What’s New Pussycat?

Following last week’s excitement of getting the Little Orme Hat pattern and The Little Orme Collection out into the world (and photographed at the Little Orme, too!), there has been a real change of activity in the past couple of days.

I’ve done lots of knitting on my garment commission and I *so* wish I could show it to you, because I am absolutely in love with it. However, you (and I) will have to wait until October before it gets revealed.

As I can’t tell you very much at all about the current main knitting project in my life, I shall have to focus on the other things I’ve been doing. I was very kindly sent a bag of Bowmont Merino fleece locks a little while ago, and over the past few days I’ve been cleaning them. Fortunately, the kind person who sent them to me also sent a couple of links to some very helpful videos (thank you, Anne M and YouTube!), so I had some idea of how to go about this. The change of colour was quite astounding, although the first dip in really hot soapy water and rinse in even more really hot water left quite a lot to be desired. So, they got dunked again, and this time came out gleaming.

Today I attempted to spin some of them – the idea being to spin the yarn as finely as possible. This was much easier said than done, even to get it to catch onto the leader yarn to get going. Eventually it did though and I got about two and a half locks spun, before frustration at the constant falling apart of the yarn finally got to me. So I took a deep breath and put that to one side for the time being.

And then to console myself I got out a plait of Polworth fibre dyed by Rachael of Cat and Sparrow. I got this at The Knit-Tea Retreat marketplace and it was said to be a great fibre type for newer spinners. I love it. As well as the fact that I’m not attempting to spin as finely as possible with this, it’s a gorgeous fibre that so far is behaving beautifully.

Do you remember me talking about the next Craftucation course I’m working on? It’s called An Introduction to Lace Knitting and goes through all the important aspects of lace knitting. You learn many of the common stitches one at a time (yarn overs and eight types of knit decreases!), before putting them together into a practice piece, as well as learning how to follow both a written lace pattern and a lace chart. You then move onto a similar but larger and slightly more challenging small blanket/throw. In this you learn about lifelines – the amazing lengths of thread that stop your knitting unravelling any further – and how to insert and make use of them. You also work a knitted on lace edging and block your finished piece. How cool is all that? All you need to know before undertaking this course is how to cast on, knit, purl and cast off. If you can follow a basic pattern already that is a bonus.

Here is the practice piece:

I’ve recorded a fair chunk of this course already, but I can’t record the next part until my skin heals a bit more. The sudden change back to very cold weather has caused my knuckles to split and that’s not a great look close up on video. I want people to be looking at what my hands are doing rather than the state they’re in!

Hopefully I’ll be able to record the next section soon, but the joy of these courses is that I’m able to create them on my own schedule. Which is the same for the people who take the courses too – no deadlines, no weekly meetings that might not work in your time-zone – you just work through the course at your own pace, in your own way, with access to the tutors and other students on your course via the individual online course forums. There are videos, downloadable and printable pdfs of notes with the video script transcribed and lots of still pictures as well as the original patterns used in the course. So, if you want to try knitting and would like a course that can work for you and around your schedule, have a look at my beginners’ courses: Knitting for Beginners 1 and Knitting for Beginners 2. These links give me a higher proportion of the course fee than if you simply go to the website so if you’d like to starting learning to knit (or know someone else who would), please do use these links!

My current audiobook, Time’s Convert by Deborah Harkness (the fourth book in the All Souls Trilogy….), has given me one of those weird coincidences. Last week we watched Hamilton on Disney+ (it’s amazing what you get when you upgrade a phone these days), which I found fascinating and really enjoyable. I previously knew nothing about this period of history. Then, Time’s Convert takes me to the same time period and some of the same characters as well! It’s funny how things sometimes line up together in life like that.

It seems I had plenty to tell you about after all, despite not being able to share the Grand Secret Project!

Stay safe and warm, and keep (or start!) knitting, K x

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