Friday, 29 February 2008

Continuous bullion yarn

This is the wonderful second yarn for the Bendigo workshop. Not a great deal of yardage in this continuous bullion, but wonderful texture.

The only problem is that the core yarn gets too much twist and can break! Lots of interesting noises made then! It might pay to run the yarn through the wheel twice, so that I can ply back with the textured commercial boucle and finish with a fine black yarn.

I think I really need to knit a swatch with all these yarns. That would mean doing another set. I've wanted to with some dyed fleece. Way too much spinning.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Sample stashes

I finished the first workshop skein...hooray! Managed to find a matching boucle to ply in and some black to finally balance the yarn. I'm happy with the result. Though, photography does not give the full impact. It's washing now which might yield extra surprises.

Talking about all those samples you make, thanks knitspingirl, has got me thinking about what to do with them.

This is my sample stash stored in a box. Always store them all in the one place! At least you know you've got too much and need to do something, rather than them lurking everywhere.

However, as I'm sure everyone is very well organised, and it really doesn't take you much further than feeling a little uneasy/guilty about what to do with it all, got me to thinking. I know, a dangerous thing!

Next thing to do was sort into major colour groups and see what I had. It looked a bit more organised.

These are the four groups that seem to have some promise! What next you ask. I don't know, I've got this far. Need to think about it......stripes, mosaic knitting....

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Healthy, wealthy & wise

Well, two out of three ain't bad. After a shocking headache most of Monday, most unusual for me, I feel happy again. I think one of those...slept awkwardly, went walking without water...for longer than usual, sat on the computer, new glasses......the list goes on. Anyway much better. We're also being careful with computer usage...only in the morning, till the end of the month. We've almost busted our download limit and mornings are off-peak.

I have had a good time. Thought I'd use up all that spare dye that's been leftover from a couple of projects. All in the pot. I have some commercial undyed yarns bought from Wangaratta Woollen Mills on the last trip to Harrietville, so I skeined two and dip dyed. Dyeing a third, adding the next third and then the final third for the last 10 minutes. It's a sort of wine colour and I'm quite happy.

Then, I thought I'd overdye the commercial autumn colour I won. Unfortunately, I forgot that it was still a hot pot and just dumped it in. I think I gave it a bit of a shock, it's slightly felted. I am quite happy with the result, but I think I'll do another, properly. I am looking to make an Autumn leaf scarf with this lot, I just need to get the right shape.

I've also started work on the workshop for the Bendigo spinners. The first yarn we're going to create is a multi-ply yarn. I've based the workshop around the multi-colour tops, like those you get from First Editions. For this yarn I've spun 20gm of the multi-colour, then 10gm each of a brown and black which should match. For added complexity, the brown is an unwashed fleece, so I won't know what the final yarn will look like till I wash it!

I've plyed the brown with the colour to balance, the black with the colour with extra twist. I've then plyed these together with extra twist and will add some fine commercial yarn, probably black. I'd like some texture, but I don't think I have anything suitable.

I have to time all of this!

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Sometimes wool is best!

I've just finished spinning the mix of bamboo, ramie, soy and carbon. It has to be the worst spinning experience...the bamboo goes everywhere, the carbon and soy are completely inelastic and who knows about the ramie it got lost. Very different amounts of twist were required depending on the fibre, though that is my fault for choosing this particular path!

I decided to spin another single of silky wool and ply them together. This certainly improved the look and handle and I'm starting to be happy.
As there is only about 30gms I thought I might also dye at the same time, some fluffy wool, whose provenance is unknown, but might provide a nice contrast to the handspun skein.
I had some Landscape Desert Pea to dye the two skeins. I've used this on wool before and got quite a strong red, but failed to this time. Not sure what the problem was, but it's a decent result.
The dye took very unevenly on the multi-fibre dye, as you would expect.
This is going to be quite a challenge to get an interesting scarf. At least it's bright.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Vogue Knitting - Winter 2007/2008

Yes, I finally got around to writing about this latest issue. I can't quite get used to the 'VK' title. Doesn't say much!
I don't know about you but I always have problems with sleeve lengths and in this issue is quite a different way to think about measuring for length. It makes complete sense to me...basically the measurement is from the centre back/centre neck along the top of the sleeve/arm. I'm definitely going to try this.
I did like this issue, but there weren't many patterns that I wanted to knit for myself. I did like this for some intarsia knitting. How about dyeing a range of fleece colours - cream, greys, brown, even black the same colour and using that. And at my age, perhaps a t-shirt length rather than a dress.
Hope you like my favourite magazines list. Not quite complete yet.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Seaweed scarf

What a busy day. Pulled the back panel of last years Sheep and Wool entry to do some vital repairs. Wonderful fun surrounded by yarn, fibre, finished products and dogs.....obviously not my house.

The night was filled with my Beginners Spinners class. This is the half way mark and they are all doing very well. I have not doubt, that they'll walk away feeling very pleased with themselves. Next week we do some random dyeing. After four weeks of cream fleece, it will be time for a bit of colour.

