Friday, 6 December 2013


Here is something that you do not see every day: Mark, wearing an actual warming garment around his neck.

For eleven years, I have offered and begged that he let me knit him something nice and all this time, he has been convinced that anything placed around his bare, freezing neck would result in his immediate strangulation.

So I gave up on the idea and went back to experimenting with my rigid heddle loom. So far, weaving for me has been more about rough, hard wearing textures, like wall hangings or rag rugs, but I've seen lots of really inspiring projects on ravelry and decided to try weaving with nice merino sock yarns. I used two colours of Malabrigo Sock for this - I was hoping to achieve a checkerboard pattern but have found out since that I wasn't using a dense enough reed, so it ended up just stripy. That said, hand dyed colours really come up completely differently when woven instead of knitted, so that was beautiful to see.
The idea was to make myself a cowl that I could loop around twice. I thought I had enough length in the warp but forgot to allow for the springiness of the yarn - once no longer under tension on the loom, the length of fabric shrank considerably to a silly, in between sort of length. Very pretty, but not quite useful. So it stayed draped on the banister for a while. Then I brought it downstairs to try and figure out what I wanted to do with it. And then, one night, Mark started playing with it and *gasp* draping it around his neck, as if to judge its size somehow.

- Honey, would you like a cowl out of that?
- Meh, maybe, if you're not using it for anything else...

Casually, like he was doing me a favour and taking this thing off my hands.
Because I am still new to weaving and every inch of fabric is precious and I can't imagine actually cutting any of it off, I have folded it into all kinds of intricate origami and sewed it up for him.

I, on the other hand, am never shy of wrapping up. One of my favourite buys from this years Wonderwool was some glorious, pure cashmere fibre - at first I thought it was just a natural pale colour, but it was actually a really subtle blend of soft beige, creams and greys. It was so beautiful to spin and even more wondeful to knit....just nothing but fluffy, silky softness, like knitting a cloud.
I wanted something that could fold down in lots of layers, and that reflected the lightness of the yarn, so I chose the super-easy Twist Your Soft Neck Warmer and even challenged myself to knit on larger than needles than the yarn required, something I've never been particularily brave about. I just  kept knitting til I was nearly out of yarn and the thing started to look ridiculously long. It's superb and I love it...I barely take it off when I get home!

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