Thursday, November 27, 2008

A new spin on my 40th

Today definitely marks a new phase in my crafting history. My 40th birthday passed a couple of weeks ago, and to mark the occasion I ordered myself a new Ashford Kiwi wheel from Spun Fibre Arts in Burlington. Well, it arrived today! After picking it up (and acquiring a couple of skeins of Noro Silk Garden and Diamond Irish Worsted for some hats) I headed to Lee Valley Tools for some clear Danish oil finish.

I've given all the parts one coat of oil finish - I think that's all they will need. Now I need to let them stand until tomorrow, when I'll buff them and start attempting to put the thing together.

The drive wheel:


Treadles and flyer:

Footman, parts of the base:

I have been spinning intermittently on a drop spindle since the summer, and it is great fun. This past week I finished my first handspun, from a merino sliver hand-dyed by the Fleece Artist. I do believe I'm hooked:

I'm sure all you spinners out there will agree with me: Life definitely does begin at 40!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

September back-to-blog special

Well, once again I've been sidetracked from posting here, but I haven't quit knitting altogether. Herewith, a pic-heavy summary of what I've been up to.

This is an old Interweave Knits pattern (Fall 1997) by Dale of Norway for a children's pullover. It's very 80s/90s boxy, but I wanted to try some Nordic-style colourwork for my daughter.


More kiddie goodness:

What will become a pair of felted Ugg-style slippers. Pre-felting, of course. The pattern is the Alpine Boots from Fiber Trends (scroll down to CH-47). There was a completed pair of adult slippers on hand at Wool Trends in St. John's (great store), and my daughter insisted on having some. So here I am knitting double stranded with Funky Fur (sniff!) on 10mm circulars.

Pomatomus socks, designed by the brilliant Cookie A. These were in Socks that Rock Lightweight in the Highway 30 colourway, which seems to be no longer available. I ran out of yarn, but fortunately Lettuce Knit had a skein left.

And my little surprise:

Why yes, it is a Cascade Little Si spindle, part of a beginners' kit from Spunky Eclectic. (The fibre is from the Fleece Artist and is really meant for thrummed mittens, but I had to try the delicious handpainted colourway.) I have been fatally bitten by the spinning bug, no thanks to Ravelry where a real spinning epidemic is raging. Like I have the spare time to take up another craft, really. What about my sewing? What indeed; the spinning bug has no mercy and I must spin more and more! It is some kind of evil magic spell, no doubt about it. Muahahahaha!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The sweater of Sisyphus

Having completed St. Brigid, I am now embarking on a couple of new projects. Or trying to, anyway. Full of enthusiasm and hubris from the completion of an involved Aran sweater, I jumped headlong into this:

This is a child's pullover designed by Dale of Norway and published in the Spring 1997 issue of Interweave Knits, which is of course sold out, so I purchased it for too much money on eBay because Claire loved it. As a sort of compensation, I decided to knit the sweater in Patons Astra rather than in a Dale yarn or a similarly expensive natural fiber. After all, Claire is going to get it absolutely filthy and I'll want to machine wash it, right??

So off I go. I made a lovely swatch in the round using all the colours Claire requested (she is into blue these days):


Well, the first three times I started it, I twisted the join. Yes, I laid it down and checked to see if it was twisted before I joined it. But, uh, not on the floor.

So I restarted a fourth time. I laid it down on the floor and joined it properly, and it was 100% untwisted. Well, I got home from adjudicating a recital on Saturday night, and opened my bag to knit, and ... it was gone. Gone, I tell you! After I bought an indestructible Tom Bihn bag in ballistic nylon with the world's biggest snap buckle so nothing would ever fall out. So yes, it's gone ... along with the 2.5mm Inox Express circular I was using for it.

GAHH!! So I gave up for a few days and started a simple self-patterning sock for B. in shades of grey:


Then today I finally managed to start again. It is joined correctly, and it is never leaving the house except if Claire is wearing it!!

After the moth-eaten saga of St. Brigid, sometimes I wonder if the universe is telling me not to knit. Well, pthhhhh Universe, I'm not listening!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter! St Brigid is finished!!

I can hardly believe it, but it's finally done. Forthwith, the photolog:

Pieces being blocked in front of the fireplace:




My row gauge, as usual, was off, but I was planning for this in a way, and so my St B has a somewhat closer-fitting, less boxy shape than the original design. I'm happy!

The finished product:


On me (note ever-present cat at lower right):

I left off the turtleneck ribbing ... just as well, as even after ordering 8 more skeins of Hebridean 3-Ply from Virtual Yarns, I was still running a bit short. I think the wider neckline is more flattering on me anyway.

I find a certain wonderful symmetry in the fact that on the day I finally reached this goal, another person I admire reached a long-awaited goal as well. Kudos and congratulations to our finest figure-skating artist, Jeff Buttle, on winning his first world championship!

Another goal I reached this month: I premiered a piano concerto. I'm not sure why I haven't been writing about it here, but I guess I've just been spending all my time practising it. I'm wondering if I should start a separate blog for music stuff ... any thoughts?

Anyway, next on the agenda: a Nordic sweater for the lovely young lady in the top picture, from the spring 1997 issue of Interweave Knits. Here's hoping it doesn't take me 3 years to finish this time!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Low-rank nerd

I am nerdier than 68% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out!

That seems about right. I'm about as nerdy as ACB apparently, but not nearly so much as sogalitno. No doubt if there were a classical music nerd quiz I'd be off the charts ...

St Brigid: I ordered some more Hebridean 3-ply to make it full-length, especially since my row gauge is always off. No doubt there will be a visible dye lot mismatch after all this time ... but I'll try to use the new stuff mostly on the back at this point. Hope it comes soon (and then I can test out my swift and ball winder, increasing my knitting geek score!)

Meanwhile Johanne is doing fantastically well with hers. Way to go!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Happy new year. Oh wait ...

Good grief, is this my first post of 2008? Gah. I really need to get better about this.

In any event, the Monkey socks are done!! They feel great on the feet too.


Next sock priority: to darn the Eleanor socks, which already have a hole in them (Darn!)

Also I am 3/4 (at least) of the way to completing the back of St Brigid. It's getting kind of routine now but the yarn and cables are so lovely that it's still a pleasure to knit.

And, in sewing news, I completed a Dora-themed nightgown for Claire (Kwik Sew 3105). My gathering and ruffling skills are improving a bit. It's still not perfect, but I'm OK with it. She's been wearing it to bed, so at least the major goal is accomplished.


Next sewing project: a T-shirt from Wazoodle's Grab Bag for girls, using the ever popular Jalie 2005 t-shirt pattern.

In other news, I am fiercely attempting to memorize the concerto I'm premiering next month. Fun times.

All right, here's hoping I don't skip another month!!

Random photo goodness #1: A platypus on my cat (sorry,


Random photo goodness #2: Matching father-daughter chinrests:


Sunday, December 30, 2007

If you want to get more knitting done ...

get Santa to bring your 4-year-old a Leapster!

5 pattern repeats now done on the Monkey sock:

Actually, I think my concentration is improving a bit. I will take any improvements in brain function I can get at this point!! Practising is going pretty well too. Did I mention I am premiering a concerto in March? Eek! I am trying to memorize bits of it. Thank goodness it's very much in a tonal idiom ... I memorized some Takemitsu last year and it took me forever. (Great stuff, though ...)