Archive for the “General” Category

I’m really trying hard to blog about knitting, but everything I’m making at the moment seems to be either incredibly boring to photograph, or a gift for someone!

Today I have been ‘getting things done’ I think the spring cleaning bug finally caught up with me (spring wasn’t that long ago…) and I’ve been de-cluttering. This includes gathering up skeins of yarn which have been lying around on my desk since being plied months ago - just waiting for their bath. Those are done, which means I can start knitting up one of them into a project I have planned - the others are only half of a spinning job and I won’t start knitting it until I see what yardage I get.

I have also blocked the shawl I finished a couple of weeks ago, it’s a birthday present so - once again - no photos. Sorry to be so boring! I’ll show you in a few weeks when it’s arrived. As an aside, are blocking wires really so awesome? I’ve been thinking of buying a set, but it just took me literally 8 mins to pin out the shawl after its bath. Will wires really be quicker/easier? Thoughts below please. I think perhaps for a long rectangle/scarf they might be, but triangles I have down to a fine art.

Here’s something I can show you:


It’s currently being turned into a particularly boring strip of garter stitch, the foundation of the Shetland Shorty. It popped up on my friend activity and I decided I had to have one! Really too boring to take pictures of yet though. I love the way this yarn looks exactly like cookies and cream ice-cream!

I’m also knitting two Socktopus Mystery Shawls - I finished the first clue of the red one so quickly I couldn’t bear to wait for the next clue and cast on a second.They look a bit like this:



The red one (Malabrigo sock) is nearly done, the green one (seasilk) is still at clue one. I initially meant to give away the red one - but then the intended recipient jpoined the KAL! If you were knitting the mystery shawl, would you still like to get another one for Christmas??

Spinning at the moment is the next Spin! project, I’ve done one bobbin and finding it hard to get back into it with the stickiness prevailing in London at the moment. I might dig out the charkha and spin some more cotton - much more suited to the climate.

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As we would (might) say down under.

Last summer I worked on a BIG project, but didn’t tell many people about it as I was 1) not really supposed to, and 2) really really afraid that fate would turn around and bite me on the butt. Gradually, there was movement. I finished, sent it off, waited some more… still didn’t say anything.

Then the preorder page for the book (a book!) appeared on Amazon, but I know all about fate and I didn’t want to bounce around just yet and then discover that actually, I’m not in this one - maybe next time…

Then on Friday I got a cheque in the post - a pretty good sign I thought - and then today I thought to look again aaaaaaand

You can actually look inside on Amazon and my name is right there in the table of contents :-D I’m on page 32 (which is also my age - coincidence?) and you can see a pic of my shawl on the facing page as well.

To celebrate, I’m taking the rest of the afternoon off!

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Many of you will have figured out by now that things aren’t quite what they used to be around here. I’ve mentioned a few things here and there on Twitter and Rav occasionally, but since I’m still getting occasional questions I thought I’d give everyone the full story in one go.

Almost a year ago I started increasing the level of my freelance work and gradually expanding the spinning/writing/teaching with a view to it eventually becoming a full-time career. In October I quit my part-time day job and started seriously into the task of growing the business even more.

Sadly, it was about the same time that my body started to complain. By Christmas I had a shoulder issue I couldn’t ignore and my back was having problems as well. To cut a long story short, particular issues with my body mean I just can’t keep up the kind of sitting still spinning for hours that I wanted to be doing. Time on the computer isn’t so great either. My Osteopath advised yoga and pilates to strengthen muscles that I’d allowed to become extremely weak (not good in my case) and the first part of this year was focussed on getting my body working again.

It feels great now to be practically pain-free but I still have bad days and I have come to accept that the spinning career is just not feasible. I also rediscovered how much I adore Pilates (I practised for years in Australia) and I dredged up a very old dream of gaining my instructor certification. That is well underway and will become my new day job, hopefully by the end of autumn this year. Keeping my body strong and mobile is the solution to my problems and making this my career will help a great deal.

