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 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!

Year of Projects 2021/22: Week Thirty

I’ve finally finished the man socks of doom! Well, one of the pairs. The simple pair. Thankfully he didn’t want them to be too long so that saved some work on the leg. I much prefer the EoP heel on this version of the Vanilla Sock. Even simple socks seem a bit much in size eleven! I loved this Malabrigo yarn though.

Vanilla socks in Malabrigo

I’ve also picked the Ogopogo socks back up. I’d forgotten how fiddly cabling on socks can be but I really like this pattern and it works so well with this yarn. These are going to be a very slow progress but it’s nice to have something like this to pick up for a few rows on an evening. Weirdly these socks seem very long compared to the Vanilla ones above. They are so weirdly long looking I keep making my partner try them on, but they definitely fit.

Ogopogo

To offset the fiddly cabling I have cast on Boxy. I’ve been looking for a nice slouchy loose jumper to use up some of my fingering weight yarn and this looks a good choice. It’s bottom up which is a first for me in terms of construction. I’m about two inches into sixteen inches of body.

Boxy

Because I like to throw caution to the wind I cast on first, then I read about the yarn, and then I did a gauge swatch. The yarn is Malabrigo Mechita in Eggplant and reviews suggest it grows quite a bit with blocking but I didn’t notice this too much on my samples. I didn’t quite make gauge but as it’s coming up smaller I don’t think that will be a problem given the pattern. One day I’ll be less reckless in my knitting, but not today!

I’m still working on my 12 days spinning project and planning my next project. I have a lot of fibre in stash that I’ve been acquiring for a breed study so I might start looking at that. I also want to finish my HTC gradient sweater spin.

In not yarny news I’m starting to get down to making plans for the garden. I’m at my favourite point in the gardening calendar where I have seed catalogues, paper charts and a cup of tea in front of the fire. I get less enthusiastic when the action moves outside! My audio book at the moment is Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson and he writes a lot about Da Vinci’s endlessly enquiring mind and his inability to see most projects through to completion. I like to think I’m modelling myself on a genius!

Year of Projects 2021/22 Week Twenty Nine

Its been a weekend of decorating this week so I’ve been trying to fit in bits of knitting and spinning where I can. I’m also trying to read a lot more this year which cuts into crafting time; it hard having hobbies that conflict with each other.

Anyway the man socks are coming to an end and I should wrap these up this evening. Despite having several ‘one sock projects’ on the go I am naturally casting around for my next cast on. I’m looking for ideas for some beautiful Malabrigo Mechita in Eggplant. I originally bought this for knitting Ink but I’ve struggled to get started with the cabled collar. I think rather than a cardigan I might go with an oversized sweater or tunic, something simple for slouching around in on weekends.

In spinning news I’m still making my way down my 12 Days. This is the next set of colours for days 7-12.

I’ve split the fibre so that the first set of singles is days 2–7, the second days 7-12, and the third a combination of both. The 100g of fibre from day one is split between the three. Even at a three ply I think I will probably hit a fingering weight. I’m not sure if a combo spin was the right approach but it’s an enjoyable spin and it’s going to be a surprise when it’s plied!

Year of Projects Week Twenty Seven

It’s been a while since I posted anything but the end of last year was just so busy I found it difficult to get much crafting done. I have managed to make some progress over the Christmas period:

The Man-Socks of Doom are slowly getting there. They would have been finished by Christmas but I went wrong on the heel turn and lost heart at the thought of unravelling. This is definitely one to finish for January.

I finished my corespun yarn and I will do an update for this later in the week once I’ve worked out how much I have. I’m not sure whether I like this or not, and I have absolutely no idea what to actually do with it, but I really enjoyed the process of making it.

I’m making my way through my Hilltop Coloud 12 Days of Cristmas spin. I’ve decided to spin this as a traditional 3-ply mixing and matching the fibres in a combo spin. I’m enjoying it so far. This is my progress with the first six days.

I haven’t made any crafting goals for the year ahead beyond trying to make sure I do something every week, however small. I think for now finishing up some of my WIPs will be the main focus and I certainly have plenty of those. I’d like to try and use up some stash, I know there is some beautiful purple Malabrigo there somewhere. I’m hoping Wonderwool will run this year. It’s my local yarn festival and it’s been two years since it was about to run as a physical thing. I’m going to try and keep my yarn purchasing at a minimum with the exception of that.

Non-crafting goals are to get more books read this year, I’m aiming for 75. I do include audio books otherwise I find having to choose between crafting and reading difficult. I’m also hoping it increase my running this year so my January challenge is to run at least one mile a day. The weather here is pretty atrocious at the moment so it’s a hard call as to whether I should have made it a swimming challenge!

That’s it for my quick update. Wishing you a happy 2022 and good luck with your own projects and challenges for the year ahead.

Year of Projects 2021/22: Week Eighteen

I’ve finished up my Vanilla socks this week so it was nice to get those off my needles and on to my feet! I’ve also made some progress with the two pairs of socks I’m working on for my partner. It really is strange how large they feel in comparison to mine – I have to keep making him try them on to double check sizing.

I seem to have stalled on my spinning so I want to try and get back to that in the next few weeks. My spinner’s ‘12 Days of Christmas’ arrived from Hilltop Cloud in this cute, hand printed bag. I’m really looking forward to getting started with this. I may even start it early as I’ll be on leave for a good chunk of December but that seems wrong somehow.

Otherwise it’s been a quiet week on the projects front. I did pick up a new book which was James Rebanks’s English Pastoral. I’ve really enjoyed his other books on shepherding in the Lake District so I’m looking forward to settling down with this one, it comes highly recommended.

Finished Object: Vanilla Socks

I’ve been in a sock mood these past few weeks, and I have finally finished up a pair. The pattern for these is Jo Torr’s Vanilla Sock with Gusset and Choice of Heel Ravelry link. The yarn is Third Vault Yarns in Librarian Sock blend which is 75% BFL 25% nylon.

What I really like about this pattern is it explains how to make a custom-fit sock, as well as explaining why the pattern asks you to do certain things. I’ve been knitting for over a decade but I’m still very reluctant to go off pattern in any way and I don’t always know why I’m doing the things I am, I just follow the pattern and hope it works out. So the little asides about measuring and working out the calculations for a perfect fit, why the heel flap increases work, and the benefits of different heel stitches were very welcome.

The pattern itself is very straightforward and adaptable. They’re toe up using Judy’s magic cast on. I used the heel stitch pattern for the heel, but I think I prefer Eye of Partridge as a stitch. I love the lack of tiny holes I tend to get at the heel of cuff-down socks. I cast off using Jenny’s Stretchy Bind-off which inserts a yarn over between cast off stitches to give it some extra stretch. I haven’t used it before and I think this has revolutionised my cast off! It’s great for getting socks over heels.

These socks are fantastic! I’ve never knitted a pair that fit this well before. I’ve already cast on a pair for my partner!