Weak

Yesterday I started another read-through of the Yarn Harlot’s blog. This is a really bad idea for many reasons, mostly linked to my responsibilities as wife, mother and office-holder, plus the undesirability of prolonged sleep-deprivation, the twitchiness of my left eye and the lack of any real plan for work tomorrow.

Still, here’s a lovely box of wool that is gradually turning into a blanket. The colours are much more vibrant than this in real life.

image

I also have a deep urge to cast on something big and complicated in laceweight wool.
It is possible that the Yarn Harlot’s attitude to life and knitting is somewhat catching. I’m hoping the read-through won’t be a complete one. It was ok the first time because she had only been blogging for 4 years. Now it is 11 years.

Spinning around

The spinning has made progress today. I now have two full bobbins of singles of the Jacob humbug fleece, so they are ready to ply. However, I only have three bobbins so, before I could ply, I needed to clear the third bobbin. On the third bobbin I was halfway through spinning a selection of rolags using long-draw so today I finished the spinning. It was some time since I last tried long-draw and there was a bit of a learning curve to get back into it. Anyway, I ended up with this:

image

Remember how I only have three bobbins and two of them are full of Jacob? At the spinning course last year I learned Andean plying, where you wind the singles round your hand and fingers, then ply from both ends. Easier with a ball-winder.

image

Then I plied.

image

I nodded and nidded, then washed the skein. It’s not balanced, so will need another run through the wheel to add some more twist. Still, all good practice.
There is another WIP on the needles: a millamia baby blanket for a baby that is due really quite soon now. I’ve not seen my friend since she became pregnant, so the imminence has rather passed me by. Still, what baby needs a wool blanket in high summer? It will be done by autumn.
This week I’ve been rereading one of the Yarn Harlot’s books, following this post which made me both laugh and shed a tear. (I made DH read it too, but he only laughed: I don’t think he gets as emotional about knitting as I do). In fact it has been a week for thinking of excellence in writing, with the news of Terry Pratchett’s death. Pterry and the Yarn Harlot are two of the writers that I read in awe at their facility with language. Stephen Fry is up there too in the list of my favourite writers.

Two finished items

Last week on my day off I spent most of the day sourcing items for the boy’s world book day costume: he went as Asterix. Here’s the hat.

asterixhat

I had to buy a hot glue gun to make the wings. Now that is an awesome new toy.

Later in the day, I sat down with some yellow yarn and a crochet hook and came up with this:

tache

A good addition to the dressing up box. I fixed pipe cleaners to the ends of the tache, so it works rather like glasses hooking behind the ear.

In order to complete the World Book Day costume, I had to compromise on the deadline for the Fish Lips Kiss Socks, but they are done as well now, even if they weren’t ready to be opened on the significant birthday for which they were intended.

fishlips

I only have four WIPs at the moment: that must be the lowest number for some time. I have new projects all set and ready to go whenever I feel like it, but I keep being drawn to finish up the old ones. This is almost unprecedented, but I’m going with it.

I’m getting out all my WIPs today. I will sit in my chair catching up with all the tv I’ve missed this week and alternate them. The project I really want out of the way is the Amigurumi project, which I started on a whim and swiftly got bored with. I’ve a lovely crochet project waiting to go, but I won’t begin another crochet project until this one is finished. I suppose that means I had better go and work on that, since knitting and crochet projects get finished much more quickly when you work on them, rather than looking disapprovingly at them and wishing they were done.

Day off with the kids

Ah, half term. A day off with no school run, but two small people to entertain all day.
T took control of the tablet this morning and did some major work on his mixel collection, creating some really rather creative Lego bits and pieces. J has discovered scissors, so we spent some time clearing up many scraps of paper from around the living room.
I was determined to do a bit of spinning, but the kiddies weren’t really very supportive.
We went out for a walk, fully kitted out in waterproofs. J spectacularly face-planted twice, getting covered in mud and scratching her brand new glasses.
This evening, after a plateful of courgette fritters, I managed a decent amount of spinning, nearly filling the first bobbin of some Jacob tops.

image

This is the first step in my spinning project: to have two full bobbins to ply, then knit something out of it to see what it is like.
In knitting news, I’m nearly at the top of the first Fish Lips Kiss Heel sock. Oh, and a large box of Millamia yarn arrived today, ready for a secret project.

