Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I don't suppose that anyone is still reading this as I've been so very bad at updating it but I'll start by wishing everyone who is a very
Happy New Year.
Hope you all had a good Christmas (if you do Christmas) and jolly holiday of other variety if you do that!
I seem to spend all my spare time on Ravelry nowadays which is why I've not blogged in a while, it's even more of a time suck than this is, and having a laptop doesn't help as it's there all the time unlike my old pooter which I had to go upstairs to use.
Since talking to you last I have started going to meetings of the Bradford Weavers Spinners and Dyers Guild and have met many lovely new people (in real life!!). I'm planning on joining this year. The Online Guild was great and some of their workshops were fabulous but I wasn't taking proper advantage of it.
My latest knitting is a pair of Pararie Boots to keep my poor cold tootsies warm. Because they're quite long they should stop the drafts that whistle across my living room floor from biting my ankles. The first one is a bit loose around the foot so I'm doing the next one on smaller needles. I may have to scoot over to the Texere open day and get me another 5.5mm circular.
Love to all
Sunday, August 10, 2008
I have to say that I'm really pleased with it, it's very soft and lovely and quite fine with occasional slubby bits. I'm thinking of a lacy scarf or something similar. There's 100g of it but I haven't measured the mileage yet. (Have now, it's 605 yards)
My second weekend project was finishing off some rainbow merino (also from Wingham) which I'd spun up and plied with some of the Manx Loghtan I'd had left on a bobbin. I spun the remains of the merino and plied it up with the remainder of the (already spun) Manx. It was almost a perfect match. Only a few yards of the merino left over which I used to practice my Navajo plying which is a bit crap.
There's not a lot of this (53 yards) but I really like the colour which is a greeny tan colour overall but has areas of other colours too. I've loads of the manx still but none of the merino left, may have to get some more and do enough for a project.
The Navajo plying was a lot better than previous efforts thanks to advice from some helpful Ravelers to the effect that I may do better if I slackened off the tension. Tried it and it worked. Hurrah for Ravelry.
Nice pic of both my finished efforts drying off.
On Friday I bought a book at the Oxfam second hand bookshop by Nicholas Crane (Coast, Mapman on the BBC) called "Clear Waters Rising: a mountain walk across Europe" ; an account of his seventeen month journey on foot from Finisterre to Istanbul. I have to say it's a fascinating read but the man is completely bonkers.
Friday, July 25, 2008
When it was dry I showed her how to flick card it on one of her carders and we laid it out in a box so she can spin it worsted style.
This is it in it's finished state. Aint it lovely?
On the knitting front I've completed my latest pair of "left overs" socks. I decided that there was no way I was going to manage to match the stripes up on them as I'd pretty much just changed shades at random so I decided to go for a completely asymmetric look instead. I quite like them.
I'm really into knitting my socks toe up now. So much so that I've started knitting the tilting cable socks from Interweave knits but I've adapted the pattern to toe up. Seems to be working out okay so far and I got lots done last night as we had a co-op meeting which I knitted through. I'm enjoying the actual knitting but I dunno that I'm particularly thrilled with the finished object. I'll carry on though.
I was very chuffed this week as I had a delivery on my run which necessitated my driving past Get Knitted. As the run was pretty quiet I had time to pull over and go in. I bought a new cable needle (can't find mine anywhere) and some Regia silk solid sock wool in Tigers colours. I fancy me some silk socks to wear at the rugby this winter to keep my tootsies nice and warm.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Saturday, July 05, 2008
I've separated the Shetland fleece I bought at Woolfest out into four piles of distinct shades and have been washing them in batches in the bath.
here's the lightest stuff drying on the airer
and here's some darker airing off in front of the gas fire. Some more intermediate shade is already finished and bagged up (uncarded) and the darkest from the legs and belly is still waiting to be washed.
I've also been playing with my new drop spindle. I did a bit of Manx on it and then after plying that using the handy plying technique from Knitty I started on some of the silk caps which I'd bought at Woolfest last year but not done anything with yet. It's very uneven so far and it's hell on the fingers trying to draft it but I'm going to ply it up into an interesting slubby art yarn and make some sort of a scarf out of it I think.
I was very sad to hear of the death of Charles Wheeler earlier this week. He was the most amazing broadcast journalist. Listen again has broadcast an interview that Jeremy Paxman did with him when he was eighty. It's well worth a listen.
