Sunday, 13 March 2011

More mittens! and some yoghurt eating hens


Since the last post I've been busy knitting more mittens.....but I haven't got much to show for it I'm afraid just this little bit of a mitt here

I'll explain; basically I've been knitting loads and then pulling it all out 'cos it's not working properly....grrrr!. I tried my Liz Inspired Mitts with some Noro Silk Garden which although lovely and colourful is a total pain in the bum when it comes to knots resulting in sudden colour changes and also the thick and thin nature of the yarn. After several attempts it just wasn't wanting to be those mitts so I tried Elizabeth Zimmerman's Mystery Mittens from her book Knitting Around several attempts resulted in a very large thumb and a too short hand and a very frustrated knitter...mmmm.

But not to worry:-) I've borrowed some books from Spinning Guild one being the EZ book Knitting Around and another being this one
The book basically gives a recipe for knitting a mitten and then you apply the cuff and colourwork pattern that you fancy. It gives an idea of how many stitches to cast on for the cuff and how many you will probably need for the hand part. So for my mittens I cast on 76 stitches on 2mm needles with Rowan 4ply and knitted 20 rounds in knit 2 purl 2 rib. Then I increased to 84 stitches by knit 9, make 1, knit 10, make1 for a total of four times. This adds the 8 extra stitches needed to bring the stitch count up to a number divisible by 14 ready to start the colourwork pattern.
The pattern is, allegedly, a four-leaf clover but at the moment it looks more like coffee beans! and it's taking a while - tiny, tiny needles and tiny, tiny wool, but it's coming along and I am enjoying it well much.

During February I also spent a lovely Saturday carding fleece with my friend Julie. We don't get to meet up very often as we are both so busy so it was good to catch up, drink tea and card interspersed with a spot of lunch and updates from the Six Nations via her husband and little boy. I managed to get through quite a bit of the Jacob fleece I have been working on and got quite a bit carded. I'd given Julie a wodge of the Jacob the last time we'd met up and she had spun it up and knit it into a hat, it looked very good and was very fetching on. For my bit of Jacob I think that I will probably start with some mittens (what a surprise! lol) and probably have a blue stripe on them somewhere using some of the teal spindle spun I did last December.

February's Spinning Guild meeting consisted of a skills day which was really very good indeed. Three Guild members took a workshop each in spinning longdraw, Navajo plying and using a warping mill. In the morning I learnt to spin longdraw which was fun as I seemed to need to take up loads of space with my right arm! p
Practise will hopefully enhance my rather inelegant technique - put it this way, it better!! Here is my progress so far. Carol, the tutor, described it as "art yarn", lol:-) it is a bit lumpy bumpy but I expect that it will even out when I ply it.

After our soup and bread lunch (I made tomato and lentil and everyone liked it very much) I swapped workshops and learnt to Navajo ply with Brenda. She showed us how it was done, a bit like crocheting a long chain, and then let us have a go at doing it ourselves on her wheel; a double treadle Louet; a very nice wheel. The first lady to have a go managed to get the technique off pat straight away; I managed to make a bit of a hash of it and was all fingers and thumbs until I'd got the gist, then it was actually very easy. Brenda explained that Navajo plying creates a three ply yarn, can be used to maintain colour repeats and creates a rounded profile in the finished yarn making it a warmer yarn. So, I'm planning on using this technique to ply my scrap swap singles (got to spin them yet!) so that I can maintain the colours and not get the barber-pole affect.

Recently we have been getting some nice sunny weather and this morning I've managed to get the washing out on the line. The daffodils are out by the back door and they look very cheery indeed. Things are beginning to stir out in the garden and I'm starting to think about what to grow in the veggie patch this year as it'll be time to start planting seeds indoors soon. I dug over half the veggie patch last Sunday, with the help of the chickens.

The chickens are doing well and both are now laying regularly. Miranda has got all her feathers back now after moulting during the coldest winter we have had for years! mad bird. Apparently it was down to minus 14 degrees celsius at it's coldest (Jenny's son measured it) and the river was frozen over on Christmas morning. Anyway here are the girls, Amy in the background as she is camera shy, Miranda at the front as she is a tart!
I gave them some yoghurt this morning, they really do enjoy their yoghurt and apparently it is very good for their little tummies. Here they are tucking in, it can get a bit messy!

Bye, bye, 'till next time:-)


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