Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tour de Fleece Update - Finished!

Ok, so I didn't manage to blog that often in the end. All the time I had free was spent spinning!

TdF Yarn Post Wash

There's also a skein of brown alpaca, but it's still drying.

I'm really pleased with how much spinning I did, and with the resulting yarn. I don't know what I'm going to do with any of it yet!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tour de Fleece update - Day 12!

Last night was Slimming World, so I didn't have a lot of spinning time. I did manage to finish the single for the art yarn. I'm excited to ply it and add the beads and stuff. I don't know if it will ever be made into anything (isn't the point of art yarn that it isn't made into stuff?) but it's going to be cool...

TdF day 12

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tour de Fleece update - Day 11!

Day 10 was a rest day for both the riders and spinners, so I happily spent my evening knitting on the Clapotis I’m making for my mum.

Day 11 was a trying day for me in real life, as the redundancy announcements at work came out. I actually still have a job, but I’m not yet sure how I feel about that. I finished the second alpaca single and I intend to ply those shortly.

TdF day 11

Then, to cheer myself up, I started my first ever art yarn. I had a pack from the Threshing Barn which I picked up at one of the British Wool Weekend events, I think last November.

British Wool Weekend New Stuff!

I emptied the tube onto my floor to see what was in there…

Threshing barn spinning kit

Flowers, leaves, beads, yarn, curls, silk blend and wool fibre (from two different breeds of sheep, at least)

So, I started spinning a single of that, with some intentional slubs, and then when I Navajo ply it, I will add the beads, flowers and leaves. I’m not sure about the yarn. It’s not really working for me, so it might not be added at all to this yarn. We’ll see how I feel when I get to that point.

TdF day 11

Monday, July 08, 2013

TdF day 7, 8 and 9!

Well, being off work is apparently not conducive to posting daily on my blog. I wonder why that could be?

Thursday evening I did a little bit of spinning on the alpaca, but I didn’t have long to spin so not a lot got done.

TdF day 6

Spinning alpaca from the cloud (with no prep) is pretty dirty work, but it’s spinning up nicely!

Friday I did less spinning than I had hoped, as I spent the morning doing chores and then we went strawberry picking in the afternoon. I really enjoyed the fruit picking and might even go again before the season is over. I did manage to take the wheel outside for a little while though, which was nice.

TdF day 7

And the bobbin started to fill up nicely while I was out in the sunshine

TdF day 7

Day 8 was Saturday, and we went to the exhibit about the Mallard speed record at the National Railway Museum in York. It was a lot of fun!

Mallard 75 celebrations

It did mean that I didn’t get much spinning done though, in fact the day 8 bobbin looks quite similar to the day 7 one above!

 TdF day 8

On Sunday there was a tennis match on the TV (that would be the historic Wimbledon men’s final where Andy Murray finally triumphed!) and I spun during the whole match. This ended up being quite a lot of spinning!

TdF day 9

The slightly blurry picture on the right is my second bobbin of the alpaca; the one on the left is the first finished bobbin.

Today (Monday) is a rest day for the Tour de France cyclists, and so I won’t be doing any spinning today. This is fine by me, as we’re experimenting with a new transport option for my knitting group: I’m going to get the bus back to the nearest village tonight, and then hubby will collect me from there once his ceramics class is finished.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Tour de Fleece update - Day 5!

Still managing to spin and post daily...

I wound this off the bobbin and onto the niddy noddy. It's about 100 yards, I need to wash it before I measure the wpi.

TdF day 5

I'm really pleased with it though, the colours have blended nicely and so it's got that slightly "mucky" effect which looks so pretty.

Then I weighed out 50g of the alpaca fleece

TdF day 5

and started to spin that "from the cloud". It's quite dirty, I hear that alpaca like to roll in the dust a lot. However, I've also heard that it's easier to spin alpaca dirty.

TdF day 5

It's spinning up nicely but quite fine, I hope it will bloom when washed. I think it will be a 2 ply, although it depends on what the rest spins up likw. I have about 500g all together, so I'm hoping to make about 5 100g skeins all of a similar thickness. We'll see how that pans out. I might end up doing something else entirely!

I have tomorrow off work, so I should be able to get quite a lot done, once I have tidied the house, put up the new curtains, put away the washing... Okay, I should get some done in any case. Hubby is also off work in the afternoon, so we might take a trip to the pick your own strawberries nearby. I fancy making some strawberry wine and jam.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Tour de Fleece update - Day 4!

So, yesterday was day 4 of the Tour de France, the team time trial. I managed not to see any of the race this time, but I did enjoy watching the Yorkshire contingent getting excited about the Grande Depart which will be in Yorkshire next year for the 101st tour.

