Saturday, March 31, 2007

New toy

Ha ha, at last I've managed to upload pictures to my blog. I've been having one heck of a time; first getting them from camera to PC (software kept hanging), then getting them from PC to Blogger the right way up. THEN tried to delete the one that was on it's side and the whole lot disappeared!!!!

But now I can show you the picture of my new baby. This is my new Haldane Orkney which I purchased on ebay last week. (Time off work you see, it just goes straight to my head and I do silly things!). Mind you when I saw that the seller lives about a mile and a half from where I live I thought it must be fate!

That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Thanks to Ali for your help and advice and sending pictures of your wheel (also an Orkney) so I could compare and contrast. The odd bits (like the leather supports for the flyer unit) look as though they are part of the original so that's okay.

I got two large bags of roving with the wheel as well as a niddy noddy and the Ashford Book of Spinning so I've been having a bit of a play around with it this week and it's rather nice to use. (okay Ro I will bring it down so you can have a play with it, just not this weekend, get on with your gardening!!!).

My other activity this week has been knitting my slippers. This has been just great because they were sooo quick to knit that they were almost finished before I'd started. This is the kind of project I like.

I used the Fibertrends pattern that I bought at Get Knitted last week and I used the Twilleys of Stamford Freedom Spirit that I bought to knit them. I used the yarn double on 6.5mm needles and each slipper took less than two balls for the smallest adult size.

I felted them on a 60 degree cycle on the washing machine along with a pair of jeans and sundry other bits and bobs. They're still a bit large for me and I don't think they'll felt down any more, they're certainly very sturdy. I may try another one with the left over yarn but knitted singly to see if it shrinks any more. They're certainly wearable though (or will be when I've put the buttons on) and I think they're quite cute. I like the colour particularly. Nice yarn to work with, very soft.

Finally best wishes to Als who lives in New Zealand. I'm thinking of you chick!!

just seen this on another blog Rachel's Fibres and Yarns and thought folk may be interested.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Home again

Just got back from a weekend in Cardiff for the EDF cup semi finals. Lovely time and the boys won so that's at least one trip to Twickenham this year (out of a possible three).

I would be happier about this if I didn't hate going to Twickenham so much, it's one of the most soulless stadia I've ever been to. Still if the boys go, then I have to go too! Ho hum.

Used the trip down to take advantage of a chance to visit Get Knitted in Bristol. Now I know that I'm in Bristol every single week, but I'm on a bit of a tight timescale when I'm doing deliveries and unfortunately Not one single one of my customers is anywhere near where Get Knitted live, so to date I've not had the chance to go there.

However with an afternoon to kill on Friday Ro and I made the most of our opportunity and went wild. This is a picture of what I bought.

Fibretrends patterns for felted ballerina slippers and for a felted hat. Twilleys Freedom Spirit in varigated blue to make said slippers, two skeins of Celestial Merino in Rose/Green/Yellow etc to make a Clapotis as a gift (I think) and a skein of Handmaiden Sea Silk at the front to make a scarf.

Ro bought a skein of the sea silk too along with a pattern for a scarf and we wound hers earlier today. Have to say that it's just a wee bit scrumptious.

Finally I've bin and gone and bought another spinning wheel off ebay. This one's a Haldane traveller (if there is such a thing, you get the idea). Anyone out there got one? Think it may require a tiny bit of TLC and I'd like to get some close up pictures of the business bits, just to make sure it's all there.

Tuesday update. I think the wheel is called the Haldane Orkney. It's a portable wheel; looks a bit similar to the Ashford Traveller but is a double band wheel. My Elizabeth can be used as double band or single band with scotch tension and I usually use it as the latter. No problems with the double band on the Haldane though and according to the Ashford Book of spinning this method requires less adjustment as the bobbin fills than the scotch tension. Because the wheel is smaller than the Elizabeth it spins a softer yarn with less twist in it. I quite like it. tends to sqeak a bit so I'll have to get the oil out to it. I would like some advice on how to fine tune it so if anyone out there has any experience of one of these I would be grateful.

And finally, yes we did stay at the Hilton in Cardiff and very nice it was too. I was however shattered to discover that even there they have INSTANT BLOODY COFFEE on the hospitality tray in the room. Pretty poor show I thought.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Happy Birthday .......

........ to me. Fortysix today (and feeling a tad older due to aching limbs from yesterday!)

However I've swapped my Friday off for a Thursday off and so am having a leisurely day of R&R.

The last post I put up proved to be somewhat less than helpful, my links weren't working which I have now corrected thanks to Annie pointing out where I had gone wrong (thanks Annie).

I also rather foolishly made the link from the Online Guild to their Yahoo group rather than their website. This led to a spot of confusion as you can't access the Yahoo group until you've joined the guild and Annie (again) got a less than helpful email pointing this out. I've amended the link now so it takes you to the Online Guild's site with details of subscriptions etc. (Sorry Annie).

I also failed to mention that Europa Wools do mail order so you don't have to visit them in person, you can ring or email them.

