New and improved

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, Non-fibre, sewing on October 12th, 2013

I think this is the end for the sheet. I have this piece and one of the original pillowcases left after making the shirt and two U shaped pillowcases for two U shaped pillows. I’m sure that I could find a use for the scraps if I waited long enough but what’s the point of keeping them when I can easily pick up another nearly new sheet from a charity shop should I ever need one. It was too thin to make a shirt to wear but for a shirt making lesson it was good enough being big, easy to find and cheap.

The pretend shirt came out rather well. This is Kwik Sew 3883, the reason that I chose this pattern rather than any other was that a single pattern covers sizes small to XXL and I wasn’t sure which size I wanted. The thing that sold it to me was that I could see that various sewing bloggers had made it up, multiple times in some cases, without complaint. In the olden days I would have lost an afternoon to driving into town, pouring over pattern books and making my choice only to be told that they didn’t have that pattern in stock and then I’d wait a week for it to be ordered for me. I’ve learned that I can save half a gallon of petrol, the cost of the car park and several hours of my life by going straight to ordering it from a virtual shop on the internet so that’s what I did. I know now that there are a few things I would do differently with the next shirt and that’s one of the reasons to make a muslin, the other one being to check the fit. The first thing I’ll be doing is to not use that nasty poly thread because my machine doesn’t like it except in the bobbin. You can see the interesting pin fastening – I couldn’t see the point of making the buttonholes because the combination of thread and fabric will be different next time so what I learned on this pseudoshirt would not be transferable to the next one. I’m now waiting for my six metres of white fabric to arrive, again I skipped the part about driving into town for something that might not be in stock and did my shopping from the settee.

The blog remembers everything so it knows that back in March I tried to bake acceptable breakfast items so that we could stop buying sliced white bread for toasting. I can report that since then not one floppy sliced white loaf has crossed the threshold. I only made croissants once because they need a lot of rolling space that I don’t have but I’ve continued to make an endless stream of breadcakes, brioche and bagels. The breadcakes and bagels have been consistently good, once I found the optimum size and baking times I wrote it down and repeated it every week. Brioche is still a work in progress because although I use the same ingredients every time the results are wildly variable. This week’s variation was practically unworkable, it was so soft that I resorted to cooking it in muffin tins. I know what the issue is, the majority of the liquid comes from the eggs. I know that egg sizes are standardised but I don’t think that they are standardised quite enough for this recipe. I think next time I’ll be looking for a recipe that uses less eggs and more milk because milk comes out the same size every time.

I’ll finish with some actual knitting content. The end is in sight with this little jacket. This is the centre back where I’ve grafted the two pieces together and I’m now knitting on the fronts. Having thought about it I’ve decided that this sort of thing is better knitted from the body outwards because then you finish with the short rows on the sleeves. If you’re using scraps then it’s better to start with the long rows when you know you’ve got plenty of yarn. It’s not my favourite thing ever but I think I know how it can be improved but more on that next time. As a total non-sequitur, the blog turned seven this week. Yet again I missed its birthday but it never seems to mind. At least it wasn’t expecting a cake.



Put the flags out

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, Non-fibre, sweaters on September 10th, 2013

You are perhaps thinking¬†”wherever did she get that amazing sense of colour?” or maybe “what is she celebrating?”. My primary criteria for fabric selection was that it had to be easily accessible in the stash, cheap when first purchased and there had to be plenty of it. What it looked like was secondary. I don’t have anything to celebrate in particular. It is the first week back at school but this year it has seemed to be an easy holiday, partly because the child helped around the house so I didn’t feel like an oppressed serf by week five. I would have liked to have been celebrating the purchase of a replacement coffee machine except that it was broken in transit so we’re back to begging the pump to keep on pumping for a little longer. I am a tea drinker except for those times when it has to be coffee. We could pretend that I’m celebrating the first day where it was cool enough to need to wear another layer in the house, it’s been a long hot summer and I’m glad to see the end of it. This morning was nippy enough for me to wonder where my gloves are.

