Sunday, December 31, 2006

Shades of Grey

On the knitting front I finished my first Jaywalker yesterday afternoon.
No photos as yet but I'm making good progress on the second sock already.

I'm also upto row 12 on the sleeves for Durrow.

I'd also like to show you the beautiful stitch-markers that Marianne made for me, I have 2 sets in the same colours, which as you can see are extremely useful for marking the pattern in this project!

While I'm on the subject of Marianne, she has been here every day this month to comment and cheer me on through this daily blog challenge, and I'd just like to take this opportunity to publicly humiliate thank her for all her comments and support X0X0X

I'd also like to thank all my other visitors and commentors aswell.

Its been a funny month to set myself the target of daily blogging, and some days it's been difficult finding material, but I've made it!

See you on the other side!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The sun came up for a short while this morning, and it was perfect weather for photographs, not too bright. Unfortunately the weather has taken a turn for the worse and we've got gales and torrential rain, luckily I managed to capture the beauty of the Finn Sheep fibre I have been spinning:

The close ups really show the colours, I can't get enough of this stuff, I have 300g, its not perfectly spun, a couple of skeins are a bit thinner than the rest, because I wasn't concentrating, but I think if I bear that in mind when I work out what I'm going to do with it, it won't really matter but I just don't know if 300g is enough of this yummy fibre.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Note to not attempt to go shopping for birthday presents between Christmas and New Year, make sure you get it all organised before Christmas.

Ok it wasn't too bad, but it's a trip I could have done without and to top it all it rained all day, I did a swift trip around the LYS just incase, but nothing took my fancy, well there's a colour in the Regia Sock Yarn St-r-e-t-c-h, that always catches my eye, but hasn't found its way home with me, yet!

So tonight I'm off to a Dance Party thing at The Rooms, my friends Erica and Melita are holding a Nearly New Years Dance Party, these events are always great, and I've got to take some knitting as I'm going to teach Deborah how to purl!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

These few days between Christmas and New Year, are not necessarily good days for me, the weather has been dull, grey and dismal, and I feel a bit agitated and stir crazy.

I have finished spinning all the Finn Sheep and it has had a wash I am now leaving it to dry 'setting the twist'. Here's hoping for a let up in the dullness, so I can finish the month in style with photos, although the colour of this stuff is fiendishly difficult, maybe I could try scanning it!

I sorted through all of my ordinary knitting needles today, you know the straight ones with nobs on the end. The thing is due to one thing and another I have inherited old knitting needles from several sources over the years and I've never actually sorted through them all. I was working with the intention of making a knitting needle roll but ran out of steam when I realised the fabric I wanted was in the roof.

I discovered the only knitting needle size I don't have is 7 1/2 mm! Not that I have anything at all in mind that needs this size.

I then decided it's about time I knitted the gauge swatch for Durrow so I proceeded to winding my hank of yarn on my trusty ball winder..... ok so I thought I could do it on my own, and it did start to go ok until suddenly from out of nowhere it just tangled, and several deep breaths later I did get my first hank wound. After dinner when I decided that if I was going to commence both sleeves simultaneously I would need a 2nd hank, I commandeered Neo to wind the ball winder slowly, what was I thinking? Well actually I had better results than first time round, although getting Neo to wind in just one direction took a bit of doing.

Here is where I got the beautiful charcoal Blue Faced Leicester, (if you're on a yarn diet look away now!). It really is the softest wool ever, there's bound to be more up soon, but E-bay seems to be in a post Christmas lull. He's got Blue Faced Leicester sliver at rock bottom prices, so I will probably buy, dye and spin some of this, when I've worked through some more of the fibre in my stash, although spinning fibre doesn't count anyway!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I keep thinking I'm not going to make it, but there are only four more days left after today, for me to finish this daily blog challenge.

Today didn't start very well when I got my favourite and first pair of handknit socks out of the draw to find a dropped stitch and ladder in need of repair.

