Monthly Archives: July 2012

Ballet, Cycling, and Socks

It has been an action packed weekend! On Saturday we braved the crowds in London and went to the ballet to see Swan Lake. It has been more than 25 years since I last went to the ballet, and it was lovely. We had great seats, and the seats in front of us were unoccupied so we had a fantastic view.

We caught up watching the men’s Olympic Cycling Road Race in the evening, and then yesterday I braved the weather and went out to watch the ladie’s Olympic Cycling Road Race on the road.

At first it was sunny, this the direction the cyclists will arrive from:

and here are two lovely ladies I met while walking down to the race, Sue and her mum Win:

Sue is seen here in contact with base camp (her other half) giving us updates on where the race was on the telly.

We had about an hour to wait and then the cars and motorbikes leading the race started to arrive:

And then the heavens opened, and the lens cover on my camera got jammed. I am not going to win any prizes for my videographic skills, but here is the breakaway, with Lizzie Armitstead (GB, Silver medal), Olga Zabelinskaya (Russia, Bronze medal), Marianne Vos (Netherlands, Gold medal), and Shelley Olds (USA, she had a mechanical later in the race and so wasn’t in the breakaway at the finish). Shortly followed by the peloton, lead by the German team:

Next came a Dutch rider, and a German, chasing the peloton:

And then another group of three riders:

Then the rain became really torrential, but I did manage to un-jam my lens cap, and the main chasing group came through, lead by the Australian team (I do like their yellow skin suits, very nice and easy to identify), followed by more support vehicles:

Then another smaller chasing group:

And then the final rider of the race, and the last of the support vehicles. I’m not sure if you can read it on the rainy video, but the last car helpfully says “End of Race” on it.

It hailed on us while we packed up and got ready to walk back to the car. Also it was the kind of bouncing rain that not only soaked you but also covered you in grit. All of my clothes went in the wash when I got home, my shoes and bag got a wipe and are now drying in the porch. Great fun though!

If you want to watch all seven videos in the right order (hopefully!) here is the playlist:

With the train journey into London and back for the ballet I finally finished my latest pair of socks:

The pattern is Guitar Man Socks, I used 2.5mm needles, and the yarn was some rather old and wobbly hand spun left over from my Cirque Socks. There were actually 4 small balls of yarn which varied a bit in colour, which explains why one sock is a bit darker than the other. Also as you can see I ran out of yarn on the second toe and so used some left-over mill-spun yarn I had hanging around. I think they are rather fun, and the variations in yarn give them character πŸ™‚

The pattern was fun to do. I have altered it a bit, only doing 8 instead of 10 pattern repeats on the leg (although this still makes a long sock on me), and doing 5 1/2 pattern repeats on the foot. I also extended the patterning onto the toe. I think this heel is a bit pointy for my foot, but it has been fun experimenting with different heel and toe shapings.

A bit of knitting

I have had a bit of a break from the spinning since the end of the Tour de Fleece. It has been pretty hot here this week, and in hot weather I tend to get stuck to the fibre! I have started catching up on some of the bits and pieces which were urgently in need of sorting out round here. I have made a dent, but the pile of things on the arm of my side of the settee is still in imminent danger of causing an avalanche so I have still got a lot more to do! I think I had better sort out at least one of the filing boxes this afternoon too since it has got to the stage where I can’t stuff any more in it.

I have done a little bit of knitting. I started these socks back before I went to France, and have now finished the first one:

The pattern is a free one, called Guitar Man Socks, it is only written in one size, but that seems to be working out fine since I have wide feet. I am just making both the leg and the foot a bit shorter. The leg has actually come out quite long, even though I only did 8 pattern repeats instead of the 10 in the pattern. I think if I were to make these again I would probably only do around 6 or 7 pattern repeats on the leg.

I have started on the second sock, and was making fairly reasonable progress, but I think I was a bit distracted by everyone else’s lovely knitting at knitting group yesterday and discovered last night that I had bizarrely missed out a whole section. Luckily I had only knitted about 6 rows past the missed bit when i realised what I had done, so today I have undone it, and I shall hopefully pay better attention this time πŸ™‚

The yarn is some rather early and wobbly handspun, dyed by me, the left-overs from my Cirque Socks.

