Sunday, 22 February 2009

CPH Back!

Finished the back of my CPH last week, but after blocking it, it took a while to dry and this is the first chance I've had to take pics. Unfortunately because I used clothes pegs to pin it into place there are a few flat bits, which will hopefully even out once I block the whole thing after seaming etc.

Finished CPH Back

Please excuse my clothes - it's Sunday and I'm slobbing around! I also don't look this large normally - I promise. It's the angle Trev's taken the photo from. Honest.

I also managed to finish spinning up the stuff I was doing on my Bossie this week. Seemed like it was taking me forever to do the single and I thought the spindle was getting relatively full. However I've taken it off and Navajo plied it, and there's only about 17 yards. Bit disappointing! It's about worsted weight - approx 9 wpi I reckon.

I'm going to try and spin up the yarn to make the Endpaper Mitts. I have the pretty merino Whisper that I wanted to use for something, and I think this and the white merino I have will be perfect for a pair. I've been told that 2 ply is best for this, but I still need to get my singles down to about 32wpi.

In other spinning news this week, I'm going to attempt some dyeing! Diane has a really useful post on how to dye in your oven which I'm going to use as my instructions. I've got some more plain Corriedale I can use (need to keep my white merino white, to use for my mitts) for dyeing and can maybe buy some more plain stuff as it's so cheap if my first attempt goes well. I'll pick up some cheap equipment from Tesco so I have dedicated dyeing bits.

My other bit of news is that Diane is going to lend me her Ashford Joy whilst she's in Australia! She goes away next week until April and she's said I can borrow it until then. I have to make sure it's back as soon as she gets home, but that should be fine :) Although given my first attempts at spinning on the Joy last time, I'm not filled with confidence, but I should be ok with practice. Might try and spin up the Endpaper yarn on the wheel. I love my spindles and I'm happy with the yarn I can spin, but it just takes so long! I know that's down to practice and I'm sure I'll get there, but right now I just want to be spinning more than 30 yards a time.

I reskeined all my yarn so far so you can see it a bit better:

Mini skeins of all handspun

Mini skeins of 4 most recent

Mini skein of Corriedale

Mini skein of Corriedale

I've not taken any pics of my most recent Navajo attempt. I'm quite happy with it (could be more consistent, as always) so will take some pics when I can.

I've also been promised some dye from Diane and some fibre from Sarah, so this week should be a very interesting one in terms of crafting!

Friday, 13 February 2009

I still hate Royal Mail... just a little less!

After my ranting and railing last week about Royal Mail, they bought me a couple of presents this week.

The first was a book - Spinning in the Old Way by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts. Bought this as a bit of a reference guide for my spindling. Especially good since the book focused on top-whorl spindles, which are the only sort I have.

The second present came on Wednesday. Unfortunately I got home from work very late on Wednesday and we were very late coming home yesterday (more snow - so lots of road accidents and we got stopped by an accident ahead of us at one point and had to walk part way home) so I didn't have the chance to play until today.

Behold my gorgeous Bosworth Midi in Zebrawood:

Bosworth Midi Zebrawood

Bosworth Midi Zebrawood

Bosworth Midi Zebrawood

Bosworth Midi Zebrawood

Bosworth Midi Zebrawood

Bosworth Midi Zebrawood

Bosworth Midi Zebrawood

Bosworth Midi Zebrawood

Bosworth Midi Zebrawood

Lots of pictures I know, but I went slightly crazy trying to find the perfect picture and showing off the gorgeous wood to best advantage.

The fibre in the picture is my Whisper merino that I bought from World of Wool. I'll need to buy myself some more yummy fibre to pose my Rosewood Mini with, when it comes. I've already set up a whole Flickr set for my Bossies as I plan to own many more and just add to it in future :)

Here's also a couple of pics at my first attempt spinning on it. It seemed to want to spin finer yarn than I tried initially - to begin with I think I was trying to spin too thickly and it kept wanting to backspin on me. With thinner yarn, it seems much happier. Tried to improve my drafting technique a bit and make things more consistent and I seem to be getting there slowly.

This is probably slightly overplied (I used the Andean bracelet technique to 2-ply it) but washing and whacking should sort that out.

There's only 4-5 yards of what looks like fingering weight, wound up into a mini-skein, and it does look more consistent now it's plied (apart from my overplied bits) but it shows progress at least.

First yarn spun on Bossie!

First yarn spun on Bossie!

