Sunday, December 24, 2006

Season's Greetings

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Have a good one, whichever holiday you celebrate.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Saturday Sky

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Still misty but we have slightly wider horizons today!

The white blobs in the field are sheepies. :-)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Socks, Lizards & Secret Santa

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Pair numero 12 of the year. 200Sox comes to an end for me with this pair. Knit on 2.5mm Brittany Birch dpns with yarn from Fyberspates gifted to me by Terri my SP8 spoiler. Top down with short row heels. I really like these. :-)

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I've started Lizard Ridge from Knitty. I've also ordered a fair whack of the Noro Kureyon yarn I'll need for it too. So I won't be breaking my Knit From Your Stash pledge next year. This first square is colour #52 and is yummy! The pattern is quite simple really but looks impressive.

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Finally, we do a Secret Santa thing at work but our own little twist on it is that we all buy gifts from the Pound Shop and only spend £1.00. Every year sees some really fabulous gifts and some that are absolutely spot on for the recipient. I was extremely lucky this year. The person who drew my name out of the hat is the husband of a fibre artist! For my secret santa gift he went stash diving in his wife's stash and gave me some merino for spinning - how lucky am I? Thanks again Brian.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Thanks SP!

Two posts in one day? Hmmmmm... methinks Spinning Sue is on hols from work!


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Updated fog picture. Its even heavier now than it was this morning. Sounds as though its quite widespread too. Laura in London has a foggy view of the M1 and Silvia can't see the field at the back of her house up north in Yorkshire.

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The postie bought a lovely surprise today - a parcel from my SP9!! Love the card! It's a stripey snowman err... cat with a real stripey cat next to it. Cocoa, sweets and some gorgeous body products. Fantastic wash cloth and two balls of Sugar & Cream! Like most knitters, I always want the stuff I can't get locally and I've read lots on the 'net about this yarn and now I have some. Fab colours too! Thank you SP9 for such a lovely parcel!

Bleak

In the bleak midwinter indeed!

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This is the result of recent mild weather and lots of rain followed by quite a dramatic drop in temperature. Fog. It's not as thick as last night. We even made the regional news last night as a place where visibility would be particularly bad. They said 50 metres but I think it was even less than that.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Ooopsie!

Having felt all virtuous yesterday after deciding to join Wendy's Knit From Your Stash 2007, I now need to make a confession.

No, no, its not the Noro Kureyon/Lizard Ridge clause I snuck into the last post when no-one was looking.

Its all about sock yarn clubs...

I belong to two...

Posh Yarn and Fyberspates.

Oops!

So from January to October, there will indeed be yarn coming into the house. But I won't be paying for it next year. Does that make it okay?

Ah... no... didn't think so...

Oops!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Knittage!

There has been some!

And I'm blogging about it!

Both seem to be rare things lately.

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Fyberspates socks. We now have a sock and a half. These will be finished well before the end of the year and that means I'll have completed the little goal I set myself when I joined 200Sox. I wanted to knit 12 pairs of socks this year. Hurrah!

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I've also completed the back and started the front of Turbulence from Knitting Nature. Not very exciting yet, I'm afraid. I'm always surprised at how quickly knitting grows when I actually put some time and effort into it!

I found out on Friday that my boss is planning to take her full year's worth of maternity leave which means I'll be covering her job for another 6 months. Good news on the bank balance front not so good for the stress levels! The thought of another 6 months at a higher pay rate has prompted me to think about upgrading a few things.

First thing I've started lusting over is one of these. If I stick to my saving plan it could be mine by the end of January...

Which brings me to Wendy's latest idea. Knit From Your Stash 2007. I don't have a huge stash but I do have more than enough yarn (particularly sock yarn) and spinning fibre to keep me going for quite a while. So I think I'll join in but I'm going to adapt Wendy's rules to suit me better.

My rules for Knit from your stash 2007:
1. The Knit-From-Your-Stash-a-Thon will start January 1, 2007 and run through December 31, 2007 -- a period of twelve months.

2. I will not buy any yarn during that period, with the following exceptions:
2.a. Sock yarn does count.
2.b. If someone asks for a specific knitted gift that I really and truly do not have the yarn for, I may buy yarn to knit that gift.
2.c. If I'm knitting something and run out of yarn, I may purchase enough to complete the project. Edited to add: I've just started buying yarn for Lizard Ridge (only 4 balls bought so far) so I WILL be buying more Noro Kureyon for this! Does that make me a cheat before I even start? :-)
2.d. I get one "Get Out of Jail Free" card -- I'm allowed to fall off the wagon one time. I will use this for Woolfest.

