Thursday, September 17, 2009

Spring Things

Spring is finally in the air in South Australia. It's still, technically speaking, winter here, but the weather is starting to be fairly fine on at least half the days, which is so nice. Winters down here seem to last forever. My houseplant in the living room has bloomed for the first time in 3 years this year.

And the pretty bell shaped flowers have bloomed on the hanging plant out back:

Please don't ask me what either of these are called, because I wouldn't know. I did know at one time, in both cases, but I have this theory about plants. I'm only required to keep them alive (if I can) and not become intimately aquainted. Actually, Id do remember the first one has "angel" in it's common name, but that is about it.

This months club selection for the Southern Cross Fibre Club has arrived, and it's a gorgeous one. David went with a spring theme, and came up with this lovely "Sprout" colour scheme, 80% Polworth and 20% tussah silk:

You know, I seem to be on this sort of green thing lately. Most of the fibres I've been buying to spin have green as a dominant colour, or at the very least, as one of the main colours. Most of them are at or around 100 grams, so I've thought that I might spin a dozen or so up, and then make up a sweater similar to the "Rose to Blue V-necked Pullover" in The Twisted Sisters Knit Sweaters by Lynne Vogel. For those not familiar with it, the designer spun various rovings with a common colour scheme ranging from deep roses to a more rosish-bluish colours, then knit them in a striped pattern into a jumper knit from side to side (ie. starting at one sleeve cuff and ending at the other). The great verticle stripes would be slimming too. The only trouble is, I've been using different fibres. I'm not sure how well it would go with all the fibres, so I might have to concentrate on, say, merino, which is more widely available, and I dare say I already have more of that anyway. I could ask around too, I suppose, and see if anyone else has mixed fibres like that. Anyway, there's a project lurking in the back of my head that I'm going to start randomly putting together.

I have bought a few things lately, although in truth, not much. It still seems so soon after Bendigo, and really, I could knit for years with the yarn I have. But sometimes you need a specific colour and gauge of yarn, and in every case but one, this was the case with my purchases. But in the case of this lovely organic lace weight non-mulesed merino, it was just a matter of wanting a smooshy yarny purchase that I would, eventually, I hope, use.

A large lacy scarf, or small shawl I'm thinking would be lovely in that colour. Something out of the Victorian Lace Today book definately. I can't wait to get my Christmas knitting done and be able to indulge in a few lace patterns from that book. Anyway, I bought this when Chris and I went out to the Port Adelaide market last Sunday. It's from Stranded in Oz's booth there, and is luscious, as is most of her things. She was still on her yarn tour of the US (the Sock Summit and some other shows there), lucky girl, but she had a very nice friend manning the booth.

Yes, I said "non-mulesed" wool, but I want to clarify that I have nothing personally against mulsing. To me, it makes much more sense than allowing the sheep to get eat up by flies. Flies in Australia make the flies in the US look like wimps. They are vicious, focused and dedicated to destruction, and sheep here face a much greater nemesis than people in the US can understand (unless they've been here). And frankly, I see the circumcision of little human baby boys as far more cruel, and certainly not nearly as necessary. Not everyone will agree with me, but to each his own. So the "non-mulesed" quality of this wool did not effect me a bit. I just liked the yarn.

I also bought some red Patonyle from a LYS in Adelaide. I already had some black, but needed the red to make the skull isle hat from the book Son of Stitch n Bitch by Debbie Stoller, pattern by Chelsea Fowler-Biondolillo. As usual, I really liked the colours used in the original picture in the book best (how very unadventurous I am with colours sometimes). I already had some black Patonyle in my stash, but I didn't have any red, so I stayed late one day after work to buy some.