Anyway, I did manage to finish the alpaca single, and I stayed up far too late last night plying it.

TdF day 4

I still need to wind it off onto the niddy-noddy and then work out how long it is.
That will then mean two complete skeins (one 100g, one 50g) and I'm moving on to some alpaca fleece, all being well, tonight.
I'm hoping to spin enough of the alpaca for a sleeveless cardigan of some description, though I also want a little bit of some other colours to give some stripes across the bust.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Tour de Fleece update - Day 3!

Well, I'm not comitting to daily updates, but who knows...

here's what I managed yesterday

TdF day 3

I wound the plied yarn into a skein - though it needs a bath now before I consider it finished.
I got distracted by 50g of alpaca top from Willo Alpacas though, and instead of spinning the alpaca fleece I went ahead and spun this instead. It's spinning up very nicely though, and I look forward to navajo plying it maybe this evening!

Monday, July 01, 2013

Woolfest, Open Studios and TdF

Wow, I've had a really jam-packed weekend! Hubby and I took off from work on Thursday afternoon and headed off to Cumbria. We stayed overnight near Cockermouth, ready for Woolfest 2013.

It was a great day, though I failed to take any photos of the event. (Hubby got a few of the sheep demo) All the stands were amazing. I was especially interested in Lakeland Valley Goats who are a new startup supplying cashmere fiber. Lovely. I actually ended up buying a lot of fiber this time, rather than yarn. Must be the spinning jag I'm on, but more on that in a moment...

here's my haul from Woolfest. (I will "flash the stash" of fiber and handspun sometime soon)

Woolfest Mosaic
1. Blue faced Leicester humbug, 2. Kid mohair, 3. Yak, 4. Masham, 5. Baby camel, 6. Wensleydale, 7. Jacob, 8. Trilobal nylon, 9. BFL / Kid Mohair, 10. Merino, 11. Kid Mohair, 12. Lakeland Valley Goats' Cashmere

The pink/black merino (number 10) is gorgeous. That and number 9 were from Felt Studio UK, and might upset my original spinning plan for the TdF. More on that soon.

So, Saturday I had agreed to take part in the Bugthorpe Open Studios event, so hubby and I took our stuff to the village hall and I demonstrated spinning while he did some drawing.

Bugthorpe Open Studios

(That's one of hubby's works in the background)

It was a really nice day, and the kids seemed really interested in the wheel. I let some of the little ones have a go at pedalling, so some of my yarn is a little overspun, but not to worry.

The added bonus for me was a whole day of spinning, even if it wasn't uninterrupted spinning. I've signed up for the Tour de Fleece, which is a spin-along timed to coincide with the Tour de France. Saturday was day 1, and I spun this single:

TdF day 1

Then, on Sunday (day 2) I spun the second single

TdF day 2

Since I divided the fiber lengthways, it wasn't entirely evenly split. That meant that I had to do a little Andean plying at the end to get one skein out of it. However, here is a nice 2ply yarn. (sorry it's a bit dark, it was about 11pm when I took this photo!)

TdF day 2 - plied.

I've brought the bobbin and a niddy noddy with me so that I can skein it tonight at knitting group, and all being well I'll make a start on my alpaca tonight.

Woolfest Shopping

I bought that at Woolfest 2 years ago! It's about 500g of uncarded chocolate brown alpaca fleece. I'm excited to spin some of it, though I'm not sure how much I will spin. It's a shame I didn't think to buy some more bobbins. Broadly, my plan is to spin 50g onto each bobbin and then ply it into 100g skeins. I might end up putting one (or more) singles onto loo-roll tubes in order to maximise my effort.

I might invest in some painkillers too, as all this spinning is making me ache!

I'm also pleased to say that all this spinning will count for Nerd Wars, and Elise has modified the rules for R2 so that spinning started for the Tour can be included in the R2 challenges - so my skein can be submitted to any of the challenges, if I can figure out which one!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Bloggers' block

I’m finding blogging very hard right now. More so than ever before. It used to be enjoyable, I’d write about fun things I’d done or cool things I made. It’s slowly become more of a show-and-tell than anything else. For now, it may have to remain that way, simply because I have things to show and tell, and because the things in my life that aren’t crafting and chickens are not in a place where I can talk about them.

Last time I posted was 30th May, and that means there’s lots to update you on for June, because it has been a busy month.

First up, we have two new chickens!
New hens

They are called Inara (with the ginger ruff) and Kaylee (with the white ruff). They’re a breed we hadn’t met before called magpie. I think they’re very pretty.

