Two out of Five

…ain't bad? Well, for March's project, when we're coming to the end of April, it's pretty poor. One front and the back of Minnie are done:

J wants to know when I'll start working on his jumper (my April project). I've swatched, and I'm planning, but the start line's not in sight yet.

Kita says:

I'm too fast for you!

How to publish a blogroll

I've had a few questions on how I put a blogroll in my left sidebar; I'm sure there are loads of ways of doing it, but here's how I managed it.

  1. I use Bloglines. The rest of the method revolves around this; you use Bloglines to subscribe to the feeds you want to publish.
  2. You can sort your subscriptions into folders; you can publish some folders and keep others private.
  3. Once you have your subscriptions set up and sorted (if you want to sort), you have to set up your Bloglines profile to allow sharing. To do this, you have to go to the 'Account' section, and then, click the 'Blog Settings' link. Select the 'Yes, share my Blog and/or Blogroll' radio button, and then press the 'Save Changes' button.
  4. Next, go to the 'share' tab in the right hand Bloglines frame. Here, you can generate the code to put into your blog template to publish your blogroll.
    • Fill in your Bloglines username
    • Specify a folder name if you want to generate code for publishing just the links in that folder; alternatively, leave it blank to publish all your subscriptions.
    • Specify a target if you want to; leaving this empty will open a link in the same window as the click, i.e. over the top of your blog. If you enter "_blank" (without the quotes), the link will open in a new window. If you want to get fancy, you could play with other targets, but these are the common two.
    • Press the 'Generate HTML' button.
  5. Copy the generated code – whichever format you use – straight into your blog template.
  6. Save the modified template
  7. Republish if you need to.


Learning curve

I decided I wanted to try Navajo plying the red "day's end" singles, which meant I first had to learn Navajo plying. After Googling for instructions, I decided to practise on some of my goatfluff singles; which was the point I found that one of my remaining bobbins binds on the flyer. Binding bobbins make for no take-up by the flyer. Can we say 'overplyed'? I think so. The second attempt was vastly improved, due to finding a bobbin that actually *spins*. Third time round, I tried my red singles. Hey, look, Ma! Yarn!!

Three skeins; first, second and third Navajo plying attempts

It's not very consistent, but it actually looks like yarn, and it's almost -nearly- balanced. I think it's working out at a light aran weight:

I'm still having some problems with takeup onto the bobbin; I think my wheel needs a good service. But I'm very, very pleased with my progress! Lousy photos, though. Sorry!

On a different note, some puppies have no pride at all!

So talk to me, already! (COMPETITION!)

According to my funky clustrmap, I've had 320 visits in the last 10 or 11 days; 31 yesterday. The map is showing some hits from some very unexpected places, as well as the more expected ones.

How many comments have I had in that time?!? Nine. Please talk to me! (Unless you came here by Googling 'nipples', of course. I'm probably not interested in talking to you if you did that.)

I know who a fair few of my regular visitors are; but if you've never left a comment, please consider doing so! You don't have to have a Blogger profile to comment; just type in the letters in the anti-spam check.

I'd love to know who's visiting; how you came to be here; what interests you most (Knitting? Spinning? Kita? Sewing? Random photos? Pseudo-philosophy?).

In the spirit of comment-whoring (and I've seen it work elsewhere!) everyone who comments in the next week will be entered in a prize draw. What the prize *is* will depend on who wins it. There may even be a second and a third prize… Who knows! But you won't win anything if you don't comment! 🙂

Documenting the obvious, part 1

Spotted on the bottom of a mug:

And, well, duh:


I need a few new bobbins for my wheel. I think I have a total of five currently; one is so badly warped it won't spin on the flyer, and I discovered last night that another is slightly warped; it binds a bit, and won't spin enough to allow takeup of the yarn*. Since my wheel was made by a carpenter 15 years and a couple of hundred miles away, I doubt I can get any more from him. And in any case, would I really want to? I'm not sure, but I think this problem may be getting worse over time.

