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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Little Bird

Every morning for the past few weeks when I open the kitchen blinds just after sunrise I see this little chap:
Little Bird
He sits there warming himself up in the sunshine and half an hour later he'll fly off but always returns the next day. I like how round and plump he looks.

I started knitting the alpaca yarn I spun a few weeks ago. I finally decided on Age of Brass and Steam, as much as I wanted to knit the Northumbria Cowl there would have been lots of yarn left over and I'd like to use this up. I have a smaller batch of this same fibre that I aim to spin during TdF and hope to knit some matching mitts. The yarn is knitting up beautifully, it's the most consistently even yarn I have ever spun and it's perfectly balanced. It has a wonderful sheen which isn't very visible in the picture and I think it will have a nice drape after blocking.

I'm off to batten down the hatches, there's a big storm/weather bomb heading our way.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The countdown begins....

It's going to be a busy week. TdFstarts in 5 days. My To Do list:

1. Make sure all my bobbins are empty (that means I have heaps of plying to do)

2. Oil and service my wheel (wouldn't want it breaking down on me or going clunky)

3. Change the drive band (apparently it's recommended you change it every 2 months, I never knew that, did you? Mine must be 2 years old lol)      

4. Sort out what I would like to spin  Already done, see below for new additions.

5. Have fun and be realistic, I'm never going to spin all this fluff!

Corridale/Kid Mohair/Silk in Paua

This is my new pet, Patch.

Merino/Silk Chocolate & Gold
Ashford's Corridale Striped Sliver in Summer Days
Southern Alpacas pure carded alpaca fibre

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tour de Fleece

I've signed up for the Tour de Fleece over on Ravelry. I'm in Team Ashford and joined the Rookies group  ~ being a TdF newbie I may be in need of some guidance.

I'm hoping that participating will push me to do more spinning full stop. Currently I go to a spinning guild twice a month which equates to two half days, sometimes I spin for a couple more hours in the afternoon after the meet up, but not always. More often than not I go to get my wheel to go to the meeting and realise that I haven't touched it since the lastone. Then I feel sad :-(

So back to the TdF ~ the guidelines state that you are to spin each day that the tour rides. The dates are 30th June - 22nd July. There are 2 rest days ~ 10th & 17th July.

I'm still thinking of personal challenges/aims but I'm thinking my aim will be to spin every day for the duration and hope this will get me into the habit of spinning on a more regular basis in the future. On challenge day we are to spin something challenging and I'm thinking that will be the braid of fibre in this pic:


Sweet Georgia Yarns merino/silk 50/50 blend in the stunning Midnight Garden colourway. Happily received in a recent swap. This will be challenging for me because I've never spun anything with such a high percentage of silk. The fibre seems tightly compressed so I'll do a fair bit of predrafting.

The HiyaHiya needles are working out great. I would highly recommend them, the swivel action on the joins is amazing and actually works. I'm using them to knit the Ramona Cowl.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Winter Wonderland, Spinning and Interchangeable Needle Sets..

A winter wonderland:

A big surprise, it's very early for us to have snow. The temperature got down to -10 on Wednesday night and we awoke Thursday morning to find all of the windows were iced up on the inside. The electricity was off for nearly 2 days so we could only heat the lounge with the log burner. It's still hanging around out there and is still extremely cold. We had damage to a lot of the trees and shrubs in the garden.

So I stayed indoors and got things done. I spun these 2 bobbins of Romney mainly by candlelight:

Approx 800 mtrs on each bobbin, I plied 2 strands together to give me 400 mtrs on each skein. It's a much deeper & richer brown than I can capture with the camera. I just have about another 1.5 kg to spin.

Now onto knitting needles ~ I've tried lots of different brands, I now mainly knit on circular needles and use DPN's for socks. I love my Addi turbo circs and I have a few of the Addi lace circs. Here's a summary of the interchangeable sets I have tried and loved or hated:

Denise Interchangeable Knitting needle set: 
I loved this set solely based on the wide range of needle sizes you get with it. Love soon turned to hate, after a few months of usage the connectors were starting to unfasten themselves on a regular basis, usually when I had a large amount of stitches on the needles. Sadly it had to go, and was replaced by.....

Knit Picks Harmony Interchangeable needle set:
I was drawn to these because they are wood, I love the warmth and slickness of them and the colours. Loved the pointy-ness of the tips. Love that I could connect the cables together to get the size I needed.
Hate that I have to get out a needle gauge every time as the sizes aren't printed on the tips. Hate that I have had a lot of cords come apart at the metal screw connector, usually while holding many stitches. Hate that the last few spare cords I have received don't seem to be threaded properly at the screw part and the tips won't fit on = unusable. The tips break easily, I have broken 2 pairs already. So I looked for something different and was drawn to .........

HiyaHiya interchangeable small needle set (steel):
I ordered these from the U.S.A. last week and they arrived in record time. I admit I bought them because they were a steal, US$65 but I had a 40% discount coupon so paid $39 plus $10 shipping. I wasn't exactly sure what would arrive as there was only one pic on the site to go by and you didn't get a choice of colour either. Here's what was in the box~

The case was the one I was really hoping for.
It seems good quality and very well made. The fabric is brocade.

When you open it up there is a band of fabric attached a the side with velcro which keeps the needle tips covered and protected. This is the small tip set and contains 7 pairs of tips in sizes 2.75 - 5mm. There's a useful zippered compartment on the top flap.
On the back of the case is a zippered pocket which stores the cables. These are 16, 24, 32 and 40 inch in length. You get a pack of 2 grippers for tightening the connections.
It seems like a nice set and the connectors swivel so no more tangled and kinked cables hopefully. The downside for me is that they are steel and I prefer wood. I haven't had time to try them out yet, this last week has been spent either spinning, shoveling snow and ice or trying to keep warm. I shall let you know how I get on with them.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


It's June already? I don't know what happened to May. I just got back from a trip south to Dunedin~

A wonderfully busy weekend spending time with my family, plenty of shopping (in a city that isn't smashed up), eating way too much & far too many nights out. I can't wait to do it all again!