Friday, February 22, 2008

The "Left Over Blankie"

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


Has been what I've been mostly doing this week, textilewise. Following a great deal of useful feedback from a query I made on one of the Ravelry forums I screwed cuphooks into the base of both my lazy kates and fed a length of string with an elastic band on the end round the base of the bobbins to give some tension when plying. It DID work, but it took a while to get the tension correct; particularly as I was plying from two Kates with two bobbins on each.

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:
Housing Officer
Truck driver
Shop assistant

4 movies I like:
Guys and dolls
Singin' in the rain
Went the day well?

4 Places I've been:
Moreton Underhill
West Malvern
Chipping Sodbury
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:
Today Programme
The Archers
The Now show / Newsquiz whichever is on on Friday night at 6-30
The food programme

4 favorite foods:
Roast dinner
chocolate ice cream

4 places I'd rather be:
In bed
welford Road
Somewhere a bit warmer (but not HOT!)
On the road somewhere nice on a nice day

Friday, February 08, 2008

A very English obsession

It's reckoned that the English are obsessed with the weather and are incapable of holding a conversation that doesn't include reference to it. I'm going to reinforce that idea by once again beginning my post with reference to it. Sorry!

My luck held this week and after last weekend's sighting the snow had disappeared by the following day. On Tuesday morning as I drove down the M6 and M5 it was very windy and wet but by the time I got to my first drop it was beginning to clear up a bit and I hardly got wet at all as I unloaded my deliveries during the day. Wednesday was absolutely beautiful again and my spirits rose as I drove up to Evesham, across to Mickleton and back to Ledbury and Colwall. Gloucestershire and Worcestershire are lovely counties and driving round them cheers me up no end. Beats working in the warehouse where the sun doesn't shine (no windows of course); though I couldn't manage a full week of uloading and early mornings. It was a long run this week; fifteen hours on Tuesday and another twelve on Wednesday. I'm ready for my long weekend now!

On the fabric front I spent last weekend (when I wasn't wincing at the implosion of the England rugby team) spinning.

Some time ago I spun up a bobbin full of the Manx Loghtan I bought at Woolfest last year. Since then it's been sitting there looking reproachful and waiting for me to get on with the remainder of it. Last weekend I dragged the Orkney out and spun another 100g of it into singles. I then plied three singles together with some stuff I bought at Texere Yarns when I took Ro there. It's a metalic gold thread on a brown binder which has blended in with the loghtan really nicely, giving a very subtle sparkly effect. Unfortunately coping with plying four separate singles proved too much for me and I only managed a very small amount before I got HORRIBLY tangled up!!! I've finished the sample I did and it's lovely and soft and SQUOOSHY so I just need to work out how to ply the damned stuff (oh yea and spin up some more!). I'm thinking that a tensioned lazy kate may be the answer and I've had some great advice from the Spinning group on Ravelry about how to sort that out. I'm hopeful that I may get this to work. Wish me luck.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Visitor in the night.

Well it's finally arrived. I looked out of the window this morning and there it was. It wasn't there last night when I went to bed, I'm pretty sure of that.


It's typical that it snowed the day after my niece flew back to Wellington (NZ) from the UK. She always seems to miss it! (Sorry Jenn!!!).

Now I'm not much of a big fan of weather as my job forces me to be out in it. Hearing stories of trucks blown over on the M6 last week couldn't help but put the wind up me (no pun intended). But a judicious smattering of snow on a weekend I can handle; as long as it's gone by the time I set out on Tuesday and it isn't replaced by anything worse!

I'm aware that to those of you in the States and Canada and various other parts of the world what we have barely counts as snowfall, but I guess it's all relative. I've been watching a series thats just started on channel5 called "Ice Road Truckers" and nothing on earth would induce me to do THAT however well paid it is! I'm just a wuss when it comes to weather, and not ashamed to admit it.

I've been doing exciting things with my new laptop again. Yesterday I connected it to my TV and watched "The Wonderful World Of Albert Kahn" over the BBC iplayer, but on my TV screen. I need to get the sound sorted out as that's still coming through the laptop speakers but I think I have the hardware to do that lying around somewhere. I'm so chuffed that it's working.

I also spent money yesterday on knitty things. Not a huge expenditure though; from the Oxfam shop I bought Patricia Roberts' "Variations" (sans dust jacket) and from the Kirkwood Hospice Shop the "Traditional Sweater Book". The pair of them for under a fiver! They will be added to my collection of books that I look at pictures in but never use. In actual fact some of the patterns in the Patricia Roberts book are quite nice once you get past the intarsia decoration. I like the two jumpers on the page in the photo above (I'd give the leggings a miss nowadays though I'm told they're fashionable again!!!). There are some beautiful ganseys in the other book and a lovely shetland shawl pattern too. I may even try Fair Isle one day; though it doesn't do anything for me yet. Never say never!

I've also completed another pair of socks. Bog standard free Opal pattern on 2.25mm circulars in Opal undyed which I dyed myself. The colour is a bit insistent so it's ideal for socks as I won't see much of them. They're looking a bit flobby as I wore them before I took the picture.

I fancy starting something a bit more challenging but I'm not sure what yet. I bought some yarn from Texere before Christmas to make the "Brushed Lace Cardigan" from the Winter issue of IK but I fear it may be bit too hairy for the lace pattern. The dark gray is what I bought and the bluey gray is from the stash. I was going to do just one or two repeats of the lighter colour rater than the number of stripes in the original. Any suggestions welcome.