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Mar. 19th, 2009

Ride a White Swan

There is pretty much nothing white left in the house. It keeps finding its way to the kitchen and coming out another colour. Even though March is Marc Bolan Month, and I'm determined to come out with something called 'Ride a White Swan'. Whoops. Maybe I could just do something the same colour as this album sleeve.

I've been plying up what was a one-ply laceweight yarn to make a lovely sock yarn. It's slightly skinny (500yds in 100g, where GEM Sock is 400yds) but it's so soft and it takes dye brilliantly. I'm dyeing it up in solid/semi-solid colourways, so it'll be useable for lace work too. Unfortunately, I won't be able to get any more of it ever, so there'll only be about 6 skeins. This makes me sad, because this stuff is just dreamy.

This is how it looked before it was dyed.



Dyed-up pictures after my weekly Friday photo session. I promise.

Work is progressing slowly on the Tigger socks because I've started on a new handspun lace shawl. I have a bit of a handspun lace addiction. It's just so much fun from beginning to end. But once I get to the end of the first lace section, and I've proven to myself that I can do it, I'm going to be moving on to Decimal. I absolutely fell in love with this when I saw it and I don't think I can live without one. Though...it's knit on 3.5mm needles. A whole cardigan. In my size. On 3.5s. Fear.

Oh, and since I've been so slack with the blog, here's just a little sneaky peek at this week's shop update.



I keep thinking that I've been doing nothing, but then when I think about it, I've been decently busy. On Sunday Gill & Neil came up and we went for a nice pub lunch. And then Monday Katie, Kath and I braved Belle Vue and hit the showcase for the Giant Blue Wang film, which was a lot of fun. I feel the need to comment about the comfiness of the seats, but then I realise that I'm not yet 40. Must make it a semi-regular thing. Perhaps Lesbian Vampire Killers next.

Last night was 8th Day knitting - went a little early and had lunch in All Saints Park. There was this giant yellow ball thing in the sky which was making things warm. Very strange. Knitting itself was nice - Britt came for the first time in ages, and she's made the cutest baby stuff for her bump. Yay for having a girl to knit for - everyone I know keeps insisting on having boys! Amy, Julia, Moya, Kate, Steph...all had boys! There are only so many little knitted vests one girl can cope with.

I've been spending far too much time on Etsy lately, lusting after things I can't have. My favourites this week are...

Majacraft cup holder
Pirate themed interchangable needle case
Knitmare on Elm Street WIP bag

Please. Buy them so that I can't.

Mar. 7th, 2009

Bang a gong





Well, that's this week's update in the shop. Well, some of it anyway. I've lost track!

What have I been up to?

Well, last weekend we went over to see the Skeins studio - it was fantastic. I want one when I grow up. There's yarn everywhere and it smells of sheep. It's absolutely worth a visit. In fact, next time I'm feeling up to driving, who wants to go over?!

accordingly</lj> came down this week. We've not seen each other in...well, a long enough time that I don't want to think about it. Let's just say I was still at uni. But it was really lovely to be in the same place at the same time. She has been shown the wonders of Sandbar, so it's only a matter of time before she becomes a local.

On Wednesday, [info]missmagic came over, and we dyed everything. Literally nothing was left the colour it began. Which is the way it should be.

I've been pretty much asleep the rest of the time. It'd be lovely to get back to work, but considering a couple of hours at 8th day wipes me out, I don't think it'd be a good idea. Ah, well! C'est la vie, eh?

Eeee, how did I forget?! I can haz wedding reception venue? Uh...yeah, I think I can!



OK, you have to imagine it without all the kiddies toys (although Charl would be happy to keep them, of course) but isn't it cool? I love the high vaulted ceiling. There's also a good-sized side room and a huge kitchen, and it's right by Birchfields park, and there's a basketball hoop outside, and every penny that we pay for it is going to the charitable trust that runs the place, so we're helping to keep it open for all the amazing community projects that use the place.

Feb. 28th, 2009

Would there be Pimms?

Dyeing is still going swimmingly here at Bork Towers. My Winghams order finally arrived, so I've dyed up some organic merino, using the natural dyeing know-how I gained the other week.

 

Purdy, no? The only issue is that natural dye is a pain in the bum to rinse out, so there's still a little bit of residual dye in there - I didn't want to rinse too hard in case I felted the roving.

 

Cut for swap sensitivityCollapse )

I also got some organic merino sock yarn this week, which I'm going to give the same treatment. Probably the same colours too. I'm such a sucker for purple.

I got some lovely baby alpaca in the same shipment. And when I say lovely I mean to die for. It's sock weight, but would be perfect for shawls and stuff too. I've dyed some up for the shop, but I may well be keeping the rest for myself!



This little lot is off to Carole at Skeins tomorrow. Though it keeps looking at me. Smoosh smoosh smoosh.



