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!