Catagorical

I’m usually adverse to labels and labelling as it’s usually followed by stereotyping and judgement which make my cringe but it just occurred to me that I might have unknowingly crossed a line.

I appear to have become a spinner who knits rather than a knitter who spins. When I say this I don’t infer any kind of level of expertise, heck I have so much to learn about both crafts that I think intermediate beginner is probably an exaggeration of my skill level. It just seems that given a choice I would much rather spin than knit. Put another way, knitting is something I do these days when I can’t spin. I absolutely could never see myself giving up knitting, never in a million years! However, my current WiPs only 1 knitting project and 4 spinning projects certainly give the game away.

Currently on my needles is Terra by Jared Flood. I’m really enjoying this knit even if last night I ripped back a huge chunk because I’d messed up the garter stitch edging on 2 rows. A testimony to my beginner skill level if ever there was one.

On the Hansen is the accent colour for a Dream Stripe shawl that I’m doing for the Spunout shawl SAL/KAL on Ravelry.

 

On my spindles are The Thylacine sock club fibre on the Turkish and my own blends on the Ken Ledbetter.

 

One thing I will always be though, is a woolista.

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!

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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 😉

Changeable

I lesson I have learnt or learned (?) recently.

I am apt to change my mind and go through phases, I’m kinda fickle but I think in a good way. Don’t get me wrong, I can be stubborn when it suits me too. It all depends on which way the wind is blowing and what pops into my head or what new thing I just learnt/learned (?) I really do have to find out which one is right, anyone know?

Anyhoo! So I’m going through a shawl phase at the moment which is a bit like Picasso’s blue phase except nobody will ever write about it except me and I don’t think, but I could be wrong but Picasso wasn’t into shawls and wool that much. Who knows, actually when I come to think of it I think it was Picasso’s blue period which erm, we will leave that there.

So shawls! Yes, they are really handy and you have probably knit several but it recently dawned on me (being rather slow) that I need a big bad ass shawl like a huge wooly cuddle and I don’t have one yet. I’ve just come back from a dyeing day with my incredibly cool, amazing friend Jules we played with logwood, or rather she did and I watched spellbound. I’ll post about that later. Jules has knit a few huge shawls that I madly covet like a mad coveting thing. So I am about to cast on for a big woolly cuddle of a shawl. I’ve already started a stripe study shawl but that’s out of sock yarn which is a completely different animal to the thick woolly yarn I’m knitting Terra from.

So I shall be knitting two shawls and if you looked at my Ravelry queue at the moment you would see that it’s vertually all about the shawls and cowls and other accessories but ’tis just t’interweb so it’s not like it’s written in stone, thankfully!

Anyway enough rambling. Woolly porn that’s what you want to see. Only one pic of some recently blended puffs of fluff. They are both made from dyed tops from my stash that I’ve blended with Dorset Horn.

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YUM! The subtly of the grey one kills me it’s so beautiful, I almost don’t want to spin it. Almost.

Well ttfn x

Mad, Crazy, Bonkers! Moi?

It has been a while hasn’t it? I don’t know why this is, I just fell out of the habit I guess. Also I’ve been a bit down in the dumps due to pain in my neck, shoulder and mid-scapular area which has meant sitting for a long time is painful and therefore spinning out of the question. Or so I thought…

It occurred to me the other day that while spinning on the wheel was off the cards I do own some very beautiful spindles and spindling (so long as I watch my posture) might just be the way to go, might even strengthen those weakened, over-stretched muscles. I’m also doing Pilates and having massage therapy.

Then a crazy idea started to form due to a combination of events, kind of like the spinning planets (ha, totally unintentional pun) aligning.

Contributing event number 1

Injury

Contributing event number 2

Tour de Fleece fever is about to take over Ravelry. Last year I looked on fascinated by it all and promised I’d join in the fun this year. I’ve joined team Spun Out and I’m getting very excited about the challenge.

Contributing event number 3

Whilst browsing Ravelry’s spindling groups I came across one for Ravellers who are spindling for jumpers and well, yes I am crazy enough. Also…

Contributing event number 4

It just so happens that I have a fleece I am longing to turn into an Owls jumper.

It all adds up really

spindling due to injury + Tour de Fleece + crazy Ravelry group + fleece needing to be Owls jumper = spindling for a jumper during the Tour de Fleece

Wish me luck!

Spinning news

So with all the knitting that I’ve been doing there has been barely any time for spinning also I have an injured drafting thumb which is a bit sore.

I did start the second bobbin of the Skein fibre but I haven’t really got that far.

Hopefully I should be able to make some more progress when my current knitting frenzy subsides.

At the beginning of the week I borrowed some combs from a friend because I’m contemplating buying some. I haven’t managed to use them yet due to lack of time and the fact that the Polwarth fleece I was planning to comb still had quite a bit of lanolin in it. This was so disheartening because washing that fleece took FOREVER not to mention so much water I cringed when I opened up the following water bill. So I decided to cut my losses and I put a post on Ravelry asking if anyone wanted the fleece.

