Keep cool and carry on

This week has been a struggle of trying to keep reasonably cool – hard work if you live in a top-floor flat and your new office building at work is made of metal and has no air-conditioning – and carry on with writing. It was not a pretty sight, I’m afraid…

Still, I managed to make a reasonable amount of progress and by now we are back under the twenty degree mark (Celsius, of course) after nearly 37 °C on Wednesday.

Despite the heat I spun a bit more of the Texel and started plying the first half:

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Wednesday evening I went to see the Watermill Propeller Company play Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew at this year’s Shakespeare Festival. Thankfully, we had seats on the ground floor, as this replica of the Globe Theatre is mostly made of metal:

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If you ever have the chance to see Propeller, do it! They are really good and very intense!

And today I had a lovely afternoon with my best friend visiting an exhibition.

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I had a tasty piece of cake…

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… at the beautiful museum café…

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Next week I hope to finish chapter one of my dissertation and hopefully have some fun at the weekend.  Also, I need to decide which fibre to spin for the upcoming Tour de Fleece! See U next Sunday!

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More yarn and some knits

I’ve spent the easter weekend up north at my parent’s and had a lovely time as you can see!

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We had some rain but over all the weather was quite nice if a bit nippy (hence the layers!).

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My parents have a Strandkorb (the leo.org translation of roof wicker beach chair is a bit over the top) in their garden and our dog Poldi is convinced it’s his but we negotiated to share it – meaning I was granted a small space squashed to the side of the chair.

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It was lovely in the sun and I spent the afternoon happily knitting on my Curiosities Cardigan. Which brings me to part two of the Great Yarn and Knits Catch-up!

Let’s start with the cardigan. I’m using the pile of Hello Yarn Fiber ‘Curiosities’ I spun up during the last Tour de Fleece. I had 20 oz which came to about 1080 meters of a DKish yarn.

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This is the first cardigan I’ve knit without a pattern. I made a swatch and fiddled with the numbers and then kept my fingers crossed that I had managed to put the Raglan markers in the right place (which I did, thankfully).

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The colours are a bit paler than what I usually wear but so far I like it! I’m actually further along than the picture above shows and have just about started in on the increase part of the waist shaping. So far I’m still only into the third skein so I should be fine with three-quarter length sleeves. I can’t wait to wear this!

Apart from the cardigan I’ve finally finished a shawl I’ve been knitting for some time now. There seems to be a theme here, because for this I used handspun as well – the BFL from Wildcraft I wrote about in my last post.

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This was my first try at spinning a semi-woolen yarn (worsted prep + wonky backward draw with lots of twist) and the resulting yarn and the texture of the shawl is airy and quite lovely. The pattern is Steven West’s Boneyard Shawl which is a nice simple knit – perfect telly knitting.

I’m working from home today and it’s another day of course preparation and collecting data for my dissertation. Might throw some knitting in… 🙂

 

Tour de Fleece

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Right now, it’s mostly me & the wheel at home – the Tour de Fleece 2011 is almost over. Last year I was still struggling with my old single treadle Louet and I heard about the Tour only after its end.
This year I’m totally in it! My goal was to spin enough for a cardigan out of Hello Yarn Superwash Merino in ‘Curiosities’. So far I’ve finished spinning and plying 16 out of 20 oz!

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The last 4 oz I’ll get from a good and generous friend probably on Tuesday and my spinning wheel looked sadly empty on Saturday. So, I took a dive into my stash and pulled out some FatCatKnits Polwarth to play with!

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The first two ounces are plied, washed and measured and I’m spinning the second half this evening.

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I tried to spin this a bit thicker and n-plied the singles. I got about 70 m /2 oz and the yarn has 10 wpi. Should be enough for a pair of warm fingerless gloves!
Now, back to work – I have to make a mountain of copies for tomorrows exams and then the will only be grading, grading, grading…

Of stripes and studies

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When I got up this morning I looked out of the window and smiled. Not because of a blue sky and a sunny day but because of what you see in the picture above: lots of clouds full with rain. Yep, I’m really looking forward to the rain! The last three weeks were nearly totally dry and I had a hard time watering the plants in my vegetable patch (no pics yet, forgot my camera on Friday…). The weather forecast predicts two days of rain and the odd shower for the next week. Finally!

And I finally have some knitting and spinning to show!

1. Blue-green Corriedale 3ply

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This is my first try at a 3 ply and I’m aiming for a fingering-weight yarn with a high twist – maybe for socks.
This is only the first bobbin but I made a small dent into the second part of the fibre. Hopefully I’ll have this plied and finished in time for TdF!

2. Stripe Study

This new shawl by Veera of Rain Knitwear Design caught my eye on several blogs I follow and since I needed something fresh to get me going again I started looking through my stash for suitable yarn. I had some Merino sock yarn in a striking blue left over from my Damson but no yarn for the contrasting colour. After some rummaging around I pulled out another skein of Old Maiden Aunt sock yarn in ‘Marmelade Sky’ and went to my LYS to look for something purple to go with it. I came home with a skein of Araucania Ranco solid in purple wich works great with the vibrant orange, don’t you think?

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I had to rip back the first main colour section because I messed up the increases and created giant holes. Yesterday afternoon I met up with a friend who showed me how to knit short rows (my first time for those!) and I was all set!

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The wrap & turns left some small holes but I hope these will vanish after blocking!

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I’ve finished the fourth stripe and it’s addicting! Today I will have to study and finish some material for my class on Wednesday but I intent to sneak in some stripes as well today! So, it’s stripes and studies for now! See U!

Late night spinning

On Sunday I sat down at my spinning wheel in trying to make some progress on bobbin no.2 of the beautiful HY fibre I’ve recently acquired. Once started, I simply couldn’t stop and at around 11.30 pm I had finished spinning the second bobbin! I had also developed a severe ache in my shoulders and was looking forward to a very short night ( I’m sure this has something to do with Monday being a nearly complete disaster…) but that’s another story.

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Anyway, after said horrible Monday – where I managed to nod off at my desk at uni and had a fateful encounter with public transport (first bus didn’t come, second bus came to late and broke down halfway, then waiting for the tram which was stuffed to the brim with coughing and sniffling people,… meh 😦 ) – I sat down at the wheel for plying et voila! Finished yarn!

Here it is after the wash & dry:

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I didn’t take a picture of the fibre before I started spinning but I had thought the resulting yarn would be a bit more colourful. Still, it’s lovely!
Details:
4 oz HY Shetland, colourway ‘minerals’
198 m / 4oz

Not sure about Wpi yet but I’d say somewhere between a DK and a worsted weight yarn.
I used a short forward draw with twist between the hands and despite all my worries it fluffed up a lot after the bath and is quite soft.

My next spinning project will be a 3pl fingering weight – I’m using Crown Mountain Farm Corriedale in ‘As above so below’.

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I divided the top into three even pieces using a kitchen scales and fluffed up the first part.

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Looking forward to my first attempt at a 3ply!