Stash is deadly!

Ok, overstatement there… Quite a while ago, while I was starting out on my knitting and fibre adventure, around summer 2016, we had a serious moth infestation in the house. We had a big battle against the moths, having discovered portions of the carpet which had been eaten away and various items of clothing with holes in. It’s now February 2018 and we haven’t seen any moths about in quite a while.

I was, however, having a look through all my stash, organising it. In some of my handspun and some older stash yarn I had, I found what appeared to be moth eggs! I quickly dumped those yarns into the compost bin, since they were fully animal fibre (and also non superwash yarns I think). Since then I’ve put all my yarn into zip lock bags as recommended by my mum, and I’m going to have to keep a watchful eye over the stash box. I did find some more suspected egg like things in some of the yarn, luckily not my favourite yarn… so I have isolated them in their own bags and I removed the suspect eggs. I’m hoping there aren’t any more eggs on those ones. I have heard that agitation will hatch the eggs so I have to be careful that it doesn’t potentially spread to my lovely yarns.

What other updates do I have? I’m working through my stash again. I guiltily made some yarn purchases during my birthday week in mid January, including a sock blank from Stranded Dyeworks (knitting up into vanilla sock now) and a sock blank from Twisted Fintch also.

I’m spinning through my stash as well and have about 6 skeins waiting for a soak to set the twist, and 6 balls waiting to be plied.

Project wise, recently I learned how to crochet one evening, albeit probably not very skillfully, so I’m trying to do a granny stripe blanket in order to eat through some stash. My penguono is on hold until I spin some more of my stash, to then be knit up. I have 2 pairs of socks on the needles, hoping to reduce that to one at some point. My featherweight cardigan is languishing somewhere (better check that for moth eggs!), BUT I did finally finish my Pyry sweater (we are knitters pattern and yarn)!

Right, I actually have work in about ten minutes so I’ll leave this update for now!

See you all soon and hopefully with photos next time,

Elysia

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The Gift Knitting List

Hey all!

I hope January is treating everyone well.

I have a bunch of knitting requests for 2018.. and ideas for gifts for certain people… so I’m just popping on to post the list here so that I can keep track of it!

Do you do much gift knitting? I have done a reasonable amount, scarves for family members and occasional hats. A few friends are expecting babies so I would like to knit up things for them now too. I think gift knitting for me felt a bit tedious when I was trying to knit up simple bits for friends way back in Christmas 2016 when I was fairly new to knitting… but now I’m thinking that gift knitting may be a good way of trying out new patterns and techniques.

This month I completed a baby hat using the free Luuk pattern on ravelry, it was an incredibly quick knit and lovely hat, although I’ll have to admit like many on the comments for the pattern I was a little perplexed by the crown decreases chart.

I’m probably going to knit a couple more of the Luuk hat as they are so fast and a cute design. But after that I should keep my eyes open for other cute (and possibly challenging) baby hat patterns. If anyone has any suggestions let me know!

Anyway, without further ado I will write my list.

  1. Sister – headband – not yet decided on pattern
  2. Sister – Bedford Sweater by Michele Wang
  3. Sian – baby hat (Luuk again)
  4. Mum – hat (She Rises by Rizzaknits?)
  5. Memere (French grandmother) – mittens – not yet decided on pattern

I’m pretty sure the list was going to be bigger! At least, in my head it was. I’ll think about it more and add to it!

Have a great week all and take care!

Elysia

What yarn diet?

Yarn diet update!

So I’ve managed to avoid Qing Fibre updates… I looked up the site when updates hit but reasoned my way out of buying more. I loved all the colourways of course but I know that I have no projects in mind for QF right now and I can’t afford multiple skeins anyway.

I have however cracked a little and bought some commercial yarn (some acrylic too!) for a Christmas present for my dad, and some baby hats. I would have used stash yarn for the baby hats, but a large chunk of my yarns are not superwash and the other chunk are fancy AF and I’m guessing tired new parents aren’t going to be too thrilled with specialised washing instructions for knitted gifts. So for now they will be given knitted acrylic items…

In future though I’d love to switch to solely non-superwash, non-plasticy yarn although I know that’s not necessarily practical for things like socks. I’m finding it hard to find non superwash blue faced leceister yarn, ideally high twist. If anyone knows of a supplier, please do let me know! Even if it’s undyed, I would happily dye it! One day when I can spin decently enough, with a behaving wheel, I could perhaps spin BFL myself for socks. That’s a far off goal though.

Apart from the yarn diet update, on my needles so far… I have my featherweight, which is lagging due to tension issues with lace and fiddly 4mm DPNs which I bought with far too much length.

