Monthly Archives: January 2010

Red merino

It seems very appropriate that I was spinning festive red merino over Christmas. This was the stuff I carded using Lisa’s drum carder. The original fibre was merino top in scarlet and crimson. There was slightly more crimson in the mix than scarlet because it turned out I wasn’t very good at estimating equal quantities.

I spun a 3ply, DK weight, 11 wpi, and have 146g which is 298m. Here is a (rather blury) closeup.

I had some of the uncarded merino left over, and thought it would be interesting to spin the singles in separate colours and then ply them together, and compare how this differed from the fibre that had been carded. So I spun two singles in the scarlet, and one crimson (luckily I had almost precisely twice as much scarlet as crimson), and plied them altogether in a 3ply.

Again DK weight, 11wpi, there is 53g and 116m. Here is a closeup where you can see the different coloured plies.

These are going to be part of my handspun leaves waistcoat. I am looking forward to seeing how the two different yarns knit up. The carded yarn is definitely lumpier (due to my lumpy carding), and wasn’t as nice to spin as the uncarded top. The uncarded yarn looks stripey in the yarn (although because the colours are quite similar it looks less stripey from a distance), but the colour mix is more even than in the carded yarn, and I will be interested to see whether they are a lot more similar once knitted.

Nearly at the armholes

We have had a quiet weekend here after the excitement of last week. My sister, Annie, and her husband, Andy, came to stay with us from Wednesday til Friday which was lovely. They have lived up the road from us for about 8 years, but moved to New York on Friday for 2 years with Andy’s job. The packers came and took all their stuff (including anything to sit on or sleep in) on Wednesday so it made sense for them to come and stay in our spare room while they sorted out the last of the cleaning and tidying up before their new tenants arrived. It was a lovely opportunity to see a bit more of them too without them having to take out too much time from their hectic list of things which needed to be done. I have had a check round and don’t think they have left anything behind, except for one blank CD, and I think they can probably live without that 🙂

It has made a rather symmetrical bookend to their time in Surrey. When they first moved down here, about a year after we moved in, they came and lived with us for several months while they settled into their new jobs and worked out where they wanted to live.

Over the quiet weekend (why is it the house always seems quieter just after visitors have left, even though it is exactly the same as it was before they arrived?), I have been jogging along with my jumper. It is very addictive, just one more round to see how the colours will look, just another couple of rounds to the next decrease.

I am very pleased with the results so far. Apologies for the not particularly good photo, you can click to enlarge it which makes it a bit better. It is rather grey and gloomy again here, though definitely warmer and drier than last week. A nice brightly coloured bit of knitting is definitely a good antidote to the weather 🙂

I am now about 30 rounds from the underarm, but am going to put the body on hold for a bit while I knit the sleeves. Then come back and finish up the body and then attach the sleeves. This seems to make sense, at least in my head. It seems a good moment to have a pause from the body as I have just finished my first ball of dark green yarn. I am pretty impressed at how much I have managed to knit with only 100g! I think that is about 105 rounds. I dyed 500g of the dark green just to be on the safe side, but I think at this rate I will probably end up using somewhere between 300g and 400g. Better to have too much than not enough, I am glad I have some extra to play with.

Christmas goodies

We had a lovely Christmas at Paul’s parents. Lots of food, board games and good company. Unfortunately this year Paul’s nana came down with a cold just before Christmas and so didn’t come to stay. Hopefully we will see her and catch up before too long. We saw my parents in the middle of December when they stayed with us while doing their pre-Christmas relative visit. We were going to have Ashby-Family-Christmas on the second weekend of January, but have postponed it for a bit because of the snow.

I really enjoy our spread-out Christmas celebrations. There is more opportunity to savour the time together, rather than feeling that you are on a visiting treadmill with no time to actual spend in each others company. I like to spread the fun out, and enjoy it for as long as possible 🙂 It makes for a more relaxed time, and also the chance to do things you have been wanting to have a go at but been putting off.

I took Suzie along for Christmas, and had a lovely time spinning away while Paul read his book, Paul’s dad did his crossword, and Paul’s mum worked on her tapestry weaving. Paul’s mum had a go on Suzie too and made some very respectable yarn, which I completely forgot to photograph.

As part of my Christmas present I got some lovely knitty and spinny things. From my mum a skein of Debonnaire sock yarn, 100% superwash merino, 100g, 365m. I think the colour is called passion / envy but the band is hand written and I am having a bit of a failure on the handwriting!

