Saturday, 1 September 2007

First lots of spinning and a pair of socks

Today I finally got around to photographing my first skeins of yarn spun on my new wheel. Last weekend I washed them and set the twist, and it was a great feeling to see them all hanging on the washing line next to each other. The may be far from perfect, but I feel happy to be at least progressing a little bit.

Handspun attempts

The skein to the front I my favoutrite so far, and my first attempt a spinning laceweight. The fibre was wonderfully soft and lovely to spin. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed spinning the Shetland too, and really am growing very fond of working with undyed fibre. I've recently brought some undyed black alpaca (looking forward to trying a new fibre) that I plan to spin up and make my hat for winter from.

As far as getting my WIPs off my needles, as mentioned in my last post, so far I have only managed to finish the Monkeys (great pattern, great yarn!) ... not very good form really. Finishing these instead put me in the mood for more socks and thus I've cast-on a pair of Charades. At the start of the summer I had a plan to try to knit enough socks for each day of the week in time for winter so I'm justifying my slip up in claiming pursuit of this goal.

Finished Monkey socks

In non-fibre-y news, this week has been a very exciting one. On Wednesday Scott and I put in an application to rent a flat we'd been to view. We're being too cautious to say it's "ours" yet, but hopefully everything will go through without any major disasters. I'm really looking forward to having a little space of our own, with our own kitchen and even a little balcony for me to grow some herbs on :)

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Bad blogger, no, er, biscuit

Hmm, four weeks since I first started my new job and I'm not sure where my time has wandered off too. It's gone faster than I could've imagined possible and I've got all left behind. Something like that, anyway, though I'm rather enjoying myself so I certainly shalln't complain. It's nice to be busy :)

Other than the work (and Potter: wonderful end of the series for me, though I feel very behind-the-times mentioning it now!), my last few weeks have been very much dominated by awaiting the arrival of my "new" spinning wheel. We finally went to fetch it last weekend, my dad driving up to Northumberland with me, Scott and my mum to collect (we were staying the weekend with my parents in a cottage they'd rented in North Yorkshire). To make a day of it, we took a trip to Hadrain's wall afterwards which was great old ruin geeky fun (if such a thing exists, and I'm sure it should if not).

My spinning wheel

I've been spinninga little each evening since we got the wheel back and feel I am slowly getting the hang of it. And getting quite addicted too, but I guess that's a given. The fibre in the picture is the Sheltand I've been using for the Luna Moth Shawl, which I am trying to spin up to the same weight as I was getting with the drop spindle so I can continue spinning for the project with my wheel. I've also spun and plied two bobins full of yarn:

First plied yarns

On the left is my first attempt at using the hand carders that came with the wheel, blending some of the black Sheltand with some left over roving from Copperpot Woolies on Etsy. On the right, moorit Shetland -- this also came with the wheel and was lovely to spin.

I think from now on I shall try to be a better blogger an chart my spinning progress :) That, and getting my WIPs off the needles. I'm nearly there with the Monkeys, which I worked on this weekend while half-watching the football and now have just half a repeat and the toe of the second sock to go. I just wish it wasn't so bloody hot so I could actually wear them. Hurry up autumn.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Lots of fun stuff

This week has been a good week, first and foremost because I've finally found a job. As of Monday I'll be starting 30 hours per week in the Admissions department at the local hospital (same place of employment as DH-to-be). I feel like a massive weight has ben lifted from me, I was getting despondent that I'd never find anything. Not to mention that I was refused benefits since I have a partner (as £11,000 per year is obviously more than enough to support two people) and couldn't claim contribution-based benefits since I had the nerve to get a good education and thus haven't been able to work for long periods over the past few years. Ahem.

Where was I? Oh yes, good week... Thursday was the start of the fortnight of Potter, and what a start it was! The new film was fantastic in my opinion, such a good job of fitting a bloody huge novel into under two-and-a-half hours. (OotP is probably my favourite of the books - or jointly with Azkaban - though all the reviews I've seen seem to insist on calling it the most "miserable and bloated" of them all. Tsk!) Naturally things had to be dropped or changed (films and books are two very different media after all), but by god was it a very elegant adaptation IMHO and I'm more than happy that David Yates has signed up for Half-Blood Prince. Can't wait to see it again... and again!

Yesterday Scott and I went to a booksigning with Jasper Fford in Sheffield; I haven't read any of his books myself, but Scott's a big fan. Standing in the queue, I saw a girl knitting and reading at the same time and was deeply in awe. I wish I could do that, it would be the perfect solution to my knit/read balance conundrum. I felt very humbled by comparison, working as I was on my simple granny squares:

Gothic granny squares

This really is about the limit of my crochet skills. I truth, I'm to scared to learn anymore in case my knitting knowledge gets accidental dislodged in the process and that would be tragic. My current square count is nine and since I'm aiming for about 150 I guess there's still a fair way to go. I have found them to be great for working on when I just have a few spare minutes, though.

This week I've also cast-on my shawl for the Spun Stitches KAL. I've been a bad blogger recently; since I mentioned my intent to join this KAL a little while ago I have left all the work I've done on it unreported. Bad Laura, no, er, biscuit! I decided on natural black/dark brown Sheltland fibre in the end, which my dad brought me as a gift for my degree results. I've spun up a fair bit so far and yesterday started work on the Luna Moth Shawl. My handspun is approximately DK weight, and though I was a little worried it was too inconsistent it seems to be knitting up okay. This is both my first project with handspun and my first real attempt at lace so I'm not expecting miracles (a lot of cursing would be more accurate), but so far I'm having fun.

