Saturday, 20 February 2010

Handspun Chic!

Well, here we are again and once more I am extremely recalcitrant in my blogging! I've been ill and also had a busy week, and in fact have a busy week ahead. But it's the weekend and Ellen and Saartje are here and so it's time to relax, unwind, chill....oh, and shop of course - mustn't forget the shopping!! We went to the Fair Trade Market, and as ever, I wanted everything but ended up buying nothing because I couldn't choose. At Lush it was a different matter of course and I bought some heart-shaped soap and a couple of bath ballistics- and Saartje and I secretly bought Ellen a Mother's Day bath ballistic 'lolly', in the shape of a flower! Must drop hints to the boys for my own gift!
I also received - from Nederland, though I believe they are available here now - some Yes to Carrots stuff:a fab little gift kit containing face and body items which smell gorgeous!
I finished Saar's hat and it looks fab - and she looks fabulous in it (she looks fab in everything which isjust as well as she is the sort of little meisje who can be dressed immaculately with braided hair first thing in the morning and by 9.10 a.m is looking like she's been dragged through a bush!! That's the best sort of kid - a real kid! Of course she never stops talking either....but it is actually quite cute listening to her. She is of course Thom-Cat's very best friend and Thomas' response has been to go into "Devoted Animal" mode, even allowing her to tickle him and stroke his fur the wrong way!!

Excuse me amoment while I shout at the TV; Supernanny is on and there is one of those new breed of 'Mums' who keep their toddler like a baby, in nappies,with a dummy and (baby) bottles of formula, and refer to themselves in the third person....As an advocate of self-regulation and autonomy in infancy and childhood I watch such programmes with a mixture of disbelief and annoyance!!

Anyway.....I made some delicious soup at dinnertime; was going to make pasta but Ellen is carb-free at the minute, or at least low-carb. I made the soup with onion, carrots, leeks and red lentils and it was amazing. El ate two bowls of it. Saar did her usual thing of asking for an egg then not actually eating it but she ate her slices of turkey and her broodje up fairly quickly when I said she could have some ijs after she ate her food!

I received the fibre I ordered from Lime Green Jelly..........

Strawberry Fields Forever in 70% Merino/30% Bamboo

Yesterday's Dreams in Cashmere/Silk
.........and I have ordered some more gorgeous blended stuff from Friday's shop update:

Be That Easy in Merino/Silk which I may ply with something else for a scarf)

Sweet Dreams in Merino/Cashmere/Silk

I already have that in Merino/Tencel. I am going to do lots of spinning this week, and I have at last decided on a new spindle, a really good one from 1st Crafts on the Isle of Wight.

This place was recommended by Jo; I decided to try seeing if using a really good spindle will save me having to buy a spinning wheel. I got the hang of spinning using a spindle and although it is now a lot easier, the spindle I got to start on, to see if I took to it, is dire! I can't imagine not ever spinning again! Totally hooked,especially with gorgeous fibre available. I even got some undyed merino the other day which I intend to hand paint and maybe sell it. Handpainted fibre - when it is done really beautifully - is highly sought after these days, and if I find I'm good at it I shall buy some good quality merino in bulk and a few colours of wool dye and then get stuck in. I also want to try designing my own patterns but I need to get a couple of stitch 'bibles' first!

Speaking of which, the other day I went to the new library in town and I snapped up a copy of Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarns by Cookie A! And have ordered a few books for reservation - yes, all knitting books!!

Finally, what's on the needles at the minute? Nothing much at all really: the second of a pair of April May wristies I'm knitting in Colinette DK, and Kernel which is hibernating.I have bought some Silkwood sock yarn and some Noro Kureyon. The Silkwood will be great for one of the Cookie A projects and the Noro might be nice for some armwarmers - long ones. At the minute though I'm looking for a nice pattern to knit with some Cash Iroha I have, so I'm going to finish here for today!

Sunday, 7 February 2010

The Hat....

This is the start of the gorgeous hat I'm knitting for the klijntje. You can see in the above photo one of the earflaps and the variegated colours of my gorgeous handspun 'Spingle' yarn. The whole thing was slightly too small for circulars so I put it on dpns. Speaking of circulars, my new Knitpro tips are too thick, at 8mm and 10mm because I seriously overestimated how chunky my handpun would turn out. It's okay, I will use them sometime and they will be great for teaching Saartje to knit.

