It took the right project, but now I’m hooked

This weekend it has rained. I had planned to garden. At least to work in the greenhouse, but even that job seemed so unappealing. So much to pot up and plant out, but this weekend was not the time. The hens looked so miserable in the rain, when they ventured out.

Instead I concentrated on turning my Jacob fleece into something to wear. Already started knitting a shrug, but I didn’t have enough spun to achieve the length I wanted. So more spinning was done.

It is a real joy to spin and knit this wool. I have now knitted it to a length of a long tunic. A  bit like a shawl with sleeves. A few inches short of my knees. I tried it on. I wanted it to be a long (very long) shrug so that it swept back at the hem, instead of covering in the same way as a button up cardigan. I still need to block it, but it was too narrow. So I broke out my crochet needle.

The only crocheting I have ever done are three lonely little granny squares, which I did not really enjoy making. I would rather knit. With this shrug, I needed a border. Crocheting one seemed to be the best option, even though I really did not know how to crochet. I sat with the book on my lap and taught myself to crochet a shell border.

I now can tell the difference between a single and double crochet. I am pretty amazed at myself as I have struggled in the past. Not only can I do it, but I want to do more. I barely put this project down all day. I obviously needed the right project to get me crocheting.

I have crocheted down the front edges and along the hem, but I’m still not sure. I am tempted to undo all the knitting to the armholes and increase the stitches. It would mean doing the crocheting again, but that no longer daunts me. Alternative is to knit two long triangles and attach to the front edges, which might have an interesting effect. Or just leave it as it is. Hmm! Decisions, decisions.

I do have a question for the crocheters among you. When I put down my knitting, I can arrange the stitches so that they don’t fall off my needle or use a rubber stopper on the pointy end to keep them there. What do people do with crocheting? I have one loop on my crochet needle. How do I stop it falling off, as I move my crocheting around? Is there a method or some rascally brilliant gadget to stop me losing my loop?

While I had my spinning wheel on the go, I had a go at spinning a sample of alpaca that I was given. I’m told that it is a high grade alpaca. I’ve spun alpaca before, but I have to admit that I had put off trying this sample. Not sure if the photo shows it, but it is a super fine, flyaway, light toffee coloured fibre. To be frank, it looks like toddler hair. Not unlike my children’s hair at that age.

I ran a bit through my wheel, but unless I can get the image of blonde toddlers, lined up, having their hair cut and someone gathering it up and labelling it as alpaca, I’m not sure I shall get very far. It didn’t help when one of the children came through and asked why I was spinning their hair. Aaah! Also it made my fingers feel itchy. I’ll try again another day, but any helpful advice would be gladly received.

Hope you filled you weekend with fun. Whatever the weather.

15 thoughts on “It took the right project, but now I’m hooked

  • Monday 30 April, 2012 at 8:32 am

    I must admit that alpaca looks nothing like the stuff I have, much too hair like!! But then I am no expert on alpaca, and I know there are different breeds. Have you tried carding it first? I know some pele spin straight from the fleece, but I find it much easier to card it first, even if you are then handling stuff you can barely feel because it is so soft!!

    Great that the crocheting is going well, funny how we get blockages about things, but when we knuckle down to it is never as bad as we think. There will be no stopping you now!!

    • Monday 30 April, 2012 at 9:15 pm

      The alpaca is very different from the previous alpaca I’ve spun, which I loved. I’m not going to let this one beat me! More research I believe!

      I’m loving crocheting. Never thought I’d be writing that! I think the thickness of the yarn has helped. It is a little more forgiving of my newbie mistakes. 😀

  • Monday 30 April, 2012 at 11:20 am

    when I put down my crocheting I always just pull the loop until it’s 4 or 5 inches and remove the hook. When I’m ready to resume I just tighten the loop around the hook again

    • Monday 30 April, 2012 at 9:17 pm

      Nice tip. I can see that would work. It did seem problematic leaving the hook in the loop. Thank you for sharing!