What else? Oh yeah, there's some more squirrel due to go into the store this week:

 

And some GEM sock...



And even some handspun.

 

 

Cut for swap sensitivity againCollapse )


Well, that's quite enough of the fluffy stuff.

In other news, yesterday was Rise Against. Nomworthy as ever. It was pretty bizarre seeing them at the Academy 1. It seems like it was only about three weeks ago that we saw them at the Academy 3. It wasn't quite so long that it was still the Hop & Rape, but still...

Anyway, yeah. They were damn good. But I had a bit of an epic fail and had to run away. Grr. We were about 3 rows from the front. I don't think I've ever done that before. I've always prided myself on my ability to withstand the crushiest of crushes. So we watched the last 20 minutes from the side.

Antiflag were also pretty good. Better than I thought they'd be. Although they were also pretty much unintentionally hilarious. Case in point:
 
"If there's one thing this band doesn't believe in, it's bailouts for bankers. We believe in bailouts for the poor, for students, for the working class!"

Like...don't get me wrong, I'm all for solidarity with the proletariat, but dude...some middle-class kids need more beer money? That's serious. We better do something about that.

Ooh, PETA were there (as ever) but they didn't have any sea kitten t-shirts. This makes me sad. I want a sea kitten t-shirt.

Finally...I have given in to twitter. Come find me. It's kathleenalice for a change.

Feb. 25th, 2009

Photo-free post...how dull.

Well, I'm home. Not been feeling too great, so I'm under instructions from mum to stay home until I do. Which means I'm missing work (am I nuts?!), but getting lots of time to play with fluff and string, so it's not all bad.

However, there is no space to hang anything up to dry. I tried hanging some roving outside yesterday (organic merino dyed with natural dyes...I was having a crazy earthy moment) but it just got cold and stayed as wet as when it went out. I think I need it rinse it all again anyway, I'm not sure all the dye's gone. Damn you, natural dyes. You're so pretty but so fickle.

Last night was Spinnerette. You'll be pleased to know that my kidnap plot did not come off, and I will therefore not be going to prison. However. Nomnomnomnomnom. That is all there is to say on the matter.

Charlotte's tigger socks are coming along nicely. I'm slightly worried they'll be too big, but we can deal with that when we come to the actual foot part. A slouchy ankle is just fine and dandy.

I've spun up the 50:50 part for the UKspinners swap, and even if I do say so myself, it's pretty lush. The fibre part is suffering the curse of No Drying Space, so that's not ready yet.

I got Wrapped in Comfort through the post yesterday - lots of pretty things! I'm thinking of either Karen's Water Turtles shawl or Nina's Ann Arbour shawl. They're both knit in fingering-ish weight on 5.5mm needles, so they'll be much quicker than doing something in actual laceweight. I'm a cheat, I know. And I just had 2 new base yarns arrive this morning - just small quantities to test out, but one of them is a baby alpaca and it's just lush. I may well be tempted to use it myself.

Last week I had a moment of weakness and bought the NME. Which I had been boycotting relatively successfully since they ate Melody Maker. But that's so last decade. And there were pictures of Brody. So I'm forgiven, right? Anyway, it was nice. I'm semi-tempted to start buying it again regularly, just because I know nothing about music these days and it makes me feel old. But I'd still feel like a traitor. I'd be OK if we still had Select, but no such luck. And I never really liked Q, except for the pictures. What to do?

Off to look around our possible reception venue later on. Hopefully it'll be big enough. Otherwise it's back to the drawing board...keep your fingers crossed for me.

And finally, a big shout-out to Becky of http://www.strumpetscrumpets.com/ - a girl with amazing taste and a very cute and fluffy pooch.

Feb. 17th, 2009

Please dye slowly


Well, it's been a few days of epic dyeing fun here at Bork Towers.

Saturday was natural dyeing with Debbie - you can read her blog post here. There were just the three of us students, but we really managed to spread out! It was a lot of fun, but pretty tiring. I slept til 3pm on Sunday...whoops!

Here are some of the results...



Part of the day also involved dyeing up a huge range of samples. The great thing about natural dyes is that you can modify the colours by finishing the dyeing process off in different ways. Here's my favourite example of that.



Saturday was of course Valentine's Day. Charl maked me a present! The most amazing present ever...fake pretzel flipz. Nom nom nom.



In return, I have made her a little scarflette - and there's another project in the pipeline (more of that later). The pattern for this is from 01 designer 1-skein wonders. It's very neat and clever, and totally fun to knit. This is my own yarn (GEM squirrel: disagreen). This is the first full thing I've knit up using my own yarn, and I'm crazily proud of it. I seem to have actually found something I'm good at!



