A few weeks ago now I mentioned I’d been un-ravelling some projects that I’d either fallen out of love with or which weren’t quite how I’d wanted them…one of them was a very recent knit using some soft and silky alpacca/silk by Artesano…..I wasn’t too sure how this yarn would respond to being un-ravelled and washed but the kinks and curls pretty much came out and by the time it was wound into balls it looked fine…..
Pretty much as soon as my Cloud of sheep kisses Karise shawl was cast off another one appeared on the needles, this time using the alpacca/silk as I was curious as to how the lace would look in such a different yarn…….I do find this yarn quite slippy to work with and decided to use some ChiaoGoo Lace needles which I bought from Meadow Yarn in Suffolk (they’re actually based just a couple of miles from where I grew up), these needles aren’t quite so pointy as Hiya Hiya sharps but they still pick up any psso’s or k2tog’s in the pattern really well, also they have a lovely heavy cable (it actually feels just like a bicycle brake cable) which I thought this yarn would benefit from. Anj is always incredibly helpful and has put up with no end of my questions about different types of needle and I very much appreciate the advice she has given me.
I love the egg shell blue colour of the yarn and it’s glossy and shiny and all sorts of lovely but I must confess it doesn’t quite grab me the way that the Tamar did…..it’s also a bit “sticky” to work when it gets warm out in the garden….I didn’t find this with the Tamar even though a couple of the days I was knitting with that it was really “phew what a scorcher” weather…..however, the lace knitted in this yarn is looking nice, it’s opening out more unblocked than I think the Tamar did so it will be interesting to see how it looks after washing and blocking.
I’m still needing to use the stitch markers I made at Christmas , and in fact as I’ve now got another shawl on the go (think I’m becoming a bit of a shawl fiend) I’ve had to make some more of them so I have enough for both shawls……the stitch markers are really easy to make and make good use of old jewelry bits and bobs and vintage beads I’ve had ferreted away for goodness knows how long….
I do find using a pair of jewelry pliers very helpful. These ones are bent nose pliers (though the bend hasn’t really come out in the photo) and I think I got them from my local iron-mongers but you can pick up little sets pretty cheap at craft shops/ebay etc…..I’ve also got a small pair of wire cutters and a pair of rounded long nose pliers.
Rather than use a jump ring I like to use the little ring from a toggle clasp fitting, they don’t have anything to snag on your yarn and fit my needles fine. The tiny eye/ring at the bottom is all part of the fixture and it’s through this that you thread your bead and head pin. I’ve also made some with tiny lobster claw clasps but I find these a bit catchy when I’m knitting so don’t tend to use those so much.
While I was sorting out beads to use for more stitch markers I found a little tin full of smoky amber glass beads which had once been a necklace that my friend Joyce gave me years ago when I must’ve been about 15 or 16. Joyce passsed away earlier this year so it’s very special to be able to make some stitch markers with her beads, she’ll never be far from my thoughts while I hear these tingling and tinkling as I knit
The head pins I use come from a local bead shop called Raphael Crafts, it’s owned by a lovely lady called Anne who is incredibly friendly and helpful…she also has a jewelry shop just up from her bead shop which has a really nice range of earings and necklaces.
Along with regular flat bottomed head pins, Anne also stocks these smaller ones which have a silver ball bottom. Now some beads will too big for them and the smaller pins are going to just slip right through, but the old glass paste beads I’m using from my box of delights and the glass beads from Joyce seem to fit fine….the pins are also finer than regular ones so are easier to cut, bend and twist back down into the bead. They’re pretty wee, only about an inch or so in length but I really like using them.
I also find that this non wool yarn doesn’t like snaggy hands so I’m regularly scrubbing my fingers and hands with a dribble of grapeseed oil and a teaspoon of sugar, I rub this over my fingers paying particular attention at the base where the skin gets drier and also around my nails and cuticles, then I just wash it off in warm water and pat dry……It’s nice and relaxing to do, and it’s good for your hands to give them a massage… you can always add a drop of essential oil to the grapeseed oil if you want to get posh and swanky…..