Sunday, 24 June 2012

A Cardigan is born and celebrated.

Last March, Grace came into my life. She is an Ashford Traditional Spinning Wheel and I ADORE her. Thoughts of replacing her make me feel like a traitor. She has soothed me through many a bad day and has my family telling me to 'go and spin' when they see me getting stressed.

I had a few spinning lessons in April 2011 and spun a few plaits of tops and then Tour de Fleece was imminent so I decided to participate. My goal was to spin to knit myself a cardigan. I had been spinning on a wheel for 3 months so I did not have 'expectations' but decided to simply enjoy the process.

I ordered 1.1kg of light grey corriedale from Handspinner and the amount of tops that arrived scared me. This photo was of the the last little bit, as I had separated the rest into 50g bags.

I read Judith Mckenzie Mccuin's Intentional Spinner and set about spinning to sample. I made a 2ply, a 3ply and cable sample and knitted them up.

2 ply and knitted sample

 3ply and knitted sample

Cable yarn, 2 2plied strands plied together and knitted sample which I found defined the stitches beautifully but was hard to the touch so I settled on a 3ply yarn and set about to spin it. 

Tour de Fleece Day 1

TDF Day 6

TDF Day 10

By day 16 I had to ply yarn as I did not have enough bobbins left.

On the 23rd day I had spun and plied all the yarn.

All washed and skeined and ready to knit - Alas, no pattern. I trawled Ravelry for months to no avail and set it aside for other knitting adventures.

Then in December Chonnie Chang Chinchio's book Textured Stitches arrived on my doorstep and I fell deeply in love with Professoressa. I cast it on immediately.

When I completed it, I was pleased and it fitted my ample curves deliciously. It is a joy to wear.

I wore it to one of our guild meetings, Janet, one of the lovely guild members complimented me and suggested I submit it for the National Exhibition of the Association of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. I was quite taken back as this was not anything that I would have considered doing. I prepared it and submitted it.

I heard last week it has been accepted for the exhibition. I am both honoured and delighted. I shall be going to visit it during the exhibition and I shall take photographs of the exhibits to share with you if it is allowed.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Wedding Ring Shawl and other madness.

In case you think that I have nothing to do except visit places and photograph them I thought I would shared some of my handwork that has been in the making over the last couple of months.

The Jubilee weekend afforded me the opportunity to finish the amazing Everlasting Love Shawl by Tiziana Sammuri. I started it in October last year as my travel knitting for its light weight and knitting potential if I could not get around a lot.

Every time I look at it I think of New York and a wonderful holiday. 

I love all the details of this pattern and the superb way it is written. I am both a 'char't and a 'written directions' knitter depending where my brain is on the day, so often bounce between the two and Tiziana's patterns are wonderful for this strange affliction of mine.

The flowers make me think of water lilies floating on rippling water and I love the last rows that look like Baobab trees and remind me of Africa. 

All these thoughts and details kept me knitting even when I had to tink back several times as life lines did not work well with the very fine stitches of gossamer silk lace thread that ran away if a stitch was dropped or grabbed at lifelines never to let them go... Knitting with 2 strands together was not the sensible choice either.

My greatest delight came after the blocking when the shawl passed effortlessly through a wedding ring. I am still grinning.

I love the patterns in Textured Stitches by Connie Chang Chinchio. I feel they are timeless and suited to a number of different body shapes. I have knitted 2 this year. This one, the latest, Anna Maria knitted in King Cole Alpaca. It is a dream to wear and very cosy.

The Bobbin Monster (Indigo-dyed Coopworth from Rhinebeck) spun up into this gorgeous yarn that I am looking forward to knitting when 'the pattern' appears.....

My Native American Hexigon, inspired by the gorgeous work of Lucy of Attic24, is progressing and I so enjoy making it. It turns into real 'potato chip' crochet.

I completed another Melpomene by Romi Hill in Hedgehog Fibre Sock yarn which was gifted to me. As it is the second one I have made, I must love knitting this pattern when there are plenty of others to choose from out there. Another fabulously written pattern.

Off the loom is a Handpun Handwoven Teal Stole of my own design. I am thrilled with it. I discovered that it is very satisfying to weave my handspun lace weight yarn and am looking forward to repeating this in the future. The colour is closer to the bottom photograph.

I am currently spindle spinning a 5 Fiber Sampler from Susan Spinning Bunny in the Clematis Vine colour way.

I can inform you that I will not be buying anything with tencel fibre again, the sample was quite enough. If it was not for my love of the colour way and wanting to knit a small shawl, the tencel sample might have 'disappeared'.

This is not the fault of the fibre pack in any way! The rest of it is lovely and I have loved spinning it. I just don't like tencel. I am spinning Merino/bamboo currently and the jury is out on bamboo...

On my knitting needles is 'the ever present' pair of socks. New techniques are 2-at-a-time on 2 cirs, the jury is out on that one too. I also tried Cat Bordhi's tomato heel. It fits me like a dream and may just become my heel of choice! Now it is all plain sailing to the toes.

The Lakefront Cardigan in Noro laceweight by Elizabeth Helmich is my easy knitting delight. This was also a NY holiday project and memories washed over me when I rescued it from hibernation. I knitted this in the car whereever we travelled. I started on the sleeves last night and plan monogamous knitting till it is complete, unless another pattern jumps out and grabs me. Yes, I know I am a fickle knitter....

I have been enabled by all the chatter on the Knitmore Girls Podcast about a SPAKAL and at Wonderwool 2 sweater's worth of tops came into my possession...

Easy Knits hooked me with 800g of Falkland and Corriedale in the Woodland Spring Colourway.

which I have spun onto 16 bobbins now and I am currently plying it as a 3ply. It is very varied and interesting and I am planning a Calligraphy Cardigan by Hannah Fettig depending on how the swatch turns out.

 The inkle loom is decorated with a pretty little Andean Pebble weave pattern that I get to work on about once a week when I am fed up with everything else. I must say that I love to sit in the garden and work on it and the weather lately has not co-operated.

 Lastly, if this was not all enough to keep me out of mischief, in some mad moment, I decided to start a patchwork quilt out of a jelly roll that the Saint gave me for Christmas.

I planned on an easy little piece which is now turning into a monster as he commented 'it looked lovely on the bed' when I laid it out. Suddenly I am working on a huge quilt that will  be 2.75m x 2.75m. I am totally insane and groaning a bit but enjoying it too:)

I need to press the pieces and join the 4 main sections together and then the top layer will be finished. This will happen between 12am and 2 am when I have nothing better to do...