Thursday, January 25, 2007

Finally, Some New Yarns!

Well as promised ages ago I finally have pictures of my latest stash acquisition and I've tried this time to have a nicer picture for you so you can see things in 'real' light for once!

Right then, clockwise from top right corner we start with some Twillies Freedom Spirit - a lovely 100% pure wool DK weight yarn which I love. I'm making the vest/tank top from the pattern book that goes with the yarn and I love how the colours are knitting up - a real autumnal blend of colours, not quite as clear and defined as it appears in the ball but really nice subtle stripes of colour that do blend one into the other. Hopefully it won't be too long before that's finished as it seems to be quite a quick knit and I'm about half way up the front now.
Next we have some Sunbeam Aran Knit which might end up as some mittens for my brothers glove less girlfriend or then again I may find some other yarn for her as I do love the colours in this. The picture is quite accurate about those except that the turquoise appears to be more of a darker greener colour right now to me, but then again it is evening and the lights are on so which is more accurate? Your guess is as good as mine!
Following close behind are some Rowanspun 4ply - my very first Rowan Yarn!! Rowan for me is an expensive luxury and I think it would be a long time before I could afford to make a garment out of their yarns, lovely though they are so these are a treat. But what was even more of a treat for me was the price - £1.90 per hank and 25% off on top!!! I have 2 chocolatey brown hanks and 1 green to make myself some of the Ballet Slippers from Melanie Falick's Holiday Knits - possibly not entirely practical but pretty none the less!
And finally there are 2 balls of Sunbeam St Ives in 'Lowland' (as far as I remember!) that I plan to make some lacy sock with. I know looking at the yarn it looks a bit dull and boring compared to the wonderful selections of fancy self striping and hand painted sock yarns out there but I wanted something plain that wouldn't distract from a lacy pattern that I may get round to knitting at some point or another. And that also means I have a stash of sock yarns now without really planning to!! In all I have yarn for 3 socks for myself - some Opal self striping, some Colinette Jitterbug and the St Ives as above but I've also acquired a stash of oddments enough for loads of little Emily socks that was generously donated by my very kind friend Chris (who is soon to join us in the Blogging Community - if she can figure out how!! I must go and lend her a hand soon I think!).

Anyway next on the agenda is an update on something I mentioned last post, namely my purple sheep fluff. So here you go, complete with progress shots.
On the bobbin.
After Plying.
I had some grey 'unknown' silky fluff (man made definitely as it melted when I tested a sample by burning it) which I decided would make the fleece go further and give me more to play with and hopefully soften the yarn up a bit as it's not something I'd wear next to the skin. I'm really pleased with the results - the grey has evened the colours out a bit but you still get a mix of the great colours along with the silky shine of the grey stuff. To those spinners out there I will just point out to you that I've been calling my prepared fleece 'fluff' so far as I've not quite got the hang of making rolags yet and as it has indeed been great piles of fluffy fleece so 'fluff' seems the right word to use!!
And what have I planned for it? A cushion cover with some sort of cabled design on the front which might not show up too well with this yarn or not but I don't care as that's what I would like to make - I've already got a lovely pale grey piece of velvet from work for the back of the cushion (soft to compensate for any roughness in the yarn) and am just playing with the design and scouring through books searching for 'the one'!
On the needles right now other than the Freedom Spirit is a hat for DH who has finally let me knit something for him. No point in showing you though as it is Plain and simple and ever so dull to knit. Unless you really want to see plain old navy stocking stitch on the needles a photo is not being planned. And I have to agree with Kat about having problems getting going with hats. Hers looked a huge hat for her Son and having never made anything for a larger head than mine this seems to be taking an age to get anywhere, especially as there's no pattern or detailing to work on. Mind you am really please with the pattern which is from Ann Budds Knitters Handy Book of Patterns so this was adapted specifically for the required size and yarn gauge and was really simple to do.
Anyway I'm waffling again. Hopefully will be back soon with FO's for you - there's getting to be a disturbing trend of new stuff I've bought or been given lately and not so much knitting, but then I have been spinning. Well anyway I'll crack the whip and get knitting! Fingers crossed for FO's soon!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

What a Busy Week!!

