Sunday, August 31, 2014

Weaving Class, the wrap up

Today was the last day of the weaving course, and I have to say, I'm exhausted. Doing something like weaving for a full day is surprisingly tiring. I learnt a great deal on this course, and am really glad I did it. I now feel confident to go actually use my loom, and have a couple of projects planned for the future, but now here's a photo of the fabric I've nearly finished making, using my handspun as both warp and weft:

Still I'm a little bit glad it's over, because I found going to Richmond Knitters on Mondays and weaving class on Tuesdays exhausting, so it's been weeks since I went to my usual Monday night Richmond Knitters, and I'm really lookinng forward to seeing everyone tomorrow.

Friday, August 29, 2014

My mother; Or Why I had to buy more yarn

A month or so ago my mother asked me to make her a cardigan. "Sure" I said, "but what's wrong with the one I made you last year?" This one:    It fits her perfectly, it's made of Wollmeise, it's a lovely bright blue. Initially she said that she wants something warmer, but talking around it, I think she actually wants something brighter. And multi coloured. Stripes would be great, she said - although not horizontal stripes, they make you look fat. Almost as a joke I said I'd make her something from Kaffe Fassett. She agreed with enthusiasm. We settled on the Zig-Zag cardigan. While I'm using the original idea I'm adapting it in a number of ways. I'm knitting it in the round and steeking it and instead of using 47 colours, I'm making it in just two different colourways of Noro.

 And I really do think this yarn will be bright enough, even for my mother. Now I don't know how I'm going to go with colour work right now because I don't want to stress my hand out, so I guess it's good that when I ordered the Noro for my mother's cardigan I also ordered some Malabrigo for a simple cowl for me, right?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Yarnalong - finishing things up

Right, it's Wednesday, the sun is shining and it's time for Yarnalong with Ginny - pop over to her wonderful blog Small Things to see what everyone is knitting and reading this week.

This week I am still knitting Leon's Alberta vest. I've cut the steeks and finished one armhole. It's been a bit slow, partly because I've been busy weaving, and partly because because knitting with a piece of blue plastic on my hand is slower than knitting without a piece of blue plastic on my hand. It's an enjoyable, stress free knit, which is really what I needed, in the circumstances.

I'm reading an enjoyable stress free read too - Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood.  I don't know how I got two books with cocaine in the title in a row. It's the first of the Phryne Fisher cosy mysteries, and very cosy it is too. I've read, and enjoyed, Kerry Greenwood's other series, but I'm liking this even more. There are twenty books so far in the series, so I imagine the books will pop up periodically here.

And I'm listening to the War and Rememberance. I'm only a few hours from the end, and now that I'm so close I really don't want to get there. I've been listening to this story on and off since April, and I'm going to be slightly bereft to be without it. 

Happy Wednesday! I hope you are enjoying your knitting and reading too.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Gifts and photos

It turned into a good weekend for giving (and getting photos) of some knitted gifts. First Anne-Marie sent me a photo of her baby wearing the jumper I knit for them.  I know it looks short, but actually the baby is in the 80th percentile for length.
Then on Friday night I gave my father his socks. I didn't take a photo, you've already seen them and socks are socks.
Then on Saturday I saw Shoni, so I got to give him his hat.   He commented on the colour and the softness of the wool, and it fit him perfectly so that was a win. I also think he was quite touched by having something knit for him, which is a win. His partner Lu remarked that she had the mitts that I knit her in her bag too, which was pretty flattering. I love it when people get use out of my knits and this family (being Elise's brothers and their partners) seem to really wear the knits.
We were actually out for Raph's birthday and I decided to give Raph the giant hat that I originally made for Shoni.   Since Raph has a giant head, it fit! So that hat went from a fail to a win. Raph also commented on the softness of the wool, I don't know what sort of horrible yarn they were subjected to as kids! I think Raph may have been the first person I knit a gift for, way back, before I even joined Ravelry.
So that was a very satisfying weekend, finally giving away - and getting pictures of - all the gifts I had knitted.

Friday, August 22, 2014


As you may recall in March I brought my loom home. It's taken me a while to get it working. First I had to do some repairs, then I had to understand how to warp it. For some reason I found all the instructions as to how to warp esoteric and incomprehensible. But the Guild course sorted me out. So, on Wednesday I started to warp my loom! I finished this morning and am super excited, because it looks like it's all properly done. Unfortunately I have to leave the house, so i can't start actually weaving until tomorrow, but for now I just happy that it's all threaded up and ready to weave.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Yarn-along: the one with the sulking

Hi. It's Wednesday, and that means it's yarnalong day. Head over to Ginny's blog Small Things to see what she and the other yarnalongers are knitting and reading this week.

