Disappointing

They say that pride comes before a fall and irritatingly, They are usually right. Alfresco is a beautiful yarn and I remain very proud of it. Meringue however, not so much. It was the fibre that I blended and spun for the Spunout shawl SAL/KAL. However, I decided not to use a control card to help me maintain a relatively consistent thickness instead spinning to what I thought was my “default” thickness. I’d heard so much of spinners having a “default yarn” that I thought I should try to find mine. Turns out I don’t have one!

Whilst the thickness of the singles isn’t dramatically variable it is definitely inconsistent, in a very bad way, though this wasn’t immediately noticeable as singles on the bobbin.

I plied 2 bobbins of singles together and when they were finished and I slipped them off the noddy-noddy and astonishingly, the yarn was really balanced and I mean REALLY balanced! Before it’s bath and thwacking balanced!

Still, it looked like this…

 

…and that’s before we even mention that the yarn turned out the colour of ancient bra! Not the desired effect at all. For those who don’t know me IRL, ancient bra is on a par with baby poo and insipid apricot as my worst colours ever!

As the yarn was balanced, I didn’t think that passing it through the Hansen in a clockwise direction was going to improve matters, though perhaps I am wrong in that. One thing that I could do to improve the yarn was to dye it a prettier colour than “ancient bra”.

Fortunately, I’d planned a crafty meet up with Ursula and Bee. Ursula has a spectacular talent for dyeing so off I went in the hope of redeeming my fugly yarn.

So, we did a randomised uncontrolled  dyeing experiment in immersion dyeing, adding a bit of this colour and that colour and waiting to see what the end result is. To be completely honest I really didn’t care so long as it wasn’t one of the aforementioned colours in the end.

This is the result of that experiment.

 

I told you she was talented! I love the way it turned out even though it didn’t magically restore the yarn’s consistency problems or even hide them very much.

Anyway the proof will be in the knitting and I just have to figure out what to knit with it. I shall knit it very soon because let’s face it, I have no desire to have it hanging around in the skein so I can admire my spinning skills. I do however, want to knit it up to see how the colours behave.

Anyhoo, more positive news is on the horizon.

ttfn x

Finished projects and new ones too

I finished my stripe study shawl this morning. I feel a bit ambivalent about this shawl and I don’t know why really. It is in my favourite colours and from yarn out of my stash, it was an easy mindless knit but not boring. It looks good and will be perfect for throwing around my shoulders when there is a bit of a breeze but still… meh!

Image

Maybe, it’s because I had high expectations and just hasn’t lived up to the hype. Maybe, I just need to wear it to appreciate it more, who knows. So next on the needles is Terra by Jared Flood. Yes, another shawl, not one for the coming summer season but what the heck. I’m very excited to cast this one on, I was supposed to cast on ages ago then I had a bit of deliberation about which yarn I was going to knit it in and now I’m going with my original choice of Shelter in Homemade Jam colour-way.

I also finished spinning the Hilltop cloud yarn. Nearly 700 yards between 2 and a bit skeins of squooshy yumminess.

 

I haven’t allocated it to a pattern because that method doesn’t seem to work for me being so fickle and apt to change my mind as I am.

Next on the wheel are two of my own blends. Spun out spinners on Ravelry are having a shawl themed spin-a-long/knit-a-long and I couldn’t resist.  So Friday being my day off I dove into my stash and found some merino fibre.  I blended it on my hackles and pulled through the diz. I have 3 colour-ways peppermint creme, meringue and creme caramel.

I wish you could feel how utterly light and fluffy they are. I may never spin from commercial tops that haven’t had the hackle treatment again. Anyway, I’m thinking I might make a dream Stripes shawl for the KAL part with the peppermint creme and meringue but you know me 😉

Happy knitting

Yay my mojo returned this week!  For various reasons, one simple reason is that the extremely hot day was just one day.  Though Spring does herald the inevitability of a hot Australian summer, bleurgh!  I wish my hubby would agree to me working for 6 months in the UK so I could have 2 winters.

Last Monday I started my Socktober project early but don’t tell the knitting police will you. They are the Delicious Knee high socks by Laura Chau and I’m knitting them with Noro Kureyon sock yarn.  The trouble was the heat made it really hard to work the tiny 2mm needles, I’ve since upped to 2.25mm to get gauge which is a huge relief I can tell you.  I’ve only got as far as the first stripe but already they are making me HAPPY Woohoo!

Stripy deliciousness, what’s not to love really?  (so long as you have air con)

Another thing that made me happy is the realisation that my stash that I’m no longer in love with needn’t weigh me down.  All I have to do is have a little destash, (thanks Katie and Jen) why did this not occur to me before?  I think I was holding on because I do love the colours and it’s not as if my stash is of considerable proportions, it’s quite modest really.  So if you are interested here is the page.

Here is the stash cupboard sans destash yarn, it looks so much better I think.  There is more room for more Skein sock yarn and the Shelter I need (only 3 colours) and more handspun.  Plus Sam’s jumper will start as soon as my Norovember project is off the needles.

The destash yarn now sit’s patiently in a space bag waiting for someone to love it and welcome it into their stash.

