Sunday, 23 March 2014

First world problems

It's 7am. I've been up an hour after a fitful sleep.

This blog post will be silent. Again. Last night our power went off at just gone 11. I live about 3 miles out of our nearest town and the group of houses here have their own electricity sub-station. A couple of weeks ago that sub-station broke and we were without power all day.  In the end they brought us an industrial generator which kept us going for the couple of days it took them to 'fix' the problem. 

It seems that 'fix' didn't work and once again we're plunged into darkness. 

It's incredible how much we rely on power. My land line doesn't work because I have a digital phone,  my freezers are merrily warming, I have no hot water or central heating. And worst of all, I promised myself a bacon and cream cheese bagel for breakfast and now I've no way of toasting the bagels! 

All is not lost though, I have a camping stove so I can make tea. I am a crafter so I have lots of warm things to snuggle up in and under

The silence of the episode is because I don't have enough charge in my phone, to upload the recording I made on Friday night. I don't have wi-fi either! I'm hoping that 3G will be sufficient to upload this blog file! (I haven't thought this through have I?!)

I'm hoping I have sufficient battery life on the the iPad and phone to get this written at least. If push comes to shove I'll go for a drive in the car and charge my phone then. 

Thankfully the boy is at his friend's house for a sleepover at the moment. Eugh! A 10 year old withdrawing from electricity is a hideous sight! Hopefully the electricity company will either fix the problem or arrange a generator before he gets home and before my freezers defrost!

Feeling the love- 

This week I've been twitchy. Unable to settle on any one project. 

I cast on the second of my red onion socks on a particularly windy dog walk earlier in the week. I didn't get far on it as the wind was making my eyes water and I could barely see! 

I've worked a lot on the peacock shawl. It's coming along nicely. I'm starting to get to the stage where I can knit a row without following the chart stitch by stitch. Once I've started I can get to the end of the row by reading my work. The pattern isn't set enough in my brain to work out what I need to do on the next row without consulting the chart. I doubt I'll ever get that far, but it's making my progress easier now. I don't think I'll ever love it enough to keep it  but you never know, after a good hard blocking it may be stunning and I won't want to part with it!

I started a couple of new projects too this week. The first was on Monday. I spent most of Sunday caking my sock yarn scraps. I've decided to do the Six'es blanket. I've been humming and harr-ing over how to use up my scraps. The hexipuff blanket looked good, but I have this nasty allergy to seaming - it brings me out in hives. Then there is the mitred square blanket, but I'm similarly allergic to weaving in ends! So the Six'es blanket it is. I aim to make an afghan. I'll need about 200 whole hexagons and umpteen part hexagons. 

Needless to say, when I read the pattern my heart sank. It asks you to knit individual hexagons and seam up after blocking! Not a cat in hell's chance thought Ellen! I'll pick up and knit them together as I go. How hard can it be!? Erm, well quite hard. If I'd thought ahead and planned my attack it would have been much easier. As it was, I piled on in and knit a few hexagons without really thinking where they would fit into the blanket. I'm now working on making rows with what I have. I'm going to run a few more half-hex's along the bottom and put a corner hex in before I continue along the row. I figure that working row by row will be easier than starting in a corner and working diagonally (hang on, maybe diagonally would be easier! Re-think pending)

I also have a hankering to knit with handspun. Most of my hand spun is a light fingering - heavy laceweight. I spent a while yesterday looking through my patterns to find something which took my fancy and I had the yardage for. In the end Magrathea took my fancy. Now, my handspun doesn't fit this pattern at all; but my hand-dyed yarn does! So I caked up 100g of my violent violet yarn and set to work. 

I cast on last night while watching Seven Psychopaths. Big mistake. That film is odd. Really odd. Weird in fact. It took most of my concentration to follow what was going on, so needless to say there was little brain power left to dedicate to the pattern! I'm making some progress now, and I'm enjoying the pattern too. The yarn is knitting up nicely.

I finished spinning the brown bah-humbug fibre from Wingham Wool Works. I plied it back on itself using the Navajo technique. It became blatantly clear to me early on that I'd rushed the job towards the end. The singles broke frequently where there was insufficient twist in the fibre. As I wound it on to the niddy noddy I found a couple of pig tails too where I'd not had enough tension on the single as I plied. But over all I'm happy with it. I got 520 yards of a fingering weight. 

I was desperate to start some more fibre too. I'm spinning some of my Nunoco stash. It's the Watermelon colour way and it's a thing of beauty. The batts are beautifully blended and start at a dark green for the skin and become the fruity pink of the the flesh. 

I zigzagged the batt to give me a continuous strip of fibre. I'll spin it end to end and repeat with the second batt. I'm hoping that when I ply to two together I can preserve the colours and there won't be too much barber poling. I'm aiming for a sport/DK weight. 

On the horizon - 

While I concentrated on Seven Psychopaths and Magrathea last night I got a tweet. I'd won a Beaker a button kit from Jen Best! Wow!!!! I'm wondering if it will go with Hana Hou? It needs a big statement button, this might just be what I'm looking for. I can't wait to see what the kit involves. A huge thank you to Jen for running the competition. 

I should therefore work on Hana Hou so I have a cardie to pin the button on!

I'll work on the red onion sock while I walk the dog (weather permitting)

I'll work on the Peacock and Magrathea shawls

I hope I'll finish spinning the first of the Watermelon batts

I'll probably end up frogging the stitch surfer socks. I'm just not feeling them. I'm worried about the wrap and turn section being on the bottom of my foot. There's a lot of friction there and the sock seems under a lot of tension and I think I'll end up with holes sooner rather than later. I don't want to waste Sophie's lovely yarn. 

So until next time

Have a great week

Ellen x