Wednesday, October 22, 2008

And Baby Came Too!

I'm ashamed to say that I've forgotten to tell you something that I've been really excited about but somehow seem to manage by the time it comes to blogging. I know I really should do this whilst I'm wide awake and not when I'm half asleep and that way I'd not forget the exciting bits and inflict you with a load of waffle instead. Well, I'm awake now so you'll have the news (as well as some waffle!).
A month or so ago I took part in a Spinners Swap on Ravelry, my first ever swap and I had a whale of a time picking out goodies and dyeing stuff up for my swap partner and after sending out my parcel I almost forgot about that fact that someone else would be sending me a parcel in return! And when I got my parcel I was thrilled with the goodies inside which 'Manicgirl'
from Sweden sent.

As well as some beautiful hand dyed merino and some luscious hand dyed silk hankies were some beautiful hand spun yarns which I'll have to find something special to use in. The middle item in the photo is the one I'm most impressed with as it's so beautiful it's almost a shame to use it! It's some flax tied in the traditional Swedish way which really does look fantastic and the smell is wonderful - my Grandad would have been interested in this I'm sure as he was from Belfast where a lot of linen is produced.

I've decided to dedicate this post to my spinning as there's been a fair bit going on lately as well as all the dyeing I've been churning out for the shop. This first yarn was from some Fybrespates fibre, I can't remember what it is as it didn't have a label on but it's lovely and soft and has a lovely sheen. I plied the singles with some rayon thread in a toning shade and there's enough yarn here to make myself another Forest Canopy shawl!

This one is a blend of Alpaca, Mohair and Wool from the lovely 'Wool For Brains' etsy shop and it was a lovely fibre to spin and there's just possibly enough for a pair of socks by I'm going to spin something complimentary for the heels and toes I think to make the yarn go farther. The colours in this are really lovey and don't really show well here.

There is more hand spun to show but I've not take any pictures of them - one of which I'm really happy with is a three ply Alpaca/Nylon blend yarn which is destined to become socks - and there's plenty of yarn for them!

Recently Emily has been getting involved with spinning too. Firstly I took her to the Frodsham Friendship Day which was help by one of the Cheshire Spinning Guilds. She was really excited when we walked in to the main hall which was full of loads of spinners and their wheels and asked if she could start spinning there and then! She even decided which wheel she wanted and virtually claimed someones Louet wheel! We met up with the lovely Jackie and her girls, who Emily loved, and I was surprised that Emily didn't protest and let me stay nearly all afternoon!
By the time we left she was very tired and upset that I'd left 'her' wheel and her new friends behind!

After such a successful day out with her I tried her out again with a trip to the Abergele Guilds spinning afternoons which again she was most impressed with. Even after packing some snacks (bribes really!), jigsaws and colouring bits I didn't see myself being able to do much in the way of spinning but to my amazement she let me get on with it. I can't say that she let one of the other ladies do much spinning, Lynne became a temporary childminder and seemed to enjoy herself being taken on riverside walks and walks on 'squelchy' fields. And the final vote of approval from Emily came when she saw our tea-time cakes - I think I'll be allowed to go again with her and the other members didn't seem to mind her at all either!
So now Emily wants me to teach her to spin, we've a spindle all ready for her but I think I'm more likely to get eyes poked out rather than yarn spun so far! I think Emily really wants to have a go soon - she's been sitting on my lap and 'helping spinning'. I don't think she's quite ready yet but she thinks she is!

I'll leave you with a shot of yet another small person who's been 'helping' me to spin - not sure if he's ready to learn or not either!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Playing Around

It's funny what you can find on peoples blogs which are a great way to kill time with! I was reading GoldfishGirl's blog and found this from Wordle and it's a fun thing to do with your blog and interesting what words it pick up on!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

One Hundred Posts Old Today!!

Maybe it's just the time of year but I've kind of fallen under a spell of the blues and as a result I've kind of been hiding from society (OK - it may be online but it's still a society of sorts!).
Only some lovely kind words from a certain Sarah made me realise how slow I've been at updating lately and that I needed to get out and post something!

The thing is it's not as if there aren't any FO's to show you - I've been knitting and spinning like mad (that's the hiding from society bit!) and have a fair old pile of stuff on the finished pile. I should also add that there's still a pile of stuff on the WIP pile too but then who doesn't have these on going projects?!

I decided a montage shot would be less bother to post rather than inflict a load of photos on you and was surprised how many things have been done since I last posted - five finished objects and another new one on the go! Well I'm impressed at least but I suppose it is cheating of sorts as they're all small projects really.