I finished my spinning on Sunday evening and am quite plesed with the result. I carded the white cheviot that I bought off ebay a while back with some multi coloured green merino from Wingham.

I then spun it into singles

and then plied it and set it in the skein. I'm happy with the result and I have about 210 yards of a double knitting weight. The colour doesn't show very well in these pictures which are a bit bleached out. The green is more pronounced in real life. Though still subtle.

I'm not sure what to use it for, it's a bit scratchy for a scarf or a hat, I'm considering felted slippers but I'm not sure if there's enough.

If in doubt I guess I could always start another blankie. LoL!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

A quiet week

I haven't got a deal to talk about today and no recent pictures, but I can't be doing with picture free posts, so I'm throwing in a couple from the archive.

I'm still knitting socks but for some reason seem to be finding them heavy going.

Omigosh, tired of socks, tired of life!

I'm using up the remainder of the Cherrytree Hill supersock that I knitted "Monkey" out of to do a pair of Dublin Bay socks. Now I have done this pattern before and I'm starting to think that I only have the attention span to knit one pair of each pattern of sock in my lifetime and I can't ever repeat them. Strange but apparently true. I will keep soldiering on but I haven't even finished the first sock and I'm already flagging.

I don't know if I mentioned that I decided to join the online Guild of Weavers Spinners and Dyers a couple of weeks back (on the grounds that I don't weave, seldom dye and haven't done any spinning since I bought the drum carder. Done plenty of carding though!). I've added their button to my sidebar and it takes you to their yahoo page. They're set up as a Yahoo group and they have some very interesting workshops as well as lively messageboard discussions and pictures of members work.

One of the useful pieces of information that I found on there was a pricelist for a company called Europa Wool; merchants and processors of wool, waste and synthetic fibres. They live in Slaithwaite up the Colne valley from Huddersfield, pretty much on my doorstep. I went to have a look round yesterday and although it's not fancy their prices are very reasonable. They've not been in the craft market very long being mainly a supplier to spinning mills. I emailed before going and was told that they prefer that rather than folk just turning up on spec. I was very good and didn't buy anything at all, just coming away with a price list and a shade card. A useful one for the future though and very convenient.

I did actually do some spinning last night after being inspired by an article by Lorraine Smith in Knittyspin about blending colour on hand carders. Now I know it sounds dull to be going back to the hand carders having bought the drum carder but the whole process was rendered more simple by the fact that I'd already carded the Cheviot that I used on the drum carder, making the subsequent blending more easy. This is a bit of an extension of what I was doing before, carding commercially dyed stuff with the fleece I'd prepared myself. Love that experimenting though.

I've just discovered that none of the links that I've put into this post are working, I think it's a problem with blogger as I had the same linking from some other peoples pages earlier this morning. I'll have another look at it later and see if it's working by then. Till then sorry.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Rain, Wind and socks

If last week was what I love about my job this week was what I hate about it. Tuesday the weather was horrible; rainy and windy and generally bleaugh! My least favourite thing is unloading three quarters of a ton of gear off the truck to a shop that I can't park near so I have to trolley it all in the PISSING RAIN!!! I do get help from the shop owner but even so, the drop takes about an hour and a half which is a bit boring on a normal day but trudging back and forth in the rain is just the pits! I also had a delay on the first day so I didn't roll in to the yard until seven thirty on Wednesday evening and I was knackered.

Still it's swings and roundabouts I guess. Some weeks are good and some are bad, the good usually outweighs the bad (I think!).

On a more exciting (and knitting related) note, I've just got a parcel through the post! This little lot of loveliness is from Astrid's Dutch Obsessions, an online yarn store in the Netherlands. I have to say that Astrid is an absolute star. I went online a couple of weeks ago and tried to score some sock yarn but having chosen the ten balls that I wanted I went to the checkout only to be told that my trolley was empty! Boo, hiss!

Undeterred I tried again, and again. But it wasn't having it. I emailed Astrid and told her I was having problems but she wasn't able to shed any light on it as other customers weren't experiencing any difficulty but she was able to see what it was I wanted to order. When I tried again a week later it still wouldn't work so I contacted Astrid again. Now it would seem pretty clear that I'm doing something wrong but I don't know what, probably to do with cookies or summat. Anyhow, to cut a long story short Astrid emailed me a manual paypal invoice which I was able to authorise and before long the yarn was on it's way to me and I received it today (miraculously on my day off!). I'd seen the Trekking wool knitted up on someone else's blog and liked it (very understated) it makes a bit of a change from the wild and whacky coloured sock yarn that I usually use (though I got a couple of wild and whackys too). I even got a free ball of wool. A satisfied customer (eventually).

Eat your heart out Ro!! (she's given up buying anything over the internet for Lent.)

Next knitterly news is the completed Monkeys by Cookie A. in the latest Knitty. (Talking of wild and whacky colourways) These are in Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Fall Foliage. I do like it (in fact I have a pair of Dublin Bay socks on the needles as we speak using up the remainder of the yarn) but I think that these more detailed patters look better in a plainer coloured yarn.

Close up of the pattern.

I suspect that for the next few months I will be mostly knitting socks!