Hello mojo

I think my mojo has returned! Not that it went away completely, it was just a bit squashed underneath all the pressures of adjusting to a new job, new commute and effectively a new lifestyle.

I know my mojo is back because instead of working every hour I am awake and travelling, I am back to my knitting and spinning. Yesterday morning I actually knitted on the train into London … First time! I always used to knit on the bus to work but knitting on the train feels a little different somehow. Like I am making more of a statement. My project of choice is the second of my Hermione’s Everyday Socks. I started this project back at the beginning of the year and lost enthusiasm for it (i. e. was distracted by something new and shiny). Now it feels like the perfect antidote to gloomy grey commutes. Look how the gold just glows!!

Hermione'e Everyday sock 1

The other patch of brightness is a new shawl. I cast on the Brandywine Shawl by Romi Hill this week. I am using the brilliantly blue Artesano Definition Sock that I picked up on a recent trip to London. This is a great project to unwind with at the end of the day, because lace is really not my strong point, which means I have to focus and concentrate on not losing my place, and forget about the day’s work in the process.

And finally… I am SO excited about casting this project on, even though technically I suppose I should be looking for summer projects. In another fit of Returning Mojo, I took the plunge and splashed out on some new yarn for Strokkur. I am following Ysolda’s colour palette exactly, but have been admiring all the lovely choices fellow knitters have made, on Ravelry. And I bought this on the train into work, surrounded by the tap-tap-tapping of people around me desperately finishing up emails before we arrived at the station. Me – 1. Commute – 0.

I ordered from Meadow Yarns, a new-to-me online shop. Thank you, Amy, for the incredibly swift delivery (and complimentary tea bag!), which meant I was able to up the week safe in the knowledge that  today I could cast on my shiny new project!

Welcome to spring and new things

Spring is here! I can’t help but notice that the arrival of spring seems to have been even more of a relief than usual for a lot of people, based on what I’ve been reading around the blogosphere. One of the things I love most about the change of seasons is that it always seems like an opportunity for new things, changes, adjustments to routines, and reflection.

This spring brings a change for me as I have started a new job which involves me leaving my lovely little rural bubble to commute into London every day. It’s a bit of a culture shock, I can tell you. I lived and worked in London for most of my 20s so it’s not a new experience but I realise I had become somewhat used to fresh air, wide open spaces, acres of sky and being surrounded by wildlife. I’m two weeks in, and it’s all great, but I miss the countryside.

So I went for a lovely long walk today and snapped some photos to keep me going through the week – here’s one of my favourite.

Daffodils galore

Daffodils are one of my favourite flowers, partly because of the glowing strident yellow of the flower but also because of the bluey-green of the leaves. Aren’t they beautiful?

In knitting news, I haven’t really had a chance to do any knitting beyond a round or two on my spring socks since the middle of the month. That’s OK – once I’m settled in the new job I shall get into a routine and find my knitting time. I plan to spend my commute browsing the latest patterns on Ravelry and planning some suitably spring-y projects!

Meet Juniper, my new spinning wheel

Meet my new prize possession – this is my Ashford Joy 2, which I am calling Juniper.

Ashford Joy 2

Yes, I name a lot of things, including my car. It probably doesn’t say anything particularly good about me but there you go!

Juniper is, in a word, awesome. I decided to buy her as a treat to myself after thinking about it for months and months. I originally planned to buy the Ashford Kiwi 2 but decided against it when I saw that you have to assemble it yourself before spinning. I actually enjoy building stuff but I am self-aware enough to know that I would be mightily PO’d if I were to ruin it by not screwing bits together properly! So I invested the extra £££ and opted for the Joy 2.

Spinning on a wheel feels very different from spinning with a drop spindle. My first few yards were pretty ropey to say the least but I soon got the hang of it, and in under 24 hours I have spun and plied 100g of white shetland fibre. LOVE love LOVE it. I washed the skein and it is now hanging to dry in the sunshine in my back garden.

2ply white shetland handspun

I still have the Manos fibre on my spindle but I must be about a third of the way through my second single. I MAY ply on Juniper, but I’m interested to see the difference between my spindle vs. wheel yarns.

Then I just need to plan what to knit with them! If you’re a spinner… do you spin yarn with a specific pattern in mind, or just figure out what it wants to be once it’s ready??

Two FOs are better than no FOs

I finally managed to take pictures of my two latest FOs!! I love them both. In fact, I have been wearing the raglan sweater as much as possible without worry of wearing it out before its time. It is so superbly cosy I just don’t get cold in it. At all.

Both of these pieces are Jane Richmond designs, both in a natural/ecru colour. One is what I would call more of a luxury sweater – 100% BFL, yum – and the other is my old go-to of Patons Diploma Gold DK. It’s hardwearing, easy to care for, and holds up to a lot of washing. So without further ado…

FO 1: Ladies Classic Raglan

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Blue Faced Leicester Aran

Classic raglan

FO 2: Modified Gemini Top

Yarn: Patons Diploma Gold DK
Modified Gemini sweater - shoulder lace detail

Modified Gemini sweater - lace detail
Ravelled here, and here.

I can’t believe tomorrow is the end of February already!! I’m not ready for winter to be over – apologies to those who have actually HAD snow this season and are probably fed up with it… but… really. All we have had is rain, and lots of it.

On the plus side, I have added two new sweaters, two pairs of socks and a cowl to my wardrobe so far this year. Not too bad – and definitely making progress on a couple of my not-resolutions for 2014.

Camera down…

It’s funny, I didn’t realise quite how important photographs are to me in my knitting/blogging life!! I have been somewhat absent from my blog over the past couple of weeks, simply because my camera is not working, and the light is too poor to take any iPhone selfie photos of my FOs here in my little cottage.  Luckily, I’m visiting my parents soon so can take full advantage of one of my Mum’s lovely full length mirrors and spacious light filled house to take some pics of my two most recent and favourite FOs… my Jane Richmond Classic Raglan Sweater and a modified Gemini. Apparently I’m a bit of a Jane Richmond designs fan!

I have also been inspired after trying out the toe up socks with sweet tomato heel – which I always want to call sweet potato heel – and am trying a different heel construction. Have you ever tried the Fleegle heel? That’s next on my needles…

FO Friday: more boot socks

FO Friday!! It feels like quite a while since my last FO Friday post (er, that’s because it was…), but just a quick one today….

Boot socks again

This is my third pair using Regia Zima, this time I made them as knee socks rather than just normal ankle socks; I tried the toe up method and learned Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off (aMAZing!!); I used Cat Bordhi’s sweet tomato heel construction. I really like them – but I have high arches so the short row heel means that the sock feels a little constrictive just over my arch. I’ll definitely try toe-up again, maybe this time with a heel flap and gusset construction.