A couple of years ago, there was talk of discontinuing Patons Patonyle sock yarn, which caused a bit of a panic in sock knitters all over Australia, and a run on LYS's to stock up. I participated in this mad rush, of course, which is how I got my small stash of Patonyle, but some of it has been used up since then, and I never had red in the first place. It IS a great sock yarn. In my opinion, the very best domestically produced, commonly available sock yarn on the market. There were many complaints to Patons, and a lot of conjoling from what I hear, and Patons, in the end, did decide to continue to produce it. But instead of the lovely 50g balls they used to sell, they now only sell 100g balls, which is, admittedly, the most common way to buy sock yarn. Ah, but I did love the 50g balls. Because I generally knit socks 2 at a time, it's quite nice to have a ball for each sock without having to go to my ball winder and make 2 50g (or close to that) balls out of one 100g ball. For this particular hat, the red is the contrast colour, and I really don't need 100grams, but if I wanted Patonyle, I didn't have any choice in the matter. Ok, now I'm being picky. It's not as though I won't use all of it eventually, and I'm just so happy they didn't discontinue Patonyle completely, that I'll shut up now.

My final purchase was at the very local yarn shop here in Murray Bridge. The "horse socks" I mentioned in the last post, are a bit on the tight side. Not bad, but when put on, the fabric stretches and you can clearly see the contrast colours coming thru. I finished the first sock, and will make a second eventually, even if I don't gift them, and just keep them for myself, flaws and all.

Anyway, I bought this Paton's Merino Deluxe 8ply, to try and make a bit thicker version, to add to the size, and help with the see through factor.

I also decided to attempt this version from the toe up, as I just really don't like knitting cuff down socks. I'm actually a bit further along now than this picture shows. I'm at the point of starting the gusset leading to the heel now:

Which, of course, brings me to my knitting itself. I finished the knitting on Ayla's cardigan, and have all the ends sewn in on 3 out of 5 pieces. I'm sure I'll finish up the rest of them tonight, as it's good to do during TV time, and I really don't have any good "TV" knitting on the needles right now.

So, after finishing the knitting part of that, I started a new project. My son's girlfriend has really stuck by him through some hard times lately, so I reckoned she's earned a hand knit Christmas gift. I don't knit for just anyone, you know. I went on Ravelry searching for a nice scarf pattern, and found Leisel, a free pattern designed by Mary Joy Gumayagay. It called for a 10ply yarn, and my stash is pretty poor when it comes to 10ply. I first thought of the Peace Fleece, but that yarn is just better suited for outer garments, as it can be stiff and course to the touch. Not something you'd really want wrapped around your neck. Then I remembered this luscious Naturally Sensation yarn. Two skeins of a 10ply from Naturally of New Zealand. It's a merino/angora blend, and is sensationally soft. I got it in a RAOK package from a fellow Ravelry member, and I'm stoked with it. It's the perfect yarn for this scarf, and a pleasure to knit with. It's a yarn you have to be gentle with, prone to breaking, but's decadant to touch.

I know we keep stashes for just this purpose, but really, how often is it that you find just the perfect yarn, in the perfect amount and for the perfect pattern in your stash? Well, for me it's not that often, so I was thrilled.

I gleefully began knitting the pattern, which is a series of 10 row repeats of a lace pattern. It doesn't have the predictability of some lace patterns (repeating rows or obvious patterns within the pattern), and I haven't come close to memorizing the pattern yet, so I have to keep a close eye on it. I can knit on it and watch TV, but it goes pretty slow when I do that. It's perfect audiobook knitting though. And it's going to make a lovely scarf.

The patterns author says it's a good "1 day project". HAH! Maybe if you knit all day on it and did nothing else. Or at least, at the speed in which I knit lace that's the case. It is a beautiful pattern though.

I really need to stick another project on the needles, but at present, I'm not sure exactly what. I don't want to start the hats, as that's more Fair Isle, and since I need certain knitting conditions to successfull do it, I think I'll stick to one Fair Isle project at a time. I need something simple, perhaps another type of hat, or a jumper for Kaitlyn. I really want to start knitting on me a tiny slinky summer top, but that will have to wait until I get the Christmas knitting under wraps, dang it. Well, whatever I decide, I'm sure to write about it in the next post.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Robbie, I enjoyed this post, as I always do. Just wanted to say that the blooming plant in the living room is a Peace Lily. The one outside, I don't have a clue, because I am just as familiar with plants as you are, but I must add, I was a bit disappointed that you didn't post a picture of "MY ROSE BUSH"! It may be a little early there for it to be in bloom, or...please don't tell me the worse has happened to it!! Only WE understand this
Love You, MOM