I really was intending for my next blog post to be about some of the embroidery and sewing I’ve been working on over the past few months, however it seems it’s going to be another woolly one…..it doesn’t help that I’m sitting here on my sofa and I’m half surrounded by balls and skeins of wonderful sheepy scented wool…..it’s hard to think about anything else and I keep finding myself picking up a ball for a quick squeeze or to breath in that fragrant warm aroma……..
As I’ve mentioned in my last post, I’ve started testing out wool from different sheep breeds, this all came about by a knit-a-long set up by lovely Louise over at Knit British, and on Friday Louise and Isla from Brit Yarn started a Natural shades knit a long….it was announced in December and I’ve found it really interesting to listen in as it were to the people in the group discuss what they were thinking to knit, which wool, which shades…..as long as the wool (fleecy or spun) is un-dyed then it’s fine….. I haven’t started yet as I’m still deciding what I’m going to make…I’m not up for anything huge, and really don’t have the budget to buy a lot of wool so it’s using what I have left from my swatches really, however I’d ordered some single breeds from Brit Yarn around Christmas so I’ve got 8 or 9 different colours and textures and plan to have a play with the shades and different wool and just see what happens……
The above wool is all naturally coloured Jacob, and the colours are just splendid, they make me think so much of storm clouds, all distant rumbles….when I was growing up if one of us (me or my sisters) was grumpy our mum and dad would say “they’ve got a face like thunder”…
When I was at primary school we regulary had trips up to Norwich, sometimes to The Castle, other times to Bridewell Museum, or Strangers Hall or an art exhibition on at The Sainsbury Centre, our teachers were very keen for us to have a bit of “culture” I suppose, and I used to love getting out of the class room….even now many years later I still love the Norwich museums….Something that has enthralled me ever since I was right little were the mummies at Norwich Castle…..there’s several in the collection including a cat, but the one that really used to give me the willies was the female mummy…her face is un-bandaged and one hand with the most wizened old fingers is peeping out….I don’t find it spider scary anymore but it still unsettles me….anyway, when I first saw these beautiful rosewood cable needles I immediately thought of those black twisted fingers peeking out from the linen wrappings, and even though I’ve got a lovely set of Brittany cable needles I really couldn’t resist these ones…..there’s something all Roald Dahl and witchery about them, all spells and magick and like I say..mummy fingers that I can all too easily imagine scratching at the door like in a Hammer Horror .
The short little needles just above them are also made of rosewood and you use them for working the edges of shawls, although the Open Sky shawl doesn’t use this technique I’ve got a couple of patterns all lined up for this year where you need to use them….holding them I feel like a giant…ahhgrrrr….(that’s my giant noise)
I’ve mentioned our friends in Norway before, Saski and Hania and not so baby Ivo (he’s two soon and looks so rosy cheeked and happy in the pictures his mum and dad send us)…they always gift me lovely local presents from Norway and when it gets cold I wear my thick Norwegian mittens and half fancy myself as a character from The Snow Queen….this year when Goska asked if there was anything I’d like I immediately said “wool please”….I was expecting perhaps one ball, maybe two…instead, Christmas Eve the postman staggered to the door holding a huge parcel, 8 balls of the most robust dense sheepy scented wool you could wish for…..there are 4 balls of this lovely donkey grey and 4 of the milkiest white…..I vaguely know what I’d like to knit (short sleeved cardigan/tunicy thing, just a couple of buttons and scoopy necked) but haven’t yet seen a pattern that’s quite right so perhaps it’ll be something I can design once my knitting skills have improved a bit.
Anyway, after I’d un-ravelled the shawl Christmas day, I cast on a few stitches with the Norwegian wool to see how it felt….it’s very thick and quite felty feeling, the colour isn’t solid and instead is broken up by tiny flecks of lighter grey. The stocking stitch is as soft as the spot behind a rabbits ear, and the seed stitch edge feels all nubbly and delicious against my fingertips.
Finally the most exciting news (for me it’s exciting….and I do appreciate if you found my blog because of my patchwork you’re thinking not that blooming old shawl again)….is that the Open Sky shawl is all finished (for the second time ) so trumpety fanfares and I’m feeling so pleased……it’s currently all stretched out and pinned in the middle of our front room on blocking mats…..once it was off the needles Bernard of course made a beeline for it and so there are sections where it’s already grellowy… grey smudges of fur as a sign of “guess who’s been here”…..he keeps walking up to it, staring right at me as he pats it then it’s lamb kicks and high jinks before he runs off before he can get told off.
To be perfectly honest it’s my fault as for the first couple of days after finishing it I wore it in the evenings as I was feeling the pip somewhat, and Bernard gave me such a look, jumped up and gently pawed at it…I didn’t have the heart to refuse him so plumped up a cushion and laid out my just finished shawl for him to curl up on… my boyfriend sat there all open mouthed not quite believing what a push over I am when it comes to Bernard having his own way….purrs and paddy paws of appreciation went some way to assuring me I wasn’t a daft old ha’peth but after some minutes spent picking off tufts of felting cat fur and I’m sort of having second thoughts about being quite so free and easy with my shawl sharing.