  • Monday 30 April, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Hello, hello Miss Crafty! I think I need to resubscribe to your blog because I haven’t been getting any updates about your new posts. 🙁 What the heck? I was beginning to wonder if you had quit blogging, but then I realized it’s something going on with my notifications. Anyway, glad to be back visiting here.

    • Monday 30 April, 2012 at 9:20 pm

      Very much still here! Lots more left to say. I hope! Glad to see you back. 😀 😀

  • Monday 30 April, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Love the update to your Jacobs project, looking great. No ideas or hints on crochet but I like your edging. Crochet really isn’t my favourite craft though, I like doing small things, things to embelish other things.

    I have spun quite a bit of alpaca but I’m not sure about the one you have there. Is it definitely alpaca? I only ask because it looks from the picture of the fibre and the spun sample that it is a bit hairy – more like that on a Llama whose fibre can be really soft but you may need to dehair it of the longer hairier fibres … but I can’t tell from the image. If there are “hairs” that could cause the itching.

    If it is alpaca then I think you may have Suri Alpaca – does that ring a bell from where you got it? I think, and I may be wrong, that they can sometimes need de-hairing too. You should be able to see a difference between the hair and the fibre, but I can’t in the photo. Although Suri alpaca are usually a little curly.

    Not sure I’ve helped at all!

    • Monday 30 April, 2012 at 9:07 pm

      Oh Dawn. Suri does ring a bell. I’ll check back with the person who gave it to me. Pretty sure it is not Llama, but I’ll check that too. I can’t see any obvious variation in the sample. If anything, it all looks like flyaway hair. The staples appear to be fairly uniform and not very curly. I’ll do some research and maybe that will make me a bit more enthusiastic to spin it. I knew you would come up with something. Thank you! 😀

  • Monday 30 April, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    You clever thing, spinning your own yarn…………I love the colour. And now the crochet bug has bit you too……..when I’m taking a break from hooking I do as Mae and pull the loop quite large and take the hook out, then just pop the hook back in and tighten to restart. x

    • Monday 30 April, 2012 at 9:24 pm

      Pulling the loop bigger seems to be the way to go. I was anchoring each end of the hook into the knitting, which didn’t strike me as very robust. I love a simple solution……although I do like my gadgets too….especially the pure genius types! 😀

  • Tuesday 1 May, 2012 at 4:03 am

    oh wow – your jacob fleece is spinning up so so lovely!!

    and now that you’ve called that alpaca “toddler hair” i can’t see anything else! i understand how you might have trouble spinning it up! 🙂

    • Tuesday 1 May, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      I just can’t quite get the image out of my head, but I will. Some how. 😀

  • Wednesday 16 May, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Cheryl, I just love your handspun jacob and so wonderful to see what you are knitting up with it. What a precious garment that will be. Please do show us a picture of the completed garment. It really looks so beautiful.

  • Monday 1 October, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Hello! I used to have jacob sheep with the intent of learning how to spin- now I have had 4 bags of rough wool out back for 4 years, the sheep are gone and I have lamancha dairy goats instead! Cheese is an easier hobby for me at this point! Someday, maybe when my little ones are a bit older. For crocheting I pull a big loop out, and sometimes loosely tie a piece of contrasting colored yarn to it so it won’t accidentally get pulled it. I discovered your blog a few days ago, and just got on here to share my inspiration of yesterday with you: I felted some sweaters with intent to make toys (even though my children aren’t into stuffed toys very much, I always think they might be someday) and instead ended up making a super-hero set. Back of sweater for the cape (using the neck ribbing for the closure), front for a hat, wrist ribbing for armbands, and today I will turn the arms into leg warmers. I don’t update my blog more than once or twice a year, but I will try and get pictures up for you shortly when it is all done, try checking next week if you are interested. So cute and fast! A fun way to repurpose an old sweater!

    • Monday 1 October, 2012 at 11:18 am

      Love the idea that you made an action toy instead of a soft toy. How versatile is an old jumper when you’re armed with imagination. I’ll certainly be over for a look. I’d love to take the next step in livestock, but not sure all the family would agree. Thanks for the tip on crocheting. 🙂

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