Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Lack of Content

I feel there has been a lack of content on this blog of late, I've finished the back of Durrow along with the sleeves, and have decided to cast on the front in two halves to make it into a zip up jacket, but haven't actually got anything on the needles which is always a bit of a worry.

I'm spinning some fibre up on the Joy but I'm unhappy with the colour, so once it's all spun plied and the twist has been set it will be back to the dyebath.

I need to start knitting up some hems for this months knitting course homework or I will get behind!

Its very very wet and miserable here and I'm feeling a bit like I've lost my mojo...

In the interim I found this over on Marianne's Blog

What's your VisualDNA like?

Friday, February 23, 2007

Finding Joy!

"A longing for excitement can be satisfied without external means, within oneself; for creating is the most intense excitement one can come to know." ~Anni Albers (wife of josef albers)

It's been a mixed week, there have been ups and downs and inbetweens and over the last few days my list of things to do keeps growing and I don't seem to be getting anything done.

Maybe this has something to do with it....

Can you guess what it is yet?

For those of you who don't recognise those sleek lines I'd like to introduce you to Joy!
I was in the right place at the right time last Sunday, and when the opportunity arose to bring her home with me I didn't hesitate, she was filthy dirty, but nothing that couldn't be fixed.
She was also in need of a couple of springs and a brake band, so due to lack of time for a couple of days I just wistfully pedalled, then I borrowed the old brake band and sad looking spring from my old faithful Ashford Traditional, I have also taken possesion of a drum carder on long term loan, so after carding up some fibre to play with we started to get aquainted.
It almost feels like we're old friends!
How ironic in a week of Optimism I find Joy!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Optimistic Namelians!

Over on Steve's blog last Friday he was showcasing the Namelien creations of his 5th graders. Go and have a look because they're alot of fun.

To create a namelien you:

a. fold a piece of paper in half
b. open your paper up
c. turn your paper so the fold is horizontal
d. write your name in cursive, "real big" on the fold line (a thick-tipped, dark-colored marker, crayon, or pencil works best)
e. keep your paper where it is, fold it up again, and trace the name you wrote (a thin sheet, a lightbox, or holding the paper against a window with good light can help make the tracing easier, if needed)
f. open your paper again
g. trace over your name again (write on the original, front side), this time you'll be writing it backwards
h. turn your paper so that the fold line in the middle is now vertical--choose which way is rightside up (you will now see an interesting, symmetrical design created from your name)
i. have fun adding things (we make ours totally symmetrical)--such as eyes, arms, legs, antennae, wings, hands, claws, feet, hair, patterns, textures, colors, etc.
j. create a nonsymmetrical background/environment for your namelien (optional)

I enjoyed the post so much, and thought it was such a cool idea I decided to create my own, just to clarify Jo is short for Joanna!

The thing is creativity is all about having fun, immersing yourself in the things you enjoy, otherwise what would be the point. Sometimes we spend far too much time stressing over the results instead of just enjoying the process.

What I would really like to see is for the namelian to become a new kind of meme...I'm not going to tag anyone, but just for the fun of it I'd like to see my friends having a go...(how about you and Gracie, Marianne?)...and posting the results unashamedly on their blogs!

I have also signed up to undertake a new creative journey called Finding Water, a 12 week course by the author of the Artists Way, Julia Cameron.

We started week 1: Uncovering A Sense of Optimism, on Saturday.

So far I am feeling a sense of optimism and positivity. I don't really know where the journey will lead but I am going to try and enjoy the ride.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Here as promised is the beautiful silk yarn Kerrie gave me, I was completely drawn to the deep purple and brown colour of it. I've never knitted with silk before, and this needs a special project. Maybe a simple crop sleeve cardigan for the Summer.

This soft cream is the first skein I have spun from some roving Kerrie gave me on Friday which could possibly be Walnut. It spins into a lovely soft thick and thin single, but next I'd like to see how it takes to the Easy Peasy dyes. Then I'll knit a sample up and see what it looks like. It's really nice to try out an unusual fibre like this!

On the knitting front I have finished the sleeves of Durrow, but its not that photogenic, and I'm now onto the mindless but happy knitting of the back.

I had my first spinning disaster last night..I have been spinning some hand-painted Wensleydale longwool which had been going ok. Normally I would spin 2 bobbins as similar in size as I can judge and then ply them but I have been reading of people winding a bobbin off into a centre pull ball then plying it together from both ends, it's not a complete disaster, but I've actually wound what's left of my centre pull ball back onto the bobbin, I will proceed to spinning a second bobbin, it feels a bit of a mess because I'm not sure I like the way the colours are mixing when they are plied but it doesn't seem to want to be a singles yarn either.

Everything now has to stop for homework, I don't know why I'm dragging my heels this week, but I need to do my still-life study of tones and a couple of other exercises, and knit one more selvedge sample before Sundays C & G workshop.