Le Tour de Fleece 2012: Day Twenty-One

As well as being the last day of the Tour de France today was also the day of the Singleton Rare Breeds show. Here is the view across to the show rings while the set-up was going on:

There were lots of animals to look at, including some very cute alpacas:

I was delighted to find some Southdown sheep since that is the breed of fleece I am spinning with at the moment, they look like teddy bears πŸ™‚

There were lots and lots of sheep, from the very large like these black Wensleydales:

To the really pretty tiny, like these Castlemilk Moorits (I hope I have identified these right, I failed to include their sign in the photo).

There was also a section for fleeces and handspun, where my friend Lisa won a very well deserved two rosettes for her spinning. Well done Lisa! There were lots of lovely things on display, I’m afraid I was so busy looking at them that I failed to take any pictures in the handspun tent.

I did buy a little bit of fibre, this is a mixture of merino with a bit of trilobal nylon which makes it sparkly.

The weather was the best it has been for months. I think it is the first time this summer I have worn suncream and my sunhat in this country!

This evening I spun a bit more of the purple Southdown while we watched the last stage of the Tour. I am now part way through the second bobbin.

Today’s coin is an Isle of Man pound for Mark Cavendish’s win. What a great tour this has been for the Brits!

And this is a pile of all of the yarn I finished during the tour, I had spun about three-quarters of the singles of the brown alpaca before the tour started.

Altogether there is 1545g and 3427m. Not bad really! I think I shall have a lie-in tomorrow πŸ™‚

Le Tour de Fleece 2012: Day Twenty

We have had a lovely couple of days. Yesterday we went over to my in-laws and watched yesterday’s stage of the Tour in HD (which we don’t have at home). The scenery was beautiful, and the HD makes it very detailed, the only difficulty is it does make our telly look a bit rubbish in comparison πŸ™‚ We had fun spotting the places we had visited as they cycled through. My in-laws have been holidaying in the Dordogne region for many years and so recognised quite a lot of places, one year the Tour even came past the campsite they stay at! I have only been down to that area once, but it was still fun to recognise Rocamadour, one of the very impressive towns built into the side of a hill.

Then in the evening we went up to Stratford to see A Comedy of Errors at the RSC. It was great fun, very well done, and my face hurt from laughing by the end. I love the theatre they have built, this play was in the main theatre, we had excellent seats, and with the audience on three sides of the stage you really feel part of the action.

Today we had a lovely lunch, then watched the cycling time-trial again in HD and then came home. A very enjoyable couple of days.

I have done a little bit of spinning this evening, this is the first bobbin of the Southdown I started yesterday. I forgot to mention yesterday that I bought this fibre from HilltopCloud, and the colour is called Crushed Plum.

Today’s coin is a UK one pound, the Brits have been having an excellent Tour, with Cav winning yesterday, and Bradley and Chris coming first and second today. In case you are interested this is actually a Gibraltar pound.

Le Tour de Fleece 2012: Day Nineteen

I’m looking forward to today’s racing. They are going close to an area we have been to on holiday which always makes it quite fun.

Today I started spinning some Southdown fibre. This is the first time I have tried this breed. It is quite different to the merino blends I have been spinning recently, but good fun, and quite springy.


Apologies for the photo being on its side. I am having an iPad fail. Today’s coin is a US 5 cent, another random coin I liked the look of πŸ™‚

Le Tour de Fleece 2012: Day Eighteen

Happy birthday to my father-in-law Dave! We are in a season of family birthdays at the moment, it is a bit like having another Christmas πŸ™‚

Another mountainous stage for the cyclists, though unfortunately their weather looks rather like ours at the moment and not the lovely sunshine they had yesterday. They are probably glad that it is not quite so hot, but not thrilled about the rain. We have only got part way through today’s coverage but hopefully will catch up with them tomorrow.

I realised that I haven’t shown my new flyer I bought for my wheel and have been using for the last week, here is my spinning from earlier today:

This picture also clearly shows the two different shades of navy in the fibre before the spinning. The new flyer is the E-system fine fibre flyer (say that three times fast!) and is ceramic lined which makes it very smooth. Although I love the versatility of the delta flyer that came with the wheel, the new flyer allows you to spin at different angles which I think will be handy when I have more of a go at longdraw.

Since I took that photo I have finished spinning the singles of the navy merino, and also finished the plying!

This is a 3ply, and I am hoping it will be suitable for socks. Today’s coin is a slightly random choice because we haven’t finished watching the stage yet so I haven’t been able to choose a relevant one. It is a Brazilian 25 centavos. I’m not sure whether there are any Brazilian riders in the race this year, but I thought the coin was interesting πŸ™‚

Le Tour de Fleece 2012: Day Seventeen

A day with lots of mountains for the cyclists. It looks like it is hot in the Pyrenees, it has been cool and wet here, luckily ideal weather for staying indoors and doing a bit of spinning while I watch the lovely scenery on the telly. They cycled through an area I have never been to before, and it does look very beautiful and very dramatic. More places to add to the holiday list!

