So…. It’s now June.

And I have been a very slack blogger indeed.

Here are some things that i made while I was not blogging.

First Up, I mentioned knitting things for little people. well, little people get bigger and grow out of the little things I make for them, and a dear friend recently requested not one, but two new items for her daughters.

Evelyn was given an elephant intarsia vest* when she was a new person, and her little sister Lillian got owls* (because everyone is fond of owls). Of course they are both much bigger now, and mum requested a vest for Evelyn and one for Lillian too. we picked out a selection of cabled vests, and Evelyn picked hers and Lillian picked a different one (of course), we decided on colours, and then i came back to London and made it happen!

The Twisty River Vest for Evelyn

The Street Vest for Lillian

I used Cascade 220 for both since it’s hard wearing, warm and available in great colours. They were both quick and easy patterns and after sending them back to Aus, I got the best thank you I could – a photo with in a week of the vests being worn!

Ok! next up…

For christmas/my birthday, the lovely Mel at Recipe for a Yarn gave me some hand carded fibre. I spun the lovely duck egg blue up before i even left Aus and it became a lovely smooshy bulky 2 ply. It was screaming at me that it wanted to be a cowl, and so, a cowl it is! I wish i’d had a smidgeon more so it could be a little wider, but I love it and it’s very warm and snuggly!

just a simple moss stitch worked in the round til it could be worked no more.

Thank you Mel, I love it!

and, we continue on to…. another long story!

I took up swing dancing last year when i got to London. I absolutely love it, but it’s not exactly something I can do in my winter boots. So this winter I was faced with a problem… either I wear shoes I can dance in and my calves/legs get cold (jeans are also not condusive to dancing) or I wear my boots and have to lug a pair of shoes around, which is just annoying. Until I decided to finally knit myself a piece of nostalgia.

Spats*!

Don’t you just love the buttons? so steampunky!

I finished them in february and thanks to the cold spring, have worn them a few times. they are indeed perfect for wearing with little flats over tights or leggings with my swing dancey type dresses and they are surprisingly effective! I’m very pleased!

And I have apparently developed a thrifty side when it comes to yarn since living in London (which is pricey and has a very small stash available to me), as I used the left over dark grey to whip up a nice chunky tweedy, go with everything, keep me toasty, hat!

Jane*, by Jane Richmond, It shows the Brooklyn Tweed nicely and is really long – not a style I usually go for, but I seem to rock it!

That’s not the only yarn to do me double duty! Late last year I picked up two skeins of the omg-so-soft Juno Alice sock. It’s not really suitable for socks, but it is suitable for lovely shawls. Especially when you have put on said shawl in yarn store and not wanted to take it off, thus leading you to buy the exact same colours in the exact same yarn to do said shawl. Which is what happened.

stripes and lace – so satisfying!

And so I present Selena*. Pretty isn’t it. Sadly it did warm up just as I finished this, so i really haven’t worn it yet!

And the other project? well, I’ve only ever managed to lose one thing on the tube, and it was my beautiful ishbel beret that I made last year from the angora blend I picked up in Gothenburg. *sob* I was gutted. Not only was it a hand knit, but it was made from souvenir yarn that would be a bitch to replace. So when I realised I’d have enough of the contrast colour from this shawl to whip up a replacement, I figured it would fill some of the void my carelessness had left.

My second ishbel beret – a little tight in the band, but soft and delicate!

And one other thing to show you before i disappear off into internet silence again.

I picked up some jitterbug on sale (thanks Loop!) and not being able to decide which colour i prefered I got both Florentina and Velvet Olive, a perfect combo for stripes. At first I was talked into doing the Tempest cardigan, but i’ve never really been in love with it, despite seeing some amazing finished products (Sonia and Sharon come to mind) and I’ve certainly never really liked it with a strongly variegated yarn. So I found this pattern instead – Elfe* – a very simple, elegant tee, that works quite well with a semi-solid picking up a tone in the variegated yarn! It was bloody easy too and done in a month! this i HAVE worn a few times, perfect for London ‘summer’!

Such pretty colours! great with shorts or jeans.

It was also my first time doing the contiguous sleeve method, which i really liked and would totally do again. Top down seamless is the way to go!

