Archive for January, 2009

Lost in a Good Book (Thursday Next, Book 2) Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

Loved this just as much as the first one :-) Light, geeky and entrancing.

And apparantly I’ve still got several Thursday books left to read - Woo!

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A Tale of Two Cities A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this! It took me a long time to get around to reading it, and I wish I had earlier. My only gripe was the huge, critical, spoiler in the chapter notes - very disappointing. I can only assume that they just think everyone has read the book already by now.

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A variation on the Spin-In, here I’ll be documenting progress on my first major handspun project. I’ve spun large amounts before, but only for lace where gauge doesn’t really matter.

This weekend I started sampling for the Deev-V Argyle by Eunny Jang. Being a colourwork project, it’s important that the gauge is correct as I won’t be able to easily tweak the pattern, it’s also very fitted so doesn’t leave much room for alterations in finished size. Therefore, I’m doing something I’ve never really done before - which is to spin samples for swatches before embarking on the whole project.

The pattern calls for a DK yarn, gauge 22sts/4inches in colourwork. I started spinning, aiming for a yarn with a wpi of around 12. I’m not doing a lot to the yarn in the finishing process (colourwork yarn doesn’t need to be bouncy) so there shouldn’t be much change in the wpi after finishing.


To check finished wpi while you’re spinning, pull back a good length of yarn from the bobbin and double it over, letting it twist back on itself. You can measure the wpi and then untwist the yarn and keep spinning.

I spun and plied a sample of each colour at 12 wpi and then finished them by soaking in warm water and Eucalan, snapping a few times to distribute twist and then hung them to dry. I didn’t abuse the skeins at all as this will add loft, something I don’t really need in this yarn. The fibres (BFL and Shetland), in fact have plenty of natural loft already and the yarn is nice and springy but will still lie flat in the stranded pattern.


The recommended needle is 3.5mm but I know I tend to knit colourwork fairly tightly, so I started with a 3.75mm, knitting the swatches ‘in the round’ by taking the yarns across the back in long floats at the end of each row. I got a gauge of 27sts on this needle so switched to a 4mm.


The second swatch still has a gauge of 25.5sts so I am faced with having to spin more yarn for a second sample. I preferred the feel of the fabric on the 3.75mm, so I definitely don’t want to go up any more needle sizes.

Next: I’ll be spinning more samples at 11wpi. As I don’t have a great deal of extra dyed fibre to play with I may have to consider adjusting the pattern a little if I don’t get gauge with the second batch. It would be terrible to run out on the last little bit of neckband!

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At the beginning of this week I made a list of things to do. Not work, just stuff, like ‘knit so-and-so’ but apparantly holiday mode had settled in deeper than I thought. It has been a week of playing around with new projects, reading, watching endless episodes of old TV shows and basically letting everything else slide. It was great!

However, after Mum’s comment yesterday that there hadn’t been anything appearing on the blog lately, I thought I’d pull myself together and get to some stuff (although I am still in my pyjamas and only likely to swap them for yoga clothes today).


I finally got around to photographing my Christmas haul (there’s some things still to come I think, Amanda, don’t worry - I haven’t posted yours yet either!).

Fibre, and fibre…



These have been in my eye at Alice’s since they first arrived, and it appears that adding them to my wishlist was a cunning plan (thanks Mum!).

Also chosen from my wishlist: Sheepaints Marisilk yarn (this is similar to Seasilk and very lush) in my perfect colour!


And Malabrig(i)o sock yarn,


It’s already wound up and as soon as I finish my current sock I’ll be casting on.

Finally the most gorgeous shawl pin from Moving Mud - which Alice hid away, letting me believe that someone else had bought it! She can be very sneaky :-D


Then there were books:


Already read!

And I have a pair of socks somewhere, perhaps in the wash - I was wearing them for Christmas. You can see them on Kate’s blog here. They fit perfectly and I love the yarn (Hazelknits), I have some to knit up that I must get around to starting.

I also received some cash from my MIL - she anticipated me spending it on fibrey stuff, but I figured I was pretty well-stocked so I treated myself to the complete box set of The West Wing which (on sale) happened to be the exact right price.

Finally, you already saw the yarn that Kai gave me for Christmas, I cast it on on Christmas Eve and it has been my festive season knit (well, along with the four other projects I started in the last week as well!).

Here’s a glimpse:


Lace looks rubbish before blocking so you’ll have to wait till it’s finished to see any more!

- - - - -

Looking ahead…

2008 seems to have been the year of small projects. 11 pairs of socks, 7 scarves, 2 small shawls, 4 hats, 2 baby jackets and 2 pairs of mittens. The only other thing on my ‘finished 2008′ Flickr set (and anything that isn’t on there is doomed to be forgotten forever) is Maude, which doesn’t really count as I knitted 90% of it in 2007.

In 2009 I am determined to complete some bigger things, maybe even finish off the Central Park Hoodie, or Hey Teach which are both within a hair’s breadth of being done (hahaha - I kill me). Seriously though, I am setting three major completion goals this year:

1) Finish a handspun colourwork vest (that will be the Deep-v Argyle)
2) Finish a fullsized (i.e. long-sleeved) handspun sweater
3) Finish (at least) one small and one large handspun shawl
I’d also like to…
4) Knit more stash than I buy (I am in a sock club and a fibre club - so seriously, what else do I need???)

Completely unreasonable? I don’t think so, I’ll let you know how I get on :-D

Have a great 2009 everyone, full of (natural) fibrey goodness!

x x x

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