I've cast on for another pair of wristies, these ones in Colinette DK (hand dyed 100% wool):

I'm going to make the same ones as I knitted for Fiona the other week, ie April May, (pattern from Yarn Zombie) because I love the simple semi-lace design which is part of the ribbed effect. This wool is so lovely. Wish I could find more, but it was a one-skein listing on EBay which I paid £2 for. I got some Noro Kureyon to make a scarf, probably Palette off Knitty, and some Schoeller & Stahl Fortissima Mexiko and Four Seasons Hot Socks Dream sock yarns. Not necessarily for socks, but possibly for baby bootees for Wor Nat's friend's baby-to-be (well, it's already a baby - I meant, when s/he is born)

I was really missing Josh - he has been away for the past three (long) weekends, which is great - he is after all a young adult with a separate life etc. but he is back now and at College. It is really starting to dawn on me that in the next few years I will be Alone. But look on the bright side: I will be able to have the biggest bedroom, plus a separate knitting and spinning room, as well as a totally spare bedroom! I will get some more cats haha!!

I'm counting the days now - 12 - until the Uiterstegrachters arrive!

Monday, 1 February 2010


I must just update from the last post. Holland Fabric House owner has another Etsy shop, Zacka selling hand-made gorgeousness, such as the above French Lavender Sachets, made from the lovely fabric from the fabric house. She also has a blog!!. I could not resist buying those cute little iron-on transfers from Holland Fabric House and they arrived, along with the gorgeous sets of ribbon I also had to buy (ha ha), in only three days; beautifully packaged too!!

Also....yes.... I did buy the Etsy Sampler Boxes I mentioned. Below is a pair of Organic Moonlight Sonata sachets from Sonata Soaps, one of the contributors, who has sent little packs of ten teeny guest soaps for the sample boxes; if I get those in my box I will be using them as freebies for my custom knit orders etc. I must must must plug these sample boxes !! I think they are fantastic, and the very best thing about them is that you get ten lovely surprises (though you may request up to three specific items per box.)

As for the Lush Heads and, hmmm....I am getting bored with commercial now and they refuse to take out all the parabens and SLS. With that attitude they cannot hope to retain their customers, as the kind of customers who will pay those prices are the same customers who are now demanding chemical-free. I noticed just two days before Christmas it was still possible to get into the shop, whereas last year - I mean 2008 - you couldn't move for people.

I have defected back to Dr Hauschka's.

I couldn't resist Jo from Lime Green Jelly's latest batch. I have found this to be the most consistently high-quality fibre! There was one I returned, not through any fault, but only due to the colour being different from how I had thought it would look. The fibre is finshed to an incredibly fab standard - very professional. And the attention to detail in each of the braids of fibre I've bought so far has been amazing. These are the two I bought on Friday:

Silhouette - 100% Mulberry Silk

Blue Ink - 100% 21 micron Merino

My plan is to spin them both as finely as I can then ply them, but this won't be until I get my Kick Spindle, which I am going to request as an Easter gift instead of chocolate...see the sacrifices we spinners have to make!!!!!! I've also just begun the lovely hat I've designed for Saar. If it I successful as I hope, I'll post the pattern here and also to Ravelry. There do not seem to be very many patterns specifically for the kind of thickish handspun yarn which beginners tend to produce. But which is very useful for gorgeous winter hats and gloves and kiddie's booties etc.

I must mention too....I decided to resurrect Cold Mountain, after becoming rather bored and frustrated with it just before Christmas, to the extent I frogged it! I tried to find a pattern which would do the lovely Elvincraft laceweight yarn justice....but it seemed I was right th first time, and after days searching for alternatives, I kept coming back to Cold Mountain. I realised the reason I got tired of it was because it is such a long-winded pattern but at the same time fairly repetitive, while also being sneaky. It is far from being difficult,but you do have to keep your wits about you. And you know, I just wanted to be onto Chart B, and I just wanted it finished! So this time round I am being more patient and far more careful. It is my back-burner project for February and I do not mind if it takes all month to complete, but I shall knit at least ten rows every night at least and that way I will see it grow faster than it was before.

As for the has snowed again, at the weekend. It has now half-thawed, then frozen over again. Treacherous. I now have to go out in it.....