Sunday, January 31, 2010
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
To use the flicker I have to hold a small amount of fleece in my left hand and flick at it with the brush held in the other hand. I have to hold the fleece fairly hard between my thumb and fingers. Inevitably the soft part of my thumb sometimes gets in the way. Did I mention those little wires are sharp! I don't want blood on my lovely fine white merino wool, so I'm taking a break before I start spinning. Then the challenge is to see how finely I can spin. I chose the flicker because it prepares the fibre quite well, even though it's a little torturous.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I dropped this skein in the dye pot several days ago. I'd already dyed a few other skeins in a previous batch and this one finished it off. The dye pot is exhausted: And I couldn't be bothered rinsing it out, or retaking the picture to get the yarn in focus, or combing out the merino I have washed, or even knitting a few rows. I think I'll put on a DVD: I borrowed the Buena Vista Social Club from the local library. That sounds like a happy way to spend a slow Australia Day afternoon.
Monday, January 25, 2010
This exercise for my Spinning Certificate Folio is to spin a fine, medium and bulky yarn from the same fleece. It made sense to start with a medium fleece and try to push it to the extremes on either side. All the time my fingers are reinforcing the message, "spin to suit the fleece". It's hard work trying to make fleece spin into something it really doesn't want to be. I have yet to try to make a bulky yarn from this fleece. I'm hoping that will be less frustrating. And I'm so looking forward to the next exercise when I will do my best with a fine yarn from a fine fleece.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Saturday, January 23, 2010
She had the old shelves cleared off and dismantled much faster than I'd expected. Now I can hear her in my shed with the power saw. I've got a good feeling I'm going to have new shelves by tea time. Meanwhile I'm getting on with my spinning. I have to resist the urge to keep checking on her--I'm not used to people working independently around my place. I reckon I could get used to it, though!
Friday, January 22, 2010
I built a drying rack over the top of the bath and shower some years ago--part of my getting used to a climate in which clothes don't just dry on the line outside in a few hours! Now there's usually a skein or two or three of fibre hanging there. My friends are often amused when they go to use the bathroom, it's often messy, but never boring.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Meanwhile, I've been working away at different preparation methods for worsted spinning. More of that to come.
My friend D is safely home, having flown from about 15 degrees in Melbourne in the morning to something like 36 in Brisbane by the time she landed. I must say, I'd rather be home, wearing a sweatshirt and spinning away!
Monday, January 18, 2010
Another duck specialty that often catches my attention is the colouring and patterns of their wings. The more I look at the way their feathers are aranged and the depth of colour hidden under the brown, the more fascinated I am.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
I love it when shops and people can put their style out there. The chandelier is 100% plastic, but really says it all!
Saturday, January 16, 2010
When a decent interval had passed, there was room for fish and chips to share between ourselves and the ducks. Then home and an early night.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
If you missed the camel repair story, here's the link.
I'm also a happy spinner because I've got far enough with sorting out the box of bits that will comprise my Spinning Folio that I'm back to actually spinning. I've sorted out where some of the main gaps are in the work that I've done. Now I get to fill the gaps one skein at a time. Right now I'm working on a sample of worsted spun merino: one small bobbin spun, one to go. Then I'll ply, wash, sample and knit a swatch. It will have it's moment of glory with a page in my presentation folder. There's not that much of it, so that will probably be all it will ever be. But it's so nice to spin that I don't mind.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
I've been wanting to learn to knit socks for a few years now. The major impediment--apart from my usual preoccupations and distractions--is the fact that I normally knit with a needle under my arm. That just doesn't go with the 4 double pointed needles required to knit a sock. I've gradually been getting used to using circular needles and am just about ready to try the double pointed ones again. Of course, my usual preoccupations and distractions haven't gone away; and I do have the work for my Spinning Certificate folio to get done, but now I have one more valuable resource to help me, and the added motivation of a happy Christmas gift to encourage me on my way.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
I still have a table covered with spinning stuff and I have a friend coming to stay in a couple of days time. I'd like to have things a bit more ordered to welcome her. So, some more tidying up is on the agenda for today. When the cool change comes, I'll be able to do some spinning. I am sooo looking forward to that cool change coming!
