Saturday, December 22, 2012

NEWT progress

Lyla's part is finished

The leaf ties are fun :) and the yarn ended up being 20WPI

I entertained the girl one hot day (it was 40C) by helping her dye up the yarn for her jumper.

I divided it into 9 skeins (about 65-70g each) and presoaked them in water and vinegar. Jasmine stood up on the chair, and I gave her the dye box, a teaspoon and a pyrex jug with a little water. She picked a color and scooped out some powder with the handle of the spoon, and put it into the jug and mixed it up. Then I gave her a dye pot full of water and she tipped in her dye. She took a skein from the bowl of wet wool (holding it by the red ties) and lowered it in. I put it on the stovetop until the dye was exhausted, then rinsed it in the sink, squeezed it out a bit and laid it on the towel. She rolled it up and stepped on it to dry, then carried them out to the washing line for me to hang.

I knitted up this tiny swatch yesterday to see if I was happy with the color order. I think I might do random stripe thickness, throwing a pair of dice, but not until March. She wanted me to start on her jumper before the yarn was even dry, so I might not make her wait until her birthday in July ;)

She had a lot of fun, anyway. Totally addicted. After dyeing the nine skeins, and then telling me how sweaty she was, she wanted to get on with doing some more. hehe.

I may have started spinning her yarn...

It's one third "sparkle". One Third. I can't photograph it right, but it glitters like a Cullen at an Aussie Christmas Barbecue ;)

Have also started the jumper for Zac...

Two sleeves to the armpits and the start of the body of Owlet. Love this color (Madelinetosh Vintage in Bark). Hope I don't run out :)

The only thing I'm *supposed* to be working on, I keep avoiding, because it has about 100 kilometers of grey icord. My friend, Telly, asked for a brain hat, because she thinks they're funny and perfect for a nursing student; both things are very true, but I cannot get enthusiastic about knitting it.

I should go do a few inches of icord now. Hmmmm..... Might do some housework instead. :)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Magizoo

In the mad silly world that is the Harry Potter Knitting/Crochet House cup, my NEWT number 2 is underway. This time I'm doing a mix of "Care of Magical Creatures" (hatching creatures from eggs) and Muggle Studies (sweaters). I put in my plan here and started on the first part.

Basically, I'm going to spin a yarn and knit a little top each month. It sounds pretty reasonable to me, actually, and I should be able to find time for other projects, I hope... or maybe I'm a bit overambitious...? Anyway, each month is dedicated to a kid, so here we are in December: Lyla.

I've proposed (to make sure it's enough work to be NEWT-worthy) fingering or sport weight n-ply. In other words, the completed three-ply yarn should be able to wrap around one inch of ruler 16-20 times (AKA 16-20 WPI). The yarn is merino with a streak of bamboo through it (30%) and it's a Kathy's Fibres job called Fantasia, which I got in Bendigo last July.

Unchained. The navajo ply should keep these color changes as they are.

The bamboo doesn't take the dye, but it does make the stuff extra soft, and it spins up kind of marled.  Pretty.

The yarn is secretly for me, not my niece, but in my NEWT this is the "egg" I'm knitting for her, because she likes the Bowtruckles, and for her Bowtruckle-y top I'm making her a Bloom. I made one for her "big" cousin, Elizabeth, in green here  and this one will be the same, only in the light brown color of Madelinetosh sport called Teddy Bear.

I can't seem to photograph the color without turning it grey :) but it's cute, anyway. I think I made the waist part a bit long (between the underarm and the skirt should be ten rows, but someone misread the instructions and did 20) and I've done three rows of lace diamonds now. I love this little dress. They fit for a long time, have sweet little cap sleeves, and look girly without being too frilly.

The plan is to give her that for Christmas, and then get an early start on Zac's January...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The end of that NEWT... phew!

NEWT socks the sixth are called Lace Cuff Anklets  and in spite of being anklets, they used more yardage than any of the other socks. That's the colorwork for you. The bottom is a simple check, so nice and thick, and the top is an argly-ish pattern from an Alice Starmore book of charts I have. Was in a colorwork mood :) but it sure slowed me down.

Having said that, I sure didn't think I'd be able to make 6 pairs of socks in 4 months with a bit of spare time left over. Hehehe. Can you see the teeny flecks of color here? That kept me amused...

The socks are actually normal sock length, as I found when I put them on the sock blocker. I put them on inside out (so as to stretch the colorwork "floats" across the back a little more). How do you like that MacGuyver-ing there? I couldn't work out how to block the colorwork and the lace at the same time, but threading some yarn through the picots and stringing it up between two chairs, with some tension, worked pretty well :)

The white is not really white. Here's a picture I took today of the original unwashed fleece, the washed and spun (undyed) yarn (except for the flecks) and a piece of plain white paper.

And now for a summary of my first NEWT :) because I'm a bit pleased with myself for this ridiculous amount of effort to make something that would cost me $10 at the supermarket... hehehe.

Raw fleece, washed and dyed, carded

ValJean: mixed in some tencel, spun it and knitted Hermione's Everyday Socks

Marius: mixed in some mohair, spun it and knitted Boot Socks

Cosette: mixed in mohair and tencel, spun it and knitted Lace Cuff Anklets

Used old handspun yarn to make Helix, Scylla and Two Yarn Resoleable Socks
 Now, I must get back to class :) since I haven't done even one this month, and cook dinner, and plan my next NEWT starting December 1!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pen Cozy Flowers

 One of the Quidditch games last month was called Endurance Training. The goal was to make at least 5 things that are the same. I decided to combine the game with a desk-themed swap, and make my swapee (Joseybug) a bunch of felted pen cosies.