The colours are actually a bit darker in real life. Lovely saturated jewel tones. Yum!

She also got me a bag of guanaco fibre from Texere, and two sample bags of silk fibre from Winghams.

The guanaco is the wild relative (possibly ancestor) of the llama, and looks really interesting. I think there are still some guard hairs in this fibre, but it still feels very very soft. The silk is unbelievably luscious, and the colours beautiful. It is so shiny and squidgy!

My sister and her husband gave me a lovely surprise pressie from their holiday in Scotland. A skein of Angora Ecosse, from a farm they visited.

The label is a bit lacking in detail but I am guessing it is about a 4ply weight, 100g, and probably an angora / wool mix. I think I might make a little cowl, there seem to be a lot of nice patterns about at the moment.

Oddments elephant

Another elephant! This one using the left overs of Patons Fairytale Colour 4 Me in yellow, blue, and green.

3mm needles as before. The pattern is Elijah.

And specially for Rosie, who wondered whether I was going to decorate the Christmas tree with elephants:

This is the tree at my in-laws house as we didn’t have a Christmas tree this year.

The pattern very conveniently uses almost exactly 1.5 balls of the Patons yarn, meaning that having knitted three solid coloured elephants I had enough left overs for a multicoloured one. I like how he has come out, although it would have been nice to have enough yellow for yellow ears rather than green. However I do think the green ears make him quite individual 🙂

Closing down sales

There seem to be a rather depressing number of yarn shops closing down at the moment. One of those sadly I only learned about after its demise. It was in Woodmansterne, and I think closed down last year. Since their closure they have been holding occasional yarn sales in the village hall. I learned about one of them in December through Kitty who organises the Ashtead knitting group, and weather permitting they are also going to be coming to the January meeting of the Ashtead group.

They are selling off their yarn at £1 a ball, and have quite a wide selection of yarns left (or at least they did when I left the hall!). I picked up 7 balls of Patons Baby Pure Wool 3ply (these are 25g balls).

I’m not sure where they have been stored because there were bits of twig and grass in the bag, but the yarn itself seems fine. I think I am going to have a go at dyeing this, and then knitting something lacey.

I also went along to Stash in Putney during their closing down sale and picked up a couple of skeins of Koigu in colour 14063, a lovely spring colour. At least it can be spring inside even if the weather is full of grey slush outside.

And I got two balls of Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply in a lovely shade of bright red. Unfortunately the two balls were the last they had and are two different dye lots. My plan is to knit socks with them and then hopefully you wont notice the difference in colour.

It is a shame to see Stash closing, but people’s lives change and it isn’t always possible to carry on doing everything. It has definitely made me re-appreciate how luckily I am living here that there is easy access to a wide range of yarn shops, along with all the mail order places and people I see at shows.

On a more upbeat note. The weather may be grey and grim, and the ground grey and slushy, but the weather is definitely warming up, and transport looks like it is getting easier.

Red elephant

I’m not sure what red elephants in the morning or night signify to shepherds, but I have finished one anyway.

I actually finished it in December, but am finally sorting out my photos now (hence the non-snowy photograph), so I am counting it as the first finished project of 2010.

The yarn is Patons Fairytale Colour 4 Me DK again, this time in colour 9467, and I used 3mm needles again. The pattern is Elijah again. This is another one destined for the bottom of the pyjama drawer until the appropriate moment to hand it over arrives.


I finally finished fiddling around with swatches, and cast on for the real thing for my Autumn in Anatolia jumper in October. Then in November I undid it and cast on again, after discovering I had made a miscalculation and cast on too many stitches the first time (that will teach me not to knit the border before I have finished the charts for the main jumper). Here is the progress so far:

I timed myself and it takes me about an hour a row at the moment. I have set myself a target of two rows a day and am managing to keep it up at the moment. I love how the pattern is coming out, and the colours are looking good so far.

Yet more fibre

While ordering yet more stuffing for the toy elephants from World of Wool a few other little goodies slipped into my basket.

This is a really interesting mixture of merino, brown alpaca, camel, and silk.

I got 300g so that should be plenty to be playing with. I might experiment with dyeing some too, as I think the different fibres will take the dye differently and create interesting results.

And these are all merino, 100g of each. I couldn’t resist the lovely colours.

I certainly have lots of lovely things to keep me busy in 2010 (and probably for several years to come!).