Friday, August 22, 2008

Still kickin'

We had a great time at the South Australian State Titles for Western Action shooting. It was well organized, the food was top notch, and everything but the weather was great. The rain did hold off, for the most part, but there was this bitterly cold and gusty wind that at times made things darned uncomfy. I wore the pancho I had knit for just such occasions, made with three 8 ply strands of yarn held together. It sheds water beautifully, and it as warm as it gets. I only regretted that I hadn't made a body length sarape instead. I had a nice toasty upper body, but below the waistline, I was freezing. Perhaps I'll do that sometime down the track.

I won the silver medal in my division, which is a neat thing, but has more to do with who DIDN'T shoot well, or in my division, than it does with any prowress with guns that I might be said to possess. While I no longer provide comic relief with my shooting skills, I am far and away from being a talented shot, and still further away from being the most talented shot at these events. Some of the competitors live eat and breathe this stuff (taking it every bit as seriously as I do my knitting)and they practice far more than I do. I tend to think of this as all good fun, and probably wouldn't like it nearly so much if I became competitive. Still, silver is silver, and I'm happy to have it.

I can't say I got a lot of knitting done over the weekend. I didn't work on my Peace in the Hood (CPH) at all. I dedicated what little time I had for knitting to the "Thank god they're not Black" socks I'm knitting for Chris (with the Widdershin's heel). I pretty much finished the foot, up to where I need to start the gusset increases.

After I got back from the shoot, I laid the socks down and picked up the "Peace in the Hood" sleeve, which I managed to finish off yesterday.

I've cast on again for the other sleeve, and knit a couple of rows of the ribbing. I debated whether or not to do this, but given the sock is critically close to the heel, I thought I better. I NEVER knit heels at work, or anywhere other than when I can find a nice quiet undisturbed moment...which means at home when DH is gone somewhere. I need peace and quiet to concentrate and get it right the first time, as tinking back those tiny gauged stitches drives me to distraction, and I have the attention span of a gnat, so interuptions throw me for a loop.

There's another reason why I was reluctant to cast on the other sleeve. It's time to start knitting mom's Christmas jumper. I won't say too much about that for now, as I haven't decided yet just how much info I want mom to have about what I'm doing, and mom is one of my (possibly my only) dedicated readers. I will only say that I'm well into the planning stage for that, and need to do some swatches in the next few days to determine gauge and also fiddle with gauge to get a good fabric with a nice drape to it. That, in turn, will help me determine the pattern I will use and the amount of yarn I will need for the long haul.

Just bear in mind, I have a mystery project going on in the background, so results that I can post here will be skimpy for the near future. Actually, I may have several going on, given Christmas is coming up. Could be dry days ahead for the blog.

The other day, DH said: "You know, I can't help noticing you are running out of storage space for all that yarn". Of course, a bit of panic swelled my throat shut. I thought 'Ok, this is it. This is where he starts telling me to stop buying so much wool.' Then he continued "Here in this sale paper, there's a cabinet that we could put out in the shed, and it's on sale for $99". Dear, dear man. I reckon he's a keeper.

Yesterday, after I got off work, I went over to Marion shopping center and hung out with the other vagrants until the shops opened. K-mart opens first, so I used that opportunity to get me some of those bags that you can put stuff in and then vaccum the air out so that they will take up less space. I've heard they are great for yarn, and even though 6 of them were $30, they are still cheaper than that cabinet for the shed. Besides, they'd be handy for other things as well, if, in the end, I decided to reduce my stash a bit. (Ok, I do realize how absurd this sounds, but it potentially could happen.) With the cabinet idea, I was worried about the moths and other critters that get into the shed. But with the bags, well, if we were to get the cabinet, then I could put everything in vaccum sealed bags, THEN put it in the cabinet, thereby tripling the storage space in the cabinet and protecting my precious yarn (I realize this outcome is more likely than an actual stash reduction). Besides, I think that sucking the air out of the bags full of yarn does count as an actual stash reduction.

Anyway, I hung out at the mall until just before ten o'clock, and then went to the Walking Wheel studios, which is the local spinning shop in Adelaide. Nice place, that. I picked up, among other things, the much needed Niddy Noddy for skeining my future spun creations, two more bobbins for my spinning wheel (realizing rather quickly that 4 were not enough for one with a short attention span such as I have), and 600g of natural, white, utterly dyeable corridale.

The long fiber's make it appear quite spinner friendly, and now I can't wait to get the dyepot out. I have sooo much to dye now, what with this corridale and the merino and sock yarn I got from Jane.

I'm wanting to try my hand at some natural dyeing, and might just give it a go on some of this, providing I can accumulate the proper ingredients and mordants. The mordants are the hardest part. Just where does one buy alum? A good chemist, according to one book on the subject, but really, I don't remember seeing "alum" on the shelves of the local Amcal. The plants and such should be fairly easy, and something that DH can be drafted into doing for me, or at least helping me with. There's a good article in the latest YARN magazine about natural dyeing with Eucalyptus leaves, which are certainly plentiful. Apparently onion skins are good, and so are walnut shells. The possibilities are endless, but of course, first I must figure out what I'm doing.

Meanwhile, mom tells me that my knit pick needles have arrived at her place. She's away working right now, but early next week when she gets back home, she will forward them and another load of koolaid to me, so I will have plenty to dye with then, even if I don't get the "natural" stuff figured out soon.

Last night, I finished spinning the rest of my blue silk.

So that does it for the silk. Now I have to spin the pink and the blue matching wool up, and then ply them together and see what I can make of it. I need the same lengths of both, and as the silk is much more dense than the wool, I'm pretty sure I will have to spin, volume wise, much more wool to match the length of the silk. Well, I'll just spin what I have and see what happens. Tonight, the wool spinning fun begins, but I'm not counting on any quick results. I'm starting out on 4 nights straight at work, so time will be a premium until my "two whole days in a row" off, which starts Tuesday.

Until then.


Tracy said...

Hi Button!
Congratulations on the Silver. Love your spinning. I so need to visit the Walking Wheel and work out how to spin. I now have two spinning wheels and still no idea! Catch you around Rav
Hugs and congrats again

Rosie said...

You have been busy!

I am impressed with your silver medal. I've never even handled a gun, much less aimed one in the right direction and hit a target.

DH's socks are looking pretty good, I must give toe up a try one day.

I *love* your stash reduction method, it's gotta be one of the best I've heard. I wonder if that would work on my DH. He thinks I have plenty of yarn, and why do I keep buying more - even when Spotlight have it on sale for 50c a ball. Silly man, he just doesn't understand.

It could be worth a wander into your local chemist and an ask if they sell Alum. If they don't, ask them where you could buy it, coz your information tells you that the chemist stocks it. I recall some preservative I needed for home made lemon cordial came from the chemist. Boy, did I feel silly on my first trip there asking for it. But they did sell it, it was behind the counter in the pharmacy section - it came in a plastic vial.

Your spinning is looking lovely, I'm sure you'll be putting those extra bobbins to good use very soon.

PS: your mom isn't the only person who regularly reads your blog. :-P

Anonymous said...

Congrats...Dear Daughter, on your Silver Medal! Do you need me to send you alum, or is it legal to send from the states?? I will get your pkg mailed by Tue next week, hopefully. Love your Blogs...and yes, I read them all!
Love, MOM