Sunday, 25 April 2010

I have a wheel!

I am the proud owner of my first spinning wheel. I've bought it from our housemate and it's a Kromski Mazurka in Walnut. She did me a fantastic deal on her wheel, as well as some books and fibre that I couldn't turn down. Especially since I'd been playing with the wheel for the last week or so and just seemed to click with it.

Kromski Mazurka

I promise I'll take some better pictures soon!

I've already been a little productive with it. I spun up some Ixchel Bunny Angora/BFL that was a club package last year into some terribly plied aran weight-ish yarn. I spun a single and then chain-plied it very badly using Sarah Anderson's technique here. The way she does it is brilliant - my use of it, less so. But I have a few ideas for how to improve it next time, so it's all good.

Ixchel Fibre Club #2 - Shipment 3

Initially this came out a bit overplied - ran it back through the wheel to remove some twist and now it hangs perfectly level. It has plenty of overtwisted and kinky bits in it, where the yarn got tangled up, but for a first proper wheel attempt, it's not bad.

Ixchel Fibre Club #2 - Shipment 3

Took 3 hours to spin the singles, and probably about another hour to ply.

Full skein info:

Singles: approx 20-24wpi
Spun: semi-worsted (I think) - used short forward draw but didn’t smooth twist back into yarn
Plied yarn: chain-plied using Sarah Anderson’s video technique
Finishing: hot water, whacking & snapping
Finished yarn: 10wpi - 103 yards

Spun on: Kromski Mazurka
Started: 16th April 2010
Finished: 21st April 2010

I have another project on the wheel already. Spinning up more club fibre, this time from the Yarn Yard, last year. It's Peregrine fibre (25% nylon 75% superwash merino) in a colour way called Red Squirrel. I was planning to make this into sock fibre, but it seems to want to be laceweight, so that's what I'm going for.

Getting a lot of colours from a top that wasn't actually that varied. Didn't think I'd like it, but it's growing on me.

The Yarn Yard - Fibre Club May 2009

Yarn Yard - Red Squirrel - WIP

Got about another 4 in progress spinning projects that I think I might finish up on the wheel. Two are laceweight (Hobbledehoy batt and LGJ 800 yard challenge fibre) and two are thicker (Spunky Eclectic Romney Socks and Spunky Club DK) - so I'm hopefully in for a very productive few weeks if I can resist the lure of other fibre. Only got 4 bobbins, so I need to be relatively disciplined with how I spin. Will be nice not to have any more unfinished projects lurking around! Will then spin up some thicker stuff, as all this laceweight is taking me forever.

And in other news, we are actually moving house again in less than a week! Long story, and I'll have more info next week after we've moved in, but we've found an amazing house just around the corner which is huge and an absolute bargain to boot. Really looking forward to it. Already got a spot for the wheel picked out :)

Hope everyone had amazing weekends! Only a few more sleeps till the bank holiday weekend.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Finished Objects & A Trunk Show

Been a busy week! Can't believe that it's almost time for me to go back to work. But I feel like I've got a lot done.

Had to reorganise my stash bookcase today as I had a few new arrivals (more below). Always very scary to see how much you actually DO HAVE when you lay it all out on the bed and see it all in one place. Hmmm. But it's all packed away again now and I don't have to face the enormity of how much there is to use! :)

But I've got a few bits done this week. Got 2 FOs and some new fibre.

First up, the finished baby jacket:

Ribbed Baby Jacket - FO

I think my tension still looks like crap (despite blocking) and I wish I'd put the button and buttonhole further down, but overall I'm quite happy with it. Haven’t made any changes to the bottom edge, as while it curls a bit, it’s ok. I also don’t mind the curling on the cuffs - I like the way it rounds the edges and looks almost intentional!

Followed the pattern exactly as written, except for adding a one-row buttonhole. It was the first time I’ve done it, and I used the video from Knitting Help, found here.

Only other small change was when I picked up and knit the ribbing. I picked up 3 stitches for every 4 knitted stitches/rows until I had a multiple of 4+2. Pretty happy as the ribbing lines up exactly from side to side and looks quite good.

Used mattress stitch to seam the sides (I’m pretty happy with these - the only complaint would be that the seams are a little bit bulky.

Underarm seams I knitted using a “fake grafting” technique - worked much better on one arm than the other, but came out pretty well. If you have the first SnB book, instructions are there, or I’m sure you can find something similar on Ravelry.

Used about 3.5 balls of the 5 I purchased - may use the rest to make a hat or some matching booties or something. But need to get my skates on as friend is due in 6 weeks!

