Saturday, April 30, 2011

Package one: Pimp my wheel

The first package of the many I have ordered arrived:
It took four days from America, which was amazingly quick. It's strong, stable and well designed and I didn't have to do anything permenant to my wheel to attach it. And here it is a wheel mounted cup holder:

I'm drinking Sangria that Leon made while I was spinning. I'm always drinking tea, or coffee, or beer or something when I spin. At home it's easy enough to put my wheel next to the coffee table, but this gives me a new level of flexibility. And fun.

I finished the hand dyed merino, and plied it.

It was impossible for me to capture the colour with my little point and click camera. It's actually a sort of pale mint green and a misty grey. It's going to be knit with the pink on the right this for a Taygete shawl.

And I made a pair of mitts for my brother-in-law, because he asked for them.

These were fun, I didn't use a pattern, just winged it. I'm happy with how they came out. That's Leon modelling them for the photo. Tarragon looks rather squashed and uncomfortable, when actually we couldn't get him to move out of the way.

Friday, April 29, 2011

A finished shawl and some random ramblings‏

I finished my hand spun shawl last night, soaked it and blocked it. I love that magic moment when I take something wrinkled and slightly odd looking - Leon described this shawl, preblocking as " looking like a dissected lung" and stretch it out:
Blocking, it's just magic. I'm really happy with how this shawl came out, and it was a fun, quick knit. I altered the pattern a little, it calls for 1.5 repeats and I did 3.5, and instead of the border as written, I repeated rows 11 and 12 a couple of times.
The only problem is, little triangle shawls don't fit very naturally in my choice of clothes. I think I noted that last time I made one, but I was already half way through making this yarn, and I'm sure I will find a way to wear it. Going forward though the shawls I am planning for myself are all crescent shaped, or elongated. There is even a Wollmeise scarf in my near future. I am, however, going to knit two large, traditional, triangle shawls as gifts for my mother and sister in law, so I will have the satisfaction of the knitting lace, without actually needing to work out the practicalities of using the finished object.
Other than that I have done quite a bit of on-line shopping of late. I hadn't bought anything for a couple of months and now BAM I want everything. I have 5 packages coming in the mail, only one of which is yarn. I will share them with you as they arrive. I love online shopping, there is the excitement of the purchase, the thrill of finding the blue post office slip in the letterbox, going to the package centre and then taking the package home for the big reveal.
Now I'm off to a friends place to cast on a pair of mitts and watch the royal wedding.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Back to it

It's been so nice having some time off: eleven days, and a half if you count the leaving early because I felt sick on the last Friday. In some ways I'm happy to be returning to work, I have been a little bit stressed about some stuff that happened just before I started this holiday, but it has been glorious to have the luxury of time, as well as sun shiny warmish weather. As well and the knitting, spinning and crocheting I have told you about I have hung out with knitting and spinning friends, and spent time with my family and my non crafting friends. I have played frisbee in the park and read a book and talked to the cats. Leon and I went to the movies today, something we haven't done all year. I have slept quite an unreasonable amount. I think that's what I'm dreading about tomorrow morning; not the being at work, but the getting up to the BEEP BEEP BEEP and going out into the cold. So I'm off to get ready for work tomorrow, all the while looking at my wheel, on which I have half finished some plying, thinking I had better go to bed, rather than stay up and finish it, tempting though that is.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

70's style, part two

During my time off I have been crocheting a tea cosy for my mother in law. She requested one, and I'm always happy to oblige people who I know are going to use and appreciate the gifts I make for them. The first Christmas Leon and I were together I made her a tea cosy, and she has used it every single day, and it has become quite stained. I used light colours on that one, so on this one I used colours that really shouldn't show drips and spills.
She recently cleared out all her knitting stuff, having given it up quite some time ago.The pattern came from a knitting book she gave me, which looks like it was from the early 60s. It was quite fun to crotchet a project for a change, especially at the end, when there is no casting off. You do the last stitch and that's it.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

70's style

Today I went to my parents place to help my mother make hanging baskets for the front of her house. In other words: macramé! Using her Golden Hands Encyclopaedia ( an amazing set of magazine form the 70's which, curiously enough does not have it's own Wikepedia entry) I made this:
What it lacks in symmetry it makes up for in style. I'm already planning my next one, which will be more organised in terms of shape, and have beads at every knot. But I'm quite happy with the way this one looks.

My mother, meanwhile is knotting away on a very complicated plant holder, and wonders why I keep throwing around words like "retro" "vintage" and "hilarious".

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It's hat weather here

Yesterday I finished a tam, pattern from Knitty. I've had my eye on this pattern for years, and I finally sat down and made it. It's a fun, quick knit, exactly the easy win I was looking for..
My current project is a crocheted tea cosy for my mother-in-law. One thing I love about crotchet, mistakes are easy to rip out. (Also, according to my spell check, I wanted to write crotched...)
I'm keeping this short tonight, as I have a turkey roasting in the oven, and it's time to put the potatoes and pumpkin in too.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Spinning for Leon, planning for myself.

