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Posts Tagged ‘spinning’

I started this shawl just before we headed to Europe as I wanted something simple to do in the few moments of down time between conferences and sight seeing. Then it travelled with me to Australia earlier this month and I worked on it a little more, but couldn’t finish it there because I needed my little scale to make sure that I used every last ounce (towards the end I was weighing the remaining yarn after each row to see if I had enough to do another row or if I needed to cast off). Without further ado I give you my Old Lady of Poland shawlette.

shawl1

Pattern is a free Ravelry download and can be found here: Old Man of Storr Shawlette.

I’m pleased with how it came out.

shawl4

The yarn was handspun by me quite a number of years ago (2010 according to the stash entry on Ravelry) and I don’t know why I didn’t get around to knitting it up sooner.

shawl3

It’s a merino/tencel blend from Girl on the Rocks, who has wonderful laser cut knitting and sewing notions in her etsy shop. I adore the sheep WPI tool.

I made two trips into town as the passenger today, Gorgeous Girl had a role in her school assembly this morning and so Gorgeous Man and I both went in and Friday afternoon is school pick up + grocery shopping. This meant that instead of having to deal with our awful traffic I could knit. Here’s the progress from today’s journeys.

easyhat

Using up some leftover yarn from a pair of socks knitted a very long time ago. It’s a little baby hat for charity.

I’m hoping to find some crafty time this weekend: a bit of scrapbooking (I have lots of new photos to play with) and perhaps a bit of spinning, I’m hoping to replicate some Malabrigo yarn using their fibre that I purchased in Poland. Wish me luck!

What do you have planned for the weekend?

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Last Poland Post

Rather than continue to bore you with a blow by blow description of our time in Poland I’ll make this the last post about the trip. After the conference finished Gorgeous Man and I drove to Lublin to visit the Majdanek concentration camp from World War II. It was a very sad and sobering experience, but I’m glad we made the time to pay our respects. You can read about the numbers in books, but until you see things like this

majdanek shoes

the scale is hard to visualize. This former prisoner dormitory is filled with four hundred thousand pairs of shoes, stacked in these containers. Looking at the shoes you could see the individuality of their owners, bright red shoes, white summer sandals, stern business-like shoes to be worn with a suit and the children’s shoes. Majdanek is one of the best preserved camps, plans to preserve it were put into place before the war was over. It was liberated by the Russian Army prior to the close of the war. Majdanek is close to the city and a wide variety of people were imprisoned here: Polish farmers being relocated, political prisoners, prisoners of war, prisoners of conscience and Jews.

After Lublin we drove back to Warsaw. Using the wizardry of Ravelry’s trip planner I discovered a yarn store only 2.8 kilometres from our accommodation. Getting there proved tricky and I owe a huge “Thank You” to Gorgeous Man who braved peak hour traffic, one way streets, a GPS battery going flat and Polish street signs to find our way there.

Magic Loop is a beautiful yarn store stocking a variety of fabulous yarns and fibre.

Magic loop 1

Mmmmmmalabrigo. The store is really lovely, beautifully laid out and the owner is really friendly and welcoming. A bonus for me was that she also spoke excellent English, because my Polish is non-existent.

magic loop 3

Some fibre came home with me my first visit. The next day Gorgeous Man and I were walking past the store’s block and made another stop to acquire some yarn and fibre for me to make him something special.

polish haul

Now to find a perfect patterns.

 

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It’s been a hectic time since I posted last. In summary: we’ve had 20 hours without power; lost internet twice (for a period of 4 days each time); had the car in for repairs (finally seem to have found an honest and competent mechanic, so we are rejoicing over that);  while sitting in a traffic jam I also saw the car in front of mine get sideswiped by an oncoming truck (cosmetic damage only to both vehicles, but scary to watch)…

Amongst all that and the thesis writing I’ve been chipping away at some of my projects. I pulled out the crochet blanket and re-crocheted it all. I had a variation of 5 stitches along one edge, there was no way that was going to block out. I was pretty sick of this yarn by the end of the process, but I think it was worth it in the end.

An arty shot.

I’ve also had plied yarn sitting on the wheel for about 10 days. Finally got it wound off and washed this weekend.

Superfine merino, two ply from fibre I dyed myself. It’s the same dye lot. But I managed to get the colours in one of the skeins to match a little bit better than in the other and hence it looks more vibrant. I haven’t measured wraps per inch or yardage yet.

I hope life has been a bit calmer for all of you.

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Some Spinning

Recently I finished this yarn. It’s taken a few months to do. Snatched minutes here and there. It’s a three ply. Two thicker plies of merino/silk blend and one thinner ply of pure silk onto which the beads were threaded.

Fibre was a gift from Gorgeous Man.

