Sunday, 30 December 2007

On the Sixth Day of Christmas

Spinningmaid knit a sock:

I've called it 'Durmstrang' because of the strong Nordic influence, and as I'm full of Potter enthusiasm at the moment:

a) I have just re-read Philosopher's Stone
b) I got 'Charmed Knits' for Christmas from number one Pottter fan, my eldest son, Daniel.
c) I'm very excited about the Hogwarts kit swap starting soon (see button).
d) I watched Order of the Phoenix last night with Fabulous Dave.

I referred a lot to 'Knitting in the Nordic Tradition' to design this, and was very inspired by Which Chick's 'Hot Heels of Iron' socks which appeared in Socktoberfest (and are also on Ravelry). Helped by a significant level of illness keeping me to my bed (Christmas fluey, coughy thing) I've managed to get it done very quickly. I'm very proud of how the fairisle motifs alter for the decreases. I've worked a spell with shirring elastic in the cast-on at the top of the cuff (the cast-on was too loose).

Other news:
The decorating is finished downstairs, just a little to finish on the top landing (study area). So I strung ivy up the banister rails for a lovely Christmassy touch in our now elegant hall.

At the Spinning Guild Christmas meeting I got a wonderful hat in the Secret Santa, spun and knit by Carol Leonard. And it suits me amazingly well (I am very difficult to hat!). So its been on my head every time I've left the house since. Thank you Carol.
My package went to Jasmine, an Indian lady in the group. I was really pleased about this - it felt like poetic justice because I've had to put up with so much dreadfully racist rubbish from my decorator recently.

Must go now and conjure up a meal for hungry family.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

On The Third Day of Christmas

'Spinningmaid wrote a blog!
Two finished socks,
and a right load of family!'

These are the socks, modelled by the Fabulous Dave for whom they were knit with lots of love:

The 'load of family' came for Christmas Day - eighteen of us altogether! Daniel was sous-chef, assisting me to create a fabulous dinner (goose, Yorkshires, roast potetoes and parsnips, sprouts and carrots, spiced apples, vegetarian pie, two gravies, and of course Christmas Pudding with Remy Martin sauce - yum yum yum!).

Pressies? I got the Harmony needles set I had asked for, and 'Victorian Lace Today' (fantastic book), and 'Charmed Knits' (lots of fun), plus the usual smellies!

And now I'm off to finally allow myself the pleasure of casting on the Admiral fairisle socks I've been itching to start since I got the yarn at the Knitting and Stitching show in Harrogate.

I apologise for letting the blog slip somewhat during advent. (I'm sure all mothers will understand this!)

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Christmas Angel

A quick post today to blog a couple of projects (I only have five minutes to do this!). The first is a bauble I've painted to be a present for Mum:

I'm quite pleased with it. It has gold stars and says 'blessings at Christmas' on the other side. Any painters reading may note a strong JoSonja influence.

As I'm not a wage-earner, thoroughly dependent on charity from my WM, I decided to knit him some socks as well as order the gooseberry bushes he's asked for (and will have to pay for himself!). So I found a lovely free pattern on Ravelry for 'Gentleman's Socks' and have made the following progress on the first:

If you look closely you'll see that it has a slanting rib, and eye of partridge stitrch on the heel.
Toodlepip - son and nephew to collect from nursery!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Cozy and warm

Actually, I'm rather cold as there's not yet a radiator on the top landing where our computer is situated (one of the many projects on Dave's list). However my MP3 player should be very cozy and warm wearing this, knitted today using the Wensleydale I dyed recently:

Sorry for the pooor picture quality. The camera is playing up, and I've given up in disgust after many attempts to get a decent image. The cozy is my own pattern, my second go at one. My first is going in the Secret Santa at the Bradford spinner's guild (along with a few other bits that I definitely will keep secret!).