3. I'm allowed to receive gifts of yarn but I'm going to cut back on swaps.

4. Spinning fiber is exempt but only if it is for a specific purpose. Weaving yarn is also exempt but, once again, only for a specific purpose.

Now I feel virtuous!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Weaving And A Bit Of Spinning

Snappy and original title that is!

The good news - I don't have a chest infection. Just a virus that has caused inflammation of the tissue and muscle around where the ribs join the breast bone. Its not really painful just uncomfortable. The treatment? Ibuprofen. Not very glamorous is it? Ah well.

Weaving!

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I took my first piece of weaving off the loom a while ago. It is only a sample so it doesn't look like anything. It changed a lot when it was 'wet finished' (or fulled). The cloth tightened up a bit and the weaving looks more even. The overall dimensions shrank a bit which is only to be expected. I used Jamieson's Ultra and it has made a nice drapey fabric.

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Mum requested a woven scarf in cream with a chevron pattern. I said I couldn't do that yet and she said 'you'll figure it out!' Errr... thanks Ma! Well actually she was right and I did. :-) I'm using a point twill threading for the warp and that gives a horizontal zig zag pattern - not really obvious in this picture. The warp is some undyed 4ply merino from Texere and the weft is some undyed blue-faced leicester that I spun. I think its going to be a lovely squishy, warm scarf!

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This is a pic of the blue-faced leicester as it was being spun. Its come out as roughly DK weight yarn with a few thinner and thicker bits. It's weaving up nicely though and the yarn is definitely giving the scarf character!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Note From Mother

I feel like I should be handing in a note from my mother explaining my absence from blogging. :-) Busy at work and not feeling 100% are the only reasons really. I had a cold about six weeks ago that now seems to have developed into a chest infection and, yes, I am going to see the doctor. (Mum's making me go!)

There has been knitting, spinning, weaving and even dyeing going on though I can't show the dyeing because its for my secret pal. I'll spread the posts out a bit to make up for not blogging much lately.

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I've started 'Turbulence' from Knitted Nature. I'm about 2 inches away from starting the arm shaping on the back. I'm using Jaeger Matchmaker Merino in a colour that seems to be either olive, grey or brown depending on the light. I love knitting with this yarn, it is soooo soft.

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I've also started a new pair of socks with the Fyberspates yarn from my SP8. I really like the way this is knitting up. I had started a pair of socks with Lorna's Laces but the first attempt looked too small, second attempt - I cast on the wrong number of stitches, third attempt - there was some seriously bad pooling going on. So the yarn is in time out until I get over my temper tantrum!

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Finally, a knitting extravaganza that isn't any of my work. This is a link to the Flickr album of my photos of the Knitted Garden in its Cardiff incarnation. Lots of people stopped to look and make comments on the absolutely fabulous knitted items on display.

Promise I won't be such a bad blogger again. :-)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Sunday, November 19, 2006

AWOL

Sue can't come to the blog right now because she is in Cardiff with these three reprobates.

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I've lost the ball band for these and can't remember either the brand or the colour no. of the yarn. They were knit top down with a short row heel.

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These are the November yarn and pattern from the Posh Yarn sock club. Knit top down on 2.25mm Brittany Birch dpns and yes I was knitting these when I broke the needle of a few posts back. It was replaced within 4 days, excellent customer service - well done Brittany and Atesano Alpaca, their UK distributor! These socks were Knit For A Purpose. I can't tell you what it is yet but I will as soon as I can! :-P

Sorry about the terrible photos - its that time of year again! Its dark when I leave for work and dark when I get home.

There'll be photos and tales to tell of Cardiff later...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Knit Mitt Kit Swap

Hello my name is Sue and I'm a serial swap-a-holic...

Yes I've joined another one. This time its Scout and Bev's Knit Mitt Kit Swap. (Waving madly to pal who has already been in touch!!)

My answers to...

The Questionnaire:

What are your favorite colors?
Purple, green, blue, black, pink. I’m not into pastels.Are you a new mitt knitter?

How long have you been knitting mittens?
I’ve knit several pairs of mittens and gloves, first pair was knit last year sometime.

Do you prefer solid or multicolored yarn?
Either, it depends on what the pattern calls for.

What fibers do you prefer in mitten yarn?
I prefer natural fibres but a wool/acrylic mix is okay as long as it feels nice.

Where do you usually knit mittens?
They’re a good carry-a-long project so anywhere!

How do you usually carry/store small projects?
I have a lovely small red Lantern Moon bag that I was gifted as part of the Dye-o-rama swap.