As for the Header of my blog...it needs a bit of tweaking but there's a simple how to add a photo to your blog header here, my problem is that I have incorporated the blog title into the picture. If I get rid of the other blog title I will be difficult to find with a search engine, I can make the other title disappear by blending it into the background using the same colour, but what I really need is a fibery quote or some kind of clever introduction to my blog to fill the space in the box, please leave any suggestions in the comments.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Fun Friday Fibre Frolics!

A few weeks ago Kerrie put a plea out on her blog for someone to go over and get her spinning on her wheel.

Seeing an opportunity for a bit of an adventure, I volunteered to go over and give her a few pointers, so yesterday I made the 2 hour journey to Kerrie's Hipkinits Shop and Studio. In no time at all we put Kerrie's Ashford Joy through it's paces and Kerrie easily got the hang of it, it's just a case of co-ordination and practice.

We had a lovely afternoon, spinning and chatting, and Kerrie packed me off with some beautiful hand dyed silk yarn, a copy of Yarn Forward and some fibre to play with.

I've also been tagged by Caroline with the 6 Weird Things Meme. I've been thinking about it for a few days. I've been struggling for 6 to be perfectly honest, no really...I have, but I'm going to give it a go....


RULES:People who are tagged should write a blog post of 6 weird things about themselves as well as state this rule clearly.
In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names.

I believe I am a Supertaster....so most of my weirdness is food related. I didn't realise you could self-test for this condition, so I'll be off to get some blue food colouring and check my long held theory out. I saw a programme about it a few years ago and it made complete sense to me. The male presenter was a Supertaster and the way he described taste was identical to the way things taste to me.

I don't eat any vegetables apart from potatoes. As a child I used to swallow everything whole, I couldn't chew vegetables if my life depended on it. I don't eat any kind of salad vegetable either, and of course any kind of meal that involves vegetables is out of the question.

I have to have something sweet after something savoury, even after a slice of toast in the morning I need a biscuit to take the taste away, although oddly I can't bear anything sweet like jam or marmalade on my toast.

I love cheese on toast, but I couldn't possibly eat cold cheese sliced in a sandwich. Weirdly enough Kerrie is exactly the same on this one, I mean I know a few people who believe cheese is the work of the devil...but there's just something about cold cheese between two slices of bread....eeeuuurrrrr!

I don't like the taste of water....hmmm yes how does it taste...watery, wet, of nothing in particular, I just can't drink it without Robinson's Fruit & Barley Orange squash, the only time I really could drink water was just after Neo was born and my hormones were so jiggled about I couldn't stand the taste of anything.

I don't like the taste of lager, beer, real ale, they all taste very bitter to me, even making shandy by adding lemonade doesn't work (I don't like fizzy drinks either). I don't really like the taste of alcohol....if its well watered with lots of orange juice....or indistinguishable in a cocktail it's ok, as a teenager I used to like sweet cider but going out in a group I re-trained my tastebuds to drink dry cider with blackcurrant (lots of blackcurrant) and it's still a favourite tipple on the rare occasions I go out.

No I can't retrain my tatsebuds to eat vegetables.....but it hasn't done me any harm.

Ok I'm going to tag Jill, Pat,Strumpstickan,Anne,Kim, and finally KnitKnackPaddyWack

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Forget-me-not V Cabled Gloves

As it was the monthly meeting of the local spinning group the 1066 Spinners yesterday, I got to work with the purple sheep batts Thursday evening and continued spinning and plying till it was all finished off last night. This is an aran weight yarn, averaging 10 WPI ( wraps per inch is how spinners guage the thickness of yarn we are spinning in comparison to commercial yarn).

I couldn't decide whether I liked the colour or not whilst I was spinning. It was my first attempt with the Easy Peasy Dyes from Hilltop, I bought the Starter kit which comes with a blue, red and yellow, and I just decided to give the blue and red a whirl, I obviously knew I would get purple, but wasn't sure how dark it would be, if anything this was always a bit light for my liking.

The fleece itself is a ULS (unidentified local sheep). Just after my return to knitting last year a local farmer advertised some fleeces on Freecycle, at first I thought no, but when she re-advertised I decided to go and get some, I then rang round to find someone to teach me to spin, and was referred to a lady in Bexhill who gave me a 2 hour lesson, and then I came home and bought my wheel off E-bay.

What does it want to be? Well it seems to want to be another scarf....maybe I'll go into the scarf business. I've got a couple of ideas in my head for the style of this one, with some kind of random edge/ fringe so I think I should start sketching them and start a couple of samples...watch this space!

Friday night I also finished kitchener stitching the fingers of the second glove, and as we're apparantly due another bout of chilly weather and possibly snowfall before the week is out they may get some wear.

The pattern itself is in Vogue Knitting Gloves and Mittens On The Go! The yarn is Rowan Yorkshire Tweed 4ply shade 265, and I knitted these on 3mm needles. The original pattern called for a cashmere yarn but I couldn't source any at a reasonable price in a practical glove colour. I also reversed the cable panel on the left glove because I would feel they were a bit of an odd pair with the cables all crossing to the right, althought the ones in the pattern photo were done like that, just a personal quirk!