Monday, June 30, 2008
Despite my inability to work out how many days there are in a week I managed to get myself organised in time (apart from the camera!). I was back from my run quite early as I only had two drops left to do on the Wednesday and a couple of pick ups. I was pleased to find that my parcel from Texere had arrived when I got home and that it had been put through the door as well so I didn't have to go back into town and pick it up from the sorting office either. I was able to carry on plying and emptied two bobbins to take with me for the spin in on the Friday night.
We had a pretty good journey up, though the weather was a bit horrible and we arrived at about four o'clock.
The actual show was great fun again, lots to see and do. I was a bit more restrained than I was last year as far as purchases were concerned. I bought a raw shetland fleece (a katmogget; white on the back and dark on the legs and belly.); a drop spindle so I can learn to spindle; Cat Bhordi's book "New Pathways for sock knitters"; twenty vintage buttons (five matching) and a Herdy the Herdwick mug. I also "helped" Ro to buy a black Wensleydale fleece as she was showing signs of not getting one!!!
We watched the parade of sheep which was interesting and educational as well as quite funny when the chap on the mike from the rare breeds survival trust offered to hold a Manx Loughtan whilst her owner said a bit about the breed. She decided that she wasn't keen on him and tried to leap out of his arms (for small sheep they can jump quite high!). The Alpacas also took exception to the Herdwick sniffing their bottoms, but in the main everyone was pretty well behaved.
We watched the sheep shearing but alas this year there was no audience participation (health and safety, not sure if this was in the interests of the volunteer or the sheep). And we went to the sheep auction which was such good fun. The auctioneer clearly thought that we were all completely bonkers, but he joined in with the spirit of the occasion in fine fashion and didn't turn a hair at someone bidding and breastfeeding at the same time (which I imagine was a first for him). Some of the sheep went for up to sixty pounds prompting the old boy who breeds Herdwicks who was sitting next to me to say that he thought he'd bring some dead ones down next time as they got better prices stuffed than they do live!!!
I didn't see as many people that I knew as I had in previous years but we met a friend from last year and met lots of new people. I also managed to say a quick hello to CarolL as I was shooting off on saturday evening. Oh AND as well as finding someone who will make bobbins to order from an existing one (Woodland Turnery) the chap on the Scottish Fibres stand told me that he adapts Ashford bobbins to fit Haldanes so I may be able to get some spare bobbins for the Orkney after all.
Got back home about four o'clock on Sunday absolutely shattered, but glad I went again. Roll on next year.
Managed a picture of my fleece after all, aint it a beut?
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Unfortunately I was working on the eight day week.
I still don't know how this happened but when I spoke to Ro the other night she pointed out that she and Als are actually coming up on the Wednesday evening (of course) because we're driving up to Cumbria on the Thursday. Well I'm driving on the Tuesday / Wednesday and have no idea when I'm going to get back as it's wholly dependent on how busy the run is and what the traffic is like on the way back up. So I'll get back at some time; have a bath (absolute necessity after being on the road for two days), get a meal ready for my guests (have to sort that this weekend as I'll have no time to shop on Wednesday) and prepare myself for the weekend away when all I'm likely to want to do is go to sleep.
How do I manage to mess things up quite so effectively? Never mind, at least I realised before Wednesday so I can spend this weekend getting organised. I've managed to borrow an air bed inflater that plugs into the car cigarette lighter so I won't have to cripple myself blowing up the spare mattress with a foot pump like I did for the Commonwealth Games so that's a bonus.
I also decided that I needed to finish plying the singles that I had on the bobbins of my Orkney as I'll need it for the spin in on Friday night. Don't know if anyone remembers that I was having a certain amount of trouble with this what with trying to ply from two lazy kates at the same time. (see here for details). I decided that it would be much easier if I had one lazy kate with all four plys on it so last night I got a bit of two by four that I had lying around; cut it to size and drilled holes in it to accept the metal parts of the two kates I have.
Brilliant! It worked like a charm and I didn't even need to tension it. I set about plying my singles. Half a bobbin later I ran out of the glitter thread that I'd been plying with the singles! AAAARGGGGHHHHHH! Of course I'd bought the stuff from Texere and they aren't open at the weekend so I can't get any more straight away! I've ordered some online but I dunno if it will arrive in time and if it does that'll be another thing to sort out on Wednesday evening.
Sorry this is such a downer of a post, I'm actually quite cheerful really. Who wouldn't be with next weekend in prospect? The thought of all that lovely fibrey goodness waiting for us would cheer even the most miserable person up. And who cares if I don't manage to get everything done? As long as we get there that's all that matters.
