Thursday, September 3, 2009

Glad tidings

Well, the Christmas knitting has taken off in a flurry of activitiy that I somehow doubt I can maintain over the long haul. In any event, I'm pretty sure the things I'd like to get done far outweight the knitting time I have to finish them. Things might look merrier after I finish Ayla's Cardi, but I'm only a bit less than halfway up the first sleeve, so that could be quite some time yet.

Thank goodness I'm done with the honeycomb pattern parts. The sleeves are done all the way up in the tree pattern, which is at least a bit more interesting to knit. It's going quite well, but like the Bustaroony, it's going slowly. If I had worked on it and it alone till finished, I would certainly be done by now, but it's a hard project to work on it's own. The pattern is drilled in my head now, but the repetition can drive you mad at times.

I've been knitting some hats, working on hat number 2 now. The first one is actually not Christmas knitting. It's intended for my FIL for his birthday/Father's day (Father's Day being in September in Australia). It's Jared Floods "Turn a Square Hat", and it's quite popular on Ravelry.

It's not a difficult knit, but I do have problems with jogless stripes. I'm not sure why, but I really think it's more my tension at the "jogs" and not anything to do with doing the actual procedure wrong. Or that's my excuse anyway. I've done them before, but I 'relooked up' the directions, and I am technically doing them correctly, but they still don't always look great. The second one is, overall, turning out better than the first one, so maybe there's something to that "practice makes perfect" saying after all.

I finished my Kaliedascope socks I was making with EGMTK fibre that I spun myself on the new Majacraft Little Gem. They have turned out beautifully, if I do say so myself.

I'm still working on the first sock of the Horse sock pair, another Christmas gift. It is lovely, but time consuming.

My fair isle is getting much better though. I'm using the technique of knitting the main colour yarn in English style and holding it in my right hand, while using the left hand to hold the contrasting colour and knitting continental style. The trouble is, my left hand doesn't like to knit very well, but again, it's getting much better with practice. I thought of giving up this method, but frankly, I find it too hard to carry the yarn along the back of the work any other way, so I'm sticking to it. I'm getting faster and faster at the actual knitting part, but often lose my place on the colour charts and that slows me down alot. I still can't do it well at all if I'm doing anything else, aside from listen to background music. So I flip on Radio Margaritaville and work a few rows at a time. Last week though, I was ill for a few days, and simply couldn't work on it at all. The concentration when I felt so badly was beyond me.

A friend at works daughter has been working on a school project. The idea is, she will spin some yarn and then knit a scarf out of it. My friend and her husband have a small herd of alpaca (are alpacas in a group even called "herds"?) and she wanted to use some of their alpaca fleece to spin. I had given her some books with simple scarf patterns in it, but a couple of weeks ago her mother told me that she was having lots of trouble spinning it.

It occured to me that the poor girl, a very beginning spinner, was trying to spin Alpaca locks on an old Ashford traditional. Hardly a job suitable for a beginner.So I offered to run enough of it through my drum carder for her to make the scarf out of. Now my carder isn't exactly suitable for alpaca, but it was certainly better than trying to spin locks.

I stopped by her house last Saturday, helped her adjust her wheel, and before I left, she was spinning the alpaca quite comfortably.

My spinning has almost ground to a halt. Ok, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but after my flurry of spinning activity after Bendigo, it seems that way. I've spun up about 300 grams of the wool from Kathy's Fibres in the Timber colourway:

and now I'm spinning up some silk, also from Kathy, and also in the Timber colourway.

The plan is to make a 3 ply using two of the wool singles, and one silk single. It's a rather big project, but I'm only working on it slowly.

I don't have anything started on the Ashford. At first, I'd thought to try my hand at some cotton on there, as I'm still better at handling pernacious fibres on the Ashford, but so far, I haven't started. I've also bought another Red Flowering Gum roving from Kathy, and have thought to go ahead and spin it up. That would give me enough yarn in that colourway to create a decent sized project from it, but so far, I've been so focused on my Christmas knitting that I haven't gotten anything started yet.

Well, that's pretty much it for the past couple of weeks or more. I can't even remember when I put my last post on here, and that's a shame. I keep promising myself I will get better at posting more regularly, but life, work and actually doing the craftwork gets in my way.


Tracy said...

Robbie, You inspire me :) Thanks for the post on Rav the other day. You really have come far. I love reading your blog and see what you have achieved. I think I'm about 12 months behind you in learning to spin! But similar story bought a wheel off ebay I just couldn't get to work. Then went to see Bella but i bought another wheel. And now I'm toddling along.
Plus thank you for keeping the SA forum going.

Anonymous said...

I have been catching up on your posts, that I have unfortunatly negelected, due to long hours of work, etc. I love each & every one of them, although I am still trying to define a lot of the "knitting lingo" I love the horse socks (hint hint). Keep up the good work. Love, MOM