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I’ve put some more Spin-Off magazines on e-Bay – but I did it some days ago, and the auctions finish tomorrow night. If you’re interested, the following is what I’ve put up:

4 Spin-Off magazines 1999 Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall
4 Spin-Off magazines 2000 Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall
3 Spin-Off magazines 2001 Spring, Summer, Fall
3 Spin-Off magazines 2003 Spring, Summer, Fall
1 Spin-Off magazine Spring 2002
1 Spin-Off magazine Winter 2004

I’m a bit sad to see them go, but I don’t have a lot of space, and I very rarely refer to them, so it makes sense to sell them. My local guild already has an extensive set.

In a tiny attempt to do some decluttering, I’ve listed some Spin-Off magazines on eBay:

3 Spin-Off magazines – Spring, Summer and Winter 1995

4 Spin-Off magazines: Spring, Summer, Fall &Winter 1996

4 Spin-Off magazines-1997 Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

4 Spin-Off magazines-1998 Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

The auctions finish around 7.30ish (AEDT) on Friday 23rd January. There are bids on the first two lots already.

I have some more, 1999-2002 or thereabouts and a few odd ones from other years, so I’ll see how these ones go and perhaps list them, too.

Me and the Jaywalker pattern aren’t having much luck. I didn’t think I had particularly thick ankles, but they’re obviously not as slim anymore as some people’s are, because even knitting the Jaywalker on needles two three sizes larger than those recommended in the pattern, it’s coming out too tight. I can get the sock on, but it’s not the comfy type of sock sizing I like. I phoned my sister in Canberra, asked her to measure her ankle in case hers is a lot smaller then mine, but there’s not that much difference.

So, I’ve decided to frog the merino/cashmere jaywalker sock that I’d almost finished. Sniff.

Jaywalker sock, The Knittery merino/cashmere yarn

To ease the pain, however, I’ve already started using that yarn for some fingerless gloves. I promised my friend Kerry some warm ones last year, but the merino/angora that I spun for the purpose is too fine. So, I’m trying out the merino/cashmere on a glove pattern. I found the free Serpentine mitts pattern, which is the right yarn size, and general style. I wasn’t too keen on the particular cable pattern, so I’ve just used the pattern for proportions and structure, and am doing a different cable pattern. I’m pleased with how it’s coming along so far:

Fingerless mitts, handknitted in The Knittery merino/cashmere yarn

If Kerry doesn’t like these, I’ll be more than happy to keep them myself!!

I’m still planning to use the handspun angora, but think I will knit it along with a strand of 2ply wool. When I dig out the 2ply from the depths of my cupboard, I’ll knit a swatch with the two together and see how that goes. I’m hoping it will knit to the equivalent of a 5ply or thereabouts (light worsted in US terms?) I don’t have a heap of the angora, so there won’t be enough for gauntlet-type gloves, but if it works, there should be enough for a pair of basic fingerless gloves.

Knitting lately seems to be two steps forward, one step back. In particular, I’ve been having trouble deciding on contrast colours for heels and toes for the two pairs of socks I’m currently knitting. I have a selection of 5-ply yarns that I use for contrasts, but none of them really worked very well for either pair. For the blue/green/mauve patonyle socks, I knitted the heel first in the same jade green I used last time I used this yarn, but decided it would be boring having two pairs the same. So, I used a purple yarn and knitted the heel – blerch, too strong a colour and it didn;t really pick up the mauve that’s in the main yarn.

So, I’ve now knitted the heel a third time, using a blue yarn, and I think it works well enough.

Patonlye handknitted socks

The very-colourful jaywalkers have been stalled for a while. My choices of colour for contrast heels for it were a pink that made it almost fluorescent, or a blue, which I used, but I’m pretty ‘meh’ about. There is a very similar shade blue in the main yarn, but I don’t think it’s working well to pick it up as the contrast.

Then I (re)discovered this dark purple in the back of the cupboard. And now I’m wondering if that would work better than the blue?? I think it will, which means frogging the foot and doing the heel and foot again. Opinions, anyone??

jaywalker socks progress

With doing the first sock of the Veronik socks three times, I sure have been frogging a lot lately!

