Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Byron 8

Finally finished this top for Byron, and steam blocked it at 2am on the morning of his birthday. LOL. He did appreciate it, though, and wore it for half the day, until his party at an indoor playground

The TARDIS pockets are "bigger on the inside" (the whole front bottom half is one big pocket) and it's nice and long. And cotton! I used Bendigo Woollen Mills cotton 10ply, and it's actually not too bad to knit with, but it doesn't fluff-together at all. I used 4.5mm needles on all but the hood, but if he wears a white shirt you can see the white through the moss stitch up the front.

He's not one for smiling for the camera, either, but he did have a fantastic day. A lot of people gave him Lego and things to build, and sciency things, so he's as happy as can be. :)

I also finished this Bond/Silk laceweight. Only 636 yards of N-ply laceweight this time. Hehe. It will make a very soft lace something one day, if I ever knit with it.

I'm still working on thick Holi socks, and I've started another spin. I'm also battling with this new Thing.

His name is Pepper, he's 10 weeks old, and he loves wool as much as any kitten. He's actually not too bad with it, but when he wants to Play you don't get much else done. Hehe.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Long lace at long last

All the singles, done

And then 5 hours (yes, I timed it) FIVE hours plying with my electric spinning wheel, and it was done.

To my astonishment, it was 950y long! I checked and rechecked my maths, because that couldn't be right, but sure enough: 475 wraps around a 2-yard Niddy Noddy does equal 950.

Last time I tried to spin laceweight I managed 1392y/1272m of singles per 100g, and I was pleased. But that was from a batt of mixed fibres. This one is very nicely processed South African Superfine top. And somehow it's 2544y/2076m of singles per 100g.

 It is still about 28 wraps per inch, nothing like the 50 or 80 wraps that some lace spinners get. It's fluffy, I guess, and very light. Normally I spin pretty densely. Not sure what I did, so I'm blaming the lovely fibre. And I have no idea what to make with it. Lacey patterns don't work well with stripey yarn. But I'll worry about that later.

Now, after my hand stops hurting :) I'm going to work on my other laceweight, and knit a bit more of Byron's top. Well, for the next 24 hours, anyway. Then it will be May 1, and I'll start a bunch of New Things!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

More of the same

Nobby is still going endlessly along. I split the fibre lengthways into 6, and I'm now spinning the 4th split, so I must be more than half-way. But it's taking forever.

 I could perhaps spin it slightly thinner than this, but that's when it starts to break, and the end gets lost for half an hour because it's wrapped around the bobbin and so thin it's invisible. But I think this will do.

 This is a bit of it, three strands twisted together. It's just slightly less than a millimeter, and >20 wraps per inch is considered "lace weight" by the NEWT team's standards.

Next up to spin is more 3ply laceweight... in plain brown! I love the color, but it might drive me nuts. Perhaps I could spin something colorful on the old Ashie at the same time.

Something Colorful:

Kathy's Fibres. Finn/Rose 75/25. "Nomad".

Kathy's Fibres. Autumn Club (secret...shhh.) Merino/stellina 94/6. "Autumn Shimmer".
I just got these two from Kathy, and I think they might go well together, if I'm in need of something bright.

And "more of the same", but in a good way: I managed to snag some more of the lovely "Twelve" from a destash, and two more are headed my way. Plus one called "Foggy Meadow", which would make nice socks.

That's the plan. I have lots of plans. So far NEWT 8 is going to be 7 rainbow socks (ie, one pair of red, one pair of orange, one pair of yellow...) and maybe an 8th (because it's NEWT 8). I'm planning a pair of socks each for May, June and July, too. And lots of other things I don't have time for! :)

I like the plotting, though. And the stocking up of ingredients.

Saturday, April 18, 2015


So, we came fourth. Out of four.

I guess it has to happen sometimes. It's only fair to share the House Cup, for the sake of friendly relations with the other houses, but I don't think Slytherin has ever come last since I've been there. Clearly, I have to pick up my game :)

This cheered me up a good deal, though.

