Spin, spin, spin

Current project on the wheel!

This is a round up of projects recently completed and current ones on the go. Last year I did very little spinning, largely due to fatigue and knee pain, so I’m getting myself back into a regular habit. At some point I really ‘should’ study the books I have to produce different types of yarn, but the reality is I am an intuitive/lazy spinner and just spin how I feel. However if I don’t know how to spin in different ways, eg. corespinning, I’ll never get intuitive about them, so somehow I’m going to nudge myself towards the books and learn some new techniques. Anyway, to projects completed…..

1. I called this project ‘Bootese’. All the fibre used was hand-dyed by Flora Fibres. It consisted of Bamboo dyed with red onion skins, Tencel dyed with berberis darwinnii, and Rose dyed with woad and onion skins. I span each as a single and then plied them together. I had some leftover Rose and Bamboo so plied that together to create the smaller ball of yarn. My typical weight spun is around a 4ply-DK and this came out as a DK for the main ball and 4ply for the smaller. I love the yarns created. No plans for them yet, maybe part of a top.

3 balls of yarn. 3 greens &  silver. 1 two shades of green.

2. We’ll call this one ‘A dark day at the beach!’. The main fibre is Carbonised Bamboo and I decided to have a go at spinning thick. I then plied it with a thin single I spun back in 2018 that I didn’t know what to do with. It was another Flora Fibres dyed fibre of Mint, Rose & Bamboo and the colourway was called ‘A day at the beach’ hence my title! I don’t have a note of the dyes but the fibre came as a rolag and there were three different colours striped adjacently to each other, pink, green and yellow I think. I’ve got to be honest the final skein doesn’t make me happy. I think I needed a stronger coloured single against the black. I was thinking of giving it away, but I’m going to hold on to it for now and see if something comes up.

Ball of black/grey  thick yarn with lighter thread
A dark day at the beach

3. Next up ‘Sunset on the sea’. Loved the colour of this fibre so much I decided to spin and ply it just on its own (you might have noticed I like to combine different fibres normally). It is Seacell and again dyed by Flora Fibres using madder and onion skins. Its a 3 ply, for some reason I like to ply 3 strands, and came out at DK weight. Its good that I can create 4ply to DK weight yarns as these are my most commonly used weights in projects! I actually spin my singles very thin half the time but it all sorts itself out somehow.

Ball of orangey-pink-yellow yarn
Sunset on the sea

4. Arty yarn, not very original but this is my first go at spinning a proper Art yarn. Well this was fun! I used a small bag of purple, blue, and greeny-blue Ramie I bought from Spin City at Festiwool a few years ago, along with some off bits of blue cotton, and then I blended in lots of yarn scraps, you know the sort you cut off when you’ve woven in the ends on a project. I had no idea how well that would work but it did. I span thick and thin as this is an art yarn. The cotton was pesky and wouldn’t draft at all, so it created lovely slubby lumps instead (I think slub is the right term). I lost quite a few yarn scraps in the spinning process, note to self the carpet gets a bit messy, so I think more rather than less in blending is the way to go. I love looking at this yarn. Its so beautiful with all the different colours and textures. I might use it to make a basket for my craft room.

Skein of  bluesy yarn with flecks of different coloured yarn scraps
Arty yarn

5. Finally, the current project, untitled as yet. Again this is very much an experimenting project. All fibres dyed by Flora Fibres: Hemp dyed using Lapsang Souchong, Soybean dyed using indigo, and Pineapple dyed using indigo. Its the first time I have used Pineapple and it feels more like Ramie/Hemp, fibrous! I blended half of the fibre together and will be spinning that as 3 singles then plied together. And then I am spinning each of the other half of fibre individually and then plying together, so I’ll have half blended and half ‘barber pole effect’. It’s going to be interesting to compare how the yarns look.

The fibre for current project – Hemp, Pineapple (dark blue) and Soybean (light blue)

And that’s it for now. I still have some dyed fibre lurking upstairs which should see me through the start of the year. I’m also thinking of having a go at spinning things like the plastic nets you get from oranges. I’m not sure how safe that is, I need to investigate. I’m also debating whether to save up most of my handspun to use all together in a top, or use here and there as I have been doing so far. As always I have far more ideas than energy!

