Wednesday, January 30, 2013


This little boy, who once sat under a coffee table reading Dr Seuss upside down... heading off to school tomorrow. He can't wait! (Mainly he can't wait to run around madly with his best kinder friend, Aiden, again!) For now it is 4 days a week, missing Wednesdays, until the preps get a bit more used to things.

And this independent little girl
is finally headed off to kinder for 3 days a week. By herself. She thinks that going by herself is the best thing ever!

So Zac is going to spend a bit of time on his own this year. But since his birthday last week (where he got some toys that his older siblings will not leave alone!!!!!) I think he'll cope just fine. Hehe.

As for me, I'm going to get back into some exercise. I'm going to walk around the lake, sometimes with Zachary and sometimes without, while the older ones are away. The weather is so nice, perfect for outdoor exercise, and when it gets cold again, I'll be prepared.

My fingers will be warm. They're nice merino (String Theory DK in "Delft") and so comfortable. The pattern ("17th St" by MediaPeruana (Kristen) in the blog list on the right) is simple and stylish, which she is good at. I'll be able to sit in a coffee shop and knit as soon as I've finished my 6km walk, and I won't need a hot chocolate to warm my fingers on first. (Might need one for other reasons. hehehe)

And that's the only thing I've finished this week. I've been working on Jasmine's rainbow top, and stitching icord onto the Brain of Insanity... more on that if I survive.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Summer sweaters

Happy Birthday, Zachary! Can't believe you're already three. Also, can't believe it's only been three years. And sorry about the Summer birthday jumper, which you can't wear for ages...

Not for long, anyway :)

The warm weather hasn't stopped me knitting a pair of socks, either

I made these ones using hand-dyed sock yarn. (I have some more white sock yarn waiting for me at the post office, at the moment, so it's like my birthday, too!) The self-striping thing worked out well, although I had to knit a straight tube to keep the stripe thickness even, and then pick up stitches for a heel afterwards (and chop out the grey parts to keep the heels and cuffs all-green). The afterthought heel is almost exactly the same shape as a toe, but it fits great.

I also finished a wooly hat, which is a pattern made up as I went. I knit most of the body of it (from the top down) watching "Les Miserables" at the theatre (which I saw twice and may see again, I liked it so much) and the contrast bit I did at home. (Can only knit very simple stuff without watching my hands.)

The edge was curling up, so I picked up stitches on the inside and knit a 1x1 rib facing, so it's nice and thick, non-curly, and a little tighter. Which is good, because this hat is for a 13yo, and it's going to be very slouchy! :)

Mostly, I have been doing some spinning.

I finished my Romney/alpaca for my NEWT. This is 50% alpaca from a fleece that my brother and sister-in-law gave me. I offered a knitted thing, and Kylie requested socks. After research, I discovered that 100% alpaca is not ideal for socks, because when it's stretched it doesn't bounce back, but mixing it with 50% wool does the trick. So I mixed the brown alpaca with a variety of colors from last year's Romney fleece (red, orange, white and blue) on my carder, and spun it up so that it will stripe in a subtle and random way.

130g = 313m of 3ply yarn, 20 WPI thick (fingering weight)
It's fun with batts this month. The next experiment was a little spin mixing some Jacob wool with sparkley angelina. The original was "humbug" top, which (I think) means they take all the natural colors and layer them into fibre ready-to-spin.

But carding it mixes it, of course, so the variation was pretty subtle. The sparkley bits are hard to photograph, too

50g = 54m of 3-ply
Nice and thick, this one.

Then, after chatting with some "Slytherin" friends in our little spinning thread, I decided to try "spinning woolen"

Normally -- always -- I spin "worsted". That means I stretch out the fibres between my two hands, preventing the twist from getting into the fibre until I'm ready, and then sliding my fingers back to carefully let twist in. It makes for dense yarn with very little air trapped in the yarn.

Spinning woolen means that I let twist go right up to the fibre as I stretch it. It's hard to explain, but it sure goes against the grain letting twist go up like that... yet it works. If you let a little twist in to the fibre you're stretching, it goes straight to the thinnest parts (so they won't stretch more), leaving you free to keep stretching out the thicker parts. Anyway, my yarn did end up being thick-and-thin.

Also, to spin "woolen", you have to prepare your fibre into rolags. I'm used to spinning fibre that is already brushed so that all the fibres line up. With rolags, you roll up a flattened square, and then pull fibre from the end of the roll, so the yarn you make is basically a long, thin tangle of fibres. That's what makes it airy, light and soft.

Only did 30m of 3ply, it was 40g, so it's quite thick, but spinning thin woolen yarn will take a bit of practice. As it was, I broke my single about 5 times! Noob. :)

Well, I'm off to play trains with that 3-year-old! Toot!

Monday, January 14, 2013

113 in 2013

I'm participating in the 112 in 2012 group again, although it's now been renamed. The goal is to finish 113 projects in the year. 

So far I've finished off three things. Here's Penty the Pentapus, a quick (but not so easy as I first thought) present for my 1yo niece. Bethi doesn't turn one for a few days yet, but she took possession the minute he was finished :)

Zachary's third birthday jumper, which is Owlet. I used every bit of my 3 skeins of Madelinetosh Vintage for this, except for a teeny ball that weighed less than 10g. He's happy!

(and a bit cute. Can't believe he's nearly three...)

And I sewed on all 38 button eyes the evening before I found googley-eye buttons... sigh... so I had to replace the eyes of the 5 owls on front.  Hehe.

I whipped up a scarf on the loom, using some hand-dyed merino/silk and some white BWM cotton. It's soft, and pretty big. Stats: 240g, 82 ends,  37cm wide and 276cm long (not including the fringe).

Three down, 110 to go. I have a few WIPs on the sticks, though I'm not sure I'll get my 9-10 projects done this month! Doesn't matter too much, hey, as long as I have fun.

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