Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My Visual Profile

I was amazed at how accurate this was! Thanks to The Knittin' Coop for this.

Looking Back

On Knitters Review a few days ago there was an interesting thread about the largest items we had made from handspun yarn. As I have been spinning for a number of years my mind was cast back over a variety of projects I had made. They were mainly jerseys my children (when they were smaller), my parents and myself.

My favourite, though, is a jersey I spun and knitted for D close to 10 years ago. I bought the 60% wool/40% mohair sliver (colour = Midnight Sky) at the Creative Fibre Festival in Greymouth in 1997. It had been dyed and carded by Rotocard (no website). The firm has since changed hands but they still have the same colours, as well as some new ones. Although the spinning is a little inconsistent (thicker at the beginning getting a little finer as I spun on) I was really pleased with the final product - soft and not too fluffy. The base of the sliver is black wool with the colour coming from the mohair which was not overly carded into it leaving the colour coming in clumps rather than becoming a homogenised mass.

I wanted to knit the jersey in the round. Never having done this before, I used Elizabeth Zimmermann's percentage system which I found described in an old Spin Off magazine. This worked really well although, if I used this pattern again I would increase the number of stitches in the sleeve. A little tight for today's styles, in my opinion. Some of the colours came out more strongly in some skeins than others (for instance, one of the sleeves has a decidedly yellow cast) which, if I had been more careful I may have been able to even out a little but overall I was really pleased with it. Like the spun yarn, the knitted fabric is soft and silky but not too fluffy. The mohair has raised a little over the years but is still not too "fluffy" for a man to wear.

Even today, D wears his jersey proudly always keen to tell people who ask about it (and there have been many!) that his wife spun and knitted it from scratch! Just thinking about it makes me think that maybe I should get cracking and make him another. After all, this one is nearly 10 years old! Still going strong, though.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Want to see something?

Ok, time for some knitting content on here! I have been slowwwwwly working on the socks I started while on holiday. I like the colour and I like the Slipped Stitch pattern (from Knitting Sensational Socks by Charlene Schurch) but I'm not really sure they marry up well. I'm not going to rip them, though. Too much effort wasted - it seems to take me ages to knit a pair of socks. I really don't know how some folk can churn out a pair of socks in just a few days!

It would be nice if there was a real choice in sock yarn here. Apart from Opal, which is available fairly widely now, there only seems to be dull, boring mens-type colours around. Or is the real problem the local shops around my area? Yes, there is a huge selection available at the click of my mouse button but the cost of shipping is fairly high. I have bought yarn from Elann (who can resist??) a couple of times but I would go bankrupt if I did that too often! At least the sock yarn in my stash will last quite a while at the rate I knit socks (or anything, for that matter!) so I shouldn't be moaning.

I have been making a real attempt at sitting down at my spinning wheel most days, if only for a little while. The consequences of this are a tiny little bit of spinning up on the soy silk/merino blend I bought a few months back.

Not much to show for my efforts but, in my defence, it is being spun fairly fine. For the more technically-minded it is somewhere in the vicinity of 40 wpi. I just checked. I intend to navajo-ply it when I have finally spun all 100 gms (this may take a lifetime!) so it may end up being around 12-13 wpi. Does this sound about right? Unless I decide that I do want to punish myself enough to knit with it as a two-ply at around 20 wpi.

So that is it as far as my craft-efforts go. Unless, of course, you count the meeting on Monday. That was craft-related. I must write up the minutes today, too. Darn.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Goodbye sweet friend

In Loving Memory of


June 2003 – 14 February 2007

Sadly, I can't find a photo of my little sweetheart but I will keep looking. She was a mini-lop rabbit (the one with the floppy ears) and was given to me by my daughter for my birthday in 2003 (as far as I can work out).
We didn't have a cage for her at the beginning as she was a surprise present so Libby lived on the kitchen floor for a few days. That may seem gross to some but it was the only hard floor we had that could be kept secure and relatively bunny-friendly. That is where dangerous gaps and electrical cords could be eliminated. At night I would catch her and pop her in her box for her own safety.
She was never a cuddly bunny - it got increasingly difficult to catch her at night - but she was so soft and cute! Then she grew up. Not being overly friendly meant that I sported toothmarks in my fingers on occasions. But I always forgave her. She wasn't the first rabbit we had looked after but I never realised that bunnies can growl and hiss - until I met Libby! She was funny when she did that. As long as you got your fingers out of the way quickly enough. I soon learned - do not play with the food!
I'm not exactly sure why she died yesterday but she was still warm when I found her. Probably the one time I could give her a cuddle without a struggle.
Goodbye Libby. I love you.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A driving we will go!

