Tuesday, June 10, 2014


I bought my first batt at Yarndale last year - a vision of soft loveliness from Hilltop Cloud.that satisfied my urge for something verdigris

As a fairly new spinner, I didn't appreciate what a challenge the fibre content would pose:
40% Bluefaced Leicester (BFL)
40% Merino
10% Camel
10% SeaCell 
It was the camel that made me sweat the most as its staple length was so different.

I had to ask for advice on how to even spin from a batt and I started off by pulling off strips and spinning them longdraw.  I had more success going more worsted, but then there was the big revelation: a blending board.So much so, that I bought two, but that's another story.

Eventually, after spinning at home and two different guilds, I had my yarn:

As soon as I knew I had enough yardage, I knew exactly what pattern I was going to make: the wonderful Iron Maiden.  It was an interesting pattern to knit.  I had to fudge a couple of times, but once I got the hang of it, I was away. As many people noted on their projects on Ravelry, its important that the increases at the beginning of rows are kept loose  
As is always the case, I wasn't sure if I would have enough yardage and stuck with the number of repeats of the border shown in the pattern.  After I bound off there was probably enough yarn left to have squeezed another repeat, but I hate the thought of running short. 

Once off the needles and after a bath, the shawl was ready for blocking

Yes, that is a yardstick.

Once I realised what shape it wanted to be, the blocking went a lot better.

After a few days lounging around: TADA!!!!

I took it to knit night, not sure if I liked the style of shawl and had to prise it out of my friend's hands.  I had a similar reaction at spinning guild so my verdigris maiden grew on me.  Even more flatteringly, one of my guilds, the Guild of Long Draw Spinners, is having a stand at Fibre East and I was asked to let them use this piece on there. Fame at last!!!
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Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Mistake? I'll give you a mistake!

A member of one of my online groups shared a really interesting pic of fixng knitting:

I've tried to find the original but to no avail!

It reminded me of the lengths I went to in fixing a mistake when I was a fairly new knitter.  Lack of knowledge, fearlessness and obstinacy are a deadly combination in such circumstances.

It was back in the days when the February Lady Sweater was first published.  I saw this divine pattern race through my friends' feeds on Ravelry and I had to make one.  I worked my way through the garter top and onto the lace.  Quite a way along, I noticed a hideous mistake way back.  It had taken me so long to do the lace that I didn't want to rip back.  Oh, what should a knitter do in this instance?  Cockily, I thought I knew the answer - knit to the stitch that lives vertically above the mistake and just drop it off the needle and let it unravel down, fix the mistake and just bring the stitch back up.......so I did.

And horrified myself at the damage I wrought.

And in trying to fix it had to drop more stitches further back.

And felt close to tears.

So, having lost a couple of hours by this point, I tried writing down what was happening as I unravelled yet another repeat.  (Remember, I was a new knitter, each repeat took so long that unravelling one was a painful process).  It didn't work.  I did not have the vocabulary / charting skills to capture what I was doing, but I did start having a vague idea of what the stiches were doing.

Finally the penny dropped and as I sacrificed yet another repeat, I took a photo as each row was unravelled, then worked back from those.

It took a long time, some mistakes and many curse words, but eventually, and proudly, I picked it all back up, in pattern.  It probably took longer than ripping back and reworking would have done, but I learnt such a lot from it

Five years later, the cardi is still going strong and I can't tell where the mistake and fixing happened

If you want to see more pics, feel free to have a look at my Rav page

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