WIP: Luna Moth Shawl

And just to save the big, exciting news til last, I HAVE A SPINNING WHEEL! Or rather, I've brought a sinning wheel, since I won't be able to collect it until the beginning of August, a wait that I'm sure would drive me mad it it wasn't for Deathly Hallows next week to distract me. My wheel is an Ashford Traditional placed on eBay, along with various other spinning goodies, by a lady would is having to give up spinning due to poor health, which made me sad to hear. I'm glad I'll be able to give the wheel a loving home. I'm paying for it with some money my grandma left me in her will and hope to do her proud. She was a very crafty, creative lady who I still miss very much.

Friday, 22 June 2007

Something cute

I just wanted to share something utterly cute that my dad found while out walking the other day, in fact nearly tripped over:

Something cute

I think he was a little concerned at first that it might have been injured or poorly since it was just sitting there and its mother had run off. I've looked it up since, however, and apparently its normal behaviour for fallow deer to leave their newborn young alone in the undergrowth, returning every few hours to feed it. I wish I could have seen it too.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Ooh, successes!

"Your tutors join me in offering congratulations on being awarded a First Class Degree. It represents the culmination of a great deal of hard work and effort, which has been justly rewarded. I hope that your future plans will be e quallysuccessful."

I feel so clever! It's the result I'd be hoping but I hadn't dared anticipate. Of course it's soured a bit by the fact that three years studying means not working thus not gaining any experience to find a job now (and they tell you if you don't go to university you won't get a god job!), but seriously I'm thrilled. I've worked damned hard these last few years and I'm so glad it's paid off. Hurrah!

That was success number one of the week :) Success number two was finally finishing my first skein of plied handspun (after getting frustrated on my first try because it wasn't well balanced). It may not be perfect (some bits are really lumpy), but I'm happy.

First plied handspun

After the singles I'm spinning right now, I'm thinking joining the Spun Stitches KAL and buying some natural black fibre (perhaps alpaca) to knit into a shawl. I've never taken part in a knit-a-long before, but I really like the look of this one. I like the idea of knowing what I'm spinning has a destined project since right now I have no idea what to do with my handspun other than snuggle it.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Seven random facts about me

Eek, I completely forgot I'd been tagged by Yarngeek for this! Anyone who reads this may consider themelves tagged if they wish to be so (I'm feeling too shy to go out tagging people, and I think a lot of people have done this already). Please leave a comment if you have your own seven random facts, I love to read them. But anyway, here are mine:

1. I love the smell of old paperback books. I know it's one of those clich├ęd favourite smells, but it really makes me happy. Even better if the book's spine is broken and the pages dog-eared. Then I know it's a really well-loved book.
2. I'm allergic to red wine, the only alcohol I really ever drink. It makes my skin blotchy and my eyes and nose itch like mad. Such a shame.
3. I have really big hair. It's not so bad now it's longer, but when I was in my teens I had it short and it suck out in a triangle shape. People at school used to say I looked like Side-Show Bob from the Simpson's which was not great fun!
4. Having nothing to fill my time with freaks me out. After finishing my second year of university I started having anxiety attacks over the summer mostly because of the shock of not having any assignments to do. I think this plays a massive part of why I love to knit – it keeps me busy.
5. I don't drive and you'll have to drag me kicking and screaming and hissing like a deranged cat to get me to do so. I resent the fact that driving seems a mandatory part of today's society. Public transport suits me just find right now, even if it's inconvenient at times.
6. My first memory was of not liking soup, which is really quite appropriate as I've grown up to be a really fussy eater.
7. I have (almost) the same terrible handwriting as my father. His excuse is that he learned to write before he worked out he's as blind as a bat. I have no idea what mine is, but I keep expecting the Human Genome Project to announce a bad handwriting gene one of these day.

Saturday, 2 June 2007

An update at long last

I don't think there are words to descibe the wonderfulness Ravelry, truly. I've only had access since this morning and already I'm in love. It's such a simple yet amazing idea, I can see myself spending hours on end just hunting through other member's projects and stash and adding new "must knit!" items to my queue. Hurrah for the creators!

So far I have added only two projects: a simple pair of stokinette socks I'm working on and my finished pair of Jaywalkers. The latter took me a bit longer to complete than I had hoped due to technology being (as ever) out to get me. We recently spent nearly two weeks internetless due to some problem at the provider's end, and since I didn't have the pattern printed out anywhere sock two was halted at the end of the leg for a little while. Very sad. However! I have them all finished as of last week and really pleased with how they came out. They were so fun to knit, too.

Crocs and socks!

Another very happy point of the week (and stashed at Ravelry) was the arrival of my sock yarn from the Lime & Violet shop. I'm not sure what to knit with it yet, though for now I'm quite content to stare at it in awe. It's the Vampyre Sock and the colourway is Sandrine.

Lime and Violet goodness!

No luck on job hunting still, though not for the lack of trying. I have, however, just enrolled on a training course with The Society of Indexers which, although will take me a couple of years to complete, will at least give me something to do and hopefully stop me from becoming to despodent while I'm not working. Also, eventually, it would allow me to not only have a job that is related to my degree and to work freelance which is something that has always appealed to me. Good stuff.