PS Dee, hope you're feeling better soon.
Oooooh Oooooh PPS I forgot to say that my "Sprout" is going to be on display on the Online Guild of Weavers Spinners and Dyers stand at Woolfest. I'm sooo excited.
Saturday, June 07, 2008
A lot has happened since the PINK!! Monkeys. In fact so much has happened I've probably forgotten half of it.
I've finished two more pairs of socks; firstly:
Elfine's socks from "My Fashionable Life" by Amela Raitte. I'm teaching myself to knit socks from the toe up and I'm particularly pleased to have finished these as many years ago when I first begam blogging I attempted to knit a pair of these but gave up at the short row heel. This time I had help from Ann Budds instructions published in Interweave Knits on how to knit socks from the toe up, which I found quite helpful.
I've finished my travelling sock (Basic top down Opal pattern in Trekking XXL)
And I've knitted a blanket from stash wool (what a good girl!) 7 skeins of Rowanspun Chunky Jenifer Crawfords "Feather and Fan Afghan".
Saturday, April 19, 2008
And I wore them to the rugby today as it was breast cancer awareness day so we were wearing pink.
They're lucky socks, we won the game!!!
And we don't talk about last weekend.
Oh dear no.
It might never have happened we're ignoring it so hard!
I want you all to go Here and try this. It's fun (if you're like me and love words) and you'll be doing something good too (as well as wasting a bit of time).
Friday, April 04, 2008
I made it about twenty inches long, but I had to frog the end and take a couple of inches off as it was a bit loose.
Buttons were stash buttons too from the Kirkwood Hospice shop.
Nice quick knit and I love the texture of the twisted moss stitch.
Next the little bit bad. Having used two 50g balls from my stash I then followed up a posting on one of the Ravelry message boards and went to look at the Violet Green website. Needless to say the lure of beautiful, reasonably priced sock wool combined with free delivery was not to be resisted. This lovely little lot was waiting for me on the mat when I got back from work on Tuesday. (No driving this week, I've had a bad back).
More busyness on Wednesday and Thursday night in the form of a little bit of combing. This is some of the Wensleydale fleece that I mentioned washing a couple of weeks ago. It was sat staring at me so on Wednesday evening I got a (nylon) comb out and had a go at it. The nylon comb isn't ideal for the task. For one thing I've broken a fair number of the teeth already. I had a go at flick carding it on one of my carders and that seems to speed things up a bit. Now I'm considering a weekend trip to Wingham Wool Work in order to invest in a proper set of combs.
Why is it so easy to find things to spend money on?
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Yep, that's right. Saturday afternoon was spent in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff watching the Tigers go through to the finals of the EDF Cup.
We've been to matches in Cardiff a number of times before but this is the first time they've played the game with the roof open. It was great, much better than with it closed. The weather for our game was lovely if cold, but during the second game (Saracens v. Ospreys) it snowed some.
We didn't stay at the Hilton this year but at the Holiday Inn which was pretty good and the view from the window was spectacular.
It was a great weekend made even better by the fact that the Tigers won a game which I seriously thought they could lose. It was a hell of a game too, nip and tuck all the way.
I realise that I don't have a huge number of readers who are interested in rugby (well, I don't have a huge number of readers at all!) so here's a picture of my BFF socks which are coming on nicely. I'm still enjoying them hugely, and am getting on okay with the cables without a cable needle.
Yesterday we went to visit my other sister and went over to see how the sheep were getting on with lambing. Here are two who had got disowned by their mum. We brought them home to be bottle reared. I did some other stuff so if anyone asks me what I did on Easter Monday I can casually say "Oh, I helped castrate some lambs". I wasn't involved with the business end though, I just helped to hold them! I think both these two are girls.
I also waded through, how can I put this, ummm, cowshit to help feed the cattle. Luckily I'd been able to borrow a pair of wellingtons. I did smell a bit of sheep and pooh by the time I'd finished, but it makes a change.
Friday, March 14, 2008
I've never really thought much about a "favourite designer"; not being a "designer clothes" kind of gal it didn't seem something that was particularly relevant to me. Last weekend though I suddenly realised that I'd enjoyed knitting Pomatomus, Hedera and Monkey and that they were all designed by the same person; Cookie A. I wondered what else she'd done that I might enjoy knitting so via Ravelry I went to her website to have a look.