My other happy happenings this weekend were that I almost have 2 finished skirts, just some hand sewing to do and I had some friends round for a spinning afternoon.  Spinning with friends is so much fun, better that knitting in some ways because no one has to count stitches, rows or remember patterns so the conversation and beer can flow as we spin merrily on.  I finished plying the Gotland/Polwarth this morning.  My long draw technique is improving but I need to pedal slower as I’m creating too much twist for woollen spun yarn.  Pedalling slower is not easy for me, any tips?

Last week I also  Navajo plied some singles to make hexipuffs with, fun fun fun.

There’s a lot to be said for knitting and spinning what you love.  I know I’m a slow learner but I was brought up with a deep sense of duty, obligation and stoicism which I’m learning is not always a good thing.

ttfn x

March is for Malabrigo

For the month of March the Richmond Knitter’s KAL is to knit or crochet something with Malabrigo yarn.  I know this isn’t the normal run of things with KALs but we enjoyed Norovember so much we felt the need to give Malabrigo the same love.

So for my part in the Malabrigo-March-a-long, I cast on a one row handspun scarf by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee in Malabrigo worsted colourway Verdes yesterday and I am loving it.  It’s one of those genius patterns that is stupid simple, really stupid simple yet completely brilliant too. Part of it’s brilliance is in being completely  reversible which is always a good thing in a scarf.  I wish I could post a picture of it because I am completely besotted but alas it’s a gift knit, so no sneaky peeks.

So yes, if anyone is counting that’s three scarves on the go at the moment.  In other knitting news, the handspun hap blanket is off the needles in that the central garter stitch section is complete and waiting for me to decide picking up the stitches around the edges isn’t going to be incredibly tedious, or failing that, I will just have to suck it up in order to have it finished.  At the moment I am having way too much fun knitting brilliant scarves.

Norovember the second

Yay I finished my second Norovember project, same pattern as the first but in Kureyon leftovers from my fetching mitts, yay for matchy-matchiness.  It’s a great feeling to finish up bit of stash that’s leftover as I can’t bear unfinished things and loose ends, I like things completed and whole, good job I didn’t take up collecting things because I can get a bit obsessive.  So here I am sitting atop of my stairs, because it has the best natural light in my house, with my macbook on my knee taking a photo of my cowl, as you do.

Yeah, not the greatest quality photo ever, but beggars and choosers and so forth…

Here’s one without me spoiling the picture.

So talking of finishing things, I am now currently obsessed with finishing poor, neglected Manu, the last of my three cardigans.  I’m about half way through the first sleeve so I’m hoping it wont be long before I can wear it.  I think from now on I will stick to one project at a time because I clearly fail as a project floozy, monogamy is obviously a part of my nature that I cannot overturn on a whim, not even one that is flavoured with greed and indecisiveness.

Norovember the first

The Norovember KAL is proving to be way more sucessfull than Socktober.  No hitches just a lovely finished object and we are just into the second week, splendid!  The chickadee cowl has proved to be the perfect project for using up less than a full skein of Kochoran. I had enough to complete the project and it feels very warm and snuggly.  I’m so looking forward to the cooler weather so I can wear it, which is quite depressing because we have all of summer to do.  I really need to win the lottery so I can have a winter in each hemisphere each year.  Anyway, enough of my moaning here is the first Norovember cowl.

I think the linen stitch is a perfect complement to the lovely Noro-ness.  You can see the divine Noro colours better in this photo because the one with me wearing it is a dodgy photobooth one but here it is anyway.

I’ve already started the second one to use up my Kureyon leftovers.  I am so loving this stash-busting malarkey.  But I have made a few purchases lately which I will reveal when they arrive.  I know, I’m weak, but I have completed 3 projects since I last bought yarn.

Socktober endings and Norovember beginnings

So I finished my Socktober socks on the 3rd of November and I’ve begun my Norovember KAL project on the 5th, Guy Fawkes night which I miss terribly.

Vibrant orange cabley sockiness yum!  Please excuse the pyjama bottoms but I had to get a quick photo in before I went to work because there has been no decent light when I get home (working 10 1/2 hour shifts will do that).

I started with Judy’s magic cast on then did my increases to exactly how many stitches I required then started with a P2 (for symmetry’s sake) and continued in pattern for the top.  For the other bits I mostly used David’s toe up sock cookbook which has become my go-to toe up pattern and rejigged the stitch count by decreasing 2 stitches purlwise at either side after the heel flap to maintain the pattern.  In order for the socks to fit my curvalicious calves (my job involves being stood for hours on end remember) I had to put some sneaky M1 purlwise in the purl sections on cable rows I think the cable helps to hide the increases a tad.  Then as mentioned previously I borrowed the picot cuff from Suzies reading mitts but basically after the appropriate stockingette rounds I K2tog, YO to the end of a round then continued in stockingette for some more rounds then folded at the K2tog, YO round, et voila, tres complicated I don’t think.  I cast off using Jeni’s surprisingly stretchy bind off.

