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Monday, March 25, 2013

travel knitting

The postman was kind to me last week. Here are some goodies that arrived:


3 gorgeous braids of Merino tops as a late birthday present from Ben's mum and two fresh new bobbins ready to fill with goodness.

Ben and I went down to Canberra for the weekend for a birthday and the whole way down I was wishing I had a travelling wheel. Truthfully I knew that I'd not have any time to spin but it felt a little sad leaving these beauties home alone all weekend. Turns out they were happy sitting in the spinning basket getting to know the other fleece. I've got some great greasy fleece that I'm carding myself in there too... So much to spin!


Canberra turned on the beautiful weather for us; we walked, Poppy chased ducks and swans and then rolled in their poo (hence the bath photo below), we farmers marketed with Mum and had breakfasts and coffee with our Dads.


I did manage to knit almost a full beanie on the trip back to Sydney - I've been commissioned to make a beanie for a 4 year old girl and after casting on three times (despite the patterns saying they were written for children, these first attempts were so big that Ben could wear them) I decided to make up the pattern myself. Not too tricky considering it's just a plain stockinette stitch hat but I had to think a bit about decreases. I initially planned to decrease at the beginning and end of the rows and I got through a few in the car when I realised that they were creating big ladders down the sides of the beanie. I ripped back...


... and did some Actual Research. I got there in the end - decreasing around the whole hat to make a nice little swirl at the top and cast off last night. I've now got to make a garter stich bow to attached to one side and matching scarf. I love the idea of a sending my hand knits off into the world to be worn by people I don't know!



Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Schmidt

I have completely finished Ben's cabled vest. Did I mention I was knitting Ben a vest? I am/I did. I picked up 15 balls of a granddad grey, 8-ply Cleckheaton wool at The Fabric Cave for a crazy cheap price - like $12 for the lot. I gave Ben almost free reign of Ravelry to pick some patterns that he liked the look of and he came back with this; the Schmidt . It's a lovely pattern, really well written and easy to follow.


When I can, I use the Good Reader app on my iPhone to read my patterns. It's a great little app and I found it really useful when reading charts. This vest was not only my first big cabled pattern but also the first time I've had to rely on a chart. The only problem was that the phone screen was a little small and so I had to zoom in on the chart and really triple check my counting. But then, the most lovely surprise came to me for my birthday: my gorgeous mum bought me an iPad! Ben had been watching me read charts on my small phone screen for about a month knowing that one day, iPad in hand, I would struggle no longer! Talk about First World Problems, hey? But let me tell you, charts on this baby have been a breeze.


I finished this in perfect time because it's been fresh the last couple of days - I think maybe autumn is finally here. I knit the medium size and it fits Ben perfectly. The wool is probably going to be too warm for Sydney winters; it's made such a lovely thick fabric but it will be perfect for going back to Canberra.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Spinny

For my birthday this year Ben and a couple of family members chipped in to buy me a new spinning wheel. My first one is an antique and I learnt recently is probably handmade and more suited to spinning flax and linen. It all gets fairly technical and long winded here but it all culminates in a lovely Ashford Traditional (not new but new to me) coming home to stay with me.


The place where I bought her from teach classes and as I'd only had one informal lesson for my first wheel I signed up straight away for the beginners class. So my Saturday mornings have a new addition - for two hours I sit, spin, chat and learn.

This past Saturday was my second lesson and I had managed to stress myself out in the morning about housework (of all the silly things to stress about) and then the ridiculous Sydney traffic made me late and I was all hot and flustered. And all it took for me to relax was to sit outside, drop my shoulders and spin. It works wonders, this spinning.

After my first lesson I bought 200g of a lovely natural chocolate brown merino to spin. It's all spun and plied and after I wash it it's going to become a (lumpy) beanie for Ben.


I've also gotten to the end of spinning the singles of a handpainted merino that I bought through an Etsy seller; Jumbuk Julie. They are different colours than I am used to buying/knitting with but I'm really keen to see what they become. I'm going to find a cream merino to spin and ply it with. This should mean more yardage to work with and the lovely spots of colour won't muddy themselves like they would if I spin them together. That's the idea anyway, we'll have to wait and see how it turns out!