Proper sheepy scented wool and the soporificness of my blue flecked wool….

open sky shawl in scotch brrom end of row 41

Progress is coming along nicely on my Open Sky shawl….what started out as a tester just to see whether or not I could follow Andrea’s pattern before I started using my posh wool has rather captured my heart…I only had one ball of the Shetland Soft wool and as it had been discontinued I’ve tried my best to match it……the closest match I’ve found is Shetland Aran by Jamieson and Smith…..the weight feels about right and though there’s a fair difference in colour it’s not casuing me to fret none….I haven’t started using the new wool, it’s still a few rows off as yet…but I think I’ll have to wait when Bernard isn’t feeling so curious as the Jamieson and Smith wool smells wonderfully sheepy and he couldn’t keep his dirty little cat paws off it yesterday (he was caught licking it and sucking on one of the ends and purring very loudly)…..

The wool feels so soft and squishy and real…like you always imagine wool should feel and smell like……yesterday when it arrived I should have been hard at work bringing my accounts all up to date for my accountant but instead I sat there in a sheepy scented bliss with my nose wedged into a ball of wool, breathing in deeply with my eyes closed.

I’m planning on using Jamieson and Smith wool to edge my Grannies Paperweight crochet blanket and at the start of the year I bought one of their shade cards as they have the most stunning array of colours available…..I’m thinking to work with natural shades, picking up those “dirty” greys and sulky browns from Bernard……it’s become his blanket as much as ours.

Open Sky shawl in Shetland Heather wool

While I waited for the new wool to arrive I got all restless and as I thought that the practice wouldn’t go amiss I started another shawl…this time I knew I’d have enough wool as I used some from a bumper charity shop purchase from some years back……the wool is by Waterwheel and is called Shetland Heather…I don’t know it’s genuinely Shetland wool like from Jamieson’s and Smith…it doesn’t smell nice and sheepy but more of lavender (though that may be because it’s been in a wool basket for over 10 years with lavender pouches wedged in around it)…….the wool cost me about 10 pence a ball and there was loads of it….over the years I’ve used it to knit matching scarves for my friend Tom and his dog Rufus (they looked so great when they went out for walks together ) and I knitted a big scarf for my friend Rupert (he was like a surrogate Grand-dad smelling of pipe smoke, and was full of jokes and stories about growing up in our little village…sadly he passed away this year)…and yet I’ve still got balls of it left……

I also had to order new needles as my little 40 cm ones soon became far too short…..this has been my first time using circular needles and while I’m not “knitting in the round” (I think that’s the right term)…I am enjoying using them, I find they make counting the stitches much easier as the stitches sit plump and fat on the plastic cord….they look like the little fledged sparrows we had in the garden last summer, ..bunched up in a line on the cherry tree branches all waiting to be fed

Shetland Heather wool on 5 mm needles

I really like how this wool knits up, it reminds me mostly of visiting the seaside in the winter, we’re near the North Sea and growing up whenever we went to Southwold there’d always be a walk down on the shore to blow the cobwebs away…one year it was a trip to Dunwich to see where the beach had been washed away….

I’d better explain…Dunwich is a stony old beach, no sand just pebbles.  One year the Autumn storms were so bad all the pebbles got washed away…not sure really how that happened but for the first time I could remember, Dunwich had a sandy shore…….this was quite the event and needed to be seen so we all piled into a couple of cars and drove out there to take it all in, have a walk, get blown along trying to avoid the waves and then drive home to get that kettle on and have some cake…….

In winter the beaches here are grey and dismal, the sea looks bitterly cold and scarves and coats are pulled extra tight around us as we walk in a bracing manner up into town, looking for somewhere warm to nip into or for a Charity shop rummage….I do miss living near the sea, many years ago I dreamt there was a beach in Norwich and when I woke I thought “ohh, I’ll walk down to the sea today” then realized with a heavy heart it had been a dream.

