Friday, July 18, 2008

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Morecambe Bay Walk

On Sunday 29th June I'll be walking across Morecambe Bay to raise money for Galloways Society for the Blind. You can find out more and sponsor me here. I'll be very grateful for any contributions. I might even show you some of the things I've been knitting and some of the goodies I picked up at Woolfest yesterday...

Monday, March 10, 2008


Er, that was me, falling off the yarn wagon. I blame my current project - I'm making a garter stitch jacket from Top Down Sweaters. It's the cover project, in fact. I'm using some of the yarn I bought in New Zealand last year, and I'd spun some to use as a contrast. Unfortunately, the contrast was more of an exact match with one of the dominant colours in my main yarn, and the accent stripe just melted into the background. I ripped back, and went straight to my stash to find something else to use. (See - I was trying to stick to stash.) I found the perfect yarn - Rowan Kid Classic in a lovely pale purple. Only problem? I just have one ball of it, and if the materials list is correct, I may need two. I bought this ball at Bow Peep's, so decided I would break my yarn diet in order to finish this project. No such luck though - they've sold out of this colourway, and of course it's an old colour. So, I decided to go home to rethink.

But not before a few balls of wool jumped from the bargain basket into my arms. I came home with two balls each of Rowan Tapestry in Lead Mine, Sirdar Click in a beautiful hunter green and RYC Cashcotton DK in a pale tweedy green. At 50p per ball, it would have been rude not to buy it. If I use it straight away does it still count as stash? Half a ball of the Tapestry has already been used for a Calorimetry (and I love it - I see many more of these in my future).

The garter stitch jacket? I decided to forge ahead with the Kid Classic. It really is the perfect colour to go with the main yarn I'm using. I suspect I may get away with using the yarn I have - at worst I'll need to leave off the collar trim.

In other knitting news: I made another angel from Angels: A Knitter's Dozen. I made the rug-hooking angel as a gift for my Mum. Except, she's not hooking a rug. She's just standing there looking angelic.

I finally got around to uploading photos of my most recent handspun. My favourite is the toffee coloured stuff.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Pencil Roving...

...and why I don't like it.

Essentially, I'm very lazy and I want instant gratification. Pencil roving requires lots of predrafting to get a good result. There's a good tutorial at the Yarn Yard. Stash Junkie has had great results from it, but she has patience. I prefer to spin from fibre that just needs a bit of titivation to get it going. Like I said: lazy!

On the subject of fibre, I've been spinning lots this week. It occurs to me that this would be a sneaky way to add to my yarn stash without actually buying yarn. So, in the interests of full transparency I'm going to add my fibre stash to Ravelry too. Whilst I'm holding fast to the yarn/fibre diet now, I don't trust myself to stay strong, especially when Stash Junkie shows me the gorgeous stuff she got from Spunky Eclectic. Very drool-worthy.

I'll post soon with pictures of homespun. I've taken plenty of photos, but the steam powered desktop has decided it's not speaking to the camera at the moment. Off to soothe them both...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Busy, busy, busy...

As usual, it didn't take long for me to fall behind with the blogging. The steadfast sticking to yarn diet is still going strong though. Woo hoo! I did waver somewhat as I tried to finish this:

It's the Hacky Sack Hoodie from Son of Stitch'n'Bitch. I loved knitting it - it was much easier than I expected, and it grew at an alarming rate. In order to keep those stripes in order, you have to fudge it a bit, but that's OK. What's not OK is skeins from the same dyelot not following the same colour sequence throughout. Grr. Mr F love's it, and that's all that matters. I almost fell off the yarn diet wagon when I realised the second sleeve wasn't going to match the first, no matter how much I cut'n'pasted the colours. I searched t'Internet for an extra skein. Of course, the original source had sold out. I knew that - I'd bought the last three skeins of this colourway back in December. I couldn't find a stockist in the UK, and came this close (I'm holding my thumb and forefinger very close together) to buying some from a shop in the US. However, impatience to finish the project won out and Mr F didn't really mind either way, so I finished it up with what I had left. Tada!

I also finished Cookie A's Mingus socks for the January Sockdown on Ravelry's Sock Knitter's Anonymous* group, and I've since started not one, but two pairs of socks for the February Sockdown. It took me about three weeks to notice I'd made a mistake whilst knitting the Mingus socks. Fortunately I made the same mistake on both socks, so at least they match.

I've made another start on Chuck's Cabled Socks by Eunny Jang. I started a pair of these last year, or maybe the year before. Anyway, that attempt didn't get much past an inch of cabling before I gave up. This version uses the same Regia Uni in black, but I'm using some of the Opal natural yarn that I dyed semisolid red instead of the trekking rainbow I used last time.

It's pretty labour intensive, so I decided to cast on a plainer sock that I can knit during breaks at work. The February Sockdown challenge is to knit a pair of socks using a heel construction that is new to me. I've cast on Temptation by Wendy Johnson. I don't think I've done these heels before, but the closer I get to it, the more I wonder if it's the same heel I did on Lucy Neatby's Mermaid Socks. It doesn't look the same, but I'll double check before I submit them as an entry. No picture of my Temptation socks yet. I'm using STR lightweight, and colour is Lucy - inspired by Wendy's own cat!

