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:
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.
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.
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...
16 hours ago