So for Norovember I was originally going to knit the scrappy lengthwise scarf from leftover Noro and Colinette but they didn’t quite look right and I was worried that the project would take too long what with learning to spin and finishing Manu and everything.  So I’ve plumped for a smaller project, still using the leftover Kochoran, still using a pattern from my queue which also is in linen stitch, Chickadee cowl.  However, I’ve just frogged after the first inch because, though I’m new to cowls I got the feeling it was maybe a bit tight so I’m going to add 10 stitches and see how that goes.  My new mantra is “if in doubt, rip it out” because I know by now that if I don’t it will bug me forever so I may as well get it right.  Gosh that makes me feel grown up.

Anyhoo, lastly, the pink tops that I dyed and was spindling, I spindled some more of, then I plied the two singles and it looks like this

As a novice spindler, I’m quite happy, it’s unashamedly “art yarn” but the colours I’m really happy with, they put me in mind of fruits of the forest, eton mess type thing.

Spinning again on Sunday and I can’t wait, I have to spin another bobbin full so I can learn plying properly.  I’m going to spin my Romney cross part fleece, because I can.  Hope you have a lovely weekend were ever you are.

I has a sock

One Toe-up-BFF-orangina-Socktober KAL sock is finished yay! I only have 5 days in which to complete it’s counterpart, not so yay!  Still it is very pretty and it fits and I’m on a roll, I can be very determined when I want to be.  I did a picot edge cuff, just coz, following a tip from Jen/Binkaboo who suggested I borrow that bit from Suzies reading mitts, thanks Jen it worked a treat.

Here is said sock

I’m loving how my pasty white leg blends in so well with the pasty white wall in this picture.

Anyhoo, this second sock won’t knit itself so I must away.  I must admit that it’s got to the point where not only do I knit on public transport, I’ve also mastered knitting whilst walking, good job I’m not the gum chewing type though as I think that may be a task too many.

Socktober KAL update and cake

I’ve had a bit of a Goldilocks thing going on with my BFF socks, the medium were too small, the large too big.  Arrgggggh, how to get it so they fit just right and retain the pattern that is so necessary for my chosen yarn, the solution seemed impossible.

I went to bed Monday night after frogging back again with this conundrum going round in my head.  Then Tuesday morning I awoke with the obvious solution staring me in the face.  I could bore you with the details but I’m scared that the yarn gods will smite me down for “counting my chickens before the eggs are hatched” as my Mum used to say.

Let it just be enough to say I’m making progress now.  In fact I’m about to start my short row heel, then all being well I can knit the heel flap and leg bit, but I’m still not tempting fate or anything, honest.

Because today was a lovely wet rainy day, mwahhahahahahah, I baked a big ol’ fruitcake from my favourite Nigel Slater recipe out of his Appetite book.  It’s a great recipe and because it uses one and a half kilos of dried fruit therefore it’s practically a health food.  The other thing I like is that, like most Nigel Slater recipes it is easily customizable to use what you have in your pantry, so that’s what I did.  I used 1kg mixed dried fruit, 200g cherries and 300g dates, then I swapped the hazelnuts for walnuts and the brandy for the last bit of port.  I couldn’t resist cutting into it  and tasting while still warm, well I have to test it before I offer it to my nearest and dearest or I wouldn’t be a good mum would I?

Yep, tastes good.  Schlutty says hi and now I have to crack on in the desperate hope I might finish the pair by the 31st October.  Wish me luck!

Feeling foolish and frustrated


It’s halfway through Socktober and some of my KAL pals have finished their socks and some have finished one sock and I’ve frogged my sock.

This act required quite a bit of deliberation, but now it’s done I feel… erm… kinda good… kinda bad.

The reason for frogging was thus.  I had decided to knit the socks toe up and so sort of smurging two patterns to get the desired outcome but.  My gauge was 10stitches per inch instead of 8 that the BFF required and the pattern wouldn’t work with the amount of stitches the toe up pattern’s maths suggested, so I went with the BFF medium size, a tad smaller than my actual foot size.  BIG MISTAKE!

Once the sock had got past the ball of my foot, as in where my foot gets deeper the sock got a bit tight.  How do I know this?  Well, because I tried them on as a good knitter should.  Trouble is I ignored what was staring me in the face or rather pinching me around the foot and knit on.  I knit the gusset, knit the short row heel, knit the heel flap.  Then, I tried the sock on again and well, what do you know?  The sock is not only too tight but too short. Ha! Foolish, foolish, deluded knitter the sock seemed to say.  At that point I had invested even more time to a sock that was only ever going to fail at fitting me.  I was I admit sorely tempted to ignore the slightly too tight, slightly too short sock and finish it.  However, I really want to knit a pair of socks from this beautiful orange yarn that fit me and do the yarn justice.

Now I have to decide whether to do the maths again and hope for the best possibly risking another frog-tastic disaster. Or, just knit a plain and simple toe up sock for me with a sprinkling of cables, thereby abandoning the knit-along fun-ness.

Here’s a picture to remind me I’m not completely crap.

In the end I went with the hook and eye option, I wasn’t feeling the buttons.  I may change my mind later, but hey ho!