I've had a good rummage through part of my stash to find the yarn for the repair, and I feel a bit better, especially about the yarn diet, because there are loads of little gems in my stash that I keep forgetting about.

I found this fortune cookie thing yesterday.... but lost the plot before I could get it pasted in.

My Fortune Cookie told me:
Flee at once, all is discovered.
Get a cookie from Miss Fortune

I decided to go again...

My Fortune Cookie told me:
Honesty is the best policy, but insanity is a better defense.
Get a cookie from Miss Fortune

I was on a roll, so went for 3!!

My Fortune Cookie told me:
Your reasoning is excellent -- it's only your basic assumptions that are wrong.
Get a cookie from Miss Fortune

Please don't think me indulgent, if the truth be known I have never even seen a real Fortune Cookie in my life, so I'm just making up for lost time with this virtual version.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

As you can see from my side bar I have decided to take the plunge and knit from my stash, these are the Rules:

1. The Knit-From-Your-Stash-a-Thon will start January 1, 2007 and run through September 30, 2007 -- a period of nine months.
2. We will not buy any yarn during that period, with the following exceptions:
2.a. Sock yarn does not count. What? You think we are made of stone?
2.b. If someone asks for a specific knitted gift that we really and truly do not have the yarn for, we may buy yarn to knit that gift.
2.c. If we are knitting something and run out of yarn, we may purchase enough to complete the project.
2.d. We each get one "Get Out of Jail Free" card -- we are each allowed to fall off the wagon one time.
3. We are allowed to receive gifts of yarn.
4. Spinning fiber of any sort is exempt.
5. This is an extra necessary rule, any yarn I need for a specific college related project is exempt.
6. Oddballs from the second hand shops (thrift stores) don't count!

I have finally managed to get a button working on the sidebar (yee-har!) which links to Wendy's blog where this knit-a-thon originates. Wendy also welcomes knitters adjusting the rules to suit themselves, and I have added number five.

As I will be starting my C & G Hand-Knitting Course here in January and that involves some designing and knitting the designs, I decided that I couldn't really restrict myself in this way when it comes to course work.

I've also added number six, just incase there's a vintage find or an oddball of mohair in the second hand shops that I can't live without.

I will not cheat, if and when I do fall off the wagon I will put my hands up and tell you, but to be honest I don't think it will be that difficult easy.

Ok so I think I'm going to be pretty busy with the knitting course, I've got a biggish stash of lovely yarn, I've found stuff upstairs which has been stashed for 10years, because I stupidly had a big break from knitting until this year, and fibre and sock yarn are exempt, how hard can it be?

Monday, December 25, 2006

Nearly as good as a real sheep here is Neo in his
nursery school play! Its been a quiet Christmas day, Neo woke up at 8.30 and we all went down to open presents.

I had Knitting Over the Edge by Nicky Epstein from my mum.

But this book which Keith bought for me is fan-fibre-tastic!

This quote from the 1st page says it all ...

'Joining colours, joining hands
interlacing woven strands,
linking tones in loops and bands,
Fine techniques from foreign lands
bring together our love of colour.
Past and future now combined
In a universal language
That will stand the test of time.'

I can't wait to start experimenting with my stock of fibre and yarn for dyeing.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Christmas Eve! This is my little white tree, you can play spot the difference with my colour change tree lights if you like.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

I can dream can't I, I don't think there's much chance to be honest, doesn't seem cold enough at all, this picture was taken last January. I've been beaveringon with my spinning today, just counting the hours, almost Christmas Eve!

Friday, December 22, 2006

I'm really too tired to blog today, naughty Neo woke me up at 0520, and I actually thought it was 20 to 7, by the time I realised my mistake we were up, luckily he happily watched Monsters Inc while I attempted to knit my Jaywalkers in a zombie like state. I'm trying to keep it brief without copping out but keep having to re-type bits, eek!

The photo above is a costume from the Nutcracker, I don't know how familiar you are with Liquorice Allsorts but that is what the costume is based on, I just like to see people thinking out of the box, unusual ideas, I think as an artist it gets you thinking! The costumes were on display in a shop window in Tunbridge Wells, I can't remember which ballet company it is!