Then I went home and finished my seaweed scarf. I absolutely love this. I hope it finds a home.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

More Wrist warmers

I'm feeling inspired again, so I've created a couple of more wristies. One's a little too Christmassy for my liking, but who knows.
The cuff uses a mixture of black commercial yarn from Littlewood it's good, and, my handspun fibre sandwich yarn. It's basically all rib.
The only thing I'm concerned about is the price I need to charge. As I haven't sold any yet, this is still an unanswerable question. I guess, let's see what winter brings.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Finished skein

I've finally finished my 10x10 skein. It's not quite what I thought I'd have. Found a green to dye it with and crammed it into a pot. I don't want a consistent colour. Unfortunately, I left it for half and hour and on too high a temperature and it boiled and it slightly felted. Ooops!
But I do really like it and will knit it up into a very loose and simple scarf.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Textile weekend

What a lovely weekend. Saturday was the HWSG monthly meeting, where I give my report on the two groups I convene: Experimental spinning and 3D5S. It's lovely to catch up with friends, have a look at what's going on and sometimes, if you're lucky, add to your fibre, yarn or book stash. Though all sorts of things turn up on the trading table.
What more do you want? Friends, fibre, laughter and doesn't get much better.
Well maybe, Sunday was 3D5S where we looked at the 10x10 contributions. We had a good number, though I now really feel the need to do a good name tag! I didn't quite finish mine, as I still need to dye it. I used some Silky wool to wrap around an English Leicester single and then I've plied it with a fine wool boucle to try and create the little bumps on the original photo. Currently it's soaking and seems more like the initial inspiration than this on the bobbin or the yarn in its hank. So the final product is for a future blog.
We also worked on our entry for the Australian Sheep and Wool show. We managed to really hone in on what we want to do and are in the process of refining our colour scheme.
NOTE: I love getting your comments and have finally found a format for responding. I'll just add little notes, if required. Be assured that if I don't respond, I still love them.
Two comments require response:
- I'll get on to Incub8tr
- Etsy seems such a BIG world. I recently read 60,000 sellers. It just makes me feel that I would be such a little fish. I may still however, come to change my mind.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Mary Walker Phillips (1923-2007)

As you may realise, this week has not been particularly productive. On Friday, however, I did pick up the latest issue of Vogue Knitting. This is always something to light my day and I would usually share something with you that takes my fancy.

This month, however, brings the belated news, for me at least, that Mary Walker Phillips has passed away. Her book, 'Creative Knitting' has so inspired me for so many years. I found it in the 90's and was grateful when Interweave Press reprinted it not so long ago. I immediately purchased it. When I first found out about this book, I googled 'Mary Walker Phillips' and found very little information. However, it did mention two of her books, one a macrame book and the other on counterpanes. Surprisingly, I own the macrame book, from around the early 80's because it was one of the more interesting books. I've tried to find the Counterpanes book. Unfortunately, it has been 'lost' from the HWSG library. I will try harder to obtain a copy.

'Creative Knitting' is just such an inspiration for a creative knitter like me and my 'Kimberley knitting' was wholely inspired by it during my trip. I will argue that if you don't own this book and want to do creative knitting then you're just missing out on both a wealth of inspiration and instruction. There are no patterns, just invented stitches, suggested yarns and needles and lots of pictures. Pity it's not in colour.

I am very sad that she's gone, but boy, am I glad that Mary Walker Phillips was here.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Picker yarn

Spent yesterday spinning. It's funny, but this is the last resort activity. When I don't feel like doing much, I spin.

This is the 'Picker yarn' - still wet hanging on the line. I've had this dyed fleece for ages not knowing what to do with it. Finally, I decided to put it through the Picker. This opens the fleece and traditionally, in preparation for carding. I however, used the picked fleece and just spun up two bobbins, taking what came along. Then put the rest through the carder and spun a fine, not quite perfect single. Plied all three together.

I'm very happy with the result. It is a little dull with all that mixing of colour, but I knew that would happen.

I'm also finally spinning my 10x10 challenge, though the design has changed several times to where I think I'm quite happy where I'm going.....You'll just have to wait till Sunday.

I've also been asked to run some classes at the Bendigo guild and have decided to send some pictures of some yarns for them to have a look at before deciding on the structure of the class. They want to do some plying, so a multi-ply yarn, then one of a modified bullion and finally core-spinning with multi-coloured top. Jenny from Ballarat is great and I've been there before and it was fun!

PS. There were two comments to my last post. One from Moorecat, thankyou very much... the chooks are Light Sussex. I love that!
The other slipped through and is a link to a pharmecutical, so please don't follow the link. I'll be more careful!

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

10X10 challenge

Feeling a bit down with regards to making more for the market, I've decided to abandon work for the week and do a few things I really want to. The first is the 10x10 challenge that is set for 3D5S, the inspiration/design group I belong to. The challenge is to produce a 10x10cm piece which can be in any technique. I chose embroidery, but it could be yarn wraps, knitting, collage, drawing, crochet, anything.
I've put in my effort from last year, which was inspired by some amazing chooks at the Collingwood Children's farm. The yarn used for the embroidery was handspun from black & red top, and white glitz. I am very pleased with it.
This is the picture I'm using to produce this years. It's a bit obvious what I'm likely to do, but.....

