We went back to stay with my parents in St Andrews this weekend. It’s my birthday on Tuesday so we had a family weekend at home to celebrate. Checked out the new wool shop in St Andrews (I forget the name but it’s on Bell St if anyone’s visiting and wants to seek it out). They had a lovely selection of undyed alpaca and handknitted scarves. Really cute soft toy alpacas too, would make a lovely present for a knitter’s kid! Bit on the pricey side, but it is St Andrews so I’m sure they can find plenty of people who can afford it. And I think the rates there are horrific so fair play to them…
Didn’t spend long in town, but I’ve got lots of lovely pictures of windswept beaches for you! On Saturday we walked along the West Sands in St A’s. The tide was right in, and it was overcast but the sea was amazingly calm. There was a huge flock of sanderlings flying in unison which was very pretty. Here’s a couple of pics anyway….
Sunday was much sunnier, and we headed out to Tentsmuir forest for a walk. It’s a pine forest just north of St Andrews by a huge beach. You see lots of seals there in Summer, but at the start of Autumn, it’s just amazing for finding mushrooms!
Here’s a small sample of the mushroom pics!
Here’s a nice foresty pic:
And some of the beach:
Knitting-wise, things have been a bit up and down! I knitted up as much shawl as possible with my gradient yarn from the last post, but there just wasn’t enough for an anywhere near decent shawl. Back to the drawing board and I think I’ll knit up a hat with it instead. Got an interesting idea for a twisted rib hat that I think will look nice with the colour change…. More on that hopefully next week!
Added a new free hat pattern to my Littletheorem site today. Islay Hat is a simple, unisex hat available in two sizes. The stitch pattern is Twisted Moss Stitch, it’s become a firm favourite with me!
The pattern’s available for free on my Littletheorem website and you can download it from Ravelry too.
I know I said last week that I was planning on making a hat from my handspun gradient yarn:
But I think it’s going to become a shawl. Here’s the (very limited!) progress so far. You can see bits of pinky red just turning up at the edge:
Couldn’t get a better shot of the whole thing, knitting it up on old needles and they’re very twisty!
A wee treat turned up for me in the post this week too. It’s my first year as a fully qualified teacher so I’ve had a pretty big payrise. When my first month’s pay turned up, I of course had to look into purchasing a sweater quantity of cashmere. I found a website selling the only uk grown cashmere, from a gorgeous farm in Devon. And the cashmere is amazing!! Really soft and smooshy with a beautiful halo. It’s going to be a bottom-up, raglan sweater in double moss stitch if all goes to plan.
Here’s a pic of the yarn
And a close-up of the swatch:
Last week a carded a pretty gradient batt:
And this week I’ve been spinning it up. I spun it all into laceweight singles (somewhere between 2 and 3 ply weight), then navajo plied it to make about a dk weight yarn.
Here’s a pic of the singles:
And the plied yarn:
Really pleased with how it turned out! I’ve got about 180m of it, think I’m going to make a cabled hat. Was planning on making a lacy hat, but I’ve got a bit too much yarn for that if I want to show off all the colours in the gradient…
Two FO’s this week too:
A hat for my aunt in twisted moss stitch. The yarn is Shilasdair luxury dk. It’s dyed with woad and it’s dyed a blue line on the index finger of my right hand where the yarn runs over it. Going to write up the pattern and stick it up on Littletheorem hopefully sometime this week.
Also finished off a little external hard drive cover for Dunc. This is leftover Rowan Felted Tweed from knitting my brother a sweater for his 30th. It’s pretty cute I think!
Remember the alpaca I was spinning a few weeks ago? It has metamorphosed into a chunky lace cowl for which I have just released the pattern. Whoop!
Etive cowl is a soft, cosy, lofty cowl that’s really quick to knit. The lace pattern is suitable for beginner knitters and is perfect for handspun yarn. It’s available to purchase on Ravelry here, Etsy here and Craftsy here. I knitted this up as a birthday present for a friend. She used to work in a posh knitwear shop on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh and would always say how soft (and unaffordable) the alpaca scarves were.
I’ve just started a new spinning project which I’m pretty excited about (although I haven’t got very far with it). I’m spinning a gradient batt into colourchanging yarn, which will hopefully become a lace hat in the near future.
So far I’ve carded the batt:
Tore it into strips:
And spun about 10 grams. Why only 10 grams?? We’ve been inundated with guests! My brother, my cousin, his best friend, his girlfriend and his housemate all dropped in this afternoon. He lives in Birmingham and stopped by on his way to visit his Dad in the Highlands. And last night we were dogsitting for a friend (the same friend who now owns the Etive cowl above). So we’ve been spending a lot of time playing tug of war with a squeaky toy pig.
And generally being overwhelmed by cuteness…
Just added a new free knitting pattern to Ravelry and our sister website, Littletheorem Knits.
Knit 1 Pearl 1 is a cute little storage box knitted in superbulky cotton tape with pretty pearl detailing. It’s really quick too, definitely less the a one hour project. You can find the pattern on Rav here, and on Littletheorem Knits here.
In other news, it was my first week back teaching after the summer and my first week at a new school. Very pleased to report that everything’s going great so far. Even the commute’s pretty quick and easy! Still finding time to do lots of knitting, spinning and cooking after school (thank goodness). The picture of the alpaca handspun last week is half turned into a chunky lace scarf. And here’s a pic of Friday night’s dinner: veggie tapas for two.