So, I need to find some bobbins that fit my wheel. There are several possibilities:

  1. Get really lucky and find a commercial manufacturer whose bobbins have the same length and internal diameter as my wheel would like. I can hope…
  2. Get a new flyer assembly for my wheel that takes commercially available bobbins. Ashford do a 'double drive conversion kit' for their wheels that looks like it should work.
  3. Buy a whole 'nother wheel (heh). Actually, this could work well in conjunction with (2), because I think the Ashford Traveller would be my wheel of choice. Then I could have interchangeable flyer sets for both.
  4. Find a tame woodworker who does lathe turning.

Wish me luck…


*A double drive wheel has a band twisted into a figure 8 that passes twice round the wheel, once round the flyer whorl, and once round the end of the bobbin. The flyer whorl is next to the end of the bobbin that takes the band, and is larger than the bobbin, with a V-shaped groove. The larger diameter and the groove shape means that the flyer is pulled harder than the bobbin. The idea is that the flyer is made to spin, but the tension over the bobbin is lower, so it can slip on the flyer shaft. The flyer arms therefore spin round the bobbin faster than the bobbin is spinning, so the yarn is wound on to the bobbin. Confusing? Try adjusting the tension…

My wheel

Midsummer Night's Knitter asked in a recent comment about my wheel. Well, it's a no-name made by a carpenter who used to live near my parents, and whose wife was a spinner. He was fairly elderly when he made my wheel; I have no idea if he's still making them, or even if he's still alive. That was at least 15 years ago; I've had this wheel more than half my life!

It's a double-drive Saxony type wheel, and I believe it's made of oak. It has only one treadle, and is designed for only right-footed treadling; I'm trying to learn to treadle it leftie, though. Unlike all the wheels I am currently seeing on the internet, it doesn't have a solid beam connecting the treadle to the wheel; it just has a cord:

That means that you can only pull on the wheel, not push; therefore, there is no point being able to heel-treadle. So you can't.

I really need more bobbins for this wheel, especially since one of the ones I have 'binds' and will not turn. I don't know if I'll ever manage that, though. I will, in the future, get a second wheel – probably a castle type to allow for ambidextrous use, and ergonomic comfort. I'll always love this one, though.

Stash Addendum the First

My combed wool top arrived today. It's gorgeous:

It's also staying at work until I've done more spinning here at home. But I'm working on it! Here's the evidence:

And another one:

This is one of my "day's end bumps" from High Prairie Fibers – I bought two of these, one in mossy greens and one in purply reds. This is the purply reds one (duh!), but does have some green in it. It's wonderful to be getting back to some spinning again.

But boy, I'm out of shape with this spinning milarky. I did about 40 minutes yesterday, and about 10 minutes today, and my leg hurts! I'll get fit again. I'll try and work both legs, though with this wheel, treadling left footed is somewhat awkward.

I suddenly thought today, though: why don't I try painting some of that grey goatfluff?? It's not my most bestest roving ever, but might be a fun excuse to play with dyes… Hmmm…


Something over a week late, I present my stash. It's slightly shameful… So we'll break it down into locations, to make it look less bad.

Two boxes:

…and one filing cabinet. I've mostly emptied the filing cabinet since just last time I wrote about work stash; it only contains the Biggy Print Troll now:

The first box contains discontinued Debbie Bliss Maya. I'm a sucker for a discontinued yarn, especially at a bargain price:

The second contains EcoKnit cotton and the pattern for Fiddlestick's Ginko Leaf Tunic, and the Rose Garden country silk:

Further excavation revealed four packets of beads that I thought might be suitable for Minnie, but which turned out far too small (iPod included for scale):

Stash@home, in deep storage
No photos of this lot; it's in the loft and there's no loft ladder. Up here is my sizeable stash of Jamieson's Soft Shetland (two VERY LARGE boxes of it, bought on sale; I think I have a full pack of each of at least 12 colours. 1 full pack is 20 50g skeins, in case you were wondering…) And another box the same size, designated 'yarn box 1'. I have a list of what's in that:

