Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Week off, week on

I got lots of knitting done in my 9 nights off, although it went quickly! Now I'm in the middle of 3 on, 2 off, 4 on. I finished a few spinning projects: the Valentine's Day one (Red Roses). It's soft, fat and shiny :)

  Also finished the spinning the Corriedale/tencel. It took quite a while to finish that second skein, but it ended up being 1150m of singles. Each one was spun from the light end to the dark end, and Navajo-plied to keep the gradual color change. I'm going to weave a scarf with them, and see how that turns out.

I got a bit further on with the Jaywalkers. I'm up to the start of the 5th rainbow, now, but I still have a fair way to go to finish them before the end of the month.

As for Elizabeth, I got all the way up to 56%. Here's the 50% picture I took.

It's difficult to take a picture, now, because it's much wider than my needle. It ends up being a right triangle, but you start in the center of the hypotenuse and knit outwards. So the sides of my knitting become the hypotenuse of the triangle, and the other two sides are squished onto my needles. Anyway, chart 1, 2 and 3 are in the light green, and the medium green "diamonds" are chart 4. I'm in chart 5 now, row 21, which means row 168/225 and 56%. Next row, I'll have done over 30,000 stitches.

Wonder how big it will end up being?

Anyway, it's 10:30pm, and I've wasted half the night playing on the computer :) so I'd better get back to the socks. I do have school hours to knit through tomorrow and Friday, so I should be able to finish them, and the hat, too. I'm knitting a hat, as well; forgot about that. It's dark green 5ply, very nice color, with some fluffy silvery hearts. Nearly finished. I think.

Friday, February 13, 2015

V- day

Happy Valentine's Day!

We don't worry about V day in our house, not at all, but this year I am spinning the Summer Club fibre from Kathy's Fibres, which is called "Red Roses". It's actually a mix of merino and "rose", though I understand that "rose" doesn't actually mean crushed and stretched protein fibres from rose petals, but some kind of plant-based fibre. It's soft, anyway, like silk, and is adding white flecks to the red, like bamboo does. Surprisingly, it doesn't make it pink at all (regardless of what my camera might say).

I have nine nights off work; this is the first. I'm putting a few WIPs here to see how much progress I can make in nine nights and 5 school (kid-free) days. This is the project I've been taking to work.

More Jaywalkers, because zigzags are fun! This is the yarn I dyed back in September, which was completely rainbow-stripes, and then I made a big skein and dipped 2/3 into the black. The color actually shows through the black a bit, which is hard to see here, but gives it a kind of oily-look. I like it.

 I didn't take another noodle shot, but the Elizabeth is a 2-color lump of noodles, now. I finished chart 3 (of 8), which is row 117 (of 225) and 27%. I have used 209 yards of my light green. My finished shawl (for the Charms OWL) needs to be 800y, so I might have to add a few rows at the end, but that's fine. Now I'm knitting with the middle-green, which is one ply each of the light and dark. I'm going to listen to an audiobook (Middlemarch) and see if I can get up to 30% before I fall asleep :)

Saturday, February 7, 2015


This term, in the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup, I decided to take a break from NEWT studies, and do an OWL instead. (For the Muggles, OWLs are the 5th year exams and NEWTs are the 7th year exams at Hogwarts, and, in the HPKCHC group on Ravelry, OWLs are a 3-month project and NEWTs are a 4-month project).

As soon as the "Winter" term started (January to March) I began working on Charms. The Charms OWL is about lace, something I was sure I'd never bother with. You could either spin laceweight yarn (and I would never be able to spin that thinly!) or knit lace (crazily fiddly!), or both. But I managed to spin some laceweight yarn last year, so I determined to prove to myself that I could manage the challenge of knitting with it.

The stuff is like two twisted strands of thread, and the metal needles are slippery. I can hardly do it at all, if the kids are awake, and if I make a mistake it mucks up the whole pattern! And the worst part of all???

Lace looks like NOODLES the whole time you're knitting, cooked 2-minute noodles, until right at the end, when you wet it and pin it out to dry. This is where I'm up to today, which is only 20% of the project, and represents about 20 hours of focus.

This is a photo from the pattern page:

So I have to carry on with a goal in mind, but I don't really get to see it until it's finished.

This shawl is called "Elizabeth", and it got my attention because I had just gotten a new niece called Elizabeth at the time. It's been in my queue for a few years, now! I'm only up to 20% because I needed most of January to knit a birthday jumper for Zac. Now that I have about 8 weeks to go until the deadline, I have to pull off 10% each week. So far so good. I'm getting the hang of the patterns now, too, making sure what I'm knitting lines up with the pattern below, and the rows are getting longer, so I can memorize a bit of pattern and then knit for 20 minutes without finding my place on the chart 50 times. Oh, and a chart keeper! It's just a frame with a magnetic board; it holds a magnetic strip on the line of chart you're up to, so you don't go cross-eyed trying to find your spot, and knit 2 hours before you realize you skipped a line :)

So that's my project for the quiet times, when the kids are asleep or at school, and I'm not too tired.

Other things!

I haven't written here for about a month, and that's because I felt like I hadn't gotten much done. But now that January is finished, I realize that I did, in fact, hand in several things for the game.

First! Zachary 5!

His birthday is on the 22nd, so I had 3 weeks to finish it. Only just made it, by knitting on it fairly exclusively, and badly neglecting my OWL. He knew all about it, and tried it on a few days before his birthday; the Cybermen were a surprise, however, that I duplicate-stitched on before wrapping it up.

Then, for Jasmine (as she bought me this neon-colored acrylic "yarn" for Christmas)

 A couple of hats for the chemo box (up to 13, now)

Handspun yarn (Kathy's Fibres) which she dyed in a gradient blue (light to dark) for the 'club' fibre this last Spring. I spun it end to end, and then N-plied it to keep the gradient.

 And then this spin, which is a bit of a failed experiment. I N4plied it, using a thread of silver as the 4th, just to give it shiny bits. But when I washed it the wool shrank a tiny bit... and the thread did not. When one ply is longer that the others, this happens.

LOL. Still, it might work for something...

Some dyeing. This one was done on a skein that was 28m around (so a bit fiddly) and should knit up into stripes, 16 stripes per repeat. Every second stripe is dark blue, and every other is one of 8 different colors. It's not sock yarn, but it's sport-weight cable-plied wool, so it should be tough enough.

Last knitting project is one for Byron; a TARDIS hot water bottle cover.

That's it for now. You know, I'm thinking I could have gotten a bit more lace done if I wasn't so easily distracted. Hehe. Next time: more spinning and more socks, both started, and some weaving still to come...


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