Tis the Season.. of ENABLING

Di Gilpin’s yarn

The holidays are nearly here. It has been windy of late and perfect for mulled cider, fiber crafts, scented candles, and having a fire in the fireplace.  We are also entering “guilty pleasure” season. I am going to out myself because one of my guilty pleasures are the holiday movies on the Hallmark channel. I am a little embarrassed about sharing this but maybe it is because I just celebrated another birthday I am feeling more comfortable in my own skin.

I grew up in the age of after school specials when everything could be solved quickly and with some cheesy jokes. This channel checks all of the boxes for me. It has bee a tough year for many and it is very comforting to just enjoy something where everything turns out okay.

So in the spirit of the getting ready for the holidays I thought I would share a couple of my latest finds ( I’m not sure how you can beat the holiday movies on the Hallmark channel but here it goes):

Yarn by Di Gilpin. I found this during my trip to Scotland and it was not at all what I was expecting but not only is it nice, its pre balled and I think reasonable priced for international yarn (I think a ball cost about 8 Pounds) Initially I questioned 100% Scottish lambswool becasue I know that the softness and feel can vary, but this stuff is amazingly soft and it is spun in a mill that spins cashmere. I really think this yarn can do anything and everything.

Wool Punch Rugs. I bought a kit  from  Rose Pearlman who has taught at Purl Soho and well it is so much fun. It is a good way to “zen” out. I don’t know when I will have time to actually go full throttle on, or if I am doing it correctly  but I found it to be a lot of fun  and very creative.

Embroidery and Crewel kits from Alicia Paulson. I have admired her stuff for a long time and when I saw that she was stocking the materials for her Crewel Sampler I jumped on it.

ALJ, Jubilee Collection by Isager. I got to see this at a recent retreat and this has to be one of the most beautiful and informative knitting magaizine/books I have seen in awhile. It details the patterns of Ase Lund Jensen the woman who previously owned Isager.  I have already enabled one of my friends in the midwest to buy a copy and she loves it too.

Okay… last and not least handspun yarn, whether I am spinning with it or knitting with it I just love it. A friend told me a couple years ago that there was nothing like knitting with handspun yarn and she was right. It just feels so good.

Recently finished handspun

 

 

 

 

 

I should have had this thought awhile ago…

 

My daughter holding the stash that would be used to make her sweater

Maybe it is all of the fingering weight projects I knit for my trip to Shetland but I have been neglecting the heavier weight yarns in my stash. It was kind of kismet when I had some vacation time and had to pull some project together.

As I was rummaged through the stash I came across some heavier weight yarns and just like that I am one sleeve short of completing a kids sweater. I picked out some Aran weight yarn from Orangeflower that I have been wanting to try out and I love it.  I also cast on a cowl and just like that 5 skeins of stash will make its way out of the stash bins.  It feels so good ( I mean soooo good!!!).  I am not knitting faster but the cubic space these larger weight yarns had taken up have freed up a teensy tiny bit of one of my stash bins, but I am really enjoying the instant gratification that comes with something that is Aran weight or heavier. I think I might need a month  just to focus on knitting  heavier weight handknits (This doesn’t;t really have any chance of becoming a reality because the Holidays are just around the corner).

I also managed to do some destashing at a weekend getaway recently and that felt really good as well.  While I did pick up a few random special skeins of new yarns  and I won 8 skeins of Woolfolk’s Luft, overall I think it was a reduction to my stash…

Oh wait I forgot about the box of yarn that cam for Marie Wallin’s club. Oppps!

 

 

 

Shop Update: October 22, 2017 10AM PST

A collage of the yarns that will be offered

Well… Here goes nothing. I am having a shop update this weekend at my Etsy shop. There will be a smattering of different weighted yarns such as:

  • Sport
  • DK
  • Worsted
  • Bulky

I have been making a greater effort to spin up more fiber of the same colorway. I though that this would help people be able to have more options when knitting with handspun.  I am appreciative of any interest in the shop, even if it is to just window shop.

All the best,

 

Steph

Yarn Making 101

One of the amazing things I did on my trip was visit Jaimeson in Sandness. I have never seen yarn being made…. I mean aside from hand spinning, I have bought a lot in indie dyed yarns in the past and while I have a great appreciation for their dying talents I have never considered thinking about how the wool from a sheep makes to the skein in a stash.

Family owned and operated, Jamieson  is in its 5th generation of operating. It does everything well there is one outsourced operation but you get the general idea.  It was pretty amazing to see the processes from Fleece, processing of the fleece, dying, blending, and spinning the yarn, I have new appreciation on how lengthy the process is. Here are a couple of pictures that document a few steps of the process:

Local wool arrived to be processed at Jaimesons
Dyed wool that needs to be prepped for blending
Wool getting put on cones
Yards and Yards of wool on the cone
Machine knit jumpers aka sweaters waiting to get finished


Inspiration was everywhere

There was a fair amount of internal debate on how to capture or share some of my thoughts and experiences on the trip. It was  so much fun and I will never forget all of the memories and places I visited, but there was so much going on it is difficult to document, so I am just going to wing it and do the best that I can.

 

Edinburgh Yarn Shops:

Ginger Twist:

This quaint yarn shop is focused on indy yarn but not in the traditional sense. The owner  hand dyes her own yarn and has a smattering of other yarns. As an American I found the shop very small, but it was jam packed with yarn in every little square inch of the store.