A long time ago my Ravelry friend, Ness, was extolling the virtues of "Hedgehog Sock". So I acquired some to see what it was like. It was 85/15 merino/nylon, which is a pretty good mix, and the yarn was beautiful. (Haven't used it yet, though.) Then I heard about "Hedgehog Twist", which is a tougher 80/20 BFL/nylon. My kind of mix! (I'm tough on socks, it seems; they only seem to last a year or so.)

So a few months ago Convent & Chapel advertised some "Twist", and I ordered two to check it out. Instead, I got "Sock". I wrote an email saying that I'd wanted to try the "Twist" one. They wrote back saying they made an error with their listing, and it was only "Sock", and as compensation I could keep the yarn and they'd return my money, and they'd let me know when they got in some more "Twist". It was so nice of them, that I decided to buy lots of Twist when they got some more, so they could hopefully get their money back.

As it happens, I got their email on the same day as we got our tax return. :)

I also got some new fibre. From dyers participating in the Discworld Spin a long (MegaSAL)

"Death" (he's a funny character)

"Quoth the Raven" (haven't come across this character yet, but like the Poe reference.

Vetinari (another SCF one)
 As for my NEWT, it is going very slowly. This

is how far I've gotten in two weeks. I'm spinning "Nobby" as thinly as I can, but I have no idea if it's thin enough to be 3-ply laceweight. All I can do is my best, I suppose, but it's taking an age. Last April my very first laceweight was done in 7 days. Perhaps that's a good sign that I'm spinning thinner. I know I did spin 100g of "Twelve" singles, too, but this "Nobby" is still not even half done.

 Byron's top is only a few inches up.

 Most of the length there is just the front pocket. I have that on a holder, and I'm knitting the body behind it. It's much to big for his skinny butt, too, so I've decreased a few. Just have to knit round and round for a while, now.

I'm already planning my next NEWT. It's going to use up lots of sock yarn! So much easier to buy it than use it! Wonder how many socks I could knit in 4 months...

I have been plotting lots of projects for this term, which actually starts in May. I was disappointed with my low score of 987 (I only scored  under 1000 in second and first terms). It's not bad; apparently the best last term was 1383. Never gotten that much, but I'm going to try! It largely depends upon Quidditch and how much it will be worth. Lots of spinning and weaving. hehe. We'll see. Must learn to crochet some time.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Socks and Spinning

These three, completed back in March, are all Southern Cross Fibres. The first two are "Midnight" and "Paris" on BFL/silk, and the green is "Atlantic Deep" on Polwarth/silk.

So now, for a change, I'm spinning some more SCF. Polwarth/tencel in "Peacoat" and "Twelve"

Yep, they're Doctor Who theme colorways. Anyone (who is quick) can buy the "coordinating colors" each month, but you have to be in the Club to get the main colors. Last I checked, I was 149th on the waiting list. I had to buy "Twelve" from someone in America (so it's already flown there and back), but I do love the colors and the fibre. This is the one I chose to start my NEWT with, because it was my birthday and my favorite. :)

Nearly finished spinning the singles, but I have to get onto the things I said I'd spin for the first 50%, so you won't see this n4 plied for a while.

NEWT 7. I direct you to my NEWT proposal for info, but basically I'm doing 7 projects as a study of 7 characters in the Harry Potter world. I decided to study the Weasley kids.

Things to do for 50%

* Ron: Knit Byron a hooded vest (his birthday present) in cotton. Yep. He's decided wool is itchy, even the nice Madelinetosh MCN I used last year, and wants to try cotton. (And would like gloves and a hat). I got the cotton today (in a big pile of new stash!); it's blue and white, and is going to have something to do with the TARDIS. Those are my instructions. lol.

* Charlie and Percy. Spin two lots of laceweight. Both of them are also SCF. 

South African Superfine. "Nobby"

Bond/silk. "Chai Spice"

Not too bad, I think. I've said I'll try to spin a 3ply laceweight and beat my best yardage if I can. To be laceweight (according to the NEWT rules) it has to be 25 WPI. I'm aiming at 1500 yards per 100g.

