Friday, 28 August 2009

Green and growing things

A while back one of my colleagues was thinning out her chili seedlings and offered them around to all the rest of us. I claimed one, brought it home without breaking the stem, and got it safely installed in a spare terracotta pot on the windowsill. 002
Fast forward a couple of months, and it's got fruit! 004Eight so far, and we hope to get at least one more crop off before the end of the growing season. For anyone growing peppers indoors, stray ends of yarn trimmed off projects make great fertilizing tools. Soft enough not to hurt the plant, rough enough that the pollen sticks well.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Mmmmm, sheepy

My flat smells like a sheep. Fortunately hubs and I both like the smell of lanolin, as do most of our friends. I've been washing it bit by bit, done three bags from approximately 20. I've rigged up an empty freestanding tapestry frame into an impromptu drying rack which seems to be working well. 005Of course, I'd somehow managed to forget that washing fleece drastically increases its volume, as does carding. It's just going to keep getting bigger until I get it spun up!

In knitting news, the first Christmas gift of the year is finished and drying out after its bath and blocking session. No pics, of course - you'll just have to take me at my word. I'm still hopeful that I'll get all of it done, although there is a shedload to be done. Including squillions of squares and all their ends. I sewed ends in last night after I finished the knitting on Gift One.

Monday, 24 August 2009

An introduction

My beloved grandmother seems to have taken on the role of my spinning patroness. I was sent on a shopping mission for tools and supplies, and am partway there. So, allow me to present Fifi.

J/Su/Tex cross fleece

Fifi is a chocolate brown Jacob/Suffolk/Texel cross. The fleece weighs 2.35kg, skirted but unwashed. It's currently in a bag in my living room. :D

I've started the process of scouring the fleece. Batch one turned the water a spectacular bright orange colour, so heavy was the coating of lanolin. The fleece is of course a Christmas present, as are the other bits purchased along with it, but I live in London. If I wait until December to start scouring, the washed fleece will never dry. So, I'm taking advantage of the hot August sunshine to wash it. Once it's thoroughly dry, I'll pack it away to play with in the new year.

(That's a pint glass in the photo, by the way. This thing is enormous!)

Friday, 21 August 2009

The great post of numbers

225 - the number of squares I need to make the blanket I'm working on

72 - the number of multicoloured squares

153 - the number of plain white squares

15 - the number of squares in a single strip

15 - the number of strips

108 - the number of squares I've finished

738 - the number of ends resulting from making the all the squares

Monday, 17 August 2009

change of plans

Christmas knitting. All the time. That's pretty much all I'm doing right now. I sat down and worked out exactly what I need to do to get it all done, and there's a lot. I will try to have interesting things up as and when I can, but quite a few of the recipients read the blog and we can't have spoiled surprises!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

We have a winner!

And it's me! Unbeknownst to me, the group with which I was participating in WIPs Wrestling decided to have a prize draw at the end of July. Every completed project got you one entry into the draw. And I won! My prize was a skein of hand-dyed yarn from Sheepy Time Knits, in my choice of base yarns. I picked laceweight (surprise, surprise!), and am really looking forward to seeing what it looks like.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Note to Self

Projects involving lots of multi-coloured motifs invariably require much sewing-in of ends and much finishing. Neither of these tasks are particularly enjoyable. Quit deciding to make projects that you won't enjoy finishing.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Shawl love

I've abandoned pretty much everything I'm working on right now in favour of my sage green shawl. I love it. It's a less common construction, made by casting on the two bottom edges of the triangle and decreasing on every right-side row until there's nothing left. As I suspected, this construction goes very quickly. With a top-down triangle, the longest rows occur at the point where one is tiring of the project. Done this way, the longest rows are done while it's still a new and exciting project, so by the time it's getting boring most of the knitting is done anyway!

Some clever person on Ravelry worked out the completion percentages for each row of the shawl - I've only finished the first chart and the first row of chart two, and I'm 26% finished with the shawl. Hopefully I'll get a good-sized chunk of it done over the weekend, since it looks like it's going to be wet and gross again.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

State of the WIPs, August edition

July was a marvellous month for clearing the decks. I finished big things, little things and in-between things, as well as making good progress on those things I didn't finish. I even got around to cutting out the lining for a hood I'm making!
Of course, it's hard for me to refrain from starting new projects when I finish old ones. I cast on for a few in the last couple of weeks. Here's where I currently stand on all my yarn WIPs.
First up - a pair of Broadripple Socks I'm making for mum. Very quick, lots of fun. I'm paused in the middle of the first gusset because my needles are a little bit too short for the number of stitches I've got on. I'm working on it at home, but they slip off too easily to cart them around at the moment.

Next, a pair of socks for me from Cookie A's new sock book. These are my current take-everywhere project, since they're just 3x3 ribbing for miles and miles! I'm experimenting with a new tactic on these socks. I've got two sets of 2.25mm sock needles, both of which were conveniently empty when I cast on. I've got both socks on the go at once. I'm working the cuff of the first then the second, then both heel flaps, etc. Hopefully this will ward off the dreaded Second Sock Syndrome.
A large pile of granny squares is up next. This one is designed to use up all of my remaining acrylic worsted as well as the three 400g balls of acrylic/wool I got at the Knitting and Stitching Show two years ago. Now that the bedspread is done I actually know how much I have in the way of scraps and can plan appropriately.

Of course, I have to finish the Totoro amigurumi I'm working on for my friend. It also uses acrylic worsted, so will generate more scraps. Once it's done, though, I'll be free of a big pile of toy stuffing!
I cast on for a simple lace scarf in my very oldest stash yarn. It's the discontinued Rowan Lurex Shimmer, a sparkly metallic fingering-weight. One of my old knitting page-a-day calendars had a pattern that called for exactly four balls of the stuff, conveniently. Basic feather-and-fan pattern, but it's nice.

I also started a shrug using the orange cotton my best friend gave me. It's a single row of two stitches, repeated over and over to make an enormous rectangle. Once the rectangle's done, you pick up stitches at each end and knit a ribbed cuff. Pretty and mindless, perfect for tv knitting.

This, although it doesn't look like much right now, is going to be a sweater for my husband. I've been promising him a sweater for ages, and we finally found a pattern that he likes, I'm happy to knit and uses the yarn I have in appropriate amounts. I'll get stuck in properly once I get the correct sizes of circular needles. For now I'm working on the sleeves, since they use DPNs.

And finally, my current lace shawl. 004You may have noticed that it's neither pink nor laceweight. That's because I ripped out the Aeolian Shawl I was working on. It wasn't making me jump for joy, and something that's going to take that many hours of knitting really should. So my precious pink Cecilia is hibernating, and I've cast on for a new shawl with some Posh Yarn (of course!) to make a heavier winter shawl to keep at work. This colourway is called 'Drift', and although I'm not usually fond of these greens, the Laura 4-ply just leapt off the screen at me. It's 100% merino and incredibly soft and squishy. I'm knitting it up with 4.5mm needles, but I could almost go up to a 5mm and have the lace be just as lovely.