Fundraiser Pig Chart 2 Knit Version

Squidgy pig blanket square

Its been rather longer than I intended between blog posts. The busy-ness of rehoming and the resulting fatigue kept me away. But at last I have created another blanket square design. This time its of Squidgy pig, who is one of the original 53 pigs rescued from an illegal slaughterhouse, via the courts, by Beneath the Woods Sanctuary. I’m particularly happy because I asked Sasha, who runs BNWS, to guess which pig it was before I told her and she guessed right! It may not be perfect but its squidgy enough 😄.

Photo of Squidgy the pig, by Beneath the Woods Sanctuary

So if you’d like to knit your own Squidgy square, just follow the instructions below.


Sample knitted in DK weight yarn on 3.25mm needles (your needle size may vary depending on how tightly you knit and the yarn you use). Sample uses three different yarn colours. Finished size is 15cm high by 18cm width.


Squidgy pig chart – note everything within the black lined area uses Colour 2 apart from the Pink areas which use Colour 3

Written instructions (If you spot any errors please let me know!)

K = Knit

P = Purl

C1 = colour 1; C2 = colour 2; C3 = colour 3

Cast on 36 stitches

Row 1 – Using C1 K36

Row 2 – P36

Repeat these 2 rows a further 4 times

Row 11 – K8 (C1), switch to (C2) K22, switch to (C1) K6

Row 12 – P4 (C1), P24 (C2), P8, (C1)

Row 13 – K7 (C1), K26 (C2), K3 (C1)

Row 14 – P2 (C1), P28 (C2), P6 (C1)

Row 15 – K4 (C1), K30 (C2), K2 (C1)

Row 16 – P2 (C1), P31 (C2), P3 (C1)

Row 17 – K3 (C1), K31 (C2), K2 (C1)

Row 18 – P2 (C1), P31 (C2), P3 (C1)

Row 19 – K3 (C1), K32 (C2), K1 (C1)

Row 20 – P1 (C1), P32 (C2), P3 (C1)

Row 21 – K3 (C1), K32 (C2), K1 (C1)

Row 22 – P1 (C1), P17 (C2), P2 (C3), P1 (C2), P2 (C3), P10 (C2), P3 (C1)

Row 23 – K3 (C1), K9 (C2), K1 (C3), K2 (C2), K1 (C3), K2 (C2), K1 (C3), K16 (C2), K1 (C1)

Row 24 – P1 (C1), P16 (C2), P1 (C3), P5 (C2), P1 (C3), P9 (C2), P3 (C1)

Row 25 – K3 (C1), K9 (C2), K1 (C3), K5 (C2), K1 (C3),K16 (C2), K1 (C1)

Row 26 – P1 (C1), P12 (C2), P3 (C3), P1 (C2), P1 (C3), P1 (C2), P1 (C3), P1 (C2), P1 (C3), P1 (C2), P1 (C3), P1 (C2), P2 (C3), P5 (C2), P4 (C1)

Row 27 – K5 (C1), K4 (C2), K2 (C3), K1 (C2), K1 (C3), K5 (C2), K1 (C3), K1 (C2), K3 (C3), K12 (C2), K1 (C1)

Row 28 – P1 (C1), P16 (C2), P1(C3), P5 (C2), P1 C3), P6 (C2), P6 (C1)

Row 29 – K7 (C1), K6 (C2), K5 (C3), K16 (C2), K2 (C1)

Row 30 – P1 (C1), P29 (C2), P6 (C1)

Row 31 – K35 (C2), K1 (C1)

Row 32 – P1 (C1), P35 (C2)

Rows 33-36 Repeat last two rows twice

Row 37 – K36 (C2)

Row 38 – P36 (C2)

Row 39 – K7 (C2), K2 (C1), K15 (C2), K3 (C1), K9 (C2)

Row 40 – P6 (C2), P7 (C1), P13 (C2), P5 (C1), P5 (C2)

Row 41 – K3 (C2), K8 (C1), K11 (C2), K9 (C1), K5 (C2)

Row 42 – P3 (C2), P12 (C1), P8 (C2), P13 (C1)

Rows 43-46 Knit odd rows, Purl even rows

Cast off

To send in your Squidgy square for the blanket, just get in touch via the Contact page or Instagram, and I’ll send you the address. I’m really looking forward to seeing a few more Squidgys but you can also adapt the pattern and turn him into a unique pig of your own!