Apologies to anyone who's been waiting (like my sister) for me to update my blog. Having left Christmas preparations until a time that felt appropriate (i.e. not too early) I am now (of course) frantically working to get organised for the season. Our tree is up ( darling sister and children stayed last night to help decorate it), and I have splashed out on some LED lights for the windows. The marathon jam-making session still faces me though. I am finding it difficult to get on with large projects like that because of all the work going on around me with the halls, stairs, and landings being decorated. Lovers of tradition will like to hear that we have bought lincrusta panels for the main hall ('Edwardian Dado'). I have to ply our decorator with regular top-ups of tea (far more regularly than I drink it, and I thought I was a tea-lover).

The yarn I ordered from Nancy's KnitKnacks three weeks ago finally arrived today requiring hefty customs and Royal Mail handling charges paying - I will be more careful in future. Anyway, I think its too late for me to hope to finish scarves for both Annie and Aidan before Christmas, so may settle for just the hats for now, and knit up hats for Tom and Toby too (the hats knit up relatively quickly) . And I'm still struggling against the temptation to cast on my Admiral fairisle socks!

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Show haul

Despite only getting a fraction of the items on my wishlist I had a great time at the knitting and Stitching show yesterday. Especially good from a social point of view - sweet encounters with several fellow members of the Bradford spinner's weavers and dyers guild. Edna kindly joined me for lunch, and we had fun discussing our purchases.

The show was definitely better for a spinner and knitter than it was last time I went (four years ago). Although my experience then may have been somewhat affected by having a toddler and a baby with me in a double buggy (lots of breastfeeding breaks!!). I'm sure there were far less knitting stands, and a lot less spinning fibre. Nevertheless I still have some of the Wensleydale left that I purchased then (I got loads!!). I'm rather fond of the Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop, though I didn't buy anything from them yesterday (not even the spinning wheel brooch that nearly left with me!)

I've seen and enjoyed photos and lists of hauls others have made at shows so I'm following suit here:

I'll start with the items that were on the shopping list I wrote on Friday night:
a) The yarn is Admiral sockwool for fairisle socks with a self-striping background (the green and pink).
b) An acid dye kit to replace the Easy Peasy kit which is now running out. This one is from Art Van Go
c) A 'knitting design book' - 'Shetland Hap Shawls' from the Jamieson's stand. It was great to chat with Mrs Jamieson, and lovely to see some shawls on display. The book is a great historical record (with lots of pictures) as well as a pattern resource. Sadly not in the Ravelry library so I can't add it to my bookshelf there.
d) Knitting pins (not needles!)
Not on my list (!!):
a) A light to attach to myself so I can see my knitting better in the evening.
b) A braiding book - I thought it might help me make some decent cords for the hats I'm knitting.
c) Some syringes for dyeing work.


Thursday, 22 November 2007

As promised

This is the silk I posted about yesterday. I'm itching to spin more of it, and really cannot justify taking time out from everything else to do so. I have made alittle progress on the blinds, and several inches of the scarf I'm knitting to match Aidan's hat, which still needs cords attaching. Tom has kindly (enthusiastically!) modelled the hat for me:

I'm knitting the scarf in the round also, and have managed to knit his name into a band on it. Lots of fun.

Tonight I finally listed my old Ashford on ebay. Pretty sure it will sell from a starting price of £50.00. Sad really to say goodbye after all these years. And I do feel its daft to hang onto it when I don't use it anymore because the Timbertops is so good. Plus we could do with the money (of course), especially as we are having the hall, landings and stairs decorated at the moment (massive upheaval will I hope be over well before Christmas?)

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

In a jam?

