Archive for March, 2007

Finally another finished object. And another one! I am having a brief fling with amigurumi, thus the leftovers have become the Amigu-bear.


And to celebrate the coming of spring, and my new scarf, I had to get some easter eggs! Guaranteed by the girl in the cafe to be completely rockin’ chocolate.

Scarf stats: 2 skeins Koigu, 3.5mm hook, one flight to NYC and one arvo in the shop, pattern I’ll write up soon.

Bear stats: the golf-ball-sized leftovers and a pattern which is quickly disappearing from my head, I have a suspicion that if I try to repeat what I did I will fail miserably, but I’ll try! His scarf is the only use I have found so far for the Habu yarn I bought at Ally Pally and which turned out to be a complete b$^*er to knit with so is hidden in my stash drawer.

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12. Amigu-bears

13. Goddess pattern by stitchdiva (from Cairi)

14. Fair Isle baby cardigan (Nathalie’s doing that one - it’s gorgeous!)

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yarn1.JPGYesterday, after she’d finished drooling over the new Koigu, Nathalie said, “So what are you going to make with yours?” I stared back at her blankly. “It’s Koigu. I don’t need to make anything with it. It’s just Koigu.”

Did I mention that the ‘rarely’ in ‘I rarely buy any stash without a project in mind’ applies pretty much exclusively to Koigu ;-)

However, as the potential risk of being smothered by the Koigu stash is becoming apparant, if not imminent (and I’m not the only one), I have decided to compile a list of uses for this most divine of yarns.

I will begin with what I have done with Koigu so far…

1. Little Fair Isle gift bags

2. Swallowtail shawl

3. Bronte’s Mitts

4. Crochet scarves #1 and #2

5. Take it home and put it in a vase on the bookshelf

And places I have seen Koigu used …

6. Stranded into a cardigan as an accent around cuffs and band

7. Gypsy shawl

8. Flower Basket shawl

9. Charlotte’s Web shawl

10. Socks

11. Endpaper Mitts

Please feel free to contribute, ideas that really rock my boat will receive a small prize :-D

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There was yarn, there were socks, there was a diminuitive, curly-haired Harlot. Much fun was had by all.

12 noon: Central Park, stalking the Yarn Harlot.

sock.JPG    sock2.JPG

Afternoon: A small quantity of yarn was purchased from the six few shops I visited: A little bit of Koigu; 2 skeins of Fibre Company Savannah DK which I’m going to fair-isle; 2 balls of silk/alpaca/cashmere from K1C2 - I’m thinking maybe Bronte Mitts; A new Go-Knit pouch and some sock yarn from Great Adirondack to go in it :-D

ny8.JPG    yarn1.JPG

yarn2.JPG    yarn3.JPG

The photo is of the Point in Greenwich Village, I also visited String, Purl SoHo, Knit 321, Stitches East and a couple of others I’ve forgotton the names of. I saw a lot of English yarns - Louisa Harding and Colinette were everywhere. Lots of the shops had a kind of funky/glamour focus and there was a distinct lack of sock yarn except for plenty of Koigu. I got to squeeze the Koigu cashmere :-D but passed on the $50 price tag. The shop assistants at Purl, String and The Point were all lovely and we had good chats about stock and trade in the yarn business.

Evening: The Represent gig was great fun, about 700 knitters showed up and the vibe was pretty wild. I managed to get 2 books (signed and dedicated!) and even Neil listened to a bit of Stephanie’s great speech (he came back a bit early) and laughed in all the right places.

The rest of the weekend was spent on pretty predictable NYC stuff. Read more over on the travel blog later tonight.


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Dear Viewers,

I’m sorry. This is not it. There will be a big long post tomorrow morning (I hope) with all the gory details but my ability to blog is currently suffering from jetlag (read slept really late today) and a surprise birthday party - not a surprise for the birthdayee but for me. I forgot it. I’m currently kicking myself for not taking the opportunity to buy an amazing gift in NY which I might have done if I’d remembered. So, tomorrow.

In the meantime, a teaser. Think: lots of Koigu, red cashmere scrumminess, real steak (which you can’t get in London), tired purple socks, 600 mad knitters in one room and a green statue.

See you tomorow :-D

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dscn1725.JPGToday I had a play with the Shetland wool. It’s the first time I’ve spun a hairy fibre - Victorian wools tend to be the shorter, softer variety such as Corriedale or Polwarth.

Once I got the knack of it I found it quite easy though. It required a rather longer draw than I am used to, spinning semi-worsted from a prepared top. This came out at 22 wpi in 2-ply.

To my surprise, the brown wool was distinctly different to the white. I bought mainly white for my mittens as I’m planning to dye it, but I got a bit of brown and black to dabble in natural-coloured Fair Isle. The white is much longer than the brown and generally softer both in the top and spun. The brown is shorter and clumpier and it was much more difficult to get a smooth yarn. It also contains quite a lot of thick, white and black hairs.

So, Shetland experts: is this the nature of brown Shetland? Or is it a result of different processing? Or simply that the wool came from Fred Sheep not Molly Ewe? How much consistency can you expect in a wool that comes from the same breed of sheep, but not the same sheep?

