Friday, 30 May 2008

Doors, sheds and laceweight

Yesterday saw me working from home as I waited in for the fourth visit from Amber Windows to repair my front and back door. The guy eventually showed up at 14:40 and was very grumpy and sarcastic, but grudgingly set about doing the repairs I've been pushing for - after all, otherwise, what's the point of a ten year guarantee? He eventually left at 18:00 having worked on both doors, which at this point to look fixed, there are no obvious gaps or drafts or creaks. Nothing is catching and the frames feel secure...

Now to wait and see how long it lasts.

The gentleman in question did eventually cheer up. He particularly perked up when Dave arrived home from work and became positively happy when he finally moved onto the back door and spotted our shed. We have a large, workshop style shed to which apparently was exactly what he needed for his back garden. When we pointed him in the direction of a shed seller a mile or so up the road (Johnson's Sectionals at Jubilee Crescent for those in Coventry who are looking for a shed), he became positively chatty saying he'd have to drive past to see where it was on his way home.

Men and their sheds!

Our shed is still holding my spinning wheel hostage and storing a soggy tent, which is awaiting drying, but we just haven't had the weather yet.

In anticipation of getting the wheel in action or even getting some time in on the spindle, I succumbed to the pretty fibre available at Violet Green, buying two bags of superwash merino...

It's still in its plastic, because other than acknowledging I've got it I've not had time to even stroke it, that's how mad things are around here!

I also picked up some laceweight, 2 ply merino in a colourway called 'Roses and Cream'...

There should be enough for a shawl there and I've already earmarked it for my next project from the Victorian Lace Today book. This time, I'm doing another 'easy' pattern called 'Large Rectangle with Centre Diamond' (Ravelry Link), which as usual with patterns in this book is descriptive if not as creative as most pattern names I see.

It is however, a very pretty piece of lace and I'm hoping I can do it justice. As with the last one, there are some new techniques I'll need to learn first, such as an invisible lace caston... Which looks interesting. It will also be my first time using circular needles, because while this one is knitted flat, it's a bit big to hold on regular needles, so the bendy ones are going to be called for.

First though, I need to find the time to wind that skein into a ball so I can use it.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

It huffed and it puffed...

This weekend saw some pretty impressive storms hit Wales and since it was a Bank Holiday, naturally we were camping for the duration at an AscendancyLRP event. Things didn't start too badly, with showers on Friday but nothing too severe. Saturday though, the winds picked up dramatically, so much so that the roof of the gazeebo we use to house our camp kitchen suffered a puncture when a very sharp bit of tree fell through it!

After that, the theme had been set for the weekend with heavy showers and gusts of wind which weren't going anywhere. Things weren't too bad and we coped with only some slight mishaps on Monday morning, although we did hear of others tales of woe as their tents collapsed. The weirdest thing, from my point of view at least, was lying in the tent at night, with the inner flysheet billowing around me and listening to the integral groundsheet lifting off the floor. It sounded for all the world like someone was walking around the bed!

Other than the weather, the weekend was an OK one I guess although rather marred for me since my shoulder was playing up. I hurt it a couple of weeks ago and it had been on the mend, but after a little light sword play on Friday night I woke up on Saturday morning to agony. Even breathing was an issue. Fortunately, a first aider with some skill in massage was available to look at it so after pain killers, half an hour of manipulation and sitting out for the morning I could move again without wincing, but needless to say I was being careful for the rest of the weekend and the sword was put away. Ho hum.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Hot on the heels

It seems like this project has taken me forever, but I have finally finished my third pair of socks.

These are plain socks, knitted up in Opal's Crazy colourway 1906, using the generic sock instructions as set out in the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Rules!.

They're worked on 2.5mm needles, with a gauge of 8 stitches per inch - I'm wondering if that's normal or if I'm becoming a tight knitter? I did have problems with tension in the heel for the first sock, which I've reinforced by slipping every other stitch, but other than that they've been a fairly straight forward knit... So I'm at a loss as to why they've managed to take a good six weeks to finish!

The only thing I can think of at the moment is the yarn. I didn't particularly like working with the Opal. It was very splitty, hard on the hands and just didn't seem to have as much give as the Regia yarn I used for the previous two pairs I've knit. The resulting fabric seems much stiffer with less drape than the Regia, although I've been assured they will soften once I've had a chance to wash them.

However, they sure are eye catching!

(Click on images to see larger versions...)

Sunday, 18 May 2008

My new toy

This weekend has been a busy one, spent mostly doing housework, tackling laundry and cooking in readiness for next weekend, when we have another event. I've snatched the odd moment for a little knitting, crochet and spinning here and there, but mostly my craft activities have been limited to thinking about doing stuff rather than actually making anything.

Friday night however, I acquired a new toy...

This is my new spinning wheel courtesy of Kellie, who was looking to pass it onto a good home as she has another one which she uses with this one going spare. So far, I've barely touched it as Dave took charge of the wheel, whisking it off to the shed on Saturday afternoon, where he is cleaning, glueing, oiling and generally giving it a bit of TLC. Once he's done, I'm going to need to learn how to use it, but I'll sort that out when I've got a little more free time.

In the meantime, thankyou Kellie - your generousity is much appreciated. :)

While I wait for Dave to return the wheel to me and for enough time to sort out either suitable reading material or a lesson or two, I have of course been continuing to work with my spindle. And I think I'm beginning to get the hang of it.

I had to unload the spindle a few weeks ago, dropping the spun single onto a cardboard tube where it will stay until I have enough to ply. I immediately started another batch which as hopefully you can see, is coming along nicely. I'm still slow, but considerably faster than I was the first few weeks until a quick lesson from Kellie who showed me how use the park and draft method properly. The main holdup is just not having enough hours in the day generally at the mo.

Thursday, 15 May 2008


Hello all!

I've decided to start a new blog to replace the one I originally created on Blogger release 1, which automatically took my then google id and automatically used it to form the URL for the blog. Things changed a few weeks later when the new and improved Blogger came along, allowing you to have multiple blogs as well as calling them whatever you liked, so I've created this blog with a more suitable name.

I haven't just renamed the old blog because I intend to put a last post there, directing any readers to this site once I've got things looking pretty.