Thursday, July 28, 2011

No photos until I'm done

Everything is a bit half way though at the moment. I'm working steadily away on Icarus. This is not a quick knit. I'm still in the easy section, and when that's done this is going to be a project I can't take out of the house.

Spindling for my mother's shawl wool is going nicely. I finished the singles and started plying yesterday. Remember I made a plying ball with a cat toy as the centre? The cat toy has a bell in the middle. Luckily it's quite muffled by all singles wrapped around it.

I'm loving the spindling. Today I have my little Turkish spindle out with me, and although it spins a little too slow for the socks I'm spinning on it, it is a lot of fun, and looks amazing, particularly in the very bright rainbow stripes I'm spining. I've actually been spindling at my desk today. Ah the joy of having a headset and a quiet day in the office. I'm still searching for the perfect sock spindle. Perhaps a Bosworth Mini?

The craft and quilt show is happening across the river from where I work. I dropped by yesterday and bought some Angelina. My next drum carding experiment is going to be blending some Stranded in Oz blue merino, blue alpaca and blue Angelina and then spinning half of it in laceweight for a shawl and half in double knit for a hat. Speaking of Mel, she was at the show. I hung out at her tiny booth for a while, just chatting. I had my drop spindle with me, but I didn't spin, I think it would have freaked the quilters out!

Now I'm not buying any more yarn or fibre. My stash box is full and I'm making yarn faster than I'm using it. (I didn't mention it above, because this post was starting to look like a list, but I'm also a bobbin into spinning for Idlewood on the wheel. Long draw, from rolags made from batts I carded. SO MUCH FUN). I suspect I can go until next years Bendigo without buying any more fibre or yarn, without feeling limited. We shall see.

I'm certainly not going to stop buying tools and trinkets though!

(The actual reason there are no photos and that this is so rambling is because I am posting this from my place of employment. I'd like to say work, but clearly there is not a whole lot of that going on for me right now.)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Happy birthday Nicola

Nicola's birthday was on Friday and today I went to her place to help her pack, as she's moving back to England, and I gave her the socks I knit for her birthday.

They are Cubist, by Cookie A, and I think she likes them.

I live about 7 kilometers south- east of the City, and Nicola lives about 7 kilometres north east. I had a normal, fairly pleasant ride there. On the way back, I stayed on the Yarra trail by the river, and saw these:

Inner urban sheep. It makes my heart a little lighter that, while I may live in a modern sprawling metrolpolis, I can still come around a corner and stumble across something like this.
Sheep. Happiness.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Resolved.

I wore my Jo Sharp cardigan to work yesterday, and then rode home, went for a run (as an aside, I haven't run for more than six months. I only did 5kms, but I loved it. There's going to more of that, a lot more) and then got dressed to go to my parents for dinner. When I put the cardigan back on, I thought that it has become even wider than before. Too nice to give to the op shop, but doesn't fit me right. So I gave it to my mother:

Speaking of my mother, I have been working on the second half of the singles for her shawl. My current team has lunch together most days, and I've been spindling at lunchtime. I got some questions the first we work with walked in and was chatting in a friendly manner to my manager about work stuff. She turned around to me and asked "what are you doing?" and my boss replied, "she's spinning"like a) it was a normal thing to be doing and b) she hadn't asked the exact same question 2 weeks ago. Shame they have cancelled my project though.

Here's the plying ball, as I'm going to ply on the spindle too. It looks quite big, but that might be because I wrapped it around a convenient crocheted cat toy.


I have removed the pressure to get this knit up into a lace shawl for my mother's birthday. I'm sick of putting so much pressure and deadlines on myself. instead I am going to dye some wool and make her a pair of slippers: I bought the soles when I was in America two years ago.
Part of the reason for putting off this shawl is that I am currently knitting Icarus for my sister in law.

