Friday, 17 December 2010

So apparently I have a blog!

And once upon a time I used to write things on it! My project to clear the decks of WIPs is going swimmingly and is a large part of why I haven't been blogging - I've been using the time to knit instead. Between the knitting and a wee bit of frogging, I am down to only 2 WIPs!

Most recently finished - a granny ripple afghan, sized for cuddling on a two-seater couch. Just in time, because it's been snowing all day and the Mr. and I have a long break from next Friday until the New Year! I'm quite pleased with it. It's exactly the right size, and it completely used up a ton of yarn.

granny ripple afghan 001

Also recently finished - a sooper sekrit lace shawl for my mother, who picked the yarn and pattern, but has only seen the project at the "crumpled blob of spaghetti" phase of knitting. Hence no photos right now, since I'm going to visit her in a couple of weeks and will do the big reveal then.

My two remaining projects are my Posh Pink Scarf, which gained another 6 inches this morning, and my Cobweb Mandala Shawl, which I will be concentrating on once the scarf is done and out of the way. It's possible that I may not finish the shawl by the end of December, although my time off makes me hopeful, so I'm going to focus on finishing the project I know is doable first.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Scratch that idea.

The dress is off. I have somehow managed to sprain my back badly enough to warrant the good stuff from the doctor, and there is no way I am going to be able to crawl around on the floor pinning and measuring. Oh well. I'll have a new dress someday, and it's far more important that I let my back recover.

In other news, I have decided to frog my laceweight cardigan. I'd rather use the yarn for something else, and nothing in my wardrobe goes with that particular shade of green anyway. That leaves me at 5 WIPs remaining!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

And now for something completely different:

... a sewing project! Next month I am attending a ball, SCA-style. I only have one set of court garb, and it needs a complete refit before I can wear it, which means that I am also garb-making this month. I shall be starting by cutting up my wedding dress!

Well, not completely. See, there's this book called The Tudor Tailor, containing many patterns for making (shockingly) clothing from the Tudor period. One of the gowns is a late Henrician-period French gown, with a fancy petticoat and lots of trim. I've admired it many times, but haven't attempted it because boning and lacing and complicated fittings are not doable on oneself. I realized, however, that the shape of the dress was very familiar, and I eventually twigged that it was the same shape as my wedding dress*. My dress has funky swoopy ren-faire sleeves instead of proper fitted ones, but apart from that, I think they might even be from the same template.

So, I'm going to take the sleeves off my dress, cut out proper ones, reattach the sleeves and sew on a load of trim. I'm also going to acquire some fancy brocade to do a stomacher and petticoat. And I need to make a hat, which will require pearls and more thread. I can totally do this by the first weekend of December. Sure I can. Maybe.

I'd better get sewing.

*I have two wedding dresses from two ceremonies, since we've got family in multiple countries and had a wedding in each. This dress is deep blue velvet and was bought with the intention of eventually using it for reenactment purposes.

Friday, 5 November 2010

State of the WIPs, Bonfire Night edition

So, now that I'm caught up posting about my finished projects, let's talk about the ones I'm still working on! I'm feeling pretty good about everything right now.
  • Blue Posh lace shawl - priority 1. This is now my oldest WIP. I've finished the first chart, and since this is a bottom-up number that's about 25% of the knitting done. It's getting a lot quicker too, since every successive row is shorter.
  • Ripple blanket - priority 2. I've packed all the yarn for this one and moved it to my office for daytime working. It'll get done much faster if I work on it every day, plus I can't overdo the crochet if it's not in my flat.
  • Red Posh cobweb shawl - waiting. This will be my next at-home project once the blue shawl is finished. It's probably got the most remaining work on it, but I love it so much that it's ok.
  • Laceweight cardie - hibernating. I'll get this out once the above 3 are finished.
  • Noro mittens - pretty low on my to-do list, since I have a pair of perfectly good Posh mittens already. Still, they are easy enough, so once the blanket is done they'll get moved into my handbag for lunch hour knitting.
  • Pink woven scarf - I'm working on this when I'm too brain-dead to pick up anything else. It's ideal for tv watching!

I can't believe I'm down to only 6 yarn-based WIPs. That's the lowest total I've had in years! I have some other projects either on the go or in the planning phase, so more to follow...


