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Handspun Yarn Experiment: Finished Spin Show & Tell

Handspun Yarn Experiment: Finished Spin Show & Tell

I have finished plying my most recent skein of handspun. A 3-ply skein weighing 155g and 400m in length, this was my attempt at spinning something a bit heavier than my usual spinning output. Most of the general tips I have seen on spinning a […]

Not Having All The Answers

Not Having All The Answers

We’ve kept a fairly steady, even keel these past few weeks, all considered. Apart from the fact that I am just so very frustrated with how things are happening; the delays in tests I have been awaiting due to weather, the run-on issue of staff […]

Yellow Wagtail Scarf

Yellow Wagtail Scarf

I knit Sarah Hatton’s Yellow Wagtail Scarf from the A Year Of Techniques project about four months ago, and I haven’t written about it until now due to not having managed to get any decent pictures. Unfortunately I can’t see that changing any time soon so here are a few pictures whose greatest quality is that they at least exist.

As written, the pattern gives a long (7ft) scarf with relatively narrow ends, widening in the centre, like a perfectly postured, straight spine effortlessly carrying a pregnancy off in style and comfort (ie, nothing like when was pregnant). This provides a lot of extra fabric of the scarf in the area around the neck for extra warmth. As the scarf is so lengthy, wrapping the scarf twice around the neck feels natural, so you may have a very warm neck and chest for even the coldest weather.

I actually thought that much bulk would be a little too substantial for me and that I would find it easier to style a traditionally shaped scarf of consistent width. The pattern starts with a stitch count of 26, increasing to 53 by the time the centre point starts to near, maintaining that stitch count for a while and then decreasing back down to the original 26. I decided to go with a 41 stitch cast on, increase 3 when setting up for the cables and then knit the scarf with a consistent 44 stitch width until decreasing 3 to account for signing the cables off at the very end.

Apart from the change to the shape of the scarf I made no other changes. The scarf is knit in the kit yarn that the pattern calls for, Shetland Aran Worsted in the shade Auld Gold, seven balls of Shetland woolly warmth. I think I only used 6 balls for my scarf, knit to the same length as the original. It feels relatively weighty, but in a comforting, sheepy way, and the pure Shetland wool holds in a good deal of warm air.

The main design feature of the scarf is the play of the two cable details that run down each long edge of the scarf. Once is a simple, uneven twisted rope type cable, with long and short sections between the ‘twists’ and the other is made up of four intertwining strands on the same garter stitch background that makes up the scarf body.

There’s a single garter stitch border that sits alongside the narrower cable which gave me a few issues in blocking. It wanted to fold under the cable (which would have given a nice edge) but still wanted to creep into view at the points where the cable twisted. I think if I were to knit the scarf again I’d have added an extra stitch or two to the border on that side, to match the other, and just bring that cable in slightly, or swatch to see how the edge would look with a different treatment.

As with all the A Year Of Techniques projects, the pattern comes bundled with a wealth of opportunity to learn something new. The teachings of the Yellow Wagtail scarf were how to knit from a charted cable design, but the instructions also include written instructions for either back-up/comparison or, indeed, for those who do not like nor wish to knit from charts. The lesson is there, and it is comprehensive and well explained, but the pattern does not leave any knitter out in the cold. There also appears to be a bit of a bonus technique included to help people who wish to cable without the use of a cable needle, which is my preferred method. Not only does the technique information give great instructions on cabling with or without a cable needle, but also on visually interpreting the cable stitches so you can ‘see’ what is going on with the knitted fabric to create the pattern. I think cable charts are perhaps one of the most visually immediate types of knitting chart, alongside colourwork, as most charted cable stitches are very representative of the patterns that they relate to.

Though I was confident knitting from charts and without the use of a cable needle, I still thoroughly enjoyed reading the technique portion of this pattern for its thoroughness and clarity and think as both techniques make knitting cables so much quicker and easier that it would be a great learning opportunity for anyone who wanted to firm up their skills with either.

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Hey Duggee! The Felt Bunting Badge.

Hey Duggee! The Felt Bunting Badge.

If you don’t watch Hey Duggee I firstly entreat you to do so. You don’t have children? Doesn’t matter. Duggee will make your day better. He is the Harold Bishop of flash animated dogs, and the whole show is made with love and joy. Each […]

The Hurrier I Go The Behinder I Get – A Free Cross Stitch Chart To Remind You To Slow Life Down

The Hurrier I Go The Behinder I Get – A Free Cross Stitch Chart To Remind You To Slow Life Down

There are a couple of books that I always carry with me (figuratively, if not literally) as a means of escape with added lessons to take back into real life when I am ready to return. One is Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years Of […]


Coddswallop

Our First Two Years Together

Our First Two Years Together

It’s been two years since our family grew by one. I think we were always a family, Russell and I. From, perhaps, the day that I felt like I trusted in his goodness to let go of that little bit of certainty and security of the path I was on, soon to have my own little place to live, and took the leap that I could trust in this human to be good and to care and love enough that I could uproot once more and move in with him to a pokey little cold flat in Whitley Bay. Boy it was cold. And it was so tiny! But perhaps it was my favourite of all the places that I have lived due to it being where our story began and the first place in which I had felt safe in a very, very long time.

But my favourite chapters of the story so far all burst into colour two years ago when a tiny human popped into our world, a mixture of Russell and I. This whopping great blackcurrant stained baby shot into the world at a faster rate than I could really handle it. But after all the worry and panic there lay this 9lb bruise with a wrinkle for a nose and Russell and I cradled pure love in our arms. It had not been so very long previously that I did not think that I could trust anyone to truly love in my lifetime, and now I had these two pillars of love, one huge and protecting and one (not so very) tiny, heartbeat fluttering fast upon my chest, and I knew that I would never feel the same again. And our family was strong.

I truly love being a parent, but as so many people will tell you, parenthood is tough. Gosh, yes we have our off days. Tired, grumpy days, days of illness and the mystery maladies of baby and toddlerhood, sometimes that write themselves apparent three days after the screams and sobs with a scarlet rash and sometimes which manifest on no physical symptoms that you will ever detect and are put down to some mystical condition which may or may not have existed. And you are always, always doing it wrong. So says that lady in the supermarket, or the health visitor who you’ve known for four minutes of your life, or that relation who’d do that differently, or the neighbour who is old enough to remember when babies did not cry because in those days 10 month old babies did as they were instructed, and probably earned their keep down the mines at the same time.

If my little boy knows or feels anything I would hope it is just how perfectly I love him and that I love learning from him more than from any of those people. I hope that Russell and I can teach him, above all else, how to be kind, how to be thoughtful and how to have empathy for all the people whose lives touch on his. I do not expect that as he grows and natually makes mistakes for him to always be good, or that he will always make the right choice, but I do so hope that we will always have time to put three chairs around the table and to talk about how we feel and how others might feel, and the effect of our actions on others. And from him I am learning how to best see the world anew. How the most basic and fundamental feelings that I have can be best nurtured and put to use. I am tougher in my resolve to surround myself with good and kind people and to not let damaging influences into our lives without guard, and to that end I have a strong determination to stand up for my family and to know when to say ‘no more’.

I hope that our third year together will be one of greater learning and growth. I hope it will be full of rainbows and colour, but when there are grey days that we can make things better with love and understanding. I hope that that there will be laughter, kindness, and, importantly, dinosaurs.

 

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