Friday, April 28, 2017

Handspun Sea Fog

Last weekend was Entwine - Creative Fibre's annual Festival for Spinners, Weavers, and wool crafters. And better still, it was held in my (now) hometown of Christchurch. Christchurch put on glorious weather for our visitors and the whole weekend was a fabulous one for being a fibre crafter.

Because the exhibition was in town I thought I had better enter something in the National Exhibition, So I literally dusted off my ancient spinning wheel and spun up some Ashford's Silk and Merino fibre into a gradient yarn using my mini-combs.

I spun a number of mini-skeins with increasing amounts of purple fibre (Juniper) as can be seen below

And knitted one of my patterns - Sea Fog.




As you can see I left the gradient until the very last few rows - I think it's more dramatic that way - like it's been dipped in the ocean, or dare I say, something poisonous!
I was really surprised when I won a prize for best entry using handspun fibre. It was all very exciting - it will probably be years before Christchurch hosts the festival again, and I'll be able to make it in person.




Also, I was very privileged to be Margaret Stove's gopher at her knitting lace class. In case you don't know, Margaret Stove is a local woman, and internationally recognised knitting expert, who spins superfine merino and designs super fabulous wraps. She's travelled the world teaching her lace knitting techniques and her superfine spinning. It was very interesting to see how she approaches lace design, not to mention see up close all of her gorgeous designs - many knit in superfine laceweight handspun yarn. Here's a link to some of her books. So, all in all, a very good weekend indeed.
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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Blog

Apparently I need to concentrate on my blog rather than messing around on Instagram all the time.
(see over there on the right - if you click on it, eventually you get to my instagram feed, where I am most active). Or click on the link above in this paragraph.

And probably rightly so. While I love Instagram the new algorithm can make the whole process kinda ephemeral. Apparently people often miss posts, depending on how the algorithm dishes up posts in your feed, and so I imagine it's quite easy to miss things, like the Anything Lace Eater KAL I'm currently running in my group. We've really only just started, so there's still lots of time to join, if you have a Lace Eater pattern you would like to knit along with others. Come on over and have a look. There's no hurry to finish, the KAL is quite relaxed and the group is small, so you won't feel overwhelmed. Also, I'll be giving away patterns as the whim takes me, because that's how I roll!
Here's a link to my group so you can see what's going on.

Also, I published a new design at the beginning of April. I'm really feeling the love for laceweight yarn at the moment - I think it's going to be my theme for 2017. There are a few cables in the design as well. I love the added dimension cables add to lace - the twists and turns and the way it bunches the fabric. If it's lace I eat for mains, cables are definitely what I have for pudding.

And so, this is Seaward.

I knit mine in Eden Cottage Theseus Lace, which is a luxurious blend of merino and silk.
Here's a closer look at the motifs.


I was pondering what to call it when it occurred to me that the cats paw lace (at the top) looked like a mountain range, and the lace and cables below looked like the waves of the sea. It reminded me of the Seaward Kaikouras. I love that name - Seaward Kaikouras, but I left the Kaikouras out so people could slot in their own mountain range.

And finally, I'm thinking of changing the URL of this blog to better reflect what I'm posting about now - but I'll warn you well in advance so you can update the links in any feed reader apps you may use.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Lace Eater Sale

Lace Eater Sale this weekend only.
Midnight Friday - midnight Sunday, US Eastern Standard Time
Link to my Ravelry Shop: Here

just enter the code at the checkout



Friday, January 6, 2017

Epic Knitting

I think every knitter needs to make at least one Pi shawl.

This looks like a lot of work, and it is, but pretty easy work - you just go around and around. A lot!
I guess I'll have to write the pattern up and have it tested :)






Sunday, November 20, 2016

Indy Design Gift-A-Long 2016

Wahoo! The 2016 Indy Design Gift-a-long is about to start on Ravelry!


If you know all about the annual GAL click here to go straight to the business

If you've never heard of the Gift-a-Long and would like to know more, check out the link above. All the information is there on the first page.
Basically the GAL is a 6 week knitalong (and crochet along) beginning 22 November. There are contests and prizes - lots and lots of prizes! And already the chat thread is bursting at the seams with peoples plans.

Between 22 - 30 November there are hundreds of patterns being offered by over 300 participating designers for 25% off. Just remember, to get this discount you must use the coupon code “giftalong2016” from 8pm Nov 22 – 11:59 Nov 30 EST.

In the following weeks you can participate in the KALs, win prizes and chat about your wonderful projects. My understanding is that to be eligible for prizes you can knit any of the designer's patterns - they don't have to be sale patterns (but you have to wait to cast on until the GAL starts).

I picked five patterns - I tried to pick patterns I thought people would find interesting, plus a couple of easy ones, so hopefully there is something people will find interesting. Check out the list of participating designers. We even have a map indicating out location.

I'm heading over there now to check out some of my favorite designers, and see what they have on offer.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sock Experiments

While I am procrastinating, and unable to get on to Ravelry, I thought I'd show you my sock experiment. It all started when I got absolutely sick of my handmade socks falling off whenever I kicked off my shoes. While I was knitting the right size (or even a smaller size) for my feet, it appears that my loose tension was allowing the fabric to stretch out ridiculously around the ankle when worn.
The green sock below is an example of this.

All my socks do this. (yes, internal rage!)
Too worn to be successfully pulled undone and reknit in a smaller size / tighter tension I decided a couple of darts might solve the problem. I know sewing darts in knitting after the fact is probably unusual, but these things were heading for the bin, So out came the sewing machine.


And I sewed me some darts.


I cut the seams and zig zagged the edges (I'm not daft!)


And the end result above!
Because I was sewing from the inside (and because I didn't care that much) I didn't successfully sew down a line of stitches (and this would have almost completely hid the seam for much of the dart). But that's ok - because now my socks stay ON! I was completely surprised - this must be what it feels like to knit socks that fit properly. .No more sock sliding half off when kicking off my shoes (seriously, I could have removed my socks just by rubbing my feet backwards on the carpet).
I would have removed at least 10 columns of stitches per sock

So, the things I learned from this experiment:
1. I need to cast on fewer stitches. My current sock is 60 sts.
2. I need to tighten up my tension, or go down to 2mm needles
3. Maybe I need to not throw them in the washing machine with some Persil.
4. Maybe I need to not knit with superwash yarn, which I find allows the fabric to stretch. This goal is probably impossible.
5. Maybe I will have more success knitting socks with a tightly spun yarn.
6. Maybe I need to knit a different kind of heel other than a traditional heel flap.
7. Ribbing?
8. Sewing darts in socks after the fact actually does work!

And in case you're wondering - no I can't feel the darts on the inside. I guess this means I'm not a princess.   :(

Now the thing to decide - do I reknit those other socks I haven't worn yet or do I just whack some darts in????