Other projects include some new mercury socks in a non nylon blended yarn (although superwash), my penguono (which is huge and an amazing stash buster) and a tiny first sock on 9 inch circulars – this is a baby project which I just cast on for a simple mindless knit while travelling by car to South Wales.

Lastly, I also have my weareknitters Pyry sweater which is so close to completion, it just needs to be sewn together. I sewed the shoulders and arms but I still need to do underarm and sides. I have two days off in a row this week so I might set aside 30min or so to get that done. I’d love to get some of my projects out of the way and have a reasonably clean new year slate.

As for the hopeful thoughts about selling my yarn and other bits, I have a yarn spinning commission! I have to sort it for January which might be a push as I have a lot on but I’ll try. And I’ve ordered some fibre for the project. More on this when I get to it!

Goals for 2018 knitting/crafting… knit a Michele Wang pattern… spin more… finish up my projects… do less vanilla socks and more challenging knits. Dye yarn for projects where appropriate. That’s it for now but I haven’t given it tons of thought. This festive period has been a bit hectic for knitting and contemplation but I’m hoping my 6 days off for Christmas will give me time to re-centre myself.

Happy holidays all!

Yarn Diet Alert!

We’re on high alert!

I’ve decided I want to go to EYF 2018 (Edinburgh Yarn Festival in mid-March), and that’s gonna be mega expensive in booking tickets, train, accommodation, but also in yarn purchases!

Therefore, I’m imposing a yarn diet until March, and a sort of destash (as in, knitting stuff up and finishing it so I have less yarn in the stash). I won’t totally abstain from yarn if there happens to be, say, a Qing Fibre update or something… but I will try my best.

Note, I’m not saying there’ll be a fibre diet. I’m still going to allow myself to purchase and spin fibre. Ideally I will sell some of it if I can!

On the destash side of things, I cracked and started a Penguono – while not good for increasing my number of unfinished projects back up from 3 to 4 (I know, doesn’t actually seem that many but I seriously have to finish up my featherweight cardigan, it’s been months…), it is a great pattern for using up stashed yarn. I will actually be trying to knit up as much of my handspun as possible. This will give me a sample (which I can show friends and so on!), and free up some stash space for more handspun. I also want to get a feel for the quality of my handspun when knit in a garment, and this should give me some more ideas on how to improve in the future. Photos to come!

Anyway, that’s all really! I just wanted to formally announce my yarn diet, haha.

Autumn Updates

So here in Wales we have transitioned into Autumn! It has been a little while and I have been keeping up with all kinds of craft so I thought I’d share a little update!

  • I dyed seven skeins of Shetland wool, Aran weight, for a farmhouse cardigan – I’ll include photos soon (currently typing on parents’ iPad while visiting my hometown). The colourway is purple and grey and brown – called ‘mini roll’
  • I am finishing up my sock projects – I had socks on the needles since May as I was planning to learn the fish lips kiss heel. I was a bit intimidated by the pattern PDFs but the other week I finally knuckled down and conquered it. It’s actually very user friendly. The second sock heel has been done and I just need to knit the foot and toe. 
  • My featherweight cardigan is progressing but it is slow and the lace weight yarn is quite difficult to work with when it comes to keeping tension consistent. Actually, my tension isn’t. I am considering frogging it.  But maybe I’ll just push to finish it and hope that blocking fixes most of the issues. 
  • I’ve kept spinning up,made a few sales, spun a bunch of skeins. I think I should makes separate post for it. I’m enjoying it but trying to make sure I do most of my spinning on Sundays. 
  • I’ve been listening to a new crafting podcast; Stranded Podcast!
  • I learned about cable knitting this weekend, maybe my ultimate goal of knitting a Michele Wang sweater might not be that far off after all. But first I’ll finish all my current projects and have my own little stash busting push this year. What a good idea actually, I could use the rest of the year to tie up loose ends (ooh, kinda pun) and use up stash ready for 2018. 

Future Project Wishlist!

I’m just watching A Homespun House podcast and thinking about what projects I’d like to knit in the future when my budget is doing better and when I have finished my current projects. I just wanna note these down so I don’t forget!

  1. Striped socks
  2. Bergere goomy patterned socks
  3. Regia patterned socks
  4. Non superwash high twist BFL socks – better for the environment as non plastic and compostable!
  5. Cable knitting – Michele Wang Shelter garments
  6. Stephen West’s Penguono
  7. Frankensocks – to use up sock yarn
  8. Granny stripe blanket – to use up sock yarn

These are just the knitted projects though! Other plans include:

  1. Hand dyeing my own colourways so that I get (hopefully, wishfully) exactly the colours/yarns/blends I want!
  2. Starting up sewing again – avoiding fast fashion/sweat shop/environmentally unsustainable fashion
  3. Getting back into soap making – for sharing eco friendly cosmetics with friends

Woolillbedamned has an IG account!

