Week 8: A quickie


Thank you all so much for the great name suggestions. I only have time for a very quick post today (a day late, as it is!) so I’ll do the draw for the winner in time for next week’s post – I promise.


The Edging


Star Chart transition to Blossom Chart

StashDown / Lacealong2012 / 12in12

My cake of Ivy Brambles Romantica Merino Lace currently weighs 5g, which means I have knit 239m in the past week. More importantly…

I finished my Laminaria!

I cast-off ON THE PLANE home from London. Yes, you read it right: I was knitting ON THE PLANE!!! Not only that but using METAL needles. I’ve always been a stickler for rules and have always stuck to crochet for plane trips when I read that needles are listed as forbidden items for carry-on baggage. I made an exception for my Laminaria – it was just too tempting to put away for the plane trip.

I have some terrible shots here, that I took on my iPhone while it was blocking. I promise, when I have daylight, a proper camera and photographer I will post better shots.

So that’s my first shawl for my 12in12. It took me two months rather than one but it is greater than 800m and one of the shawls in the challenge has to be that large – at least I’ve got it out of the way early.

It’s also my first entry in Lacealong2012. I must take a look at who has cast-on and off a lace project in lace-weight so far this year.

I want to chat in more detail about how much yarn was used for StashDown. There was quite a discussion about how to calculate how many repeats to do to maximise usage. I got some helpful comments, which I’ve held off on publishing, in order to give the topic more time in a later post.

Gems from the Web

My gem from the Web this week is actually a person – Kersti Anear and especially her FourSquare activity. As I was waiting for a taxi to take us to the airport, she tweeted that she was on her way to London for the weekend too. I have to admit, I took note of her FourSquare check-ins and actually tried some places purely because she had gone there. (Yeah, that doesn’t sound weird or stalker-ish at all…)

Honestly, it made sense: we went to Liberty (I got some lovely fabric, that I think will become a baby-quilt) and she had tried a dim-sum place nearby called Ping Pong. So, I convinced DH to give it a go and it was fantastic. Sake-based martinis and an excellent variety of dim-sum. We both particularly liked the sticky rice and the steamed vegetable buns.


Sake-tinis and dim-sum in Ping Pong

Nike+ GPS

I was determined to run in London. Despite a knee that started to act up during the day, as though in anticipation, I managed 6k around Hyde Park / Kensington Gardens. I really struggled and probably shouldn’t have run at all. I’ve got very blazé about doing proper warm-ups so I really felt like a crock on Friday. DH had great fun teasing me that I was taking turning 41 very hard indeed. Even though I felt better on Saturday I decided not to try running again.

All the same, I’m delighted that the map of my Nike+ runs now looks like:

Spinning FO: Eyjafjallajokull

I did it!!! I have made YAAARRRNNNN!!!

Fire and Ice: Eyjafjallajokull

It was a bit of a struggle at times and really enjoyable at times. The plying was much easier than I expected. I read  – properly, this time – the instructions that Maggie Casey gives in her book “Start Spinning” and it was waaay easier than spinning.

I did have “fun” when one bobbin finished several meters before the other. In the future, I’m going to have Navajo plying for dealing with this situation. In the meantime, I consulted the Oracle that is Twitter and thanks to @Deimne, @Dianeknits and @BionicLaura for their advice and @cathyqtpi and @WrapNTurn for their encouragement.

I did I bit of a quasi-scientific endeavour with weighing scales to try to find the centre-point of  the remaining single. Of course, this really only works with commercial yarn that has a consistent “density” throughout.

I missed the centre point by a few meters so one bobbin ran out again. This time, I took a trip down the hall to find the centre point.

I didn’t quite get it then either so when I was left with a meter or so of one single I tried a few chains of Navajo.

So after soaking and snapping and hanging to dry, I did some measuring. (I immediately realised I would have been better off doing the measuring before I had fastened ties around the skein. *sigh!* I live and learn!)

I’ve got 3oo meters of yarn (give or take) and it’s turning out as (on average) 11 or 13 WPI. Kinda, sorta, DK weight (with sections of super-bulky!)

I’m now dreaming of all the possible things I could make with it…

Spinning WIP: Fire and Ice

As I mentioned, we started a SkAM-SpAL (Skein-a-month Spin-a-long, in case you didn’t know!) over on the Irish Spinners Group on Ravelry. The idea is to help motivate each other (me!) to make a dint in our roving stash by at least spinning on skein each month – on spindle or wheel.
We’ve got very loose rules after that. And while we’ve hit upon a theme for the month: “Fire and Ice” we reckon you would satisy the theme if you said “Here’s what I spun while sitting by the Fire, drinking Bailey’s on Ice”!

