Sunday, 13 November 2016

Past Presents - Future?

The calendar indicates that I'm about to become another year older and that Christmas is only six weeks away.  In the last 12 months, I've been the grateful recipient of several gifts for both my birthday and at Christmas that would quicken the heart of any yarn lover.

I wanted to share what had become of these presents, not least because I hope that my generous family and friends will see that gifting yarn gives great pleasure to me, the maker - and perhaps also to others.

My friend, Caroline, gave me a knitting kit for my birthday from her local flock, Strathearn Fleece and Fibre, which comprised their own yarn dyed in this vibrant pink, chunky wooden circular needles and the pattern to make this hat.  Some chilly days here lately were just right for a cosy knitting session.

The hat was a quick, fun knit but not in a style which suited me - so I gifted it by placing it in my Christmas shoe box bound for Romania.  There's still half a ball of lovely pink woolliness left for me to incorporate into another project too.

I've never joined a yarn club before so was delighted when my husband gave me a three month subscription to the Ripplescrafts "Yarn Notes from Assynt" yarn club as a surprise last Christmas.  Independent yarn dyer, Helen Lockhart, is based in Lochinver in Assynt, a beautiful and remote part of the North West Highlands of Scotland.  I was fortunate to meet Helen and attend one of her knitting retreats there in 2015.

I received a skein of yarn in January, February and March.  I really enjoyed finding a surprise package each month in my mail box.  The colours in each skein were inspired by a photo taken by yarn dyer extraordinaire, Helen, and each was accompanied by an essay written about the inspirational location by her husband, Stevan, a knowledgeable local historian.

I completed a pair of plain socks from January's turquoise wool inspired by the picture of "winter on the road to Assynt".  My second pair, the Evergreen Socks are in progress with February's inspired skein "scots pines by moonlight" and the pattern features a tree design along the cuff.  The final very colourful yarn, inspired by "Loch Borralan", is just waiting for the right pattern to pop up on the internet!

Prior to Christmas last year I signed up for a yarn swap organised by The Golden Skein.  We had to send 100g of hand dyed sock wool, a decoration and a treat.  Here's what I received  from my swap partner - the vibrant sock wool she chose for me by Edinburgh's Ginger Twist Studio rejoices in the name "Gorblimey".

I was able to team this with yet another Christmas present, this time from my sister-in-law.  She and my brother visited Orkney on holiday and she bought me some jolly North Ronaldsay wool from The Little Orkney Dyeshed.  Together they made a great combination for Fair Isle fingerless mitts which I just love and wear a lot!

Also in my stocking last year was some beautiful Canadian Koigu merino-silk yarn, a present from my knitting buddy, Alison.  As I've travelled up and down to London a couple of times lately, I chose to knit these ankle socks on the seven hour train journey.

So far I've shared all shared my knitting triumphs with you from these recent gifts - successfully completed projects and works in progress with realistic possibilities of becoming finished objects.  In the interests of balance, I feel it's only right to acknowledge that not everything goes according to plan every time.

Last birthday my daughter, Eilidh, chose this moody Rusty Ferret skein named 'Dark Beyond' at her local independent yarn store "Fluph" in Dundee.  Rusty Ferret is hand dyed by the shop owner who's renowned for her quirky style.

Though I started my chosen project, the Winter Wander Shawl by Helen of Curious Handmade with great gusto, and managed to insert beads as instructed with the tiny crochet hook, I'm going to have to liberate my beautiful wool and rip the whole thing out!  I made a basic rookie mistake and ran out of the contrasting yarn which has since been discontinued, ironically the only wool in this blog post I actually bought myself!

On the plus side, I'll have even more fun crafting another project from this lovely wool in 2017.


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