Year of Projects 2022/23: Week Seven

It’s been a scorcher of the week here, and we’re pretty cool compared to more inland regions. We’re not officially into hosepipe ban territory but we should be by the end of the week. I’m trying to only water the parts of the garden in most need at the moment, which is basically my tomatoes and courgettes. I’m still getting lots of tomatoes but the squash/courgettes haven’t been as prolific as in previous years.

I’ve been busy this week decluttering, rearranging, and decorating the spare room. It’s going to be a much more functional space now but it’s been hot work! We’ve basically had to have a reshuffle of every room in the house in order to get rid of the clutter in the spare room, but now we’ve got rid of the double bed we can put in a sofa bed and make the whole space much more useable for work (or crafting. Mostly crafting.)

All this means there hasn’t been a lot of progress this week but I have made some. I haven’t quite finished the aster stitch section of my shawl like I had planned, but I’ve made some progress. I love how the variegated yarn works up in this stitch.

I have also done a little more on the embroidery project I started earlier in the week. I’m really enjoying this and will definitely be doing more of these in the future.

These are probably going to be my projects for the rest of this month although I’m hoping to finish up a pair of socks too. Knitting feels like hot work at the moment! I hope you’ve all had a productive week of crafting.

Year of Projects 2022/23: Week Six

A slow week this week on the crafting side as I was away in Hay on Wye for a few days this week. We like to head here a few times a year for a slow (if expensive) few days of eating, drinking, and trawling bookshops. For as long as I can remember Hay Castle has been under renovation so it was lovely to see it finally completed.

Back home and I finished the first section on my shawl, I’m just about to start the aster stitch section.

The garden has been doing really well but things are starting to come to an end. I picked the last of the peas and cleared the pea and bean bed. I also finished the last lot of the early potatoes (somewhat past their best now) so it’s just the Pink Fir Apple left. I need to check on when these are ready to harvest.

The cucumbers are coming to an end but the tomatoes are going crazy. They haven’t been the tastiest salad tomato, but we’ve found they roast up really well. It feels a bit extravagant in the current energy crisis to have the oven on slow roasting for hours on end, but we’ve found popping in a couple of trays when we’re roasting something else works ok. We roast them at about 150° for forty minutes and then we drain the juice off, turn the oven off and leave them to finish in the heat. They come out semi dried and just a bit sweeter and tastier than when they’re fresh. They’re great for tossing though pasta and salads.

That’s it for the week. I have another week of holiday left so that will probably be spent decluttering the spare room and decorating it. I’m amazed at how much stuff we have cleared out this week, and I’ve not even had to make any tough calls about craft supplies yet! I’m a bit ashamed at my stationery fetish to be honest, I don’t think I will ever need to buy another notebook as long as I live. Or fountain pen ink.

Year of Projects 2022/23: Week Five

The Tour’s over so I’m finally back to knitting. My cable needle inexplicably disappeared for several days (it was exactly where it should be and where I’d looked several times…) so instead of carrying on with my Ogopogo socks I cast on a new project.

I picked up this yarn earlier in the year at Wonderwool to make the Secrets and Storms Shawl (Ravelry link). I’m still a bit undecided about whether to make the large or small version. With hindsight I think maybe a darker grey or another neutral would have worked a little better for me but I love the colouring in the variegated yarn.

Not much else on the crafting side of things for me. I did manage a good haul from the garden which meant I could almost (peppers and aubergines aside) make a full meal from homegrown produce. I made a tumbet which is a Mallorcan vegetable bake made by sautéing potatoes, courgettes, aubergines and peppers and layering them with a tomato sauce before baking. I was pretty pleased to be able to make a fresh tomato sauce out of my own tomatoes, garlic, and shallots! I should probably have taken a photo of the finished thing, but I’d already eaten it by the time I thought about it!

It’s pretty rainy here so there hasn’t been much else going on in the garden. I have a few weeks leave now so I have a quick trip to Hay on Wye (again) to trawl the many bookshops and then I’ve got some home and garden projects I want to catch up on depending on what happens with the weather. I hope you all enjoy your week!