It’s too early to celebrate the finish of the cardigan although I’m nearly there now. I’ve finished the fronts, joined the shoulders and just have the knitting of the neck and front bands to do. The sleeves are done and there are next to no ends because I was knitting from a cone so I’m hoping that the small amount of finishing won’t be too hateful. Please overlook that it’s taken me all summer to get this far and I’ll be finishing this short sleeved cardigan just as the cold weather is setting in. As I said, it was a long hot summer, too hot for wool.

Back to the bunting. I looked at tutorials for making it and they seemed to involve drawing around templates. It was far quicker to cut strips and slice them up so that’s what we did, I wielded the rotary cutter, Dan sewed the flags together (his school textile lessons came into play there) and my mother pressed them. It seemed to go on forever, I estimated that I’d need four flags to the yard and I was not too far off with that, I only had four or five left over at the end. I got my act together after the first strip, if you fold it right sides inwards before you cut it then your sewing assistant doesn’t have to turn the pieces right sides together before he sews them. This saves time because you don’t have to inspect, unpick and resew them later. The flags were sewn with a straight stitch, the double fold binding that strings them all together with a small zig zag because I had concerns about the stitches popping under tension. Time will tell whether I got that right.

We made a ten yard length of bunting with a plain yard at each end for stringing it up. At twelve yards that has to be the longest seam I’ve ever sewn, it’s longer than applying binding around the edges of a king sized quilt and that always seemed to be an endless task. Then I did it all over again because at some point that boat is going to turn around and then the other side will be visible from the towpath. It just shows that there is a role for everyone in canal restoration, it’s not all digging holes and pouring concrete, even the bunting makers have a role to play.

I was hopelessly optimistic about this week being wool week, I might manage wool-Friday-afternoon if I’m lucky. I started by clearing the heap in the front bedroom, the one standing between me and the carder, and that’s as far as I’ve got. There was floor under there – who knew?

 

 



Just look at the time

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, Non-fibre, sweaters on June 20th, 2013

The little jacket now has a pointy hood, I might even put a tassel on the end of it although that seems unlikely given my love of finishing. I’m happy that I’m not going to run out of the purple yarn which is good because earlier in the week when I had more yarn and optimism I knitted the front bands thereby eliminating all possibility of grafting in a contrast stripe if I needed it. It has two sleeves in progress, I feel that I’ve been knitting these sleeves forever but if it were true then they would be finished by now. I think that I’ve spent hours knitting endless rows of garter stitch when the tape measure tells me I’ve added an inch to the length.

My slacking can be put down to three things – the boredom of plain sleeves, the discovery of a site with daily nonograms and my reluctant adoption of new technology. Yes, after much protesting this luddite bought an ebook reader but only because they were on sale. I used to have a serious book buying habit but I have no intention of blowing my yarn money on ebooks, I can get library ebooks from the comfort of my own settee and I don’t have to remember to take them back.

I’ve had my nose in a pageless book all week so there has been no weaving and no progress on either of the two pairs of socks I have lurking about. I’ve sat down for five minutes only to find that an hour has passed, exactly the opposite of sleeve knitting. I’ve cleaned the windows and the shower, painted a ceiling, turned out meals on time and kept up with the laundry so it’s not as if the rediscovery of the printed word has scuttled any chance I had of passing as a functioning member of society.¬† There is no doubt that reading has eaten my crafting time but in a couple of weeks there will be a new balance and presumably a new slip cover for an ereader. I was hoping that it would hold all my knitting patterns too but it balked at the second one that I fed it which is the one that is up next after I’ve finished the sleeves for the gorilla-baby.

(I didn’t link to the nonograms – really, don’t go looking unless you have a spare hour to fill)



Good, bad and indifferent

Posted by Caroline in Knitting, Non-fibre, Weaving on April 16th, 2013

There you are, an honest to goodness completed finished knitted object. Well it would be finished if it had buttons. I’m sure I’ll get to the buttons in time, I might even manage a proper wet block rather than a waft with a steam iron but it won’t be today. I’ve knitted this before, it’s DROPS b14-27 in left over sock yarn. It is about 23″ across the chest and I had hoped to squeeze it out of a single 50g ball of the light yarn but that was not to be, I came up short with four rows left of the front edge and three rows to pick up and knit around the neck. It was boring enough to make it an ideal tv project which is why it was finished so quickly. I did the same thing as last time and cut two lengths of each yarn that I used, knitting with one and winding the other into a ball. When I got halfway around I started using the ball that I’d set aside and all the yarns presented themselves in the reverse order so my stripes match.