To celebrate the beggining of my stay at home and play with fibre ten day holiday, I plied the corriedale singles for Leon's next jumper. They are a three ply, probably about an aran weight. I'm very happy with the results, both because the wool it squooshy and even and lovely and because it is my first spinning project that I have completed from fleece. After I hung this out to dry I immediately started washing some white fleece I have. I am going to dye it green this afternoon - I have a flat inspection this morning and really do not want to explain why I have a dye pot bubbling away on the stove - and ply it with some other stuff and make this jacket: Vinelle. Right now though, I'm off to spin for a shawl, form some lovely grey and dusty pink wool that I dyed this summer.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

More tragedy than comedy

On Saturday I cast off the body of my Lettuce jumper. I was in an odd mood on the weekend. On Friday I got drunk and made a terrible fool of myself, but I'm not sure if that was the cause of the weird mood or a symptom. Anyway, I spent Saturday night at home alone with the cats. Tarragon has been obsessed with the Malabrigo wool I used for the jumper since it came into the house. And it is not at all unusual for him to gently mouth our jumpers when we are sitting on the couch. It's kind of sweet, like a baby chewing a blankie. We do tell him to stop right away, and he does, and that's the end of it. Except most of the jumpers aren't Malabrigo lace, which doesn't hold up to a gentle chewing from a fanged cat.
So I'm hibernating the project. When I'm ready I'll pull it out, rip back half the bottom ribbing, where the damage is and knit on. Until then, I'm going for some easy, quick knits, starting with a fair isle tam.
I have this next week off and I intend to enjoy it. The weather is lovely, I have plans to see different people every day and this dark mood is gradually lifting.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I don't think this is funny

When I named the Lettuce Pullover as my comedy festival project it was because I'm knitting it during the comedy festival, not because the jumper itself is funny. Although some funny things have happened. I was knitting during Raw Comedy, and we were sitting on seats that were on risers. I dropped one of my balls of wool and it fell through the seats, and 8 feet down under the stands. During the intermission I asked if I could go under and get it, and they said after the show. At that point they sent someone in to get it. He seemed to think he was looking for money I had dropped (?) but didn't look shocked when I told him it was a small ball of blue wool, which he retrieved cheerfully enough.

Which brings me to the "funny" part of the story. I mentioned how lovely the colour is. It's blue, with pink. Halfway down the chest I joined a second ball. 5 inches of knitting later I realised that the next ball of wool is blue, with less pink. The neck band, knitted from the third ball of wool looks like it matches both of them.
It's hard to show in a photo. In some lights the difference is negligible, and in others it's obvious.
Here it is on.

I have three options:
1) Match the sleeves to the body and continue on.
2) Rip it back, and work the whole thing alternating balls of wool. (I know I won't do this, because I've already knit it and the comedy festival is more than half way through and this is really, really mindless knitting)
3) Burn it with fire.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Singles complete

On the weekend I finished the singles for Leon's next jumper. I have next week off and am going to three ply these. Each bobbin has 120 grams or more of singles on it, so hopefully this will make more than enough for a jumper. I'm not going to knit it until the end of winter, since I just realised that Leon is most likely to wear the last jumper I made him. Constantly. Then I make him a new one and he wears that all the time.

It's been interesting, doing my prep from fleece. I thought the washing would be the time consuming part, but it turns out that flicking it is took the longest. It actually took longer to flick the locks than actually spin them, but once I got into the rhythm of flicking I found it addicting. Just like I always say 'one more row" I found myself saying "one more clump of wool". I know it's not quite as poetic. And doing my own prep meant I have the locks exactly as I wanted them. Drafting freshly flicked locks of this wool was like drafting clouds.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Fly by blogging

I have been writing blog posts in my head for then past week, but haven't had a chance to sit down and commit them to the wonder that is the World Wide Web. I nearly sat down and wrote this when I got in last night, but I thought 2 am and drunk might make for an "interesting" post. The comedy festival is in full swing, and Leon and I are making the most of it. While I won't give you a blow by blow account of each show we have seen, there have been 2 fibre highlights: we saw Cal Wilson, who at the beginning of her show asked if anyone knits. I said I did, and that I had my knitting with me.Cal invited me to knit through her show! While she wasn't the funniest act I've seen, I certainly got a lot of knitting done. And Sam Simmons had a huge picture of a goat as his back drop. Ahh fibre.
Because I have been catching the bus to work and hanging about it bars I have made some progress on the Lettuce jumper:
The colour is actually divine and when I take proper shots I'll make sure it shows up. On Tuesday night I was sitting by the Yarra and the setting sun tinting the blue sky with pink: the exact shade of this yarn.

And lastly, here is a sign I thought was funny, from the toilets outside the festival hub, which is Melbourne Town Hall. You may or may not, enjoy my toilet humour:

Monday, April 4, 2011

Bad tie Monday II

You may recall that last year I knitted Leon a tie, for Bad Tie Mondays. It was made out of predominantly orange Noro, and was rather hideous. I thought that was it. I had won bad tie Mondays and didn't have to think about it again. But no, a couple of Monday's ago Leon's boss Rob showed up in this:

A monogrammed hand knit tie. At the same time I mentioned in passing to Leon that I had seen a pattern for a really huge, rather ugly knitted bow tie. Well, that was it, Leon had to have one. I made it out of left over sock wool, and I think it really encapsulates the spirit of Bad Tie Mondays.