Wednesday, June 25, 2008

SEVERAL FOs:Reversible Lace Scarf

As I mentioned in the last post, I finished spinning the Strawberry coloured merino/tencel blend that I got from the Yarn Yard fibreclub and knitted it into a reversible lace patterned scarf. Just as well, as Natalie is posting the next parcel this morning.
This is how the scarf looked preblocked. I only had 206 yards/75g at the end and knitted up what looked like a very short scarf at 36inches. I blocked it to buggery (technical term a la Kate) and am really pleased with the result. Blocking took it to 48inches! Because it was looking so short I added a hole to pass one end through - which looked rather unsightly, so I added a pink tinged pearly button. Our neighbour Sara invited us to celebrate her 40th last night - how timely! Reckon this scarf will make an excellent presi.

Next: The completed Gotland Fibre Challenge. I knitted a sideways Woolly Wormhead pattern called CandyPi. I didn't have enough gotland yarn to make it, so I added some of maylin's purple angora goat yarn. The end result was soft but looked like a radioactive warning device! Needed someone young and hot to wear it so it went to Leah for her 21st birthday present.

Here's the finished Swallowtail Shawl - really my first lace project of any size. I did knit a cardigan years ago in 4 ply silk to wear at my wedding , which was my own design and part lace, part cable (and a very similar colour to the scarf above coincidentally). However that's so long ago (25yrs!) I can hardly remember it. And I knew nothing of blocking then. It was knitted in mini handmaiden and I love the way the colours have pooled in its tail.
Can't remember whether I posted a pic of these alpaca socks... They'll probably wear out quick as they've no nylon reinforcing the heels and toes. I used the alpaca wool mix sent me by my secret pal ages ago - from Vermont- to knit Cat Bordhi's philosopher's socks. However I realised I'd run out of the purple colour way before the end, so I decided to add some 100% cream alpaca as a 'design feature'. I was on the last stripe when I ran out of the purple - I only needed two rows worth of purple to finish the darned things (agh!). T'was then I thought of Maylin's purple dyed goat fibre - very similar colour, n'est pas? so I spun up a teeny amount for that last couple of rows. Can you tell the difference? I'm keeping these.
To finish off the list of Finished Objects for this posting: The Inga Hat. I was knitting along with Astrid - a norwegian cardigan. But it wasn't turning out for the best as I mentioned in yesterday's post. (Call them roses???) So the yarn will have to be used for other things. The first of which will be this Inga Hat. I'll keep this one too.

The last picture is of the felted flower I made in the kid's craft tent at the Contemporary Show. I stuck two size 14 needles in the middle as a couple of 'stamens' . That's my goldring spindle sitting beside it in the pot my son made at school. It was great fun and I'd like to do some more felting.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Catch up...

An entire month passed and Summer has arrived.
Here's something I DIDN'T do:

The Hyperbolic Crochet Jam at The Royal Festival Hall on Saturday last.
I was flitting up to London to collect two of the four lads who had been on a madcap mission to paddle the Thames from source into the Smoke. Two of them had never set foot in a canoe before - and one of the paddlers last paddled thirty years ago! It's a flat water paddle - but steep learning curve nevertheless. They made it to Putney.

I worked late on Friday so couldn't set out until Saturday morning - so it was midday when I got to Putney, fully intending to leave DH and next door neighbour, Chris, in the pub while I went off to join Stash and Caught Knitting at the Jamboree. I so wanted to see that c(r)-o-(chet)-ral reef in the Hayward Gallery and join the fun - but Steve and Chris looked so tired and pleaded with me to take them home so how could I ignore them? :-(
Never mind - they owe me one! So I've made sure that they'll be available to do the manhandling at the K-TOG in October (yes - we're having another one).