26/10 - A productive Saturday gave me the chance to finish off the pillow. I'm delighted with it! It's made of zillions of scraps, but I managed to sort them into a pair of colour-themed sides - orange:

Naked chef 002

and blue-green:
Naked chef 003

Some earlier works are the garters I'm donated to the Yule gift exchange:

Genny's knitting 014
and the dark woven scarf I made of two coordinating skeins of sock yarn:
Genny's knitting 004
Feeling pretty pleased with my progress right now!

05/11 update - Didn't get around to finishing the above post, and since then I've finished two more projects. :D

Coppery scarf:
8 shawls project 010

Carnevale shawl, so named because the yarn reminds me of the festival:
8 shawls project 008

Friday, 22 October 2010

Nearly there!

I've been working hard on the crocheted pillow recently, since it's my oldest WIP, and my work has paid off! I've finished making and assembling all 162 little squares, and now all that remains is to crochet front and back together and put in the pillow form. Definitely tomorrow, if not tonight.

I also made the decision to frog my Artichoke socks. They were designed to have little bracts dangling off the cuffs, and after knitting the first one and thinking about it for several months I decided they were just too impractical. So, off to the frog pond they went. I'll tackle them again in the new year, but for now I'm happy with another set of empty needles.

So, once the pillow's done that should leave me with 7 WIPs. Of course, it doesn't, because in a fit of madness I warped up the loom the other day for another wide scarf. This one is from 2 skeins of Posh Laura, a merino/cashmere blend in a delicious pink-and-plum colourway that the spouse bought me. I haven't started the actual weaving yet, although I've loaded the shuttle. I'll need to finish three projects per month to finish everything by the end of the year, so I figure the pink scarf can be my Christmas vacation project.

The little triangle shawl that's been in my handbag is going well. I'm on the 6th repeat of 10. Once that's done there's a garter stitch border that can be done until the yarn's all gone. I've also been making good progress on the triangular laceweight shawl. It's beaded, so each right-side row takes an age, but I'm really enjoying it. Plus the rows are getting shorter as I go along. :)

I've even been working on the afghan! I'm about a third of the way through the current stripe, so might even get that ball of yarn done this month.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Apparently people still read this...

... even though I've fallen off the end of the world and neglected to update in, well, forever. So, a quick summary. First up, my laptop died. I'm getting a new one, but I'm taking my time shopping around to find one that does everything I want it to*, so until I get the new machine photos will be limited.

I've discovered that when I'm knitting only for myself, I knit less quickly. Seems that the thought of gift-giving spurs me on, although I do find it stressful. I should try to figure out a balance between gifts and things for me - my completion numbers are looking low this year! Despite that, I have been casting on fewer projects and subsequently frogging them. At present I have 9 WIPs.

I finished a second woven scarf back at the end of August. Motored through almost 200g of sock yarn in a fortnight, which was rather satisfying. It's been adopted by the spouse, although most of our neutral-coloured scarf collection is used by both of us. I also just finished a pair of garters. They were originally intended for me, but we are going to an event in December that has a gift exchange, so I'll pack them away for Yule and call it quits. At least I won't have to go shopping!

I'm hoping to get all of the current WIPs finished or frogged by the end of the year. I've said that before, I know, but I'm pretty enthused about all of them. They are, in no particular order:
  • A garter stitch scarf, made of a coppery fingering-weight lurex yarn for wearing to nightclubs;
  • A pillow made of crocheted sock yarn granny squares;
  • A mostly-stockinette shoulder shawl in Posh Yarn to wear with my fall jacket;
  • A Pi shawl, barely started and also of Posh Yarn;
  • A triangular lace shawl, bottom-up, again in Posh Yarn**;
  • A pair of stranded mittens of Noro Kureyon Sock in delicious shades of purple and orange;
  • A pair of Tsocks;
  • A crocheted ripple afghan in navy and white;
  • A laceweight cardigan of the first laceweight I ever bought.

The shoulder shawl is living in my handbag, now that the garters are finished, and I'm working on the afghan and triangle shawl at home. Everything else has been duly queued and will be brought out once the current three are done.

I have some lovely red fiber on the wheel at the moment, but I'm not in an especially spinnery mood at present. Too much else going on in my life.

*Hello, Diablo III!

**Sensing a theme here?

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Some FOs, at last!

I haven't been slacking in the stash knitting, despite my recent acquisitions. In fact, I've even finished a few things! First, a batch of crocheted snowflakes. After a period of unsuccessful searching in the UK, my lovely grandmother mailed me a box of laundry starch so I could finally block these.