Talking of candy that naughty Marianne sent over some Knitpicks yarn that I had purchased, (they don't deliver to the UK) and she filled up the box with tonnes of edible goodies, chocolate, more chocolate, raspberry sweets, and of course the authentic candy cane which I had requested. Not only that but some lovely little stitchmarkers, and some extra Kool-aid too,she's an angel!

Thursday, December 21, 2006


I know your keen eyes hadn't missed Neo in his hoodie the other day. No I'm not doing any sneaky secret knitting (yet!). I actually completed this project in July. It was a very easy knit called Casper, featured in the Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton Noro Book 1.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

260 miles later, and Jessica loves her new scarf!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Ok so its naked Tuesday, but calamity after calamity seem to be striking me down at the moment, I am just going to blunder on but the Naked Tuesday I had planned for today will have to be postponed till normal service has resumed.

Apart from the problems with dh's laptop, last night my bit that joins the foot pedal to the wheel snapped, luckily I have had a spare that came with the wheel, so its not too bad, I just need to remember to order a new one so I have a spare for when I wear it out again!

So yesterday I was trying to scan and copy my son's school portrait, to share with friends and family, it wasn't going very well so I got dh to give me a hand last night, several hours and computer crashes later we hadn't got anywhere and were both a little cross.

We copy the file to my laptop for me to try again this morning, 1st try the computer is counting up I'm getting a few things together in the other room, for our trip later today when my computer beeps so I run down to get the lead, but when I get here the computer is doing strange things, and putting itself to sleep, I wake it back up and start again, not failing to notice that the little wireless gizmo that connects to the broadband isn't lit up, so NOT WORKING.

How am I supposed to blog under these conditions!

Ok so I've logged into dh's laptop just to tell you what's happening, and now I've got to swiftly pack a few bits for that family visit, rush off to Neo's school play, and then drive 130 miles to see family.

Back tomorrow, hoping all calamitous events have passed!

Monday, December 18, 2006

THE CURSE OF THE SWEATER! Or why I should stick to knitting little items like hats and socks!

3 sleeves and 2 polonecks later, and a whole lot of blocking and I'm not 100% happy with it, the diagonal cable has caused alot of commotion, and one of my side seams really bothers me, one side the colours and ribs match but I can't get the other side to look right, if I make the colour stripes line up the diagonal rib doesn't, I've unpicked and re-stitched it 3 times so far. If I ever tackle a similar project I would work the main body of the sweater in the round, as many 'Zimmerman' fans do. I have just bought myself a couple of her books, Knitting Without Tears and The Knitters Almanac. There's a real pernickety perfectionist lurking within me and I don't know if I she can live with that side seam!

3 Sleeves, this was down to Noro really, I mean it doesn't have to match but I started the back and front in the same place, and did the same with the sleeves, (I always knit 2 sleeves at the same time), but unfortunately over halfway through, I realised that one of my balls of wool had been wound completely back to front to all the others and the banded colours were running backwards, so I had to knit a 3rd sleeve to match.

The problems over the poloneck, well I followed the pattern 10cm of k2p2 rib, then increase in the purl stitches, and continue in k2p3 for another 10cms it seemed to drag on forever, then I cast it off tried it on and the neck seemed to flare out alarmingly and didn't look at all right so I frogged back down to the increases and just re-knit back up in the k2p2 rib all the way.

I have always liked this pattern, it's in a Winter Vogue Magazine from 1998 and is designed by Oscar De La Renta! I do like tha natural earthy tones in the Noro Silk Garden (shade 203) , I'm just not entirely happy with the end result yet, maybe it will grow on me if we have a few chilly days, either that or I'm going to have to frog the lot and start again! Don't worry I won't do anything hasty, maybe if I give it a gentle handwash I'll like it better, the sleeves feel a bit short, I think I spent so long blocking the body the sleeves were a little overlooked.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Late posting tonight, due to having to rely on dh for the photo, and his laptop kept crashing and was infected with something nasty, which took a bit of sorting out, I also got engrossed with a film called The Core, and have been merrily spinning away all afternoon and evening, so anyway, as you can see I have finally finished the sweater, although I'm not sure about it yet, will tell you more about the struggle to finish it tomorrow!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

At last here are finished photos of the scarf, I'm hoping to get some photos of my niece modelling it when I visit next week.