Writing letters

This month I will be mostly writing letters.  February seems to be the month for committing to writing a real old-fashioned letter every day.

There’s Lettermo, which I have joined up with.

A month of letters 2015 participant

There is also InCoWriMo. That is, of course, International Correspondence Writing Month. Tagline: One a day, every day, February.

I’m following both the sites. Lettermo doesn’t require you to post anything on Sundays, but InCoWriMo does. I’m going to get ahead of the game and write a postcard today. I sorted out a pile of nice writing paper and some things to send to keep me going for the first few days.

On the knitting front, I’ve just covered the rug in the living room in yarn, in an attempt to work out the colour scheme for the next few rows of my sock blanket scarf.

sockblanket

Apologies for the poor light and the distraction of the rug. I was working out when I last used each yarn. You can see that there are a few that haven’t appeared since near the beginning. They’ll be coming up in the next few rows.

Oh, and here’s a link to the finished swirl, which I am snuggled up in as I type.

Finishitis

Ssssh…
Keeping to my rule of finishing two projects before starting another one, I should be in the middle of a cast on. Instead, I’m knitting away on the sock blanket scarf. In fact, this evening, I’ve been sewing in ends.

image

There is something weird going on in my brain. Maybe it is because I haven’t done the seaming of the swirl, so haven’t really earned a new cast on, but then I make the rules and I think I’m finished, so what’s that all about?

Maybe I am dealing with that rare condition that the Yarn Harlot calls finishitis. Let’s make the most of it because there are three or four projects I would love to see the back of.

Lazy Saturday

There’s a certain time of day when it becomes too late to have a morning shower. Yes, it’s called the afternoon.
It was my job this morning to wrangle the children, so I got up and made them pancakes for a (late) breakfast. I caught up on a couple of weeks of Desert Island Discs while I cooked and ate, then headed for the shower, but found the window wide open. Far too cold to go in the shower, so window shut and needing to kill time until it’s warm again.
Now I’m stuck. The momentum for getting showered and dressed has gone, the morning has gone and we are expecting visitors this afternoon.
On the knitting front, I’m now 90% of the way through the swirl. The sleeves are done, just the decreases into the front bodice left. I’ve found my next project as well: a new Ysolda KAL. It started last week, but I’m trying to avoid casting on until the swirl is done. See, there is discipline in there somewhere.
Have a lovely Saturday. I’m off for a shower… probably.

2014 FO and WIP round-up

I think most of these links will only work if you have a Ravelry account. If you knit and don’t have an account, I highly recommend it.

What did I finish in 2014?

  • Handwarmers for my sister – finished on January 2nd (a late Christmas present
  • Stranded Advent Scarf – finished on January 23rd
  • Socks for Toby and some more squares on the great big sock yarn scarf. These were both for the 2014 Winter Ravellenics
  • Two (1,2)pairs of socks for Sock Madness
  • A hat for me
  • Ysoldas’s Mystery KAL shawl
  • My portable knitting project: Trillian, a small triangular scarf made of sock yarn (no picture of it finished, but it is often round my neck).
  • Socks for Sock Sniper
  • The big Auction Socks of DOOM

What do I have on the needles and what is the likelihood of completion?

  • The Swirl (50% complete). Very likely to finish the knitting. The seaming might get procrastinated.
  • The Sock blanket scarf (60% complete). Now too big to carry round as a portable knitting project, but too small to be finished. Slim chance of finishing any time soon.
  • The amigurumi project. I’ve lost interest in this. I have an elephant and half a turtle. Needs bringing to a close before I start another crochet project.
  • Some camouflage lace socks (first sock nearly done).  Highly likely to be finished. These were put aside in order to do the great big auction socks of DOOM. It was a toss-up as to whether to finish these before the swirl, but the swirl is definitely winter knitting, so these can wait.
  • Some plain socks using the Fish Lips Kiss Heel – always nice to learn a new heel. (Honesty here – I’ve just had to add this to Ravelry because I started it over the summer when I was in a hurry for a new project and never got round to adding it as a WIP). My current portable project: slowly but surely it will be finished.
  • The big cotton blanket from 2011. I think I’ve six squares completed. Let’s not kid ourselves: I may as well add this to the WIP list for the end of next year. The blanket needs to be bigger than the child it is destined for (or her dolls) and she is now 3.

