This week’s lucky winner is…

Melanie!  Who said, “A skein of laceweight would make me feel less sad on this grey January day…”  Err…  Well, I hope it does – but I warn you, it’s dyed in ‘seasonally inspired’ colours, so grey might be appropriate, hmm??

I also couldn’t resist including Melanie’s rabbitavar in this post.  Firstly, it’s just plain cute, and secondly, it’s perfectly appropriate.  You see, the yarn in question is…  Bunnylace!  (not in the same colour as that link, though).

Congratulations, Melanie; I’ll email you for your postal address, and send it off to you asap.  Everyone else: thanks for playing!  I loved reading all your comments, as always.

Saturday Giveaway: February’s Club installment!

This is your chance to win a taste of the Wheel of the Year  club fun!

The shipments for the Candlemas instalment of the Wheel of the Year yarn and fibre club have been dispatched, and…  I have  a spare skein of lace weight yarn! So I’m giving it to one lucky commentor.

I can’t give out the details of the yarn or the colourway at this point – that would spoil the surprise for club members – but I can tell you that this is not a ‘prototype’ skein; it is from the same dye run as the shipped colourway, so will match exactly.  And I will tell you that it’s on one of my favourite yarn bases, too!

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is comment on this blog post by noon on Monday (UK time).  The winner will be selected by random draw and announced on Tuesday.  Anyone can enter, including existing club members, from anywhere in the world.

I think this is my first giveaway of the year, so let’s pile up the comments for this one!  Have fun!

Start of the spinning year

When I started writing this post – last Thursday – I had not yet spun one jot so far this year.  I know- I’m a lazy spinner.  Roc day was almost a week gone already…  That evening, I sat down to reacquaint myself with the project on the wheel (Shipwreck, part 2), and spin for the first time this year.

I managed to spin up a fair amount of corriedale roving (colour: Ominous, my own dyework), for the second ply of the second half of the Shipwreck Shawl (make sense? Suffice it to say that the singles spinning is more than 3/4 done, and the plying half done…

 

That’s not the only spinning related news I have for you, though.  Anyone who is already a reader of Knit! magazine (the one that used to be Yarn Forward) will know that the last few issues have featured spinning-related articles.  And the most recent issue (Issue 45) features spindle spinning – and ME!

There are two articles in there: one is about the history and background of spindle spinning, the other is about me and my spinning.  Both are written by Camilla Hair, who interviewed me for the articles back in November, I think.

 

My hand-woven, spindle spun silk shawl gets a mention – and a rather pretty photograph – too!  It’s an amazing buzz to see yourself – and your projects! – in print in this way.  I’m not sure I’ve come down from cloud 9 yet…

WIP Wednesday: return of the gloves

Do you remember this sad little story?

It has a happy ending:

 

Turns out that one of the advantages of sorting the stash is that teeny-tiny balls of handspun might appear from between the cracks.  This really *is* part of the same lot as the other stuff, by the way: I never (or very rarely) end up with matching amounts of singles on the bobbin when I spin, so, when I ply, one always runs out significantly before the other.  I have the habit of winding the excess singles off into a plying bracelet, and plying them together (if I’m making 2-ply), or chain plying them together for a 3-ply.  Sometimes I wonder why I do this: it seems to be turning frugality into a bit of an obsession, could I ever really need those last two grams of yarn?  Don’t I have enough stash, really?  Turns out, sometimes it really is a good idea.

This is how far I got with the gloves before running out: the cuff, thumb and hand have been knit, including a set of short rows designed to ensure that the glove’s fingers all start at or near the actual base of my fingers. (A pet peeve).  FO Friday??  Wait and see… 😉

Why automation isn’t always your friend

It must be the time of year.  Last January 13th, I had a real rant about Twitter nothings – and it’s probably one of the best things I wrote last year.  Yesterday, I lashed out again.  Well, I expect it was perceived that way; I really wanted to be an educational wake-up call, but I think I failed.  The object of my ire?  Automatic listings tweets from Etsy (though there are plenty of other websites/apps/services that do something similar).

On Twitter (@yarnscape, boys and girls!) I follow a lot of designer/makers.  Quite a lot use Etsy, an online marketplace for artisans, crafters, artists and supply retailers (my shop is here, for anyone that doesn’t know).  Etsy offers this hand-dandy little feature where you can tweet about a new listing in your shop automatically.  Cool!  Except the tweet is written by formula, and contains no human interest whatsoever.  Add to this the problem that most folks will upload 5, 1o, 20 new listings in a single session, and your twitter feed is suddenly filled with a list similar to the following:

FromUsername: This is the title of the thing I just listed! by EtsyUserName Link to Etsy goes here via @Etsy

FromUsername: This is the title of another thing I just listed! by EtsyUserName Link to Etsy goes here via @Etsy

FromUsername: This is the title of a cool thing I just listed! by EtsyUserName Link to Etsy goes here via @Etsy

FromUsername: Guess what?  Another thing I just listed! by EtsyUserName Link to Etsy goes here via @Etsy

FromUsername: How many things will I list today?  by EtsyUserName Link to Etsy goes here via @Etsy

FromUsername: Do you really think anyone is still reading?  by EtsyUserName Link to Etsy goes here via @Etsy

Did you read all those posts?  How about if there were two or three times as many?  How about if you’re trying to catch up on Twitter in a hurried five minute coffee break, and I spam your twitter list with something similar a couple of times a week?  How many of those links do you think you will click?  I believe that not many people are going to read them all.  In fact, most people won’t even read one: they will scan straight down past the list to where the ‘interesting’ stuff starts again.