The pattern I used in the end is quite simple I based it on the Jaywalkers stitch pattern. I used a multiple of 17 stitches, and cast 238 stitches onto a 5.5mm circular needle.

The stitch pattern is as follows: Row 1: *Increase in 1st stitch, knit 6, slip 2 stitches, knit 1, pass both the slipped stitches over, knit 6, increase in next stitch* repeat to end. 2nd row knit. Obviously the great thing about knitting on a circular needle and joining in a new colour each row to form the stripe pattern and fringe, also means that you don't need to purl.

Friday, December 15, 2006


I first came across Studio Friday on Sydney's art blog. This is basically what SF is about...

"Studio Friday" is the place where we artists meet for a weekly creative challenge to show little glimpses of our studios, our creative space.It is a place where you can show off the treasures and gems in your studio. YOU are the artist!
Every Monday a new topic will be announced which gives you a new challenge to explore your own studio space and go on an adventurous treasure hunt discovering your own space with a new view, in a new light, from a new angle.
You can capture the topic and illustrate it in whichever artistic medium you would like to. It doesn't necessarily have to be a photo. It can be in form of a drawing, a sketch, you can carve it, quilt it, felt it, potter it, etch it...etc.
The topics are such a way that you will never show your whole space all at once but only little pieces and partial views of it the only condition being that it has to be in your studio space.
Everyone's submissions will appear on each Friday in the "Latest entries" gallery section where we can all have a browse around and peak into everybody's creative space.

Over the last two weeks the artists have looked at favourite colour combinations, and then last week is was colour combinations they didn't like, and it got me thinking and I came up with an idea for a Studio Friday topic and sent it to Tine, she liked it so much she made it this weeks topic! So I thought since it was my idea I ought to get my s**t together and take part!

"All these colour combos have given me an idea, especially with Christmas do a 'white christmas' studio friday...where artists put together whatever they want...only using neutrals...or to be really strict....white, (being a textile artist its great to get back to basics and to restrict oneself to using just one colour, then see how many different surfaces or textures you can find.)"

So this was my starting point, I gathered a collection of white's and neutrals together. Basically you're looking at some balls of wool, prepared sheep fibre for spinning and felting, processed top, embroidery canvas, mini canvases, embroidery frame and hoop, and my felting mat, probably not that exciting image wise.

So I started to take the yarn for a walk around my still life, almost drawing a freestyle squiggle, delved a little deeper with the camera and came up with this....

I really like that last one, its a bit less of a squiggle and a bit like an abstract winter landscape, don't accidental experiments always make the best art!

Here you can see what everybody else gets up to!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I've been running around all day so still no pictures, I did complete the scarf last night at Knit Jam, it just needs some gentle blocking. Therefore I'm showing you the largest in a series of bags I made, they're called ragbags and this one is made in scraps of blue denim and cotton drill. I think I actually finished them early this year and I have made a couple on canvas to go on a wall aswell. They were based on some leather rag cushions that we bought for our living room, which have been woven on a loom, but these rags are all stitched to the bag. Neo keeps pulling the rag strips off the cushions, hardly a day passes when he doesn't pull one out!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The picture at the end of yesterdays post was an installation piece for my Final Major Project, which was for my Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, which I completed in 2003.

I don't really feel like my words can stand alone. Maybe it's just the designer in me. I still haven't got any fresh photos, I have to knit 3 more rows to finish the scarf and I still haven't started picking up stitches on the sweater.

