•May 5, 2008 • 2 Comments

I am Teh Shocked.

A quick Google for “Worldwide Spin In Public Day” turns up…nothing.  Even without the quotes and the capitals.

Can it really be true?  That no one is even talking about an international spinning day?  I had fully expected to see ‘oh yes, it’s the 18th of August’.  I’d kind of expected to see ‘we should really have one’.  I hadn’t expected dead silence.

Is Google playing tricks on me?

I do not believe that no one has proposed taking spindle and wheel and accosting total strangers with fibrey goodness and creeping people out by saying ‘Here, stroke my merino/silk blend tops.  I know you want to.’  I just can not believe that such a deficit is real.

(As an aside, WWKIP Day doesn’t appear in WIkipedia.  I think the bottom just fell out of my world.)



FO#4: The Jayne Hat

•May 4, 2008 • Leave a Comment

everybody loves jayne hats

Originally uploaded by Vellan

Bad knitblogger. You are slow to post your FOs and recent acquisitions.

Right, the Jayne hat.

Last year, I asked my brother if he wanted me to knit anything for him, and all he wanted was a Jayne hat (because the boy has good taste). And I agreed in a heartbeat.

It should have been easy.

I looked around at patterns, and I knew that there was no way that I was going to get chunky yarn around here. Now I could – with some research and dilligence – have ordered the yarn online. But I wanted it *now*, so I went to the local shops.

I found three colours that were reasonably close, but the yellow was a different brand to the red and the orange (which were a crepe). Never mind. I went home, I wound the yarn into balls and cast on knitting with double thickness from both ends.

The difference between the crepe and the non-crepe was too much for me. A different texture might have been okay, but they turned out to be different weights, which was *not*.

Back to the drawing board.

I have a great idea. I can spin the yarn myself! What greater love than this: that a knitter should first spin her own damn yarn? Unfortunately, I did not have red or yellow dye (although ironically, I had orange). And as Teh Guild was closed over Christmas, I couldn’t waltz in and get any.

Instead, I went and bought some corriedale roving from Bella Head in red, orange, yellow (wildly BRIGHT red, orange and yellow) and I sat down and I spun.

I spun several samples, testing weights and constructions. I picked one and started spinning in earnest. I even kept a sample of the right sized singles taped to my wheel for comparison.

When I noticed that the yellow skein was considerably thicker/heavier than the orange skein – in spite of all my preparation – I threw them both. This was vastly unsatisfying because yarn makes neither a splat sound or a thump. Wisely, I refrained from throwing my wheel. The yellow skein, the orange skein and the remaining roving went back into the stash.

I was pissed off with all the setbacks, and did some other things.

After some time, I tried again, this time with Spotlight Basics 8 ply (pure wool for $2.99 a ball. It’s useful.) As I’m standing in the shop, I find an orange and a yellow, but there are two shades of red and I can’t remember which one is closest. I do the sensible thing, and buy them both.

I get home, and whack in the Firefly DVD. It turns out that the lighter red is pretty damn close. And the yellow isn’t bad either. The orange? Waaaaay off.

Fine. This yarn is wool. I have acid dye. You can’t stop me now! I over dye the orange to try and make it a bit brighter. Bizarrely, nothing bad happens. The wool doesn’t felt, and it dyes evenly. I wonder what’s *really* going to go wrong.

I start knitting. By brother has a big head, so I look at the pattern, look at the gauge and do the maths. I am not afraid of maths. I used to hate it, but now it is my friend. It makes knitting work.

So I add on a couple inches worth of sitches to the cast on, and go.
And go. And go. The instructions said [after ribbing] knit for 10 inches. I really suspect that it meant [after ribbing] knit until work measures 10 inches from beginning. Never mind. Free pattern, no complaints. I made the yellow bit shorter instead. (NB: the yellow bit looks extremely short in the photo. That’s because of the angle. It looks more balanced IRL. Trust me.)

And I changed the ear flaps to make them less curly. (Jayne’s are curly but not as curly as what you see in a lot of photos.) Then, the pompom. I hate pompoms. I hate making them. I’m going to spend the $10 on the plastic pompom maker, because if I ever have to make another pompom, I need whatever will make the process less painful.

Pompom complete, tied, all ends woven in, complete.

At frickin’ last.

No bargaining

•April 22, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Dear God,

You know how I always buy those raffle tickets for workmates’ kids’ schools; or for those charities where they display a car in the shopping centre?  And how I consider it a donation and never expect to win anything?  (Because unlike people who buy lottery tickets, I have a firm if basic grasp of probability theory.)

Until now, I haven’t called on you to influence the outcome of any of these random events – because I don’t need a new car or a holiday to the Gold Coast.

However, I’m wondering if you would mind keeping an eye on the Knitty Competition.  I acknowledge that there may be entrants whose need is greater than mine, and that you should give them first consideration.  But I really neeeeed the Lorna’s Laces Prize  Stitch Diva Patterns  Cat Bordhi Books  Audiobooks  Lexi Barnes bags any of the prizes.  Face it, I’m not fussy.  I would be delighted with any of them.