I used the leftover light yarn to start another baby sweater from the sock scrap bag but it’s in time out at the moment for being too light coloured. I’d imagined it being the colours of pebbles on the seashore but now I’ve actually got that I’m not sure that I like it. I may carry on knitting, I may rip it back and throw the yarns in a navy dye bath, I may make the second side to match to here and then dye the remainder of the yarn. That’s something else that can wait, I fished around in the bottom of the washing up bowl yesterday feeling for the pot brush and found the carving knife instead. It’s only a shallow cut but it’s right on the end of my finger and I keep opening it up. Knitting is a bit hit and miss now because it depends on whether I have a scab or a gap that catches.

The woollen cloth from last time was transformed from a stiff piece of board into lovely soft cloth. It had two baths because after it was dry from its first wash it wasn’t quite right, I wanted it thicker and fuzzier. I like it now so it is washed enough. When I warped it I thought this was going to make two bags but now I’m not sure about that so I’m setting it aside until I’ve thought it through. Once I’ve cut into it there’s no going back so I want to be certain that I’m doing the right thing.

I’m still trying to bake my way through all the flour I can find. It turns out that the substitute for floppy white toast at breakfast time is going to be bagels and not croissants or brioche as I’d thought. That’s fine by me, as a parent I’d rather breakfast not be made of treats. I made a second batch of bagels to replace the first dozen that were eaten straight away and this time managed to get most of them in the freezer. I made a second batch of naan breads too, this involved far less pan scrubbing afterwards because I bought the right tool for the job. I started looking for a flat griddle pan but it turns out that a tava (tawa) pan is close enough and much cheaper. It’s slightly dished but not much, a liquid batter needs a flat griddle but breads aren’t going to run and pool in the middle.

The malt loaf I made was suitably sticky by the day after it came out of the oven. It was delicious, you should all go and make one providing that you can get hold of malt extract. The recipe says to make two small loaves but seeing as I only have one small loaf tin I had to use a single bigger tin and cook it for longer. That meant that the fruit had more time to fall through the soft mix before it set – the centre of the loaf had all the fruit at the bottom but the ends had a much better distribution. I know about coating the fruit with flour before mixing it all together but I think if the fruit has spent the night soaking in tea it’s going to need more than a bit of flour to hold it up. I’ve subsequently tried to buy another small loaf tin to match the one I had but I’ve had to settle for some teeny ones instead. The centre slices looked very average but it tasted fantastic so I will be making it again. The next time I make this I’m hoping that the smaller tins will make for a nice speckling of raisins all the way through rather than a solid lump at the bottom of the slice. It might not work out that way, having looked at the photo that accompanies the recipe I can clearly see that the unbuttered slice has a big fruitless gap at the top.

The oatcakes were a one off, I lived over the border so they are not a familiar thing from my childhood. I looked at my plate and my eyes were telling me “pancakes” and with every mouthful I was disappointed that it wasn’t pancakes after all. They even stuck to the pan that nothing sticks to and that didn’t endear them to me either. I may come back to these in another ten years and wonder why it was that I didn’t like them the first time but there again I may not. For the moment I’ll stick with adding bagels, naan bread and malt loaf to my regular baking and pass on the oatcakes.



Two firsts and a second

Posted by caroline in Knitting, Non-fibre, socks on April 5th, 2013

I’ll put the knitting at the beginning for those of you that don’t want to look at the photos of this week’s bread products. These are my son’s feet in the newest pair of school socks, the red is the yarn left over from the Christmas stocking in the last post. This is part of my cunning plan to reduce the expansion of the bag of sock yarn bits by putting less into it. I knitted the black from both ends of the ball and have under two yards left from a 50g ball so I felt no remorse about throwing the scraps in the bin. It might look as if I messed up the pattern on the sock at the back but even I struggle to fail at counting to two. It has his name knitted across the foot (you’re looking at the A and the N) but it didn’t come out particularly well because of the variegation in the yarn and my refusal to carry one yarn across half a sock just to frame the letters. Now that both males have the same size feet there’s the potential for wash day being more challenging and I thought it might be useful to start marking the socks so I know whose is whose. There are much simpler ways to achieve this so I don’t think I’ll be doing this again.

