Friday 21 January 2011

Keeping snug and warm

One of the benefits of winter has to be the extra layers that we get to wear. Yes, I know it can be a pain when you're stood at the front door piling on the gloves and scarves, but outer layers of clothing do give some scope for an extra bit of flair.

I've always loved capes and cloaks (although with the latter I have to battle with my urges to have a cloak that goes completely down to the floor - completely impractical in wet weather as it just soaks up the water from the ground!) so as last autumn approached I set myself the task of coming up with my own cape pattern, which I planned to make from warm fleece. The result was a lovely soft green cape, complete with hood for that little bit of extra wow:

After wearing it a few times and establishing that there weren't many tweaks I wanted to make to the design, I've since made a second one, the outer layer in black fleece which increases the amount of outfits it can be worn over but with an eye-catching spotted lining to brighten it up.

And in the intervening time I'd managed to find some beautiful fastenings for future use:

Only thing is, this one's not for me - it's up for sale for someone else to enjoy!

Friday 14 January 2011

The wheels keep on turning...

While it is in many ways a blessing to learn a skill as a child that you go on to use throughout life, sometimes it's only in passing on skills to others that you really appreciate them - going back to basics can make you realise how far you've come since you started (and how much farther you have to go yourself)

The visit of a friend to collect a spinning wheel she'd purchased meant that I spent Saturday afternoon last weekend teaching her to use said wheel. She picked it up well (as much through her own ability as my teaching I suspect!) but, as the week went on and the weekend approached, I started to realise that 1) it had been several months since I touched my own wheel, and 2) it had been even longer since I taught someone to spin.

Happily for my own wheel, this first realisation meant that my fingers and feet started itching to get spinning, and on Friday night it was plucked from it's hiding hole to work its way through 100g of grey Ronaldsay:

This is such a lovely fibre, I can't recommend it highly enough - easy spinning (I bought mine as a carded roving so no preparation was needed), and makes a lovely soft yarn. The yarn I ended up with is approx 3-ply weight, aka light-fingering, and will probably be a pair of gloves.

And the spinner just starting to find her treadling feet? She ended up with her own skein of yarn too, and I can see a lot more being spun in the future!

Tuesday 4 January 2011

Have you got a list?

By list, I mean a list of New Year's Resolutions (of course).

I always say to myself that I'm not going to make any this year, probably along with many others thinking similarly as the end of the year approaches at break-neck speed, but then the first day of January arrives and I make a couple for good measure.

So what have I resolved this year? Well for a start to be more efficient and organised than I can be prone to be on occasion. I think, however, I may not have meant this organisation to extend to my new pin cushion: 

All this particular fit of organisation established is that I have space for more pins on this pin cushion alone, and infinite patience for the trivial details in things. 

No, by organisation I meant things like keeping record of where I am with everything, notes to myself of what I need to do on a daily basis, and a bit of self-discipline in finishing what I can on one thing before starting the next (well, I can live in hope).

My next item on the list? To work my way through my ever-growing yarn & fibre stash before buying more. This is otherwise known as going cold sheep, and widely regarded in the knitting community as being really quite difficult to do. I do feel a pang of guilt for my local yarn shop for this resolution, so it has been tempered with a clause that this isn't for the full year, just until I've managed to half-empty some of my stash drawers that are currently full to bursting with yarn (particularly sock yarn).

And thirdly? (things must always come in three's, after all) To finish my corset pattern before the end of the month. At least since I've got some fabric left over from this dress the end result of is tempting enough for me to manage it before too long:

Right, best be off to find where I left that pattern paper pre-Christmas!