We’ve also starter to house-hunt more seriously. After 7 years of living together in rented flats (good and bad!), Dunc and I both finally have full time, permanent contracts and can get a mortgage (whoop)! We looked at a house this afternoon that was lovely. Small and quirky in a quiet, leafy street, really beautiful inside with a big garden, buuuut…. it’s sandwiched between two disused industrial units. You can’t see them, but the road down to the house would be pretty scary at night, and there’s a lane behind the house with lots of empty beer cans. Not such a good sign… Think we might keep on looking for now!
So the last week of the holidays has come and gone, back to school tomorrow (booo). I’m actually pretty excited, I’ve just finished my first year of teaching and I’m incredibly lucky to have a full time job for this year. Having said that, I will miss having so much time for crafting and have spent the past week crafting like a demon.
On the needles:
Pictures aren’t great, but this will be a lace wrap based on traditional Estonian lace stitch patterns. The nuppy bit is meant to look like a lily of the valley plant. It’s very pretty but nupps drive me up the wall! I’ve had to use a cocktail stick for the p7togs.
On the spinning wheel
Been spinning up some fawn alpaca to make a scarf for a friend’s birthday. So soft!! I’m thinking just a simple twisted moss stitch pattern I can knit in a zombie-like state after work…
On the drumcarder
Lots of lovely batts! Soon to be posted in my Etsy shop.
In my shopping bag…
A beautiful (and gigantic!) batt from Spin City. It’s a lovely smooshy blend of faux cashmere, merino, soysilk and firestar. I think this one might turn into a lacy cowl… And they sent a free mini batt too! Think I might ply it with some plain coloured merino and make some slippers.
Out and about
And to top it off we went up a few hills. Camped out in Glen Etive on Thursday night, which ended up being pretty horrific. The midges were as bad as I’ve ever encountered which made cooking tricky (our dinner was half burned, half raw and totally inedible), and my hipflask was jammed shut so no whisky. Had a nice wee stroll up Ben Dorain the next day though, and climbed Beinn Garbh and An Stuc the day after. Pictures above are of Beinn Garbh and An Stuc.
I try to eat vegan twice a day, partly due to eco-friendliness, partly because I love veg and partly to try to lose a bit of podge. Anyway, I think my vegan recipes are pretty damn tasty so I thought I’d share one….
For the noodle salad:
Half a pack vermicelli rice noodles
1 desertspoon sunflower oil
2 tsps sesame oil
1 desertspoon soy sauce
1-3 tsps thai red curry paste (again to taste, depending on how spicy it is)
zest and juice of 1 lime
salt to taste
1 ripe mango
1 red pepper
About a third of a cucumber
1 pack of fresh coriander
3 or 4 spring onions
For the tofu:
1 pack tofu
Half a head of broccoli
3 or 4 spring onions thinly sliced
1-3 tablespoons green curry paste (depending on how spicy it is, I used tescos own and it was pretty mild.)
sunflower oil for frying
soy sauce to taste
First prepare the salad. Soak the rice noodles in boiling water for three minutes until soft. Drain and toss with the sunflower oil. Mix the sesame oil, soy sauce, thai red curry paste, lime zest and juice and salt to make the salad dressing. Peel and slice the mango into chunks; slice the pepper, cucumber and spring onions and roughly chop the coriander. Mix all of the above together in a serving bowl and check for balance of seasonings. Chill until you’re ready to serve.
For the tofu: Cut the broccoli into small florets and the tofu into chunks. Heat the oil in a pan over a high heat and add the tofu, broccoli and thai green curry paste. When the tofu is nicely browned and the broccoli is tender, add the spring onions and soy sauce. Give it all a good stir and serve immediately with the salad.
Just got back from a great camping trip around the highlands of Scotland.
First night we camped in the Lost Valley in Glencoe. This is a great wee walk that we’ve done several times, the walkhighlands page is here. Midges were horrific though!
Feeling adventurous, the next day we climbed Aonach Eagach. It was pretty flipping terrifying. Swears were sworn, lives flashed before eyes, but we made it. (To be fair, Dunc neither swore nor was terrified, that was just me.) Here’s some pictures:
Looking back, I’m glad I did it, but that was certainly one of the scariest days of my life!
Next, we went to stay with my aunt and uncle in Fort Augustus. Nice, quiet and restful. They’d recently aquired a new puppy so we had some nice walks along the canal.
Spent the rest of the holiday up in Torridon. Spent a lovely afternoon in Shieldaig. There’s a nice walk around the coast there and the weather was perfect (and no midges!). Walkhighlands link for the walk is here.
Really good tea/giftshop in Shieldaig too: Nanny’s. Can highly recommend the fruit scones! Bought some wool from local sheep there too. Thinking about knitting up a Starsky and Hutch Teacosy.
Also bought some wool from Croft Wools, a massive 230g skein of worsted from their own flock of Gotland sheep. It’s currently wound into a ball the size of a football and turning slowly into a cardigan. Here it is pictured next to a tape measure to show how gigantic it is.
We also climbed Beinn Eighe. Sadly it was another cloudy hill day, but when the cloud lifted a little the views were stunning. More photos!
And that’s about it. Back to sunny Glasgow!