Sunday, 25 November 2007

Show haul

Despite only getting a fraction of the items on my wishlist I had a great time at the knitting and Stitching show yesterday. Especially good from a social point of view - sweet encounters with several fellow members of the Bradford spinner's weavers and dyers guild. Edna kindly joined me for lunch, and we had fun discussing our purchases.

The show was definitely better for a spinner and knitter than it was last time I went (four years ago). Although my experience then may have been somewhat affected by having a toddler and a baby with me in a double buggy (lots of breastfeeding breaks!!). I'm sure there were far less knitting stands, and a lot less spinning fibre. Nevertheless I still have some of the Wensleydale left that I purchased then (I got loads!!). I'm rather fond of the Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop, though I didn't buy anything from them yesterday (not even the spinning wheel brooch that nearly left with me!)

I've seen and enjoyed photos and lists of hauls others have made at shows so I'm following suit here:

I'll start with the items that were on the shopping list I wrote on Friday night:
a) The yarn is Admiral sockwool for fairisle socks with a self-striping background (the green and pink).
b) An acid dye kit to replace the Easy Peasy kit which is now running out. This one is from Art Van Go
c) A 'knitting design book' - 'Shetland Hap Shawls' from the Jamieson's stand. It was great to chat with Mrs Jamieson, and lovely to see some shawls on display. The book is a great historical record (with lots of pictures) as well as a pattern resource. Sadly not in the Ravelry library so I can't add it to my bookshelf there.
d) Knitting pins (not needles!)
Not on my list (!!):
a) A light to attach to myself so I can see my knitting better in the evening.
b) A braiding book - I thought it might help me make some decent cords for the hats I'm knitting.
c) Some syringes for dyeing work.


Thursday, 22 November 2007

As promised

This is the silk I posted about yesterday. I'm itching to spin more of it, and really cannot justify taking time out from everything else to do so. I have made alittle progress on the blinds, and several inches of the scarf I'm knitting to match Aidan's hat, which still needs cords attaching. Tom has kindly (enthusiastically!) modelled the hat for me:

I'm knitting the scarf in the round also, and have managed to knit his name into a band on it. Lots of fun.

Tonight I finally listed my old Ashford on ebay. Pretty sure it will sell from a starting price of £50.00. Sad really to say goodbye after all these years. And I do feel its daft to hang onto it when I don't use it anymore because the Timbertops is so good. Plus we could do with the money (of course), especially as we are having the hall, landings and stairs decorated at the moment (massive upheaval will I hope be over well before Christmas?)

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

In a jam?

Sorry no piccies. I'm at my sister's and don't think they have a thingummyjig that attaches to my camera. When I do post them you can see the silk I started spinning at our guild meeting on Saturday. It's some mulberry brick I bought at Woolfest that Freyalyn has dyed to match the blinds I'm making for my bedroom (note this is still present tense even though I started them in March!!!). Pinky red, cream and green. I love seeing the way the colours are spinning up. It isn't plain sailing though - its years since I spun silk and I am finding it difficult to get the fibre mass to behave. I don't want to have to split it into very thin rovings because I want to get long sections of solid colour.
Sadly I can't spend much time spinning at the moment because of the usual pressure I have put myself under to make umpteen Christmas presents. Mostly knitting and jam this year, with one or two painted baubles. Would you believe one of the other Mums at Toby's nursery asked me yesterday if I'm ready for Christmas yet. Ready? I've only just started to do anything about it. Has the world gone mad? Well, come to think of it, they were playing carols at a garden centre I visited before bonfire night!!

Friday, 16 November 2007


Unhappy with yellow and black, I've done a different sorting hat quiz. This test was much more grown-up, and hard to 'read', so I recommend it much more than the other. Anyway, it decided, after giving me equal scores for Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff, that I actually belong in Ravenclaw. Yippee!! Blue and silver do suit me, and I definitely feel more at home with the Ravenclaw type:

The sorting hat says that I belong in Ravenclaw!

