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.

Year of Projects: Week Forty Three

It’s been a while since I last updated my blog. Work has been crazy so stopping for the Easter weekend was very welcome. I tacked on a couple of extra days holiday onto the long weekend and my partner and I had a few days in Hay on Wye. For those who don’t know it, Hay is a book town so we basically spent three days trawling antiquarian book shops looking for interesting finds. I still managed to indulge my other hobbies of yarn and stationery however and picked up this lovely hand dyed yarn from a local dyer, The Bobbin Sisters who dye book-themed colourways, and a new fountain pen and inks.

This week also saw the return of Wonderwool. This is my local(ish) yarn festival which, due to Covid, hasn’t run since 2019. It was lovely to see so many people enjoying the day, as well as returning and new suppliers. It makes such a difference to meet the people behind the products; and the animals in several cases! I’m so pleased to see that the event survived the pandemic when it could so easily have been lost and I hope the others return just as strong. Other than the John Arbon I realised later that all of my purchases were from new to me producers which is really nice. I love the ease of online shopping, but it’s not always easy to discover new producers and I often end up going to the same few.

So on to purchases. I picked up this lovely fibre from Velvet Sixpence. Despite the fact that I reverted to my default merino/silk blend I like the fact that this dyer does use a lot of other bases that aren’t so common so I look forward to trawling her Etsy shop when she’s back.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was hoping to start making my way through 52 Weeks of Socks so I mostly went with an eye on sock yarns for making a start on that. First up is some John Arbon yarn.

Followed by Woollen Wytch and Ducky Darlings. The Ducky yarns are probably going to make their way into a shawl/scarf.

And finally for yarns some Mothy Squid (blue and green) which will definitely be socks, and Moonlight yarns which will probably be something shawly. I’m thinking of maybe tackling brioche for the first time but I’m not sure if that would suit something variegated or whether I’d be better with something more solid.

And finally, although I said the one think I definitely didn’t need/want was more raw fleece to sit in the cupboard making me feel guilty for being so lazy, I ignored myself and picked up this mohair sample pack. I love the idea of seeing how the fleece changes and it comes with this lovely information booklet. So when we get the next good weekend I’ll try and make a start on washing the samples.

In news of what I’ve actually done, as opposed to bought, I have finally finished my Boxy so I need to get that blocked and posted. I say finished, I’m waiting to see if blocking helps some of the shoulder stitches sit a little better but if not I might need to rip one shoulder back and redo it. Why oh why when I spot a problem as I’m going along do I not fix it then and instead of deciding ‘it will be ok’. It is never ok, it always annoys me later on and means I don’t enjoy or wear the final thing until it’s fixed – which can take years!

I have quite a lot going on in the garden too, so I’ll post an update on that later in the week. I hope everyone else is being more productive with their projects!

Year of Projects 2021/22: Week Forty

I can’t believe we’re this far through the year already, I’ve barely scratched the surface of yarn related projects! At least Boxy is coming to a close now. I’m just working on the sleeves and finishing up the neckline. I’m not sure what my next larger project will be. Maybe Hitofude which has been on my to knit pile for a while. I’ve started it a few times but the yarn never wanted to be that project. I now have some yarn that I think will be great for it, but I’m not sure it’s the right colour. Aargh!

I’m still slowly spinning my advent spin. I don’t think I’ve ever taken this long to spin anything, I’m not sure where my spinning mojo has gone. I need to get a move on as I want these bobbins clear for TdF which is shockingly on the horizon again.

I bought a new book, 52 Weeks of Socks (or seven and a half years of socks at my pace). There are some really nice patterns here and I kind of like the idea of taking choice out of things and just starting at the beginning. I might make a start on some sock presents using this.

Not much has happened in the garden this week as we’ve had a cold snap. I’m amazed at how warm the polytunnels stay even when there’s a frost, this means everything is still doing ok with the exception of the basil, which I might lose.

That’s it for me this week. Just a photo of my favourite ladies to end on. Despite a completely empty field they like to gather in the shady spot by the gate.

