Friday, September 23, 2016

Holidays

I'm almost at the start of a three-week holiday from work; just one solitary night shift to do tomorrow night, and then a long stretch of knitting hours ahead! I did plan my holidays so they would overlap with the school holidays a bit, so next week won't be all knitting hours, but the two weeks after that should be very quiet, and hopefully productive.

This last few weeks saw the end of the boring brown ribbed socks. Thankfully, he likes wearing them and says they fit well, so maybe I'll make him another pair some day.



This meant the first 50% of my NEWT was finished, at least, what I had said I would do for 50%. The 50% mark had been "accepted", initially; when I happened to mention that I probably underestimated it, though, they suddenly they changed their minds (2 weeks before the deadline!) and I had to change my 50% goal. Luckily, I had been working on other things already, so I suggested what I'd pretty much already completed, and the new 50% mark was accepted, and now I just have to retake photos and things :S

Also finished this nice long scarf, made of sock yarn and handspun. The sock yarn was carefully warped so that the colors lined up, but in the end the handspun weft, being thicker, made it hard to notice, except on the fringe. I like to think that the colors are a bit cleaner, as there are only two colors in any one weft-row. Anyway, it's long and soft and bright. And well over 3m long :)







And now, I'm working on another spin (the Inca Gold color), another weaving project (greens and blues) and my handspun top, which I'm about 250g into. :)



Sunday, September 11, 2016

Polwarth

I didn't find much fleece to buy at Bendigo this year, but I did get about 400g of Polwarth and 600g of Corriedale to play with. For my NEWT I'm doing 5 projects (for different places or people) and this is the one for Spinners End.

Raw, washed, carded, spun


Spinners End is the dull, grey, run-down old street where Severus Snape grew up. He had a pretty grey sort of life there, too, until one Lily Evans brightened things up. For the project I'm washing and carding all the fleece, and the Polwarth will be spun, dyed and knit into something a bit warmer than a cold old street.

Carded wool, twisted into 40g rolls

So far I've washed and carded all the Polwarth, and the 400g of raw fleece ended up as 300g of batts. Then I spun up 75g into a fingering weight 3ply. I'm going to spin three skeins of about 70-80g, so I can dye them into three colors for the "3-color cashmere cowl"

Trying to spin thinly
Lovely soft stuff, this! It's got a decent yardage that would be 400y/100g (if I'd spun more).






I've also knit about 200g of my "Hogwarts" vest (which is Rosa's sleeveless cardi) and spun up a class. Tonight and tomorrow I'm going to try and finish a scarf for another class... and then I'd better get onto finishing Nathan's socks, which are the only thing left to do for my 50%  points.

Slytherin have come last again this last term. Bit sick of being last! But I did get a personal best with my points, which was, if I added right, 1634. Don't think I'll be trying to beat that for a while! Only 4 people (out of about 170 Slytherins) got more than 1000, which is a bit sad, really; hopefully we'll do better this term. I mean, my decent score didn't make much of a dent, but if everyone had gotten 80 or 90 points extra, it would have been enough to win. It's a team thing.



Monday, August 29, 2016

Little H

I have this 9yo who is quite clever, but has not really enjoyed school so far. In prep he had a teacher who seemed to never smile. In grade one, his teacher taught him to love books and to focus better, but Byron was always worried about getting growled at. In grade 2 he had two teachers, and he felt that one of them picked on him.

Teachers have the hardest job! I'm a nurse who frequently watches people die of cancer, and I know I couldn't be a teacher. All of Byron's teachers have had different good and positive influences on him and his busy brain, whether he thinks so or not, but I've never appreciated one of them as much as I have this year.

Miss H is his favorite teacher; he's told me so quite a lot. She makes school fun. He wants to go to school so much that he has hidden the fact he feels sick so we wouldn't keep him home. Sometimes, instead of schoolwork, "we play games!" he said to me once, quietly, as if he was worried about getting her into trouble. (Turned out to be maths games... lol.)

So when Miss H was leaving to have her baby, Byron wanted to give her a present. I wasn't sure when this maternity leave was starting; turned out to be Friday the 12th. I thought I'd make her a toy elephant, getting Byron to dye the wool for its jumper as a contribution, and Byron wanted me to make matching hats for Miss H and little H.

Of course, I coudn't knit for no Points in the HP game, so I organised a NEWT to include two hats, an elephant, and all the fleece I wanted to wash up.



The jumper was supposed to be "rainbow", which is apparently what she said when B asked her what her favorite color was. But we made the red and the blue too dark, so the green, orange and purple got a bit obliterated. Elijah is still a cute little thing, though. The ears!


