Tuesday, 28 July 2009

My knee is killing me!

Seriously, I can see me breaking out the walking stick again for the first time in years & I really don't want to do that. Then again, 'tis my own fault since I actually did it - I did the Tour de Fleece! Yeah okay so it's not like I did anything remotely comparable to cycling around the Alps for 3 weeks but I did at least do what I set out to do.

Here's a wee round-up (copied & pasted from my rav posts 'cos I'm too lazy to type it all out again). Be warned, this is gonna be a long post :0D

Day 8

I spent yesterday arvo washing & whacking week one's output & dyeing up this -


100g of 25.5 micron merino, split in half & dyed with KoolAid. Top braid was dyed with strawberry, strawberry-kiwi & tropical punch & bottom was grape & black cherry.

The plan is to spin them separately then ply & I just spent the last 2 & a half hours spinning the first -


Complete with gratuitous coin shot :0D

Day 9

Another 2 & a half hours spinning up the second braid of KoolAid-dyed merino. I now have a pink/purple single to ply with the pink/red -


No more spinning for me today tho' unless I break out a spindle - all this treadling is bringing back an old knee problem & I *really* don't want to end up on a walking stick again. It was bad enough last time & I didn't have toddlers to chase after then :0P

Day 10

Rest day. I did spend 1 hour in the evening plying up the purple/red merino that I spun up over the weekend, mainly to free up my 3 bobbins for day 11 :0D


Day 11

Hand-carded some mystery blue fluff with some hand-painted silk top to get lots of fluffy rolags. Spent just 30 minutes spinning today as I'm trying to learn longdraw & getting very frustrated :0P

Day 12

Another 30 minutes spinning the mystery wool/silk rolags longdraw.

Day 13

Finally seem to be getting the idea of longdraw. Spent 1 hour finishing the wool/silk rolags. The plan is to spin up a textured batt tomorrow & ply the 2 together - I was never going to get an even single while attempting longdraw so am going for a textured yarn this time :0)

woolsilk single blue

Day 14

An hour & a half spinning the wool/silk/alpaca/sparkle batt. I was very meh when I saw this & the wool/silk from yesterday side by side OTB but had to ply anyway to free up the bobbins (since I only have 3 :0D). I'm glad I did 'cos I love the finished yarn. It's aran to chunky weight, soft & squishy & I suspect will be very warm. Roughly 95 yards too so maybe enough for a hat or some wristwarmers. Took another 45 minutes to ply & I used the rest of the wool/silk single to practice navajo-ply.

chunky blue

ETA managed another hour & a half off & on through the day spinning some (possibly) merino roving that I got in a swap. Pics to follow when I find the new camera batteries :0P

Day 15

Went to Edinburgh today to get 2 year old DS a kilt & came home knackered so only managed about 30 minutes spinning. Still working on the mystery-but-probably-merino fibre.

Day 16

Much better today. Spent 2 hours finished the mystery singles then about 45 minutes plying them. This started out as 4 small braids of mystery fibre which I suspect is commercially-dyed merino. I broke each braid into 3 then stripped 'em in half & spun them into 2 singles. I had thought about chain-plying but I really wanted the colours to run into each other so 2-plied them & the result is 205 yards of roughly DK-weight which I've called Sunshiney Day -

sunshiney day

Day 17

Sort of rested (ie didn't spin) but spent 2 & a half hours carding some merino, silk & cashmere into rolags.

Day 18

Only managed about 20 minutes spinning the merino/silk/cashmere thanks to my treadling knee playing up.

Day 19

Knee still playing up so just 30 minutes today on the merino/silk/cashmere.

Day 20

Another 20 minutes *still* spinning the merino/silk/cashmere . . . am slowly losing the will to live. Decided I needed a break & spent an hour carding some chocolate merino, biscuit alpaca & toffee camel into rolags to be plied with the white single.

Then felt hungry & went off for a chocolate biscuit - Mint Clubs mmmmm.