Well...so much for getting a post up quickly after we got home! If you know me well you will already know that I think about a lot of things but often don't act on them quickly! Never mind, I am here now. But be prepared - this could turn out to be a long post!

I had hoped to post before we left for a week's holiday but that never eventuated. Sorry about that but some things do need to come first. Things like housework - there is not a lot worse than coming home to a house that is yuck and untidy! Also I needed to get things organised for a couple of meetings I needed to attend the day after we were due to arrive home. But back to the holiday.

D's cousin and his wife, who live in Nelson, were to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary early February. Invitations had been sent out to all the rellies far and wide. Knowing we would be rather stressed out after a month of houseguests (yes, in my book your own kids can still rank as houseguests!) we thought it may be nice to go up there and help them celebrate.

The more I thought about it the more I thought, why not make it a nice little holiday. All our married life the only holidays we had taken were spent at relative's homes (yes, I will admit, all but one night of even our honeymoon were spent at the rellies!). This was mainly because of finances but also it was the only chance for D's parents (well, his Dad, anyway) to see the grandkids. But with no kids at home now and only two guinea pigs and a rabbit for a friend to look after (as opposed to the dog and 20 sheep, 10 hens and a cow or two in the past) we thought, what the heck - let's go!

So 4 nights in Nelson, return ferry tickets to Wellington, 2 nights in Wellington, and 1 night in Christchurch were booked. The car was packed and on the morning of Wednesday 31 we set off! Yay! A real holiday!

Even though D is from the West Coast neither of us had heard of the Maruia Falls until our son stopped off there early this year. The Falls are on the way to Nelson (we decided to go the inland route) and were well worth the short walk from the carpark down to the river as you can see here. This view is looking across the river from the carpark off the road.

When at the waters edge you look up and across to these hugely wide (by NZ standards!)falls with the water pounding down on the rocks below. Created in 1925 by the Murchison earthquake, these falls are only a baby on the world's time scale but are, to me, so beautiful. Like a mini-Niagara!

We got to Nelson without incident and found the motel we were booked into - clean but not flash. Not a problem. Thursday was spent looking around town and visiting D's cousin.

On Friday we packed a lunch and travelled west towards Motueka which isn't really as far as I had thought. On the way we stopped off at the Hoglund glassblowing place just out of Richmond, a sort of suburb of Nelson. Beautiful work - but some was really expensive! There were some vases/decorative pieces with a price tag of $24,900.00!!!! They were handblown first then handpainted in a kind of Picasso-type style then handblown again overlaying it all with clear glass. Nice, but not my style and definitely not my price tag!

We carried on from there and found a lovely campsite/picnic area at Ruby Bay. It stretches a couple of kilometres along the coast below the road up on the cliff. It is long and narrow so everyone camping there isn't bunched up together and everyone gets a lovely sea view. There are a number of toilet blocks dotted right along the camp as well as two or three blocks with two showers/toilets! There are also heaps of water taps right along as well as basic wood-fired barbecues, a campervan waste-dump and a quite-nice children's playground. The whole place, including the toilets, was nice and clean and well-kept. Even I could be tempted by it! We had our lunch there sitting at a picnic table looking out over the bay towards Nelson. After lunch we took a long, leisurely walk along the beach up to the point then back to the car following the road going through the campsite.

Motueka was only a few kilometres further down the road. A nice little town which seemed to be buzzing. We had a look through the museum there, good but not as large as the one here. Had a cool drink on the way back at a lovely little garden/cafe place where I got some good solutions for some parts of our garden at home.

Where is the knitting? I can hear some grumbling! I didn't have a lot of room in my bag for much but packed some Opal yarn for another pair of socks. (There was also another ball or two of yarn stashed in there but that didn't see the light of day!) I cast on for the socks on Thursday morning while waiting for D to have a shower, and got a couple of rows of the ribbing done, but that was about as far as it got that day. More got done on the boat to Wellington but otherwise sightseeing was more important!

I did intend to make another pair of the Embossed Leaves socks by Mona Schmidt (see one of my early posts for a photo of previous socks) but have since decided to use the Slipped-Rib Stitch from Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. I think it may look better in the self-stripin Opal than the Embossed Leaves. That is such a pretty pattern it deserves better than Opal, IMHO. I like Opal but I sometimes wish that it wasn't, well, quite so stripey!

Anyway, that is enough for me to write, and you to read, for one day. I will carry on with tales of our holiday next time.