Sunday, 19 May 2013

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail!

Hello there fluff fans.

Here on Planet Ellen it's been an ordinary week. There has been no excitement in my life! I've worked, I've come home. I've eaten, I've slept. I've done other things to stay alive, but you don't need the details!

Yesterday was a swimming day for Ben, another gala in Kendal. It's a long afternoon, and more so for Ben than normal as he had to swim a few races against 11 year olds as the team was short this week. He did well and held his own which is all we could expect.

On the weight loss front this week has been one to forget. My mind has wandered off course somewhat. I've cheated outrageously and this morning I paid the price. I put 2lb on. This is entirely to be expected and I'm hoping that I can re-focus my drive for the week to come. I really do want to lose a stone sooner rather than later.

Quickly onto the crafty things -

FO's -

The Half a Stone Socks are complete:

They aren't completely matching, but I think the patterning on the yarn is such that you can barely notice.  These are vanilla socks on 2.25mm needles. I knit them toe up with a gusset and short row heel and cast off using the Surprisingly Stretchy Bind off.
This week the socks have ruled the roost. I worked on the Half a Stone socks for the majority of my knitting time. Wisteria did see some action though, I've separated for the sleeves, and now I'm onto the body. I have had something of a revelation though, and not in a good way!  You may remember that I decided to cast on for the 44" bust. This was a cunning plan, or so I thought! I'd have lost some weight by the time the weather chilled sufficiently again to warrant an aran weight jumper. Yesterday I investigated my gauge and it's off! I'm fairly sure that I swatched before I cast on, but the more I think about it, the more I'm doubting myself. My gauge is off, way off. I'm getting 20 stitches to 4" rather than 18.  This means that my finished but measurement is going to be nearer 40".  Oh dear, I thought. That's some serious weight loss required! Still, if it's way too small, it can go into the Christmas gift drawer!
I frogged a sock on Friday night.  It was one I was designing, and it just refused to progress. I know, you need to knit on a sock to see it grow! I get that, but even so, no matter how long I did work on it, that leg just wouldn't get any longer! I'm still thinking that I want to do something with that slipped cable stitch, but I think that working it into a continuous rib is too much. You can't just mindlessly knit on it, you have to watch what you're knitting and it's fiddly. I'm all for a technical sock, but a constant battle with the stitches isn't fun at all. I think that the yarn I was using wasn't helping either mind you. I was knitting Regia world college 6 ply on 2.5mm needles which was creating a very dense fabric.
The yarn is lovely though, the colour I have is a gorgeous pallet of blues in various shades. It does stripe as you knit a sock, but the changes in hue are so subtle you can barely see them. I do like the yarn, so as soon as I balled it back up, I had to cast something else on. I decided to knit another Pipers journey. The first was knit for a Christmas gift last year. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm over half way through knitting the garter section already.

On the second photo you can see the different shades of blue. You can also see where the yarn has been knitted before. I can only hope that settles down with blocking! I hadn't noticed that really before. Darn it!
Any hoo! Onward!
Spinning -
My desire to spin all the things continues with a vengeance! This week I finished plying the blue Wingham Wool Works blue merino/silk blend. I finished up with a rather yummy DK to sport weight yarn. I got 390yds and I'm happy with that.
I also plied the hateful evilness that was the massam. I N-plied it and ended up with 200yds of a worsted weight. That is destined to be made into something like a bag for felting.
As for what's spinning right now - I'm working feverishly on the Cornfield polwarth fibre. I'm still on the first 1/2 oz. If you remember, I'm fractal spinning it. I'm concentrating on keeping my consistency and I'm hoping for a laceweight to light fingering yarn at the end. I'm loving the results so far -

You can clearly see the colour changes. Despite the short colour repeats on the original braid, because I'm spinning it so thin, I'm getting long sections of colour from the smaller 1/8th sections of fibre. The 1/2 section I'm going to spin as the second single is going to give really long colour changes. I'm excited to see the resulting barber poling. 

My spindle spinning is progressing too. I'm spinning this when I can get a chance at work, so I don't expect to finish it for a while yet, but I'm loving the colour and I'm enjoying spinning on my home made drop spindle.

As the title of this week's blog suggests, I'm starting to plan ahead.  This year I'm hoping to take part in the Tour de Fleece. I'm hoping that Nunoco is going to put a team together, as I've decided to fly their flag and spin some of the mountain of fibre of theirs I'm amassing! So, to the planning. I have about one month left before the Tour starts. I aim to get the polwarth finished and off the wheel by then. I'd also like to get the purple BFL done too so that my decks are clear for my new projects.

I'm going to spin the green merino from Nunoco as my main project. I'm wanting to blend the four colours into a gradient. I'm going to split each colour into 4 and then mix them to form a continuous colour change and Navajo ply it. I don't have a drum carder to blend the colours together, but I'm hoping that if I draft them together I should get a half decent blend. Finger crossed! For the special stage, I think I'd like to try to spin a bulky yarn. So far in my spinning career, I've aimed to get the greatest yardage out of my fibre as I possibly can, but this creates spinning projects that take ages to complete. I thoroughly enjoyed spinning the last 2 skeins thicker and loved the relative immediacy of the product. So, I'm hoping I can get a bulky yarn spun, plied and skeined in a day. 100g is doable, yes?

Goals for next week -

To keep slogging at the Wisteria, stockinette is getting mind numbing!

To get the garter section of the Piper's Journey finished and start on the edging

To get at least one more 1/8th of the polwarth fibre spun

To shift those evil pounds I put on this week!

Have a good one guys, until next time