Sorry no piccies. I'm at my sister's and don't think they have a thingummyjig that attaches to my camera. When I do post them you can see the silk I started spinning at our guild meeting on Saturday. It's some mulberry brick I bought at Woolfest that Freyalyn has dyed to match the blinds I'm making for my bedroom (note this is still present tense even though I started them in March!!!). Pinky red, cream and green. I love seeing the way the colours are spinning up. It isn't plain sailing though - its years since I spun silk and I am finding it difficult to get the fibre mass to behave. I don't want to have to split it into very thin rovings because I want to get long sections of solid colour.
Sadly I can't spend much time spinning at the moment because of the usual pressure I have put myself under to make umpteen Christmas presents. Mostly knitting and jam this year, with one or two painted baubles. Would you believe one of the other Mums at Toby's nursery asked me yesterday if I'm ready for Christmas yet. Ready? I've only just started to do anything about it. Has the world gone mad? Well, come to think of it, they were playing carols at a garden centre I visited before bonfire night!!

Friday, 16 November 2007


Unhappy with yellow and black, I've done a different sorting hat quiz. This test was much more grown-up, and hard to 'read', so I recommend it much more than the other. Anyway, it decided, after giving me equal scores for Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff, that I actually belong in Ravenclaw. Yippee!! Blue and silver do suit me, and I definitely feel more at home with the Ravenclaw type:

The sorting hat says that I belong in Ravenclaw!

Said Ravenclaw, "We'll teach those whose intelligence is surest."

Ravenclaw students tend to be clever, witty, intelligent, and knowledgeable.
Notable residents include Cho Chang and Padma Patil (objects of Harry and Ron's affections), and Luna Lovegood (daughter of The Quibbler magazine's editor).

Take the most scientific Harry Potter
ever created.

Get Sorted Now!

Wednesday, 14 November 2007


This is some Wensleydale I spun and navajo plied ages ago. It measures approx. 17 wraps per inch. I dyed it this weekend because Mum wanted some of my handspun to knit a hat. This is the one I didn't give her. I 'spot' dyed this one with Easy Peasy dyes from Hilltop Spinning Supplies. I mixed red blue and yellow stock to make green, dark bluey pink, and purpley blue. Of course, they ran together quite a bit while I was setting them (wrapped in cling film in the microwave)! I dyed Mum's skein (much more yarn in hers) in 4 sections - one long section each of the pink and the purple, separated by shorter sections of the green. Wish I'd taken a photo because the colours in hers worked much better and it is knitting up beautifully.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Charted Nordic Design

A lot of my time spinning and knitting is spent doing calculations. Is this familiar to others? How long does it take me to knit X number of rows of a pattern? Extrapolate to guesstimate how long the project will take. How many rows can I knit in today's time slot? Have I got time to knit X number of pattern repeats? How long does one finger width roving take to spin? Extrapolate to guesstimate how long the whole 100g will take....

Today's calculations were all design based. How many stitches do I need to make a pattern that will repeat six tiumes in 19 and a half inches at 8 stitches per inch? Pencil and paper sums show me I need a 26-stitch pattern repeat. I also want it roughly the same depth in rows. I want a star motif. I manipulate the net around it to make the numbers work magically. The pattern is based on one from 'Knitting in the Nordic Tradition'. I've altered the net to widen it (to make a 24 stich repeat into a 26 stitch repeat) and to include a separate square element without a star in it (to make the design more elaborate). And I've nudged the half star designs at top and bottom in a row to make the pattern band shallower. Lilleduck or other Nordic knitters may be able to tell me that this pattern I've 'designed' is in fact already in existence - it is after all just playing with Nordic design techniques.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Annie's Earflap Hat

I am sooooo proud of this!! Isn't it beautiful? The speed of work is evidence of just how much I loved this knitting. It isn't quite complete - I have ends to weave in, cords to make to attach to the earflaps, and (of course, being a perfectionist) the blocking to finish it. Then I have to knit one like it for Aidan (my 4-year-old nephew, Annie's brother). As he is smaller I am considering adapting the pattern to a different fairisle. I anticipate hours of enjoyment reading 'Nordic Knitting' (possibly the most loved in my knitting library) to find, or be inspired to invent, the 'perfect' design. Graph paper, here I come....

