Big Knitting!

A year ago I visited a delightful wool shop in Aberlour called Three Bags Wool Three Bags Wool and saw these giant-sized knitting needles!

IMG_5002.jpg

Instead of knitting normal yarn the owner had sourced tweed/blanket off cuts from the local woollen mills to use. I was ‘in love’ with the novel idea and just had to get some.

My first project was to knit some seat pads for our garden chairs. All went well but the weather was not very encouraging so 3 and a half pads later the project found itself stashed in favour of my ever favourite sock knitting.

Last week the sun shone and the garden furniture came out of the shed and I unearthed the seat pads. Great as long as there was only 3 of us. Re-newed enthusiasm and the 4th is now complete. Here are two on the garden bench, all set for a wee sundowner at the weekend.

IMG_4981.JPG

They were very comfy.

IMG_4985.JPG

And the sundowners were very enjoyable too!

 

 

 

New month,new project.

I’ve really got back into knitting in the last few years but seem to have got ‘stuck in a rut’ of knitting socks! I still really enjoy knitting them and they are a great project to do whilst watching T.V. as I don’t need an awful lot of concentration.

However, I picked up this lovely yarn from a 2 for 1 basket a few months ago.

IMG_4613

A very pleasant hour was spent browsing the patterns in Ravelry and I’ve settled on a pair of fingerless mitts by Tante Ehm which can be found at http://www.ravelry.com/designers/tante-ehm

It seems like I might only require one of the hanks of yarn so I’ll be able to either make a pair of mitts for a friend or…..

Now to search out the needles and get started:)

 

 

Knitting Yarns not knitting yarns!!!

My goodness it has been a while! I’d like to be able to say that it’s because I’ve been deeply involved with my knitting but although I’ve been managing a wee bit of knitting regularly I seem to have been involved with all sorts of other things- archaeology digs, charity coffee mornings, gardening, jaunts and making a start on my new OU course about Roman and Greek Myth. As usual I had great plans to blog about some of my adventures but …..ah…well… I shouldn’t make excuses….it just didn’t happen.

Anyway, for any fellow knitters out there I just wanted to share this lovely book I am reading at the moment titled ‘Knitting Yarns’ edited by Ann Hood.

A great read.

A great play on words and a really enjoyable collection of stories related to knitting. I found myself relating to some of the tales told by the various writers who are also knitters as well as thinking anew about myself and my knitting experiences.

And as a real bonus 5 knitting patterns by Helen Bingham are included for free 🙂 As if my wish list of knitting projects isn’t long enough I’ve now added at least 3 of these to it.

Procrastination

It’s the weekend here in Saudi so a perfect time to catch up on some serious study for my Open University course. Having received my books a few weeks ago I’ve been really proud of how far ahead I’ve been able to get with the reading. Now comes the first assignment. This week I’ve been trying to get together the notes I think I need to make a start on writing my essay.

20131004-222941.jpg
So this was how much of my day should have been spent.
Wrong!
This is what was achieved instead.

20131004-223126.jpg
Five flower brooches that I hope will appeal to a few people at the Christmas Fayre on our compound in December.
I’m really happy with them -only feel a little guilty about doing zero work on my essay and feel positive that tomorrow I’ll be in a more literary mood- Inshallah! As they say in Arabia!

Felting.

A few years ago I took a felting workshop in Switzerland. I was in heaven – a whole week of being in the mountains with like minded people playing around with wool.
Sadly, since then I have done very little with the knowledge I gained.
Living in Saudi I only wear warm clothes for a short time in the winter so now that the days are a wee bit cooler I decided to wash some of my cardigans in readiness for cycling to school in the cooler mornings. One of my cardigans was becoming a bit holey so I thought it would be fun to have a go at felting it.

20130922-203119.jpg
So in my usual slap dash way I chucked it in the washing machine on the hottest setting and waited to see what happened. Success – it shrunk! Next a dry off in a hot tumble dryer and I had a felted cardigan to play with.

20130922-203534.jpg
I set to with scissors and cut it up into all its original pieces.
With a piece from the back I’ve made this cafetiere cosy.

