Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The project I never told you about

When it comes to knitting at least, I am strongly monogamous. I just want to knit what I knit last, and I want to knit until it is completely finished. I finished the knitting on the green cardi yesterday on the bus on the way to work, and sewed the buttons on at lunch time. I took it home and blocked it where it is currently still drying. So, I was left with nothing on the needles. My next project is a lace shawl that starts from the lace border . I thought it inadvisable to start this at the pub, and Tuesday night we do trivia at the pub. And drink beer. It was more the beer than the trivia that made me hesitate about starting lace. So I pulled out my Sock Yarn blanket.

According to Ravelry I started this in June 2009, so more than 2 years ago. I work on it rarely, but it's there for me when I am doing complicated lace and have to leave the house, or if I finish a project before a movie is over, or in other knitting emergencies. I even bought myself Signature needles for it a couple of months ago. I did four squares on it at the pub. Not only did we win trivia, but the question "what word is used to describe the diameter of wool?" was asked. I struggle with sports questions, and know very little about music, but a fibre question? No problems.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

In which Leon shows his love, in Excel

Leon has been home from work for the last two days with the same virus as I still have. I struggled through my day at work and came home. I've spun all my prepared fibre for Idlewood and wanted to ply, and I thought it would be a good idea to measure the first lot of plied fibre and , using maths, work out from that whether I would have enough or whether I will have to card some more fibre, and spin some more singles before proceeding. Leon said "I must be such a disappointment to you, with my inability to do maths". I said "It's not so much maths, as a formula" "Oh" said Leon and went and made a whole routine in Excel to work out the total yardage based on a sample. You put in the length and weight of the sample and it tells you how much that would be with your total weight. Here's a screen shot from today's sample:

Only I needed that total to read 770. I guess I'd better get the drum carder back out.
(Leon knows there is a typo in there, when I pointed it out he said "I'm taking time out from making fresh pasta for dinner, I'll fix it later)





Monday, August 22, 2011

I feel slightly sick and slightly guilty

I got sent home yesterday from work, partly because I was sick, and partly because my coughing was disturbing the executive with whom I share a wall. I even missed knit night last night. So I'm home sick today. I don't feel great, but as long as I sit relatively still I don't feel completely dreadful. To pass the time I have been sitting on the couch, watching Dowton Abbey and knitting. I've been putting my books into my Ravelry library. I've starting a cardigan out of handspun and it's knitting up really prettily and very quickly.

After lunch I sat out on the back balcony and finished spinning the singles for Idlewood, and started washing a merino fleece. After I post this it's back to the couch.

Now, I know I'm actually sick, but how do these activities differ from my perfect day? They don't. Hence the guilt. I feel like I am chucking a sickie, even though that's not what I'm doing.

Cookie A does it again

I knit Eunice from Cookie A's Sock Innovation for Leon. I love this book and will, I expect, over time knit every pattern in it. Now, I knit these for Leon from Socks that Rock colour Manly yes, but I like it too. The name is perfect for the fibre, and as soon as I saw it I knew it had to be a pair of socks for Leon. Still, pairing the wool with the pattern, I expected them to be not at all manly, given that they are lace socks, but Leon was only planning on wearing them around the house with his new Ugg Boot grandpa slippers and you can barely see the socks:

They are one of the most wonderful designs I have knit. Cables using two cable needles, lace, and I think you all know my love for Socks that Rock. And they knitted up so pretty:


As well as being a typically wonderful Cookie A design, I think they came out manly enough. What do you think?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

An elegant solution

I sew in the dining room. It can take a little bit to get everything set up, and when it is set up, I like to get everything done before packing it all away again. After I finished the bag yesterday I had quite a lot of fabric left over, and I wanted to make little dilly bags to store the fibre I am working on in while I am progress, especially on a spindle project. For the socks I am spinning now on the Turkish I carefully stripped the wool to make a fractal effect, but then I struggled to remember which pile of fibre was which. To solve this, I could tell which was which I put them in freezer bags - we seem to have run out of ziplock bags - and put a piece of paper in each labelled 1 and 2. Then, in my spindle bag I put a matching piece of paper numbered 1 or 2, so I know which lot I am spinning from. Effective but ugly.

In order to supply a more elegant solution to the problem I sewed little drawstring bags, with matching markers, so I will be able to identify which bag of fibre the wool came from.

