Friday, 29 July 2011

Update on the A-Z KAL

I have had a couple of socks sitting in the one sock cast on hiatus for a while.  But this week I managed to restart a pair from scratch.  I had to rip them back and start them again with a larger needle.
Tickle Tickle
Do you know how hard it is to photograph your own feet? Son took his life in is own hands when he decided to tickle my feet while I was taking a photo.  I am not someone whom you even think about  attempting to tickle my feet cause I dont like it.  So this was my L pair of socks as the pattern is Lakehouse Socks by Yasmin Kock for the A-Z KAL.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

An Aussie wins the Tour de France

So Cadel Evans wins the tour and I limp across the finish line of the tour de fleece with head held over the handlebars of my spinning wheel.  All my singles of the Moorlit Shetland Fleece are done. I am not fully plyed or wacked but I have singles.... and no more brown fluff, to card , pick vm out of and hold in my hot little hands.  I am over the moon about Cadel and I think I am about my effort in the Tour but I am in that exhausted phase where I dont even want to think much about anything. YKWIM.

Doing a run down of this years Tour I would definitely say it has been the year of brown where last year it was the year of purple.  Most of what I spun was Brown in some shape or form.
  • 500gms of Mocha Blue Faced Liester  
  • 1 kilogram of Moorlit Shetland Fleece
  • 120 grams of Shetland braid.
While this year was an all British breeds tour de fleece the only break from brown tones was a contrasting blue tonal from the WonkyKnitter which I managed to spin up into a light fingering.  I was trying for lace weight but it did not happen.  In addition to the spinning, I have also been doing some knitting.  How / When?   No I have not managed to get my hands on the keys of the Tardis but I got a shawl done in that light coloured shetland from the WonkyKnitter.

Day 5 of the Tour de Fleece 2011.
There were some heart stopping moments in the Tour de Fleece shawl project - the great rip back in the shawl from 12 pairs of central leaves to 6. Dont ask for the gory details but lets just say it involved an animal or two in this household and the knitting was just collateral damage. Then there was that race to the finish line between the edging and the amount of yarn left.  It was measured at.....  wait for it...37cm.  That is like winning the time trial by a 100th of second. Currently the shawl is blocking and I am putting my feet up and icing my aching hands. Thoroughly planning to talk myself out of a major challenge next year.

Monday, 18 July 2011

A blur of continuous motion

Between Tour de Fleece last week and graduation ceremonies after graduation ceremonies where some 6000 students were pushed across the stage the last week was bit of a blur of continuous motion. I did a lot of ceremonies and my hat goes off (and it was off most of the time any way) to the speaker who read those 6000 names. It was big ask to get every one of those 6000 names correct. She did and did it well. So it was a blurr of what ceremony, seating area, group of students, part of the ceremony and where are we up to in the vice chancellors speech. The VC retires this year, so the speech which has basically been the same for the last 8 years, twice a day for five days once a year has had its last outing.  I can say it word for word...  You know its bad as I have a crap memory.
Look hard you might see a harried academic checking seating cards
I have used my mommy voice, my teacher voice, my large lecture theatre voice and finally to the law students on Thursday my police parade ground voice. Most of the time students were great with having their name cards ready but the Masters of Law students took the cake with their telephone usage and unruliness. No you can not sit with your friends. Get off that telephone and put it on silent. Repeat rinse and reapply.  
The back row of the Post graduates
The other side to Thursday afternoon is that I had some business post graduate students who were nothing like their faculty counter parts (it is Business and Law) whom also graduated through the largest ceremony of the week at 900+ students.  These boys where the back row as in the absolute last of the last on the platform of the super ceremony.  So here they are in the correct seats early, present and accounted for.  Notice the empty seats in front that is the Master of Law.  Sorry MMMC but you mob in the Law Department are absolutely bonkers and some of your counterparts I wanted to slap silly.

