Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Scotland Revisited

No, I am not going back to Scotland. I sure wish though. However, I did spend much of my Christmas vacation working with yarns I got while I was there this summer. Maybe I just don't buy enough wool, but all the wool I bought while I was there is somewhat scratchy, scratchier than normal but sure does seem to work well at doing it's purpose: keeping me warm.

While staying in Edinburgh, I went by a cute little knitting 'boutique' - K1 Knitting - and managed to find a couple different "Spun/dyed in Scotland yarns". While I was hoping to find more handspun type yarns what I did find was still not the norm for here in the United Stated. I managed to walk away that day with 2 balls of dk weight wool and 2 balls of a wool/angora blend.

The wool/angora blend was all set to become a cats paw scarf, a pattern I also bought at this shop, because I needed something to work on while I was over there. I didn't much done on it, mostly because I lost a needle on my plane trip back and now I am not liking the pattern. See for yourself. Should I frog it? Or keep going?? My issue is that it's really wide, and scarves get very boring for me after awhile, especially when they are the wider ones.

With the wool I purchased, I decided to try my first attempt at fingerless gloves. You probably saw these in a former blog post. I playfully call them my "Ness X Gloves" because the color of the yarn was titled "Ness" appropriately. The entire glove is an improvisation of about 4 different patterns.

After finishing them, I realized that they weren't fully ideal for the long walks to class carrying art supplies, but loved how warm my wrists were (thank you 100% wool!) so decided to use the extra to knit flaps onto them and make them convertible. And thus my new set of convertible mittens came about last week. I personally love these and am considering publishing the pattern. Any thoughts?

While visiting the Isle of Skye and the Highlands we saw many, many, many sheep and it made me want wool! There were a few shops here and there advertising home spun yarns, but we couldn't stop anywhere and it made me sad. You can imagine how estatic I was when we went into the gift shop at one of the castles and I found a whole rack of hand spun Skye wool! I quickly grabbed up the most natural yet pretty yarns I could find.

Upon winding and working with these yarns, I have established that the spinner probably did not treat her wool before/after spinning it, as it is sticky and still has some bits of hay here and there. It's also very scratchy and uneven. But I love it none the same. Having come from another country and being hand spun makes it really special to me.

I didn't know the yardage of this yarn, so I didn't want to risk starting something and running out. So I settled on my standby headband. I chose a different pattern this time though: Serendipity Ear Band, and after much struggle with the crochet parts, managed to produce this:

It's scratchy yet warm, and very pretty and large. It looks pretty good on me and I have enough yarn I could probably make a second.

Overall, all my fiber finds in Scotland were successful and it makes me want to travel more just to check out the different local yarns. Anyone reading ever been anywhere outside of the USA and experienced some fun yarns? I would love to hear and learn all about international fibers.



  1. The new headband looks great! I love how you always add a cute little flower to all of your headbands. : )

    Also, you should totally publish the pattern for those gloves, they are awesome!

  2. Hopefully you will find that after a good soak/blocking, your wool will bloom and become a bit less scratchy. And, if not, the good news, is that it will likely last FOREVER. I used to gravitate towards tactile pleasing fibers for my sweaters, and such, but over time, I've realized Shetland wools are just so much more durable, which makes all the effort of garment knitting more worth while. :-D

    1. Shetland wools, I will have to remember that. Thanks for the ideas, I probably should soak and block that headband. I wore it once yesterday and it was a little more scratchy than I would have liked.

  3. I love those gloves! They'd be perfect for men in a muted tone, too. Definitely publish the pattern!

    1. Thank you! I will see if I can find my notes from it and work on writing it up this weekend.

  4. Great FOs! I like the mitts especially.

    I went to Ireland a few years ago and had trouble finding yarn that wasn't super-scratchy too. I think durability is more of an issue there than softness, honestly! But that didn't stop me from buying a bunch--I figured it'll be good for felting, right? :-)


    1. I never thought of felting it. I have never felted anything and I don't really like the way felting looks, but it makes sense to felt yarn like that.


Even if you are just saying Hello, I always love hearing from you :)