I've been hitting the dyepot pretty regularly...and amassing a huge pile of wool. You can see just at the back of this pile some orange and black - one of those is GEM sock, headed for Etsy at some point soon. The other is Wollmeise 80/20 which I bought undyed and I've now dyed up ready  for Charl's next knitted gift - tigger socks! Any suggestions for simple but not dull socks wouold be very much appreciated. Ovbiously don't want to drown out the stripes, and also Charl's not much of a one for lacy socks.



Today I had a short jaunt out to the wonderful Gorton for some fresh air. We hit te charity shop, and found these - 50p each, 5 for £2. Awesomeness. This is going to be the fuel for the rest of my undyed cone of yarn methinks.

Feb. 8th, 2009

Disagreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen!

Been doing some more dyeing - I managed to get hold of a reallly nice DK base yarn. I'm really pleased that so far I've managed to get almost exactly the colour I've been going for each time - so I'm ready to dye up the Wollmeise natural to make Charl some tigger socks.

  

I'm going to be attending the UK Ravelry Day/British Wool and Crafts Day, so I'm on the lookout for lots of really exciting 100% British yarns. I've found a lovely 100% wool 4-ply and there's a possible aran 100% wool. There's also a DK wool/silk blend, but obviously the silk isn't British. Of course, there'll be handspun too, and that will be much easier to find a 100% British source for.

I've done a little update/re-vamp of the website, so if anyone wants to check it for mistakes for me, that would be nice.

In FO news, Kate's baby blanket is finally finished! It needs a wash and block (if you can block acrylic?) but I'm really proud of it.

Oh and also, some entirely non-yarny news.

Charl and I have set a date to get wed! I'm pretty much stupidly excited about it. We're planning a really nice low-key day. I don't buy into the whole "my day to be a princess" bollocks. It's our day to spend with each other, in the company of people we love. So no posh sit-down dinner or releasing doves/baloons/fireworks! It seems really selfish to me to spend thousands of pounds on things which will only last for a day. And we're both insufferable Commies, so the evening do will be in a community hall and we'll be asking for contributions to the buffet/bar or favours like helping to decorate the hall or taking some nice pictures for us instead of expensive presents.

Jan. 31st, 2009

Dyeing adventures


This week's been pretty fun - I've been dyeing sock yarn mostly, and I just can't keep it in stock! This is my favourite so far - and both skeins have gone.



I've got 2 skeins left in stock, 2 more which are  being dyed as I type and then that's it - my first cone of sock yarn gone. I've got one more on the way and I'm about to put in an order for another. I'm far too excited about this!

And this happens just when I was thinking everything was nice and quiet and I'd be safe to sign up for some swaps - I've got 4 partners! Busy busy busy.

Oh and um...set a date for my wedding too. Which is too exciting to even talk about.

Jan. 18th, 2009

Wheelwin!


So, yesterday was wheel day. I was sad that Katie couldn't come, but Charl came instead, so I was't on my own.

We left home at just after 9 and started driving down. After we got off the M1 at Northampton we had a not-entirely-intentional tour of some lovely villages and small towns. We particularly enjoyed Newport Pagnell. P&M was in the middle of nowhere, but very cool. All the wheels and fibre and books and tools are in the back room.

These were my thoughts at about 1am...

I tried out a few wheels. There was a Lendrum which was nice, but the ratios didn’t go up far enough and the bobbins were smaller. The Suzie pro was lovely, and felt very much like the Rose, but it wasn’t much cheaper, didn’t have the second whorl, didn’t have the lazy kate and though it’s pretty, I’m a bit of a failure and couldn’t cope with not being able to tell which way the wheel was turing. I tried the little Ashford Joy (double treddle) which was quite nice, but far too small for me.

The Rose is just…perfect. Seriously. Everything I could ever ask for.

So tonight I’ve been spinning a lovely merio/silk blend I picked up whe I was there. I’ve made use of the 3-bobbin lazy kate and lovely fast whorl and knocked up some nice skinny 3-ply. 20g. 46yds. Like…what?! That’s just nutty, right? That means I’ll get 460yds OF 3-PLY out of the 200g of fibre I’ve bought. And I could easily go skinnier. And it only took about 2 hours. And it’s perfectly balanced. I cannot explain how in love I am with this wheel.

Thank you thank you THANK YOU to everyone who talked me into it.

Tomorrow I’m going to dye some BFL first thing in the morning, and hopefully it’ll be dry enough by the end of the day for me to have a go at putting the large whorl on and doing something chunky and squidgy.

And i am of much the same mind. Squeeeeeeeeeeee!

Right, so...after P&M, we went over to Silsoe to see my mum. She wsa setting up for her cousin Andy's girlfiriend Jenny's 30th birthday party. And concentrate now. Jenny is also my mum's husband Gary's neice. They met at mum and Gary's wedding. It's very confusing.