This bag was a simple kit I purchased as I made my return to knitting in June. I belong to a local yahoo group called Hastings Creative Media Community, and a girl working in a local Vegan Cafe called The Rooms posted on the H-C-M-C list for somebody to help start up a knitting group. We decided to call it Knit Jam, as the Rooms is a local music venue although Wednesday evening when we meet it is usually quite quiet. There are only about 6 of us so far if we all turn up. We meet on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday evening every month, although I jiggled December's meetings so that our last meeting is tonight.

This bag is a very easy knit in two balls of Noro Kureyon, and then felted in the washing machine. In fact Sheryl who has learnt ot knit at the group made this in a different colourway for her second project.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Since its 'Naked Tuesday' once again...I thought I'd share this little one word meme that's doing the rounds....what's a meme?

Yourself: sensitive

Your boyfriend: frog

Your hair: short

Your mother: distant

Your father: simple

Your favourite Item: wheel

Your dream last night: vague

Your favorite drink: tea

Your dream car: mini

The room you are in: loud

Your ex: who

Your fear: insanity

What you want to be in 10 years? wiser

Who you hung out with last night? k

What you're not: stupid

Muffins: fresh

One of your wish list items: flyer

Time: short

The last thing you did: knit

What you are wearing: stripes

Your favorite weather: windy

Your favourite book: Weaveworld

The last thing you ate: chocolate

Your life: frantic

Your mood: middling

Your best friend: wool

What are you thinking about right now? loneliness

Your car: Polo

What are you doing at this moment: multi-tasking

Your summer: short

Your relationship status: viable

What is on your TV? dust

What is the weather like? damp

When is the last time you laughed? earlier

Who do you tag? eh?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Here is my yarn on my 'lazy kate' awaiting plying. I have been scouring the internet in an attempt to find out why it's called a lazy kate, but apart from finding that they call tensioned kates 'industrious' as oppose to lazy, I am still none the wiser. By the way Santa baby.....put a tensioned kate under the tree for me, I've been an industrious girl, for sure, and while you're at it...please can I have a drum carder aswell. By the way it doesn't really look this glow in the dark orange.

Here's the stash scarf, unfortunately the chunky yarn I bought didn't work, and neither did the eyelash which is a shame, I'm supposed to be stash busting, not adding to it.

I finally finished seaming the sweater last night so all I need to do is pick up the neck stitches, knit the roll-neck and hopefully if we get some better weather I may well be modelling it by the end of the week.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

As promised here is a taster picture of the Finnsheep I have been spinning. Its quite funny how things are sometimes, you know when you go on a journey and it seems to take ages to get there, but no time at all to come back. This is my second bobbin, and while it didn't seem to take much time at all to fill a bobbin yesterday, today I seemed to spin and spin and spin and not get anywhere at all.

Anyway I now have 2 full bobbins waiting for plying, although plying itself is another epic journey. Its all part of the process, but the actual act of plying this much yarn, well it just makes my knee ache thinking about it at the moment. You can now see what I mean about the colour though. Its a great mix of orange and red with flashes of green, blue, black, natural, pink and blue.

Going to persevere with my stitching up tonight though and see if I can actually get that Vintage Vogue sweater finished, hopefully the yarn for durrow will arrive any day now, and I won't allow myself to cast on Durrow until it's finished.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The scarf is still progressing row by row, but today has mainly been a spinning day, I belong to a group of ladies called the 1066 Spinners. We usually meet on the 1st Saturday, but there was a Christmas Bazaar in the church hall last week.

I was going to start to spin the white wool top with viscose slubs, but I realised while I was having a quick bath this morning that I should dye it before I start to spin it, so I started spinning the dyed Finnsheep I purchased at the knitting and stitching show, this stuff is fantastic, it practically spins itself, no photos today, but the colour is great, I'll try and get some pictures tomorrow.

Just incase you are in any doubt....I found this on the Yahoo Spinning Group! Posted by a lady from the Faulkland Islands!