Year of Projects 2022/23: Week Four

It’s just a quick spinning update from me. I haven’t managed as much spinning in terms of completed skeins this TdF but I have spun most days which has been a nice change and I’m super pleased to have finished up two long term spinning projects.

I finished up the 12 Days of Christmas Hilltop Cloud calendar first which had been on the wheel for six months. I’m happy with how this three ply came out and it looks like I have around 850m of yarn now that it’s washed. I’ll make a project post about this next week. I then spun up 50g of a Fellview Fibres merino/cashmere/silk blend as a lace weight yarn. I love this and want to find a shawl pattern for it when I finish the other 50g.

And finally there was the HTC mystery fibre which is part of a five skein fade pack. I’ve been at this one for at least three years so it’s nice to be finished with it. The final skein is not as consistent as the first four but I’m hoping I’ll get away with it. My plan is to cast on a So Faded (Ravelry link) which I swatched for all those years ago. With hindsight I would now like a cardigan rather than a sweater but since I have spun the fibre to make the sweater gauge I’m going to stick to that. I just need to decide whether to move dark to light or light to dark from the top down.

Finally the garden continues to deliver up some bits and pieces. We’re harvesting peas, potatoes, tomatoes, and courgettes now. I think I’m leaving the carrots and beets to grow a bit bigger. I might have made an error with how large sprouting broccoli can grow, it’s currently taking up a lot of room and crowding out some of my other plants. I’ve made second sowings of root veg and radicchio to try and keep some things going over into autumn and winter. I’m quite pleased with how things have gone this year and I think I’m slowing starting to learn what things work best. It’s great to have finally had some rain this week!

That’s it for me. Hopefully I’ll have something on the needles for next week.

Year of Projects 22/3: Week Three

This week has still been all about the Tour for me. I finished up the first half of my lace weight yarn . It ended up 48g and 380m so I’m on target for an 800m skein at the end of things. I think this will make a heavy weight lace in the end. I’m really pleased with how this has turned out. It’s slow going because I’m focusing on consistency, but that’s ok.

I made a start on the final braid of my sweater spin. I’m not loving this spin to be honest, and it’s entirely my fault. I’ve been working on this for so long that the fibre has compacted and it’s a tough spin. I’m not even 100% sure what the fibre is any more. It’s kind of getting spun any old how now and I’m hoping it will all work out in the end.

To offset that tough spin I made these from some Fellview Fibre rolag tails. Carol at FVF very kindly sent members of her Ravelry group 50g of leftover bits from the beautiful rolags she makes to see what we would make of them during the tour. This colourway is called Mother of Pearl and I was really pleased to get these. I used the blending board to make up some rolags. I’m getting better at these but they’re still a bit uneven.

So that’s it for this week. There have been lots of potatoes from the garden and a few peas and beans. It’s getting warm out there at the moment so I’m hoping it all survives the heatwave we’re having. I do appreciate my very cool house!

Year of Projects 22/23: Week Two

Well it’s been a busy week this week. Sadly not on the crafting front so much. Wednesday was super busy at work due to staff shortages so between that and watching things unfold in Parliament I didn’t get much spinning done that day. Thursday was my partner’s birthday (and still partly glued to what was going on in government) so we went and did brunch and had a mooch around the bookshops and delis. Friday/Saturday I tried to get in the garden where I could as things were starting to get out of control.

So I did manage to spin every day but I’m not as far through as I wanted to be. I’m about a quarter of my way through this merino/cashmere/silk blend. I’m hoping to be consistent enough for a 2-ply lace so I’m making more of an effort to spin a short forward draw. My default spin tends to be short backwards, which is quicker and easier but I now realise a lot less consistent. I’ll stick with 25g to a bobbin because I’m terrified of snapping the fibre and losing the end in the bobbin if I keep going!

The garden has been a bit overlooked due to the wet weather we’ve been having, this sudden change has been a good opportunity to get back out there. I harvested some more shallots and potatoes this week and turned some of these:

Into this:

It looks rock hard but it’s actually perfectly crispy 😂 Potato pizza is one of my greatest discoveries of lockdown.

