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Stash time

I’ve taken advantage of some great Spring prices to plan ahead and stash materials for a few knitting and sewing projects…

Two lovely cotton fabrics for tunics and blouses from Livingstone Textiles

Two lovely cotton fabrics for tunics and blouses from Livingstone Textiles

I have in mind an adult Wiksten Tova tunic for the larger print and a surprise baby project for the little hearts.

KnitPicks Alpaca Cloud and the new Home & Away book by Hannah Fettig

KnitPicks Alpaca Cloud
and the new Home & Away book by Hannah Fettig

This is the first time I’ve tried this Alpaca Cloud and I have in mind to knit two strands at once in gradually changing colours. I haven’t decided yet on a simple blanket/shawl or perhaps a sweater.

I’m also very excited about this lovely pattern book, Home and Away by Hannah Fettig (AKA Knitbot). I’m tempted to try the Lesley sweater, perhaps with this Rowan Lima:

Rowan Lima

Rowan Lima

Meanwhile I bought this Rooster Almerino Aran yarn from my LYS, and am already well underway with a cardigan.

Rooster Merino Aran

Rooster Merino Aran

Aran swatch for a cardigan

Aran swatch for a cardigan

Finally, later in the summer I hope to use this gorgeous Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace for a fine Laar cardigan – pattern by Gudrun Johnston.

Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace

Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace

I’m excited about gradually replacing items in my wardrobe as the wear out with my own handmade items. What’s new in your stash for Spring?

My first video game!

One reason I’ve not been posting much about crafts – I’ve poured my love of romantic Regency England into this solitaire card game, Regency Solitaire. I’ve worked on it with my husband, an experienced game designer. It has received rave reviews, and I’d love to share it with you!

You can buy securely using Steam, shown above, or from us direct at www.regencysolitaire.com

Awards:
“Best Card Game of 2015” – Rock, Paper, Shotgun
“Unsung games of 2015” – Eurogamer Editor
“2015 Staff Picks: The best of the year” – Indiegames.com
“Best Casual Game (2015)” – Nerdy But Flirty
“Top 10 Games of 2015” – Giant Bomb/Felix Kramer

Bottled sunshine

Summer is finally winding down here in the UK, and we have had a lot of sunshine. I’ve been bottling fruit from the hedgerows for various jellies and drinks…I’ve also bottled some colour from a coreopsis plant I bought at my local market.
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Here’s my plant along with a large glass jar and some wool fibre I’ve mordanted in alum (10% WOF). Here’s my assistant putting the flowers, yarn and some water in the jar:

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I have a small plastic greenhouse and it was a bright sunny day, so we put the jar in the greenhouse to capture some sunshine. In just a few hours the colour was coming out of the flower heads and making a solar dye bath:

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I waited until the end of the day – most of the colour had transferred to the fibre. Here it is hanging out on the line:

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The colour really is similar to the flowers – that might seem obvious but quite a number of plants I’ve dyed with give surprising colours. This one is a warm peachy yellow/orange. I’m looking forward to spinning it into yarn next, possibly combined with some other colours…I’ll save it until it’s bleak and raining outside and it will remind me that we really did have a lovely warm summer this year. Maybe my sloe gin will be ready by then, too.

Aestlight

According to knitwear designer Gudrun Johnston, “aestlight” means “east light” in Shetland dialect. It’s also the name of a lovely, garter stitch shawl with a traditional construction: this means knitting a garter triangle first, then picking up stitches along the two shorter triangle sides and working outwards evenly, and finally knitting a lacy edge sideways, picking up stitches on the outside of the triangle as you go. I’ve made shawls in several directions, but this is the first I’ve done with a “knitted on” lace edge.

I spun the yarn – Corriedale in mainly natural shades with hints of brighter merino blended in – as I went along. The shawl used up every last inch of my yarn…
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These are the colours I wear most often – bright greens, chocolate browns, strong purple and soft grey. I didn’t necessarily plan to put them all together in one garment, I just played around with colour as I spun and let the shades blend into each other organically.
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This is number six of my target dozen shawls in 2013. Yes, I know, I’m way off target…but I do give myself extra credit for spinning the wool first, which more than doubled the time the project took.

I blocked my shawl out this morning, while the eastern light was just coming up over my garden fence, and the moon was still big and round, setting in the south west. I’m sorry you can’t feel this shawl – it’s springy, bouncy, stretchy and lofty in ways that an internet image can’t quite convey. I think I will be wearing it most days this winter.

 

Here are the other shawls I’ve knitted this year:

Today I made…


…some amateurishly-labelled but still tasty lemon curd…


…about 60 metres of lace weight Corriedale with hints of aurora-coloured Falkland, and a purchase:


This Corriedale (yes I love it) is destined for some time in a big, smelly pot of fermenting walnut hulls that my friend Katkin is curating. Some of my woad (still growing in the garden) may also make an appearance.

Friday is D-day (dye-day). Really looking forward to making a mess and some lovely, natural colours in good company.