Saturday, 23 February 2008

Ravelry Progress Bars?

How did they get there? Some geek with too much time on their hands must have put them in. Or maybe it was me, with a big lot of cutting and pasting from the techie discussion threads on Ravelry (it's easy cos they explain there exactly how to do it). They look pretty good though. Have I said before how much I love Ravelry?

By the way, those treefrog socks are actually finished now - I just haven't got around to taking photos of them. Be assured I'll post pics here too - I don't want to discriminate against any Ravelry-less readers.

And the Wicked sweater may actually be completed by the end of this weekend, as I've finally finished the first sleeve and have made good progress on the second. The body's a bit short still, but it looks as though I'll have plenty of yarn left to add to that once I've done the sleeves. I still love the handspun yarn I'm using for it - the more I work with it, the more the angora fibre in it blooms, it's going to be so cuddly soft to wear. Which means I'll have to go around hugging people to demonstrate :)

Monday, 11 February 2008

Spring with sheep

Spring is definitely in the air around here. This afternoon, while I was in the field feeding the horses, something spooked them and I turned to see all four of the sheep skipping about as though they were lambs. There's something adorable about seeing tiny lambs running around and playing together, but to see a bunch of year-old ewes with full fleeces doing the same thing is just hysterical, it looks so wrong! I really wish I'd had my camera with me. Sadly I didn't, but I'm sure you can conjure up a mental image - it was something like overgrown cotton-wool balls bouncing all over the paddock...

In the meantime, here's a shot I took of two of them at the weekend, during a much more quiet episode in their day:

Willow and Cordelia

Other exciting developments today - my copy of the the newly published Pluckyfluff book on spinning novelty yarns (Intertwined by Lexi Boeger) has arrived. I've been looking forward to this so much! And it was worth the wait, compared with her last book (which was brilliant, but tiny), this is huge - and so full of spinner's eye candy it'll keep me entertained for ages. Here's a pic of the cover - the inside is just as beautiful, I'm inspired already.


I'm planning to have a good read of it this evening, and then dive into my fibre stash tomorrow to start experimenting. Maybe I'll use those bouncing sheep as inspiration for a novelty yarn.

Friday, 1 February 2008

Beautiful things

A few weeks ago I wrote a post complaining about my old drum carder - the one that made my cashmere and shetland blend all noily? Well it got me so upset that I simply had to resolve the problem - and this week the solution finally arrived: a lovely new Strauch Petite carder from America. Isn't it beautiful?

I've been carding up all kinds of fibres from my stash (and I have a large and varied fibre stash!), but I've rapidly learned that it's easy to make some pretty ikky looking batts. Even the ikky ones seem to spin up ok, but I want to make things that are beautiful - batts that look so beautiful that I can't wait to spin them up. Anyway, last night I think I cracked it! I took some pretty blue merino top that I bought in Frank Herring's in Dorchester last week, which looked like a blended roving when I bought it, but actually was just three different colours of top twisted together. I split this up into its component colours, found some alpaca in my stash from a dyeing experiment that had gone horribly wrong (think snot green...), and a few handfuls of tussah silk. And then the blending fun begain! And from this:

I blended this:

Pretty isn't it? It's lovely and soft too. I'm having a hard time not spinning it up right now (but must finish spinning the painted roving first - otherwise no cookies).

Anyway, my plan is to take the other two colours of wool top, i.e. these:

Then I'll blend them into similarly beautiful batts, before spinning each colour separately, and finally ply all three of the singles together to make a three ply yarn. It's going to take a while, as I plan to spin them finely - for, you guessed it, knitted socks! But I think it's going to be worthwhile.

Oh, and in case you haven't seen enough beautiful things for one post, here's a pic I snapped of my little cat Fili this morning, enjoying some rare winter sunshine. I think she's smiling.