To go with the new chickens, my dad and husband built a fence so that the five chickens can be introduced and have some more space.

Hens and new run

I love living out in the countryside, and that photo is a really nice example of why. It’s so beautiful and peaceful. I’m not sure I could go back to city life, even in a small city like York.

So, the new hens are starting to settle in. We had an escape yesterday, so we need to watch them and see how they managed that. Either they flew out, or they took a sneaky route round the shed that we need to block off (we need to do that anyway). If they flew out, the best option will be to move the house.

The good news is that they were rounded up by the neighbours (we have such nice neighbours!) and they’re perfectly fine. They were not happy about not being let out this morning though!

The day before yesterday Faith decided to eat the leaves of my potato plants. I’m pretty sure that’s not good for them, so I’ve netted those now. I was worried that Inara and Kaylee would dig up the courgettes or chard in the main garden, but they did not. I suspect it was lack of opportunity rather than lack of desire. I haven’t checked the peas – last year Faith, Buffy and Willow almost killed off the peas by eating the creeper shoots.

Here’s an up-to-date picture of the “old guard” as hubby keeps calling them.
Hens and new run

I know they look a bit scruffy and scrawny, especially Buffy (the ginger one). I think this is because they’re recovering from an infection – they had worms. Yuck. Also, there’s been a lot of feather pecking going on, so they don’t have many full feathers – most of Buffy’s are very short. I’m hopeful that when we can give them more space they’ll be less bored, and so the feather pecking will cease. All being well we’ll get them looking just as healthy as their young counterparts soon. We’re also feeding them extra at the moment, with more mealworms, more pecking blocks, and more treats. I’m hoping to give them some cottage cheese and garlic mash soon.

I’m really enjoying having the new space for them. I hope that the weather is nice this weekend so that I can spend some time outside; just watching them is so much fun!

So, what else have I been up to? Well, tournament 8 of Nerd Wars has begun, and I’m on team Browncoat once again. I’ve actually been doing quite a lot of baby knitting since my sister is expecting her first child in November. She isn’t finding out the sex until it’s born, so I’m knitting (and crocheting) gender neutral things at the moment.
Baby Sweater Booties

There’s going to be a hat to match these as well. I’m on the lookout for a ladybird patch and buttons, to make the sweater a bit less cricket-y and to finish the booties.

The baby sweater is the Seamless Baby Sweater (Ravelry link) by Sarah Stanfield. It was easy to follow and worked up nicely. My only adjustment has been to work the arms two-at-a-time, and I knitted a few less rounds on the yoke than I should have.

The bootees are Saartje’s Booties (on the right of this linked page) which I have made before. They are cute! I changed the pattern for these by adding a YO into the end of the straps for a buttonhole rather than using the yarn tails.

I’ve also made this square. I can’t tell you why just now, but hopefully later I can.


And I’ve cast on for another Clapotis.

I have been meaning to make another Clapotis for ages, and I have been meaning to make my Mum a scarf for ages. My Mum is allergic to wool, and so it had to be made of something else. This yarn is bourette silk – that’s the kind where the worms are allowed to hatch before the cocoons are harvested. It was dyed by Violet Green, one of my favourite indie dyers in the UK. These colours are amazing!

The Clapotis is part of a Newlyweds’ Clapotis-along that I’m taking part in on another Ravelry forum. The Newlyweds board is a source of much interesting information, support and general niceness. We’re also doing a swap, I have bought some nice goodies for my partner, but no yarn yet. I’m planning on getting that at Woolfest.

That’s right, we’re going to Woolfest again this year. I really like the event, it’s always interesting and there’s always lots to see and buy. I have lots of ideas of things I might like to get. Hubby will almost certainly try the ewes’ milk ice cream again!

On the 29th I’m taking part in my village’s Open Studios event. There are a number of talented artisans in the village, and hopefully hubby and I can be counted among them. I’ll be spinning in the Village hall, I don’t know if hubby will bring anything to do, or whether he’s going to leave me to it and head off to the ceramics studio, or something else! I’m very excited about it anyway.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Some and some

I've done a little spinning...
Remember this carding that I did? I spun it up into a little 50g skein of fluffy yarn

it's about 50 yards, and it's thick and thin in places. I went for a 2ply.

I'm working on another baby sweater, this one is a gift. I'm also working on a picot edge on a shawl. It's time consuming, but it will look amazing when it's done. Technically I declared the shawl finished, but I decided that it needed something extra, so I'm doing a shell edge for it, with picots.

