…back into knitting, big time. I had a word with myself, and went and ordered a load of natural wool tops from World of Wool. I don’t know if it’s right for my project, so I will need to experiment, but this is the start of a creative journey, something that’s been missing for too long.
Why on earth I chose to do it now, when I am busier than ever, I don’t know. I checked back at my last knitting notes, when I was trying to source some alternative giant natural yarns, and I was shocked to find that I wrote them two years ago. The article I stumbled across the other day, about knitting being really good for you, was undoubtedly needling away at my subconscious.
I can’t wait for my new yarn to arrive. Actually it’s not even yarn yet, I will have to make it into yarn myself. I will felt it into the size I need to fit the needles I have, and then test its strength and softness. I’ve never custom-made my own yarn before so this is another dimension.
It’s time to stop prioritising everything else, get something on the needles and see where it takes me.
Knitting with super chunky oversized yarn in the UK just got a whole lot easier!
At the Knitting and Stitching show in Harrogate (on till Sunday) I met Andrea of the superbly-named Woolly Mahoosive. Giant merino wool and 2 acrylic alternatives are her speciality. All the yarns are super-soft and come in a range of gorgeous colours. They are for knitting on massive 25mm – 40mm needles. They are also perfect for arm knitting!
Check out the display:
See the ginormous chunky wooden needles with signature cubed stoppers? They are beautifully made from tulipwood and rosewood, and come in different lengths. These needles are just what I was looking for when I started extreme knitting. There were none available commercially at that time, so after I got lucky on ebay with a pair of wooden 25mm, I had my uncle make me a set of double pins and circulars in 2 big sizes.
So how did Andrea get hold of this array of giant knitting needles? Does she have a helpful relative beavering away in a workshop? No, she made them herself. Yes indeed. Having no experience of woodwork, she informed herself, got hold of the equipment and set to work.
This kind of initiative and dedication is truly impressive. Their prices are utterly reasonable too. Bloggers, I would urge you to pop over to Twitter and give them a follow. They deserve it!
My head is now popping with ideas about what to make with these fabulous yarns. Inspiration – that’s what the Knitting show is for!
Till next time
Some fab new colours have arrived from Hoooked Zpagetti.
So far I’ve made a purple basket
and a yellow one. But Herbie has chosen purple.
I love the bright colours and how the light makes the giant stitches pop out.
More colours coming soon – and a cat cave!
Till next time
I knitted my cat basket in t-shirt yarn. It turned out much better than I expected.
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
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
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,
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.
It looks OK! But does it stand up?
Yes it does!
I see potential. Could this be the start of a new range?
Till next time
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
Attaching the spindle
Wheel goes on base
A quick demo
The ‘long draw’ method
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!
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,
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.
Herbie would appreciate it.
Till next time,
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!
This week I got a great order for TWO medium cat baskets from a lady in France (thanks, notonthehighstreet.com!)
I realised I was down to my very last cone of giant wool and this order was going to use it all up. I contacted my supplier to place another order, and was shocked to find out the the wool is no longer available.
I contacted the only other supplier in the UK that I know of (who were more expensive), and sure enough they told me the same thing. This yarn is discontinued.
A google search yielded nothing remotely like it. Which didn’t surprise me because it was hard enough to source any kind of giant wool in the first place. One of the suppliers helpfully sent me some samples of their undyed yarn. But their thickest offering, a soft wool roving, was not even in the same ball park as the giant wool.
So with great sadness I will fulfil my last order for extreme knitting cat baskets this weekend.
Unless anyone out there can recommend a supply?
Till next time,
Arachnophobes look away now…..
It’s the scary spider cupcake. Perfect for Hallowe’en.
Pattern available on Folksy, Etsy, Craftsy and Ravelry.
The Spider Cupcake
It’s not really that scary is it?