Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lucy in the ply with diamonds....

The dreadful pun is in honor of Ginger Lucy's birthday... who was born in the 80's. Nuff said! Happy Birthday Sweetie!!! xxx

I presented her with 50g of the Brown Falkland I spun and plied last week but also soaked it in some orange and ginger scented shower gel for maximum sniffing pleasure.

100g of Blue-Faced Leicester was spun up in a week.

This time round I watched a clip on correct plying off Youtube. I erred on the side of caution and overplied but may have overdone it slightly. Tried whacking the curly bits out but my yarn was still pretty uneven. Boo,... another lesson I learnt was that you should wind the yarn off your makeshift lazy kate from the same direction, otherwise one single will get unplied. Although I'm quite chuffed with how it turned out, I may still ply the 2-plys together to create a cabled yarn.

In the interest of experimenting, I also plied 3-singles together as it apparently creates more 'rounded yarn'. I liked it too but I have no idea what on earth I'm going to do with my 2 new skeins... hmmm,...

The Flutter-bys are also completed and on the road to further adventures. It only took me 2 weeks to zip these up - Wowzer! Similarly mind-blowing, was the Norwegian Continental purl stitch class at Iknit - it makes ribbing a complete joy.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Yin & Yarn

So after a long hiatus away from Ewan, I dusted him off and gave him a good work-out this weekend. It was evident from his creaking on Sunday evening that he was a little out of shape. But what a productive weekend we had getting reacquainted with our beloved Radio 4 murmuring in the background.

A better student spinner would read all her books thoroughly, take careful notes and remember general guidelines. Yours truly here however, in her impatience to get on with it flicked through her manuals with a desultory glance at diagrams. This disregard for proper preparation thereby resulted in unnecessary mistakes and learning the hard way. Oh well, it was ever thus and ever will be - it's far too late for me to change.

So; lesson 1- move the yarn from one hook to the other gradually so that you get an even spread. I was building it up on each section of the bobbin which caused a whole heap of trouble when it came to plying. This is when it all collapsed into each other making a bit of a tangled mess on the bobbin... and far too much stopping and starting…and some weird protrusions from said yarn causing it to look like insects' feelers.

You are not supposed to leave singles on the bobbins for 6 weeks either as it releases the twists. I'm not entirely sure how long twists can keep but I'm sure someone on Ravelry will be able to tell me.

It had been quite a long time since our lesson with Nancy and I couldn't really remember the lesson on plying. Nonetheless, I rushed on paying scant attention to my spinning manual or online tutorials of which there are plenty. I managed to ply it all somehow, transferred it onto the swift to make skeins and soaked it in cold water to remove the sheepy aroma of the Brown Falkland. It now appears that one should soak it in warm water so that the fiber 'relaxes' - would scented candles and soothing music add ambience to the cause? I didn't 'whack' it or hang it up with weights to 'set the twist' but rather, had it 'sunbathing' by the window on our radiator…

Measured my 2 skeins and it's a total of 218 yards for 100g - didn't really bother counting the wpi as the twists weren't evenly spread out. It looks as if it has fluffed out a little and all my worries about over twisting seem to be a little unfounded. It will therefore be a miracle if my yarn attains any semblance of 'balance', the desired nirvarna of yin and yang.

Undeterred in the face of sloppy yarn, our eager student pushed on and has started spinning with the white Blue-faced Leicester which is currently producing pretty thin yarn.

Great stuff but I have no intention of knitting with size 0 needles so this may involve quite a bit of plying… oh dear. I initially started on the 6.7 ratio but the fast take-up meant my fingers almost got sucked into the orifice (hee hee). So I moved it up a ratio and pedaled slower which is somehow doing the trick. I'm sure it goes against every spinning rule so we shall have to see what transpires.

The one lesson I did learn was the coin thing for photos so people can see how thick or thin your yarn is...

and also that you should keep away from Merino until you're a tad more experienced.

On top of all my spinning, I actually got off my arse this weekend to go to Knitflicks , sherman heeled the second Flutter-by sock and got some reading done. So I haven't been glued to Ewan the whole time,.. Honest!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Wan Sok

When I was growing up in Singapore, there was a Korean girl called Buyong who was in our little gang. We were an odd bunch -unsporty, different and slightly shunned by the rest of the class. I thought of her this weekend when I was finishing up my Flutter-by. I'd decided to use the Jaywalker pattern for my Cherry Tree Hill 'Cabin Fever' but changed my mind. The zig-zag-ness of the pattern would suit a yarn with less colours. Whilst browsing on Ravelry, I found the Flutter-by pattern and it was perfect.

Knitting this pattern allowed me to enjoy the colours of this yarn, making this an exquisite experience.

Each strand twisting between my fingers was a joyful riot of colour. I'd look back on each little 'butterfly' scrutinising the rainbow like combinations and thinking they were all little unique creatures.

Little wonder then, that it only took me a week to finish creating it.

When you step back, the whole sock is a kaleidoscope of colours, a real messy affair... much like life I suppose. Socrates would say in this instance that the unexamined sock is the sock not worth wearing...

So why did all this remind me of my little 9-year old friend? Because she had a brother called Wan Sok which amused us to no end. Every now and then, we'd ask her how Wan Sok was and if he'd become two socks yet. I know, the childish mind can sometimes conjure up such idiocy. The thought did cross my mind that Buyong's mother was perhaps a knitter. Nonetheless, who knew that one sock could be so beautiful and bring such pleasure.


Sunday, April 06, 2008

Unchartered Territory

Lace is one of those things I've aimed to try this year. My new knitting skill last year was learning cables. I get engrossed looking at lace charts which are supposed to help you navigate through complex instructions. Yet the charts themselves are a hieroglyphic mystery, a new and foreign language for knitting. The framework for something that will look nothing like these squiggly signs.

Went to the new Iknit shop to pick up some addi lace needles and rushed home to try my hand at the Luscious Lace pattern.

Was gutted when I had to rip out the fifth row - this lace stuff takes a different level of concentration. No listening to the Radio or conversation for me.

On a happier note, I have finished a pair of socks for me. Hurray!!

This is my third pair but the other two made their way to other feet. The yarn is Posh Yarn's Lucia in Virtue. They certainly kept my poor little feet very warm in the chilly run up to today's snow!

My sock needles have not been left naked for long either as I have already cast on for another sock.

These are Cherry Tree Hill Merino supersock in 'Cabin Fever'. Love these colours!

* yup, I celebrate the completion of one project by casting-on for 2... and I wonder why I have so many UFOs scattered round the flat...