Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Holiday purchases and a question...

Last week we were indulging ourselves in some time spent in the middle of nowhere. We were staying in a remote part of Islay, Scotland and had a lovely relaxed time gazing at the scenery. I'm sure we'll have a couple more Photo Fridays for you to demonstrate just how beautiful it all was.

While we were there we found a delightful little craft shop. The lady who owned it was sat in the corner spinning and you could buy everything from skeins of her wool to fantastically knitted items. She had a local friend with a flock of alpacas and was lucky enough to have access to all the wool. I decided to buy a skein of the wonderfully soft hand-spun natural brown alpaca wool and am very much looking forward to finding a suitable project for it.

I love the variation in the natural colours.


Joe decided to go one step further though and asked if he could purchase some fleece. She clearly wasn't used to such a question but readily agreed to fill a bag for a couple of pounds. It turned out to be quite a bargain as Joe came away with 500g of the soft fleece. All he needs now is enough free evenings to get his spinning wheel out!


The fleece is unprepped - so comes complete with straw!

Also while we were on holiday I got on with knitting the sleeves for my cardigan. They are knitted on double pointed needles and the plain stocking stitch clearly shows my inexperience. I'm two thirds of the way through the first sleeve but finding that my tension goes awol in the gaps between each of the needles. I've realised that I was initially pulling the wool overly tight in these gaps and relaxing a bit has helped the problem massively, but its not gone away entirely. I'm wondering if I'm missing a trick or just need some more practise.

The laddering at the start was worst (and looks worse in real life than the picture).
It has improved from this but I have a way to go yet.

What do you think? Those of you familiar with this knitting technique do you have the same problem? Any clues as to how to solve this?


9 comments:

  1. My one big knitting success has been a cropped wrap-around cardigan made from baby llama wool - so warm and gorgeous to work with. I imainge alpaca is pretty much the same. Enjoy!

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    1. The bamboo cotton mix we've been using recently (the reddish colour wool) has been like that - it makes every project look amazing despite amateur knitting. Hopefully this alpaca will be the same. I'm debating turning it into a new winter hat :D

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  2. Love the sound of Islay, it's somewhere we've been meaning to visit. I am a novice knitter too, so may be entirely wrong, but would a circular needle help?

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    1. I think the diameter is too small for a circular needle, but maybe there are little ones out there designed for this sort of thing. This was our second trip to Islay and I'm wondering already if we'll go back there one day :)

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  3. I've had the same problem when I've knit socks. I've solved it by moving the stitches around the needles. As you finish knitting all the stitches on one needle, knit another couple of stitches from the next needle. Does that make sense? If not let me know and I'll try to explain it better.

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    1. Thanks for the thought. I started to do that towards the end of the week and it is helping - but I can still see the, now diagonal, line of looser stitches. It does make things a lot less obvious to the casual observer though :)

      I'm also now holding the needles slightly differently which is improving things again. Its all baby steps but I feel like I'm getting there slowly.

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  4. I've got the same problem with some mittens I'm working on. I hope a good blocking will sort out at least some of the wonky parts.
    I've never washed alpaca before. I can't wait to see what becomes of yours.

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    1. Thanks. I'm planning to attack the loosest bits of mine with a crochet hook to spread the looseness over several stitches I think. And give it all a good blocking of course :)

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  5. Can't help with the question (have never got further than knitting scarves) but good luck with the project Jenny :)

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