The pattern that I found was the BFF socks (BFF stands for Best Friend Forever; that's who she originally made them for). So I printed off the pattern to get started. I'd bought some cygnet 4ply single colour sock wool from Texere Yarns the last time I was there which I thought would be perfect for showing off the cable pattern. I decided that they were probably a tad complicated to take with me in the truck so I started a plain vanilla pair of "travelling sock" on Monday night but on Thursday when I was home and recovered from this week's run (tell you later) I cast on for the BFF.
Well it's been a while since my knitting has made me smile whilst I'm doing it, but I was this morning. I love a simple pattern that you can enjoy watching as it develops under your fingers and this certainly does that. I'm using it to teach myself to cable without a cable needle which may not have been a wise move using 2.25 mm needles (think I may need bi-focals) but what the heck.
So I think I may put Cookie A on my (brand new) list of favourite designers for inventive and interesting sock patterns. I may even have a look at other things that she's designed.
I managed to get a fair bit of my "plain vanilla" sock knitted this week as I had a bit of trouble sleeping on Tuesday night. Anyone who regularly reads my blog will know that this is very unusual. I get up at two am on a Tuesday morning and work a fifteen hour day driving and unloading my truck in the Bristol area. Come bedtime (about 8-00 pm) I'm ready to drop.
This week I parked up at the service station on the Evesham byepass. It's a bit exposed there but I suspect that I'd have had the same problem wherever I'd parked. I was woken at about eleven o'clock by the truck being buffeted by the seventy mile an hour winds that were sweeping the south west of the country.
The wind dropped briefly at about two and I caught another hour or so of sleep but I woke up again and then didn't get off after that. At four I decided that if the truck was going to blow over I'd rather have my clothes on; didn't fancy having to clamber out in me vest and knickers. So I got dressed, went and got a cup of coffee and sat up most of the rest of the night knitting and listening to the BBC World service on the radio.
I didn't feel like the brightest button in the box the next morning and when I got back on Wednesday I went to bed at eight and slept through till a quarter to seven the following day when the alarm went off for me to go back to work again.
I was deeply p!ssed off on Wednesday when I stopped at the service station at junction 2 of the M42. I pulled into the truck park, got down from the truck and looked to see where I had to go to get a cup of coffee and use the loo.
As you can imagine I wasn't best pleased to discover that I'd have to go for a half mile hike to reach the "amenity building" (as it was quaintly titled). You can just see it in the distance (indicated by the arrow in the picture).
One of the most unpleasant parts of driving a truck is the fact that the truck stops reek in the summer because (male) drivers have a tendency to relieve themselves against the wheel of their truck rather than bothering to use the toilets. On Wednesday I felt like doing the same!! Unfortunately it's a bit of an unfeasible trick so I had to bite the bullet and take a hike. I had a quarter of an hour break which was completely taken up by walking over, using the loo, buying a cup of coffee and walking back. Had to drink it whilst driving along! Of course car drivers can park right in front of the building. Who designs these bloody places?
Sunday, March 09, 2008
You can see how it looked when I pulled it out of it's sack. I've seen cleaner fleeces but I would imagine it's pretty tricky keeping these babies clean with hair in lovely long ringlets. It's pretty greasy too; more so I'd think than the other fleeces I've processed at home. I decided to try the technique that the Yarn Harlot detailed on her blog here.
I won't go into a great deal of detail here as she does it so much better but it involves a roasting tin and the hob of the cooker and BIG LOTS OF WATER!
It wasn't an unqualifed success. As you can see there's still a quantity of crud left on the tips in places, but the bits that did come clean are absolutely gorgeous.
This is a close up of the butt ends; which did come clean. It's like angels hair and positively gleams in the light.
Here's a few locks that I combed out. I've subsequently read about another technique for scouring fleeces to maintain the structure of the locks on Spinning Spider Jenny's blog. So I may give that a try next time. Whichever method I use I reckon I need to spend more time teasing out the tips than I did this time.
Saturday, March 01, 2008
Sometimes I hate technology.
Have to say that I miss the Internet when it's not there. I'm on a couple of message boards and like to think that my rude comments (must learn to control my more acerbic inclinations) are appreciated by some if not all the contributors. Have had to spend the week being rude to real people instead!
