The Knitting Post

Yep, two posts in one day.

I have a few FOs! First, I finished the first chocolate sock in The Knittery cashmere sock yarn. It came out a bit shorter than the white chocolate sock, and not just because I skipped the last repeat.

This is going to be a very warm sock! I can add my corrections to the pattern now, and hand it out to my volunteer test knitters.

Of course, I had to cast on another sock. Since I’ve been feeling a bit poorly and needed something mentally and physically unchallenging – and instantly satisfying, I grabbed the yarn that Lynne dyed up. This is clever stuff. There’s a varigated yarn for the toe and heel, and a stripey yarn for the foot and leg. And some of the stripes are varigated. Very entertaining yarn, and just the sort of knitting I need right now.

You may have noticed the dpn cover. Having seen the expensive metal versions on other blogs, I decided to try making my own. I got the plastic pipe from Bunnings. With a craft knife I cut a long elipse for the sock to hang out of, then cut from the end of it to the edge of the tube so I can slide the dpns inside.

It probably wouldn’t protect the needles if someone sat on it the wrong way, but it’ll do for my handbag.

Finally, I knit up another baby wash glove in Katia Jamaica. I love the colours of this yarn. Pity it’s so darn expensive. When I’ve used up this ball I’m going to get some Bendy 8ply cotton and dye it up myself.

The Spinning Post

The second spinning lesson was so much fun, though all we really did was spin some more, and ply. But as we plied more recent spinning with our first attempts, we were noticing an improvement. And plying is so fast – and at the end you have yarn!

Here’s mine, after washing:

The brown hank is what I’ve been spinning at home, the white is from the class.

Last night I tried a different technique with some pre-dyed roving. I want to make a slubby yarn. I preprepared the roving by pulling it into longer, thinner sections, pulling some parts a bit more to make the thin bits between the slubs. I spun this on a drop spindle because I wanted to work slowly, and I reckon the wheel would go too fast.

Going well so far. I’m going to ply it with a black metallic thread.

At the Guild I bought this book. (The piece of felt in the background is what I made a few weeks ago, by just ‘massaging’ fibres in an old tray.)

Like I need another hobby.

Winterwood

Well okay, the shop was not five minutes walk away, but fifteen. How do I know this? Because Lynne appeared on my doorstep yesterday morning and suggested we check it out. Next thing we were headed for the hills.

‘Hills’ is quite accurate. There are a few around here.

We located the shop and received a warm welcome. There wasn’t a huge range of yarns. Certainly no familiar brands. There was some stuff that looked a lot like Rare Yarns, but wasn’t, and there was some varigated and plain 8ply that I suspect was dyed for or by the shop. There were some clover knitting needles – lots of straights, a circular in one size, crochet hooks but no dpns. A wall of the shop was dedicated to felting supplies, and there was a lot of toy-making stuff.

I didn’t buy yarn. Not a ball. Instead I succumbed to the logic that if knitting makes my hands hurt, then I should spin instead:

I’m cartwheeling gleefully down the slippery slope of doom.

This and that…

Peri Peri says “Good morning”.

It’s been one of those weeks where lots happens but you don’t seem to get much tone. Well, I got my BAS done. And I took Monday off. And a whole lot of stuff got done to our house extension, which was very distracting. Here’s a progress picture:

I accidentally deleted the last lot of progress shots, which I’m sad about because I took pics of one the few surviving plants – a yellow rose – which flowered madly for about a week.

So instead I bring you that wierd plant nobody, not even the architect/landscaper can identify. It’s flowering, too:

Knitting? Oh yeah. I’ve started the sleeve caps of the Zhivago top:

The chocolate sock is coming along slowly, too. I have a serious itch to cast on something else. Something easy. Like a plain cotton blend sock.

In other news:
According to the s’n'b list, there’s a new yarn store in my suburb… FIVE MINUTES WALK AWAY. This may not be good for my bank account.

Spinning lesson #2 this Sunday. I’m looking forward to it!

Late Arrival

It’s here! It’s here!

The sock yarn I ordered from the US arrived yesterday!

Someone at USPS had crossed out ‘Canada’ on the package address and written ‘Australia’ beside it. I sent the shop owner a ‘yipeee!’ email and she sent one back. We’re all happy and relieved.

It’s Regia Cotton Surf, 41% wool, 34% cotton and 25% polyamide. The pattern forms stripes of varying widths. While it’s not as pretty or luxurious as hand painted sock yarn, I really like stripey socks and I need cotton socks for summer. Since I work from home, I like that I can go shoeless most of the day, and in summer I usually wander around with my feet bare. But after moving into this house last year I discovered the down side of houses built on concrete. No matter how warm the rest of me was, the soles of my feet were chilly.

I tried knitting socks out of Bendy 4ply cotton, but 100% cotton isn’t the nicest yarn to knit socks out of, or wear. I’ve been on the look out for a cotton blend that wasn’t fair isle ever since.

Of course, it might be autumn before I get through my to-do list… if my hands recover as fast as I’m hoping.

