Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Down Time 09

The past week has been a good one. One of the few weeks when I actually feel that I've had less work and more play. But all good things must come to an end, My down time ends today, but I think it will see me though this coming week until we leave on our trip to the Australian Sheep and Wool Show in Bendigo next Wednesday morning.

Given everything, I suppose I should feel in a better mood this morning, but I don't. Part of that is merely hormonal, I'm sure, but part is because I'd have loved for the past two days to go on forever.

Chris is on school holidays. He left Sunday morning to go to a Western Action shoot at our club, and then he headed north to visit some friends who live about 5 hours away. He stayed up there for the past two nights, which just so happened to coincide with my normal two nights off from work. As a result, I've had two practically uninterrupted days of nothing but knitting, spinning dyeing and fibre frolic. It has been heaven, and I suppose my only regret is that it has to end today. He'll be home sometime early this afternoon. In between now and then, I need to pick up all the fibre mess I've created, sweep the carpet and floors and generally set the house to rights again.

Before I get to all that, I wanted to do a small update here. With Bendigo looming right around the corner, I want to keep up with this blog. There's bound to be a huge post after Bendigo, and I don't want to add to that by having to play catch up as well.

I'll start with the thing I forgot to mention in my quickie post last week. I was searching around on Ebay, actually looking for Alice Starmore's "Tudor Roses" book, when I ran across her "Children's Knitting from Many Lands". It, too, is no longer available in bookstores, as it's been out of print for some years. The price was right, so I snatched it up.

The book arrived a couple of weeks ago, and after skimming through it, I found there's nothing in it really that knocks my hand knitted socks off. In fact, several of the patterns are almost laughable. Outdated, fussy, impractical and/or glaringly colourful, they are patterns I wouldn't knit in a million years. However, there are a few that are very nice, very knittable, and very wearable. Ahhh, thank goodness for the precious few. The book is more a collectors item than a practical knitting book, but for a relatively new Alice Starmore fan, it's precious.

I finished plying the white alpaca. It turned out very well I think for a first try at alpaca. I didn't have as much trouble spinning it as I expected. I had had plenty of people telling me that spinning alpaca was difficult due to the short fibres, and sadly, I chose to let that seep in. It is different to spinning wool, and the fibres are short, but after adjusting my ration, things sorted themselves out very nicely, and it was smooth sailing after that.

Here it is on the Niddy Noddy:

And the finished skein:

I'm thinking I actually like spinning alpaca, which of course is a good thing since I have bought a ton of it already.

After I finished the alpaca, I put the Shetland top I got from David at Southern Cross Fibre Club on the wheel. This stuff is beyond description, but I'll try. It's soft (yes, soft Shetland), springy, almost spongy, and it practically spins itself. I've gotten about 1/4 of it spun so far.

Look at that sheen! The colours are so deep and rich, and yet maintain a gorgeous luster. David is, quite simply, a genius.

I still haven't decided if I'm going to ply it or not. I'll test the singles when I'm done and see what I think. If I ply them, I'm going to get a more solid colour with just shade variations, which I love. If I leave it in singles, I'll have more colour variations, but potentially enough meterage for a fine weight Shetland shawl. Ahh, the possibilities.

In knitting news, I have started on my second "Bustaroony" cardigan I'm making as a gift. It's in a darker brown than mine, and I was afraid the stitch pattern wouldn't show up as well, but so far, it's looking great, with great stitch definition for such a dark colour.

That's the bottom section of the back piece, done in the tree pattern. I'm almost ready to switch over to the middle honeycomb pattern, which I remember well from the last time. The four row pattern is K 1 row, P 1 row, 2x2 cable cross row, P 1 row. Three out of four of the rows are easy peasy, but that cable cross row across the wide back section seems to take forever. To tell the truth though, after the past few weeks of knitting lots and lots of stocking net stitch, getting back to the reasonably interesting tree pattern has been a breath of fresh air.

Last Friday, finally, I got the Brown Sheep Sport yarn I've been waiting for to make Chris his Anchor's Aweigh vest with.

It took too long to arrive, however, and now winter is past the halfway over point, so I'm considering waiting until the late summer to start the vest. The main issue is that Chris is still losing weight, and I'm afraid that if I make it now, he will only get to wear it for maybe a month at best, and by next winter it will be too large. I'm still considering it, but I'm leaning heavily toward waiting for now.

Yesterday, I dyed most of the grey Corridale that I had carded. I went for various shades of blue and green, with a small amount of yellow. It's still wet, and so rather hard to tell the colour. But from the sampling below, you can see that it looks more like camouflage than anything else.

I'm trying not to be too judgemental though, as I know that the colour can change drastically when it's dry, and I plan on running the different colours back thru the carder for more depth, so really, until I'm finished, it's hard to know what I'm going to get in the end. That's one fo the exciting parts of dyeing on grey, I suppose.

Well, that's it for now. Must get up and start cleaning up the mess I've created while dearest hubby has been away. There is fibre strewn from one end of the house to another, so I have my work cut out for me. I'll try and get another small post in right before Bendigo, so I'll be well and truly caught up. Until then...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have read your last 4 posts, and really enjoyed them. Took a while to read it all, but it was worth the time. I just wish I had just a tiny fraction of your talent. I am looking very much forward to your next post of your vacation/trip to the Wool Show, and all the pics that will be displayed!! Keep up the great work, my dear!
Love, MOM