Otherwise I've been pretty slack on the knitting, crocheting, spinning and weaving front. Still, Nerd Wars T8 kicks off on Saturday, so I'll be casting on a bunch of things for that! I'm planning on making another Clapotis which should be fun, I remember that being a fun knit last time I made one! I'm also planning another dissertation, which will be $5 in Paris. I've made my swatch and I'm ready to go! Probably. Between all those things, I have plenty to do during June, and July will be my first Tour de Fleece. So July will be a month for spinning. I don't know how much of the Tour de France I'll watch while I spin, but it's the spinning that I'm in it for!

Other highlights of June will include going to Woolfest again! Yay! And we're also hoping to make it to Fibre East too.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sophisticated Baby

The Sophisticated Baby Jacket Pattern is now available! It's just £4 to buy and comes written for Aran or DK yarn, sizes 0-24 months baby2

Friday, April 12, 2013

Just one image

Of my lovely first ever carded batt (and the fibre I blended it from)

My first batt
green + yellow = greenish yellow

More to come in the following days/weeks/months, I promise

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Change is on the Carder...

(sorry about the poor pun in the title)

Work is still hard. There’s a lot of change which is difficult for everyone involved. Because hubby and I both work for the same company it feels that much worse, because we’re both subject to these changes.

I’m finding it okay, though there’s a lot of new stuff for me to do. I like things to be interesting and I like to be busy, so I’m enjoying that aspect of things. But it’s unstable at the moment, we don’t know whether the projects I’m working on will continue, and though the decision on that is due soon, it’s not soon enough for my preference.

However, I have just purchased a new toy: a drum carder. I’ve never used one before, but hopefully it’s not too hard. I have quite a lot of reasonably short-staple fleece that needs preparing, and I am not a fan of hand carders. Like with my spinning wheel, I’ve got a good deal by buying second hand. I’m itching to play with it! of course, I still haven’t sorted out my craft room (a task which is required more frequently than I would like) so I’m probably going to have to be a bit creative with where I play with it to begin with. It should motivate me to sort out the craft room at the weekend though.

I’m quite excited about the prospect of carding the fleece I have, but also about the prospect of blending some of my fibres. I have a lot of alpaca, lots of fleece types, I have some Masham X which might benefit from being carded (or not, it’s a longish staple so it might be better combed…)

The proofs of the photos from hubby’s family photo session came through yesterday, and they’re pretty good. As with all these things I’m sure we all like different photos. (Which reminds me, I have to seek some advice about our wedding album) maybe I’ll share some of them later.

There’s really nothing much going on right now though, I haven’t even finished any knitting or crochet since I last posted. I’ll share some of the carding once I have some.

Oh, I’m looking forward to tonight’s episode of “The Great British Sewing Bee”. It was interesting last week, and I felt a little bit inspired. In fact, I have been inspired to make costumes for an up-coming party hubs and I are going to. Hubby was going to be wearing a costume we already owned, but sadly we seem to have thrown it out in the last move, so I’m going to have a go a re-making it! All I need is the fabric, a tidy craft room (there’s incentive 2) and a little bit of time! The party is in just under a month, and we’re away for our anniversary the week before the party, so it’ll need to be finished before the 27th when my sister is visiting. So that gives me two weekends, I think, to get it done! Eep! Still, I know what I need, I know approximately the plan of attack (as I’ve made it before) and I have new skills that I did not have previously. I also plan to make my costume, but other than the skirt part, I think I’ll have to buy rather than make (tights for example!) I’m not going to share my plan just yet; you’ll have to wait for the party photos!

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Work is pretty weird at the moment. There have been some significant changes in the department that have made things interesting to say the least. This has meant that my crafting has been a real respite for me, and also the games consoles!

So, I’ve been doing plenty of crafting of one sort or another which I need to catch you up on. Hubby has taken on the making of the rug, which is fun. He’s doing a really good job and he’s only made one mistake which was easily fixed!

Anyway, on with my crafting…

I finished spinning the other single for this yarn, and then plied them. It’s lovely and soft, though I don’t know what it might be.

Floofy Pink yarn

And then I spun and chain-plied this one, it’s about 220yds, so not a lot of yarn, but possibly enough for a hat or neck-warmer, or striped with something plainer it could be something else.

Greenish yarn

I also finished the baby jacket I designed. I need to take a better photo, but this one will do for now. It needs blocking, as you can see.


And I made another Sweet Norwegian Baby Cap. I love it, they’re so cute. They’ve become my go-to item for leftover sock yarn. (I’m making some baby socks to match this one, but they’re not much fun to knit so they keep getting left alone while I do other fun things!