Day 21

Had a big push & spent about 1.5 hours finishing the white merino/silk/cashmere. I've discovered that I dislike spinning natural-coloured (or at least all-white) fibre as I have the attention span of a concussed kitten & need to see the changing colours winding onto the bobbin to keep me focussed :0P

Day 22

About 30 minutes spinning the first of the merino/alpaca/camel - lush!

Day 23

Half-filled the bobbin with the merino/alpaca/camel then got impatient & decided to start plying to see what it'll look like. I don't have a jumbo flyer & am working with about 160g of fibre so this was always gonna be plied in 2 halves anyway.

I now have 170 yards of gorgeously squishy, roughly DK-weight merino/silk/cashmere/alpaca/camel (talk about overkill lol) with probably about the same length again on the first bobbin - just have to finish carding & spinning the darker fibres & I'll hopefully have enough for a really lush scarf for me me me :0D


This has actually been a really challenging week, dodgy knee & all - I have very little experience with the hand carders & with spinning from rolags so it was very slow going plus poor Daphne isn't used to being used so hard & has been protesting (I've just ordered a maintenance kit - I think she deserves it).

The Tour has been fantastic tho' & this year I actually did manage to spin every day with a pretty reasonable amount of yarn at the end of it all. I even managed to get a group shot of all my yarnz minus the very first of the tour which has already been sent off in a swap gift.

tdef 2009

See that pic in the bottom right? That's how I feel right now.

I did count up my time total t'other night & it came in at 41 hours which cannot be right so I'm gonna do it again when I have an uninterrupted 10 minutes (yeah, right) & see what the proper figure is.

It's been a great tour tho' & I'm looking forward to next year's - I'll just make damn sure I have a double treadle wheel for 2010!

I'll finish this post with my effort for the 'Creative Display' prize category on the TdeF group -


Yep, I really do need to get out more ;0)

Friday, 10 July 2009

Le Tour de Fleece Days 5-7

Day 5

I did 2 hours this morning spinning the first of a pair of gorgeous 90/10 merino/nylon batts from Colourful Designs -



And I finally got a pic of the BFL/silk from day 4 -



I'm having such fun :0D

Day 6

I didn't get a chance to spin during the day as I was out with the 2 littlies so 6:15 saw me standing at the side of the road with Daphne the Ashford Traddy waiting on the bus. Yep, you read right - the bus. Damn near caused a few accidents thanks to passing drivers rubbernecking - you'd think they'd never seen someone carrying a spinning wheel before. I headed off to knitting group, spun for the full 2 hours & finished the second merino/nylon batt so shall be plying tomorrow :0)



Day 7

I haz yarn barf!

I always spin to ply but long to spin a nice chunky single that I'll be happy to leave as a single & well, this ain't it -


Can anyone say 'overspun'?


*Braaaaaiiiinnnns! Braaaiiinnnns!*

I spent 1 & a half hours doing this. Part of me is sitting, head in hands going WTF is that? & another part is loling & going woah, cool! I'll wash & whack the hell out of it & see what happens but I suspect it'll eventually wind up plied with something commercially spun . . .

On a happier note I also spent 45 minutes plying the merino/nylon from yesterday -



I now have 256 yards of gorgeously squooshy DKish crochet-spun yarn that is destined to become a pretty scarf.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Le Tour de Fleece Days 1 - 4

Le Tour de Fleece

The aim - spin a little (or a lot) every day of the Tour de France. If you can co-ordinate it with the race itself (ie spin something challenging during the difficult mountain stages) so much the better.

