Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bustaroony and the Spin saga

Well, about time for a new post, I reckon, before I get more pictures than I have time to describe, and forget half of what I've done. Sometimes, when I go to do these posts, it's only the pictures that remind me of what I need to write about, so I upload them first, and work from there.

I got one more package in the mail since my last post, my lovely fibre from Woolywombat, my prize in the splinter awards for the handspun/handdyed cardi I made for my granddaughter.

She sent me some lovely dyed fibre, and some very pretty white alpaca.

She worried having a few vm in them, but really, there's little if any that I can see. I can't wait to give it a spin, but have been rather busy with the apple blossom merino I already had on the wheel. I managed to spin the merino rather consistently, which I was rather proud of, but I must say it was very well prepared. Here it is on the bobbins:

And later plyed on the Jumbo bobbin:

And the finished skein:

I'm happy with it. Don't know yet if it will become a wrap for me, or mittens and a hat for Kaitlyn. Will decide that down the track.

After I took that off the wheel, I enlisted Chris's help in FINALLY staining/varnishing my newer spinning wheel parts. Namely the jumbo whorl, the niddy noddy and a few assorted new bobbins.

I'm really proud of the way they look, and know it's better for them to be protected by the varnish, but because the whorl was wet, I didn't get much else in the way of spinning done in the next few days.

I also asked him to make me a new little stand for my extra bobbins, and he was happy to do so. (I think he was afraid if he didn't make one, I'd go buy one ;)

He did an excellent job of it, and as the bobbins will spin, I can ply from it as well. Isn't he handy??

I've also decided to buy a drum carder, a new Inwood Smith. I'm using my "economic stimulus check" for this, and given Inwood Smith is made in Australia, and Bella is my local dealer, well, it seemed right to keep the money in Australia. But there's a delay, as the manufacturer is having a bit of trouble sourcing a medium cloth, so it could take two or more weeks before I finally get ahold of it.

I'm really starting to need a spare room, or even a workshop, for all my knitting and spinning pursuits. Ah well, if we win the lottery...

Instead of putting the nice stuff I got from Jane, or the lovely batts I got from Woolywombat on the wheel, I opted for the beautiful roving I bought at the Adelaide fair months ago. I've really been wanting to spin it up, and I've been saving it for socks. It will be (when I get to that stage) my first attempt at Navaho plying. I've only just started, barely covering the bottom of the bobbin, but the colours are simply magnificent, and perfect for socks just as they are. I just can't see plying them the regular way and "barber polling them. They are too pretty for that. And right now, they are an "easy spin" which is just what I need right now to keep my nerves from exploding...or worse yet, imploding. I'm managing to get a nice thin (but strong) single out of it so far.

And here's a shot of it on the wheel...you can see the pretty roving by the wheel:

Last but not least, I have finished the left front piece of the "Bustaroony Cardi" only today, and it's looking good! Not the best picture here, but the stitchwork is good, and it's spot on row for row with the back piece, which is always a pleasure.

I've also knit up the inner pocket for the right front side today, and a few rows on the main piece so that it will be ready to go to work with me tonight. But in the meantime, which watching my TV shows tonight, I'll be back to spinning on that lovely roving.

I've also aquired a knitting friend through Ravelry who lives near by, and we are having fortnightly get togethers to spin, chat, knit, fibre prep...whatever. I'm really enjoying the company. It's wonderful to be around like minded people.

Oh, and on a shopping trip Sunday, I picked up the interchangeable knit picks set from The Button Bar in Adelaide arcade (off of Rundle mall). My original interest there was buttons, of course, and she has plenty of those to be sure, but when I found out she sold knit picks, well, then I have to pay her regular visits.

On my "to do" list in the near future: Can't wait to get that carder in. I'm also in the market for a portable spinning wheel, but no big hurry there. A DIY hackle and diz are on the agenda for sometime in the future, as well as learning how to use my combs better (although I am making some progress, and will post some pictures as soon as I get it right). Plus, I need some socks on the needles, but I'm tossed up between a couple of patterns I've seen in Interweave. No big hurry there though, as I'm enjoying the progress I'm making on the Bustaroony Cardi, what with it being my only WIP at the moment.

