Wool Maker Lane

knitting, spinning and life with alpacas

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Spring projects

New Toy


I’ve been lucky enough to have some time off work and this means that I can get on with projects and indulge in podcast and periscope watching.  One of the benefits of all of this viewing is being able to learn from different knitters’ perspectives and experiences from all over the world.  One lovely and quite simple object that I have learned about from AlpakkaAnna in Sweden is a nostepenne.  This is a stick type of object which is used to wind wool from a skein into a ball.  On her periscope video she demonstrated for us how she used her one.  Now my collection of textile paraphernalia does not run to swifts and ball winders, for the simple reason that there is nowhere to put such items, but I knew that something small like this would do the job perfectly and not take up oodles of space.  It needs to be noted that improvisation can be employed here.  I did have a go at using an old chair leg….but the hole in the centre of the ball of wool was too big (and I won’t mention wood worm).  I tried the wooden spoon, which worked pretty well only I feared that the wool may end up wafting of curry and so I went to the effort of buying a nostepenne online.  Oh it’s lovely.  And it creates the most beautiful balls of wool and when I am working I can pull the strand of yarn out from the centre of the ball so that it does not end up leaping all over the place.


Sleeves a – growing


My jumper is coming along now which is so delightful.  Both the back and the front are now complete and it’s a really exciting part because it means that I can truly imagine what it is now going to look like…and I can’t wait.  I need to be patient though while the sleeves are underway.  I have been doing a lot of tweaking where the sleeves are concerned.  The sleeve in the picture above has been a while in the making as it has taken me three goes so far.  The numbers just didn’t seem to be right as the sleeve seemed to be getting way to wide too quickly so twice I went back to the drawing board and now I am finally happy.  I just need to keep ploughing away and get the first one finished so that I can feel that I am on the home stretch.

Continental knitting


One of the chatter threads running through the podcast/periscope community is about the style of knitting that people do.  I’ve always known that there are a number of knitting styles but I wasn’t aware that they had a geographical basis, although now with YouTube tutorials I doubt that this is now the case.  I knit English style and the reason for this is because my mother, who taught me, knits English style and no doubt my granny, who taught her, knitted the same way.  It’s a generational thing.  It does mean that I am a slow knitter.  This is why I was amazed to see videos of continental knitters flying through their stitches with very little effort.  My immediate thoughts were “I must have a go at that.” So above is my first attempt.    For me there was a lot more action in the wrists and the tension was very tight.  I’m sure that that this could be ironed out with practice.  I think that if I were to knit colour work it would definitely be worth considering a style alteration but for the moment I’ll continue as I am.

Flirty Bertie off the needles


Whilst I was in the UK I managed to complete my cousin’s Christmas present (sorry Karen if I was a continental knitter you would have had it on time!).  I loved knitting this hat.  As you can see it is quite simply a 1 x 1 rib at the bottom with four rows of colour work using Bert’s white wool and Albie’ brown wool. After knitting 7 inches in total I then divided the total number of stitches by 8 and started decreasing.  All of the fleece was taken from the saddle area so the hat is extremely soft and I have been informed that it is lovely to wear. I’ve called the hat after Bert as he sadly passed away and so this will be one of the last items made from his fleece.

A visitor upsets the alpacas’ routine


Recently my father’s dog, Flash, has come to stay with us and the alpacas are not very happy about it.  Bootsy charged at Flash yesterday morning but Flash just stood his ground staring up at him while Boots managed to put on his brakes!  In an effort to keep the animals separate I have erected a fence keeping the alpacas out of the garden.  This morning I noticed that they found a gap in the fence and they were merrily chomping the lawn for breakfast…They are so hilarious.