Monday, May 25, 2009

Playing Cowboys and Indians

Now that the glow from finishing the Bustaroony has started to dim, it's time to move on. Time to finish a pair of desperately needed socks. Yes, "needed". I've worn holes in two of my old pair, leaving me with only one pair of wearable socks. I do know there is such thing as darning, I just haven't found the time to learn how to do it.

This years Winter Roundup, our annual big Western Action shooting event was a success. It was (and I don't say this lightly) the best one yet, for me at least. Our posse (that is what our group of shooters are collectively called) was run by a husband and wife team, and things ran so much more smoothly than they have in the previous few years. We got thru the matches in record time, and even had a few minutes to sit and BREATHE between the matches on Saturday and the fancy dress get together on Saturday night.

Below, a picture of Chris in his civil war cap mom sent him from the states:

And me on the range Sunday, waiting to shoot. It was quite chilly, so the poncho stayed on until the last minute:

and shooting, minus the pancho because I'm dreadfully afraid a pistol will get stuck under it and I'll shoot my foot off:

That's "Coyote" behind me, husband in the couple who were our posse leaders/range officers for the shoot. Just wanted to give him and his lovely "Violet Rose" a two thumbs up for a job very very well done.

Now, most (if not all) of the shooters attending hadn't seen me since, at the very latest, last November. While Western action goes on all year round on a club level, most of the interclub shoots are done in the winter, so my weight loss was more than evident to them all. Twenty seven kilos gone is hard to hide, assuming I would even want to, which of course, I didn't. Consequently, I got lots of kind comments and congratulations on my weight loss, and that was fantastic.

Friday morning, I got two books that I had ordered in the mail from Colonial Lake Books. One was Victorian Knits Today, and the other was Colour in Spinning. Both were books I'd been pining over. Victorian Knits today is just pure sheer joyous eye candy, with the most exquisite pictures, equal to any coffee table book for sheer "flipthruability". As a bonus, it also contains stunning lace work patterns, and the only downside is that they are all so beautiful, how do you choose which one you want to knit? It has occured to me to start with the first one and work my way thru, which would take, ohhh, probably the rest of my life.

Color in Spinning is more of a text book on dyeing and using colour in fibre, and how to play with, blend or change up color during fibre preparation, using combs, hackles or carder. It's an older book, and it had been out of print and quite expensive if you could even find it, but has been put back into print as a paper back, and if you are a spinner, you should definately read this book. I had no idea I knew so very very little about color, and I'm only up to the third chapter.

I also took along just two projects. The first was my "Peace in the Hood" (CPH) hoodie, which I got next to nothing done on while there. The second was my Indian Corn socks. On the way there on Friday afternoon, I realized it was time to start increases for the gussets. They are being worked top down, with a Widdershins heel. Otherwise, they are plain ole stockingnet stitch and easy as pie. So, getting there at roughly 2 in the afternoon, I figured I'd have plenty of time to do the gussets and heel on both socks. HA! I did very little Friday night other than knit on those darn socks, and still was only just reaching the first heel by the time it was bedtime. I worked on them during my spare time over the weekend, which was minimal.

I wound up finishing the second heel on Sunday afternoon at the awards presentation. There were about 150 people in the room, sitting at long tables, and crowded all around me. The light was dim at best, and here I sat trying to pick up the short row raps and finish the second heel practically in the dark. This from a woman who, a mere 6 months ago, waited until I was alone, took the phones off the hood and found a quite corner to meticulously work the heel with no distractions.

Consequently, and it's no wonder, I did make a couple of boo boos on that heel that I had to paste up last night when I finished the socks. But all in all, I just wanted a pair of socks that were wearable until I could figure out how to darn the wholey ones, so they will do for their intended purpose.

In spinning, I've actually gotten quite a bit done. I spun up the merino and glitz batt from Wooleywombat, mentioned in the last post:

I plied, washed and set it yesterday, and it's now beautiful and dry:

I like to let my bobbins "relax" for a few days before I ply them, so after I got it all spun up, I went digging thru my fibre stash for something to put on the wheel next. I had in mind some alpaca, but when I went exploring, I found a second roving from Kathy's Fibres in the exact same colourway I had spun up before, the one I called "Navidad" when finished.

It then dawned on me that I had bought two rovings, and seeing more potential in having 200 grams of yarn rather than 100, I decided to spin that up in the same way as I'd spun the first one. I got one bobbin finished before I plied Wooleywombat's batt, and have the second bobbin now started on the wheel.

Yesterday morning, I recieved one of two books I ordered recently from fishpond. I really needed "Son of Stitch and Bitch" for a vest pattern in there that Chris actually likes. It's called Anchors Aweigh, by Kim Hamlin, and not surprisingly, has little anchors all over it. It's been a long time since I did stranded colourwork. By long time I mean I tried it once 20 years ago. To be frank, at the time, I didn't like it and moved on. But I'm all keen to try it again, and it's a project that Chris actually LIKES (oh, I mentioned that already, didn't I??)!!

The only way to get the pattern is to buy the book. I checked the local bookstores and, no luck. I checked the destash pages on Ravelry. Still no luck. So I went to the online book sellers. Now here in Oz, the online sellers list like bazillions of books, but in reality, they only keep the most popular in stock. Most of the books you order, they then order from overseas and ship them on to you. Consequently, delivery time can be tragically long. Thus my search in "other places" for something more expedient.

