Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Christmas Angel

Better late than never! Here are a couple of photos of the lacy Christmas Angel that I made for a friend. The photos aren't fantastic, but you can get an idea of how it looks. It was knitted using crochet cotton, and was stiffened with cornstartch over a polystyrene form.
The pattern was taken from Angels: A Knitter's Dozen by Gerdine Strong.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Here I Am!

New Zealand did not eat us up. We finally made our way home. I actually sat down and wrote a nice long post, complete with pictures, which the computer promptly ate. I just haven’t had the heart to try again since. However, I’ve been reading everyone else's posts as usual, and the guilt’s starting to kick in. So here it is: what Flajol has been doing since her return.

Wait, wait, wait. Maybe I should backtrack and fill you in a bit more on the New Zealand trip. If you’re really interested, go here for the complete diary. What you really want to know about is the stash, isn’t it? About
German Angora bunnies and how to shave them. The plentiful friendly patchwork shops. Ashford’s Craft Village. Spinning fibre. Spinning wheels. Giant spinning wheels. Yarn shops. The Tin Shed. I’m starting to feel a bit dizzy. Rather than give you a blow-by-blow account of the many foraging opportunities, instead I’ll give you a photo montage, and you’ll have to imagine “Eye of the Tiger” playing in the background.

I finished the Stars and Stripes socks, but didn’t make any headway on a large knitting project whilst in NZ. However, I did manage to get most of the way through another pair of socks. This is sock two, and has been languishing on top of the sock basket since we got home.

I’ve been playing with the spinning wheel again. It had a bit of an accident while we were away. My brother blames the cat, the cat blames my brother. It doesn’t really matter though because it’s fixed. I’ve been spinning some of the fibre I got at Woolfest 06. I finally spun up the Gotland curls. Um. Hang on. I’ve missed a bit again. While we were in New Zealand we stayed over at Ashburton, to visit the Ashford Craft Village. Where they make the wheels. I got a bit excited. They have a giant wheel outside!

Anyway, I tried out an Ashford Traditional and fell in love. I couldn’t fit one in the case, so I started trawling eBay as soon as we got home. I’m now the proud keeper of an older model Traditional. It spins like a dream and it came with loads of extras. Amongst those extras were two sets of carders, so I could finally have a go at carding. I tackled the Gotland curls which had almost made me scream in frustration when I tried to spin them from the lock. I’m a beginner and I didn't know any better.

Carding is fun. At least it’s fun at the moment. I guess it could get old quickly, but I’ve only tried it for an afternoon. The Gotland spun nicely, and I even tried Navajo plying to keep the colours pure. The resulting yarn is about an aran weight (I think that would be sport weight across the Atlantic), and it's a bit lumpy and snarly, but there’s enough to make a woolly hat for Mr Flajol. Mr F had a close encounter with a set of shears while we were in New Zealand, and may be feeling the cold this winter.

The Gotland is on the right. The green yarn is spun from a bag of fibre I bought at Texere last year, and the centre hank is a mystery fibre I picked up at Preston Car Boot Sale. It's sheen and handle makes me suspect that it's Merino.

I’ve still got the old Haldane Lewis wheel. It’s very pretty, is a bit wobbly, and I’d love to keep it but it is taking up a fair bit of space. I know someone who would love it, but I need to figure out how to get it to her. She is driving now, so maybe I could talk her into a trip south of the border. The spinner who gave it to me doesn’t want it back, and I feel like I should pass the wheel on with the same good wishes.

It’s not going until I’ve finished spinning this beautiful red/orange/cream fibre though. It’s like fire through the fingers, and I think the small amount of white will calm it right down into something knittable. I only have 100g of it, so I’m thinking of using it in a luxury version of The Heathen Housewife's triangle blanket. How many years do you reckon it would take me to spin and knit enough for a blanket? I wonder if I can talk KraftyKoala into dyeing luxury fibres for spinning?

I started on a small blanket for my brother’s prospective baby. This isn't the same brother I was knitting for recently. Anyway, the blanket is small, soft, stripy and knitted with Sirdar’s Sublime yarns. I don’t have a picture of it yet, so you'll have to use your imagination until further notice.

All knitting was cast aside when I was hit with an irresistible urge to cross stitch. I don’t know what brought it on, but I’m half way through a project – can’t wait to get it on a wall – and I have a stack of other projects lined up. I’ve been overcome by an urge to stitch lots of pictures of Victorian style houses. Those big American Victorian houses you see in San Francisco. The one I’m stitching now vaguely reminds me of the house in ‘Charmed’. I’ll not reveal the stack of other patterns I want to do – I don’t want to scare you. Too many projects: not enough time.

