Sunday, 26 April 2009

Hourglass Jacket

Whoops it's been 2 weeks since I blogged. Very bad of me. But whilst I haven't been blogging, I haven't been entirely idle! I've still been spinning and crocheting. I even tried a new bit of knitting which ended disastrously, but more of that in a minute.

I started to swatch for the Hourglass Jacket last Monday and I was able to get gauge, so I cast on. I'm finally using up my Rowan Calmer that I bought ageees ago for making Cupcake with, which then got frogged. I've done 6 rows now and am working on the armhole increases.

Here's some pictures after 4 rows:

Hourglass Jacket

Hourglass Jacket

This will be a nice project to work on during the weekday evenings when I don't fancy spinning for my Mum's socks.

The only knitting I've done this week was to swatch for Arisaig using my new teeny needles which arrived (thank you Hubster - also for spare cables and other bits and pieces we ordered at the same time) and my Rowan 4-ply yarn. However I have severe issues with picking up my yarn-overs when I go back along a purl row. I need to have a go with chunkier yarn and bigger needles until I get comfortable with it. Grrr.

Speaking of the socks, I finished off spinning the singles for one sock yesterday. I wound both singles in a 2-stranded plying ball and will leave them to rest for a few days before I ply. I don't know whether to start the other singles now, or wait until I've plied the first lot as I only have the one spindle to use.

Also on the spinning front, I've been doing a bit of purchasing!

I was browsing Etsy the other day and happened on Spindlefrog's shop just after she had updated it with Luxury Spinner's Kits. I snagged one called "Antique", where the colours are a change from my usual pinks and reds - although they do feature some purple. It's 6 x 1oz of various luxury fibres. Here's mine all bundled up and then broken out:

Spindlefrog Luxury Spinners Set

Spindlefrog Luxury Spinners Set

Spindlefrog Luxury Spinners Set

From left to right, I think the fibres are:
  • Mohair
  • Alpaca
  • Camel
  • Angora
  • Cashmere
  • Silk
It's lovely :) To spin the cashmere and angora properly I need a lighter spindle, so I bought a 12gm Featherweight Bosworth in Canarywood which will hopefully come this week. I bought it from a seller in the UK as Sheila is away at the moment and the exchange rate isn't really working in my favour! I'll still get special orders direct, but whilst there's stock in the UK I should make the most of it.

Unfortunately my Pink Ivory spindle came up a duff. Both blanks they turned were uneven, so they're going to try again for me in May. So I HAD to buy another spindle as I had the money burning a hole in my pocket.

Because of said hole in pocket, I've also recently bought the following from Limegreenjelly on Etsy:

Limegreenjelly - Maybelline

This one is called Maybelline and it's 103g of 50% merino/50% angora loveliness.

I also bought 2 items in her update last night. I don't have them here yet, so you'll just have to have a nose at Jo's shop listings:

I had to buy Velvet Snow as Trev and I were talking about songs we'd like to turn into fibres and what they would look like. We thought Velvet Snow (after the Kings of Leon song) would be grey with purples/blues in it to symbolise the snow and the velvet. There would also have to be some cashmere to make it feel suitably velvety. Imagine my surprise when Jo told me there was something just like that in this week's update. So I had to snag it :)

Right, we'll I'm off to watch the F1 and cast on for Odessa - I want a train project to work on and I have nothing at the moment. Plus it's in cotton, so it's nice warm weather knitting. We're having a spell of beautiful weather at the moment.

Ta ta for now :)

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Spinning for Socks

I'm finally spinning up a whole bump of "nice" fibre. When we had the Spin-In talk last week, we talked about making spinning pledges for the upcoming week. I pledged to spin up a whole bump of fibre, rather than just making samples. Although given that I'm using a spindle, I knew I wouldn't be able to get the WHOLE bump done - just wanted to start on it.

And I have! I was at Socktopus on Tuesday and had Diane help me for a bit, to start on my Texel. I want to turn this into socks for Mum - I've already mentioned that she loves the colour and the fibre is perfect for socks.

While in Socktopus, I also bought sock needles! I tried to cover a range of sizes that I know I need for different projects and bought Knit Pro Symfonie Fixed Circulars, in 2.50, 2.75, 3.00 and 3.25mm, in an 80cm length. I then realised that most of projects also need the 2.0mm and 2.25mm needles for Arisaig and the Endpaper Mitts... so Trev bless him, has ordered those for me too.

I'm now finished with my first ply for the first sock - here's an in progress pic:

The Yarn Yard - Fibre Club March 2009

So, still have 3 plies to go, but I'm getting there!

I'm concerned that it's coming out too thick - the first part I've measured the wpi on, and it's pretty much spot on. The later bits, I'm not sure on. But hopefully we're ok.

I'm also worried that I'm overtwisting it a bit. But I hope that plying and finishing should sort most of the issues here, as I want it to be a bouncy yarn.

The only other thing I'm worried about, is yardage. I've wound the first single onto a felt ball I made, and it doesn't seem anywhere near the yardage for a sock! It would need to be what, 180-200 yards? But it doesn't even seem 100! I guess we'll wait and see what happens.

As an aside, I planted a chilli plant on Friday. We bought a little kit from Tesco and hopefully in a few months, we'll have chillis! I shall keep the blog updated with regular updates, but here we are on Day One:

Chilli Plants Day One

Watch this space!

Finished Arsenal Starghan

Well it's done :) I finished it on Monday and gave it to Eu-Wen on Tuesday to give to the parents in question.

I know I said I might make this one more than 28 rounds wide, but it got to the point where I couldn't be bothered. It was taking over an hour to do a single round and I'd had enough of it!