This also seems to be the month for hauling out those long-forgotten works-in-progress. I finally finished Mum's Marina bag. It's a modified version of a pattern from 25 Bags to Knit by Emma King. I made a similar one for a friend up in Edinburgh, and my Mum tried to snaffle it. That was a couple of years ago! Anyway, It's now finished and delivered to the happy recipient.

Another project rescued from the doldrums is my Napramach bag from Folk Bags. The colours I've chosen aren't as vibrant as the original, but mine is knit from sale yarn I bought at a shop that was closing down, and my choice of colours was fairly limited. It's Rowan Donegal Lambswool, and is thinner than the original yarn used, so I'm guessing the bag is going to be quite a bit smaller than the pattern states. It's working out OK though, so I'm not too worried. I stowed it away with the front mostly done and the back started, so it shouldn't take too much finishing. I'm even inspired to haul out the Sirdar Denim super chunky cardigan that Mum started knitting then passed to me to finish. It would free up a fair chunk of storage space in the cupboard...

*Ravelry links.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

So far, so good...

Fifteen days and holding! No new yarn purchases made, although the last-minute pre-31st December purchases have only just arrived after a two-week jaunt in the clutches of the Royal Mail. I was starting to get twitchy.

In an attempt to stop the twitching, and inspired by Stash-Junkie, I decided to finish spinning the blue pencil roving I bought from the Yarn Yard last year. I now know that I really don't get on with pencil roving. It all has to be pre-drafted. I want instant gratification, not lots of laborious prep work. I have another bag of pencil roving that I got from the fibre club, so maybe that will convince me otherwise, but for now I'm really not sold on it.

I persevered with the blue stuff though (look at it sitting there all innocent-like) and spent an evening pre-drafting the remaining 2/3 of a 100g hank into a basket.

Even with the pre-drafting it didn't spin too well. In the roving's defence, I have left it sat in a corner for several months, and my heart really wasn't in the prep. It didn't draft particularly well, but that's probably 90% spinner error. At least.

A couple of evenings later and I have this to show for it. There's about 285 yards of 2 ply yarn. I'd guess it's about a light double knit, weight-wise, but may thicken up a little more once the twist has been set. It seems balanced: it hangs straight when I hold the skein up. I'll take more photos for comparison once I've washed and dried the skein.

In other fibre news: I've ditched the evil Henry scarf that I was knitting after fatcat Biscuit decided it would make a good bed. She ragged it around the table a bit first to make it especially comfortable, and managed to pull about a quarter of the 456 stitches off the needles. Hand on heart, I really tried to get it back on the needles, but it just wasn't having it. I couldn't face starting again from scratch. I'll maybe try to make it again for next Christmas, but in a nice soft non-scratchy yarn.

Instead I'm knitting Mingus. Luckily, I discovered the Henry disaster in time to pack the necessary materials for Mingus before Mr F and I set off for a lovely weekend in Yorkshire. We stayed with his sister, and spent the weekend relatively TV/Internet free, so I got loads of knitting done. I cast on before going to bed on Friday, decided Saturday morning that the cuff would be too tight, ripped and started again on larger needles. I knit like the wind! Sock one practically flew off the needles. I knit all day while Mr F, his sister and others discussed race trucks, sidecars and other motorbike stuff. Knit, knit, knit. I came up for air when Mr F asked about local yarn and bookshops. I had to remind him about the No Yarn in 2008 rule. He looked abashed but it was too late. We were informed that not three miles away I could buy Wensleydale Longwool. Direct from the supplier. Who has a little farm with a shop selling the wool. Three miles away.

And I remained where I was, and didn't even ask Mr F in a tiny voice if we might just go along and look at the yarn. Not buy. Just look. How's that for willpower? I thought about it all afternoon though.

I finished Mingus on the way home - I was down to the toe decreases by the time we set off, so didn't need the pattern for the last bit. Here it is, in all its Mingus glory.

What's next? Getting over second sock syndrome. I've knit about ten rows on sock two since Sunday. T'Internet is far too distracting...

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

My Year of No Yarn

It is the time for resolutions, and I’ve been thinking about this one for some time now. I joined Ravelry back in September, dutifully added as many of my knitting books as it would recognise, and added as many projects as I have photos of. I’ve avoided cataloguing my yarn stash, because I know it’s ridiculously large. It’s outgrown the Cupboard of Doom where it first lived, has started taking over the bedrooms, and even has tendrils in the living and dining rooms.

It’s time to take control.


Now, I’ve done New Year diets before. I know how soon my willpower is likely to waver. So here are a few rules to help me stick to the straight and narrow.

1. Trades are allowed, but the yarn/books/fibre I send out must come from my existing stash.

2. Yarn gifts don’t count. If people are filled with a burning need to give me yarn, who am I to deny them the warm glow that comes from giving?

3. Wonderwool (if I make it this year) and WoolFest are exempt from My Year of No Yarn restrictions. However, I will only take whatever cash I have managed to set aside for each event, and no plastic will be involved in purchases made.

4. Any failures of willpower will be declared here and you can throw virtual tomatoes at me. Be careful not to hit the new yarn.

With that, I shall leave you with pictures of some of the projects I completed in 2007. Oh, and I will try to be a better blogger!