This is a post all about me

•June 30, 2008 • 6 Comments

…and all the things I do and all that I see. (Here’s a koan: do you have to be Australian to find Lano & Woodley funny?)

Here are my answers to the Hush-Hush Handspun Hootenanny questionnaire:

1. How long have you been spinning? What skill level do you consider yourself?


2. What kinds of yarn do you create (singles/2-ply/3-ply/art yarn)?

Usually a 3 ply (which would probably – but not necessarily – be chain plied). I also enjoy a 4 ply. I’ve also worked out methods for a 5 ply and 6 ply that I’ve sampled but haven’t used. I only 2 ply occasionally. (Singles yarn, never.)

3. What do you spin with (spindle/wheel/both)?

Wheel, mostly. Knitting projects take so long because I work and I have a family, so spinning gives me the achievement buzz. The quicker the better.

4. What are your favorite fibers to spin with? Anything you don’t like?

The only fiber that I have tried and not enjoyed was pure mohair. It was…hairy. I go through a lot of merino, mostly because that’s what is available around here.

5. Who are your favorite crack dealers fiber sources (etsy or otherwise)?

My favourites are Ewe Give Me The Knits and Copperpot Woolies. I’ve never had substandard prep or service from either. I hope to get around to ordering from Sakina Needles soon; Wylie’s stuff looks beautiful.

6. What kind of fiber do you want to try?

Camel (or a camel blend). I like camels. They spit.

7. Is there any techniques you would like to learn?

I’d like to be able to spin a balanced singles. But given that it’s not my first choice for knitting yarn, I haven’t invested the time yet.

8. Do you dye fiber? If not, would you like to learn?

I dabble. Usually there just aren’t enough hours in the day, and if I do have the opportunity, my husband complains about the smell. (What smell?)

9. Do you have fiber prep tools (and like to use them) or would you prefer ready to spin fiber?

I have learned that my hobby is spinning, not fibre prep. Eventually I’ll move on and become proficient at scouring and combing or carding, but not this decade.

10. What do you do with your handspun? What projects have you completed?

There are some in my Ravelry, and maybe in my Flickr. Sometimes I keep handspun as pet yarn for a while. Sometimes I give it away (especially if – like this one – I only did it to prove that I could). If you wanted to get all technical and count, I use handspun mostly for socks (even though I’m not a big sock knitter). Perhaps this is why I haven’t got around to spinning a low-durability, highly feltable yarn like a singles yarn.

11. Are you in need of any spinning gadgets (WPI Gauge, threading hook, etc)?

My supply of oil is getting low, and the felt balls sound like a good idea. (Note: on *someone’s* blog, I saw that they had made felt balls. I don’t remember it clearly, but as I understood it their purpose was to serve as a core when winding balls of small amounts of handspun. I thought that it was either Jared Flood or Franklin Habit, but now that I’ve gone to find the post – I have to face the fact that either it was a very long time ago or someone else.)

12. What colors “fall into your shopping basket”? Any colors you just can’t stand?

Greens. It’s all about the greens. Blacks and greys are also a hit. Sometimes blues just happen. I’m pretty open-minded when it comes to colour, but I have and allergy to PINK. It gives me a rash, I break out all over. It’s terrible. Sometimes pink can get away with being a light purple, but it has to be very careful.

13. What is on your wheel/spindle right now?

White alpaca pencil roving, then something wildly colourful.

14. What other crafts/hobbies do you have?

I knit, and I love reading about knitting. I almost love that more than knitting itself.

15. Other than crafts, what are you passionate about?

Anime and Videogames (Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, PC)

16. Do you have an online wishlist?

No, but that’s a good idea.

17. Is there anything that you collect?

I collect yarn, fibre, videogames, books and anime. I don’t have room for much else.

18. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What magazine subscriptions do you have?

(Currently subscribed to IK and Spin Off. Thinking about Wild Fibres and Wool Gathering) I’ve been meaning to get some knitting audiobooks. I do love my iPod.

