Wednesday, 26 November 2008

What? Finished projects?

Two finished projects are here to show off today. Recently I've felt that I never complete knitting so I'm proud to reveal two finished gifts.

The first is the Wendy Happy 4 ply yarn with bamboo. Last time these socks appeared, the second one was a work in progress. Here they are now being worn by myself.

The non-identicalness does bother me sometimes, but I don't think it will bother the recipient. At least they are not remotely identical, though they did start out life as identical on the leg part.

The next garment will be a Christmas present for my mum. It's a hat made from the yarn I carded at Caroline's with alpaca, merino and nylon. I had hoped the hat would be for me as these are very much my colours. Unfortunately I've messed up on the tension and my mum has a larger head than me. I know she will love it and will be good for when she's walking the greyhound.

The next project isn't finished, but has certainly come a lot closer to being so. This is the second sleeve of the Rowan twisted jumper, Portia. This is the last bit of knitting and then it's the dreaded sewing up. I keep reminding myself that I made great progress after completing a cardigan in the summer. I want to wear it this winter so I am going to have to get a move on. I think it should be completed within a fortnight. That is achievable. If you see me knitting anything other than this, please take the needles from my hands.

The Brioche throw will have to take a back seat for a while. I am going to a knit a couple of Christmas gifts after the jumper is finished, but only for appreciative recipients. I think Brioche will be a nice new year project.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Back to blog

The last time I blogged I had loads of things planned. The bathroom was about to get started, I was going to finish some projects and get some spinning done. The world was my oyster; I had that precious commodity called time at my disposal and I was going to take on the world.

I made all these plans but a couple of days of diarrhoea, sickness and lethargy meant my school holidays were largely unfulfilled. The bathroom did get started, but stopped soon after and I learnt to appreciate what running water, a bath and a toilet mean in your life. I didn't get much done for school and have spent the last two weeks trying to make up for that.

I feel that I am lacking inspiration on so many levels at the moment and the overriding feeling I have is tiredness. I've been going back home most weekends to see how my Grandma is doing, but for the past two weekends I've had to decline going. She is doing much better and does get plenty of visitors. If I go there, I end up having to be all things to all people and I need a rest too at the moment.
Ezzie is also feeling really tired. His Grandad got out of hospital on Thursday after being there for eight weeks. Yesterday I was up there and I had to phone Ezzie because I thought we might be having another trip to the hospital. In the end we watched tv there during the evening and Ezzie stayed over. This morning Ezzie says Grandad's not good and is going to stay tonight as well. I think he might have to spend a couple of nights a week there. The fact is his Grandad needs constant care. A couple of carers come in each day to do his dinners and to help him get washed, but he is so frail and his breathing is terrible. It's a real worry. Realistically, however, Ezzie cannot be a full time carer. He does what he can and I help as well, but we cannot do everything. I know that sounds awful, but it's true. We both have demanding jobs and we cannot put them on hold.

The bathroom was finally finished on Friday. It has been three long weeks of upheaval. Poor Granby has had his routine disturbed as well and each night I've come home I've been subjected to a big telling off from him. He is an incredibly vocal cat and during the last three weeks this has increased further. I truly love the bathroom. It's a bit radical and modern but it is gorgeous and I'm really pleased with the look. Apologies for this rather poor picture. I'm not an estate agent, but I think you get an impression of it. It's so much better than it was. I'm too embarrassed to put a before picture on here.

I recently got rid of a load of wool. I had some stuff I was never going to knit with, so felt it had to go. I love getting rid of things, it's always a relief and I can be quite ruthless when I get into the 'getting rid mood'. The problem has been that I've bought some other things to fill the yarn gaps with.

I've bought some Wendy Happy 4 ply yarn. It's bamboo and nylon and gorgeously soft. I'm making some socks for my friend Gisela in Germany. The only trouble is that the stripe pattern has not been the same on the second sock so the socks are not identical.

I think I am okay with this. Normally this would vex me incredibly but I think I'm too tired to care at the moment. The pattern is from Vogue Knitting The Ultimate Sock Book. Ezzie bought me this book last year and it's the first pattern I've attempted. It's the Zig Zag Sock and I'm enjoying knitting a sock with a pattern other than Monkey or Jaywalkers.

Lorainne recently had one of her gatherings so inevitably I bought some yarn there. It's by Mountain Colors and is called Mountain Goat because there is a lot of mohair in the yarn. The colour way is Sunburst. This is gorgeous yarn, I only hope it doesn't spiral.

I have done a little spinning and dyeing recently of my own. I started spinning this yarn in the summer at Caroline's. It's merino, alpaca and nylon and eventually it will be a hat and fingerless gloves set. I've still a lot of it to spin, but it is nice knowing that it has a destiny. The photo is not colour accurate and hides a lot of the purple, green and turquoise which is actually in this yarn, but I think it shows I am getting a lot better at spinning.

I have started the Brioche Throw for about the tenth time. This time I have added new yarns as Jill allowed me to swap some yarn I had bought from her previously. It's got lots of different yarns in it, including ones not included in the Toast and Marmalade book, but I think that the yarns and colours work well and I am enjoying knitting this.

The yarns are:

Colinette Iona in Summer Berries

Colinette Mohair in Gaugin

Colinette Giotto in Marble

Colinette Mohair in Marble

Colinette Tagliatelli in Gaugin

Colinette Mohair in Bitter Chocolate

Colinette Iona in Gaugin

Colinette Giotto inVelvet Bilberry

I'm not usually so good at putting different colours together, but I think this works wonderfully and at Lorainne's last week lots of knitters commented on how lovely it looks. I'm really pleased with it.

I had never knitted with Colinette Iona before. It is a gorgeous yarn, really soft and springy. In the future I want to knit a garment with it. Caroline did a mini spinning class with me and taught me how to spin bigger yarn. I'm sure I could do it, but I like the colours in the Colinette colours, so I think I will stick with their product.

I did dye some silk to include in the throw. I bought the silk from Wingham's a few weeks ago. I love the colour, but it's not right for the throw so I'm not sure what this will end up as being. I've never dyed silk before but I am pleased that I didn't kill the shine in the silk. That can happen apparently.

At last week's mini spinning class I also had a go at spinning some silk. I had previously struggled, but with Caroline beside me I did manage to succeed.

The final knitting news I have is my progress with the Rowan twisted jumper, Portia. I've now completed the first sleeve and have only another sleeve to go. I'm dawdling with this knitting because it is just monotonous stocking stitch. Mara has kindly lent me her Knit Picks needles to knit this and I am so grateful because without these lovely needles this garment wouldn't be happening at all. The trouble is when I do finish it, there's horrible sewing up to be done and that is something I just hate. Any help and supervisors for that job are gratefully received.

Anyway, enough blogging now. I think I've made up for my absence. Hopefully I will manage to appear again soon, but I'm not promising anything.