Thursday, 27 January 2011

Oodles of spindles

I'll start with a quick kitty update, because they really have been my main focus since yesterday and any crafty activities have been slotted around them.  They need sympathy at the moment so if one of them climbs into my lap then my project gets put down right away.  Izzy is not a happy cat at all, she did a monumental upchuck just after she got home and again in the night and she just looks a bit sad.  We are hoping she'll perk up soon but we're keeping an eye on her.  Billie is like a new cat though, she's been my little shadow and is behaving herself beautifully, long may it continue!

Anyway, cats aside I've managed to get a little spinning done, mainly to try out my two new spindles.  Here's my little collection in a rather lovely painted jam jar that my friend Marion made me about 13 years ago.
The front two are the new ones, the one on the left was sold on eBay by someone who'd got it as part of a kit but hadn't taken to spinning and the second one was from this seller who makes them.  I tried to take a nice close up of this but it hasn't worked too well.  You can just make out the notch at the bottom which allows you to turn the whole thing over and use it as a bottom whorl instead.  I like it a lot, it has nice little details and it came with a small amount of fibre which meant I could check out how it spins without starting on any of my fibre.
 And, just quickly, because I mentioned it once and never took a picture, here is my plain boring sock I started at Christmas using yarn I dyed with Kool-Aid waaay back.  I've kind of ground to a halt because of other projects but here it is.

You what!

Last night's wedding venue appointment has been postponed until Saturday, but the lady was very apologetic and let us know all the dates that were free.  So instead of going there or spending the evening knitting or spinning we high tailed it round to my parents and had a big old wedding pow wow  Between us we have decided that our favourite date was June 3rd, so providing the venue looks good I shall be getting married in just over 4 months - eek!

However, for today I cannot be thinking about all that at all.  We finally shipped the kittens off to the vet to be neutered today, we'd left it longer than we intended and being a boy and a girl we didn't want to risk any incidents.  A few days ago we spotted Billy clambering on Izzy's back and making a very inept job of humping her so the phone call to the vet was made with haste.  Stu took them in this morning and a short while later I get a text saying that Billy is a girl!  I am still in shock, Billie (as she henceforth shall be known) can't be a girl!  The vet said they understood how it happened, she is very big and is a total bruiser and you know...the humping.  So I've been out today and bought them some slightly less gender specific collars, all the while cursing the stooopid woman we got them from.

So for tonight I will hopefully be getting some actual knitting and spinning done while I help my kitty get in touch with her feminine side.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Bridezilla awakes

I had a post planned for today, all about the spinning I've been doing and the new knitting book I got as a replacement for a duplicate Christmas present.However, I'm feeling far too distracted for this so I'm just going to write a quick post about what's on my mind. 


I could stop there, because that is basically what's going on in my brain.  When we got engaged in June we both knew that we wanted to get married as soon as possible but we are just now really starting to organise it.  Tonight we are off to see a lady about the reception and we may even have a date by the end of the day and all of a sudden I'm writing lists of things to organise, things to think about, trying to think of things I've not yet thought of but may need to think about thinking about...and so on.  I'm aware that I'm being a weeny bit crazy and hope this is not a sign of things to come.  With any luck I'll be feeling a bit more lucid and grounded tomorrow if things are a little more concrete.  Til then!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Yarn - I made it, I did.

My first yarn
A couple of weeks work and I have finally completed my first spindle full of yarn, hurrah and a big pat on the back for myself.  Quite frankly I was beginning to be a little sick of the sight of bottle green so I pulled out all of the stops to finish it off.  The plan is now to spin up and equal amount of a lighter shade of green and then ply them together and achieve a hitherto unimagined greeny effect.  Sounds unpleasant?  I am fully prepared for just that outcome.  But first this yarn needed to come off the spindle.  I've spent a lot of time reading up on what to do next, many different people have many different preferences and I decided my best bet was to wind it all off on to my ball winder.
 Voila.  The obvious problem with this is that all of the really ropey yarn that I was making before the process became more natural is now on the outside of the ball with my slightly more consistent stuff lurking unseen inside somewhere.  Would rewinding the ball to hide the dodgy bits be too conceited do you think?  Or actually a good idea so that I have a good representation of the thickness of yarn I am going for on the second single?  All of that aside I would like to introduce my new spindle which I made last night.
The ones I made the other day have sadly been put aside because we couldn't get a hook in without splitting the chopsticks.  I've kept the whorls in case they fit on some replacement chopsticks, but for the moment I will have to make do with this one made from a dowel and a fimo whorl.  It's not terribly professional looking and is probably not very well balanced, but it seems to spin and I look forward to taking it for a spin (arf!) later.  I've got two more similar lengths of dowels to use, so hopefully this spindle will have a couple more friends before the weekend is out.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Ooooh, is that for me?

