Monday, 26 July 2010

And there's the checkered flag!

Yes, the Tour de Fleece (and of course the Tour de France) is finished. Our New Zealand rider didn't feature highly in the race, but being the lone Kiwi, you can't really expect much. I'm sure he did his best.

I had a great three weeks spinning up a storm, and managed to complete ten full skeins of yarn. Just for comparison, here's the 'before' pic:

Plus the batts that came a little later in the mail:

And now the gratuitous 'after' pic:

The gory details:

* Left over fibre consists of two Maude & Me braids, and 517g of Tally-Ho silver merino
* 3 x Tally-Ho silver merino skeins - 105g/313m, 127g/382m and 113g/284m - two ply fingering weight
* wake up april (freakishly bright yellow/purple) perendale - 136g/129m - two ply bulky
* Seashell Blend 50% mohair, 25% wool, 25% silk - 100g/200m - single ply sport weight (one of my personal challenges)
* Summervilla Blue 50% wool, 50% silk - 96g/186m - two ply sport weight
* miss misery (multicoloured) merino (I think) - 113g/169m two ply DK weight
* paper snowflakes (white/purple) polwarth - 109g/125m two ply worsted weight
* Melted Neopolitan (pinkish/brownish) bamboo, faux cashmere, polwarth, alpaca and soysilk - 90g/91m two ply bulky
* and last but not least, my absolute pride and joy, South African Beauty merino - 200g/450m three ply fingering weight

Just so you can get a better look at the ones I finished up this week (not including the Tally-Ho, because seriously, who wants another picture of boring grey yarn??) - here's a pic of the Seashell Blend single:

And my absolute favourite (this sucker took me five whole days of spinning to finish) - the South African Beauty:

I'm so ridiculously happy with this, I show it off to every poor soul that is unfortunate enough to step through my front door. I look at them with my big puppy eyes and say "isn't it pretty?!?" and of course they have to exclaim over it extensively ;-> I'll get over it eventually... at least until I knit it into a pair of socks. Then the cycle will start all over again!!

Yes, I'm sad and I need to get a life... but in the meantime, I finished some stuff other than spinning, which of course I must share with you now!

Firstly, I apologise for this terrible picture/project, but I'll show you anyway. My crochet skills are sadly lacking, but present enough to turn out a (weird looking) pair of baby shoes:

The pattern (Ravelry link) is lovely, and fairly easy to follow. But I think the combination of my bad crochet, wrong sized hook and non-pastel yarn contributed to the monstrosity you see above. I don't think I'll give them away to anybody - maybe just hide them in a drawer somewhere.

Moving right along - I finished another hat for Quidditch/men's night shelter. It's a little on the small side, but I'm sure there are guys out there with smallish heads who need a hat (maybe).

(Wow, this really is the month for 'fugly crafts made by Jody', huh?)

I finished my River Rapids socks (Rav link) in yummy Needle Food 'Meet Me in the Frozen Foods':

And I'm now about halfway through another chunky cabled scarf - this one will be going to Alison, since she asked for one last time she was down in Wellington.

After that, I've got a list a mile long of things I want to knit (for starters, Cauchy socks for dad, some Hawkes Bay coloured socks for mum, one of three different sweaters/cardigans for myself I have yarn for (except one of them I need to buy needles for, another will have to wait until September because I may just use it for a Transfiguration OWL, and the other will be knit in the Tally-Ho yarn I just finished spinning and am a little sick of at the moment), the new Vintage Purls Sock Club socks which will arrive any day now in the mail, any of the umpteen-million other sock patterns I want to knit with any of my ever-growing sock yarn stash, Deane's scarf and hat I promised him, my black fingerless mitts I was supposed to make last Winter... you get the idea!) but I haven't decided what I want to make first yet. I'm sure I'll decide soon, and I'll let you know next post.

Oh, and depending on how long you've been reading this blog, you may remember some time ago I mentioned a super secret big project I was going to be doing, and I hadn't decided if it was for me or for somebody else. Well, I still haven't decided, but here's a sneaky peek. For those of you 'in the know' you'll recognise it immediately for what it is, but for those of you who aren't, you'll probably have no idea what it is. And it can stay that way. Mwaaahahahahahaaaa!!! ahem...