That’s the end of the wool, now onto the yeast. I nearly blew it with the brioche, I’ve eaten it but never made it and the end result doesn’t really tell you much about the process. I’m going to put my wobbly first effort down to an attempt to combine two recipes, one with an overnight rise and one with chocolate chips. The first challenge was that the recipe I was using must have used ostrich eggs because 25ml of milk, two eggs and 250g of flour does not a dough make, it makes crumbs. I didn’t think that adding great lumps of butter would soften the dough that much so I put more milk in and it looked respectable when I’d finished with it so maybe I got it right. Sadly it looked exactly the same the next morning, the slow overnight rise was more of a no overnight rise. There are a number of things I’ll be doing differently next time, including taking them out of the oven sooner.

The croissants were more work than the brioche but the results were better even though I’d never made those before either. The first one I made was a Shrek croissant which clearly answered my question of “Have I rolled this out thin enough?”. The rest were fine and I made pain au chocolat out of the trimmings. My son is thirteen, has no interest in lamination and crumb structure and declared the chocolate ones to be awesome (and were there any more?). He is the only reason that I buy plastic bread, he has it for toast in the morning and sandwiches at night. I’d like to stop buying it but that means coming up with acceptable substitutes. Making bread rolls has eliminated the need for sandwich bread but that still leaves a gap on the breakfast plate. Having made both I can say now that if I’m making them on a regular basis then I’d rather be making brioche than croissants but I need another recipe, some more practise and milk chocolate chips rather than plain.

I have made naan bread once before, it was pretty poor and put me off making it again. I tried again this week and this time it was spot on. The dough last time had a lot of yoghurt in it and I think that’s what I didn’t like about it. I’d make them again (and again and again) but next time I’ll cook them on the griddle because getting the burnt flour off the base of my biggest Le Creuset pan has been a struggle. It seemed like a good idea at the time because the pan was big and round and the griddle is long and narrow but I didn’t really think it through. Burnt flour on the griddle is less of an issue seeing as the griddle is black to start with.

I’m not done with yeast yet, next on the list are bagels, oatcakes and pretzels. It’s been decades since I made bagels because the first time I made them I decided they weren’t worth the effort and I’ve never made oatcakes or pretzels. Flour is cheap and it’s never a dull day when you learn something new.



Three out of four will do

Posted by caroline in Knitting, Non-fibre, socks, Weaving on March 6th, 2013

Here are the contents of the plastic bag shown last time – two 2lb tin loaves. I have the same attitude to arty bread as I do to arty yarn – unless you have a use for it there’s no point in making it unless you really enjoy the process. The whole product vs process discussion applies equally to breadmaking as it does to knitting or spinning except that you can’t stash bread particularly well. We eat all of the bread we buy as sandwiches or toast so it needs to be regular in size (so one round of sandwiches is about the same size as another) and small enough to fit into the toaster. I like the look of those monster domes of arty bread but I can’t see that they have much practical application (rather like supercoils). There isn’t a powerful incentive for me to make bread because we shop at a real bakers which is right next to the real butcher who sells beef from cows and has animal parts on hooks in the cold store at the back. Last weekend the timing of other stuff meant that there was no way of fitting in the bread run so I made my own. They were good loaves, I should have slashed the tops deeper and maybe dusted them with flour but they were as good as any I’ve ever made. The first two didn’t last very long so I had a chance to see what they would have looked like slashed and dusted because I remembered to do that with the second two. The second two were prettier but had a slight flying crust because I was pushed for time on the final rise. I think my next stop is croissants and to do that I need to clear the breakfast bar off to create some serious rolling out space. I used to buy my bread flour by the sack then junior came along with his preference for floppy bread. I am hoping that now is the time to wean him off plastic shop bread and if the trade off is chocolate croissants then so be it.

