Saturday, October 11, 2008

Of my own making,

Look I've finished, no not my knitting, but my spindles, two, the two I made with a little help from my Dad now have hooks and are varnished. While the varnish was open I also polished the spare Wing Bobbins, so today there is that and then I've got some boring progress news on the sleeves of my tangled yoke alpaca cardigan, and I've got roving ... Pink Alpaca roving. Poppy is so happy with the pink, she is a little girl, and pink is her thing. I sort of sit on the fence about the nature vs nurture debate - but with a little girl in the house .... well a definite leaning towards pink things occurs, despite my ongoing and vigilant provision of all things black and navy, and boyish. This week I've been on leave, home with the kids, for the last half of this week, and I thought I'd get a lot more done, but no, time flew and then it was Sunday, the last day of the holidays. So what did I do since getting back from dads? Well we meet the designer who is doing our renovation plans, we went to the movies (Wall-E), we meet friends for lunch, went to tour the Gourmet Ice Cream Factory (and attached gourmet chocolate factory), watched as two men with a little digger demolished our car port and made ready for foundations for a new double garage, we baked, relaxed some ... and I didn't get any where near as much knitting or spinning done as I planned.

But back to the spindles, I even made my own hooks. Inspired by the hook discussion here and here, I abandoned ideas of using pre-shaped cup hooks. Well I tried, but the hooks small enough to reshape had such a short thread they seemed unlikely to stay put while spinning, and those with a long secure thread - well they were difficult to reshape by hand. But that left a problem, if I wasn't going to use commercially available hooks - what would I make them out of. I thought that the Stainless Steel TIG wire that I had been using for blocking wires might work. A quick trip to the engineering shop, 50c latter for two wires 1m long and 1.2 mm thick, and a little play with a pair of needle nosed pliers and look! Home made hooks! I also used PGR's Spinning in the old way, to inform my hook shaping. These spindles have had two coats of sealer, and 2 coats of varnish-stain (Kauri), with a light sand between coats, and I'm not sure if they need another coat or not .... they are pretty smooth and even.

While I had the sandpaper and the sealer and the varnish-stain out and open and stirred it seemed prudent to finish some of the bobbins that Dad turned for the Wing. These four are spares, all have little cracks in them, but will function just fine. The only problem is they might not survive a long forceful drop from a height onto a solid floor - but I've seen so many glued back together bobbins that shouldn't' be a real problem to some one who is missing a bobbin or two. I thought I'd 'practice' finishing the bobbins on these spares before attempting to varnish my own ones. I think it works don't you? And this is my original lazy kate, which works just fine for holding bobbins while they dry, a plastic basket and two pair of disposable chop sticks. I have four original bobbins with my Wing, and another 5 Kauri bobbins, so think I might sell these spares on Trademe, or offer them thru the Chch guild newsletter, if any readers want them leave me a note in the comments or on Ravelry.

But this is a knitting blog, so here is the knitting. I'm knitting two sleeves at once, on two circs. I've loosely followed the original pattern, but given I've recalculated for 34 sts in 4"/10cm - I've taken some liberties. For example I've added a bit more waist shaping, and on the sleeves I've used 4 increase points rather than just increasing at the underarm seam. In this case the sleeve has reached full width just below the elbow - I'm not to happy with that, I wanted a fitted sleeve, but I'm not frogging on 2.5mm needles. The fun in this cardie starts on the yoke, so I want to focus on finishing the sleeves and get to the yoke within a week or two.

And here is some very Pink Alpaca, a little thank you from Sue, who has the Highway Star Aplaca Stud farm in Canterbuy, Sue bought some of the earlier unfinished bobbins after I approached her at a spinning workshop, and asked if she needed extra bobbins, as my dad might be able to make some. I've not spun pure alpaca before, only blends, but once I finish the Alpaca-Silk-Merino that I'm spinning now, I plan to spin this. I'm not sure what I'll knit, but thought a lacy version of a shrug, a short sleeved one, for Poppy. At 6 Poppy is a little small for scarves, and hats and gloves need a bit more of an elastic yarn than Alpaca can provide. I've already weighed it and divided into two equal bumps ready to go. I'm on the last bobbin of the Grey-green alpaca silk merino, so should be able to make a start on this part way thru monday night at spin night. Sue tells me this spins up darker, yummy.

Tomorrow is Monday, Monday back at work after a week on leave. I've baked a chocolate apple cake to share for morning tea as its the first day of term four and we all probably need a bit of a pick up and get together after a long hard winter. I baked two, the slighlty burnt one I served with ice cream for supper tonight. I love my job, but some times I do wonder if I could just stay at home and play all day, if I would ever be bored? Do you?

Take care
na Stella


Anonymous said...

As one who gave up working in the "real world" to do my own thing I can assure you that you would never be bored. Even on my quietest days (which, I grant you, don't come around often) I can conceive of a thousand things I'd like to do - that's the beauty of being a creative person.

Angelika said...

Look at you go. I can see you selling those. Put your dad to work some more, so he won't get bored, even though the cold winter months are behind you for now.

Knitting Linguist said...

Those spindles look gorgeous -- the wood is so rich, and the hooks are perfect! I wonder if I show Rick these pictures if he could be convinced to get a lathe... (As an aside, the girls both spent some time learning to spin on my spindles yesterday!) The knitting looks good -- you're making lots of progress on such small needles, and I know Poppy's going to love that alpaca :)

Linda said...

Can't wait til I can "quit the day job" and stay home to be bored with all the things on my to do list. Bored? Never!
And chocolate apple cake!? I knoiw it's a knitting blog but recipe please! Ya can't tease us like that!

Tanya said...

Your spindles are fabulous! What a beautiful job you did on them Stella. Wow!

Anonymous said...

Stella you just blow me away!!! Ditto what Tanya said - the spindles have turned out beautifully (pardon the pun). Can't wait to hold them and see the finished items you make with them. You have such powerful talent!


bored? you get "bored", no way! to much to do, to want to do...and with the kids...nope, not this life time~!

Hilary said...

Thank you for the good advice on my linebacker shoulders. You are a wonderful resource. Your spindles are beautiful!

Since I quit my job to stay home with the kids I have felt many things (including guilty!) but never bored. There is ALWAYS something to do! Sometimes I miss the adult company from my job, but less so now that the kids are both in school all day.

Annieofbluegables said...

I stumbled across your blog when I read the term frogging on another's post. I had never heard of it. Google showed me your blog. I am so fascinated. I have taken some time and watched your videos and read some of the posts. You are such an amazing lady. You blow me away.
No you would not get bored. I have found so many things to do and never get as much done as I would like.
I have added you to my blogroll. I have not read enough yet to satisfy my curiosity. Your kind of knitting is a whole new realm.
Maybe some day if I get rich and famous, I could visit New Zealand (a dream of mine).
It is just starting the dreary winter here in Utah (US)