And this pattern is a worsted weight version of the hat Hermione wears in the last HP movie. It's just nice simple cables and eyelets.

And so Byron has been to his first baby shower :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

NEWT 9

This last NEWT was a focus on Astronomy (in the HP game) with a bit of Arithmancy. For Arithmancy, I had to make at least 10 things, so I made 10 hats for the ten biggest moons. Then, for the other Astronomy part, I spun up a kilo of N4ply, most of which I'll use for a top in the next NEWT :)




All that N4ply, except for the reddish one (which I don't like much) is going towards a nice flowy Rosa for next term's NEWT. It's about DK-worsted weight, and I've already started knitting it. Loving  the colors.

Bendigo:

Bit disappointed in Bendigo this year. It seemed to me that more and more people were selling knitted things, and there were lots of shops that were just part of the usual market, I think, nothing to do with wool crafts at all. Of the fibre, it seemed to be all merino, which is kind of dull, or alpaca. So I spent almost all my money at Moseley Park, who at least had some nice colors and interesting mixes, like Rose and Bamboo. Also got two lots of fleece (and I could hardly find any; also disappointing!)

I was so disappointed, in fact, that I don't think I'll go back next year.


Finished some socks for Zachary



And spun just under 5000m for the Tour de Fleece.


And now I'm working on NEWT 10! It's a History of Magic one, where I make things to represent people/ places/ events in the Harry Potter world. The second subject is Potions, so I can wash and card the fleece I bought (only way to get points for fleece prep). I've already done the two small projects, actually, because there was a deadline, but I'll tell you that story next time ;)

Hehe







Friday, July 22, 2016

Catchup :)

It's been just about a month since I updated my knitting blog, so I've got lots of little finished things. Next 'term' of the HP game (which starts August for NEWT students) I'm going to take things a bit slower. I tend to try and make everything to get as many points as possible, but I often find that I can't "fit" the thing I wanted to make into any classes. So I'm going to make a bit less, and forget points and deadlines a bit more.

As for what I've finished in the last month:

KNITTING

These socks are done! First handspun, cranked socks.

Jasmine's 8th birthday socks. I think the dyeing here is a bit crazy, but she likes them.





I'm making some for Zac, now, and then Nathan wants some.




I finished a Wurm, with handspun between the purl sections. Wearing this one a lot.

This one is a fingering-weight cowl, made as a "MKAL". In a Mystery Knit A-Long, you only get part of the pattern at a time. I like it well enough, but for all that the patterns took a lot of effort, it does tend to just bunch up around my collar bone!





And then there's this :)

Hard to get a good photo of the whole thing, but this is my "HitchHiker" scarf, with 42 points. All the stripes seemed to stay the same width, as planned in the spinning stage, and I had a mere 8 yards of yarn left at the end! I don't quite know how to wrap it around, but it's garter stitch, and very warm and squishy :)


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SPINNING

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I've finished all my NEWT spinning, but I don't have a picture of it all together, yet. I'm still working on the last hat, so I'll do that next time.


As for other spinning, I've been playing Tour de Fleece again. I tried some of Kelly's banana fibre last month

and some Hemp this month


Both were kind of horrible to spin, but good to have a go of, just for something different. Both, but especially the banana, had tiny fibres flying up in the air like dust motes; felt like I was breathing them in and getting them in my mouth and nose. The banana fibre is soft and smooth when finished, like the Yak. The hemp is like spinning straw, but did soften a very little bit with a wash.


Like trying something new!


Then I went back to something old





South African Superfine in a colorway called "Elk Lake". I've also spun a coordinating color for it, which is a pale silver-grey semi-solid color, but it's still drying, so I don't have a picture.

Now I'm spinning some purple. I'm doing a 2ply mix of some purples, however much I can finish off before the TdF finishes. Luckily, I've had lots of time. I've been sick with a cold and fever, not enough to stop me spinning (most days) but enough to add a week to my week of annual leave.

PLANS

I'd like to do another NEWT, but I'm struggling to decide what. I got some fleece in Bendigo, and Nathan wants some socks, and I want to make Elijah for Byron's teacher (and he wants hats for her) and am feeling the need for more Jaywalkers... Not sure if I can fit those into a NEWT subject. I'll have to think about it a bit more.



 More about the last NEWT and the trip to Bendigo next time...