There are patterns for 12 different snowflakes in the book I'm using (also courtesy of my grandmother), and I'm planning to make one of each to go on our Christmas tree this year. I'm really pleased with how they turned out, especially since I've not done much thread crochet before.

I've also finished yet another pair of Monkey socks. My sock drawer is getting pretty full - perhaps it's time I tossed some bought socks?


Sunday, 22 August 2010

Knit Nation, days 2 and 3

The second day of Knit Nation was my free day for meeting people and shopping. I met up with the Posh knitters, easily identified by the pink Posh mailing bag someone had cleverly brought along! We had a lovely chat over tea and cake, then two of us went over to the raffle drawing. Every time one spent money in the marketplace, the vendor gave a raffle ticket. I hadn't really started shopping yet, so didn't have any tickets. One of the Posh knitters gave me her one ticket, since she didn't feel like standing in the crowded hall listening to the draw - and I won with it! A gorgeous Zauberball, which is a fingering-weight singles yarn with very long colour sequences. I'm told I squeaked in an entertaining fashion when they called my name. :D

I headed into the marketplace after that for more shopping. I bought... more Wollmeise. Shocking, I know. This time it was two matching skeins for which I have a plan. Ages and ages ago I managed to acquire a single skein of black Wollmeise in one of the website updates. Also ages ago Knitty published a pattern for a stripey cardigan in sock yarn. After consulting with several people who've knit Tempest with Wollmeise, I concluded that three of the 150g skeins should be enough to make a cardie for me. It's going to be fun!

Day three was the best, by far. And given how amazing the first two were, well, that's saying a lot! On day three I had a full day's class with Judith MacKenzie. Wow. Incredible. First, I've never seen another person spin before. I had a 5-minute lesson when I got my wheel, but other than that it's been entirely books and figuring things out. It was a shock to suddenly be confronted with a room full of spinners! I found it reassuring that I wasn't the slowest or clumsiest in the room - heck, I even found myself helping people out a couple of times. I guess I'm a real spinner.

Anyway, the class. It was a 6-hour class on how to spin yarn for socks. We started off talking about all sorts of technical stuff that I'll do another post about later. We then got a sheaf of dyed merino tops and spun singles. Judith had us all pick 5 colours of the tops so we could practice changing the supply fiber while spinning - she's got a real fetish for the perfect worsted join! We spent the morning spinning up singles on three bobbins, since she wanted us to try making a 3-ply yarn in the afternoon. She also gave out some gorgeous silk tops to be added to the singles in any way we wanted. I decided to have my third bobbin of just silk, since I didn't really like the sensation of spinning silk and wool together. Then we broke for lunch.

I spent lunch with C, a Ravelry friend who came down all the way from Scotland for the event. It was great to finally meet her! We had a mini gift exchange - I'd brought goodies from L'Artisan du Chocolat for her chocoholic partner, and she brought me this enormous ball of corriedale/merino fiber! Isn't it gorgeous?

After lunch and a good gossip, we hit the marketplace. And yes, I shopped more. Only a little, though. I bought this beautiful braid of top, because the colours were just too perfect to pass up. Mostly I played the role of the minion and carried bags while C shopped, since she hadn't yet been to the marketplace. It was fun. :D

In the afternoon we talked about plying. A lot. I learned more about plying than I thought possible! This was where having a teacher made the most difference for me. I was managing just fine on my own, but seeing how someone with so much experience holds her hands, moves her body, tunes the wheel... It was a revelation. My yarn came out just fine, and it's the finest yarn I've yet managed. The larger skeinlet is the 3-ply, and the smaller is a 2-ply I made with the leftovers from the two fuller bobbins:

Just for the hell of it, I also absconded with this little bit of boucle that Judith spun as a demonstration of why we don't do a particular thing with our hands when plying. It was pretty cool.

We then spent the rest of the afternoon trying out different fibers, including cashmere, cashmere blends and several other kinds of wool. At the very end of the class, Judith handed everyone huge zip-top bags and told us to take fiber home. She'd brought it all over and didn't want to have to lug leftovers home to the US! So, here's all the fiber I came home from class with:

And here's everything that I acquired over the whole weekend:

Knit Nation was amazing. If they do it again (and I surely hope they will), I'll spend the whole time taking spinning classes.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Knit Nation, Day One

On Thursday morning I got up alarmingly early (for me, that is!) and schlepped across London to get to Imperial College. At 8am I registered for my classes at Knit Nation! The first day was an all-day session with Nancy Bush learning about Estonian lateral braids and wrapped nupps. It was amazing. We learned a braided cast-on that took about two hours to learn, five different lateral braids and practiced working wrapped nupps over the course of 6 hours. I'm quite pleased I managed to finish the sample, since the needles I brought weren't working with my yarn and I had to borrow some. I wore my sage-green shawl, which Nancy seemed tickled about - it was one of her designs! She's a fabulous teacher, and I hope she comes back to London some day.