Fundraiser Pig Chart 1 knitted!

Blue pig’s head on brown background with black sewn outline
Knitted version

So I decided to knit the pattern based on Day’Z using the same chart and instructions as for the original crochet version. If you’re not interested in technical stuff, skip over the rest of this paragraph! Because it was really interesting to see the difference. The knitted version came out at 10cm x 6cm using the same yarn but on 3.5mm needles (as opposed to a 3.25mm hook). Technically I found it much quicker to do the colourwork knitted than in crochet. For me crochet colourwork is more fiddly. But I like the crochet version better.

So the verdict is yes you can use the chart and instructions to make a knitted version but you will have to add in more stitches and a lot more rows to get the 14x14cm square. Day’Z has a much squatter face in the knitted version! You can always just add more Main Colour stitches and rows. Or use heavier yarn. Or add a crocheted or knitted border. Or use the instructions and chart as a starting point to create your own version. There are options. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Crocheted and knitted versions of same pig  pattern
Crocheted and knitted versions compared

Fundraiser Pig Chart 1 & Written Instructions

This pattern is based on my Rehoming sidekick Day’Z the pig! Below are crochet instructions. I haven’t yet tried knitting this pattern but when I do I will post any amendments needed. Otherwise you could just give it a go and see what happens!

Note: I used a 3.25mm crochet hook and DK weight yarn and it came out at 14cm x 10cm. So you may want to add a couple of Main Colour rows to get the 14x14cm. It depends on your gauge, the yarn you use, etc.

Sample crocheted in UK Double Crochet

MC (Main colour)

CC (Contrast colour)

Chain 26

R1-2 MC X26

R3 MC x12, CC x3, MC x11

R4 MC x9, CC x6, MC x11

R5 MC x10, CC x8, MC x8

R6 MC x7, CC x10, MC x9

R7 MC x8, CC x11, MC x7

R8 MC x7, CC x11, MC x8

R9 MC x9, CC x4, MC x4, CC x4, MC x7

R10 MC x7, CC x3, MC x1, CCx4, MC x1, CC x3, MC x7

R11 MC x7, CC x3, MC x2, CC x1, MC x1, CC x1, MC x1, CC x3, MC x7

R12 MC x7, CC x4, MC x4, CC x1, MC x1, CC x2, MC x7

R13 MC x6, CC x3, MC x2, CC x3, MC x2, CC x2, MC x8

R14 MC x8, CC x13, MC x5

R15 MC x5, CC x12, MC x9

R16 MC x9, CC x9, MC x8

R17 MC x9, CC x9, MC x8

R18 MC x8, CC x9, MC x9

R19 MC x10, CC x4, MC x2, CC x1, MC x9

R20 MC x26

Once you have completed the square, sew around the edges of the head, ears and snout with black or strong contrast yarn, and fill in the nostrils and eyes. This makes her look less like Fungus the Bogeyman and more like a pig!!

Fundraiser pig chart 1
Blue crocheted rectangle with brown pig face outlined in black sewn lines
My version of this pattern

If you spot any errors or want to suggest some improvements, or even share your own version of this pattern, let me know!

The Pigs On Blankets Together-along!

An example of a pig on a blanket!

The Pigs On Blankets Together-along!

If you know me, you will know that I spend a lot of what available energy I have on helping to find homes for pigs in need across the UK. Well I’ve been thinking for some time about doing a fundraiser by knitting a blanket with pigs on to auction (or similar, need to work that bit out!). Pigs In Blankets is a well known, but not pig friendly, recipe here in the UK. I figured a blanket with pigs on is a much nicer thing. And then I thought, let’s make this a fun community effort. So instead of me creating something, I am asking you to knit or crochet a square with a pig on and send it to me. I’ll then crochet together all the squares I receive into one (or more if there are lots of squares!) blanket. Here are the rules:

1. Your square should be approx. 14cm x 14cm in size

2. You can knit, crochet, loom knit your square. You could even weave it!

3. Your square must have a recognisably piggy image on it. This could be a whole pig, a curly tail, a snout, even a hoofprint.

