Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A fibre delivery (spoilers) and a yarn moratorium‏

I've decided to not buy yarn until after my trip - I'm not sure I've mentioned it here but in June Leon and I are going to Dublin, Portugal and England. The visit will culminate in a trip to http://www.woolfest.co.uk/ which I'm very excited about. And due to a little bit of shopping and a little bit of spinning my stash box is fairly full. I'm going to spend the next three months working on creating some space and, just before we go away I'm going to go through it and check that I really want to knit with everything in there and get rid of anything that I don't love. I'm not likely to run out of yarn in the next three months, although I have some big plans, including four pairs of socks, a mini Kate Davies festival and of course a Romi Hill shawl or two -at least one with beads.

To really ensure that I don't feel deprived I actually have some fibre and yarn on the way - all ordered before I made this decision. I joined The Thylacines sock fibre club, which is three months of 150 grams of fibre. And here's the first delivery!

Green! Alpaca, merino and nylon. It's beautiful, soft and fluffy. And I've been thinking that I want green, becasue I don't yet have a green shawl.

I don't think I'll use it for socks, I'm thinking - surprise surprise - of a Romi Hill shawl. My wheel has been sitting empty for a little while, but I'm really looking forward to sitting down and spinning this.

Also I'll be getting the Cookie A sock club instalment in April, which I'm already excited about. And a couple of weeks ago I put in my first Skein order, just for two skeins or sock yarn. One greyish and one greenish, I think. Which seemed reasonable at the rate I am getting through my sock yarn stash. As she dyes to order this will be with me sometime in the next month, or so, which kind of adds to the excitement.

So that's it, three knit what I already own and love months for me.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

It's quite warm around here


I finished Leon's mitts, and therefore his winter set on Thursday. I was planning to take pictures at the pub this afternoon of the complete set, but it's been really warm the last couple of days, and there is no way I can convince Leon that a scarf, gloves and hat are a great idea. In fact I kind of manipulated Leon into putting these on for the photos by pointing out that I had made them - from wool. Sun them and knitted them just for him, to show him my love, so he's better put them on for the photos.
When the weather cools down I'll get a picture of him in the full set.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Biscuits

My parents are coming to dinner tomorrow, and when thinking about what sweets to make, I decided to bake the "flourless fiery fudge cookies" that came in this month's Cookie A sock club package.

Cayenne pepper in a biscuit? Interesting and different. This club thing is so exciting!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cookie A sock club 2012, January Package, with spoilers.‏

Last Wednesday I picked up my first Cookie A package from the post office. I has not looked at any of the pattern of yarn spoilers, so I had no idea what to expect. When I opened the package I was not disappointed: A Cookie A project bag Alisha Goes Round yarn in Merino and Silk in red

! I was especially excited because I really wanted to knit some red socks. Then I went and looked at the patterns and biscuit recipes. I'm not committed to making all the biscuits, but I'll tell you about it if I do. I have decided I'm going to knit all twelve sock patterns even if - or perhaps especially if - they are not the patterns that I would first choose for myself. So I went and downloaded the February patterns. One of them- Wayward is a Cookie A signature piece, with travelling cables, anatomically correct toes and definite left and right socks. The other Mokoto, was a slightly odd looking sort of lacy sock with double yarn overs. I told Leon I'd knit his a load more socks this year. While I have a theory that pretty much any sock can be a "boy sock" if it's done in a dark yarn, a lace sock with double yarn overs … not so much.
So I started the Mokoto socks for myself and I love them. The yarn is delicious, soft and wonderful with a hint of sheen from the silk. The pattern was simple and logical and a joy to knit. I made mine in the medium size and, while I think the small would have fit, I love the way it looks, not too stretched out, just perfect. Also, these socks are incredibly comfortable. I'm very much looking forward to an entire year of Cookie A joy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Simple happiness

After my failed attempt to knit a vest I was undecided about what to knit next. I was waiting on the Cookie A sock club package, so I didn't want a big project and I wanted something that was going to be satisfying and work out. Additionally I had a wedding to attend on Sunday, that was about an hour away by taxi, so I wanted something I could knit in a crowded taxi. While drinking.

Enter the Noro Stripped scarf. One of my favourite things to do is to "manually stripe" Noro - that's one of my favourite phrases too, thanks Jared Flood. I cast on 29 stitches in perfect, pastel Noro Kochoron - it's wool, silk and angora. Fluffy, but not too fluffy.

Like all Noro stripped items my scarf has parts where the colours look stunning

And bit where they are quite ugly

And inevitably some parts where the colours come together, almost erasing the striped affect.

And in the end, all of this comes together for a perfect, snugly stripy, warm, perfect example of simple knitting at it's finest.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Plying and dying with mixed success‏

I was trying to think up a snappy title for this post but, to be frank, I'm not feeling overly snappy about things. I finally got the merino plied that I have been spinning on Rosie. Remember the one that Remember the one that I was determined to get to 400 meters?