Couple of weekends ago I manned the Knitting and Crochet Guild Stand at the Contemporary Craft Show in Bovey Tracey for three days, ably assisted by WyeSue and Imogen, with extra help from Jen, Christine, Mary, Jay and Jill. The weather was good, considering the rain that lashed the West Country in the preceding week, but blowy - Woolly Wormhead's hats tossed gaily around the site several times before we pinned 'em down. Imogen had the most amazing victorian sock making machine and proceded to make the longest ever scarf/sock over the weekend: She will eventually chop it up into smaller scarves but we managed to stretch the result from the stand right over to the main entrance.

Here we're half way...

It's amazing how blase the British can be about such events: lots of people were oblivious and stepped right on the scarf as we stretched it out.

That's Imogen wearing her Fabulous Terry Macey linen dress checking out the enormous scarf roll with Jay and WyeSue.

Syd is ever so patient - bless him.

I also brought along the giant knitting needles DH made for me out of a couple of broomhandles and staircase nobs to play with.

- Several people of all ages and sizes had a go at knitting WyeSue's accumulated fingerknitted yarn (I'm still not sure about the glitter?!). One passerby suggested it should be an essential pastime for the pantomime Dame. Good idea.

A good time was had by all: we taught some people to knit (on giant needles as well as normal sized needles) and, of course, we fingerknitted. The crafts in the main marquee were beautiful - if a tad expensive for most pockets - but Imogen managed to get a fantastic Terry Macey linen dress at a bargain price not the least because it looked so good on her.

Alison Ellen was also exhibiting her gorgeous handknitted cardigans and hats - I was taking notes as they certainly have the 'wow' factor.
I managed to escape a couple of times during the three days - once to make a felt flower in the Children's tent (nobody noticed I was slightly larger and more wrinkly than the average customer) - and once to make an indigo dyed silk scarf and an indigo dyed index finger (where my glove had a hole).
The icecream was excellent (Thanks Christine). I finished a second BSJ in pinks for Jane's baby at the show.

ON the knitting front, I've finished spinning the Yarn Yard strawberry merino/tencel fluff and it made 75grams/206yards of fingering weight yarn - enough to do a small reversible lace scarf. Here's it on the go - it made 36 inches so I've blocked it to buggery (technical term a la Kate) and it's now drying and 48inches long. I put a hole (and a button) near one end, so I can thread one end through. It's good.
I also started Astrid's norwegian jumper knit-a-long and didn't like what I was getting. Those red blobs are supposed to be roses - and they involved carrying FOUR colours across the row. The gauge seemed too huge for the work too, so it had to go.I frogged it. Or not quite. I've started the City and Guild's handknitting course certificate 7922 (distance learning with Fiona Morris) so I need lots of samples of edges, hems, selvedges, castings on and offs for the first module. So I saved this cuff as an example of a knitted hem. Waste not want not. In the meantime, what to do with all this yarn? TO start with, an 'Inga' hat. Here's the beginnings of it:
I've nearly finished it now, and was so inspired by the idea that I've designed my own version, which has a shorter body, a six part decrease instead of three and a different pattern. I'm going to use my handspun Jacob fleece to knit it and I'll show it off when I'm done.

Oh yes - did I tell you? I've been given four Jacob sheep fleeces. Since I won't be able to cope with one, let alone four, WyeSue very kindly took one away. In exchange, she showed me how to wash it mass production style: Take one dustbin (or in my case, one old waterbutt) and fill with as hot water as possible. Boil lots of kettles. Add Washing up liquid. Add fleece. Leave until gets cold. Place fleece on makeshift rack in garden (plastic coated chicken wire balanced on bits of trellis fence and wheelbarrow) and spray liberally with hosepipe. Soak dog while at it. Leave in sun to dry and if it rains? Well, it just gets rinsed some more! Spin lots and lots and lots. Now it really wouldn't be good to leave you with this image of yukky yukky Jacob fleece soaking water.

I leave you with a picture of the first flower that my peony has produced (planted out last year - when it was just a wee slip of a thing). Much prettier.