Monday, January 11, 2010
I was pleased with my progress yesterday. As well as knitting up the neck warmer, I sorted my notes for the wool classing session of the course. They're all nicely displayed now, along with the fibre samples. I just need to buy a binder today and then I can tick that off my list. My big table still looks like a disaster area, but it's organised chaos as far as I'm concerned. Now today, I am definitely going to seek out somewhere cooler than my house. 43 is too hot to be knitting.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Well, I tackled the box. Here's some of what I found: The good news: a lot of the bags and skeins were nicely labelled. I can tick those straight off my list of requirements.
The bad news: there are a couple of skeins there of lovely spinning that I didn't label at the time. I can just imagine that after working on them for hours I would have been so familiar with the work, that the thought of ever confusing it with anything else was incredible. Incredible, but true! I had no idea at the time how the skeins would multiply over the months until one day's work is hard to recall amongst the many days of concentrated spinning I've done over the year. After doing a bit of detective work: matching fleece samples and skeins; I think I've come pretty close to identifying most of what's there. Some of it I'll have to just write off or use for sampling. Uh Oh!
Today's going to be another scorcher. Thankfully it cooled down enough overnight that I've been able to enjoy a couple of hours of knitting this morning. This afternoon I'm planning to retreat to the Brunswick Library. It's in the old Town Hall building, with great thick stone walls. I'm hoping they do a good job of keeping out the heat. The library doesn't open until 1.00 pm. Between now and then, I'm going to tackle the pile of stuff that came out of the box. I'd like to get as much of it as I can into it's final state for presentation. Then I can tuck it away safely and reclaim my big table.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Yesterday was a hot day--the first of several forecast to culminate in the low forties early next week. That's Centigrade, by the way. My personal take on hot days is that if the outside temperature is below body temperature I cope OK. So anything under, say 36 I won't really complain about--well not much! But if I'm spinning or knitting, it's a different story. The rate limiting step there is sweaty hands. I can't spin effectively if my hands are sweating. Anyway, yesterday was too hot to spin, but I really wanted to do something constructive for my folio. So I tidied up my dyeing samples. Here they are all nicely arranged and labelled:I also put together a few pages of notes on colour theory and colour mixing. That's one unit I can tick off the list. I've done all that's required. Of course, looking at the material makes me want to research and experiment a whole lot more, but that wouldn't count as tidying up. So I'm not going to go there. My plan is to complete each unit--there are 11--to the required standard. Then I can play around with extras. I also need to plan and complete a "major project". At the moment my main trouble there is too many ideas. I might solve that by doing a collection of smaller pieces. That way I can just keep adding to it, or stop when I have to.
OK, next lot of tidying up: there's a box full of fleece samples and partially labelled skeins stashed under my weaving bench. I really need to start to sort that out.
