Monthly Archives: November 2009

Twisted-Stitch Knitting

I have just finished reading through Twisted-Stitch Knitting by Maria Erlbacher. This is printed by Schoolhouse Press, and was originally published in the 1980s as three booklets in German. The Schoolhouse Press version is in English.

It is a fantastic collection of Austrian twisted stitch patterns, all very delicate and intricate. The first half of the book is a stitch dictionary containing 174 twisted stitch patterns, lots of interesting patterns I haven’t seen anywhere else. The charts require a bit of getting used to since they use different symbols to any chart I have used, but there is definitely a sensible logic to them, and they are easy to work with once you get the hang of it. There are nice clear photos of all the stitch patterns too (all in black and white) so you can check that your knitting is coming out as expected.

The second half of the book is patterns for garments, these do require a bit of initiative as they are guidelines only and usually only in one size, but then the idea of this book is to use the stitch dictionary part to create your own garments, so the garments given are really just ideas of combinations you could use. There are some fabulous knee-high socks with calf shaping all covered in twisted stitches. I haven’t worn knee socks since I was 11 but these look quite tempting! The last section is of cardigans, jumpers, jackets and waistcoats. Some great ideas here, and I am looking forward to having a go.

Loseley Country Fair

Back on the 27th of September (I am catching up, I am just a bit slow!) I helped out on the West Surrey Guild of Spinners, Weavers, and Dyers stand at the Loseley Country Show.

Here we all are setting the stand up.


And here spinning away!


We had about 6 or 7 spinners, a couple of weavers, and Mary demonstrating God’s Eye weaving and woven bracelets on a table at the front which was a big hit with the kids.

It was a fun day out, we had a great site for the stand, just to the side of the main arena and for most of the day we were packed with people coming to see what we were doing. It was only really quiet for the first and last 1/2 hours of the day. The only disadvantage with it being so busy was that I didn’t get much of a chance to see what else was at the show, although I did have time to have a quick dash around near the end, and you can’t come to Loseley without getting an ice-cream 🙂

I was spinning some dark brown alpaca, and then some lovely silk hankies which Lisa gave me.

I bought the alpaca fibre from Fibrecrafts,  and it was very nice to spin once I got the hang of it. A bit different to the shetland I had been spinning before.


I am very pleased with the way it has come out. It is lovely and soft and squishy. It is a 2ply, roughly DK weight, and I have 102g and 166.5m. It is going to be part of the handspun leaves waistcoat.

The silk was dyed in beautiful shades of pale purple, but I’m afraid I don’t have a photo of the hankies because I was too impatient and just dived in. It was really interesting to spin silk, it’s very strong and very fine. Since the hankies contain the whole cocoon there are all different lengths of fibre in there, so the yarn does tend to come out with some lumpy bits. I am keen to have a go at spinning silk top to see how that compares.

Here are my efforts (in several skeins because I snapped it a couple of times while plying)


This is barmily thin, rather like lumpy sewing thread 🙂 I haven’t worked out what I am going to make with it yet, I have 55m of 2ply, something interesting and lacy I think.

Black Shetland

I have finally finished spinning the black Shetland fibre I bought as something to practice with while I got used to Susie. This was very nice to spin, very easy even for a beginner. The yarn is a 3ply and is a thinnish DK weight, it is a bit wobbly but I am getting better! It is going to be part of my handspun leaves waistcoat.

I thoroughly tested the capacity of my bobbins while plying, and was very impressed to get 190g on one bobbin! This is about twice the amount I could get on the Ashford.


Altogether I have 303g and 741m.


I am going to go and wind it into balls now so it will be ready to knit with.

Turquoise elephant

Things are definitely looking a lot chirpier round here. The central heating is fixed, I have actually had some sleep (!) and am making inroads into the To-Do lists. The sun is out and it is not raining for the first time in days so I am enjoying the blue skies. I would be enjoying it even more if we stopped having power cuts!

I have also finished another elephant!


The yarn is Patons Fairytale Colour 4 Me in the DK weight, and I used 3mm needles to get a nice firm fabric. It is a nice yarn to work with, 100% wool, machine washable, and nice and soft. The elephant has gone to live with his new family, Jenny and Chris are expecting twin girls in February, so I am working on another elephant to join the turquoise one.

State of play

Washing machine: fixed

Light in utility room: not fixed but at least we know more about the problem

Central heating: hopefully will be fixed soon, plumber coming this afternoon

New car: ordered

Old car: limping along

Work: backlog

Heather: more sleep needed