The wool feels soft and every other row sees me running with it to the bathroom mirror, needles and shawl draped round my neck so I can see how it’s coming along…….now I don’t know if it’s the flecks of blue doing this but this wool once knitted makes me feel very sleepy….I’m sure that blue must have a soporific quality to it…..this is my rather feeble excuse for the times I’ve had to un-ravel it becasue I drift off…knitting where I should have purled…this hasn’t happened once or twice…maybe closer to 6 or 7….possibly more.  One time I was up to row 39 before I realised I’d missed out those garter sttich ridges….they don’t make a difference in stitch count but I like how the stocking stitch gets broken up….so lots of un-ravelling and nights and early morning starts spent re-knitting the same piece over and over…(I think I could do it in my sleep now) ….I’ve tried un-knitting but I end up in a pickle if more than a few stitches are involved…..

Shetland Heather Open Sky shawl 2 end of row 41

I’m easily distracted and need to concentrate more when I’m knitting than when I’m crocheting or sewing so on Friday I ended up popping the kettle on yet again, making a pot of tea, opening up a packet of Werther’s Originals and putting on an Enya cd to listen to…….this is normally what I do when I need to concentrate with my crochet, and it didn’t let me down with my knitting….currently up to row 41 same as with the mustard wool.

And as if that wasn’t enough……I’ve finally started (I’m like buses with my knitting…wait for years and then 3 turn up at once) one of Ysolda Teagues shawls.  I love Ysolda’s knitting so much and her beautiful shawls have been a constant source of knitty lust for quite a few years now….I’ve got out Whimsicle Little Knits from my local library and have just started knitting Ishbel.  I bought the yarn for it about 4 years ago from Loop in London and then felt overwhelmed somewhat when I read the pattern…..someone had told me it was easy…..don’t think they realized that when I said I was a beginner I meant a beginner!

Anyway the fancy wool I bought has been kept in a cotton bag with a forgotten about Lush bath bomb so the wool smells amazing, and it will keep fine till I know what I’m doing a bit more… the moment I’m trying out different yarn overs.  I’m not sure if I’m making more work for myself but I read a piece on her site about how the yarn overs form different sizes depending on which stitch comes before or after….like if you knit a stitch and then purl and need to do a yo between the two then it won’t be the same as if you are making one between two knit stitches…is that right?  So for now I’m just playing with swatches, trying out the differnet stitches…knitting, deep sighing….and un-ravelling before knitting again……to a spectator (the boyfriend and Bernard) this looks like madness or a game…but I know I’m improving if only very very slowly.


4 thoughts on “Proper sheepy scented wool and the soporificness of my blue flecked wool….

  1. I have just crocheted a shawl and wasn’t going to block it until I saw the picture of the 3rd shawl you are making, think I will now. Your knitting is looking fab. What weight is the blue flecked yarn and what size needles are you using? It looks so warm.

    1. The pictures of the blue flecked yarn are all for the second Open Sky shawl (the Ishbel shawl is now at about row 7 or 8…there may have been some un-ravelling and starting again!)…I’m using 5mm needles and although it says “chunky knitting” on the label it feels more of an aran weight to me.
      There is a great piece on Ysolda Teague’s Technique Thursday page about blocking shawls, I couldn’t believe the difference it made to my Grannies Paperweight scarf and blocked some other scarves at the start of the Summer….totally worth doing x

  2. I find the unraveling of knitting so frustrating, it is much easier with crochet! Your knitting is looking great, so neat! You must be learning so much with your experimenting. I have never heard of blue being soporific, I shall have to remember that one next time Josh won’t go to sleep. Perhaps he needs a blue ceiling, he has never gone to sleep with his eyes his closed, he just stares until he drops off!! Your childhood beach trips sound fun, a lot of my childhood outdoor memories are of walks with Dad in the park and woodland. Have a great week. x

    1. It’s a particular blue, bluebells definitely have that effect on me (both the scent and the smell)….walks to the bluebell woods in the Spring always end with me coming home and needing forty winks x

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