5 minutes before I left for work yesterday (and about 5 minutes after I should have left for work yesterday) a knock on the door signalled the arrival of the postman with 5 parcels.  I only had time to establish that 2 of them were for me, 1 from Texere and the other from Fabric Rehab, before I scurried out of the door.  Unsurprisingly I spent most of my working day willing it to be 5 o'clock so I could get home and get into the contents of those parcels.  So the second thing I did after closing the front door ( the first was feeding the cats who were apparently STARVING judging by the volume of the miaowing) was dive straight in.
Look, a big pile of colourful potential! I love that all of these were speculative purchases - I have no firm plans for any of it so I'm looking forward to a good few hours of looking at patterns and colour combinations and dreaming of all the possibilities.
These are 2 very different sets of mixed merino top from Texere.  Looking at these I am very clearly a person of light and shade.  I love splashes of bright colour, but I do enjoy darker colours especially blacks and greys.  I guess this is what stops me looking like a clown on a daily basis.  Anyway, I think this little selection satisfies any colour whim I might have for a while.
All of the fabric I purchased from Fabric rehab, however, is a touch on the less subtle side.  Plain colours and simple patterns are relatively easy to find so I was looking for something a bit different.  There are certainly some unusual prints here that will be perfect for bags and as accents on garments.  I'm sure you'll agree that I have plenty to keep me busy here and hopefully plenty of news for my next post!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Knitty Winter 2011

I was having a little browse about on Ravelry yesterday and spotted a few threads on the forums which suggested that the new Knitty was up.  Luckily, I think I was a little late to the party, which meant that I had no trouble accessing it.  As usual I head to the website half hoping that everything on there is completely fugly so I don't end up adding anything else to my queue of things to knit now.  It sure is nice to have loads of choice, but every time I find a new pattern which I love love love another pattern ends up lying fallow for another few months.  I really should learn not to look, but look I did and thankfully there is nothing there that is screaming out to be knit right now.  Most of the patterns are not really for me, but I have faved a few on Ravelry with the vague intention that I might knit them one day.  Jacqueline is a bit of a long shot, bulky cardigans are not something I often knit, but maybe one day I might feel the need.  Shetlander I actually really like, but I'm still; feeling quite intrepid about colourwork so these will have to wait until I'm feeling brave.  Maeva I also really like, there's loads of socks in my queue and I tend to choose a yarn and then match it to a pattern so maybe these will get lucky soon, or maybe they won't.  Finally is Quest, which I think I really like but I'm not entirely sure.  I think I'll wait until there are a few more completed projects on Ravelry before I make up my mind.  So that's it, another 4 patterns in my favourites, but none of them are really threatening to leap to the top of the queue.  Thank heavens!

Monday, 17 January 2011

Spin, spin, spin

All advice I've read about learning to spin mentions spinning a bit every single day, so I have been.  I must say that this seems to be doing the trick and I really feel like I'm starting to get there.  The photo above probably doesn't look all that impressive, but I'm really rather proud of myself.  I was expecting my first yarn to come out really thick and thin, but this is mostly thin and a bit thinner.  It is by no means consistent yet but it is not as wildly varied as I thought it would be.  The plan for this is to spin until the bottle green runs out and then spin another strand out of a lighter green and then ply the two together and see what I end up with.

I've ordered a load more top in various different colours, as well as some to dye myself and hopefully if will arrive soon so that I can take some pictures.  Now obviously if I have all this tempting fibre on the way I'm going to need more spindles.  Much as I wish that I could be the type of person who is 'project monogamous' I'm just not, so I've been busy crafting my own spindles.
They don't have hooks in yet so I have no idea how they spin, but they are only made from chopsticks and fimo so it won't break my heart if they turn out to be sucky.  I've also got a length of dowel to use so I can make some that are a bit meatier than these dainty little things.