Year of Projects 2021/22: Week Thirty Eight

We’ve finally had a run of good weather which means time to get in the garden before the rains descend again! This week’s big win was constructing the new raised bed and polytunnel. This one is much taller than last year’s, about four foot as opposed to two, so I can use it for some larger crops like tomatoes, cucumbers, and chillies.

The cover really made a difference with last years herbs and chillies, but was far too small for the chilli plants. This year I’m using the smaller covered bed for soft herbs. This weekend I split up one supermarket plant each of basil, parsley, and coriander and potted them into place. I hope I’ve not done it too early and the cover will protect them from the colder nights and frost, but time will tell. There is also spring planted garlic in this bed. I find autumn planted garlic doesn’t work very well here and tends to rot before it gets going so I’m hoping the drier weather will work better.

I have three other beds in use at the moment with shallots and more garlic. It will be interesting to see how the garlic fares in a covered vs uncovered bed.

I also managed to get my first potatoes in! L-R (so I remember!) are Charlotte, Jazzy, and Ratte. I have more to plant out but I’m trying to space them out a bit to avoid a glut. I’ll have to keep an eye out for growth for another month or so and cover them up if it looks like frost might be on the way, but I tend to find they’re better protected in bags rather than in the ground.

It looks like good weather for the rest of this week so hopefully I’ll be able to get out for an hour or so each day to start getting things in order. I have to admit it doesn’t look too pretty out there at the moment!

My boxy is coming on at a glacial pace but at least I’m on to the neck and shoulder shaping now (not that you can really tell).

To round off the weekend I took a trip to visit my favourite sheep in the village! I hope you had a good weekend where you are!

Year of Projects 2021/22: Week Thirty Five

What a difference a week makes. This time last week we were being battered by storms; this week it’s beautifully sunny and dry. While it’s is good for gardening it does mean the knitting/spinning has taken a bit of a back seat this week.

Continuing the sheepy theme for the garden

I made a start earlier this week on planting some early seeds. I usually just throw seeds in any old compost and hope for the best, but this time around I’m trying some woollen seed compost. I usually lose a few seedlings to collapse so I’ve also tried topping off with Vermiculite to see if that helps with damping off. So far I have sown chillies (Jalapeños), leeks (Lancelot), spring greens (Summer Jewel), and cucumber (F1 Baby). The greens are already coming up after only a few days on the windowsill.

These are quite sturdy propagators

Outside I made some progress with the raised beds. I am dismantling one of my older beds and reusing the planks to add a bit more depth to the existing ones. I’ll definitely get another year out of these, maybe two if I’m lucky. I’m replacing them slowly with some more substantial beds which can come with additional hoops for adding a polytunnel. I don’t have the space for a greenhouse, but last year this worked really well with the softer herbs like basil which don’t always work great in my garden.

Once I’d finished with some of the reorganisation I planted up a bed of spring shallots (Meloine) and some garlic (Picardy Wight). I’ve never had much luck with winter garlic so I thought I try this. I’ve sown some in an open bed and some under the polytunnel to see which works best.

It’s not all been hard work this week. There is progress on my endless stockinette sweater (honest!) and I’ve made time for some spinning. I have a better set up with my wheel now so that it’s easier for me to just jump on for an hour in the evening without it being a faff getting myself set up. I have my silk spinning class tomorrow and Tuesday so I’ll try and post something about those later in the week. I’ve also been making notes about my Down breed study so I’ll try and post an update on that too. I spin a lot of Merino and BFL and I’m finding the liveliness of the Downs a bit of a challenge!

Oh and I made the next step in the kitchen project and actually managed to get some people out to take a look at it. They’re going away to mock up some designs and get some estimates together. They’re so busy they won’t be able to do it until next year, but I suppose that gives me plenty of time to save up if I fall in love with something expensive.

Year of Projects: Week Thirty Four

Just a quick update here as it’s been another slow week in terms of actually progress. My Boxy is coming along. I added a progress marker last Sunday so I could keep a track of things and I’ve definitely made progress even if it doesn’t feel like it!

My silks arrived ready for my silk spinning workshop next week. These are eri, mulberry, penduncle, tussah, sari, and silk hankies. I also made some progress with my 12 Days project, but I’m still quite a way off the plying stage there.