So I decided to separate my woolly instagram posts and make a separate account for them, since they’re threatening to outnumber my arty posts on my main account. You can find the woolillbedamned instagram account here.

In other news… I’ve finished my Honey Badger Socks and only have to do one more sleeve of my Pyry Sweater! Getting close to casting on another project, maybe Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig.

The Ultimate Destash

So, I have a confession that most (if not all) knitters might make… Right now, I probably have way more yarn than I need. Since starting knitting in August 2016, I’ve accumulated a load of bits and pieces. When I first started knitting, I got excited about malabrigo yarn, so I have a bunch of worsted and other weight malabrigo… Then, I got really into indie dyed yarn, so I have a good amount of mostly fingering weight sock yarn. I’m still in my indie dyer craze and I have a big hit list for small businesses I’d love to support. BUT since January 2017 I have had a much smaller budget; basically, I really cannot allow myself to buy much yarn at all; maybe once a month or once every two months (if it’s indie dyed prices rather than the bigger companies).

I also have a massive project queue on ravelry, plus a handful of WIPs (works in progress) that need finishing off. Thus, here we are, with an ultimate destash blog post! Herein I will outline my plans for efficiently using the yarn I already have and annihilating my unfinished projects…

On The Needles

  • Honey Badger Socks – I’m partway through the second sock! (update Nov 2017 – done!)
  • Seed Stitch Socks – I’m on the leg of the first sock. (done!)
  • Weareknitters Pyry Sweater – on the front piece; back piece is done.

Ready To Go

  • Hermione’s Everyday Socks – I have Olann sock yarn in Bloodmoon and… I forgot the colourway! I’ll check and get back to this.
  • [Undecided Pattern] Socks – In some grey Coop Socks Yeah! Yarn – I’m thinking of a non vanilla sock since it’s a solid colour yarn.
  • Featherweight Cardigan – I have 2 skeins of Countess Ablaze OOAK ‘Cult’ yarn waiting to be balled up and knitted into this cardigan.
  • Hat – for my sister, using Malabrigo Worsted which she bought and is sending me. (done)

Stashbusting Projects

  • Snowmelt Shawl – I have 2/3 skeins ready for this, when I have finished my main projects I will buy the 3rd. Would love to start this though.
  • Beekeeper’s Quilt – A good plan for using up my languishing (yet beautiful) sock yarn.
  • Granny Stripe Blanket (crochet) – I can’t crochet… but I would love to do this? I would probably have to choose between this and the Beekeeper’s Quilt though.
  • Baby Socks – Babies on the way from relatives; I could use my left over sock yarn for them. The only worry is that even though these are superwash merino I’m scared they’ll be destroyed by the first wash as I can imagine the new parents may be tired and I’m sure ‘washing instructions’ may not be top in the priorities list…?
  • Swatch Placemats/Coasters – I would like to practice some more lace knitting and other bits and pieces… And to use up all my worsted weight yarn perhaps I could then use these swatches for coasters and placemats? Hmmm…
  • Frankensocks – I am quite interested in making some striped socks from all my sock yarn; although will have to see whether the colours mesh well together!

Even if I do this, I know there’ll be a handful of unused bits; tell me, what’s a good way of destashing assorted bulky & super bulky yarns? I do have a mini weaving loom although maybe would prefer to use the yarns for something else. I could felt them, I suppose. I also have a ton of yarn ends from sock knitting; what do people do with those? Maybe some pom poms are in order?

 

Podshare

Honey badger hand knitted socks

Today’s blog post features a picture of my Honey Badger socks! I have a half-object, going to cast on the second sock soon. Ideally I’m hoping to start making some silly knitting related illustrations for this blog but rather than have this particular blog post in incubation for ages I’ve decided to just post it and hope I can do illustrations in the future.

I wanted to do a quick feature on my blog to share some of the knitting podcasts/vlogs that I keep track of. I don’t watch that many regularly but I thought I’d share my favourites!