So I'm taking part again & hopefully this year I'll stick to it. Last year I lasted 3 days so I've already beat my previous record :0D

My goals

1) spin up as much of my sadly neglected stash as possible
2) learn to spin proper longdraw (my usual method is a short backwards draw)
3) spin some different fibres (silk, alpaca, etc as well as wools I've never spun before)

I'm so chuffed - I'd lost my spinning mojo early in the year & from January had only spun about 60g of merino in about 5 months. Since Saturday 4th July I've finished the rest of the merino & spun 100g of jacob & 100g of the BFL/silk. I'm spinning for Team LSG (lazy, stupid & godless) on ravelry & am posting my daily progress there. Since I definitely embody the 'L' in our title I'm just gonna cut & paste my rav posts :0D

Day 1

I just spent the last 3 hours spinning up the last 40g or so of this -


merino from Halona Yarns.

I've hardly spun at all this year & I'm pretty sure this has been OTB since before xmas. Since I only have the 3 bobbins I'm gonna have to ply tomorrow before I can spin anything else & since 1 has been relaxing for about 6 months & the other is only just spun & springy as fk it should be an interesting experience . . .

Day 2

I plied the Halona Yarns merino from yesterday (took about 2 hours) -


close up -

heathered hills close

There was a wee bit left on one bobbin & being the kind of person who can't bear to see anything go to waste (hey, I'm a Scot) I plied some of it with a wee bit of merino then n-plied the rest -


Once my bobbins were freed up I spent another 2 & a half hours spinning up the first half of some kettle dyed jacob humbug from Shunklies on etsy -


and here's the other half ready to go tomorrow -


So all in all that's 4 & a half hours spinning for me today (& no housework :0P).

Day 3

Spent an hour spinning up the rest of the jacob humbug from Shunklies -


I was trying to spin thicker but am finding it really difficult - I managed a little bit thicker but not much :0S

Am not sure whether to n-ply (which was the original plan) or head up to the Mad Crafter for a big spool of shiny thread & ply with that instead. It was lovely to spin 'cos the roving was quite skinny - I just opened up the end & spun the whole length as it was, undoing loops as I went to keep the colour progression.

I'll hopefully get more spinning done later but I guess I better do some housewifely stuff now (sigh).

ETA - I was too L to go up town so decided just to n-ply & got exactly what I'd been hoping for when I started - 111 yards of heavy worsted to chunky with a definite colour progression. Only fly in the ointment is that I couldn't fit it all on one one bobbin when plying - I wants a jumbo flyer! {stamps foot}

It took 40 minutes to ply so that's 1 hour 40 for me today. Suppose I'd better do some knitting tonight . . .

pics -




& OMG you guys! I unwound yesterday's bobbin (merino from Halona Yarns) & discovered the best spinning I've ever done! 360 yards at 14 WPI & the most even I've done to date -


I haz a happy :0D

aaaaand finally -


another 2 hours spinning 50g of BFL/silk in blackberries that I received in the 2nd UK spinners group swap. That's the 1st bobbin done so I plan to spin the other 50g tomorrow & ply 'em together. This has been S-spun & will be Z-plied as it's for a crocheter.

I'm done for the day now - my a^se is square :0P

Day 4

So far have spent 1 hour 15 minutes spinning more of the BFL/silk -



Not sure if I'll get much more done today as I have a bathroom to clean then I have to go up town & the in-laws are coming for dinner tonight (spag bol so at least that's easy to make :0D).


I was too L to go up town so got in another 2 hours 20 minutes this arvo - I now have 249 yards of rather scrummy BFL/silk 2-ply :0D

I'll take pics as soon as I find DH's camera since my camera batteries just died . . .

Saturday, 30 May 2009

June CAL - Surfer Rosa Mitts


4-ply or fingering weight yarn (takes less than 25g)
3.5mm hook
4 buttons

Chain 6 & join with a slip stitch.

1) Ch2, DC2 tog into ring (counts as 1st petal), ch3, [DC 3 tog into ring, ch3] 5 times, sl st to top of 1st petal.

2) Ch2, DC 3 tog in 1st 3-ch space, ch 5, [DC 4 tog in next 3-ch space, ch5] 5 times, sl st to top of 1st petal.