  • 10x Rowan Polar, grey
  • 10x Rowan Polar, khaki
  • 3x lurex shimmer, wine
  • 10x biggy print, brown
  • 3x grey rowanspun, chunky
  • 1x summer tweed, lilac
  • 10x summer tweed, coral
  • 5+x summer tweed, rush
  • 10x summer tweed, lime
  • 6x lurex shimmer, pewter
  • 4x kureyon, lime/fuschia/brown colourway
  • 1x cotton 4ply, fuschia
  • 1x kureyon, pinks/purples/turquoise
  • 6+x jaeger aqua, fuschia
  • 4x alpaca silk, lilac
  • 2x linen print, purples
  • 3x linen print, orange/pink/red
  • 2x cotton chunky chenille, forest green
  • 7x cork, wine red

So when I say they're *big* boxes, I'm not joking. The Jamieson's ones are absolutely stuffed to the gills, too.

Stash@home, in the fibre room
Theoretically, this is the only room in the house with fibre in. Riiiiight. Anyway, welcome to Stash Central:

I'm afraid I ran out of energy before pulling the yarn box out of the above stack; I know it contains a lot of Jaeger Chamonix, but apart from that, I'm blanking.

Meet Mr. Socky. This lot lives in the sock yarn tub:

The contents of the other three yarn tubs on the silver shelves:

L to R: Noro whateveritis that's like Silk Garden only chunkier; 12 balls for my abandoned Olympian project; 1 skein point 5 (I made cute falls for a Hallowe'en outfit with a different skein; this is earmarked for something similar. Maybe) and the rest of the yarn for Minnie, a true WIP.
Clockwise from top left: Maya, in dark greens; My First Handspun; 2 cones of fine acrylic (1 chocolate, 1 white); assorted cottons; 2 cones green chunky acrylic, one with flecks in the yarn; bag of Jonelle superwash wool, red (damn, no good for felting); 8 skeins jonelle superwash wool (see above) in variegated autumnal colours. Most of this stuff is from eBay, when I was just getting back into the knitting.

Again, clockwise from top left: Stu's unfinished Christmas sweater (Mask in Rowan Cork); Fiddlesticks Country Silk in bronze (for Peacock Feathers shawl); Rowan ASC in midnight blue for my April project (ahem) – a cardi for J; various bits of mohairy yarn from Fiddlesticks left over from January's project; and a pattern and one ball of yarn for a project I'm really looking forwards to but haven't yet scheduled; one lonely ball of Polar in off-white from Feb's project. That pattern is the floral shrug from Get Knitted:

I think I must envisage myself knocking this out in a few minutes whilst waiting for something else to happen. Crochet's really quick, right?!?

Fuzzy stash:
Goatfluff and two "day's end" 8 oz bumps. Awaiting the attentions of my wheel. Now might or might not be the time to mention that I've got 6 lumps of combed wool top from Lorna's Laces on its way to me…

Hmmmm… What else? Oh, yeah…

Stash in the Living Room

Theoretically, there is no stash in my living room; only works in progress. Uhuh.
KSH 'jelly' for either Kiri or Birch; some novelty yarn for gift scarves. I don't buy novelty yarn; I don't know what came over me.

Ahem. More novelty yarn. I swear, this never happens.

And finally, three balls of GGH chenille and one of Kaalund expressions in Coral. Happy stashing!

Life lessons

On the way home from work today, Radio 3 was playing me a very silly song about a duck and a kangaroo; apparently the lyrics are by Lear. The duck was envying the kangaroo's ability to hop and bemoaning its own boring life in the pond.

Eventually, the duck overcame the kangaroo's objections to its wet feet (for the knitters: by wearing four pairs of worsted socks that fit its webbed toes) and persuaded it to give it a ride. And they hopped three times round the world. But the song annoyed the hell out of me because all I could think was

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