I made great progress with Leon's Alberta this week - at least until my arm got put in a freaking cast. I can knit, but the edge of the thumb hole pushes against my thumb, which is uncomfortable. I'm only being compliant in the hope that, if I do everything exactly as prescribed I'll be able to knit in the mornings without my hands going numb, something that I haven't been able to do in close to two years. So the knitting won't be fast, but I only have an inch or two left on the body, and the shoulder shaping, then the steaking and knitting neck and armhole edges and then I'm done.

I'm not really reading anything much. I finished the Sookie Stackhouse series the day before I started sulking about the whole arm in a cast thing and that was my comfort reading. I've dipped back in to The Cocaine Chronicles, which is a series of short stories about ... well you can work it out. I got it from the library ages ago when it came up in response to a search I did  for something completely different. My library ebook search  is like that, but hey, it's free and legal so I'll take what I find. I suppose in the next day or so I'll decide what to read next.

And I'm still  listening to  War and Remembrance. And loving it. In fact, I'm going to go finish warping my loom and listen to the next chapter right now. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A little blue

I've been having intermittent pain in my shoulders and hands for a while. It got really out of control two Thursdays ago. I couldn't hold a pen, I couldn't cut my own meat - but I could knit, so that was okay. This morning I went to see a hand therapist, who diagnosed nerve issues. 

She's put me in a  rather dramatic brace for the next three weeks, which is going to be interesting. Since the purpose of the brace is to immobilise the wrist, if I can comfortably hold my needles I can knit, which is something of a relief. Even better, the therapist does not think knitting caused the issue, and seems to think that knitting is, if anything, beneficial for the hands, and who am i to disagree with someone who looks after people's hands for a living?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Bendigo, the return

I've been to Bendigo semi regularly over the last couple of years. I go for work, I've gone for the sheep show, but I've never really spent a weekend getting to know the town. A month ago, when we went for the Sheep Show I thought about going to the gallery for their current shows, but I was all sheeped out. So, when Leon asked if I wanted to go to Bendigo on the Hop I said sure. We went for a long weekend, and it was magnificent. The food was great, the running was lovely and the beer was tasty. But I know that's now what you want to know about. You care about the yarn.

I went to the woolen mills, largely to buy cotton. I'm planning to weave place mats, and  the Bendigo Woollen Mills cotton seems ideal.

The colours actually look nicer in real like. A ball of self striping sock yarn sneaked into my bag too, as it happens. It's destined to be a pair of socks for my father.

And that was my weekend: good food, good company, a great town and yarn as well. Perfect.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A beautiful beginning

I love casting on. The beginning of a project, planned but only in my head and therefore perfect. I also like the physical act of casting on. Most of the time I use the long tailed cast on and I find it really pleasant to work. On Sunday I decided to cast on for Leon's vest - I wanted to cast on in the piece and quiet of my house, because I knew I would be knitting in public for the rest of the week and casting on at the pub can suck. So I pulled out the pattern and saw that Jarred Flood recommends a tubular cast on. I've never done one, but I had the inclination to try something new. I followed Ysolda's video instruction, because her instructions are always clear and she is so cute. 

So I cast on and the tubular cast on  is amazing. Instead of the knitting starting from a line of cast on stitches, it wraps around and gives a smooth, already ribbed edge. I love this, not just because it's meant to be one of the stretchiest cast ons, but because it looks so elegant. Next time I cast of for a pair of socks (if I'm at home) I'm going to use this again. It's a bit fiddly, but so worth it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Yarnalong - the one with no theme

As usual on Wednesday, it's Wednesday, which means its Yarnalong with Ginny time.  Pop over to Small Things to find out what everyone is knitting and reading.

This week I starting knitting Jarad Flood's Alberta Vest, for Leon. I've been looking forward to knitting this for a while, and its my current favourite type of knitting - around, and around and around.

I'm reading Dead Ever After, the last of the Sookie Stackhouse novels. I'll be sad when I've finished this series, they have been my go-to "easy but not totally stupid" reads for a while. Some of the middle books of the series were a bit formulaic, but this one is gold.