Handspinning has to be one of the most rewarding crafts there is. It is incredibly satisfying to start with basic fibre and turn it into yarn, then create a finished item from that yarn.The most commonly asked questions, from puzzled observers of a spinning demonstration, go something like this:"But why bother???""But surely you can BUY yarns ready to use, can't you?""But you don't even need to knit sweaters or weave or crochet stuff! You can buy everything ready made in this modern world, and surely that's got to be easier?" etc etc.These are all valid questions, of course, but in essence what these people are really asking is:"Why spin??"

There's no set answer to this, and inevitably every spinner will have their own response, comprising different points - because there's usually more than one reason why someone spins.Just a few examples -Some of us spin simply because we have fibre-producing animals - be they sheep, goats, rabbits, llamas, alpaca, camels (yes!) or any combination of a long list of potential fibre-donors - or access to some - and want to make something from their wool, fur, hair etc. (Incidentally, the answer to another frequently asked question is - No, we don't have to kill animals to get their wool or fur or hair - we simply shear or comb it off and it gradually grows back, just like your own hair does when cut...)

Some of us spin because we are sick of machine-made look alike uniform items and crave something more individual.Some because we need to relax and unwind at the end of a long stressful day at work or with a young family at home. I promise you that the sheer tactile pleasures of spinning and its related processes provide a gentle relaxant for mind and body that isn't available in the pharmacies or drugstores at any price. (Though it has to be said that this cure for stress should really bear the warning that it can be addictive.) There may be the odd occasion while first starting out that you get frustrated and despondent. Possibly even homicidal, as I did with my first spindle. But don't panic. This is normal. Break through that first barrier and you are home and dry.Some of us spin because we are seeking a special yarn.

Dedicated knitters,weavers, crocheters or designers often search high and low for yarns with particular textures and colour or fibre composition, only to find that what's available is either way beyond their financial reach or just not quite what they had in mind. Then discover that they can actually produce whatever yarns they desire - by using simple spinning tools and possiblys ome dyeing. A door then opens into a world of new and exciting possibilities.There are many more reasons of course.Learn to spin, and you will soon have your own answers to the Why question,to supply to curious onlookers.One of the joys of spinning is that one can never learn all there is to know, or reach the boundaries of spinning. Indeed, there are no finite boundaries to this amazing craft. There's always another technique to try,another fibre or blend of fibres, another colourway - and of course, anotherspindle or wheel. Tools are a matter of personal choice combined with financial constraints. Some find that a simple spindle and maybe a pair ofhand cards are all they need or want, being so portable. Others choose awheel or several - plus a myriad other tools such as drumcarders, pickers etc - and will argue fiercely the merits of their favourite models. Yet others use both, choosing a spindle over a wheel when portability is vital.Really handy to while away dreary hours in hospital waiting-rooms, long worrisome hours by sickbeds - or pleasant hours on holiday - anywhere that even a travelling wheel might be too awkward to tote.

If you are at all interested in spinning - and you've read this far,therefore it follows that (if you're not already a spinner, wondering what I'm saying about your beloved craft) you may be interested in learning! -then you might well ask another common question."But how would I get started? I don't know the first thing about all this,but I'd like to try"Great! Don't worry... I taught myself from a book! Thereare plenty of good spinning teachers, experienced suppliers who offerlessons if you purchase a wheel (and you can sometimes hire one for a while to be sure you really enjoy spinning) - and plenty of 'ordinary' spinners if that isn't an oxymoron, who are often more than happy to share their skills with a beginner, simply for the pleasure of seeing their face when they produce that first length of 'real' yarn.