Friday, 9 November 2007


As I am thinking of doing some kind of Harry Potter knitting project I thought I'd better find out which house I belong to. A quick search on the web turned up a test which was really quite good. Just using what I know about the houses from (extremely fanatically extensive) reading of HP I thought it would be a toss-up between Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff, and I was right. Anyway, the final result came out as:

Which Hogwarts house will you be sorted into?

Unfortunately yellow and black don't really suit me!!!

Thursday, 8 November 2007


My invitation has arrived! I now know why Weekend Whirls is so quiet - it's because everybody is busy in Ravelry ( I haven't been on the computer at home since the invite (I'm at my sister's with Mum who's just come out of hospital), so haven't been able to upload photos of my projects to the site. I can see I'm going to have loads of fun there. In fact I was crying laughing today when I followed a link there to a fleece-washing tutorial. Check it out -

I can't believe how many spinning groups Ravelry has. Unfortunately I still can't find a Harry Potter swap to join that's taking entries now. I've never done a 'swap' or knitalong, and rather fancy it, especially Potter stuff as I am quite a fan (potters about Potter!). All the ones I find have already started and aren't taking new participants. I have, however, found a UK Knitter's swap that starts after Christmas. In my usual disciplined manner I've only joined three groups from the hundreds on offer- a Potter one, the UK knitters swap, and a French spinning group. I'm continuing with level three French at night school, and thought it a good idea to combine the two hobbies. I did fancy the Ankh Morpork Knitter's Guild, then realised my knowledge of Pratchett books is vastly inferior to true fans who read all his stuff (I've only read a few, and enjoyed them all immensely).

A hat pattern and yarn I ordered from Nancy's KnitKnacks ( arrived yesterday and I have started knitting it for my neice for Christmas. I also have yarn to do one for her brother. The pattern is 'Danah's Earflap Hat', and I'm doing it in Mulberry and Ecru for Annie, and navy and ecru for Aidan. I'm really enjoying doing a bit of fairisle - it's ages since I did some, and I feel clever knitting yarns from separate hands!

From conversastions I've had, and blogs I've read, I have recently come to realise that I am unusually frugal for a spinner and knitter. My stash for both hobbies is very modest, and newly including Annie's hat and Toby's waistcoat yarn I only have two spinning projects and three knitting ones in progress. Perhaps it's because of a course I did a few years ago called 'The Completion Series' (run by the 'Institute for Self-Actualization'!! - I do, nevertheless, have a long list of projects planned.... I just do my best not to purchase for them until I'm nearly ready to do them. Good eh? Or does that seem very sad?

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Busy busy busy busy...

Hours and hours of knitting!! And a bit of spinning too. Plus all the other time-consumers: cooking, taxiing children, bits of cleaning, endless tidying, firework displays, childrens' parties.....

And the batteries on the camera ran out.

The knitting is a lot of fun. I'm now knitting a lace edging onto 'vesty thing', and have finally learnt the pattern (lover's knot edging from 'Scarves and Shawls'). Initially I just memorised the process, whereas now I think I actually understand how it works!! Like the difference between functional and conceptual maths.

While knitting I've been thinking of the lace knitters of old who invented these patterns. Weren't they amazing? Too often I don't appreciate how intelligent and able the people of the past were, especially rural peasants like the Shetland knitters. Their patterns are so complex. How did they develop them? They must have applied a high level of conceptual understanding to create their beautiful pieces. Could I ever be disciplined and committed enough to emulate such achievement?

Meanwhile humbly I offer my vastly inferior produce for viewing. The lace edging (I'm near finishing the back):

And some merino I've spun to make a waistcoat for Toby. I'm going to knit it in stripes with some green themed merino. I've planned the variegation so some of the yarn is solid colour (orange or rust), and the rest is the two shades together. To do this I spun one singles alternating equal amounts of the two colours, and the other singles in an ABAABB sequence, then plied the two together. For once I seem to have underplied, and I'm considering running it through again to add more plying twist. Don't know what it will knit up like.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Skeletons in the cupboard?