I’m also back into patchwork. I’ve excavated the sewing machine from its corner, and set it up in the dining room. I’m sure Mr F is already sick of seeing it, but I think it’s here to stay for a while yet. I have lots of ideas buzzing around, not to mention a few bags of exchange blocks that need to be put together. I went to a local quilty exhibition where I won a football quilt. Lovely! It's gone to a footie fan, so I know it will be well loved.

Well, I think that’s enough for now. I’ve been very quiet, but that’s all changed. I finish my BSL exams next week and I’ll have much more free time. I’m going to make an effort to post more regularly, so check back in a few days for more updates on crafty progress!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Feast or Famine

Nothing for ages then two posts in as many days. From one extreme to the other!

Yesterday we went into Masterton, where I visited Morphodae Creative Fibre Crafts. I introduced myself to the owner, Marlene, who is a good friend of the lass I’m staying with for the moment. Mr F and I had a good chat with her about New Zealand, traveling in general, then about the serious business of fibre. I made a few purchases, which I thought was very restrained considering the very reasonable price of spinning fibre here compared to prices back home.

Clockwise from the top left:
200g of wool/silk mix. It’s 75% black halfbred wool mixed with 25% rainbow silk noils.
100g of 50/50 silk/mohair mix in Amethyst.
100g of unknown wool in Autumn Leaves.

All three are from the Little Wool Co. in New Zealand. The colours are a bit washed out in the photos, because the sun is so bright, but trust me, they’re all lovely.

Monday, February 12, 2007


I've been a bad blogger. No posts, no pictures, not even a phone call to let you know I'm OK. But fear not, Flajol is back! With socks, no less. My posts over the next month or so will be basic with not much chat. Mr Flajol and I are travelling around New Zealand, so my time online is limited, and I'm concentrating most of my Internet energies on keeping our travel blog up to date.

I finished the Ripple Weave socks some time back, but have only just got around to taking a picture of them. Here they are, artfully arranged to hide the stonking great mistake I made that I'm too lazy to rip out and reknit. I managed to repeat the wrong 10 rows just at the instep, and didn't notice until I started grafting the toe. I am not ripping it out. I can and will live with the mistake. Really. I can.

The pattern is Ripple Weave Socks from Vogue Knitting (the sock issue from last year - can't remember which issue number). The yarn is a hand-dyed sock yarn I bought at Woolfest last year. I wasn't sharp enough to write down the vendor's name, so can't tell you who dyed this yarn so beautifully.

Here is my current project. The pattern is the basic sock pattern that came with a ball of Opal sock yarn. The yarn is Fortissima Colori Socka in colourway 1776. Stars and stripes! I'm just at the gusset for sock two, so it's a tiny bit further on than in the photo. If we do any major driving today, I might get sock number two finished, and I can start on a new project.

The new project: it's a toss up between Chuck's Cabled Socks, or another Birch. Hmmm. Decisions, decisions.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Evil of Tagging

"Once you have been tagged, you have to write a blog with 5 facts about yourself. Then choose 5 people you want to tag and list their names. Then leave a comment on their blog letting them know they’ve been tagged."

The evil Stash Junkie has tagged me. My usual reaction to tagging is to studiously ignore it, mainly because I often can't think of anything interesting to say, as I shall now prove. In light of my non-tagging policy, I won't be chasing other people down and shooting 'em with my tag gun.

Fact # 1: I'm afraid of balloons*. Not the big, stick-a-basket-under-it-so-people-can-sit-in-it-and-defy-death type balloons. My dentist has a wonderful poster of a hot air balloon festival on his ceiling. It does wonders for taking your mind off what's happening in your mouth. Crikey, that doesn't sound right... Anyway, those balloons are cool, although you'd never get me to travel in one.

Nope. I'm afraid of party balloons. It stems from childhood, and that's all I'm saying.

Fact # 2: I'm good at starting stuff, but not quite so good at finishing stuff, as anyone who's been following this blog at all will already know. My enthusiasms overtake me, with boredom in rapid pursuit. What I need is a good dose of staying power. My mother was right about me. She still is right. She has staying power.

Fact # 3: I have a terrible habit of interrupting people without realising it. I usually realise what I've done about three hours later when it's far too late to apologise about it.

Fact # 4: I think fart jokes are reallllllly funny. You know you do too. Pull my finger. G'wan. I said PULL MY FINGER!

Fact # 5: I was a teenage metalhead. All black clothes, but not Goth. I dyed my hair black, and looked like Den out of The Comic Strip Presents... Bad News.

He's second from the left, in case you were wondering. I didn't have the leather gloves, but I did have the studded wristbands, armbands, bullet belts...


*Also: clowns.