Well, there’s my post that proves I have been productive in other ways, if not in the blogging sense. I’m currently working on the BFF cowl with Katie (more to come) and my first crocheted garment for me! exciting times.

*ravelry link

Happy New Year!

It’s 2012. but you knew that, because you are on the interwebs, which means you are looking at some kind of electronic equipment that knows the date and time. But i digress

Happy New Year my lovely crafterly friends, from near and far – WordPress tells me that i have readers all over the world, but particularly from the UK (see you there soon!) and US! so Hi! I also had 47 SF cable car’s worth of people traipse across my site. which is lovely! i also just realised that may well be the first time i have ever written or perhaps even read the word traipse. I had absolutely no idea how to spell it, but i guessed and I think i’m right, so yay!

My year of being a Notorious sock knitter with the Rockin’ Sock club has come to a close. My last installment for the year has been my favourite – which is good. It’s a bit of a pity, because i found the experience to be a little underwhelming. I didn’t LOVE any of the colourways this year, though i had a lot of respect for the dyeing, especially with aubergenius and pinky swear (Jan) which were such a perfect match. The patterns were a bit hit and miss for me. The ones i liked i felt I had seen similar things before and the ones i felt were really original didn’t grab me at all. And while the community were lovely and welcoming, i wasn’t as involved as i could have been. But still, I have done it and i can cross it off my knitting bucket list!

Comfort and Joy - the November (and final) instalment of RSC 2011

I finally finished my wallflower socks`, and before the end of the year too! They took up the last 3 months of my ‘sock a month’ year, so i ended up 1 pair behind (i finished an extra pair in january, though i started them in december ’10). I have the remaining two ‘parcels’ of yarn+pattern there, and one i will definitely take with me to the land of the engers when i head to the UK in late Feb.

I should also add that these were only my second stranded sock and my first time using wollmeise!

FINALLY! Wallflower, but Stephanie van der Linden, in Wollmeise (Stella Polaris) and an undyed merino cashmere from Wired for Fibre

Yes, I have my UK Visa and i’m heading off and it is STUPID the amount of time i spend planning what yarn is coming with me, what will go happily to storage and what will go to mum so she can post it to me along with mail, summer clothes and other goodies. With all the other planning i should be doing, this is taking up a disproportionate amount of my brain time^. I am going to be taking a lot/getting a lot sent because with my VAST stash (256 yarns stashed on rav and that’s not all, though take into account there are double ups due to multiple colours being grouped together for the one project) it seems stupid that precious money that will absolutely be needed for expensive London rent and food and WARM CLOTHES should get spend on yarn to replace what i already have. SO! my plan is to arrange for yarn that has maximum time to weight ratio attached to find its way to me in London. this means a lot of my sock yarn and laceweight. I have been using my rav queue to whittle down pattern to  yarn matches and have about 94756924569276924753* shawls and socks ready to be knitted. This is good too because it means some of my handspun and souvenir yarn will finally see the light of day as a FO.

amongst all this crafting and planning christmas and a bunch of birthdays happened. I didn’t really do the crafting presents for everyone that i’ve done the last few years. a couple of reasons for this but the big one was ALL THE BABIES! i spent the time i would normally be making xmas presents doing things for small people instead. (there are more baby knits on the way too!)

I did however get some gift spinning done and had a few presents already made for people – mum got some of my handdyed yarn and helen got a hat` i made for her back in march.

Here are the spins, in order, for nett, katie and mel:

Super Angorino from Ixchel (50% angora, 50% superfine merino), spun 2 ply, 130m, 50g, around a fingering weight.

Merino and Carbonized bamboo from Ewe Give Me the Knits, n-plied, 135m, 100g, around a DK weight.

Wensleydale from Ixchel, 2ply, 85m and 100g around a DK weight.

The wensleydale i’m particlarly proud of – i think it’s one of my most even and beautiful spins yet!

^TBH I think a lot of my brain power has gone on this plan because in the looming face of moving to a whole new country, this is a manageable problem

*figure may be an exaggeration.

` ravelry link

A few FOs, Sock clubs and sundry items

I mentioned that i had finished Fay and I have now taken photos of it too!