  1. Yarngasm: probably my favourite! Knitting, sewing, spinning and other crafting inspiration, plus lovely colourways dyed by Kristin, who owns Voolenvine Yarns.
  2. Sticks + Twine: I enjoy following Eric’s podcast as I like hearing how he talks about projects, appreciate his aesthetic and also I feel encouraged by his progress as he hasn’t actually been knitting for a super long time. His first pair of knitted socks inspired me to get over it and give it a go. I also want to try cables out too after seeing how well he’s doing on all his cabled projects.
  3. Brooklyn Knitfolk: Jaclyn is really inspiring, I really like her aesthetic, hearing about all her projects, seeing her cats, etc. and the occasional quote at the end of the episode. Her giveaways always have the prompt ‘3 good things from the past 24 hours’ (or thereabouts) in order to enter, it’s a great way to get me to appreciate things a bit more and I enjoy reading other peoples’ responses!
  4. Pinfeathers and Purls: I love Candace’s projects and colour choices, she has a cute pet birb and has great taste in video games, TV and anime!
  5. Creative Musings: Casey Maura is super cute, I love her style and seeing her knitwear and sewing projects.
  6. Michele Wang: Michele Wang is a beautiful lady with amazing skills in knitting and designing, I enjoy listening to her chat about knitting & anything else. I hope to one day knit from her patterns but I don’t think I’m there yet skills-wise.
  7. Dyer’s Notebook – Laura is a pro at yarn dyeing, in particular striping sock yarns. I enjoy listening to what she has to say, what projects she’s working on, hearing the recipe for milk tea, etc. 🙂

Non Knitting Podcasts

  1. Hello from the Magic Tavern – Improv comedy podcast set in a fantasy world – possibly my favourite ever podcast!
  2. Welcome to Night Vale – A close follower to Magic Tav, the famous WTNV podcast is a fictional community radio station set in a dark and mysterious world. I listened to this podcast since about 2012 and I have found it to be a real comfort during hard times and also a source of fun and laughter.
  3. Alice Isn’t Dead – By the Night Vale Presents crew – love the story and the voice acting. Mysterious and creepy.
  4. Lore – Exploring stories of hauntings and weirdness throughout history, calming and creepy.
  5. The Guilty Feminist – A new one for me – a UK comedy feminist podcast, each episode with a specific theme and pretty much always (as far as I’m aware) relating to current issues in the news – love it.
  6. Offices and Bosses – This is a ‘want to watch’ for me as it is featured on the paid for podcast platform Howl – I can’t afford right now to do paid subs to anything really so this will be one to listen to in the future when I get a better-paid job!

Okay… apparently I’m a big listener of podcasts?

Continuing Spinning

Grey handspun, breed unknownBlue merino handspun yarn

Here’s a progress update on the spinning…

First of all, I wanted to get my brown & pink initial handspun projects off the spindle, and I didn’t have a niddy noddy, so I wrapped them around a tupperware lid, soaked them, and now they’re drying while weighted down. There’s too much twist in them, though! I need to research how to avoid this next time.

I was eager to try spinning the yarn I cleaned and carded myself (first image), so I got started; here’s the problem… the fibre is a lot rougher than anything I’ve used before- it’s not top, I’m guessing? The fibre comes from random bits from the fleece that a friend kept, so maybe that’s why. Perhaps we need to card the wool even more… Is this what you call a rustic yarn? A REALLY rustic yarn.

My second photo is some more fibre from Witch Fibre Co. This time, instead of pulling bits of fibre separate from the main bulk, I’m trying to continuously draft from the fibre so I don’t have to keep joining stuff and stopping to prepare. It’s working better. I still can’t draft and have the spindle spinning at the same time but it’s an improvement, I think!

Knit Wise

I thought I’d give a mini update on the projects I’m working on in knitting; pictures will come eventually too.

  1. Honey Badger Socks – free pattern – I’m on the first sock, leg and heel flap done, going to turn the heel soon.
  2. Vanilla Socks with seed stitch panel – I’m using the fish lips kiss heel pattern I bought on ravelry. Am also referencing the Hermione’s Everyday Socks pattern in case I need a bit of extra help in terms of stitch numbers etc. I haven’t reached the heel yet so we’ll see how it goes.
  3. Pure Joy Shawl – paid pattern – by Joji Locatelli – this is the second Pure Joy I’ve knitted; this time for my mémère (grandmother). It’s almost fnished; I don’t have the yardage on my 2nd colour to do as much of the final panel as in the actual pattern but it will still be nice!
  4. Pyry Sweater – paid pattern/kit – by We Are Knitters – I bought this ages ago and still haven’t finished it. It’s a lovely colour and the wool’s nice, the pattern’s easy, but I think I got bored of not working on circulars, and of doing rows and rows of pure stockinette. Hoping to get this done soon. It’ll be nice when it’s done! I love the taupe colour.

Projects are linked to my actual ravelry projects so you can see pictures, progress and the patterns used. Feel free to add me, I’ll add back!