And I am, once again, listening to War and Remembrance. I picked it up again earlier in the week and am very much into it for the moment. The plot is moving again, and I just want to sit around knitting or weaving and finding out what happens next.

Monday, August 11, 2014

My focus has been on weaving and on renovating my home loom. I was going to tell you about that, but really everything is half way done and I realised I've finished two knitting projects that I have barely written about. The reason for my comparative silence is that they are simple projects I've been taking out with me and knitting with friends and just chugging happily away on. No fuss, no drama:
The first one is Hermione's Everyday Socks.  I knit these for my father, he's going back into hospital for a stomach operation at the end of the month. There is not much I can do to help him, but I can make him more socks.
The second is a hat for Shoni. Remember the huge hat I made?  Well, sometime last week I put my sock aside and knit a hat that is significantly smaller for Shoni. I thought I was seeing him on the weekend, so I wanted to get it done. I really like the way it turned out. I'm not quite sure when I'm going to give it to him - I think I'll be seeing him the week after next. I hope to get some photos with him wearing it, until then, thanks to Leon for modelling both hat and socks for me.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

the Cria and the cuffs

I finished the knitting on Cria last Saturday and blocked it immediately. I wore it to work on Tuesday and am wearing it again today. It's warm, and drapey and a wonderful colour and only a liitttle bit bigger than I thought it would be.

 So, why did it take so long for me to blog about it? The cuffs: I followed the pattern to the letter for the body, which, for me, is a bit unusual. Normally I shorten things here and there, because I'm fairly short. So, when knitting the sleeves I followed the pattern too. The sleeves didn't just come out too long, they also came out too wide.

 I couldn't do the cute french cuff thing Ysolda showed in her pictures, and I couldn't wear them straight because they were so long and wide. I've been wearing them folded back, but they looked really bulky and I lost the button details.

 I thought about ripping the sleeves right back, but the garter stitch bit would have to start just under the elbow. So when I got home yesterday I simply ripped the cuffs back, so they were twice as short, and moved the buttons over to make them a bit tighter.
 It's not as cute as the original, but it does make this a wearable, comfortable, lovely, jumper, even if it is half a size too big.

(Photos are thanks to Kate)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Yarnalong - the one where everything is simple

So, this week I finished last week's embarrassing book and started another romance novel. I guess I'm going through a phase. This one is called  How to Knit a Love Song (Although in Australia published under the less endearing name Eliza's Gift) by Rachael Herron, whom I came across as the designer of a hot water bottle cover. Anyway, it's an easy read and I'm enjoying it so far.

 I'm just finishing up the ninth Discworld on audio. Eric is a very short listen, but a good one. I'm pretty sure I read this years ago, but when I was young I didn't get how much of Terry Pratchett is mocking modern office life. Now i get it and I laugh, sort of, since I do work in the sort of painfully bureaucratic environment he loves to mock.

And I'm knitting socks for my Father. Using the Hermione's Everyday sock pattern. It's a very basic, easy to memorise pattern, which just about breaking up the pooling in the yarn. 

I guess I'm just in the mood for simple in all things this week, perhaps because my life, both at work and outside, is suddenly crazy busy. 

As usual on a Wednesday I'm playing along with Ginny and the other yarn along peeps. Pop over to the Small Things blog to check out what everyone is knitting and reading.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Demon bones

Remember how I bought some Karbonz DPNs and "quite liked them"? After using them a bit more I decided I love them, for a whole lot of reasons. One reason is that aside from Signatures they are the only double pointed needles I've found in 15 centimeter lengths, once you get in more than just the sock sizes. The carbon fiber shafts have this weird warmth to them, not like metal that has been warmed by body heat, more like wood when you pick it up. Leon is convinced that its because these needles are made from demon bones, or perhaps demon horns. Either way, this is all by way of saying that I enjoyed knitting on them, and loved knitting on short thick DPNs so much that I bought sets in 4mm and 4.5mm. So, now I have even more tools to assist me in being all in the round, all the time.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Weaving 1

Today I attended my first weaving class, and I loved it. The instructor is great, and the other members of the group are lovely. Today we learnt about looms and how to warp them, and started warping our (borrowed Guild) looms.

My warp on the warping board. love the colours

It took all day, and we didn't get it finished, but apparently when we know what we are doing it will only take a couple of hours. I love the colours I am very excited to understand how to warp, which seems to me to be thye trickiest part of the whole weaving process. i'm so looking forward to going back on Tueaday to finish warping and, I guess, to start weaving.
My half warped loom