It’s been a while…

Since I last posted, I have started my new job, finished two gift knits, started spinning for a gift knit, started another gift knit and come to the conclusion that non-superwash yarns make better wearing socks. The follow your arrow project is hibernating until I can buy more yarn sadly.

Gift knits include
A Quincey Quade Quentin for my nephew Ethan’s birthday

A Wisp scarf for my sister Fiona’s birthday

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As for the superwash socks, I have mended a sock using this method, I maybe need more practice and to use a contrasting yarn and then duplicate stitched an area that was becoming worn but not worn through rather poorly too. My Zauberball socks have worn beautifully since they have felted in areas where they have a lot of wear. It could just be this yarn base but it coud also be the superwash-ness. The only way to find out is to knit more socks, yes?

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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

Three bags full

I love blending wool on my hackles but it does come with a downside.

 

That’s all the waste from just the Alfresco!

 

So now I have 3 bags full of blending waste.

I was wondering if there was anyone out there who could make use of nearly 1.8 kgs of fluff for free. Obviously postage would have to be paid for by the recipient. As I do blend with felt resistant wools such as Southdown and Dorset Horn not all of it is felt able .

Frog-not-so-tastic

There is a reason that wise knitters tell you to knit alternate rounds with 2 skeins of hand-dyed yarn. That reason would be that they are wise and they have probably had a pooling issue in the past. Only one because that is all it takes, knitters are far too clever to fall for the same mistake twice. Up until now I have had a lucky run and escaped bad pooling despite never doing the wise thing. My luck just ran out…

It’s not very evident from this picture but I knit on for an inch more in vain hope and then stopped as the reality of my arrogance made itself more real. Yup it looks like two completely different socks! Guess what? I am NEVER making that mistake again! My lovely socks have gone to the frog pond.

So I currently have nothing on the needles. However, my eldest son Sam is due back from his road trip to Queensland (he only passed his test about 2 months ago) this means that I will be casting on for his contiguous jumper. I had postponed the casting on for supersticious reasons, waiting until he returns safely. Wish me luck!

Oh I have been spinning a little and will post again when it’s dry.

ttfn x

Spot the difference

Hmmm, same colour, same dye lot…

Really!?!?

Apparently Noro silk garden whilst it comes in 100 metre balls is dyed with 150 metre colour repeats. *big sigh* well, you live and learn!

So today I went back to the wool baa and the assistant got every ball of this colour way/dye lot out and I went through them to find one that started with black and grey and contained the rust and blue colours so it doesn’t look like a blind person chose the yarn for the socks.  These socks are extra big socks for my poor Dad whose feet and ankles have swollen badly due to his poor health.

Much better!

On a more positive note, remember this batt that I made at Bendigo on the Ashford drum carder?

Well last night I got my favourite Ken Ledbetter spindle out and spun it up, then Navajo plied it.  It looked very pretty.

Today I knit it up into a swatch.

Mmmm, yummy tweedy goodness.  A drum carder is definitely on my wish list so I can make tweedy yarn for tweedy jumpers (life’s too short to hand card for a jumper).

 

Knit fail

Oh no, my knitting mojo appears to have left me!
It started with the Idlewood that grew, then hubby’s beanie was too long (this wasn’t too big a deal as eldest son has claimed it). But, last night I was dealt the cruelest blow that can be dealt a knitter (aside from losing the ability to physically knit). With only the short row shaping and neck ribbing left To do I tried on my Owls and horrors, poofy back! It also had quite a bit of excess fabric around my bust area which was not the look I wanted. I had knit my size and got gauge, but it wasn’t to be. As I don’t want another oversized jumper in my wardrobe I frogged it whilst we watched Top Gear. I am heartbroken, I have had this pattern queued for forever and had “virtually”knit it and it looked so cute on in my head. I had tried it on before I joined the sleeves at knit night and it appeared to fit ok then.

I know I could easily knit it again in a smaller size and maybe convert it to top down in order to fit as I knit but I need to recover my mojo. It feels like I’ve lost the ability to knit a jumper that actually fits. I know I sound hysterical, it’s just a jumper and five solid days of knitting.

To aid my recovery I shall read Ysolda’s new book “Little Red In The City” which arrived Monday and absorb all that knowledge on shaping to fit. I’m also going to complete all my unselfish knits, the list is getting longer, youngest son now wants a scarf. This should build up my good karma stores and then maybe all will be right again and I will be able to knit jumpers that fit me.

Also I am still too sore to sit and spin and this makes me sad.

Thanks for listening, sorry for being a whingey princess.
M x

Drunken spinning and a surprise

I have it on good authority that spinning under the influence does not end in regret, unlike knitting under the influence which in my experience always ends in a frogtastic heap of regret.  So the other night, I began to spin though I was enjoying a G&T, my second (I have little tolerance).  I had just flicked a  box full of English Leicester X locks that I’d dyed and they looked so pretty.  It all seemed to go brilliantly.  The next day however I went to spin with a friend and I tried to resume my spinning but there was something wrong, the bobbin of yarn was unravelling.  After a while we fathomed it out, I had put the lower drive belt on the wrong way the previous night.  So eventually I began spinning with the drive belt on wrong again but didn’t have that natural ease that it normally does.  So the moral of the story is, if you’re going to take a tipple and spin, make sure you know your right from your left or have your wheel already set up.  Anyway I like the results very much, they turned out a beautiful semi-solid because the fleece took up the dye differently at the ends and tips and that’s the surprise.

They will remain singles because I’m not spinning weirdly again, no likey.  However, I really should sit in front of the computer with a couple of you tube  videos on Navajo plying and learn as I seem to be amassing a fair amount of unplyed singles that I could practice on.

Gauge…

…sometimes it’s your friend and sometimes it isn’t.  This week…not so much.

This week I have desperately tried to get gauge with my toe up jaywalkers and I did, on 3.25mm needles which were way to big for making socks out of my chosen yarn. Drat and double drat!  I consulted with a knitting pal, a very clever and highly accomplished knitting pal, accomplished in sock knitting and more but even with her excellent advise I failed miserably to produce the beginnings of a sock that would actually fit and wear well.  So in the end I gave up and now the socks going to be very vanilla…

…with a chocolatey, toffee, mocha ripple. How appropriate for the festival of chocolate that is Easter.  Happy whatever holidays you’re celebrating at this time of year everyone.  Oh and also, I have chestnuts that I shall be roasting tonight, chestnuts and Easter weirder than Christmas in summer I reckon.

Ooopsie…

…yet another week in which I’ve spent more time thinking and daydreaming about knitting/spinning  than actually knitting/spinning.  It seems that there are just so many gorgeous patterns, yarns, fibres and spinning wheels out there and they all distract me so.  Also work is taking up a massive chunk of potential knitting/spinning time lately.  I haven’t made any yarn purchases lately as I’m still deliberating and cogitating on which spinning wheel to purchase.  So all in all a fairly lacklustre week has passed.  Never mind though, next week is nearly here with all of it’s oodles of potential, except next week I will be really busy socialising like the proverbial butterfly.

Hope you’re all keeping well and happy ttfn x Melanie

I am a complete dunce!

Regarding my Hap blanket, I mis-read the instructions and I need 88 (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong again) rows of garter stitch. Doh!  As it turns out I don’t have enough of the Romney to do that so I am going to frog and knit the garter stitch bit in the Corriedale, with my fingers crossed.