The Studio

We live in a four-bedroomed house.  There are two of us, and a dog (and two chinchillas).  That means that J and I get a room each for our own messes/storage etc.  Until recently, J worked from home, so really needed that space; on the other hand, I just needed somewhere to dump all my books, stash and tools – and, ideally, to actually do my hobbies.  My sewing machines live there.  And my knitting machine (and its ribber attachment, which is just as big as the main machine).  And a loom, too, now.  And Skinny Annie, my tailor’s dummy.    I have a desk in there, too.  Quite a lot of it is taken over with cardmaking supplies.  Then there’s all kinds of other stuff – like my flute and recorders, the paper for wrapping presents, the scales for weighing parcels….  Neither of my spinning wheels live there; there isn’t room.

So, it’s pretty crowded in there, then.  And disorganised.  I avoid working in there unless I have to, because you can barely turn around without falling over something.

To cut a long story at least a little bit shorter, I need to destash, organise and enjoy my room.  I want to be able to actually spin, weave and sew in there – though only one activity at once – it’s still only a small room!

So, I’m aiming to sort through one fabric box (or equivalent) every week, and actually *dispose* of what I decide not to keep.

Because with less stuff hanging around, I might be able to use the stuff I have.


View from the door – very welcoming!

The room is actually ‘L’ shaped, and is laid out roughly so:

In an ideal world, I would only have enough stash to fill the cupboard next to my desk, and the huge shelves could go.  I’ve got a long way to go before I reach that level of decluttered, though.

But I have already made one decision.  It is no longer to be called ‘my room’ – in any case, the word is deeply inappropriate in so many ways – it is ‘my studio’.  If I give it a more serious name, I might treat it more seriously.  And you don’t just store stuff in a studio; you work there, too.

Bobbles ongoing; spinning stalled

I thought it would take me about an hour to do that cast off, ‘or a little more’.  Hubris, thy spawn is bobbles.  I worked on that shawl for two hours last night, and cast off half of it.



In other news, my plying project has made no progress whatsoever since last weekend.  I still have three sets of yarn to ply up; I hope to get some time on it on Friday, and maybe even Saturday.  It’s about 6 hours work total, I think, but my wheel doesn’t get much ‘play’ during the week, because it takes so much more setup/put away effort than my knitting.

Just another reason to get my studio sorted, really.

What to do with the plied stuff…

Mary asked the other day what I’m going to do with the stuff I’m currently plying.  Welll…

I want to do a round-yoked sweater with a deep Fair Isle style collar, cuffs and possibly hip-band, too.  When I bought the yarn, I was being very, very inspired by these Bohus designs – especially those huuuge collars.  I’ve been similarly taken by the Ski Sweater, designed by Debbie Bliss, that Amelia is currently knitting.

I should have plenty of yarn to complete such a project, but your regular dyelot issues have *nothing* on this one.  I don’t think any one skein will be the same as any other; I have quite a lot of the greyish light brown, and quite a lot of the rich mid-brown, but beyond that, I have one skein each of two different pinks, one skein of red and two skeins of dark brown (but they’re *different* dark browns).  The skeins are large – each one is nearly 200m long – but I definitely need to use the colours intelligently and mix ’em up good.

I’ve done some stranded knitting before – but never a large project.  Swatches really.  And I’ve never knit a round-yoked sweater, either.  Also, I’ve not found a pattern close enough to what I have in my mind to make it worth copying.  So I’m planning to design and knit my own sweater, in totally unproven yarn, in a technique I’m not familiar with and a style I’ve never knit before.

Should be fun.

Ready for a bind off…

…with bobbles.


That’s about as stretched out as I can get it right now, but you can see the whole pattern, from top edge to hem.  All it needs now is a bind-off.

The bind off on this shawl is done on a wrong side row, and features 23 bobbles.


Each five-sitch bobble takes a nominal eight steps, but they’re different depending on whether I’m working the first bobble, the last bobble, or one of the bobbles in the middle.

Yes, I’m procrastinating.  How could you tell?


My current spinning project is a real cheat.  In fact, no spinning, per se, has been done.  Only plying.

I’ve been playing with this lot of wonderful, very thin 2-ply yarn, combining three skeins of two ply into one skein of 6 ply.

I’ve been able to put each skein on the swift, and ‘spin’ it directly from there to my wheel, adding twist (in the same direction as the current ply) as I go.

Then, once all three are in, back through the wheel I go again, plying them all together.  I have a somewhat homemade Lazy Kate, but it works.  A tad noisy, perhaps.

This results in a 6-ply yarn that is roughly balanced, very, very soft and light and has an intriguing appearance.  It almost looks like a chain structure.

I’ve done seven out of eleven skeins thus far, so I’m making good progress.  But I’m participating in an online workshop in April, working with Bowmont fleece (yes, that fleece!) and I’d like to free up the wheel for that, if possible.  I know the wheel is technically free pretty much all the time, but it’s that monogamy thing, I guess.

And I just realised we’re two thirds of the way through March.  Think I can do the rest in time??





(except one more bundle of three has been plied up since I took the photos)

Drive-by post: Knitter’s tattoo

Sent my way by Jack:

As one commenter says:  "Will you still like it when you’re 80?"

Birthday bonanza!


What you see up there is a beautiful and useful yarn pot made by the lovely and very talented Scarlet – for me, for my birthday!  I believe I am correct in saying that there are only two of these in the entire world – I own one, and so does she.

It’s hard to give an impression of scale, but the whole gigantic yarn cake from last week’s post fits *inside* it.  It’s intentionally very heavy, so Kita can’t send it flying.  However, as predicted, the first thing she did was stick her nose in it to see if there was a treat for her inside.