3) Ch1, (does not count as st), [1 SC, 1 HDC, 7 DC, 1 HDC, 1 SC, ch1] in 1st 4-ch space, [ 1 SC, 1 HDC, 4 DC, ch 12, sl st to top of last DC worked (finger loop made), 3 DC, 1 HDC, 1 SC] in next ch space, [1 SC, 1 HDC, 7 DC, 1 HDC, 1 SC, ch1] in each 4-ch space to end, sl st to 1st SC.

4) Turn so WS is facing. Sl st to centre DC of last petal worked. Ch 4, 1 TRC in next 1-ch space, ch 4, 1 SC in centre DC of next petal, ch 4, 1 TRC in next 1-ch space, ch 4, sl st in centre DC of next petal, turn.

5) Ch 4, 5 TRC in next TRC, [ch 3, 1 DC in centre ch of next ch space] twice, ch 3, 5 TRC in next TRC, 1 TRC in base of starting ch of previous row, turn.

6) Sl st to 1st TRC of 5 TRC cluster. Ch 4 (counts as 1st TRC), TRC 4 tog, ch 5, 1DC in centre ch of next ch space, [ch 4, 1 DC in centre ch of next space] twice, ch 5, TRC 5 tog, turn.


Ch 18. 1 SC in 2nd ch from hook, 1 SC in each of next 16 ch, 1 SC in top of TRC cluster, 5 SC in next ch space, 1 SC in next DC, [4 SC in next xh space, 1 SC in next DC] twice, 5 SC in next xh space, 1 SC in top of final TRC cluster (40 SC total), turn.


Break yarn & re-attach to other end of last row worked then work as for right glove.

8) Ch 1 (does not count as st), 1 SC in each SC to end, turn.

9) Ch 1 (does not count as st), 1 SC in each of next 2 sts, ch2, skip 1 SC, 1 SC in each of next 2 SC, ch 2, skip 1 SC, 1 SC in each st to end, turn.

10) Ch 1 (does not count as st), 1 SC in each st to end, working 1 SC in each of the 2-ch spaces (40 SC), turn.

11) Ch 1 (does not count as st), 1 SC in each SC to end, turn.

12) Ch 7 (counts as 1 DC & 4 ch), [skip 3 SC, 4 DC in next SC, ch 4] 8 times, 3 DC in base of 7-ch at start of row, sl st to 3rd ch of 7 ch. You will now work in the round.


13) Sl st to 1st ch space. Ch 3 (counts as 1st DC), [2DC, 3 ch, 3 DC] in ch space, [3 DC, 3 ch, 3 DC] in each ch space to end, sl st to top of beginning ch 3, do not turn.

14) Sl st to 1st ch sp. Ch 3 (counts as 1st DC), [2 DC, 3 ch, SC in to 3rd ch from hook (picot made), 3 DC into ch space, ch 1, [3 DC, 3 ch, SC in to 3rd ch from hook, 3 DC, ch 1] into each ch space to end. Join with sl st to top of ch 3. Fasten off.

Weave in ends & sew 2 buttons to the cuff of each glove to correspond with the buttonholes made in row 9.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Rowan where's yer troosers?

I am so sick of Rowan’s trousers constantly falling down around his knees! I've tried on & off for over a year to buy him braces (belts are useless) but couldn’t find them anywhere so finally went to the craft store to buy brace clips so I could crochet him a set. While at the craft shop I discovered that they sell braces (I’d been looking in clothes shops - silly me) but by that time I had my heart set on making ‘em myself & here they are …

The back straps are static but the front straps are adjustable so these should fit him for a good long while. Mhara now wants a pink pair so I’ll probably write out the pattern as I go along in case anyone else wants to make ‘em :0)

Back view -

So far they've been a success - the combats that kept falling down around his knees on Friday have managed to stay up all day today :0)

The pics were taken yesterday in the garden - it looks like this week is gonna be our Scottish summer as it was actually hot enough to justify ice lollies -

and shades :0)

Thursday, 9 April 2009


I can't believe it's been so long since I posted! Okay so I've been kind of busy but even so I am on-line most days (well okay, make that every day - I just rarely seem to get any further than ravelry these days).