We had a great speech from the Chancellor. He always is really cool as he has been both a parent of a student, a long time student and recent graduate not just a legendary rocker. The problem I had in his ceremonies was that I had the earwig of a malapropism of another raveler's (rrevbdd) child of one of his band's classic songs running through my head all the way through the ceremony to the point I was mumbling it out loud. As in to the tune of Bohemian Rhapsody...I'm just a poor boy..., I need no sip of tea. To which one wit in one of my ushering rows suggested that I needed a cuppa with a strong dash of something like rum cause obviously I was having a hard days night - Scousers yah gotta love em and not a bad idea.
Caught giving directions in my normal hat.
Lot of knitting graduation pressies were given out - my shawl cupboard is absolutely bare. I had to do some super fast shawl knits cause I was a little short as in 3 pressies short on the Saturday before the start of graduation. I must get the photos of the projects updated and sorted as I just made it... like last minute steam iron assistance to get the blocking finished. I also managed to do at least a bobbin of the Moorlit fleece spun each day and I am finally over the half way mark. Not very far over it but I have finally made it to the halfway point. Hopefully I will get the rest of the fleece finished by the end of the Tour de Fleece. Then I just have to start knitting it up for the hubby's cardi. I need a drink just thinking about knitting for him again... I think I will head over to the Rav Tav yet again.
120gms of Shetland already in working its way into a shawl
I got a phone call this morning from another institution whom I also work for and have in the past been an active participant in graduation ceremonies with a cheeky request of if it was possible I could help out this week as like this morning since I only live round the corner.  Nope Nada I have done my lot.  You should have asked me months ago as I need to plan and schedule my valuable time xP. I started another Haurni shawl over the weekend to help with my BP issue (missing house guests) in the 120gms of coloured Shetland from WonkyKnitter aka Anne that I spun up on Day 5 of the Tour. So I will keep on knitting like the clappers and try to treddle my way through the rest of the fleece by the end of the Tour. Bye now I have a bobbin to finish tonight.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Tour de Fleece Day 11

Well I now have 3 full bobbins of ply and I think by the end of the night I might have another half plyed up. Fleece wise I have still done less than a third.  I have a long way to go but I dont think I am going to get it finished byt the end of the Tour de fleece but I will have a good try.

I went to my second day of graduation.  The fellow awardee was a little in love with her own voice (hello I am actress) so we got out latter than expected.  Then down side was I was late for knit night but I got to see the start of a new shawl that Caro is working on in Noro.  We will have to watch the colour repeats to make sure it looks good.

Monday, 11 July 2011

It is supposed to be a rest day on the Tour de Fleece

Well there is no rest for the wicked as I had to do a couple of hours work first in the library before rolling down the hill to the Cathedral for the first of five graduation ceremonies I am attending this week. Yes that is one ceremony a day. I get to usher and make sure my students graduate. Today due to the high powered guests I did not get a disabled park but rather was miles away at the bottom of the hill.  Tomorrow I am leaving the car at the library and hailing a cab. So I did not get much of a rest day as per the schedule in the tour de fleece.

My first kinneared photo ever
So I got to herd these students from one side of the city to the other. Put them in their seats and then talk to them about not being so loud when they are chatting while waiting to cross the stage. Getting them in order, dressed and pressed, announced, across the stage and then herded back in their seats. So on their way back to the other cathedral and my way home I finally managed to get a photo.  The photo was my first ever attempt at a Kinneared photo. Not Bad Not Bad and I love the way you can see the reflection of the camera in the mirror. Must do better for the photo shots during the rest of the week. I have a couple of masters and PhD students so I have to get some decent bonnet shots. I have made it home just as the batteries in me decided to die. I am completely knackered.

We wont mention my colleague going absolutely ballistic at one student in a whisper.  Student was chatting on the phone in the middle of the ceremony. Ummm you are in A) Cathedral,  B) a formal ceremony and C) Right in front of the High Alter. [We were in the Chancel] You may be graduating a course but you sure have not graduated as a mannerly or respectful human being. I swear in a twenty row radius the students were all on their best behaviour.  To level up the bad a good part was the ice cream vans.  I managed to get out via the long way round before my students in the academic parade and have an ice cream or in my case an icy pole before they had even left the cathedral. [There are some photos on the net with me and an icy pole in my hand]

On the Hill Climb of the Tour de Fleece - Day 9.

Today it was a hill climb in the Tour de France and it was also one for me in the Tour de Fleece. I have been carrying an injury on the hand and I thought the reason why I was not progressing so well was due to this injury. Nope it turns out it was probably a equipment issues which helped to contribute to the hand issues. The equipment issues was the drive band. Finally the wheel stopped turning when I was treadling and I was there wondering what happened. A bit like those riders who looked dazed after the large crash in today's stage. It turns out I had worn my drive band out on the wheel it was just shredded bits of fluff which used to be a cohesive piece of thread.

I have done five bobbins of the Moorit fleece and I plyed the first two bobbins  and it can be seen in the middle of the back row of the picture above. The upright bobbin on the right is a bit then but it is a case of the bobbin making a squeak and the family complaining about the noise.

From the close up above you can see that I am averaging 36 to 32 wpi in the singles. I am trying to get a light weight yarn so that hubby has a cardi that covers him (Gorilla size) and not too heavy as he tends to run hot.   It will be an interesting week this week spinning wise as I will have student graduation ceremonies running interruption and normal work life returning to almost full swing.

