Friday, November 25, 2011


For my recent birthday my husband bought me a loom.  When I say "bought", I mean he gave me some money for the Ashford Rigid Heddle loom I had already ordered from Forest Fibres.  I find presents work best like this: no hassle for him and the thing I actually want for me.

At the last meeting of the Weavers, Spinners and Dyers guild we were shown how to warp up our looms in a process called direct warping.  There were about fifiteen people in the workshop and every person then went on to weave a strip of fabric.  There was an incredible variety of work in progress by the end, with one person actually finishing a complete muffler.  I experimented with a variety of textured yarn in the same colour range, and was very pleased with the result.  The dark grey warp tones down some of the cerise.

And this is the beast in question.  I chose a 20inch version on the advice of an expert weaver - more flexibility in the long run.  It fits neatly on a tabletop.

This is my second effort, in a more neutral palettte.  This took only a couple of hours start to finish, but the result is disappointing.  This seems to be down to the yarn, as it has an overly rigid handle.  I liked the idea of stripes in subtle variations, using up odds and ends.

I was gifted some lovely tweed fabric by a friend in the Guild.  Her mother had stashed it away some years ago.  The labels for Strone House show that it came from the same merchants as my blue handwoven tweed from e-bay. 

I like to highlight a colour in the tweed for my top, and so I was delighted to spot a ribbon knit cardigan in a charity shop.  It was just the right shade, but had a loose floppy flounce all round. A few pulled threads and several feet of applied i-cord later and it should match up nicely.  Now I am thinking: brown leather boots...

Friday, November 18, 2011


Is there no end to the possibilities for small knitted doo-dads?  Going with the inspiration of that book by Arne and Carlos, which I haven't bought - yet - I found this bauble pattern on a blog called Moth Heaven.  I use intarsia here because of the log gaps between the feet in the first row.  This created a mess of ends, but may be the way to go as the fabric has more give than in the Fair Isle examples which follow.  This is needed for the rounding of the ball shape when stuffing.

Two more baubles.  Each one can be done in an evening, so it's a satisfying little project.  For these, I used patterns from a leaflet I already own on the Selbu knitting tradition.  The central section has sixty stitches so it is just a matter of spacing the motifs evenly.

I used some remnants of Shetland wool, although I doubt that either would meet the new Shetland standard for accreditation.  I am not clear why the sheep have to be kept "organically" - whatever that means in relation to sheep as opposed to vegetables.  Neither can I see why being spun in a mill on Shetland would be  the deciding factor.  If it is true that the main wool buyer on the islands is excluded, then it makes no sense at all.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Time Passing...

Recently, I've had a significant birthday..

And, among my presents was this astonishing repousse pewter letter made especially for me by a clever lady called Sharon Dickinson.  That's A is for Acorn, as a reference to the super-abundance of acorns this season.

My colleagues gave me this splendid bouquet of autumnal flowers, which is glowing in my living-room window.

It has been a wonderful season for colour.  This vibrant shrub is in the arboretum at Mark's Hall, just north of our village.

Stunning red creeper on an old wall in St Albans.  What can those mysterious steps signify?

Finally, my current knitting.  Somehow, the season suggests mittens, and this is my third pair, utilising a richer palette of gingery colours.  This pattern allows even small oddments to be turned to good account.  These seem to glow, although I have avoided the wilder reaches of acid yellows seen everywhere in nature.