Challenging yourself.

The last few weeks for me have been pretty full. My grandma duties have taken up more time than usual as George’s first birthday came and went. It never ceases to amaze me, what an accomplishment making and raising a baby can be. He delights me every day with his innocent approach to life, and excitement on making a new discovery. The latest are finding that he has hair on his head, and crawling. Things I personally take for granted! 

This cake was made by one of his mum’s friends. It tasted delicious. His favourite character just happens to have the same name as him.

Knitting and spinning have taken a bit of a back seat as its been so very hot, too hot to handle fibre. Also, I don’t take my spinning wheel down south, which is crazy as I have a portable wheel with its own rucksack! It’s been so hot recently that, following on from watching the Espace Tricot podcast, I was inspired to buy some linen yarn. I’m designing a linen top for beginners. It’s a layering piece which is one size. 

I bought some DMC Natura linen from the Wool Warehouse. I love the bags they put their deliveries in and the speed with which the yarn arrives – less than 24 hours this last time – super impressive! 

I’m using 5.5mm needles and knitting straight. The fabric is extremely light and has lots of drape to it. 

My stash dash plans have taken a bit of a hit with the very hot weather, but thankfully, now it’s cooled a little, I hope to get back on track. The big blanket is coming on nicely, and I’m on my final ball of yarn. I’ve decided to crochet the sections together using some black Patons 4 ply yarn from the Fairytale Fab range. 

I have also, finally, seccumbed to the latest knitting trend of ‘fade’ garments. The pattern by Andrea Mowry entitled ‘Find your fade’ caught everyone’s imagination and since then a series of blended or ‘fade’ projects has been born. I started my find your fade shawl last week. The colours I’m using are not my usual colour palette but I think they work well together. I’m also using a mix of handspun and commercial yarns to add some extra textural effects. 


The Frog Pond – episode 43 of the podcast

The latest episode of the podcast is uploading as I type.

Stash Dash started last Friday. It’s a three month project to finish fibre craft projects over on Ravelry. It’s only a competition with yourself. I decided it would be a good thing to do to try to clear up some of those languishing works in progress (WIPs). This episode is all about those WIPs. 
First of all is ‘the dreaded blanket’. This is made from Rico Design Pompon Print. The colourway is 007. 
Other projects include:

Fleetwood Shawl

P8275 cabled jumper

Fishermans  Hat

Shawl currently being designed

Work Cardigan 

Keep following the podcast to see how I get on, or join the Ravelry  group and follow my progress there. Or, if you want to join in too, come on over to the Ravelry Group and tell us how you’re doing!

Episode 42 – Enguage!

The podcast can be found here
Welcome back to the latest episode of the podcast. This week I show off two finished items. The Snowy Day hat is designed by Brandi Miller. I won this pattern in the Canadian Knitter Podcast draw. I used the DK yarn I bought in the Lush Club from  Truly Hooked. The colours are not me, but I do love the design of the hat and will make this again. The yarn base is gorgeous. I’m going to gift this hat to my eldest daughter, Kirsten. 

The sweater is of course for George. It’s Colourful Creativity yarn in the X colourway. The sweater is Tin Can Knits top down pattern, Flax Light. An absolute dream of a pattern which makes me wonder why I ever bother with bottom up or piecing together sections in a sweater. It flew off the needles, for all the reasons I’ve mentioned, but with a different colour on each stitch in the rainbow, it just encourages you to keep going!

This last week I’ve started my new role as a subject matter expert. It sounds grand, but basically means I write training courses for health and social care staff. I also babysat for my favourite pickle… In this picture (below) he is modelling the sweater and hat I recently completed. Such a proud Nana.

This weeks learning curve session is about Gauge. 

Have you ever knitted a jumper, paid loads of money for the yarn only to have it not fit you? That’s the point of a gauge swatch. The person that designed the pattern will, if they are a good designer, have put the results of their gauge in the pattern. The point of it, is do that you can adjust your knitting to obtain the same results. If you get less stitches per inch in your swatch, you need to reduce your needle size and if you are getting more stitches you need to increase your needle size and re-do the swatch. This as usual a basic interpretation of gauge, and there are a lot of useful tools on Craftsy and Amy Herzogs Custom Fit software

I also drew for the spring knitting question thread. Congratulations to the winner. Please contact me via the Ravelry thread to claim your prize or PM me. 
Next time we will be looking at all my works in progress in an attempt to complete as many as I can for Stash Dash. I haven’t set a goal yet, other than knit all the things. 

Episode 41 The one where I burn yarn.

This weeks podcast can be seen here

Yes you read it right! In this weeks podcast I burn yarn. Because I don’t trust myself, I did this outdoors – HEALTH AND SAFETY WARNING – if you’re going to try this at home, please be careful! 

You can find the chart I mentioned in the podcast, which tells you what your results mean. If you watch the podcast I managed to work out that the yarns I burned were 1) wool and 2) acrylic. This can be really helpful in trying to work out what those unknown leftovers are, especially if knitting for others who don’t want to hand wash all their knits! 

This week I finished the socks in Viking Yarn in the embers colourway, which I knit on 2.5mm needles. I used my standard, top-down, gusset flap heel recipe. The yarn is lovely and soft thanks to the cashmere content.

Georges jumper is made from Handspun yarn. The fibre was from three waters farm. the buttons are made by Coats Crafts UK number 0228. The pattern is adapted from the usual jumper pattern I’ve mentioned in previous episodes. 

I showed the Fleetwood Shawl which is one of my WIPs this week. The yarn was from Northern Yarn.  The designer is Alitzah Grant

I mentioned that I might have some work news soon, I’m hoping this comes off as it is quite exciting. 