Then I packed up all the sewing supplies and put them in the cupboard. Until next time, which may be sooner rather than later. This sewing thing is definitely growing on me.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sewing, it's good for one thing


I've found that I only want to sew one thing: project bags. I had today off work and dedicated to making a new small project bag, since my sock bag is looking a bit tired and limp. I used an Amy Butler pattern that the lovely Sonia gave to me when she had made her own lovely bag from it, and I am very happy with the results. I'm going to make some quick and basic dilly bags with the left over fabric. But not right now, now I'm going to sit and spin for a little while.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's only a problem if you consider it a problem

When I thought that I would not be able to knit the lace rows of Icarus in public I cast on a pair of socks for Leon. While socks as an easy knit in public pattern makes sense, I cast on Eunice socks, by Cookie A. It’s a twenty stitch, twenty row repeat, with a cable that requires two cable needles. So much fun, so pretty. Ahh cables and lace together, what could be finer?

I finished Icarus and am working away on the lace socks. After I finish them I’m going to knit a top down cardigan, with a lace panel down the front. And then I am going to make Jared Flood's Rock Island shawl out of handspun for my mothers birthday .

Now, I know I said I wasn’t going to knit a shawl for her birthday because I wanted to stop putting so much pressure on myself but I have to do it. I have to knit lace, I can’t stop. Like someone who has their first line of cocaine and thinks they can stop any time they want, but they just don’t want to yet because its too much fun. Like any addict, I’m great at justifying this addiction. I lie to myself and others I say things like “I can stop any time I want” and “I’m not hurting anyone” and “I barely knit most days”. And I find ways to sneak more of it into my life, like doing a couple of lines at lunch time, or sneaking into the toilets at parties to do a line. I ignore my aching hands and keep up the mantra “just one more line” which is particularly funny when the row has 500 + stitches. Anyway, I can stop anytime I want, but why would I want to?


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Icarus, an epic shawl


On Friday night I finished my Icarus shawl. While working this shawl was never difficult, this project took me two days shy of a month. I don't think anything has ever taken me this long to knit. It was enjoyable pretty much the whole way through and the lace charts were so clear and the pattern so readable, and the repeat so short (only 12 stitches) that I actually could take it out and knit in public until the very end. And the time invested has paid off, because the finished shawl is huge and lovely. Luckily its for my sister-in-law, who is larger than I am. I hope she likes it, because I made it for her based on her asking for something a bit more sedate than the clapotis I made for her last birthday. I'm pretty sure that she was not expecting a full size, lace weight shawl.Still, it will suit her, and it was made with all good wishes in every stitch, and with Blue Moon Fiber arts silk thread, so,what's not to like?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bye Nicola

Saying goodbye to Nicola was hard and sad, but the process of saying good bye to her has been a lot of fun. I even crossed the river to have drinks in Northcote. And I'm not making it up when I say that there was a cannon pointing at us when we did!

And then knit night last night was really fun. The only problem was that when I went to leave, I put my key in my bike lock and it broke! Tony, who runs the café had a ladder and he stood on it, we passed him up the bike and he lifted it over the parking sign to which I had locked it. Nicola, please don't take that as your abiding memory of me. Remember me being graceful and wearing decent clothes, not having a minor drama in lycra.

On the weekend I finally dyed for a project I have been planning for a long time: Blackrose socks from Knitty I've actually tried to spin these before, but on the wheel and the yarn came up short and a bit harsh. I'm going to spin this this three ply on my new Bosworth Spindle: 19 grams of pure beauty. Normally I like dark woods, but I was completely taken by this Birds Eye Maple. Look at the markings on the bottom.


And how beautiful is the dark wool I dyed going to look on the light spindle?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Yarn for Mimi's shawl




I've been working on this one for a while, one ply of Wensleydale, one of Camel / Bunny /Silk, spun up on a mixture of spindles and the wheel. I got over 500meters from 136 grams, although I cannot work out how it weighs that little. Hopefully I have enough for a slightly smaller version of the Shoulder Shawl for my mother. I'm thinking leave the border off and it should be plenty big enough. hopefully. I know I said I wasn't going to put pressure on myself to knit a shawl in time for her birthday, but really I want to knit with my handspun, all of it. I have 5 different lots of handspun in my stash and I would rather knit with that before the commercial stuff. Also I only have one mother and while she woud be happy with socks, I think she deserves more.


This project has really reminded me of my utter love for spindling and I'm currently spindling sock wool on my Turkish, mainly as lunchtime at work. here's a gratuitous shot as I adore the way this looks on the Turkish