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!

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