Saturday, 23 June 2012

Summer knitting, happened so fast

I'm blogging from my phone today because I'm way too comfortable where I am and don't feel like sitting in the computer chair. This also means that all pictures in this post were taken with and edited on my phone, and the photos will probably be out of order but I think you guys can probably figure it out.

Now then, on with it. I've been knitting a lot lately. I finally finished a couple of things that had been hanging around awhile so I was able to start a few new fun things!

I knit up a toy elephant using the pattern Elijah by Ysolda Teague. I absolutely love it, except that I should have used 3 mm needles (as the pattern suggested) instead of 3.25 mm needles. I didn't have any 3 mms and I was too impatient to wait until I could go buy some so I just used the 3.25s. It turned out fine, but I can see the stuffing through some of the stitches. I also can't decide whether or not to add eyes. He looks so creepy/cute with no eyes!

I also started knitting Earth and Sky by Stephen West for the Enabler. I've never done intarsia before so I think I was unprepared for the amount of ends that would need to be woven in. End weaving aside, I totally love the colours and the pattern, and I think it will look amazing when it is finished, which will be sometime before snow starts flying.

Most importantly though, I started knitting something for myself. I'd been looking for a pattern for my single skein of handmaiden sea silk ever since I got it last fall. It was this skein that really gave the Enabler his name. I wouldn't have bought it as it was $40 and so lovely that I didn't think I could do it justice, but he insisted. After 8 months of searching and rejecting 100s of patterns (and coming to terms with the fact that one skein was not enough for Clapotis), I finally found a pattern worthy of the yarn. Sweet Dreams by Boo Knits is the one that finally captured my fancy. It has optional beading, and I have never done beading before but I think this shawl will give me a reason to try.

I haven't gotten to the lace or beading part yet but I already love this pattern. I haven't done lace in awhile so I'm really excited to sink my teeth into this one. And trust me when I say that the photo does not do this yarn justice. The yarn shines due to it being 70% silk, and ranges in colour from silver to pewter to bronze to gold (the colorway is called mineral). It's lovely in every way and I really think the marriage of pattern and yarn is going to be a beautiful thing. Now let's hope I don't prove myself wrong.

Ok, blogging done, time to go knit al fresco since it's (finally) sunny and beautiful outside!

Monday, 11 June 2012

You spin me right round

Things I took for granted until very recently:

1.       Watching the new episode of Game of Thrones every Monday night (yes I know it aired on Sundays but the Enabler and I always watched it on Mondays).

2.       The lack of immediate need for a spinning wheel.

3.       That area that isn’t quite your back and isn’t quite your butt.

All of these things changed quite abruptly within the last 48 hours.

The new episode of Game of Thrones didn’t air last night, because the season finale was last week and there are no more new episodes until the new season starts.  I’m already experiencing withdrawal symptoms (such as humming the theme song to myself over and over and over…  Daaaaaaaaaa daaaaaaaaa, dah dah dah daaaaaa, di di dah dah di di dah dah di di dah dah di di dah dah dum… etc.)

I didn’t want or need a spinning wheel because I had never used one before, but then I learned how to spin and now my need for a spinning wheel is all consuming.

And I have gained a great appreciation for the former area between my back and my butt, because I fell down some rain-slick stairs yesterday and remarkably that was the one area that took the entire force of the fall.  This area has now morphed somehow into a new thing.  It’s almost like an extra butt cheek, or an oddly placed love handle.  Either way, my butt/back has swelled up like a Great Frigatebird trying to impress a mate, except that it's purple, not red, and it's only one side.  Symmetry would be too much to ask, of course.  Although perhaps I shouldn’t take that for granted either, because as it is I can still sleep on my right side relatively pain-free.  Somehow though, knowing that I can’t sleep on my left side or even on my back just makes me more desperate to sleep that way or even just lie that way for awhile before inevitably switching to my right side like I do 95% of the time before falling asleep.

So now that I'm sure you have a really unpleasant mental image of all that (don't worry, I'm not going to show you any actual pictures), time to talk about knitting stuff!

First off, back to point number two.  I took a class to learn how to spin using a spinning wheel this weekend and it was awesome!  Not at all like the drop spindling fiasco that I elaborated upon in a previous post.  Although I have to admit that now that I can draft a little bit better, another foray into the world of drop spindling may not be quite so disastrous as the first attempt.  Not that I'm going to be trying anytime soon, mind you.  Given the cost comparison of spinning wheels vs. drop spindles though, drop spindling doesn't seem so bad.  It may be a long time before I can spring for the wheel, and it's possible that getting a drop spindle wouldn't kill me, but I'm still not quite sure it's worth the risk.

We got to try out a bunch of different wheels and learned how to spin singles and then ply two singles together to make 2-ply yarn.  We also learned flick carding and hand carding, how to blend colours of fleece together, and how to use a drum carder.  We spun from comb top, roving, and hand carded rolags.  I'm just hoping that I don't forget how to do everything before I get a chance to spin on a wheel again.

I'm not that good yet but of course I know it'll take practice.  I got better at the end of the first day and for part of the second day but then I got worse again.  My hand carding wasn't very good so my rolags were not that easy to spin from, plus I had switched to a wheel that was hard to get used to.  Excuses excuses!  Here's what I made:

The grey/white is Polwarth comb top, the brownish stuff is actually multicoloured "mystery roving", and the red, purple, blue and yellow stuff was fleece that I hand carded.

This one is probably the best quality stuff and easiest to knit with:

But the crazy coloured one I think is my favourite combination!  It was definitely the most fun to make.

I've got about 55 meters of the brown one, and probably 20-40 meters of each of the rest of them, but I didn't actually check.  All I know is that I have no idea what I"m going to make with any of them but I think maybe that doesn't matter.  I'll probably just keep them as home decor!

Another thing that I have to announce is the completion... finally... of the Persnickety socks!  I needed some knitting to bring along on the drive to my parents' house on Friday, and these ended up being the only thing I had on the go that I could bring with me, so I buckled down and finished them.  Apparently I was closer to being done them than I thought.  I don't think I'd ever make them again, but I'm really happy with the result!

I've got two more projects that I'm working on, both of which I can't talk about or show off, but they are nearing the finish line, so stay tuned!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go ice my extra butt cheek.