I’ve entered the competition, and I’ll leave the rest up to you.  Your will be done, and all that.

Much Love, V.

PS: I know that global warming is our own fault, but SA could really do with some rain, please.

FO #3: Caity’s Shrug

•April 2, 2008 • Leave a Comment

teh pinkness finale

Originally uploaded by Vellan

The pattern (Two Tone Shrug from Stephanie Japel’s Fitted Knits) was easy, and yet this project really took it out of me.

The pink. It is so very, very pink. I understand that there are people who like the colour – people like Caity – but I have what you might call a pink allergy. It brings me out in a rash, and sometimes I scream for no reason. (That is, no reason other than exposure to pink.)

Despite the extreme personal hardship suffered to knit this item, it was completely worthwhile. She was so excited and profusely thankful that it was worth every finger-burning, eye-rotting second.

People who appreciate handknits are good to knit for. She’s not *my* girlfriend, but I think my brother should keep her.

FO #2: Dad’s Alpaca Socks

•March 28, 2008 • Leave a Comment


Originally uploaded by Vellan

Just in case anyone has missed the story:

These socks are knit from yarn I handspun specifically with my Dad in mind. He is a cyclist and gets cold, wet feet.

I made these for his birthday, and while he *seems* pleased with them, we’ll have to see if they do the job and keep his feet warm. They’re a three-ply (alpaca/alpaca/corriedale) for density and durability.

We’ve had a recent cold spell, but I don’t think it has yet been cold enough to test them.

A Loom With a View

•March 11, 2008 • Leave a Comment

not obscure blue

Originally uploaded by Vellan

(Loom puns have got to be nearly as bad as dye puns.)

A loom is inevitable.

I feel hampered by my lack of weaving nouse. (Nouse – rhymes with ‘mouse’ is an interesting word. I think it’s Australian, as teh intarwebz doesn’t seem to know it. Even Google keeps offering references to ‘no use’. For foreign visitors, nouse = practical knowledge. ETA: after consultation with the Handsome Husband, it turns out nouse is English. That figures, because Australians speak English…unlike our neighbours on the other side of the Pacific, bless them. Here endeth the etymology section of the post.)

Right. Weaving nouse. I don’t have it. I’ve picked up a little weaving vocabulary, and I think I could tell the difference between plain, warp-faced and weft-faced weave. I know that warp has to be strong. I know that the gap where you put the shuttle through is called a shed.

All this is a bit like knowing that computers run on electricity. Somewhere to start, but won’t help you to decide which one to buy.

Do I want an entry-level loom? That would look something like the Ashford Knitters Loom . While it looks to be okay in itself, it’s unappealing for mainly these reasons:

a) The cost. Starting at AUD$225? That’s not an impulse buy. Unlike *necessities*, like mp3 players and videogame consoles, I’m not emotionally invested in weaving. What if I don’t like it? What if warping the loom is a huge pain in the arse and I never use it? That $225 could be a couple of games. Or enough to knit a jumper out of something wickedly indulgent.

b) The width. What you get for your $225 is a piece of woven fabric no more than 30 cm wide. For an extra $50 you get an extra 20 cm, but still. Really. $225 for…a scarf. Or a placemat. Maybe a table runner. You wouldn’t be able to do anything bigger, like a tapestry, or wall hanging, or blanket (unless you wanted to do a lot of sewing. And it’s not like they’re upgradeable and you can mod it to increase the width.

c) The effort. I watched the flash instructions for how to use the Ashford Knitters Loom, and…I don’t really see how it’s different from a full-on loom (forgive me, but my weaving lexicon is lacking). Sure, if you had a floor loom you’d need to pay attention to how you put the warp through the shafts, and the wider you want your weaving the more warping you have to do, but if you can still do your simple 30 cm wide scarf on an 80 cm loom, why would you limit youself?

I have to admit that this attitude is coloured by the knowledge that someone at the Guild is selling an 8 shaft table loom (which looks a lot like this, without the stand) for less than the Ashford Knitters Loom. It’s in my impulse buy range, and I probably would have bought it on impulse, except for the size. It’s big. It is very clearly too big for me to smuggle past the Handsome Husband.

I have to see if I can convince him that a loom would improve his quality of life. I have told him that a loom would use up yarn. He’s very keen on that. I think he’s under the impression that ‘using up yarn’ is the same as ‘reducing the stash’. I don’t see it that way.

The next step is to indicate that a loom could possibly be used to produce items that he desires, like curtains. I have no idea how to weave curtains. Seriously.

The photo? I’m still trying to take a photo that accurately depicts the colour of that damn blue. I’m calling it Obscure Blue, because it refuses to be photographed properly.

Fun is…

•March 10, 2008 • Leave a Comment

fun is…

Originally uploaded by Vellan

This is currently my default spinning thickness.

I’m spinning this for fun, rather than for a specific project, so I’m spinning at the thickness that is easiest to maintain.

I dyed 200g. This is 37g.

Cabled 9 ply, maybe?