What are your favorite mitten patterns?
I don’t have a favourite.

What are your favorite mitten knitting techniques?
I don’t have a favourite.

What new techniques would you like to try?
I haven’t made any norwgian/fair isle mitten patterns yet and would like to have a try at them.

What are your favorite needles for knitting mittens?
Double pointed needles.

What are some of your favorite yarns?
I don’t really have favourite brand name yarns. Fibre-wise I like merino, alpaca, cashmere and silk. Not necessarily all in the same ball of yarn!

What yarn do you totally covet?
Just because they don’t ship here and I’ve heard sooooo much about them – Knit Picks

Any pattern you would love to make if money and time were no object?
Not really.

Favorite kind of needles (brand, materials, straights or circs, etc)?
I prefer wood or bamboo and I use either straights or circs or dpns.

If you were a specific kind of yarn, which brand and kind of yarn would you be?
I’d be hand-spun, hand-dyed merino/silk/alpaca.

Do you have a favorite candy or mail-able snack?
Mmmmmmm chocolate! :-)

What’s your favorite animal?
Dogs, wolves and otters.

Would you prefer super warm mittens or something more like fingerless mitts?
Super warm – I really suffer with cold hands during the winter. Its my thin Aussie blood not coping with the colder-than-I’m-used-to British winters.

If you were a color what color would you be?
Deep sea-green.

What is your most inspiring image, flower, or object in nature?
Forests and trees.

Do you have a wishlist?
Yes on Amazon.co.uk - search on my real name!

Anything else you’d like to share with the group today?
Nope!! :-)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Brrrrrrrrr!

Is cold! Don't believe me?

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This morning's frost.

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Good mitten weather. Thank goodness I've finished these. Sirdar Country Style DK in black knit on 3.5mm bamboo dpns.

I've been off work the last two days with a stonking cold. Its been a good time to sleep or watch DVDs and knit. So that is what I've done. Shame I have to go back tomorrow :-( but I do feel better so I'd better be a good girl.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Come Card With Me

About three weeks ago, I blogged about some Sock Stuff! I bought from Freyalyn. This is her Lime and Cedar colourway. Freyalyn dyes this herself and uses the bits that are left on the commercial machines that produce roving for spinning. The best thing about it is that its 80% merino and 20% nylon.

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Because its the ends off the machines, it needed a bit of processing to be nice to spin. This afternoon has been spent carding and watching 'The Darling Buds of May' which I recently bought on DVD. The fibre now looks like this, a mountain of fluffiness!

I actually got three different colours out of the darker greens and there is some variation in the lime but not enough to bother separating it out.

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The first picture (with flash) shows the varying shades of the dark greens better but makes the lime look nuclear! Its not quite that bright. This second picture shows the lime green more accurately. Hmmmm.... maybe it is nuclear. I've just looked at the photos again and the lime is, well, pretty bright. I can't wait to spin this!

A Good Laugh

This audio clip had me howling with laughter!

Go listen - it will make your day. :-)

Saturday Sky

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

What's With The Weaving... Again!

Okay, last post for the day I promise!

I've been motoring on with the weaving. I've finished the two sections from Lesson 3 of Deborah Chandler's 'Learn to Weave'.

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The first section gets you to weave three inches of plain weave in evenweave, warp faced and weft faced fabrics. My first attempt at evenweave actually became my first attempt at weft faced. Weft faced is where you pack the threads down quite close to each other. First lesson learned - don't beat too hard for evenweave! So in the picture on the left is weft faced at the bottom then evenweave and finally warp faced at the top. You'll notice my evenweave isn't actually all that even! Oh well, it will get better with practice. Plain weave is also called tabby weave and is where the weft thread goes over and under alternate warp threads. (Weft is horizontal, warp vertical)

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The next section is what is called a 2/2 twill. This is where two adjacent warp threads are raised, so the weft goes over two and under two. Clear as mud? Yeah I thought so too. :-) This actually creates diagonal lines in the fabric. Take a look at your jeans, that is a twill fabric. The picture on the left is looking straight down on the loom and the evenweave twill looks just like the plain evenweave. You can see the diagonals on the more tightly beaten section though. The picture on the right is taken on an angle and shows the diagonals better in the evenweave section. I've also woven a looser warp faced bit at the top but as that is hard to photograph, I haven't!

The next instruction in the book is to play! That will have to wait though because I'm tired after my late-ish night and I've got work tomorrow. Sigh!