Friday, 8 July 2011

I think I can I think I can

I think I can said the little engine. At this stage of the tour de fleece I am already displaying signs of injury. I have got some sensitivity in the finger tips of my left hand. I think I have been pinching the twist to hard. While I have got one bobbin done I am not pushing for a second bobbin today as I am taking it as a slower day - that makes 3 down about 27 to go. Instead I am doing something about the pig sty which is better known as my coal bunker.

Yarn barf every where
I have let the children in there too often and as a result they have ratted around a little more than I like.  To the point I can not find anything. So today I decided was D-day to go through and get it reorganised in preparation for the new academic year. At some stage I am going to have to repaint it but that is not likely to be this summer. I made some project bags to help sort some of my yarn projects.  I sorted out some fabric to be sent off to the charity shop.  I know me putting fabric out the door is a totally strange concept but I felt that I was never going to use it and therefore it was better off in someone else's fabric stash.  I almost did some yarn but then my yarn hoarding tendencies come over myself and I held onto the yarn.  It is a box where if I dont find a use for it in the next six weeks I will send it out to someone else.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Day 6. Starting at the bottom of the hill climb

Yesterday after finishing the dyed shetland I started on the moorit shetland that I have to process for a cardigan for the dear husband. I managed to get half a bobbin but no photo yesterday. Today on day 6 of the Tour de Fleece I have managed to get a bobbin and half done.  

This amount and yesterdays half bobbin is less than 100gms.  I have a kilo of fleece to spin.  So if we say 3 bobbins for 100 grams that means I have 30 bobbins to fill and ply......  30 bobbins ok who has lost her marbles.  I think that we agree that would be Moi.

Today was the first day of Ry's summer holidays so of course she slept in.  I finally turfed her out between the thunder storms to get photos with a shawl.  We talking the English Summer here it will be wet guaranteed. 

I made the Garden of Alla shawl back in January but only got around to blocking it last night.  This shawl was designed by Suzy Crancer but I used another ravelry user's edging to what is in the pattern directions.  My Masha'allah was using up some Schoppell-Wole Zaberball Starke 6 that I had left over from making some socks.  This shawl is one, yes one skein.  While the pink to green is not really my thing as I think there is too much pink in this shawl I have another graduation present in the cupboard.

This is a big shawl we are talking over 80cm from centre back neck to bottom point.  Daughter is 6'3" and she had plenty to spare when she was doing the eagle spread of the shawl  as from tip to tip we are over 2 metres in length.  

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Day 5 of the Tour de Fleece

Today I had to face up to the fact it was time to bite that bullet and start the challenge of spinning a fleece worth of yarn up for hubby.  Yeap that means I have to start carding and preparing fibre.  Nope dont want to spend my life playing with combs and carders.  Why is when you want certain objects you can not find them for love nor money?  Don't answer that...  Yes I know my house is a tip at the moment as I am domestic slattern.  I am working on the tip of the house with a good action plan.  ie I do a chore and then I can knit or spin for half an hour.  I am pacing self as it is important with fibromyalgia but the pain in the neck moment is when you just finished cleaning something up a kid comes through and it was worse than before.  Sometimes I knit so I don't kill people. No I am not kidding it is called anger management and pain distraction.

So yesterday I started and finished 120 grams of Shetland and it is a nice single see pretty picture of the ball. This means I have to start on the Moorit Shetland for hubby.  I thought since I had the afternoon off from work today I would attend the Treadle and Chatter group in Ormskirk at the Knit Wise.  So since I could not find my carders one of the dog detatchers attended with me.  I can see that this is going to be a very long process to get through all of this Moorit.

This morning after tidying up some odds and ends in the kitchen and increasing our recycling pile I managed to block a shawl that I knitted a couple of weeks ago.

It is a Ginkgo Shoulderette Shawl by Maggie Magali.  It was made up using 1 skein of Araucania Ranco Multi colour. This again was very quick knit and I really really want to do a larger size one for myself in a very very bright colour.  I am thinking an eggy yellow or a fluro orange.  I don't know why but I can just see this shawl in those type of colours.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Knit night in Pemberton Wigan

Tonight at knit night I was spinning rather than knitting.  Got quiet a few looks from the bar regulars but no questions. Since the demise of the Prescot knit night I have been going to one in Pemberton on the boarder of Orell which is considerably closer than before. It used to take an hour to get to knit night now it only takes me roughly 20 minutes. If you are in the area of Pemberton, Wigan on Tuesday between 6 and 8pm come on down to the White Swan pub and join the knitters, crocheters and spinners.

So last night since it was a tour de fleece day I took the wheel to knit night to catch up on my spinning for the day. I had finished off the last of the BFL Mocha so that is 500 grams done for the tour de fleece. I started on the 120 grams of  Shetland that Wonkyknitter aka Anne had sent me in a care package and it was finished up when I got home. The singles is a nice wpi for lace and I think I will use it for one of three shawls I have to knock out in a hurry. No I have not started on them but I must get my A in to Gear.