Here it is:

Arsenal Starghan

Arsenal Starghan

Arsenal Starghan

Arsenal Starghan

Arsenal Starghan

Arsenal Starghan

It didn't lay completely flat in the photos, but it's since had a blocking and is a bit bigger and more even. It also feels quite soft - surprising since it's 100% acrylic.

Pretty happy with it! Now onto spinning and knitting :)

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Yarn Yard Fibre Club

Super excited - my first shipment from the Yarn Yard Fibre Club arrived the other day. Unlike a lot of clubs, you don't sign up for a fixed period. As long as you sign up by the last day of the month, you get a package of 100g-ish fibre the following month. From then on, you just make a payment on the same day each month, and you'll continue to get fibre until you decide you want to leave!

Natalie's clubs have been spoken of very highly by a number of people on Ravelry and as she often uses different fibres in the Fibre Club, it's a great way to get to use some fibres that I wouldn't normally think of.

Take a gander at the March shipment:

The Yarn Yard - Fibre Club March 2009

The Yarn Yard - Fibre Club March 2009

The Yarn Yard - Fibre Club March 2009

The Yarn Yard - Fibre Club March 2009

The colour is called Rhododendron, as it's inspired by the plant outside Natalie's kitchen window. The fibre is Texel, which is predominantly a breed used for meat, but it also has a usable fleece. The staple length is similar to BFL, but it's a bit coarser. So whilst not the softest fibre, it would be good for socks, hat, mittens etc...

I actually plan to make socks with this - I love the pink shades in the fibre, but not too keen on the "plant" sections in the green and browns. My Mum however (as I thought), loves it, so I'll attempt to make her a pair of socks from it.

This weekend I've also been working on my baby blanket, and I'm making some good progress:

Arsenal Starghan

I've done the first 20 rounds. My last blanket came out at 28 rounds and I think I might make this one a bit bigger. I'm on round 24 at the moment... each round is taking an hour or so - starting to border on tedious! But the sooner I get this done, the sooner I can get back to my other knitting and spinning.

Thanks goodness I have a week off now :)

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Spinning Update

Here's my spinning update I promised you! And today is good timing as I've had more fibre arrive and be purchased!

First of all, new stash :) I'm still awaiting my first shipment of the Yarn Yard Fibre Club, but that should be here tomorrow. My postman cleverly decided to deliver the post 3 hours early the other day, which meant neither of us were here. Great. But I can't wait for it to come tomorrow.

But, I did today purchase some more Yarn Yard fibre instead! I popped to Socktopus in Fulham for the first time to drop off Diane's wheel that I'd borrowed. Being me, I couldn't leave without buying something, and it was either buy some fibre for the bargain price of £10, or spend MUCH more on purchasing sock needles and sock yarn. Oh yes. I could have a field day in that shop :)

Here's the gorgeousness:

The Yarn Yard - Drape

70% merino, 30% silk. I'm thinking this might make a lovely main colour for the Endpaper Mitts rather than the Merino Whisper I was planning initially. Alice showed me a pair of those she was working on and they were lovely. I also got to spy on her taking photos for the March Sock Club. Gorgeous pattern and yarn - I'm totally in awe.

When I got home, my fibre that I ordered from Limegreenjelly on Etsy arrived. Jo, aka FreestyleFibres on Ravelry dyes up the most gorgeous stuff and I'm overjoyed with my order.

I ordered 2 lots of things. The first thing I noticed was how cool the bag looked with the purples and greens/blues all mixed together:

Limegreenjelly Delivery!

My first choice has a lovely added bonus - there's 120g of it, rather than just 100g.

Behold, the Pink Cashmere:

Limegreenjelly - Pink Cashmere

It's a blend of 50% superfine merino, 25% cashmere, and 25% silk. As you can see, it's in beautiful shades of purple, pink and charcoal. Love it. Don't know what I'm going to make from it, as right now I just want to pet and snuggle it. Probably something laceweight? Would be very warm and soft.

And because I can't just buy one thing, I bought something to make socks for Trev from. He picked the fibre himself - there were several he liked, but he liked this one best. It's 2 braids of 70% superfine merino and 30% silk which I think if plied properly, will make a beautiful stripy sock yarn.

Experiment No. 6:

Limegreenjelly - Experiment No. 6

Limegreenjelly - Experiment No. 6

Limegreenjelly - Experiment No. 6

And here's a shot of all my new fibre all snuggled together:

New fibre!

So, now onto the spinning I did a week and a bit ago. I was spinning some more samples of my Ixchelbunny Angorino, to try and decide what to do with it and I was ending up with the most beautiful 40wpi singles:

Ixchel Angorino Singles

Ixchel Angorino Singles

Here's some spindle porn taken whilst spinning:

Bosworth Mini Rosewood

Bosworth Mini Rosewood

Bosworth Mini Rosewood

Definitely my favouritest spindle in the world! Until my Pink Ivory Mini with Ebony shaft arrives, that is.

Now, despite having spun up all these tests, I'm no closer to deciding what I want to do with all this fibre! I think some might be turned into socks, and then maybe some into laceweight for something.

Here's my little 2 ply sample (which unfortunately ended up under-plied (see third pic) as the single sat for a few days before I plied it, although I know how to fix that now) and what I turned it into.

Ixchel Angorino Lace sample

Ixchel Angorino Lace sample

Ixchel Angorino Lace sample

Handspun Fan Bookmark

Handspun Fan Bookmark

Used a 2.5mm crochet hook and so it's come out proportionately bigger than my thread bookmark. I think the yarn has come out thicker than thread, but not by much.

Funny how much I enjoy spinning with my spindles. I think I can continue spinning 40wpi singles and then 3 ply them into sockweight, which is perfect!

Really enjoying this spinning malarkey :) Now just to get better at it!