November Knitting and some Murmurations

Widening Gyre scarf and Fairburn Sunset.

Here in Yorkshire, Autumn has arrived with a vengeance with heavy rain some wind and a lot of subsequent mud in the parks.  The park for us has significance and it’s there that we walk our daughter’s dog. We dog-sit for a night every two weeks as she (the daughter) has to travel away for work. We really enjoy it,  but she, (the dog) is a very energetic girl!  Despite mud and rain, it’s been a busy start to November. We went to to a local nature reserve to hopefully see a murmuration. We saw a fabulous sunset – see above and if you’re not sure what a murmuration is, they are amazing aerobatic displays by thousands of starlings. 

Starling Murmuration at Fairburn Ings in Yorkshire

The main knitting news is that Widening Gyre was published on the 15 November. The test knit team did a great job as usual and I love seeing the various incarnations of a pattern and how my ideas are translated into individual customised pieces.  I really enjoyed creating this pattern.  It was a bit of an ’emergency knit’ as I was in the middle of a complicated mosaic shawl and needed something simple to take away with me. We visit the east coast each summer to watch the Yorkshire Cricket team play there – as opposed to their home ground here in Leeds. I certainly couldn’t have worked  on the mosaic piece while watching cricket, so took some undyed 4 ply merino with me and as I’d already written some plans I cast on and away it went. I got some great comments from the testers – one of which was ‘a fun frogless pattern’.  Praise indeed! I have plans to do something similar with a different pattern for a thicker yarn in the future.  I think it will be fun to do and very snug.

I have also started on some testing using natural dyes from plants.  So far I’ve only managed some blue, using red cabbage and some yellow using Safflower. I have plans to use the safflowers to create a red dye also. My equipment has now arrived in the form of a ‘dye pot’ and more chemicals in the form of alum as a mordant (making the dye ‘stick’) and some washing soda to create a good alkaline liquid – needed to turn the safflowers into a red dye. Watch this space for more notes on this. I was a bit gung-ho to start with and despite all my good intentions and background, simply just added stuff to the original dye lot. I’ve given myself a good talking to and am now the proud owner of ‘dye notes’!

Other bits of the blog have been focused on the creation of accessible patterns. This is something that is sadly lacking in virtually all patterns that I’ve encountered. I’ve included some simple checks and tests that you can do to see if a pdf is accessible.  I’m also investigating the possibility of providing patterns as html (web pages) or as epub (ebook format) on Ravelry.  I’ve still some more posts to add so they will come out in time between the dyeing and knitting stuff.  I’m suffering from a streaming cold, so will spend today doing pH testing on some, hopefully red dye!

My work in progress is a set consisting of cowl, hat and gloves using mosaic knitting.  There is a little sneek peek in the header image – not blocked so please don’t be too judgmental!  

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