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From An Alpaca’s Back to Mine!

If you read my round up of recent Knit and natter group projects you’ll have noticed that I finally completed my striped alpaca sweater.

It’s been a long process – I washed and carded the fibre, then spun it until I thought I had enough (with plenty to spare) I chain plied the singles to get a more consistent thickness. It stands to reason that the more strands you ply together, the more even the final yarn will be as any variations will average out – I find plying with more than two bobbins a bit fiddly so chain plying seemed like the way forward and my technique certainly improved plying enough for a sweater.

The next stage was to dye the fibre , also something of a learning curve (you can read more about that here)

I was trying to reproduce the colours of a bought sweater I had years ago but always loved. I almost got it right though the coral pink should have been much paler.

I chose a simple V-neck pattern with set in sleeves as I didn’t wasn’t to worry about matching up the stripes where the sleeves meet the front and back. Unfortunately I hadn’t noticed that there was some shaping there and when I completed the first sleeve it looked totally wrong (and was too long). I fell out with the project for several weeks, then bit the bullet and did some calculations to get the sleeves to the right length and match up the stripes.

This time it worked just fine and it was soon finished.

I’m really pleased with the result. It fits well and the V-neck is just right – not too deep.

This is my biggest handspun project so far, and the first where I’ve dyed the yarn. it’s even more satisfying that I made it from scratch from the raw fibre.

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August Knit and Natter Roundup

The group have continued to meet online every Friday throughout August. This month we’ve mostly been making blankets.

A crocheted this one.

L completed this one in shades of Lilac and purple.

She’s now moved on to this black and grey one with a touch of sparkle.

R completed her Aztec Blanket. This was knitted to twice the final size, then folded in half and stitched together,. She finished off by adding a fringe. As it is double thickness, this is going to be really warm and cosy.

The rest of us have been working on sweaters. Y has been knitting this raspberry pink cable design – it’s a commission using handspun yarn (not her own). Unusually for Y, this one is knitted in the round – she’s usually a two-needle knitter!.

I finally completed my striped sweater in alpaca yarn from fibre that I prepped, spun and dyed myself…..from the animal’s back to my own! I just need to block it now.

It’s been lovely watching everyone’s projects take shape over the last few weeks.

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Knitting With A View: Burnmouth

Today we ended up in Burnmouth, a coastal village just North of the Scottish Border, that nestles at the foot of sea cliffs.

The sea was rough but there were a few birds sheltering among the rocks: greater black backed and herring gulls, oystercatchers and a lone heron.

While K took Buddy for a walk I got on with my knitting – I cast on this scarf earlier in the week. It’s the Ox scarf by Angela Mühlpfordt and I’m using 100% alpaca yarn that I’ve spun and dyed myself.

K is interested in geology and informs me that the rocks here are about 345 million years old, from the Carboniferous Period. He and Buddy made their way south towards where a rockfall had come down from the cliff.

They came across this bed of fossils.

These are the remains of burrows made by an ancient worm-like creature.

There’s always something interesting to find on this coast!