I had also indulged in a trip to the marketplace preview, where there was an entire stall of the fabled Wollmeise yarn! I've never seen so many amazing colours in one place. Foolishly, I left my camera behind for the weekend, but here are pictures of my two skeins of yum.

I also hit the Fyberspates stall for some spinning fiber and came away with this bag of roving. One of the fibers they produce is a blend of wools, silk and sterling silver filament called "Sparkle". They had 100g bags of ends of rovings in a mix of colours, perfect for sampling and making a special little something.

Monday, 26 July 2010

And now for something completely different.

I have this friend. Weaving Friend. She's a fiber-arts nut too, but has tended more towards weaving (obviously) and costuming while I've been more into knitting and spinning.

Weaving Friend came to visit me yesterday. She has been wanting to learn to spin, so I found my spindle and some pencil roving and she spun. Took to it like a duck to water - by the time she had to go catch her train home, she'd already filled the cop with a very consistent singles! I dug out some dyed roving for her so she wouldn't run out. :)

Of course, spinning lessons weren't all we did yesterday. After all, trading skills is practically the basis of the reenactor economy. We also did this:

Can't guess? How about now?


She taught me how to weave! I have made a Thing for practice and getting the hang of the Knitter's Loom, and after Weaving Friend deemed me ready to go we cut the Thing off the loom and I warped it up for a tabby-weave scarf made of sock yarn. Those of you with good memories may remember the yarn as my very first foray into Kool-Aid dyeing. It was never going to knit up well, but I love how it's working on the loom.
(Here's my Thing.)

I've already figured out a bunch of stuff, if/when I finally succumb to the weaving bug. First, the Knitter's Loom is not for me. It only has heddles as small as 12.5 dents per inch, and I want to be able to weave laceweight. It's also not quite versatile enough because one can only use two heddles on it at a time. I like texture patterns more than colour patterns, so something with more heddles would be better. Still, I'm seeing a great deal of stash-busting coming up in the immediate future - this is a great use of variegated sock yarn!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Still not a spinning update

I am spinning, honestly. It's just that all of my yarn is so appealing right now!

This month I've crocheted three snowflakes of twelve. My lovely grandmother gave me a booklet of snowflake and angel patterns for thread crochet, ages ago, so I decided it was time to make some. (The fact that I finally found my missing crochet thread may have influenced the decision also...) I have no pictures for you because it is apparently impossible to buy laundry starch in the UK. One can find spray starch everywhere. However, powdered or liquid starch, suitable for soaking and starching lace? Nowhere to be found. Woolworth's used to stock it, but they went out of business. Boots and some supermarkets used to stock it, but according to the shop manager I spoke to the other day there just isn't enough demand for real starch. I could buy it from Amazon, but the minimum purchase is 750g! Somehow I doubt I'll use that much for twelve snowflakes and a handful of doilies.

Sometimes I despair that people of my generation have lost their ability to care for their posessions. Ironing, starching, mending... I have friends who visit and bring buttons and shirts to be rejoined because no-one ever taught them to wield a needle and thread.

Maudlin musings aside, I am quite pleased with my knitting this month. I've knit most of a sock, (Monkeys again, of course) and expect to have the first finished and the second well started by the end of the month. I've made progress on my various WIPs. I've also cast on for a new triangle shawl, this time using some sockweight silk I bought years ago. It's quite lovely. Of course, close examination of the shawl pattern I've chosen reveals an alarming similarity to the shawl I just knit for G. Ah well. At least I know what I'm doing, right?

Other news, other news. I have a garter stitch scarf on the go again. This one is slower than previous projects. I frogged the feather-and-fan number I was knitting with my shiny Rowan Lurex Shimmer because it was making me nuts. The garter stitch scarf is to use up the pre-cut fringe and remaining yarn. The impetus for this is thanks to a Ravelry feature I discovered recently - it's possible to sort one's stash according to the date one added it. The Lurex Shimmer is one of my oldest yarns, bought back in 2004. I think it's been hibernating quite long enough!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Not a spinning update.