Well I've been to visit Mum to cheer her up and my what a busy week we had. No sooner had we put little Emily up for her nap then out came the felting equipment, dyes, spinning wheels and so on! Considering we only had a couple of Emily free hours each day we managed to get loads done and here it all is for you.

First of all is this felted necklace that was made mainly by Mum with bits by me as well - what great fun it is squelching bits of fleece in soapy water and trying to form shapes with it. It takes a bit of time and effort but was well worth it!

Next of all I plied my 'Icy' hand spun with my beaded thread. Now that was fiddly - it took ages to thread all the beads I had (approximately 1200 seed beads) and then trying to ply that thread with the 2 strands of hand spun whilst evenly spacing the beads, trying to get and even ply and getting used to Mums wheel (hers is double treadled whilst mine is single treadled) was quite a task but between Mum and I we got the job done.

Now although there is only 100m worth of yarn I really should have had more beads on the thread. Also I would try to use a nylon thread rather than ordinary sewing thread as the beads tended to stick on this and had to be freed every now and then. It's certainly a pretty effect and I can't wait to see it knitted up but I think I should have practiced first as this is not quite as well plied as I would have like it to be as you may well be able to see in the following close-up shot. Still I love it though and have now decided that it looks more like sea foam than iceberg colours as I initially thought. I doubt you will have too long to wait before you see the finished knitted article with this as I love it so much!

And what crafty idea was being cooked up next?

Well Artis-Anne has the finished results posted on her blog but I thought you might like to see the progress shots. And having seen what hers looked like spun up I fancy having a play with mine and think I might start off with this one:

So that's it for now - I'm off to try and remember where I tidied my hand carders away and have a play with some of that sheep fluff.

I will at some point show off my new yarns, I haven't forgotten it's just not really a very good light to be able to photograph it well for you so I'll try to pose it nicely for you in a better light tomorrow. Sorry to be fussy but am getting bored of photos of stuff on my dining table! Anyway, back to this sheep fluff.....

Friday, January 12, 2007

Let There be Photos!

Finally I've been able to upload my photos and show all my new goodies - there does seem to be a purpley colour theme in this photo which I've only just noticed. All these items were listed in my previous post.

The Colinette Tagliatelle is not quite as lurid as the photo appears but it gives you an idea and the lace weight yarn is just a touch darker but not too far from a true depiction which is odd as the Tagilatelle just looks too bright. Am not sure what the lace yarn will become yet, I've some ideas but none finalised as yet. The Tagliatelle will become 'Either.. Or' which ever one is which but you can see Mum's example here.

When I wrote the last post I hadn't started my next knitting or spinning projects but had photographed them already for you. Firstly I planned to knit myself a Beret using a pattern from the Winter issue of Interweave Knits and a ball of my very own hand spun wool and silk blend in lovely Bluey-Green colours (75g with 180m).

This was such a lovely quick knit and satisfying to see how any irregularities in my yarn were evened out when knitted. The only pain was starting with only 8 stitches over the double point needles which was a bit fiddly not to twist and to start off right. I love this now and must admit I've hardly had this off my head since I finished it and can see myself making more in different colours and I actually had left overs which is good as I did wonder if I had enough yarn.

Next up is my spinning project. When we went to Winghams I got a selection of Merino/Silk blends which I thought could look quite glacial all blended together starting with some white/mint green mix (which looked like toothpaste!) to deep greens and turquoise mixes. I started off by splitting the rovings into separate colour sections as much as possible and sorted them into the order that I wanted them to be in. Each coil of rovings there is roughly the same order and theoretically when spun up and plied together should make some sort of self striping yarn with some sort of order to the colour bands.

Of course I haven't actually plied anything together yet so am not sure if this theory will work out or not. In addition I've found some lovely seed beads in opalescent cream and icy mint green which I think I will tread up randomly on some thread and ply in with the yarn. And then I could go completely over the top as I found some lovely metallic turquoise sewing thread that could work with this as well. I'll decide as I go on but I do know what I want to use this yarn for at least which is a Moebius Cowl - not sure which pattern yet but something Lacey! Do get the feeling I'm making this up as I go on? Well you're not wrong!