Sad, the way I think of yarn in yards, now. Luckily, I'll never get the hang of ounces! hehe.

Things to do for 75%

I'm doing these two skeins of Doctor Who fibre for Fred and George. My plan is to Navajo 4-ply them both, so that I'll end up with one skein that is 3 strands of  Peacoat and 1 of  Twelve, and another skein that is 1 strand of Peacoat and 3 of Twelve. 

Things to do for 100%

Bill - Knit Fred and George's yarns into a shawl called "The age of Brass and Steel". Alternating the stripes.

Ginny - Make a sleeveless hoodie for Jasmine's birthday. Chose Paprika, in a neutral colored yarn.

And the socks are done. I did the feet first, with 2.5mm needles. Nice and dense with sport-weight (5ply) yarn.

Hehe. They're all enclosed. Then I picked up stitches like one does for an Afterthought Heel, right on those grey stripes near the top there, but knit an afterthought leg instead. Also used bigger needles, because they go faster, and I don't need the legs to dense like the soles and heels.

I'm determined to knit 15 pairs in 2015. So this is pair 2... I'm a bit behind :)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Experimenting in the lab

Thought I'd try an experiment...

ByJaZa Mecany

My plan was to make self-striping yarn (with Ye Olde Giant Skein Maneuver), but to do it three times (on the same skein) with three different sized skeins and colors, to see how they overlapped together.

First, I rolled up my skein and put it in a bowl (for easy unwinding), and, using my trusty fence post and kitchen chair, I made a 20m skein. I tied it tightly one third of the way along, rolled up the other 2/3 around my hand, and took it inside. The marked off third was dipped into cold water, vinegar, yellow dye and a tiny bit of soap, and left to heat.

Then I stretched it back onto my “big skein holder” (BSH) and balled it back up.
As soon as that was done, I reset my BSH to 12m and made a new skein. When one third was dyed blue…

ByJaZa Mecany

I stretched it back onto the BSH, balled it back up, and set about making a 30m skein.

ByJaZa Mecany

Dipped a third of that one into pink, spent about an hour untangling it (the overcooked cashmere element was getting a bit felty about the whole ordeal) and reskeined it into a Normal Skein at last!

ByJaZa Mecany

The overlaps did, of course, mix nicely into orange, purple, green and brown. Although I’m not a pastel pink sort of girl, I am looking forward to seeing how this knits up. It should have wide pink stripes, medium yellow stripes, and lots of thin blue stripes, randomly overlapping and mixing.

ByJaZa Mecany

I wonder what it will end up being? It's a bit soft for socks. I want to make something square or rectangular or tubey, to keep the stripes straight, and something for Jasmine.

Friday, March 27, 2015


In the House Cup game I play on Ravelry, the OWL for the subject of Charms is one I thought I'd never do. Your choices were: A) Knit something big and lacey, B) Spin laceweight yarn or C) Spin laceweight and use it to knit lace. Impossible to spin laceweight, and too hard to knit so much lace in only 3 months.

So, in spite of the fact that I can't actually imagine wearing this anywhere, I'm pleased to have finished this!

One Elizabeth Shawl, knit in my own laceweight handspun. Phew!

I did find it difficult to get a good photo. It's massive, detailed and see-through! The kids offered to help :)

It's almost 2m across the top, there, so a good length to wrap around your neck. The gradient didn't work out too badly, either. It took a bit of effort to block it out. I ended up folding it in half along the 'spine', because it only takes half the space (and half the pins) that way, and both sides end up looking exactly the same.

The fold is the edge you can see on the top right. The fabric of the shawl is doubled in this photo, so the fact that all the holes line up so well means I didn't make too many mistakes!

I found I got the hang of lace by the end. Almost every row was a repeat of 12 stitches, so, once I memorized that pattern and how it should line up with the rows below, I didn't need to look at the chart much. That's why the knitting went faster at the end, though the rows themselves took over an hour.

890y/814m of laceweight on 3.5mm needles
52,363 stitches

 Now I'm on holidays; 14 nights off! I'm going to get to work on some other small projects for this month, and then start NEWT 7 in April!

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