So, with apologies to those who’ve already seen this on the thread, here’s my planned skein for this month:


It’s Hand-dyed Merino Roving from Ivy Brambles. The colourway is called “Volcano” and I bought it online from the Yarn & Fiber Trading Company after my husband got stuck in San Fransisco in April when that volcano in Iceland erupted. When he didn’t bring home a single scrap of compensatory yarn or fiber for me I went on a bit of a shopping spree and couldn’t resist including this in my haul!

I started this last November, after I got my wheel at Rhinebeck and am thrilled with the first bobbin:

Volcano-1st bobbin

I divided the whole length of fibre down the centre length-ways and I’m nearly finished the second bobbin in the same direction.

I’m hoping that the finished plied yarn will be mainly long stipes of both singles in the same colour but with some transitions where one single takes up the next colour sooner than the other – if you follow me?

Edited to add: This evening I completed the 2nd bobbin. I’m dreading the next stage: to – gasp! – ply them.

Stash Saturday: The Yarn and Fiber Company

So I mentioned that I had little splurge online on The Yarn and Fiber Company’s website as compensation and therapy for minding the three crazies when DH got caught in San Francisco by the Ash Cloud. It was all delivered the other day, so I can show and tell all:

One Lace weight yarn:

Ivy Brambles Romantica Merino Lace Yarn. I don’t know what I’m going to make with this. All I want to do is cuddle it!

Two “goes” of Roving for spinning – previously blogged about:

Ivy Brambles Merino Roving in “Volcano” (l); Sereknity Blue-faced Leicester Roving in “Kismet” (r)

Three specific projects:

Sereknity Perfect Sock Yarn in “Jewel of Denial” for Jaywalkers (l); Kauni Effektgarn for Non-Reversible, Intarsia, Double-knit bag or blanket (r)


Jojoland Melody Superwash Fingering for their Swirl Shawl pattern – also purchased from The Yarn and Fiber Company. psst! Free-shipping to Ireland!

Giving Whorls a Whirl

I first learned how to spin

I was taught how to spin by Chicwithstix

Chicwithstix gave a spinning lesson as part of the Irish Knitters Retreat I went on back in October 2008. I gave it a go but it didn’t “click” with me so I didn’t keep at it. Hence, I can’t say I was taught or learned.

As SusyMcQ chided me, at the time – and quite correctly, too – I expected to be naturally great at it and was frustrated by being proven wrong. It’s not like me to admit defeat to a new technique but I think that because spinning involved learning a new skill set based on physical dexterity, and not an intellectual challenge; it was easier for me to put it to one side. Dexterity is not my strong suit.

Then early this year Kneehigh announced (on the Dublin Knit Collective Group on Ravelry) that there would be a spinning group meeting on monthly basis in the Powerscourt Towncentre. The attraction of meeting up with other crafters was the real motivator for me to look at my drop-spindle with new eyes. I knew I was more likely to learn how to spin if I was regulary spinning with other spinners .

Last week, I heard Matthew Syed being interviewed on the radio about his new book “Bounce – How Champions Are Made”. His book “demolishes the idea that talent is the key to success. The path to the top, Syed argues, is a combination of opportunity — being in the right place at the right time — and hard work.” As the Interviewer quipped: the joke about how to get to Carnegie Hall is true – “Practice, practice, practice”

Syed also spoke about how it’s better to praise children for their hard work in acheiving something; rather than for their being talented. If children who are used to being praised for effort don’t succeed, they are motivated to keep trying until they succeed; whereas children praised for talent won’t try again if they fail as their failure serves to “prove” that have insufficient talent. It’s an interesting, and new, way of thinking. And it’s just the kind of motivating logic I needed to hear about my spinning. If I’m to master this new skill I have to keep trying.

My New High-fibre Diet

To that end, I’ve been accumulating spinning accoutrements. Mainly roving and fibre – which I don’t count as contributing to stash since it’s yardage is (yet) unknown. (A technicallity, I know!) I’ve also acquired two drop-spindles: one small one in TIK the day I met Averil; and Clarabel’s student spindle from the same spinning lesson at the knitting retreat. She was about to throw out all her roving samples from her Knitting Retreat goody-bag so I rescued them. This give me loads of odds’n’ends to practice on before I start to tackle these beauties:

From top to bottom, we have:

  • Ivy Brambles Merino Roving – “Volcano”; bought online from The Yarn and Fiber Company purely because of the name of the colourway!
  • Sereknity Blue-faced Leicester Roving – colourway “Kismet”; bought online from The Yarn and Fiber Company purely because I’d heard Blue-faced Leicester is a good starter-fibre
  • Louet Northern Lights Wool Top from This Is Knit; Chicwithstix was with me at the time and thinks that the fibre is Corriedale
  • Ashford Merino bought from The Yarn Room, Co. Wicklow
  • LHogan Blue-faced Leicester – “Georgia”; bought from TIK after the April Spin-In
  • LHogan Corriedale – “Gabrielle”; bought from TIK after Annie Modesitt’s Knitting Class

Look fondly on them – hopefully they will be still things of beauty – and recognisable as yarn – the next time you see them.