Gnarly old mummy fingers and stitches as soft as rabbit ears…..

single breed Jacob wool

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”…

rosewood knitting needles

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)

Norwegian wool

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. ย 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.

hues from september

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.

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14 thoughts on “Gnarly old mummy fingers and stitches as soft as rabbit ears…..

  1. I’m off to buy dishcloth knitting yarn at lunchtime so definitely not as soft as rabbit ears but I’m going to try and emulate your samples and make my dishcloths looks as lovely as possible!

    1. If you look up the delightfully dishy link in the tags you’ll find a pattern there for a really simple but pretty dishcloth…..I’ve used garter stitch in the pattern for the edging but I’ve also made them where I’ve replaced that with seed stitch to match the central heart. Happy washing up xx

      1. I think hand knitted dish cloths make washing up seem a whole lot less like a chore…every few days I soak mine in a little ecouver laundry bleach and boiling water so they keep looking good.

  2. Congratulations on finishing ‘Bernard’s’ shawl ๐Ÿ˜‰ Your gift yarn sounds amazing, there is something so comforting in squishing yarn! I have been busy playing around dyeing yarn this end, I hope to be posting about it later this week ๐Ÿ™‚ Your knitting is going great guns, I’m hoping that now Christmas is out of the way I might get a bit more knitting done but I still have rather a lot of UFO’s! Have a great week. x

    1. I can’t wait to show it off properly, I thnk it looks better on me than around Bernard, obviously he feels quite different….In the past I’ve made natural dyes form plants and trees in which to colour fabric but I haven’t worked with wool in that respent yet…though it’s on the agenda for this year…trying not to let my ideas run away with me.
      I’ve got a cupboard full of things I’ve started and haven’t finished, I’m just having a sort out at the moment and deciding which things I can really see myself finishing, and which I can give to one of Norwich’s many charity shops…..

      1. Natural dyes sound great, I can imagine you doing that, going out to look for the plants and some lovely descriptive blog posts to go with it ๐Ÿ™‚
        Oh, those wips, I have a few tucked away from years ago, they might get sorted one day!! I really need to get a crack on with Josh’s blanket ๐Ÿ™‚

      2. I’ve kept track of what I’ve used for foraging so when I pass them I thnk mmmm syryp, mmm jellie or oohh still got those soaking in vodka in the pantry….it’ll be nice to walk past some of those same trees and thnk pinky brown, or lilacy grey…..the ufo/wip pile for the charity shop is slowly growing x

  3. Thanks for sharing about the wools you’ve been testing. It’s always good to read a yarn review,especially when someone’s gone to such lengths to do a skin test. Sorry to read about your operation i cant imagine how that must have been for you x
    After reading your posts im more and more sure you grew up in a similar household to me….and after reading your “ha’peth” comment I had to laugh. We always called one another that (I’ve 3 sisters ) and I hardly ever hear it said now a days . I always said it without the H lol. I never was sure of its meaning so looked it up. So Thanks for a trip down memory lane x
    Also wanted to say I found your lovely blog after finding your beautiful crochet scarf with all the lovely tapestry yarn and so looking like those sweets โ˜บ. Have a great week with all the woolyness….I’ve still millions of alpacha ends to sew in on my Hooge granny blanket, thats when I’m not persuading the dog to leave the blanket alone lol

    1. I’m more than sure there are times when my boyfriend wishes what I said had subtitles (he’s not local but came here to Uni and luckily for me stayed)
      I also talk about being “sorft” which I guess means soft or silly….
      There’s loads of lovely wool testing going on over on the KnitBritish ravelry group and it’s so interesting to read everyone’s findings.
      Have fun sewing in all those woolly tails, and thanak you for the lovely compliments on my blog x

      1. Just wanted to add that I love reading your British expressions as well, haha. Lived in the UK for the time I was a little baby, so I don’t have the awesome accent nor the fancy lingo.

      2. I definitely sound like I’m from the country, years ago when I was on holiday with some Italian friends I said I’d thought someone I’d met was a bit of a “rum ‘un”…..one girl loved this, it sounded so funny to hear her say such a Suffolky expression with her Italian accent..

  4. My mother in law has her knitting design folders that she made up years ago and in them she has a section on dyed wools. I think my favourite was turmeric. I also remember reading a book when I was a girl about extracting purple from seashells and that always fascinated me.

    1. Home made knittng folders are the best. It’s nice she’s got a section on dying on wool, are you going to have a collaboration this year on dying wool? I made a quilt from some of the fabric I dyed from leaves and tree bits, lots of very soft browns though a friend did say she’d never seen so many shades of “american tan” before (it’s that dreadful nylon tight colour that little old ladies used to wear) xx

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