Saturday, July 25, 2009

Fitting it all in

isn't easy sometimes. Winter seems to make it even more tricky to fit it all in. I usually post Wednesdays .. but last week, well there wasn't much to show, and there wasn't much light or time to make photos in. Thursday I felt guilty for not managing to post but wanted to go to knit night ... Friday was busy (ok personal choice I went to two film festival movies, once with my students, and to a different one after school with the cubs). .. and then it seemed odd to post on Saturday when Sunday was Bog update day. So here we are, Sunday afternoon, a light, sunny calm winter day in Dunedin, the doors and windows are open and without a breeze its not so cold. Truly its the wind that makes it cold here .. the sun does its bit, and without the wind .. well its quite comfortable in shirtsleeves. Today, there is knitting, a new project of sorts, and spinning, two skeins done, and some practice - because practice makes perfect, or at least goes a long way towards seeing improvement.

First up I've been knitting on TJB's gansey this week, the sleeve, the first sleeve, and it grows. I've been storing the gansey in a little cute plastic basket - I think it was produced to hold peg. We have a family of 4, and we do laundry on the weekends, and a little basket like this - well it wouldn't hold enough pegs for two loads of laundry let alone a whole line full. This little basket is cute, and is portable. The Gansey grew to big for my project bags long ago .. and well with dpns for the sleeve it needed something more open that I could easily fold it into along side its cone of yarn.

The little basket may look neat and contained .. but it holds a lot of knitting - see?

At 30cm I started the decreases, my usual sleeve decreases. I decrease every 4th round, four decrease points positioned at quarters around the sleeve. I'm not a fan of the standard underarm decrease - and one of the benefits of knitting in the round is its easier to position decreases where they feel right. Another 9 decrease rounds and I will have to make some decision on the cuff .. Knit Night suggestions included repeating the garter rib on the body hem .. and that is what I probably will do. I used the yarn double at the body hem .. and wonder if I can do the same, or should do the same for the sleeves. Toby, like most kids, grow out of rather than wearing out of his clothes .. so its not durability for him, but perhaps for some future kids who is part of the pass-it-on chain.

My new knitting project is blanket squares, for Operation Cover Up. This is an excellent method of stash busting, especially all that early Mill yarn and early spinning fiber that I bought and spun 'because' it was cheap .. and now don't know what to do with. I had clear out of my yarn drawers .. and after this photo a clear out of my hand spun stash .. and have lots to knit up. So far I've worked a standard 40st by 40 rows garter square, I'm working on a 80 st mitered garter square, I want to do one of these starting with 3 stitches and increasing (just because I can), and I want to play with some log cabin variations. I'm having fun playing with stripes and even considering garter instarsia one ...which could be cute or drive me crazy or both.

And both spinning wheels in the living room were freed up this week, this gorgeous deep ruby coloured half breed wool and silk blend from The Little Wool Company was spun on the Grace. My first real play with scotch tension spinning .. I heard that scotch tension systems were fiddly and tended to need a lot of adjustment. One of the reasons I bought the Grace was because I had good recommendations from several spinners that Mike made a scotch tension wheel that didn't need constant adjustments. I also bought it because it was so so pretty and new not old- I'm terrified that my vintage wheels will one day wear out. I'm fairly pleased with this, the scotch tension worked just fine, hardly any adjustment needed, the yarn looks stringy - but its a two ply, with silk and they never look plump unless the wool is very very crimpy. I'm thinking a Koolhaas for Poppy, for next winter ... maybe. She has acquired my Odessa on a seemingly permanent basis, and its looking the worse for the wear a 7 year old has given it.

And the other wheel in the lounge was freed up when I finished this Blue Gotland. I spun it on the Wing, but plied it on the Pipy as the Pipy has much larger bobbins so I get longer skeins that way. This yarn is a lot more bouncy ...even more than in this image, after I washed the skein to set and fluff it up some. This is going to be a blanket for Pip's baby boy. I must be having a bit of a JF moment as I'm tempted to knit a Hemlock Ring blanket but I don't have enough yarn, I've got 419m of what is most likely an Aran/DK weight yarn, I need 548m. I do have a dark grey gotland hand spun in similar weight .. so I need to decide if Hemlock would look ok if with a darker outer section .. or if I should knit a square garter with a lace boarder or a pie shawl .... all the fun of deciding but not until the gansey is done.

Its not knitting but I've been practicing with my tambour hook, which seems to have paid off. Now I'm a lot more in control of the little sharp needle hook .. I can pretty much keep the thread from slipping out of the hook when I make a stitch .. and I can change direction without getting snagged or tangled.

and my stitches are more even .. look! The little group of knitters that went to the workshop are currently passing around a copy of A Common Thread. Bear and I watched that last night, Claire, the main character is an embroiderer, seeking employment that uses her talents, and when she finds work with an experienced tambourist (is that a word?) the camera pans lovingly over the work Claire and her employer work on. The sun dapples, the sequins sparkle, the needle work just looks beautiful - beautiful work. I'm not in that league .. but I can dream. The other movies I saw this week were The September Issue, and Coraline. Coraline was described in the film festival as a true horror film for kids .. and because I'm such a weird mum at times .. well I wanted to counteract the really really weak plots on tv that is provided for kids we went, 7 year old and all. It was good, both kids handled the scare factor ok ... and there was plenty there for me. The September Issue was a good counter to the Devil Wears Prada movie ... if you saw that you probably should balance the books by seeing this.

so .. my week in review,
and the sun is still shining .. but it is cooling down .. so I'm off to take the washing off the line before it gets damp again.
na Stella


Knitting Linguist said...

Ooh, you've been busy! The tambour stitching is looking beautiful -- much more even, you're right. And your spinning is gorgeous - such beautiful colors, and so soft-looking. You're making me look forward even more to a week of spinning :) Thanks for the Coraline recommendation, I think we're going to have to rent this one very soon...

Soupdaloup said...

Wow I thought I was the only person in the planet practically that still used a tambour hook. I learnt through a workshop at FIDM with an instructor from the Lesage school.