In other news, Deane has finally settled on a job, and starts next Monday. For real this time. I'm 95% sure. I think. Nah, just kidding ;-) He really does start next Monday - unfortunately it's based in Auckland. He'll be heading up on his own, getting settled into work, and finding a place to live. We'll join him later. But as of this weekend I'll be 'flying solo' so to speak. Woo hoo :-/ Hopefully Deane will be able to travel back to Wellington on the weekends so the boys can still see him regularly (and I can sneak off to knitting on Sundays) but as usual, nothing is planned until the absolute last minute with that man, so I really have no idea.

On the plus side, this blog will actually be able to serve it's original purpose - keeping friends and family in Wellington and everywhere else informed of what's happening with us when we move to Auckland!! Yeah, we're actually moving to Auckland! Like, over a year after we originally planned to!! Oh well, sometimes things don't quite work out exactly as you plan them.

But for now, the boys are in bed (sooooo not asleep, but I'm working on that), and I'm going to make myself a cup of tea, knit some more on the scarf, and watch Fringe. Good night!!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Crisis averted!

We didn't end up going to Napier today after all. However, this is all I got done spinning-wise:

I went to the wool market this morning too, and was rather naughty. Purchases as follows:

beds & lawns from Maude & Me - 119g merino

royal orleans from Maude & Me - 126g polwarth

2 x 50g skeins Dreaming Violets sock yarn from Knitsch

1 x 100g skein Lunar sock yarn from JOY of Yarn

It appears I had a bit of a 'purple and green' obsession today...

Friday, 16 July 2010

OMG Panic!!

We're heading up to Napier tomorrow, which means NO SPINNING!!! No picture in the daily thread! No TdF progress!! :-( Maybe I can get some done tomorrow morning before we leave, and pick it up again on Sunday after we get home... Today is the first day I haven't touched my wheel since the TdF started. I had work. Suck. But enough of my whining, this is what I've spun so far this week:

At the top is 'paper snowflakes' from Maude & Me - 125m/109g worsted weight Polwarth. In the middle - 'Melted Neopolitan' (so named because that's what it looks like to me) also from Maude & Me - the Tobias Pirate batt for the July SAL - 91.5m/90g bulky - this is a blend of faux cashmere, bamboo, polwarth, alpaca and soysilk. And at the bottom good ol' Tally-Ho silver merino - 313.5m/105g fingering weight.

I also spun one bobbin of South African merino (given to me by Carle, the lady I sent bobbins to) - I think it was about 74g, and it's spun super super fine. I'm hoping to get a decent three ply fingering weight out of the 200g she gave me, so I can make a pair of socks. If I manage to get decent yardage. I really really hope I do - that's my current spinning goal. Here's a craptastic night-time pic (as many of them are ;->)

I'm not sure you can really see the variance in colours on this bobbin - there's black, a dark navy blue, bright peacock green, deep rich purple, and variations between them all. It is beautiful, and I can't wait to finish spinning the other two bobbins so I can ply them all together and see the finished result. That one bobbin took me all day - literally. I started at 8.30am, and finished up about 5pm. Granted, I did other things in between, but most of the day was spent spinning this gorgeous fibre. And that's only a third of it!! Ooh, but it's pretty...

Anyway, knitting has definitely taken a bit of a step backwards lately, so not much has been done with it. I did finish up my pair of Spiral Bound socks though:

Aren't they lovely?!?

I knit another hat for the men's night shelter:

(Deane, the ever-enthusiastic model)

The top of this hat looks really cool due to the way the decreases are made:

The pattern is A Hat Fit for a Boyfriend and was a nice, easy knit.

And I started a new pair of socks - this pattern is called River Rapids (Ravelry link), and I'm knitting it with Needle Food yarn from the last sock club - the colourway is called 'Meet Me in the Frozen Foods'.

FYI - this is a terrible picture. The colours are lovely in person, not this weird muted grey...

They're being called 'Wingardium Leviosa' as that's this month's homework for Charms - knit something light or lacy. These kind of qualify in that there's ssk, k2tog and yarn overs in the pattern, creating a type of lace, although it's not overly holey. Hopefully it'll pass muster and I'll get the standard 15 points. If not, at least I have another pair of pretty socks :-) Speaking of which, I thought it would be fun to get a pic of all my (not given away) socks together:

Granted, they don't look as cool on the floor as they do on my feet, but oh well.