Fishpond offers free delivery for orders over $50, and their prices are reasonable, so I went with them. The Son of Stitch and Bitch Book was around $28, and I figured if I looked thru their knitting books, I'd find something else I wanted. Well, I found lots, really, but settled on Elizibeth Zimmerman's "Knitting Without Tears", which is a classic that I just didn't own. Fishpond must have had it in stock here in Oz, cause it arrived yesterday.

I haven't really had time to look thru it yet, but I've heard wonderful things about it. There's probably a lot I already know, but alot I don't, as with most knitting books I buy.

Sadly, the book that I actually need for the Anchor's Aweigh pattern is on that apparently fishpond didn't have on hand here in Oz, and it's likely to be another week before I get the book and the pattern. I've already been sourcing yarn though, and Gabrielle from American Yarns can get the Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport the pattern calls for. I've thought about trying to source yarn here, and still might, but Bendigo Woolen Mills is the only place I can think of that has multiple colours of 5 ply wool. Hummm, well, we shall see. I'll likely go with the original yarn in the original colours, as it just looks so darned spiffy in the picture.

Ah, there's something I meant to write about in the last post, but forgot, so I'll include that now. On Mother's Day, we went to my inlaws house for lunch. My mother in law went digging around and pulled out a lovely cardigan she had bought over a decade ago when visiting Scotland. It's an Aran cardi, and I believe the wool is Shetland but I'm not positive. I'm really thrilled to death with it.

The trouble is, it has a few holes in it now, and I need to figure out how to repair them. I will need some similar yarn, but I think it will be worth the effort.

I also started a new project. Saturday, I realized that I was nearing completion of the Indian Corn Socks, so I went to Ravelry and looked thru my queue for my next project. I decided that I would cast on the "Unmentionables" pattern from Knitty spring 07. I decided to use the yarn called for by the pattern, because drape and stretch seemed important in this pattern, which was Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece. I ordered the yarn from American Yarns up in QLD a few weeks ago, so I was all ready to go.

The cast on was a bit tricky, for me at least, since I'd never done one like it. It was a crochet provisional type cast on, where you made a crochet chain with waste yarn and then picked up and knit the stitches thru the back loop of the crochet chain. I've started on the stockingnet part of the leg, and then will come back later, pull out the waste yarn and have live stitches to use for the ruffle at the end of the leg.

I was really in a bit of a hurry to get it started though, because we had a boat trip planned on Sunday, and I was afraid I would finish the socks on the trip and not have anything simple and reasonably small to knit on while out on the boat. Turns out, I didn't finish the socks until Monday, but I did get a dozen or so rounds done on the Unmentionables (mine are called "Blooming Bloomers" on Rav) while out on the boat.

The boat trip was as nice as it could be, given the condition of the river. I had never met the couple that came along. She was a coworker of Chris' and her husband worked for the Hills council. Amanda and Bob turned out to be very pleasant guests and shock of all shocks, it seems Amanda spins wool she gets from her parents farm, so we had things to talk about. Here's a pic of Amanda and Bob at the helm:

I also made another major purchase this past week. AustralianS are switching to all these "energy saving" globes. They're all you can find in the shops anymore, and I really, really have trouble seeing things clearly using them, particularly seeing to read or do my crafty work. Some rooms are so dim, the light bulb sort of glows rather than shines. So I bought a Daylight Lamp from Spotlight. I had been looking at them for awhile, and remembered that the distributor was at Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show last year, so I had considered waiting until then and getting one there. But push came to shove, and I got really tired of straining to see, so I broke down, stopped at Spotlight on my way home from work Saturday and bought one.

I absolutely love it! It spoils me though, as I can really notice the difference when I'm knitting at work and don't have it. It gives natural light, just like your working outside in full daylight, and it has a neat magnifying glass attached that you can pull over if you really need a close up look at what you are doing. It's a marvelous piece of equipment.

I also stopped by the LYS last week and bought myself a few balls of yarn. I bought two balls of Sirdar Naturals and one ball of Sublime. The sublime is much like the Cashmerino I've bought in the past, and I'm hoping it works well for a pair of "Fetching" fingerless mitts I plan making someone for Christmas. I haven't got plans for the Naturals yet, I just want to try out the yarn, but it looks as if it would dye well if nothing else.

Well, that's more than I had time for today, but that seems to be a pattern for me when it comes to blogging. I need to renew my vow to start blogging more often, but life just seems to get in the way.

Hope everyone has a wonderful rest of the week. As for me, I'm working the next 6 days straight, so it's going to be a busy one. Still, when it's all over, I'll have 3 glorious days off in a row. I reckon that's worth waiting for.

1 comment:

Rosie said...

I'm impressed! You're a knitting machine, what with the speed you pump out each new project.

That Aran cardi will be lovely once restored, I've used the DMC Tapestry Wools to repair holes in woollen items - there's lots of shades and it's easier to match colours. You take as many strands as you need to match the thickness of the yarn, and use that to darn the holes closed. I use a duplicate stitch, which makes the repair almost invisible.

You shoot real bullets! Yikes! You're a braver lady than me.

Anyway, I always enjoy reading your blog, hope you find some knitting time along the way, and enjoy those precious days off.