Said Ravenclaw, "We'll teach those whose intelligence is surest."

Ravenclaw students tend to be clever, witty, intelligent, and knowledgeable.
Notable residents include Cho Chang and Padma Patil (objects of Harry and Ron's affections), and Luna Lovegood (daughter of The Quibbler magazine's editor).

Take the most scientific Harry Potter
ever created.

Get Sorted Now!

Wednesday, 14 November 2007


This is some Wensleydale I spun and navajo plied ages ago. It measures approx. 17 wraps per inch. I dyed it this weekend because Mum wanted some of my handspun to knit a hat. This is the one I didn't give her. I 'spot' dyed this one with Easy Peasy dyes from Hilltop Spinning Supplies. I mixed red blue and yellow stock to make green, dark bluey pink, and purpley blue. Of course, they ran together quite a bit while I was setting them (wrapped in cling film in the microwave)! I dyed Mum's skein (much more yarn in hers) in 4 sections - one long section each of the pink and the purple, separated by shorter sections of the green. Wish I'd taken a photo because the colours in hers worked much better and it is knitting up beautifully.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Charted Nordic Design

A lot of my time spinning and knitting is spent doing calculations. Is this familiar to others? How long does it take me to knit X number of rows of a pattern? Extrapolate to guesstimate how long the project will take. How many rows can I knit in today's time slot? Have I got time to knit X number of pattern repeats? How long does one finger width roving take to spin? Extrapolate to guesstimate how long the whole 100g will take....

Today's calculations were all design based. How many stitches do I need to make a pattern that will repeat six tiumes in 19 and a half inches at 8 stitches per inch? Pencil and paper sums show me I need a 26-stitch pattern repeat. I also want it roughly the same depth in rows. I want a star motif. I manipulate the net around it to make the numbers work magically. The pattern is based on one from 'Knitting in the Nordic Tradition'. I've altered the net to widen it (to make a 24 stich repeat into a 26 stitch repeat) and to include a separate square element without a star in it (to make the design more elaborate). And I've nudged the half star designs at top and bottom in a row to make the pattern band shallower. Lilleduck or other Nordic knitters may be able to tell me that this pattern I've 'designed' is in fact already in existence - it is after all just playing with Nordic design techniques.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Annie's Earflap Hat

I am sooooo proud of this!! Isn't it beautiful? The speed of work is evidence of just how much I loved this knitting. It isn't quite complete - I have ends to weave in, cords to make to attach to the earflaps, and (of course, being a perfectionist) the blocking to finish it. Then I have to knit one like it for Aidan (my 4-year-old nephew, Annie's brother). As he is smaller I am considering adapting the pattern to a different fairisle. I anticipate hours of enjoyment reading 'Nordic Knitting' (possibly the most loved in my knitting library) to find, or be inspired to invent, the 'perfect' design. Graph paper, here I come....

Friday, 9 November 2007


As I am thinking of doing some kind of Harry Potter knitting project I thought I'd better find out which house I belong to. A quick search on the web turned up a test which was really quite good. Just using what I know about the houses from (extremely fanatically extensive) reading of HP I thought it would be a toss-up between Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff, and I was right. Anyway, the final result came out as:

Which Hogwarts house will you be sorted into?

Unfortunately yellow and black don't really suit me!!!

Thursday, 8 November 2007


My invitation has arrived! I now know why Weekend Whirls is so quiet - it's because everybody is busy in Ravelry ( I haven't been on the computer at home since the invite (I'm at my sister's with Mum who's just come out of hospital), so haven't been able to upload photos of my projects to the site. I can see I'm going to have loads of fun there. In fact I was crying laughing today when I followed a link there to a fleece-washing tutorial. Check it out -

I can't believe how many spinning groups Ravelry has. Unfortunately I still can't find a Harry Potter swap to join that's taking entries now. I've never done a 'swap' or knitalong, and rather fancy it, especially Potter stuff as I am quite a fan (potters about Potter!). All the ones I find have already started and aren't taking new participants. I have, however, found a UK Knitter's swap that starts after Christmas. In my usual disciplined manner I've only joined three groups from the hundreds on offer- a Potter one, the UK knitters swap, and a French spinning group. I'm continuing with level three French at night school, and thought it a good idea to combine the two hobbies. I did fancy the Ankh Morpork Knitter's Guild, then realised my knowledge of Pratchett books is vastly inferior to true fans who read all his stuff (I've only read a few, and enjoyed them all immensely).