Finished Fay

It’s really really soft and lovely, but I’ll be honest when i say it’s already a smidgeon big, but i HAVE lost quite a bit of weight since i started it. I don’t mind though – it’s not swimmingly large or anything and it means i can wear it over a few layers if i need to (which i might this winter!). To recap, it’s knit from Pear Tree 4ply in Damson and the pattern is Fay by Kim Hargreaves from Precious.

I also have finished photos of Livia, my May socks

Livia socks

These are my first socks in Jitterbug and I wore them yesterday – very warm and comfy! A few people have mentioned they find this a bit ropey on the soles of their feet, but i can’t say i noticed. I very much enjoyed this pattern (except the cuff. that annoyed me) and LOVED working with this colour. It’s so delicious! The pattern is from Twist Collective.

Speaking of socks, my May/June installment of the Rocking Sock Club arrived and i realise i didn’t post about the previous installment…

Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

When I opened the March/April installment i didn’t quite know what to think. I love it from a design/intensity/vibrancy and sheer COOLNESS of it sense, but what to DO with it?! Well, all i can say is that the designers for the RSC earn their keep. The two sock patterns for this yarn work perfectly and I’ve seen a few other uses on Rav that are pretty awesome – namely a woven scarf where the weaver lined up the colour pooling and used a dark yarn to tone the whole thing down. I’m a bit in awe of that scarf and if i didn’t love how cleverly the sock patterns work with this yarn (and therefore want to do one of them) I would do that instead!

This month’s installment is probably the most ME so far, though a bit muted for my usual summer/winter tones.

Maia

I love reading Tina’s Dyers notes. Her stories are well told and interesting (though i want her to finish the story she started this time!!) and her reasoning behind her colours and names are insightful and give extra special  meaning to the yarns. It really does make you feel a part of something. My other favourite thing about the RSC installments is the little words inside the ball band. Maia has been named after the Goddess, in honour of spring (which it is on that side of the world) and the replenishing of life that goes with it. The inside of the ball band says Elektra – any guesses as to the theme?

I have been spinning and weaving as well and also dyeing… I overdyed the yarn i dyed for owls and will hopefully have some photos next week. I only have one (bad) photo of the colour i managed to make it – not at ALL like my test mini-skein. i think Bloodwood is a colour that is very different depending on the level of heat applied. But more on that later…

The weaving was the completion of a giant mohair wrap. no photos yet! I warped up in March but was a bit daunted by the whole thing so it fell by the wayside. Well, the final product is GORGEOUS and so WARM! photos to come!

The spinning I can’t show yet! it’s a birthday present for someone who DOES read this. I hope she likes it!

Still here…

Hi!

I apologise for the month long silence, but things haven’t been great chez Jen. I won’t go into it here, because a) I don’t want this to be a whingy blog b)It’s a bit TMI for some and c)it’s long and complicated, but the short version is I have been having issues with my mental and physical health. I am on a new medication which has made me feel better, but not good, but will stick with it for a few more weeks before trying something new. But the result of this is that sometimes the things i know usually are relaxing and fun haven’t necessarily been. So for example I’ve had the odd panic attack whilst knitting, or have had the wrong energy for sitting down to crafting.

BUT! I have persevered and have a few finished objects to show you!

Firstly My February Socks

Dragonfly socks in Mini Mochi

I really enjoyed this knit. The yarn is a little splitty (not great for dropping down and picking up stitches) but otherwise lovely – so smooooooshy and the pattern is super easy. I worked an eye of patridge heel, because i like them. This yarn is apparently known for not ‘matching up’ but i’m pretty happy with how these turned out. Very similar!

I have also finished March’s socks, though sadly 2 days into April, so too late to enter into the  Sock Knitters Anonymous  competition under the Janneke Maat design category. Pity – first time my random selection and their competition categories had matched up!

Here is a (terrible) photo of the first finished sock as I haven’t taken FO pics yet

Maeve in Ixchel’s BFL bunny sock

I really didn’t enjoy these as much as i thought i would. I don’t know why – maybe the colours were actually too muted for the mood i was in, or perhaps it had nothing to do with the socks, just the mood/energy i was feeling, but they’ve also ended up a smidgeon small, so will probably get gifted. I don’t usually like gifting things that haven’t been specifically knitted for the recipient, but my cousins have small feet, so one of them may like them… I don’t know.

