Sunday, February 25, 2007

Needles ... on the move

Dear Readers,

Moving up in the world, I have shifted the blog to my new website which you may have spotted in the sidebar and perhaps even visited!

Please update your links to

Wordpress won't let me import all the old posts however, so a lot of links may still carry you back here while I get it all figured out.

I also welcome a new contributor: Mum has given up struggling with Blogger and as Kurrajong Handcrafts is a joint venture it seemed fitting that we share the blog as well. Watch out for her posts from Sunny Australia B-)

See you over there!

Ciao, Diane

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Fibre Pron

Today I have a date with this baby:

It's Polwarth tops from Wendy Dennis, hand-dyed by my mum. I did some sampling last week and it's soooooooo soft and lovely to spin.
Sadly though, I have to go to work first. And a little hint: DON'T get hooked into browsing new spinning blogs on a Saturday morning when you are supposed to be out the door. Yes I did forget the time, and yes I'm probably going to be late now but I JUST WANT TO BE SPINNING. Bring on closing time!


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Don't you love it...

... when something just works :-)

I was sitting around at work today by myself (bad weather = no customers) knitting mindless stocking stitch socks and I realised that a friend is having a birthday next week.

Enter inspiration! I chose some yarn (not hard - isn't it funny how you can make everything out of Koigu lol) drew some charts, knitted a swatch and I was away.

I struck a small hiccup about 2 hours in (solely due to me pretending that my gauge was what I wanted it to be and not what the swatch said it was), but this was easily solved by going up a needle size and down a pattern repeat. Now I'm zooming along with a glass of wine at hand.

That is how I like designing to be.

In complete contrast to my design session(s) on the weekend. Where I swatched, and swatched, and erased, and counted, and drew pictures, and changed stitch patterns and swatched again. After a total of about 4 hours over two days I returned the yarn to the stash drawer with a grumpy face on.

I am faced with the choice of creating a pattern which is more difficult to knit than I intended, or going down a needle size and yarn size for a different gauge, or changing stitch patterns again, or throwing the whole concept out the window and thinking up something else. I think I'm going to let it stew for a while.

BTW, this is still way more fun and easier than supply teaching and I regret nothing.


Oh, and I discovered something new: Splash some Innocent Smoothie in a glass, add generous amounts of tequila and Cointreau and a couple of ice cubes. mmmmmmmmm :-)

What was that? NY resolution to drink less? I don't know what you're talking about. And anyway, it's practically health food, all that fruit juice :-D

Gotta go, there's a birthday present to finish. Is it yours? ;-)


Monday, February 19, 2007

Monday Musings

Pretty and Practical?

Today I had a bit of a play with a new toy. I ordered some spindles a while back from my friend Claire and, on a whim, ordered a Nostepinne to match my spindle. I used it today for the first time and immediately noticed all those positives, such as perfect balance and lovely finish, which I had also admired in the spindle when I first picked it up.
These tools are hand made by Claire and her husband and the attention to detail makes them not only a practical tool but a work of art. And I like my tools pretty.
At a pinch I could probably use a cardboard tube as a Nostepinne (it's not tapered though which is kind of important) and I have often wound centre-pull balls on a pair of ice-cream sticks or folded card. But I firmly believe that a tool does not have to lose its practicality just because it has been made aesthetically pleasing as well.
I knit, spin and crochet because I love to work with my hands and I like to create, and look at, beautiful things. The tools we use can be a pleasure in themselves and add to the overall enjoyment of the creative pastime.
* Some tools I have been drooling over :-)
* and another
* Claire's spindles are here

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Eye Candy

I finished up the laceweight. Not 50g in the end - as the second bobbin looked to be filling up much more so I stopped (in fact there was far less on the first bobbin so somewhere I messed up in the weighing out)

Here's a pic, currency comparison in two languages (have you noticed that a 5p is exactly the same as a dime - I'll only use one in future!)

Stats: Fleece Artist merino/silk hand-dyed roving; 2-ply; 33g/300m (painstaking!)

I'm not completely happy - there are a lot more imperfections than I had noticed while spinning. Not very noticable, but when trying to produce a perfect skein, well ... I'm a perfectionist. I have nothing against slubs if I meant them to be there ;-)

I am very much against the idea of spending another three weekends on this yarn but I think I'm going to need at least another 200m or so to support a decent lace project - unless anyone has some brilliant ideas for 300m?

P.S. I'll try to replace this photo with some better ones if I can - it is hopeless trying to take photos in our flat in winter.


Saturday, February 17, 2007

Weekends are for Spinning

And this may just be useful...

I took a long-awaited trip to the Handweavers Studio this morning and this was the result:

Back issues of Spin-Off, cashmere, throwsters silk waste, mohair tops, Wensleydale curls, polyester fibre, and I went a bit silly on the merino caterpillars :-D (they're all such pretty colours!)

I plan to do a fair bit of experimenting with blending some different fibres over the next few weeks, hence the flick carders (which I was surprised were only £10 for the pair). I'm thinking mohair/merino; merino/silk; merino/curly bits; and want to try a tweed yarn. Watch out for 'Weekends are for Spinning' to see what I come up with.

Before all that though, I need to finish the first 50g of laceweight I've got taking up all my bobbins at the moment (I did think of getting more bobbins but thought that might be a bit dangerous), hopefully I will spin the last 15g or so tonight and ply it up before the weekend is over and it's back to knitting.

Ciao :-)


Friday, February 16, 2007

One-Skein One-Der: The pattern

Big thanks to Jan, who edited the pattern for me into proper crochet-speak, and to Jill who tested it for me as we scribbled down various annotations :-)

One skein Koigu KPPM (50g/175yds)
3.5mm crochet hook

Abbreviations (English terms used)
ch – chain; sp – space; tr – treble; dc – double crochet; dtr – double treble; slst – slip stitch.

Make 32 ch
Row 1: 1tr into 7th ch from hook, *ch 2, skip 2 ch, 1tr into next ch* repeat from * to * 7 more times. (nine spaces)
Row 2: Make 5 ch (turning ch), *1tr into next ch sp, ch 2* repeat from * to * seven times, 1 tr into top of turning ch.
Repeat row 2 until scarf is about 1m long, or you have about a ping-pong ball size worth of yarn left.

Tip: Work ruffle at foundation edge first, then if you think you are likely to run out of yarn unpull a few rows of the mesh before working second ruffle.
Join yarn at corner and work ruffle along short end of scarf.
Row 1: Make 5 ch (turning ch), [1dtr into first ch sp, 1 ch] 3times, *[1dtr into next ch sp, 1 ch] 4 times* repeat from * to * for each remaining space, omitting final ch.
Row 2: Make 5 ch (turning ch), [1 dtr, 1 ch] into each ch sp to end, 1 dtr into top of turning ch.
Row 3: [4 ch, 1 dc] into each ch sp to end, 4 ch, slst into top of turning ch. Break yarn and draw through last loop.
Repeat ruffle at other end, darn in ends. Scarf will increase in length with blocking.