The scarf from last time also came out well. It needed some fixing because yet again I managed to do an outstanding job of threading (not), I had one threading error and three pairs of crossed threads. It would have come out better if I hadn’t woven a foot before finding the third pair. You can’t tell now and that’s what matters. As this is all sock yarn and machine washable it can go to a home where it may not be properly washed so as soon as I’ve written a thank you note it will be going off to school. This took about 120g of sock yarn bits, I have enough red scraps to make another without getting too inventive with the colours, I’m not sure if I have enough for a third without it being too striped.

The latest socks are finished. The black tops are so that he can wear them for band concerts and school, provided that they are visibly plain they’ll do. What happens in the shoe, stays in the shoe. They were too plain to be fun and another time I’ll know to show him a shortlist of yarns rather than letting him pick his own. I used all of one 50g ball of black, I knitted from both ends of the ball with two sets of dpns so I finished just past the gusset decreases with less than a yard left. I used all of the purple and there’s so little left of the blue after knitting the toe that I’ll keep that bit out for yarn ties. Even though it sounds like a big win over the scrap bag in reality I’ve used less than 30g out of it. I suppose that’s better than putting 30g into it but it’s the scarf that takes the win this week on using leftovers.

The thrummed hat is still in the bag, not one row longer than last time. I bet it wouldn’t take an hour of my time to finish it, even so my next project is going to be winding another warp from the scrap bag. I’m pushing myself to finish the hat, I have no other knitting (my inner knitter whispered something about a Victorian stocking but she’s wrong) and I’m not starting anything else until it’s finished. It has to be done because I can’t face the thought of attempting to frog thrums.

 



A week of firsts

Posted by caroline in hats, Knitting, Non-fibre, socks on March 2nd, 2013

I have to admit that I’m not enjoying these latest socks all that much. I let the recipient have the full choice of colours from the scrap bag and he pulled out the first ball he came to and proclaimed it to be perfect. I moved from plain black to plain purple and it’s all so …. plain. I’m at the same point on both socks, just about to start the toe shaping and I think there is just not quite enough yarn to finish them.¬† This wasn’t a problem because all I needed to do is poke about in the sock scrap bag and I already had three perfect (really perfect, not just first-out-of-the-bag perfect) not-plain yarns in mind. I had a good look in the bag but couldn’t find any of them, in fact there seemed to be a shortage of purple scraps which puzzled me because I was sure that I hadn’t knitted them.

This puzzle was solved when I sat at the loom. This is my first weaving this year, I wound this warp months ago and it’s been threaded and ready to start for weeks so it’s not surprising that I’d put it from my mind. All those missing purples and the rest of the turquoise are now accounted for. This is all sock yarn from the scrap bag, I’m confident that there is enough of the weft to actually finish it, I didn’t do anything radical like work it out but it was a pretty big ball so I was happy to wing it. This is all machine washable sock yarn and I think I already have a home for it.

The other reason that the plain and boring socks aren’t finished is that I have had two projects on the go. They say that a change is as good as a rest and there has been a world of difference between tiny yarn on tiny dpns and doubled yarn on pencil sized dpns. (Excuse the weird crusty fingers, it’s dough, not a gruesome skin condition) This is my first thrummed item, apart from when we have freak weather and it gets down to -17 we don’t really have it cold enough to need that extra trapped air. If I get to the end this will be something that looks like a trapper hat except that as soon as I started with the grey I immediately regretted my colour choices. I’m going to carry on and finish it because it will suit someone somewhere, I’ve learned from it (don’t use wool that matches your hair colour unless you are knitting a wool wig) and with needles that big there is not exactly a lot of work involved.

My other first is still proving and is the reason for the scabby fingers in the photo above. I’ve been making bread by the same method all my life and I thought it was time for a change. These are my first loaves made by the sponge method and it will be interesting to see whether they are actually noticeably different to ones made with a one stage mix. If the kitchen wasn’t north facing and cold then I might already know, as it is the bag is now sitting in the living room enjoying the sun.

If I knuckle down then there is a chance that everything here could be finished next week – unlikely but possible.