Also, the two socks are slightly different colours.

Now for a very deliberate gift…

Cabled Slipover from Debbie Bliss in Adorn Silky Cashmerino 4ply

This is for the soon-to-be first boy in my family for 31 years (41 on that particular side of my family). My cousins are having a little boy due this month and I couldn’t resist  knitting this (in gorgeous cashmere silk merino). I think it’s super cute that i’m sending my aussie cousin, married to a german, living in the states a cricket vest, but they’ll all think it’s a tennis vest, so it’s not as amusing as i think it is. But it is ADORABLE! (and the neck does stretch out a lot and it’s designed for the newborn)

I also finished spinning a yarn (hee) once i was feeling a bit better last month. It’s wensleydale from Charly in the colourway Sleepy Hollow

(c) Ixchelbunny from flickr

I separated out all the colours into the full colours and the mixes where they blend and then spun in a slow colour gradient. It’s a laceweight or light fingering at most and i’ve got 360m to play with – I’m looking for a nice lace shawl pattern, but might end up designing one!

I love the halo on it! wensleydale has a nice long staple so it’s good for a low twist single. As i was spinning it i thought it wasn’t ‘low’ twist enough, but had a few breaks when winding it onto a niddy noddy, so it obviously IS low twist afterall!

I’m now working on my April socks (and they’re going quite quickly!!) and have been working on my Fay again – a year on! I really love it and want to wear it!! I also have a few more baby knits to work on (so many babies due) but needed to work on some adult things for a while. I’ve also cast on Emily by Kim Hargreaves in Alpaca Cotton, an Aran weight yarn, because i needed to knit something NOT with 4ply!

Another new toy… Trouble is looming.

So I had kinda planned to buy myself a birthday present in three weeks time (at my birthday, of course, which is on Valentine’s should anyone feel a desperate need to buy me yarn/roving lol) , but someone on ravelry was selling exactly what i was wanting second hand. So I bought it early…

On wednesday i drove to Ferntree Gully and bought a loom. A 50cm Ashford Knitters’ Loom, with stand and carry bag.

And I kinda love it. After going to the Night Market with penelope waits that night I read my instructions, grabbed the pretty yarn i’d bought on the way home from picking up the loom and warped it up…

Three hours later I had my first woven scarf. I LOVE IT! three hours! for a whole scarf! albeit a child sized scarf, which as a result i am planning on giving to my cousin for her 9th birthday.

After a wash and a hang/dry on Thurs it looked like this:

The edges aren’t fantastic, but by all accounts aren’t terrible either for a first project and will get better with practice. the actual weaving is a little uneven, but again not anything practice won’t fix.

I really love the colours too and the way the warp plays with the weft. I used Studio Mohair for the weft and Plain old cleckheaton country for the warp.  I have some pretty bamboo sock yarn to play with some bamboo wool and some noro kochoran to match with some tweed for my next couple of projects as well as some left over SAGE (omg i made so many sage coloured presents at christmas) and contrast yarns to do some colourwork!

I am currently working with an inexpensive yarn to practice some more, again letting the yarn itself work wonders 🙂

this time i am using the same mottled yarn for the warp and weft and letting the colours play with each other.

And don’t worry, my new wheel has not been forgotten!! Last week I spun Polworth – a brand new fibre for me, to celebrate my brand new wheel – into this lovely smooooooshy DK yarn. I call it Pink Elephants in Lavender Fields.

and while the scarf was drying i spun a single from some GORGEOUS camel bunny silk blend from Ixchel which i intend to ply with some similar shaded angorino. nomnomnom. should be deliciously soft laceweight/light fingering with lovely meterage when i’m done!

My New Toy!

I got home tonight after a lovely day with my friend penelope waits and an evening at the richmond knitter’s night and discovered something to make my day even MORE awesome!

and inside this ashford box were a whole pile of pieces, which, two hours and a WHOLE lotta sweat later (It’s 40+ degrees here in melbourne today) I have this!