I’m also trying to knit gloves for a friend, but am having trouble with the fact that the angora yarn I spun quite a while back is finer than I need, and there probably isn’t, in reality, quite enough for the gloves. I’ve started a pair, but I’m also mulling over maybe using one of the merino-cashmere yarns from The Knittery instead, and stranding the angora inside for extra warmth, or knitting a lining for the main part of the hand from the angora. My friend’s hands and fingers get very cold in winter, but she needs to be able to draw and work at the computer, so these can’t be too bulky. Hhhmmmmm. I’ve never knitted a lining for gloves, so I’m not sure which way to go.

Inspired by my good friend Theresa over at Knitterary, I’ve decided to put money into a jar for every kilometre I walk on the dreadmill treadmill, and limit my yarn and fibre expenditure to what’s in the jar.

I’m not much good at either exercise or resolutions, (but very good at buying stuff) so to make this workable for me, I’m paying myself more than Theresa’s doing. I decided, at least to start with, that $1 per kilometre will encourage me to exercise. Given the price of yarn here, and my knitting habits, that should be a good balance of discipline/reward.

I did 1.5 kilometres this morning. I’m already feeling like I want to do 2 kms this afternoon. Enough yarn for a pair of socks is around $10 for plain commercial, to $25 for handpainted. Enough Bendigo yarn for a jacket or jumper is around $70, and way more for other yarns. A cone of cottolin for weaving is about $25, likewise a skein of silk. Now, I’m slightly cheating here, because I do have enough in my stash to keep me going for a while, due to recent purchases, but if I stick to this commitment for future yarn purchases, I should build up enough funds for larger projects, as well as the occasional sock yarn purchase.

So, we’ll see how this works out!! To keep me honest, I’ll do a page here on the blog with contributions and ‘deductions’.

Yarn fund jar

(Yes, it really needs a label that has a knitter on a treadmill wrapped in yarn, but I’m not that artistic.)

We went with friends on a day trip a couple of weeks ago, which included calling in at the Nundle Woollen Mill. We didn’t have a whole lot of time there (the male halves of the party getting restless), but I managed to select some of their 4-ply Retro yarns to play with:

Nundle 4-ply Retro yarns

I also brought home 200g of optim merino wool blended with camel:

Combed sliver - optim merino fibre blended with camel

Some of the Retro yarn is already on its way to becoming a pair of lacy socks:

Lace socks in Nundle’s Retro yarn

The pattern is the Socks for Veronik, on page 46 of Interweave Knit’s Holiday gifts edition, 2007.

The above hasn’t been my only stash enrichment lately, though! I put in an order during the Bendigo Woollen Mills sale, and now have 1.2 kilos each of 8ply Colonial in the Ocean Tweed shade, and the 10-ply Aran in Hemp shade:

Bendigo yarn, Ocean Tweed and Hemp

Then I went to my LYS, WOW, and some more sock yarn insisted on coming home with me, telling me I needed to make some socks for my sister:

Socj yarns

I haven’t just been enriching the stash; I have been working on depleting it!! The socks I was knitting for my father (see post below) were finished well in time to be sent off for Christmas. I’ve also been working on a jumper (sweater) that I started earlier in the year – I have now finished the back, and have done 5″ of the sleeves.

Jo Sharp Fisherman’s Rib jumper in Bendigo Ming yarn

The back took a little more yarn than I anticipated, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll have enough to finish the jumper. The back is currently quite long, so I can shorten it an inch or so if necessary. I figured if I did the sleeves, I’d then know how much I’ll have left over for the front, and whether I’ll need to shorten the length or not. The pattern is Jo Sharp’s Fisherman’s Gansey, and the yarn is from Bendigo.

Years ago, my mother made me a pair of fingerless gloves out of an angora and wool blend. They live in the pockets of my padded winter jacket, which makes them easy to find and slip on when I’m walking the dogs or collecting kindling or other tasks in the winter cold. They’ve been going strong for at least 18 years, with no signs of wearing yet, and I still lov pulling them on.