I'm rather pleased with our effort for Halloween this year. I made a pumpkin lantern with Toby in the afternoon and made pumpkin and apple soup with the innards. Alas, I didn't think to take a photo of the lantern before it became pumkin risotto this evening (delicious!!).

The skeleton below is Toby who had his face painted at the Halloween party at a local play centre. Sadly it had worn a lot by the time we took a photo:

My other 'skeleton' is the still incomplete 'vesty thing'. I've finished knitting the bodice and just have to finish crocheting armhole and neck edgings. The armholes gaped rather badly when I tried it on, hence the gathered look from the crochet on the (finished) armhole to the right of the picture. The other will match when I've done it, and I hope blocking will resolve the consequent puckering. I'm also not happy with the way the striping from the variegation in the yarn has worked on the shoulder to the right of the picture, and I'm not so unhappy that I'm willing to undo it!!

p.s Warm regards to Lilleduck and thank you for your comment - it's good to know some-one reads and enjoys my blog.

Saturday, 27 October 2007


Its my sixth wedding anniversary today (not counting the ones with my other husbands!!!! ) and this morning Dave woke me up to receive these:

So....the boys are in bed (except the eldest, who is away), dinner for two (not our usual family banquet) is in the oven (lasagne, lovingly prepared by yours truly), we've chosen the wine, and we are only waiting for the boys to fall asleep before starting....

p.s. There are still a few of the truffles left!

Monday, 22 October 2007

Mon sac d'huile

It was our guild meeting on Saturday and my new oil went with me. It proved useful to some other members, and Freyalynn liked the smell (I had added a few drops of English Lavender because it smelt like engine oil). Liz said I needed a 'hangy bag' to keep it on my wheel, and showed me hers, a beautiful lavender -coloured silk one. She very kindly dug the pattern out of the library for me (it was in a five-year-old edition of 'spin-off' magazine), so along to the craft shop on Sunday morning I went to purchase some beads, and by the end of the day I had made this. Not half as beautiful as Liz's, and still I like it:

Friday, 19 October 2007

My first lace yarn

Here it is - my first ever handspun lace yarn. Perhaps, I should say, my first ever lace yarn that was intended to be such. Of course, there are many inches of lace yarn between the thick bits in previous projects, especially back when I was a beginning spinner!

I measured this as I skeined it on the niddy noddy and counted 1364 yards. The skein weighs 4oz, and I have another 4oz of singles left on the bobbins still to ply. So I should end up with between 2,500 - 3,000 yards. Enough for a Shetland shawl? Before washing it measures an average of 37 wraps per inch.

Last night I visited a website that shows pictures and gives descriptions and history of all sheep breeds worldwide ( Well, what a find for me! I printed details of the four British ones that I am currently most interested in: Blue Faced Leicester (recently spun), Portland (recently bought fleece), Norfolk Horn (saw on holiday + on waiting list for a fleece), and Manx Loaghtan (appealingly odd!). Then me and Tom swotted up on their distinguishing features. So I am now confident I could recognise these in a field. And I'm fairly sure Tom would at least recognise the Blue Faced Leicester and the Manx. My WM suggests that Tom could do sheep for a 'show and tell' at school, as he shares an interest in Mummy's bizarrre hobbies.

On Wednesday night the WM took me to see 'Stardust', which I heartily recommend. Very funny, and wonderful fantasy adventure. Go and see it!

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Well oiled

The other day my youngest menace (Toby whose fourth birthday was on Monday) decided the spinning wheels needed oiling. I was not in the room to guide the operation. So the wheels ended up with oil on every part (not just the moving ones. And oil on the floor too. And my oil bottle was now empty. While he sat on the bottom step (seat of shame for little boys who have done naughty things) I cleaned up, wondering about replacing my oil supply.

