November 29, 2009

I'm spinning around....

I've been spinning madly every day since I finished the birthday cape. I finished my first spinning effort and am already knitting it up into a pretty lace shawl for myself.

I started spinning my second attempt but have had to put it on the back burner till next week as I'm waiting for some other fibre to arrive. I've ordered some Mulberry Silk top and some Angelina Fibre that I intend to blend it with before plying it.

I finally got around to re-carding the corriedale fibre that I dyed and blended it up with some cute little mohair curls that I had in my sculpting kit and some gold tinsel. I spun it all up thick and thin and then Navajo plyed it, which I'd never done before. Having tried it I cant say I'm a huge fan of Navajo plying but it did make an interesting looking yarn. Its very chunky and reminds me of a bubblegum flavoured icecream made in NZ called goody goody gum drops. I decided to enter my yarn into this months spinning challenge on a Ravelry group that I'm a member of. The theme for the month is Movies or Sweet Tooth. As my yarn looked like icecream I decided to enter it...suitably named 'Goody Goody Gum Drops/Bubblegum Paddle Pops.

Tonight I started spinning another batch of fibre that I have here. I have only 100g of this fibre so I'm spinning it as thin as I can manage in order to get as many metres as possible. I want to knit something really delicate and lacey with it for myself.

November 22, 2009

Birthing the birthday cape

I finally finished the Birthday Cape! Not only that, but I actually finished it on time for my friend to wear it out to the theatre this weekend. I hated that cape towards the end and the last two days worth of knitting were a monumental effort, finishing it almost felt like giving birth. When I finished blocking it out on my bed I was almost overwhelmed with the swift cycle of emotions that I went through just looking at it. I was awestruck by it (look at the pic below, you'll understand why), filled with a sense of achievement, completely drained/exhausted by the effort of getting it done on time and of course, relieved that I was finally finished and could now work on other things.

So the birthday girl swung by after she finished TAFE and happily; she LOVED it! Which is of course very gratifying considering the time and effort that went into making it. Also the surprise shawl pin to go with it was met with excitement and joy. All in all I'm calling this a major WIN.

Now that I'm finally finished with that I am working on other stuff that I started a while ago. I'm also working on my spinning technique. I found this awesome blog post that gave me heaps of great tips on spinning really fine yarns and a lovely lady on Ravelry has given me some awesome advice as well, so I'm well on my way to making real lace weight yarn. Here is a pic of my attempt at using the laced flyer technique. My result is quite a bit thinner than my first attempt at spinning without the laced flyer technique (the blue).

I ordered some more fibre from Ewe Give Me The Knits last week and am eagerly waiting its arrival so I can get spinning. If you love fibre you seriously need to check out the stuff on that site. Their prices are awesome and the fibre is just delish.

November 18, 2009

A Learning Experience

Earlier this year I started out wanting to learn how to knit lace. Little did I know at the time that this would lead to a whole year of learning.

Undertaking the task of lace knitting required learning many new techniques and knitting stitches, learning how to knit with beads, experimenting with new yarns (and learning which ones are NOT appropriate for a first lace project), learning from experience that there are simple ways to avoid disaster and developing the patience to stick with projects that required a great deal of time and effort, especially once I got to the rows that had 680+ stitches.

My delving into the world of lace knitting also opened my eyes to some new and exciting hobbies that I wanted to learn, for example; spinning.

Recently I made a post about making a drop spindle. Since then I have learned to spindle spin very fine yarn. I made a second even lighter spindle upon which I can spin yarn fine enough to ply into a 2ply laceweight yarn.

About a week ago a very good friend of mine loaned me her Ashford Traditional spinning wheel and I have been spinning for a couple of hours every day since then. My goal is, of course, to spin super fine laceweight yarn that I can use to knit my lace projects. I have been buying fibre and practising a lot and hope to improve my technique fairly quickly.

Looking back, I'd say I've learned a great deal this year. It's had its moments of extreme excitement (spinning my first bobbin of single ply) and absolute devastation (discovering the destruction of my cap shawl) but all in all, I'd say its been an enjoyable experience. Armed with all my new knowledge and a plethora of new ideas that have been inspired by new hobbies, I look forward to next year being another year of growth and discovery in terms of knitting and spinning.