Half way

One week, one day: one half of the Rampton Spinners’ Challenge BFL spun up:

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I’ve been spinning this as suggested by Marnie’s "Spinning for Speed and Softness" post.  I have no idea if I’m doing it ‘right’; I really must buy the book sometime.

Anyway, I have one week, four days left to finisht the rest of the singles spinning, then the plying, and ‘finish’ the yarn.  Current timelines suggest that this should be possible.

It has struck me, several times, whilst spinning, that this is very ‘plain’ fibre.  Is it wrong to want to spin multicoloured batts *just* so that it might be more ‘blogworthy’?

Instant Yarnification

…or very nearly, anyway.

Steph showed off her lovely new acquisitions from the sale at Stash, thus reminding me that it’s a while since I checked out their bargains myself.

Less than 24 hours later, I have this:

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10 skeins of Noro Blossom, now apparently discontinued, destined for Eloise.  I’ve wanted to knit this since I first got hold of the Noro Knits book, and this looks like one of my last chances.  Thanks, Steph!

And thanks, Stash, for such instant stash-enhancing gratification!

Spring fling it is!

Turns out I didn’t *quite* get gauge for Stardust…  But I had a sofa day(TM) on Monday, and made it all the way up the back ribbing on Spring Fling!

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I’m now *juuuust* into the lacy section; I would be much further on except for an unfortunate stitch-dropping incident, which, after much futzing, caused me to frog a row and a half and then v-e-r-y c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y pick up the stitches again in order to repair the problem.  I’m usually quite good at repairing lace on the fly, but this pattern, although simple, includes YO’s and decreases on both knit and purl rows, and, well, I’m clearly out of practice.

I’m still loving this yarn; it has a lot of bounce and texture, and knitting it is very easy and satisfying.

I have knit another swatch for Stardust in the meantime, but I haven’t blocked it yet.  Swatching isn’t cheating, right?

Phase one is complete!

If anyone remembers the three fleeces, and the initial experiments performed with the really mucky bits…  well, I have news for you.

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I have finally finished spinning the really mucky bits(TM).  This is over 350g of weird, neppy, felted-ish yarn, plenty to make little ‘thankyou’ gifts for the folks who originally got these fleeces to me.  Unfortunately, I’ve since found out that neither of them can stand wearing woolly hats, or, in one case, any wool next to the skin at all.  Hmm.

Meanwhile, my wheel stood naked for less than 24 hours before starting on my swap project for Rampton Spinners.  The idea behind this one is that we all spin 200g of *delicious* Blue Faced Leicester roving, then pass it on to another randomly selected individual who will dye it.  Next, onto another willing volunteer who will create a scarf out of it.  Finally, we each get the scarf made out of the yarn we spun back at the Christmas meeting.  Given that I’m currently double-booked for both the meeting where we pass on the spun yarn for dyeing, *and* for the meeting where we will receive our finished scarves, things could get interesting.

Also, the fact that I’ve had my roving since early January and have only just gotten it on the wheel – and the fact that the swap is in less than three weeks – should not be forgotten.

Spin on!

Swatch next?

After yesterday’s total perplexity over my ‘plan’, did you really think I would launch into a new project, swatchless, and unforewarned?

No.  Neither did I.

I tried the Debbie Bliss cotton angora at a different gauge – the one recommended for another Whitle Lies design, Madeline.  This would be a very loose, floppy gauge for this yarn, and I was very underwhelmed with the result:

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Ripped before it was three inches long.  It looked sloppy and unsophisticated, and the yarn seemed tired before I’d even begun.

I tried swatching the yarn hoarded for the aran lace cardi for Stardust (Knitty, winter ’07).  This is the long-discontinued Rowan Silken Tweed, which arrived in my stash courtesy of the also now long-defunct Destash blog (on which I made a net stash gain, I’m pretty sure).  I think this is a precursor to Rowan’s Summer Tweed; it’s a similar fibre mix, but more cable like and far less nubbly-tweedy in texture.  It does, however, have a similar lack of stretch to the aforementioned Summer Tweed.

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It’s very different to the original yarn used for this design, but I think I like it.  The fabric has a lot of body and crispness, and the ties in the original design may or may not work as a result, but I think I’ll see what happens when I get there…

Then, I swatched some mystery yarn.  Well, not a mystery; more of an unknown…

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Huh.  Well, I thought it was an unknown; here’s a Ravelry link to the stuff…  I got ten balls in each of three colours at Easter, when I visited my folks.  The yarn is a superwash merino, and I seem to have lucked out, because each of their other yarns (as listed on Ravelry) contains acrylic.  This is (as the label states), pure merino, and appears to be made of five counter-plied strands of very fine two-ply yarn.  It is incredibly soft and lofty, and it kind of feels like you’re knitting *nothing*.  Imaginary yarn.