Almost immediately I had a taker and yesterday I handed over the fleece. In return she gave me some tops and some washed locks from two fleeces she had one of which was white merino.

Do you see how perfect and fluffy they are? I am humbled, I truly suck at fleece prep and where I would normally learn from my mistakes and try harder next time, I think I may just give up on fleece prep and just spin from tops and batts from now on.I feel like a quitter but the preparation of fleece is so time consuming and to be honest not something I enjoy, I’d rather be spinning and knitting.

I still have my gifted washed, clean Corriedale that I am planning to make an Owls with. In fact once the Skein tops have been spun and plied the Corriedale is next up on the wheel.  I am looking forward to it because it is so beautiful.  I also still want a jumper that I knit from yarn that was prepped and spun by me. It is a goal that I’ve had since I started to spin and it’s one that I’m determined achieve.

After that it will take a lot to induce me back to fleece prep and I will definitely steer well clear of merino/polwarth fleeces with their high lanolin content. They are for people with way more talent and time than me.

All of this has made me think that I’ll buy some hackles and a drum carder so I can play with blending fibres, that seems like it would be heaps of fun don’t you think?

all WIP and no FO

Well hello there, how’s your week been?

Since we last spoke I’ve become polygamous again. I’m not normally comfortable with polygamous knitting, it tends to overwhelm me with all the WIPs bearing down on me but for many reasons I seem to have not two but three projects on the needles and it’s actually ok.

So you may recall I was knitting a pair of socks and I got this far on the second sock…

Then last weekend whilst browsing Ravelry for potential patterns for a handspun birthday gift for my sister I recalled a pattern for handspun fingerless gloves that I had queued previously. I started wondering whether the mini skeins of Bond 2ply and N-ply combined would be enough to make a pair of mitts. Then before I knew it I’d cast on for one because  a pair of mitts takes a day and a half to knit up tops. Happily one mitt used just less than half the mini skeins in weight.

I love knitting with handspun sooo much it’s silly.

So anyway despite the fact that it takes less than a day to knit a mitt up I didn’t cast on for the second mitt because erm… *shrugs*

Instead I cast on for Ian’s birthday scarf in a bid to have it knit for the 2nd April which is his birthday. I am all impulsiveness at the moment which is so uncharacteristic but I’m quite enjoying it. I’m about half way through this scarf now and it’s ticking a number of happy boxes for me. It’s a pleasurable yet mindless knit, it is using up some stash from way back when, there are stripes and Ian loves it (he chose the yarn and the pattern).

I have decided on a pattern for Fiona’s birthday but only because I saw one of my fellow Richmond knitter’s wearing hers and I knew that it would be perfect instantly. I won’t blog about it though until it’s with it’s owner.

Sorry for the belatedness Fi but it had to be right.

Construction

Hello,

Sorry about the mess, I’ve re-constructed the blog a little, every now and then I get the urge to faff.

It started with changing the web address to the same as the title of the blog and then transferring all the posts across, which I worked out at around midnight last night, (phew, that was a bit of an oh, no! what have I done moment, when I couldn’t fathom it out). I also invested in a re-direct upgrade so you will be re-directed if you use the old address, however it only lasts a year. Anyway it’s nearly all sorted, it has taken most of my weekend.  My hubby has been very patient in not grumbling when I commandeered his iMac all weekend, I have given my eldest my macbook for an early 18th birthday present  and bought myself an iPad but it doesn’t do everything hence borrowing the iMac. The thing I love about the iPad most is that all my pdf patterns are on there which is brilliant for mobile knitters as I can check them out at any time and be virtually paperless.  Anyway I hope you like the new look, including the header.  The new colour is very me as my friends and family can attest.  I have even gone to the extreme of changing my Etsy name to RecipeForAYarn just to be more streamlined and less confusing. So this is me!

In my header photo there is a WIP which I knit up last night specifically as a prop for the header but also because I wanted to knit up a sample of my navajo plied hand-spun.  Here it is close up.

It’s so pretty and knits up just like real yarn does!  I can’t wait to have more hand-spun than machine-spun yarn in my stash.

So there has been a little knitting this weekend. I’ve been working on a sample for a construction method of knitting top-down-set-in-sleeves sweaters.  The method is called Contiguous and was devised my Suzie Myers a Melbourne knitter, she goes by the Rav-name of SuzieM there is also a Ravelry group and the KAL with full instructions for the sampler in the discussion thread.  This method intrigued me and so I felt I had to try it, I’ve tried the method whereby you knit the back and pick up stitches for the front and then pick up stitches around armholes for the sleeves and knit short rows for the sleeve caps but didn’t like the result.  I confess I haven’t tried Barbara Walkers method which I probably should I’ve heard so much about it.  However, I got on very well with the Contiguous method, the sample is knit in two halves one half has only one shoulder seam stitch and no front or neck shaping and the other side has front shaping and some neck shaping. Here is my sample.

The right hand side is obviously the side with the increases and 2 stitch shoulder seam.  You can see that the top of the sleeve cap has begun here but I am going to stop there and knit another sample with both sides the same and different (tidier) increase methods (there is a discussion thread about the different increase methods too if you are interested.  I like the 2 stitch shoulder seam better, but a pattern by Fallmache on Ravelry uses reverse stocking stitch for the shoulder seams which I will also try in my next sample.