One of the things I immediacy noticed was that the blend of the yarn are very different from back home. I picked up some souvenir “hand dyed” which has some Masham  fiber. I also bought some Gotland lace that is single farm sourced from Chopped Ginger, as well as a little knitting bag which colorways were exclusive to this shop.

 

Some of the shops wool dyed in Orkney

Be Inspired:

Hands down my favorite shop. I can’t say enough about the owner I could stay and chat with her for hours. I got to see a handful of yarns that I haven’t seen in real life and that was informative. This shop specializes in Indie dying and I saw  Uschitia, Hedgehog, Wollemise, but also some others including their own yarn  Shillidisair ( the owners are now retired) and Orkney Angora( I went pretty nuts but… mainly because I am really limited to light airy fibers due to my sensitivity to alpaca and mohair) this was a total science related purchase, but I am very excited about it,

Kathy’s Closet:

My friend and I went here  on the tour and we hear Karie Westerman and Lucy Hague speak. this shop focuses on British Wools and  while I did pick up some handspun and a new book by Baah Ram Ewe (that I had not seen before) I held off a bit on buying a lot  since we had not yet made it to Shetland.

Hearing and seeing Karie and Lucy’s stuff was amazing. My mind is still blown at Lucy’s beautiful samples and even the most sophisticated knitter’s on the trip were scratching their head on how the samples and designs were knit. I have no words, but a few pictures:

 

 

Counting Down…

I have been frantically trying to get ready for my trip, reality is setting in that I have less time to get a heap of things done. I have finally hit vacation mode on my knitting and have come to terms with that I won’t have time to cast on anymore items and have time to finish them before the trip. I made a couple deviations from my original plan to knit patterns from Scottish designers but I have to say that that I am pretty pleased with what I finished and am bringing:

  1. Ships and Seaside by Tiny Owl Knits
  2. Tortise and Hare Gauntlets by Kate Davies
  3. Braken Mitts by Helen Gray
  4. The Good Years Hat by Donna Smith
  5. Fidra by Gudrun Johnston
  6. Saudade (This was made a couple of years ago, but I really want to take it and get some better photographs)

I cast on Tales from the Isle of Purebeck by Annie Rowden  and if I make a  decent progress on that WIP  I will cast on Jujika by Olga Buraya Kefelian .I have given much thought to what to bring. Its a hard decision to bring themed projects or to go with something that you have REALLY wanted to knit and actually have time to knit because you don’t have work, family, and housework in the way.

So while I am in the midst of getting the family settled (DH has a trip and DD  gets ready to start school). I am debating packing decisions… I am a chronically overpack on trips, so this one is a challenge because I am going on a tour and am limited on how much I can bring.. Well and aside form the obvious… I need to leave room for yarn.

I have no idea what the month of September has in store but I am so excited to meet other knitters, travel to far away places and go exploring with one of my good friends.

 

Checking in and Casting on..

So I have been quietly plugging along on my my Shetland projects. I cast off the  pair of  fingerless mitts I had been working on by Kate Davies to cast on the next project the Bracken Mitts, it is something that wasn’t on my list for this trip but has been in my queue for while has not made it on my needles until now. I can’t believe  how fast these knit up. I finished the 1st mitt only to procrastinate on the second one  since I cast on a new project and have another one lined up after that.  I have a debated with one of my friends about casting on multiple objects.. I don’t particularly enjoy a bunch of WIPS because I don’t like seeing unfinished projects on my Ravelry page. I really can’t over emphasis how much I don’t like it. I made the mistake of watching the news and I needed a mindless knit to help reduce the stress, so I cast on  a cowl made in cashmere. I mean what is more soothing than stockinette knit in cashmere. I think I would have to scratch my head on what could top it.

Beat the Clock

I bought the book this weekend and have been glancing through it when I am not knitting.

Every year knitters head to Rhinebeck, New York to attend the New York Sheep and Wool Festival . It has been a tradition that on an annual basis that a few months before the event in October they knit a sweater so that they can wear it with pride at the festival.

Well I am not going to Rhinebeck this year so I decided to put my own twist on destination knitting and create a new challenge for my trip to Scotland( the sweater challenge is just not going to happen). So I decided to put my own twist on destination knitting and give myself a new challenge.  I am going to give it my all to knit a pattern from some Scottish designers I might be meeting or have patterns in my queue. I think I have about 5 set up in my queue currently and I plan on bringing my Saudade by Ysolda Teague because I love it so much. I plan on taking photos of the knitwear in Scotland with the aim of using its scenery as a backdrop for my photographs.

So here are the patterns currently making the cut for the trip:

  1. The Tortoise and the Hare Gauntlets by Kate Davies
  2. The Good Years Hat by Donna Smith
  3. The Flora Mitts by Ella Gordon
  4. Possible others include Scallafield by Hazel Tindal, Neep Heid by Kate Davies, or Bousta Beanie by Gudrun Johnnson

Summer is here..

 

I had the change to get to explore parts of  Seattle this past weekend and wow, summer is everywhere.  It was fun to check out Pike Place market because as a local it is not a  “go to” spot especially when the cruise boats are in docked in Elliot Bay.

I hope I get out more often to enjoy the scenes and really absorb all the wonderful things about summer… it is also a reminder that my favorite season is just around the corner.