More next episode. Talking of next episode, I’ll be doing the draw for the prize which is discussed in the Ravelry thread. Please get your entries in ASAP as I will be closing the thread at the end of this month. Also go to the group to discuss what you think about knit night / knit and natter online. I’d love to hear your thoughts about if or when we should have this! 

Do you fancy joining me in an attempt to lessen the amount of unfinished projects you have? If so, the information will get on the Knit Girllls group on Ravelry very soon. It’s got to be worth a go to reduce the amount of pressure I’m putting on myself as the projects languish in my study! 

See you all in the near future!

Episode 40 – Podcast.

Episode 40 of the podcast is just about to go live, so I thought I’d put up the links to the things I talked about. 

The John Arbon Mill is based in North Devon / Somerset.This is the manufacturer Kate and I bought our broken tops from when we went to Yarndale last September. 


This is spinning up like a dream. It’s soft, and practically spins itself. I’m looking forward to see what Kate crochets.

I briefly mentioned barber poling and the Fibernymph Dyeworks. She has her club starting soon and you can read about it in her Ravelry group

Next episode is going to be worth watching as I demonstrate testing fibres, and this will include real flames! Don’t miss out on the excitement, subscribe to the podcast, and you’ll never miss out on an episode because YouTube will notify you each time I load up an episode! 

Yarn weights – what’s your preference?

I love DK weight yarn, plain or full of colour this weight of yarn seems to knit up so quickly, but at the same time looks great. On the podcast I’m going to look at yarn weights, the differences and how you can work out what that random skein without a label really is. I will talk about the different terminology used in different parts of the world and how you can use a tool called ‘wpi’ to work out your yarn weight. On another podcast I will go into how you can work out the content of that Unknown yarn. 

So what is wpi and how do I use it?

 Wpi stands for wraps per inch. The simplest way to explain this is to show you, so I’m going to post some pictures here, but I’ll also talk about it on the next episode of the Knatters Knits podcast on YouTube too. 

Quite simply, it means how many times can I fit this yarn into one inch if I line up the yarn next to itself. You can do this with a ruler or a specialised tool. 

So once the yarn is wrapped round your ruler, you see this: 

The idea is that you don’t squeeze it tight, or squish it, but you count the number of times it went onto the inch section. The yarn is my Handspun and I got 14 wraps onto the section here. I know because I do this a lot, that 14 wpi makes this yarn a DK weight yarn, my standard, natural spinning ‘default’.  My rule of thumb I use is as follows:

30+ wpi = lace weight

19-22 wpi = fingering weight

15-18 wpi = sport weight

12-14 wpi = DK weight

9-11 wpi = worsted weight

8-10 wpi = Aran weight

7-8 wpi = bulky / chunky

<6 wpi = super bulky

International naming of weights 

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there is a lot of confusion over naming the different weights of yarn? In the UK we have 1 ply, 2 ply, 3 ply, 4 ply, DK, Aran, Chunky and Super Chunky.

Since the advent of Ravelry and the sharing of knitting practice, we now see USA and Australian terminology as often as we see our own.

In USA the terminology is different: lace weight, fingering, sock,msport, DK/light worsted, worsted, bulky and super bulky.

In Australia: 2 ply, 3 ply, 5 ply, 8 ply, 10 ply, 12 ply and 14 ply.

As a spinner the most logical terminology to me is the Australian. Ply to me means one thin strand of fibre that has been spun, hence the current trend for ‘singles’ at the moment, a single string of yarn. If you plied (twisted together) two strands that would be a 2 ply and so on and so on. So in theory if you took 14 standard strands and twisted them together, what you’d end up with would be super bulky. 

I’m naughty because I tend to use a mixture of terminologies. I think that a lot of people do these days. So going back to the wpi makes sense because you can work out how thick a project is etc. In traditional circles, it would also dictate which needles you use. I know some knitters who always use a 4 MM. needle on DK for example. One of the things I have learned though, is that your needle size dictates what sort of fabric you get from your knitting, and doing a swatch before knitting is a ‘must’ if I want to get a pattern to fit me, as my knitting gauge / tension is not necessarily the same as the person who designed the pattern and to get ‘gauge’ may mean that I need to alter the size of needle to get my work to come out the same size as the designers did. I will talk a bout gauge another time.

Clear as mud? Why not watch the podcast to see if that helps.

International Craft Week.

What a great week to be celebrating international craft week! Spring is well on the way, the days are lighter and I’m just about to complete a project that’s turned out better than I thought. The satisfaction of making something from scratch is quite a feeling! In this post I’m going to outline how I did it, in case anyone else wants a bag of their own. 

First of all, I’m a spinner and knitter. I have some yarn that I spun that is a bit rougher than I care to wear. I don’t want to waste it, so what to make? Well, bags are a really simple project so that’s what I decided upon. I knitted the yarn (3 different skeins) in the round in a knit 2, purl 1 rib. Once I was happy with the length (or to be more honest when I got fed up with knitting it) I finished by turning it inside out and doing a three needle bind off. See first picture below.

At this point I sewed the handles on, but the bag was too floppy so I took them off and threw the project in the washing machine on a standard 40 degree Celsius wash. See the second picture. 

To ensure it dried in a decent shape I stretched it slightly over the back of a chair. See the third picture. 

I decided it needs lining. I have some spare cotton fabric in the cupboard so I cut a piece just larger than the bag, to allow for seams to be put in. I then ironed it, sewed in the seams and then hand stitched the lining in the bag. 

The final step was to sew the handles back on the bag. Handles are available from

You can see the finished item on episode 40 of my podcast over on YouTube – Knatters Knits.