It's not hard, just slow going, but I don't think I want to do two lace shawls in three months.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Chapter 34: I make things

I've had a fantastic four day weekend. There was Bendigo on Friday. Then, on Saturday I sewed a little padded bag for my new Turkish spindle. I'm really happy with the way this came out. Like the spindle it is cute and sort of ridiculous, but well made, if I do say so myself. On Sunday I finished the bath matt I've been crotcheting, which turned out huge. And not quite square, for some reason. Still it sits flat and will keep our feet warm on our marble bathroom floor. And today I carded up 600 grams of fleece, into what will eventually become Idelwood. Carding is fun. Cleaning the carder afterwards is the challenging part of the process, particularly since I know the next things on the carder are going to be dark blue.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bendigo!



Yesterday was the first day of the Bendigo Sheep and Wool show: the very highlight of my fibre year. The lovely Julie gave me, Sonia, Ursula and Melanie a lift. This was the first year I haven't caught the train up, and it was pure luxury, and also so much fun.


I bought lots of stuff. I won't bore you with a full list, but I bought everything that was on my list, and very little that wasn't. One impulse buy was wrist distaff, and I'm using and loving already. I bought pretty braids of wool, sock yarn with silver thread in it, an alpaca AND a merino fleece. The buying stuff was fun, but it was the generosity of everyone there that made my day. Like Richard Ashford, who gave me a lesson on how to use a drum carder , even though I told him I had received one from a different company the day before. Like the Majacraft people, who seemed content to have us sit and spin, and rather pressured Ursula into staying until the they had taught her to spin.

It was a fun, exhausting day, filled with sheep fumes and friends. I probably now have enough yarn and fibre to last me until next Bendigo. Still when I reflect back on the day, it's not what I bought that will last in my mind, its the fun that I had with my fibre friends.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Its fine

Today I went to the post office to get my drum carder. I was a bit worried about getting it home, but I threw it on the back of the bike, and it was fine.

The whole time I was strapping it on this woman with a four wheel drive was staring at me, fascinated. She didn't offer me a lift though. What a bitch.

Then I came home to my Jo Sharp jumper, which is fine. It's really boxy on, but also comfortable and warm.

And now I'm at the beginning of a four day weekend, and tomorrow is Bendigo, so everything really is fine.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A rant, by Sharondoubleknit

This post has no photos. That’s because I want to have something worth photographing before I take photos. Here follows a story of frustration, delusion, and ultimately, hopefully, redemption .

For the last three weeks I have been knitting a Jo Sharp cardigan, in Jo Sharp Felted Tweed. I have a lot to say about the pattern. As those who have seen me IRL know, it can be summarised in four words “I hate Jo Sharp”. Which I have said. Repeatedly.
Some of my complaints come down to a bad pattern choice on my part: if I didn’t want a jumper knit in pieces, I could have chosen a different pattern. But some come down to poor pattern writing: who makes a chart without a key? Oh yes, Jo Sharp does.

I knit the sleeves first, and then the body, although I had to take about 10 centimetres off the length from the underarms to the shoulders. Then I steam blocked, as directed. At this point my yarn started to smell…odd. Not terrible, just not very nice, a little bit chemical. Then I sewed up.

Of course, I had knit the sleeve caps as directed, but the arm holes were significantly shorter. So I decided to just make it work, by making a little pleat at the top of the shoulder. WHO HIDES EXCESS FABRIC AT THE TOP OF THE SHOULDER??? That would be me.

I then knit the bands – and sewed them on. Who writes a pattern that involves sewing on the front bands? Jo Sharp does. All the while, I’m trying to convince myself that it’s fine, it’s a design feature, that the pleat is really cute. When I got home from knit night last night I tried it on. Yes, the cardigan is quite boxy, in a reasonably attractive grandpa manner, but it has STUPID LOOKING PLEATS AT THE SHOULDERS. Why was I trying to leave it, to convince myself that it was a little bit shit but I didn’t care? I’m all for fudging things, but perhaps a better place to hide excess fabric is under the arms? Or do a bit of rip and reknit, or maybe even some cutting.