There’s some good progress in the garden overall. I’m hoping the tomatoes will start to ripen in the next week or two. The courgettes are coming along nicely, and we’re harvesting a good crop of peas once a week. There isn’t any sign of the beans yet, and most of these were eaten earlier on in the year so I’ve only got a few surviving plants. The patty pan squash are looking healthy but not cropping yet and the rhubarb is out of control. I’m hoping to offload some of this on colleagues this week, either as fruit or a cake!

The nice thing about being in the garden is seeing a bit more wildlife including this cinnabar moth who was particularly striking:

I also have a family of slow worms living in my compost bin. I could really do with turning the heap but I really don’t want to disturb them.

That’s this week’s projects. I’m hoping to have finished the lace singles next week and to have worked on some of my other spinning projects. I’d really like to get the final skein in my sweater spin finished before the end of the tour!

Year of Projects 22/3: Week One

Despite the fact I spend more money on planners than any grown woman should, there comes a time when I have to admit I don’t really plan anything. Whether this results in freedom or chaos depends on who you ask. Either way what it means for YOP is that I certainly don’t have any specific plans beyond finishing up a WIP or two. After that we get into pretty vague territory and this suits me just fine.

12 Days of Christmas (and another six months). The light isn’t very good here at the moment and these lean a bit more blue than they appear here.

First up obviously is the Tour. I’ve just finished up plying the Hilltop Cloud 12 Days of Christmas Advent Calendar I started back in December. I really fell out of love with this project and as time dragged on I only hated it more. Mostly because I thought I’d made a terrible error in splitting up the fibre and spinning it as a combo spin. Having finally finished the singles and got on to the plying, however, I have to admit I actually really like how it’s turned out. I’ll post a full update in the next few weeks once I’ve got it washed and measured up.

I’m going with the higher twist yarn on the right. I think it will be just a bit crisper for stitch definition on a lace shawl.

July is pretty much devoted to all things spinning. I’m currently working on spinning a lace weight yarn from some merino/cashmere/silk I’ve had for a while now (I think this might be its third Tour). I’ve been playing with ratios and twist a bit and think I’ve finally found the settings I want for the yarn I want. I mixed up my ratios on the card but I’ve fixed that! It’s not particularly fast for lace, but I do have a fast treadle which compensates for that.

Once the Tour is out of the way I want to finish the Ogopogo socks that are still ongoing. I don’t ‘think’ I have any other WIPs, but I could have some I’ve forgotten about, it wouldn’t surprise me. Other knits for this side of 22/23 will probably be a shawl with the cashmere blend lace and I’d like to tackle a brioche scarf with some fingering I have in stash.

I’m hoping to dig out the loom this year as I didn’t do any weaving last year. My loom is far too large for the space available (and my ability) so it doesn’t see much use, sadly. I’m thinking of trying to sell it and downsize. I’m also hoping to explore an embroidery project maybe as something a bit different and start the needle felted rabbit I found under the bed and had forgotten I even had.

In fact there is quite a lot under the bed I’d forgotten about so maybe a stash inventory is in order. I don’t plan to add to stash outside of a couple of spinning projects I’m waiting to hear about, including an advent spin and probably Wonder Wool in 2023, but then does anyone ever plan to add to stash?

Finally the garden is doing really well. We’re harvesting bits here and there including potatoes (Ratte have turned out to be this year’s favourites), peas, shallots, cucumbers and beetroot. Squash and courgettes can’t be too far behind. I can’t believe how fast and large the produce in the polytunnel has grown. I am going to have to rethink plant spacing next year.

That’s it for this week’s update, I look forward to catching up with everyone else’s plans. Happy YOPing!