Also on the news front at the moment is the sad loss of one of my local yarn shops. But it does mean that all the yarn has 25% off and the pattern books are 50% off. Whilst I know that I've enough yarn (and fibre to make more) to last me all year, if not longer, I can not bear the thought of missing out on all these bargains, especially as their prices weren't extortionate in the first place. So, between Mum and myself, some of the yarn has been rehoused but the temptation of Jaeger Matchmaker Merino yarn, Rowan Kid Classic and dozens upon dozens of discontinued yarns still calls to be rehoused! Watch this space....

I will report later on what I succumbed to already but I think you've had enough wittering so far today!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Happy New Year to All!!

Thank you all for my lovely welcome back to the realm of technology - it's taking my a while to both get over Christmas and get up to date with every ones blogs!
I thought I'd bring the New Year in with a thorough report of Christmas knits and knitting gifts but have just realised that I can't find the lead to upload any photos on to the computer so you will just have to use your imagination until I master technology fully (we still have a few odd quirks on the PC - to get the '@' sign I have to press 'shift' & 2 and some symbols are still yet to be located - think the keyboard thinks it's American but can't quite fix the darned thing yet!).

Gifts-wise I'd made some lovely little lacy fingerless mitts that will be under consideration for myself, can't quite remember where I got the pattern from but will search it out again to add to faves (again) along with a cozy headband from Garn Studio which was both quick and easy to make. I also made a Moebius Cowl from Cat Bordhi's site using her Moebius cast on from 'A Treasury of Magical Knitting' which makes great reading even if the concept of the moebius cast on does turn your head funny until you grasp the concept. That was great to make - the cast on is the centre of the work and you work outwards to the outer edges with one side appearing as the 'right side' and the other appearing as the 'wrong side'. Very clever stuff and I'll be doing more or these later on! Just hope I have more luck with starting the next one off - even with Mum's invaluable help it took several attempts to get right. Also I had a go at Perdita from Knitty which was fun to do if fiddly to knit using the embroidery thread an tiny needles and was my first attempt at beaded knitting - Mum still hasn't told me if it fits her or not so we'll just have to read her blog to see!

Christmas this year was rather knitting oriented for me gift wise. You already know about my lovely Spinning Wheel which DH and Mum and her Hubby gave me and which I love to bits; but I also got more yarn (as if I really need it!) namely 5 hanks of Colinette Tagliatelle in a colourway that MIL and Mum said suited me but that I wouldn't have chosen normally which is a good thing as I'm sort of in a colour rut knitting wise. This is such a lovely purpley pink with flashes of blue and green - sound horrible but is really vibrant and warm looking. Thanks again to Mum-in-law Lil!
Also on the yarn front is a lovely deep wine hank of lace weight wool that Mum gave me as part of a 'Box of Delights' and is to be a yarn challenge between the two of us - same yarn each but what will we both make? No deadlines or anything set yet so will think about that for a bit. Also in her box were some sheepy stitch markers from Knitz and Glitz which are lovely; a sheep pencil (its wool related so I'll count it with the knitting goodies!) and other lovely bits.
DH also gave me 2 copies of Interweave Knits - Spring and Fall '06, both of which have some lovely patterns - more on that in a moment. I also got some new knitting books - 'Knitting without Tears' by Elizabeth Zimmermann; 'Ultimate Source book of Knitting and Crochet Stitches'; 'Hand Knit Holidays' by Melanie Falick and 'Spinning Designer Yarns' by Diane Varney which if any of you spinners out there have not got or read already I strongly urge you to do so - such a great and inspiring book! Oh, and I've now got a Swift/Skein Winder to sort out all my hanks with which is a life saver!

There are some FO's for you other than Christmas ones but they can wait for another time and I've yet more hand spun ready to show you that is in the progress of being made up into a beret from the Fall issue of Interweave Knits.