Personally, I would much rather read something like this:

yarnscape: I’m really proud of the things I’ve made this week; listings are here <insert link>.  This is my fave: <insert link> – you?

(you could split that into 2 tweets if you needed to, for the 140 char limit).  That sort of tweet injects personality, emotion and preference into the world, and asks people to start a conversation to boot.  Much more engaging, no?

My philosophy is this: Twitter is a social network.  It works best if people are social, not just announce-y.  If all you do is post lists of listings, then (unless you are really, really sought after, cult status style) you are not being interesting enough for people to keep following you.  You will end up with a list of followers who feel they would hurt your feelings if they left (immediate family + best friends), and people who don’t use Twitter much anyway.  If you mostly sell to your Mum and your mates, then you may have a larger selling issue that Twitter isn’t going to address – and if most of your followers log in once a month, what’s the point of tweeting to them?

Personally, I sell on Etsy and use Twitter to help promote my shop.  However, I *am* irritated by bulk auto-tweets, and I *do* unfollow people who exceed a certain threshold.  But this wasn’t really about my irritation with a person; I just want people to think more about the kind of things they’d like to read on Twitter, then compare that to what they’re sending out.  It’s not just annoying; I believe there are *much* better ways to use Twitter for the same ends.

 

More like Friday ‘Feh’

So, I got most of Myrtle seamed up last night – enough to try on.

There will be no photos for a while.  I don’t quite know what I expected, because I would never design a garment with a great swathe of un-edged stocking stitch down the front, but suffice it to say that it rolls like *crazy*.   Add to this the fact that the body gets no wider below the waist, and ummm…..   I do.   There is no way the thing could be closed pleasantly across the hips, and in fact, it pulls waaaay back around the body when held close at the waist.

Another issue is that the ribbing section, intended to hit at the waist, is a wee bit too low.  Either my maths/measuring skills are off, or the weight of the whole thing is stretching out the upper bodice.  Either option is entirely possible.

So, what to do?  I think the first thing to do is try blocking the fronts.  It might help; the bits below the provisional cast-on haven’t been blocked, and that’s most of the stocking stitch.  But I’m not sure it’ll help enough.  Another options is to rip back and just finish the body in moss stitch – magic! no more rolling.  But that’s a lot of un-knitting and re-knitting, for someone who’s trying to work through as much stash as possible.

Hmm.

The State of the Stash

Remember me pledging the Year of Stash Accountability?  well, if you don’t know where you’re starting from, how can you know where you’re going, let alone how far away it is?  So I catalogued all the yarn and fibre in the house (note: the fleeces live in the shed.  I’m saving them for warmer weather).  All. of. it.  With photographs.  The pruriently inclined can check out my Ravelry stash for the full, gory details, but for those who prefer statistics, I present a summary here:

  • I have 18.8kg of stash (fibre and yarn combined);
  • Which includes 59.9km yarn (that’s 36.9 miles)
  • Of the yarn, 14.057km are handspun, so 45.245km are millspun;
  • I have over 12km of laceweight yarn, and 13.3km of sock weight yarn;
  • Almost 17km of yarn (apart from lace and sock yarn) is specifically intended for weaving;
  • I have almost twice as much unspun fibre, by weight, as I have handspun yarn (5.5 kg vs. 2.81 kg). And I thought I could get it all spun up by the end of the year!!

Wow.  I don’t think I need to buy anything else for a while, do you?!

oooo, shiny…

WIP Wednesday

The first of the year!  I’ve been working hard on Myrtle over the Christmas break; on the 22nd, she looked like this:

Back and two fronts

Plus this:

Two sleeves

(I’ll remind those playing along at home that the back and fronts contain no actual shaping between the bottom edge and the armscye.  That rather alarming hourglass effect is acheived purely by using different stitches).

I took the whole shebang up to my parents’ place for Christmas, where I seamed the shoulders and knit the hood (which is nothing more than a rectangle of moss stitch, grown out of the neckline and joined to itself at the top).

The real fun started when I got back to Cambridge.  If you have really good eyesight, or a really good memory, you’ll see/remember that the body pieces are on provisional cast-ons.  I didn’t know when the yarn was going to run out on this design, so I decided to finish everything else, then knit the body pieces downwards from the hip until they were as long as possible.  (Picture much frantic weighing and calculating here).  All done!

Except I’ve done rather too good a job at using up all the yarn.  I think I have enough left to sew in the sleeves, but nowhere near enough for the sleeve seams and side seams.  Rather than unravel the thing, I think I’m going to use the leftover yarn for the most visible seams (sleeve heads), and find something dark and unobtrusive for the rest.  Because frankly, if you’re peering at my side seams, I’m gonna want to know why.

FO by Friday?  Maybe.  😉

Happy New Year!

May you all get everything you need, and most of what you want (as a wise person said on Ravelry today.  I can’t remember who; sorry!)

Many, many thanks to everyone who played along in my week-long competition; the correct answers were ‘Footsie-HT’ and ‘Delphinium’.  A couple of people got both right – well done! – but the winner of the draw is Jelibe!  Congratulations; I think new yarn is the perfect way to start off the new year.

Or I would, except I clearly have too much of the fuzzy stuff already.  The end-of-year stash roundup is too scary to post next to a winning competition announcement, so I’ll save it for later.

Footsie-HT, Delphinium
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