The plan is to finish the swirl before starting anything else.

What is in the queue and ready to begin?

  • Color Affection: yarn wound, pattern printed
  • Kadril – pattern gifted by Beth in 2013, yarn chosen, needs winding
  • Knee-length socks for me. Yarn purchased, need to choose pattern
  • A crochet kit that I bought at Yarndale (impulse purchase because the yarn is so pretty)

    Beautiful Yarn
    Beautiful Yarn

Looking further ahead

  • I’d like to learn to fit a sweater properly
  • I’ve got a great big skein of laceweight that wants to be a big shawl
  • Spinning, perhaps even spinning for a particular project and then knitting it

New Year New Stash

Why, yes, it has been a long time since the last post. Thank you for asking.

First things first: the winner of the skein of sock yarn from the last post…

There were three comments qualifying for yarn. I couldn’t decide between them on merit, since they were all good reasons. I went to a random number generator and it said number 1 was the winner. Chronologically, the first comment was from Daisy. A skein of yarn will be heading your way soon. Seems a fair reward for getting me into this knitting malarky in the first place.

Would you like to see the loot? Of course you would. I’ve been doing a lot of show and tell sessions when knitters come to visit.

Prize Yarn

If you want to see the details, I suggest going to look at my ravelry stash, since it is all photographed and catalogued in detail.

Progress in knitting

Since the beginning of November, there has been much knitting. I had been asked for a hat and hand warmer combination for Christmas from my sister. The hat was completed in mid-November, the hand warmers just after New Year – she enjoyed trying the half-completed hand warmers on when we saw her at Christmas. The hat was a heavily adapted design and the hand warmers were a completely new design, since I couldn’t find what I wanted on Ravelry.

handwarmers
I think she likes them

Where would you go to find an expert in how to make gloves fit really well? For socks I know that Cookie A or Cat Bordhi are good to go to when you want the technical details. Is there a gloves guru?

The reason for the delay in the hand warmers was that I decided to join the Sock Madness Advent Scarf knit-along. From December 1st to 24th, I awoke each day to an email with the next section of pattern in it. It was all in 2-colour stranded knitting and I really enjoyed it. I kept up with the schedule until the 21st December, then work got really, really crazily busy so I paused. The scarf is now upstairs, blocking, before I graft it together to make an infinity scarf.

It is possible that I might have got the KAL bug because I’ve just started another one: the Ysolda Teague Follow Your Arrow Mystery Knit Along. Clue 1 was released on Monday, so if you want to join in there is still plenty of time.

Writing to deadlines

I often struggle to write when there is a specific deadline. I nearly always meet the deadline (except writing parish magazine articles), but only get going when there isn’t really enough time left to do a good job. After years of pondering this, I’ve realised that I write best early in the day, so the last couple of weeks I’ve scheduled writing sessions at 7am several mornings a week. It’s working well, but I didn’t get enough done this morning, so I’m once again facing the Saturday night grind of wringing words from my head onto the screen.

Today has, however, been a good day. P took the kids for new shoes this morning so I had the luxury of having the house to myself for nearly 3 hours. Then I drove over to Harrogate this afternoon for the open studio at the Knitting Goddess and tried my hand at hand-painting yarn. The results are drying upstairs. My trademark colour at the moment seems to be a mucky khaki green, so I tried to replicate it in yarn. Joy said that colours like that are really difficult to photograph. I concur: it really looks nothing like this.

2013-10-19 20.46.00

This photo was taken in dodgy light with the camera on my phone, so there’s no hope really. Anyway, there’s green and brown in there and quite a few specks left undyed. I think this may well add to the list of yarns in my stash to be made into garter-stitch-based shawls.

I was hoping that my next lot of Socks In Progress for Sniper would arrive today, but it was not to be. I’ve a trip planned to London for work this week, so I won’t see another postal delivery until Wednesday.

In knitting news, I’ve started a hat that has been requested for Christmas, but photos will not be published until after the recipient has approved the finished item. Everything else continues slowly.

I’d better transfer my typing skills to my work now: I’ve an 8am service to get to in the morning.