The thing is, I'm doing my best to make green choices in everything I do, and my green conscience pricks at the thought of buying oil shipped from New Zealand when I think I ought to be able to find a more locally sourced alternative. So today I went into my lovely little local DIY shop ('Odd Jobs') and stated my needs to them (proper old-fashioned counter service here). Oil that will stick to the parts I want it to, and lubricate metal moving against metal, leather, and wood. Instead of selling something he was unsure of, the kind man I spoke to directed me to 'Miller Oils', half a mile away. Well, they are making up some oil for me to collect tomorrow that meets all my requirements, and washes out in water! How amazing is that? So this afternoon I have played around on the computer to make a label for my oil to stick on the old oil bottle that I will decant into (my new oil is coming in a 5-litre container - a lifetime supply for little more than 100ml of the old stuff!!) I'll post a picture of it soon.

I've also finished Tom's socks and am nearing the end of spinning the BFL singles for my Shetland shawl project. Plus added a few more rounds to 'vesty thing'.

When not occupied with all the above and other parenty, wifey, householdy activities I've been doing a lot of trawling around the web and found more fibre blogs to enjoy (I've compiled a list of favourites), and a couple of groups to join: UK Knitters, and 'The Weekend Whirls'. The latter is especially good, and when I work out how I will add a link and button for it to my blog.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Confessions of a sheepaholic

Rather disappointing visit to the rare breeds sale at York today - no crafty stalls, and no fleece sale, and no labels saying what each animal was. I'm still waiting for the BWMB to publish a new book about the different sheep breeds. Is it supercilious of me to want to be able to recognise the breed of any sheep I see? I love touring rural areas sheep-spotting. Perhaps like birdspotters I should record sightings?

Yesterday I followed a link from
Carol Leonard's blog to a dating persona website. I hasten to assure readers that I only did this for fun. And lots of fun it was too. I did the test and found that I am 'Lion Warning Cat'. I still laugh every time I think of the picture:

Now, I have promised pictures of projects, so tonight, eagerly assited by Tom, who loves messing with the digital camera (many pictures of thumbs, coving, steps, doors etcetera have been deleted from occasions when he has secretly gone on the rampage with it), I took the following pics:

This is the school sock I knitted this week for the aforementioned son number two. I am already three inches into its mate. Boringly functional I know. And he loves it. This sock (and others to follow it) will I hope solve the foot odour problem that I am sure he only has when he wears commercial school socks with all their artificial fibre. By comparison this is knit in 100% wool (King Cole Merino blend bought from Texere yarns during Thursday's visit to the warehouse in Bradford - I cried with the emotion of walking among the vast quantities of yarns there - I rely on other yarn addicts to understand such weakness).

This is the 'vesty thing' I mentioned in my first blog, helpfully unrolled to view by Tom. I am knitting a few rounds each day.

And finally, Tom insisted on photos of the toybox I painted for him and Toby a couple of years ago. It used to be my WM's school tuck box (he went to a very exclusive boarding school and hated it, whereas I went to a very ordinary state comprehensive and loved it, more evidence that true riches cannot be bought).

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Oh crumbs!

Having happily posted my diddy pictures yesterday, I discover that one only has to click on them to get a blow-up version. So the whole blogreading world can view the breadcrumbs on the rug. And Tom's grubby cuddly dalmation under the settee. And shoes parked nearby. And shabby paintwork etc............... Perhaps I should also post a picture of my ironing pile?

Wednesday, 10 October 2007


Well, not only am I learning new knitting skills. Becoming a blogger has finally motivated me to learn how to use and upload pictures from our digital camera. I'm joining the 21st century at last!!