JE, JL, RM

Posted by caroline in Non-fibre on August 5th, 2012

The fibre post will be later in the week when I’ve stopped shouting at the tv for long enough to photograph the things I’ve finished. I’m hand hemming a tea towel rather than using the machine just because I can do it while sitting watching the Olympics. It takes longer but means that I don’t miss anything.

It would be hard to miss this – Jessica Ennis is often referred to as the poster girl of the London Olympics and as posters go this is a big one (although admittedly not as big as this one, courtesy of BA).This is the front of John Lewis in Barker’s Pool, Sheffield, the photo is taken from this angle firstly to avoid putting a tree up Jessica’s nose but mostly to show the position of Royal Mail’s contribution to the Olympics. About 9pm last night Ennis took the gold medal in the heptathlon and today Sheffield had a post box makover. Yes, we did make a special trip to see it – why wouldn’t we?



Delivered as promised and an unpleasant surprise

Posted by caroline in Knitting, lace, Non-fibre, Spinning on August 19th, 2011

ophaFirst off let’s look at the shawl that was ever so nearly finished on holiday. I stopped knitting while I was away when I started having doubts about whether I had enough yarn to finish the edging. When I got home and dug out the wonder scales they assured me that there would be enough yarn and I believed them. As it happens they were wrong, I ran out with about a dozen stitches left to cast off. The benefits of a being at home with the sock yarn stash was that I had no trouble finding a match in the scrap bag so I didn’t agonise over it, I just finished it.

ophbThis is Ophidian in Cherry Tree Hill Sockittome in the colour “River Run”. I’ve knitted this before in sock yarn and it would have helped if I’d written down what size needles I used last time. It’s not that I don’t mind reinventing the wheel but I have plenty of other things to think about and I could have saved myself a whole five minutes there. I suspect that I wouldn’t have liked the yarn as socks because I think those pretty colours would have pooled. The yarn came from my current favourite source, the Spin or Dye Swapping group on Ravelry and I bought the beads because I couldn’t find anything suitable in stash. I still like the pattern and I’ll no doubt use it again in the future. It was a fast knit, relatively thick wool on thick needles and had just the right combination of plain knitting, lace and beads. When I want to knit it again, this time I used the blue needles from the Boyes set. If someone had put them away properly someone would know what size that is by looking at the case but someone didn’t, did she?

ronnieThe postman brought me two fleeces this week, one long and white and one short and grey. The short grey one (left) is a North Ronaldsay from the Isle of Auskerry, so far I’ve not got any further than having the trial wash of a small chunk. I’ll have a look at the results before deciding whether that’s the right method for washing the rest of the fleece. portlandThe supersized one is a Portland fleece, I had a bit of trouble unrolling it, anyone who has ever struggled with a roll of clingfilm knows what you get if you start unwrapping it while leaving one corner behind. I couldn’t find the end on one edge of the fleece and by the time I’d mastered it the whole thing was the size of a small car. I’m combing this and it looks to be totally sweater-worthy. It is (so far) the star fleece of the season.

I know I said that I was not buying anything that needed work but that was before I’d developed my two bag fleece washing system. Instead of agonising over scouring and fussing about lock formation I now just get on with it, it might not be perfect but it’s quick and effective. The trial wash tells me whether it needs one, two or three washes, maybe with an overnight cold soak in a bucket to start with and using two bags means that I make best use of the water. I wash the first bag, drain the sink and spin the water out of the bag while the sink is filling again. I wash the first bag, add more Fairy and hot water then wash the second bag. Spinning the bags each time they come out of the water means that they are easier to wash and rinse because I’m not putting the dirty water back into the clean water along with the fleece. The first bag has now had two washes, the second bag only one. I use the next sink of water to rinse the first bag, then add hot water and Fairy before washing the second bag. If I had three bags this would be the point to do the first wash of the third bag (confession – I do have three bags, I just don’t have the focus to keep track of them). In no time at all I’m spinning the water out of the bags for the last time and flopping them outside to dry. At that point either I bleach down the sinks and draining board, put everything back that I moved out of the way and I’m done for the day or I start again with another two chunks. Mostly I pack up after the first two bags before it starts feeling like work.

