Knitting and Me are Back On

I knitted my cat basket in t-shirt yarn. It turned out much better than I expected.

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I have had this cone of t-shirt yarn on the shelf for more than 6 months.  I never thought it would work. T-shirt yarn is quite floppy, not stiff like the semi-felted wool I was using before. That’s why I thought it would never work as a basket – the sides have to stand up unsupported. But I was wrong. The sides stand up beautifully.

Until Larry came along and curled up on top of it.

Larry flattens the new basket

Larry flattens the new basket

It was good to get Larry’s seal of approval.  But I have to make an adjustment. The new yarn is thinner than the semi-felted wool, so the basket knits up smaller. Larry is using the entire basket as a pillow.

Time to make a bigger basket.  Here goes with the next size up. I’ve got just enough t-shirt yarn left to make the medium size. This works out a lot better for Larry.

Larry in the medium basket

Larry in the medium basket

The t-shirt yarn is delightfully easy to work with, maybe because of the generous stretch it has. Fortunately I can use the same set of doublepins I already have. Most exciting of all, t-shirt yarn is easily available in every colour under the sun. Wow, how exciting is that?

I went online and ordered a load of fabulous colours.

Knitting – me and you are back on!

Till next time,

L x

 

 

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Knitting again!

Such a long time since I picked up the needles. Crazy busy few weeks in the day job since January.

I had the pleasure last weekend of knitting a bamboo flute warmer for a musician friend. The size was 60 cm long by 3 cm diameter. So I knitted a long, long rectangle, eyelets at one end, and sewed it up.  I added a double ribbon drawstring and a few beads. It was simple and quick, and my friend loved it. I thought, how I’ve missed knitting!

Now I have a few days off the day job and some space in my head for other things. I finally got the t-shirt yarn out which I ordered ages ago, and cast on using 12mm needles.

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It looks OK! But does it stand up?

photo 2Yes it does!

I see potential. Could this be the start of a new range?

Till next time

L x

 

Great Wheel is here

I am now the proud guardian of my Uncle David’s Great Wheel. I spent a lovely afternoon with my Aunt and Uncle, when they delivered the wheel and set it up for me. They also gave me the last ever Barnett Drum Carder, so I’m all set to learn how to spin.

The wheel before assembly

The wheel before assembly

Attaching the spindle

Attaching the spindle

Wheel goes on base

Wheel goes on base

A quick demo

A quick demo

The 'long draw' method

The ‘long draw’ method

In situ

In situ

The Great Wheel was built in 1979 with my Uncle adding his own design improvements, one of which was the hand-welded circular steel rim. The extra weight makes it turn better. This is the way yarn was spun before someone invented the familiar treadle spinning wheel, so that spinners could sit down and use both hands to work the fleece. So the Great Wheel harks back to ancient times, and even features in Sleeping Beauty, when she ‘pricks her finger on a spindle’!

We all went for a walk in Sheffield’s Botanical Gardens before they had to go. It was great to show my relatives that Sheffield isn’t all industrial smog and grime!

 

 

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As for learning to spin, when o when o when will I be able to do that? Some serious time management is needed. I may have to wait until I retire…until then, I give the Great Wheel a little spin every day.

Till next time,

L x

Studio Revamp

In preparation for the arrival of the Great Wheel, my studio workspace was due a revamp.  Time to get rid of the pile of cardboard boxes and containers where I stored my yarn collection.

My studio

Before

The OH redecorated the entire room and built 15 cubbyholes into the alcove.

After

After

I realise the yarn collection is quite modest by most knitters’ standards, but I confess there is an overflow in my wardrobe…

Till next time,

L x

 

Family heirloom – The Great Wheel

My Uncle David has offered me his Great Wheel to have for keeps. I am thrilled and honoured. I remember his Great Wheel from  my childhood and it is an awesome creation. Here is a picture of it from many years ago, with my cousin Libby demonstrating:

great wheel007

My Uncle, David Barnett, is an amazing engineer, carpenter and woodturner and he has designed and built all sorts of looms and spinning equipment over the years, in his spare time, as a hobby. He has made all of my giant knitting needles for my extreme knitting projects. He is best known for the Barnett Drum Carder, which was very sought-after by the spinning community for its superior design. Now he’s retired and he doesn’t make them any more, although they occasionally come up for sale on ebay and he can still supply spare parts.

I have wonderful childhood memories of family visits when I was encouraged to have a go at spinning, weaving, knitting, rug making, and embroidery. Obviously knitting became my thing and it’s never left me. But with my family history of old-time creative textile arts, I have always wanted to learn to spin. One of my Aunts was an expert spinner and weaver, and she used to teach spinning classes. She taught me to spin as a child, but that lesson is a distant memory now and sadly she is no longer here to teach me. But I’m sure my Uncle will show me how to get started.

As the only knitter in the family, they would like the Great Wheel to have a good home. It’s a very large thing so gawd knows where I’ll put it, but I will find a spot for it. My OH is fascinated and thinks it’s a wonderful thing to accommodate, and anyway, he has a nine and a half foot piano in the living room so is hardly in a position to object!

I found this video on YouTube showing a Great Wheel in action. It’s rather lovely…

Till next time,

L x

Sold the last cat basket!

The very last cat basket I have is a size Small which I made a while ago and sent as a sample to Anthropologie.  They didn’t go ahead in the end, which was just as well, since the wool has been permanently discontinued. So they sent the sample back to me and it’s my very last one.

Then today my boss announced she has just reserved a new kitten in the local rescue centre – a ginger and white cutie – to keep her older cat company. Could she buy a cat basket for him? A pleasure that my last wool basket is going to a home where I can see it again! The kitten is going to be called Jimmy – how adorable is that?

In case my own cats are disappointed, I’m sure I could pull together some scraps and offcuts, maybe undo a couple of smaller prototypes, to fashion the very very last ever basket to keep them happy too.

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Herbie would appreciate it.

Till next time,

L x

Giant wool really has gone

No luck with the search for a new giant wool supply.

I was in London last week doing a trade fair with the new day job. It was a high-end gifts trade fair and I took one of my smaller knitted baskets with me as part of our exhibit. It was a great talking point. I had the chance to meet various buyers from textile mill shops and visitor centres – the ideal people to ask about the supply of giant wool. Sadly, these people who were in the know told me that they did not know of anyone who supplied it. One lady recommended the company I had used before – who have now discontinued it.

So I think I really have to draw a blank!

But then a very helpful lady from Not On the High Street suggested t-shirt yarn, and sent me some pictures. I hadn’t heard of t-shirt yarn before, but it appealed to me because it’s a waste product of the textile industry, therefore I would be ‘up cycling’.  It also comes in all sorts of fabulous colours. I found some videos online of people cutting up t-shirts into continuous strips to make the yarn DIY-style.  So I had a go myself with an old t-shirt, and found that it knitted up quite well.

I’m feeling inspired….am now sourcing a good supply…watch this space!

14 x 10 in basket