As the days have been growing colder and darker (and then warmer again - silly weather!) my thoughts have been on making warming layers for DD. It's not that I don't want anything for myself (I don't think I'll even attempt to start a list we could be here all night but I might just mutter 'Wisteria' under my breath!) but I keep thinking she ought to be wrapped up against the cold (when it gets here for good!) so there are slipovers and tunics galore on the 'to knit' list ready for Winter. Most of the following have been made for her - OK all bar one! Hubby is still grumbling that his project isn't finished yet but that hasn't been photographed and I'm making the pattern up as I go and can't find my notes (I blame him for tidying!)

I suppose I should start with the current WIP which is a Sirdar pattern (details are on Rav - I don't do details well, that's what Rav is there to remember for me!) for Miss Emily knit in some Sirdar Sunggly Aran (which is as the name suggests!). Even though it's a simple waistcoat with very little sewing up to do I'm reducing the sewing further by converting it to (I was going to say in the round) a one piece job. The cables are really lovely looking and make for a nice think fabric but it's not the challenge for the grey cells I was wanting - the cable pattern was learnt before I'd finished the first repeat. Still it's working quite quickly (when I actually knit it) as I can get away with doing some of the cables sans cable needle! Does it look like I'm content with doing the pattern the traditional way (blind following)? The urge to 'tweak' is strong!

The Rainbow Beret (can you guess which one that is in the montage? Do you need a clue?!) was another pattern I wasn't content to follow blindly. The initial try was too pointy for my liking and more elf hat than beret. So it was ripped back and I made it up, increasing stitches like a mad thing - nothing written down of course so I'm doomed if I want to recreate it! Plus the pattern (again details on Rav - can't remember where I found it other than through Rav!) was for a 2 year old so I played and guessed whilst DD was in school and cast off with no head to double check on. As a result there's no real need to know what I did with this as there's plenty of room for growing here! As part of the developing trend the yarn for this (Colinette Cadenza - I do remember some things!) was lovely and soft to knit with and is nice and snuggly too!

Before the beret came the BSJ - do you need details or do those three little letters tell you all you need know about the pattern?! OK, for all that Elizabeth Zimmermann wanted people to not follow patterns blindly I did with this. The maths and the whole construction of this little beauty of a pattern still befuddles me even after knitting this second one - I really couldn't conceive of thinking one of these up from scratch! If you haven't tried this pattern out yet I urge you to try just for the fun of trying to work it out and then once you've figured out how it goes together making others try to figure it out themselves! Hours of Fun!! Anyway this was for a friend baby who technically is still not due but who in reality arrived on the 3rd of October (Mum's Birthday too!) seven weeks early and coincidentally my Baby Surprise was finished the day before - I know Mum has said about being Welsh Witches but really?! Expect to see more mini knits with this same yarn (Fabel from Garn Studio - lovely yarn and great colours!) as this only took just (and I mean just - half of the last row and casting off done with the second 50g ball!) over 50g to knit and no girl is fully dressed without matching booties and hat now are they?!

Bored yet? Nevermind! Still on the list is a Sirdar aran jumper (strangely enough also knitted in Sirdar yarn - not a usual trend having the 'right' yarn for the pattern!) again converted into being knitted in the round and a baby Kimono from Lion Brand done in Mad fluffy slubby wool which was an insanely quick knit. Well, as this is turning into a huge essay I'll keep it brief on these two and move on to one of my favorite FO's and a first for me - a Crocheted FO!! I don't expect many of you to have heard of it but the little white beastie is a Totoro from the Japanese animated film called 'My Neighbour Totoro' a really lovely film for little ones (and handily dubbed in English). Totoros are woodland spirits fond of gathering acorns and disappearing when they want to hide away and this one is a 500 year old 'baby' one. Seriously this film is worth looking out for for those with little ones to amuse, it is a bit bizarre (I'll just say 'Cat Bus' and leave it to your imagination) but is a lovely gentle film, not a lot happens but DD adores it and many others from the same makers 'Studio Ghibli' Japans equivalent to Disney. Anyway this is the first ever crocheted creation I've done, other than a little freestyle dabbling, and it was only by the time I'd nearly finished and was doing the tail that I figured out how to count crochet stitches and how to follow a crochet pattern properly. The stitches are wonkey and not necessarily what the pattern wanted (or where it wanted them!) but it look like what it's supposed to and I love it as does Miss Emily! And that's what matters!

I was going to show you some hand spun I'd done but my back is aching sitting at this computer and I think I've inflicted enough waffle for one night for you. Plus it gives me something to start my next hundred posts with doesn't it?! Will try and touch base with you all and gradually rejoin society - see you out there!