I'm making stuff for myself this year, but I decided back during the planning phase that once-in-a-lifetime events got a dispensation. Well, after seven or so years together, one of my good knitting friends is now engaged to her lovely chap. The wedding is in September and I have knit her a shawl. But wait, I hear you say, surely if she's a knitter she could knit her own shawl? Well, she could, were it not for two things. First, she's submitting her Master's degree thesis just days before the wedding. Second, she's having a bouquet of knitted flowers that she's busily knitting herself, assisted by our knitting group!

So I knit a shawl. :D

Pattern is Leaf Lace from Evelyn Clark's Knitting Lace Triangles. I knit 14 repeats of the lace and added beads to the points at G's request. I'm quite happy with the results. So is G, thankfully!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Taking Fifi Touring

The Tour de France starts on Saturday, which means that the Tour de Fleece starts too! The point of it is to challenge oneself to spin as much as possible during the race, ideally doing something special on the day of the highest climb and taking rest days when the real Tour does. This year I've decided to participate (since I was busy WIPs-Wrestling last year!), and I'm setting myself a real challenge.

I'm going to spin Fifi.

Possibly* not the whole fleece, but as much as I possibly can. The skirted, unwashed fleece weighed 2.35kg. I have finished washing the whole fleece and divided it up into gallon-sized zip-top bags to keep bugs out. It takes up 20 bags, and each bag is crammed to capacity. Once carded, each bag trebles in volume.

Carding and other preparation is allowed before the start of the Tour, so I've been carding frantically for the last couple of days.** I've currently carded 2 bags, or 10% of the total fleece. My plan is to continue carding until the Tour starts. Then I'll spin my rolags until I run out, then I'll card more. I'll continue the card/spin cycle until I run out of bobbins, at which point I'll take a break to ply and wash what I've finished. I'll just keep repeating this cycle until I've done all of the fleece or until the Tour finishes. Wish me luck!

*Yeah, ok, probably, but I did take 4 days off next week so that I have more spinning time.

**Did I mention that I'd planned to spin something else entirely and only decided to do this the day before yesterday? I could have been carding for weeks!

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Blue, da-ba-dee, da-ba-dai

I've had that song running through my head since I started spinning this stuff back in late January!

A fellow Posh Knitter was destashing, and I'd never tried Falkland fiber before. It drafts beautifully. And Spindlefrog's dye work is amazing, though a little internet searching tells me she's no longer selling fiber. A shame - I really enjoyed this!

Some stats:

100 grams
327 yards

This is the finest 3-ply I've done yet. It actually beats a couple of commercial sock yarns (coughcoughJitterbugcoughcough) in the yards per 100g category, making this my first true sock yarn. I'm not going to use it for socks, of course - there's no nylon in it, and I don't think it's sufficiently tightly plied to withstand so much wear. But I'm getting there!

I think I'll probably knit a shawl with this. I know, don't all faint in shock. Me? Knitting a shawl? Surely not!

Sunday, 27 June 2010

So long, June...

An interesting month. It started off really well, as I cut out a new gown, knit frantically on a new shawl and did a ton of spinning. Then I had an emergency root canal. I lost about a week in a codeine-clouded haze, in the worst pain I've ever been in. I couldn't even knit. Things picked up again after the dentist went to work, and I'm now mostly better.

So, things that happened textile-wise this month. I missed World-Wide Knit In Public Day because I was in the emergency room dealing with the tooth. Made up for it be getting to the grand opening of Loop's new shop a week later, though! The shop is amazing. It fills 4 floors. Two are full of yarn, one is the stock room, and the fourth is the future classroom. S and I got there early enough that we were among the first 100 people through the door, which meant that we received goodie bags!

A canvas shopper, some patterns, a discount card, some 2.5mm DPNs, point protectors and YARN!

And there was cake and Pimms going around too. The chocolate-walnut brownies were amazing. I didn't buy anything because there were so many people that it took over an hour to get to the till. I figure I'll go back at some point soon and pick up a few lovely things. It's really nice that a small business is doing so well right now that they need a bigger shop. Long may their success continue!

I also had a moment of knitting insanity. This is my new shawl. I started it last Sunday. I cast off on Friday and blocked it yesterday. A 6-day shawl. A new personal best!