Thankyou to everyone who left birthday well-wishes in the comments. I had a relaxed, laid back day. I ate plenty of chocolate, but somehow never got around to knitting. (I did consider taking my chocolate socks to the cinema, but decided against it.) I guess that means I’ll now have to knit two repeats of the socks and Zhivago top today, to catch up.

Happy Birthday to me!

The beau was away most of the weekend, so to keep myself entertained while not doing too much of anything that might make my hands sorer, I did a little bit of a lot of things:

I wove a bit. I sewed a bit. This resulted in a FO:

The mocha chocolate blanket is done. (I can see now that taking a pic outside has resulted in an overly contrasty photo. But can’t be bothered rephotographing it.)

I spun a bit. I read a bit. I tried felting with fleece for the first time. I also knit a bit.

I figure if I can do one repeat each on the chocolate socks and Zhivago top each day I’ll have them both done by the end of the week. Well, that does depend if I get stuck in the Zhivago top collar black hole again.

Today is my birthday. A few years off mumbleth, but it’s getting closer. I had to show off what my beau got me:

Very cool baking trays made of silicon. They’re red, so they match our kitchen nicely. And they’re bendy. See:

No more muffins, pies and cakes stuck to the pan. That’s the theory, anyway. They’re heatproof to 240°C and still need a bit of greasing. There is something a bit disturbing about baking in plastic, but we’re willing to give it a go.

(For the first few years of our romance the beau and I gave each other power tools, which we are both use just as often as each other. Now we seem to be giving each other kitchen appliances… which we both use as often as each other. Paul tends to make cookies and muffins, while I favour slices and the occasional cake.)

Along with bakeware came these:

Six blocks of my favourite chocolate. Last year the beau gave me a box of them. A year’s supply. Except I managed to eat it all within six months. It’s just too nice, I’m afraid.

More shopping…

I’d tried Spotlight and Lindcraft with no success, so it was time to call my closest LYS, The Wool Shop in Surrey Hills. They said yes, they had some cream Patonyle. They said they would put it aside on the counter for me. So, you see, there was no avoiding it. That one skein was sitting there, waiting for its owner to claim it. I had to go yarn shopping. Honest. No choice.

Surrey Hills isn’t a long way away, but neither is it close. So of course, to make the trip worthwhile I had to look around the shop. It’s a nice little shop, with a good mix of yarn. Some novelty yarn for those so inclined. Some hanks of hand-dyed stuff hanging from a hat rack for those with huge budgets. Some Jo Sharp. The usual range of Patons/Cleckheaton/Panda yarn. A bit of sock yarn (Patonyle, St. Ives and some self-patterning stuff). And then there was the Naturally yarn.

I seem to remember this NZ company produced a possum mix yarn I used to covet (and then put aside reluctantly once I worked out how much it would cost to make anything out of it).

There was no sign of possum yarn. It was the cashmere yarn that got my attention. It’s called “Me”. (The shop’s sign read “Me! Me! Me!”) Then the angora merino mix jumped into my hands. But then I saw the price and put them both back before I passed out. Then I found the “Merino et Soie”, 70% merino/30% silk. It’s as soft as butter. The shopkeeper saw me fondling it and offered me a discount so I could ‘try it out’.

To turn her down would have been rude, wouldn’t it?

Nothing to blog about? Buy something!

This just arrived:

I needed a flicker for fleece preparation. Ashford Australia was recommended by the spinning teacher. Ashford Australia is where I bought my weaving loom from. I’d been thinking for a while that I’d like to get more reeds in different sizes. So this was the perfect opportunity to ‘kill two birds with one stone’.

Or three birds, since varying the different fibery crafts I’m doing means I’m not making photo-worthy progress on any. It gives me something to blog about. But I suppose I do have something to blog about. Last night I finally got to an interesting bit of the Zhivago top.

This top has been giving me my first pronounced experience of the knitting Black Hole. I think I started the collar over a month ago. No matter how much I knit, it never seemed to grow any longer. When I finally reached the second half, which is knit on larger needles, I gave a whoop of delight because it freed up my 4mm. I could put the collar aside and start on the sleeves.

Wary that I might go from being stuck in a Black Hole to being stuck on Sleeve Island, I decided to knit both sleeves at the same time:

There’s one disadvantage, though. The sleeves are 3/4 length. I dislike 3/4 length sleeves. The pattern calls for 9 balls of Zhivago. I bought 11. I’m hoping that’s enough to make them full length sleeves.

Because if I knit them together and I’m wrong, that’s two sleeves I’ll have to frog and reknit.

I suppose, if that happened, I could always make the collar a little narrower…

What can I take a photo of?

There’s no knitting, weaving or spinning stuff to photograph. What will I snap instead? Hey, look at the rash I’ve got:

All doubts I’m allergic to latex are gone. This is after the ‘hypo-allergenic’ bandaid had been removed for 24 hours. This rash is so darn neat and well defined. I could cut shapes from bandaids and make pictures or words on my body… if I could stand the itching.

Now, to help you get over the shock of seeing my inflamed skin:

My writing supervisor.

Smiling for the camera.