I was snap-happy this day, so here is a pattern in pics :)

Needles: two 4.5mm circs
Yarns: Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed in Beanshoot, Cleckheaton Perfect Day 8ply in Natural.

Cast on 7 and knit an icord for about 25 rows. (Icord = knit 7 and push stitches to the other end of the needle. Without turning, pull the working yarn across the back and knit again. Repeat.)

Flip over and examine the loose strands across the back of the icord. Get a crochet hook and put it down under the first strand (at the cast-on end)

Twist, so the needle is pointing up to the top (where there are live stitches still on the needle)

Hook the second strand and pull it through the first. You now have the second strand alone on your hook. Hook the third strand, pull it through, hook the 4th strand, etc. right to the top.

When you run out of strands to pick up, put that loop on your needle as an 8th stitch.

Arrange the 8 stitches on two circulars. Change to white. I just knotted the two ends together and tucked them inside.

Knit into the front and back of each stitch except one, making your 8 stitches into 15. Put three on one needle and the rest aside on the second.

Working with just the three stitches, knit a petal. Start with the 3 stitches near you so the right side is underneath the petal. Row 1: kf&b, kf&b, k1 (5). Row 3: kf&b, k2, kf&b, k1 (7). Row 5: kf&b, k4, kf&b, k1 (9). Row 7: k1, ssk, k3, k2tog, k1 (7). Row 9: Cast off. Every even row is purl, though it helps to learn to do it without turning your work; saves time and isn't hard. Then run the cast off tail down to the center of the flower (down the side of the petal as pictured), leaving a reasonably long end, about 10cm.

Join the yarn again for each petal, leaving 10cm at the start and end of the petal, meeting in the center.

When you've done 5 petals, secure and knot the strands.

Then, using a darning needle, pull the ends down around the knot, down the inside of the stem, and cut them short. I brought the white yarn ends out the side of the stem about 2cm down, and then cut them all short. Felting secures it all :)

I put them all through the wash, but the petals kept curling. In the end I felted them by hand a bit, and laid them like this to dry.

I wet the center with a drop of water, and put the tiniest drop of yellow dye and vinegar onto it. I microwaved them for a short time, and let it dry. The cast on end, I just trimmed short. (Good old felting.)

For Joseybug, I ended up making these ten, which look kind of cute in a penholder or two. Voila. Desk decoration. hehehe.

Spring, or maybe Bounce :)

It's Spring here in Australia, of course, and it's been so warm lately that I even accidentally got sunburned while spinning on the old Ashey (hat-fail). The spinning was a fail, too.

It's an alpaca batt (well, a bit of one) that I got in the Kathy's fibre club, but I found it very frustrating. The batt was carded, but I couldn't seem to stop it going thick and thin. Maybe it's just me; I've never spun alpaca before, but I sure hope it's not usually like this, because I have a fleece from Matt and Kylie and some top from Kelly still unspun.

I've carded up some of M&K's fleece, mixed 50/50 with leftover NEWT Romney in a few different shades...

Brown alpaca mixed with romney in rust, natural, dark red and dark blue
 ...which will probably be spun and knit into Kylie's socks next year.

The current NEWT is not quite finished (I'm doing the heel on sock 12, and then I'll do the legs of 11 and 12 at the same time) but I'm planning the next one to start in December. The current plan is to mix Muggle Studies (jumpers) with Care of Magical Creatures (egg hatching) by spinning up 4 "eggs" and then knitting four tops to represent the animals that hatch.

And speaking of babies...!

This is the first of our Spring lambs! The mum is one of the February (?) lambs, which we didn't think was old enough to be knocked up. Teen mum. Luckily, she's done well and is looking after the lamb very well. I think she's Daisy's baby, so the new lamb is Daisy's grandlamb.

Daisy is pregnant, too, and Coffee, so more bouncy babies to come. :D

Monday, November 12, 2012

Hat Week

This week, November 3-9, the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup held a Quidditch Tournament. It wasn't open to everyone; each house had to select a team of 20 to play. I quickly volunteered, because it sounded like fun (and I wanted a week off from socks)

The aim was to make as many hats as you could in the time limit, 15 points per hat, (10 for baby hats, I think) and 5 extra points if it was going to a charity.

As it happens, I had accidentally saved up a lot of Flybuys, so I cashed them all in and spent all the money on some Malabrigo Rios :D (I also had some stashed and acquired some more from Lori at knit night.)

And since it was basically free yarn, it was perfect for Charity Hats. Besides, hats for charity should be made of nice yarn.

It was a long week! My hand got a bit sore from holding two strands together and knitting on 8mm needles. I made 15 Big Button Hats (a pattern made for a past House Cup hat challenge).

Couldn't be bothered with buttons, so I tacked down the button flap and decorated it with an X. Big enough to fit me, stretching, but a better fit for the kids. And they're all going to Tight Knit World in Melbourne, so who knows where they will end up.

Having a rest, but still in Uniform :)

* Total number of hats made by Slytherin : 426 (357 for charity)
* Total number of hats made by the 80 people in the 4 teams: 1796 (1635 for charity)
* Hufflepuff thrashed us again (they're Quidditch legends) by churning out 645 baby hats. Must have been an efficient yarn/time/points ratio! Slytherin was second (though we made the most big hats by far...)
* My hats weighed about 850g, which is 800m or so (1600m of yarn, but I held it doubled).
* I have lots of Malabrigo leftovers!
* My 2012 KnitMeter has now ticked over the 10km mark ... lol
* Clearly I was below average for Slytherin, because the average was 21. Some legends made 50 or 80 or more!

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