Sunday, January 29, 2006

First FO of 2006

Is socks! Surprise, surprise! :-)

Regia 6ply colour #5180 knitted toe-up, magic loop on 3.5mm Addi, short row toes and heels, 40 sts cast on. To make sure they fit, I increased by knitting into the front and back of every stitch after the ribbing and then cast off. Not my usual choice of colour but the yarn was part of my Christmas present from Mum.

Next, I'm going to finish the Sirdar Salsa sweater.

After that, sockapaloooza will have started so I'll need to plan what to make for my pal. When I know who it is!

The Thai restaurant was it's usual exceptional self last night. My friend and I had a lot of catching up to do so the eating was interspersed with lots of talking! For my main course I had monkfish in red curry, my friend had chicken in red curry. We shared the mixed starter and both had the same dessert, I don't know what they call it but it is a creamy, sponge and choc-honeycombe delight! Yum!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

In Training

I've decided what I'll be knitting for the Knitting Olympics. Drops 78-11. The challenges for me are:
  • It's a very busy time at work, I'll be there 7.30am - 5pm (or later) everyday.

  • I've never knitted anything all in one piece before (expect swearing).

  • Only 16 days! eek! (eeeeeeeek!!)
Challenge already faced: the pattern is in English but the lace chart is in Norwegian! Love Google. Love knitters who do translations.

This is my practice swatch of the lace pattern. It's actually my second attempt, I didn't look at the chart on the first attempt and didn't see that its a 4 row pattern (ahem!). It looked pretty good even with the lacy part knitted on every right side row. :-)

The swatch is knitted in the yarn I'll be using. The original pattern calls for 100% cotton although it does give alternatives, one of which is wool. This, however, is 100% acrylic. BUT! Before I get run out of town, it is very soft and feels wonderful. I've heard good things about the James C Brett acrylics on UK Handknitters and this yarn is living proof that the reputation is deserved. The colour! What can I say? The most gorgeous kingfisher blue I've ever seen. Sadly, it doesn't show all it's glory in a photo.

Another lovely sunrise this morning.


I'm off to my favourite Thai restaurant tonight. Yum!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Oops!

I forgot! I've also signed up for sockapaloooza. Yeah, yeah I know - I've become a serial joiner...

What Have I Done?

I must be out of my tiny mind.





Go team!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Sky And Mist

We've had a very foggy day. Milder daytime temperatures ended in a cold night last night and a cold day today gave us thick fog. It's cleared quite a bit now and the sunset blushed the sky with delicate pinks which of course deepened after I took my picture!

This is for Sandy who loves her sky!

Unexpected

A couple of weeks ago Mum and I did a swap. I gave her some yarn I bought on impulse and won't use and she gave me this:

A steamer that she has only used once or twice and generally only sits collecting dust in the kitchen.

I used it to produce this. It is 50gms of Blue Faced Leicester that I bought quite a while ago from P&M Woolcraft. I wasn't too bothered if it didn't turn out because I was just playing with the steamer to see how it would work. Needless to say, I went a bit wild and crazy with the dye! I only used three colours - red, blue and yellow - and you can see the variation I got. The colours are really intense, bright jewel tones.

I split the tops and pre-drafted them ready for spinning.

And this is how they turned out!

I was half expecting a dull, murky brown but I got the most gorgeous, muted jewel tones.

This is why I love spinning and dyeing, it is such a creative process and manages to constantly surprise me! What this yarn becomes will depend on how much yardage I get. I'm pretty sure I will leave it as singles rather than plying but I might test ply a bit to see what it looks like.

Update on the angora. As you might have guessed - I washed it all! It is drying on a towel on my airer and looks like something a grey cat the size of Gibralter might have coughed up! It was very clean, the water only turned very slightly brown. I think I'm going to spin it before I decide whether to dye it and what to make with it. It's soooooo soft!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

100!

