as predicted January has been a busy yet fun month. Knitting is progressing, and I’ve been reading up on various constructions so I can get the rainbow jumper finished. I’ve also been working my way through various planning stages for the coming year.
However, all work and no play makes life very dull, so earlier this week I ventured out to learn something new. This year my Christmas present was a course at Westhope College, rather than add stuff to my life I decided to add skills!
So I spent the day learning about Lino Printing. These were my first test cuts and prints, nothing special, but I wanted to share them because I think it’s important to share the messing around stages. When I’m teaching workshops I nearly always have to overcome the rlucatnace people have to be bad at things! We like to be able to succeed at things immediately, and working through the messing around, and experimenting stage is something that as adults we’re all pretty rubbish at.
So... after the messing around stage, came the chance to make a proper design. I’d done some homework, because the last time I went on a printing course I didn’t have a design in mind, and it was all a bit of a disaster. I started out with a vague idea to do something sea related... so ended up with a school of fish. Then came up with the idea of the fish being spun in to a beautiful silvery yarn. A few versions and layouts later, and I’d got a prototype.
After several hours I ended up with my Lino...
The first test print... nearly right, and revealed that a rash final decision to take out the middle section of the twisting fishes was an error...
A cup of tea, and a slice of cake later, a few more bits made lighter and it was time to do some final prints.
Is it perfect... no, but I am pleased with it... and I know how I want to make it better. I won’t give up the day job any time soon, but I think I need to go shopping for some Lino cutting tools, and I shall carry on making mistakes, and in a few months time I’ll probably head back to Westhope and experiment with something else.
It feels like the greyest time of year, but in a perverse sort of way I always look forward to January. While the weather is usually pretty dreadful, it''s the time when I get back to work after a break.
It's the time of year when I finish off the plans for the year, all my show applications for 2018 are now submitted, the last workshop slots are filled. It's also when I start making fibre plans. I come back to work with new ideas for different bases, and other new ideas to put in place.
It's also when I re-boot my knitting and spinning. I've usually spent the back end of the year making gifts for others, so often get the luxury of starting new projects.
During the holidays I balled up all the small skeins of Superfine Shetland I've spun over the past few years. These were leftover bits and pieces from Bach Packs, which have been discontinued, so it was time to turn them in to something!
Over the holidays I messed around with some stitch dictionaries, and did some swatching...
and am now turning those balls in to a slightly bonkers colourwork jumper.
It's not been done with any great amount of planning. I worked out the gauge from my swatch, measured from a jumper, and did the maths to get a stitch count. Some of the colour combinations are more successful than others, but I want this to be a fun, no worrying project, so I've decided to just embrace them.
I did a provisional cat on, because I can't even decide how I want to do the edgings. They might be ribbing, or I might do some sort of turned hem...
I normally work top down, but I'm going bottom up with this, delaying the decision about how to work the sleeves for as long as possible! I could go very traditional and work steeks, or I could stop at the armholes, work the sleeves, then put them all on one needle and work raglan decreases. At the moment I'm leaning towards the steek option, because I've never used that construction method before....
I may even go completely freestyle and not make the sleeves matching!
It's also the time of year when I look at the business samples. I like to work with my fibres, it means I can tell you about them with an informed viewpoint. I also like to have samples on display at shows (Did you know that there's a whole page devoted to the samples I make?)
The next big sampling task is the Tussah Silk... I'm lacking in woven samples at the moment, and weaving is a great project to show off the whole palette of colours. So I spent last night playing around with the sample cards, and constructed a huge gradient from the 38 colours that will be the permanent palette..
Not a very good photo, given it was taken at 9.30pm, but I hope it's going to look stunning. It's going to be a huge colour and weave project requiring some maths! There will be 6 ends of each colour running the length of the warp, and then I'm going to be weaving the weft in the same colour pattern.... Not sure how wide the weft stripes will be yet, maybe wider than the weft stripes. I probably won't know until I start weaving.
Best get spinning!
We're now at nearly 500 posts in the Big-Stuff SAL in the Ravelry group, and have had quite a few finished objects, and people starting on their second project. I've finished my jumper... but haven't managed to take a photo. Must do better! I think I need one made completely from my own fibre, so the next batch of Cambrian Wool Sweater Packs I dye... one is going to be mine!
I think that little lot should keep me busy for a while, particularly as there are some behind the scenes projects that I need to think about more before I can share them with you!