It’s somewhat splitty to knit with, but I adore the surface texture it creates.  It’s a bit like Rowan Wool Cotton, I think, and I think it would take texture very, very well.  I’ve been totally unable to do it justice by my feeble camera attempts:

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I think I’m going to knit Knitty’s Spring Fling in this coffee colour…  The green I think might be destined for Ungranny Smith, and the plummy colour…  well, I have options.  For now, though, all plans seem to be off.

All about the plan? Not so much…

Way back when, I made a plan.  So far, I have knit the January sweater (but not finished it – zip issues) and the, umm, October sweater (in lieu of the February/March sweater, which is my own design and I was feeling to lazy/behind to actually do the maths and start knitting it).

My plan for April (yes, already half gone, I know) was Amelie.  *Such* a pretty sweater, but I have started to have reservations.  A few of the projects on Ravelry have come out less satisfying than hoped, and seeing the finished object *on* people makes me think that it’s maybe not going to come out as I hoped/wished.  There’s also the fact that I was expecting to knit it in Debbie Bliss’s cotton angora, and thinking that I’d be knitting it at tighter than it’s recommended gauge, which would help with any weight/sagging issues.  But the needle size called for in the pattern is actually *larger* than normally recommended for the yarn.  I’m not sure how I managed to make that mistake.

Then there’s my May project, elann’s Aran Lace Cardi.  Again, the needle size for the yarn doesn’t match the size in the pattern.  I know what I did this time, though; the pattern calls for a series of needles, working from 5mm to 6mm, and the yarn calls for US size 5-6mm needles.   D’oh!

I was clearly in a very stupid place when I made some of this plan.

So of my eight remaining planned projects for the year, two are totally mismatched to the yarns I’d planned to use, four are my design and need swatching/planning work before I can cast on for them, one uses a shrinky yarn and I need to match gauge AFTER laundering (failed first time round; must try again), and the one remaining one, I don’t yet have the pattern for.  *None* of them can be cast on straight away.

I think my best plan might be to cast on the Aran lace cardi at the tighter gauge and just wing it.  It is a ‘knit to fit’ pattern, after all.

Or is that asking for heartache?

Oooopsie; I seem to have lost a week

It feels like just yesterday that I was wrapping up the last weekend, and here we are again, on a Friday.  How did that happen??

Actually, I think I know.  I went to London on Monday for the Tutankhamun exhibition, so Monday felt like weekend.  The exhibition is highly recommended, by the way, though I wish there was more *information* on the hows, whys and so on of the exhibits.  And don’t believe them when they say you will get round it in 1 to 1.5 hours; I think we were in there for over three.  Of course, I have no proof, documentation or mementoes of the visit, because cameras are not allowed in the exhibition, and the gift shop tat was just *so* horrendous I couldn’t bear to buy any of it.  I would have loved a coffee-table type book documenting the highlights of the exhibition, but no such luck.  Anyway, I wasn’t back home till midnight, with the resulting fatigue spilling over into Tuesday, Wednesday *and* Thursday.

And possibly into Friday, too, but I wouldn’t know about that, because any resulting Monday-fatigue has been totally, completely and utterly masked by a hangover.  Dirty stop-out that I am, I started drinking martinis with dinner last night, and, well, didn’t really stop.  I should state that at no point did I actually feel particularly drunk, until I got home; I’d stopped drinking at least an hour earlier.

J assures me that although he did hear me come into the house, he managed to sleep through the hideous sound effects of me being spectacularly ill in the bathroom (several times).  This morning, I got up, read blogs for about an hour, then went back to bed until lunchtime.

The moral of this story: don’t let Clancy mix your drinks.  And, by the sound of things, I’m lucky only to have lost a week.

Um, hello?

More than two months without a post, wow.  This one is going to be picture free, I’m afraid; all three of my camera memory cards are chock-a-block full and I need to empty them onto my laptop so I can share them all.

I’ve finished the stripey sweater (bar the zip – my nemesis.  The ‘perfect’ one I had found turned out to be closed ended.  Two folks who regularly sew pick a zipper, but neither of us notice it’s the wrong type.)

I’ve finished a sock – albeit in chunky yarn.  I haven’t cast on the second one yet, though.

I’ve finished a bolero in handspun yarn, because I decided to deviate from my careful 2008 plan.  That is, it’s finished as long as I’ve not *actually* made the edging too long, and have to rip out and re-do about a week’s worth of knitting…

Randomly, I started a hat.

I’ve bought lots of yarn – pretty pictures to follow.

I’ve been playing with dyes, and my sewing mojo seems to be back.  This might affect my knitting schedule.

The dogs are still living with me, and are happy and healthy.  So is my ex.  I’m still trying to buy J out of his share in the house, but I don’t need to tell anyone in the UK about the mortgage situation round here right now – but it’s looking like it might, eventually, be possible.  The good news is that we are still great friends, even if we have split up.  That doesn’t mean we’re not both *really* looking forwards to being able to move on properly, though.

It’s good to be back.