FO: Kingfisher Blues

A spinning FO for you this time, which people on the Irish Spinners group have already seen.


It’s my February skein in the Skein-a-month Spin-a-long that I only finished the other day. It’s impossible to capture the colours properly, though I did make several attempts. It’s looking very blue in these shots whereas there’s  a lot of green in reality. I’m calling it Kingfisher Blues because it has those blues and greens. Plus it gave me the blues!

I started spinning this (on my Ashfird Student spindle) last Summer as part if the Tour de France; and made a haimes of it by not drafting the fibres out at all. 

I undid that, before I went too far and started againg on the spindle. I got on much better the second time around but then got distracted by other projects… and probably my wheel too. I took it up again in early February and spun the other ball of Louet Top on the wheel.
Hope Springs Eternal
I continued spindling the first ball of top but was finding it very slow. In an attempt to be finished by the end of February, I spooled it onto a bobbin and spun the rest of it – that was a fun excercise!
I learned a lot while making this skein. I had a lot of breaks, both while spinning and while plying. My spinning ability improved, especially my spindling. I “made a break for it” and tried spindling without park & draft. But I don’t like the feel of the finished yarn and I’m blaming the fibre I started with. I don’t think I’ll get Louet top again.

However, I *am* going to knit with this – and possibly very soon. I think I’ll make another golf-club cover for my mum. The colours are perfect and it should last a bit better than the Malabrigo one I just gave her.

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March Round-up 2011

Yet again the last day of the month falls on a blog-post day. Uncanny how that keeps happening.

The opportunity that this serendipity affords cannot be avoided: it’s time for… The Reckoning…

FOs

For the first time this year I have something to report in the FOs section – two things in fact!

  • One of them I can’t show you – I’m such a tease – but I know you’ll still be delighted. I finished the Cardigan / Jacket that I had long-promised for my DD. More than that, I wrote the actual pattern AND sent it off to Knitty. I know, I’m gob-smacked too! This is the reason why you can’t get even so much as a peeksies. I will, of course, let you know whether I get the thumbs-up from the powers / Gods at Knittydotcom.

  • The other FO was the super-fast and satisfying Whimsie golf-club cover in fantabulous Malabrigo. I just love how the striping emerged in the finished item. This was a great knit and very well received by my golfing-mad Mum. It only took a few days and is very portable. I may make more for her.

WIPs

GlenvArgh! is still untouched and is likely to remain that way for the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile Petals Wrap has been languishing while I was focussed on the pattern-writing. I managed to resolve the mistake I has made without ripping. A neat trick I un-vented that is worthy of a guided-tour blog-post in the future.

I haven’t started the Peaseblossom Tunic by Kirstin Omdahl in Fyberspates Lace yet. I’m was planning on bringing it with me as my in-flight crafting entertainment when I fly to Berlin tomorrow. Though @CathyQTpi made a very good point in my last post so I’ve decided to stick with Petals and resist the shiny-shiny. After all, Petals *is* crochet too so is also acceptable when flying.

However…

Since Petals is not good “chatting-crafting” I’m also casting-on a swatch at knit-night this evening so that I have a go-to project when my attention will be divided. I *may* be setting myself up to further distract myself from my knitting-plan. //insert nonchalant whistling here//

Yarn In

Only a month later than intended, I finally finished my February skein for our skein-a-month spin-along. I’ve only measured the length (purely for the purposes of this post) so it hasn’t been washed, thwacked or measured for WPI yet. It certainly hasn’t been photographed in all it’s daylight glory. So you’ll have to be patient for a future blog-post to see the finished skein.

I didn’t enjoy the yarn as I was spinning it – though I enjoyed spinning the yarn… if you follow me. Let me explain: I enjoyed the process of spinning but I was disappointed with the product. The corriadale seemed rough and hairy.

I was pleasantly surprised by how squishy it all turned out after I plied it. There are several mistakes, breaks and knotted joins throughout this skein. It will be “fun” again when I knit it up. It’s like I’m giving a present to my future self!

One bobbin finished sooner than the other as I was spinning so I toyed with the idea of learning to Navajo-ply it. And I will… but for now I’m adopting BionicLaura’s approach of storing the remaining single on a toilet-roll insert. She is my spinning guru, afterall so who am I to venture off into the unknown.

My March skein… was a non-starter. Too much going on this month. Or, more precisely – one thing going on much more slowly and pain-stakingly than anticipated. Next month I plan to tackle it *and* my April skein which I think will be this deliciousness:

It’s a skein of Falkland, hand-dyed by Laura Hogan that was hand-picked for me by KneeHigh in This Is Knit. I had a little splurge for my big-number birthday – which I cunningly avoided mentioning in my February round-up.

The colourway is called “Joan” and I didn’t see it before it arrived – I trusted KneeHigh’s judgement entirely. And wasn’t I so right to do so? Great colourway that i might not have even noticed in the shop if I’d been left to my own devices.

It was such a treat to unwrap a surprise parcel I’d managed to buy myself!

Another bit of USA arrived unexpectedly from FourBoys, aka @Doogarry. Three skeins of T’ika by Mirasol in a beautiful Spring-y green. She sent it to me as a present for my (big number) birthday so I’m calling it “Spring Chicken” coz I ain’t!

Spring Chicken

The sentiment she wrote in the card was so lovely I keep it on my desk to cheer me up. It’s so nice when people let you know that they think fondly of you; and so important to remind yourself that there are people who do.

Finally Tally

So the up-shot of this month’s activity is…

  • FOs = 2 (whoot! whoot!)
  • WIPs = 2 (and holding…)
  • Frogged = 0
  • Skein-a-month = 1 (February = Northern Lights) 
  • Yarn in = 279(T’ika)+185(Northern Lights) = 464
  • Yarn out = 685(Knitty-unmentionable)+ 129(Malabrigo Golf club cover) = 879
  • Yarn balance c/f = -415m i.e. I used up more than I gained!
  • Darned Socks = 0


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.