Been having lots of fun this summer trying new things. Not having lambs around is sad, but it does free up time for learning new skills!
One very useful thing we’ve finally started doing here is canning. So far we’ve canned beets, relish, pickles, and blueberry jam! We’re getting ready for the onslaught of tomatoes – this should free up some freezer space for us since in the past I’ve frozen my sauce!
Another thing I’ve had time for is spinning the winter wool. Normally this suboptimal wool is either discarded or used for felting or even for composting by many Icelandic shepherds. This year, as I was shearing, I noticed that a lot of the wool was quite spinnable – not as matted as usual. Yes, there was hay chaff galore, but I figured why not try spinning as much as I can of it, since all of the fall fleeces were either sold or spun? This resulted in an array of colorful hanks of yarn and has provided the amount of yarn I’ve been longing for for a felted tote bag project. I knew that this yarn would not be nice up against the skin, but for a wet felted knitting project?! Perfect!
Once I found the pattern that I liked and thought I was capable of making, I couldn’t wait to get started! First we had to modify the color scheme in the pattern. I wanted to showcase the natural Icelandic fleece colors in the bag. That way, whenever the bag is with me, I’ll always have an Icelandic color pallete on hand!
It’s a pretty simple pattern, which is good for me because I’m a pretty unskilled knitter! And here is where I must wholeheartedly thank the many wonderful knitters who have painstakingly tried to teach me to knit the traditional way. I must thank them and then apologize, because I just can’t get the hang of the whole needle-knitting thing. I don’t know if it has something to do with the way my brain works or what, but knitting on needles just doesn’t click for me (well, actually they do click – the needles, that is, but there’s no “click” going on in my little head!)
So how, pray tell, did I manage to knit and purl this Icelandic panel?
Yes, I know I’ve shown you this device before. I’m loving my Knifty Knitter loom more than ever!! I got a new gigunda one that is allowing me to knit a 50 stitch panel. This bag will be quite large when I finish knitting, then, once the seams are sewn, I will wet felt it in the washing machine, shrinking it down to the desired size, creating a very strong wool bag!
I don’t know why, but loom knitting just seems to make more sense to the scientific side of me (again, my apologies to all of my traditional knitting friends.) I see the stitches all laying down, all held tight on the loom. It’s organized and easy to put down and pick up without worrying about stitches slipping off needles.
Maybe my love for the knitting loom is a reflection of my overall love for and preference of weaving on a loom vs. knitting, which is why, this summer, we’re also refurbishing the 30 year old Baby Wolf floor loom I bought a couple of years ago, ready for weaving later this summer and hopefully the subject of new post soon, as cotton and patterns are on their way to us for the making of woven towels!