Mindful Magpie Makes: 2020 week 2

05/01/20 to 11/01/20

This week was not a healthy one, I was off work with a cold, and while at first this sounds like a great chance to get more making done, I didn't really feel up to it most of the time. When I went to bed I was awake, and when I sat on the sofa intend to knit, I nodded off. I didn't want my nose dripping on my nice things. I was grumpy.

But for all that, I managed to work on 4 projects this week, and sketch out a design for a 5th one. This is why keeping my making journal helps, just looking at what I have worked on as I write this lifts my mood as I look at the progress I did make rather than the progress I didn't make. And, it includes my first finished object of the year!

#1 - Party Bunting Socks (knitting)

All done! That's them, bottom centre of the picture. The eagle eyed among you will notice one toe is slightly lighter than the other - this main contrast colour is April Hawkmoth by @mothy.and.the.squid - I didn't have quite enough of the same dye lot for both toes but the whole thing about hand knitted socks is how unique they are . I'm not sure I can say the sock knitting bug has definitely bitten me, I need to work out how to minimise the tramlines when knitting with magic loop, and I made this pair way too big. I also have high arches and slimmer feet (that sounds much better than saying chunky ankles!) so I suspect a ribbed, more elastic design is going to suit me more. I definitely want to experiment further to find a sock that works well for me! I do love these as a finished project, but unfortunately they're not quite right for me - I need to do a Cinderella and find a person who's feet they will fit perfectly!

#2 - Practice Piece (weaving)

I experimented a bit further in the name of trying to speed things up a bit, and added leashes to my warp threads. I used my trusty neon pink & yellow yarn for these as a nice bright contrast, so they wouldn't get accidentally woven into the work. Having used them, I think that it would be better if the leashes were stiffer, string, or yes, a rigid heddle which I am trying not to think about because money and rabbit holes...

I didn't get the leashes on the warp threads just right, so there are a couple of points in my weaving where I had two warp threads showing together, it's interesting to see how they work - something I might want to do deliberately as part of a design maybe?

I'm about ready to take this small piece off the loom and try warping again, this time using the dowel rods that my Grandad included, and already I have thought of so many colour & yarn combinations to try out.

#4 - Seaweed Shapes blanket (knitting)

(I didn't work on my #3 project this week, hence the jump in the numbers!)

I started this blanket, I think in July 2018. In May that year I had been back to Orkney for the first time in 10 years, as Mum organised a writing retreat. It just so happens that Orkney has lots of amazing wool and several indie dyers as well, and I had taken my car there so had plenty of luggage space!

There was a craft fair in Kirkwall Town Hall one day, where I first fondled the Isle of Auskerry aran wool. Made from North Ronaldsay seaweed eating sheep, there were four shades - all undyed so made by selecting and spinning similar colours together. I felt the black was too dark for what I wanted - a subtle textured sampler style blanket - so I came away with balls of Seal Grey and Slate Grey. Later that trip, I added a darker grey from The Woolshed, Evie.

I parked this project for over a year, I had knitted up 16 squares with a moss stich border and a textured sample inside - cables, ribs, lattices - when I realised that with the wool I had, I would get ~27 squares. This would only make a table runner or a foot warmer, and I wanted the blanket as a sofa blanket. There was only one thing for it, buy more wool! I could have done this online, but Mum and Dad visit Orkney regularly, and they were able to get me some more, in the palest shade - Shellsand. Now I can make 36 squares which is a much better number for a blanket!

So (exposition overloaded yet?) this week I knitted a couple more squares, using the Shellsand wool - I did a horizontal and a vertical "slub" pattern. I also wound up a skein of the darkest shade (which I am calling Stormy Grey, even though it did not have a name). The squares are ~8" (or will be once blocked! The patterns and textures are distorting some of the squares), and they are taking me a good couple of hours to knot each one. I know have 18 so I am half way there, and I have one duplicated square to frog and reknit in a different pattern... I'm nearly over the hump on this one! Downhill all they way!


#5 - Blues and twos (knitting)

You know how I mentioned above that I wasn't sure if I would be bitten by the sock knitting bug? Well, I cast on another sock. Hobbycraft have pairs of ombré sock balls, with a teeny tiny printed sock pattern on the cardboard. They are plain knit top down socks with (what I assume to be in my now vast sock knitting experience) a standard help flap & gusset construction.

I however, tweaked the pattern following feedback on my first pair of socks. I wanted to have a rib pattern all through the sock to make them more elastic. I researched ways to make my magic loop ladders less obvious, and I made the help flap longer than the pattern to accommodate my high arches. As of writing, I am working on the gusset of the first of the pair.

So that's me for another week of making - except to say, you might notice a sketch in the corner of the picture. I'm planning a slow stitching project - more next week!

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