The blog has been a bit sluggish and unresponsive of late, it should be fixed now. This is due to it being hacked and choked with links to movie download sites. You couldn’t see them unless you had a screen the size of a tennis court and I couldn’t see them in normal edit mode. If you have a blog it might be worth taking a moment to see how many users you have with top level admin rights, no doubt you’ll just be expecting to see just the one. I had two, one that was doing all the posting and another that apparently wasn’t doing anything at all. One of us has been adding dozens of links to 106 of my posts which meant that the other of us has lost an evening’s knitting time and an afternoon’s fleece washing time taking them all out again. It did mean that I got to skip through 106 of my older posts, it was an interesting read (I used to post more but shorter posts and “really” and “just” ought to take a rest from my vocabulary) but I really did have better things to be doing.

I don’t feel as bad about it as I thought I would, I think I’d rather have hackers than moths because once you know what you are looking for the damage is easier to find and repair. It’s still been a waste of hours and hours of my time and I don’t intend repeating this again. Constant vigilence is the key, both for moths and hackers, and prevention is better than cure. That sounds as if I’m a little down and I guess I am but it’s all mended now and a bit of theraputic knitting will put me to rights.

As an aside, which is better, shorter posts more often or longer and less frequent?



Just do it

Posted by caroline in Knitting, Non-fibre, Spinning, Weaving on March 18th, 2011

How are we all today? For me it’s the end of another week that has slipped away. I’ve slogged my way down the to do list and yet again I’ve done a lot of woolly work but not blogged it. I didn’t get to cross off “fill second bobbin of black” or “finish a bag” but there’s room for that on next week’s list. I’m pleased that I crossed off “sort out MOT” because that wouldn’t wait another week.

pinkwarpThere could have been a blog post here, I could have written lots of words about how this came to be, bobbin shots, photos of the fibre, the whole nine yards (it’s a four yard warp, nine yards would be a bit advanced for me at the moment) . What I did was sit down over a couple of days and spin through the 200g, ply it, finish it and wind some warp. mmw1At that point I considered taking a photo and that was good because it meant that I also took a photo of the start of the second 200g that I spun this week. The one on the right is Maude and Me perendale, the one on the left is Woolforbrains merino. I’ve not spun perendale before, it could become my new favourite fibre if we grew the sheep here. I’m not considering the calculation of how many weeks it would take me to hit the bottom of the stash if I spun a pound of fibre every week because then I’d have to really look at how much I have.

blankiebThis is a second baby blanket, much like the first but slightly greener and without the mistake in the middle. It is currently en route to Canada so if I spot a mistake in the photo it’s far too late to do anything about it. I think I’m done with baby blankets for a while but there may well be some small clothing in my future. This is superwash bfl, I dyed it and spun it but you’ll have to imagine the photos of that because I didn’t document the process in any way, I just got on and did it.

logcI’ve been weaving too, the black stripe in the middle is a cutting line and two selvedges because this is going to grow up to be a bag or three. All the yarn is plain coloured commercial yarn in Dennis the Menace red and black (again) and I can’t say that I love it overmuch. It’s perfectly well behaved, not at all stretchy, even and available in large quantities but in this incarnation it doesn’t have much zing. There’s not really enough contrast between the colours and it doesn’t pop. I’m hoping that I grow to love it in the transformation that is finishing, if not then I know to stick with more entertaining yarns in future. I bought the red for a shawl that I ripped so this counts as using up stash even though the black is a recently purchased cone of machine knitting yarn.

rednose1I seem be featuring red and black at the moment, as well as the weaving this week I have this little creation to share. It’s Comic Relief today and if he takes a pound to school the child can abandon uniform and come in funny clothes. If I’d had longer to think about it I might have gone with party hats or silly wigs on the skulls but as it is they just have red noses. (Why didn’t the skeleton go to the ball? – He didn’t have any body to go with) His fish hat has a big red nose too, sometimes “just because you can” is reason enough.

I should now be attending to “finish second bobbin of black” or “finish bag” because “update blog” was not on the list at all. I will do what I always do in this situation, write it on the list and then immediately cross it off.