L-R (name of socks, brand of yarn, colourway): Spiral Bound (Vintage Purls Winter 2010 sock club colourway), Rockin' Hermiones (Socks That Rock, Rocktober), Clandestine Limes (Tofutsies), Fawkes (Needle Food, Plumberry Ambrosia), Gothic Hederas (Vintage Purls, Gothic Rose), Needly Viking Socks (Needle Food, Midnight Feast), Skewed Wet Peacocks (Needle Food, Picnic in the Rain), Damn, You're Pretty (Knit Picks Essential, Ash Tweed). Yay for knitted socks!!!

I also started a pair of crochet baby booties today, but there's no point posting a pic yet - they don't really look like anything at this stage.

Tomorrow morning before we head off, I'm going to a 'Wonders of Wool' fair at Frank Kitts park, in the underground car park. Some of my favourite Wellington 'suppliers' will be there (Maude & Me and Knitsch among them) so it's going to be hard to hang on to any funds I may have available at the time.

Sadly, Deane did not start work on Wednesday. Nor is he starting on Monday next week at this stage. Just when you think something's definite, turns out it's not. Maybe I should stop telling people 'yes, Deane has a job. He starts on [insert day here]'. I must be jinxing it! So let's all hold our breath a little bit longer and try not to pass out...

Sunday, 11 July 2010

I feel dizzy... much spinning!!! Oh, but it's fun (^_^) Whoever came up with the Tour de Fleece is a genius - what a great way to get through fibre stash. We are currently up to Day 8 of the Tour (well, technically, if we go on dates I'm up to day 9, but let's not nit-pick here...) and during the first week, I managed to finish up four skeins of yarn. Here's a pic:

L-R: 145g/129m bulky weight 100% NZ perendale - wake up april from Maude & Me, 113g/284m fingering weight 100% NZ silver merino from Tally-Ho, 96g/186m sport weight 50% halfbred wool/50% tussah silk - Summervilla Blue from Anna Gratton, and 113g/169.5m DK weight 100% NZ merino - miss misery from Maude & Me

Currently on the wheel is some more of the Tally-Ho silver merino - it's such slow going because I'm spinning it quite fine, but it helps to intersperse it between the pretty-coloured braids. It's like eating your veges before you can have dessert ;-)

As for the actual Tour de France - nasty wee pile up towards the beginning, and our poor lone NZ rider Julian Dean got caught up in it :-( Let's hope there aren't too many more of these. Dean is currently in 156th position (out of a possible 186 - oh well. At least he's not last).

Well, apart from the spinning, this past week has been a full-on one - we had Tania and her brood of three come to stay Wednesday-Saturday. Lots of noise, lots of activity, lots of food, lots of mess. Lots of fun :-) There was a visit to Te Papa, a parliamentary tour, a train ride and a wee bit of shopping involved - I hope they had a good time. It's a little quieter now, with just my two boys blobbing out on the couch playing XBox (their usual holiday pastime), so hopefully a little more spinning will get done over the next week or so.

I received some batts in the mail earlier in the week, and may tackle these a little closer to the end of the month - it's a July Spin-Along so they'll have to be spun this month at some point. However, I've never spun batts, and have no idea how I'm going to do it. This bears a little thinking about, but should be a fun experience all the same.

The knitting has suffered a little due to the time spent spinning, but I have managed to whip up a pair of fingerless mitts for Jess, a friend of Tania's.

And I'm neeeaaarly finished my Spiral Bound socks (Ravelry link). They should be completed at knitting group this afternoon, so I'll post pics next blog entry.

After that, I have a hat to make for Quidditch, a pair of socks to knit for Charms, baby booties for History of Magic and a cabled scarf for Herbology. I'm spinning for DADA, handed in spinning already for Potions, and the fingerless mitts were used for Ancient Runes. I think I might be on track to finish everything within the month - especially since there's only one more week of school holidays so the kids will be back at school soon, and Deane starts work on Wednesday - YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYY!!!!!!! Hmmm, maybe I can order my new spinning wheel now...

Saturday, 3 July 2010

On your marks, get set... GO!