There are several good spinning magazines - Spin-Off from Interweave Press being perhaps the main one and highly recommended - and these all carry advertisements for teachers, supplies and equipment. They will also have details of your nearest guild or spinning group, or you might find thi sinformation in your nearest library. There are also guilds and spinning groups in many parts of the world, and these always welcome new members. And if you are as isolated as we are here, you needn't feel left out in the cold. There's always the amazing world of cyberspinning, through which you can gain so much in both knowledge and friendship.Another question not often voiced but definitely often thought - you can usually feel the vibes of uncertainty -"Who spins? Will I be thought odd if I learn?"To which the answer from me anyway would be - Well maybe, by some! But why worry. Spinning is no stranger than a lot of other interests and makes a lot more sense than most... There's something useful or beautiful or both at the end of the process, after all - unlike many other pursuits. Spinning won't addle your brain or your liver, or land you in court. Not unless you skewer someone with a spindle...Spinning is for all ages, all types of people, all income brackets and all occupations. Investigate, and you'll find an incredible diversity of spinners. There's no such animal as a sterotyped spinner. You'll find we range from the wealthy person who spins purely for pleasure and owns an array of the most exquisite hand built wheels, through the small scale shepherd/spinner (hardpressed in these times of low wool income) who triesto add value to their fleeces by marketing handspun yarns and sometimes finished garments, to the penniless student who owns a drop spindle or (if lucky) a battered wheel, but who wants to connect with their creative innerself by practising this ancient craft.No spinners are strange in my book!!

"OK. You've sold me on the idea. How do I go about buying my first spindleor wheel?"I would say to this query - Support your local dealer if you can, ie are fortunate enough to have one nearby - they will be able to get you started too, more often than not, also troubleshoot if required, and supply any spares or add-ons that you may need later. Is your situtation too remote? No worries. Try mail order. Long-distance tuition? There are books and videos available to help you get going. I learned from a book. Later I had access to videos and also grabbed every chance of talking to other spinners and having lessons, however impromptu. Join an email spinning list, and you immediately have access to a fount of knowledge and encouragement. (see Cyberspinning)What to spin? If you don't have your own fibre animals there's a huge choiceof natural fibres available from producers and dealers - choose any of the wools, from superfine Merino through the wonderful range of medium wools, to the coarsest - they all have their purpose, and are usually available in a range of natural colours or ready-dyed. You may be lucky enough to find free or cheap fleeces, and start from greasy fleece, or you may be able to afford and opt for semi-processed ie sliver or top, ready to spin. Then there are all the other naturals, such as camel, angora rabbit, mohair, even yak...not forgetting cashmere, of course, or even your own dog's or cat's fur...Try combing these and you'll be surprised what you can harvest. No fluffy animal is safe from a spinner's voracious appetite, once it is whetted...If wool and hair fibres are too warm, how about cotton. Or silk (plenty of choices here, everything from the cocoon through to top, via various stages). Or flax, or ramie... There are modern manmade fibres available too,from recycled plastic through to recycled blue jeans. And lots of sparklystuff, even holographic fibres, for some really cool effects!It all depends on your end purpose. You may want to weave a tapestry, makea rug, knit a sweater, create a glamorous evening wrap or simply clothe thekids.

You have a great choice of materials waiting for you. Some dealers offer sample packs, which I highly recommend, so you can test-spin an ounce or two of various fibres and see which you like before getting lumbered with a large amount of something you later regret buying.If you have already tried spinning and been discouraged because it seemed too hard, don't worry. All you need is help, if you really want to try again. And there are plenty of dedicated, friendly people out there just waiting to help you get going.Go on, take the plunge - and may I wish you Happy Spinning!

But knitters BEWARE, it is addictive!

Friday, December 08, 2006


Have made a bit of progress with the leftovers scarf I'm creating for my niece, although with 238 stitches on the needle, sometimes a row seems a bit long winded,although the stitch pattern I'm using is easy enough.

I ran over to the LYS today to grab a couple of oddballs,that lovely dark purple eyelash is not too fuzzy, but although the colour on that big ball is perfect, I didn't think about the weight and its a chunky yarn, where as everything else is about an aran weight or I double them up, I might get away with it for a couple of rows if I use a bigger needle, just going to have to try it and see. Unfortunately its a single ply so I can't really split it either.

There's a gift shop I like to visit over there where they have a selection of these Indian printing blocks, they have always been reasonably priced, but normally I just go and have a look. I decided to treat myself this time....well it's almost Christmas.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Nothing to report today! I had a nice evening over at Astrids, I did a bit of continental knitting, its not quite as bad as learning to knit all over again. I really just need to keep practicing until it comes naturally.