I didn't forget! My blog is 100 posts old. I was going to celebrate with a pic of Max seeing as its been far too long since he graced a post but he's out and...

Angora!

Approximately 8.5 ozs (240 gms) for a fiver. I think that is a bargain! I got it from one of my favourite little craft shops. A real Aladdin's cave - she stocks such a hodge podge of stuff that you never know what you might find. I found this! :-)

It's not processed in any way so I'm about to give a handful a bath and see how it shapes up. It is so incredibly soft and not at all smelly and I was expecting smelly! This will quite possibly become a pair of mittens although it could be something quite different when I see how it spins up. Exciting!

I also bought some more sock yarn and knitting supplies. I was (honest!) going out to look for something for my SP7 recipient but... well... I kinda got a bit me, me, me-ish. Oops! The Regia 4ply is colour #5217. The little bracelet kit was such a bargain. I bought two of these kits several years ago and they cost about £4.50 each. This one was £1.50 and is shades of green. Lovely!

This has found its way to its new home in the USA. Melissa was the recipient of my ISE2 scarf and she likes it - hurrah! I was quite worried about knitting for someone I didn't know!

It's a crap photo but there was no sun around the time I had to take the pic and I couldn't wait for it to appear! Its the Irish Hiking scarf knitted in Jaegar Matchmaker Merino colour #655 burgundy. This is such lovely wool to knit with! Worth every penny and I will definitely be using it again.

Okay that's it. I'm off to wash bunny fluff! :-D

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Seven Times Seven Meme

Ruth has tagged me for this meme and I've saved it till today so I can pretend I have an interesting mid-week post. Sad I know! :-P

Seven times Seven meme


Seven things to do before I die:-

- visit Canada
- visit Machu Picchu (sp?)

- learn Italian
- swim with dolphins
- get my finances in order – must learn to budget…
- go back to Australia to live
- learn to sing

Seven things I cannot do:-

- drive (other than people up the wall :-))
- like my Mum’s partner (it ain’t gonna happen in this lifetime)
- be bothered with politics
- tolerate racism
- keep my temper (must work on that one)
- not be a sarcastic, facetious bitch (oops must work on that too)
- paint or draw

Seven things that attract me to blogging:-

- inspiration
- humour
- sense of belonging to a community
- the pictures
- the projects
- the people!
- even if no-one visited my blog I would still keep it because its an ideal place to keep track of what I’m up to. I like the visitors and comments though! Keep them coming!

Seven things I say most often:-

- it’s crap (most recently used in conjunction with my office refurbishment)
- cool
- oh, I’ve never heard that before (when someone says ‘g’day mate’… again… big cliché guys!)
- b*ll*cks (not something an Aussie would generally say. So shoot me, I’ve been corrupted!)
- Get down Max! (although border collies aren’t huge they aren’t lap dogs either)
- please
- thanks

Eleventyonebillion books that I love:-

- The Silmarillion, The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkein
- The Harry Potter books – JK Rowling
- The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series – Douglas Adams
- The Brother Cadfael books – Ellis Peters
- The Dragon Rider series – Anne McCaffrey
- The Darkover series – Marion Zimmer Bradley
- His Dark Materials series – Philip Pullman
- The Dark is Rising series – Susan Cooper
- The Weirdstone of Brisingamen – Alan Garner
(Must. Stop. Now. I realise most of these are series and I’m cheating but hey! do you get the impression I like books?)

Seven movies I watch over and over again:-

- The Lord of the Rings (all three extended versions what can I say?)
- The Harry Potter movies
- Willow
- The original three Star Wars movies
- Calamity Jane and any of the old musicals
- Chicago
- The Dark Crystal (I do a good Skeksis impression!)

Seven people I want to join in too (but only if they want to!):-

- Dixie
- Lynne
- Katie
- Meg
- Wendcat
- Secret Pal (when they can reveal themselves of course!)
- anyone else who feels like it!