A hat pattern and yarn I ordered from Nancy's KnitKnacks ( arrived yesterday and I have started knitting it for my neice for Christmas. I also have yarn to do one for her brother. The pattern is 'Danah's Earflap Hat', and I'm doing it in Mulberry and Ecru for Annie, and navy and ecru for Aidan. I'm really enjoying doing a bit of fairisle - it's ages since I did some, and I feel clever knitting yarns from separate hands!

From conversastions I've had, and blogs I've read, I have recently come to realise that I am unusually frugal for a spinner and knitter. My stash for both hobbies is very modest, and newly including Annie's hat and Toby's waistcoat yarn I only have two spinning projects and three knitting ones in progress. Perhaps it's because of a course I did a few years ago called 'The Completion Series' (run by the 'Institute for Self-Actualization'!! - I do, nevertheless, have a long list of projects planned.... I just do my best not to purchase for them until I'm nearly ready to do them. Good eh? Or does that seem very sad?

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Busy busy busy busy...

Hours and hours of knitting!! And a bit of spinning too. Plus all the other time-consumers: cooking, taxiing children, bits of cleaning, endless tidying, firework displays, childrens' parties.....

And the batteries on the camera ran out.

The knitting is a lot of fun. I'm now knitting a lace edging onto 'vesty thing', and have finally learnt the pattern (lover's knot edging from 'Scarves and Shawls'). Initially I just memorised the process, whereas now I think I actually understand how it works!! Like the difference between functional and conceptual maths.

While knitting I've been thinking of the lace knitters of old who invented these patterns. Weren't they amazing? Too often I don't appreciate how intelligent and able the people of the past were, especially rural peasants like the Shetland knitters. Their patterns are so complex. How did they develop them? They must have applied a high level of conceptual understanding to create their beautiful pieces. Could I ever be disciplined and committed enough to emulate such achievement?

Meanwhile humbly I offer my vastly inferior produce for viewing. The lace edging (I'm near finishing the back):

And some merino I've spun to make a waistcoat for Toby. I'm going to knit it in stripes with some green themed merino. I've planned the variegation so some of the yarn is solid colour (orange or rust), and the rest is the two shades together. To do this I spun one singles alternating equal amounts of the two colours, and the other singles in an ABAABB sequence, then plied the two together. For once I seem to have underplied, and I'm considering running it through again to add more plying twist. Don't know what it will knit up like.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Skeletons in the cupboard?

I'm rather pleased with our effort for Halloween this year. I made a pumpkin lantern with Toby in the afternoon and made pumpkin and apple soup with the innards. Alas, I didn't think to take a photo of the lantern before it became pumkin risotto this evening (delicious!!).

The skeleton below is Toby who had his face painted at the Halloween party at a local play centre. Sadly it had worn a lot by the time we took a photo:

My other 'skeleton' is the still incomplete 'vesty thing'. I've finished knitting the bodice and just have to finish crocheting armhole and neck edgings. The armholes gaped rather badly when I tried it on, hence the gathered look from the crochet on the (finished) armhole to the right of the picture. The other will match when I've done it, and I hope blocking will resolve the consequent puckering. I'm also not happy with the way the striping from the variegation in the yarn has worked on the shoulder to the right of the picture, and I'm not so unhappy that I'm willing to undo it!!

p.s Warm regards to Lilleduck and thank you for your comment - it's good to know some-one reads and enjoys my blog.