Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dear Blog...

...Please accept my sincerest apologies for neglecting you for so long. I did not mean to, but things (real life) sometimes get in the way as they have this month. I mean, have you looked at my calendar lately? There has hardly been a day where I haven't needed to be somewhere, doing something, or at home, doing something else! In the future I will try to be a better blogger - but I will not promise.

Yours sincerely

Yes, I have been a very bad blogger recently, but I have not been idle! Spinning, knitting and family life have figured greatly during the last few weeks. First up, knitting. No more progress has been made on Mermaid but I do have a FO! I have started, and finished (well, almost, maybe) an EZ Baby Surprise Jacket (as yet, unblocked) for our little grandgirl due in January. I made it out of 3 balls (75grams) of Cleckheaton Merino bambino 4 ply (yes, I know, Aussie wool. What can I say?). It is beautifully soft but only measures 35 cm (14") around the chest so will definitely be a newborn size. A pity, as January-February is not usually a cool time of year. I guess to make a larger size I would need to use DK weight yarn, not what I really like for a young baby.

Didn't I do well with the seam? Well, I'm pleased with it at any rate and, when it comes down to it, that is all that matters! I have never done mattress stitch before so that is what the fuss is all about. I still need to find some buttons as well as decide about the neckline. There is only a very little bit of yarn left from the 3 balls, probably not enough to make a little collar (picot edging, ruffle - I haven't decided yet). I don't mind buying another ball, though, as I could then make a little pair of booties or socks to match. I had considered making the neck edging in lavender or aqua to match but I don't think I will do that. Maybe if I had put in a stripe or two of it but I didn't as I had wanted to make one as the "pattern" reads. By the way, my thanks go to Dawn Adcock for her very helpful notes!

On the spinning front, I attended the first day of a very worthwhile silk spinning course tutored by Priscilla Lowry (no website to my knowledge). I have not had much experience at all at spinning silk and Priscilla very ably introduced us all to this fascinating fibre. We spun up small samples of both tussah and bombyx mori silk as well as degummed cocoons, yellow cocoon strippings, throwsters waste and mowata cap. No photos yet - I forgot! One interesting tip Priscilla told us was to NOT put on handcream just before spinning the silk! Apparently, once the silk yarn has been washed and knitted grey streaks will appear which will never come out.

We also were treated to having a close look at a number of garments which Priscilla has spun, designed and knitted. These garments were really beautiful. Again, I am sorry that I have no photos of these. I didn't think to take my camera to the course and I do regret that now.

For more of your viewing pleasure, I thought I would include a photo of a skein of yarn I spun quite a while ago. It comes from Hallblacks and is a blend of merino (or possibly halfbred, I'm not sure now) and silk which was gilled after carding. While not particularly well-spun it is nevertheless to-die-for soft! It will probably end up as a scarf but I may dye it as the colour is not one I can really wear near my face.

Familywise, we had the grandgirls to stay for a weekend again! Lots of fun, with a trip to the park to see the wallabies and play on the swings etc. D put up a small tent on the lawn for them to play in which they seemed to find exciting. All in all it was a delightful visit with them!

So that about fills in all I will talk about this time around. You can see that my lack of posting did not equate with a lack of progress craftwise!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Mermaid Progress

Yes, I have been making a little progress on Mermaid since I last posted here - almost to the gusset at the centre back. I am enjoying this knitting but I don't knit on it every night - just when I feel in the mood for it. I hope the finished article is worth all the time and effort spent on it! Apart from the pattern being a little vague at times (I'm not having too many problems with it, fortunately) it is taking ages as a) I am not a fast knitter, and b) it uses a fairly fine yarn and needles - 3mm. I really like the way the gussets give it shape. Very clever.

I haven't been doing any other knitting apart from Mermaid. Very single-minded for a change! But that can't last for long as there will be a new little grand-girl to knit for shortly! I have so many ideas but haven't settled on anything yet. Perhaps I had better finish the sleeves of the singlet first.

Spinning has been coming along slowly with two skeins of the multi-coloured rovings plied up. No photos yet cos I forgot! I have also had several books arrive in the mail lately from Amazon. Presents to me, from me! More on those another time.

Next week is our big week in the pellet fire saga. I applied to the Disputes Tribunal for a hearing and it is set for Tuesday. Hopefully the situation will then be able to be resolved and the fire either replaced or taken away and refunded. I took temperature readings of ours (with the thermometer I use in dyeing as it can take quite high temperatures!) and compared them with readings I took of one which is working well. There is a difference of about 20C between the tow on high and 10C on low. Ours is the lowest reading in both cases. Doesn't this alone say something? More on this when the "verdict" is in.

It has been so nice lately to watch Spring start to come. The days are longer and warmer - we see a lot more sun than we had been. Blossom and flowers are starting to open and the birds are starting t build their nests. A few days ago I enjoyed watching a thrush collecting beakfuls of long grass (yes, our lawns need mowing too!) and fly away with them, presumably to her nest. I love Spring - can you tell? But what am I doing here when I could be outside enjoying the sunshine? See you...!