I've just noticed that my last 6 (I think) post titles all start with the letter 's'. And... this is my 99th post - wanna bet I forget the next one is the 100th?

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Sock And Sweater

Promised sock pic.

This is knitted in Regia 6ply colour #5180 on 3.5mm Addi circ using magic loop. Its knitted toe-up with short row heels and toes, total number of stitches = 40. It looks really small but fits like a dream. Once again there is no real pattern, I'm just winging it. I was a bit worried about the cast off being too tight so after the ribbing I knitted into the front and back of each stitch and then cast off. Its given it quite a frilly look in this pic but when I wear it, it looks more like a chevron. This is not a colour I would have chosen for myself because its quite subdued shades of browns and greys and I like brighter colours and not brown. Mum gave it to me for Christmas though and, you know, I rather like it now its knitted up! Just goes to show Mother does know best... just don't tell her!

I also stayed up till nearly midnight last night (just spelt 'night' with a 'k'!) to finish this:

The front of the Sirdar Salsa sweater. The pattern is wrong when you get to the v-neck decreases but easily fixed. The front also turned out longer than the back so I unpicked the cast off on the back and knitted a few extra rows. I know I'm using different yarn to that specified but I don't think that is the problem in this case! Good one 'Simply Knitting', keep up the good work!

The first sleeve is started. The colour is quite good in this pic but the blue doesn't quite stand out that much. Who knows, I might even be wearing this when I go to my favourite Thai restaurant on the 28th January!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Sirdar Salsa Sweater

Try saying that fast 20 times! :-)

This is the progress pic of my sweater I have been promising. The light is still crap so this colour is wrong, wrong, wrong! It is really black with hints of blue and purple. I wouldn't be upset if it was this colour though because I quite like it! A better representation of the colour is here.

As you can see, I've completed the back and started the front. I'm only knitting this on the weekends because its a bit easier on my old eyes in daylight! I like this yarn (Sirdar Salsa DK) and will probably use it again. I think there is quite a limited colour range (my LYS only has 6) though so it would depend on me liking the other colours. Its 50% merino/50% acrylic - proof that I'm not a complete yarn snob!

Sock pics tomorrow.

Friday, January 13, 2006

200Sox

The Purling Ps have renamed 2006 - it is now 200Sox. You know my addiction. You know I joined up!



I've finished my first sock - not the pair yet! (**edited to add: that is, the first sock of the year not the first one ever. Who taught me to write?**) I'll post a pic tomorrow when (hopefully!) we'll see some light. Any light would be good, it was so grey and murky again today.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Such Excitement!

I'm such a big kid but I'm sooooo excited! My SP7 pal has contacted me!

Ahem! Back to a more mature manner...

I've contacted the person I'm spoiling. :-)

I'll also be posting my ISE pal's scarf this week too. I don't want to take it to work with me tomorrow as I'll probably be moving back into my newly refurbished office and I don't want it to get messed up. I've remembered to take a pic and it will appear on the blog when I know my pal's received it.

Back to excited kid mode... :-P

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Fascinating Pictures

This link, Shetland Museum Photographic Archive, came up on an email list I'm on (Traditional Knitting). There are some absolutely fascinating pictures of fibre crafts in the Shetland Islands - go look you won't regret it!

A Bit Sheepish

Not a lot blogworthy going on here this week.

I don't think I mentioned that I'd signed up for Secret Pal 7. I've enjoyed reading about peoples' SP experiences and finally decided to take the plunge. I posted my questionnaire earlier today. It took me ages to answer the questions and even longer to edit them to correct all the typos! And there I was thinking I was quite a good typist!

No knitting pics today because I'm knitting a plain stocking stitch sweater in a mainly black colour that, in the grey, murky light we're having, just doesn't photograph well.

I do have a pic of these little critters who moved into the field behind my house last weekend. Think I'm going to have to go on a 'hedge crawl' in a couple of weeks to collect any wool that might have attached itself. These sheep are in this field every year but this year they are very interesting because of my spinning addiction! :-) Apologies for the blurriness but I had my camera at full zoom and no flash and there was a bit of camera shake.

