I know it’s been a very long time…. blame it on the lifestyle :}
However, I have not been idle!
I’ve been knitting for charity…. Another of the marvelous Surplice jackets, E Zimmerman’s pattern made with stash yarn, as were these – a Five Hour baby coat, another jumper and various hats and scarves… . I also made a shawl for me (which is fairly rare!).
Over the holidays, I’m trying to get a bit more organised… taking a cue from lovely people on Ravelry and also a few other places, I got a fisherman’s rig wallet – it’s amazing! It holds all of my circular needles, and all of my interchangeables, and cords – and all my crochet hooks, and stitch markers and everything! It’s not small (it’s pictured on a two seater sofa, for scale) but it’s going to be very handy!
You may remember that I was making a scrumptious shawl – the lace is called scrumptious. 🙂 There’s a post about it here.
Well, FINALLY, I got round to blocking it today! It’s drying as I type… I was worried it might be too small, but, um, well… That’s on a king size bed!
I’ve used blocking wires for a long time – but this was the first time I’d used the springy, bendy ones that come in the pack – and am I ever so glad they’re there! The shawl is a pi shawl – so it’s a basic U shape. The bendy wires allowed me to run the wire through the border, and just puuuuullllll them gently out till the shawl was, in fact, U shaped. 🙂
And, of course, the entire thing took place under the watchful eye of her majesty of quality control…
I have begun a new, large shawl – based on the Pi are Square shawl from E Zimmermann (I’ve made some of these before, they’re on my projects on Ravelry). I have some Fibrespates Luscious Wool, in a deep red, that came in a skein, and therefore had to be wound off into balls to use. So, when I was last at Knuston Hall, I got out my fabulous Mama Bear swift, which looks like this… and got winding. 🙂 To wind off a skein, one of the most important things (for peace of mind…) is to get the wool on the swift BEFORE you cut the ties that bind – let me repeat that – ON swift, THEN cut. Really. Your sanity may depend on this… You can see the ties in this picture… once the wool is on the swift, THEN they can be cut… That then leaves you will the wool, nicely spread out on the swift, and ready to wind… Take the end of the wool out, and feed it into the winder. I always worry that I won’t be able to find the centre bit of the centre pull ball, but somehow that’s never been a problem. And then wind… and wind… and wind some more. If you have people around who are interested in the process, let them wind, as well. Fun for all the family (and it saves your arm!). Keep cats OUT of the process, however, as mine, at least, finds it amazingly intriguing and she has to stick a paw in to check the tension…
Once you have wound what seems to be an ocean’s worth of wool, you end up with something very pretty and amazing, like this: Isn’t that fantastic? And all I had to do was turn the handle – all that fancy winding got done automatically! Lift the yarn ball (often called a cake) off the winder, drag the original bit of wool out of the centre, and you’re off!
If you’ve not got a swift, you can substitute a couple of chairs or a willing accomplice (ply accomplice with tea and cake but not too much tea – you don’t want them having to run to the loo part way through!). And no cake till after (crumbs – not a good look in a ball of wool). If you don’t have a swift and are thinking about getting one, I can’t recommend these people highly enough – the Oregon Woodworker.
And there you have it – from scary skein to useable cake in just a few minutes! 🙂
The shawl, predictably, will take a bit more time….
Now, I quite like some of the yarn bowls out there – they’re lovely, and many of them are hand made.But… I want something I can carry around, and also something rather cheap. So, at the pound store, I got a vegetable keeper. It’s basically a plastic dome, that sits on a base, and the idea is that you put that odd half onion you have left over in the keeper, so you can use the onion another day and so your fridge doesn’t smell like tired onions…
However, if you stick a hole in the top of it (carefully!! And don’t try this at home…), you can put cakes of wool in the keeper, and thread the wool through it and voila! It ends up looking something like these pictures….
As you might be able to tell, it’s full of the pure wool I mentioned before – which has been used to make a shawl (pictures when I get a chance and a willing model!), and is being used for a scarf at the moment – I’m loving the stitch definition I get with 3.75mm needles…
While at Woolfest, I bought a kilo – a KILO – (2.2 lbs) of 3 ply, pure new British wool.
In one hank.
When I tried it on my usual swift, the wool just fell off – the swift couldn’t cope.
So, I looked around, and I ended up buying a Mama Bear Plus swift from these good people. I was going to buy the bigger one but they talked me out of it and told me this would be sufficient for my needs – and even threw in longer poles for holding the skein (as in, the upright ones).
And, as you can see, it worked a treat:
This is the wool, just on the swift – you can jusssst see the wool coming off it, near the bottom right hand corner… And this is the wool as it was wound onto the winder… And this is the result – 13 cakes of wool!
I’m itching to get to it – but there are other things on the needles (a mohair scarf, downstairs, and a Moebius scarf in double knit up here). I shall be patient – after all, there’s a LOT of it!
And in terms of new wool – while at Fibre East, I bought mohair – flame coloured mohair, to be exact, and this is a picture of it being wound on the self same swift. 🙂
I’ve started a new “upstairs” project. It’s a simple shawl – rectangular, made from a bamboo/cotton mix – Gorgeous yarn (that’s what it’s called, honest – look):
You can see the new stitch markers I got from Fripperies and Bibleots…
I see no reason not to be amused by one’s stitch markers. 🙂
The shawl is, as one would probably expect, as it’s “upstairs” (and therefore, mindless) knitting, in Old Shale. But it feels so BIG, after all that lace knitting!