I managed to do it all myself, with a little help from my housemate’s 5 year old daughter, but i busted the tack that goes under the tension knob whilst trying to hammer it in, so i will get a new one tomorrow. a regular thumb tack should do as long as i can get it in without bending the pin. It’s just to stop the tension knob screwing into the soft wood. Other than that i think i have done an excellent job even if i do say so myself. My screws are flush (my grandfather would be proud) my pieces are all straight and lined up.

Now to decide what to spin tomorrow night when the cool change hits! I have some fibre combinations i’ve been eyeing off for a while, but i also have some fibre from a new enabler… hmmm, decision time!

Happy New Year!

It seems to be a bit of a thing around the crafty blogs to celebrate the end of the year with an acknowledgement of one’s crafty achievements.
To that end, here is a mosaic!

2009: A Year in Finished Objects

1. diamond vest, 2. Cotton Shrug, 3. Folded, 4. chevron scarf, 5. jc’s socks, 6. cable cars, 7. dashing mitts, 8. sarah’s present, 9. oceanic, 10. ocean traveller socks, 11. opera scarf, 12. the embroidery, 13. shetland mitts, 14. mrs beetons, 15. rosy fire socks, 16. mum’s beret, 17. ms marigold, 18. dad’s cabled fingerless gloves, 19. table runner, 20. sage mitts, 21. helen’s shrug, 22. blue beetons, 23. xmas trivet, 24.  bags

Created with fd’s Flickr Toys

The Mosaic has 24 images, but there are at least four projects from the year that i don’t have photos of, although three of those are ‘duplicates’ – ie patterns i’ve done before – the bowtie scarf, Mrs Beetons (yep, another pair) and the summer shrug. The fourth i can think of off the top of my head was a pair of victorian plume cuffs for a swap. There is also one other sewn item – a skirt for the production i did in March. It’s in storage.

ETA: I have also forgotten my regency muffler which there IS A photo of *sigh*. There’s also my dad’s belated birthday scarf, which now that i think about it, i totally need to take a photo of while i’m in Adelaide, and also my cousin’s headband… so how many’s that? 32?

I would do a mosaic for my spinning, except that I pretty recently did a MASSIVE post with most of my spins from the year on it! I’ve spun a few more things since then, but not a massive amount. this is mostly because my wheel is at my parents’ place, roughly 750km from my place. However, I have just ordered a christmas present for myself and I should have a new wheel arriving in the next week or so!! *excited* This means I have to pack up some of my fibre to take back to Victoria with me! yay.

I’m also planning my birthday present to myself – it’s only a month and 2 weeks away! – a loom! Afterall, I totally need a new craft to learn this year!

The Summer of Spinning

Last summer was the summer I discovered Blue Faced Leicester, Wensleydale, Camel and Cashmere blends. It was the summer I plyed using a prespun laceweight for one ply. It was the summer of the three ply. It was the summer I spun exotic singles and bought from Spindlefrog and Exclusively Linda Lee,  my favourite International crack fibre suppliers. Here are some of my spins and you can see the improvement from previous spinning posts!

you know how when you get a box of chocolates you eat your least favourite first, even if you love all of them? well it’s a bit like that when you’re a newbie spinner choosing from your stash. So even though I LURVE this fibre, I chose it as ‘not my most precious’ and spun it up when i arrived in Adelaide.

Gumnut Magic Angorino from Ixchel: 14wpi, 86g, 204m of 95% 18micron merino, 5% angora, which makes it a sport weight of yum!

Then my first package from Spindlefrog arrived. I couldn’t resist the colours of the Mermaid BFL and was so curious about this raved about fibre it was instantly on the wheel

don’t you just want to dive into it! It’s not the most even yarn, varying from 13- 16 wpi. but it’s a good little heavy fingering (that sounds dirty) weight yarn. great meterage too at 365m from 119g.

So I took part in a dye your own swap, and working in my parents house, with curious cats and a clumsy dog around, I chose to dye with jelly and food colouring. I have a great technique where I do a standard jelly dye (simmering the fibre in jelly with a bit of vinegar) and just dribble some food colouring in of a similar colour to give a semi solid effect. I dyed up a batch in green, blue, pink, purple and red-pink for my swapee, but there was a little pink and purple left over. YIPPEE! so I spun a single with that, just to see what it was like after the dying process. At about the same time, this optim/seacell blend from the incomporable Mandie at EGMTK arrived in a slightly more vibrant colourway than i was expecting. but, low and behold GENIUS struck me and I spun it up as a single and plied them together… the result?

