Up Knit Creek

Friday, November 24, 2006

It's my party

and I'll spin if I want to.
Yesterday was my ahem44thahem birthday so I took the day off work and totally pleased myself.
This is what happened:

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Sari silk fibres purchased from a well-known on-line auction site and handspun by me on my Ashford Traditional. It should be noted that these images do not describe the full horror of the situation - they do not show, for instance, the amount of very very fine fibre that now appears to be permanently embedded in the sitting-room carpet, nor do they show the same fibres stuck fast to my jeans and cotton sweater; you will simply have to imagine the sound-track to the scenario, mutterings, swearing and the occasional exclamation, not to mention a string of obscenities when I accidentally picked up my carders by the sharp wiry bits instead of the handles! (at least I kept the blood off the fibres). Proceedings were, however, greatly enhanced by the continuous ingestion of some very delicious cherry- and brandy- filled liqueur chocolates (Thanks, Tony).

I had lovely presents from all my family and really enjoyed my day. The real celebration will be this evening as we are going out for a meal at the marina in Brighton - don't know which restaurant yet as there are loads to choose from and I don't really know if I'm in a Spanish, Italian, Indian, Chinese, Thai, New York or Steak House mood (there's even a Mc*****ds but we don't speak of these things). I must now go and change into the loosest-fitting clothes I possess in preparation.............

Saturday, November 18, 2006

As promised..........

....I give you the Sunrise Circle Jacket:
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and the back view:
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The colours are a bit more vivid than they appear in the photos.
Pattern: Kate Gilbert in Interweave Knits, Spring 2006
Yarn: Colinette Skye, copperbeech colourway, just over 8 hanks used.

I had real trouble getting the tension right for this and never really got the row count right, with the result that the sleeves were about 4 inches too long and the jacket is not a short jacket as shown in the original pattern. It would have been impossible to get the exact tension with this yarn as I would have needed to use needles three sizes smaller than recommended and the resulting fabric would have been too stiff, not to mention extremely difficult to knit. I know I'm not the only one to experience difficulties with the tension and can only surmise that either the designer or her test knitter is an extremely tight knitter (and I can assure you that I am not loose, myself).
Overall, I am very happy with this; I have hardly taken it off since it was finished on Tuesday and have already had lots of compliments (and am sitting here with a soppy grin on my face as a result!)

Today was the Angel Yarns cake day. Any other online shop might call this event an "open day" or a "showcase", but AY cuts to the chase and tells it like it is - lots of knitters stroking and fondling the wonderful range of yarns whilst simultaneously gorging themselves and trying not to smear chocolate on the aforementioned goodies. I was very restrained and only bought a couple of "tester balls" for myself and some chunky, slubby stuff for Bethany ( and some sparkly needles) but for me the great pleasure was in meeting people that I only *talk* to online in the forum. It is funny how you get a mental picture of someone in your head only to find that in real life they look nothing at all like you'd imagined. I'm sure everyone on the forum thinks of me as a tall, willowy blonde with legs that go on forever (which is how I see myself, ha ha, I wish) when the reality is a plump middle-aged woman with big brunette hair that never does what it's supposed to.
The cakes, if you're interested, were delicious.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Maintaining the pace

...or not, in this case. Following the recent flurry of activity, knitting progress has slowed down considerably.

Work has re-started on the Sunrise Circle jacket (link to the KAL on the right somewhere) and I expect completion by the end of the week but apart from that, nothing, zippo, zilch, nada, rien, nul, (you get the picture).
I'm not sure why there has been a slowing down; I have been out more than usual, to parents' evening, open days/evenings at 6th form colleges with Bethany and a modicum of socializing, but not enough to fully explain the lack of progress. I've not had much chance to knit at work over the last week or two, so maybe that explains it. (The real reason, of course, is that I spend far too much time lurking around on knitting forums , attending to wish lists and reading other people's blogs, especially those dedicated souls who post almost every day). After the Sunrise Circle, I have requests for black fingerless gloves (Bethany), a black neck-warmer (Lucy) and a zip-up jacket (OH) so I better get my a**e into gear and get on with it.

Today, I made the christmas cake and it smells absolutely wonderful. I used a new recipe this year which instructs you to soak the dried fruit and stem ginger overnight in a mixture of ginger wine and cognac, then puree half of this mixture before folding it into the cake. Pre-cooking tastings (ahem, who me?) indicate a treat in store on Christmas Day, and that's before I've added the almond paste and icing. Yum!
The downside (and there's always a downside) is that I had to buy a whole bottle of ginger wine just to use 75ml (10%) of it so I'm having to really force myself to use up the remainder as a mixer with whiskey - honestly, the sacrifices I make to provide for my family!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Production line

I have been busy, so busy that blogging has taken a back seat (in case you hadn't noticed!)
This is what I've been up to:

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Blocking in progress, closely followed by sewing up to produce this:

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(Oh God! I really need to diet).

close up of pointed sleeve:

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Yes! Rock Star is finally finished. I can't remember when I started it but I'm so glad it's done and that this time it actually fits, it will be worn a lot and I'm considering another one in a different colour.

The great cushion marathon continues:

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Sari silk, circle based on Elizabeth Zimmerman's Pi calculations.

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Stash DK yarn (left over from a sweater I made for OH) - pattern made up as I went along.

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Based on Log Cabin Knitting in the Mason-Dixon book.

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Adapted from the piano stool cover, also in Mason-Dixon.

and I've also managed a bit of spinning and dyeing:

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Top is Grey faced Dartmoor, natural and dyed with walnut shells; the rest is just odd bits of merino and some hand-dyed wensleydale that I found lurking in a drawer, originally bought for the ''Great Felted Bag'' venture some 18 months ago which was a an ill-conceived attempt at world domination and untold wealth through the creation of unique felted bags - trouble is, I kind of got side-tracked so it never really happened. The only two bags that actually got made are still in the cupboard somewhere because I liked them so much I didn't want to part with them! I don't think I've got what it takes to be a felting entrepreneur.

The next thing to be completed will be the Sunrise Circle jacket , which has been on the back burner for a while, and some fingerless gloves, requested by Bethany. Oh yes! and a neck warmer for Lucy which I promised her over a year ago, then there's the vintage tie that I started for OH and the second Jaywalker sock, the Elvis wig plus some ideas for a felted bag and............ and....................... and............................
Y'see, I haven't really got time for all this blogging lark, let alone housework and cooking and all the other stuff that eats into knitting/spinning time. Please can someone teach me how to knit in my sleep? Please?