Either way, I’m fixing this. Near enough is not good enough, especially in this case, when I appear to be using the expression "near enough" to mean "close to ridiculous".

I hope to have photos of a completed and wearable cardigan later this week.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Gifted

Last weekend Leon and I caught the road coach to Ballarat ad gave his mother her birthday present. I know I showed this when it was first finished, but I think it looks much better on the teapot it was designed for.

Then, last night we went for drink for Elise's birthday, and I gave her the Hap blanket. She looked happy with it, so hopefully it will get a lot of love.

I also gave Rachey her mitts last night. They seem to fit okay, and if they are comfortable enough and wear okay I'm going to make her some more, I've got some pink cashmere that I think would really suit her.

Drinks last night, combined with finally staying up to see the finish of a stage of the Tour de France have led me to feel very average this morning. While I hate going in to a week already tired, at least this week ends with the highlight of the sheepy year.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Turkish

Now that I am enjoying my spindles as well as the wheel, I decided I wanted a turkish spindle. They are rim weighted, so they spin slower, but forever. And, since they have no hook they are sturdy enough to throw in the bag and go... I hope.

This is my my brand new Ist spindle, made of Brazillian Kingwood and so beautiful. I just want to hold it and stroke it and carry it around with me.

It's not teeny tiny, weighs in at 23 grams and will, I hope, be perfect for sock wool.

My first project on it will be to fractal spin some slightly felted wool I dyed for socks.

Here it is all prepared for spinning. (The colours are super bright, but don't look quite like this).


I have started, just to play, but am going to finish the yarn for my mothers shawl before I dedicate myself to this little beauty.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A finished spinning project and some coffee

I took a long weekend so that I could ply the green singles I've been spinning for the last two months, that I showed you in the previous post. Each single is made of a different fibre: there is 200 grams of Miss Babs merino/ bamboo/silk, which she had accidentally marked at eight dollars, instead of eighteen. There is 200 grams of alpaca, which was gifted to me by Brent, and 200 grams of blue faced Leicester/silk. I dyed the last two myself with acid dyes and set off to spin it.

I've come out with a total of 628 meters and 565 grams. I failed to realise that the alpaca is heavier, and will therefore be shorter than the other fibres. On the other hand, I'm very happy with how it looks, feels and smells.

I'm still planning on making Vinelle… sort of. I'm going to knit it top down using Barbara Walkers formulas, and it may have short sleeves, depending on how far the yarn stretches.

After I finished spinning this I started on some Ixchel Wensleydale. I'm spinning it laceweight, to ply with the stuff I am currently preparing on my spindle. I've never spun Wensleydale before, but I'll definitely be spinning it again. It's shiny and smooth but slightly haloed with a bit of crunch and an absolute joy to spin.

In other news, I am currently drinking a cup of home made coffee. I don't usually have coffee after work but two things have happened: the Tour de France is on, and I am exhausted already, and Tarragon broke my plunger. I even took a picture, because I thought it was so tragic, although I rather like the photo.

In order to make coffee I bought myself a new unbreakable coffee device and I love it. And, in case anyone is wondering, I do actually love my 1970s orange kitchen.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

HAPpiness

I finally got the ends of the hap blanket sewn in. Then I blocked it. Knitting this was an unusual process for me, I did the garter stitch central square, and then put it aside while I knit Owlet. Then I did the lace edging, and put it aside while I knit skew. I finally got the ends sewn in, and then it sat around for a bit before I blocked it.


(There was NO WAY possible to get a picture without Tarragon, so i just went with it)

Now it's done and I'm happy with it. It will be gifted to Elise next week and I think she'll love it too, presuming her Bengal's don't have the same fondness for fibre in their diets as mine does.


I found the feather and fan lace quite fun once I got the hang of it, and I loved, loved, loved, knitting something huge and warm that sat on my lap like a big warm cat. This has inspired me to make another bathmat while it is still chilly, so I can carry my own warmth with me wherever I go. But first, a green cardigan, because I just can’t get enough of green.