19. When is your birthday?

3rd of September. Moderately typical Virgo. Absolutely typical Snake in the Chinese horoscope.

20. What book or movie character do you most resemble in personality?

I had no idea, so I queried my friends. The answers came back: Chewbacca (because I get violent when I lose), Motoko Kusanagi (because I’m a beautiful kick-ass cyborg on the inside), and my brother, who has known me for the last 26 years, thought that I’m most like Harry Callaghan (Dirty Harry). Which I’m happy to accept because I heart that movie sooooo hard. And Clint Eastwood is hawt.

21. What is the climate like where you live around this time (need to know for careful shipments of anything meltable)?

It’s our winter now. Our daily maximum temperature is around 15 degrees celsius.

22. Tell us one weird fact about yourself!

I love lights on Christmas Trees. My record is somewhere around 1400 lights. (LEDs, to be precise.)

favorite painting/picture(link):

The cover art for the sountrack to Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. Great game, great album, lovely picture. Oh look, it’s green and black. And there’s blood in it.


After-dinner mints. Anything similar, like Junior Mints is also a hit.




Mead or sake. Don’t make me choose!


Alien, Aliens (NB: Particularly love the colorway of these movies. A lot of black and grey, with a bit of Acid Green.) Whodvethunkit?

TV Show(s):

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex


Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Series (esp The Watch)

Guilty Pleasure(s):

Reading HP Lovecraft

…and hopefully, that should be enough information for anyone. :-)

[Now edited to include links – again!]



WIP: The Urban Decay Cowl.

•June 17, 2008 • Leave a Comment


Originally uploaded by craftastrophies

(Thanks to Craftastrophies for sharing the photo, even though she knows that you can get hepatitis doing that.)

Meet the Urban Decay Cowl.

Just to bring you up to speed, the pattern is EZ’s Moebius cowl from Knitting Around, and the yarn is 100g of chain plied Fibreworks merino in Heatherlie Sandstone.

As I may or may not have discussed previously (and frankly, can’t be bothered to look back and see) I love this yarn for its colours. This shot nicely captures the rust and the concrete, with just a smidge of grease.

I love the colours. And I love the stitch. Special love for garter stitch. However, I’m starting to hate everything else.

Thing to hate #1: the unnevenness. One of the quirks of garter stitch is that it highlights flaws – any flaws, whether they be the fault of the knitter or the yarn. I often look at garter stitch in magazines and think “That looks a bit sloppy, couldn’t they have been more careful?” But while I’m pretty confident that I can knit garter neatly and evenly, my spinning is a different matter.

Every little (or not so little) variation in the yarn is *magnified* by the garter stitch. That’s okay. It’s handspun. It looks like handspun. I’m trying not to get hung up on it.

Thing to hate #2: the yardage (or lack thereof). While I would very much like to say metreage, it just doesn’t sound right. The pattern calls for x inches in width, and y inches in length before grafting. Given that my two skeins are fairly equal, it seems pretty easy to make sure that by the time I have knit to the end of the first ball, the length should be y/2. Easy, right? Yes, very easy to check. But once I have checked and found that the length is not y/2 but (y/2)-6, no amount of checking will return a different answer. At least, not a different *correct* answer.

But you know, I was prepared. I had two skeins that were brown at one end and black at the other. I figured that if I started at the brown end and knit through to the black end, I could start at the black end of the next ball, knit through and graft the brown ends together. It would give me seamless ball changes, colour symmetry along the vertical axis, and as an added bonus it meant that if I did turn out to be a little short of yarn, I could easily substitute some black in the middle without ruining the colour changes or symmetry.


Thing to hate #3: that I can never spin what I’m trying to spin. In accordance with my cunningly devised plan above, I spun up some black. Easy! Except…it was too thick. I tried anyway. I gave it a few rows, but it wasn’t working. It changed the drape and even changed the width. It is possible that I swore. But hope was not lost, because I knew I had some black sock yarn that was closer to the wpi of my original handspun. I would reattempt the black bridge.