The pattern is Ishbel, the yarn is the Noro Silk Garden Sock I bought with my birthday money. I knit it on 5mm needles. I only knit the first 4 rows of chart D and then went straight to chart E because I didn't have enough yarn for four more rows. I'm delighted with how it turned out.

I've done a load of spinning too, but that will have to wait until it's had a bath and dried before I blog about it.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Tackling the fluff

My fiber stash is growing, inevitably. A friend emailed me a few days ago to say that she'd an entire fleece for me! So, on with some spinning to make room for what's coming in.
I'm in the middle of a batch of very fine blue laceweight, but I decided to take a break for a few days and quickly spin up some chunky art yarn. Chunky being relative, of course, as this stuff is somewhere in between a DK and an aran! I started out last autumn with an art batt blended by Rockpool Candy. It's a blend of fibers and has inclusions.

It was only 50g, so I planned to acquire something complementary to ply it with. Opportunity knocked when someone on one of my swap forums offered a custom 50g batt in the colours of one's choice, so I went with black and crimson to tone down the crazy a bit.

(The lady who did the batt sells her stuff under the name Jellypod - it was beautifully blended and a real pleasure to spin.)

Ended up with 160 yards of 2-ply. I shall probably save it for a gift at some point - goodness knows I've enough kooky friends to find someone who will love it!

And as a little bonus, a pair of mitts I knit up from some yarn I dyed last year. Perfect for the chilly London weather. :)

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Finally finished!

The extra yarn arrived yesterday, so I spliced the new onto the old and started knitting! I finished this morning, then hauled the mister out of bed so I could strip the bedding off for blocking. (Don't feel too badly for him - it was almost 11am!) A burst of afternoon sunshine on the bed dried it fairly quickly, so I was able to get a photo in before it got dark.

Pattern is Ene's Scarf by Nancy Bush, published in the Interweave book Scarf Style. Love this book, although I did get it just for this pattern. The yarn is Posh, of course, in the discontinued Laura 4-ply. Mostly in the colourway Drift, but the triangle at the very back of my neck is in Blizzard. It's noticeably different at some angles, but it's the same base colours so it doesn't jar too much.

I love the size, too! The pattern was originally written for laceweight, to make a scarf, but I'm much happier with this size and weight. It swooshes nicely too, courtesy of the cashmere in the yarn. I may have spent ten minutes or so twirling around my bedroom admiring myself in the mirror. :D

Thursday, 13 May 2010


Not my shawl, I'm still waiting for yarn. I finished a new garter stitch scarf, this time from aranweight Posh Yarn. Just one skein of Elinor Aran in 'Three Foxes' let me knit up this loveliness:

Isn't it pretty? And given the grotty weather we've been having, I suspect I'll get plenty of wear before the summer.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Well, crap.

I ran out. 26 stinking rows before the end of the shawl. See?

And for an idea of how close I actually got:

Fortunately, a couple of Ravellers answered my desperate plea on the Posh forum. I've got two skeins of similar colourways being sent to me tomorrow, so (postal service permitting) I should be able to finish this week.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Thank goodness for Ravelry.

My current shawl project is Ene's Scarf, a Nancy Bush pattern originally written for laceweight yarn and tiny needles. I decided to knit it up in a fingering weight for added warmth. First point for Ravelry - lots of other people have made a similar decision, so I could easily browse through other project and estimate the amount of yarn I needed. All good, I had a lovely pair of Posh skeins equalling that amount. Lovely grey-green-slate cashmere, mmmmmm.

I started knitting. The first chart was eating yarn, since the pattern is a bottom-up triangle. I was worried about running out, but no worries - there's a support group on Ravelry for this very shawl, and one clever lady had worked out the row-by-row completion percentages for the whole thing. Chart One is a full quarter of the knitting, so I stopped worrying. Then the worrying started again, because I got halfway through my yarn but not halfway through the knitting.

Running out of yarn would be a real problem with this shawl. Unlike top-down triangles, the triangle shape doesn't exist until the whole thing is finished. Running out would leave me with a weird wedge-shaped gap at the back of my neck. And because I'm using Posh yarn, which is all one-off batches in limited numbers, there was no way I was ever going to be able to get more.

Or so I thought. Third point for Ravelry - I was able to search through other people's stashes of this yarn by the colourway name and locate two other ladies with skeins from the same batch! I contacted one, who had used hers up, to see whether she'd any scraps left over that I could have. She did, and I've now got an extra 2 grams of yarn on my knitting table. (Thanks, C!) I'm waiting to hear from the other, who had a whole skein, to see whether she'd be willing to trade me.