The spinning will not cease of course, you know me better than that! I will still be teaching in London, and there will be the occasional article published. The part that I really can’t manage is the hours of spinning and knitting involved in releasing designs and testing for tutorials, although there will be new ones occasionally. This blog will still be a Knitting/Spinning blog, and the website will remain with tutorials etc. in place. I will no longer be trying to grow the business, but will be able to relax about just doing as much as I am able to and want to, without worrying that I can’t manage enough for it to be viable.

I hope you all stick around, even though there will be a little less traffic here. I love hearing from you and nothing is going to curb my enthusiasm for all things spinny even if I can’t actually do as much as I’d like.

Thanks, and happy summer!

Diane xx

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Early this year I was completely floored by my friend Ali’s news that she planned to walk 100km in one stretch this July. 100km would take me about a week I reckon (on a good week), but Ali and her team get 30 hours. The walk will raise money for Oxfam Trailwalker and the Ghurka Welfare Trust. (The Ghurkas btw, manage this distance in a casual 10 hours!)


As well as alternately cheering Ali from the sidelines and expressing friendly disbelief at her ability to remain alive until the end of the 100km, I have donated a skein of handspun yarn to the fundraising prize draw being held over at Tripping Yarns.


The appropriately named ‘Riverwalk’ fibre is from Spunky Eclectic, in Amy’s popular Corriepaca blend. The yarn is about worsted weight and measures 170m/4oz. I’ve spun it with a fair bit of air and it’s lovely and bouncy.


Please pop over and visit Team Geek’s fundraising page on Justgiving and make a donation to support this great cause and possibly win one of many fab yarny prizes. Also, keep an eye on the Team Geek Blog to see how the training is going, and all the other great stuff up for grabs.


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15 mins till the cab arrives to take us off to the sunny Turkish coast (via Heathrow actually). Will miss you all dearly, but I have relaxing to do and olives to nibble. I’ll be back on Sunday 10th with a Spin-in post, Lingr, and maybe even some pictures of me in a bikini (white skin alert).

If you have a burning question in the meantime, pop by Ravelry and post it on my group. There’s plenty of helpful folks who can answer it for you there in my absence.

See you soon, and to everyone in the UK, have a great Bank Holiday weekend!

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There has been some busy scheduling going on, and there are lots of classes coming up in the next couple of months here in London. Looking forward to seeing some new faces, and maybe some old friends as well!

Classes at Stash Yarns in Putney

Superspin 1 Tuesday 9th and 23rd June, 10am-1pm

Call 020 8246 6666 to book

Classes at Socktopus in Chelsea Harbour

Luxury Fibres Saturday 16th May, 10am - 1pm

Spin Short Saturday 16th May, 2pm - 5pm

Single Spun Sunday 17th May, 10am - 1pm

Introduction to Spinning Sunday 17th May, 2pm - 5pm

Superspin 1 Sunday 21st June and 12th July, 2pm-5pm

Superspin 2 Sunday 21st June and 12th July, 10am-1pm

Click here to book

More information about each class is available on the Classes page, although not all these dates are up there yet.

I’ll also be teaching at the UK Ravelry Day on June 6th in Coventry. Due to popular demand, Jo and I have opened up some more places in the Introduction to Spinning class on the day. More information on the UKRD website.

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There seems to be an awful lot to do still, and a rapidly diminishing number of days to do it in. I haven’t started actually putting things in cases yet, but I’ve started some piles, and some lists and have a good idea in my head of what’s going with me.

The important things:



Two knitting projects, one for the plane and one for the TV. Should keep me occupied. I also have the next SoFA fibre to spin up while I’m there, and I’m taking the charkha and a pile of cotton.

I’ll also probably take this:


The latest addition to the spindle jar. It’s a Bosworth Featherweight in walnut, 14g and currently wearing a lovely cashmere pullover. I think I’d find it hard to leave behind.