Secret Pal 7 Questionnaire

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand?

Not a snob really. I prefer natural fibres but I will use acrylic or acrylic/natural fibre blends if I like the way they feel. They've got to be soft! I don't like the novelty yarns like fun fur.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?

I spin on a drop spindle and drool over spinning wheels - there is one in my future this year even if I have to rob a bank! I can crochet but I don't like doing it.

3. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

A crystal vase. (Sounds a bit posh!)

4. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I've been knitting since I was a kid and I would say I was intermediate/advanced. So far I've been able to do everything I've tried.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

Yes on Amazon.co.uk and I've just created one on Amazon.com - that was a load of fun!

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)

This is a tough one! I'm not allergic to anything but I do have a sensitivity to some fragrances and they give me huge headaches! I think scents like lavender, citrus, and more woody ones are best. The florals are the worse ones for me and I'm very fussy about vanilla - some vanillas make me nauseous.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

Chocolate!

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?

Its all fibre-related at the moment. I love spinning and dyeing and I'm planning to do some felt making in the very near future. I also make candles and soap quite regularly.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

I can play MP3s. I'm mainly a rock chick. I like Nickleback, Jet, U2, Bon Jovi, The Calling, The Stereophonics, Live, Noiseworks, INXS and lots of Aussie bands no-one has ever heard of. I also like opera and medieval music - nuts I know! I also like listening to audio-books and dramatisations - mainly sci-fi and fantasy.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?

Main favourites at the moment are black, purples and greens. I like quite a lot of colours but I don't like red or brown. I'm a coppery redhead with greenish-bluey eyes but I like me better in greens, blues, purples rather than the autumn colours everyone else thinks I should wear.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

Single, no kids, live with my Mum. We have a mad Border Collie called Max.

12. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

Yes to all except ponchos, I'm a poncho-free zone and planning to stay that way.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?

I don't have a favourite.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

I hesitate to call it fibre :-) but I really don't like the crunchy, squeaky, really fake feeling acrylics.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?

Anything small like socks, mittens, gloves, hats.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

At the moment probably socks.

17. What are you knitting right now?

The Ruffles scarf from Scarf Style, the sweater from the cover of the Jan 2006 Simply Knitting (UK) in Sirdar Salsa DK, and, of course, a pair of socks in Regia 6ply.

18. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

Yes, oh yes!

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?

Either

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

Bamboo, wood or metal - I'm not keen on plastic needles but if they are all I've got I'll use them.

21. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

I've got a ball winder and a niddy noddy but not a swift. I'd like a swift!

22. How did you learn to knit?

Mum taught me the basics when I was a kid and I'm self-taught since then.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?

I don't have any! The Ruffles scarf has been on the needles longest because I only do a few rows at a time and that was started only about 3 months ago.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?

I'm not really into animated characters but I love dogs, wolves and otters. I like watching birds in the garden and put food out to attract them.

25. What is your favorite holiday?

Once again I don't really have one but if pushed I would say Christmas. If we're talking vacation destinations then its Australia because I lived there for over 25 years and have family and lots of friends there.

26. Is there anything that you collect?

I have a small collection of teddy bears.

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

None but I am thinking about subscribing to some of the Interweave magazines, particularly Interweave Knits and Spin-Off but I want to see an issue first and haven't got around to getting one yet.

28. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on?

I'd like to try some of the US yarns that we can't get easily here in the UK, like some Knit Picks sock yarn as I've heard good things about it and they won't ship here. Any dye-your-own yarns would be fantastic too. I'd really like a copy of the Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook it never seems to be available on Amazon over here. I'd also like to try one of the Fibretrends lace shawl patterns, particularly the Seascape Shawl. Goodness I sound so greedy!

29. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

Ummmmm..... 2 socks on 2 circs?

30. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

Yes! Foot length: toe to heel: 9.5 inches, toe to ankle: 7.5 inches. Foot circumference: 8.5 inches. Ankle circumference: 8.5 inches. I wear a UK size 6. **Edited to add: since my pal (Hiya, hiya hiya!!) asked that is equivalent to about a US size 7.5 - I think! I had to look it up online.**

31. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)

June 14

Monday, January 02, 2006

Back To The Coalface

My two weeks holiday is over. :-(

I've had a productive two weeks though! I finished my ISE pal's scarf and Mum's Broadstreet mittens. I knitted two pairs of socks, a pair of mittens and a hat. I completed the back of the sweater in Sirdar Salsa (pics soon!).

What I didn't get around to was any spinning, dyeing, soap or candlemaking. Oh well!

So from tomorrow its back to a bit of knitting in the evenings and probably once a week blogging. I'd like to be better at blogging during the week but I doubt I'll be organised enough to do it.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Shopping Links

UK
  • Abakhan

  • Bluefaced

  • Crafty Notions

  • Cucumberpatch

  • Dragon Yarns

  • DT Craft & Design

  • Dianne's Knitting Yarns

  • Ecoknits

  • English Yarns

  • First4Yarns

  • Fyberspates

  • Get Knitted

  • Heirloom Knitting

  • Hilltop

  • I Knit London

  • Jamieson & Smith Shetland Wool Yarn Brokers

  • Jamiesons Of Shetland

  • Kangaroo UK

  • Kemps Wool Shop

  • Kemtex Acid Dyes

  • Knit 'n' Caboodle

  • Knit Well

  • Laughing Hens

  • Loop

  • MCA Direct

  • New Lanark

  • p2tog

  • Pavi Yarns

  • P & M Woolcraft

  • Posh Yarn

  • Purlescence

  • RKM Wools

  • Simply Wool

  • Scandinavian Knitting

  • Skein Queen

  • Spindlers2

  • Stash Fine Yarns

  • Texere

  • The Black Sheep

  • The Little Knitting Company

  • The Yarn Yard

  • Twist Fibre Craft Studio

  • Undy Yarns

  • Violet Green Wool Shop

  • Virtual Yarns

  • Wingham Woolwork

  • World Of Wool


  • US
  • Crown Mountain Farms

  • Discount Yarn Sale

  • Kaleidoscope Yarns

  • Little Knits

  • Paradise Fibers

  • Simply Socks Yarn Company

  • Spunky Eclectic

  • The Loopy Ewe

  • The Wool Peddler


  • Canada
  • Elann


  • Australia
  • Crossways Wool & Fabrics

  • The Knitting Loft

  • Needlenook

  • Tapestry Craft

  • Wool Baa

  • The Wool Shack

  • Yarns Online


  • Europe
  • Martinas Bastel- und Hobbykiste

  • Wollfactory
  • Weaving Links

  • Handweaving.net

  • Inkle Weaving

  • Inkle Weaving.com

  • On-Line Digital Archive of Documents on Weaving and Related Topics

  • The Loom Exchange

  • Weavezine
  • Spinning Links

  • Ashford

  • Spindizzy

  • Spindlicity

  • Spun

  • The Dropped Spindle Forum

  • The Joy of Handspinning

  • Yarn Museum

  • Spindle & Wheel
  • Knitting Links

  • Finnish purling video

  • Garnstudio patterns

  • Judy's Magic Cast On (video)

  • Knitter's Review Forum

  • Knitty

  • Knitty Coffeshop

  • The Anticraft

  • Twisted German Cast On (Pics by Sandeleh)

  • Victorian Lace Today Errata (pdf)

  • Knotions

  • Twist Collective

  • Latvian Twist Cuff

  • Patternfish

  • Popknits

  • Simple Knits - Triangular Shawls Pattern List

  • The Inside Loop
  • Happy New Year!