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? :-)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Loom

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Here it is. The loom. How excited am I? So excited that I lost the screws used to attach the beater to the loom but the drama is over. I found them. I won't tell you the names I called myself - I even made me blush! :-)

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As you can see, the string on one of the levers has snapped. I'm going to temporarily repair it with dishcloth cotton (handy stuff!) and when I get paid again I'll get some Texsolv cord to repair it properly. I want to replace the string heddles with Texsolv ones too but that can wait. I bought some warping pegs at Ally Pally so once I order some shuttles I'll be set to go.

I'll reveal the Ally Pally purchases tomorrow. I'm feeling a bit blurgh today so I'm going to bed early with a good book for company!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Friday, October 13, 2006

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Oooooh! Lookie here - my parcel has arrived from my Hot Socks pal! The yarn is from Piece of Beauty Yarn Store. I've not come across this seller before but let me tell you the yarn is delish! Its a really squashy, sproingy 100% merino superwash. My colourway is called 'Doll Doll' and is sold out - nyah nyah! I also received some Green & Black chocolate, clotted cream fudge and some coffee (that I just keep sniffing. I lurve the smell of 'real' coffee beans).

Thanks very very much HS pal!

I can't tell you for certain who my pal was because they are still being very secretive! (no, I'm thick I tell ya, the CD didn't give it away... but I have an idea... definitely Geordie accents in the area... so come on now... out yourself!)

There are tales to come of loom wrestling, extravagant spending at Ally Pally and the real pleasure of teaching someone to knit and seeing their face light up when they realise they 'just got it'! :-)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

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But I won't have time to set it up until Friday. I've unpacked it and it looks like I won't have too much trouble putting it together. Its in really good condition but there are several bits that I don't know what they're for. Hmmmm. I'll need to get some shuttles and a warping board but other than yarn I think its good to go.

I'm at Ally Pally tomorrow. If you see me say hi! I'm volunteering for Knit & Relax in the afternoon. I'll be the one buried under the shopping! :-)

Monday, October 09, 2006

A Monday Post - Gasp!

Its a rare and marvellous thing... I'm posting on a Monday!

The reason?

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Hand carders! Most amazing is that I can do it! I can card wool. My technique sucks but will improve with practice and I plan to get plenty of practice. :-) I've put off buying a fleece because I didn't have any carders but now there's nothing to hold me back.

I bought these off Ebay (yup, yet another reason why I said I'd been bad) and they've arrived from The Netherlands in just over a week.

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Really exciting news now - I got a post card from my Hot Socks pal! Thanks very much HS pal, that was very thoughtful and made my day. :-)

I did a bit of shopping for both my Hot Socks and SP9 pals today. I don't know who my SP9 spoilee is yet but I thought I'd get a few fairly generic things for starters. If I find out that my pal doesn't like that sort of stuff, well, I can always keep it for me. hehehehehe

Now, what can I card next...

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Socktoberfest

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I've finished a pair of socks for Socktoberfest. Of course, I started these on the 19th September but they qualify because I worked on them this month. :-) I no longer hate the colour but we all knew that wasn't going to last!

Vital statistics: Trekking XXL colour #100, 2.5mm dpns, 60 stitches cast on, top down, flap & gusset heel. (Ooooooh! I just noticed that Lolly herself has left a comment on my Flickr pic of these socks!)

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Of course, pair of socks off the needles means new pair of socks on the needles! These will be my next commuter project. I'll be spending about 6 hours on trains on Thursday going to Ally Pally so I should have a bit of progress to show by the end of the week! These are being knit from 'Schoeller & Stahl Fortissma Socka Cotton Color' colour #6537. Once again, I'm not sure of the colour. I loved it in the ball, it looked mainly muted olive green and purple, but so far its more dark grey than anything else when knitted up. I will, however, reserve judgement after the Trekking socks episode. :-)

Finally, a few purchases.

061008-4Some gorgeous plum alpaca DK I bought from Ebay. I've been a very bad girl on Ebay lately and must not buy anything else! There are 500gms on the cone so enough for a sweater or cardigan. I'm not sure what pattern I'll knit yet and I may even weave with it as its a 2 ply yarn.

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Freyalyn has some fibre for spinning on Ebay (see, told you I'd been bad!) at the moment which is 80% superwash wool 20% nylon - yup, sock yarn! I got some black/grey mix (the flash has emphasized the grey - its not really that bright) and her lime and cedar colourway which is a really nice mix of lime green, blue and bluey-green. I'm going to spin these as part of Twisted Knitters. I will be dying my own fibre too but when I saw this wool/nylon blend I just had to try it.