In cake form.

Close-up.

Now to decide what to make with it. There’s 212 metres and it’s gloriously soft.

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Today is one of the hottest days we’ve had for a while (which is saying something, because everyday is hot here…). I’m hoping the neighbours didn’t see me in a wool hat standing on the balcony taking pictures of myself.

It was bright out as well.

Looking like my big 40 birthday is rapidly approaching. I don’t wear much make up here, it just sweats off, and I definitely need a haircut, but will wait another 10 days and get it done in Western Australia.

Here’s the top of the hat. I love the colours in this yarn.

Pattern is Runway . A donation of the pattern sales goes to a worthy cause. You can find more details about my hat here. 

I did this as a KAL. I might have been a bit too speedy, so far only one person in the group has posted a progress picture… I guess I have no life…

Because I’m not just a one trick pony, there has also been some sewing going on.

Finally working up some of those many placemat panels I bought before we left South Africa.

As you can see they don’t sit square – they are printed skew on the fabric. But I’m hoping that when they are around the table individually it won’t matter. These are earmarked for Christmas gifts.

Finally, one last batch of the purple merino measured and caked up. 173 metres to 75 grams.

It’s super soft and fluffy. Since I have a whole bunch  of this colourway I’m going to need to find a big project for it.

Father’s Day here today. We started the day with a cooked breakfast and will probably go out for lunch. We can’t go out for dinner because it’s too dangerous to drive back home in the dark. Gorgeous Man and Gorgeous Girl have been down to the lake to feed the giant fish.

In other news, yesterday I went for a walk with Gorgeous Man and Gorgeous Girl.  I managed. I did start to feel a bit sore on the homeward leg – and we didn’t go far…I did have to take some anti-inflammatories when we got home, but there were no major repercussions this morning. So I can see progress happening slowly.

This year we’ve planted a little garden. We’ve put in tomatoes, cucumber, rock melon, and courgettes. When I find some pots so that it can grow in the shade we’ll plant some basil. One thing that is a surprise to us is how fast things grow. The cucumbers came up three days after planting and I swear you can see them get bigger from one day to the next. I’ll take some pictures this afternoon when things cool down a little.

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When I got my first spinning wheel way back in 2008 I had no idea that there were people out there who dyed and sold fibre for spinning. So a friend and I bought 10 kilos of combed top (prepared wool), we divided it up and did some dyeing. Then I discovered the very talented Carle at Nurturing Fibres   and a lot of the fibre that I dyed sat unspun for years and years a little while. This year I’m working through my stash and that means that some of my early fibre has come to light.

I recently spun this up – it’s superfine merino fibre I dyed myself.

A side view.

This is lace weight. 112 grams and 638 metres. I’m not sure what I’m going to make with this yet.

While my stash of Nurturing Fibres fibre for spinning is running low. I do still have a massively overwhelming substantial stash of Nurturing Fibre yarns. It quickly became apparent that there was not enough merino single to finish the runway hat, so I pulled it out and started again with some Nurturing Fibre sock yarn.

I’m glad I did, the colours are lovely. I’m heading to Perth in two weeks. My friends tell me it’s still quite cold there. Given that their maximum temperature yesterday was 15 degrees C lower than here I’m going to feel cold anyway, so I’m hoping to have this finished so that I can wear it there.

One thing about living in the tropics. and only visiting cooler places occasionally, is that Gorgeous Girl outgrows her winter clothes between visits. I was looking through her clothes yesterday and realised we are going to need to spend the first day in Perth buying her some long pants and some new sweaters and long sleeved shirts. I won’t be buying anything brand name or expensive as she’ll only wear them for two weeks and then they will sit in the drawer until our winter visit to Australia next year.

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I actually finished spinning and plying this last month, but it took me a while to wash and set the yarn, and only one of the three skeins there has been measured and wound into a yarn cake.

This has turned out beautifully soft. I’m not sure what I’ll make with it just yet. It’s South African fine merino that I dyed myself way back when I first started spinning.

It doesn’t often get cool here, but occasionally the temperature drops a little. Last week Gorgeous Girl came home from school feeling a little worn out. She dragged this quilt out of the cupboard and made herself comfortable.

I think it’s the first time the little quilt has been used since it was finished last year.

 

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Playing along with the Tour de Fleece this year on Ravelry has taught me that I’m really good at spinning every day the real Tour is on (when I’m near my wheel that is), but I’m terrible at taking photos every day and uploading them to all my teams on Ravelry. I think next year I’ll spin along but I won’t join any teams.

So, on to the yarn. The first yarn I spun for the tour was this lovely merino dyed by yours truly.

(In exciting news, you can see my feet at the bottom of the photo out of focus – normal shoes…) I only had 58 grams of this (just over 2 ounces I think) and so opted to keep it as a single.

