There was so much to do on the run up to my 7 days off work, plus I was valiantly trying to finish Chantel for my Mum's birthday. It was designed by my favourite of Rowan's designers, Kim Hargreaves. This is unusually colourful for Kim, as she tends to favour the decorative element of her designs to come from the stitch pattern. She's also an advocate of moss-stich (seed-stitch) which I adore.
Chantel takes 10 assorted balls of Rowan Kidsilk Haze. I built up my stash by cannily buying KSH up in the Sales.
Every spare minute I was whipping out the crochet hook and getting on with another of the 100 granny squares that make up the stole. On the ferry, on the bus, on the train, in my lunch break, in Starbucks........
This is my first crochet project, and allowing for a slow start [45 mins work per square, which got faster to 30 mins per square when more competent] a very conservative estimate for the time spent on this project was 110 hours of work. My Mum rightly called it a 'labour of love'. It's certainly what you'd call an heirloom piece.
I had to confess to Mum that I was working on it when I arrived for my 'holiday' as I needed every spare minute of my visit to work on it [including car journeys and during a sit-down at Woolfest], and didn't actually finish it until the day after her birthday, when I woke at 05:30 to finish the fringing in time for her to take it away on holiday with her.
Some squares 'in the raw' - complete with wildly differing tension!
The completed garment.
While I was up North I went to Wonderwool in Cockermouth, Cumbria. I chose to go on the Friday again this year, and weatherwise, it turned out to be a good decision as it stayed dry while I was there. Even so, the skies were ever-threatening:
It was equally as enjoyable as last year, with a good variety of stalls to suit all interests, crochet, knitting, spinning and weaving. A show like this is ideal if you're thinking of investing in a new wheel or loom and aren't sure what to go for. There was a lot of knitting yarn, and plenty of inspiring exhibits. I was fascinated by the antique sock machines on display, like a tiny circular knitting machine.
My haul from this year's show was miniscule compared to last year, but I'm almost complete in the spinning equipment area now after 12 months of working out what I needed, so I just bought a few things that caught my eye and a couple of Wishlist items.
Clockwise from the top left: Stahman's Shawls & Scarves by Myrna Stahman (wishlist no. 1), some kingfisher Silk and Merino Blend from Scottish Fibres, some red, navy and gold Baby Camel and Silk Blend, some cream and pink Cashmere yarn; one green and one sky-blue silk cap from P&M Woolcraft, a supported spindle (only previously glimpsed in US ads in Spin-Off - wishlist no. 2) and a lucet with detachable bobbin. Finally, after seeing a lovely moebius scarf made up in Alpaca at the Lewes Needlework Festival earlier in the year, the Treasury of Magical Knitting by Cat Bhordi ended up in the pile too. I also bought some reduced price odd shades of Merino fibre from Winghams to add to my felting stash.
So far I've been working on the green silk cap, turning it into skinny roving ready to spin, and have cut my little finger up at the joint - ouch! - that silk is STRONG. I also made a centre-pull ball of the cream cashmere on my noste'.