Year of Projects 2021/22: Week Fifty Two

So I lost my mojo and came to a screeching halt on my YOP journey some weeks ago. No real reason why I just don’t seem to have had the energy. I am however starting to make plans for the Tour and I’m really hoping that spinning for this will help get me back on track with my crafting. I’m taking the first day of the Tour off as leave to get a good start on things and although I don’t have much planned in terms of volume of spinning, I would like to take some time to improve various aspects of my spinning and try new things. There will definitely be an attempt as a lace weight yarn in there.

I will be taking my Ogopogo socks into YOP 22/23 but I can at least confirm that I did eventually rip back the neckline on my Boxy and redo it. I’m so much happier with it now.

The garden is doing really well. The new polytunnel has been a really good investment and I’m surprised at what a difference it has made to my efforts. Unfortunately it is hammering down here right now so there are no picture updates, but hopefully the weather will pick up soon.

Anyway hopefully I’ll get back to into the swing of things. I like starting a new YOP part way through the calendar year as it’s a good opportunity to take stock of things. Sometimes I think the only reason I work in education is so that I get two starts to the year every year. If I get one ‘wrong’ I can have another go in a few months!

Year of Projects 2021/22: Week Forty Six

Only a quick update for me. Very little progress on any knitting projects. I finished blocky Boxy and love the finish of the final fabric but need to sew in a few ends ( and decide on redoing the neck).

Speedwell

I’ve made small progress on my Ogopogo sock. I have two big spinning projects I want to finish before the Tour de Fleece starts so I think spinning will become a bit of a focus for the next few months. I used to spin for hours and just don’t seem to have the staying power I used to. I know I could finish them during the Tour, but for some reason I like a fresh wheel on Day 1.

Greater Stitchwort

There’s been lots happening in the garden so I might have a separate post on that soon. This weekend I’ve been potting on lots of veggies and filling endless bags with weeds. I’m using a garden journal for keeping a log of what I’m up to. As well as space for weekly activities it also has pages of prompts to help develop your gardening skills and knowledge. One of the tasks this week has been to go out for a walk and take some photos of local wildflowers, identify them, and sketch them. I think sketching is a bit beyond me but the photos here are some examples of what is currently in bloom in the hedgerows near me.

I ‘think’ this is Cuckoo Flower but not 100%

In final news I had my eye test this week and suddenly my struggles with knitting, and reading physical books became clear when my reading prescription jumped quite significantly. I’m hoping getting new (if horrifically expensive) glasses will see me making a bit more progress once I’m not struggling so much!

Happy crafting!

Year of Projects 2021/22: Week Forty Five

So I’ve been laid low with Covid for the last week and a half, hence no update last week. I’ll be honest I haven’t felt like doing much of anything so even though I had to have a few days off work all I managed was sleeping. Lots and lots of sleeping. So this week is a bit of a round up as to where I’m at.

I did mention finishing Boxy and I have finally blocked it today. I’m not the best at blocking things, and could clearly do with another set of blocking mats, but it’s good to get this ticked off. There are still some ends to weave in and a couple of bits to tidy. I’m not 100% happy with the way I picked up the stitches on the collar but I’ll wait and see how I feel about it when it’s finished.

I’ve also picked up my Ogopogo socks so one of those is now complete. I’m annoyed to have discovered the red vanilla socks I finished a couple of months ago have felted in the wash. I’m not really sure what happened there but I’m a bit gutted because a) massive man feet and b) they were such a lovely colour.

I’ve finally managed to get in the garden to get some things potted on. The first half of the polytunnel is all established, I’ve alternated root crops of carrot, beetroot, and parsnip with some taller cucumbers, tomatoes and chillis. I’ve have some peas and beans desperate to go in the ground but I need some 6ft canes as I ordered 2ft ones by mistake! I also harvested a decent crop of rhubarb today so I’m looking at things to do with that.

I need to get all of this lot sorted into place!
Hopefully the lettuce and spring onions will be harvested before the bigger plants crowd them out. I’m still experimenting with spacing.
Crumble or pie?

That’s it for this update. I hope to find time to post a bit more now that work is quieter and I’m back on my feet. The garden is now at the point where I need to keep on top of things so there will probably be a bit more of that to report on in the coming weeks.