We’re going away this weekend to visit hubby’s family in Cambridgeshire and have some family photos taken as well. I’m thinking about asking for a couple of individual shots and certainly some of hubby and me together. We got some lovely ones last time, so all being well we can repeat that experience.

I’m also looking forward to seeing one of my oldest friends again. We’re going out for dinner and drinks, which should be lovely.

And, when I’m not out for dinner or having my photo taken, I will be working on this shawl.


I want to finish it by the 28th April, which will be the end of this round of Nerd Wars. If I am successful then I will have completed the dissertation challenge for the first time. Whether crocheting a simple shawl in three months is really that impressive is another question, but I will be proud of it in any case.

Friday, March 08, 2013

I've been away!

The stash down is going well. Better than the diet, actually! Once I completed those socks for hubby, there was some yarn left. As luck would have it, I needed something to knit in the car on the way to the airport (more on that shortly) so I cast on for another cute baby hat. I love this hat pattern! (I’ve actually completed but not photographed another one)

Baby hat

Pattern: Norwegian Sweet Baby Cap
Yarn: Leftover sock yarn.
Needle: 2.5mm and 3mm
Modifications: Instead of a crochet chain or i-cord, I have omitted the cord under the chin
Verdict: So cute! I still love it!

While we were away I mostly worked on a crochet shawl – since crochet hooks are okay on the plane. (that said, I bet I’d be able to sneak small wooden needles onto the plane too, but I haven’t had the courage to try yet!) but it’s less-than-half finished. (it’s also a Nerd Wars Dissertation for team Browncoat – yep, I couldn’t resist playing again!)

So, where were we away to? Well, I’m glad you asked. We spent a fortnight in a place called Taba Heights, up on the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt.
The weather was warm, the food was good, and we had a very relaxing two weeks. Mostly, we snorkelled, and when we weren’t snorkelling we were relaxing on the beach, or in the pool. We even played a round of mini golf. All round, it was great.

The view from the rear of the hotel

Overlooking the golf course at the side of the hotel

Enjoying the sunshine in the hotel gardens

The beautiful lagoon view

Relaxing with my crochet shawl on the beach
(it was so warm I even sat in the shade sometimes!)

This man rode up and down the beach on his camel
waiting for someone to ask for a ride.
We didn't ask - I didn't enjoy my last camel ride!
And since then? Well, it’s been hard getting back into work. I’ve been involved in a reasonably interesting but taxing project. I’m enjoying it but it means I’m quite tired of an evening!

We did take the time to do a spot of gardening. There’s a thin patch of dirt in front of the front wall at my house, and it’s been a source of annoyance to me since we moved in. It was full of weeds and there was nothing nice in it. So, we set to. I’ve used some interesting Pinterest pins about gardening to achieve this, and I really hope that it works properly.

Garden Update

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Saturday, January 19, 2013

At last!

It’s taken me a while, but I’ve finally finished my cabled sweater.


Pattern: Folklore Cables and Twists by Sublime Yarns
Yarn: Sublime Yarns Chunky Merino Tweed – dusky pink (0240 Dilly)
Needle: 5mm and 6mm
Modifications: I picked up the cast on and knitted 2 inches of ribbing at the bottom of the sweater. I knit the sleeves two at a time, and I reversed the cables on one sleeve.
Verdict: I’m pleased! I knitted the smallest size and even though I got gauge, it’s still a bit looser than I would usually go for in a jumper. However, that’s pretty fashionable right now!

I started it in October, and if I’d concentrated on knitting the sweater rather than the other knitting, and if I hadn’t lost my knitting mojo as a result of changes at work, it might have been finished sooner. But, it’s here now just in time for the snow. So I can’t complain. It’s been nice to knit, the yarn really helps as it’s so soft and springy, a delight to work with. It is a little splitty in places due to being a single ply, but the softness makes up for it!

The question is: what next?

I’ve been considering my position with Nerd Wars. At the end of December I thought I wouldn’t sign up for the new tournament. Then I watched Firefly and Serenity, and I thought maybe I could spend a tournament with the Browncoats. But then I would need to change my Patrick Stewart ravatar, and I’m not sure I’m prepared to do that yet. So maybe I’ll stay in Space Alliance.

So, I think I’m going to play again, I can’t imagine not. I’m not going to do a dissertation because I just don’t get on with them – maybe eventually I will go back to it.

I’m finishing up some socks for Hubby, which should be done before the end of the month, and there’s still the rug I’ve been designing. And some spinning that I started back during the Olympics!

I do have plans for my holiday crafting though, some nice crochet – pretty and portable, and also something I can take on the plane.