So, when my good friend Kerry mentioned that her hands freeze in winter, I decided to dig out the angora and merino blended fibre I’ve had in the stash for a fair while, and spin yarn to knit her some fingerless mittens. I finished the spinning a little while ago, but with life being somewhat frantic in recent months, it took me a while to get organised to dye it. Yesterday I took the skein into our Spinners’ and Weavers’ meeting, and used the microwave there that we keep for dyeing.

The colour turned out a little paler than I’d hoped, but Kerry likes it, so all is fine! I’m planning to start knitting them today.

And talking of bliss things, I finally uploaded a photo of the completed Bliss Socks:

I also finished another pair of mock fair-isle socks this week. The photo’s not great, but the socks are cosy and comfy!

While at the Armidale Show last weekend, I was spinning some brown carded fibre I’ve had for quite a few years. We used it for folks to have a go at spinning, and wound off what they’d spun as their momento, but in between I kept spinning it, and filled a bobbin. So, this past week, I’ve spun another bobbin, and I finished plying them tonight while watching the news. Spinning is soooo much quicker when you’re not spinning lace weight!

Brown handspun yarn

These skeins aren’t anything fancy, but since I haven’t spun simple coloured wool for a while, it’s been a nice change. I don’t have a lot more of the carded fibre, so I think these skeins will ultimately be a pair of socks.

Now, I’m off to watch Murphy’s Law and Spooks on TV – I enjoy Friday night British crime shows! – so I’ll be working on the second bliss sock while I’m relaxing. Only another few rows before I start on the heel 🙂

I finished knitting the first blue lacy sock about a week ago.  Since I think the yarn’s a bit heavy for the pattern, I thought I might knit the pattern in the soft alpaca I  bought the other week, and not rush to finish the  second blue sock.

So, I’ve started the alpaca ones, and the yarn is gorgeous – a luscious treat to handle. The blue bluebell isn’t in the same league, but you know, it’s growing on me. It might be just as well that I’ve got two sets of needles – I can see both on the go at once!

Blue lacy Latvian socks

(Yes, yes, so my leg is not a Barbie doll! Memo to self: next time, wear something slightly more respectable than ancient track pants.)

I’m also knitting a little hand-spun jacket from a white merino-cross fleece for our group’s doll raffle.  I’m making it up as I go along, with twisted cables on the fronts. I hope I’ll have enough yarn – it’s stuff from the stash – if not, it will be a waistcoat 🙂

The doll project is taking up some of my thoughts just now, as we made the dolls last weekend, and now have to dress them. I still have a little handwoven fabric left from the last time we raffled dressed dolls (see below); there’s enough for a waistcoat.  It’s a plain weave with small checks of slightly thicker yellow on a background of fine black. I loved the fabric so much that I’ve woven a length with mauve on the black – I just have to find the time, courage, and pattern to make it up into a jacket for me!

handwoven doll clothes

I plied the very fine merino yesterday, in several hour-long stints. I used the lace flyer’s 20:1 ratio to make the process a bit quicker, but it still took about 3 hours. That’s with a reasonable speed of treadling, but not super-fast manic.

That’s the trouble with fine spinning – lots of effort and it doesn’t look like much (until the very final stage when you have a completed lace scraf.) Anyway, 3 hours of plying and the bobbin was nowhere near half-full, but that was all I’d spun. I wound it off into a skein and weighed it – 30 grams.

I’ll need more for the project I have in mind – probably about the same amount again. However, this time I’m going to weigh out the fibre beforehand, put it in two labelled bags for each ply, and then I’ll know as I’m spinning how much I’ve done.

I’ll wash the skein this morning and hopefully it will dry in the sunroom during the day, then I’ll photograph it.

After that effort, I got out the silk caps that I bought the other week, and spun some of them (while watching the episode of Taggart about the community devasted by foot and mouth.) The spinning of the caps went better than the couple of previous times I’ve done it, so I almost enjoyed the process!

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