On the fibre front I continue to spin, and spin, and spin, (and card a bit) and spin. Sunday I may do some more plying having spun three more bobbins worth. At least it makes me feel as if I'm doing something productive whilst I'm watching the TV; and I MAY be improving slightly I suppose. I just hope that I'm keeping it fairly consistent with the first batch. I know you're supposed to card the whole lot, then spin the whole lot, then ply the first with the last etc etc etc but No one really does that do they? At least I haven't started knitting yet (though tempted).
Friday, February 22, 2008
My new knitting project is a long term one. It's designed to use up those irritating little bits and pieces that are left over after completing something or that you have after trying new spinning techniques. It's the knitting equivalent of those meals that are designed to empty the detritus out of the fridge (but it will probably taste better!)
I decided that a colour theme would make it more coherent than just using whatever comes to hand; so this one will be predominantly blue. I seem to have quite a lot of left over blue. I'm knitting strips about five inches wide, changing shade when the particular yarn runs out. The strips are about three feet long. When I have enough of them I'll arrange them and sew them together. If it's not wide enough I'll knit a border. It's going to take a while; I have a few left overs but not enough for a complete blanket. There's a member of the KCG on Ravelry who's offering yarn to KCG members in an effort to destash. I haven't worked out if it's a personal destash or the KCG yarn mountain that she's trying to reduce. I had to resist the temptation to contact her and ask for odd bits of blue DK for the blankie. The idea is to use up my own leftovers not attract more into the house.
Those of you with VERY sharp eyesight may notice that the strip of knitting in the picture is being held on a stitch holder from a set of Denise interchangeable needles. This set (the pink Breast Cancer awareness set) was a Christmas pressie from my little sis; Ro. They're grrrrreat!
Having said that I could do with a new blanket. I thought I was going to freeze on Tuesday night; the duvet that I use in the truck isn't really thick enough for this cold weather. I have a night heater in the cab but I don't like to leave it on overnight. I was okay when I went to sleep but I woke up about 2-00am and had trouble getting warm again despite piling on more clothes.
The spinning is continuing slowly. I need to work out what I'm going to make with the yarn, then I'll have some idea how much I need. I don't think three skeins will cut the mustard as far as anything worthwhile is concerned. I quite fancy the idea of a big chunky cardigan or jacket of some sort. Time to start trawling through the patterns on Ravelry for a few ideas.
I've had a quick look and I'm quite keen on this, though I'd make it longer than in this illustration. I love the collar though. It's called "Kyra" and is a free Berroco pattern.
Friday, February 15, 2008
The other problem I had was that the singles seemed to get caught up in themselves somethimes and would snap, or the Kate would move. At first I thought this was because the tension was too strong, but I think it may have something to do with the way I'm filling the bobbins as I'm spinning. If I lose track of what I'm doing and get a large build up of yarn in one place rather than moving along the hooks regularly it affects the way that the yarn reels off the bobbin when plying which in turn has an effect on the tension when plying. I guess it's all trial and error. I spent a fair amount of time swearing, a fair amount of time rejoining the singles where one of them had snapped and most of the time sort of lying treadling with my right leg with my left leg splayed out in an attempt to hold (two) Kates still with the toes of my left foot. It was quite uncomfortable; but I've ended up with three skeins of three ply (plus a ply of the shiny stuff). I soaked it overnight and have hung it up to dry and am quite pleased with the finished result though I guess it could be more even. Still got a lot more to do if I'm going to have enough for a garment.
I think that part of the problem is that in using two lazy kates rather than one the tension isn't even across the four bobbins. I also think that because they are quite light they move about too easily. I may have to go back to the drawing board and either make or buy something that's more effective. In the meantime I'll soldier on.
TuttleyMuttley has tagged me for a meme but I think I may have already done it; or one very similar. I thought it would be interesting to see if anything had changed in the last two years. Then (scroll down to feb 3rd post) and now:
4 jobs I have held:
4 movies I like:
Guys and dolls
Singin' in the rain
Went the day well?
4 Places I've been:
Bourton on the Water
4 places I have lived:
Clifton Upon Dunsmore
4 TV shows/programs I watch:
Life in Cold Blood
The twenties in colour-The Wonderful world of Albert Kahn
The West Wing
Neighbours (Susan Kinski has some fabulous knitwear!)
4 Radio-shows I listen to:
The Now show / Newsquiz whichever is on on Friday night at 6-30
The food programme
4 favorite foods:
chocolate ice cream
4 places I'd rather be:
Somewhere a bit warmer (but not HOT!)
On the road somewhere nice on a nice day