Dyeing top

I’ve spent a good part of today dyeing some Shetland top.  It’s dyed with Ashford’s dyes.  I used purple, teal and yellow.  However, the purple looks more like pink to me (I’m going to check the bottles tomorrow and make sure I didn’t use the hot pink by mistake).  I “painted” the top with the colours – mixing them where they met.

The top’s currently drying and I’m hoping I haven’t felted it during the process.  I’ll be able to check when it’s dry and I’ll post up a picture too.

Progress on the Tomten

O.K.  I know progress has been very slow – but the end is now in sight.  I’ve been working the edges (cuffs, etc) in a coordinating yarn, and I’m currently working on the button bands.

I’ve been putting off finishing the hood for ages – scared of doing “weaving” which Elizabeth Zimmermann makes look so easy.  I was even contemplating crocheting the two halves together and making the join a feature.  Anyway, I sat down at the kitchen table on Friday night and concentrating really hard (I had to send my husband out when he came to do some tidying up) I finally managed to weave the two edges together.  The final result is wonderful.  I’m so pleased I did it this way!  I held the stitches on some bamboo sock yarn, which ensured I didn’t drop any stitches but allowed the stitches to lie flat.  The bamboo yarn was nice and slippy – so was easy to remove afterwards.

I’m now trying to find some suitable buttons before I work the button holes.

UK Knitting Magazines

The UK now has an astonishing 6 knitting magazines being published regularly and available in major high-street newsagents.  These are: Knitting, Knit Today, Simply Knitting, Lets Knit, Yarn Forward and The Knitter.

The most recent are The Knitter (first issue on sale this month) and Yarn Forward (which has only just reached the shops but has been available online for a little while).  Well I dashed out and bought my copy of The Knitter almost as it hit the shelves.  It promised to be a source of inspiration for competent and experienced knitters.  Well, The Knitter is of a high standard, but I don’t think it has quite hit the mark.  I thought a comparison with Yard Forward was in order.

  The Knitter (issue 1) Yarn Forward (Issue 9)
Cost £5.99 £3.99
Patterns 12 (I’m only counting the cushion covers as one pattern) 9 (I’ve not counted the chart from the intarsia article as a pattern)
Original patterns* 6 (only half of the patterns) 9 (all of them)
Techniques Turkish Cast On Mood boards
Articles Two Interviews Studio Visit
Three Interviews
Teaching children to knit
Giving Something Back
Other features The Knitter Loves…
Readers’ Letters
Gallery of Readers work
Things we like
Knitting on the Net
Tales from a Yarn Shop

* Original patterns are those not taken from a book or yarn supplier’s leaflet.

Both magazines contain interesting patterns.  In Yarn Forward there is a chunky cabled coat and a beautiful lace shawl.  In The Knitter there is a beautiful cabled and shaped jumper and a simpler cabled jumper with a ribbed yolk.

Both magazines assume a competency in knitting (or at least the ability to use a good knitting reference book).  However, The Knitter concentrates on patterns while Yarn Forward has both exclusive patterns and a good selection of interesting articles.  Overall I think Yarn Forward has the edge and I’m looking forward to reading it for many years to come.

An Experiment with Precious Metal Clay

I came across this product just before Christmas.  It’s like clay, so it can be sculpted – but it is actually silver particles in a binder.  When the clay is dry it is fired.  This burns off the binder, the particles are sintered together and the clay becomes a solid piece of pure silver.

I used to make jewellery with polymer clay (Fimo, etc) so I really wanted to try this.  I ordered a starter kit over Christmas, but had to wait to the beginning of this week for it to arrive.  I finally got round to trying it today.

I made a pendent with a rose in the middle.  Let it dry, then fired it this evening.  I finished it off with brushing and burnishing.  I’m really happy with the result (though I need to practice my finishing technique).



Tomten jacket

This is Elizabeth Zimmermann’s design and it’s the first EZ design I’ve followed.  I’m working it in DK wool by Twilleys called Freedom Spirit. I’ve had the yarn for quite some time, but couldn’t find a project that would work for it (I wanted something that would show off the variegated colours and thought a moss stitch may work). Then I saw EZ’s Tomten jacket knitted in garter stitch, and realised that it was the one.

This project is actively in progress. I’m really enjoying it – it’s a good contrast to the fair isle jumper, which isn’t difficult but does take some concentration. Garter stitch can be whizzed along without much thought.

By the way, I originally saw the Tomten jacket in EZ’s “Knitting without tears”. It didn’t click as interesting. Then I saw it in “The opinionated knitter” with lots of photos of different variations. That’s when I knew I had to knit it.


These are in a bamboo mix yarn.  This is another project that is very close to being finished. ½ an hour and the toes will be sewn up. Unfortunately they’ve been like that for some weeks now.

Fair Isle Jumper

This is for my young boy.  It’s designed by me in 4 lovely colours. It’s in machine-washable double knitting wool, so great for this time of year. Nearly finished (just need to do the ends and block). Then I’ll write up the instructions.