I've decided I'm going to frog the scarf, I've only completed a couple of rows anyway but I've had this book on loan from the library for ages and I've decided that it would look nicer if I use a 'ripple stitch' pattern. It won't really slow me down as long as I choose a simple 2 row pattern!

In honour of the purples and because I haven't got any other photos for you today I dragged this little doodle out of my archive, its just a watercolour abstract painting, I've got a whole series of these, but they're really are just doodles to get me playing with colours or to be developed into larger designs. I havent found the time or inclination for much drawing or painting lately, but that's all going to change when I start my hand-knitting design course in January.

Its nice to look at this and wonder what kind of knitted garment it could inspire!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Ok I'm cross with blogger today because it's not uploading any photos for me, I wasn't asking much, I just have a picture of the sample I knitted up for my niece's scarf, that's all!

Why won't it work! Oh and the other thing, while I'm about it, moaning my woes, is its not behaving itself by putting some spacing between paragraphs when I ask it to. Another thing on my to do list is to actually become more competant with the technology, if I could get to grips with html maybe I could fix it! So as you can see now I did go and have a look at the html, and its not rocket science.

Came back and uploaded the photo! I'm going to knit the scarf lengthways using a variety of yarns and I'm planning to change colours every row, leaving a ready made fringe as it progresses.

Tonight I'm off to my friend Astrids, she lives around the corner, she is the only continental knitter I know. By this I mean someone who holds the yarn in the left hand as opposed to the english method of throwing the yarn around the needle using the right hand. Now there are no rules as far as I can see, however you are comfortable knitting, if it works for you and you are happy, just enjoy it. I am a competant knitter, but I would like to be able to do a bit of the continental, infact I'd like to be comfortable enough to knit a whole project using this method.

I know to some I may seem a little barmy but knitting to me is about techniques and ideas, and pushing the boundries. I love complicated cables, infact I found this today and I'm seriosly considering it for my next project, I've even found a suitable possible substitute yarn on e-bay aswell. The other reason is that through Knit Jam I also teach new knitters and it is good to be familiar with as many cast-ons and techniques and methods as I can muster. Obviously it goes without saying that maybe I'm a little bit obsessed too!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Naked Tuesday!

Naked Tuesday is something I've pinched from a very dark British Comedy called the League of Gentlemen, and no I'm not going to get naked but I am going to reveal something about myself. This is not what I was planning to reveal today, but I've had a difficult time locating some discs with the photo on that I wanted, and had to find something else for my show and tell today.

The difficult time includes unlocking the wardrobe with the childproof locks in son's room, this went ok first time around, but second time around h (less of the dear) distracted me and I locked the magnetic lock opener thing in the wardrobe, so I need to go and buy another one, or find a very big magnet!

Ok so the picture above is myself with my head shaved, and zig-zags running around the sides, I think I was about 19 at the time. I mean its no big deal for me, my hair was cut short in the late 70s and has been varying lengths of shortness ever since. For the last few years I've been cutting it myself, I have a fear of hairdressers. Its very liberating to shave your own head, and then there are the positives, never a bad hair day, and when I used to dye it different colours home dying if things went wrong I would just shave it all off and start again. I've only managed to grow it once in the last 10 years, although I'm having a last ditch attempt at growing it now before it gets too grey. You know how it is the grass is always greener, I'd just like a change of hair!

As for knitterly things I only managed to stitch one sleeve seam on the Vintage Vogue last night, but did get to watch the first episode of Lost series 3, can't really stitch up and watch that on not so dh's laptop, still only jaywalkers on needles but havent made any progress with them either. I have promised my niece a scarf, I've got a small stashed pile of different purple and lilac yarns especially for this project, which I plan to do with a simple stitch pattern so maybe I should do a bit of swatching and see what happens, but as its Tuesday maybe I should follow the Harlot tradition and do a bit of spinning, oh decisions, decisions!