Luckily we missed most of storm Eunice this week but the terrible weather here has meant no gardening again. However I have now got my propagators ready to go so hopefully I can make a start next week even if I can’t actually get in to the garden.

Year of Projects 2021/22: Week Thirty Three

I finally finished my first bobbin of singles from my 12 Days of Christmas spin. At this rate I should have a finished yarn by the summer! I’ve also been making progress on my Boxy but there still isn’t much of interest to see there either.

Fibres from Adelaide Walker

In spinning news I reactivated my School of SweetGeorgia account this week as I’ve got more time at the moment to dip into some of the workshops. I’ve been wanting to get started on a breed study as I have box of breed specific fibres in my fibre stash so I took a look at the Spinning Sheep Breeds workshop with Rachel Smith. The workshop covers four breed types: fine/medium wool, long wool, Down and Down-like breeds, and primitive breeds. There’s an overview of each breed, followed by tips on preparation methods and three or four examples of spinning fibres from each category. I’ve made a start on Down breeds because I have very little experience of these. I’ll be using a mix of commercially prepped fibre and some fleece samples I have. I also booked on to an online silk spinning workshop being run by Katie Weston of Hilltop Cloud so I’m looking forward to that at the end of this month.

Sadly this weekend the weather has been awful so there has been no activity in the garden. I have, however, made a start on chitting my potatoes. I have somehow managed to end up with all second earlies so if I’m not careful I will end up with huge glut of potatoes at the same time. I’m going to try and stagger the planting a bit if I can to try and get around this, and I might try leaving some in the ground a little longer and experiment with using them more like a maincrop. The varieties I’m using this year are Charlotte, Jazzy, and Ratte. My new raised bed arrived this week so I’m hoping the weather will clear up enough later in the week for me to get that in place but it doesn’t look great for the rest of the week so maybe it will have to be a crafting week.

Year of Projects 2021/22: Week Thirty Two

Just a quick update from me this week because although I’m still sticking with crafting each day, neither of my main projects have much to show for it! My Boxy sweater is around the seven inches mark (only nine to go before that starts to get interesting!) and I’ve finished my first bobbin of my 12 Days of Christmas. I’m not actually sure why it is taking me so long, I don’t feel that it is any thinner than usual but it seems to be slow progress.

In non craft news I have started the job of getting quotes for the kitchen. One of the companies I’d like to use can’t even come out and quite for the job until well into March! Still this is all an opportunity to save up a bit more in case I fall in love with ridiculous kitchen additions I didn’t know I needed.

I’ve also managed to spend some time drawing up some planting schemes for the vegetable beds. It’s a bit tough trying to maximise use of limited space but I think I’m getting there. I’ve cleared out one of the beds ready for planting my spring shallots in the next few weeks and next weekend if it’s dry I’ll clear the potato bed so that is ready to go. I’d better get those chitting, too. Last year I had quite a bit of success with shallots, potatoes, and courgettes. My tomatoes and peppers were the usual disaster, this is the last year I’m going to attempt tomatoes I think. I’m adding some fancier squash this year and probably sticking more to root veg and brassicas which suit the climate here a bit more.

Since there is nothing to really photograph for this week I thought I’d go and take a photo of my favourite sheep in the village, but even they were hiding! So here’s one of my favourite spots to pause for breath on my run!

Year of Projects 2021/22: Week Thirty One

I’m pleased to have found the time to knit this week, and I have knitted every evening. Unfortunately it’s still slow progress on my Boxy sweater due to the tiny needles and yarn. Still, it is great TV knitting and I have made good progress with Succession if nothing else. Next up for my knitting will be The Sopranos which for some reason I have never got around to watching.

I haven’t done much with my other indoor or outdoor projects this week. I did go and see the kitchen people to at least get started with that project. They have a very long lead in time for getting work done which is probably a good thing given my inability to make decisions about the finer details. Hopefully we’ll get some quotes underway for that in the next week or two.

That’s it for me this week. I think next week’s blog post will look this this plus a couple of inches! I might have an update on my spinning but I don’t think I’ll be at the plying stage which is the bit I’m excited to get to!