BTW it's Kathy's Fibres in Forest I highly recommend her fibre. It's beautifully prepared, the colours are stunning, the fibre is very inexpensive and it's posted from South Australia. After I had finished plying I took a good look at what I had made: it's fine and even and lovely. Also, it's 330 meters, which isn't bad for 100grams, but is probably not long enough for the unreleased Romi Hill pattern I thought I was spinning for.
At the same time I have been plying some superwash merino I dyed and spun on my Bosworth Mini. I've been plying it while I'm out and about on my Boseworth maxi and I have no words for how much a I love this spindle. It's smooth and lovely and it even smells amazing. Also, it can take 100grams of fibre - I'd like to say without a problem, although I think the spindle was a little overloaded at the end.
This is three plied and came out at 214 metres. I'm spinning for Blackrose socks and the small size calls for 220 meters. Given that I have very small feet it should be fine. I might leave a pattern repeat out - as well as short feet I have short legs.
I also tried to dye the Regia I bought for Cloud. For some reason I came up with yellow marks. This happened last time I dyed, and I thought I knew why, but this time I have no idea. I threw the ruined yarn out and sulked a little.
To sum up: the spinning was almost successful and the dying was a failure.
On top of all this I feel very tired. We had a big weekend, culminating in one of my close friends getting married. To get myself out of this funk I have cast on for the pastel two strip noro scarf because in the face of failure - or at least mixed success, a pretty, fluffy, simple scarf really is the quickest way to happiness.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Walking on the wild side, falling on my face

Plivver was going really well. I got the hang of the lace pattern and it was flying by. Something about the pattern made my hands hurt a little, but not too badly, and the body of it was growing at a decent rate. I got up to very near where I thought I should divide for the underarms and put it on a long circular to try it on. Immediately it became very short, and very wide. Very, very short and very, very wide.
I'm taking a leaf out of Melanie's book and sending it to the frog pond.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Will work for yarn

I often "joke" that I only work so that I can pay for yarn and fibre. Yesterday I got to combine the two.

A couple of weeks ago I went to Wangaratta for work. After I finished, I had to hang around for a couple of hours before the train came. A couple of days after that I discovered that our Wangaratta work site is 400 meters from the Australian Country Spinners factory, and attached yarn store. 400 meters and I didn't know!

Needless to say I lobbied to get sent back next time we needed someone to go to Wangaratta and yesterday off I went.

I got some good stuff, including 400 grams of Regia 4 ply, which I am going to dye blue for Kate Davies (get off my) Cloud sweater and some discount red 5 ply that looks like Bluebell, for Firelight from Knitty. Also some red Regia sock yarn and some navy Patonyle. As an aside, I need to stop buying navy sock yarn and start knitting with it. Also, why ACS had Regia which is, I think, a German yarn is a mystery to me. Still, it's lovely, sort of sproingy and elastic and I am very much looking forward to seeing how it looks dyed and knitted.

All in all a very successful day at the office. Next up, I'm going to get work to send me to Bendigo, because who doesn't love the Bendigo Back Room? And the mill is only 2.4 kms from our Bendigo location.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

We'll be seeing this for a while

In January, everything I knit was done before I felt like it had even started and everything went far quicker than I expected. Bitterroot was done in ten days, and I knit 6 things in January, including a sock weight jumper, a hat, scarf, shawl, baby jumper, pair of socks - and not for me, with my teeny tiny feet. It was starting to feel like I was in Fight Club and my alter ego was knitting while I thought I slept. So, when I cast on Plivver I figured it too would fly by. Yes, it's four ply on 3.5mm needles, and yes it's lace, but I had precedence and arrogance telling me it would be done in no time.

For reasons I cannot explain it's slow going. But the Pear Tree yarn I'm using is beautiful and the pattern is quite enjoyable, so its not a problem at all. My main fear is I've taken a walk on the wild side and not swatched. I'm not quite sure why I didn't, I was just having a "swatches lie and this should have negative ease anyway" moment. Hopefully that won't come back to bite me.

So, coming up for the next three weeks on the blog, expect many updates, showing this grey lace blob growing very, very slowly.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Everything's gone dark around here

We're in my favourite park of summer; the days are long and the sun is hot. The sky is an endless blue and it makes my heart sing with joy. The beach, which I ran down to this morning, is white and the water is stunning, with the sun shinning back of the tiny wavelets of the bay. Which really does not explain why all my knitting has gone grey.
I finished Leon's scarf:
This is a detail blocking shot of the end. Once it's dry and the weather is cooler I'll get an action shot of the whole thing. I decided not to go straight on to the matching mitts. I wanted a break for this design and I had an absolute craving to knit a garment. I cast on Pliver, from Shetland Trader, in grey. To sum up, I cast on a winter garment in grey yarn in the middle of summer.
Even my spinning is full of dark colours, (it's darker than this picture, one day I'm going to buy a fancy camera and take pictures that are the right colour) although at least this time it's dark greens as well as greys.
This is the fibre I'm determined to get 400 meters from. I'm just up the the second half, so in a week or two I'll know if I made it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The first time this year

I've made my first yarn purchase for the year! While I'm not on a yarn diet, I like to shop with caution. I've got (self) limited storage space for yarn and, while I use it up at quite a rate, that space stays full. This might, or course, be because I am making it as well as sometimes buying it, or it might be one of the enduring mysteries of my stash box.

I bought this yarn, from Jay - Knitwit Originals on Etsy. I'ts my favourite kind of sock yarn - sproingy 2 ply, with a tight twist. This yarn has the added joy of sparkles! The dye job is lovely, it has just a little bit of variation in it, and a whole lot of beauty.
I bought it for a Romi Hill Shawl - I know you're shocked, Celaeno. It calls for random beading in the body and I cannot deal with the thought of random beading, so I'm going to rely on the sparkle in this yarn, and then bead the lace part. I did so love the last beading I did.