My reason for doing this is because my eldest son has requested a hand knit jumper, he has chosen some Zarina from my stash which is 5ply (I know, it will take forever, but at least it’s super wash) and I am going to have a go at making a top-down-set-in-sleeve plain stocking stitch jumper for him.  I hesitated to use the words design because there will really be nothing fancy about it I may opt to do fake seams at the sides and if there is enough yarn to do so, a folded over hem and cuffs, but that will be it, he has specified PLAIN.  I will also be casting on for a more portable less brainpower required project too but I haven’t decided on that one.

Well, I have to go and cook Sunday roast now so ttfn I hope the messing around hasn’t caused you too many problems.

Melanie x

A ramble about Ravelry queues

I woke up today and I feel a bit embarrassed by my rant last night, particularly as I am not above a bit of triteness myself.  But anyway, today, I am full of vigour and vim and determined that Damson will be done without any further frogging, so onwards and upwards.

Who doesn’t love their Ravelry queue? Who doesn’t love organizing it and fantasizing about their pretties-to-be?  I know I do and lately I’ve taken a lot of time, which frankly could have been better employed actually knitting, doing just that.  I have given all the projects tags and then put them into sets depending on tags.  I have ordered them in relation to what I have yarn allocated for, obviously I’m going to knit those first as I ‘m trying to get my stash down.  I have ordered them into what I’m going to knit first in relation to the KAL’s that I am planning with the Richmond knitters.  I wouldn’t say I am purely a project knitter because I do need the process too and a bit of a challenge from learning new techniques but my queue is one of my favourite things about Ravelry.

But today I had a bit of a renegade thought.  I had my yarn out on my bed, it’s kept in space bags to keep it safe from moths and other yarn munching nasties. Also, because I haven’t bought a pretty yarn storage display cupboard yet, I’ve seen one in IKEA and the glass topped coffee table too. Anyway, I digress, so today a little thought popped into my head… what if I chose my next project not by what was next in my queue but by what yarn I wanted to knit with next… Hmmmm.

It feels quite controversial, it’s probably not, probably thousands of knitters do this, probably I am very pedestrian in how I decide my next project.  But which yarn would I choose and which yarns would be the last to be picked?  Then I felt really sad because I was always the last to be picked in regard to sports at school and I don’y want to do that to my yarn.

So how do other knitters choose their next project? Is it according to queue like me? Is it completely on whim? Is it a yarn based choice? Or is it something else? I would love to know, so tell me.

By the way I fully intend to finish Damson this week and was going to be starting Farinelli mitts because it’s first in my queue, but who knows now!

Organising

I spent a few hours (yes really) organising my Ravelry queue today.  In between knitting Manu of course.  I found it strangely therapeutic, re-jigging my queue and deleting patterns I was no longer in love with and adding a couple of new ones too.  So I managed to wheedle down four pages to only three, despite adding a few new patterns, lovely jubley.

Then I allocated yarn from my stash to queued patterns which involved getting the stash out and working out what I had and how much and what it should be knit up into (obviously there were no witnesses, for that would be silly).  It was all very pleasant and satisfying.

However, I was quite surprised to learn that I have yarn for 43 projects plus leftovers.  Eeek!  Now I’m not a fast knitter, but I do like to finish things and so far this year I have completed 11 knitted projects and 2 woven projects so that means that I have enough projects and yarn to keep me going for 3 years-ish.

Now stash is entirely a personal preference and I don’t for one minute subscribe to the “my stash is bigger/smaller than yours” thing, mostly because I’m not 8 years old.  But for me, it’s kind of getting out of hand, I need to get on with knitting what I’ve got.

Trouble is, there are always new patterns, (I know I am one of the billions waiting for Ysolda Teague’s new book) and new yarn and I am weak.

Weak as in… I have always wanted a lopi jumper.  Yes, I know I live in a country where it would only rarely be cold enough for one.  My favourite yarn store baa ram ewe has some lopi yarn just in and my new book has a lopi pattern and, and, and…

…and so I’ve ordered the yarn, couldn’t help myself, it was like all the planets aligned in such a fortuitous way that is was meant to be.  But I hate the guilt and I need turnover.  I am a fairly rational person, even when it comes down to yarn and I realise that the world is not going to run out of yarn producing animals, so I need to resist the urge.  I need to repeat this mantra-like when tempted to make yarn purchases.

One of my reasons for resisting is that I would like very much to own my own loom and a spinning wheel and go to spinning classes, all of which cost quite a lot really.  So I’ve made a deal with myself which will begin once the loom and spinning wheel have been purchased.  The deal is this,  as I finish one project I can buy yarn for another project, that way I can buy yarn completely guilt free, ahhh.

Manu is coming along slowly btw, as the painkillers I’m on make my head fuzzy, so fuzzy that I’ve even made mistakes knitting stocking stitch.  Good news is I’m feeling better each day.