Archive for April, 2007

Just popping in quickly while I have a bit of lovely hotel wifi!

Not much knitting is being done, and even less spinning. Somehow there doesn’t seem time in between wandering around ancient villages, drinking Perrier in cafes and paddling in the sea.

Speaking of paddling in the sea…


… the blue, blue Mediterranean 8)

Find out more about what we’ve been up to on the travel blog.

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Okay, there must be something you read that’s a guilty pleasure . . . a Harlequin romance stashed under the mattress. A cheesy sci-fi book tucked in the back of the freezer. A celebrity biography, a phoned-in Western . . . something that you’d really rather not be spotted reading. Even just a novel if you’re a die-hard non-fiction fan. Come on, confess. We won’t hold it against you!

Absolutely! I’m a complete sucker for crime fiction, particularly Agatha Christie. It took me about ten years to collect every one and I have read them all dozens of times. Curling up with a Hercule Poirot favourite is like lazing around in your jammies or having a whole packet of tim-tams to yourself - it’s comfort food. The thing is, as discussed last week, new books steal my sleep and make me late. They damage my relationships (”Huh, yes dear? You’ve been calling my name for three hours? Really…?”) and deplete my knitting time. Hence the re-reads which I can put down at will.

So, do I read them in public? Well … on the tube I tend to carry a French translation. No-one can ever tell ;-)

Bedside Table: “The Historian” by Elizabeth Kostova (new)

This was first recommended to me by Kate and I have seen it mentioned several times since. It kept me up. My fault for picking what I knew was a gripping read in a week when I had deadlines to meet.

I felt the ending was a bit rushed: The story moved solidly along with plenty of meat to it, and then the climax suddenly came and went with a speed unequalled by teen first-timers. I catch myself thinking occasionally that I’m still reading it - as if there were more there that I somehow missed out on. Apart from that though, it was worth the very late nights, grab yourself a copy soon!

Holiday Reads: I picked up a copy of “The Game” by A.S. Byatt the other day and thought I might take it along as it’s nice and small for carry-on. Anyone read it? There’ll also be “Wuthering Heights” in my iPod and maybe even a French AC or two ;-)

Au revoir!

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The pattern for Monika is now up.


You can download it here:

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Today I decided to have a play around with some kid mohair. It was not an entirely successful venture.

I had never spun mohair before (although I’ve bought lots of it in the past as I’m a complete sucker for its beautiful curly colours!) and I launched in armed with mum’s advice: ‘keep the drafting triangle nice and wide’. Perhaps some further advice would have been a good idea!

I started out with a handful of the curls I’d bought at Wingham on Skip North. The fibre was very clumpy and almost matted in places (you can see it in the photo below) and I spent quite a bit of time teasing it out with my fingers and seperating out the curls into fluffy clouds. Quite a lot of dust and vegetable matter fell out while I did that. I also noticed that there were lots of different lengths of fibres in different clumps, some as short as 1 inch. I suspect this particular sample bag could be described as ‘off-cuts’, I will be checking more carefully if I buy a large amount.

I set the wheel ratio to medium-low as I knew I would be drafting slowly, and started off. The fibre didn’t draw out particularly evenly and there were plenty of fuzzy bits (well it’s supposed to be fuzzy isn’t it?). By the end of my handful I was becoming rather sick of it and it did. not. like. being plied off the Nostepinne. Think singles drifting apart at random and the whole lot falling of the NP about halfway through :-(

To cut a long story short, I did end up with a small amount of rather pretty 2-ply:


And I will be putting a lot more effort into preparation before spinning pure mohair again.

Part two of the mohair experiment involved some blending (as I was a bit scared of it in its naked state by this point). I carded (yes, apparantly carding produces much friendlier mohair than the teased-out-with-the-fingers variety) some pink and then layered it on the handcards with merino top.

dscn1858a.JPG    dscn1860a.JPG

They blended beautifully and subsequently spun and plied (at a medium-high ratio) with ridiculous ease into what I think is a rather nice yarn. It has a heathery look due to the different colours of the two fibres, and it has a lovely fuzzy halo caused by the mohair while still retaining most of the merino softness. I wasn’t taking myself seriously enough to actually measure the composition but I’d say the mohair was roughly 30%. I can see myself doing a bit more of this.


To summarise:

- Mohair on its own is much harder to spin, and pricklier and courser in the finished yarn than when blended with merino

- Carding is necessary to get mohair that I can work with

- Pink and green are apparantly still my favourite colours to spin!


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Have you ever missed an important appointment because you have become so engrossed in a book you forgot the time or were up so late reading that you didn’t wake up in time? Been late to work because you couldn’t resist the temptation and left the house too late?

This happens to me all the time - in fact it’s part of the reason I have cut back a lot on the amount I read: I know how dangerous it is! When I was a child my parents regularly had to remove the bulbs from my bedroom lights to stop me reading. I remember staying up as late as 1am while still in primary school, I don’t remember struggling to wake in the morning although mum assures me this was the case!