So I have to bite the bullet now as I dont have any other fibre in the house except the fleeces. I am now up to carding and preparing the Moorit Shetland into a fibre for hubby. Yes I am going to knit him a cardigan after I have spun this fleece up... Yes I know I am crazy and absolutely dilusional to think that I might have a chance of spinning a fleece in approximately 10 days while working, raising a family and managing a house with a dog and a cat.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Day 2 to 3 of the Tour de Fleece

I have been cruising along with the spinning on the BFL Mocha.  I have now got 400 gms it done, that leaves another 100 gms.  Additionally I also washed two shetland fleeces yesterday.  A Moorit and a white.  I am looking forward to getting them dry and then I have a lot of carding to do while I remove some to extra vegetable material out of them.  I got a lot out during the washing but there is some items that I think only carding will help me get it out.

I managed to get a rats size clump of the morrit dry and spun it up into a taster and it produces a lovely tweedy effect with the shift from light to darker brown. If J plays his cards right he might get a cardi in it for his Christmas present.   I also think I need to be right royally out of my brain to knit again for him but since yesterday was our wedding anniversary I think I might be blissed out.  It is either the love or just the latest drugs from the new pain clinic consultant who will be forever known as Saint Anesthete cause he has worked miracles in less than a week .  I could just be in a drug induced haze but I am actually considering to knit for J again gorilla arms and all that considered.
Moorit Shetland
The white fleece has some bright white sections which I hope to get some lace weight out of. There are other sections which are a creamy off white which I think will  end up dying.  I have another two fleeces to process but I don't see me doing them in the next week cause I am absolutely knackered from doing these two. The white sheepy had being playing in the heather some sand and lots of grass.

White Shetland.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Trip to Cambridge

Earlier this week we drove down to Cambridge with daughter to check out her preferred university course. If she gets in she will need a push bike like the one in the picture with a big enough basket to carry all her library books.  How do you like that courtyard building for the just the English department?  I loved their library and I could see me spending hours working in there but I think she liked the other libraries this campus had just as much as well so is likely to be spoiled for choice.

It is day two of the tour de fleece here and so far I have done another four bobbins of the Mocha Blue Face Leicester. So I currently have plied yarn which has been twacked outside in the sun do some finishing off drying with weights.

The lovely weather yesterday also allowed me to get a shawl that I made in January blocked.  I know, I know but we have a shortage of space and waiting for days and days to dry is just not a feasible option for me. Between the cat, the dog, children and the husband something would happen.  So here we are with my Zertzerta shawl project.
This shawl is made out of first attempt to spin a lace or lighter weight yarn. It goes from cobweb to light fingering in places but I am getting better at doing finer weight yarns. I just need more practice aka the tour de fleece for a period of consistent practice.  The pattern is Hauni and I can not believe how quick it was to knit the second time around.  The first time took me something like a month to six weeks of grief.  This time I did it in 2 days.  If I had more yarn I would have made a larger shawl and I really like how I got the graduated colour on the bottom leaves. It was really worth doing all the individual pins for the crochet bottom edge.  A pain on the fingers but I like the edge effect.

Daughter again modelled this shawl for me and she is doing the typical behaviour when she likes my project of I WANT.  I want it. Repeat, wash and rinse and you now know what is like to live with a teenager it is a bit like a broken record.

Yes the garden is getting rampant again but I hopefully will have some kids to help wack it back into submission soon. Daughter has 3 more days of school next week and then her brother gets off two weeks later.

Since this is not the only shawl in the cupboard that need blocking I am off to block another one or two. I do have to do a few more shawls in the next couple of weeks for graduation pressies so I am between a rock and hard place with time commitments so I can see some midnight oil being burnt knitting or spinning like the clappers.  Now I just have to make a choice about shawl patterns.  I think repeats of patterns I have done before is the way to go but it is a case of which ones.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

On your marks

Today is the start of the Tour de Fleece which is an annual spinning event that coincides with Tour de France.  The idea is to be challenge yourself. Well I have a challenge or four thanks to  the fleeces I brought last year while at knit camp.  I have to process these four raw fleeces soon.  I can not keep putting it off to the weather gets nicer I think it is this weekend or never.

Day 1 Plyed Fingering weight

Today I was working on some BFL that I brought last year at Fibre Flurry in October. I have 500gms to get through and I have about 300gms to go.  I had done about 50 to 100gms earlier so I estimate todays spinning activity at 100gms.   So we are off and racing in the tour.  I am hoping to get some of the fleece dry tomorrow so I can  prepare it for spinning but knowing my luck it will now rain since I am trying to dry the fleece.