We're also planning our trip to this years Bendigo Sheep and Wool show, and of course, I can't wait. And in the works is a possible trip to Tennessee to visit my family around Christmas, but that's very early in the works.

That's all for now. Have a great week!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Accomplishments and Aquisitions

It's only been about a week since my last blog, but I'm thinking it might be helpful if I don't allow myself to get too far behind in the blogging department. When I do get behind, I start dreading having to do a post, as the whole effort just seems a bit too overwhelming. The posts will be shorter, of course, but at least they won't become a daunting task I put off for days or weeks.

This past week I've spent most of my crafty time working on the English Rose shawl, made with Kauni yarn using the "Northern Lights" pattern. I finally cast off on this project last night. I say "finally", but really, considering the size, it didn't take that long at all. There was a KAL going on on Rav that my friend D. was telling me about, so I joined up and had a go. The shades are more subtle than some of the Kauni colourways, but I'm happy with it.

Before blocking:

On the blocking board:

Even though I'm really trying to save up a bit for a new drum carder, I've spent a little bit over budget for this fortnight on fibre. Really, it's not entirely my fault. Moseley Park (aka Jane) updated the store, and I fell in love with the Mango Fluff, which with it's merino and optim and pretty pale colours was right up my ally, so i had to buy everything she had left, which amounted to six 35g batts.

Upclose, you can really see the gorgeous colours:

I can't wait to see how it spins up!

Then on Sunday, Chris was keen to go to the markets down at Port Adelaide. Well, he was really keen to GO anywhere, as that dear hubby of mine does like to go go go. So he drove me into work Saturday night, spent the night with his mom and dad and then picked me up the next morning for a day of shopping.

I'd as soon be home playing with my knitting and fibre pursuits as gallavanting about Adelaide after a hard night at work, but I was off Sunday night, and I had been wanting to go out to the markets. Stranded in Oz (aka Melissa Deutsch Scott) sets up there on Sunday, and I was looking forward to seeing more of her fibre art, yarns, spindles and rovings. I had seen her stuff in Bendigo at the sheep and wool show there last winter, and had bought a spindle and some funky fibre yarn from here then, so he didn't have to twist my arm too hard once I found out that was our destination.

Chris picked me up from worked, we stopped and had a coffee, and then made it to the markets a few minutes before they opened at 9AM. The Port River runs right there beside the market, and as we were waiting and standing looking at the river, we saw dolphins at play. There were lots of them in the river that day, and a particularly cute mother and her baby dolphin swimming near us. Too bad I'd forgotten my camera, as it would have made a great shot.

Anyway, I made it to Melissa's stand, and she had, as expected, many beautiful things. I wound up bringing home a bit of roving for a friend, but I won't elaborate on that or show a pic yet, as it's a bit of a surprise for when I meet with her next week. I also got about 250g of this lovely soft white merino roving. It feels more like cashmere than merino. I'm almost afraid to dye it. I wouldn't want to dull the softness.

I've gone way over my fibre budget for the fortnight, and must remember to be good next fortnight, or I will never be able to save up enough for my drum carder.

Today, I've been spinning some of my merino dyed to match the apple tree in bloom in the spring. I've almost filled the green bobbin full, and will then be moving on to the pink. I've been working on it in fits and starts, and making it quite thin (by my standards). Hopefully by the next post, I'll have an actual skein to show off.

I've also picked up the Croc socks, and feeling they were a bit tight, I transferred them from the 2.75mm needles they were on to a set of 3mm needles to make them a bit looser in the legs.

I have yet to pick back up the Bustaroony cardi, but hope to get to that tonight. I've made an error on the inside of the pocket, and while that might not bother me under normal circumstances, I really want this project to be perfect, as I'm thinking of entering it in the show, so I will need to tear the pocket back out and redo it to get it right. It would be nice to have that ready by the time I go back to work tonight, but it's late in the day, so there's no guarantees I will.

Till next time.