360m of AWESOMENESS. It was so SHIMMERY, which is of course how it got it’s name – Fairy Princess –  since it reminded me of luminescent fairy wings and it was just so damned GIRLY! My friend ended up buying off me and knitting a morning surf scarf for her good friend’s birthday. it looked amazing 🙂

Before heading to Adelaide I’d gone to visit Charly  (aka Ixchel) at the Sunday Arts Markets and not only had i bought far too much fibrey goodness, but she sold me a skein of laceweight cashmerino to experiment with plying. It was a perfect match for one of the braids, and so I chose that at my next adventure, using a couple of defaced coathangers and a champagne bottle as a swift!

It was my first time plying like this and it took me quite a while to get the hang of it, but where it works I love it! the colours were a great match, i got a CRAPLOAD of yardage – 537m –  and a whole pile of angorino left over for later… I called it Ocean Shadows, after the name of both the braid and cashmerino and it sits at about a sport weight.

So I was feeling pretty confident about now and my first pile of deliciousness had arrived from across the Pacific from Linda Lee. She specialises in exotic fibres and I’d ordered 2oz of Camel/Silk in the Syrah colourway – it seemed like kismet having grown up with a cat of that name! It was divine to spin. I got some advice from LL herself on rav which really helped to make it a simple if time consuming spin. I kept the yarn as a single to maintain the colour and to gain maximum yardage (210m) from this delicious fibre. It sits at a light fingering, perfect for a lacy cowl…

 

Continuing on the ELL adventure, I ordered two different fibres in the same colourway – a cashmere silk and a cashmere baby alpaca in Crushed Cranberries – with the intention of plying them together. When the second lot arrived, I buried my face in it, spun them together! this is the most beautiful skein i’ve spun and it’s sooooooooooo soft and squooshy. If i were to sell it, it would be for about $100 because of the fibre content and the love that i have for it. But there’s no way i’m selling this. Come Autumn it will be draped around my neck in some lacy concoction and whenever I feel blue I will bury my face in it, like i did the day it arrived.

I got a fantastic 375m from the 4oz and it’s a fingering weight, so will create a lovely drapey fabric.

Hey remember that gumnut magic angorino? well I only spun about half of it, since Charly’s braids are a whopping 150-160g (6oz) and I had this fantastic idea that if i spun it with a creamy white, it would look like snow in the australian mountains (not that i’ve SEEN snow…). So of course i did exactly that. Charly advised keeping the white/cream ply really thin and if i were doing this again, I would do it as a three ply, with 2 of the main colour, one of the cream. But still it’s an interesting effect and i’m curious to see it knitted up.

I called it Snow on Blue Mountains and got just under 300m of light fingering weight out of it.

i had ordered some custom dyed machine wash merino from miss Mandie at EGMTK for my birthday, and since that was always going to be destined for sock yarn, i thought it time to experiment with three plys. The challenge at EGMTK for the month was inspired by a song, and this merino and tencel fibre, with its shimmery moody blues, made me think of Regina Spektor’s Lady (sings the blues so well, as if she mean it…)

I still can’t get over the shine of ‘Lady Toko’ and want to do a beret in it. I should have enough at 250m of DK weight!

I wanted to try a new fibre next, so i turned to another Spindlefrog creation – Wensleydale in the Unicorn colourway. wensleydale is hard to get your hands on in Aus. It’s not an overly soft fibre, but it spins like BUTTER!

It wasn’t a lengthy spin though, only 165m from 100g at a DK weight, but it will find a purpose somewhere!

Before I get to the last spin… you guys remember this yarn?

well, as per the deal with Miss E, it became this

It’s based on a simple shell lace pattern from the Harmony Guides Lace Stitch Dictionary by Erika Knight. The buttons are kinda retro and there are a gazillion different ways to wear it! Miss E loves it and apparently wore it all the time i was away over winter!