Believe it or not I have actually also found some time for knitting.  The back of Stu's cardigan is done and I'm about 1/4 of the way up the right front..  I'd love to take a picture but every time I try there is magically a cat in the way.  Maybe I'll try again when they are eating or chasing the laser pointer or something.  So in lieu of a cardi pic here's a pic of the chief photo bomber herself.
Izzy cat

Thursday, 13 January 2011


I've finally got myself into gear with the photos of my Christmas knitting and I guess this would be a good time to talk about all of the knitting goodies I got for Christmas too.

In the end I finished 5 projects before Christmas and they all went in the Christmas box until I decided on a recipient.  Only 3 items ended up being given away as it turned out I'd been rather efficient buying presents.  I could have given a couple of people something extra but I decided against it a) because it is so easy to forget the value of handmade items and give them away as a 'little extra' when they represent a huge undertaking and b) because I had rather taken a shine to the cowl I made and rather liked the idea of keeping it!  Last seen modelled on the cat, you can see why I wanted it can't you?
I did however give Rob, my pub landlord this hat
Subtle twist hat (rav link) in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes

This scarf of my own design went to Emily, my sister in law to be

It's also made from yarn I dyed so I'm really quite proud of it.  I'll be putting up a pattern for it as soon as I manage to find where I wrote down how many stitches there were before I started decreasing after the point!

Also an improvised pattern in a hand dyed yarn, this went to my auntie.
As well as all that I finished my 22.5 degrees shawl/scarf I've been working on for a while, pics will have to wait til I've blocked it though.  So, that's what I gave but what did I get?  So much lovely stuff, that's what.  Stu's brother got me some Hiya Hiya sock circulars which I have been wanting to try for ages.  I wasn't sure if I'd like them but I've nearly finished my first sock using them (will take pics of that soon too) and I'm getting on just great with them.  I still needed dpns for the heel and will need them for the toe, but I have so many 'loose' dpns floating around that I won't need to hold a set back just for heels and toes when I'm using these needles.  Stu's sister got me Cookie A's latest book Knit. Sock. Love.  I love Cookie's patterns and I love this book.  Em is totally knitworthy so I'll be making her a pair of socks from the book as soon as I can.  She also hand made me this bag for my projects:
See, totally knitworthy!  I also got Vickie Howell's Not Another Teen Knitting Book from Stu's mum and a scarf kit as well - lucky old me.  I didn't get any knitting stuff from my own family though, I think they are all still struggling to understand that it's not just a phase.

Well, that was Christmas, I'll get back to looking forward again from now if you don't mind.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The cat sat on the.....

As I still haven't got my photos sorted of my Christmas projects I'm sticking with looking forward today.  Although a lot of my time (and daydreaming) is being taken up by spinning, I have finally managed to cast on for Stu's cardigan (the cardigan from Knits Men Want which I mentioned a couple of months back).  I never normally knit for men because... well because I am lazy and I don't like to knit for anyone bigger than myself - unless it's a hat or something small.  However, the silly man is going to marry me so I guess I can break the rules for him!  I started knitting about a week ago and I've got a couple more inches to do on the back so it's knitting up pretty quickly in acres and acres of grey Cygnet Wool Rich Aran I got from Modern Knitting.  Unfortunately I don't really have a good picture of it so you'll have to take my word for it.  I did take pictures, but this happened:
I suggested that to Izzy that she might like to go and sit elsewhere.  She responded thusly:
That's right kitten, make yourself comfy!
And this was when I knew it was game over for that little photo shoot.

However I do have a reasonable picture of my latest dye job, mainly because the cats haven't worked out how to photobomb a picture of things hanging from doors.
It's not a great picture, but it'll do.  This was achieved with yellow and red Wilton's, poured in opposite sides of a dish so that the stuff in the middle sort of mingled into orange and then microwaved..  The red isn't quite as red as I'd like but the overall effect is what I was after.  Hopefully it will be dry tonight and then I can twist it into a skein, because it always looks prettier like that.

Monday, 10 January 2011


Christmas and New Year have come and gone, for the most part pleasantly and I'm looking forward to a year ahead full of creating and inspiration.  The holiday period boded well for this, lots of projects finished and much progress made on new projects.  More on these soon (i.e. when I'm at home and can access my photos!), but today I'm all about my new project.....spinning!  I know I promised myself I wouldn't think about it or even learn anything about it, but I couldn't help myself.  Once I started hand dying the idea of knitting something from fibre I dyed and spun myself just seemed right.  Like something I could really call my own.  So for now here is a nice little pic of what has been exclusively occupying my mind for the last few days, not bad if I do say so myself.