In the meantime I'm knitting away, crossing my fingers that the extra two grams will be enough to get me to the end. I should know by the end of the weekend - I'm at 80% knitted!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Farewell, April

That was without a doubt the least productive month I've ever had, needlework-wise. I didn't finish a single project! I did finish two major pieces of coursework. We also spring-cleaned the flat. Still, I'm disappointed not to have finished anything.

Not to worry though, 'cause May is already off to a much better start! These Franken-Mei socks were supposed to have been done yesterday, but I ended up having to run errands over lunch. These were the oldest WIPs in my pile, so I'm really glad they're finally done. And they fit well, which is even better.
Pattern - Kai-Mei from Cookie A's fabulous book 'Sock Innovation'
Yarn - DkKnits Technicolor Dream Toes in 'Frankentwined'
Needles - 2.25mm DPNs
Mods - none

As an experiment, I tried knitting both socks at the same time on two sets of DPNs. I wanted to see whether making progress on both would help encourage me to knit faster. FAIL! It was incredibly disheartening to watch them go so slowly. Of course, the fact that cuffs contain a combined total of 13 inches of ribbing really didn't help much. Yawn. The lace pattern on the foot was intriguing, as was the shaping. I might use the construction again with a more intuitive pattern.

One funky result from finishing these - I've now reached critical handknit sock mass. If (when!) I knit another pair, I'm going to have to start ditching purchased socks to make room for them in my sock drawer. :D

Plans for May:

- finish at least one of my shawls-in-progress so that I can cast on for the new Goddess Knits Mystery Shawl guilt-free
- finish the current scarf
- finish the blue laceweight I've been spinning for two months!

Friday, 16 April 2010

Not really getting anywhere

I'm working on lots of things right now, but they are all in the dull in-between parts, so not really blogworthy. But taken as a group perhaps they will be more interesting? Some highlights:
  • I've abandoned my spindle and am planning on getting rid of it. It's fun, I love spindling, but my damaged elbow can't manage the weight of the spindle in addition to the fine motor control needed to draft. It's a shame, but I'm not risking further damage to my dominant arm.
  • I've finished the gussets of my Franken-Mei socks and might actually get them done this month.
  • I've cast on for yet another garter stitch scarf, this time using my perfect red yarn. I needed an antidote to complicated yarn projects and coursework.
  • I really love carding.
  • I cast on for a laceweight sweater, 'cause I'm crazy like that. After knitting three rounds, I've abandoned it until I finish some older WIPs.
  • Apparently if one works with raw fleece one is supposed to get a tetanus shot. My mother tells me I'm overdue for a booster, so Fifi-processing is postponed until I can make an appointment with my doctor.
  • I'm about a quarter of the way finished with a batch of blue Falkland singles. I think I'm going to 2-ply them, but I might n-ply to preserve the long stretches of colour. Or I might just leave it all as a singles. It'll be laceweight whichever way I finish it!
  • I've started a new piece of embroidery. It's one I've had materials stashed for for about three years and never gotten around to starting. Gorgeous folksy flowers on a grey/green linen. There's a complementary piece to go with which I also have, but I probably won't get that one started for a couple of years. Let's be realistic here. :D

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Long weekend

Despite having to work on Saturday, I still ended up having a long weekend thanks to Monday off and a half-day of classes on Tuesday. Although much of that time was taken up with a total time-suck of a wordgame, I spent a great deal of time knitting.

Ergo, new shawl:

It's made from the handspun I finished recently. I have about a yard of the stuff leftover, thanks to the joys of the modular pattern. It's the first heavy shawl I've made for myself, and came in handy today. It's getting warmer in London, but still jacket weather. It's also heavy shawl weather!

A few thoughts:

  • Ruffles look great but are a total pain to knit and cast off. It took me four hours to finish the cast-off.
  • Garter stitch doesn't need blocking if the yarn is squidgy enough.
  • Garter stitch really doesn't need blocking if the ruffle contains half the total yarn. I predict that two weeks of wear will stretch it to double the current size, which is already bigger than any of my other shawls.
  • Worsted weight shawls don't work as scarf alternatives unless I want to look like a linebacker under my jacket.
  • There's a lot of room for variegation in a semi-solid fiber/yarn.
  • Knitting with handspun is much more exciting than knitting with commercial yarn.
  • I need to spin more.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Handiwork at its finest

For whatever reason, I was struck yesterday with the urge to fetch out my handcards and start carding Fifi into rolags. It's fun! I did a fairly careful job of picking when I was washing, but the carding process is getting a ton of plant matter and bits out. My plan is to spin up a small sample of chunky yarn to try out woollen spinning, then knit it up into a pair of mitts. Once I've gotten my hands accustomed to not-worsted, I'll do the lot up as an aran-weight and knit a blanket.