Anyway, so we saw Mum and Gary and Andy and also my auntie Carol and uncle John (Andy's mum and dad). Mum was doing crazy buffet stuff. Like...chequerboard sandwiches. Don't ask. Anyway, it absolutely proved to me that she is having nothing to do with the food when me and Charl get married. She's on cups and ice.

Well then...after Silsoe it was back up in a northerly direction to Charl's mum's house and BABY! Though I'm not sure he can be called a baby any more. He's now just about a year old (birthday!core) but he is pretty much a toddler. He's huge and he's walking and saying little words and he totally understands what you're saying to him. Like...Gill said 'row the boat' and there he was doing the little actions! He's so cool. As a bonus we got to see Charl's mum and her husband, Charl's sister and her boyfriend, and Charl's aunt and uncle. SuperBonus FamilyDay for both of us, then.

Baby was far too distractiing, so we didn't leave til really late, and didn't get home til gone 9...though I reckon we managed to fit plenty in to 12 hours.

This morning the lovely CheekyImp of Ravelry Fame came to collect Wheel#3 (the Kromski) and Katie is having Wheel#3 (the big solid one). Wheel#1 is poorly. One of the maidens is broken and No More Nails hasn't fixed it. I'm a bit stuck for what to do next. I think I'm going to have to send it off somewhere to be fixed or replicated. I'd prefer fixing if possible, because it's such a lovely old wheel. So I'm down to just the Rose. What a terrible shame. It looks like I'll have to just play with this one for now. Bwahahahahaaaaaaaa.

I've been having lots of dyeing fun - the angora lace has actually come out quite nicely. It all needs re-skeining though, which is a pain. I've also done some of the lambswool in lots of shades of blue and green and it looks lovely - it's kept its sheen really nicely, too. I've just done some BFL I picked up at P&M yesterday in a colourway I usually wouldn't go for at all, but I'm pretty pleased with it - it looks like like Tequila Sunrise! I'm still mostly using koolaid and food colouring, and a little bit of natural dyes, but I'm beginning to think I should invest in some proper dyes, since I'm doing so much of it.

A picture post next, I promise. But for now, it's time to go play.

*This entry has been brought to you today without the letter N in some places, because it's playing up and needs to be hit really hard. And sometimes i forget.

ETA: Just heard the news. Am sad. The angora blend laceweight in shades of red will now be known as Morph.

Jan. 14th, 2009

Yarn-spasms!


Right...more yarn news.

I'm really getting into playing with dye, so I've splashed out on a few really nice base yarns to play about with. 

So far, I am in receipt of 2 lots of rather amazing laceweight. The first is a 1-ply (yes, you heard me right) lambswool/angora blend with a teeny bit of nylon for strength. It feels like running your hands through clouds. The other is also lace - 2-ply this time, and superfine merino. I can't stop drooling over it.  I've also got some superwash wool/nylon on the way in sockweight. With the lace, I'm aiming for semisolid and I have plans to make huge skeins with the sock to make some lovely stripey with long repeats. And some semisolid too for good measure.

The first lot of the single ply is in the oven right now. It's much brighter than I was aiming for, but hopefully it'll be nice.

And hopefully I'll be good enough with the yarn-dyeing by the time my  Wollmeise undyed stuff gets here to let myself loose on it. Nom nom nom.

I've got a big bag of fibre on the way from Winghams, including some of their merino/silk blend, which I am very much looking forward to working with again. And I will be working with it on a new wheel with any luck.

Oooooooh, yeah. I'm getting moneys to to get a wheel. A really nice wheel. I could actually afford a Majacraft Rose. I'm letting wheels 1 and 2 go to loving homes, but I can't let wheel 1 go. It's like it's part of me. Anyway,  I'm off down to P&M on Saturday to try a few out. I may go for a different wheel, depending on how they feel, but I have the Rose in my heart already. Though a little Suzie pro might work too.

Oh, [info]soupytwist - if you're free on Saturday, do you fancy keeping me company on the journey down to Spinning Heaven?

Today was knitting at 8th day, and we had a really nice destash/swap thing - we brought in nice yarn, fondled other peoples nice yarn, swapped  for exciting new yarn...it was great. And free! I love free shopping.

Lots of people also brought in spare oddments for UK DIY at the Turnpike Gallery. If anyone else in Manchester has some yarn you're wanting to destash, you can drop it in with me at my office on Piccadilly gardens tomorrow or Friday. Just comment here and we'll sort something out.

Could I fit any more yarn into this post? Of course I could!

 

 

Ecoknits


Hi guys - exciting news!

Green Eyed Monsters yarn is now available from Ecoknits. It's an exclusive line, so you can only get it here. And have a look around the rest of the site - there's some fantastic stuff!

I'm sure there are other things going on too, but that's it for now. I really should get better at this blogging lark.

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