4. The image can be created with colour or texture work as part of the knitting, etc. OR it can be embroidered on or cut from fabric and sewn on.

5. You can use an existing pattern, so long as the designer permits usage, or make your own up. I’ll be providing at least one pattern (see sample below). There may be a few depending on time!

6. You can use cotton or other plant fibres, or synthetics. Please do not use wool, alpaca, etc as the blanket needs to be vegan-friendly.

7. Please make sure you weave your ends in inside the square. Ends on the edge can be left if you want as I can pick them up with the crochet edging.

8. The deadline is open-ended. I’ll announce a final date if it looks like the project is coming to a natural end. It depends how enthusiastic you all are and how many squares I receive!

9. You can submit more than one square.

10. It would be lovely if you could make a donation of £1 to the GoFundMe account at gf.me/u/y7pxu9 when you send in your squares but it’s not compulsory (more about the charities below).

11. Please message me for the address to send squares to.

12. No age or expertise limit! Just have fun.

Sample square

The one in the photograph is my attempt at crocheting my Rehoming sidekick Day’Z. I tried to do it in 2 colour colourwork but honestly, she looked more like Fungus the Bogeyman! So I decide to embroider round the edges of the image and the eyes and nostrils with black yarn, and honestly, I love it! So remember your square does not need to be perfect and if your pig is looking a bit wonky, or odd, just do what I did and use a yarn that stands out to sew around the edge of the image and fill in any areas to make it look more pig. (Please note my sample isn’t 14cm high, which is why it is a rectangle and not a square.)

The Charities

With this fundraiser I’m choosing to support 3 organisations that are important to me. The first is naturally Pigs In the Wood, who I volunteer through. PITW is a sanctuary for 20 pigs roaming in natural woodland. Beneath the Woods Sanctuary I’ve chosen because they did an amazing thing last year and saved 53 pigs by fighting a legal battle through the courts. Whilst those 53 were in a Defra Holding Unit awaiting the outcome, they were unfortunately allowed to breed, and so BWS unexpectedly had another 30 pigs to look after. I’ve been trying to help them find homes for those 30, (the 53 are not allowed to be rehomed due to cannablism and other awful conditions in the place they were removed from) but with little success. BWS are dealing with costs far higher than they expected, and deserve some help. And the final charity is Animal Free Research UK who are driving the move to medical research that does not use animals and at the same time, as a result, provides more accurate results for human medicine. Pigs are one of the many species used in research, and as someone who relies on medicine to manage a chronic illness, I believe it is important to support alternatives that do not cause suffering to others. You can read more about each of the organisations below:

Pigs In the Wood Sanctuary – https://www.pigsinthewood.com/

Beneath the Woods Sanctuary – https://beneaththewoodsanctuary.co.uk/

Animal Free Research UK – https://www.animalfreeresearchuk.org/project/medical-devices-testing-thiel-embalmed-human-cadavers/


If there are any questions please leave a comment or use the Contact form.

I look forward to seeing what we all come up with. I’ll be sharing the squares I receive, and my pattern/s, on here and on Instagram at @with_sticksandpaws

Putting the first paw forwards

Black fluffy dog in a green  t-shirt lying on his side next to green and silver knitting on the needles

It’s been about 4 years since I blogged. Instagram sort of took over.

But now I feel like writing in depth again, or at least more in depth than an Instagram post allows. And so here I am.

Mainly I will be sharing craft projects here and the fun (or not) of getting a little crafty business off the ground. But there will also be Bobby dog and his furry paws and, because 2 out of every 3 weeks I volunteer Rehoming pigs, there are bound to be pigs. And other musings on the interconnectedness of life and compassion and and whatever else feels called to be shared. Bear with me as I find my feet.