I love the way the colours have turned out.

The second yarn that was spun up is 100% camel fibre.

I opted to chain-ply this one for a bulkier yarn.

Next I knocked over some Wensleydale.

This is feels quite itchy. It hasn’t had a bath yet, but I think this skein and the other skein I spun last year will probably become a bag.

Speaking of bags. When I was in South Africa, my friend Kerin sent me some sari silk. I looked around for a while for the perfect pattern for it. Eventually I found one, but halfway through the knitting of it I realised I didn’t have enough yarn, so I made up this little bag pattern from the top of my head.

In other news, I have quilting project paralysis. You know when you are eager to start a big project, but also a bit daunted by the prospect? I have chosen a pattern/design I want to use for Gorgeous Girl’s Very Hungry Caterpillar Quilt, but the thought of all the maths I will have to do to make it work is kind of holding me in place.

Yesterday I knit a sheep’s hoof twice and pulled it back twice. Both times my fault because I can’t count, not the fault of the pattern. Perhaps tonight I need to start knitting a little earlier…

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Or rather, meet Morris’ head. I’ve finished the head on my test knit for Yarn Miracle.

I opted for safety eyes rather than French knots. Only for the simple reason that I recently used safety eyes for the first time and became quite enamoured of them.

I’ve used Elle DK yarn for his face. The head and ears are from rope yarn I spun in the very early days of my spinning career. In fact I think the brown is my first ever three ply and the whiteish grey is my first ever yarn. It’s so badly spun (over spun, over plied – that’s the three ply; underspun, underplied – grey) that I thought I’d never use this yarn, but the pattern encourages the use of odd yarn and so this is perfect for it.

Knitting hides a myriad of spinning sins :D

I have been spinning every day for the Tour de Fleece, but I’ve been very bad at taking pictures and adding them to my various groups in Ravelry.

I’m still working away on the camel.

I think I’ve spun about half of the fibre.

 

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In August I will have been blogging for 7 years. Over that time I’ve been blessed to meet people from all over the world and some of my blog readers have become true friends.

When we got back from Cairns there was a pile of post waiting for us in the mail room (all of our post gets sent to Gorgeous Man’s work). Three of the parcels were for me (the rest was magazines for Gorgeous Man and some books from Grandma for Gorgeous Girl, but I digress).

I’ve known Kate  as an online friend since I started blogging. Recently she had a destash/clean out of some of her paper crafting stash and thought of Gorgeous Girl and put together a little package for us, lots of odds and ends for Gorgeous Girl to use in her paper crafting. (This is appreciated more than you would know as crafting supplies are hard to come by here and I usually have to plan and purchase for a few months at a time when we visit Australia).

There was also a few goodies for me. I kept the maps and the text (I now have some french text to add to my pages – it will make a change from the Chinese history book I’m deconstructing!) She also included some fabric scraps. Most of these have gone straight into my strip bin to be added to my current strip quilt in process. Thank you Kate!

Recently I won a prize on Cathi’s lovely blog. I’ve been reading her blog since 2006 and we’ve become friends, though we also haven’t managed to meet in person yet. We decided to risk sending the prize to PNG and test the postal waters. Cathi, the package had been opened and resealed, but the contents seem to be intact. I can’t wait to find some time to play with these lovely things.

Doilies, wood veneers and perfect pearls! None of which I’ve had the opportunity of playing with before. Thank you so much. Cathi also quilts and so she also few in a few scraps of black and white fabric for me (I’m slowly collecting black and white prints for a scrappy log cabin quilt I have in mind) which was greatly appreciated.

Last, but not least, a new Ravelry friend recently sent me some camel fibre to try.

It went straight onto the wheel as my second Tour de Fleece spin.

It’s told me what it wants to be when it grows up, but I’m going to wait until it’s plied to see if I need to exercise the power of veto or not. Thank you so much Mazz. 

You all should totally check out her blog. She’s in Australia and does amazing things with dyes from native Australian plants.

I’m also in the process of test knitting a sheep for Yarn Miracle. Her designs are really well thought out. I think the big difference with Emily’s designs is that she makes use of directional increases and this produces a more professional look than many of the other patterns out there. This pattern is no exception. I’m hoping to get the head stuffed tonight and then move on to knitting the body. If you don’t for some inexplicable reason  knit Emily specialises in the placement of pre-knitted companion animals. 

This shameless plug helpful information is to make up for the fact that due to being unable to download the pattern while we were away I am two weeks behind the rest of the test knitters (ahem).

I have permission from the long-arm quilter to share the photos she took of my quilt. Guess you’ll be getting a blog post tomorrow as well. Don’t keel over from the shock of regular blogging! :D

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