Ambitious, me? Maybe a little - but I am trying to make things for myself!

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Mmmm, green

My shawl is at the "lap full of squishy goodness" stage. I'm halfway done. Normally I'd be climbing walls to be done already, but I'm actually taking my time stretching this out as long as possible because I'm enjoying the process so much. I don't remember the last time I was this excited about a piece of knitting. Kinda sad, really - but I'm making up for it now!

Thursday, 11 March 2010


It seems to be the season for landmark points in life right now. Today I renewed my Young Person's Railcard for the last time, because tomorrow is my birthday and I'll no longer qualify. I don't mind getting older, but I'm definitely going to miss the cheap train fares! Baby L isn't a baby anymore. I went to visit yesterday, and while S and I were having a lovely evening of knitting and gossip, Baby L has figured out whole sentences and can have conversations. Strange how she's gone from being a noisy little lump to being a small person with opinions and a wicked sense of humour in such a short time.

And of course there are spinnerly landmarks. There's the obvious one - spinning yarn that you can knit with for the first time. That one was pretty exciting. But not nearly as exciting as the one I just got to - spinning yarn you'd actually WANT to knit with! Over the course of a couple of months, I turned this:

seaglass fiber 005

into this:

seaglass fiber 001

which I'm now turning into one of these.

It's real yarn. Finally. It squidges and is soft. It's evenly plied. It's sproingy. I love it. I love it so much that all of my other projects have been dropped like hotcakes so that I can devote myself to knitting it. I cast on two days ago and am a quarter of the way through my yarn. And since I took the day off for my birthday, I could conceivably finish it this weekend!

Monday, 8 March 2010

The Perennial Pepper

I thought these guys were supposed to be annuals, but no!

Two baby chilis, happily growing away on our frigid living room windowsill.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Wait for it...

...I knit another pair of Monkey socks. I know, shocking, isn't it? My sixth completed pair, and all but one mineminemine!

Colinette Jitterbug in the colourway 'Popsicle', although it reminds me of birds of paradise. I love the bright reds and oranges, and the green is perfectly loud and garish for such a grey and dismal time of year. I went with three repeats on the cuff, although I could easily have managed one more, if not two with the leftovers. Ah well, I can always make more sock yarn squares.

I also ripped out two projects this weekend. The bronze scarf and orange shrug are no more. I'm now down to four WIPs - the Franken-Mei socks, the sage green shawl, the blue Malabrigo Shetland Triangle and the sock yarn pillow. I'm feeling a pressing need to cast on for something new. Possibly a stripey hat, or maybe some mittens?

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Busy signal

I can't come to the blog right now. I've figured out how to use my spindle at long last. I expect to resurface when I run out of undesignated fiber to spin, or for my birthday, whichever happens first.

Ta-ta for now!

Monday, 1 March 2010

Ravelympics Wrap-Up

In among all the other things I spent February doing, I participated in the Ravelympics. This year I decided to be somewhat more realistic than I have in previous years, and actually take my regular life into account when planning! I decided to make a pair of Fuzzy Feet slippers, originally published in Knitty.

Basically, you knit an enormous sock (worsted plus jumbo needles) and then full it to fit. The knitting went quite quickly when I was actually doing it - total time to knit was in the region of 6 hours, give or take. That gave me these:

felted slippers 001

Then came the fun part. I don't have a toploader, and even if I did, I don't have a zippered pillowcase to keep felting lint from destroying the drains on the washing machine. So, manual labour. I started the fulling process by back-and-forth plunging in icy and scalding waterbaths. This got me to the "omg-so-hairy" phase, but I needed more friction to make the fulling happen. So, into the bath with some Fairy liquid to crush grapes, or in this case squish slippers. An hour later,

felted slippers 002

I'm happy with my results, since this is my first fulling project. But it's a sort of good news/bad news situation. The bad - the lint resulting from the fulling process triggered an allergic reaction, so I'm never going to be able to wear these. The good - my spouse and I have the same size feet, so he now has a lovely pair of slippers!