Anyway, I'm on now to show off some of what I've been up to & that is - surprise, surprise - swapping (the title possibly gave you a clue).

First up there was a beverage cosy swap on the Scot Swap forum. My partner was Manoute who sent me the coolect Dr Who-inspired knit I've ever seen (as well as a load of other goodies) - my favourite Stash Vanilla Nut Creme tea (the kettle got switched straight on), fudge & cashew nuts, 100g of Lopi Roving in a gorgeous burgundy, a lovely autumn-coloured teapot mitten (that's just like a fingerless glove - totally cool) & this -


There are no words to convey how awesomely chuffed I am to have my very own felted Dalek tea cosy. In fact I'm so thrilled I'm gonna post another pic -


The DCs love it (they're Dr Who geeks too) altho' Orson the cat is a bit bemused -


And finally a pic of my parcel in all its awsomeness -


Next up there was the Igor Thwap that the Ankh-Morpork Knitters Guild did (we had to type all our posts in Igor thpeak - I spent a long time editing posts to get rid of all those sneaky esses, a thide-effect of which wath that I occathionally thpoke like that in real life too).

Ahem! My partner this time was littlelixie, a lovely lady who, it turns out, has the same penchant for over-the-knee socks that I do. This made it very easy for us to decide at least one of the items to send :0D

Here we have a group shot -


How cool is that? I have a Yarn Junkie badge to go with my blog, wee pawprints for when I finally make myself some socks (more on that to come), a sewing kit that has already come in handy several times, knitty notecards, socks (well-worn by now - it's a good job we don't have smell-o-vision), gorgeous cotton yarn & my favourites -


coolest. bracelet. evah!

and this fantastic handmade (by littlelixie) project bag -


as well as 2 spools of pretty ribbon (both sadly now used up) & some Egyptian sweets which lasted no time at all :0D

There were actually 3 balls of the yarn but I used one to make dd3 a new hat in the hope that we may get a summer this year :0P


Thirdly we had a spinner's swap on the UK Spinners forum. This swap had strict rules - 100g of roving plus another 100g where the sender had already spun 50g & sent the handspun & the remaining 50g for her partners to spin. Janice61 was my partner for this swap -


A group shot of all the goodies - English wool tops dyed by Janice herself in beautiful spring shades, 50g of handspun merino & 50g of the unspun roving, a lush scented candle & lovely personalised gifts too - a trolley token keyring & a coaster for my cuppa.


A close-up of the yarn - is that fabulous or what? I just hope I can do justice to the rest of the roving!

Finally (yep, there's even more) we had an egg cosy swap on the Knit-Crochet Kitchen Exchange board. This was a rolling rather than a straight swap & the person sending to me was the lovely rdodo. Take a look at this -


There were 2 fabulous crocheted easter bunny cosies - rdodo's first crochet work & utterly gorgeous (even tho' she doesn't believe her hooking skillz are up to much) -


2 sweet knitted chickie baskets (complete with galaxy caramel eggs which are sadly no more as dd2 & I scoffed 'em with a cuppa :0D) -


Beautiful blue roving that I'm gonna have great fun spinning -


And a totally cool crochet book with some fabulous projects, curved needles that are gonna make sewing-up so much easier, *loads* of KoolAid & some wee choccies for the littlies who were utterly thrilled to get sweeties in the mail :0D


I loved doing all these swaps & have been absolutely spoiled by each of my partners. I'm so grateful to manoute, littlelixie, janice61 & rdodo & I hope that my victims erm swap partners loved their parcels as much as I loved mine.

Now that I've shown you all this I have to tell you that there won't be any more swap pics for a while . . . .

. . . . 'cos I'm saving myself for the big AMKG Guild Swap :0D It's gonna be huge but it's not 'til the summer so at least I have a wee while to get ready!