Right! I'm off to watch Season 6 of Red Dwarf and knit socks in between snorts of laughter. :-)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Friday, October 06, 2006

Socktoberfest Questions

Here are my answers to Lolly's Socktoberfest questionnaire.

When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?
I started making socks last year, April I think. I taught myself.

What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time?
My first pair were Opal Magic colour #1035. They are still going strong and I usually wear them once a week.

What would you have done differently?
They were too big so I ripped them out after a while and re-knit them

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?
I don't think I've met a sock yarn yet that I haven't adored!

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?
I've knit them using dpns and magic loop. I want to try 2 circs one day.

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)
I knit both flap and short row heels. I've also used an afterthought heel which I really like when I want the stripes to be consistent with self-striping yarns.

How many pairs have you made?
Errrr... 17! Who knew? They haven't all been for me. I'm about half a foot away from completing another pair.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

SP9 Questionnaire

1. What is/are your favourite yarn/s to knit with? What fibres do you absolutely *not* like?
I like natural fibres and I prefer wool, silk, alpaca etc to cotton. I have been known to knit with acrylic and will again if the project calls for it! I really can’t stand crispy, crinkly, squeaky acrylic.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
A selection of glass vases.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I was taught the basics as a kid by my mother although I'm mostly self-taught. I would say intermediate/advanced

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Yep at Amazon.co.uk (search on my real name!)

5. What's your favourite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.)
I like herbal/floral natural aromatherapy scents like lavender, patchouli, citrus (I love lime!). I don’t like rose and a lot of commercial perfumes and scents give me headaches.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favourite candy?
Oh yes! I’m a chocoholic.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I spin, dye and weave. I’ve done a lot of crafts over the years but have lost interest in most of them these days. Its all about fibre all of the time!

8. 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 and I’m a rock chick – give me Bon Jovi, Nickelback or U2 any day!

9. What's your favourite colour(s)? Any colours you just can't stand?
I’m not really keen on red, brown or pastels. Favourites are purple, green, blue.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I’m single and live with my Mum and our border collie, Maxi.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Scarves, hats and mittens – yes. No ponchos!

12. What is/are your favourite item/s to knit?
Small things like socks, hats, mittens, gloves etc.

13. What are you knitting right now?
Socks, mittens, Branching Out from Knitty

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Oh yes! Please!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminium, plastic?
Straight or circs and prefer bamboo/wood. I like Addis too.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
I have a swift, niddy noddy and ball winder

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
I recently had a major rip out session and don't really have any UFOs. Branching Out has been longest on the needles at about 2 months-ish?

18. What is your favourite holiday?
I don’t really have a favourite but I love winter.

19. Is there anything that you collect?
I have a small collection of teddy bears and a growing collection of fibre related books.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I don’t subscribe to any magazines but I’ve recently fallen in love with Interweave Knits and Spin Off. I’d like to see what Knit Picks products are like as they won’t ship here, otherwise I’m not really fussy!

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I still haven’t learnt 2 socks on 2 circs!

22. 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: 8.6 incehes. I wear a UK size 6, which is equivalent to a US size 7.5 - I think!

23. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
14th June

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Hot Socks

The action has begun in the Hot Socks swap on Swapbot. Its been organised by Laura who has said its up to us whether we remain secret or not. My pal's asked me if I want to know who they are and although I've asked my pal the very same question, I can't decide! I think that means I want the secret kept. What do you think?

Its a bit like Christmas really, will I ruin the surprise if I snoop? :-) (I'm afraid I have to admit to being a midnight paper ripper. Boy did I get in trouble!)

I'm waiting till Ally Pally to get my pal's yarn and if I don't see anything there (yeah right!) I think a trip to Posh Yarns might be in order. :-)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

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Clapotis is finished! I'm not sure I'd want to knit another and I'm still disappointed with the colours but it is going to be nice and warm during the winter! It was knit on 5mm needles with Rowan Tapestry in colour #174. Its having a bath at the moment but I'm not really going to block it just spread it out a bit.

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I've also finished the first Trekking XXL sock and started the second. Knowing the reputation Trekking has for not really repeating, I've made no effort to even try to match them. Everyone I've shown them too loves the colourway and I have to say, its grown on me too. I don't hate it anymore and by the time I finish the second one I'll probably be in love!

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I've also started my mittens for the Warm Hands KAL. I'm using the vintage Jaeger Faery Spun I got off Ebay ages ago and 2.25mm Brittany Birch dpns. The pattern is from Knitting Marvellous Mittens by Charlene Schurch. The blue-green I dyed myself and the grey is the original colour of the yarn. This is the first time I've done corrugated ribbing but not the first time I've done stranded fair isle type knitting.

Sorry about the dark pictures but it has been very dark and rainy here today. Its a lot cooler too which is rather nice!