While the lark is still sleeping and the sheepy scent of my knitting……

I missed a psso

For the past week I’ve been waking at five, “up like the lark” but I suspect quite this early the lark will still be sleeping if it has any sense…. quickly pulling on as many layers as possible (we’ve not put the heating on yet so the house is a bit nippy) and then I creep down the stairs trying not to step on Bernard or trip up as he runs down the stairs along side me, it’s bad enough in the daytime when I can see properly…..I try not to turn too many lights on while my boyfriend is still sleeping…I light the gas under the kettle and the day’s first pot of tea gets made, then it’s into the front room, make myself comfy on the sofa, big shawl goes round me and Bernard then jumps up and squidges himself next to me on a cushion I have to plump and lay flat for him, he sort of tunnels under the shawl so its half pulled off me and covers him so he looks like a little grandma but as long as he’s happy….then I pick up my knitting and lose myself for the next couple of hours in the gentle, rhythm of making stitches ……

two shades of yellow

The absolute joy and feeling of contentment I’m finding in this early hours knitting is worth the first few minutes of feeling cold and a bit sleepy eyed…if I sneakily try and fit in a few hours in the day time for knitting I feel a bit guilty as that’s my allotted time for making items for craft fairs and commissions, but these early morning moments belong to no-one but me.  If I make a mistake I don’t get fraught, stitches are un-knitted back to where yo’s didn’t happen or they happened in the wrong place….it’s all good practise and I’m becoming more familiar with how my stitches are supposed to look,

This is my knitting time, no music or background noise apart from odd sounds the house makes while it’s quiet….it’s good for allowing the jumble of ideas in my head a quiet place to settle and sort themselves, shift and slowly come together……I tend to always keep a little notebook nearby to jot down new thoughts, scribbles and thumbnails, not all of them will be made but jotting them down allows space for more that may…….

Auld Gold joins Scotch Broom

To me, progress on the Open Sky shawl is going remarkably well….however I’m all too aware I’m not a fast knitter but I’m getting better and can now knit while a film is on…before it was only with quiet or gentle music…..nothing too rocking or stitches would fall rather than fly off my needles…..there’s been a few mistakes and I’ve unknitted a few rows…..sometimes it’s easy to see what I’ve done….I’d missed a pass one over (or what I think of as a leap frog stitch) and had knitted over the row before realizing my mistake….the stitch count was off and I slowly, carefully counted along and then saw what I’d done, so the top row was un-knitted then I marked with a piece of spare tapestry wool where I’d erred….at first I thought I was going to have to unknit half that row too but then thought about how the psso was formed, felt a bit foolish for un-knitting half a row before that I hadn’t needed to, and managed to fix the mistake…….seeing how the stitches sit is much easier on the cable between the needles and I’m rapidly loving knitting on circular needles……at the moment I’m in the process of buying a few odd interchangeable needles and cables, testing out which ones feel most comfortable before buying a fancy set.

Auld Gold and Scotch Broom

Once the Scotch Broom wool from Jamieson’s of Shetland had ran out I joined in the what I think of as Auld Gold from Jamieson and Smith…the most noticable difference (apart from a change in colour which I’m fine with…it just makes me think more of the different colour lichens I see on our walks, or the pastures of yellow and gold in the Summer…) is the scent.  A warm sheepy wonderfulness sits like a mist or a fog over my knitting…and as I fold and wrap over my knitting once the sun is up, then the smell permeates the first wool….

I wasn’t 100% sure how to join the wools together so I sort of felted them (I tried using a bit of spit and rubbing them in my hand but that didn’t really work so I used a dab of Ecouver laundry liquid and a little warm water and rubbed and twisted for a minute or so then let the wool dry…..it’s a little bit fatter where the two wools join together but once it’s knitted in I think it looks fine and you can’t really see where the joins are….there are flecks of other yellows and gold in the Scotch Broom and while on one hand I wish I’d had more of that for the whole scarf, I am loving using the Jamieson and Smith wool so much…I keep smelling it, sticking my nose right in to the centre of a ball and inhaling, closing my eyes and just drifting off into sheepy scented bliss…..this is real wool…..