Thing to hate #4: life sucks. Which is just a shorthand way of saying that wool/nylon blend sock yarn, which is what you might think of as a worsted-style yarn (ie: dense, compact, heavy) is completely freaking different to my handspun which is techinically a woollen-style yarn (ie: light, fluffy, springy.) Even though their wraps per inch is very similar, they’re as different as a rag rug and a coir mat.

I have ripped back (again) and will try for the third time, but before I do I will have to spin more black. I know that it sounds like a chore when really it isn’t (I mean, both spinning + black = win, surely), but it is. It is a chore because really, I’d just like to finish my bloody cowl. My head is cold.

Swap Virgin

•June 6, 2008 • 1 Comment

is me.

But not for much longer.  I have signed up for my first swap.

As appealing as the idea is, I’ve avoided them because I am a slow sock knitter.  Veeeeery slow.  Socks are usually standby knitting, for when I don’t have anything better to do.  This is probably why they tend to be rib or stocking stitch, because if it’s a couple of months between rounds, I’m not likely to remember where I’m up to in the pattern.  So no sock swap love for me.

But what’s wonderful about this swap is that it’s not socks!  Better than socks, it’s a spinning swap! The ingeniousness!

You spin a 4 oz skein and send it to your swap pal with a gift of 4 oz unspun fibre.  (And receive the same.)  It doesn’t start for a month, but I’m looking forward to it so very much.

The name of the swap is the Hush-Hush Handspun Hootenanny.  If you’re interested, you can find more information here.  (Or there’s the Rav link.)  As a Firefly fan, I’d probably call it the Super-Secret Spinning Shindig, but Hootenanny still fits, so that’s cool.

Now I have an *excuse* to shop for more fibre!  Awesome.

FO #5: Mum’s Cashmere Scarf

•June 3, 2008 • 1 Comment


Originally uploaded by Vellan

Way back when, I made a resolution to include more photos.

I think I’ve been successful, but now it turns out that my blog is just a commentary for my Flickr. ~sigh~

Moving on…pictured is the softest scarf ever.

Don’t believe me? You should. It is 100% cashmere. It is made of soft. I was lucky enough to score this yarn from Stranded in Oz. Yes, handpainted cashmere goodness.

Of the 50g skein, I still have 8g left. I had intended to use all of it, but I had an encounter with RSI that slowed the knitting considerably. And then I thought that it shouldn’t be too long, because your jeans don’t care how soft it is.

Does anyone have suggestions for the remaining eight grams? I’m looking for any alternatives, because all I can think of is knitting a liner for my bra. Mmmmm, soft.

Random hanspun pr0n

•May 30, 2008 • Leave a Comment

FW heatherlie sandstone

Originally uploaded by Vellan

Fibreworks merino, 21 micron, 100g.

Colourway: Heatherlie Sandstone.

It knows! The quiz knows!

•May 25, 2008 • 1 Comment
you are olivedrab

Your dominant hues are green and yellow. There’s no doubt about the fact that you think with your head, but you don’t want to be seen as boring and want people to know about your adventurous streak now and again.

Your saturation level is higher than average – You know what you want, but sometimes know not to tell everyone. You value accomplishments and know you can get the job done, so don’t be afraid to run out and make things happen.

Your outlook on life can be bright or dark, depending on the situation. You are flexible and see things objectively.

the html color quiz

( Yoinked from Craftastrophies.)

It’s kind of spooky how so far, the quiz is 2/2.


•May 8, 2008 • Leave a Comment


Originally uploaded by Vellan

Mel, from The Feral Spindle, is just too generous. She gave me three mini-balls of pencil roving from her precious (and expensive) box of Mauch Chunky roving. From memory, the colours were Kiwi, Grape and Mystery Blend.

I went the self-striping route, and so chain plied, natch.

I don’t blog every yarn I spin, but this one is special. And also because I will be returning the yarn to Mel. I had the fun of spining it, it’s only fair that she be allowed to knit it up.