Sorry, just preparing myself for the start of the Tour de Fleece :-) It starts on the 3rd July. Technically, it's the 3rd July now (at least here) but not quite yet where the Tour de France is, which is the timeline being used. I think I'll start today anyway... The TdF (both France and Fleece) starts on 3rd July, and goes until the 25th July. The two rest days are the 12th and 21st, with the 'uphill challenge' on the 22nd.

I took a picture of all my fibre - this will serve as the 'before' picture:

The giant grey blobs at the back are Tally-Ho silver merino, a tad under 1kg (already spun 130-odd grams into a skein of light fingering weight two-ply). Maude & Me braids - paper snowflakes (white with purple), waking up the wolves (blue/brown), a design for life (pink/brown) and miss misery (blue/green/red/white), the two black/blue/green/purple braids are South African merino from Carle (the lovely lady I sent bobbins to a little while ago), and then there’s the blue halfbred wool/tussah silk and the purpley halfbred wool/tussah silk/mohair from Anna Gratton.

There's a batt arriving in the mail in the next few days (also from Maude & Me). Phew! I'm gonna be busy! Although I don't expect to get it all spun - especially not all that silver merino. That's getting spun into light fingering weight, which takes for-evaaaaahhh and I'll probably get bored with it. That's what all the other pretty coloured fibre is for! ;-)

In other news, earlier this week Tania and I ventured up to Auckland to attend the special pre-screening of Eclipse. What can I say? BEST. MOVIE. EVER!!!! And the driving around Auckland with our little road map trying to navigate through rush hour traffic and get in the right lanes to turn, and get on and off the motorway was an absolutely hilarious experience - I don't think I've laughed so much in months!! Our hostess Lizzie was fantastic, and cooked a beautiful dinner for us. We managed to miss the whole red carpet affair at the theatre by being late - we walked into the theatre just after the movie had started, although I dare say we didn't miss much. But oh, such fun! Can't wait to go see the movie again ;-P

The boys are now officially on holiday for the next two weeks, and Tania and her brood of three will be staying for half of the first week. How we're going to fit three adults and five children into our little two bedroom townhouse I'm not entirely sure, but I am sure it's going to be a barrel of laughs. Deane is hoping to start his new job ASAP, and miss as much of the craziness as possible. I don't like his chances though. We are planning to get out of the house every day at least (could you imagine the mess that can be created by five children? I shudder at the thought) - Te Papa, the waterfront, Frank Kitts park, a tour of Parliament... hopefully we'll be able to keep them busy.

As for knitting, I don't think I'll be getting much done next week :-( But I have managed to knit one of the socks from my first Vintage Purls Winter 2010 Sock Club - Spiral Bound (Ravelry link):

Pretty, huh? I love how they're knitting up, and the colour is gorgeous!

Other recently completed projects include my 'Galaxy Cowl', knit from the Aurora Borealis milk protein fibre (I had named it 'Milky Way', hence the name of the cowl):

This cowl is sooooooooooo soft and snuggly! It was just 46 stitches cast on and joined in the round, then knit until I ran out of yarn. Easy!

My 'Damn, you're pretty' Esther socks (another Ravelry link):

I wish I could find a way to take a picture of my feet that didn't make my legs look fat... anyway, the socks are lovely :-)

I also knit some Toasty fingerless mitts for Tania that she requested (she has a pair in white, and wanted some in grey).

Alas, I think I have fallen into a trap! One of Tania's work friends saw the mitts, decided she liked them and wanted a pair for herself. Which I am now knitting. I wonder how many more people will want some? Anyway...

I've finished my February Lady Sweater, and have even worn it a couple of times. LOVE it!!! I haven't got any pics of me wearing it yet (you know how camera-shy I am) but here's a pic of it lying on the floor all by itself:

Margaret had pulled out some paua shell buttons the other night at stitching group that would have been perfect for it, but she only had two. After cursing her for a while (in a nice way) I went to Spotlight the next day and found some exactly the same. Voila!! Beautiful new hand-made cardigan :-)

Other than spinning up a storm over the next month, I plan on getting the Spiral Bound socks finished, the Toasty mitts for Jess, some crochet baby booties (no, not for me), some River Rapids socks, and a cable scarf for my mother-in-law. Oh, and another hat for Quidditch. Do you think that's pushing it a little? Will I get them all done?? We shall see...