 

One last spin to tell you about. This is the custom colourway from Mandie, that I named Roses for Jen, being on a account of my sending a bunch of pink rose images to Mandie and her dying the yarn for me. I wanted socks. so a three ply it was. I did a sort of variation on a fractal spin, so one strip was spun as it appears in the braid, one was split twice and one about five or six times.

I got 340m of heavy fingering 3ply out of 140g of fibre.

And, just last week I finished knitting my socks from them! My first pair of handspun socks! I was sooooo excited. The pattern is Firestarter by Yarnissima (ravel it! go on i dare ya) The yarn was a bit thick, realistically. I actually broke a needle, working cables on 2mm wood needles! I didn’t use a cable needle, since they were all twisted stitches. I loved the construction and watching the yarn variegate as i knitted was totally exciting! I have about 100g of yarn left too I think!

 

I am the worst blogger in the world

ok, so maybe not the worst, but i’ve left the internet (I’m not arrogant enough to think i have readers) hanging for ten months!!!! In all fairness I was overseas for about half of that, and i am only just starting to put my life back together! Apparently that includes blogging!

I wanted to reconnect with this blog for a number of reasons. Firstly I have a crafty travellers adventures to tell you all about. So many yarn stores, so much yarn.  have some gorgeous purchases from all over the western world 🙂

Secondly, I made some amazing improvements in my spinning ability over the summer. I was in Adelaide working on a theatre show, so i pretty much just rehearsed, organised and spun (and knitted a bit…). I moved on to some BEAUTIFUL fibres and worked with plying different fibres together and all sorts of things. My wheel is still in Adelaide and I am in Melbourne, so i have to take yet another break, but luckily it is much like riding a bike. I do have a nice new spindle, so I really should try that out.

Thirdly, I have written up my first pattern. Yep. My very first written out pattern that I created. It’s socks, so I kinda borrowed heel flap concepts from another pair I’d just knitted, but other than that it’s all me. I worked out how many stitches, and a cute little cable into the heel flap and all sorts! I have two lovely ravellers knitting it at the moment and hope to have it available as a free download on this site and on ravelry (or at least as a post here) in a few weeks!!! EXCITING!

meanwhile, as soon as I finally get around to measuring up my bestie E, I will be designing and knitting a soft little sleeveless cardi for her, hopefully ready for next autumn (which for you Nth Hempisphere folk is March/April). I will be knitting it in the absolutely sumptious Filatura Di Crosa Superior,  a laceweight silk cashmere blend, which I will be working on 4mm needles for a lacy effect. I have worked out the gauge (written next to sketches in my Stitch n Bitch designer’s notebook, thanks Debbie Stoller) but  need to get the measurements of the lady in question so i can start doing the maths. And I thought I’d never use it outside of school! lol. (well to be truthful I have NEVER had to do integral calculus or use group theorums since graduating)

Christmas is also coming up, but i don’t quite know what I will be doing knitting wise, since my aunt has decided to do a stupid secret santa thing. So not sure who my chosen recipient is, but will make something for them. As for besties and my mum, dad and grandparents, I’m not sure. Definitely not as organised as last year. But on the plus side, I only work one day a week (boo, more days in the yarn store please!) and can knit like the WIND! and of course there’s always crochet.

So. Exciting posts ahead. I will pace myself though, otherwise I’ll be burnt out by xmas and you’ll have to wait another ten months!

Further Adventures in Spinning

I feel like i have come so far in the last month! (not too mention bought so much delicious fibre!!)

First Up – I’d had some pure merino roving in two different colours since i first got my wheel, which i’d always planned on plying together. So! that’s what i did!

Summer Orchard

Summer Orchard

It ended up a nice bulky weight – about 7 wpi – and i have a whopping 170m of it, So i’m thinking a lovely scarf! I actually don’t have a scarf in these colours at all, so it’s just perfect! It’s sooooo lovely and smooshy. I called it Summer Orchard because the colours remind me of the plums and cherries i get to scoff in December and January 🙂

Second – Again, some merino I picked up ages ago at the Handweavers and Spinners guild of victoria. This was a gorgeous multidyed blue based roving, which had been dyed seperately and then carded together (rather than hand dyed). I considered plying with a solid colour, but in the end i just practiced my fineness and evenness and 2 plied the yarn with itself.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3280/3103681719_65c05f4d5c.jpg?v=0

Mariana

Mariana

This one i named Mariana after the Underwater trench in the pacific. I’m sure the Mariana Trench is actually pitch black but these are such beautiful underwatery colours that the name just fit. This one is about 92m and a heavy worsted weight at 8 wpi.