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P.S. I would like to show you some lovely brown-and-white Fair Isle knitting but I believe I’m supposed to be writing a chapter today. It is already after 4 o’clock and although Shetland wool is a very nice distraction I’d best stop procrastinating ;-)

 Edited 8:45pm to add:


I finished the chapter too :)

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The purple socks are finished and blocking (no I don’t usually but they were all scrumply).

In the process they went in for the most-frogged-socks award but didn’t quite win a prize, the title is still held by the red trekkings which I believe are up to six frogs at last count. First frogging was for pooling, only minor but enough to annoy pernickety me and I changed to knitting alternate rows from each end of the ball. Second frogging was for pattern. As in too much pattern when you’ve broken into the second bottle of wine. I blame it all on the Badger, it was entirely her fault that I not only dropped stitches but dropped my actual knitting several times before I ripped back the little I’d done and changed to stocking stitch. Thankfully, I’d sobered up sufficiently by the time I reached the cuff to add a little pattern there.

They will be my official NYC socks so look out next week for arty pics of purple feet walking by well-known tourist attractions (such as Purl in Soho ;-))

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Hi, able to post at last after a few technical glitches and home distractions.

I am just home from visiting Tasmania – the absolutely beautiful part of our country that is chock full of scenery and history.

I went with friends to attend for the first time the Bothwell International Highland Spin-in, and had a wonderful time. The festival is held every alternate year in a little town in the Central Highlands – fine-wool country with a strong Scottish influence. The emphasis is on building friendships between spinners from all over the world, and activities are planned to facilitate this.

Some features that stand out in my memory: varied and inspiring displays, tempting trade-stalls (post to come on my stash-supporting efforts), fascinating presentations by several speakers and the 2-hour bus trip of the historical sites of the area. The Gordon Challenge, where teams of 2 spinners and 2 knitters had to produce a mystery article against the clock, was a lot of fun – and spinning greasy fine wool fast is a real challenge! The dinners were delicious and resonant with conversations and the concerts were fantastic. Blessing of the Fleece and the Sunday morning church service gave a depth to the weekend, and singing Auld Lang Syne, hands clasped around the hall, was very moving.

My head is still spinning (that was not intended to be a pun ;-) .

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I was knitting away at my sock on the tube this morning and a guy got on and came and stood near me. His tie was EXACTLY the same colours as my sock! No kidding :-D Pink, medium purple, dark purple. 

I wanted to leap up excitedly with my sock held aloft shouting “looky, we match!” but the passengers on the Wimbledon line are a pretty staid bunch. So I merely stayed in my seat and smiled to myself.

I wish I’d had a camera though.

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When did I last finish something? If you click on the ‘Finished objects’ category I think you get the beginning of February. Then there was Bronte’s Mitts which somehow never made it up here, you can see them over here. And I finished a pair of socks which I haven’t got around to photgraphing, oh and a teddy bear sweater (incidentally, that was for a finishing class). I guess it’s more than I think. Trouble is, a lot of things get either gifted or left at work so it seems that there’s nothing around.

I seem to be pulling in two directions at the moment between process and product. I tell myself that I’m a process knitter - I’m pretty sure I am - recent evidence being that I frogged all three balls knitted so far of the Blue Sky Shrug and started again from scratch with a completely different pattern. Hey, it’s really nice yarn to knit and I know I’m going to like this design better…

There’s such glory in a finished item though. There’s the moment of snipping the last darned-in end and smoothing it out on your lap and saying “aaaah”. Then there’s the running around to husband/flatmates/blog/forum/strangers walking past the front door saying “looky what I made!”. Then there’s the first wearing, preferably at a Stitch ‘n Bitch or other knitting-related event where you can say “What, this, yes I did make it actually, feel free to tell me how amazing I am”. All these things are really cool.

So occasionally I get a bit frustrated with my tendency to restart, unpull, deviate from and put aside for something else. Ocasionally I just want to finish something and wear it and strike it from the list. “Aha!”, you say, “Diane’s about to make a declaration not to start anything new until she’s finished some things”.

Sorry, not today. I am coming to know myself too well. Every time I make declarations they collapse into a screaming heap as soon as I walk past some Koigu. And I just bought a bamboo, koigu-sized crochet hook especially for the flight next week (just try and take that off me, go on!). Instead, I would be very appreciative of your suggestions for finding more knitting time in the day. An extra 27 hours or so would be good.

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P.S. To those of you who are becoming bored with my current Koigu obsession, I do apologise. I expect I will get over it someday.

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Hah! I didn’t go crazy on yarn! so ner to all those people who said I couldn’t do it :-D Fibre now, well that’s a whole other thing and I’m sure I didn’t make any promises…

Firstly, all my purchases fit into this bag:


Are you impressed ;-) Some people needed vacuum space bags and five suitcases to get their stash home!

The sum total of the yarn purchases: 360g of 4-ply hand-dyed pure wool for £7.20 will be a shawl some day. 


The fibre purchases:


I don’t have space to list it all here. To summarise, I bought the 300g of Shetland I wanted for my mitten project, 400g of variegated merino/silk tops, some space-dyed tussah silk and a whole stack of samples. Extra bobbins so I can spin more than one project at a time, and the book was a pressie from mum :-)

I need to get spinning!

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