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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Handspun things

I think, as I normally do about two-thirds of the way through the month, that I've set myself a bit too much this month. I seem to spend a lot of time making lists and plotting how much time such-and-such will take to finish. Fortunately, it doesn't matter a whit if I do actually fail to finish a knitted thing by the end of the month; its just good to have goals and deadlines for the fun of trying to hit them.

My Hitch Hiker has stopped here, at thirty points, which is a little over half way (half-way being 28) and the stripes are looking pretty matched so far. Here's a dodgy photo of it, folded so you can see the begining (point) near the row on the needles.


I made a handspun hat for a quick class at the beginning of the month. It's a colorwork one called "Henny", and I used the "Trail Mix" spun back in Feb, the one with the purple separated out. Unfortunately I hit a dark green patch at the same time as the colorwork part, so it's not as visible as it should be, but I still like it.


I'll try it again with a better contrast, I think.

And I'm finally knitting up my "Horace the Cheese" yarn into socks. I cranked the handspun using the 54-stitch cylinder, finding it the right width, but running into a few problems. For one, the knitted fabric is a bit airy; the stitches are not tight enough, which is a problem because if you don't have dense fabric you'll wear holes in your socks in no time. But if I turned up the tightness, some of the yarn wouldn't go through, as it's a bit uneven in thickness. Problem 2: the tube ended up being 120cm long.

So I thought I'd attempt a solution to both problems by folding the end of the tube up inside. The foot, everything below the heel, is double thickness, and the toe will be added onto the fold. I've finished one sock now, knitting the live stitches to the beginning of the heel (on the bottom) and joining the live stitches to the top of the foot (on the inside). There's a bit of a bump, as I wasn't sure how to manage it while keeping the fabric stretchy, except to do my usually stretchy cast-off. But that lump will blend right in; the leg is so long that I'm going to wear it pushed down. I could pull them up near my knees, except that I failed to realize that 54 stitches, while great for my foot, was not the width of my calf.







I like the colors, though, and the way the grey (a different color of handspun Finn called Quiet Shade) matches the blue-grey parts in the tube.

I may be making socks for Jasmine, too. They're speckled with bright pink. I only have heels to go, but I'm hoping to make her a second pair for her birthday, and Byron a second pair, too. Then Zac will need a few pairs, I'm sure. He owns one sock that I made for Byron years ago, that's too small and has lost its mate, and he wears it a lot! :)







Wednesday, June 1, 2016

May

Not sure how this one came about, except that when I was searching through the stash one day I found these two yarns, side by side, and decided they looked good together. I thought, before changing my CSM cylinders over, to make a loose-gauge 72-stitch tube with alternating stripes of each, and Kitchener the ends together into a long cowl.

On my CSM I cranked 30 rounds of each color before changing, and did 660 rounds in all. I didn’t think I’d get another repeat, so I stopped at 190g. I tried to block it a bit wider than longer, and it looks good wrapped twice around my neck, but could be wrapped 3 or 4. It’s about 200cm around.


The darker orange is Hedgehog Fibres "Sock" in Rusty Nail. I think it was a freebee (ie. one that Convent and Chapel sent me by mistake, instead of the BFL/nylon mix of "Twist" which I'd asked for, and they said I could keep the "Sock" free for my trouble). This is one of the few shades of orange I really seem to like. I have some Treppenviertel socks in the Twist they sent me. The lighter orange is Shire String in "Elinor Gardiner", one I bought just because it was dyed by a Ravelry friend, though I didn't know what to do with it.

Like this orange match up quite well. Then, I changed the CSM and made another orange thing, this one hand-dyed by me, and sent both orange things to Kelly for her birthday.







Hope it's not too orange for her :)

I haven't finished too many other things for  May. I started my Order of the Phoenix Mission, which is to make a completed 42-point HitchHiker (or as close as I can get with 600y of handspun). It's very addictive... mainly just plain knitting, but it's strangely compelling to do "just one more point". This is the yarn I spun earlier this year, dividing it up so that it will  hopefully have stripes of equal thickness, in spite of the longer and longer rows.



I also tried a new weaving technique called "Clasped weft" weaving. It's addictive, too. I used 3 colors of Hedgehog Fibres Sock for this one, too, a light purple/grey for the warp, with a purple and a pale pastels  pair for the weft. Afterwards I realized they were an alliterative trio called Ghost, Grape and Granny.

(Small things... Etc. Hehe.)


I finished off some greenish spinning, too, Polwarth and Silk, and now I'm back onto the NEWT stuff again. I've got lots of spinning to do for it this month, as I've neglected it a bit in May, but it's a reasonably easy-going sort of NEWT, as they go. :)


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