July 6, 2010

Mystery fluff

Le Tour de France kicked off on July 2nd and, in what has become an annual event for spinners across the world, so did the Tour de Fleece. Much like the Knitting World Cup, Knitting Olympics and the Knitting Winter Olympics, you set yourself a goal and try to complete it by the end of the event. So not only do you have something to pass the time while you tune in, you have something to talk about at the end of the day when you’re too knackered out to do any more knitting/crocheting/spinning!

On my last spinning kick, I managed to spin up what I thought was my entire fibre stash. When I returned from Italy and got stuck into spring cleaning (past tense? I sprung cleaned? let me know), I found a truly gigantic bag of undyed mystery fibre at the back of my wardrobe. It is 575g of dark cream deliciously soft roving with an average staple length of about two inches. I don’t know anything worth mentioning about sheep breeds so answers on a postcard, I guess!

I filled up a bobbin between last night and this morning. I suppose I might as well confess that I wasn’t watching the Tour but I don’t think it really affected my output. But who knows? The only way to find out is to do the same again today while watching. TG4 has untiring and often amusing coverage go h-iomlán BEO – those guys really know their stuff and use wonderful language like ‘rothar galánta’.

But I digress. My plan is to try and extract a 2-ply double knit weight, hopefully enough for a short cardigan. To aid in the eking-out process, I have this:

‘Marvellous’ doesn’t come close, people. It is May’s installment from Laura Hogan‘s batt club (psst! she’s got a 15% discount sale on for the Tour!). There is about 100g altogether which, if spun similarly, should help me if I use it for a colourwork yoke. See? I have a plan.

I also have a plan B. Yeah, I haven’t been practising so much recently.

I have no idea what it is because I lost the label. I know it too came from Laura and that it contains soya and probably merino. I am also unsure how I can make it my plan B but I think I will figure that out if and when I need to.

Now, definitely time for a mug of tea. Thanks so much everyone for all your warm wishes and congratulations! It is turning out to be a lot more fun than we expected it to be :)

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July 5, 2010

Greensleeves

Last week was a busy one but in the nicest way possible – Alb and I got engaged! Yay! He actually popped the question Friday before last, when we were in Kinsale for the day. Much of last week was spent looking for a ring; now I just have to wait a few weeks for some tweaks and we’ll be good to go. Although, I must say I have been enjoying telling people and then showing them my left hand. (Sorry, guys).

My knitting on our road trip was this alpaca cardigan from Drops. It’s a really straight forward knit – lots of mindless stockinette with a few bits of shaping thrown in to keep your attention. The only problem for me was that my mind was elsewhere most of the weekend and I totally forgot to work in the buttonholes. It was a bit of a slog until I divided for the armholes and then it really started motoring along. I got most of a sleeve worked up yesterday.

The instructions include a nice bell shaping for the cuffs. I like the shape but it’s not very practical for me. I end up dipping it in everything or it gets caught in every door handle I pass. So I skipped that bit and cast on the number of stitches it specifies directly after the shaping.

I have also been ploughing away at Audrey. I got both sleeves done and am on the button bands. It was pretty cumbersome to bring along with me in the car so I am only really getting back to it today.

I really love the texture of the ‘bib’. The yarn, Debbie Bliss’s Amalfi, helps that a lot too.

The only thing that concerns me is that it is working up to be a bit floppy. I suppose I expected that but perhaps I should have anticipated it better and knit a size smaller. I think I will try throwing it in the tumble dryer to tighten up the fabric when I’m finished.

I got a bit bored with knitting at the weekend so I started a project I’ve been meaning to get stuck into for a while – a linen hexagon bathmat. I found the pattern via Ravelry to Pierrot, a Japanese craft site. Here’s a direct link to the pdf. The written instructions are in Japanese but the diagrams are very clear.

The yarn is Lin from Drops, their 100% linen yarn. It is just like the other linen I used before. Maybe a bit shinier. I hope it fluffs up like the other stuff, too. That’s all my World Cup knitting for now. I hope to finish off both cardigans by the finals!

I haven’t even started on my Tour de Fleece spinning yet but I know Eimear and Laura have. I have a crazy idea but I don’t know if it will work. I am going to practice and see about it later. Will keep you posted.

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