Friday, January 8, 2010
Enter the zipper knitting technique: knitting to and fro without turning the work. I found this technique on a number of sites. It seems like the perfect solution to my problem. So for the last couple of days I've been knitting a stocking stitch sample: knitting right to left as usual for the knit row, then knitting left handed from left to right for the next row--instead of turning and knitting a purl row--like this:
It feels awkward at first--as most new techniques do--but it works. When I'm feeling a bit more confident with it, I'll get back to the entrelac. I'm hoping to just zip through the small blocks then. I'll let you know how I get on.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
The blue washer at the bottom is one of the first ones I made. The orange one above is one of the more recent ones. The original pattern calls for a yarn-over increase two stitches in from the beginning of every row for the first half of the face washer. To achieve a similar appearance for the second half--with the little eyelet which results from the yarn over--the pattern calls for two decreases plus the yarn-over increase. The result is the right number of stitches, but a slightly distorted shape. I didn't like it much. My friend M, laughed and said it was a bit of a Dr Seuss shape. I had to agree. So I decided to change the pattern. Instead of doing the second half with the decreases, I knitted the first half according to the pattern and left it on a needle; then I made a second one the same. A three-needle cast off joined the two triangles and finished off the washer with a knitted in ridge at the fold-line. I liked that a lot better--hence the washer on the top is rather more square than the Dr Seuss version below. However, I'm planning to keep the Dr Seuss version. I am very fond of The Cat in the Hat and other slightly off-centre stories and the thought of a Dr Seusss version of knitting makes me smile.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
First of all we raided my doll and bear stash for camel-coloured materials. Despite my ongoing attempts to sort and reduce my collection of stuff, it's moments like these I'm so glad of my stash! As it turns out, I had some thick felt and some beige corduroy which looked like they would do the job.
- I worked the felt in through the holes to pad out the stuffiing and covered that with the corduroy.
- The new fabric extended well beyond the holes in the camel fur fabric.
- I then ladder-stitched the small openings.
- There were a couple of places where I wasn't sure that I could get the edges of the holes to come together, so I stitched the edges of the camel fur fabric carefully down to the corduroy in those spots.
- When I knew it was all secure, I was willing to risk a bit more, so I started to pull the fur fabric together over the patches--again using ladder stitch.
- In the end it all came together--no holes and original camel fur fabric covering the whole of Matthew Flinders well-loved neck.
- There were a couple of other holes where the legs join the body, but they were easy enough to stitch closed.
So now Matthew Flinders the camel has gone home to the ones who love him, ready for many more years of happiness.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Monday, January 4, 2010
This skein was left hanging in the dye pot while I went away over Christmas. I'd dyed the teal colour you can see in the top left section. I know the dye was still active because when I went to rinse it out yesterday, the remainder of the skein picked up a pale version of the same colour. That's the colour you can see in the centre of the skeinBut I wanted more! So when I'd done rinsing, I mixed up a small amount of another blue colour, "sky", and dipped the other end of the skein in that for a good half hour before heating up the dye pot again. I left it overnight, just because I couldn't be bothered finishing it off. So now I have the intense blue that you can see at the lower right of the pic. I think that's enough.
Sorry, I didn't iron the white cloth before taking the pic, but the colours show up better on a white background, whether it's ironed or not.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
- I could just chuck them--seems a pity, though;
- I could keep them in my teaching stash just as they are--they demonstrate several useful points;
- I could find some coordinating fabric and finish them off--I just happen to know I have some; and I might even know where it is;
- I could pack them away with various other strays that seem too good to get rid of and hope to do something with them sometime . . . ummm, that's how I got where I am in the first place!
So, I smiled at myself, took a photo and blogged about them. Now at least I can tick "blogging" off my to do list for this morning.
Now what? How about making myself another cup of coffee and hoping to find something easier to dispose of?
Saturday, January 2, 2010
I've been knitting face washers as Christmas gifts--I'm working on the 12 days of Christmas principle, which means I have until January 6 to complete my gift-making. At first I appreciated the simplicity of the garter stitch squares, but after making several I was well and truly over it. So it was time to try something new. I'm still using the bamboo-soy yarn and aiming at a small square, so the adventure is nicely contained. If it works out, there'll be a maverick face washer amongst the group.
Friday, January 1, 2010
Yesterday I dealt with one box and one bag full of stuff. The result is the area of floor you can see in the pic. You can also see that there still a way to go before this room is fully sorted, but it's that much easier to get to my shelves and cupboard. And the room feels that much lighter when I walk in. So, my aim for 2010 is to continue to wander along the path of getting things sorted. I don't expect it to be a quick journey, but I do expect to make some interesting discoveries along the way.