To stay in touch, I’m looking into Mobile Broadband for Aus. I have too much internetzing to do to be able to manage with just a dial-up connection, but it’s dicey getting coverage in the sticks. I’ll have to check things out when I get there. I’ll be checking email regularly, and should be able to Twitter and Lingr. If I’m reduced to dial-up there will be very limited Rav though, I may have to look for an internet cafe in town to visit every so often, otherwise I’ll miss you guys too much!

Having a lazy day today with Neil, but I’ll be on Lingr tonight from 8-10pm. Slightly shorter hours, but please pop in and say hello!

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I fly out next Wednesday for Australia, heading home for most of March. For a long time, the trip was ages in the future, now suddenly it’s a few days away. I have counted up and I have 5 days to get everything done, and every one of those days has an interruption in it - eek! I’ve also had a look around and realised that I should probably devote Monday to housework and laundry, so, 4 days.

I have pics in the camera to share with you, and knitting to document, and mindless wittering on Rav that’s calling to me… But sadly, it may just have to wait till my inbox is clear (really clear this time, not just clear of ‘urgent’ emails).

I’ll snatch a moment this weekend to say goodbye properly and put up those pics. I’m starting to consider upping the caffiene intake so I can get more awake hours out of the day.

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Thank you so much to everyone who has left messages for me expressing their concern about the folks at home. It’s pretty crazy and confusing the way it’s being reported here in the northern hemisphere, but luckily Australia’s a pretty big place so it is possible for a lot of it to be burning down while still leaving other bits relatively safe (I say relatively because, with wild fire in these climate conditions you really can never know what will happen. I’m not relaxed yet).

This link will take you to the fire map for Victoria. You can see that the fires around the east and north east of Melbourne are pretty bad, this is where most of the casualties have been I believe. When I first checked the map I was concerned for my Dad, who lives not far from Warragul. I called him and yes, the fire had got to within 1km of the town, but no closer. He had to watch for burning embers falling most of Saturday, but they’re reasonably calm now.

My Mum is up a little to the north of Bairnsdale, and you can imagine my relief when I saw how clear the map is around that area. The danger is not past yet of course, and they know many people who have been affected by the fires to the north of them and near Orbost.

Luckily, temperatures have been much lower the last day or so and are forecast to remain so for a little while. Hopefully this will give people a good chance to prepare for another bout of bad weather if there is one, and for the fire-fighters to get the worst of it under control.

If you wish to leave a message for anyone in my family, then please feel free to do it here - Mum and Dad both read the blog and the comments and I know they will be very glad to know you are thinking of them. And please, if it’s your way, keep all affected Australians in your thoughts and prayers this week.


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At a certain point, when I had a sizeable ball of yarn left over, I put in a lifeline and started on the last pattern repeat before the edging. There was loads of yarn left and I had a little ball in reserve as well which I wasn’t including in my (eye-balled) calculations, and I felt very safe.

As I worked through the final rounds of pattern I started to feel a little concern at the rate the yarn was being used up, I knitted a couple more rows, then measured out some arm-lengths of yarn to see how much I was using. 7 arm-lengths equalled one row at that point, I had enough to finish as long as I left out two rows of edging. I decided that nobody would notice two missing rows of edging (which were exactly the same as the ones either side of them) and that would be better than ripping back all the way to my lifeline and knitting one less repeat.

Until I got to here:


A lace cast off, on a 408 stitch row, eats a HUGE amount of yarn. Ugh. Luckily I had this:


Which I desperately hoped would produce enough yarn to finish the cast-off. I’m pretty sure my blood pressure was well up as I spun up the teeny amount of fibre, worried that it wouldn’t be enough, even more worried because I was certain that I would screw up some of the spinning and still be three inches short.

I was a desperate for a glass of wine by the time I finished, but had a pretty clear idea of the effect it would have on my plying skills. I andean-wrapped, and used a spindle for more control as I have a pretty accurate sense of how good I am at messing up andean-plying on the wheel.



It was enough, I cast off, and then settled my nerves with half a bottle of Cotes du Rhone. I’m going to block it today, more exciting photos to come!

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