It’s not always books: not long ago I was almost late for work as I’d been browsing around and discovering new blogs on spinning. One thing leads to another, you click the links and open multiple windows and suddenly it’s t minus 10mins and you have to run for the train.

These days I spend a lot of time rereading old favourites. I don’t become so gripped by the plot that I can’t bear to go to sleep before reading ‘just one more chapter’ and I don’t look up to find I should have got off the tube three stops earlier.

Bedside Table: ‘Possession’ by A.S. Byatt (reread)

I’m reading more bits of this the second time through. The plot is tempting enough that I couldn’t help skipping all the long poems, letters and quotations the first time. Did anyone else do that? I anticipate I’ll need a couple more readings to get through everything.

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Thinking about blogging


We have been nominated by the lovely ladies over at Tea Reads as a Thinking Blogger. Thank you! It is a great honour to know that people are inspired by what we write.

When I first set out to blog I was merely writing down semi-interesting things about my life and my knitting. Gradually, as I began to read many other blogs, I realised that I was learning from the wide and wonderful blogosphere out there: I decided that I too wanted to try and inspire others and pass on some of my knowledge. Since Heather joined me in blogland she has also been adding snippets from her incredible store of knowledge and experience.

In deciding who to nominate, I started thinking about the blogs I read regularly and found I could categorise them into three areas:

Inspiration: These blogs keep me hungry to try new things and quite often make me go Wow! Sometimes I think: I could do that! and sometimes it’s more: Well, not everyone can be a genius! Pink Lemon Twist falls into this category.

Entertainment: Some knitting blogs are hilarious. On a blue day I know that some time trawling through archives in blogs like The Yarn Harlot will soon cheer me up. (She also counts as inspiration).

Friendship: Living in the centre of eight million people can make me feel very far away from everything at times. No matter where my friends are (from Pennsylvania to Tasmania) I can keep up to date through reading their blogs. A comment on a post often gets a quick response and sometimes leads to a protracted email conversation which is almost like the real thing. Cairi and Amanda are examples of great friends who I have never met in the flesh but nevertheless feel very close to.

So, nominations. As this is a shared blog I will nominate 3 blogs which make me think, and leave 2 for Heather.

1. I have to include See Eunny Knit!. This girl is amazing. Her genius is enhanced by her attention to detail and she is not above sharing her knowledge freely (really freely) with anyone who cares to read it. She has been recently named the new editor of Interweave Knits so will probably be blogging less, but I can’t think of anyone more deserving.

2. Carrie of My Middle Name is Patience deserves a mention. Every time I read her blog I get inspired again to read ‘proper’ books. We have chats about authors and she encourages me in my writing.

3. I have been lurking around Two Left Needles since I first started reading blogs. I think I left my first ever comment last week. For spinning inspiration and information I’ve never found a better blog, I have learnt a lot reading this one.

Here are the rules for those who have been nominated:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,

2. Link to the thinking blogger post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,

3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote (here is the silver or gold version ).

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I’ve been having lots of fun today…



Has become this:


It was really fast, being a nice chunky singles.

I also made this:


Which is a sample for a project I have in mind to use up lots of pink not-going-to-be-laceweight.

And then I did this: 


This is a silk/merino blend from Wingham which I bought at Skip North. I just thought I’d have a play and see what it came out like, then suddenly I had two bobbins full and it was 11:30 :-D I adore the way the different greens mingle together and then the white silk shoots strikingly through the yarn. I planned this to be a singles yarn and spun it nice and thick from the fold, but then I happened to see it kink back on itself and I was lost. This is going to be awesome as a 2-ply, I believe the technical term is ’squoodgy’, I added a bit more twist after that and will ply it up tomorrow morning.

And finally, I have been knitting industriously away at the Blue Sky Shrug this weekend and the end is finally in sight! Should be done in time to wear it in France :-D


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Although not in the way you might think.There were three parcels waiting for me when I arrived at work this morning. Three!

The first contained this which I ordered yesterday at about lunchtime. Go Amazon!

The second:


A pile of grey Polwarth, some kid mohair and camel to play with and the Easter Bunny popped by too :-D Thanks ever so mum xxx

The third was my fibre order from the US:


This is the first time I’ve ordered from Lisa Souza and I am very impressed. The colours match exactly to those on the webpage, the service was prompt and she kept me informed on the status of my order through several emails. That’s 2 hanks of BFL in Deep Sea, and 1 of superwash merino in Mardi Gras.

Methinks some spinning is in order for tonight!

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I seem to have caught finish-itis. Do not be alarmed, however, I expect I’ll be over it very shortly.


Yarn: Trekking XXL, Pattern: Garter Rib, 72 sts with heel flap cause I love him.

Next on the list is the Little Red Sweater #2


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