Third – Fractal Spinning!! I received some beautifully hand dyed Norwegian roving from Ewe Give Me The Knits! in a ravelry swap. The colours ranged from bright red through pink and orange, great combination, but not for me, so i had the ingenious idea of spinning it up for my new friend S who is a total orange girl!! Since the colours were really clear i decided to try Fractal Spinning – this is a technique for getting a less randomised colouring through the yarn The basic idea is to split the roving into two halves – one which is spun with one full colour repeat (ie as is) and the other split three or four times and spun in multiple colour repeats. Depending on how the original colours are spaced, the colours should start to line up like so AA, AB, AC, BA, BB, BC, CA, CB, CC.

Cherry Bomb

This is one of the most even yarns i’ve spun and whilst the Norwegian is not as soft as Merino, it’s a dream to spin! almost spun itself!! The final stats were 100m, 100g, 10wpi (my finest yarn yet too!)

And S love it, naturally 🙂

Fourth! My friend E is a felter and had a whole pile of beautifully coloured merino slivers left over. she gave them to me for spinning, suggesting i put all the colours (she’s a quilter so she spends a lot of time putting colours together) in the one yarn. She’s also suggested that were i to make something out of it for her, that might not be a bad thing lol.

Es Roses

E's Roses

stats: 115m, 85g, 8-9 wpi (worsted weight)

It’s going to end up a cowl based on a scallop stitch pattern with pearl buttons

Five (omg) Is another Christmas present! I went and picked out a beautiful red based merino and silk blend at the spinner’s guild. The plum red is flecked with white and black and is just gorgeous! SJ had commented that she loved the smooshiness of my early yarns so i deliberately spun the first single thick and thin with a lot of smoosh factor. The other single i spun as evenly as i could (i do need to practice lol) and then plied the two together.

Cherry Ripe

Cherry Ripe

Stats: 80g, 85m, 8wpi

SJ loved it, and the 15% silk really does add a real shine!

Six (wow) nummy nummy bunny fur! I FINALLY got around to spinning some beautiful Angorino (80% 18 micron merino, 20% angora) from Ixchel. This was an unnamed colourway and so i named it Soft Sunset because of the colours i’d seen in the sky  just the day before! I decided to navajo ply this to try and maintain the colour bands. The result was ok… It was my first time spinning straight from the braid without separating it all out – i found this really hard and tiring. And found it MUCH harder to maintain an even yarn this way. That being said, i spun the finest single i’ve spun, since the result is a 3 ply and about the weight of my previous 2plys. I let the wheel get away from me whilst plying (SLOW wheel for navajo) so it’s over plied in places, but it’s still quite lovely and the slow colour changes are gorgeous

Soft Sunset

Soft Sunset

144m, 151g, 9wpi. I’m thinking fingerless gloves to really show off the colour changes

Seven (phew) My first Silk Hanky! This was spun on the spindle and was a lot of fun. and i just lurrrrve the colour. I navajo plied after i spun the single – also on the spindle, but not on the fly. D came over and commented on the colour – so it ended up being her christmas present in the form of a crocheted choker!

Silk Hanky

Silk Hanky

Silk Choker

Silk Choker

And Last but not Least – My first Art Yarn! Mandie at Ewe Give Me the Knits kindly carded some gorgeous green merino with red wing flash angelina. I spun it nice and thick (and not so thick) and plied it with a cranberry variegated plying thread which i’d strung with seed beads! Wow. was that a lot of work! the single kept breaking, the beads got tangled, the plying thread doubled back on itself… but i love the result: A christmas yarn for the spin up challenge at the Ewe Give Me the Knits group on Rav.

Happy Hollydays

Happy Hollydays

Named for the holly green colour and the season of course! 104, 113g, and i haven’t bothered to take wip reading… it’s to varied.