitch, and spending more time spreading out the blanket and admiring it than actually working on it.  But then my life turned crappy and I put it aside, not picking it up again until a few weeks ago when I finally finished spinning the last batt.  I tried to cheat the yardage by adding an extra repeat, but I was beaten and had to cut short the final ribbing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s beautiful, and perfect lap blanket size.  The problem I have though is that I put so much meaning into my crafting, associating everything I make with what I was doing or where I was at the time that I made it.  Every time I look at it I think to myself, ‘oh, it’s so pretty, it was so much work but totally worth it, but oh yeah, it’s what I was making when awful things happened, remember that Saz?’  And so, after I took photos of it draped on my mum last week, I left it with her, where it has found a very lovely and appreciative home, and where I know it will be treasured.

Also – thank you for all your nice comments on my last post about Penny’s jumper.  The pattern is actually called ‘Big Penny Sweater’ from the book Doggie Knits by Corinne Neisssner and is ravelled here.  As you can see from the photo above, Penny is Chief Protector of my mum.  I’m sure that my mum reminds her of her previous owner, and her love of her was instant.  Whenever we’re visiting she is permanently at my mum’s feet, and sneaks out of her bed to wait at her bedroom door in the morning.  Only when she’s sure my mum isn’t going anywhere, does she move a metre away to here –

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI hope you all have a good week!

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

the spinning mojo returns

It feels like for the last few days all my spare time has been spent at my spinning wheel.  This always happens after a spinning guild meeting!  This Saturday at the meeting most members were taking part in a dyeing workshop, but being surrounded by so many crafty and inspirational people always makes me want to spin rather than knit.  (My buddy and workmate Rebecca has this affect on me too…)

First up was my final batch of corridale.  As soon as this dries I’ll be able to finish my handspun Chickadee sweater, which is lovely and almost done – but crying at me from my knitting basket because it only has one sleeve.

Then I finished up my February club fibre from HilltopCloud, a gorgeous shetland/merino/mohair mix called Lonely Hillside –

(Sorry – not sure if anything is in focus in the picture above but you get the idea, it’s pretty!)

And then onto a very very old spinning WIP – this is a merino/nylon blend from The Yarn Yard.  It was so old that underneath I found some of the yarn I used for my Owls sweater (2009) being used as the leader.  This is very handy, since last week I found a hole in the sleeve and didn’t have anything that matched to fix it!

Thanks so much too for all your comments and suggestions on my 100th pair of socks…It looks like a winner has been decided but I’ll keep the poll open until tomorrow night.  And as a thank you (and for my amusement) here is a silly dog photo.  I had to fight these two for a place in front of the fire this weekend…


only spinning

I’ve been feeling a little under-the-weather for the last wee while (nothing serious, don’t worry), and with losing LadyBug and being out of my routine I’ve been a bit unsettled.  It’s spilled over into my crafting where I haven’t been making much progress.  I have a little pile of recently cast-on knitting projects I don’t feel like working on, bits of cut-up fabric I don’t feel like sewing together and a half painted floor I don’t feel like finishing.

I have been spinning though.  The results of my fibre-dyeing have already made it onto my wheel – this the cashmere finn blend from my last post –

I’m trying to spin up a couple of these little balls each day, and sorry, a wheel picture might have been more interesting so that will follow!

I’ve decided too to knit another FlukraGudrun’s new shawl pattern is extremely lovely, and I’ve worn the one I test knit almost every day.  This might take a while, but this is what I’m going to make it with –

This is merino/silk from A Verb For Keeping Warm.  Having a boss that travels a lot to wonderful yarn stores is a tremendous thing!  In an attempt to actually get this done, I’m going to spin a little more (I’m almost a third done), then ply the singles and start knitting.  Actually seeing it on the needles is going to make me want to spin more.  That’s the plan anyway…

purple projects

I seem to be working through my list one giftee at a time, and my sister is the current person-in-progress.  And if it looks from these photos that she has a favourite colour, you’d be right.

1001 Peeps!!  I’ve had this stashed away since the Squam Art Fair, when I had the pleasure of being cabin buddies with Lizzie House.  When I was little one of our favourite family movies was Disney’s Aladdin, so this fabric seems appropriate…  This is going to be a lap quilt as large as I can make it and very simple, so I should have a finished quilt top to show by the end of the week.

This was a little bit of merino and silk fibre, commercially dyed I think in three shades and blended together.  I picked this up years ago in a really out-of-the-way craft shop/cafe that my mum took me to for lunch when I was visiting her in the Highlands.  At the time I was working in a knitting shop and while we were having lunch in the almost deserted cafe a lady came up to us, said that she knew me from the shop, wanted to say hello and needed some help with her knitting, and would I mind having a look?  Shyness suddenly seemed to overcome her and she never showed me what it was, but my mum thought it was hilarious…

Anyway, I’ll knit this up into some simple fingerless mitts.  (You might have noticed that this project was never on my original list – adding things is probably a bad idea.  Oh well.)

My sister doesn’t knit or spin, though she does sew a little.  My absolute favourite though of her makings is cake.  Today she brought me these –

Posting pictures of these two cupcakes online is my way of making sure that Mr Saz gets one.  Publishing evidence means I can’t pretend they never existed and eat them both right now.  Ok.  So she might have brought me three…




This is superwash BFL, from June Fibre Arts in the colourway Joy.  Despite my self-imposed fibre purchasing ban I sneaked this home from Knit Nation this summer…

The finished skein is around 160m of DK weight yarn, navajo plied and squishy.  And the first thing on my list is done!