Monday, 11 February 2008

What's next?

Yesterdays market wasn't very good...plenty of people...spending at other peoples stalls. I sold one scarf which didn't cover the cost of the stall. Just feel like I must keep going, but right now I don't know what to do. Plenty of lovely comments, no money.
I did manage to do another cuff. Maybe I should do a whole series and get a box at Incube8r?

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Sculptures to market

When I finished the market last month I wanted to add sculptures to my stall. However, even up to yesterday morning I thought I wouldn't have any. Today, I've managed to fix Knitters' Block. Not quite what it was, but I like it.
I am disappointed in Paverpol. It's supposed to dry clear and it hasn't. The instructions are not clear. However, it has adhered to the wood and I'm going to varnish it. I'll put it on the stall as a 'Work in Progress'.
I am going to email Paverpol Australia and ask a few questions. I think it will work, I just need more information.
The 9x5 market is tomorrow. I hope it goes OK.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Timber and paper

Yesterday was spent buying timber for the Kimberley series. A very interesting day, now all I have to work out is how to get the spent sandpaper off and, of course, new stuff on. I am assured the sander is mine(?) but I can't remember how to get it off. Anyway, now know a little bit more about sources and resources.
I've been poring over the latest 'Selvedge', issue 21. I just love this magazine, always something startling. I've got a subscription now, as they had a great deal to celebrate their 21st issue. A significant reduction in cost.
Feeling a bit in need of a tidy up, I managed to convert my loom to an 8-shaft loom. Now the fun begins.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Another wrist warmer

I had a bit of play yesterday, using Bjork's own 'wrist warmer' as inspiration. Didn't quite reach her heights and wasn't quite what I was after, but a pleasing effect anyway.
I was using double crochet, and when I wanted a frill just did two in every one for a couple of rows. Having done this in such a way that I could still use the stitch, I went back and continued the base. Now I just have to do the other one!
I'm having my photo taken for the 'Banner' as a showcase artist for the 9x5 market. The Banner is the council produced newsletter that goes to every household. I hate having my photo taken, but it's in a good cause.
My beginner spinners are coming along nicely.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Making the sample real

After a couple of days in the slow lane, I've finally found the energy to finish making a small sample for Knitting the Kimberley. I've stretched it and painted it in the final colours, after mixing the terracotta(?) with the wrong red to get something that looked purple! It is, however, working well.
The next step, after it dries, is to Paverpol it to a piece of timber. I've found a timber yard nearby and hope to get there today.
I also started my classes for Certificate IV in Professional Web Development, reprising my life before children. Should be fun!

Sunday, 3 February 2008

A new bag

Yesterday was quite a busy day. Both boys started their tennis season in the morning, 7.30am start, on a Saturday! Youngest won his singles, which after the last season was a good start, the team lost by a game. Oldest won and the team won. It was a good win and he was high as a kite! Having now reached sort of serious levels this was great. I went out for the day to arrive back to partner ringing to say he'd made a 100 at cricket on the day the club was celebrating their 80th season, so he spent the rest of the night celebrating!

My day was good, but less eventful. I went to Rose St. market to have a look around. It's interesting and quirky, great spot, just off Brunswick St. I'd like to share a market stall with friends here. Need to check out more. The website is Went there not expecting to buy anything, maybe a pair of earings, I'm really not much of a shopper. Ended up buying this great backpack. I love backpacks, leaves my hands free and saves my back. They're usually boring, this isn't.

Then went on to Experimental Spinning at the guild. We were looking at odd fibres. The ones we could find in the Craft outlet were: Carbon fibre, Ramie, Bamboo and Milk protein. I carded mine all together, though I didn't quite finish spinning, so that's for later. I hope to dye the resulting yarn to see what happens. They're interesting fibres, the grey is the Carbon fibre. Not very elastic, not sure what to do with them, so interesting textures.

Coffee afterwards, a good day.

Friday, 1 February 2008

Finished and started stuff!

I've finished knitting 'Kimberley knitting'. I'm very happy, but have realised how much work there is to go to really finish it. I'm going to knit a small version to try everything on just to make sure I don't wreck it. I've added up the hours and it's taken 20 hours to get this far. Much more than I expected. So care is the word.
First process is washing and blocking. Then adding the colour and finally mounting. I'm exploring the options: mounting on a block of wood, where it shows through, or, as has been suggested, making a frame and lacing it on with no backing. Both have possibilities and I've finally ordered some Paverpol, this might provide some part of the solution too.

I managed to start a scarf last night using the pick up stitch idea from 'Knitting new scarves'. It's turned out quite different from the first scarf and somewhat different than I'd expected. There are ridges on one side, where I've picked up stitches, which I'd thought would have more impact, but I've come to like them. Next time, I'd like to explore making these ridges a feature by adding on the them by crocheting a frill, or some such thing.

Finally, I noticed a picture of Bjork at the Big Day Out concert wearing the best wristies of all time. Aren't they spectacular? My oldest son went to the concert, said she was great and her costume was spectacular as he could tell me it was gold!