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I discovered some more of what I'd bought at Ally Pally. I'd forgotten about these! (How could I?) Some Schaffer Anne yarn. The Jamiesons of Shetland Ultra that I'm using for my weaving and some size 3 and size 5 pearl cotton for dyeing and ummm... weaving.

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I got my copy of Yarn Forward yesterday and I like it! So much so that I've started a pattern, the Timeless Cardigan, from it (sans pockets though). I'm using the plum alpaca I got on eBay a while ago and boy is it nice to knit with! I've done a whopping 12 rows so far, so no pics yet.

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A Max pic. Because he's cute!

Squeal!

Any Monkees fans out there? Excuse the bad paraphrasing but this is the song for this morning: "Then I saw my loom and I'm a be-weaver"

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Errr sorry about that... its okay... I've slapped myself and I think the hysterics are over.

Warp Speed Mr Sulu

I ache all over but I've done it. I've warped my loom! First of all I had to measure the warp. Unfortunately I didn't think to take any pics of that, a shame really as it was rather amusing! The table wasn't long enough so I had to use a mop tied to a chair as the third warping peg so I could get the correct length. I think a warping board is a must have.

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Next I had to 'sley the reed'. I was a bit nervous about this bit because I've read terrible things about what a mess you get into if you lose the 'cross' where all your cut ends are and where you pick up the next thread to sley. It was actually quite easy but I was surprised at how long it took. I'd put on the extended version of the Fellowship of the Ring movie to keep me company and it was an hour and 18 minutes in when I finished sleying.

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Next job was to thread the heddles. For this I had to get behind the loom - something I hadn't thought of when I made space for it. So after moving a whole pile of junk I managed to get started. This also took a long time and because I didn't have a lot of room to manoeuver, this is where a lot of the aches came from. Houdini has nothing on me when it comes to being a contortionist! I've already worked out how I need to re-arrange things to make this job easier.

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Then I had to tie the warp to the back beam and wind it on. Finally I had to tie the warp to the front beam and check the tension. I think its okay but only weaving will tell for sure. It took over 8 hours from start to finish but that wasn't all work time! I stopped to have dinner and lots of times to read the next bit of the book and give the aches a bit of a rest. :-) All in all, I enjoyed the process and it wasn't at all tedious like I expected. I suppose when I've done lots more and am champing at the bit to get weaving I'll change my mind. I've read (or maybe heard on Weavecast) that getting the loom ready takes about half the total time it takes to weave something and I think I believe that after today's effort.

Next is the fun bit - I actually get to weave!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Secret Pal 9 Parcel

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I'm amazed - SP9 has only just started and I've received a parcel from my Pal already! It contained an absolutely gorgeous hand knitted scarf, some Burt's Bees raspberry lip balm, a Reese's Fast Break bar and some York mint patties. I love mint patties and these are particularly yummy. How do I know? Well, I've already scoffed one haven't I. Only one mind you, I won't be a total piggy!

Thank you, thank you, thank you SP9! You've really made my day. :-)

BTW, the parcel only took 4 days to make its transatlantic journey - amazing!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Ally Pally Haul

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First up and first purchase of the day was 200gms of Jacob x Suffolk fleece, some black merino tops and two clamps with spikes on. :-) Not a medieval torture device, they are used instead of warping pegs for measuring the warp for my loom. I should have bought three but there were only two on the stand. Looks like I'll be making a phone call to The Handweaver's Studio which is, of course, where this little lot came from.

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These are some wool batts from Piiku. They are such a divine colour. I so wish I'd bought more but by the time I bought these I was beginning to worry about getting all my shopping home! They have the most fantastic range of colours.

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Last of the fibre purchases, alpaca on the left and natural black wensleydale on the right. As you know, I just love spinning wensleydale. The alpaca is such a gorgeous brown. I don't normally do brown but how could I resist this loveliness? These were from The Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop.

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Koigu and Fleece Artist sock yarn from Get Knitted. I know I don't need to tell you how delicious either of these yarns are.

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Silkwood yarn - yummy! I could have bought the whole stand!

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Finally some bits and bobs.

There were other purchases (from Hip Knits and Fyberspates for example) but as they are for various swaps and secret pals you don't get to see them!

I met tons of bloggers on Thursday at Ally Pally and I'll do another post with all the details plus how I got on teaching people how to knit but now I'm mega-tired and need another early night!

I want to say a huge thanks to Purlpower for being my fantastic Hot Socks spoiler. I suspected she was my pal but its nice to be certain! I also want to say thanks for all the comments I've had recently. I've rather fallen behind with replying to them but I really appreciate them! So if you haven't heard back from me, you have now! ;-)

Vicarious enough for you cobber? :-)