Resting on top is the nascent Lotus Blossom shawl, which grows surprisingly quickly when I actually work on it.  I’m at the end of chart 2 now, and there are 195 stitches on the needle; it’s officially Too Big to stretch out on the needle and admire any more:


I’m loving the way this is working up; I definitely made the right choice of needle size.  The yarn isn’t pooling or flashing (yet!) and I think there is a great balance betweeen colour and texture.  After 30 more rows (getting longer and longer, of course…) the pattern changes to the ‘lotus flower’ repeat.  I’m even
looking forwards to the bobble bind-off.  I think it will give a lovely swing and drape to the lower edge.  And, after all, it can’t be any worse than Minnie!

Oh, and for those that were asking – my birthday is March 1.  You know who you are… 😉

Sock roundup!

Since I spent February finishing up languishing projects, and one of my bloggy failings is that I rarely do any ‘FO’ posts, I thought I’d do a quick round up of all two projects I actually finished in February – and they’re all socks.  Hmm.

Somerset Lace socks
The first pair of socks I ever started, long abandoned due to a mistake I couldn’t face ripping back.  I started these way back in 2005, sometime before August, but totally unblogged.  After making my Natalya gauntlets, I decided I could make ‘thumb socks’ to wear with my toe-post sandals.  They look pretty funky off-the-foot:

but they do fit:

And they are *great* with my toe-post sandals:

Incidentally, boys don’t seem to approve of these socks.  Too pink??

Lorna’s Laces Shepherd sock, ‘Somerset’
Pattern:  My own – why start the easy way? – based on this and a lace pattern from somewhere anonymous
Notable differences:  The second pair of ‘thumb socks’ I’ve finished – they’re pretty successful, this time.
Started: Sometime before August 2005
Finished: February 2007

Making Waves socks
Started on 2.25mm Brittany Birch needles and knit in-flight to Canada, these got put on hold when one of the teeny needles snapped not one inch into the cuff of the second sock.  I finally sucked up the pain and spent an entire three quid on a new set of needles to finish them off.  I’m sure the cabling didn’t help, but I think that 2.25mm is just a liiitle too fine for birch needles; the second sent were starting to splinter by the time I was done.

The fabric is soft and cushy, helped by the bubbly cable pattern:

Cherry Tree Hill Supersock, ‘Old Rose’
Pattern:  ‘Making Waves’ from the six socks KAL, 2005
Notable differences: None especially; I pretty much followed the pattern here
Started: August 2006
Finished: February 2007

I’m not 100% happy with either of these pairs; in both cases, I feel the colourway of the yarn overwhelms the subtlety of the pattern.  I’ll still enjoy wearing them, though.  And isn’t that a bonus with socks??  Even if you produce what turns out to be a raging eyesore – you don’t have to show them off unless you want to!

Ohh, Kita…

I had a delivery of sheep’s wool – and by that I mean unwashed,
just-sheared wool – today.  J found it tucked under the doormat when he
did the puppy-run at lunchtime, and brought it in for me.  It’s for a
workshop in April – a workshop which is so popular that the supplier of
this particular fleece has run out and there is a waiting list for more.

You can see where this is going, can’t you?

didn’t put it out of Kita’s reach.  Something must have happened this
afternoon to wind her up, and I’m sure the smell of raw sheep’s fleece
didn’t help.  I came home to find the contents of the package (100g raw
fleece and 50g cleaned cashmere) spread generously over the hallway and
living room floor.  I haven’t had the best day, and this really wasn’t
the best homecoming.  I could have cried.


The view from the front door (puppy still demanding attention)


From the hallway into the living room


In the living room, looking back towards the hallway

In fact, I did.  And then I tidied up the mess and made dinner.  <<sigh>>

Two scarves

Scarf 1:

Warp is brown acrylic and light grey goat-fluff (handspun from 16 or more years ago!); the weft is all the brown acrylic.  I used a 7.5 dpi reed (the finest I have right now) and found that to get a balanced weave I had to beat pretty lightly; like the second half of my sampler, you can see light through the structure.

The selvedges are a little variable; I was so concerned with not pulling them in that the first section is a little ‘loopy’.  I got a lot more even in the middle of the work, and then lost it a bit for the last section; the tension on the last bit of warp was a little uneven, which I think was the cause there.  For some reason, I find the left hand selvedge far easier to keep neat and even than the right.

I used a twisted fringe to finish off the ends; basically, I twisted two pairs of adjacent strands clockwise then tied their ends together and let them coil back on themselves.  It looks pretty neat and I don’t think it will get that ‘matted’ look that fringe can.
I warped the loom for this project on March 1, and did the weaving and finishing on the 3rd.  Pretty quick!

Whhhhere’s Kita!?

Scarf 2:

This was even quicker; I warped up and wove this scarf this afternoon!  Again, it’s 100% acrylic (I quite see the point in getting ‘beginners’ to use decent materials as soon as possible, but I’m trying not to buy yarn, and this stuff had no other plans waiting for it!  Neither did the acrylic or goat-fluff used in the previous scarf…)  This is a thicker yarn than the brown stuff, so I used my 5 dpi reed; I still didn’t need to beat very hard to get a balanced weave, which I think is good for a scarf; I think the fabric should drape somewhat!

I still had a couple of selvedge issues, and still mostly on the right hand side, but it got better quickly and I think is progress over the previous scarf.  I love the way this fabric looks, and might even have
to make one for myself; both these scarves are destined to be gifts, if only because I almost *never* wear scarves.

I left this as a more ‘fringey’ fringe; I just tied pairs of warp ends with an overhand knot tight up against the fabric.  After so many years of ‘attaching’ fringes to things that I have sewn, knit or crocheted, there’s something very appealing about the fringe actually being *part* of the object as it is made.



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