30 January 2010

Rainy day fibre

I've been hanging on to this incredible fibre from Limegreenjelly for ages, stroking it gently and demanding that passers-by admire it. If I stroked it much more it was going to felt, so I've started a 3-ply that should mix all the colours up surprisingly.

The photos wash it out a lot, as usual. It's got just about every colour I can think of somewhere in it but they all look perfectly suited in real life. If I tried dyeing anything like that it would end up muddy brown, but these spots of colour only blend together in interesting ways where they meet. Limegreenjelly is a genius and I MUST HAVE MORE.

Now that I'm spinning up the cashmere/merino/silk, the top petting fibre spot is taken by a precious 20g of Vicuna. It was Wingham Wool Work's subscriber offer this month and I couldn't resist seeing what it was like. It feels barely-there and buttery like cashmere, but more solid at the same time. Yum!

11 December 2009

What has happened to me?

As the year of reluctantly-non-selfish knitting draws to a close, I'm very happily knitting a Christmas present for my brother. This is not like me at all - deadline knitting! - but it's something I've been wanting to make for years, and I'm absolutely loving it so far. When you notice that an idea you've toyed with for ages perfectly matches yarn you happen to have lying around, you might as well give up and cast on. I've lost my camera so no photies yet, but it's a very, very silly hat to add to the silly hat collection that the male members of my family cultivate. It involves various fair isle patterns combined to represent my brother's (and my father's) favourite things, and the landscape around the family home. Some wavy, sea-like bits are near the brim, followed by a section of prancing people, then some trees, then some mountains at the top. I imagine a pompom or three might be called for.

06 November 2009


I'm facing another long dark weekend of the soul (why did I ever think a PhD sounded fun?) but I'm knitting a handspun cashmere moebius, so all is well.

21 October 2009


My PhD is at one of those pivotal moments when I could finish it in a frenzied whirl of activity punctuated only by a minor nervous breakdown, or meander halfheartedly along indefinitely, losing the will to live. Therefore, as every second with both hands on the keyboard is vital, I am utterly consumed with the desire to knit. Or spin. Or continue my very important research into looms.

I finally finished and handed over the gloves that nearly put me off knitting entirely, failing completely to photograph them beforehand. Next time I see the guy I will insist on the full photoshoot. I'm now a few rows from finishing a pair of socks I foolishly promised a friend, so the freedom to make whatever the hell I like is beckoning. To my surprise, what I want to knit is a pattern! I've started the Ysolde's Damson shawl in handspun and it's heaven. The pattern is just perfect, and though I wasn't at all happy with the yarn, it's knitting up into something much prettier than the skein. If I ever see daylight again I'll snap it while I can.

The above picture is some merino/silk from World of Wool in their Virgo colourway that I made into a bouncy 2-ply to keep me sane amidst the structured knitting. A guy who just finished his PhD (called Gordon Ramsey, much nicer than the chef) thought of a great definition of work he told us the other day: 'Work is playing by someone else's rules'. So true of knitting!

27 August 2009

Yarnharlot scarf

This is the one row handspun scarf made from the purple cashmere in the last post, with its ends still waiting to be woven in as usual. It's satisfyingly long and swingy, and was great fun to knit. The pattern is perfect for out-and-about or TV knitting.

24 August 2009

Exhibit B

I spun up the fibre club purple cashmere. I love the subtly wavering colours (in between the two photos as usual), but the fibre had somehow got a bit mangled, either in the dyeing process or due to less-than-perfect storage conditions since I got it. It was extremely difficult to draft at first, so I recarded it with hand cards. This made it spinnable, but I don't have fine enough cards to do a good job on cashmere, so it was still a challenge, and the singles were pretty dodgy in places. It came in two seperate bags, so 2-ply was the obvious choice.

I've just finished knitting it up into Yarnharlot's One Row Handspun Scarf, which is waiting to be blocked into readiness for its close-up. This pattern was perfect for the unintentionally irregular yarn, and I'm very happy with how it turned out. I'm amused that I've produced something that will be worn to death out of yarn I wasn't thrilled about, while more successful handspun has sat on my shelves for months waiting for an appropriately perfect project. It's nice to have a couple of skeins in reserve for when a knitting treat is called for, like always having a pile of unread books in case of emergency, but I'll have to start using them before it gets cold enough to swaddle one's extremities in exotic fibres.

The loom obsession is only getting worse. I'm leaning toward the 20" Schacht Flip this week ;)

Exhibit A

I gave up on locating my charger and bought bad batteries to produce some evidence of stuff being made into other stuff.

I bought some Posy Toes Bamboo Sock fibre from a fellow Raveller. It was exactly my colours in person, deep blue and green and magenta-ish purple. It came in three identical batts, perfect for 3-ply. This is one of them:

I tried a fractal-ish technique, spinning one single with short colour repeats and two with long ones. When I plied them together it was obvious that it would take much more exact spinning than mine to make a perfect repeating pattern this way in a 3-ply, but I love the way it turned out. It's nice round solid yarn, and too pretty to be worn out by my feet, so I think it will end up as fingerless gloves eventually.

18 August 2009


I've been knitting and spinning my arse off, but without much in the way of documentation. I just can't seem to get a camera, batteries, natural light and yarniness in the same place at the same time. Two developments need recording, however:

* I am never knitting anything for anyone else ever again (with exceptions for babies and unsolicited surprises - and one unwisely promised pair of socks). I am reaffirming my Selfish Knitter status because an uncharacteristic run of knitting stuff for other people (from patterns!) has given me a chilling glimpse of what it would be like to be put off knitting completely. I'm a messer, not a planner, and I need a bit of greed and a lot of curiosity to get me going.

* It's finally happened. I was pottering about on Ebay the other day, and found myself idly looking at looms. This led to a little foray into the rigid heddle group on Ravelry, and the gradual admission that I would like to learn to weave. I suspected this would happen one day but I never had the slightest interest before - it's like some crafty version of the fabled biological clock. The Ashford Knitters' Loom looks like somewhere to start. Santa Claus might chip in...