20130922-204106.jpg

20130922-204133.jpg
I’m really pleased with how it looks.
At the moment I’m not sure what to do with my other pieces. Ideas very welcome:)

More socks!

Another pair off the needles:)
The unknowing recipient of these socks will be my brother who lives in London. I’m sure as winter is approaching there will be times when a cosy pair of socks will be appreciated- I hope!

20130911-192658.jpg
So who will be my next ‘victim’! Sadly, my stash is dwindling to the choice of 3.

20130911-192816.jpg
Living in Saudi Arabia and especially in the town of Tabuk means I have to either bring back my sock wool or order it and run the gauntlet of the mail and customs. So which colour combination will I choose for my sister-in-law who I’ve decided will be next for my socks. Well at least that was what I had intended until last night when I received a message from my niece who was ‘pretty pleasing’ for a pair after she’d seen the pair I’d knitted for her cousin!
2 of the yarns are Regia which I have so far used for all my socks but the other is the hand-dyed yarn I bought in Harris this summer. It feels so cosy being made from merino and bamboo that I’m just dying to see how it knits up. Decisions, decisions! Who will get what?

Harris Artisans

Many years ago, when I first visited the Outer Hebrides there was very little in the way of art and craft items for sale. Possibly, there just wasn’t the tourist trade and anything made was very much for personal use and most people made their own knitwear and tweed items. Since then there has been a growing community of art and crafts in the islands and especially on Harris. Many of these talented people have settled there from mainland UK and have very much embraced the local way of life. Visiting in the summer when the days are long and the sun is shining it seems a very desirable option, but knowing how long and dark the winter months can be when the Atlantic gales are battering all in its way I’m not so sure I would last very long.
This summer, I visited a few new (to me) artisans and enjoyed some lovely chats about their work and general life in a remote area of UK. A shed definitely seems to be an essential addition and a great asset for a personal place to work. 3 sheds I fell in love with were-
The Scalpay Linen shed which smelt so good with all the wool that was being worked as well as the linen.

20130818-192621.jpg

20130818-192702.jpg
The weaving loom.

20130818-192745.jpg
Hand spun art wool.
The food shed at Northton where you can be tempted by home baked bread, scones, cakes as well as fresh caught shellfish.

20130818-193041.jpg
All the purchases here are made on trust- loved the box which asks you to roll pound notes up tight to feed into the hole on the top!

20130818-193401.jpg
And thirdly this cheekily called ‘Northton Trading Co’ shed with an eclectic mix of items. Again, trust is an essential part of its success as you are asked to ring the bell if you want to buy anything!

20130818-193814.jpg

20130818-193911.jpg
Handbags for sale.

20130818-194008.jpg
An inside view.
How heartening it was to think that there are still areas where people can live in harmony without taking advantage of each other so readily and that they extend this trust to us,the visitors, who come from very different backgrounds.
And how do they survive? I’m not too sure. I know that for some the Internet is a vital link for selling their goods, and perhaps for others, who have partners with regular paid jobs, the financial reward isn’t the ultimate goal. Whatever, I know I met some very happy, contented people living on the Island of Harris this summer and hope when I return next time they will still be there …and their sheds of course!

Socks for my Dad:)

Well They’re finished!:)

20130515-180235.jpg
My Dad’s new socks.
The last thing I knitted for my Dad was a scarf, about 50 years ago, when I first learnt to knit. It was a long colourful thing in whatever wool scraps my mum had so it widened and narrowed depending on the thickness of the wool. Despite sounding pleased he never wore it so the next time my uncle came home from the Merchant Navy the scarf was recycled to him! I doubt he wore it but as he was away at sea for months on end my feelings didn’t get hurt in the same way! So 50 years later I wonder if my socks will be appreciated? If not maybe I’ll be doing the prince in Cinderella thing and trying to find someone with size 9 feet!

20130515-181002.jpg
I used Regia 4ply wool for my Dad’s socks and loved the way the pattern evolved all by itself. I am now hooked on knitting socks and just have to decide who the next lucky recipient will be before I cast on the stitches.
I’ve also been checking out some other sock patterns on the Internet. Very inspiring and some will need a lot more concentration than this last pair but definitely a challenge I’m very keen to try:)