I have spun another bobbin of the navy merino.

In the daylight I can spot that there are two shades of navy, and I really like the effect it is creating. I am looking forward to seeing how this will look plied (I am planning to 3ply it), and then knitted.

Today’s coin is a 50p, as the UK is still 1 and 2 on the general classification, and I have run out of French coins to celebrate Thomas Voeckler’s win πŸ™‚

I’m feeling a bit under the weather with this cold, but it isn’t too bad luckily, and I think the tea and spinning are definitely helping πŸ™‚

Jenny’s Christmas Beret

The cyclists are having a rest day today so I thought I would have a bit of a break from the spinning and do a spot of catching up and tidying up. Luckily I am feeling much rested after a good night’s sleep, but I think I am starting to come down with a cold, I shall make myself a nice cup of tea in a minute and I’m sure that (along with a bit of trombone playing at band this evening) will make everything better. Trombone playing is surprisingly good for stuffy heads, though I haven’t got to that stage with the cold yet, and I’m not sure it is that useful against a sore throat … hopefully the tea will work for that πŸ™‚

I have been shockingly organised this year and have actually finished the hat for my niece’s Christmas present already. This is a definite improvement on last year when she received her Christmas cardigan in February. Jenny if you are reading, look away now!

The yarn is Bergere de France Sport, and is 51% machine washable wool, 49% acrylic. I used 3.25mm needles for the ribbing, and 4.5mm needles for the main body of the hat. The pattern is one by Fiona Morris which was part of our class notes in France, it is also available here on ravelry.

I hope that she will like it! and that it will be at least approximately the right size. It is a very international hat, the yarn is French and bought in France, the stitch patterns are German, it was knitted in France and the UK, and will be going to my niece who lives in the US.

I have sorted out my photos of the National Exhibition, and hopefully got my head round Picassa Web Albums, so hopefully you can see more of the exhibition here (click on the picture to go through to the album I think).

National Exhibition of the Association of Weavers, Spinners, and Dyers 2012

Let me know if not, and I will try again! I’m afraid I don’t have as many general photos as I would have liked because I ran out of camera batteries, but it gives you an idea of the sorts of things that were on display. There is an awful lot of skill and creativity that has gone in to all these things. I have come away very impressed and with lots of ideas πŸ™‚

Le Tour de Fleece 2012: Day Sixteen

Today was the start of the National Exhibition of the Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners, and Dyers, so I popped down to the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum this morning to see the exhibition.

Lots of amazing stuff! Very varied and inspiring. It is being held in the gridshell building which is lovely and light and airy and a very interesting space.

I have done a bit of spinning this evening while we watched the cycling. We are only part way through today’s coverage, there is a rest day tomorrow so hopefully we shall catch up then. I found it hard getting into the rhythmn of my spinning this evening, I think I am a bit tired.

This is some navy merino from Wingham. There are actually two shades of navy mixed together, but once I have spun it I am finding it jolly hard to see the two colours and it just seems to blend to one. Hopefully it is a slightly more interesting one πŸ™‚

Today’s coin is a Β£2.

Le Tour de Fleece 2012: Day Fifteen

Happy Birthday today to my mother-in-law Monica! She has got a new tapestry loom for her birthday which I am looking forward to seeing. We have had a nice day here catching up with the cycling, and in my case doing a bit of spinning. Rather shocking to hear that all the punctures today were caused by tacks on the road.

I plied up my merino / silk, and had a bit of a winding failure, so this is now in two skeins. I am planning on making socks with this, and the two skeins are roughly equal so actually having two rather than one isn’t a crisis πŸ™‚

Today’s coin is a German 50 Cent for AndrΓ© Greipel’s win yesterday, I’m afraid I don’t have any Spanish coins for Luis-Leon Sanchez’s win today.

I also finished weighing and measuring the alpaca /merino I finished spinning last week:

I have a total of 1025g, and 2208m, and it is a bit thicker than a 4ply knitting weight. I am planning to knit the Vitamin D cardigan, having seen those knitted by Joanne and Chrissy at knitting group. I should have plenty of yarn, and even have enough to make it a bit longer if I would like.