Second FO is a scarf knitted from the angora laceweight yarn from Baa Ram Ewe I mentioned in a previous post. I wanted to knit it up into something lacey and lovely - Trev said the yarn reminded him of me (being pink, feminine but not too girly - HA) so it had to become something for me.

New Shell Scarf - FO

I managed to make a couple of mistakes, at the beginning and the end, on the set of YOs in the middle - typically. Overall though, I'm pretty happy with it. My cast-on was way too tight so the bottom end doesn't look as good as the top. But I hoped blocking would fix that and it has. I decided not to totally wet-block it, on the advice of Verity at the shop. Instead I pinned it out and misted it and waited for it to dry. Has definitely done the trick. Looks lovely now! Just a shame (well not really) that the weather is warming up and it's too warm to wear it now.

New Shell Scarf - FO

New Shell Scarf - FO

New Shell Scarf - FO

I bought some new fibre for the first time in ages (club fibre doesn't count!). I bought some more fibre from Limegreenjelly on Etsy - a lovely merino/camel/silk blend that looks divine:

Limegreenjelly - Too Hot to Handle

I think with this fibre I'll try a technique for turning combed top into rolags - so I can spin something light and lofty and attempt to use long draw :) Technique info can be found here.

I also went to my first knit night at Baa Ram Ewe on Thursday which also happened to be a Fyberspates Trunk Show. Jeni from Fyberspates came up to chat to us and show her wares - I resisted the charms of the yarn (although I've queued a lovely pattern that she had a sample of in her yarn - Alchemy cardigan), but succumbed to fibre. I bought some Falkland and Superwash Falkland - can't wait to spin these up.

Fyberspates Falkland

Fyberspates Falkland Superwash

Definitely want to do some more spinning. I've got more fibre stashed now than yarn - which is a MASSIVE problem :) I need to crack on with the spinning and make a dent in the stash. And definitely must NOT buy any more fibre that isn't club.

Huh, yeah. Like that's going to happen!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

A New Home

Well, it's been 4 days since we moved house and I think we're pretty much settled in now. A lot of our stuff is in storage, but what we need on a day-to-day basis has moved with us to our house-share.

Our housemate has very kindly given us the largest bedroom for all of our stuff, so I've got space for my craft bits and to have some private space to ourselves, which is great. All in all, should be brilliant until the lease ends in a few months and we all go our separate ways. We've got a few areas we are thinking of to move onto, so will be fun to do some exploring and see where we want to go.

Been doing our best to keep active, the last few days - it's very strange going from an area that is totally flat, so a place built on hills - my legs certainly need the exercise and I've probably dropped a couple of pounds already - between the walking and cooking proper food again (last 2 weeks was spent living off junk food!). Overall we're really happy. As mentioned in my last post, there's a few things I'm unsure about in terms of my new job, but it's been so long since I started anywhere new, I'm sure most of it is just nerves.

So, since we don't use a dishwasher any more (although we've brought it with us and it's in storage), I've been working on a few things to make washing up by hand more fun, more hygienic and easier.

Enter the tawashi.

Tawashi can be knitted or crocheted - it's basically the Japanese word for "scrubbing brush". Some tawashis can be used ta-washi-the-dishes, some can be used as face or body cloths. They're great because they're washable - so can be better cleaned than sponges or normal cloths. Plus they just look so cool!

My first attempt didn't come out too well. It's 100% aran weight cotton, but Trev's already earmarked it as a face scrubbie, despite it being wonky. It was made from a Japanese pattern, using charts.

Semi-Circular Tawashi

My next few were a pattern called Scrubbie Dots (check out Rav) made with doubled DK yarn, again using a 5mm hook. Made them in a few different colours of acrylic I had lying around. I have since crocheted the edges of two together using slip stitch, so I have a thicker double sided-scrubbie, but these have come out pretty good:

Scrubbie Dots

Scrubbie Dots

The third pattern is also a Japanese one for a spiral tawashi. My first attempt was rubbish, as I forgot to sc through the back loops only (so the piece has no texture) and then I couldn't figure out the finishing instructions. So instead of a spiral, I got this:

First attempt at Spiral Tawashi

Um, yeah. Second attempt was a bit better. Thanks to some useful photos on Rav, I was able to work out how to put them together. And I ended up with this little cutie:

Spiral Tawashi

I also added a little loop so we can hang it up:

Spiral Tawashi

Will definitely be making more of these spiral ones. Need to work out a way to make them even bigger for better scrubbage. Tried them out on the washing up this morning and they did really well. Want to get some very bright funky coloured yarn to make super interesting ones.

Also trying to finish off a few more projects this week before I start work. Got a few more bits and pieces to do too, like adjusting addresses and sorting out insurance etc. All takes time... and I already don't know where the time has gone since Friday! Scary.

Another update hopefully later this week :)