I have been musing since my first blog on my journey as a spinner and knitter. I learnt knitting as a child from my Mum (pause for fond appreciative moments thinking of her loveliness). Very good thing too as she is, like me (or rather; I am, like her...) lefthanded. So I knit in the opposite direction to most other people. Then I learnt spinning in my late teens at Barnhowe in Elterwater (some readers may remember it). In the years since (approximately twenty of them) until very recently I have felt myself to be very much a lone practitioner of dying and unfashionable arts shared only with far older and old ladies. Yet now I find I am actually part of a worldwide community of trendy yarn and fibre addicts, many of them now in fact much younger than I (this year has seen me officially enter middle age). And I am so glad. I have finally joined my local spinning guild, and I read spinning and knitting blogs (love them). I feel like I have come in from the cold. So thank you, spinny and knitty friends, for being there, young, or young at heart, wanting too to share your passion with others.

I especially love looking at photos of other textile crafters' works (whether in progress or finished). So I guess others might like to see mine. First of all let me introduce my most prized possession - my Timbertops Thurmaston 18 Spinning Wheel, purchased recently from e-bay (sold as an 'Antique Welsh Wheel'!!!). The bobbins are two of laceweight singles 'Marianne' (blue faced leicester) from and Bonkers handmade originals Merino and Tencel blend in the Emerald Forest colourway (purchased from Carol and Pete Leonard at Woolfest). I'm waiting for some blended merino and silk in black to ply with the Bonkers (great name!) and I'll ply the two blue-faced leicester laceweights together. The Bonkers yarn is to become a vest, and the laceweight Marianne is destined to become a Shetland Shawl - a project I have dreamed of for years.

If anyone reading this knows how to make the photos appear where I want them in the blog (and not just at the beginning) please tell me.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

What the heck!

Here I go, inspired by blogs I have read, and wanting to share in the fun, I'm writing my first blog, and already experiencing writer's block! I hope to bring my readers (if I get any) fun and inspiring titbits from my life, and to share a record of my progress with the many projects I have underway or planned. They are mostly craft related (spinning, knitting, crochet, sewing, tatting, painting), or to do with the mammoth homemaking challenge I face in our Edwardian mess.

This morning's project was a few rounds of knitting a vesty kind of thing that I have painstakingly planned to make from my handspun blue faced leicester. I got the fibre (8oz of 'honor') from and spun it and plied it double-fold into a fine yarn of approximately 26 wraps per inch - roughly four-ply weight. Needless to say its going to take a long time to knit such fine wool into a garment I can wear. I'm currently knitting it to a guage of nine stitches per inch, and rather scared its going to end up like many of my homeknits before it - a lot of work for something that doesn't look anything like as gorgeous as the picture in my head. Because I'm still waiting for my 2mm circular needle from P & M Woolcraft I'm knitting on double-point sock needles, and keep dropping stitches because really they're not plentiful enough or long enough for the job. Its fun anyway - I've used a 'provisional' cast-on so I can add a lace edge later. So I'm learning new techniques. I was very excited the other day when I found printable proportional (asymmetric) graph paper on the web to plan the neckline and armholes to the right guage. Got the link from the resources list in the Twisted Sisters Sweater book - Fantastic stuff.

Finally today we (my Wonderful Man and I) did a little sorting out on the top landing where I am now typing this because this is our study area. Let me paint a picture, perhaps depressingly familiar to you if you too have taken on a renovation project that you are fitting around work and family life:

The landing has some brown patterned carpet eating light from the very dirty skylight and small third floor front window that the window cleaner can't reach. The beams are painted grey, and the bits of wall and sloping ceiling that still have paper sticking to them are clearly meant to be 'pure brilliant white'. Dirt, dilapidation, and the horrible starkness of that paint scheme (so popular in the seventies and eighties when this was provbably painted) instead impart a general dingyness, made much worse by all the DIY clutter and household office clutter that has also accumulated here.

My WM is now communicating (with regular reports about the time) that I should go and cook tea (carrot and leek pie). He grows lots of veggies at our allotment, and its my job to do something exciting with them. When will I post again? Wait and see...