I like the bands of pattern between the stocking stitch

Actually it’s my experience with using this wonderful, tactile and gloriously scented wool that has got me to re-think completely any future wool purchases…..you can blame all this on the latest Knitsonik post...I got so excited and all inspired and fired up after reading what Felix had written…it fitted in so much with how I’d been feeling after knitting with the Jamieson and Smith wool…I guess I’d only been thinking about that first touchy wonderful softness of wool without giving any of the rest of it much thought…..(when I’ve crocheted I’ve used brightly coloured acrylic* for granny square blankets, or vintage tapestry wool, when I made Tif’s warm and woolly scarf last year it was with more fancy wools** but though they were soft were sadly completley scentless)…….over the past few days I’ve been reading as much as I can…about Wo-vember and knitting with British breeds, along with a post by Rachel Atkinson that made me so furious and heartbroken all at the same time…. this just can’t be right.

Although I’ve not been doing it for long, I’ve fallen pretty hard for knitting….(even think my beloved one is liking it as I’m not dropping any pins on the carpet for him to stand in)….it’s such a beautiful tactile world of delights for the senses…wool looks so beautiful, even the simplest stocking stitch looks gorgeous with real wool, stroke your fingers over it and there’s a whole world of delicate pleasures for your fingertips…or drape what you’re knitting around your shoulders…warm and wooly and safe and comforting…..the sound of knitting, whether it’s that low, deep like a cat purr sound of wooden needles or a lighter clickety click of metal needles, the coarse swoosh of wool being pulled up from the ball and onto your needles….and the scent…..when it’s sheepy it’s eye closingly wonderful…….

I’m currently trying to source what I think of as “prapah lohcol woohl” (my Suffolk accent now tinged with Norfolk) so I can join in the British breed swatch along with wool both British and local.

* I’ve never had much joy knitting with acrylic, it’s so squeeky and I end up knitting it so tight.  I’ve found it better for crochet blankets for little nieces that can be thrown in the wash if they get dirty…but my palete is getting more refined and even for crochet I now prefer using wool…tapestry wool is a cheap option if your’e making blankets.  I’m always seeing bags of it in charity shops and vintagey tit tat junk shops…do check for moth though a lot is “moth treated” apparently…..

** I used some balls of Rowan tweed that I’d had left over from some other projects and some Artesano dk wool that was like a woolly cloud.


9 thoughts on “While the lark is still sleeping and the sheepy scent of my knitting……

    1. It’s a bit “flipping heck it’s cold” for the first ten minutes or so and trying to put clothes on and get downstairs without waking my boyfriend…but once I’m in “the zone” it’s complete bliss xx

  1. Your shawl looks stunning. I love being up before anyone else in the morning but these days I usually get woken up by the boys bouncing on the bed! I am becoming a wool convert too after using Susan Crawford Fenella for my crochet shawl. It was amazing to work with and is 100% British. Her patterns are amazing too. PS the moth thing does worry me, all my wool jumpers got munched in our old house and I have nightmares about them getting into my wool cupboard

    1. Bernard is an early riser (ten to five today) mewing becasue he wanted someone to watch him eat…..I’ve been really lucky with wool and moths so far as I check any tapestry wool when I’m buying it…but I was given some which when I checked it was in a pretty poor old state…I ended up using it in the bottom of some pots in the garden over the drainage pebbles.
      Your poor jumpers….I think cederwood is supposed to help as they don’t like the smell xx

  2. I love the idea of getting up two hours early before everyone else but sadly am too lazy! Your knitting looks great and I too am afraid of the moths. Not so long ago had to throw out nearly eighty ponds worth of various wool due to infestation – I absolutely hate the blughters! x

    1. Morning Lynn, we have a mewy cat who is quite insistant that someone gets up and attends to him …generally at some god forsaken hour….but the silver lining to that grey fat windy cloud of cat fluff is my knitting time.
      I’m so sorry to hear about all your wool, were you able to compost it or anything?

  3. I love those early morning moments alone, sadly mine don’t last long, especially in the winter once the clocks have changed as Josh gets up even earlier (anytime after five!!). I think that quiet time alone really sets you up for the day and I seem to achieve so much more all day if I get up early 🙂 I hope you have a great week. xx

    1. Sharon, these are fast becoming the most precious hours in my day, ideas for things I’m making have the quiet space to develop while I’m not paying attention to them and can focus on my knitting (and from stopping Bernard dipping his paw into the milk jug…he’s a little devil at times)…..my boyfriend is very much a late sleeper so I tend to get at least 2 hours to myself before the day starts properly x

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