Thursday, 5 August 2010

Improving Spinning

Just a quick post today, as I'm elbow deep in finishing my epic Golden Wheat Shawl in time for Vicki & James' wedding next week.

I've been waiting for a skein of handspun to dry in order to take some good pictures, although my phone seems to be playing up so I apologise for the quality of the later ones. It's made from a batt I got from Jan at Spinning a Yarn, although as it was a teaching pack I pursuaded her to sell me I'm not sure of the fibre content, I think it's mostly BFL however.

It started out lookin like this;

Deep blue with white intermixed. Gorgeous. It was a dream to spin, and actually wanted to be finer than I'd done before (unlike the merino top I had to fight with to draft!)


Then spun together into a 2 ply;

I don't have a WPI gauge but I'm pretty sure it's about a standard 4-ply weight (US sportweight) and is by far the finest thing I've ever spun. I seem to be getting progressively better at this spinning malarkey!

And as proof of that (taking my scientist hat off with that statement) I've started spinning up some fibre I got from Artist's Palette Yarns that I'm suspicious might be perfect, it is superwash afterall, to make some yummy sock yarn with!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Knit Nation Saturday!!

Ok, so I know 3 blog posts in one day is truely shocking blogging practice, but by the time I have time to post again (Summer Project deadline looming...) we both may have forgotten all about it!

Saturday started with a leisurely morning recovering from all the festivaling of the day before. I wandered over to Knit Nation at about half past one in time for the raffle draw, Congrats to all the winners (and boy, weren't there lots of lovely prizes!) but no joy for me.

I then went to Anne Hanson's Advanced Lace Knitting class. Anne works for/is Knitspot (I'm not sure exactly), a blog/website I sometimes frequent, and interestingly for me has many years experience working as a pattern cutter, which is what Andrew does (sometimes!) I decided to take this class as being a left-hander in a right hander's world I was hoping for some special hints and tips to take my stitching to the next level. Anne was a very interesting teacher, and her discussion of lace forms and the importance of swatching was excellent, I never realised quite how different yarns of the same WPI can look with the same stitch pattern can look! Lessen well and truly learnt there. I don't know if it was a time issue or if it was because it was the 6th class she taught at Knit Nation, but not all the techniques mentioned on the website were covered, and I think it was just my bad luck I'd done most of the one's that were, so I probably didn't learn all that much about actually knitting lace! However, that's beside the point when you consider how much fun I had chatting to other knitters.

After the class I went for dinner with a girl I met in the class and then we ventured to the Ravelry party. As many have said this was a real highlight of Knit Nation and I met some wonderfully interesting people. Not least Jen, the tech editor of The Knitter, my very favourite magazine, and who's shawl I am knitting at the moment (see Shawl's Galore for more on this).

She was totally awesome and incredibly happy to see my shawl, which of course made me incredibly happy! I dropped a hint that the magazine should publish a photo of the finished object (when it actually is finished!) and have me win the letter prize - which was not met with as much resistance as I'd expected (although no definite on the prize yet!)

I then went on to meet two of the knitting world's biggest celebrities. One of the things I find about getting older (if you can say approaching 23 is getting older) is I am increasingly shameless. Such as that is I achieved this (sorry about the double chin);

and this;

Which was totally awesome! For those of you not in the Ravelry know (and really, why not??) these two kind and jetlagged people are Casey and Jess, two of the 4 wonderful people behind, the website that links all us knitters together so that amazing events like Knit Nation can even take place. I love this website, and in a final desperate leap of shamelessness such that I may have become so uncool I've been through the being almost cool again stage and come right out on the other side of stinking, pointed and laughed at, L on my forehead, uncool, loserdom, I got Jess and Casey to autograph my Knit Nation bag for forever. Yay.

Bob is the dog mascot of Ravelry. Who is great.

Following the party's frivolities I went home, looked at all my purchases,

and went to bed happy. :)

Knit Nation Friday!!

So it was Knit Nation last weekend, and my first experience of a festival for serious knitters. I was desperately looking forward to it and have been mentally stashing away money for weeks, maybe even months! I'd initially planned on only going to the marketplace on Saturday, but as the day grew near and the excitement began to build I decided to go to a class too so I could shop on both days.

The occaision was held in the lovely Sherfield Building at Imperial College London;

I arrived well before opening on Friday expecting a ton of people to be elbowing for first spot but I must say it was all very restrained until about 5 minutes before opening time, when there was a huge rush to join the queue! I headed straight over to Wollmeise at the back of the marketplace and broke my Wollmeise virginity (as is apparently the phrase) grabbing some stunning Golden Pear laceweight and 2 skeins of sock (which is far too nice for socks!) The rush was mainly due to some ultimately unnecessary fears about the provision/non-provision of "top-ups" to the stall and the great fear of all the good stuff selling out early! I'd googled before arrival and had a mental list of about 10 colours I wanted to see in person and as the Golden Pear was at the top of the list I left pleased as punch!

Then I did my usual walk-round-the-room-four-times-before-deciding-what-you-want walk, which as the room was only average size, and not all that busy at this point, gained me some rather strange looks! Eventually the copious spending began and within an hour I ended up with this:

At which point I felt a little like a cow trying to force it's way through the ever increasing crowd. So I went home briefly before RUSHING off to Knebworth to attend Sonisphere, which Andrew and I were very kindly gifted guest passes to by my best-friend-from-school Kieran. His band, You and What Army, were playing as part of some competition with RedBull, and I can quite honestly say were totally awesome! Anyone who knows me will tell you I rarely talk about music because I don't exactly have the best of tastes (as Sue Sylvester says; "Liking show tunes doesn't make you gay, it just makes you awful") but in this case you really should believe me, even Andrew really liked them, and he is a far from easy man to please! Their sound is kind of rap-emo-fun, and I can totally see it being really popular, as it sounds current and slides in nicely alongside several chart bands of the moment. They've also played/are playing Download, T in the Park, Underage, Hevy Festival, so it's a very good time for them.

After that shameless promotion here's a picture of 4 handsome gents;

Andrew, Kieran, Kieran's friend Dave, Kieran's friend Dave's friend (oops, can't remember his name!)

After this we headed home very tired for a good night's sleep before a busy Knit Nation Saturday!

Spin, Knit, Wear

I bought this 100% merino top at the Stitch and Craft Show in March;

I spindle spun the purple and wheel spun the teal, then plied to make a barberpole;

And then I knitted it into a hat;

(Another Slouchy Hat by SleepyCat)

And then I put it on my head!