Read a slightly worrying post today in which someone talks about a book where the author reckons it takes 10,000 hours of practice before someone can attain true mastery of something. That's 2.5 hours every day for 10 years. I really hope it doesn't take me that long!

Had the day off today, so now I've done some spinning I'm going to do a bit more knitting on my CPH (want to get the back finished this weekend and then start on both fronts together) and maybe do some more spinning later on tonight. Been a lovely day off so far!

Saturday, 7 February 2009

A Hat Fit For A Husbeast!

Been a little while since I blogged. Not been much going on in our household, knitting or otherwise until this week. Picked up some more yarn to finally make the pair of gloves my Mum has been nagging me for (she'll get these and then that's IT!) and at last got around to knitting my first hat.

Trev's been after a warmer hat for a while - as much as he loves the crocheted beanies I've made for him they're not desperately warm, and since the 100% wool ones grew when I washed them (doh!) he's not had a warm hat to wear. So on Thursday, when it snowed really badly overnight and I couldn't get to work, he looked like this when we went out for a walk:

Snow Day 5th Feb 2009!

Snow Day 5th Feb 2009!

I was warm - although something about the snow makes my hair look red instead of blonde:

Snow Day 5th Feb 2009!

Here's some more pics of the snow we were blessed with - easily 5-6 inches of snow. Cool.

Snow Day 5th Feb 2009!

Snow Day 5th Feb 2009!

Snow Day 5th Feb 2009!

Snow Day 5th Feb 2009!

Snow Day 5th Feb 2009!

Snow Day 5th Feb 2009!

So yeah, it was pretty bad! I had been laughing earlier in the week at the snow London had - how it brought everything grinding to a halt, but that in Peterborough we were fine. This was my office roof on Monday morning:

Snow!

I think the snow got it's own back on me for laughing.

So today, I finished this for Trev:

A Hat Fit For A Husbeast

A Hat Fit For A Husbeast

Based on the A Hat Fit For A Boyfriend pattern, I followed it as much as I was able considering I was using chunky yarn instead of aran. Cast on only 80 stitches instead of 100, and used 6.0mm needles instead of 5.0mm. As I don't have a 16 inch circular, I magic-looped the whole thing using my Knitpicks Harmony Interchangeables. I did about 6 and a bit inches before starting the decreases, making this a bit longer as well.

The one thing I'm not happy with is how weird the stripes look on the purl sections. I used up one ball of each colour, pretty much, so I still have one ball of each left. I may try making another hat with larger colour sections and seeing if that looks better.

Also did my first attempt at Navajo plying on my spindle the other day. Didn't go very well - I understand there's meant to be little lumps where you start a new chain, but mine were quite big. I'm sure it's just a practice thing, but I need to do a "proper" 3-ply and see which I prefer. Both have their uses I'm sure. No pic of the attempt, as it's too pathetic for public viewing!

Also been trying to buy some new spindle goodies. I bought a Zebrawood Midi Bosworth Spindle over a week ago now, and thanks to the incompetence of Royal Mail trying to initially deliver it on Trev's first day at work (the first day that he will no longer be at home for the post - geniuses!) and then not turning up with it today like they were meant to, despite delivering post in the worse snow yesterday, it's not here.

So I've consoled myself with ordering another special spindle off the February list. I already have a Moosie on the way, which will come in December, but I've asked for a Rosewood Mini with a Bloodwood shaft. Hope to have it here by the end of the month.

Anybody wondering what the hell I am on about can find out more info here. Spindles are for spinning yarn by hand.

And finally, unfortunately, we had some bad news. Trev found out on Wednesday (after a tough first day at work, bless him) that his mum has advanced pancreatic cancer. Over the last few days we've found out more information. It's spread to the liver, which makes it terminal, rather than curable. And his mum is in the 85% of people who can't be operated upon. It's only been there about 2 months, so it's very aggressive :( She'd been very sick - constantly vomiting and unable to keep any food down. Unless this improves, she won't be able to start chemo and that shortens the prognosis. In any case it isn't great :(

We were going to try and see her on Thursday, but with the snow, we couldn't get to town as the buses weren't running, and neither were cars/taxis. Trev's hoping to go and see her next Friday. His work are very good about him having had the last 2 days off - his manager has been in a similar situation with her mum but wasn't able to see her before she died, so she's been very sympathetic which is lovely.

Trev isn't great and I'm doing what I can, but just feel totally useless, as there isn't really anything I CAN do.

Sorry if I have depressed you all - wasn't the intention. Just good to talk about it. Hopefully the amount of pretty (hopefully) pictures before this help a bit :)