Wednesday, May 21, 2008

So, what has been happening lately?

Greetings on this rather cool, cloudy late autumn day! It has been rather a long, long time since I last posted - no excuse so I won't give one.

A lot has been happening chez Roselea Fibres. In a nutshell - Grandgirls have visited and gone home (a lovely time had by all!), new furniture has arrived and been used (I like laz-y-boy armchairs!) and new needles and yarns have been purchased (I love Knitpicks needles - thanks Vintage Purls!!) and received (many thanks, Stella!). I have also gone to play with other like-minded individuals at a knitting camp held at Waikouaiti (if you can't pronounce it I'm sure you're not alone! It is usually called Wack-a-white - spelled phonetically) as well as an Open Day of the spinning group at Milton.

During the school holidays (nearly a month ago now, yikes!) I had a lovely visit from Stella. Not only did she bring herself (which is wonderful enough alone) but she came bearing a gift! A beautifully soft, hand dyed skein of sock yarn (sadly, no photo at this point in time - I am having trouble with my camera batteries. They don't seem to be holding their charge; maybe it is time for me to buy new ones.) which, if you would really like to see it (and I would encourage you to do so as it is lovely!!) you can go here. My skein is the colour "Violet Beauregarde". Totally me! It was really great spending time getting to know Stella a little more.

As it was the school holidays, and kindy kids have holidays just like the bigger kids do, it was time for us to have our two older grandgirls for a few days. (Unfortunately, it seems that I am not a good Grandma and needed to be reminded of this requirement!) We had fun going to the park to play on the swings and slide, kick our way through the fallen leaves and study the chestnuts and acorns laying on the ground underneath the trees. Crayons and paper were retrieved from their hiding palce in the cupboard and pictures were drawn. Books, from a previous childhood, were read while snuggled up in warm beds after lavender-scented bubble baths. Corn-on-the-cob and carrots freshly picked from Grandma's vege garden were eaten for dinner. Toys and sleeping bags were dragged out to the little tent Grandad had erected on the back lawn. Many hugs and cuddles were exchanged with little voices whispering "I love you". Good times to be treasured forever!

Early this month I packed up the car and headed south to the little township of Waikouaiti. I had been invited to join some Dunedin ladies on their annual "knitting camp" - this year to study twined (or two-end) knitting. Unfortunately, Saturday saw me with a really nasty migraine which totally had my head in a fog when it came to "thinking knitting". I started on my mitten but knew I had made mistakes. Twined knitting, while not technically difficult, does involve some manual dexterity and a more agile brain than mine was that day! Not to worry. I woke on Sunday morning like a new person and after a swift shower in rather frigid conditions (the sign in the bathroom read - "windows must be left open at all times for ventilation purposes". Come on, people, have you not heard of exhaust fans? This was late autumn and two of the Dunedin ladies didn't make it to the camp because of snow and rain and hail!) I was all set to cast off my pathetic little piece of twined knitting beginnings and cast on afresh. Which I did with a lot more success than the previous day.

I rather like the edging of little arrow shapes. It doesn't seem to curl, either, which could be rather useful in "normal" knitting. By the way, twined knitting historically uses Z-twisted yarn. I wasn't sure if I would have any yarn like this in my stash but a careful search revealed quite an amount. I was pleasantly surprised. This yarn was some I had bought at the mill in Milton. It's a soft merino/angora blend which I, rather unsuccessfully in my opinion, dyed and then overdyed as I didn't approve of the uneven dyeing of my first attempt. In hindsight, I should have left it as it became even more unevenly the second time around! Oh well, I guess it now has "character"!

I think this photo shows up the "crook stitches" in the pattern a little better. These are purl stitches carried out using one yarn held in the front of the work while the second yarn is held in the back and is used for the knit stitches in between the purl ones. The "stocking stitch" background is made with both yarns held in the back. This is the sum-total of my efforts on Sunday - nobody claimed that twined knitting is fast!

This rather poor shot is of the back side of the knitting. You may be able to make out the twisted nature of the back. It looks as it it would be stiff but this is not the case - it is firm but has a surprising amount of give. It is quite thick also, as two yarns are involved, making it a good choice for mittens which are likely to receive a fair bit of wear.

Other knitting has been carried out over the last few weeks also - a call for baby mittens for our youngest grandgirl who tended to wriggle around in her sleep throwing her arms out, her hands getting cold in the process. Of course, if a knitter receives a call like that what is she to do? Take up her needles and knit, of course! Balls of leftover baby yarn were retrieved from the stash and knitted up into three pairs of mittens - a pale pink garter stitch pair, a turquoise pair with a lace cuff and white edging and a pair of white mittens with a feather and fan cuff. They didn't take very long to knit and are now gracing the little hands of their tiny recipient (who is growing like the proverbial weed!).

Spinning has also featured recently - some corriedale fleece which I have washed and drum carded and am now spinning at about 32 wpi. I will navajo ply this and knit it into something "for a baby". This is part of a fleece challenge our local spinning group is taking part in. I quite like this wool but am really finding it a pain to spin as I keep thinking of all the things I want to be spinning for me! It will get done, though, and then it will be back onto the Gotland wool I started so long ago.

Time for me to start getting tea prepared so 'bye until next time!